Ecosystems

Process for Certifying Asian Catfish Aquaculture Products is Underway
October 12, 2007 12:08 PM -

WASHINGTON - Asian catfish aquaculture is moving toward sustainability. The catfish is a member of the "Pangasius" family. During the inaugural meeting of the Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogue, more than 70 producers, buyers, government officials and others from around the world agreed that there is an urgent need and willingness to certify pangasius aquaculture products.

Costa Rica expropriates land to protect turtles
October 11, 2007 09:17 PM - John McPhaul, reuters

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - Costa Rican President Oscar Arias has ordered the expropriation of lucrative beach-front land to protect the endangered leatherback sea turtle, the government said on Thursday.

Arias began expropriation procedures for some 30 hectares (74 acres) of land in northwestern Costa Rica, the most important leatherback sea turtle nesting site on the Pacific Rim, Energy and Environment Minister Roberto Dobles said.

"We are only complying with the law that established Las Baulas (national marine park) in 1995," Dobles told Reuters.

Congo pygmies go high-tech to protect forest home
October 11, 2007 07:04 PM - Pascal Fletcher, Reuters

DAKAR (Reuters) - When Congo Republic's northern pygmies go out into the forest these days, some will be carrying hand-held satellite tracking devices along with their traditional bows and spears.

Using GPS handsets to pinpoint sacred sites and hunting areas, the nomadic forest dwellers are literally putting themselves on the map to protect their livelihoods and habitat against the chainsaws and bulldozers of commercial loggers.

Iowa’s Earthpark: Rain Forest, Green Hotel And More
October 11, 2007 02:08 PM - Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging News

NEW YORK—Maxon Holdings LLC (Maxon), a leading energy and environmental development company, announced a partnership with Earthpark, North America’s first center for science literacy and the environment. Maxon will provide $10 million of in-kind financial and technical support toward the completion and opening of Earthpark, scheduled to open on Earth Day, 2011. Maxon will give this support through its infrastructure asset financing operations, part of the company’s asset optimization business. Maxon’s contribution will facilitate ongoing support and involvement with educational and research efforts in the areas of global sustainability and restorative living practices.

Mozambique firm to export 100,000 crocodiles
October 11, 2007 01:07 PM - Charles Mangwiro, Reuters

MAPUTO (Reuters) - A Mozambican company plans to breed and sell more than 100,000 crocodiles to South Africa and Zimbabwe to create an export market for the poor southern African nation.

The crocodiles will come from Mozambique's remote northern Tete province, where their numbers have increased in recent years, Antonio Viera, an official with fishing company Cahora Kapenta, told Reuters on Thursday.

"It's a new and unique business segment which we hope would boost the economy of Mozambique and also help the government to solve one of its major problems related to human-animal conflict in this province," Viera said.

Earth Getting Wetter and Stickier, Researchers Say
October 11, 2007 08:39 AM - Reuters

Greenhouse gases are making the earth's atmosphere wetter and stickier, which may lead to more powerful hurricanes, hotter temperatures and heavier rainfall in tropical regions, British researchers reported on Wednesday.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, are some of the first to show how human-produced greenhouse gases have affected global humidity levels in recent decades and could offer clues on future climate change, the researchers said.

China moves to protect ecology of Three Gorges
October 11, 2007 08:22 AM - Reuters

China is to relocate at least 4 million more people from the Three Gorges Dam reservoir area in the next 10 to 15 years to protect its "ecological safety," Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

The $25 billion dam near Chongqing, in southwest China, is the world's largest hydropower project, but even senior officials who have defended the project as an engineering wonder now warn that areas around the dam are paying a heavy environmental cost.

Deep Rocks Yield First Look Inside San Andreas Fault
October 10, 2007 06:09 PM - Louis Bergeron

Washington - For the first time, geologists have extracted intact rock samples from 2 miles beneath the surface of the San Andreas Fault, the infamous rupture that runs 800 miles along the length of California.

Never before have scientists had available for study rock samples from deep inside one of the actively moving tectonic plate-bounding faults responsible for the world's most damaging earthquakes. Now, with this newly recovered material, scientists hope to answer long-standing questions about the fault's composition and properties.

Mixed Atlantic hurricane season puzzles experts
October 10, 2007 05:18 PM - Michael Christie, Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - Judge the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season by the 13 storms so far, and it looks like a relatively busy year. But look at the number of days a hurricane has swirled in the Atlantic, or use other measures of a storm season's ferocity, and 2007 has been surprisingly benign.

Hurricane experts had predicted the season to be above-average because of warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures, the continuance of a decades-long natural period of increased storm activity, and the development of La Nina weather conditions in the Pacific.

Many tropical waves, often a precursor of a tropical storm, developed in the Atlantic over the busiest weeks of the season between September and early October, and eight named tropical storms formed in September -- matching a record for the month.

U.S. ethanol rush may harm water supplies: report
October 10, 2007 02:01 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. ethanol rush could drain drinking water supplies in parts of the country because corn -- a key source of the country's alternative fuel -- requires vast quantities of water for irrigation, the National Research Council reported on Wednesday.

U.S. President George W. Bush has called for production of 35 billion gallons per year of alternative motor fuels including ethanol by 2017, as part of an effort to wean the country from foreign oil. U.S. capacity to make the fuel, believed to emit low levels of greenhouse gases, has spiked about 28 percent this year to nearly 7 billion gallons.

But the use of more corn to make ethanol could drain water supplies like the Ogallala, or High Plains, aquifer, which extends from west Texas up into South Dakota and Wyoming.

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