Best of our wild blogs: 6 Aug 12

Latest Green Jobs in Singapore [30 Jul - 5 Aug 2012]
from Green Business Times

Endangered Collectables
from Ideal Little Zoo

DENSO Youth for Earth Action
from Lazy Lizard's Tales

Q: How big is a leopard cat?
from Through the eyes of the leopard cat

Cyrene Reef with TeamSeagrass
from wild shores of singapore and teamseagrass

black-spitting cobra @ lim chu kang mangroves - 04Aug2012
from sgbeachbum and mangrove pit viper @ lim chu kang - 04Aug2012

Sharks, stingrays, cushion stars and many other critters fun at Beting Bemban Besar
from Peiyan.Photography

Riff rafter
from The annotated budak

A week of taxonomy... (fieldtrip to Changi too!)
from Psychedelic Nature

Journey to the West – Speaking at Frontier Primary School!
from Nature rambles

Olive-backed sunbirds feeding chicks
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Singapore's Illegal Wildlife Trade: An Essay
from The Mighty Jungle

Malayan Water Monitor
from Monday Morgue

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200 show up in bid to save green lung at Pasir Ris

Neo Chai Chin Today Online 6 Aug 12;

SINGAPORE - About 200 Pasir Ris West residents turned up yesterday to meet the authorities in a bid to preserve a parcel of forested land that is rich in biodiversity at the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 3 and Elias Road.

Organised by the Pasir Ris West Citizens' Consultative Committee, the dialogue session was also attended by Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Zainal Sapari, as well as representatives from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Parks Board.

The residents, led by a group that calls themselves the Pasir Ris Greenbelt Committee, hope to conserve the woodland - about the size of two football fields - which is home to several endangered bird species. There are plans to build an international school there, although this is not confirmed.

At the closed-door meeting at Siglap Secondary School, they proposed that alternative sites be considered for the school.

The Greenbelt committee has submitted its report and proposals to the authorities, together with a petition started three weeks ago and signed by more than 1,200 residents.

Ms Liane Christie, 49, a resident who was at the meeting, told TODAY: "We don't deny a school is important - but why in an area that is so wooded, with so much biodiversity?"

A URA spokesperson said the area had been intended for residential use since the start of the development of Pasir Ris Town, which was reflected in the Master Plan since 1998.

"We will take (residents') feedback into consideration and work with the agencies and developers to ensure that the area will be developed sensitively," she said, adding that residents can still enjoy nature beside Sungei Tampines at Pasir Ris Beach Park and at Pasir Ris Town Park.

Mr Zainal said he may raise questions in Parliament - after discussion with Pasir Ris West MP and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean - to learn more about how the URA decides which areas to conserve.

He said: "I learnt from the URA that there was public consultation. But knowing the ground wants to be engaged more, maybe we should rethink our strategy in terms of public consultation."

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Indonesian Disaster Agency Completes Plan to Prevent Forest Fires

Dessy Sagita Jakarta Globe 4 Aug 12;

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency has completed a plan to deal with the forest and ground fires that break out during the dry season, an officials said on Friday.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, who heads the data, information and public relation center of the agency known as the BNPB, said the plan included the seeding of artificial rain clouds by the research and applied technology agency BPPT under the command of the BNPB.

“The plan is for artificial rains to start on August 12 for 40 days, using two Cassa-212 airplanes based at two coordination posts, one in Pekanbaru and the other in Palangkaraya [Central Kalimantan],” he said.

In addition, two helicopters equipped with bambi-buckets for water dropping will also be mobilized to fight forest fires from the air in the Riau province, one of the primary regions in Indonesia affected by forest fires.

Riau is scheduled this September to host the National Games (PON).

“If the conditions there turn extreme, BNPB has also prepared a plan to add three more helicopters and two airplanes for rain making,” he said.

He said that Rp 12 billion ($1.3 million) from the BNPB’s funds had been earmarked for the first option, while the second option could cost Rp 30 billion. “BNPB is preparing these precautions even though the dry season is normal” Sutopo said.

The Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted that the El Nino southern oscillation could rise during the June to December period.

Sutopo said that the focus of anti-fire operations would be in North Sumatra Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and East Kalimantan.

Indonesia is annually beset by forest and ground fires which officials mostly blame on outlawed slash-and-burn agriculture, as well as land clearing by fire by farmers or plantation companies

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Ocean acidification could disrupt marine food chains

Jim Drury PlanetArk 6 Aug 12;

Ocean acidification caused by climate change is making it harder for creatures from clams to sea urchins to grow their shells, and the trend is likely to be felt most in polar regions, scientists said on Monday.

A thinning of the protective cases of mussels, oysters, lobsters and crabs is likely to disrupt marine food chains by making the creatures more vulnerable to predators, which could reduce human sources of seafood.

"The results suggest that increased acidity is affecting the size and weight of shells and skeletons, and the trend is widespread across marine species," the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said in a statement of the findings.

Human emissions of greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, and some of that carbon dioxide ends up in the oceans, where it dissolves to form acid.

The ocean acidification makes it harder for creatures to extract calcium carbonate - vital to grow skeletons and shells - especially from chill waters in the Arctic Ocean and around Antarctica, according to the study in the journal Global Change Biology.

"Where it gets colder and the calcium carbonate is harder to get out of the seawater the animals have thinner skeletons," Professor Lloyd Peck of the BAS told Reuters TV in an interview.


So a shift towards acidification in the ocean was likely to force animals to have smaller skeletons, he said of the study by scientists in Britain, Australia and Singapore.

"We think that the polar regions, and especially Antarctica, are likely to be the first places where animals reach these critical problems for making skeletons," he said.

Changes under way in the chill waters were likely to be a sign of what to expect in future in temperate zones and the tropics, he said.

The experts studied four types of creatures - clams, sea snails, lamp shells and sea urchins - at 12 sites, stretching across the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

"The fact the same effect occurs consistently in all four types suggests the effect is widespread across marine species, and that increasing ocean acidification will progressively reduce the availability of calcium carbonate," it said.

In the past, animals had evolved to be able to live in places where calcium carbonate is relatively difficult to obtain - such as off Antarctica - by forming lighter skeletons, it said.

So there was hope that they might be able to evolve again to adapt.

"Given enough time and a slow enough rate of change, evolution may again help these animals survive in our acidifying oceans," said Sue-Ann Watson, of James Cook University in Australia.

(Writing by Alister Doyle; Editing by Pravin Char)

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