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May 25th 2006
From The Economist print edition
Cutting down trees could be the best way to preserve tropical forests
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DEPRESSING reports about how quickly the world's tropical forests are being felled are commonplace. But depressing reports about the state of the trees that are still standing are much rarer. In fact, a new study from the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), an offshoot of the United Nations, claims to be the first exhaustive survey of tropical-forest management ever undertaken. Its findings, although grim, do contain a kernel of hope.
The ITTO examined "permanent forest estate", meaning land that the governments of its 33 members have formally set aside for forests, and is therefore subject to some form of regulation or protection. The category includes both national parks and timber concessions, in both public and private hands. It covers 814m hectares, and accounts for roughly two-thirds of the world's tropical forests.
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International Tropical Timber Organisation
The concept is important, explains Duncan Poore, one of the authors of the report, because it is not always possible, or desirable, to protect every last grove against encroaching farms or homes. Instead, governments should concentrate on maintaining the forests that are the most commercially and scientifically valuable. Yet the ITTO's researchers found that only 15% of the permanent forest estate has a management plan, and less than 5% of it is sustainably managed. That still amounts to an area the size of Germany, the report notes, and represents a dramatic improvement since 1988, when an earlier and less extensive survey found that only one country in the tropics-Trinidad and Tobago-had any well-run forests at all. But relative to the area of forest that has disappeared over the same period, the well-managed area is negligible.
The crux is bad government. Poor countries do not always have good forestry laws. Even when they do, they rarely have the capacity to enforce them. It is no coincidence that Malaysia, the country with the highest proportion of prudently managed forest in the study, is also one of the richest. Countries with the worst run forests, meanwhile, are war-torn places such as Congo and Cambodia.
More surprising, perhaps, is the difference the report found between forests where logging is allowed, and those that have been earmarked for conservation. Some 7% of "production" forests, it turns out, are in good shape, compared with just 2.4% of "protection" forests. As Dr Poore points out, it is easy to undertake to preserve a forest, but difficult to do so in practice. Timber concessionaires at least have an incentive (and probably the wherewithal) to look after their property, while ill-paid and ill-equipped forestry officials often have neither. Exploiting forests may prove the best way to preserve them.
Copyright ? The Economist Newspaper Limited 2006. All rights
TIME Magazine Feature - global warming and extinction
QUIVER TREE This striking giant aloe was given its
name by the San people of southern Africa, who use
the tree's hollow branches as quivers for their
arrows. Scientists have discovered that quiver trees
are starting to die off in parts of their traditional
range. The species might be in the early stages of
moving southward, trying to escape rising
temperatures closer to the equator.
PINON MOUSE This tiny resident of the
southwestern U.S. has long eked out its living in
juniper woodlands, but in California it is heading for
higher, cooler altitudes in the High Sierra conifer
forests. The mouse is one of several small
mammals in the region that have moved their homes
1,000 to 3,000 ft. higher in elevation over the past century.
RED-BREASTED GOOSE Twenty-six bird species, including this goose, which breeds in
the Arctic, are listed by the World Conservation Union as threatened by global warming.
Half are seabirds whose food supplies are diminished because of climate changes. The
rest are terrestrial species, including several whose coastal habitats are at risk because
of rising sea levels.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT Global warming might not only shrink the elephant's range within
Africa but may also wreak havoc with the animal's love life. The relative abundance--or
scarcity--of food affects the social hierarchy of the herd, which in turn can determine
which animals get to breed.
BUTTERFLIES Researchers have documented shifts in the ranges of many butterflies.
One study looked at 35 species of nonmigratory butterflies whose ranges extended from
northern Africa to northern Europe. The scientists found that two-thirds of the species
had shifted their home ranges northward by 20 to 150 miles. In the U.S., researchers
have closely tracked the movements of the butterfly known as Edith's checkerspot (at
right, middle). Though butterflies might be sturdier than they look, scientists believe many
species will not survive the impact of climate change.
KING PROTEA It is the national flower of South Africa, just one among the many
spectacular members of the large family of flowering plants named after Proteus, a
Greek god capable of changing his shape at will. Scientists fear that more than a third of
all Proteaceae species could disappear by 2050.
MISTLETOE The limber pine dwarf mistletoe is proliferating throughout western forests
TIME Magazine Archive Article -- Feeling The Heat -- Apr. 03, 2006 http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1176986,00.html
2 von 3 04.04.2006 03:47
in North America, thanks to heat and drought-weakened trees that act as perfect hosts
for this botanical parasite. It's not unlike what happens in your body, says researcher
Connie Millar of the U.S. Forest Service: "When your system is stressed, you're more
vulnerable to all kinds of things that want to get you."
FROGS Amphibians have been hopping, swimming and crawling about the planet for
350 million years. But their future is hardly assured. A global assessment of the state of
this entire class of vertebrates found that nearly one-third of the 5,743 known species are
in serious trouble. Climate change may well be the culprit in most cases, either directly or
indirectly. The home habitat of the golden toad (at right, bottom) in Costa Rica moved up
the mountain until "home" disappeared entirely. More than two-thirds of the 110 species
of colorful harlequin frogs in Central and South America, two shown above, have also
disappeared. Scientists believe that what killed many of the harlequins and what
threatens a great many other amphibian species is a disease caused by the fungus
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Climate change seems to be making frogs more
vulnerable to infection by the fungus.
What troubles scientists especially is that if we are only in the early stages of warming, all
these lost and endangered animals might be just the first of many to go. One study
estimates that more than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by the
-With reporting by with reporting by Dan Cray/ Los Angeles
China and Int'l Forest Trade and Logging
JAKARTA - China is a major conduit and the United States, Japan and European Union key markets for furniture and wood products from countries where illegal logging is common and human rights records are poor, a new report says.
The report issued on Friday, "China and the Global Market for Forest Products", is based on five years of research by Forest Trends, the Centre for International Forestry Research, the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy, and other groups.
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BMU und BMWi Statusbericht zur Energieversorgung
Energieversorgung für Deutschland
Statusbericht für den Energiegipfel am 3. April 2006
In diesen Zeiten wird deutlicher als bisher sichtbar, wie sehr unser Land auf eine sichere, wirtschaftliche und umweltverträgliche Energieversorgung angewiesen ist. Die weltweit schnell wachsende Energienachfrage führt zu steigenden Energie- und Strompreisen. Diese belasten die Privathaushalte und machen vor allem energieintensiven Unternehmen im weltweiten Wettbewerb zu schaffen. Deutschland ist in hohem Maße von Energieimporten abhängig, Öl und Gas beziehen wir aus wenigen - politisch teilweise instabilen - Förderregionen. Der weltweit wachsende Energieverbrauch führt auch zu einer Zunahme der Emissionen von Treibhausgasen. Die damit einhergehende Erwärmung der Atmosphäre erhöht die Wahrscheinlichkeit drastischer Folgen für Mensch und Natur. Erforderlich ist ein Gesamtkonzept, das Versorgungssicherheit, tragbare Energiekosten sowie wirksamen Klimaschutz in effizienter Weise miteinander verknüpft und eine Richtung für die anstehenden Investitionen in unsere Energieversorgung vorgibt. Der Statusbericht bestätigt die Notwendigkeit einer derart integrierten Strategie.
Mit dem vorliegenden Statusbericht werden die Fakten und Zahlen zur Energieversorgung dargestellt. Sie machen insbesondere deutlich, in welchem Maße unsere Energieversorgung in die globalen Rohstoffmärkte und in den europäischen Binnenmarkt für Energie eingebunden ist. Der Bericht enthält eine Bestandsaufnahme der aktuellen Situation sowie eine Vorschau auf den Zeitraum bis 2020. Auf der Grundlage der Zahlen und Fakten werden in einem zweiten Schritt die Herausforderungen beschrieben, die sich daraus für die Modernisierung unserer Energieversorgung ergeben.
BMU Broschüre zum Thema Atomkraft
Aktuelle BMU Broschüre:
Titel: Atomkraft: Ein teurer Irrweg
"Die Mythen der Atomwirtschaft"
Sollte Deutschland wieder auf Atomkraft setzen? Der Konflikt um Erdgaslieferungen aus Russland und steigende Strom- und Energiepreise haben die Debatte über die Zukunft der Atomenergie in Deutschland erneut entfacht. Aber sichert Atomenergie wirklich unsere Energieversorgung? Trägt sie zum Klimaschutz bei? Und rechnen sich neue Atomkraftwerke? Das Bundesumweltministerium gibt Antworten.