South Africa's 13-year ban on elephant culling was lifted on 1 May to help manage the flourishing population.

The climate of the North Atlantic region exhibits fluctuations on decadal timescales that have large societal consequences. Prominent examples include hurricane activity in the Atlantic, and surface-temperature and rainfall variations over North America, Europe and northern Africa. Although these multidecadal variations are potentially predictable if the current state of the ocean is known, the lack of subsurface ocean observations that constrain this state has been a limiting factor for realizing the full skill potential of such predictions.

The effects of global warming over the coming decades will be modified by shorter-term climate variability. Finding ways to incorporate these variations will give us a better grip on what kind of climate change to expect.

Working just south of Valent

The summits of the neotropical Guayana Highlands in Venezuela have a unique biodiversity that is under serious threat because of habitat loss resulting from climate warming. Although conservation studies are urgently needed, these are blocked by official bodies that will not grant permits for fieldwork in the region. (Correspondence)

A unique drilling project in the western Ross Sea has revealed that Antarctica had a much more eventful climate history than previously assumed. A new sediment core hints that the western part of the now-frozen continent went through prolonged ice-free phases

More than 20 United Nations development agencies joined the World Bank and the World Trade Organization this week in Bern, Switzerland, to discuss emergency humanitarian aid and other measures to combat the growing world food crisis. The World Food Programme says it needs an extra US$755 million just to meet existing needs for food aid.

This was not a sudden crisis. It may be only this spring that food prices have started sparking riots on the streets of Haiti and Egypt, not to mention rice rationing at Wal-Mart's cash-and-carry stores, but food prices have been rising since 2000. The rises accelerated in 2006, when global cereal stocks dropped to levels not seen since the early 1980s. And although the factors driving them are many and various, a good few of them look likely to persist for years to come. (Editorial)

The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) is a native insect of the pine forests of western North America, and its populations periodically erupt into large-scale outbreaks. During outbreaks, the resulting widespread tree mortality reduces forest carbon uptake and increases future emissions from the decay of killed trees.

One of the most dramatic perturbations to the Earth system during the past 100 million years was the rapid onset of Antarctic glaciation near the Eocene/Oligocene epoch boundary (34 million years ago). This climate transition was accompanied3 by a deepening of the calcite compensation depth