Freshwater turtles among the most threatened species
By Summit Voice
A recent far-reaching study of the world’s amphibians and reptiles finds that Florida is hotspot for environmental threats, with one of the highest concentrations of threatened reptiles in the world.
The new report highlights the need to address the global reptile extinction crisis: One in five reptiles is facing extinction from threats like habitat loss, overharvest and climate change.
“Florida is blessed with a rich diversity of lizards, turtles and snakes,” said Collette Adkins Giese, reptile-and-amphibian specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately, threats like habitat loss from rapid development are continuing to push many of these rare reptiles to the brink of extinction.”
West- and central African sites among the most threatened
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Many of the planet’s 217 world heritage natural sites are facing increasing threats, including oil and gas development, and need more protection, conservation leaders said at an occasion marking the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.
The 217 sites protect more than 250 million hectares of land and sea in more than 90 countries.
Nearly 8 percent of the 217 natural World Heritage Sites are on a danger list, while another 25 percent are affected by serious conservation issues. More than 60 percent of West and Central African sites are on the Danger list, and one in four of these iconic areas are threatened by planned mining, oil and gas projects. This includes Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, home of the world’s last mountain gorillas.
“Too many World Heritage sites are left with few resources to ensure their proper management, risking their role as natural flagships for the protection of critical habitats and unique wildlife vital to the future of our planet,” said Tim Badman, director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. “Many face a barrage of challenges, not least from mining and oil exploration.” Continue reading “Many world heritage sites facing development pressures”→
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.
SUMMIT COUNTY — While much public attention has been focused on saving individual charismatic species, there’s also a need to pay attention to the ecosystems that sustain those species, It’s tough, for example, to keep lynx alive if they have nowhere to hunt or raise their young. Most conservation biologists recognize that an ecosystem approach to conservation is likely to pay a bigger dividend, but we don’t have an endangered ecosystem act — we have an Endangered Species Act. Sometimes, though, acting to save individual species, like greater sage-grouse, for example, can work to protect larger ecosystems. On a global scale, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has been developing a ‘Red List’ of ecosystems, based on the organization’s endangered species red list. Continue reading “Morning photo: Endangered ecosystems”→
FRISCO — Some conservative lawmakers in the U.S. oppose most international environmental initiatives as “unwarranted meddling,” with the most extreme right-wingers even espousing conspiracy theories about “black UN helicopters.”
But some Republicans may agree with one of the latest initiatives from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which calls for moving from a resource-led model to a rights-based system of locally controlled forestry, that places local control of forests at the heart of the investment process.
Global risk standards to help inform management options
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The International Union for the Conservation of Nature already maintains the most extensive global list of endangered and threatened species; now the organization plans to build a similar list for ecoystems to help identify coral reefs, rainforest and deserts that are at risk.
The Red List of Ecosystems will be modeled on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, based on an internationally accepted set of criteria for risk assessment. In addition to providing a global standard for assessing the status of ecosystems, the outputs of the Ecosystem Red List could also be used to inform on the current and future threats to the services that such ecosystems provide, such as clean water, climate regulation and natural products.
“Natural environments are under increasing pressure from unsustainable use and other threats,” said Jon Paul Rodriguez, Leader of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management’s Ecosystems Red List Thematic Group. “Functional ecosystems are essential to our livelihoods and well-being. We will assess the status of marine, terrestrial, freshwater and subterranean ecosystems at local, regional and global levels, Rodriquez said during the IUCN’s conservation congress on Jeju Island in Korea. Continue reading “IUCN working on ‘red list’ for ecosystems”→
New study focuses on climate change impacts in equatorial region
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Researchers combining genetic information from rare African monkeys with historic climate data from the mid-Holocene era say the species could face a significant threat if the forest dries out and vegetation becomes sparser amid warming temperatures.