Ecosystems

Wetlands 'must be preserved' say experts
July 30, 2008 08:59 AM - , SciDevNet

Participants in an international wetlands conference have issued a declaration urging recognition of the importance of wetlands and calling for basic wetlands research.

Southern African wetland region to become world’s largest protected freshwater site
July 28, 2008 10:16 AM - WWF

An area of the Democratic Republic of Congo containing the largest body of fresh water in Africa has been added to the Ramsar Convention’s list of Wetlands of International Importance, making it the largest region ever to be designated as such. At more than six-and-a-half million hectares, the Ngiri-Tumba-Maingombe area is twice the size of Belgium and has one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity anywhere in the world. It is also a major carbon sink.

Stricken boat off the coast of Bali underscores the threats from unregulated fishing.
July 28, 2008 09:59 AM - WWF

This discovery highlights that efforts to prevent illicit fishing activities from occurring have been unsuccessful, activities that make it all but impossible to manage fish stocks and ensure that fishing boats are sound and secure from oil leaks. The region, site of many key WWF projects, is widely recognised as the most important area of marine biodiversity on the planet, and is often referred to as the nursery of the seas.

Oil spills onto ice, climate among Arctic risks
July 25, 2008 11:48 AM - Reuters

Companies seeking oil in the Arctic will need better technology to clean up spills onto ice and could new face hazards such as rougher seas caused by climate change, experts said on Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated this week that 22 percent of the world's undiscovered, technically recoverable reserves of oil and gas were in the Arctic, raising environmentalists' worries about possible impact on wildlife.

Mexican mangroves 'vital for fishing industry'
July 25, 2008 11:25 AM - , SciDevNet

Researchers have shown that the abundance of Mexican mangroves has a direct effect on the health of the fishing industry and the local economy. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analysed 13 regions in four states — Baja California Sur, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Sonora — in Mexico's Gulf of California.

Northern Wildfire Smoke May Cast Shadow on Arctic Warming
July 24, 2008 10:02 AM - NOAA

The Arctic may get some temporary relief from global warming if the annual North American wildfire season intensifies, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado and NOAA. Smoke transported to the Arctic from northern forest fires may cool the surface for several weeks to months at a time, according to the most detailed analysis yet of how smoke influences the Arctic climate relative to the amount of snow and ice cover.

Destruction of Wetlands Could Unleash Carbon Bomb
July 24, 2008 09:12 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The world's wetlands, threatened by development, dehydration and climate change, could release a planet-warming "carbon bomb" if they are destroyed, ecological scientists said on Sunday. Wetlands contain 771 billion tons of greenhouse gases, one-fifth of all the carbon on Earth and about the same amount of carbon as is now in the atmosphere, the scientists said before an international conference linking wetlands and global warming.

Ship collision shuts Mississippi River, spills fuel
July 24, 2008 08:48 AM - Reuters

A chemical tanker split a fuel barge in half on the Mississippi River on Wednesday, spilling thousands of gallons of fuel oil and forcing the closure of a 58-mile (93-km) stretch from New Orleans southward that could last for days, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said.

Whale playground offers glimpse into Russia's melting Arctic
July 24, 2008 08:31 AM - AFP

A young whale pokes its melon-shaped head into the cool morning air near this remote island, a sign its herd is thriving despite mounting threats in Russia's melting Arctic. Cameras and microphones capture the whale's every move as scientists use the species only shore-side breeding ground to see how they are coping as fleets of oil tankers replace melting ice in their traditional feeding grounds.

Brazil harnesses space tech to monitor deforestation
July 22, 2008 11:40 AM - , SciDevNet

Brazil will launch a satellite in 2011 to monitor deforestation and urban expansion around the world, it has been announced. Amazônia-1 will carry a UK-made high resolution camera. The United Kingdom–Brazil collaboration was announced last week (14 July) at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society for Progress in Science.

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