Archive for ‘Species Loss’


Starvation, thirst kill many antelope in Jodhpur

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

The antelope, including chinkaras and black bucks, continue to die at regular intervals in the arid region of Jodhpur and Barmer. This has been primarily attributed to starvation and thirst, say sources On Saturday, the members of the Bishnoi Tiger Vanya Evam Paryavaran Sanstha, brought the carcasses of 25 chinkaras from Dhawa village at the office of deputy forest conservator (wildlife).

According to the general secretary of the organization, Ram NiwasBudhnagar, some 60-70 antelope, the major portion of which are theblack bucks, have died in the past 5-6 days due to acute shortage of water and fodder. He claimed they kept drinking the brackish water due to which their stomach got swollen as they could not digest their food and died a slow and painful death.

He blamed the forest department for this situation for it had “brazenly relied upon the monsoon rains.”

Budhnagar said, “We have demanded the present DFO be removed from office for failing to bring relief to the antelope.”

All these antelope were found dead in such villages like Bhawanda, Dhawa, Satlana, Dhundhara and Bhacharan etc. A medical team had visited a village and conducted post-mortem of six black bucks which confirmed their death from starvation and thirst.

According to experts, these animals are very shy in nature and due to the presence of stray dogs in the vicinity of water holes they fear to go there and prefer to remain thirsty, which lead to death.

Source: Starvation, thirst kill many antelope in Jodhpur - timesofindia.indiatimes

Date: 04 July 2010

Conservationists warn of hay meadow decline

Monday, June 28th, 2010

“Constable? Turner? Give me a hay meadow any day,” says Tony Bullough as we get our first glimpse of New House Farm.

And the National Trust warden has a point – the fields surrounding this small farm are a glorious sight.

Perched in a small valley near the village of Malham, in the Yorkshire Dales, the meadows provide a blaze of colour in the more typical green of the rural landscape.

Yellow buttercups mingle with pink clover and red sorrel flowers, all scattered in amongst a seemingly endless number of grass species.

Pollen-laden bumblebees buzz from flower to flower, dodging fluttering butterflies; curlews and lapwings soar overhead.

Traditional hay meadows like this one used to be the mainstay of rural Britain.

The grass and flower-packed fields were set aside and left to grow from spring to mid-summer, before being cropped and then dried out to provide fodder for livestock during the harsh winter months.

But as farming methods have changed and intensified, these pretty meadows have all but vanished from the face of the countryside.

Ecologist Professor John Rodwell says: “Over England and Wales, the last reliable overall survey showed us that in the last century we have lost about 97% of the hay meadows that we had.”

This study was carried out in the 1980s, and more recent surveys have revealed that the decline has been continuing around the whole of the UK, he explains.

“We’ve only got a tiny fraction left now – agriculture is a different sort of operation now,” he adds.

We head next door to Lee Gate Farm to meet Frank Carr.

This farm has been in his family since 1927.

“When I was a boy, all our meadows were the same as those that you’ve seen,” he says. “But as time has gone on, progress and lack of staff has meant that we have had to move with the times.”

Green silage fields have replaced the traditional hay meadows.

These fields contain just a few grass species, such as sturdy rye, which is grown, then cut and fermented to provide a wet feed for livestock.

Silage fields like these are a more economically viable option for modern farmers, says Mr Carr.

“Hay time involves much more manual work and a lot more people,” he explains. “With silage making, you can use much bigger machinery and do a lot in a little time.”

The success of the crop is also less dependent on weather.

“Hay time depends on a good five days of good weather, whereas with silage, if you have 24 hours of good weather you can get a good crop in,” he adds.

Wildlife losses

But the loss of hay meadows is having a worrying impact on biodiversity, says Professor Rodwell.

“When you shift to a more intensive form of agriculture, first of all the diversity drops. Then the differences from field to field – the particularity of the place – is lost, every field looks like every other.

“And then all of the other associated organisms – the butterflies, the bees, birds – they seem to decline too.”

It is also extremely difficult to “turn back the clock” once a hay meadow has been transformed into a more uniform pasture.

“Once a hay meadow is gone, it’s gone,” he says.

Organisations like the National Trust and Natural England want to safeguard the last few remaining hay meadows.

Pete Brash, an ecologist from the National Trust, says: “We want to keep the last few in as good a condition as possible – it is really important to conserve them as they are incredibly important for wildlife and they also have a huge cultural significance.”

The National Trust has been purchasing farms and hay meadows, such as New House Farm, through auctions to maintain and protect them where possible.

Farmers throughout the UK are also offered incentives to protect their hay meadows.

Dr Richard Jefferson, a senior specialist from Natural England, said: “We have been notifying the best ones as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) through the Countryside and Wildlife Act (in Northern Ireland they are designated as Areas of Special Scientific Interest). “And that actually gives them statutory protection, allowing us to control what actually happens on the site.”

Outside of this other hay meadows are also eligible for the environmental stewardship scheme.

“We are very dependent on these agri-evironment payments to provide this incentive, because [traditional hay meadows] have relatively low productivity compared with silage fields or other hay fields which receive artificial fertilizers.”

With schemes like these in place, conservation organisations hope the decline in hay meadows is slowing.

But they warn that we cannot be complacent, or hay meadows like those at New House Farm could risk becoming a hazy memory of rural summers past.

Source: Conservationists warn of hay meadow decline – BBC

Date: 28 June 2010

Whaling worsens carbon release, scientists warn

Friday, February 26th, 2010

A century of whaling may have released more than 100 million tonnes – or a large forest’s worth – of carbon into the atmosphere, scientists say.

Whales store carbon within their huge bodies and when they are killed, much of this carbon can be released.

US scientists revealed their estimate of carbon released by whaling at a major ocean sciences meeting in the US.

Dr Andrew Pershing from the University of Maine described whales as the “forests of the ocean”.

Dr Pershing and his colleagues from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute calculated the annual carbon-storing capacity of whales as they grew.

“Whales, like any animal or plant on the planet, are made out of a lot of carbon,” he said.

“And when you kill and remove a whale from the ocean, that’s removing carbon from this storage system and possibly sending it into the atmosphere.”

He pointed out that, particularly in the early days of whaling, the animals were a source of lamp oil, which was burned, releasing the carbon directly into the air.

“And this marine system is unique because when whales die [naturally], their bodies sink, so they take that carbon down to the bottom of the ocean.

“If they die where it’s deep enough, it will be [stored] out of the atmosphere perhaps for hundreds of years.”

In their initial calculations, the team worked out that 100 years of whaling had released an amount of carbon equivalent to burning 130,000 sq km of temperate forests, or to driving 128,000 Humvees continuously for 100 years.

Dr Pershing stressed that this was still a relatively tiny amount when compared to the billions of tonnes produced by human activity every year.

But he said that whales played an important role in storing and transporting carbon in the marine ecosystem.

Simply leaving large groups of whales to grow, he said, could “sequester” the greenhouse gas, in amounts that were comparable to some of the reforestation schemes that earn and sell carbon credits.

He suggested that a similar system of carbon credits could be applied to whales in order to protect and rebuild their stocks.

“The idea would be to do a full accounting of how much carbon you could store in a fully populated stock of fish or whales, and allow countries to sell their fish quota as carbon credits,” he explained.

You could use those credits as an incentive to reduce the fishing pressure or to promote the conservation of some of these species.

Other scientists said that he had raised an exciting and interesting problem.

Professor Daniel Costa, a marine animal researcher from the University of California, Santa Cruz, told BBC News:

“So many more groups are looking at the importance of these large animals in the carbon cycle.

“And it’s one of those things that, when you look at it, you think: ‘ This is so obvious, why didn’t we think of this before?’.”

Dr Pershing pointed out that whales, with their huge size, were more efficient than smaller animals at storing carbon.

He used the analogy of a small dog compared to a large dog.

“My wife’s 6lb (2.7kg) toy poodle eats one cup of food per day and my dog – a 60lb standard poodle – eats five cups of food per day,” he said.

“That’s only five times as much food but my dog weighs ten times as much.”

He said that the marine carbon credit idea could be applied to other very large marine animals, including endangered bluefin tuna and white sharks.

Dr Pershing said:

“These are huge and they are top predators, so unless they’re fished they would be likely to take their biomass to the bottom of the ocean [when they die].”

The American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences meeting has been taking place this week in Portland, Oregon.

Source: Whaling worsens carbon release, scientists warn – BBC News

Date: 26 February 2010

Vertebrate species decline by ⅓ in 1970-2003 and Earth can’t keep up regeneration

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The “Human footprint too big for nature” report issued by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on 24 October 2006, confirmed concerns from the previous year noting that “Already resources are depleting, with the report showing that vertebrate species populations have declined by about one-third between 1970 and 2003. At the same time, humanity’s Ecological Footprint (that is, the demand people place upon the natural world) has increased to the point where the Earth is unable to keep up in the struggle to regenerate.

Source: Human footprint too big for nature – WWF

Date: 24 October 2006

Source: Living Planet Report 2006 – WWF

Date: 2006

10-30% of mammal, bird and amphibian species are endangered

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report noted there has been a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth, with some 10-30 percent of the mammal, bird and amphibian species currently threatened with extinction, all due to human actions.

Source: Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions –

Date:  Last updated: 1 Dec 2009

Phytoplankton and forests are the two major systems that trap and eliminate carbon

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

A report issued by Jaan Suurküla, M.D, Chairman of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST) noted that there are two major systems that can trap and eliminate carbon in the atmosphere. The largest one is phytoplankton in the oceans. The second largest is forests.

Source: “Global climatic and environmental crisis and its solution; Part one – the problem” – PSRAST

Date: First published 24 January 2004

Species extinction may rise to 10,000 times background rate in next century

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The current species extinction rate is now approaching 1000 times the background rate and may rise to 10,000 times the background rate during the next century, if present trends continue.

Source: “Global climatic and environmental crisis and its solution; Part one – the problem” – PSRAST

Date: First published 24 January 2004

Source: Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions –

Date:  Last updated: 1 Dec 2009

90% of all large fishes extinct in past half century

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

A new global study concludes that 90 percent of all large fishes have disappeared from the world’s oceans in the past half century. Another cause for extensive fish extinction is the destruction of coral reefs. This is caused by a combination of factors, including warming of oceans, damage from fishing tools and infections of coral organisms promoted by ocean pollution. It will take hundreds of thousands of years to restore what is now being destroyed in a few decades.

Source: “Global climatic and environmental crisis and its solution; Part one – the problem” – PSRAST

Date: First published 24 January 2004

Source: Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions –

Date:  Last updated: 1 Dec 2009

Industrialized fishing contributed significantly to mass extinction

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

A report issued by Jaan Suurküla, M.D, Chairman of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST) noted that industrialized fishing has contributed significantly to mass extinction due to repeatedly failed attempts to limit fishing.

Source: “Global climatic and environmental crisis and its solution; Part one – the problem” – PSRAST

Date: First published 24 January 2004

Source: Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions –

Date:  Last updated: 1 Dec 2009

Global warming could accelerate next couple of years with no time for adaptation

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The report “Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises” by the US National Academy of Sciences, the US’s most august scientific body, suggests that a catastrophe is imminent. It is possible that the global warming trend projected over the course of the next 100 years could, all of a sudden and without warning, dramatically accelerate in just a handful of years – forcing a qualitative new climatic regime which could undermine ecosystems and human settlements throughout the world, leaving little or no time for plants, animals and humans to adjust.

Source: “Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises” –  US National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, National Academy Press

Date: 2002

Results 1-10 of overall 19
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Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers


Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis


Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010


Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report


Livestock's Climate Impact


Livestock & Sustainable Food


Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change


The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)


Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)



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