tagged w/ Conservation
Tropical rainforests are a world like none other; and their importance to the global ecosystem and human existence is unequivocal. Unparalleled in terms of their untold biological diversity, tropical rainforests are a natural reservoir of genetic diversity which offers a rich source of medicinal plants, high yield foods, and a myriad of other useful forest products. They are the world’s richest and most productive ecosystems, containing half of all living species on the planet and a multitude of unique indigenous cultures.
Tropical rainforests play an elemental role in regulating global weather in addition to maintaining regular rainfall, while buffering against floods, droughts, and erosion. They store vast quantities of carbon, while producing a significant amount of the world's oxygen.
Despite their monumental role, tropical forests are restricted to the small land area between the latitudes 22.5° North and 22.5° South of the equator, or in other words, between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. Since the majority of Earth's land is located north of the tropics, rainforests are naturally limited to a relatively small area.
Tropical rainforests, like so many other natural places, are a scarce resource. The vast swathes of forest, swamp, desert, and savanna that carpeted Earth's land surface a mere five generations ago have been reduced to scattered fragments; today, more than two-thirds of the world's tropical rainforests exist as fragmented remnants.
Just a few thousand years ago, tropical rainforests covered as much as 12% of the land surface on earth, or about 15.5 million square km, but today less than 5.3% of Earth's land is covered with these forests (about 6.7 million square km).
The largest unbroken stretch of rainforest is found in the Amazon river basin of South America. Over half of this forest lies in Brazil, which holds about one-third of the world's remaining tropical rainforests. Another 20% of the world's remaining rainforest exists in Indonesia and Congo Basin, while the balance of the world's rainforests are scattered around the globe in tropical regions. (Adapted for educational purposes from mongabay)
The Disappearing Rainforests
We are losing 33,8 million acres of tropical forest per year, that’s 500,000 trees every hour, or an area the size of a football field every second!
The Amazon covers over a billion acres, encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru. It is the most diverse ecosystem in the world, supporting around 60,000 plant species, 1000 bird species and more than 300 mammal species. The rainforest is also home to 20 million people.
Over the past 30 years 15% of the Brazilian Amazon has been completed destroyed - that's an area the size of France. In 2002 an area the size of Belgium was destroyed, the second highest figure on record.
There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000. In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's.
Why do tropical forests disappear?
Logging is one of the principal causes of destruction in the Amazon. By building roads in pristine forest, the logging industry opens the door to further devastation such as clearing forest for cattle ranches and soya plantations. When the demand in the world for meat increases, more rainforest lands are being destroyed and turned into farmland for animals.
Tropical forests yield some of the most beautiful and valuable woods in the world, such as teak, mahogany, rosewood, balsa, sandalwood, and countless lesser-known species.
Most of the rainforest timber on the international market is exported to rich countries. There, it is sold for hundreds of the times of the price that is paid to the indigenous peoples whose forest has been plundered. The timber is used in the construction of doors, window frames, crates, coffins (we consume even in death!), furniture, plywood sheets, chopsticks, household utensils and other items.
Continued in comments>>>
http://www.studentnunamazon.com/data/pages/rainforest.htm#Tropical rainforests are a world like none other; and their importance to the global... more
Conservation has become the topic of the day. We must all do our part. No one is excused.Conservation has become the topic of the day. We must all do our part. No one is... more
3 years ago
Around the U.S. today, advocates of environmental protection and renewable energy keep waiting for someone to jump out and yell "April Fools!" But there's no practical joke that can make yesterday's disappointing announcement go away.
In an effort to win support from Republicans reluctant to get on board with a productive climate bill, President Barack Obama proposed opening vast expanses of ocean along the Atlantic coastline, eastern Gulf of Mexico and north coast of Alaska to offshore oil and gas drilling.
Activist opposition to the proposal has been swift, and raised big questions about how the plan would impact coastal ecosystems as well as local economies.
It's also unclear exactly how the President intends to pass legislation that will curb climate pollution with a plan to expand production of the very fuels that worsen it (ISS).
"The bottom line is this," the President said, again apparently addressing environmental advocates during the announcement at Andrews Air Force Base. "Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and create jobs, … we are going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel."
Click http://ow.ly/1tKaV to Tell Obama You Oppose His Offshore Drilling Plan!Around the U.S. today, advocates of environmental protection and renewable energy keep... more
Ok~ so I've been on mission information round up to find out what goes into rounding up 560 pounds of garbage out of the ocean. Step 1) Figure out how to afford to do the amount of diving required to remove 560 pounds of garbage out of the ocean; Step 2) Figure out the problem areas are; Step 3) Develop safety skills (hello needles and toxic materials); Step 4) Figure out all the things that I don't know I need to know.
In case you are desiring a catch up: here is the video description of the project re: why I want to remove the garbage I am personally responsible for out of the ocean.
The most exciting news is that my beloved bay area dive shop, Bamboo Reef, is going to sponsor my local dives! So thank God for them for making this all possible. Also pretty grateful that master photographer and diver Enrique Aguirre is letting me tag along on one of his dives and teach me how to document and teach me a few safety considerations (hope he shows me a trick for how to avoid getting tangled in my own net....)
1. Tide Chart: There is plenty of local lore about how the convicts who tried to escape Alcatraz were pulled out to sea by the strong tides (and a startling amount of stories of people who are grabbed from the beaches and swept to sea) (extra big note to self: respect thy ocean). With that said, I'll be working with this bay area tide chart produced by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to schedule my dives at the correct time.
2. Set up weekly "dive-ups". I'll be joining every local dive organization I can find in order to get the word out and find dive partners. For starters, The Bay Area Underwater Divers Club, (I've asked for permission to join several other local yahoo dive groups...hope they let me in :).
3. Identify locations: While the initial vision is to reclaim garbage out of the open ocean and rid the ocean of the 5 garbage patches (why not dream big?), I have a lot to learn about the pollution patterns in my own bay (apparently most of the garbage created by San Fran ends up landing on the beaches of Hawaii). Karen from Bamboo Reef suggested the obvious: starting in my own back yard. The first two spots I'm eying for the first official dive are:
McCovey Cove (this is actually right across the street from the Current HQs.)
The Aquatic Part at Pier 39 (major tourist destination)
4. What to do with the garbage?
Well based on all of the comments that have come in thus far, it would seem that there is a morbid fascination about what kind of garbage I will be removing. So by special request, I will be logging all of the garbage. Meanwhile, I'm researching what to do with the garbage so it doesn't end up back in the ocean. (You know I want your ideas on this one).
How to stay in touch?
Ok: So there are several ways to stay in touch and get updates.
I'll be posting all my updates on the Current Green Blog.
I'll send updates via our Current Green Facebook account.
And on Sarah Lane's recommendation I posted the first "dive-up" on Plancast.
This week's tip for keeping garbage out of the ocean:
Bring your own to-go containers when you go to restaurants. Of course any old yogurt container will work, or you can do it in style and reduce your fork print with To-go ware (shameless plug for a company worth loving).
Today's Inspiration for why it's time to take back our ocean:
The story of our local sea lion who was just rescued by the Marine Mammal Institute.
The sea lion was originally spotted at Pier 39 in San Francisco on the evening of Jan. 1, with fishing line around his face, making it hard for him to open his mouth. After nearly three weeks and 20 rescue attempts, he was rescued at Moss Landing Harbor by the Marine Mammal Center on Jan. 24.
The name given to him by the mammal center stems from his elusiveness; he was named for the 1960s con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie "Catch Me If You Can."
"We knew that all of our options were running out and that this animal was getting weaker and that he might not live much longer," said Dr. Frances Gulland, director of veterinary science at the mammal center. "We had to do something to save this animal, especially since he was entangled in marine debris as a result of human carelessness."
Meanwhile, want to know your ocean IQ? You might get a kick out of this survey by the Marine Mammal Institute
And here is a short video of surfers against sewage:
What's the 1 green thing on your new year's resolution list?
I took the 1 Green Thing Challenge: I'll be removing 559 POUNDS of garbage out of the ocean
Attacking the king of the ocean: The sharks that can't fight backOk~ so I've been on mission information round up to find out what goes into... more
3 years ago
This adventure takes us from the banks of the Missouri River - to the Bahamas - to Fiji - to check out Bull Sharks. This shark demands a healthy dose of respect and attention. The Bull Shark - this time on the Shark Task Force. Why wait a whole year, for just one week on Sharks? Find out more at SharkTaskForce.com. Special thanks, as always, to Scuba Adventures and Shark Diving International.This adventure takes us from the banks of the Missouri River - to the Bahamas - to... more
On Saturday, March 27th at 8.30pm (local time) Earth Hour 2010 will begin, and homes and businesses around the world will extinguish their lights for one hour to create awareness about climate change and demonstrate the powerful affect of a single decision.
First celebrated in Australia back in 2007, Earth Hour is a global call to action for every community throughout the world to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future.
Critics of Earth Hour have pointed out that even with millions of people participating, the energy and emissions saved during these 60 minutes isn't going to save the world. In fact, some have gone so far as to accuse the environmental movement of wanting to "throw humanity back into the dark ages," and have proposed their own Human Achievement Hour, encouraging people to turn on every possible light and appliance on during this time.
Butting heads with deniers and naysayers is nothing new for the environmental movement, so if you're asking yourself "what's the point?" here are three reasons to consider spending an hour in the dark.
1. Just because an act is symbolic doesn't mean it's pointless
Again and again people have said that the only way to truly knock out greenhouse gasses and slow climate change is to create an international regime that puts a cap and a price on climate pollution. This possibility, sadly, is in the hands of the world's politicians and diplomats who have been reluctant to take a stand. However, as Time Magazine points out, politicians around the world will become convinced once they see that climate change is an issue that matters to people, one that will make them change the way they live, buy — and vote. So, if turning off the lights for an hour starts to show the world that we're serious about fixing this problem, it is not in vain.
Click here for reasons 2 and 3! http://ow.ly/1rCxiOn Saturday, March 27th at 8.30pm (local time) Earth Hour 2010 will begin, and homes... more
Tonight is Earth Hour, when billions around the world turn off all their electricity. But what can people do for a whole hour without electricity? Got any ideas? Here are a few:
1. Do nothing - Meditate. Meditation is known to reduce stress and improve health if done daily. Here's your chance to try it.
2. Go for a walk and see what the neighbors have switched off.
3. One word: Fondue! You get a great meal, no electricity required.
4. Go totally 18th-century and play charades by candlelight.
5. Look for stars in the darker night sky, or moon dance.
6. Prove to yourself that, yes, you can go 60 minutes without updating your Facebook status.
7. Sit in a drumming circle around a candlelit shrine to David Suzuki.
8. Get busy and procreate the next generation of resource-sucking bipeds.
9. Start a pool on whether there will be a baby spike in nine months.
10. Have sex
11. Candlelight dinner?
12. Hand-wash your delicates.
13. Make a Sunchips commercial for your VCAM
14. Eat some Sunchips
15. Have sex.
16. Play music
17. Practice Yoga
18. Have sex.
19. Do your taxes (without a computer)
20. Count to 3600 (that's how many seconds are in an hour)
21. Help stick it to the electric company for at least one hour a year.
22. Did I mention, have sex?Tonight is Earth Hour, when billions around the world turn off all their electricity.... more
The OceanTaskForce and SharkTaskForce take you face to face with manatees for a one of a kind adventure. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants people to watch out for manatees as temperatures begin to warm. It was a very tough year on the creature because of cold temperatures. 400 deaths were documented.The OceanTaskForce and SharkTaskForce take you face to face with manatees for a one of... more
Good weather is expected to have large numbers of manatees and boats cruising Lee County waters this weekend, so researchers and law enforcement officers are asking boaters to keep an eye out in manatee areas.
The call for caution comes as the 2010 manatee death count closes in on a single-year record.
The previous record for cold stress-related manatee deaths was 56, set in 2009.
Last year was also a record year for total manatee deaths, with a record breaking total of 429 statewide. By last Friday, 393 manatees had died.
*** UPDATE: As of March 19, 2010: The total count for manatee deaths for the state of Florida is now 431. This disturbing number breaks the previous record for annual manatee deaths in only 3 months.
Typically in cold-stress events, manatees die slowly: They stop eating, use their fat reserves, and their their immune systems stop working.
In January, water temperatures dropped so quickly across the state that many manatees died within hours, sometimes while they were eating.
Another twist to this year’s cold-stress event: Normally, more than 80 percent of manatees killed by cold stress are calves; early in the 2010 event, less than 60 percent were calves.
Although water temperatures have warmed up, researchers at the state’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory in St. Petersburg, where dead manatees are taken for necropsies, are still getting cold-stressed animals.
While the 2010 manatee death count will break last year’s record, researchers counted a record 5,076 manatees in Florida waters in January, and de Wit didn’t know what this year’s mortality will mean for the population.
“This year has been so different,” she said. “This was an unusual mortality event, a natural disaster. The high number could have been because of the growth of the population, but it’s not possible to determine that.”
http://www.news-press.com/article/20100318/GREEN/3180405/1002/NEWS01/Officials-make-manatee-pleaGood weather is expected to have large numbers of manatees and boats cruising Lee... more
UNEP/GRID-Arendal - Publications - Last Stand of the Gorilla
Gorillas, the largest of the great apes, are under renewed threat across the Congo Basin from Nigeria to the Albertine Rift: poaching for bushmeat, loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion, degradation of habitat from logging, mining and charcoal production are amongst these threats, in addition to natural epidemics such as ebola and the new risk of diseases passed from humans to gorillas.
Alarmingly, parts of the region are experiencing intensifed exploitation and logging of its forest, in some cases even within protected areas. In the DRC, many of these activities are controlled by militias illegally extracting natural resources such as gold, tin and coltan as well as producing charcoal for local communities, urban areas, camps for people displaced by fghting and sometimes even to communities across the border. These militias are located, motivated, armed and fnanced directly by this illegal extraction of minerals, timber and charcoal.
A network of intermediaries including multinational companies or their subsidiaries, neighboring countries and corrupt offcials, are involved in the transportation and procurement of resources which stem from areas controlled by militia, or for which no legal exploitation permission exists.
1. Strengthen MONUC by expanding its mandate to secure full control of border crossings, by any means necessary, with regard to the export of illegally exploited natural resources, that are fnancing the confict, in full collaboration with and assisting the national customs authority to intervene and halt trans-national environmental crime, in close coordination with appropriate national and international bodies.
2. Enhance support for close coordination and trans-boundary collaboration among parks in DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, including coordination with MONUC, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and relevant law enforcement agencies.
3. Mobilize resources for trans-boundary collaboration and coordination, including all aspects of transnational environmental crime and investigation from source to end-user outside the region – including investigations of complicit companies in recipient countries, especially but not limited to the EU, USA, People’s Republlic of China and the rest of Asia – in order to monitor the origin and halt the purchase of illegally exploited and smuggled minerals and timber from the Congo Basin.
4. Mobilize funding for judicial training and cross-boundary training of judicial staff in national and transnational environmental crime in gorilla range states to assist in bringing successful prosecutions.
5. Strengthen long term training programmes in law enforcement for park rangers and wildlife managers across the region including those working outside of parks, for example in community reserves, with particular reference to anti-poaching, monitoring, scene of crime investigation and intelligence gathering.
6. Promote the essential role that local, national and international law enforcement and anti-corruption plays in ensuring the success of rainforest protection and climate mitigation efforts under REDD+ and source specifc fnance for these measures through UNEP, UNODC, LATF and INTERPOL.
7. Establish a fund for supporting trans-boundary investigation and collaboration on trans-national environmental crime.
8. Strengthen the collaboration of UNEP, UN offce for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UN Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO), CITES, World Customs Organization (WCO) and INTERPOL on trans-national environmental crime – including illegal trade in valuable natural resources such as minerals, wood products and wildlife – by, for example, secondment of experienced offcers to help investigate cases and bring about prosecutions.
9. Support the need for strengthened funding for gorilla research and survey data. The report, compiling some of the most recent data and information from a variety of sources, clearly highlights the lack of accurate survey data in parts of the regions within the 10 gorilla range states.
VIDEO: Satinder Bindra interviews Christian Nelleman
http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/gorilla/UNEP/GRID-Arendal - Publications - Last Stand of the Gorilla
Gorillas, the largest... more
Shark Task Force Executive Producer, George C. Schellenger, takes us behind the scenes as he encounters a Great Hammerhead Shark at close range. On a recent trip to the Bahamas he came eye-to-eye with this alien-looking fish - and he swam away with new passion to protect all sharks. This comes as countries at a UN meeting reject a proposal to protect Hammerheads. Sharks in this category may have dropped 85% or more, due to overfishing and the demand for the Hammerhead's fins. For more information on all sharks, check out sharktaskforce.com. Why wait a whole year, for just one week on sharks?Shark Task Force Executive Producer, George C. Schellenger, takes us behind the scenes... more
Click on picture to see the video.
(CNN) -- Conservationists have welcomed the decision to reject a bid from Tanzania and Zambia to temporarily suspend a worldwide ban on trading in African elephant ivory so they can offload legal stockpiles in a one-off sale.
The 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, voted to reject the proposal amid concerns about elephant poaching.
A petition from the two African countries to remove elephants from a list of animals "threatened with extinction" to allow trade in other parts of the animal was also thrown out.
"Poaching and illegal ivory markets in central and western Africa must be effectively suppressed before any further ivory sales take place," said Elisabeth McLellan, of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
"It's welcome news, but my anxieties remain about the increased levels of poaching in Africa," Save the Elephant's Dr. Ian Douglas-Hamilton told CNN.
He said burgeoning ivory markets in countries such as China and Japan would be key battlegrounds in the fight against the illegal trade in future.
"There are huge problems ahead for the elephants," he said. "I do see this huge demand which is emanating mainly from the prosperity of China. We have to win their hearts and minds for conservation and for the elephant so that they have more of an idea of sustainable use and not over-taxing populations."
CITES banned the international commercial ivory trade in 1989 after elephant populations dropped dramatically across the world due to widespread poaching.
But in 1997 and 2002 it permitted Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to sell limited stocks of ivory to Japan, in recognition of the fact that some southern African elephant populations were healthy and well managed.
Five years later at a CITES meeting at The Hague further sales of stockpiled ivory were permitted in return for a nine-year moratorium on further sales.
Both Zambia and Tanzania claimed elephant numbers in their territories were on the rise after years of decline. They also said the proceeds from the sale of government stockpiles would be put back into conservation and enforcement projects.
Tanzania had asked to sell almost 90,000 kilograms of ivory that would have generated as much as $20 million, according to the CITES Web site, while Zambia looked to offload more than 21,000 kilograms.
But wildlife experts in Kenya, part of a coalition of 23 African elephant range countries calling for an outright ban, say poaching has increased since the announcement of the last sale.
Kenya orphanage takes elephant babies
Video: Kenya's orphaned elephants
"There is no justification for downgrading the elephants from the endangered list.
They argued the illegal trade in ivory has been turned into a lucrative business since poachers can launder their illegal ivory with the legal stockpiles.
"Though Zambia's anti-poaching enforcement measures are better than those of Tanzania, there is no justification for downgrading the elephants from the endangered list," said Douglas-Hamilton, an expert on Kenya's elephant population.
"Tanzania has increased poaching and increased illegal markets. Their main elephant population has decreased by some 30,000 in the last three years.
"In Zambia there were huge declines in the elephant population in the 1970s and 1980s. Whereas other elephant populations across Africa have recovered slightly since the introduction of the ivory trade ban, Zambia's never have. They remain the same.
"In the mid-1970s the population was something like 160,000. It is currently estimated to sit at around 26,000."
He added that the situation was particularly desperate in central Africa where there are estimated to be just 20,000 elephants left from a population numbering 1 million 30 years ago.
Last week, CITES members voted against adding Atlantic bluefin tuna to a list of banned exports.
The popular sushi staple has been the focus of international attention as East Atlantic and Mediterranean populations of the fish have decreased by an estimated nearly 61 percent in the last decade, according to International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
CNN's David McKenzie contributed to this report.Click on picture to see the video.
(CNN) -- Conservationists have welcomed the... more
After denying protection to polar bears, sharks, and the Critically Endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has today voted against additional protections for harvested coral species, according to TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring group.
The joint US and EU measure would have put in place scientific and trade monitoring of over thirty species of red and pink coral in the Mediterranean and western Pacific.
The corals are harvested to make jewelry. But harvests of the coral have seen a significant decline: over 85% in thirty years. Marine conservations warn that the corals are too slow-growing to sustain such heavy collecting, since they require a hundred years to reach maturity.
Japan, which also led the movement to reject the ban on the Atlantic bluefin tuna trade, lobbied others to vote 'NO' against the monitoring. The country argued that deep water corals are not facing extinction and that monitoring would impact poor coastal fishing communities, especially in North African nations. The vote was done secretly.
"TRAFFIC and WWF are deeply disappointed with the decision not to list red and pink corals," said Ernie Cooper of TRAFFIC Canada. "Without the trade control measures this would have introduced, the current overharvesting of these precious corals will continue unabated."
It is estimated that 30 to 50 METRIC TONS of the corals are harvested EVERY YEAR. The United States is the world's largest purchaser of coral jewelry.
http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0321-hance_coraltrade.htmlAfter denying protection to polar bears, sharks, and the Critically Endangered... more
(In the interest of Full disclosure this article does feature an interview from me. It isn't often that someone on the U.S. politics group here at Current finds themselves in the news and that was the strange case for me today on CNN. )
To hear leaders of the "Draft John Mellencamp for Senate!" Facebook group tell it, this is a story about "insider" politicians, "street-level voters" and whether a likeable rock star with strong grass-roots appeal will run for the U.S. Senate.
The "movement," as the group calls it, was born less than three weeks ago with Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh's stunning announcement he would not not run for re-election. The next morning, Gabrial Canada, 21, was at home watching cable news reports about a Facebook page aimed at bringing Mellencamp, 58, into the race.
"After I saw that I went right to the Facebook group," Canada said Wednesday from his home in Indianapolis. "By then it had only been a matter of hours and it had already gotten a thousand members. It was incredibly exciting to see that catching hold." He contacted the group's founder and from then on he was hooked. So far, the group has garnered more than 7,000 members in 16 days.
"There's all this faux populism out there -- people who get paid millions of dollars to generate campaigns that look like they're supporting the people," said Canada, a self-described community ambassador for a local PBS TV station. "When you have the prospect of somebody as genuine as Mellencamp campaigning as someone people can relate to, it's unique, it's something you can't replace."(In the interest of Full disclosure this article does feature an interview from me. It... more
A shift from poverty-driven to industry-driven deforestation threatens the world's tropical forests but offers new opportunities for conservation. "New Strategies for Conserving Tropical Forests" will be featured in the September issue of the leading journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The sharp increase in deforestation by big corporations provides environmental lobby groups with clear, identifiable targets that can be pressured to be more responsive to environmental concerns. ... http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/recent-news/202-the-drivers-of-tropical-deforestation-are-changingA shift from poverty-driven to industry-driven deforestation threatens the... more
3 years ago