Cradle of transformation: The Mediterranean and climate change by John Cannon [04/28/2022]
– The Mediterranean region is warming 20% faster than the world as a whole, raising concerns about the impacts that climate change and other environmental upheaval will have on ecosystems, agriculture and the region’s 542 million people.
– Heat waves, drought, extreme weather and sea-level rise are among the impacts that the region can expect to see continue through the end of the century, and failing to stop emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could make these issues worse.
– Charting a course that both mitigates climate change and bolsters adaption to its effects is further complicated by the Mediterranean’s mix of countries, cultures and socioeconomics, leading to wide gaps in vulnerability in the region.
Where satellites come up short, drones can fill in a picture of our oceans by Shreya Dasgupta [04/27/2022]
– Marine researchers are increasingly turning to aerial drones for a new view of the ocean, given that their resolution is much finer than that of satellites.
– While drones are used in all kinds of ways in marine studies, researchers say drones can be equipped with special sensors to track small changes in the ocean’s movements that drive much of marine life.
– Drones could be especially helpful in finding and tracking local and dangerous algae blooms, for example.
– Researchers remain hindered by regulations and cost, but that hasn’t stopped them from using drones to increase our knowledge of our blue planet.
Freshwater planetary boundary “considerably” transgressed: New research by Petro Kotzé [04/27/2022]
– Earth’s operating systems have stayed in relative balance for thousands of years, allowing the flourishing of civilization. However, humanity’s actions have resulted in the transgressing of multiple planetary boundaries, resulting in destabilization of those vital operating systems.
– This week scientists announced that humanity has transgressed the freshwater planetary boundary. Other boundaries already crossed are climate change, biosphere integrity, biogeochemical cycles (nitrogen and phosphorous pollution), land-system change, and novel entities (pollution by synthetic substances).
– In the past, the freshwater boundary was defined only by “blue water” — a measure of humanity’s use of lakes, rivers and groundwater. But scientists have now extended that definition to include “green water” — rainfall, evaporation and soil moisture.
– Scientists say soil moisture conditions are changing from boreal forests to the tropics, with abnormally dry and wet soils now common, risking biome changes. The Amazon, for example, is becoming far dryer, which could result in it reaching a rainforest-to-savanna tipping point, releasing large amounts of stored carbon.
Unseen crisis: Threatened gut microbiome also offers hope for world by Claire Asher [04/26/2022]
– Plants and animals provide a home within themselves to an invisible community of microbes known as the microbiome. But these natural microbial communities are being degraded and altered by human-caused biodiversity loss, pollution, land-use change and climate change.
– On the macro level, habitat loss and diminished environmental microbe diversity, particularly in urban environments, is altering the gut microbiomes of humans and wild animals. Studies have linked microbiome changes to higher risk of chronic and autoimmune diseases.
– Coral bleaching is an extreme example of climate stress-induced microbiome dysfunction: During heat waves, beneficial microbes go rogue and must be expelled, leaving the coral vulnerable to starvation. Microbiome resilience is key to determining corals’ ability to acclimate to changing ocean conditions.
– There are solutions to these problems: Inoculating coral with beneficial microbes can reduce bleaching, while the restoring natural green spaces, especially in socioeconomically deprived urban areas, could encourage “microbiome rewilding” and improve human and natural community health.
With record $5.3B in pledges, GEF aims for more flexible environmental funding by Rhett A. Butler [04/26/2022]
– Earlier this month, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced a record replenishment of $5.25 billion covering the next four years, a 30% rise over the previous fund.
– Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, GEF’s CEO and Chairperson, calls the development a “fabulous breakthrough” and says more money could be committed to the fund later this year.
– Rodriguez is pushing for more flexibility in the fund’s grant-making, including more opportunities for non-state actors to receive money without government approval. Such a shift could result in more Indigenous peoples and local communities receiving funds.
– “GEF resources are for countries, not just the governments of those countries,” Rodriguez told Mongabay. “Countries are more than governments: among the various stakeholders are the private sector, NGOs, and communities.”
Troubled waters: A massive salmon farm off the coast of Maine is stalled by Caitlin Looby [04/25/2022]
– Norwegian-backed American Aquafarms was slated to build the largest salmon farm in North America along the coast of the U.S. state of Maine, using a closed-pen system said to minimize waste.
– But opponents say the closed-pen technology is untested at such a large scale, and warn that environmental impacts will devastate the pristine waters.
– The proposed salmon farm would have been right at the shorelines of Acadia National Park, threatening the region’s untarnished views and noise pollution.
– Currently, the project is indefinitely delayed as state officials terminated the lease application on April 19th. However, with Maine leasing the ocean for only $100 an acre ($250 a hectare) per year, opponents worry that future investors will see the coast as a lucrative target.
Côte d’Ivoire’s chimp habitats are shrinking, but there’s hope in their numbers by Manon Verchot [04/25/2022]
– Despite a decade of uncontrolled poaching, researchers have found what they describe as a “healthy” population of 200 chimpanzees in Côte d’Ivoire’s Comoé National Park.
– With the help of camera-trap footage, researchers found that the Comoé chimps display unique types of behaviors not found in other chimp populations in West Africa.
– Like elsewhere in West Africa, the chimps’ habitat remains under pressure from farming and herding.
Brazil bill seeks to redraw Amazon borders in favor of agribusiness by Jenny Gonzales [04/25/2022]
– A new bill before Brazil’s Congress proposes cutting out the state of Mato Grosso from the country’s legally defined Amazon region to allow greater deforestation there for agribusiness.
– Under the bill, known as PL 337, requirements to maintain Amazonian vegetation in the state at 80% of a rural property’s area, and 35% for Cerrado vegetation, would be slashed to just 20% for both.
– The approval of the bill would allow for an increase in deforestation of at least 10 million hectares (25 million acres) — an area the size of South Korea — and exempt farmers from having to restore degraded areas on their properties.
– Environmental law specialists warn that the departure of Mato Grosso from under the administrative umbrella of the Legal Amazon would set off a domino effect encouraging the eight other states in the region to push for similar bills.
Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul mobilizes to reduce wildlife massacre on its roads by Dimas Marques/Fauna News [04/25/2022]
– More than 12,000 wild animals were killed on the roads in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state between 2017 and 2020, including threatened species such as tapirs and giant anteaters.
– The real death toll is likely much higher, conservation groups say, as that number is based only on the carcasses found on the road; in many cases, the animals survive the initial collision but die elsewhere, or else the carcass is dragged away by scavengers.
– The deadliest stretches are on three roads: BR-262, BR-267 and MS-040, the main links between Mato Grosso do Sul’s capital, Campo Grande, and the state of São Paulo.
– In Bonito, a popular ecotourism destination in the state, NGOs are working with the government on measures such as speed bumps and suspended crossings that they hope can be replicated throughout Mato Grosso do Sul.
As animal seed dispersers go the way of the dodo, forest plants are at risk By: Sharon Guynup [28 Apr 2022]
– Many plants rely on animals to reproduce, regenerate and spread. But the current sixth mass extinction is wiping out seed-dispersing wildlife that fill this role, altering entire ecosystems.
– Thousands of species help keep flora alive, from birds and bats to elephants, apes and rodents.
– Animals give plants the ability to “move,” with the need for mobility rising alongside warming temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events. Transported elsewhere, plants may be able to “outrun” a warming climate.
– There are growing efforts to restore these critical ecological relationships and processes: protecting and recovering wild lands, identifying and rewilding key animal seed dispersers, reforesting destroyed habitat, and better regulating destructive logging and agricultural practices.
Wildlife don’t recognize borders, nor does climate change. Conservation should keep up By: Jim Tan [28 Apr 2022]
– A set of studies focused on the China-Vietnam border demonstrates that the impacts of climate change will make transboundary conservation even more important for endangered species like the Cao-Vit gibbon and tiger geckos.
– Conservation in transboundary areas is already challenging because of physical barriers, like fences and walls, as well as non-physical ones, such as different legal systems or conservation approaches between countries on either side.
– Changes in climatic factors such as temperature and rainfall are likely to mean that, for many species, suitable habitat may be in a different place than it is now — and in many cases, this could be in a different country
2021 tropical forest loss figures put zero-deforestation goal by 2030 out of reach By: Hans Nicholas Jong [28 Apr 2022]
– The world lost a Cuba-sized area of tropical forest in 2021, putting it far off track from meeting the no-deforestation goal by 2030 that governments and companies committed to at last year’s COP26 climate summit.
– Deforestation rates remained persistently high in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the world’s two biggest expanses of tropical forest, negating the decline in deforestation seen in places like Indonesia and Gabon.
– The diverging trends in the different countries show that “it’s the domestic politics of forests that often really make a key difference,” says leading forest governance expert Frances Seymour.
– The boreal forests of Eurasia and North America also experienced a spike in deforestation last year, driven mainly by massive fires in Russia, which could set off a feedback loop of more heating and more burning.
Illegal miners bring sexual violence and disease to Indigenous reserve in Brazil By: Lais Modelli [28 Apr 2022]
– A new investigative report shows that Brazil’s largest Indigenous reserve is experiencing the most intense spate of invasions by illegal miners in 30 years.
– An estimated 15,000 of the Yanomami Indigenous Territory’s Indigenous inhabitants have been directly affected by the mining, with girls as young as 11 lured into sex work with the promise of food and clothing.
– The miners are also exploiting Venezuelan refugees fleeing the economic crisis in their country, effectively keeping them in indentured labor through insurmountable debts.
– Forest destruction as a result of illegal mining has nearly tripled since 2018 inside the Yanomami reserve; the practice has also been blamed for outbreaks of malaria and high rates of child malnutrition.
Contorted energy politics of the Ukraine crisis (commentary) By: Nikolas Kozloff [27 Apr 2022]
– The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven energy prices to the highest levels in years, spurring a global energy crisis.
– Nikolas Kozloff, a writer who authored “No Rain in the Amazon: How South America’s Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet,” examines America’s response, which he argues is so far shaping up to be a missed opportunity to transition toward greener energy sources.
– “The Ukraine crisis has the potential to finally nudge the world towards a long overdue clean energy future,” he writes. “However, the Biden administration seems to have calculated that pursuing short-term political gains must take priority.”
– This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.
Study finds high prevalence of gut parasites in Nepal’s rhinos By: Abhaya Raj Joshi [27 Apr 2022]
– A high prevalence of tapeworms and other parasites in the greater one-horned rhinos of Chitwan National Park in Nepal has raised concerns about the threatened species.
– A new study suggests the problem is an unintended consequence of decades of successful rhino conservation, leading to a growing number of the animals roaming outside the park and into areas also frequented by livestock.
– A similar high prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites has also been recorded in India’s Kaziranga National Park.
– The authors of the new study emphasize that the parasites don’t kill the rhinos, although they may affect their metabolism or cause disease during periods of stress.
Boats behaving badly: New report analyzes China’s own fisheries data By: Elizabeth Fitt [27 Apr 2022]
– China’s distant-water fishing fleet, which operates on the high seas and in other countries’ waters, is far bigger and catches far more seafood than those of other nations.
– As a result, and also because of numerous high-profile cases of illegal behavior, the Chinese fleet receives intense scrutiny from international NGOs and the media.
– A new report, based mainly on data China released since enacting transparency measures in 2017 as well as a database of global fisheries violations and crew interviews, identified hundreds of fisheries offenses committed by the fleet between 2015 and 2019, and details a range of human rights abuses and environmentally destructive fishing practices.
– However, some experts say that although the Chinese fleet is by far the biggest, vessel for vessel its behavior isn’t all that different from other fleets, and that all share responsibility to reform.
Teaching climate issues through gameplay gains a following in Brazil By: Marina Martinez [27 Apr 2022]
– The Climate Fresk workshop, known in Brazil as the Climate Mural, is a teaching model created in France and replicated in more than 50 countries to disseminate science-based climate knowledge in an interactive setting.
– Its main teaching tool is a card game that allows participants to understand the cause-and-effect dynamics involved in climate change.
– The workshop is usually held at universities, high schools and government facilities, but a growing number of companies have asked to host workshops to train their employees on climate issues.
– In just three years, the global Climate Fresk initiative has trained 10,000 workshop facilitators and reached more than 300,000 participants around the world.
Podcast: Community empowerment and forest conservation grow from the galip nut in Papua New Guinea By: Mike DiGirolamo [27 Apr 2022]
– Galip nuts are a well-known, traditional agricultural product in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
– Papua New Guineans are currently reaping the economic and environmental benefits of this nut via agroforestry led by local communities and women entrepreneurs.
– In this episode, we speak with Dorothy Devine Luana, PNG-based owner of DMS Organics, a galip nut grower and processor, and Nora Devoe, research program manager for a project of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), focused on the potential of the galip nut industry to sustainably empower PNG communities.
For Sri Lanka’s crows, following the trash is all part of the hustle By: Malaka Rodrigo [27 Apr 2022]
– The International Crow and Raven Appreciation Day, on April 27, celebrates one of the least-liked but most intelligent groups of birds around.
– In Sri Lanka, home to two crow species, the birds are widely seen as a nuisance — but one enabled by the continued practice of poor waste management, which draws crows in flocks of up to 500.
– In “following the trash,” crows now occur even in wilderness havens such as Horton Plains National Park, where they feed on the trash left by human visitors, as well as on native wildlife species.
– Scientists studying Sri Lanka’s crows say the best way to get their population under control is through better management of the country’s waste, rather than the more extreme options of killing them or destroying their eggs.
In Mexico, a race to save the last wetlands of San Cristóbal de las Casas By: Thelma Gómez Durán [26 Apr 2022]
– The mountain wetlands of La Kisst and María Eugenia are protected areas in the state of Chiapas, and have been listed as Ramsar sites of international importance. But that hasn’t been enough to guarantee their conservation.
– For more than a decade, local organizations have spoken out against the degradation of the wetlands, which provide around 70% of the water used in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas.
– The National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) said not all officials have worked to guarantee wetland conservation.
– It has called for the creation of a program to recover ecosystems and investigate those responsible for environmental crimes.
Asia’s troubled trees need better conservation to reach restoration goals: Study By: Carolyn Cowan [26 Apr 2022]
– South and Southeast Asia’s 19,000 tree species form the foundations of some of the world’s most biodiverse rainforests, as well as provide irreplaceable ecosystem services and underpin the livelihoods and diets of hundreds of millions of people.
– However, roughly three-quarters of the land deemed most important to protect regional tree diversity lies outside of protected areas, according to a new study that evaluates the distribution and threats facing 63 native tree species.
– The findings question whether countries will be able to fulfill their ambitious forest restoration targets; in particular, the researchers are concerned that crucial seed resources that could support reforestation efforts are being lost.
– The researchers recommend a more coordinated approach to conservation planning within the region, including improved cross-border collaboration and a holistic, landscape approach that integrates trees into production systems outside of protected areas.
Funding, titling project for Indigenous-led organizations launched By: Laurel Sutherland [25 Apr 2022]
– One of the latest conservation funding mechanisms, the Community Land Rights and Conservation Finance Initiative (CLARIFI), plans to channel funds directly to Indigenous and locally-led organizations and title at least 400 million hectares (988 million acres) of land to reduce deforestation.
– According to organizers, this will avoid 1.1 to 7.4 GtCo2e (gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent) of emissions as 33% of the Earth’s tropical forest carbon is at risk without recognizing community rights to land.
– At least $10 billion is needed to boost legally recognized territories, but much is required to attain the other goals of the initiative, says Dr. Solange Bandiaky-Badji, coordinator of Rights and Resources Initiative.
– Organizers will be holding planning meetings in the Congo Basin and Latin America in May and June to deliver a total of $25 million to Indigenous-led initiatives and test its funding project.
With ban on palm oil exports, Indonesia reaps condemnation and praise By: Hans Nicholas Jong [25 Apr 2022]
– Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, announced it would ban exports of the commodity starting April 28 to address a domestic cooking oil shortage.
– The move has elicited a mixed response, with economists and a leading oil palm farmers’ union saying it will destroy the lucrative industry, including hurting small farmers.
– But another farmers’ group says the move is a necessary step toward a wider reform of the industry to devolve control from a handful of conglomerates to small farmers.
Iwan Dento, ‘hero’ of South Sulawesi’s karst mountains By: Wahyu Chandra [25 Apr 2022]
– For more than a decade, environmental activist Iwan Dento has opposed the mining of the limestone karst formations in his homeland of Maros, Indonesia.
– Until 2013, the karst mountain area of Rammang-rammang was mined for marble and limestone, but local resistance led to protective regulations and the establishment of an ecotourism area.
– For his dedication to defending the karst and establishing ecotourism, Iwan Dento has been nominated for several top honors for environmental preservation by both the government and the private sector, and is seen as the “hero” of Rammang-rammang.
Coal miner Bayan sues Indonesian investment chief over loss of land By: Hans Nicholas Jong [25 Apr 2022]
– Indonesian coal miner Bayan Resources is suing Indonesia’s investment board head over a decision to revoke its permits.
– The revocation effectively reduces by 16% the total area of concessions held by five Bayan subsidiaries in Borneo.
– The move reflects the latest ruling in a long-running dispute between Bayan and another coal miner, PT Senyiur Sukses Pratama (SSP), over parts of their respective concessions that overlap.
– The revocation was announced as part of a sweeping series of permit revocations ordered by President Joko Widodo in January to retake land from companies that the government says have failed to exploit them to the utmost.
Analysis: Myanmar’s gemstone riches bring poverty and environmental destruction By: John Sai Luu [25 Apr 2022]
– Myanmar is endowed with rich reserves of jade, rubies and other gemstones, but endemic corruption and poor regulation mean little wealth has flowed to ordinary citizens.
– The jade-mining hotspot of Hpakant, in Kachin state, is emblematic of the problem: There are currently no licensed mines in the area, but jade extraction nonetheless continues at a massive scale.
– The speed and size of these poorly regulated operations results in both massive environmental damage and human casualties, as scavengers flock to unstable dumpsites to hunt for jade left behind by machines.
Shining a light on Sri Lanka’s little-studied pangolins: Q&A with Priyan Perera By: Dilrukshi Handunnetti [24 Apr 2022]
– Sri Lanka’s small population of Indian pangolins has long been threatened by hunting for domestic bushmeat consumption, but conservationists have identified an emerging trend of the animals being captured for trafficking abroad.
– Efforts to protect the species here have failed to take off as a result of poor general awareness about the animal, persistent myths about eating its flesh, and a dearth of scientific studies into Sri Lanka’s pangolins.
– Priyan Perera, a globally recognized expert on the species, says he hopes to change that, starting by first filling in the knowledge gaps about the pangolins and their behavior, while also raising awareness in communities and schools to discourage hunting.
– In an interview with Mongabay, Perera talks about the importance of better understanding Sri Lanka’s Indian pangolins, incidents pointing to the nascent trafficking trend, and how to care for seized or injured pangolins.
President Biden signs order aimed at protecting old-growth forests across U.S. By: Liz Kimbrough [22 Apr 2022]
– U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order today aimed at protecting old-growth forests on federal lands across the United States.
– Federal agencies are directed to define, inventory and better protect the nation’s oldest trees by leaning into reforestation commitments and employing nature-based solutions to reduce emissions.
– The order is part of the Biden administration’s pledge to end natural forest loss by 2030, while restoring at least an additional 200 million hectares [494 million acres] of forests and other ecosystems.
– The order does not ban the logging of old-growth trees which scientists say is necessary to address deforestation and emissions from the logging industry which emits comparable levels of CO2 to the emissions from coal-burning.
Data show decline in Indonesian fish stocks amid push for higher productivity By: Basten Gokkon [22 Apr 2022]
– The latest official fish stock estimates by the Indonesian government showed a decline from five years ago.
– The data also show more fishing zones in the Southeast Asian country’s waters are being fully exploited and require more protection.
– However, the fisheries ministry has pushed for increased productivity through, among other initiatives, allowing foreign-funded fishing vessels back into its waters.
– Indonesia is the second-biggest marine capture producer in the world, after China.
To get people thinking about seagrass, Seychelles coins new Creole words By: Elizabeth Claire Alberts [22 Apr 2022]
– A Seychelles organization led a campaign to adopt Creole words for different types of seagrasses found in the country’s coastal waters.
– This move was part of a campaign to spread awareness about seagrasses’ value in protecting coastlines, providing habitat for marine life, and sequestering carbon.
– Seychelles has an estimated 20,000 km2 (7,700 mi2) of seagrass meadows in its waters, but those around the inner islands are under pressure from development and other human activities.
– In 2021, the nation pledged to protect 100% of its mangroves and seagrass meadows as part of its nationally determined contribution to the Paris Agreement.
Just outside Mexico City, community-run forests provide eco services, livelihoods By: Andrea Vega [22 Apr 2022]
– About an hour and a half from Mexico City, communities in the municipalities of Texcoco and Tepetlaoxtoc de Hidalgo use forest management as a tool to sustain themselves and conserve their forests.
– Their sustainable timber-harvesting activity is authorized by the forestry agency, and they complement it with other activities such as collecting edible mushrooms and medicinal plants, or ecotourism.
– These ejidos, or communally managed lands, are also diligently managed to minimize fire risk, through initiative such as pruning and creating firebreaks.
– “We make use of the forest, yes, but we take care of it,” says one of the community members. “This is for everyone: for the youth to come, for the environment.”
Study: Farmland birds in Nepal, India in dire need of conservation action By: Abhaya Raj Joshi [22 Apr 2022]
– A new study shows that Nepal’s farmlands are an important habitat for a quarter of the bird species found in the country.
– The researchers also found that different agriculture practices influenced the abundance of birds: sugarcane fields attracted the greatest diversity of species, while rice fields had the highest number of individual birds.
– The study provides a baseline for tracking farmland birds and informing policies for their conservation, given that they’re found outside of formally protected areas.
– The findings also highlight the differences between the characteristics and threats faced by farmland bird populations in Nepal (and neighboring India), and those in countries where agriculture is more industrialized and mechanized.
Saving old-growth forests: Q&A with Amazon Watch’s Leila Salazar-López By: Maxwell Radwin [22 Apr 2022]
– A new documentary called “The Last Stand,” released on Earth Day 2022, goes inside the protests against the logging of the Fairy Creek old-growth forests in British Columbia, Canada.
– Leila Salazar-López, executive director of Amazon Watch, an NGO dedicated to fighting deforestation and protecting the rights of Indigenous communities in the world’s biggest rainforest, spoke in the film about the larger implications of cutting down old-growth forests.
– In an interview with Mongabay, Salazar-López talks deforestation in the Amazon, the flaws of carbon offset policies, and the important role that Indigenous and local people play in conserving the last of Earth’s old-growth forests.
Beyond CO2, tropical forests a ‘cool’ solution to climate crisis, study finds By: John Cannon [22 Apr 2022]
– Forests, increasingly looked to for their role in addressing climate change, can draw carbon from the atmosphere, but they also have more localized impacts on temperature and weather.
– Forests are responsible for about 0.5°C (0.9°F) of cooling globally when their ability to sequester carbon and these biophysical effects are considered, a recent study has found.
– Tropical forests, with their speedy uptake of carbon and the local cooling they provide — by humidifying the air, for example — are considered a “double win” for the climate.
Indigenous knowledge and science team up to triple a caribou herd By: Chris Arsenault [21 Apr 2022]
– A wildlife recovery effort in British Columbia, Canada, has successfully increased a caribou herd from 38 individuals to 113 in less than a decade, according to a new study.
– Two First Nations communities partnered with Canadian scientists, the government and private companies to reduce predators and care for new calves in the short term, while restoring habitat in the long term by securing more than 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) of land for caribou.
– Human interventions, including logging and energy infrastructure, are blamed for fragmenting caribou habitat and increasing predator numbers.
– The project involves killing wolves, a main predator of the caribou, drawing ire from some conservationists.
Pilot program tries to get U.S. aquariums to raise their own fish, not catch them By: Ashley Stumvoll [21 Apr 2022]
– A collaboration between the New England Aquarium in Massachusetts and Roger Williams University in Rhode Island has developed protocols for breeding marine aquarium fish, including five species never before raised in captivity.
– Though some fisheries for ornamental fish are responsibly managed and benefit local economies, harmful collection practices like cyanide fishing and overcollecting can harm ecosystems.
– Aquaculture of ornamental fish can improve fish welfare, reduce the spread of disease, take the guesswork out of fish sourcing, and reduce impacts on wild populations.
The world’s dams: Doing major harm but a manageable problem? By: Petro Kotzé [21 Apr 2022]
– Dam construction is one of the oldest, most preferred tools to manage freshwater for various uses. The practice reached a peak internationally in the 1960s and ’70s, but in recent years dam construction has faced increasing global criticism as the hefty environmental price paid for their benefits piles up.
– The flows of most major waterways have been impacted by dams globally. Only 37% of rivers longer than 1,000 km (620 mi) remain free-flowing, and just 23% flow uninterrupted to the sea. Natural flows will be altered for 93% of river volume worldwide by 2030, if all planned and ongoing hydropower construction goes ahead.
– This global fragmentation of rivers has led to severe impacts. Dams have contributed to an 84% average decline in freshwater wildlife population sizes since 1970. More than a quarter of Earth’s land-to-ocean sediment flux is trapped behind dams. Dams also impact Earth’s climate in complex ways via modification of the carbon cycle.
– But dams are needed for energy, agriculture and drinking water, and are an inevitable part of our future. Lessons on how to balance their benefits against the environmental harm they do are already available to us: removing some existing dams, for example, and not building others.
Warming could nip Southeast Asian forests’ mass flowering in the bud, study finds By: Carolyn Cowan [21 Apr 2022]
– Synchronous mass flowering is one of the most spectacular but least-understood phenomena in Southeast Asia’s tropical rainforests; crucially, scientists know very little about how flowering events might be affected by climate change.
– A new study looking at historical tree flowering in Malaysia has found that between 1976 and 2010, the proportion of flowering and fruiting species decreased as temperatures began to increase through that period.
– They also used models to predict future responses to climate change, finding that a rise of 1.2°C (2.2°F) in average global temperatures by the year 2100 could halve the flowering probability of Dipterocarp trees, an ecologically and economically important tree family in Southeast Asia.
– The researchers say we will likely see shifts in tree species composition in forests as those adapted to climate change are outcompeted by more adaptable species.
Carnivore sightings highlight richness of Nepal’s Trans-Himalayan region By: Abhaya Raj Joshi [21 Apr 2022]
– Scientists recently recorded images of the steppe polecat (Mustela eversmanii), Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul) and Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in the country’s Trans-Himalayan region.
– This was the first time these species had been spotted outside the country’s protected areas, and the first confirmation that they occurred in the little-explored Trans-Himalayan region.
– The findings were released in a press statement from Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Department of Forests and Soil Conservation; researchers say academic publications are forthcoming.
Canadian miners get high-level lobbying boost for Brazilian Amazon projects by Caio de Freitas Paes/Agência Pública [04/20/2022]
Funding for women-led conservation remains tiny, but that’s changing fast by Dimitri Selibas [04/20/2022]
Road projects threaten integrity of Uganda’s mountain gorilla stronghold by Malavika Vyawahare [04/20/2022]
Amid extinctions, forest corridors aim to save rare birds in Brazil’s northeast by Sibélia Zanon [04/18/2022]
Robot revolution: A new real-time accounting system for ocean carbon by Elizabeth Devitt [04/18/2022]
Plan to carve up Indonesian Papua rings alarm over fate of people and forests by Hans Nicholas Jong [04/18/2022]