Best of our wild blogs: 17 Dec 12

Latest Green Jobs in Singapore [10 - 16 Dec 2012]
from Green Business Times

Nudilicious at Ubin
from wild shores of singapore

Asiatic Lesser Yellow Bat
from Monday Morgue

Bidadari Trees
from Urban Forest

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Malaysia, Johor: Bird lovers attend inaugural workshop

Edmund Khoo The Star 17 Dec 12;

NUSAJAYA: More than 50 bird lovers attended the inaugural migratory birds workshop organised by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) recently.

Insurance agent and participant Esther Teo Sian Cheng, 55, said the workshop was well organised and brought back nostalgic memories, which the younger generation might lack.

“The workshop brought me back to my childhood years when the sight of a kingfisher made me reminisce my days in the village in Pontian when I was a child,” she said.

She added that the workshop was balanced and enriching, as she enjoyed every activity planned by the organisers and the transition from IMIC to Kg Sg Melayu was very smooth.

“The workshop reminds us to be more in touch with nature and care for one another in this materialistic world,” she added after seeing the life cycle of the migratory birds.

Another participant, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) graduate Nur Asila Rahim, 23, says the workshop was interesting and educational, as she learnt about the many species of migratory birds in Iskandar Malaysia.

“I saw some of the species introduced during the seminars when we were birdwatching at Kg Sg Melayu, it was an exciting and fresh experience for me,” she said.

“I would definitely recommend this workshop if it is organised again next year to my family and friends,” she added.

The workshop aims at educating and creating awareness on migratory birds and exploring the potential of Kg Sg Melayu as an eco-tourism spot.

Participants were from Government agencies, such as the Economic Planning Unit of Johor, Tourism Malaysia, Johor National Parks Corporation, Department of Environment, Johor Birding Group, Singapore National Parks, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and members of the public.

The workshop commenced at Iskandar Malaysia Information Centre (IMIC), where participants were given seminars on birdwatching and bird identification techniques.

Participants then proceeded on a field trip to Kg Sg Melayu for a boat cruise, crab-catching and bubu-making sessions.

Meanwhile, IRDA chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said the workshop was a kick-off to the Iskandar Malaysia Ecotourism Summit, which would be held next month.

“It (the Summit) is held for the first time in recognition of the importance of ecotourism to Iskandar Malaysia’s economic development and we hope to make it an annual event.

“Each year, the programme will focus on different themes related to Ecotourism and highlight not only the attractions in Iskandar Malaysia like our three Ramsar Johor Sites, but also on the socio-economic benefits of Ecotourism to the local communities.

“This is all in line and very much aligned with IRDA’s vision of creating a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing,” said Datuk Ismail, adding this year’s Summit would stress on the importance of Migratory Birds and Avi-tourism.

He added workshops on migratory birds would be held annually in conjuction with the Ecotourism Summit as IRDA will work with the relevant agencies and NGOs to designate sanctuaries for these migratory birds.

Datuk Ismail also said as Johor has been known for its diversity of bird species including these migratory birds, it was only fitting that IRDA spearheads this project together with MNS Johor to educate members of the public on migratory birds.

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Malaysia: Sime Darby gives RM1mil for conservation of Sabah wild cattle

Muguntan Vanar The Star 17 Dec 12;

KOTA KINABALU: Conservation efforts for the endangered banteng or wild cattle has received a boost with an injection of RM1mil fund by the Sime Darby Foundation.

The Sabah Wildlife Department and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) received the funding from the foundation in line with Sime Darby’s “Big 9” programme to protect and conserve nine endangered animals, most of which are indigenous to Malaysia.

The other animals covered under the programme, for which the foundation has already committed a total of RM80mil, include the sun bear, orang utan, Asian elephant and Sunda clouded leopard.

The others are the hornbill, proboscis monkey, Sumatran rhinoceros and Malayan tiger.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said they had started a three-year project to assess the conservation status and longevity of the banteng in their current locations and to relocate them to other habitats across Sabah.

“To achieve our objective, we will use an unpublished report titled ‘A Faunal Survey of Sabah’ that was compiled by the World Wide Fund for Nature in 1982, which includes a distribution map of the banteng in Sabah and their estimated population sizes,” he said.

Dr Goossens said it was the only record available of banteng distribution.

“The recognition of remnant banteng populations is critical to identify the extent of the decline which has occurred over the past 30 years as a result of deforestation, land conversion and human population expansion,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

“Education and capacity building have always been a priority for the Sime Darby Foundation, and as such, the project will also include training of a Malaysian master student and two local field research assistants,” Dr Goossens said.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the funds from the Sime Darby Foundation were necessary for their project to conserve and manage the banteng in Sabah.

“The project aims to increase the knowledge and awareness of this extremely endangered species of wild cattle in Sabah,” he said.

Sime Darby's RM1m funding to study banteng
New Straits Times 17 Dec 12;

KOTA KINABALU: The Danau Girang Field Centre and the Sabah Wildlife Department recently received RM1 million funding from the Sime Darby Foundation for a conservation project for banteng in the state.

Danau Girang director Dr Benoit Goossens said the remaining population of the endangered wild cattle would be studied in a three-year project.

"The aim of the project is to identify the extent of the species' decline because of deforestation, land conversion and human invasion over the past 30 years.

"We are also going to assess their conservation status and chances of long-term survival," he said on Saturday.

The centre would use data from a report entitled A Faunal survey of Sabah as a reference.

The report was compiled by World Wild Fund in 1982. It contained data on the locations of the banteng and its estimated population in the state.

Goossens said camera traps would be set up to photograph the animals.

"The cameras are also crucial for identifying connectivity issues, such as the genetic integrity of the species."

Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the purpose of the project was to increase knowledge and awareness of the species.

"At the end of the project, we will organise an international workshop on the conservation status of the banteng.

"The workshop will highlight the current status of the species, discuss mitigation possibilities and come up with an action plan."

Ambu also said the project was carried out in collaboration with the Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Foundation and Cardiff University.

The funding from the Sime Darby Foundation is in line with its Big9 programme to protect and conserve endangered animals, including the sun bear, orang utan, Asian elephant, Sunda clouded leopard, hornbills, proboscis monkey, Sumatran rhinoceros and Malayan tiger.

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Human link to climate change stronger than ever: draft report

Nina Chestney and Alister Doyle PlanetArk 17 Dec 12;

International climate scientists are more certain than ever that humans are responsible for global warming, rising sea levels and extreme weather events, according to a leaked draft report by an influential panel of experts.

The early draft, which is still subject to change before a final version is released in late 2013, showed that a rise in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times was set to exceed 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, and may reach 4.8 Celsius.

"It is extremely likely that human activities have caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperatures since the 1950s," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draft report said.

"Extremely likely" in the IPCC's language means a level of certainty of at least 95 percent. The next level is "virtually certain", or 99 percent, the greatest possible certainty for the scientists.

The IPCC's previous report, in 2007, said it was at least 90 percent certain that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, were the cause of rising temperatures.

The draft was shown on a climate change skeptic blog.

The IPCC said the unauthorized, premature posting of the draft may lead to confusion because the report was still work in progress and was likely to change before it is released.

A United Nations conference last week aimed at curbing emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warning yielded no progress and three countries - Canada, Russia and Japan - have abandoned the Kyoto Protocol limiting the emissions.

The United States never ratified it in the first place, and it excludes developing countries where emissions are growing most quickly.

Countries agreed to extend Kyoto to 2020, but only those covering less than 15 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions signed up. Developing nations said they would push next year for a radical U.N. mechanism to compensate them for the impact of climate change.

The IPCC said it had "high confidence" that human activity had caused large-scale changes in oceans, in ice sheets or mountain glaciers, and in sea levels in the second half of the twentieth century, according to the draft.

It said some extreme weather events had also changed due to human influences.


The draft's scenarios forecast a rise in temperatures of between 0.2 and 4.8 Celsius this century - a narrower band than in 2007. But in almost all of the scenarios, the rise would exceed 2 degrees Celsius.

Governments pledged in 2010 to try to stop global temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees, a threshold seen by scientists as the maximum to avoid more extreme weather, droughts, floods, and other climate change impacts.

Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were the highest in 800,000 years, according to the draft report.

The draft also said that sea levels were likely to rise by between 29 and 82 centimeters by the end of the century - compared to 18-59 centimeters projected in the 2007 report.

Rising sea levels are a threat to people living in low-lying areas, from Bangladesh to the cities of New York, London and Buenos Aires. They open up the risk of storm surges, coastal erosion and, in the worst case scenario, the complete swamping of large areas of land.

The IPCC carries weight because it brings together all scientific research on climate change and informs policymakers.

Many countries want to study the final IPCC report before signing up to a new global pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The draft included a possible future acceleration of ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland, which was omitted in 2007. It stopped short of including some research carried out since 2007 that suggested seas may rise by up to 2 meters by 2100.

(Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

IPCC critical of climate change report leak
David Shukman BBC News 14 Dec 12;

The UN climate science panel has criticised a blogger who has published a draft version of its next report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is preparing what is known as its Fifth Assessment Report for publication next year.

The work looks to draw together research to provide a statement on global warming and its future effects.

The drafting of the reports is open to reviewers but on the condition that no details are published.

In a statement, the IPCC says it "regrets this unauthorized posting which interferes with the process of assessment and review".

The draft posted online is of what's called Working Group 1 (WGI), the first stage of the next report.

This covers the physical aspects of climate science, including observations of temperature and computer models of possible scenarios for future warming.

The IPCC statement read: "The unauthorized and premature posting of the drafts of the WGI AR5, which are works in progress, may lead to confusion because the text will necessarily change in some respects once all the review comments have been addressed.

"It is regrettable that one out of many hundreds of reviewers broke the terms of the review."

The draft was posted by US climate sceptic Alec Rawls, who runs a blog called Stop Green Suicide.

It is reported that he highlighted one particular sentence in the draft - about the possible effect of cosmic rays on the climate - claiming it undermined the case that most recent warming has been driven by man-made greenhouse gases.

However, when the BBC attempted to access the blogger's site it was not available but a number of other sites were providing links to places where the report could be viewed or downloaded online.

'Cherry picking'

Climate scientists, reacting to the leak, have condemned the "cherry picking" of this one point in a long report and have said that other sections reinforce the central argument about the cause of climate change.

In any event, the text faces several further stages of possible revision before publication late next year.

A meeting of lead authors in Tasmania next month will be the next chance to review all the latest comments.

One lead author, Richard Betts of the Met Office, tweeted that further alterations were likely.

"Worth pointing out that the wording in the leaked IPCC WG1 draft chapters may still change in the final versions, following review comments," he wrote.

The leak highlights a fundamental question about the way the IPCC is managed in the age of the internet.

While it aims to be open to all contributions, the system of conducting the drafting and discussions in private has long been under pressure.

Prof Piers Forster of Leeds University, UK, said the rationale behind the IPCC process was "to iron out all the errors and inconsistencies which might be inadvertently included.

"Personally, I would be happy if the IPCC process were even more open and public, and I think we as scientists need to explore how we can best match the development of measured critical arguments with those of the Twitter generation."

This comes as the IPCC is under intense pressure following the discovery of errors in its last assessment, released in 2007.

An inquiry by the Inter Academy Council concluded in 2010 that the IPCC needed better management to handle the growing complexity of climate science and the scrutiny of the outside world.

The panel's reports are designed to provide a consensus statement on the latest climate science to help governments decide how to respond.

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