Entries for October 2013
By Han Winterwerp and Thorsten Balke
If you ever visit a mangrove-mud coast, you will see that the mangroves grow more or less between the waterlines at mean high water and the waterline at the highest tidal level occurring in a year. Understanding the relation between tides and mangroves is therefore essential to rehabilitation efforts.
By Bakary Kone, Wetlands International Mali
The 38 floodplain forests of Mali’s Inner Niger Delta are very important to the economy and livelihoods of the 1.5 million people who live there. They contain much of the natural wealth of the delta and are therefore referred to locally as ‘banks’.
Ministers Meeting at global climate talks in Warsaw should heed the lessons of past disasters.
The following joint statement on the need for increased public adaptation financing was released today by The Nature Conservancy, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), BirdLife International and Wetlands International, at the United Nations global climate change conference now underway in Warsaw, Poland.
Outsiders and newcomers to the United Nations climate negotiations are easily overwhelmed by the complexity of discussions around land use and forestry. But this might change in 2015.
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.
By Denise Cheah
In order to better understand the Badas peat dome in Brunei, we needed to clear a path through the peat forest, stick monitoring pipes into the ground at several intervals and take measurements. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, I’ve never been so wrong in my entire life.
Cambridge, UK. A new study maps out the amount of carbon stored by mangrove ecosystems in various parts of the world.
India's disaster preparedness has succeeded in dramatically reducing the loss of lives of cyclone Phailin last weekend. While the power of Phailin was a category stronger than the 1999 Odisha cyclone, India timely evacuated nearly a million people from the coastline.
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
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 Pieter van Eijk and Alizia Kamani
This September Wetlands International officially joined PEDRR, a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs and specialist institutes which plays a vital role in steering the policy and practice in disaster risk reduction (DRR). Through this alliance, Wetlands International can effectively influence and make recommendations to the Hyogo Framework for Action and the UNISDR, the UN office which coordinates global activities on reducing the risk of disasters.
We deeply regret to announce that our dear friend and colleague, Andres Kuresoo passed away at his home on 2nd September. Andres was a pivotal figure in waterbird and wetland conservation. He was the Estonian national coordinator of the International Waterbird Census for many years and also a Member Delegate of his country to Wetlands International.
RSPO members are responsible for 60% of global palm oil production. With such a large and growing responsibility, the RSPO must push on to create a level playing field for sustainable palm oil, argues Marcel Silvius.
On invitation of the Philippine government, the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR)-team visited Manilla and Tacloban early July to assess the possibilities to protect the coastline in and around Tacloban by creating hard engineering works, planting mangrove trees and reclaiming land. The coordinator of Wetlands International in Philippines was part of this team.
News from http://www.dutchwatersector.com/.
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.
The Panamanian delegation and Wetlands International call for ecosystem conservation in Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas (RP14), held last week in Ecuador, concluded with little attention for one of the root causes of increased disaster risk: Environmental degradation. Ecosystems, such as wetlands, in a healthy state provide many benefits and play a key role in disaster risk reduction (DRR). Nevertheless, they received few mentions during the entire platform of three days, and in the final Communiqué their role is limited as a topic to be addressed in cases of transboundary risk management.
Zaragoza. Experts from Spain and Portugal discussed how to restore rivers and manage landscapes to reduce flooding risks and impacts. At the same event prizes were awarded to the best short stories, poems and pictures about rivers.
By Marta Andelman, Wetlands International Argentina -
Those consuming tofu and soy milk, but especially meat eaters and those driving a car should keep a critical eye on the impacts of soy cultivation. About 70 percent of soy cultivated is used for animal feed fulfilling the growing meat demands in the world, while the second largest driver of soy expansion is for the use of biodiesel. Whilst recognising these values of soy, its expansion has adverse impacts on important wetlands and forests in South America, and violates land rights. We therefore join many other NGO’s in their efforts to green the soy industry.
A group of experts met in Roosta, Estonia, between the 23rd and the 25th of April 2014 to develop an action plan for the recovery of the Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis).
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.
By Taej Mundkur -
I recently got the chance to experience the natural beauty of Djoudj National Park in Senegal for the first time and see its conservation needs. The Djoudj is a paradise for over a million waterbirds and a lot of other biodiversity. It provides an ideal setting for developing sustainable solutions such as tourism that should allow the surrounding villages, visitors and nature to benefit from this natural wonder.
By Szabolcs Nagy and Stephan Flink -
Wetlands International’s team is currently working on the 6th edition of the AEWA Conservation Status Report, which summarises the available knowledge about the size and trends of migratory waterbird populations.
By Han Winterwerp
In my previous blogs, we discussed that a healthy mangrove-mud coast is dynamic, and how these dynamics are controlled by the tide and the waves. In a healthy coastal system, these processes, which bring sediment towards the coast and take the sediments away, are more or less balanced.
Today, people and organisations all over the world celebrate World Wetlands Day. The theme this year is “Wetlands & Agriculture: Partners for Growth”. This day was created by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits.
The recent outbreak of the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza is causing many victims amongst poultry and wild birds in the Republic of Korea. The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds has issued a statement on this outbreak saying that there is currently no evidence that wild birds are the source of this virus. Instead the focus of disease control actions must be on the domestic poultry sector.
Brussels. The European Commission’s proposal for a climate and energy package for the period between 2020 and 2030 may throw the door wide open to imports of dirty fuels from tar sands and endanger sustainability criteria for biofuels.
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.
The Niger and Nile basins are areas with high water stress and increasing competition for water resources. For that reason these regions are in focus under a large EU-funded project called IMPACT2C which seeks to systematically quantify climate impacts, vulnerabilities, risks and economic costs as well as potential adaptive responses under a global average surface temperature change of 2°C. Wetlands International is one of the partners in this effort and has its focus in the Niger basin.