Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection, announced the figure at a celebration ofthe 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday.
Swans and tens of thousands of rare migrant birds spend the winter in Poyang Lake Nature Reserve inYongxiu county, Jiangxi province. China has established 286 national nature reserves in the past 20years. Duan Changzheng / for China Daily
The figure has grown from 6.9 percent in 1993 to 14.9 percent today. The number of national-level nature reserves has increased from 77 to 363, marking the achievements the Chinesegovernment has made to promote biodiversity since the country signed the United NationsConvention on Biological Diversity 20 years ago.
“Setting up nature reserves is seen as the core measure in biodiversity conservation to preventthe current loss of species and habitats,” said Zhang Shigang, country coordinator of theUnited Nations Environment Program China.
That’s why the theme of the 2013 International Day for Biodiversity in China is ”biodiversity andnature reserves”, while the international theme is ”water and biodiversity”.
“The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment indicates that in the past 50 years, 60percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded. Loss of biodiversity reduces our food,medicine, clean air and water. The ecosystem that human beings rely on is fragile,” said ZhangXinsheng, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Council.
“China has very rich biodiversity of its own,” he said. “The 2012 IUCN Red List cites over 5,000plant and animal species living in China, and of those nearly 1,000 species are under threat.”
Patrick Haverman, deputy country director of the United Nations Development Program China,said the natural capital of biodiversity has been greatly overused during the country’s pursuit ofeconomic development, and if China’s development is to be sustainable in the long term, itmust conserve biodiversity as its ecological base.
“The challenge both in China and globally is in harmonizing economic growth with thepreservation of the integrity of natural capital. More particularly in China, the challenge is toreconcile the conservation of this country’s rich ecosystems with the demands of development,which has already lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty,” Haverman said.
He said the UNDP appreciates and supports the significant efforts for biodiversity conservationundertaken in recent years by the Chinese government.
The government has given conservation of biodiversity high priority, according to Vice-MinisterLi.
The China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for 2011-2030,released in September 2010, set guidelines for the country’s efforts to protect biodiversity overthe next 20 years.
- Elusive pandas caught on camera in China habitat (science.nbcnews.com)
- Photos offer rare glimpse into panda habitat (wwf.panda.org)
- Heartbreaking – we must all act, now! (alvecotewood.wordpress.com)
- Strike a pose: World’s rarest animals are caught on hidden camera exploring their habitats (dailymail.co.uk)
- Developers can build on nature reserves – if they ‘offset’ the damage elsewhere, says Government review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Cities are a ray of hope on biodiversity front (thehindu.com)
|The theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), 22 May 2013, is:
“Water and Biodiversity”
The theme was chosen to coincide with the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. UNESCO has been chosen as the lead agency to promote the global celebrations and to help raise awareness on the critical issues facing water management.
Water sustains all life on Earth. It is vital for all people and ultimately determines our way of life. Providing and sustaining water for the needs of people around the world is already well recognized as a major challenge for sustainable development in most areas in both developed and developing countries. The ecosystems of our world, but particularly forests and wetlands, ensure that clean water is available to human communities. Water in turn underpins all ecosystem services.
Wetlands can help reduce risks from flooding. Restoring soils can reduce erosion and pollution and can increase water available for crops. Protected areas can assist in providing water to cities. These are but a few examples of how ecosystem management can help us solve water-related problems.
More information can be found on the CBD website
- International Day for Biological Diversity (ecogreenlove.wordpress.com)
- Nigeria’s huge bio-diversities still untapped (greenambassador.wordpress.com)
- Celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity (thefrogblog.org.uk)
- World on course to run out of water, warns Ban Ki-moon (guardian.co.uk)
- Ignore biodiversity management at your own peril (thehindu.com)
- United Nations: World is On Course to Run Out of Water (inhabitat.com)
2012 has been a roller coaster of a year for animal news. Here we’ve rounded-up the top stories for successes in conservation, discoveries and extinctions of species, red alerts for worrying trends we can turn around if we act quickly, and the best photo galleries of animals living and extinct. Thankfully there is more good news than bad news rounded up here.
So don’t be discouraged with the troubling news — keep clicking through the slides because there is lots to be happy about despite the losses we’ve endured during 2012. For the slide show click here
- WILDLIFE UPDATE : Saving Australian endangered species – a policy gap and political opportunity (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Illegal wildlife trade threatens nations’ security: WWF (terradaily.com)
- Endangered Species Act Under Siege (natureology101.wordpress.com)
- Nature Inspires Life: creating wildlife conservation awareness (lostateminor.com)
- China development threatens wildlife: WWF (terradaily.com)
- If you cut down a tree in the forest, can wildlife hear it? (eurekalert.org)
- Threatened species: we’re failing on morality and policy (theconversation.edu.au)
Study puts economic value on the indirect ecosystem services provided by the world’s poorest people. The Guardian Environment reports | https://twitter.com/#!/guardianeco and https://twitter.com/#!/LearnFromNature
Some of the world’s poorest people would be half a trillion dollars a year better off if the services they provide to the rest of the planet indirectly – through conserving natural habitats – was given an economic value, a new study has found.
If poor people were paid for the services they provide in preserving some of the world’s key biodiversity hotspots, they could reap $500bn. There are some fledgling schemes that could help to raise this cash – for instance, the United Nations-backed system called Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), which uses carbon trading to generate cash to preserve trees – but so far they are small in scale.
The benefits of safeguarding these habitats, such as providing valuable services from food, medicines and clean water to absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, are more than triple the costs of conserving them, the researchers found.
Will Turner, vice–president of Conservation International and lead author of the study, said: “Developed and developing economies cannot continue to ask the world’s poor to shoulder the burden of protecting these globally important ecosystem services for the rest of the world’s benefit, without compensation in return. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about valuing natural capital. Nature may not send us a bill, but its essential services and flows, both direct and indirect, have concrete economic value.”
He said that preserving areas of highest biodiversity should be the priority. “What the research clearly tells us is that conserving the world’s remaining biodiversity isn’t just a moral imperative – it is a necessary investment for lasting economic development. But in many places where the poor depend on these natural services, we are dangerously close to exhausting them, resulting in lasting poverty,” said Turner.
Many of the benefits of conservation, so-called “ecosystem services”, are invisible – for instance, maintaining wooded land can help to prevent mudslides during heavy rainfall, and provides valuable watersheds that keep rivers healthy and provide clean drinking water, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. These benefits are not assigned an economic value, however, so that chopping down trees or destroying habitats appears to deliver an instant economic return, when in fact it is leading to economic losses that are only obvious when it is too late.
The study, entitled Global Biodiversity Conservation and the Alleviation of Poverty, was led by a team from Conservation International, and co-authored by scientists at NatureServe, the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They looked in particular at 17 of the world’s most important areas for biodiversity.
They found that some of the ecosystem services accrued to the local people themselves – for instance, using forests as sources of food, medicines and shelter – while the rest are regional or global.
The study follows on a growing body of work from the past decade that has sought to place a value on ecosystem services, as a way of ensuring that they are accounted for in economic policy. If nature is not economically valued, many scientists have argued, it is more prone to being destroyed.
Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International and a co-author, said: “We have always known that biodiversity is foundational to human wellbeing, but we now have a strong case that ecosystems specifically located in the world’s biodiversity hotspots and high-biodiversity wilderness areas also provide a vital safety net for people living in poverty. Protecting these places is essential not only to safeguard life on earth but also to support the impoverished, ensure continued broad access to nature’s services, and meet the UN millennium development goals.”
He called on governments to integrate the conservation of nature into economic and poverty-alleviation policies, in order to value these services better.
- Conserving biodiversity could benefit the world’s poor (yubanet.com)
- Conserving biodiversity could benefit the world’s poor (eurekalert.org)
- Valuing Nature: Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Decision-Making (socialactions.net)
- Conserving biodiversity could benefit the world’s poor (physorg.com)
- Latin America and Caribbean are ‘Biodiversity Superpower’, says UNDP Report (prweb.com)
- Mekong Forum Summary Presentation (slideshare.net)
- Virginia-Based Environmental Firm Marstel-Day, LLC Announced Today that Mr. Peter Hoar has Joined Marstel-Day as its Ecosystem Services Program Manager (prweb.com)
- You: The true value of ecosystem services (ourworld.unu.edu)
- Bringing biodiversity to market – Green development certification (forbes.com)
- [In the news] COMMENTARY: A Country Deprived of the Ecosystem Services of the Forests- www.mindanews.com (hronlineph.com)
A majority of professional conservationists believe it is time to consider shifting efforts away from some of the world’s most famous species, such as the panda, to concentrate on others which have a greater chance of success. The Independent reports on a dilemma | http://learnfromnature.net/
A survey of nearly 600 scientists involved in wildlife protection found that more than half agree with the idea of species “triage”, where conservation efforts are concentrated on certain animals and plants that can be saved at the expense of species that are too difficult or costly to preserve in the wild.
The highly controversial idea has been discussed for several years among conservationists with little consensus, but it seems that there is now a growing appetite for taking it more seriously, given the scale of the extinction crisis facing the natural world in the coming century, as a result of loss of natural habitats, a growing human population and climate change.
The overwhelming majority of the 583 scientists who took part in the survey believe a serious loss of biological diversity is “likely, very likely or virtually certain”. In that context, some 60 per cent of the respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the idea of triage – a medical term where limited resources are concentrated only on those individuals who can survive with some help.
“They argue it is time to move beyond outright rejection of triage. Results from my survey suggest that a shift in attitude may have already happened or that it always existed,” said Dr Murray Rudd, an environmental economist at York University, who carried out the study published in the journal Conservation Biology. “The challenge in conservation is to know what’s beyond help and what’s not. In some cases, we don’t know what the costs of species conservation are going to be,” he added.
Many experts have rejected the idea of wildlife triage on the grounds that it is impossible – and perhaps immoral – to make judgements about one species at the expense of another, given the complexity of the ecological interactions in the natural world. However, others are starting to question the value of spending millions of pounds on one celebrated species, such as the panda, or a big predator such as the tiger, where loss of its habitat is almost inevitable.
“When considering conservation values and priorities the scientists said understanding interactions between people and nature was a priority for maintaining ecosystems. However, they largely rejected cultural or spiritual reasons as motivations for biological biodiversity. They also rejected human ‘usefulness’, suggesting many do not hold utilitarian views of ecosystem services,” Dr Rudd said.
The Canadian government, for example, has poured millions of dollars into efforts to save the Atlantic salmon. However, there are questions about whether the money could have been better spent on other conservation projects, Dr Rudd said.
But one message is clear from the survey. Almost all of the professional conservationists interviewed said that species extinction is happening. “Given the perceived severity of loss of biological diversity, scientists may be willing to discuss potentially contentious conservation options,” he said.
Dying out: Species losing fight for survival
In 1900, there were up to 100,000 tigers in India alone. Now, estimates of their global population range from just 3,062 to 5,066. India still has the most – about 1,700 – but with the country expected to overtake China as the most populous nation, pressure on dwindling tiger populations is intense. The false belief of Chinese herbalists that tiger products can cure a variety of ills means that poaching is still endemic and is organised by highly skilled criminal gangs.
Estimates of the polar bear population range from 20,000 to 25,000. But with Arctic sea ice melting at its current rate that number is expected to plummet by up to 30 per cent within 40 years. The bears rely on sea ice to reach their preferred meal – seals. As sea ice melts, bears starve and can come in contact with humans more, scavenging farther for food.
Decades of overfishing has led to a plunge in Atlantic salmon populations, nowhere more spectacularly than off the east coast of Canada. Since the closure of Newfoundland’s commercial fisheries in the early 1990s, Canada has invested millions of dollars in trying to bring stocks back up to pre-industrial levels, but the initiatives have had little success.
As an global symbol of endangered animals, it is no coincidence that the World Wildlife Fund chose the giant panda as its logo when it was formed. There are now just 2,500 mature pandas in the wild. China has spent millions on conservation, which has slowed the species’ decline, but it has had only tentative success with captive breeding programmes.
- Does ‘critically endangered’ mean ‘no longer worth worrying about’? (junkscience.com)
- Wildlife Update : Britain’s mammals beasts and the battle to save them (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Conservation scientists ‘unanimous’ in expectations of serious loss of biological diversity (physorg.com)
- Conservation scientists ‘unanimous’ in expectations of serious loss of biological diversity (eurekalert.org)
- Get ready for ecosystem collapse in the years ahead [Environment] (io9.com)
- Wildlife Update : Preserving 4 Percent of the Ocean Could Protect Most Marine Mammal Species (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Peter Marren: Our wildlife needs a voice (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Wildlife Update : Javan rhino driven to extinction in Vietnam – through poaching! (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- UK zoo leads way with online conservation and environmental education (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)