What’s causing deforestation? New study reveals global drivers

MONGABAY

    • Recent advances in satellite-based forest monitoring technology have helped conservationists locate where deforestation may be happening. However, limitations in knowing the causes behind canopy loss have hindered efforts to stop it.
    • A new study released this week provides a step forward toward this goal, identifying the major drivers of tree cover loss around the world.
    • Overall, it finds 27 percent of all forest loss — 50,000 square kilometers per year — is caused by permanent commodity-driven deforestation. In other words, an area of forest a quarter of the size of India was felled to grow commodity crops over 15 years. The next-biggest driver of forest loss worldwide is forestry at 26 percent; wildfire and shifting agriculture amounting to 23 percent and 24 percent, respectively. The study finds less than 1 percent of global forest loss was attributable to urbanization.
    • The study’s authors found commodity-driven deforestation remained constant throughout their 15-year study period, which they say indicates corporate zero-deforestation agreements may not be working in many places. They hope their findings will help increase accountability and transparency in global supply chains.

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Animals and fungi enhance the performance of forests

sciencedaily.com

Study based on ten years of research in subtropical forests

Date:August 1, 2018

Source:German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

Summary:In addition to the diversity of tree species, the variety of animal and fungus species also has a decisive influence on the performance of forests. Forest performance comprises many facets besides timber production, such as carbon storage and climate regulation. The study is based on ten years of research in species-rich subtropical forests.

FULL STORY

Spiders and other animals are important for forest ecosystems.
Credit: Jula Zimmermann

A new study shows that, in addition to the diversity of tree species, the variety of animal and fungus species also has a decisive influence on the performance of forests. Forest performance comprises many facets besides timber production, such as carbon storage and climate regulation. The study is based on ten years of research in species-rich subtropical forests. A team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg has published the results in the new issue of Nature Communications. They illustrate that biodiversity must be viewed as a whole in order to maintain the performance of forests.

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Southeast Asia is in the grip of a biodiversity crisis

theconversation.com

Rich in wildlife, Southeast Asia includes at least six of the world’s 25 “biodiversity hotspots” – the areas of the world that contain an exceptional concentration of species, and are exceptionally endangered. The region contains 20% of the planet’s vertebrate and plant species and the world’s third-largest tropical forest.

In addition to this existing biodiversity, the region has an extraordinary rate of species discovery, with more than 2,216 new species describedbetween 1997 and 2014 alone.

Global comparisons are difficult but it seems the Mekong region has a higher rate of species discovery than other parts of the tropics, with hundreds of new species described annually.

Habitat loss

Southeast Asia’s biodiversity is under serious threat; some parts of the region are projected to lose up to 98% of their remaining forests in the next nine years. It’s also thought to be the world’s most threatened region for mammals. Tiếp tục đọc “Southeast Asia is in the grip of a biodiversity crisis”

Humans Are Driving Other Mammals to Become More Nocturnal

Scientific American

The shift could change which prey animals hunt or make it harder to find food

Humans Are Driving Other Mammals to Become More Nocturnal
European beaver (Castor fiber) in the middle of a  French city, Orléans. Credit: Laurent Geslin

Humans dominate the animal world. Whether hunting or competing for limited space and resources, we are the planet’s superpredator. Other animals seem to understand this, avoiding people if they can help it. But as the human population expands, it is getting harder for other creatures to find somewhere to hide during the day. Now new findings indicate mammals around the world have come up with another strategy: They are becoming nocturnal. Exactly what this bizarre shift means for the future of individual species—and entire ecosystems—is unknown. Tiếp tục đọc “Humans Are Driving Other Mammals to Become More Nocturnal”

What species is most fit for life? All have an equal chance, scientists say

Sciencedaily.com
Elephants and giant sequoias have no advantage over algae and bacteria

January 8, 2018 Source:SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestrySummary:There are more than 8 million species of living things on Earth, but none of them — from 100-foot blue whales to microscopic bacteria — has an advantage over the others in the universal struggle for existence.A trio of scientists report that regardless of vastly different body size, location and life history, most species are equally ‘fit’ in the struggle for existence.

There are more than 8 million species of living things on Earth, but none of them — from 100-foot blue whales to microscopic bacteria — has an advantage over the others in the universal struggle for existence.

In a paper published Jan. 8 in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, a trio of scientists from universities in the United States and the United Kingdom describe the dynamic that began with the origin of life on Earth 4 billion years ago. They report that regardless of vastly different body size, location and life history, most plant, animal and microbial species are equally “fit” in the struggle for existence. This is because each transmits approximately the same amount of energy over its lifetime to produce the next generation of its species. Tiếp tục đọc “What species is most fit for life? All have an equal chance, scientists say”

Eco-tourism should not destroy biodiversity: experts

vietnamnews

Update: October, 06/2017 – 09:00

Tourists go kayaking on Chày River in the Phong Nha – Kẻ Bàng National Park in Quảng Bình Province. — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI — Instead of being wary about investors, tourism management authorities should collaborate with them in preserving the natural environment, says Dr Nguyễn Hoàng Trí, Secretary of the National Committee for UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) in Việt Nam.

With about 2.3 million hectares of special use forests (SUF), 31 national parks and 68 natural reserves, and dozens of other forests, Việt Nam is seen as a prime eco-tourism destination.

However, rapid and haphazard development of tourism infrastructure in natural reserves and SUFs in the last few years has raised concerns that development was taking place at the expense of the environment. Tiếp tục đọc “Eco-tourism should not destroy biodiversity: experts”

VN struggles to preserve biodiversity

vietnamnews

Update: May, 06/2017 – 09:00

The tropical margrove forest in Cà Mau Cape National Park. The World Environment Organisation recognised the national park as a Ramsar site of the world—the fifth in Việt Nam—in 2012. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hiếu

Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI – Preserving biodiversity in Việt Nam was the main topic of discussion at a workshop yesterday in Hà Nội.

Nguyễn Quốc Dựng, from the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development emphasised the need for a strategic framework and action plan for the Core Environment Program (CEP)’s phase 3 (2018-2022), building a legal framework for biodiversity corridors in Việt Nam.

Marine protected areas and mangroves in Việt Nam are smaller than in other nations so biodiversity corridors will help develop biodiversity.

“It is necessary to set up detailed projects for coastal provinces in the context of Việt Nam being affected by climate change,” Dựng said.

“Forests have been planted in the country to cope with climate change, with 42 projects in coastal provinces. [But]we have no national-scale project for the restoration of coastal forests and biodiversity preservation, although Việt Nam has high biodiversity,” he said.

“Restoring and preserving biodiversity is very difficult and costly here.”

Problems and disagreements between agencies on biodiversity preservation hamper the work, harming scientific research and environmental protection projects.

Phạm Hùng Cường, from the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, said developing ecosystems in remote areas owned by local people should be based on saving the native ecosystem.

“Biodiversity in traditional farming must be associated with natural landscape,” he said.

“Việt Nam should learn from developed countries like Japan to maintain and restore the traditional ecosystem.”

An expert from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said a shortage of financial resources for environmental protection, limited staff capacity, ineffective international co-operation and poor State management were issues they face when building legal documents on biodiversity corridors.

Sumit Pokhrel, deputy chairman of the Bangkok-based Environment Operation Centre, the unit responsible for co-ordinating the CEP in the region, detailed three main targets of CEP Strategic Framework and Action Plan : green growth and reducing carbon emissions, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management and biodiversity landscape and natural resources.

At the workshop, Pokhrel said a great challenge was building biodiversity in all six CEP nations.

CEP’s phase 3 will have four main tasks: facilitating regional collaboration and the management of natural resources; providing policy advice and technical support for member nations, supporting information management, and supplying financing and investment services.

Prof. Nguyễn Thế Chinh, director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment said the Vietnamese Party and Government affirmed their commitment to addressing challenges of natural resources, the environment and climate change through promulgating many policies to ensure sustainable development.

The CEP, funded mainly by Asian Development Bank, has been implemented in the six nations of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (The GMS countries are Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Việt Nam), for ten years.– VNS