Ecosystems

Mauritius Scientists Fear Tourism Impact On Coral
October 9, 2007 08:17 AM - Reuters

BLUE BAY, Mauritius - Scientists in Mauritius are warning the Indian Ocean island's ambitious tourism targets will place too much strain on remaining coral.  Facing the threats of trade liberalization to its sugar and textile sectors, Mauritius is boosting tourism with a goal of two million tourists per year from an anticipated 900,000 in 2007. But scientists are nervous about that target. "Too many tourists will bring it to an unsustainable level," oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo told Reuters.

Greenpeace Urges Indonesia to Stop Forest Destruction
October 9, 2007 07:20 AM - Reuters

JAKARTA - Indonesia must stop the destruction of its rainforests and commit to a moratorium on conversion of peat swamp forests into farmland, Greenpeace said on Tuesday.  Indonesia had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, destroying an area of forest the size of 300 soccer pitches every hour, according to the environment group. The Greenpeace appeal came ahead of a U.N. climate change summit in December, where participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali to discuss a new deal to fight global warming. The existing pact, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2012.

Indonesia seeks payout to save forests
October 8, 2007 05:19 PM - Telly Nathalia, Reuters

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia wants to be paid $5-$20 per hectare not to destroy its remaining forests, the environment minister said on Monday, for the first time giving an actual figure that he wants the world's rich countries to pay.

Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali for global climate talks at a U.N.-led summit in December.

They will hear a report on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation (RED) -- a new scheme that aims to make emission cuts from forest areas eligible for global carbon trading.

But apart from carbon trading, Indonesia also wants big emitters such as the United States and the European Union to pay the country to preserve its pristine rainforests.

Why Do Males and Females Frequently Differ in Body Size and Structure?
October 8, 2007 03:58 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Males and females frequently differ in body size, form and structure. But how did these differences develop? Despite decades of study by evolutionary biologists - the answer isn't clear.

A new book called Sex, Size & Gender Roles: Evolutionary Studies of Sexual Size Dimorphism (Oxford University Press, 2007). brings together the latest research findings in evolutionary biology to help explain gender differences in a variety of organisms, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders and flowering plants. The book was edited in part by a UC Riverside biology professor Daphne Fairbairn.

Vietnamese villages submerged as floods kill 67
October 8, 2007 09:23 AM - Reuters

The homes of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese villagers were still underwater on Monday after days of some of the worst flooding in decades that killed up to 67 people.

The northern province of Thanh Hoa and its southern neighbor Nghe An were worst hit by floods and landslides after Typhoon Lekima blew in last Wednesday night.

Inner Mongolia grasslands turning to sand
October 8, 2007 09:21 AM - Tan Ee Lyn -Reuters

The steppes of Inner Mongolia are arid even at the best of times, but low rainfall as world temperatures rise is turning these grasslands into sand.

"The wild grass reached up to my knees in the past," said Chaogula, a 40-year-old herdsman as he pointed to barren fields in this remote part of China near the Mongolian border.

U.S. finally taking warming seriously: Gorbachev
October 7, 2007 07:53 PM - Russell McCulley

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Much time has been lost in the fight to stop global warming, but the United States, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has finally begun to take the problem seriously, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said on Friday.

He made his comments in New Orleans, which is recovering from Hurricane Katrina, the powerful 2005 storm that some experts have said was part of a trend toward stronger and more frequent hurricanes due to man-made warming.

"I'm sorry the United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol," Gorbachev said, referring to the international accord to reduce emissions of gases that contribute to global warming.

Dozens killed in worst Vietnam floods in decades
October 7, 2007 07:50 PM -

THANH HOA, Vietnam (Reuters) - More than 50 people were killed or missing after a typhoon, floods and landslides cut power and closed roads in what officials in two Vietnam provinces on Sunday described as some of the worst flooding in decades.

The government storm prevention committee said 37 people were killed and 15 missing. State-run Vietnam Television reported 55 dead and missing in the aftermath of typhoon Lekima, which slammed into several provinces on Wednesday night.

Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces in north-central Vietnam were hit hardest by torrential rains and strong winds.

"This may be the worst flooding since 1945," said Phan Dang Khoa, a Communist Party official in Thach Thanh district of Thanh Hoa where a dyke broke on the Buoi river, causing extensive flooding.

World moves into the ecological red
October 6, 2007 06:25 PM - Jeremy Lovell, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - The world moved into "ecological overdraft" on Saturday, the point at which human consumption exceeds the ability of the earth to sustain it in any year and goes into the red, the New Economics Foundation think-tank said.

Ecological Debt Day this year is three days earlier than in 2006 which itself was three days earlier than in 2005. NEF said the date had moved steadily backwards every year since humanity began living beyond its environmental means in the 1980s.

"As the world creeps closer to irreversible global warming and goes deeper into ecological debt, why on earth, say, would the UK export 20 tonnes of mineral water to Australia and then re-import 21 tonnes," said NEF director Andrew Simms.

Strong typhoon targets Taiwan and China over weekend
October 5, 2007 11:07 AM - Ralph Jennings

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan warned fishing boats and people going out of town for the weekend that a strong typhoon was expected to reach the island shortly after midnight, bringing heavy rains and high winds before moving on to China on Sunday.

Disaster authorities monitoring Typhoon Krosa's approach from the southeast issued land and sea warnings for most of Taiwan, pulling fishing boats back to port and asking weekend adventurers to avoid stormy beaches and mountains prone to mudslides.

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