Ecosystems

Analysis: Weak Laws, Neglect Behind Greek Fires
August 27, 2007 12:00 PM - Dina Kyriakidou

ATHENS - Weak zoning laws, careless farmers and smoldering garbage dumps are the main reasons for the forest fires that have killed 63 and destroyed whole rural economies in Greece in recent days, Greenpeace said on Monday. The fires, fanned by strong winds, have engulfed whole villages, forcing thousands to flee their homes, and burned millions of hectares of woods and farmland dried by summer heat. Greece has declared a state of emergency and sought help from its EU partners. The prime minister, facing parliamentary elections on September 16, indicated arsonists might have been responsible and vowed to punish them.

Sand-Like, Pulverized Glass Seen as One Solution to Florida Beach Erosion
August 27, 2007 10:50 AM - Brian Skoloff, Associated Press

Picture a beautiful beach spanning miles of coastline, gently lapped by aqua-colored water -- and sprinkled with glass. Ouch? Think again. It feels just like sand, but with granules that sparkle in the sunlight.

Hawaii's First Passenger Services Sets Sail Despite Court Cloud over Environmental Concerns
August 27, 2007 10:37 AM - Jaymes Song, Associated Press

Loaded with people paying a discount fare of just $5, the $95 million Hawaii Superferry made its maiden run Sunday with a rushed launch for a three-hour voyage to Maui -- the first passenger ferry service between the islands.

Indian Ocean sees smallest tuna catch in 11 years
August 27, 2007 10:18 AM - Reuters

Tuna fishermen in the Indian Ocean have landed their smallest catch for 11 years, a report and industry sources said on Monday, with possible explanations ranging from over-fishing to global warming. "The total catches recorded ... during the first four months of 2007 is estimated at 75,000 tonnes, the lowest catch reported for that period since 1996," the multinational Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) said in a report seen by Reuters on Monday.

Condition of bluefin tuna in gulf of maine is declining
August 27, 2007 07:59 AM - University of New Hampshire

The quality of giant bluefin tuna caught in the Gulf of Maine has declined significantly since the early 1990s, researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found by analyzing detailed logbooks from a commercial tuna grader at the Yankee Fisherman´┐Żs Co-op. The findings, published this week in Fishery Bulletin, indicate potential changes in food sources, shifts in reproductive or migratory patterns, or the impact of fishing may be the cause of this decline.

Emphasis on conifer forests places multiple species at risk
August 27, 2007 07:54 AM - Oregon State University

The traditional emphasis on dense, fast-growing, conifer-dominated forests in the Pacific Northwest raises questions about the health of dozens of animal species that depend on shrubs, herbs and broad-leaf trees, a new analysis by Oregon State University and the U.S. Geological Survey suggests. At least 78 vertebrate species have been documented that require, in one way or another, the food or habitat provided by non-coniferous vegetation, and may be at increasing risk whenever forest management reduces the prevalence of these shrubs or trees, or specifically targets them for removal.

Promoting Water Security in the Pacific
August 27, 2007 07:45 AM - The World Conservation Union

Managing and protecting freshwater resources is of vital importance for the Pacific region’s health and wealth. A recent mission by the IUCN Water Programme is leading to the development of the Nadi River Catchment area, to help both secure water supply and prevent downstream flooding.

Polluted China rivers threaten "sixth" of population
August 27, 2007 07:15 AM - Reuters

Polluters along two of China's main rivers have defied a decade-old clean-up effort, leaving much of the water unfit to touch, let alone drink, and a risk to a sixth of the population, state media said on Monday. Half the check points along the Huai River and its tributaries in central and eastern China showed pollution of "Grade 5" or worse -- the top of the dial in key toxins, meaning that the water was unfit for human contact and may not be fit even for irrigation, national legislators were told.

N.Korea Floods Left 600 People Dead Or Missing
August 26, 2007 04:38 PM - Jon Herskovitz, Reuters

SEOUL - Some of the worst flooding to hit North Korea in decades has killed at least 600 people, double the previous known toll, the official news agency said at the weekend.

Greek Fires Kill 56, Threaten Ancient Olympia
August 26, 2007 04:17 PM - Vassilis Triandafyllou, reuters

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece - Firefighters battled to save ancient Olympia on Sunday as Greece's worst forest fires in decades ravaged hills around the historic site and the death toll rose to 56. Thick black smoke billowed above the ancient ruins as dense pine and cypress woods burned around the site of the first Olympic Games and fire brigades evacuated nearby villages on Greece's southern Peloponnese peninsula.

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