Best of our wild blogs: 29 Nov 11

3 Dec (Sat): Talk on "Secret Shores of Singapore" by Ria Tan
from wild shores of singapore

Two new volunteers reflect on their first Toddycats guiding experience from Toddycats!

Living natural reefs of Sentosa
from wild shores of singapore

Marine Talks at National Geographic Store
from Pulau Hantu

President Tony Tan visits Chek Jawa
from Pulau Hantu

Videos: Echinoderms on our shores
from Psychedelic Nature

Back to the lost coast!
from wonderful creation

many-lined sun skink @ SBWR
from sgbeachbum

Wetlands Art Exhibition
from Art in Wetlands

Innocent Juvenile Common Flameback
from Bird Ecology Study Group

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Additional 25 Solomon Island dolphins destined for Singapore?

Makili blasts Government
Solomon Star 29 Nov 11;

25 Solomon dolphins were caught illegally in the country were shipped silently overseas last week. They are reportedly destined for China or Hong Kong but Mr Makili said he is certain they were on their way to the Philippians and then to Singapore.

OUTSPOKEN environmental campaigner and regional director of Earth Islands Institute (EII) Lawrence Makili fires the first shot at newly elected Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

Mr Makili said an “illegal” shipment of dolphin had left the country last week without knowledge of responsible officers within the Ministry of Fisheries.

“Twenty-five bottlenose dolphins caught illegally in the country were shipped silently overseas last week,” he claimed.

He said according to officials within the Ministry of fisheries, they have no knowledge of the export.

“There should be an inspection carried out by fisheries officials, but that did not happen.”

The dolphins were reportedly destined for China or Hong Kong but Mr Makili said he is certain they were on their way to the Philippians and then to Singapore.

He claimed the dolphins were caught by Dr Baddley Anita in the seas of Malaita and Central Islands Province without license to hunt and catch in those areas.

Mr Makili said this was the shipment scheduled to happen in September this year but was impeded because he rang the alarm of controversial circumstances surrounding the export.

He pointed fingers at the Minister for Environment Moffat Fugui and his director for allowing the export to continue.

“They must have taken advantage of the recent political situation and give green light for the export.”

He said the announcement made by Mr Fugui when he raised the alarm during September’s hampered export, that the government will ban dolphin export by January 2012 was hopeless.

“There is no instrument in place to show that is going to happen – meaning a mere cover up when they were caught red handed.”

Mr Makili switched to the new Prime Minister saying the export happen when he was in power.

“Where is the transparency the Prime Minister talked about when he came into power?

“Is this what you call transparency when responsible authorities within the Fisheries Ministry have no knowledge of the export?”

Mr Makili also accused the church of Melanesia for allowing its property (Bungana Island) for the controversial and barbaric act against the friendly animals to happen.

“Does the church have any charters on environmental issues in place?”

He said he will dig up the facts surrounding the export and expose the whole saga for the public to know.

Attempts to talk to Dr Anita and the Minister of Environment last night were unsuccessful.


Claims of Illegal Dolphin Shipment
Solomon Times 30 Nov 11;

Solomon Islands environmental campaigner, Lawrence Makili, says an illegal shipment of at least 50 dolphins has been smuggled out of the country bound for China.

The regional director of Earth Islands Institute said Ministry of Fisheries officials have no knowledge of the 50 dolphins.

He's blaming unnamed ministers who he said took advantage of the recent political uncertainty in Solomons and gave the green light to the export.

On November 11 Prime Minister Danny Philip resigned ahead of a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

Former Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has since been elected to the top job.

Mr Makili told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat it's too late to have the shipment recalled.

"The shipment was already done and left last week, last Wednesday, without anyone knowing about it," he said.

"So I called up the Fisheries Department and they didn't know anything about the shipment and the department should have done the inspection and to make sure documentation were proper.

"They have no knowledge about the shipment and that is a shock to me".

EII illuminates Bita’ama people’s dreams
Solomon Star 29 Nov 11;

THEY have nothing to lose apart from it being a cultural activity, but the Bita’ama community had made a choice that would benefit them in a long run.

The North Malaita community had agreed not to hunt dolphins and have new permanent homes instead, to substitute the ‘unsustainable’ act against the friendly sea fish.

Yesterday members of the community witnessed a dream of owning permanent homes illuminate when they observed Earth Island Institute (EII) regional director Lawrence Makili trawls out one Lucas sawmill for the community.

Earth Island Institute (EII) last year reached a deal with dolphin hunting communities in Malaita in a bid to stop the communities from hunting dolphins.

These communities Bita’ama, Fanalei and Walande normally hunt dolphins – a cultural practice they enjoyed for decades now.

EII in its continuous efforts to save mammals including dolphins throughout the world, work vigorously to see this heartless activity against dolphins stopped thus made a breakthrough.

The communities reached an agreement with EII last year, whereby dolphin hunting will stop and beneficial activities introduced to the communities by EII instead.

Bita’ama community agreed on a number of proposals but resorted to a housing scheme project as their priority reward in agreement for a stop hunt.

Mr Makili yesterday took delivery of the latest model Lucas sawmill (10 inch/30hp) from Fair-trade as EII puts the deal into reality for the community.

Mr Makili said he will transport the Lucas sawmill to Bita’ama community to officially deliver it to the community in the presence of everyone on a date yet to be set.

“The Lucas Sawmill cost more than SBD$225,000.

“Two more complete sets of 090 chainsaws will be delivered today to accompany the Lucas sawmill.

“The two chainsaws costs SBD$58, 000,” he said

More than a dozen excited members of the community were at the delivery scene to witness the happening.

“Four members of the community will undergo training with the supplier on how to operate the machine,” Mr Makili said.

He said Fanalei community will receive their share under the same deal sometimes this week.

“More than SBD$400,000 will be given to the community.”

The EII regional director said Walande will get theirs when arrangements are completed.

A member of the Bita’ama community yesterday said they could not express in words the joy of seeing their long time dreams of owning permanent homes fulfilling.

“This machine will be used to build more than 700 homes for villagers.”

Mr Makili said another choice of Bita’ama community was for small income generating projects.

EII is an NGO working to make oceans safe for marine mammals worldwide. They have been very active in the Solomon Islands because of the continuous export of dolphins overseas sometimes under controversial circumstances. Last week, another batch of dolphins was mutely whisked from the country to an overseas destination.


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Online photo album to help public learn about Singapore

Vimita Mohandas Channel NewsAsia 28 Nov 11;

SINGAPORE: An online collection of images to help Singaporeans discover, learn and share about the country's social history and development has been launched.

With PictureSG, the public can now share their images, include a description and even tag their friends, so that others can understand the photograph or artwork.

The site contains the National Library's own pictures as well as images donated to the library by donors and partners.

The initiative complements the irememberSG project.

Launched earlier this year, the project aims to collect from Singaporeans five million memories about their country, by 2015.

So far, the number of contributions has swelled from 30,000 to about 220,000 in just three months.

Speaking at the event, Information, Communications and the Arts Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim also thanked the support of partners and some 100 volunteers called Memory Corps, who made this project possible.

Dr Yaacob said: "Today's event shows that we care about everything that affirms our identity in Singapore - that we want to do our part to recollect for posterity (of) what we remember. These efforts will draw us closer together as a nation and leave a legacy for future generations."

- CNA/ck

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Malaysia: Analysts say the massive land reclamation jobs in Johor lack details

Thomas Huong The Star 29 Nov 11;

Benalec projects draw attention

PETALING JAYA: Marine engineering specialist Benalec Holdings Bhd's massive land reclamation projects in Johor have drawn much interest but there are still a lot of issues which are not clear, some analysts said.

The projects also seemed to have a striking resemblance to what Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and oil and gas service provider Dialog Group Bhd were planning in Johor.

Benalec's land reclamation jobs, measuring 1,760 acres and 3,485 acres in Pengerang and Tanjung Piai respectively from the Johor government, are to develop petroleum and petrochemical hubs and maritime industrial parks.

Petronas has plans for a RM60bil integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, known as RAPID, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016 while Dialog, together with Vopak Terminal Pengerang BV, are developing an independent deepwater petroleum terminal worth RM5bil.

When asked about Benalec's projects, Dialog executive chairman Ngau Boon Keat said it had taken Dialog three years to get to where it was in Pengerang.

Benalec declined to comment on reports by StarBiz which said that the group was eyeing a parcel at the south-west of Tanjung Piai which was said to be suitable to be a deepwater petroleum terminal facility, similar to what Dialog was developing in Pengerang.

Sources had also said that the land to be reclaimed in the south-east of Tanjung Piai might include a container port to serve Petronas's RAPID project.

However, in a filing with Bursa Malaysia on Nov 10, Benalec said the Johor projects had only received approvals in principle from the state's Economic Planning Unit (UPENJ).

The approvals in principle were valid for six months, and were still subjected to detailed analysis of the projects from UPENJ, a feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment report.

“The projects in Johor will commence upon the satisfaction of the above approvals. The period of the projects would be determined upon the signing of formal agreements,” said Benalec.

The approvals in principle were granted to Benalec's 70% owned sub-subsidiaries Spektrum Budi Sdn Bhd and Spektrum Kukuh Sdn Bhd.

Analysts were told at a briefing that the projected gross development value (GDV) in Pengerang was RM3mil per acre while for Tanjung Piai, RM4mil per acre.

Development works in Pengerang would take 10 years while Tanjung Piai, 10 to 15 years.

According to AmResearch, this will make Benalec into one of the largest holders of prime seafront land earmarked for oil and gas activities within south Johor.

AmResearch said the Johor developments worked out to a combined GDV of about RM15bil over 10 to 15 years, based on a net saleable area of 75%.

Given its integrated approach, Benalec is targeting gross margins of 40%.

“Benalec is confident that Tanjung Piai, with its strategic location and natural depth of 20m, would be suitably positioned to complement the vibrant Jurong petrochemical hub in Singapore which is facing capacity constraints.”

AmResearch said three out of five major off-takers approached by Benalec concerning the Tanjung Piai projects had expressed their interest, and were looking at securing no less than 100 acres each.

Meanwhile, Kenanga Research said Benalec's management opted to execute the reclamation works based on by-demand and was likely to require upfront payments.

“Based on an 80:20 debt to equity structure, we expect Benalec to gear up to RM200mil per annum for project financing,” said Kenanga Research.

The research house also noted that Benalec seemed to be taking a different approach in Johor compared with its Malacca projects.

“For the Malacca land development, the reclamation works will take place before buyers are identified.”

Benalec is the largest “land manufacturer” in Malacca with an entitlement of some 1,360 acres.

AmResearch said Benalec has an outstanding landbank of about 800 acres in Malacca, which could potentially fetch a GDV of RM1.2bil based on a previous transacted price of RM28 per sq ft.

It is interesting to note that on Nov 24, Benalec directors Leaw Seng Hai, Datuk Leaw Tua Choon and Leaw Ah Chye sold a 7.95% stake in the group for RM76.56mil in dealings during closed period.

On Nov 22, Benalec's board had fixed an issue price of RM1.32 per placement share for the first and final tranche of a private placement, comprising 72,960,000 placement shares.

The private placement was to acquire funds for the the group's land reclamation projects.

Benalec, which was listed on Jan 17 this year on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia, provides marine construction services (land reclamation, dredging) and vessel chartering.

At the time of its initial public offering (IPO), it had an estimated 17.9% market share in Malaysia, based on construction projects secured between 2006 and 2009.

Benalec's IPO entailed a public issue of 100 million new ordinary shares of 25 sen each at an issue price of RM1 each per share.

Benalec's market capitalisation stood at RM978.2mil, based on its closing price last Friday of RM1.34 per share.

For the financial year ended June 30 (FY11), it posted a net profit of RM96.08mil and revenue of RM214.49mil.

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Australia: Marine animals showing signs of recovery

Stephanie Fitzpatrick ABC News 29 Nov 11;

A Queensland Government scientist says there has been a decline in the number of marine animal deaths along the state's coast.

Dr Julia Playford, from Department of Environment and Resource Management, says there have been about 270 turtle strandings, 12 dugongs deaths and six dolphin deaths in central Queensland in the past year.

Dr Playford says some died from boat strikes, fishing lines and human activities and other from natural causes.

"The animals are beginning to obtain more food and therefore likely to be in better health because they have more food resources," she said.

"We're fairly clear on what's causing the deaths and it's largely around seagrass decline and lack of food resources, meaning that they are malnourished."

Dr Playford says a regrowth of seagrass beds has helped to reduce the number of dugong and dolphin deaths.

"It's obviously very distressing to see so many animals are unwell and dying," she said.

"Individuals in the population appear to be recovering as we do further health checks over time, once the seagrasses started to recover.

"In fact, in the last six weeks we've seen a real decline in the rate of strandings."

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UN mobilizes civil society for Rio's environment summit

AFP Yahoo News 29 Nov 11;

The United Nations on Monday launched a campaign to mobilize civil society ahead of next year's Rio environment conference which Brazil will chair.

Scheduled 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Rio+20 will be held next June 20-22 and will bring together heads of state from around the world.

"The goal of Rio+20 will be to renew the political commitment for sustainable development with seven billion people," said Kiyo Akasaka, the UN Under Secretary-General for communications and public information as he launched the "Future We Want" campaign here.

"We must now show that it is possible to have development which generates wealth and protects the environment," he added.

He deplored the fact that rich countries "are not taking seriously the commitments made under the Kyoto protocol 14 years ago to cut their greenhouse gas emissions" which cause global warming.

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005.

Monday's UN campaign here aims to mobilize civil society for a global conversation via the Internet and social networks on what kind of future people want in their cities, villages, 20 or 40 years from now "before it is too late."

An Amazon Indian, Carlos Tucano, noted that indigenous people "were always forgotten in global discussions and were seen either as savages or exotic people."

He said indigenous people in fact "have extensive knowledge to protect the forest" and asked to know what the UN stance on the issue was.

Akasaka responded that the world body backed the indigenous community and stressed that Rio+20 would look into the issue.

"It's an important question: The UN has an annual meeting to discuss the rights of indigenous people around the world," he pointed out.

Rio+20 is also expected to discuss a green economic model that would take into account the environment, as well as promote better social development and the eradication of poverty.

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UN: farmers must produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed population

A quarter of farmland is highly degraded, according to the first report into the state of the world's land resources
Associated Press 28 Nov 11;

The United Nations has completed the first global assessment of the state of the planet's land resources, finding in a report that a quarter of all farmland is highly degraded and warning the trend must be reversed if the world's growing population is to be fed.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that farmers will have to produce 70% more food by 2050 to meet the needs of the world's expected 9-billion-strong population. That amounts to 1bn tonnes more wheat, rice and other cereals and 200m more tonnes of beef and other livestock.

But as it is, most available farmland is already being farmed, and in ways that decrease its productivity through practices that lead to soil erosion and wasting of water.

This means that to meet the world's future food needs, a major "sustainable intensification" of agricultural productivity on existing farmland will be necessary, the FAO said in its report, State of the World's Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The report was released on Monday, as delegates from around the world meet in Durban, South Africa, for a two-week UN climate change conference aimed at breaking the deadlock on how to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

The report found that climate change coupled with poor farming practices had contributed to a decrease in productivity of the world's farmland following the boom years of the "green revolution", when crop yields soared thanks to new technologies, pesticides and the introduction of high-yield crops.

Thanks to the green revolution, the world's cropland grew by just 12% but food productivity increased by 150% between 1961 and 2009.

But the UN report found that rates of growth had been slowing down in many areas and today were only half of what they were at the peak of the green revolution.

It found that 25% of the world's farmland was now "highly degraded" with soil erosion, water degradation and biodiversity loss. Another 8% was moderately degraded, while 36% was stable or slightly degraded and 10% was ranked as "improving".

The rest of the Earth's surface is either bare or covered by inland water bodies.

In western Europe, highly intensive agriculture has led to pollution of soil and aquifers and a resulting loss of biodiversity. In the highlands of the Himalayas, the Andes, the Ethiopian plateau and southern Africa, soil erosion has been coupled with an increased intensity of floods. In rice-based food systems of south-east and eastern Asia, land has been abandoned thanks in part to its loss of cultural value.

The report found that water around the world was becoming ever more scarce and salinated, while groundwater was becoming more polluted by agricultural runoff and other toxins.

In order to meet the world's water needs in 2050, irrigation must become more efficient because most systems perform well below their capacity, the FAO said.

The agency called for new farming practices such as integrated irrigation and fish-farm systems, as well as overall investment in agricultural development.

The investment deemed necessary until 2050 is $1tn (£642bn) for irrigation water management for developing countries alone, with another $160bn for soil conservation and flood control.

Quarter of world's landmass 'highly degraded': UN
Dario Thuburn AFP Yahoo News 28 Nov 11;

The UN food agency warned Monday that a quarter of the world's landmass is "highly degraded," making it difficult to meet the food needs of a booming population.

"Humankind can no longer treat these vital resources as if they were infinite," said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) based in Rome.

"The time for business as usual is over," Diouf told reporters, calling the FAO's assessment of the planet's resources, a first for the organisation, a "wake-up call."

The survey found that 25 percent of the world's land is "highly degraded" and 44 percent is "moderately degraded," while only 10 percent was classified as "improving".

The categories in the report entitled "The State of the World's Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture" (SOLAW) included classic soil and water degradation, as well as other aspects like biodiversity loss.

The report said land degradation was worst down the west coast of the Americas, across the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and north Africa, across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa and throughout Asia.

"Worldwide, the poorest have the least access to land and water and are locked in a poverty trap of small farms with poor-quality soils and high vulnerability to land degradation and climatic uncertainty," it said.

Some 40 percent of degraded lands are found in high poverty areas.

The report called for more efficient water use by agriculture as well as innovative farming practices such as conservation agriculture, agro-forestry and integrated crop-livestock systems.

It said developing countries will need around $1.0 trillion (755 billion euros) in investments between 2007 and 2050 for irrigation. Land protection will require $160 billion over the same period, it added.

The FAO stressed that erosion, desertification and climate change were endangering key production systems across the world from the Mediterranean to southern Africa to Southeast Asia.

The publication coincided with the start of UN talks on climate change in Durban, South Africa, amid signs of a deepening political rift on how to slow the carbon juggernaut.

Topping the agenda of the talks is the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact with targets for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, whose first round of pledges expires at the end of 2012.

The conference must also push ahead with a "Green Climate Fund" to channel up to 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to countries exposed to drought, flood, storms and rising seas, which scientists forecast will worsen.

The FAO said many farming areas "face the risk of progressive breakdown of their productive capacity under a combination of excessive demographic pressure and unsustainable agricultural use and practices."

It said that between 1961 and 2009 the world's cropland grew by 12 percent while farming production expanded 150 percent -- mainly thanks to a significant increase in yields of major crops because of scientific advances.

But rates of productivity are now decreasing in many areas -- key "warning signs" for the state of the land, the organisation said.

The worst indicator was for East Asia, where the FAO found that cereal production grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent between 1961 and 2006 but was expected to advance by just 0.3 percent a year between 2006 and 2050.

Productivity has however increased in Central America and Eastern Europe.

The FAO said production would have to increase above the rate of population growth because of rising incomes and dietary changes, such as growing consumption of dairy and meat products in the developing world.

With pressure on natural resources, competition for land and water will become "pervasive" including between city and rural dwellers, the FAO said.

"These systems at risk may simply not be able to contribute as expected in meeting human demands by 2050. The consequences in terms of hunger and poverty are unacceptable," Diouf said.

Scarcity and degradation of land and water: growing threat to food security
New FAO report profiles the state of the natural resource base upon which world food production depends
FAO 28 Nov 11;

28 November 2011, Rome – Widespread degradation and deepening scarcity of land and water resources have placed a number of key food production systems around the globe at risk, posing a profound challenge to the task of feeding a world population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, according to a new FAO report published today.

The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture (SOLAW) notes that while the last 50 years witnessed a notable increase in food production, “in too many places, achievements have been associated with management practices that have degraded the land and water systems upon which food production depends.”

Today a number of those systems “face the risk of progressive breakdown of their productive capacity under a combination of excessive demographic pressure and unsustainable agriculture use and practices,” the report says.

No region is immune: systems at risk can be found around the globe, from the highlands of the Andes to the steppes of Central Asia, from Australia’s Murray-Darling river basin to the central United States.

At the same time, as natural resource bottlenecks are increasingly felt, competition for land and water will become “pervasive,” the report suggests. This includes competition between urban and industrial users as well as within the agricultural sector – between livestock, staple crops, non-food crop, and biofuel production.

And climate change is expected to alter the patterns of temperature, precipitation and river flows upon which the world’s food production systems depend.

As a result, the challenge of providing sufficient food for an ever-more hungry planet has never been greater, SOLAW says — especially in developing countries, where quality land, soil nutrients and water are least abundant.

“The SOLAW report highlights that the collective impact of these pressures and resulting agricultural transformations have put some production systems at risk of breakdown of their environmental integrity and productive capacity. These systems at risk may simply not be able to contribute as expected in meeting human demands by 2050. The consequences in terms of hunger and poverty are unacceptable. Remedial action needs to be taken now,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

Warning signs

Between 1961 and 2009, the world’s cropland grew by 12 percent, but agricultural production expanded 150 percent, thanks to a significant increase in yields of major crops.

But one of the “warning signs” flagged by the SOLAW report is that rates of growth in agricultural production have been slowing in many areas and are today only half of what they were during the heyday of the Green Revolution.

Overall, the report paints the picture of a world experiencing an increasing imbalance between availability and demand for land and water resources at the local and national levels. The number of areas reaching the limits of their production capacity is fast increasing, the report warns.

25 percent of the earth’s lands are degraded

SOLAW provides for the first time ever a global assessment of the state of the planet’s land resources. Fully one quarter are highly degraded. Another 8 percent are moderately degraded, 36 percent are stable or slightly degraded and 10 percent are ranked as “improving.” The remaining shares of the earth’s land surface are either bare (around 18 percent) or covered by inland water bodies (around 2%). (These figures include all land types, not just farmland.)

FAO’s definition of degradation extends beyond soil and water degradation per se and includes an assessment of other aspects of affected ecosystems, for instance biodiversity loss.

Large parts of all continents are experiencing land degradation, with particularly high incidences down the west coast of the Americas, across Mediterranean region of Southern Europe and North Africa, across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and throughout Asia. The greatest threat is the loss of soil quality, followed by biodiversity loss and water resources depletion.

Some 1.6 billion hectares of the world’s best, most productive lands are currently used to grow crops. Parts of these land areas are being degraded through farming practices that result in water and wind erosion, the loss of organic matter, topsoil compaction, salinization and soil pollution, and nutrient loss.

Water scarcity and pollution on the rise

Water scarcity is growing and salinization and pollution of groundwater and degradation of water bodies and water-related ecosystems are rising, SOLAW also reports. Large inland water bodies are under pressure from a combination of reduced inflows and higher nutrient loading — the excessive build up of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Many rivers do not reach their natural end points and wetlands are disappearing.

In key cereal producing areas around the world, intensive groundwater withdrawals are drawing down aquifer storage and removing the accessible groundwater buffers that rural communities have come to rely on.

“Because of the dependence of many key food production systems on groundwater, declining aquifer levels and continued abstraction of non-renewable groundwater present a growing risk to local and global food production,” FAO’s report cautions.

Distribution of world water scarcity: map

A poverty trap

“Worldwide, the poorest have the least access to land and water and are locked in a poverty trap of small farms with poor quality soils and high vulnerability to land degradation and climatic uncertainty,” the report notes.

Some 40 percent of the world’s degraded lands are found in areas with high poverty rates. Still, in a sign that degradation is a risk across all income groups, 30 percent of the world’s degraded lands are in areas with moderate levels of poverty while 20 percent are in areas with low poverty rates.

Prospects for the future

FAO estimates that by 2050, rising population and incomes will require a 70 percent increase in global food production. This equates to another one billion tonnes of cereals and 200 million tonnes of livestock products produced each year.

“For nutrition to improve and for food insecurity and undernourishment to recede, future agricultural production will have to rise faster than population growth and consumption patterns adjusted,” says SOLAW.

More than four-fifths of production gains will have to occur largely on existing agricultural land through sustainable intensification that makes effective use of land and water resources while not causing them harm.


Improving the efficiency of water use by agriculture will be key, according to the report. Most irrigation systems across the world perform below their capacity. A combination of improved irrigation scheme management, investment in local knowledge and modern technology, knowledge development and training can increase water-use efficiency.

And innovative farming practices such as conservation agriculture, agro-forestry, integrated crop-livestock systems and integrated irrigation-aquaculture systems hold the promise of expanding production efficiently to address food security and poverty while limiting impacts on ecosystems.

FAO recently highlighted its vision for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production in its publication, Save and Grow: A New Paradigm for Agriculture, released earlier this year.

Another area where improvement is needed is increasing investment in agricultural development. Gross investment requirements between 2007 and 2050 for irrigation water management in developing countries are estimated at almost $1 trillion. Land protection and development, soil conservation and flood control will require around $160 billion worth of investment in the same period, SOLAW reports.

Finally, greater attention should be paid not only to technical options for improving efficiency and promoting sustainable intensification, but also to ensuring that national policies and institutions are modernized, collaborate together and are better equipped to cope with today’s emerging challenges of water and land resource management.

SOLAW contains numerous examples of successful actions undertaken in various parts of the world, which illustrate the multiple options available that are potentially replicable elsewhere. Given increasing competition for land and water resources, choices of options inevitably require stakeholders to evaluate trade-offs among a variety of ecosystem goods and services. This knowledge would serve to mobilize political will, priority setting and policy-oriented remedial actions, at the highest decision-making levels

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Last chance to save Kyoto deal at climate talks

Jon Herskovitz and Agnieszka Flak Reuters 28 Nov 11;

(Reuters) - Almost 200 nations began global climate talks on Monday with time running out to save the Kyoto Protocol aimed at cutting the greenhouse gas emissions scientists blame for rising sea levels, intense storms, drought and crop failures.

Poor nations say wealthy countries became rich using coal, oil and gas and that they must be allowed to burn fossil fuels to escape poverty. Rich nations say major developing economies, such as China, India and Brazil, must submit to emissions cuts if the world has any chance of halting dangerous climate change.

The stakes are high. Two U.N. reports this month said greenhouse gases had reached record levels in the atmosphere and a warming world would likely bring more floods, stronger cyclones and more intense droughts.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said global average temperatures could rise by 3-6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century if governments failed to contain emissions, bringing unprecedented destruction as glaciers melt and sea levels rise.

It said an 80 percent rise in global energy demand was set to raise carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions by 70 percent by 2050 and transport emissions were expected to double, due in part to a surge in demand for cars in developing nations.

E.U. climate negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger told a news conference unless progress was made: "(People) will just lose confidence in this travelling circus. How high must the water get in these conference places before the negotiators start deciding?"

Flash flooding from heavy rain killed at least six people in Durban the night before the talks opened.

For graphic on the world's biggest CO2 emitters: click

The Kyoto Protocol commits most developed nations to legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The talks in Durban are the last chance to set another round of targets before the first stage of the protocol ends in 2012.

"It may seem impossible, but you can get it done," Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, told delegates.


Diplomats hope there will be some progress on funding to help developing countries most at risk from the effects of global warming, particularly in Africa and small island states.

Rich nations have committed to a goal of providing $100 billion a year in climate cash by 2020. But the United States and Saudi Arabia have objected to some aspects of the Green Climate Fund that will help manage it.

There is also a chance that some nations will pledge deeper emissions cuts.

But the debt crisis hitting the euro zone and the United States makes it unlikely those countries will provide more aid or impose new measures that could hurt their growth prospects.

E.U. envoys said they want a new deal for emissions cuts reached by 2015 and in place by 2020, and it will only be effective if major polluters sign on.

Any accord depends on China and the United States, the world's top emitters, agreeing to binding action under a wider deal by 2015, something both have resisted for years.

Russia, Japan and Canada say they will not sign up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol unless the biggest emitters do too. The United States, which never ratified the protocol, warned its commitments would be tied to pledges made by major emerging economies.

"The structure of a legal agreement in which we are bound and those economies are not is untenable. It will not solve the problem. It will not be accepted in the United States," U.S. climate envoy Jonathan Pershing said.

Negotiators said there may be a deal struck with a new set of binding targets but only the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Switzerland were likely to sign up

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said: "If Durban puts off a legally binding agreement and closes the door on raising mitigation ambition before 2020 many of our small island states will be literally and figuratively doomed."

Despite nations' individual emissions-cut pledges and the Kyoto pact, the United Nations, International Energy Agency and others say they are not enough to prevent the planet heating up beyond 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, a threshold beyond which scientists say the climate risks becoming unstable.

Countries agreed last year in Cancun that deep emissions cuts were needed to hold temperature rises below 2 degrees C.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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