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The effort toward restoring lost mangroves in the Philippines has been commendably immense, specifically during the past two decades. In light of such, it is important to evaluate outcomes and, where appropriate, apply the lessons learned to the current strategies in mangrove forest management. This article synthesizes the results from several research projects assessing the performance of planted mangroves across the country. Overall, there is a widespread tendency to plant mangroves in areas that are not the natural habitat of mangroves, converting mudflats, sandflats, and seagrass meadows into often monospecific Rhizophora mangrove forests. In these nonmangrove areas, the Rhizophora seedlings experienced high mortality. Of the few that survived (often through persistent and redundant replanting), the young Rhizophora individuals planted in these nonmangrove and often low intertidal zones had dismally stunted growth relative to the corresponding growth performance of individuals thriving at the high intertidal position and natural mangrove sites. From this evidence, this article argues that a more rational focus of the restoration effort should be the replanting of mangroves in the brackish-water aquaculture pond environments, the original habitat of mangroves. For such, a number of management options can be explored, the implementation of which will ultimately depend on the political will of local and national governments.
Coastal wetlands reduce the damaging effects of hurricanes on coastal communities. A regression model using 34 major US hurricanes since 1980 with the natural log of damage per unit gross domestic product in the hurricane swath as the dependent variable and the natural logs of wind speed and wetland area in the swath as the independent variables was highly significant and explained 60% of the variation in relative damages. A loss of 1 ha of wetland in the model corresponded to an average USD 33 000 (median = USD 5000) increase in storm damage from specific storms. Using this relationship, and taking into account the annual probability of hits by hurricanes of varying intensities, we mapped the annual value of coastal wetlands by 1km × 1km pixel and by state. The annual value ranged from USD 250 to USD 51 000 ha−1 yr−1, with a mean of USD 8240 ha−1 yr−1 (median = USD 3230 ha−1 yr−1) significantly larger than previous estimates. Coastal wetlands in the US were estimated to currently provide USD 23.2 billion yr−1 in storm protection services. Coastal wetlands function as valuable, selfmaintaining “horizontal levees” for storm protection, and also provide a host of other ecosystem services that vertical levees do not. Their restoration and preservation is an extremely cost-effective strategy for society.
The Aguadulce aquifer unit in southeastern Spain is a complex hydrogeological system because of the varied lithology of the aquifer strata and the variability of the processes that can take place within the unit. Factorial analysis of the data allowed the number of variables to be reduced to 3 factors, which were found to be related to such physico-chemical processes as marine intrusion and leaching of saline deposits. Variographic analysis was applied to these factors, culminating in a study of spatial distribution using ordinary kriging. Mapping of the factors allowed rapid differentiation of some of the processes that affect the waters of the Gador carbonate aquifer within the Aguadulce unit, without the need to recur to purely hydrogeochemical techniques. The results indicate the existence of several factors related to salinity: marine intrusion, paleowaters, and/or leaching of marls and evaporitic deposits. The techniques employed are effective, and the results conform to those obtained using hydrogeochemical methods (vertical records of conductivity and temperature, ion ratios, and others). The findings of this study confirm that the application of such analytical methods can provide a useful assessment of factors affecting groundwater composition.
The loss of forest area globally due to change of land use, the importance of forests in the conservation of biodiversity and in carbon and other biogeochemical cycles, together with the threat to forests from pollution and from the impacts of climate change, place forestry policy and practice at the center of global environmental and sustainability strategy. Forests provide important economic, environmental, social, and cultural benefits, so that in forestry, as in other areas of environmental policy and management, there are tensions between economic development and environmental protection. In this article we review the current information on global forest cover and condition, examine the international processes that relate to forest protection and to sustainable forest management, and look at the main forest certification schemes. We consider the link between the international processes and certification schemes and also their combined effectiveness. We conclude that in some regions of the world neither mechanism is achieving forest protection, while in others local or regional implementation is occurring and is having a significant impact. Choice of certification scheme and implementation of management standards are often influenced by a consideration of the associated costs, and there are some major issues over the monitoring of agreed actions and of the criteria and indicators of sustainability. There are currently a number of initiatives seeking to improve the operation of the international forestry framework (e.g., The Montreal Process, the Ministerial Convention of the Protection of Forests in Europe and European Union actions in Europe, the African Timber Organisation and International Tropical Timber Organisation initiative for African tropical forest, and the development of a worldwide voluntary agreement on forestry in the United Nations Forum on Forests). We suggest that there is a need to improve the connections between scientific understanding, policy development, and forestry practice, and also the cooperation between the various international initiatives and processes, so that the international framework is more effective and its influence is extended geographically.
Forest decline in Ethiopia is highlighted by several authors but there is no consensus on its causes and consequences. The objective of this study is to investigate, from sociopolitical and geographical perspectives, the linkage between the trend of forest decline and changes in the social, economic, and political pattern in the Awassa watershed over a 100-year perspective. Field observations, satellite image and map analyses, interviews, and literature studies were employed, and natural indicators were analyzed. The findings indicate that the forest area declined from about 40% at the turn of the 19th century to less than 3% in the year 2000. Forest decline in the study area during the elected time period is the result of the combination of biophysical and social conditions. Important causes are geographic properties, sociopolitical changes, population growth, unstable land tenure principles, agricultural development, and the improvement of transport capacity. The main conclusions are as follows: Already in the early 20th century forest decline was in progress and forests were attributed an insignificant economic classification. Large areas of forest were cut down during periods of political transition when as a result of the political vacuum, interest in the protection of resources including forests was lacking. Long-term planning efforts to manage forests were obstructed by uncertainty resulting from land tenure principle change during each political period. The sparse area of forest land that remains is becoming increasingly attractive as potential land for arable agriculture because of improved road access between the study area and distant markets.
This paper provides information about the distribution, structure, and ecology of the world's largest alpine ecosystem, the Kobresia pygmaea pastures in the southeastern Tibetan plateau. The environmental importance of these Cyperaceae mats derives from the extremely firm turf, which protects large surfaces against erosion, including the headwaters of the Huang He, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, and Brahmaputra. The emphasis of the present article is on the climate-driven evolution and recent dynamics of these mats under the grazing impact of small mammals and livestock. Considering pedological analyses, radiocarbon datings, and results from exclosure experiments, we hypothesize that the majority of K. pygmaea mats are human-induced and replace forests, scrub, and taller grasslands. At present, the carrying capacity is increasingly exceeded, and reinforced settlement of nomads threatens this ecosystem especially in its drier part, where small mammals become strong competitors with livestock and the removal of the turf is irreversible. Examples of rehabilitation measures are given.
Mediterranean mountain biomes are considered endangered due to climate change that affects directly or indirectly different key features (biodiversity, snow cover, glaciers, run-off processes, and water availability). Here, we provide an assessment of temperature, precipitation, and spring precipitation changes in Mediterranean mountains under different emission scenarios (Special Report on Emission Scenarios) and Atmosphere-Ocean-Coupled General Circulation Models for two periods: 2055 (2040–2069 period) and 2085 (2070–2099). Finally, the future climate trends projected for Mediterranean mountains are compared with those trends projected for non-Mediterranean European mountain ranges. The range of projected warming varies between 1.4°C and 5.1°C for 2055 ( 1.6°C and 8.3°C for 2085). Climate models also project a reduction of precipitation, mainly during spring (−17% under A1fi and −4.8% under B1 for 2085). On the contrary, non-Mediterranean European mountains will not experience a reduction of annual and spring precipitation. Implications of predicted climate change for both human and physical features are coupled in an integrated framework to gain a broad perspective on future trends and their consequences.
A study was carried out to discover trends in the rainfall and temperature pattern of the Alaknanda catchment in the Central Himalaya. Data on the annual rainfall, monsoon rainfall for the last decade, and average annual temperatures over the last few decades were analyzed. Nonparametric methods (Mann-Kendall and Sen's method) were employed to identify trends. The Mann-Kendall test shows a decline in rainfall and rise in temperature, and these trends were found to be statistically significant at the 95% confidence level for both transects. Sen's method also confirms this trend. This aspect has to be considered seriously for the simple reason that if the same trend continues in the future, more chances of drought are expected. The impact of climate change has been well perceived by the people of the catchment, and a coping mechanism has been developed at the local level.
Dengue is a serious public health problem in Metro Manila, Philippines. Increasing dengue incidence has been attributed to climate change; however, contradicting reports show inconclusive relationships between dengue and climatic factors. This study investigates temperature and rainfall as climatic factors affecting dengue incidence in Metro Manila from 1996 to 2005. Monthly dengue incidence and climatic data for Metro Manila were collected over a 10-y period (1996–2005). Climatic factors temperature and rainfall were linked with dengue incidence through regression analysis. A predictive model equation plots dengue incidence (Y) versus rainfall (X), which suggests that rainfall is significantly correlated to dengue incidence (r2 = 0.377, p < 0.05). No significant correlation between dengue incidence and temperature was established (p > 0.05). Evidence shows dengue incidence in Metro Manila varies with changing rainfall patterns. Intensified surveillance and control of mosquitoes during periods with high rainfall are recommended.
Exceedance of steady-state critical loads for soil acidification is consistently found in southern China and parts of SE Asia, but there is no evidence of impacts outside of China. This study describes a methodology for calculating the time to effects for soils sensitive to acidic deposition in Asia under potential future sulfur (S), nitrogen (N), and calcium (Ca) emission scenarios. The calculations are matched to data availability in Asia to produce regional-scale maps that provide estimates of the time (y) it will take for soil base saturation to reach a critical limit of 20% in response to acidic inputs. The results show that sensitive soil types in areas of South, Southeast, and East Asia, including parts of southern China, Burma, Hainan, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Western Ghats of India, may acidify to a significant degree on a 0–50 y timescale, depending on individual site management and abiotic and biotic characteristics. To make a clearer assessment of risk, site-specific data are required for soil chemistry and deposition (especially base cation deposition); S and N retention in soils and ecosystems; and biomass harvesting and weathering rates from sites across Asia representative of different soil and vegetation types and management regimes. National and regional assessments of soils using the simple methods described in this paper can provide an appreciation of the time dimension of soil acidification–related impacts and should be useful in planning further studies and, possibly, implementing measures to reduce risks of acidification.
This paper examines potential effects of predicted climate changes on the forage conditions during both summer and winter for semidomesticated reindeer in Sweden. Positive effects in summer ranges include higher plant productivity and a longer growing season, while negative effects include increased insect harassment. Forage quality may change in both positive and negative ways. An increase in shrubs and trees in alpine heaths is also likely. A warmer climate means shorter winters, which will have positive effects for the survival of reindeer. However, warmer and wetter weather may also result in increased probabilities of ice-crust formations, which strongly decrease forage availability. A warmer climate with higher forest productivity will also likely reduce lichen availability through competitive interactions. Adaptations to these changes will include maintaining a choice of grazing sites in both summer and winter. However, this capacity may already be severely limited because of other forms of land use.
Farmers' innovation and selection of barley varieties were studied in the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia. Two districts each in the central and southern zones and three districts in the eastern zone of Tigray were randomly selected for this study, which sought to understand the current status of local barley varieties and to measure their relative preference by farmers. Household surveys were conducted covering 240 households to elicit farmers' views on the values, constraints, and opportunities of growing local varieties of barley. This was supported by focus-group and informal discussions with elders, key informants, and women's groups. Case studies were made of local farmers whom the community recognized as barley breeders. Twenty-four barley varieties and their major descriptors were recorded. Seed and varietal-selection criteria depended on the environmental and varietal characteristics. Investigation of intrahousehold decision making indicated that, while men tended to decide on the type of variety to grow, seed storage and processing were exclusively the responsibility of women. Farmers undertook preharvest and postharvest selection, giving emphasis mainly to earliness and spike characteristics. The distinct varietal-selection and seed-renewal procedures revealed their potential for use in further plant breeding. The case-study analysis of farmer-developed varieties provided knowledge that, if combined with scientists' knowledge, could lead to identification and development of valuable cultivars with a wide potential for use in semiarid areas of Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia.