Environmental Integrity

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..

Environmental Integrity

7 reasons why we need to act now to #SaveOurOcean

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The oceans have it all: from microscopic life to the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth, from the colourless to the shimmering, from the frozen to the boiling and from the sunlit to the mysterious dark of the deepest parts of the planet. Oceans are an essential component of the Earth's ecosystem -- a source of biodiversity, food, and life. According to FAO, over 40 percent of the world's population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Overlooked Rainfall and Cooling Effects of Forests

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What would have seemed obvious from the start — that lush green forests that cover the earth absorb the heat of the sun and thereby cool the earth — has now been confirmed by scientists.   The conventional wisdom has been that forests and trees were seen mostly as carbon stocks and carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide in theenvironment emitted mostly from fossil fuel. Forests function like the lungs of the human body — they purify the air and exchange carbon for oxygen. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Carbon-based approaches for saving rainforests should include biodiversity studies

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Conservationists working to safeguard tropical forests often assume that old growth forests containing great stores of carbon also hold high biodiversity, but a new study finds that the relationship may not be as strong as once thought, according to a group of researchers with contributions from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and other organizations. Tropical forests are exceptionally rich in both carbon and biodiversity, but the study recently published in the journal Scientific Reports indicates that, within the tropics, tree diversity and forest carbon do not necessarily correlate, and that there is no detectable relationship between the two factors across a region, a scale relevant for conservation planning and the establishment of protected areas. For instance, in Central Africa, some areas that are dominated by one or a few tree species are high in carbon density, whereas some forests with many more tree species have a lower carbon density. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Coastal wetlands excel at storing carbon

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In the global effort to mitigate carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, all options are on the table -- including help from nature. Recent research suggests that healthy, intact coastal wetland ecosystems such as mangrove forests, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows are particularly good at drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it for hundreds to thousands of years. Policymakers are interested to know whether other marine systems -- such as coral reefs, kelp forests, phytoplankton and fish -- can mitigate climate effects. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Healthy ecosystems means resiliency, faster recovery against climate change

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Scientists say there is a direct link and evidence that biodiversity boosts the resiliency of ecosystems against the impacts of climate change—a reason the protection and conservation of the country’s rich biodiversity can never be overemphasized. Experts believe that the country’s strength or resiliency against intense typhoons and extreme weather events, like prolonged wet or dry season, is anchored on natural defense—the diversity of habitat-forming species both in land and in water—which are seriously threatened by destructive activities. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is at the forefront of defending the country’s rich biodiversity against various threats brought about by human pressures. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Eco-friendly nanomembrane removes oil spills

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Researchers from Egypt and Saudi Arabia have developed a simple way to manufacture an eco-friendly and affordable membrane that can efficiently adsorb oils spills from sea or waste water. The membrane can recover quickly and easily for reuse — it can be applied at least 10 times with the same efficiency, according to a study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Leakage of petroleum pollutants into water can be catastrophic to the environment and aquatic life systems. Continue reading..

Community Welfare, Environmental Integrity

Islanders unaware of alien plant invasion risk

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Low public concern about alien plants and animals is hampering conservation efforts on island nations as scientists battle the rapid decline of pristine habitats, a conference has heard.  As the impact of alien species on fragile island ecosystems is becoming increasingly clear, public awareness of the issue is sorely lacking, a panel of experts told the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii last week. They said that locals do not mind invasive species, especially plants, which makes it difficult to get community support for conservation efforts. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Crop thrives on urine-compost mix

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[KATHMANDU] Human urine is superior to urea, a common nitrogen-rich mineral fertiliser, according to the results of a study carried out in a farmer’s field outside Nepal's capital city. Researchers who tested the effects of applying different combinations of urine, compost and urea on sweet pepper, Capsicum annuum,  found that urine synergises best with compost. Urine for the study was sourced from mobile public toilets in the city and compost prepared from cattle manure. Continue reading..

Environmental Integrity

Rapid forest destruction puts Asia's wildlife at risk

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[JAKARTA] Rapid conversion of natural forests in mainland South-East Asia have put more animals at risk of extinction but are not making it to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.   A remote sensing study led by the United States-based Duke University found that 79 mammals, 49 birds and 184 amphibians in the region now live within less than 20,000 square kilometres, a habitat range which the IUCN defines as an “endangered” zone. The study analysed vast areas in mainland South-East Asia which include China’s Yunnan province, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and eastern India. Continue reading..