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Posts Tagged ‘biodiversity’

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Speed read
-The draft SDGs ignore biodiversity’s effect on food, health and poverty

-A holistic approach is critical, UN meeting hears

-Participants pledge to double biodiversity-related funding for poorer nations

Biodiversity is moving up the global development agenda, following a major meeting of policymakers at the 12th Conference of Parties (COP12) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

With countries working on setting the next targets after the Millennium Development Goals, biodiversity is already included as one of the proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UN draft working document agreed in July.

However, the current draft does not acknowledge biodiversity’s effects on global issues such as health, poverty and food security.

These effects took centre stage at the event in Pyeongchang, which was attended by around 3,000 delegates from 6-17 October.

“If we tackle poverty, inequality and environmental issues in separate silos, we can’t succeed. We have to have holistic approaches,” said UN Development Programme boss Helen Clark.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, executive secretary of the CBD, told environment ministers and other delegates that its 2010 biodiversity plan was critical. “We will not be able to achieve sustainable development if we do not implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity,” he said.

The plan estimated that US$150-440 billion a year was needed in biodiversity-related financial flows to reverse species and habitat loss, compared with the US$50 billion a year in 2010 being spent worldwide.

At the beginning of the COP12 event, the UN released a report showing progress was lagging on biodiversity goals known as Aichi targets set out in the CBD’s 2010 biodiversity plan.

For example, the key target of halving the rate of biodiversity loss, backed by a US$2.2 billion fund created at the 2010 COP meeting in Nagoya, Japan, is nowhere near being reached, according to projections in the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 (GBO4) report.

Habitat loss

At a separate high-level meeting that took place on 16 and 17 October, ministers of the environment signed the so-called Gangwon declaration, pledging to double biodiversity-related funding for developing countries and maintain this level until 2020 to reach the Aichi biodiversity conservation targets.

Despite opposition from some larger developing countries, including India and Brazil, which cited budget constraints and the need to hold richer countries to their funding commitments, the meeting agreed that signatories should “mobilise domestic resources”. This breakthrough clause, unusual in UN documents, will mean that national budgets should give more priority to biodiversity issues.

Other areas falling well short included stemming species loss, habitat destruction, overfishing and pollution. And it seems that such declines as well as pressures on habitats are only growing, said Derek Tittensor, senior marine biodiversity scientist at the UN Environment Programme. “We’re making some effort, but, at the moment, we’re not seeing the benefits,” he told SciDev.Net.

“There has been an increase in resources and that is projected to continue into the future — that’s partly what has come out of the COP12 meeting in Korea — but the big question is whether that will be sufficient to arrest the decline in the state of biodiversity that we observed and projected,” he added.

Others, however, were more optimistic. GBO4 “is just a starting point”, said Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, acting executive director of international biodiversity research programme DIVERSITAS. “Some of the targets are very far from being able to be achieved by 2020. However, we also know there are lags between the time of starting actions on the ground and the time you get the fruits of them,” she told SciDev.Net.

‘Pyeongchang road map’

“It is my strong belief that these decisions will enable us to turn many of the indicators in GBO4 from yellow to green.”

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD In total, the meeting adopted 33 decisions referred to collectively as the ‘Pyeongchang road map’.

Among the decisions was an agreement to establish a technical expert group to examine how synthetic biology products should be regulated. COP12 agreed that risk assessment and regulations must tally with the ‘no-harm principle’ that activities avoid damaging the environment of other states or areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

But the highlight of the meeting, according to delegates, was the entering into force of a treaty signed four years ago that opens up access to genetic resources and a mandatory fair sharing of the benefits derived from them.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their utilisation to the CBD came into force on 12 October after the 50th ratification.
– See more at: http://www.scidev.net/global/biodiversity/news/biodiversity-deeper-role-sdgs.html#sthash.P1rHT8Ki.dpuf

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Zygogramma bicolorata, a Parthenium biocontrol agent in Ethiopia

See video, Taking aim at a bitter weed:    http://youtu.be/Ty4r4HPM08s

Venues:
Addis Ababa – first 2 days
July 13 – July 15, 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Nexus Hotel
http://www.nexusaddis.com/

Adama – second 2 days
July 15 – July 17, 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Kereyu Hill Resort Hotel
http://kereyuhillresorthotel.com/

Objective:
The purpose of this four-day workshop is to review the current status of parthenium in the world and discuss management practices that can be used to abate its adverse impacts. The workshop will bring together scientists working on parthenium from Africa and other parts of the world to share information on the biology and management of this weed. The workshop is designed to facilitate collaboration among researchers both within Ethiopia and internationally.

Background:
The devastating invasive weed parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus) is making an unwelcome advance in countries around the world from its birthplace in Central America. The scourge, known in Oromiffa, one of Ethiopia’s languages, as “faramsissa,” or “sign your land away,” has now spread to Africa, Asia, and Australia. In Africa, its reach extends from Ethiopia in the north to South Africa in the south. Wherever it goes, it reduces crop yield, adversely affects livestock production by taking over pastures and affecting the taste of cow’s milk, damages human health, and impinges on biodiversity. The Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab—a program funded by USAID and managed by Virginia Tech—has a project in Ethiopia led by Virginia State University that has been developing control practices to abate these adverse impacts. This project has evaluated the host range of two bioagents that control the weed, conducted a detailed survey of parthenium in eastern and southern Africa, and trained several individuals on biological control. Workshop participants will visit a bioagent rearing site, witness the release of bioagents that control parthenium, Zygogramma and Listronotus, and visit farms affected by this weed.

Workshop sponsors: USAID, IPM Innovation Lab at Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, IAPPS, EIAR, ARC-LNR, Alemaya University.

 

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Press Release

Farming for Improved Ecosystem Services Seen as Economically Feasible
April 2014

http://www.aibs.org/bioscience-press-releases/140407_farming_for_improved_ecosystem_services_seen_as_economically_feasible.html

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By changing row-crop management practices in economically and environmentally stable ways, US farms could contribute to improved water quality, biological diversity, pest suppression, and soil fertility while helping to stabilize the climate, according to an article in the May issue of BioScience. The article, based on research conducted over 25 years at the Kellogg Biological Station in southwest Michigan, further reports that Midwest farmers, especially those with large farms, appear willing to change their farming practices to provide these ecosystem services in exchange for payments. And a previously published survey showed that citizens are willing to make such payments for environmental services such as cleaner lakes.

The article is by G. Philip Robertson and six coauthors associated with the Kellogg Biological Station, which is part of the Long Term Ecological Research Network. The research analyzed by Robertson and colleagues investigated the yields and the environmental benefits achievable by growing corn, soybean, and winter wheat under regimes that use one third of the usual amount of fertilizer—or none at all—with “cover crops” fertilizing the fields in winter. The research also examined “no-till” techniques. The regime that used fewer chemicals resulted in more than 50 percent reductions in the amount of nitrogen that escaped into groundwater and rivers, with crop yields close to those of standard management. Nitrogen pollution is a major problem in inland waterways and coastal regions, where it contributes to the formation of “dead zones.”

The no-till and reduced chemical regimes also mitigated greenhouse warming by taking up greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, in contrast to standard management, which produces significant greenhouse warming by emitting nitrous oxide. The zero-chemical regime mitigated greenhouse warming enough to compensate for the emissions produced under standard management. All three regimes also led to more fertile soil compared with conventional management.

The environmentally improved farming practices that Robertson and his colleagues studied are more complex than conventional ones. But the authors found that although sustained profitability is generally farmers’ overriding concern, substantial proportions would accept payments to adopt such practices, especially those with large farms. And a 2009 survey in Michigan found that members of the public indicated they were willing to pay higher taxes so that land managers could participate in stewardship programs to benefit lakes; a smaller number were willing to pay for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Robertson and his colleagues argue that in coming decades, human population and income growth will drive agriculture to ever-higher intensities. The danger is that it will become more vulnerable to climate extremes and pest outbreaks. “Now is the time to guide this intensification in a way that enhances the delivery of ecosystems services that are not currently marketed,” they conclude.

This Overview and other articles in the May 2014 issue of BioScience are now published online as Advance Access at http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/recent .

BioScience is published monthly by Oxford Journals. Follow BioScience on Twitter @BioScienceAIBS.

Oxford Journals is a division of Oxford University Press. Oxford Journals publishes well over 300 academic and research journals covering a broad range of subject areas, two-thirds of which are published in collaboration with learned societies and other international organizations. The division been publishing journals for more than a century, and as part of the world’s oldest and largest university press, has more than 500 years of publishing expertise behind it. Follow Oxford Journals on Twitter @OxfordJournals

Jennifer Williams
Production Coordinator, BioScience

American Insitute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)
1900 Campus Commons Drive, Suite 200
Reston, VA 20191
703-674-2500 x209
jwilliams@aibs.org
http://www.aibs.org

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