Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category
“Ikal Angelei is helping lead a campaign to stop construction of a major dam in Ethiopia that threatens the water supply and way of life of tens of thousands of indigenous people. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she explains what she believes is at stake in the fight against the Gibe III dam.”
via A Kenyan Woman Stands Up Against Massive Dam Project by Christina M. Russo: Yale Environment 360.
“It is the lesser known of the two framework conventions that emerged at the Rio Earth Summit of 1992; it also deals with a concept more difficult to comprehend. But the Convention on Biological Diversity is the international agreement that protects life on earth, and thereby, should be the base for all environmental discussions.
In 2012, India will host the most important meeting relating to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) — the 11th Conference of Parties (COP-11) — at Hyderabad, from October 8-19. This fact is hardly known outside environment circles.
This is the first COP of the CBD process, after the United Nations declared 2011 to 2020 as the ‘Decade for Biodiversity’. Judging by past records, COP-11 and its preceding meetings can attract as many as 5,000 participants, including around 100 environment ministers. In addition to chairing the current COP, India will retain the presidency of the CBD process till the next COP in 2014.
Unlike the build-up to the COPs of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), there is less media and public attention for COPs related to CBD. Each of the COPs related to the Climate Change Convention gets significant media and public attention. The Climate Change COPs in the recent years — held in Bali in 2007, Copenhagen in 2009, Cancun in 2010, and Durban in 2011 — got universal attention.
Though scientific opinion is still shying away from making conclusive connections between extreme weather events (which have been increasing in frequency in the recent years) and climate change, public opinion across countries has started making this connection. For instance, in August 2010, there were two major events happening simultaneously — floods in Pakistan and fires in Russia. The events were heavily reported, and there were references to climate change in the public discussions.
Public perception on biodiversity is much less clear. Though there is a vague understanding of the multiplicity of species on planet earth, there is no clarity on how this diversity gives stability to life, and also provides ecosystem services to villagers and city-dwellers. In India, this situation is ironic, since the country was the first to have a Biodiversity Act in 2002.
Starting almost immediately after the Rio Summit of 1992, the process of developing India’s Biodiversity Act went through much public discussion. It legislatively reaffirmed that the biological diversity in the country was its sovereign property. It was built on the three goals of the CBD — conservation of biodiversity, encouraging its sustainable use, and making sure that the benefits arising from its use are equitably shared with those who helped in conserving the biological wealth in the first place.
The Biodiversity Act also put in place a three-tier structure to manage the biological diversity. The National Biodiversity Authority was established in Chennai in 2003. There are 26 state biodiversity boards, and biodiversity management committees in many local bodies.
In comparison, the institutions on climate change are more recent in India. The National Action Plan on Climate Change was released in June 2008 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to work on eight national missions.
Only in January 2010 did the Government of India constitute an expert panel to develop low-carbon strategies for inclusive growth. The panel, headed by Planning Commission Member Kirit Parikh, was supposed to submit its interim report by April 2010, and the final report by September in that year. However, its interim report was made public only in May 2011, and the final report is still awaited.
Perhaps, the reason why biodiversity isn’t so well-discussed as climate change is because the economic linkages of the biological wealth aren’t so well articulated in the public domain. The economic costs of a flood or drought are visible, measurable. Deforestation in the Western Ghats, leading to the loss of a few species that are seen only in that location, isn’t so tangible.
There have been international attempts at measuring the economic benefits from biodiversity. The report of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) review process estimates benefits of US$ 3.7 trillion from avoiding greenhouse gas emissions through the conservation of forests. And this is just one ecosystem service function from biodiversity.
Even without complicated economic analysis, it is possible to feel the ecological and economic services from biodiversity in our day-to-day lives, wherever we are….“
Please read the full article….
via Business Line : Opinion : Biodiversity not adequately understood.
“The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities today announced the release of the National Conservation Easement Database (www.conservationeasement.us), the first resource to offer detailed information on the nearly 18 million acres now protected by more than 80,000 easements across the United States. Until its development, land and natural resource practitioners and decision-makers lacked a single system for sharing, accessing, and managing nationwide information about conservation easements.
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements through which landowners, public agencies, and land trusts protect essential natural resources like drinking water, wildlife habitat, and land along lakes, rivers, and streams. By bringing together easement data that was previously scattered and incomplete, the database serves conservationists, planners, and policy-makers across the country.
“For the first time,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the Endowment, “it will be possible to see the location, size, and purpose of conservation easements on a nationwide basis. By having all this information in a single place, the easement database will save organizations precious time and money, because each won’t have to create their own system.”
The National Conservation Easement Database provides government agencies, land trusts, and conservation professionals with new insights for strategic conservation efforts. Users can search for individual properties by date, property size, and other characteristics, or view a State Report for a quick summary of the area. Map-savvy practitioners can benefit further by choosing to download geographic datasets for advanced analysis. This wealth of information identifies those who have conserved nearby lands, reveals critical lands that are not yet protected, and presents new opportunities for collaboration. Such information is essential, for example, in effective planning of wildlife migration corridors or prioritizing critical lands and waters to protect.
Senator Max Baucus of Montana noted “the easement database is a great example of government and the private sector working together to save money, increase efficiency, and deliver better results.” Sen. Baucus is an ardent supporter of conservation easements, which help ranchers, farmers, and other private landowners to continue working the land and building strong communities.
Combining the easement database with data on America’s public lands reveals the most complete picture yet of protected areas across the country. “We’ve had to work for years without information on privately held easements,” said Jim Hubbard, Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service (USFS). “Creation of the easement database fills a critical gap of information that we need to make better ecological and financial decisions.”
The easement database balances public interests in land conservation and management with respect for the confidentiality and rights of private owners. The database currently has information on an estimated 60% of all easements, a percentage that will continue to grow.
Three federal agencies—the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U. S. Forest Service—partnered with the Endowment in support of the easement database. Other key partners include The Nature Conservancy, the nation’s largest private lands conservancy, and the Land Trust Alliance, which represents the views and concerns of the nation’s 1,700 land trusts.
“We think creation of the National Conservation Easement Database will serve everyone’s interests and needs,” said Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance. “Hundreds of land trusts rely heavily on volunteers, and have limited access to technology and planning tools. The easement database, a state-of-the-art technology available for free online, offers a new dimension never before accessible to local conservationists and planners.”
To create, design and implement the easement database, the Endowment assembled five conservation organizations with extensive local and regional experience working with conservation easements and data systems: Conservation Biology Institute, Defenders of Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, NatureServe, and The Trust for Public Land. These partners will continue to collaborate to maintain and update existing information.
Envisioned and funded by the Endowment, this important project received generous support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, the Knobloch Family Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the U.S. Forest Service. The easement database is online here.”
via The Trust for Public Land – Easement Database Is a Big Boost for Conservation Effort.
“Some critics ask why we would work with companies that have a big environmental footprint. I say, why wouldnt we? In my view, it would be irresponsible of us to shy away from the opportunity to guide companies whose decisions affect the places we want to conserve.
Are partnerships with companies a panacea? No.
Are there risks to engaging businesses? Of course.But change is not possible without risk.And change is critical given the great challenges we are up against. By 2050, the worlds population is expected to reach 9 billion people. Soaring demands for food, water and energy put enormous pressure on the natural systems we seek to protect. And climate change will only multiply existing problems.Solving these challenges will require new ways of thinking. It will require reaching beyond our core supporters. And it will require a shift in thinking, from “Isnt nature wonderful?” to “Isnt nature valuable?”Specifically, we need to talk much more about the benefits nature provides to people — clean air, healthy soil, fresh water, coastal buffers from storms.This notion of “natural capital” is not new. In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that these services are in sharp and worrisome decline.
What’s exciting is that environmental organizations around the world are turning this concept into reality. We are crossing boundaries to put these ideas into practice, connecting the value of nature to a broader audience.“
via Mark Tercek: Changing the Conversation: From Natures Wonder to Natures Value.
“Ms Savage suggests a role in captive breeding programmes – the last resort for species that cannot remain in their native habitat because it is infested with chytrid.
Chytridiomycosis can kill amphibians in less than a week – depending on their genes
The idea would be to screen amphibians’ MHC genes before breeding, to increase the odds of producing Bd-resistant tadpoles.
Prof Reid Harris, an amphibian specialist at James Madison University in Virginia who is trying to develop new treatments for chytrid, described the latest news as “very exciting”.
“The study goes a long way toward understanding the genetic basis of resistance to the amphibian chytrid, and it opens up the possibility of selecting for resistance to the disease,” he told BBC News.
“However, amphibian defences are multidimensional and include innate immune components and microbial defences.
“It is likely that a successful mitigation strategy will be multidimensional as well.”
However, chytrid is only one of the many threats that amphibians face today.
The most profound is loss of habitat, as marshes are drained, forests cleared, and wild areas tamed for human use.
“Although our study provides a new hope that amphibians may bounce back from chytridiomycosis, it does not eliminate the need for human conservation efforts,” Ms Savage stressed.
“Habitat loss, invasive species and habitat degradation are other major factors leading to amphibian declines; and if we can work to provide good habitats so that amphibian population sizes and genetic diversity can increase, they will be much more likely to have the genetic capacity to adapt to Bd.” “
via BBC News – Frog killer immune genes revealed.
Brilliant in its simplicity and yet true to the scientific method. Real results. So here is the application : have your City engineers’ test and ensure that the optimal water pressures are determined and set throughout the civic water system. Every step helps for conservation of water resources.
9-Year-Old’s Science Fair Project Saves City Thousands of Gallons of Water : TreeHugger.