Clash over Ugandan forest (SciDev.Net)

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SciDev.Net : Mise à jour hebdomadaire de SciDev.Net: 27 mars – 02 avril 2007

Science and politics clash over Ugandan forest

Peter Wamboga-Mugirya
4 April 2007
Source: SciDev.Net

[KAMPALA] Scientists are challenging politicians over the planned give-away of a natural forest east of Kampala, Uganda, for a sugar plantation.

The Ugandan state-owned newspaper The New Vision last month (20 March) reported that Uganda was in the process of leasing 7,100 hectares ― around a quarter ― of the Mabira Central Forest Reserve to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda, part of the international Mehta group. The Mabira forest, located between the cities of Kampala and Jinja in Uganda, has been a protected forest reserve since 1932.

News of the proposed giveaway has sparked a national outcry. Scientists and environmental groups have teamed up to campaign against the move, saying the forest is important for its rich biodiversity, as well as its value as a resource for carbon-trading and timber.

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About dams (Technorati / Ecoworld)

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Check Dams & Deadbeat Dams

“In our last post, “Dams & Greenhouse Gas,” we took the International Rivers Network to task for putting out a study that claimed dams are a “significant global source of greenhouse gasses.”  Because if you dug into the underlying facts, the estimated contribution greenhouse gasses make to total anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a whopping .7% (seven-tenths of one percent).

There are many problems with dams, and greenhouse gas emissions (itself a topic not beyond debate) are not one of them.  For a serious discussion of the problems with dams, we turn to the Property and Environment Research Center, who recently published an essay by James Workman entitled “Deadbeat Dams.”  Workman is succinct and comprehensive in his descriptions of why dams have outlived their usefulness:  “antiquated dams have a lot going against them: seismic shifts shake them from below; compound water pressures scour them from behind; sediment fills reservoirs; evaporation drinks more than people; and invasive species choke intake and out flow.”  Let’s not forget all those salmon…

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Role of deforestation : IPCC (Technorati / Ecoworld)

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IPCC Report – The Role of Deforestation?

The fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due in complete form in a few months, but the “Summary for Policymakers” was released last week.  The general consensus from environmental activists, along with the media and nearly all politicians can be summed up as this:  “The ‘question mark’ has been removed; fossil fuels are causing global warming.”

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Biofueled deforestation (Technorati / Ecoworld)

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Biofueled Deforestation

“According to a report in Tierramérica posted on March 26, 2007, entitled “Brazil Intends to Dominate Ethanol Market,” Brazil intends to ”increase its current production of 17,300 million liters a year by a factor of 12, without sacrificing forests, protected areas or food cultivation.”

Would someone please explain how Brazil is going to increase their biofuel production twelve times, without massive additional deforestation?

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Deforestation in Brazil (Technorati / myspace)

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“Well my Fantatsic friends I have decided to write a new blog, Growing up in the Amazon in Brazil the (Lungs of the Planet) I had loads of lovely trees to swing in, but as you are probably aware, people are chopping down these fantastic ancient trees. In my home country the lumber is not only down for wood, but also for cattle farming and soya plants. I can understand the people of Brazil are poor and need to live and even though it will be a long time until all the trees are gone, once there gone its going to be hard to restore. If the trees cut down were replaced it may stand a chance of preserving species on plant and animal that live in our part of the world. The Amazon can be used for farming and for lumber, as sacrifices must be made for everyone as we must live in harmony, but people cannot take what is not there.

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Crises alimentaires (dgAlert)

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Le point sur les crises alimentaires

“En dépit des récoltes record ou abondantes enregistrées en 2006 dans plusieurs régions du monde, notamment dans la plupart des pays d’Afrique et d’Asie, les dernières estimations de la FAO indiquent que des crises alimentaires persistent dans 34 pays à travers le monde. Dans 18 de ces pays, la crise alimentaire résulte en tout ou en partie de troubles civils ou de conflits en cours ou récents; dans les autres pays, elle est due principalement à l’impact des mauvaises conditions météorologiques sur une ou plusieurs des campagnes agricoles les plus récentes.

Food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (dgAlert)

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Executive Overview of Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

March 28, 2007

“Highest Priority—Urgent Action Required are the following: 1. Chad: Civil insecurity continues to prevent the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and hundreds have sought refuge in Darfur. Humanitarian and food access are restricted. IDPs will likely require aid until October 2008. 2. Ethiopia: Despite very good meher-season production, cereal prices are at a 13-year high. The number of people requiring emergency assistance (currently 1.3 million) will increase if prices continue to rise. The 2007 humanitarian appeal includes US$ 129 million for non-food needs. 3. Somalia: Above-normal rainfall in the upper catchments of the Juba and Shabelle river valleys is expected in the upcoming gu season, and river embankment and flood protection activities in flood-prone areas are recommended before June. Riverine farmers will require seeds prior to the start of rains in April for gu planting. Recent civil insecurity has disrupted Mogadishu market activities.”

Sécurité alimentaire en Afrique subsaharienne (dgAlert)

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Sécurité alimentaire en Afrique subsaharienne: question et problèmes principaux

“La densité de population dans quelques pays d’Afrique subsaharienne est encore inférieure à celle de l’Asie. Cependant, la vitesse de croissance de la population est bien plus grande en Afrique subsaharienne que dans n’importe quelle autre région du monde. Aussi, dans beaucoup de pays et de régions d’Afrique subsaharienne, il y a une pression plus forte pour passer des systèmes traditionnels à faibles intrants vers des systèmes plus productifs. Les sols et les climats imposent également de grandes contraintes à l’intensification. La production doit augmenter, mais les méthodes doivent être économiquement viables et socialement acceptables. Parmi les principaux problèmes, figure la gestion de la fertilité du sol, qui est liée à la disponibilité des terres arables, l’utilisation d’engrais minéraux, la restauration de la fertilité du sol (recyclage du fumier et des résidus de culture, jachère, utilisation de légumineuses, etc.), la gestion de l’eau et les fluctuations du climat (sécheresses, etc.). L’autre voie vers la sécurité alimentaire est d’assurer que les moyens économiques pour se procurer de la nourriture existent, et que cette nourriture puisse être achetée à un prix abordable. Une importante condition préalable est l’accès à la terre, vu que des personnes en plus grand nombre doivent produire leur nourriture et vivre de la terre. Les systèmes traditionnels de gestion des sols demandent une disponibilité suffisante de terre permettant d’assurer de longues périodes de jachère destinées à maintenir la fertilité du sol. Quand il n’y a plus de nouvelles terres à cultiver, la terre en jachère doit être remise en culture et la fertilité du sol chute.

First sandstorm in China (Google Blogs Alert / Johnib WordPress)

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Google Blogs Alert for: desertification

Peace and Freedom 

First sandstorm of year hits northern China


“BEIJING (AFP) – Northern China was blanketed in dust on Saturday as the first sandstorm of the year struck the region, including the capital Beijing, state media reported, citing the national weather service. Visibility was low in the capital due to the storm, but meteorologists said the sand was likely to blow out of town by nightfall due to strong winds, the Xinhua news agency reported. The mild storm was caused by a cyclone which developed over Mongolia and then moved eastward toward parts of Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei province, said Sun Jun of the China Meteorological Administration, quoted by Xinhua.

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Morocco: loss of 30.000 ha of forest per year (Google Blogs Alert / olyecology)

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Google Alert – desertification


According to Hammou Jader, Secretary-General of the High Commission for Water, Forests and Desertification Control, the country currently loses 30,000 hectares of forest per year, due to a number of problems including human activity, climate change and fires. Jader said that in most cases, the risk from fires is “caused mainly and directly by humans”. Although fires are a problem throughout the year 80% of them occur between June and October. The cause of half of the fires is never discovered, although 40% of fires are known to result from negligence such as field burning, forest clearing, campfires, discarded cigarettes and smoking beehives for honey collection.

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Changements climatiques et agriculture en Algérie (Climate-Algeria)

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Les changements climatiques enAlgérie


“Les changements climatiques vont provoquer une baisse des réserves en eau du sol à cause de la baisse des précipitations et de l’augmentation de l’évaporation au niveau du végétal et du sol dues à l’élévation de la température.

L’augmentation de la température va réduire la durée du cycle végétal qui peut constituer un facteur favorable en absence de stress hydrique . Cependant, dans le cas de l’Algérie, la baisse de pluviométrie et l’augmentation de température représentent des facteurs défavorables à la fois pour le sol et le végétal. La conséquence est l’accentuation du stress hydrique qui va causer une baisse des rendements.

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Desertification in Nigeria (African Agriculture)

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Farmers in northern Nigeria suffer the effects of desertification

“A powerful article by Lanre Oyetade on the human causes and effects of desertification, featured in The Tribune :

In the late 1990s, Alhaji A hmad Idi could count on his land to produce 40 big sacks of sorghum and another 20 full of groundnuts each year. But today, he works twice as hard to squeeze out yields half that size. “There isn’t enough rain and we have to dig deeper and deeper to find water,” said Idi, a farmer in the Makoda region, two hours from Nigeria’s northern border with Niger.

And yet, to look at his land, nothing seems to have changed, he says: a few trees and shrubs, some soil – same as ever. “The effects of desertification are felt long before sand dunes start appearing,” explained Abdul-Azeez Abba, a member of the Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE). “It starts exactly as Idi describes : productivity drops, the sub-soil becomes sandy, rains diminish, temperatures rise and the water table drops.”

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