Mumtadar called from the pond where he was setting nets. Life was good since they planted the mangroves along the dyke, he said. He caught more fish in his pond, and they grew bigger and quicker.
by Fred Pearce
“The wave was higher than the trees. The sea came right over the village. Every building was destroyed, including all 300 houses. About 180 people were killed, more than half the population. The only people who survived were those who ran for the hills.” That’s how they tell it in the cafe at the entrance to Keude Unga on Aceh’s west coast, which took the full brunt of the tsunami.
by Fred Pearce
Layeun is famous among the tsunami villages of Aceh. Bill Clinton came here earlier this year and brought the media. He called for new help to rebuild the lives of the fishing community whose homes disappeared beneath the waves during the tsunami.
By Fred Pearce
Precisely 256 people were living in Gampong Baro on the day the tsunami hit. Just under half of them died. Just 24 bodies were found, while 97 are registered forever “missing”. Their names and ages are all listed on a stone memorial in the heart of the village.
by Fred Pearce
Azhar, leader of Lham Ujong, is a proud man. Proud of the pictures in his album of him shaking hands with dignitaries bringing aid money to the village. Proud of his Olympic torch, which he helped take round Jakarta in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics of 2008 – a privilege he was nominated for by Wetlands International. And proud especially of the trees planted in huge numbers round his village in the aftermath of the tsunami.
[This article originally appeared at Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.]
The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 obliterated vast areas of Aceh province. But villagers there are using an innovative microcredit scheme to restore mangrove forests and other coastal ecosystems that will serve as a natural barrier against future killer waves and storms.
By Fred Pearce
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What are the next steps for RSPO and its members in relation to palm oil and peatlands? 2013 was an important year with new Principles & Criteria (P&C ) adopted to address ‘peatsoil subsidence’ and ‘greenhouse gases’, both resulting from peatland drainage for palm oil plantations. Now the challenge is to get these P&C’s applied and monitored successfully, and to even go some steps further and turn the RSPO into the frontrunner for the entire sector. Wetlands International participates in the 12th roundtable to raise further awareness on peatlands, particularly on ‘peat soils subsidence’ and to provide input and guidance for next steps for the RSPO and its members.
Het Nederlandse Rode Kruis, CARE Nederland en Wetlands International lanceren vandaag samen met Nudge de ‘Dijk van een Wijk’-competitie. Dat maakte Sander de Kramer maandag namens de organisaties bekend in het programma Koffietijd op RTL4. De competitie wordt georganiseerd om mensen in Nederland op een leuke manier bewust te maken van hoe zij samen met anderen hun directe leefomgeving op een duurzame manier leefbaarder en veiliger kunnen maken. Mensen met een idee ter verbetering van hun wijk rond de thema’s energie, groen, water of veiligheid, kunnen zich aanmelden op www.dijkvaneenwijk.org. Het winnende wijkteam ontvangt een geldbedrag van €10.000,- voor de uitvoering van hun idee.
Study Offers Practical Guidance for Coastal Decision-Makers
Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom, 6 November, 2014: A new guidebook on mangroves as a coastal defence finds that mangroves can reduce risk from a large number of coastal hazards. The role of mangroves in coastal defence has been widely promoted since the tsunami that struck South-East Asia in 2004. Yet, the level of protection provided by mangroves has been subject to debate.
At the recent Wetland Solutions Stakeholder Forum in Rotterdam held on 22 September 2014, we interviewed some of our stakeholders on why wetlands are important to them. Here is what they said:
Or can we dream of a new world where ecology, economy and society are re-connected?
By Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer
An unprecedented large group of governments, companies, NGOs and indigenous peoples groups called for action to protect and restore the world’s forests. In a declaration launched at this week’s UN climate talks in New York, targets are set to stop deforestation, support sustainable alternatives and restore forests. This should lead to a cut in carbon emissions to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Wetlands International endorses the Forest Declaration to send a message to world leaders to support a climate agreement in Paris in 2016 and take forests and land use into account.
Mbarara – On Friday 11 July 2014, Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment made a commitment to work towards the provision of safe and adequate drinking water. The High Level Event, consisting of Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, local organisations, international NGOs and donors, focused on the creation of an action plan to scale-up efforts to provide safe and clean drinking water across the country.
Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for millions of people, but they’re being lost at an increasing rate. Geographical Magazine's Mark Rowe reports.
By Susanne Boom - The grassy hillsides and vast forests around Rwambu wetland in south-western Uganda are not only a beautiful sight to see - it is fertile land which sustains agricultural based livelihoods, such as coffee, tea, bananas and beans. The Rwambu wetland is also a success story of integrated nature-based solutions.
In Southeast Asia about 25% of plantations are currently on peat and some companies have more than 75% of their plantations on these carbon rich soils. But an increasing number of palm oil and pulp wood producing giants are announcing their commitments to no deforestation and no peatland conversion. What are their real intentions for peatlands?
In September 2013, seven European organisations joined forces to create Wetlands International – European Association. This new element of the global Wetlands International network will focus on the development and implementation of EU policy, and on its effects and impacts on global wetlands.
Jane Madgwick, CEO Wetlands International
When you think of the Sahel in Africa, what picture does it conjure up? Dry sandy areas with scattered trees and perhaps hungry-looking children looking after cattle and goats? Maybe fewer of you imagine big river systems, heaving with fish, and lined with flooded forests? The magic of this zone, which stretches across Africa and borders the Sahara, is that it is both very dry and very wet. And that nature and people depend on both the drylands and wetlands and move in-between according to the seasons.
By Bas Tinhout
In the tropics, peat swamp forests are often logged and converted to oil palm and pulp wood plantations. This results in adverse effects on the natural resource base of local communities and impacts the biodiversity, water regulation and carbon storage functions of peatlands. As an alternative, paludiculture is a sustainable form of agriculture which enables the productive use of rewetted peatlands. It will prevent the oxidation of the peat carbon, thus preventing the massive natural organic carbon store from turning into the greenhouse gas CO2.
Author: Yus Rusila Noor, Wetlands International, Indonesia
Often conservation work starts with individual initiatives. The stories of Haji Madsahi and Babah Akong emphasize the value of local knowledge and initiative for the restoration of coastal ecosystems. They have both received awards for their work and Wetlands International now works with them, so that their efforts can be further scaled up.
A controversial report from a technical committee of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is under-estimating the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by palm oil grown on tropical peatlands by nearly 50%, according to NGOs.
Authors: Femke Tonneijck, Wetlands International; Bregje van Wesenbeeck, Deltares; and Mark Spalding, The Nature Conservancy
Inhabitants of low lying delta areas are particularly exposed to flooding and erosion caused by storms and hurricanes. These pressures increase with climate change and sea level rise. Coastal wetlands, such as mangroves, can play a key role in damage mitigation during disasters, as well as in stabilising coastlines. They also contribute to aquaculture and fisheries. Integration of ecosystem-based coastal protection in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction policies and resulting measures to conserve these landscapes are essential if mangroves are to keep protecting us. Full article featured in Outreach Magazine.
Author: Marcel Silvius
Oil palm cultivation on peatlands is seen as an attractive option for many plantation developers in Southeast Asia. Not only is the land extensively available, the soils – despite the poor soil fertility – are somehow “working” for oil palm cultivation. Peatlands can therefore be perceived as lucrative and attractive for expansion of oil palm plantations.
So why then is oil palm on peat a path to disaster? We highlight two major impacts in this article. Firstly, peatland drainage for oil palm results in substantial carbon emissions. Secondly it results in flooding and land loss as a result of soil subsidence. We also offer some solutions.
Full article featured in sustainable Palm Oil: Conversation and Debate
Medan, Indonesia – 11th Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil
Oil palm growers, the food, cosmetics and oil industry, governments, scientists and environmental and social groups from all over the world participate this week in the 11th Annual Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT11 RSPO). The main theme of this year’s meeting is “RSPO Standard 2013. Understand. Apply. Embrace”. Wetlands International has been involved in the review process of the RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) and will actively participate in the Roundtable meeting.
International Day for Disaster Reduction
Today is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2013, a UN event to promote a global culture of disaster risk reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Wetlands International celebrates this day and highlights the critical role wise use and restoration of wetland ecosystems such as mangroves, river basins, marshes, and lakes can play in reducing the impacts of natural hazards like floods, droughts, storm surges and wind waves
Sobé and other villages in the Mali Inner Niger Delta are threatened by the desert's sand. Communities are forced to rebuild their homes every two years to avoid burial by sand dunes, which are moving as a result of degradation of the Savannah.
By Etwin Kuslati, Wetlands International Indonesia
What do you do when your house is slowly being swallowed by the sea???
This is the question that Wetlands International was asked to advise on by the community of Timbul Sloko Village, on the North coast of Central Java, Indonesia.
How to get the attention from the government, private sector, communities and press at the same time for water availability problems downstream the river? In Kenya local indigenous peoples organizations managed to come up with an eye-catching initiative. They organized a Camel Caravan.
By Han Winterwerp
In my previous blogs, I described the large losses of our mangrove heritage, in spite of the great value of these ecosystems. Today, I argue that these losses are caused by thoughtless land-use.
by Jane Madgwick, CEO Wetlands International
A week before US President Obama descends on Senegal to encourage the tracking down of terrorists in the region, I joined our Africa team and my international Supervisory Council there to investigate issues related to a more fundamental security challenge – relating to increasingly scarce water resources. As we witnessed in Mali last year, water security, human conflicts and mass migrations are closely intertwined in this fragile Sahelian zone.
Opportunities for climate change mitigation through peatland rehabilitation and lessons learned for future agreements under the UNFCCC were discussed at a side event during the Bonn climate negotiations.
At the 4th session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, a green elephant seemed to be standing at the back of the plenary room.
By Vera Coelho
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