Environmental Integrity

Environmental Integrity

These Lab-Grown Corals Could Save The Planet

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Decades into his career, marine biologist David Vaughan stumbled upon a method for growing coral faster than had previously been believed possible, a breakthrough that can add clean air to the planet, and has possible implications for treatment of cancer and tumors. Now he has a new lease on life and is determined not to retire until he can plant a million new corals. Watch the video below to learn more about his method. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Sumatran rhino 'hanging on by a thread'

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Scientists have decoded the genome of the Sumatran rhinoceros - one of the most threatened mammals on Earth. Its genetic blueprint shows that populations have been in decline for a very long time. The rhino's troubles began during the last Ice Age, when its habitat shrunk, says a US team. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

The World's Carbon Emissions Started Rising Again, In Four Charts

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The world’s carbon emissions were flat for three years, leaving many scientists to speculate about if we’d hit a turning point in our fight with climate change. But on Monday, two new studies threw cold water on the possibility. The findings show the globe’s carbon emissions rose 2 percent in 2017, hitting a new record high. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Most countries are better off with intact forests

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[NEW YORK] Converting forests into farms is not economically viable except in selected regions, says a global study.Published last month (July) in PLoS Biology, the study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) examined deforestation in more than 50 countries in the tropics between 2000—2012, and identified regions where deforestation is most and least beneficial. According to Luis Roman Carrasco, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the NUS faculty of science, the study was undertaken “to help policymakers realise whether their deforestation strategies made economic sense and how these could be modified to avoid inefficient loss of natural resources. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Two climate extremes: flooded cities, dry rural areas

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[SYDNEY] Rising temperatures are leading to more intense storms and flooding in urban areas but drier soil in rural areas especially in Asia and Africa, says a new study.Carried out by engineers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney and published this month (August) in Nature Scientific Reports, the study analysed real-world effects of river flows and rainfall data from over 160 countries. The researchers noted that there’s a radical shift in streamflow patterns with more intense rainfall in cities, overwhelming infrastructure and causing flooding. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Shift to biogas helps revive forest

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[NEW DELHI] Forests in south India that had become degraded due to excessive fuelwood extraction recovered after villagers living nearby switched to biogas for their cooking fuel needs, says a study. Published last month (July) in Global Ecology and Conservation, the study reports notable increase in biomass and regeneration of forests close to villages that use biogas for cooking, as compared to forests near villages without biogas provision. "This study shows that if you reliably provide a viable and affordable alternative, people will reduce their fuelwood use," Meghna Agarwala, lead author of the study and postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University, tells SciDev. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Tropics most prone to soil erosion

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[NEW DELHI] Regions in the tropical climate zones suffer the greatest rainfall-related soil erosion, reports an international study.   The study, published last month (July) in Scientific Reports, has developed the first-ever Global Rainfall Erosivity Database and a Global Erosivity Map. It notes that while rainfall provides moisture critical for plant growth, it is also one of the prime causes of soil degradation, referred to as rainfall erosivity, which threatens food and water sustainability. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

New FAO Guidelines: Agriculture Central to Climate Change Adaptation

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12 May 2017, Rome-- Now that the Paris Climate Accord has been agreed, national strategies to achieve pledged carbon mitigation and adaptation plans take center stage. FAO has developed supplementary guidelines to the UNFCCC NAP Guidelines for "Addressing Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in National Adaptation Plans (NAP-Ag Guidelines") aiming to support developing countries in making sure agriculture is both included in national adaptation plans and made more adaptive and resilient. They serve to help vulnerable countries access funding - in particular from the Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme - while at the same time promoting broad participation in the decision-making process and building needed technical capacities. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Aquaculture is main driver of mangrove losses

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[JAKARTA] Expanding aquaculture in South-East Asia over the last two decades has been the main driver of mangrove loss in the world, says a study published in PLOS One this month (June). The study, conducted by a team of scientists at Global Mangrove Watch (GMW), mapped the distribution and changes of mangrove ecosystems in the world during 1996 — 2010 using satellite imagery. The team analysed 1,168 mangrove areas in North, Central and South America, Africa, Middle East, India, and South-East Asia. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Conserving one of the least-understood ecosystems

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[MANILA] This year’s Global Landscapes Forum, held mid-May in Jakarta, focused on peatlands, described as “one of the least-understood ecosystems” by Tim Christophersen, senior programme officer for Forests and Climate Change with the UN Environment Programme. Led by the Centre for International Forestry Research, the Forum, an annual event since 2013, aims to shed light on the importance of peatlands not only for climate change mitigation, but also for community development and livelihoods. Indonesia’s hosting the 2017 Forum is not surprising. Continue reading..