The MAP News
Thousands hold ‘Global Protest Day’ to support world’s largest mangrove forest
BANGLADESH - Plans for a huge power plant situated near the world’s largest mangrove forest in Bangladesh has incited outrage from many Bangladeshi conservationists and citizens. Recently, those in other countries rose up to show their criticism of the project, with a Global Protest Day stirring protests around the world. Environmental NGO representatives estimate thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday, January 7, to show their opposition to the Rampal power plant and their support of the Sundarbans mangrove. The Sundarbans lies along the northern shore of the Bay of Bengal, straddling the border between India and Bangladesh. Encompassing more than 10,000 square kilometers (3,860 square miles), the mangrove is the world’s largest and provides habitat for around 700 animal and 340 plant species. Endangered Bengal tigers roam its forests, as do huge, cow-like animals called gaurs, which are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Its waters are home to the only two remaining species of freshwater dolphins in Asia: the threatened Irrawaddy river dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) and the endangered Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica). Because of its ecological importance, the Sundarbans is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site; it’s also a Ramsar bird conservation area. READ MORE
Maharashtra ties up with ISRO to save mangroves
INDIA - As mangrove destruction continues unabated in Mumbai and along the Konkan coast with several cases piling up over the past two years, the Maharashtra Forest department is tying up with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to track the mangrove destruction through real-time satellite imagery, a first in India. Officials from the Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit told HT that over the next six months, real-time satellite maps for mangroves across Maharashtra will be acquired by the cell. After talks with scientists from ISRO last year, the cell received a proposal from the former in December 2016, wherein an open source software — digital tracking through satellite maps — acquisition were discussed. “Monitoring the destruction of mangroves by physically entering the forests has its limitations,” said N Vasudevan, chief conservator of forest, state mangrove cell. “The idea is to track destructions as it happens through satellite images from the confines of a room, and reduce the time gap for taking action in such cases.” READ MORE
Marsh man helps protect mangrove forest in Vietnam
VIETNAM - For nearly three decades, a 71-year-old man decided to live on a marsh islet to protect a mangrove forest in Vietnam. A 71-year-old man chose to live in an oasis that is far from his neighbors and unconnected to the power grid and water supply. He has lived this life for almost 30 years and remains content with it, as he guards a mangrove forest area. Nguyen Ngoc Dap says living in the marsh islet Ru Cha was always good for him, and it has been even better as marsh resources helped to feed his 10 children. No power, no water supply, and an Internet connection is an understandable concept that has never existed in his mind, but Dap always smiles while talking about his life. “I feel contented with this. This marsh fed me and my children, so I have nothing to blame it for, even during the tough weather in the flooding season,” he says. READ MORE
Mangrove forests to be made tourist destinations
INDIA - Minister for forest and animal husbandry, K Raju, has said the mangrove areas, which are known for their biodiversity and natural beauty, would be conserved and made into international tourist destinations. The minister said this after visiting the mangrove areas in Cherukunnu, Pattuvam, Ezhom and other localities in Kannur district on Saturday, on the invitation of T V Rajesh, MLA. The minister had the boat journey in the area for over one hour. Later, he also said a comprehensive project would be made in three months to make the mangrove areas as tourist destinations. He also said the mangrove forests have already been declared reserve forests in Kannur. Also, efforts are going on to acquire the mangrove forests in the private possession, he added. READ MORE
Could mangrove northern expansion temper global warming?
USA - Mangroves are expanding in Florida and worldwide, because of global warming, according to new research funded by NASA. The trees are encroaching on salt marshes at the Kennedy Space Center and elsewhere on the globe. Fewer hard freezes due to global warming means more mangroves will flourish in Florida and worldwide to trap carbon and temper further warming, new NASA-funded research concludes. The mangrove’s poleward march doubles how much carbon coastal wetlands can store per acre, “which may exert a considerable negative feedback on warming,” according to the study, led by researchers at Villanova University. What’s more, as mangroves — bushy, salt-tolerant trees that grow in brackish waters — crowd out salt marshes and plant firmer roots farther north, they’ll better guard against Florida’s rising seas and stronger storms predicted by global warming. And the mangrove revival researchers recently documented at Kennedy Space Center shows these leafy ecological gems can rebound from freezes that nearly wipe them out, if left undisturbed. READ MORE
Wildfires, sea level rise, coral bleaching: Climate change is already here
From extreme wildfires in the Western United States to melting ice sheets in Antarctica, the effects of rising temperatures on Earth have not gone unnoticed. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced 2016 was the hottest year on record. Before that, the record was set in 2015. Before that, it was 2014. Both agencies linked the record-breaking temperatures to human-caused climate change. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by cars, factories and power plants trap more heat in the atmosphere, causing temperatures to climb upward. Although the most severe consequences of this warming have yet to come — especially if greenhouse gas emissions remain at current levels — some of the effects have already been felt. Scientists, public health officials and even the Pentagon are watching with great concern. READ MORE
Environmentalists Rallied with Bangladeshis to Save the Sundarbans on Global Day of Protest
UK - Saturday, the 7th January 2017, has been celebrated as a Global Day of Protest to Save the Sunderbans and to stop the Rampal coal-power plant. Alongside nationwide protests in Bangladesh, UK’s green activists together with environmentalists of Bangladeshi community in the UK staged a colourful and loud demonstration at Altab Ali Park in London. Over 40 community activists and many transnational environmentalists rallied with beautiful placards and banners displaying powerful images of tigers, rivers, trees, humans and signs of large waving hands as symbols of ‘NO’. They shouted “‘No’ to Rampal Power Plant”. In the two hour-rally, organised by the Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources, Power and Port in Bangladesh, speakers said that it is incredible that Bangladeshi government entered a deal with Indian corporations to build coal-fired plant in Rampal, which would leave devastating impact on 50 million people in Bangladesh and the world’s largest mangrove, called the Sundarbans. READ MORE
Scientists highlight the critical role of birds in forest regeneration
UK - The loss of birds could significantly impact efforts to combat deforestation, according to research from scientists looking at species across the Brazilian Amazon. Study results, published in the Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences show that the understanding of animals and their physical traits is vital to saving tropical ecosystems. According to the research, understanding land-use change is important because tropical forests are integral to the long-term stability of global air quality and climate cycles. The health of tropical forests is reliant on biodiversity - and is helped by animals spreading seeds to regenerate growth. In fact it is thought 90% of tropical tree and shrub species rely on animals for seed dispersal. READ MORE
Expert Warning: Current Conservation Efforts Won’t Save Tropical Forests
UK - A focus on policies to conserve tropical forests for their carbon storage value may imperil some of the world's most biologically rich tropical forests, says new research. Many countries have climate-protection policies designed to conserve tropical forests to keep their carbon locked up in trees. But the new study suggests these policies could miss some of the most diverse forests because there is no clear connection between the number of tree species in a forest and how much carbon that forest stores. Lead author Dr Martin Sullivan, from the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, said: "International programmes often encourage the conservation of forests with high carbon stocks, because their focus is to try to slow climate change. Until now, we didn't know whether these programmes would also automatically protect the most biodiverse forests. It turns out they probably won't." READ MORE
Massive dieback of mangrove forests is slowing down
AUSTRALIA - The Dieback that has affected large swaths of mangrove forests in the Gulf of Carpentaria appears to have slowed. More indigenous rangers have been recruited to monitor the unprecedented dieback of 7000ha of coastal vegetation that was first observed more than a year ago stretching from near Karumba to 1000km west. The causes are still unknown, but researchers believe it has been linked to climate change. The event coincided with the worst coral bleaching event recorded on the Great Barrier Reef. James Cook University researcher Professor Norm Duke said the dieback appeared to have slowed in recent months. “The status is that it hasn’t increased,” he said. “It’s basically stabilised and now the environment is just dealing with the consequences. READ MORE
Microbes rule in 'knee-high tropical rainforests'
AUSTRALIA - Rainforests on infertile wet soils support more than half of all plant species. Shrublands on infertile dry soils in southwestern Australia, jokingly called "knee-high tropical rainforests", support another 20 percent of all plants. Nutrient scarcity is the common denominator. In both ecosystems plants team up with soil bacteria or fungi to gather nutrients more efficiently. However, the plants' choice of microbial teammates influences a suite of other plant-soil interactions that help explain why such different environments are so biologically diverse, say Smithsonian scientists and colleagues in the journal, Science. Soil swarms with bacteria and fungi, some disease-causing and harmful, some helpful. Plants take advantage of networks of fungal hyphae and bacteria to capture nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients from their surroundings. Depending which microbes a plant teams up with—nitrogen-fixing bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi or no microbes at all (some plants form cluster roots that do not require microbial partners), it experiences positive or negative feedback from other microbes in its surroundings. READ MORE
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The world's largest mangrove forest is in danger from a massive coal plant.
Mangrove Action Project
Thursday, January 19, 2017
MAP NEWS 408, JANUARY 21, 2017
Posted by BlogAdmin at 9:09 PM