Forest restoration projects and biodiversity

Photo credit: Google

The International Day for Biological Diversity 2011: Forest Biodiversity

 

Tree genetic diversity is key to success for forest restoration projects

The importance of forests to climatic stability and biodiversity is widely understood, and reflected in the surge of interest in recent decades in large-scale forest restoration projects. The latest such plans are extremely ambitious, requiring significant levels of investment: the Bonn Challenge, for example, brings together international commitments to restore 150 million hectares of lost forests and degraded lands worldwide by 2020; Initiative 20×20 aims to restore 20 million hectares by 2020 in Latin America and India’s Green Mission aims to restore 5 million hectares.

While the potential gains from reforesting landscapes are substantial, there is a need to confront the often disappointing reality: to date, many restoration projects have achieved only limited success, or have failed completely. The reasons for this are complex and not fully understood; there has been little by way of rigorous evaluation of the success factors for restoration projects. However a review of the studies that have been conducted has revealed important insights into the effect of tree genetics on the chances of success, and offers valuable pointers for future tree planting projects.

Projects designed to return degraded land to natural forest, with associated improvements in ecological function and biodiversity, rightly focus on native tree species. The review suggests that a deeper level of ecological awareness and a more nuanced approach to tree selection than have been previously deployed could help to attain the desired outcome of resilient, self-sustaining forest ecosystems.

Writing in a special edition of the Forest Ecology & Management journal, as part of the Forest Genetic Resources series, scientists report that inadequate attention to genetic considerations in choosing planting material can have an adverse impact on outcomes.

Even native tree species can be genetically ill-matched to the environmental conditions at the restoration site if the planting material is not well chosen. This can result in a deleterious effect on the trees’ growth, potential for survival and reproductive success.

Read the full story: Bioversity International

Land degradation in Gambia

Photo credit: The Point

 

Growing Threat of Global Warming Becoming Apparent in Gambia

in The Point (Banjul)

ousman_sowe-s

 

The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Parks and Wildlife and Environment, Ousman Sowe, has said the growing threat of global warming, desertification, land degradation and loss of biodiversity is, no doubt, becoming increasingly apparent in The Gambia.

He made this statement while delivering a speech at the graduation ceremony for 26 students at the Forestry School in Kafuta.

The graduands were 16 from the Forestry department and 11 from Department of Parks and Wildlife.

According to PS Sowe, large areas once covered with dense impenetrable forests teeming with wildlife have now been degraded to the threshold.

He also indicated that most of the forest lands have now become wastelands, “impossible or costly to recover”.

“Weather patterns are now unpredictable with devastating effects of droughts and floods,” he said, adding that heavy winds are eroding the soils of their nutrients which are essential for agricultural production “thus depriving us of our livelihoods and forcing many people into poverty and out-migration.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure delivery of better services to our communities which suffer the greatest impacts of land degradation,” he further stated.

Read the full story: allAfrica

See also: The Point

Indigenous peoples conserving the forests

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Flickr/Dede Rohadi /CIFOR

 

Indigenous people keep carbon locked in forests

“The world has never had such strong evidence of the role of indigenous peoples in conserving the forests that represent the one existing solution to climate change.”

Abdon Nababan, Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago

 

Speed read

  • Local land claims must be protected to stop greenhouse gas emissions from tree felling, forum hears.

Indigenous people prevent carbon emissions through their stewardship of forests and pristine environments, a side event at the COP 21 summit heard.

A study presented at COP 21’s Global landscapes forum showed thatindigenous people oversee around a fifth of the world’s carbon stock, in the form of tropical forests. Altogether, 168 billion tonnes of carbon are stored on indigenous lands — around three times the world’s annual emissions — and this is in danger of being released if the societies looking after these lands are not strengthened, the study found.

“We know that the respect and recognition of indigenous people’s rights, land tenure and traditional knowledge have contributed to more sustainable use and management of various ecosystems and landscapes,” said Grace Balawag, the deputy coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership on Climate Change, Forests and Sustainable Development.

The study was presented at the 5 December event in Paris, France, by an alliance of indigenous peoples’ groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It was discussed alongside several research papers and initiatives highlighting the role that indigenous people play in preventing the destruction of forests and the release of large carbon stocks.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Seeds without Borders

Photo credit: Biodiversity International

 

Seeds without borders: Using and sharing plant genetic diversity to adapt to climate change in Africa

11 African countries gathered last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to implement seed sharing and use to adapt to climate change, ensure food security and alleviate poverty.

These days, we are all faced with new environmental challenges, such as increased flooding, heat and drought – and that is why everyone needs crop diversity: to be able to maintain food security for everyone.”

No single country has all the genetic resources it needs to adapt to global challenges of climate change, food security and poverty alleviation – the reason that 11 African country teams  met last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They were finding ways to work together to implement two international agreements to conserve and exchange plant genetic resources with each other and with the rest of the world, and share related benefits.

Interdisciplinary teams from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda spent the week working together to set their country roadmaps for embedding the sustainable use of plant genetic resources into the heart of national development plans.

This is a critical and timely issue in the lead-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Paris, France at the beginning of December – The International Panel on Climate Change predicts that agricultural production is set to decline, with yields of major crops in Africa declining by up to 8% . This means that alternative varieties or replacement crops that can grow in the changing climatic conditions are urgently need to be available to farmers.

Two international agreements govern how countries exchange seeds beyond their borders – the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Plant Treaty) and the Nagoya Protocol. But to implement these agreements at the country level is not always straightforward as Michael Halewood, Bioversity International, explains:

Read the full article: Biodiversity International

Reforestation the easy way

Photo credit: Photo WVC 1998-12 Fraternisation 10 copy

Bois de la Fraternisation – Arbolle – Burkina Faso

Remarkable reforestation in Burkina Faso

by Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University – Belgium)

In 1988, I was invited by the Dutch Committee Maastricht-Niou to carry out a reforestation project with my team of the University of Ghent (Belgium) in the village of Niou (Kourweogo Province, Burkina Faso). I will describe the success of that project later. Today, attention is paid to a similar reforestation project, set up in 1988 together with the Canadian Cooperation in Arbolle (Passoré Province, Burkina Faso).

It was decided to plant seedlings of a number of tree species with different dosages of TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) on a clayey soil, completely barren in 1988 due to heavy deforestation by the local villagers during the preceeding years.

Start project
Hard clayey field completely denuded, due to firewood collection

First, plant pits were created and the excavated soil was mixed with different dosages of TC to study the optimal dosage under these local conditions. Some plant pits functioned as control plots (no TC was added to the local soil).

1988-07 Participation of local people in plant pit preparation
1988-07 Participation of local people in plant pit preparation

At the start of the project in July 1988, the young saplings were 40-50 cm high on average. Thanks to some good rains during the rainy season (June-October), the hydrogels of the TC soil conditioner could stock a large quantity of water and they delivered this water gradually to the growing young trees during the 8 months long dry season. Thereby, the saplings continued their growth without any need for irrigation.

In December 1988, six months after planting, the growth of the individual trees was measured to compare growth differences due to a difference in TC-dosage.

Measuring growth
1988-12 Measuring growth of individual trees

Very soon, it became quite clear that TC had an interesting positive effect on tree growth. A dosage of 100 g of TC per plant pit showed to be close to optimal in these conditions. Due to our activities on the field, the soil was scarified by trampling and seeds of grasses and other weeds germinated and developed into a sparse vegetation cover.

Young acacias
1988-12 Young trees already show differences in outgrowth

Acacia nilotica saplings developed remarkably well, in particular with the optimal dosage of 100 g TC per plant pit.

Acacia nilotica
Acacia nilotica saplings continued to grow in the dry season without any irrigation

In April 1989, we returned to the project to carry out new measurements. What a splendid view it was ! Almost all trees, except the control ones (without TC in the soil), were still brightly green with developing young leaves, a very exceptional situation during the dry season. Some saplings had disappeared, not because of the drought, but destroyed by locusts and termites.

tree growth
1989-04 Green saplings in the dry season

In July 1990, two years after the start of the project, the original barren field was already transformed into a green area. Young trees were developing, accordingly to the dosage of TC in the plant pit. Another interesting aspect was the development of different species of weeds around the individual trees. Indeed, seeds of these weeds were blown in by the wind and those falling on the plant pit surface found relatively humid conditions in which they could germinate and grow (see green disks around the trees).

Young wood
1990-07 Two years after plantation, the young trees were developing splendidly without any supplementary irrigation or fertilization

Some of the Acacia nilotica trees already had exceptional dimensions. It was almost unbelievable that these trees had grown to a height of more than 2 meters without any additional treatment. The only thing we did, was to plant the seedlings in July 1988 with a certain dosage of TC and let the rain make the TC functioning as a reservoir of water and nutrients. Such a growth was never seen before in these circumstances.

Acacia nilotica
1990-07 I was so happy seeing these fantastic two years old trees

The general aspect of the plantation was changing gradually. Not only the young trees were continuously growing all year long, but the originally barren soil became slowly covered with grasses and other weeds. This “nature restoration” was an important secondary effect of the soil conditioning with TC.

Acacias growing
1990-07 Quickly changing general outlook of the plantation

In July 1994, six years after the start of the project, a splendid young wood was formed. Tree canopies were closing and the vegetation cover on the surface was also closing more and more. Of course, the flowering plants started to attract numerous animal species : insects, birds, mice, squirrels etc. Biodiversity enhanced significantly.

Wood 01
1994-07 Splendid young wood in 6 years time

In 1998, 10 years after plantation, nothing can be seen anymore of the original barren area : a remarkable success was booked with this reforestation project. Trees were already several meters high and the vegetation on the surface became very dense.

Wood 10 years
1998-12 Remarkable success of the reforestation project

It is nice to know that since 1998 the same successes were booked with TC-reforestation projects in many other countries.

Originally published at:

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2006/11/19/remarkable-reforestation-in-burkina-faso/

 

African elephants and the environment

Photo credit: Nature World News

African elephants are significantly reducing Kruger National Park’s tree density. (Photo : Flickr: alecdphotography)

Elephants Are Knocking Down Too Many Trees In Kruger National Park, Researchers Say

By Samantha Mathewson

African elephants are knocking down trees left and right in Kruger National Park, the largest protected area in South Africa, and a new study revealed that tree-fall rates in the park are all about elephant density there, which is growing. These large animals are the leading cause behind the area’s changing ecology and shifting landscapes, because elephants routinely eat plants, tree bark, and other parts of trees.

“National parks and nature preserves will serve as biodiversity arks as we move into the future,” Greg Asner, of Carnegie’s Institution for Science, said in a news release. “But to manage them properly, conservationists will need to maintain the functionality of the ecosystem as a whole, which will require an understanding of system-wide responses to changing animal populations.”

Read the full article: Nature World News 

 

 

Sustainable Development – Summit 2015

 

Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population.  Thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.

Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty. Efforts are being made to manage forests and combat desertification.

Read the full story: UN.org

Climate change, CO2 and mangroves

Photo credit: Nature World News

Protected areas in Indonesia have reduced mangrove habitat loss and carbon dioxide emissions in amounts equivalent to “taking 344,000 vehicles off the road each year,” according to a scientist in a recent Duke study. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons )

 

Carbon Dioxide and Mangroves: Equivalent to Removing Cars From Road

By Samantha Mathewson

Mangrove conservation efforts not only prevent habitat loss, but also help regulate carbon dioxide emissions. According to researchers from Duke University, protected areas in Indonesia have maintained 35,594 acres of mangrove habitats and prevented the release into the atmosphere of about 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that the mangrove roots help store.

“This is not a small number,” Daniela Miteva, a postdoctoral researcher at The Nature Conservancy and a Duke University alumna, said in a news release. “Protected areas have reduced the rate of mangrove loss by about 28 percent in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest area of mangroves.”

The researchers analyzed the success of protected areas from 2000 to 2010. Their findings were recently published in the journal Ecological Economics.

Read the full article: Nature World News

ONCE UPON A TIME IN 2002: CBD MAGAZINE

Photo credit: WVC 1994-07 – Bois de la Fraternisation in Arbolle (Burkina Faso),

Belgian TC-Dialogue with Canadian Cooperation

Happy to remind me of an former publication in the CBD Magazine 2002

by Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (Belgium)

CBD-2002_01

Arbolle 1988-07 at the start of the project (Photo credit - WVC)
Arbolle 1988-07 at the start of the project (Photo credit – WVC)

CBD-2002_02

Click on the text to enlarge the size

Arbolle 1990-07 - Young wood developing thanks to soil conditioner TerraCottem
Arbolle 1990-07 – Young wood developing thanks to soil conditioner TerraCottem
Arbolle 1998-12 : Ten years after plantation with TerraCottem soil conditioner, the Bois de la Fraternisation (Wood of Fraternization) is a remarkable success. Reforestation at its best. (Photo credit WVC)
Arbolle 1998-12 : Ten years after plantation with TerraCottem soil conditioner, the Bois de la Fraternisation (Wood of Fraternization) is a remarkable success. Reforestation at its best.
(Photo credit WVC)

Dams and biodiversity

Photo credit: bluechannel24

Balbina Dam has hit populations of mammals, large gamebirds and tortoises, researchers say, warning against hydro push.
Widely hailed as ‘green’ sources of renewable energy, numerous hydroelectric dams have been built worldwide, but research reveals they are far from environmentally friendly.

Brazil: Hydroelectric dams drastically reduce tropical forest biodiversity

A study puiblished in online journal PLOS ONE from the University of East Anglia (UEA) has revealed the drastic effects of the major Amazonian Balbina Dam on tropical rainforest biodiversity. The research reveals a loss of mammals, birds and tortoises from the vast majority of islands formed by the creation of the vast Balbina Lake, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric reservoirs.

Lead author and UEA graduate Dr Maíra Benchimol, of the Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Bahia, Brazil, said: “Hydroelectric dams have been thought to be an environmentally friendly source of renewable power, and in recent years have been built to supply the burgeoning energy demands of emergent tropical countries.

Previous studies have shown that large dams result in severe losses in fishery revenues, increases in greenhouse gas emissions and socioeconomic costs to local communities. Our research adds evidence that forest biodiversity also pays a heavy price when large dams are built.

Read the full article: bluechannel24

Deforestation and biodiversity loss

Photo credit: Nature World News

Dung Beetles have a very strong role in the Brazilian Amazonian ecosystem. They clear out all dung–and hey, it’s a job that has to be done, right? They are being threatened by deforestation. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Biodiversity in the Amazon is Threatened by Deforestation

By Samantha Mathewson

After surveying 2,000 species of plants, birds, beetles, ants and bees across more than 300 diverse sites in the Brazilian Amazon, researchers say that deforestation has, without a doubt, caused a strong loss of biodiversity. They also say that setting aside a network of preserved forest may make it possible to maintain different populations of plants and animals. Their findings were recently published in the journal Ecology Letters.

“Pre-existing differences in the undisturbed forests plus the way in which they had been altered by human activity had an impact on which species survived.” Dr. Ricardo Solar, lead author of the study and a research fellow at Brazil´s Universidade Federal de Viçosa, said a statement. “Some of the disturbed forests were able to maintain up to 80 percent of the species found in pristine forests — this gives us hope. It is vitally important that reserves should not be concentrated in a single part of a region, but as a widespread network of forest reserves.”

Read the full article: Nature World News

Severe droughts may lead to widespread losses of biodiversity, but …

Photo credit: Nature World News

The-large-white-pieris-brassicae-is-among-several-drought-threatened-butterflies-in-the-u-k-research-says.

After a recent butterfly census and combination of climate and other data were totaled, researchers say that several breeds could fall to the wayside by 2050 if habitat restoration and carbon reduction are not exacted. (Photo : wikipedia commons )

Climate Change and Drought: Butterfly Loss May Be Widespread By 2050

By Catherine Arnold

The scenarios we take for granted–butterflies that settle on garden flowers and allow their delicate wings to slow and then stop; bright or white pollinators migrating in large numbers–could drop off dramatically by 2050 in the U.K., report researchers from the Center for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), University of Exeter, Butterfly Conservation and Natural England, in a study recently published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

In their findings, the scientists report that severe droughts will lead to widespread losses, but that if greenhouse gas emissions are substantially reduced and landscapes managed well to reduce habitat fragmentation, maybe butterflies will continue pollinating and flying until at least 2100, a release noted.

Read the full article: Nature World News

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