Apr 19, 14

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Goodwill and Compromise: Good News from the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit

by Jonathan Watts After the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks, a successful agreement to protect biodiversity has provided a timely morale booster and restores faith in the United Nations. Delegates in Nagoya, Japan, have reached an agreement to protect biodiversity. Photograph: Nozomu Endo/AP In the long run, the biodiversity deal scratched out in Nagoya in the early hours of this morning is intended to benefit habitats and species such as tigers, pandas and whales. But in the...

planet

Keeping Within Our Earthly Limits

The Living Planet Report, produced by WWF and its partners, shows that humanity’s demands still outstrip the world’s natural resources – a trend likely to worsen, unless leading countries begin to provide the highest quality of life with the lowest ecological demand. chinadialogue looks inside the 2010 edition. Populations of tropical species are plummeting and humanity’s demands on natural resources are sky-rocketing to 50% more than the earth can sustain, according to the 2010...

planet

1,200+ New Species Discovered in Amazon Over Last Decade

Rio acari marmoset (Mico acariensis), one of the new species found in the Amazon. | via The Guardian Researchers discovered more than 1,200 new species of plants and animals in the Amazon during the last decade, a rate of about one new species every three days, according to a new report. Those discoveries, compiled by the conservation group WWF to coincide with the ongoing UN summit on biodiversity in Japan, have included 637 new plant species, 257 fish species, 216 amphibian species, and...

planet

Biodiversity 100: An Update on the Campaign

Editor's Note: We reported on the launch of the Biodiversity 100 campaign in August. Now Alison Killing has an update on their efforts and how their work coincides with the biodiversity summit currently taking place in Nagoya, Japan. (composite screenshot of header from Convention on Biological Diversity) A lot of concerns have been raised about the vagueness of the targets in the Nagoya biodiversity summit's proposed declarations, as well as concern over the likelihood that a weak action...

planet

The Frozen Zoo: A Seed Bank for Endangered Animals

Editor's Note: We've talked a lot about the sixth extinction, biodiversity loss and the need to catalog the Earth's biosphere, and what we can do to raise awareness and make species loss more visible; now here's a new angle in the fight to save endangered animals, which is reminiscent of the seed banks used to save plants: the Frozen Zoo, a project of California’s San Diego Zoo where scientist have long collected animals’ skin samples, hoping they might someday protect endangered species....

planet

What Are Species Worth?: Putting a Price on Biodiversity

When officials gather for an international summit on biodiversity next month, they might look to remind the world why species matter to humans: for producing oxygen, finding new drugs, making agricultural crops more productive, and something far less tangible — a sense of wonder. by Richard Conniff We live in what is paradoxically a great age of discovery and also of mass extinction. Astonishing new species turn up daily, as new roads and new technologies penetrate formerly remote...

planet

Kew Gardens: An Evolving Map of the Genetic Distribution of Plants

The Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, holds the finest collection of plants and fungi in the world. But, more than a museum, it is a crucial research center keeping tabs on how ecosystems are surviving. by Juliette Jowit The Herbarium at Kew Gardens contains millions of dried plant specimens, the oldest of which dates back to 1700. Photograph: Martin Godwin (via The Guardian) The label is scrawled and inky, but it unmistakably says "Nyassa. Dr Livingston." Despite the spelling...

planet

Untangling the 'Environmentalist's Paradox': Is It All About Speed?

We need a better understanding of the 'environmentalist's paradox' - Why is human well-being improving globally when our environmental woes appear to be worsening all the time? by Leo Hickman We hear lots of concerned chatter these days – not least, here on this site - about peak oil, peak water, deforestation, resource depletion and the like, but a popular riposte offered by those doubting such concerns is something commonly referred to as the "Environmentalist's Paradox". The...

planet

Pavlovsk Experimental Station: Field Seed Bank Under Threat - Help Save It!

Good news: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has intervened in the case of the Pavlovsk Experimental Station. John Vidal at The Guardian reports: The Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ordered an immediate inquiry into the potential destruction of the world's oldest seed bank following a court case and a Twitter campaign by Guardian readers and others. The case is not yet closed however, and the Global Crop Diversity Trust is asking people to keep up their efforts in campaigning to...

planet

Biodiversity 100: An International Campaign is Launched

This week conservation ecologist Guillaume Chapron and journalist George Monbiot launched Biodiversity 100, an international campaign to get those responsible in G20 countries (countries rich enough to take substantial action) to sign up to very specific pledges to protect our top 100 species or ecosystems that are falling by the political wayside. The Guardian is hosting the campaign website. You can find the launch article there. In it Chapron and Monbiot describe the plight of the...

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