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Biodiversity: Even at ‘safe’ levels, pesticides are having catastrophic impacts on aquatic ecosystems

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Dragonflies are taking a big hit from pesticides, even at levels deemed “safe” by lab tests. Bob Berwyn photo.

Study documents dramatic regional decline of insect species

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After studying ecosystems contaminated with pesticides, scientists say they’ve been able to measure a dramatic loss of invertebrate biodiversity in polluted streams and rivers.

The study is one of the first to document the toxic effects of pesticides at a regional ecosystem level, rather than exptrapolating toxicity from lab tests.

“The current practice of risk assessment is like driving blind on the motorway”, said ecotoxicologist Matthias Liess. “To date, the approval of pesticides has primarily been based on experimental work carried out in laboratories and artificial ecosystems.” Continue reading

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IUCN ‘Green List’ program to highlight successful conservation efforts

Designations seen as step toward worldwide biodiversity goals

The IUCN is developing a Green List program to highlight protected areas that are managed to high standards.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with a developing red list of endangered ecosystems, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature is focusing on highlighting well-managed protected areas with a Green List.

The Green List project will be formally unveiled at the 2014 World Parks Congress in Australia. The Green List will celebrate protected area successes, setting benchmarks to reward effective and equitable management.

Protected areas wishing to be included on the IUCN Green List will have to satisfy a threshold of agreed criteria, including meeting their conservation goals, achieving effective management and facilitating equitable governance. Continue reading

UN biodiversity panel says no to ‘climate hacking’

Geoengineering could pose severe risks to the planet's biodiversity, according to delegates at a global biodiversity conference in Japan.

Futuristic schemes to block solar radiation, and similar measures, should be debated in the UN

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Delegates from the 193-member UN Convention on Biological Diversity will close their 10-day meeting in Japan by considering a de facto moratorium on geoengineering projects and experiments aimed at slowing the pace of global warming.

“Any private or public experimentation or adventurism intended to manipulate the planetary thermostat will be in violation of this carefully crafted UN consensus,” said Silvia Ribeiro, Latin American Director of ETC Group, a nonprofit watchdog group.

Geoengineering refers to large-scale attempts to regulate the planet’s climate with measures like the application of nutrients to the oceans, or futuristic proposals to block a percentage of solar radiation via large-scale interventions in the atmosphere, stratosphere and outer space that would alter global temperatures and precipitation patterns. Continue reading

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