Rhino and elephant poaching is detrimental not only to the rhino and elephant, but to global security. Poaching profits fund terrorist activity, like the kidnapping of over 200 girls in Nigeria. On...
GarryRogers NatCon News
Nature Conservation News and information for animals, plants, and nature. See more at http://garryrogers.com.
Curated by Garry Rogers
"Climate scientists agree that in order to prevent the worst consequences, global warming must be held to within 2 degrees Celsius. The pledges submitted so far will reduce emissions by about 60 gigatons compared to business as usual, but will limit temperature rise to only 3.5 degrees Celsius, according to Climate Interactive, the nonprofit tracking the progress of the global climate change movement.
"The pledges submitted so far are an encouraging sign that the Paris talks, unlike the unsuccessful ones in Copenhagen in 2009, will produce a binding climate treaty. The question now is how strong and ambitious the agreement will be.
"To be fair, these climate pledges are expected to be the starting point for these countries. As countries meet their targets in the coming years, they will review and revise them, potentially increasing the pace of emission reductions.
"Whether developing countries such as India commit to further emission reductions will depend on the assistance they receive from wealthier nations. So far, developed countries have pledged to provide about $10.2 billion in financing to poor nations through the Green Climate Fund, but that’s nowhere close to what the developing countries say they need to adapt to climate change."
What’s pulling the plug on the world’s carbon sink? Geoff Gallice, CC BY
Oliver Phillips and Roel Brienen, The Conversation, March 18, 2015.
"Tropical forests are being exposed to unprecedented environmental change, with huge knock-on effects. In the past decade, the carbon absorbed annually by the Amazon rain forest has declined by almost a third.
"At 6m km2, the Amazon forest covers an area 25 times that of the UK, and spans large parts of nine countries. The region contains a fifth of all species on earth, including more than 15,000 types of tree. Its 300 billion trees store 20% of all the carbon in the Earth’s biomass, and each year they actively cycle 18 billion tonnes of carbon, twice as much as is emitted by all the fossil fuels burnt in the world.
"The Amazon Basin is also a hydrological powerhouse. Water vapour from the forest nurtures agriculture to the south, including the biofuel crops which power many of Brazil’s cars and the soybeans which feed increasing numbers of people (and cows) across the planet.
"What happens to the Amazon thus matters to the world. As we describe in research published in Nature, the biomass dynamics of apparently intact forests of the Amazon have been changing for decades now with important consequences."
Conservation policy and the measurement of forests http://t.co/nCjgkqaZSf
GR: Remote (satellite) sensing has been unable to map the extent of Earth's forests. Far better methods of forest mapping are available. On-the-ground surveys using the 1970 UNESCO vegetation classification would give us maps at much less cost, and the maps would include far more information than the satellite maps. Moreover, who minds strolling through the woods with a clipboard? NASA, park the rockets and buy some hiking boots. Do it now.
By using fossil data, researchers have found that the structure of ecological communities leading up to the Permian-Triassic Extinction, one of the largest drivers of biodiversity loss in history, is a key predictor of the ecological communities...
We are going to have to see further analyses of this type if we are to predict which communities might survive the human mass extinction.
"In 1986, after a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant released radioactive particles into the air, thousands of people left the area, never to return. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 5 have found that the Chernobyl site looks less like a disaster zone and more like a nature preserve, teeming with elk, roe deer, red deer, wild boar, and wolves.
"The findings are a reminder of the resilience of wildlife. They may also hold important lessons for understanding the potential long-term impact of the more recent Fukushima disaster in Japan.
"It's very likely that wildlife numbers at Chernobyl are much higher than they were before the accident," says Jim Smith of the University of Portsmouth in the UK. "This doesn't mean radiation is good for wildlife, just that the effects of human habitation, including hunting, farming, and forestry, are a lot worse."
Other researchers have also reported that wildlife numbers are increasing around Chernobyl despite the prevalence of high radiation levels. Radiation sickness is less harmful than human presence.
Venezuela is losing at least 900,000 animals every year to the $320 million illegal wildlife trade.
Among the birds sold to the pet trade are 50 species of New World parrot, parakeet and macaw endemic to Venezuela, along with American flamingoes and extremely rare red siskins.
Patrolling the country’s porous 2,800-kilometer coastline and nearly 5,000 kilometer border with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana is a daunting task for law enforcers trying to stop clever wildlife traffickers.
The hunters ransack the vulnerable nests of tropical birds in richly biodiverse but poorly patrolled Venezuelan rainforests. Wildlife merchants brazenly display young fledglings, monkeys and other animals, right next to main roads throughout the forest. Many captives will travel a difficult path — an exhausting, often fatal journey covering thousands of miles, cleverly hidden inside bags and luggage, passing through airports and seaports, bound for Europe and elsewhere. It is a lucrative, shadowy trade, involving at least 900,000 animals annually, earning more than 300 million dollars for the criminals plying it, from which the local rainforest hunter gleans barely a fistful of Bolivares.
GR: We need to tell our children that animals have traits far more interesting than just their shapes and colors. In their natural homes, they use many strategies and techniques to build nests, attract mates, find food, and evade predators.
The mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy assesses whether the EU is on track to achieve the objective of halting biodiversity loss by 2020. The results show progress in many areas, but highlight the need for much greater effort to deliver commitments on implementation by Member States.
Nature’s capacity to clean the air and water, to pollinate crops and to limit the impacts of catastrophes such as flooding is being compromised, with potentially significant unforeseen costs to society and our economy.
An EU-wide opinion poll, also published last week, confirms that the majority of Europeans are concerned about the effects of biodiversity loss and recognise the negative impact this can have on human health and wellbeing, and ultimately on our long-term economic development.
In Malta, 500 face-to face interviews took place and 81% of those spoken to in the opinion poll thought that it might be important to halt the loss of biodiversity, and had a responsibility to look after nature.
71% of Maltese spoken to agreed that the EU should better inform citizens about the importance of biodiversity.
GR: Interesting article, but read with care; its sources are not cited.
As eye-opening as "Blackfish" and as inspiring as "An Inconvenient Truth".
Cowspiracy may be the most important film made to inspire saving the
This is an important film (Cowspiracy). World environmental organizations and government land-management agencies should pay attention. Clearly, however, the Earth can’t sustain our population even if we eat no meat. What I fear most, is that even if we adopted a one-child-per-couple policy today, we would still lose all our wildlife. Even if our population started shrinking today, the loss of wildlife would continue for centuries. We would have no animals left by the time our population reached a sustainable level.
This might not matter. Our resource consumption now exceeds the planet's production of new biomass. In other words, we are eating up the savings. Living on one's savings can't go on forever. There comes a point where they are gone. Long before we reach that point, the uneven distribution of resources will lead to great wars and human die-offs. This is nothing to desire, even by the most ethical among us, because all the animals will be gone by the time we are.
"After more than a quarter century on the Endangered Species List, Wyoming toads may have a chance at recovery under a new plan that sets specific targets and requires long-term monitoring.
"The once-common toads died off in massive numbers starting in the 1970s, succumbing to a deadly fungal disease that has afflicted amphibians around the world.
"Listed as endangered in 1984, the Wyoming toad is considered one of the four most endangered amphibian species in North America and is currently classified as “extinct in the wild” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Approximately 500 individuals are currently held in captivity for breeding and reintroduction efforts.
The goal is to establish stable populations at five sites. It will be tough. Amphibians face the harshest human impacts of any species group. They face declining habitats, increasing pollution, increasing short-wave solar radiation, increasing invasive predators and competitors, and disease. It will be tough.
In what may possibly be the last attempt by conservationists to prevent the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros from going extinct researchers have recommended that the small population left is consolidated, given strong protection, and that the percentage of breeding females remaining be determined.
The scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Indonesia Program have carried out an island-wide survey of the last wild population of Sumatran rhinoceros.
The study for the first time identifies priority forest protection zones "irreplaceable for saving the critically endangered species," the authors say, and identifies small and scattered populations that should be consolidated if they are to become viable.
A long-simmering row over plans to overhaul a corner of one of Britain’s best loved museums has burst into the open, with its director publicly defending the move.
Sir Michael Dixon, head of the Natural History Museum in London, has come under fire over plans to transform a wildlife garden in the museum’s grounds. He says the change will allow for the creation of a new entrance to the museum, necessary because visitor numbers have soared since free admission was introduced in 2001.
Established in 1995, the one-acre site, with ponds, heathland, meadows, woods and grazing sheep, has been the site of several important scientific discoveries.
A new edition of the “Arizona Wildlife Notebook” is available.
From the Introduction: In the year, 2015, lethal heat waves and storms made it clear that humanity is changing the Earth. Anyone who has paid attention to the news knows that Earth’s animals and plants are disappearing.
New Mexico Game and Fish is Barring Desperately-Needed Lobo Releases; New Polling Data Shows Overwhelming Support for the Endangered Species Act; Imperiled Beluga Whales Won’t Be Coming to Georgia Aquarium; Endangered Species Dodge a Bullet in the Defense Bill
EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 – towards implementation
"Progress has been made in establishing important policy frameworks: the new common fisheries policy, the Invasive Alien Species and Timber Regulations, and the introduction of biodiversity provisions in bilateral trade agreements, to name just a few. The reformed common agricultural policy provides opportunities for enhanced integration of biodiversity concerns but the extent of take-up by Member States will be decisive for success. The Commission has supported and complemented efforts made by Member States, regional and local authorities and stakeholders in enforcing environmental legislation, addressing policy gaps, providing guidelines, funding, promoting partnerships and fostering research and the exchange of best practice. There is a wealth of positive experience that can be a model for advancing towards the EU biodiversity targets in the remaining period until 2020.
"It is now urgent to intensify the implementation of measures across all targets and to ensure that the principles included in the policy frameworks are fully reflected on the ground. Achieving the 2020 biodiversity objectives will require strong partnerships and the full engagement and efforts from key actors at all levels, in particular with respect to completing the Natura 2000 network for the marine environment, ensuring effective management of Natura 2000 sites and implementing the Invasive Alien Species Regulation, and considering the most suitable approach for recognizing our natural capital throughout the EU."
GR: I might be wrong, but the idea that the Union could achieve ". . . strong partnerships and the full engagement and efforts from key actors at all levels . . . " seems a bit of fantasy. "control by financial interests, meaningless wrangling over immigrants, and politics as usual" rings more true.
If you recall the emotional impact of the 2009 movie “The Cove,” you know how horrible it is to witness the spectacle of hunters trapping and slaughtering dolphins. But it was also gratifying to our feelings of outrage, because it seemed like something we could fix, with a bit of public outrage and international pressure.
It’s infinitely harder to come to terms with the fate of an animal like the blind dolphin of the Indus River in Pakistan and India. Nobody stabs or beats them to death any more. Hunting ended by law in the early 1970s. But that is not the same thing as saving the subspecies. Instead the Indus River dolphins are on the red list of endangered species. They have lost 80 percent of their old home range, which once extended almost 2200 miles from the Arabian Sea to the foothills of the Himalayas.
Beginning in the early twentieth century, irrigation dams have repeatedly sub-divided the dolphin’s habitat, into a current total of 17 segments—10 of them now devoid of dolphins. According to a new study in the journal Biological Conservation, anywhere from 1200 to 1750 individuals survive—with 70 percent of them confined to a single 118-mile stretch of river.
The end of summer in the US has seen unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires along the Pacific coast, with whole neighborhoods burned to the ground in California. But the fire season up in Alaska and elsewhere in the far north was also devastating — and the eight million or more acres burned there raise some ominous questions about the future of permafrost and boreal forests.
Follow the link to listen to the full interview.