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Archive for the ‘management’ Category

Pioneering six-mile walkway to attract ‘eco tourists’ to Amazon rainforest

Posted by Lindy on January 24, 2012


23rd January 2012

A project to build a pioneering science centre with more than six miles of walkways will give tourists spectacular views in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. The £6.4m centre will be built by a British charity and will act as a research base for scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, provide jobs for Brazilian tribes and attract eco-tourists, according to The Sunday Times.

Tourist high-light: The walkway will give visitors a stunning view of the rainforest from high above the jungle floor. The ambitious walkway will be located in Roraima, a remote province of northeast Brazil, and will be designed by the same architects who created  the London Eye and Kew Gardens’ treetop walkway. Researchers will use the walkway to study the rainforest canopy while tourists will be able to enjoy stunning views from high above the jungle floor.

The project is being co-ordinated by the Amazon Charitable Trust and is expected to take two years to construct. Robert Pasley-Tyler, a managing partner of the Amazon Charitable Trust, said of the project: ‘It will employ the local river tribe, giving them a way of making a living without destroying the forest, and also boost awareness around the world. Visitors will also get to see the nearby pink dolphins and the giant otters before spending a relaxing day on a riverside beach.’

Roraima is the northernmost and least populated state of Brazil. It borders Venezuela and Guyana and renowned for its challenging hiking routes.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2090563/Pioneering-mile-walkway-attract-eco-tourists-Amazonian-rainforest.html#ixzz1kQDzUYgl

Posted in Amazon, Appropriate technology, Global warming, management, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

Rainforest: the problem with roads

Posted by Lindy on January 19, 2012


http://e360.yale.edu/feature/as_roads_spread_in_tropical_rain_forests_environmental_toll_grows/2485/

Taken from an article by William Laurance

Brazil is currently building 7,500 kilometers of new paved highways that crisscross the Amazon basin. Three major new highways are cutting across the towering Andes mountains, providing a direct link for timber and agricultural exports from the Amazon to resource-hungry Pacific Rim nations, such as China.

Despite their environmental costs, the economic incentives to drive roads into tropical wilderness are strong. They are:

  • a cost-effective means to promote economic development
  • give access natural resources
  • local communities in remote areas often demand new roads to improve access to markets and medical services
  • new roads can be used to help secure frontier regions

Roads that cut through rainforests can also create barriers for sensitive wildlife, many of which are ecological specialists. Studies have shown that even narrow (30 meter-wide), unpaved roads drastically reduce or halt local movements for scores of forest bird species. Many of these species prefer deep, dark forest interiors; they have large, light-sensitive eyes and avoid the vicinity of road verges, where conditions are much brighter, hotter, and drier. A variety of other tropical species — including certain insects, amphibians, reptiles, bats, and small and large mammals — have been shown to be similarly leery of roads and other clearings. And by bringing naïve rainforest wildlife into close proximity with fast-moving vehicles, roads can also promote heavy animal mortality. For some creatures, especially those with low reproductive rates, roads could potentially become death zones that help propel the species toward local extinction.

Although the direct effects of roads are serious, they pale in comparison to the indirect impacts. In tropical frontier regions, new roads often open up a Pandora’s box of unplanned environmental maladies, including:

  •  illegal land colonization
  • fires
  • hunting
  • gold mining
  • forest clearing.

“The best thing you could do for the Amazon,” said the respected Brazilian scientist Eneas Salati, “is to bomb all the roads.”

In Brazilian Amazonia, my colleagues and I have done studies showing that around 95 percent of all deforestation occurs within 50 kilometers of highways or roads. Human-lit fires increase dramatically near Amazonian roads, even within many protected areas. In Suriname, most illegal gold mining occurs near roads.

Paved highways are especially dangerous to forests. They provide year-round access to forest resources and reduce transportation costs, causing larger-scale impacts on forests and wildlife than do unpaved roads, which tend to become impassable in the wet season. The proposed routes of new highways often attract swarms of land speculators who rush in to buy up cheap forest land, which they then sell to the highest bidder.
Perhaps the most damaging aspect of paved highways is that they spawn networks of secondary roads, which spread further environmental destruction. For instance, the 2,000-kilometer-long Belem-Brasília highway, completed in the early 1970s, has today evolved into a spider web of secondary roads and a 400-kilometer-wide swath of forest destruction across the eastern Brazilian Amazon.

Can the environmental impacts of tropical roads be minimized? In theory, the answer is “Yes, partially.”

  • Frequent culverts can reduce the effects on streams and hydrology.
  • Impacts on animal movements can be reduced by keeping road clearings narrow enough so that canopy cover is maintained overhead, providing a way for arboreal species to cross.
  • In high-priority areas rope-bridges are being used to facilitate road crossings of monkeys and possums.
  • For small ground-dwelling species, culverts beneath roads can allow road-crossing movements

Posted in Amazon, Fragile environments, management, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

What Can Be Done to Slow Climate Change?

Posted by Lindy on January 15, 2012


For the full article go to: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112193442.htm

This is a very interesting article, but if you are tempted to include in your GSCE exam, make sure you mention Shindell (of NASA) as it is so new, that many exam markers will not have come across it, and may think you have got confused.

The main idea behind what they are saying is that while CO2 has the main long term impact on climate change, it we want to have some effective short term impacts ( i.e. within 40 years) these are the best ways to go, as they don’t just reduce climate change but reduce the impacts on health and agriculture as well.

The 2 key elements are methane and black carbon.

Black carbon are specs that come from burning fossil fuels and wood, and are implicated in respiratory illness and climate change. If these specs are inhaled (e.g. by burning wood for cooking as happens in large parts of the LICs) then many get sick and/or die from it – in particular women and young children. Also black carbon absorb radiation form the sun and so raise the air temperature, darken the ice caps so increasing the heat they absorb and contribute to melting and also to changes in rainfall patterns.

Methane as we know is 20-30 times worse than CO2.

What are the specific actions Shindell thinks we should take?

For black carbon, reduce the emissions from cars by filtering, and even removing the worst offenders from the road, upgrading the cookers using wood, especially in LICs, and banning agricultural stubble burning.

For methane, change methods of production of rice so the paddies do not omit methane, capturing methane from landfill sites,making sure methane do not escape from oil and gas wells and managing animal/human manure more effectively.

Who will benefit?

Russia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan who have a lot of ice will be the prime winners.   Iran, Pakistan and Jordan would experience the most improvement in agricultural production. Southern Asia and the Sahel region of Africa would see the most beneficial changes to precipitation patterns.  The south Asian countries of India, Bangladesh and Nepal would see the biggest reductions in premature deaths as a result of chest infections.

Posted in Bangladesh, Climate change, Energy sources, Fragile environments, Global warming, management, Solution to problems, Weather | Leave a Comment »

Senegal: Prospects and Pitfalls Along a Great Green Wall

Posted by Lindy on December 1, 2011


http://allafrica.com/stories/201111300170.html

29 November 2011

Former goat-herder Samba Ba proudly points to a row of metre-high acacia trees growing amid the fine grasses that are the only other vegetation in this part of northern Senegal’s arid savannah. “Planting trees is a blessing – trees mean life. We call this the Nile River of the Sahel.”  Ba hopes that in time the trees will bear black fruits that can be used as goat-feed. He and his fellow villagers are also planting the Sahel acacia, which produces a gum with medicinal properties, the tamarind, which has edible bitter-sweet fruit, and the desert date or “sump” tree, which bears small fruits whose oil can be used in cooking. These are all thorny trees with small leaves, the only kind that can survive in the arid conditions.

Sedentary and semi-nomadic Fulani herdsmen are planting five hectares of vegetable and fruit crops and approximately 1,000 trees as part of the Great Green Wall project (“La Grande Muraille Verte”), an ambitious pan-African environmental programme designed to combat desertification along the southern edge of the Sahara and provide nomadic populations with extra livelihoods while enhancing their food security.

The scheme falls within the framework of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, which aims to decrease poverty and improve food sources, and is being supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Donors have pledged US$3 billion to the 11 participating countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.

 

Ambitious

The governments of these 11 Sahelian states intend that 20 years from now, a giant hedge, 15km wide and 7,000km long, spreading across two million hectares, will help slow the advancing desert and impede the hot winds that increase erosion.

“The wall is just the final result. What we’re looking for… is to protect and improve the eco-systems of these Sahel regions, and [through this] to improve the diets, health, lifestyle and environment of the Savannah people,” said Matar Cissé, director general of the national agency implementing the project, in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

Chronic drought has made it increasingly difficult for Fulani nomads to make a traditional living as pastoralists, but herdsmen would consider settling in such villages if they could earn a living by growing and selling fruit and vegetables. They are developing a system that will help these people help themselves to stay in one place, create jobs and raise their own incomes.

 

Food production and shifting lifestyles

Villagers are taught how to plant market gardens and use drip irrigation by connecting a small elevated water tank to perforated pipes that deliver small amounts of water to each plant.

So far, the 133 women participating in the scheme in Mbar Toubab have produced lettuce, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, okra, aubergines, watermelons, carrots, cabbages and turnips. Their mango and orange trees have yet to bear fruit.

Such a project must be based on market research that identifies who will be able to buy the vegetables, where, and at what prices, if it is to support livelihoods and food security, said the NGO Groundswell International.

 

Food security versus desertification

Food insecurity in the Sahel is largely due to a growing gap between rich and poor, with an “underclass of the bottom 30 percent” living in chronic poverty. Solutions include subsidized prices, social protection schemes, and disaster reduction, among many others.

Desertification is what forces people to migrate. In the popular imagination desertification is about billowing sand dunes advancing at a rate of two kilometres a year, but… [it] is the overuse of natural resources, over-grazing, intensive farming and the subsequent erosion of land-pockets that become completely denuded and then join together. Tree-planting projects to combat desertification work

best when the trees are owned by the farmers themselves. Usually only 20 percent of newly planted trees survive… so there is a high risk to tree-planting… unless we mobilize millions of [farmers] to invest in trees as well as manage them themselves, the battle against desertification cannot be won.

 

Pastoralist-led solutions

The most innovative projects to improve the lives and livelihoods of pastoralists are being developed by the pastoralists themselves, with the help of NGOs.  In Niger they have established settlement sites where they plant trees and market gardens alongside health and education services. Pastoralists then migrate from these points. Rather than using such schemes to encourage the nomads to settle – which often leads to tension with sedentary communities – a combination of mobility and agriculture is the most risk-averse survival strategy. [Partial] mobility…is a much better and less risky strategy than staying in one place… [which] leads to over-grazing, and if the area does not get much rainfall that year, the pastoralists are much more vulnerable

Posted in Fragile environments, management, Sahel, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

Bangladesh flood management

Posted by Lindy on November 29, 2011


The situation:

1/5 to ¼ of the country floods every monsoon, but this has the advantage of providing fertile soil. However, 50% to 70% is subject to flash floods which cause a lot of harm to the people and economically. So flood management is essential to raising the level of development of the people.

The problem:

2.         Nature of floods

It  has  230  rivers,  of  which  57  are  international, Bangladesh in most cases occupies the lower course.  Of the three large transboundary river systems  (Ganges,  Brahmaputra  and  Meghna),  only  7%  of  their  huge  catchment  areas  lies  in Bangladesh.

The seasonal flooding regime has been characterized by means of inundation of the different land types,  which  have  been  divided  into  five  categories,  ranging  from  very  low  to  high  land.  Except high  lands  (which  cover  30%  of  the  country’s  total  area),  all  other  types  are  subjected  to  flood inundation to different degrees. Excepting very low lands, human settlements can be found in all other land categories.

  • Bangladesh generally experiences four types of floods.
  • Flash floods occur during mid-April before the on-set of the south-westerly monsoon.
  • Rain-fed floods generally happen in the deltas in the south-western part of the country and are increasing in low-lying urban areas.
  • River floods are the most common; the areas are inundated during monsoon season along the river and in cases far beyond the riverbanks.
  • Storm surge floods occur along the coastal areas of Bangladesh, which has a coastline of about 800 km along the northern part of Bay of Bengal. In case of important cyclones the  entire  coastal  belt  is  flooded,  sometimes  causing  great  loss  of  lives.
  • Coastal  areas  are  also subjected to tidal flooding from June to September.

3.         Flood management and mitigation strategies

a) Initially after the early disasters, they went for huge structural projects. But these were expensive and took a long time to get on stream, so these were largely abandoned.

b) Then there was a move towards small  and  medium  scale  flood control, drainage and irrigation projects (FCDI)  to  provide  early benefits. But this concentration on just agriculture was seen to be short-sighted.

c) So next ecological protection came to the fore.

As a result, since the 1960’s about 628 large, medium and small-scale FCDI projects have been implemented; they comprise levees and embankments, drainage channel improvements, drainage structures,  dams  and  barrages,  pumping  systems,  etc.  They  have  provided  flood  protection  to about 5.37 million ha of land, which is about 35% of the total area.

But structural measure alone can not mitigate the disasters. The Flood Forecasting and

Warning System (FFWS), established in the 1970s has been under continual review.  85 flood-monitoring stations provide  real-time  flood  information  and  early  warning  with  lead-times  of  24  and  48  hours.  The FFWS  is  currently  assisting  Government,  disaster  managers  and  the  communities  living  in  the flood  prone  areas  in  matters  of  flood  preparedness,  preparation  of  emergency  mitigation  plans, agricultural planning and rehabilitation, etc

Taken from http://www.apfm.info/pdf/case_studies/bangladesh.pdf

Posted in Bangladesh, management, Rivers | Leave a Comment »