Archive for ‘Deforestation’

Nestle pledges moves on deforestation

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Nestle announced Monday it would take steps to end its use of palm oil purchased from suppliers whose activities are destroying vulnerable tropical forests.

The Vevey, Switzerland-based food company said it “will focus on the systematic identification and exclusion of companies owning or managing high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation.”

Source: Nestle pledges moves on deforestation – Earth Times

Date: 17 May 2010

China drought highlights future climate threats

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Yunnan’s worst drought for many years has been exacerbated by destruction of forest cover and a history of poor water management.

Since last September, the province has had 60% less rainfall than normal. According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, 8.1 million people ” 18% of Yunnan’s population ” are short of drinking water, and US$2.5-billion worth of crops are expected to fail.

The drought in Yunnan province has left millions without water.

Scientists in China say that the crisis marks one of the strongest case studies so far of how climate change and poor environmental practice can combine to create a disaster. They are now scrambling to pin down exactly what caused the drought, and whether similar events are likely to hit the region more often in the future.

Indeed, the CAS report suggests that in previous strong El Niño years, the rainy season in Yunnan, which spans May to October, was delayed, with less rain in the summer and more rain in the autumn. But climate models are divided on how climate change will affect ENSO, with some showing increasing intensity and others decreasing intensity, says Bebber.

Climate change is not the only factor affecting the drought. Deforestation in mountainous Yunnan is also being blamed.

“Natural forests are a key regulator of climate and hydrological processes,” says Xu, who is also China’s representative at the World Agroforestry Centre, an international think tank headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

But in Xishuangbanna prefecture, renowned for the natural splendour of its tropical rainforests, forest clearance between 1976 and 2003 shrank the primary-forest cover to 3.6% of its 1976 value. The rainforest has been replaced by rubber trees — known as ‘water pumps’ by locals because of their insatiable thirst — which now cover 20% of the prefecture’s land.

In the Ailao mountains north of Xishuangbanna, where it is too cold to grow rubber trees, plantations of fast-growing but thirsty eucalyptus are replacing primary forest to feed the paper industry. In other parts of Yunnan, logging, mining, quarrying and increasing human settlement have cleared huge areas of forest. The results are an increase in soil erosion, landslides and flash floods.

“Such large-scale deforestation removes the valuable ecological services natural forests provide,” says Liu.

“The impact of deforestation on hydrological processes becomes particularly acute during prolonged droughts.”

The region could also be plagued by other natural hazards: with drought the risk of forest fire increases, whereas wetter monsoon seasons could see more floods wreaking havoc.

Source: China drought highlights future climate threats - nature news

Date: 11 May 2010

UN fears ‘irreversible’ damage to natural environment

Monday, May 10th, 2010

The UN warned on Monday that “massive” loss in life-sustaining natural environments was likely to deepen to the point of being irreversible after global targets to cut the decline by this year were missed.

As a result of the degradation, the world is moving closer to several “tipping points” beyond which some ecosystems that play a part in natural processes such as climate or the food chain may be permanently damaged, a United Nations report said.

The third “Global Biodiversity Outlook” found that deforestation, pollution or overexploitation were damaging the productive capacity of the most vulnerable environments, including the Amazon rainforest, lakes and coral reefs.

“This report is saying that we are reaching the tipping point where the irreversible damage to the planet is going to be done unless we act urgently,”

Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, told journalists.

Source: UN fears ‘irreversible’ damage to natural environment – Google

Date: 10 May 2010

Don urges action on desertification

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

A university teacher, Prof. Joshua Kayode has advised Nigerians to embrace tree planting as a way of curbing the impending desert encroachment that is ravaging some parts of the country

The University of Ado Ekiti(UNAD) Professor of Botany said it was better the country realized the importance of forest and tree planting in time to prevent the country from being devastated by high rising deforestation.

Delivering the 26th Inaugural Lecture of the University entitled: “Reconciliation of the supposedly Irreconcilable: Conservation and Development”, Kayode said the act of tree planting would not only tackle the impeding desertification that is ominous in the country, but would go a long way at checking the impending danger of food insecurity.

He said desertification as a contributory factor to global warming has had its effect felt in the country in the area of the rising wave of pests and diseases, growing seasons and changes in reproduction cycles, which he said portend serious dangers to the people.

Kayode in the two-hour lecture reasoned

“nothing stops the government at all levels to embrace the act of tree planting as a way of curtailing the dangers inherent in the acts of deforestation.”

Source: Don urges action on desertification – Nigeria Daily News

Date: 9 May 2010

Underestimated fires’ impact on global warming

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

“Fires are obviously one of the major responses to climate change, but fires are not only a response — they feed back to warming, which feeds more fires,” Thomas Swetnam of University of Arizona said. Russian forests contain more than 50% of the carbon stores in the Northern Hemisphere. Some burnings in Siberia exceeded the size of the US State of Virginia in recent years.

Source: Fire Influences Global Warming More Than Previously Thought – Science Daily

Date: 29 April 2009

Deforestation fires contribute to 20% of human-induced CO2 emissions

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Fires release more carbon into the atmosphere, increasing stress on forest recovery and result in less carbon being sequestered.

Source: Fires fuelling global warming: study – ABC Science

Date: 24 April 2009

Wild fires aggravated by global warming further speed up climate change

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Scientists at a geosciences conference in Vienna predict fires will increase and could spread to previously fire-free parts of the world as the climate changes, and in turn contribute to global warming by producing greenhouse gases. In 2007, more than 200 wild fires erupted in Southeastern Europe. Canadian fires are expected to double with a longer fire season by the end of century.

Source: Wild fires likely to spread due to global warming – Reuters

Date: 17 April 2008

Climate change could wipe out 85% of Amazon rainforest by 2150

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

According to a study by UK Met Office Hadley Centre published in Nature Geoscience, a rise of just 1 degree could have irreversible impacts on the forest; 75% forest loss for a 3 degrees rise, and 85% for a rise of 4 degrees.

Source: 85% of the Amazon rainforest may be lost due to global warming – Monga Bay

Date: 14 March 2009

Cattle responsible for 14% of world’s deforestation and 80% of Amazon’s deforestation

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Greenpeace has recently released the report on ‘Slaughtering the Amazon’. The cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for 14% of the world’s annual deforestation. According to the Brazilian government: ‘Cattle are responsible for about 80% of all deforestation’ in the Amazon region.

Agricultural practices have caused:

  • Deprivation of diverse species of food sources
  • Expansion of dead zones or oxygen-depleted zones in the tropical Atlantic and Pacific.

Source: Slaughtering the Amazon – Greenpeace

Date: 1 June 2009

Loss of forests = Loss of species

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Loss of forests equates to a loss of many species. Brazil has around 55,000 species of flora, or 22% of the world’s total. India has about 46,000 species of flora and some 81,000 animal species or 8% of the world’s biodiversity.

Source: Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions – GlobalIssues.org

Date:  Last updated: 1 Dec 2009

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