#BiologicalDiversity; #UnitedStates; #USDemocraticPreisentCandidates; #WildLife; #Climate; #PublicLandsProtection; #EnvironmentalJustice
Tucson, Arizona (United States), Jan 28: Top grades were received by United States Democratic president candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund (CBDAF)’s new voter guide, media reports said.
Bernie Sanders (left) and Elizabeth Warren (right). Image credit: Facebook page
CBDAF's new voter guide's evaluation criteria for each Democratic presidential candidate is on wildlife extinction crisis, the climate crisis, protection for public lands, and environmental justice.
Sanders with the strongest overall environmental record received an A grade, followed by Warren with an A-.
Former Vice President Joe Biden received a C+, and Senator Amy Klobuchar received D, the lowest grade.
The evaluation of each candidate was based on his or her voting records, executive decisions, private-sector experience, campaign proposals and a questionnaire sent to all the campaigns.
“The Democratic nominee for president needs to be a bold, visionary champion of the environment, with a track record of rising to the challenge of saving our planet,” said Kierán Suckling, president of the CBDAF. “Democrats have taken environmental voters for granted for far too long. It’s heartening to see Sanders and Warren leading the charge on these issues. The rest of the party needs to follow suit.”
#India; #IndiaSupremeCourt; #Cheetah, #ReintroductionOfCheetahInIndia; #endangeredAnimal; #CheetahConservationFund
India, Jan 28 (Canadian-Media): The Supreme Court of India's decision to reintroduce Cheetah, an endangered species, in India 70 years after they were wiped out, on an experimental basis to find out if it could adapt to Indian conditions, was welcomed by India's former environment minister Jairam Ramesh, media reports said.
Cheetahs. Image credit: Facebook page of Cheetah Conservation Fund
Almost all of 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild are in Africa.
The Asiatic cheetahs, which once roamed parts of India, only 50 remaining ones are now only found in Iran.
Cheetah is the only large mammal to become extinct after the country gained independence in 1947.
According to research at least 200 cheetahs were killed in India, largely by sheep and goat herders, during the colonial period.
Akbar, during his rule in India from 1556-1605, had recorded that there were 10,000 cheetahs.
Much later, research suggested the number of cheetahs had dropped to a couple of hundred by the 19th Century and was reportedly sighted for the last time in India in 1967-68.
#BiodiversityProtection; #Biodiversity; #MobileProtectedAreas; #ClimateChange; #TurtleWatchProgram
Washington, Jan 18 (Canadian-Media): World leaders are currently updating the laws for international waters that apply to most of the world's ocean environment. This provides a unique opportunity, marine scientists argue this week, to introduce new techniques that allow protected zones to shift as species move under climate change, phys.org/news reports said.
In an article in the Jan. 17 issue of Science, researchers make the case for the United Nations to include mobile marine protected areas in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS, now being updated since its last signing in 1982.
"Animals obviously don't stay in one place -- a lot of them use very large areas of the ocean, and those areas can move in time and space," said lead author Sara Maxwell, an assistant professor at the University of Washington Bothell who studies migratory marine animals. "As climate change happens, if we make boundaries that are static in place and time, chances are that the animals we are trying to protect will be gone from those places."
Former President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and actor Leonardo DiCaprio are well-known proponents of protecting large regions of the ocean environment in marine protected areas, or MPAs. But even these huge swaths of protected ocean aren't enough to conserve highly mobile species, like sea turtles, whales, sharks and seabirds that can travel across entire oceans in search of food and breeding grounds.
A colony of Arctic terns in Iceland. This species has the longest migration in the world, traveling from Iceland to Antarctica and back in a single year.
Image Credit: Sara Maxwell/University of Washington
Climate change will further complicate things, the authors argue. As species, habitats and ecological communities shift, established protected areas might no longer work.
"In the context of climate change, the way that we have been applying things in the past is not likely to work into the future," Maxwell said. "Species will increasingly need protection, and we will need to apply more dynamic and innovative tools to be effective."
Maxwell's research uses tags that transmit to satellites to track sea turtles, seabirds and other marine species' movements from space -- a new technology that is just beginning to be applied to real-time protection of marine species. Only in the past 10 to 15 years, she said, have countries started to incorporate such tools into management, combining satellite tags on animals, GPS tracking of ships and ocean modeling to create rules that adjust to the situation, a technique known as dynamic management.
"Until we could implement this type of management and show that it's feasible, people didn't quite believe that it was possible," Maxwell said. "But as we know more about where animals are going in space and time, we can use that information to better protect them."
Several nations now use dynamic management strategies within the 200 nautical miles from shore that they fish exclusively, Maxwell said. A few countries also use dynamic management strategies farther from shore, for boats registered to their countries.
The TurtleWatch program, for instance, asks U.S. fishing boats to voluntarily avoid waters north of Hawaii at the surface temperatures preferred by loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, to reduce the unintended capture of the endangered animal. In Australia, longline fishing boats bypass fishing in international waters when and where models predict the presence of the southern bluefin tuna, a commercially valuable and endangered species that's managed through a quota system.
"New technology is making this dynamic approach to ocean conservation possible, at the same time that climate change is making it necessary," Maxwell said.
With the newly published article, the authors encourage the international community to adopt this emerging management strategy and urge its widespread use in international waters, which cover some two-thirds of the planet's oceans.
"We hope the language in the United Nations treaty could be changed to explicitly include mobile marine protected areas and dynamic management, so that those become options to protect the largest parts of the ocean going forward," Maxwell said.
#AbandoningPastures; #High-AltitudeMountainPastures; #ExtinctionOfInvertebrates; #ClimaticChanges; #biodiversity
South Tyrol (Italy), Jan 7 (Canadian-Media): The abandonment of high-altitude mountain pastures and the climatic changes that are causing woodland boundaries to extend ever higher, may potentially result in the reduction of the number and variety of invertebrates living in mountain streams, phys.org/news reports said.
Eurac Research ecologists have compared 15 streams and found that in streams running through extensive meadows with grazing animals—regardless of elevation—biodiversity is greater. The study was published in the renowned international journal Freshwater Biology.
Mazia valley. Credit: Eurac Research/Ivo Corrà
After a detailed topographic analysis, Eurac Research´s ecologists identified 15 stretches of streams throughout South Tyrol that flow into four distinct categories of land cover: rocky terrain (slightly over 2000m), pastures at high altitudes (around 2000m), conifer woodlands (around 1500/1600m) and valley floor pastures (between 1000/1200m).
Sample sites were selected to be as similar as possible in order to avoid factors that could cause interference. "We only selected and sampled streams born from springs and tracts with an upstream area of almost half a square kilometre of uniform land cover type, they also had to be devoid of human activities such as houses or stables," explains ecologist Alberto Scotti. "Our goal was to assess whether and how the life of invertebrates living in the riverbed is influenced by the characteristics of the surrounding land cover." To verify this, Scotti collected various samples. In total, 70 different genera or species of invertebrates were classified.
The analysis of their distribution and functional traits astonished the researcher. Contrary to expectations, their presence was not in fact influenced exclusively by the elevation: there were more organisms and different species in the streams that flowed through the pastures, whether at 2000m or at the bottom of the valley. Moreover, in these watercourses aquatic macroinvertebrates perform several and more diversified tasks, for example there are organisms that feed on fragmented plants, others that filter particles dispersed in water and so on. In every sense, the diversity of these populations is greater than those that live in woodland and rocky areas.
"We already knew that the biodiversity of the terrestrial flora is more abundant where grazing or mowing takes place. We were surprised to discover that this relationship also applies to aquatic ecosystems. Biodiversity is greater both in terms of the number of species and the number of functions that aquatic invertebrates carry out in the streams that cross pastures, "says Scotti. "Regardless of the quality of the water—which is generally very high—the abandonment of extensive pastures at high altitudes risks depleting the streams from an ecological point of view." The study was published in Freshwater Biology.