Best of our wild blogs: 25 Apr 13

Bidadari, Haven For Wildlife Amidst The City
from Nikita Hengbok

Black-Naped Oriole Behaving Like Mangrove Pitta
from Bird Ecology Study Group

Random Gallery - Common Mormon
from Butterflies of Singapore

Sharing about our shores: School talk for Youth for the Environment Day from wild shores of singapore

Bizarre, little-known carnivore sold as illegal pet in Indonesian markets from news by Jeremy Hance

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Man pays $100 to free stingray

Straits Times 25 Apr 13;

The fisherman with his stingray. A man in his 60s paid $100 for its release. -- PHOTO: STOMP

AN ANIMAL lover paid $100 to buy a giant stingray caught off the East Coast - so he could release it back into the sea.

Mr Desmond Teo, who reported the incident on citizen journalism website Stomp, said he was cycling when he spotted a fisherman who had just hauled in an unusually big catch.

On closer inspection, he saw that it was a stingray estimated to weigh "around 20kg".

"It was huge. The fisherman said it took almost three hours to reel it in," Mr Teo said.

About 10 onlookers had gathered to witness the catch when a man in his 60s stepped up to offer $80 for the fish.

The fisherman rejected him before the man then offered $100 - on the condition that the fisherman release the stingray back into the wild.

"Even the fisherman was taken aback and so was I," said Mr Teo, 38, a real estate agent.

The rare catch was released after 10 minutes.

Mr Teo added: "I was really touched. Such acts of kindness are so rare in the world today."

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Whopper of a grouper, at 153kg

Straits Times 25 Apr 13;


Mr Johnny Tan, owner of Grouper King restaurant, with a 153kg Queensland grouper at his restaurant. The 2m giant was caught by fishermen in Singapore waters early yesterday morning. It was then bought by Mr Tan for about $5,000.

The 52-year-old restaurant owner said the fish can serve about 500 diners and has already been fully reserved. Mr Tan added that the most coveted portions of the giant fish like the liver, stomach, throat and skin can be sold for as high as $200 per kg.

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8 schools to pilot WWF’s eco programme

Louisa Tang Today Online 24 Apr 13;

SINGAPORE — Eight primary and secondary schools have signed on to a new pilot programme to become more eco-friendly, such as by reducing their water consumption and utility costs, or by cutting down on waste by engaging in recycling or reusing projects.

The internationally-recognised Eco-Schools Programme was launched yesterday by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore, and will focus on active citizenship and environmental sustainability as an important part of school life.

Through a seven-step framework, schools can enhance their curriculum and activities for environmental education. They will have six environmental themes to choose from, such as Water, Waste and Litter and Energy.

Under the framework, schools have to set up an Eco-Schools Committee consisting mainly of students, with teachers and adult members as advisers. The committee will have to get the school and the local community involved in Eco-Schools activities.

The programme will be expanded to pre-schools and tertiary institutions next year.

“Making the environment a priority in the school’s agenda will go a long way in growing a generation of environmentally responsible citizens empowered to make informed choices, in support of a low carbon future,” said Ms Elaine Tan, CEO of WWF Singapore.

Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, said the programme will involve six schools in the district that have consistently achieved top environmental district awards, the Green Schools Sustained Achievement Awards.

“We hope to help our Green Schools achieve a higher standard in environmental education and further empower our students to do their part to conserve, protect and make the South West a better place for all,” said Dr Khor.

Participating schools may qualify for the internationally recognised Green Flag Award by working on two themes, Climate Change and Nature and Biodiversity, and by successfully implementing the programme and improving their environmental performance. The Eco-Schools Programme in Singapore is funded by IKEA and The Silent Foundation; IKEA has pledged to donate S$200,000 from its savings from eliminating disposable plastic bags at its stores.

Louisa Tang

Students to helm green efforts in schools
David Ee Straits Times 24 Apr 13;

THE World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature has welcomed Singaporean schools into its global Eco-Schools programme and will put students here at the helm of their schools' environmental efforts.

The WWF's programme will let youngsters decide and champion the green issues that concern them and their communities.

Students will be prominent on a school's eco-committee and be involved in decision-making.

Participating institutions will be expected to review their environmental performance, develop plans, monitor progress and make green learning part of the curriculum.

The WWF will assess their performance yearly and award schools that do well with its "green flag" award.

Said WWF-Singapore's education manager Rabi'ah Ghazali: "Environmental education should primarily be led and spearheaded by youth, as they are the generation who will shape our policies in the future."

The Nature Society's president Shawn Lum added: "What's encouraging is that it's not a prescribed course of action. Students have to come up with the ideas and take the lead... What are they going to do when they grow up to be decision-makers? That's where the impact is going to be felt."

WWF-Singapore launched the one-year pilot yesterday at the Tampines outlet of Ikea Singapore, which has provided $200,000 in funding.

Eight primary and secondary schools will take part initially. Next year the programme will open to all schools, including tertiary institutions.

The Eco-Schools programme began in 1994 in Denmark, Greece, Germany and Britain, and today involves more than 40,000 schools in over 50 countries.

Local success stories include Ixopo Primary in South Africa, which began designing and building solar cookers and growing vegetables in the school garden to support low-income residents nearby.

Nan Hua High School, one of the pilot participants here, wants to go beyond school grounds and bring green lessons to residents in Clementi, where the school is located, and even beyond.

Said teacher Tan Wei Sein, 62: "One of our passions is energy. We hope to get residents to save energy - not just in Clementi but farther out. The students want to serve the community in a bigger way."

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Businesses feel the heat from April's hot spell

Cheng Jingjie, Eugene Chua, And Lim Min Zhang Straits Times 24 Apr 13;

A RESTAURANT set inside a greenhouse has realised a design flaw during the current heatwave.

The Brussels Sprouts outlet at the East Coast is one of many restaurants battling to keep business going as temperatures hit the mid-30s.

"The heat is uninviting to many potential customers," said manager Regemelec Angeles.

"We had to put up banners to block out the sunlight and install mobile cooling units to keep the place cool."

Temperatures in Singapore rose to 34.9 deg C on Thursday last week. In contrast, the highest temperature recorded in the month of April last year was 32.9 deg C, according to Meteorological Service Singapore. Other restaurants, such as those with alfresco dining areas, have also been under the weather.

"Business definitely dropped last week with the weather. The hot temperatures chased the customers away," said a spokesman for Shiraz Mazzeh in Orchard, which sells kebabs from an outdoor stall.

The hot spells have been punctuated with thunderstorms, something that outdoor businesses are also worried about.

"We saw a drop in business of about 5 to 10 per cent, but it's also because of the heavy rain lately," said assistant outlet manager Zerlie Reyes, 25, of the alfresco Coffee Club outlet next to Somerset 313.

"Business has been down 15 to 20 per cent this year," said Mr Dave Lim, manager of Cycle Max, a bicycle rental shop in East Coast Park. "Both the rain and the heat have contributed to this as people are not stepping out of their houses."

Sport has also been affected.

Mr Shimon Junior, admin manager of First Kick Academy, which runs children's football camps, said he is seeing more bookings for indoor than outdoor courts - even though indoor courts are pricier.

"Parents are concerned so we are considering holding our biannual tournament indoors this year for the first time," the 25-year-old added.

Construction companies such as Gammon are not taking any chances.

Senior project manager Zhang Lizhong said measures are in place to ensure the well-being of its workers. In the past two weeks, staff have been asked to spend longer resting in the shelter and to drink more water.

Singaporeans are taking their own individual measures.

"I try to avoid outdoor areas and shop indoors. It's very hot so I had to use the air-con more than usual," said project coordinator Derrick Wong, 41.

"I even choose to go night-swimming."

Student Karen Ho, 20, has resorted to more extreme measures. "I ask the hawker centre auntie for more ice. When she isn't looking, I will stuff the ice cubes down my shirt," she said.

A spokesman for the weatherman said the intermittent hot spells and thunderstorms are nothing out of the ordinary, as the inter-monsoon months of April to May are characterised by warm weather and occasional heavy thunderstorms.

Some places have even benefited from the conditions.

According to the Singapore Sports Council, the number of visitors to its swimming complexes increased by 10 per cent for the past two weeks compared to the first week of the month.

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Make it easy to recycle toxic trash

Richard Hartung Today Online 24 Apr 13;

Recycling everyday trash like paper has never been easier — look around and there seem to be more recycling bins than ever. Where recycling seems hardest, however, is where it is needed the most.

Try to recycle anything that has toxic chemicals in it, and you could have to travel across the island — if you can find a place to recycle it at all.

Most recycling bins are for paper, plastic, cans and glass. For old mobile phones, printers, batteries or light bulbs, there are few obvious places to recycle, and the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Environment Council (SEC) provide little guidance. Even many producers of these items offer little assistance here.

Take printers, for example. Along with the obvious plastic and metals, printers often contain hazardous chemicals like polyvinyl chloride and brominated flame retardants. Some companies, like HP, have recycling schemes; many others do nothing.

When asked how to recycle a printer that no longer works, one large global company said: “We do not establish a collection centre for used printers just yet as we do not recycle its product.” The company also said it is “conveniently safe to dispose them through the common litter bins”.

Batteries seem equally hard to recycle, despite containing harmful substances like lead, nickel, lithium, cadmium or mercury. Mercury and lead, for example, can affect the nervous system or cause learning disabilities.

While the NEA suggests minimising the use of batteries, its website has no easy-to-find information about recycling them; the SEC mentions only Nokia and Motorola products, not ordinary batteries.

Light bulbs fare only slightly better. As Scientific American pointed out, LED bulbs contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other dangerous substances. IKEA says consumers can bring their old bulbs to an IKEA store, deposit them in the bin, and “we’ll do the rest”.

If you don’t want to travel so far, IKEA suggests that you “take the bulbs to your local recycling centre”. While a few other companies offer recycling, many consumers who purchase their bulbs elsewhere seem to be out of luck.

Electronic and other products, from mobile phones and personal computers to electronic toys and more, contain hazardous materials and are equally difficult to recycle.

Admittedly, some companies here specifically offer trash collection and recycling. The NEA identifies some of them on its website, though a number offer recycling only for companies or industrial firms.

For those that will accept goods from consumers, a further challenge is how to get the recyclables to the company. One company, for example, suggested that a consumer lug a malfunctioning printer 23km to its office. When consumers have to travel so far or pay for pick-up, it’s hard to convince them to recycle.

As an increasing number of consumers gradually shift to a recycling mindset, yet then face difficulties in actually following through on their good intentions, a new approach may be needed. One model could be Australia.

In addition to curbside recycling, Australians can use the RecyclingNearYou website to find out where to recycle almost anything. Keying in a postal code leads to locations in the nearest neighbourhood where consumers can drop off their recyclables, including hazardous materials.

Another alternative is from Japan, which uses a combination of regulations and social pressure to increase recycling. Its Home Appliance Law, says The Guardian, has “forced the extensive implementation of extended producer responsibility” and placed responsibility for recycling on consumers, retailers and manufacturers alike.

In Canada, British Columbia plans to implement a new regulation that goes into effect next year, making producers provide the funding for recycling. And on the other side of the country, Toronto provides free electronic waste containers in condominiums and other locations as part of its goal to recycle 70 per cent of its electronic waste.

With the volume of electronic and other hazardous waste here growing quickly and the evident hazards of simply throwing away toxic materials, it is clear that more can be done here to protect the environment, as well as the health and well-being of residents. In this, action by regulators and companies will be essential.


Richard Hartung is a consultant who has lived in Singapore since 1992.

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Massive Malaysia monkey cull spurs concerns

Questions raised about species sustainability after nearly 100,000 animals were killed because of conflicts with humans.
Kate Mayberry Aljazeera 24 Apr 13;

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - On the hilly eastern fringes of Kuala Lumpur, where the suburbs meet the jungle, people run, bike and play golf. Others simply come to watch the ever-present monkeys.

That's why many Malaysians were shocked to discover that the country's wildlife department viewed the long-tailed macaque as a pest - and killed 97,119 last year across the country.

"I come here because I want my daughter to know about the monkeys," said local businessman Zul Kamarulzaman, cradling his one-year-old girl in his arms and protecting her from the rain.

"I think the word pest is quite inappropriate. They shouldn't be killing them," Zul said.

The Taman TAR wildlife sanctuary is home to two main species of monkey - the pig-tailed macaque and the more numerous long-tailed macaque - both protected by law.

The cull has pitched the wildlife department against animal welfare groups and primate experts alarmed not only at the number of animals killed, but the way in which the cull was carried out. Activists say some monkeys are being shot as they sit in trees.

No recent scientific survey of the macaque population has been completed, critics say, and such an aggressive approach to controlling their numbers could push the species to the brink of extinction.

The wildlife department - known as Perhilitan - insists there is no such risk and the killing is necessary to deal with the rising incidence of human-monkey conflict.

"The culling was not done in haste, but in the best interests of the public," a government statement said. "Macaques are prolific and able to reproduce very fast, so there is no question of the species being threatened into extinction through culling."

Human encroachment

The past 30 years has seen rapid economic development across much of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia. Much of the monkeys' traditional forest habitat has been cleared to make way for factories, homes and plantations.

"Problems with macaques are generally a good measure of the overall severity of environmental problems and poor waste management," said Michael Gumert, an assistant professor at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, whose work focuses on the region's macaque population.

"The first step needed is to get a trustworthy team to census the population. Without real scientific-based surveys, everything is guess work."

Perhilitan says an "inventory" of the macaque population took place in 2007, which showed there were 740,000 macaques across the peninsula. Depending on the availability of food and habitat, the animal population can expand by as much as seven percent each year, it said.

Scientists describe the macaque as an "edge" species because the monkeys like to live on the forest fringe, near rivers or along the coast, which gives the animal its other name, the crab-eating macaque.

They're known for being intelligent and inquisitive; the balcony doors of five star resorts from Langkawi to the east coast often come with warnings about the monkeys who keep a watchful eye on guests from the nearby treetops or, sometimes, the roof.

In housing areas closer to the forest, homeowners risk having their fridge raided if they leave doors or windows open, and monkeys have been known to snatch clothes and towels belonging to unsuspecting swimmers. Farmers have been forced to change crops and erect electric fences to keep the macaques out.

In an incident that made headlines across the world, a new-born baby died after being snatched, and dropped, by a monkey in 2010.

'Indiscriminate butchery'?

Maketab Mohamed is president of the Malaysian Nature Society and director of Occupational Safety, Health and the Environment at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in the southern state of Johor. He said the campus has long been troubled by the presence of long-tailed macaques and has little sympathy for the animals.

"They raid garbage, raid the fruits clean off our fruit trees and even attack students," Maketab said in an email. "Personally, I will say I support the culling - and any critic is welcome to buy a house in a macaque-infested neighbourhood."

Animal rights groups say they have evidence that suggests the animals are trapped in cages, perhaps as many as 12 at a time, before they are shot. The pattern of wounding on the bodies also suggests the animals suffered before they died.

"Perhilitan does not have the resources to [humanely] carry out killing on such a scale," said N Surendran, president of animal rights group ROAR.

"The photos show that the monkeys were sometimes shot down from trees. That's not humane. This kind of indiscriminate butchery can have an impact on the survival of the species," Surendran said.

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Perhilitan stressed the killing was done humanely, and according to a plan that had been "deeply discussed with NGOs, experts and scientists". It acknowledged the cull could take place in a number of ways, including organised hunting expeditions.

"The objective is also to protect human safety [and] reduce economic losses due to damage done by wildlife to commercial crops and property," the statement said. "We have to see the bigger picture rather than just focusing on the numbers."

Kill quotas

Internal documents obtained by Al Jazeera show the department sets a kill quota for each state, and operates two incinerators to dispose of the bodies.

Selangor state had the largest quota of 16,500 animals killed, and had reached 96 percent of that target by the end of September, according to the official documents.

In the southern state of Johor, the cull had exceeded its target in the first nine months of the year, with 12,694 killed compared with its annual quota of 12,000.

The ministry of the environment denied there were any cull quotas.

The documents also show while monkeys were the source of many conflicts, the cost was negligible and there were few injuries caused. In fact, elephants were more costly and snakes more deadly. Moreover, official figures show complaints about monkeys have actually declined to 3,235 in 2012, compared with 4,193 back in 2005.

A special committee set up by Perhilitan to investigate the allegations made by the NGOs was due to report its findings to the ministry of the environment last week. The ministry declined to comment on the status of the report.

Activists say Perhilitan should work harder to relocate problem monkeys, or sterilise troublesome groups. Discussions on sterilisation, which costs nine times more per monkey than culling, according to Perhilitan, have been under way for some time, and a handful of pilot programmes have begun.

Sterilisation has been successful in the high-density cities of Hong Kong and Singapore.

"The conflict between macaques and humans is the one of the biggest threats to the survival of the species," SM Mohd Idris of the animal rights group Sahabat Alam Malaysia wrote in a letter last month to online newspaper Free Malaysia Today. "This should be an essential focus of conservation initiatives if macaques are to have a future in increasingly urbanised environments."

As Susan Lau who lives close to the Kuala Lumpur wildlife sanctuary puts it, "We certainly have a great deal to learn about how to care for our natural environment, as well as the creatures we must learn to share it with."

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Indonesia: Govt should collect data on damaged forest to absolve palm oil plantations

Antara 24 Apr 13;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Director of the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance Enny Sri Hartati suggested the government collect data on damaged forest areas to prove that palm oil plantations do not cause damage to the environment.

"Indonesia should show data on damaged forest areas to prove that oil palm and rubber plantations do not degrade forest in Indonesia," Enny said in an interview to Antara here on Wednesday.

Enny made the suggestion in connection with the refusal of several major industrialized economies to include Indonesian crude palm oil and rubber commodities on the list of 54 eco-friendly goods.

Products which are included on the list will get import tariff reduction by 5 percent.

Enny said the government could show that the damaged forestry areas in Indonesia were not caused by CPO and rubber plantations, but by illegal logging activities.

"We have several ministries which are related to forest areas to prove to the international community that CPO plantations are located in the industrial forest areas, not in the conservation forest areas," Enny said.

Besides, the Indonesian government should boost the development of infrastructure in downstream areas to attract investor to grow business in the agro-based commodities sector.

"If Indonesian infrastructure facilities are well developed, investors will prioritize profit and develop businesses on the agro-based commodities sector," Enny said.

She also suggested the government improve its bureaucracy administration so the investors will not experience difficulties in doing business in Indonesia.

"The third effort that the government has to make to attract investors is making land available for industries in downstream region in order to enhance added values of commodities," Enny said.

Previously, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers` meeting in Surabaya, E Java last weekend failed to agree the inclusion of several additional products on the list of 54 environmental goods to get a five percent tariff reduction.

Although several representatives from developing countries are willing to discuss the issue, the USA delegates refused to discuss the inclusion of CPO and rubber commodities on the list.


Editor: Jafar M Sidik

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Indonesia looks to limit size of new palm plantations

* Working on law to limit new plantations to 100,000 hectares
* State-owned firms, co-operatives to be exempted
* Looking to impose law this year

Michael Taylor and Yayat Supriatna Reuters 24 Apr 13;

JAKARTA, April 24 (Reuters) - Indonesia is working on a regulation to restrict to 100,000 hectares the plantation area of new private palm oil firms, a government official said, as the world's top producer of the edible oil seeks to open up the industry to smaller players.

The law, an amendment to a 2007 regulation, will exempt state-owned firms and co-operatives and will not affect companies that already have permits, said Gamal Nasir, director general of plantations at the agriculture ministry.

"Hopefully it can be imposed this year," Nasir told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that the regulation would not be retroactive.

"Companies that already have acquired more than 100,000 hectares can still manage them, according to their permit."

Nasir did not say how the law would affect existing palm firms that are looking to expand.

Major palm oil firms now operating in Indonesia include Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources and Wilmar International, Malaysia's Sime Darby Bhd and Indonesia's Astra Agro Lestari -- most of which have more than 100,000 hectares under palm plantation.

Plantations with land licenses due to expire or be renewed soon could be hit hardest, but few firms release this data, so the full impact is hard to assess, said a Singapore-based plantations analyst.

The amendment to the 2007 regulation, which sought to protect small plantation firms from bigger predators, may be aimed at closing a loophole that let major players set up companies in different provinces, said the analyst, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The timing comes ahead of a campaign for presidential elections due next year, suggesting the law could be a government attempt to curb land disputes, common in a country where provincial and federal rules overlap.

However, the executive director of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, Fadhil Hasan, questioned whether the new law was the best way to prevent the disputes or spread economic development evenly.

"In the new draft it is stated that it will be valid for the new plantations only," said Hasan. "But it is unclear to us why the government is doing this."

Indonesia's palm oil output is expected to be about 28 million tonnes this year, with between 17 million and 18 million tonnes exported to top buyers that include India, China and Europe.

Palm oil is used mainly as an ingredient in food such as biscuits and ice cream, or as biofuel, and estates growing palm in Indonesia sprawl across about 8.5 million hectares.

Home to the world's third-largest expanse of tropical forests, Indonesia is also under intense international pressure to limit deforestation and destruction of its carbon-rich peatlands, at risk from urbanisation and the rapidly expanding palm and mining sectors. (Reporting by Yayat Supriatna and Michael Taylor; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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New Caledonia bans shark fishing

(AFP) Google News 24 Apr 13;

NOUMEA, New Caledonia — The government of the Pacific paradise of New Caledonia said Wednesday it had decided to ban fishing of sharks, which are being decimated to feed growing demand for luxury goods.

"New Caledonia took the decision to ban the fishing, capture, detention or commercialisation of all species of sharks" in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) -- an area roughly the size of South Africa, authorities in the French territory said.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), humans kill about 100 million sharks each year, mostly for their fins, which are used for expensive, luxury soups in China.

Conservationists warn that dozens of species are under threat. Over the past 100 years, 90 percent of the world's sharks have disappeared, mostly because of overfishing, the FAO says.

Shark-fin soup was once a luxury enjoyed just by China's elite, but as the country's 1.3 billion people have grown wealthier and incorporated it into their festivities, shark populations have been increasingly decimated.

The government of New Caledonia also banned so-called "shark-feeding", a popular adrenalin-fuelled tourist activity that consists in giving food to the animals to observe them from a close vantage point.

The territory joins other countries in the region to have created shark sanctuaries, including French Polynesia, Palau and Cook Islands.

"Asian flotillas don't come to New Caledonia's EEZ but this will stop any attempt to do so. It's a really good decision, as it affects all species," said Thea Jacob of the WWF.

New Caledonia's decision joins a growing trend of protecting shark species worldwide, despite opposition from countries such as Japan and China that support shark fishing.

Last month, a decision to restrict exports of the oceanic whitetip shark, the porbeagle, three types of hammerhead and the manta ray won final approval by the 178-member Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The species now join the great white shark, the whale shark and the basking shark, which already enjoy international trade controls.

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Long-term global cooling ended in 19th century: study

Ian Simpson PlanetArk 23 Apr 13;

A global long-term cooling trend ended late in the 19th century and was followed decades later by the warmest temperatures in nearly 1,400 years, a sweeping study of temperature change showed.

The study, by a consortium of 78 authors in 24 countries, said its 2,000 years of data made it harder to discount the impact on higher temperatures of increased greenhouse gases due to human activity.

"Global warming that has occurred since the end of the 19th century reversed a persistent long-term global cooling trend," the National Science Foundation, one of the study's sponsors, quoted the report as saying.

Researchers found that various factors, including fluctuations in the amount and distribution of heat from the Sun and increases in volcanic activity, fed an overall change in temperature patterns.

The researchers were part of 2K Network of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program's Past Global Changes (PAGES) project. The research was published online on Sunday by the Nature Geoscience journal.

The National Science Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation jointly support the PAGES office. The U.S. agency called the study the most comprehensive evaluation of temperature change on the Earth's continents over the last 1,000 to 2,000 years.

The PAGES study relied mainly on analysis of tree growth rings, pollen, skeletons of coral that register sea surface temperatures, polar and glacier ice samples and lake sediments, the National Science Foundation said.

The 20th century ranked as the warmest or nearly the warmest century on all the continents except Antarctica. Africa lacked enough data to be included in the analysis.

An abstract of the report on the Nature Geoscience website said that reconstructions of temperature showed generally cold conditions between 1580 and 1880. The trend was punctuated in some areas by warm decades in the 18th century.

From 1971 to 2000, the weighted average temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years, it said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Greg McCune and Dan Grebler)

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