Best of our wild blogs: 14 Nov 11

Latest Green Jobs in Singapore [7 - 13 Nov 2011]
from Green Business Times

All about Ovulids of Singapore!
from wild shores of singapore

A Few Critters In the Central Catchment Areas
from Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

Of Bird Watching, Bird Photography and the Like
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Short-nosed Halfbeak
from Monday Morgue

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Twelve New Species of Fish Found Near Bali

Made Arya Kencana Jakarta Globe 14 Nov 11;

Denpasar. Scientists from the US-based Conservation International said they may have discovered 12 new fish species in the waters off of Bali.

“Right now the fish are being identified and classified. Hopefully by December, or at the latest by January, the names can be listed and formalized [as new species],” the group’s coral fish researcher Mark van Nydeck said on Sunday.

The unidentified species cover a number of genus and families, including the eels, damsels and coral fishes in the genus of Siphamia, Heteroconger, Apogon, Parapercis, Meiacanthus, Manonichthys, Grallenia and Pseudochromis.

Partnering with the local maritime and fisheries agency, the Bali Marine Rapid Assessment Program began in January with a survey of 33 marine locations around Bali covering depths of 10 meters to 70 meters.

The group said Bali had a high level of marine biodiversity, with more than 1,000 species of fish.

In May, Conservation International discovered eight new species of coral fishes and one new species of coral. The species were believed to be endemic to the area and had not migrated from other regions.

The study found that coral reefs in Bali had been well-preserved and their condition was significantly better than that reported in studies 20 years ago.

But some species of fish are becoming increasingly hard to find, such as sharks and groupers. The finding indicates that there has been over-fishing in the area.

More than 100 sharks are captured and killed each day in Bali, the group said, particularly the long-finned shark, which is prized for its fins.

Trading in shark fin is legal in Indonesia and can fetch up to Rp 2.5 million ($280) per kilogram.

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Regions must brace for weather extremes: UN climate panel

Marlowe Hood AFP Yahoo News 14 Nov 11;

Southern Europe will be gripped by fierce heatwaves, drought in North Africa will be more common, and small island states face ruinous storm surges from rising seas, according to a report by UN climate scientists.

The assessment is the most comprehensive probe yet by the 194-nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) into the impact of climate change on extreme weather events.

A 20-page draft "summary for policymakers" obtained by AFP says in essence that global warming will create weather on steroids.

It also notes that these amped-up events -- cyclones, heat waves, diluvian rains, drought -- will hit the world unevenly.

Subject to modification, the draft summary will be examined by governments at a six-day IPCC meeting starting on Monday in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

In the worst scenario, human settlement in some areas could be wiped out, the report warns.

"If disasters occur more frequently and/or with greater magnitude, some local areas will become increasingly marginal as places to live or in which to maintain livelihoods," it says.

"In such cases migration becomes permanent and could introduce new pressures in areas of relocation. For locations such as atolls, in some cases it is possible that many residents will have to relocate."

Three years in the making, the underlying 800-page report synthesises thousands of recent, peer-reviewed scientific studies.

The authors expresses high confidence in some findings but stresses uncertainty in others, mainly due to lack of data.

They also emphasise that the vulnerability of human settlements depends as much or more on exposure, preparedness and the capacity to respond as it does on the raw power of Nature's violent outburts.

Average global temperatures have risen by nearly 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, with forecasts for future warming ranging between an additional 1.0 C to 5.0 C (1.8-9.0 F) by 2100.

But these worldwide figures mask strong regional differences.

Among the findings:

-- Western Europe is at risk from more frequent heat waves, in particular along the Mediterranean rim.

Record-busting temperatures in 2003 responsible for some 70,000 excess deaths across Europe may become closer to average summer peaks by as early as mid-century, the report suggests.

-- The eastern and southern United States and the Caribbean will probably face hurricanes amplified by heavier rainfall and increased wind speeds.

Greater population density in exposed areas, rising property values and inadequate infrastructure will boost vulnerability, the draft warns. Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005, is seen by some scientists as an example of just such an confluence.

-- For small island states, the top threat is incursion from rising seas, which not only erodes shorelines but poisons aquifers and destroys farmland as well.

Already measurable, these impacts are "very likely" -- a 90-percent or greater probability -- to become worse over time, even intolerable, the report concludes.

"In some cases, there may be a need to consider permanent evacuation," it says.

-- Climate models hold out the prospect of more droughts for West Africa, raising the spectre of famine in regions where daily life is already a hand-to-mouth experience for millions.

Factor in the biggest population boom of any continent over the next half-century and the danger of food "insecurity" in Africa becomes even greater, it cautions.

-- In South Asia and Southeast Asia, computer models see a doubling in the frequency of devastating rainstorms. In East Asia, exceptional heatwaves will become hotter, and less exceptional.

By mid-century, temperature peaks in East Asia will be around 2.0 C (3.6 F) more than today, and by 2100 some 4.0 C (7.2 F), even under scenarios that see some efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The IPCC co-won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize after publishing a landmark "assessment report" that sparked worldwide awareness about climate change and its impacts. That document made only a brief reference to extreme weather events, leaving a gap that the panel hopes to fill with the new report.

The draft summary for policymakers will be reviewed, line-by-line, during a joint meeting of the IPCC's Working Group I, which focuses on physical science, and Working Group II, which examines impacts. It is set to be released on Friday.

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Environmental watchdog makes scientific expedition in Tambunan

Durie Rainer Fong The Star 14 Nov 11;

KOTA KINABALU: A scientific expedition was made to an important water catchment area deep in Sabah’s interior to ensure it is well preserved and continues to be a pristine source of life.

Environmental watchdog WWF-Malaysia made the trip with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to the Liwagu sub-catchment area in Tambunan, about 80km from here from Nov 10 to today.

The main objective of the expedition was to gather information that contributes towards building critical knowledge for supporting the management of the sub-catchment area and the natural resources within it.

The expedition included surveys and investigations, as well as identification and establishment of sampling and research plots for future data collection.

“UMS is very excited to work with WWF-Malaysia and we believe we can complement each other in terms of expertise, skills and resources,”

said UMS’ Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation director Dr Abdul Hamid Ahmad.

The collaboration between WWF-Malaysia and UMS will continue beyond the expedition and will extend throughout further research undertakings in the Liwagu sub-catchment area in the future including in documentation and distribution of research findings.

“This expedition will be an interesting one as this will be WWF-Malaysia’s first scientific expedition that focuses on upland catchment area in Sabah,” said WWF-Malaysia freshwater coordinator Daria Mathew.

The Liwagu sub-catchment in Tambunan has been WWF-Malaysia’s project area since January last year and will end by December 2012. It is fully funded by HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd.

This project site focuses on sustainable management of freshwater resources and water catchment.

Its core targets are to improve the protection and sustainable management of freshwater resources, enhance management, conservation and restoration of wildlife in the area as well as to enhance the capacity and participation of local communities in catchment and natural resources management.

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Rivers in Sabah in dire straits

The Star 14 Nov 11;

TAWAU: Palm oil factory waste disposal in Sabah has reached a serious level as several rivers in the state have been reported to be severely polluted due to weaknesses in waste management.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Bolkiah Ismail said 60% of factories in Sabah were still using conventional methods to dispose of industrial waste, including toxic residue, into the river.

He hoped that local authorities, as well as relevant agencies and departments, would monitor the situation so that it would not worsen to the extent of affecting the river's ecosystem, environment and public health.

“Two factories in Sandakan have already been issued compounds by the Department of Environment for polluting the Segaliud River,” he said after launching the Tawau-level No Plastic Bag Day campaign at a shopping centre here yesterday.

In his speech earlier, Bolkiah said the use of plastic bags among Malaysians had increased to 1.9 million tonnes this year compared with 1.85 million tonnes in 2006.

Tawau Municipal Council president Datuk Ismail Mayakob said the council would officially kick off the campaign next year. - Bernama

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'Climate vulnerable' countries meet in Bangladesh

(AFP) Google News 14 Nov 11;

DHAKA — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will open a forum in Bangladesh on Monday at which countries most vulnerable to climate change will try to unite ahead of global talks in South Africa in December.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum has gathered 18 countries in Dhaka to also share experiences of fighting global warming and to discuss how to tackle its effects.

"The aim of this conference is to get the nations who are disproportionately affected by climate change, the most vulnerable nations, to come together and speak with one voice," Mesbah ul Alam, Bangladesh's environment secretary said.

"Climate change is real and it is affecting us now -- we live with floods, with climate refugees, with rising salinity in our coastal areas and with the impact of rising sea levels," he told AFP.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum was set up in 2009 under the chairmanship of the Maldives and was then passed to Kiribati in 2010.

In addition to pressuring rich nations to assist poorer countries, it aims to showcase some of the most innovative adaptation strategies already in place in vulnerable countries.

"The aim is to counter the pessimism surrounding climate talks now," said Saleem Huq, a fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development.

"We want to show that the poorest, most vulnerable countries are not being passive but proactive."

Huq acknowledged that there was a "deadlock" in terms of international climate talks and said it was unlikely there would be any significant breakthroughs at Durban, South Africa in December.

Among the countries meeting in Dhaka are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Maldives, Nepal and the Philippines.

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