Thursday, March 3, 2016

MAP News Issue 385, March 5, 2016

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The MAP News
385th Edition                               March 5, 2016


FEATURE STORY

Editors Note: The UNESCO General Conference approved this resolution to be put forth for voting at the next UNESCO session (197th)
Proclamation of the international day for the conservation of the mangrove ecosystem
Support-Mangroves
FRANCE -  NOV. 2015 - After having examined this item, the Executive Board recommended that the General Conference, at its 38th session, adopt a resolution for the Proclamation of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. Considering that mangroves are a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem, providing by virtue of their existence, biomass and productivity substantial benefits to human beings, providing forestry, fishery goods and services as well as contributing to the protection of the coastline and being particularly relevant in terms of mitigation of the effects of climate change and food security for local communities; Recalling that promotion of a harmonious relationship between human beings and their natural environment, privileging ecosystems of singular importance and Recognizing that 26 July each year is celebrated worldwide as the International Day for the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem without being as yet an international day as declared by the United Nations or any of its agencies to proclaim 26 July as International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem”. READ MORE
 
AFRICA
 
The coastal Kenyan villages bringing their mangrove forest back to life
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KENYA - Around 30 miles south of Mombasa, a beaten footpath stretches away from the main road, meanders around shrubs and coconut trees, and leads into Gazi village. The small settlement of mud-walled houses and a few shops extends up to the edge of a mangrove forest, which itself gives way to the vast Indian Ocean.
Villagers from Gazi and the neighbouring settlement of Makogeni meet on these shorelines every day to trade fish. From 11am, women congregate in Gazi Bay to buy catch from the fishermen, who arrive back on shore after hours out at sea. But for three days every rainy season, the fish trade is set aside and the villagers come together to plant mangroves instead. It’s a communal affair where at least one member of every family is involved. Fisherman Omar Mohamed hasn’t missed a single mangrove planting session for four years and was among those who planted 4,000 seedlings in November.  READ MORE
 
Plenty more fish in the sea: preserving stocks in Madagascar
MADAGASCAR - When some of the older residents of Andavadoaka village in southwestern Madagascar were children, they were forbidden to swim in the sea at dawn or dusk, for fear of attracting unwelcome attention from sharks. Today the sharks have all gone. Fished, along with sea cucumbers, for lucrative export markets. Most of the larger fish and invertebrates have also vanished, sold to local markets or consumed by a coastal population that’s doubling in size every 10 to 15 years. Rural Malagasy people in the arid south west have been hit particularly hard by the decline in fish populations. For the nomadic Vezo communities that inhabit this region, seafood is the sole source of protein (pdf) in 99% of household meals. Income is just over a dollar per person per day. READ MORE
 
Africa’s forests 'threatened by palm oil rush'
CAMEROON - Africa’s tropical forests are threatened by a palm oil bonanza that has already razed millions of old-growth hectares in south-east Asia, Greenpeace France warned. The NGO called on European palm and rubber plantation giant Socfin, which controls vast tracts of tropical land in more than half-a-dozen African nations, to join other multinationals in adopted so-called “zero deforestation” policies. Dozens of global companies - GAR, Cargill, and Agropalma among commodity producers, and Nestle, Unilever and L’Oreal among makers of consumer products - have made pledges, though some are more stringent than others. So far, Socfin - majority controlled by Belgian businessman Hubert Fabri, with French billionaire Vincent Bollore holding 38.8% of the company’s shares - have failed to make similar commitments, Greenpeace said. The stakes are high: palm oil, soy, paper pulp, and beef drive nearly three-quarters of deforestation in tropical areas, according to studies. Deforestation from all sources is responsible for 12% of the greenhouse gases driving global warming. READ MORE
 
How honey from mangrove nectar turned around our fortunes
KENYA – For seasoned apiarists, the difference between tantalizing honey and bland honey is determined by several factors. Top on the list is the tree the nectar came from. That why a group of bee keepers from Kilifi and Kwale counties are collecting honey made from bees that get nectar from mangrove trees. “Honey made from mangrove trees is smooth and treats several diseases,” says James Thoya, coordinator of Kwetu Centre that is an umbrella body of several self help groups that comprise several bee keepers. Kwetu Centre, other than bringing bee keepers together, it trains beginners on how to start the project. The center prides itself in promoting beekeeping as an alternative livelihood and as a way to conserve the environment. So why mangrove honey? “Organic honey has a lot of sugar compared to the mangrove one which is a bit bitter and salty because of its link to the seas,” Mr Thoya says. He adds: “People prefer mangrove honey because of its medicinal value. Mangrove trees absorb a lot of nutrients from the sea and these are transferred to the nectar giving it the medicinal properties.” READ MORE

ASIA
 
Guardians of the Groves
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INDIA - India’s first mangrove protection agency is facing off against slumlords, polluters, and even its own government. The Mangrove Cell, based in Mumbai, is India’s first and only government task force working to protect and conserve mangroves—tropical and subtropical shrubs with rubbery leaves and aerial roots that snake out from the salty, turbid intertidal regions where they thrive. “Mangroves are like huge bathtubs with their immense capacity to absorb water,” says Vasudevan. “They’re spongy bio-shields that contain floods, sequester carbon, filter out pollutants, and sustain immense biodiversity—including commercially important fishes.” Since 2013, the task force has been charged with conserving the mangrove forests that fringe the state of Maharashtra, and protecting the rich biodiversity they contain. Mumbai’s mangrove forests are home to a mixed lot: predator-evading young snappers, oysters, and turtles, but also law-evading debris dumpers, land sharks, and slumlords. And Vasudevan has to worry about all of them. READ MORE

Slavery and trafficking continue in Thai fishing industry
THAILAND - Slavery, trafficking, murder and corruption at all levels of government still pervade Thailand’s billion-dollar fishing industry, activists claim, despite recent arrests linked to human rights abuses and the threat of an EU-wide boycott. The Thai government has implemented measures to crack down on trafficking and arrested more than 100 people since the EU issued its “yellow card” last April, threatening a ban on seafood imports unless Thailand cleaned up illegal fishing and labour abuses. But activists claim too little has changed in the industry, which is estimated to be worth $7bn (£5bn) a year, despite Thai authorities and private businesses claiming they are confident they are on the right track to avoid the ban. “Our investigations at sea and across the Thai seafood sector continue to find extensive violence, corruption and abuse,” said Steve Trent, director of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), an NGO that has been working with the Thai government on the issue. READ MORE
 
AMERICAS
 
Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries
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USA - The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported recently. Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling. The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days. Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland. READ MORE
 
Nature as the First Line of Defense against Floods
USA - When it comes to protecting the world’s coasts, the best solutions may depend less on modern infrastructure, and more on rethinking how we value existing natural resources. A new report recommends using engineering and insurance models to re-evaluate the benefits of habitats like mangrove forests and coral reefs, instead of building walls against floods and rising seas. It is well documented that reefs and mangroves reduce the impact of waves hitting coasts, thus decreasing the risks of flooding and erosion. But until now, the economic argument for investing in such habitats has been less clear. Managing coasts with natural solutions: Guidelines for measuring and valuing the coastal protection services of mangroves and coral reefs seeks to address this evidence gap, and to reorient the cost-benefit analysis between built or “gray infrastructure,” and “green infrastructure” based on environmental processes.  READ MORE
 
OCEANA
 
Australian Mangrove & Saltmarsh Network Conference
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AUSTRALIA - The Research Institute of the Environment and Livelihoods and Charles Darwin University is proud to host the 2nd Australian Mangrove and Saltmarsh Network Conference. The conference will promote communication and collaboration among professional researchers, managers, industry officers, policy makers, environmental consultants and community enthusiasts. The conference will comprise two days of symposia, a day of exciting and informative field trips and one day of workshops.  The conference theme is, ‘The only way is up! Sea level rise, climate change and coastal development: Mangrove and saltmarsh resilience and community response’. The event aims to bring together both Australian and international counterparts to share latest research, practice, experience and knowledge in this area. We encourage emerging career researchers and students to participate and join the growing network. READ MORE

LAST WORD(S)

Dear friends and colleagues,
 
I attach a paper which is of general interest for waterbird conservation. Many papers have shown that wetlands created by people can be good for birds. However, are they really as good for the whole bird community as natural wetlands?
 
In this paper we tried to compare like with like and found evidence that natural and restored wetlands are much better for holding a diverse bird community and for supporting threatened species.
 
I hope you find it interesting.
 
Best wishes,
 
Andy Green
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andy_Green2
 

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