Best of our wild blogs: 22 May 13

Where none have gone before on Day 2 of the Southern Expedition from Mega Marine Survey of Singapore

Venus Drive 21 May 2013: First sighting of the White Ladybirds!
from Coccinellid Chronicles

Random Gallery - Pale Grass Blue
from Butterflies of Singapore

Scientists capture one of the world's rarest big cats on film (photos)
from news by Jeremy Hance

Read more!

AVA explains monkey trapping video

Janice Tai Straits Times 22 May 13;

THE Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has responded to a public outcry over a YouTube video showing one of its contractors herding a wild monkey into a cage.

Titled "How Singapore handles its wild macaques", the video last night garnered more than 4,000 views. In the video, workers armed with a water gun and grabber are seen dragging the animal into a small cage.

Netizens appeared to be disgusted by the images. Ms Marie Teo posted a comment on the site saying: "Many of us are disgusted by this kind of behaviour from our fellow men and do not support it at all."

But yesterday, the AVA told The Straits Times that the method used by its contractor in Bukit Timah is "approved for monkey control operations".

Explaining what took place in the video, the AVA said contractors encountered a troop of monkeys with an aggressive male that had been harassing passers-by.

"Traps were set up but the monkey was not lured by the bait," said a spokesman. "The contractor had to throw a net over to catch it while his assistant stood by with a water gun to shoo away other members of the troop, if the situation warrants it."

The AVA said it conducted the operation in the area in response to complaints from residents of condominiums and commercial establishments there.

Together with the National Parks Board, it is studying the feasibility of sterilisation as a "long-term" measure to manage the monkey population. Currently, it traps the monkeys to either rehome or kill them. The AVA spokesman said: "We will try to relocate them where possible. However, as relocation options are limited, most will eventually be humanely euthanised."

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society chief executive Louis Ng said the method used to capture the monkey in the video is "clearly cruel as the monkey is screaming". He said sterilising the monkeys instead of relocating or culling them is still not a good strategy.

"The root of the problem is public education; people should be taught how to behave towards monkeys as it does not mean that the less monkeys we have, the less conflicts we will have," he said. "A handful of monkeys can still wreak havoc if provoked."

The number of complaints about the "monkey nuisance" has risen. AVA received 920 such complaints last year, up from 730 in 2011 and 800 the year before.

Read more!

NGOs denounce Malaysia hydropower meeting

(AFP) Google News 21 May 13;

KUCHING, Malaysia — Three dozen Malaysian NGOs on Tuesday denounced the world hydroelectric industry's decision to hold a conference in a Borneo state where dam projects have uprooted forests and native peoples.

The groups, including the Malaysian chapters of Amnesty International and Transparency International, said in a statement the choice of Sarawak state "makes a mockery" of the industry's calls for sustainable development.

The International Hydropower Association's (IHA) four-day biennial congress got under way Tuesday in Kuching, capital of Sarawak.

The state's chief minister of 32 years, Taib Mahmud, has faced mounting accusations of enriching himself, family and cronies through a corrupt stranglehold on the state's economy.

"We call upon the IHA to stop this green-washing attempt on behalf of Taib Mahmud's regime," the statement said.

Taib, 77, has come under fire over rapid timber harvesting and a campaign of dam-building blamed for destroying huge swathes of rainforest and driving native tribes from their ancestral lands.

The groups' statement called these "humanitarian and environmental crimes".

Save Sarawak Rivers, a coalition of local NGOs and tribal groups, earlier announced plans for a "parallel congress" in Kuching and other protests this week.

IHA director Richard Taylor has defended the congress as an opportunity to share sustainable practices.

"The IHA is happy to have the opportunity to interact in this way, and we feel that the current willingness to engage should be acknowledged and encouraged, rather than campaigned against," he said in emailed comments to AFP.

Save Sarawak Rivers has said, however, local stakeholders are excluded by high delegate fees.

Swiss-based forest-protection group Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), citing financial and corporate records, estimated Taib's net worth at $15 billion last year, which would make him Malaysia's richest man.

Taib is regularly cited by anti-graft groups as typifying endemic corruption in Malaysia.

He is accused of handing land and timber concessions and government contracts to companies controlled by himself, his family, and close allies.

He has denied wrongdoing, saying the backward state must be developed. His office has not responded to requests for comment on the congress.

Malaysian anti-corruption authorities have failed to act against Taib, whose political party is vital to keeping the 56-year-old ruling coalition in power.

Read more!

Malaysia: Many species of waterbirds thrive along the Seberang Prai and Kedah coastlines

Natalie Heng The Star 22 May 13;

An important bird area gets much-needed attention.

SPOTTING a spoon-billed sandpiper was not on the agenda, but it happened. The first sighting in nine years in Penang, one might argue that only someone as bird-crazy as David Bakewell, an environmental consultant and avid birdwatcher, could have spotted it.

The criticially endangered spoon-billed sandpiper.

One tiny little bird, shuffling rapidly amongst a sea of red-necked stints, and captured with a magnifying telescope mounted on a camera, demonstrates a level of bird watching expertise most will only ever dream about.

But more importantly, it also shows that a new partnership between building materials company Cemex and Malaysia’s oldest environmental organisation, the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), is paying off.

The coastline between Teluk Air Tawar near Butterworth, Penang, and Kuala Muda in Kedah, is Malaysia’s second most important site for migratory waterbirds. Identified as an “important bird area” (IBA) by the global partnership of conservation organisations, BirdLife International, the site is spread out across 7,200ha of tidal mud flats, estuaries and mangroves.

Bakewell says yearly bird counts are done as part of Wetland International’s Asian Waterbird Census, which is conducted by volunteers.

“The problem is, the Teluk Air Tawar coastline is quite difficult to access from land. Boats make more sense, but are expensive, so funding is an issue,” he says.

Cemex’s partnership with MNS has changed that. Funds from one of the world’s largest building materials suppliers and cement producers is enabling a team of experts – Bakewell included – to conduct the first comprehensive survey of the area in years. The fact that Bakewell saw one of the world’s rarest and most endangered birds just a couple of months into the project has been hugely uplifting. “When you have maybe just 100 to 300 spoonbills left in the world, every sighting counts,” he says.

Every record is useful, and can be logged into the online data bank Bird-I-Witness to help keep researchers up-to-date with the changing population dynamics of this rapidly declining species – its global population is estimated to have declined by 88% in just eight years (2002-2010).

The little bird, spotted among thousands of similar-looking birds of another species, is classified as critically endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Malaysia is probably the southern-most limit of their wintering range. Bakewell says there have been three to four sightings per year, mostly at the north and central Selangor coast. The rare sighting is not so much an indication of the birds not frequenting the area but rather of how intensely difficult they are to spot.

Nevertheless, the finding underlies just how important the Teluk Air Tawar-Kuala Muda coast is as habitat degradation continues at the other stop-over points along the migrational flyways of many birds. Other species, such as the lesser adjutant (listed as vulnerable on the Red List) and the spotted greenshank (endangered) have also been found in significant numbers at that site.

Cemex Malaysia country director Fikry Sami El-Kaissouni feels personally invested in the project. He joined the team on a recent survey expedition and was elated to see over 60 spotted greenshanks.

“At current estimates, that could represent over 10% of the world population,” he says.

Such data shows that these surveys are invaluable as they provide up-to-date evidence of how the Teluk Air Tawar IBA remains one of Peninsular Malaysia’s most important bird habitats, and strengthen the case for its protection.

Yeap Chin Aik is head of conservation at MNS. He has spent some 10 years carrying out bird conservation initiatives, and describes how mangroves along the west coast of the peninsula, known important flyways for migratory birds, have disappeared over time.

“In the 1970s and 80s, there were several key areas in south-west Johor, Perak and Perlis that had good migratory numbers. But now, migratory waterbirds have very few choice-areas left to go to.”

Although Penang has lost much of its mangroves, the Teluk Air Tawar-Kuala Muda coast remains the most important stretch of habitat for migratory waterbirds in the northern west coast.

MNS has lobbied for protection of the site for years. The area is state land and therefore, remains vulnerable to development pressures, which have been increasing over the years, says Yeap. Already, small aquaculture farms have appeared along the coast, eating into the mangroves.

“This is by no means happening on a large scale but if we don’t give it attention, we may end up with a fragmented rather than unbroken stretch of mangrove habitat,” he adds.

This is where survey data can be used to strengthen the case for converting Teluk Air Tawar IBA into a protected landscape. Currently, few people recognise it as an important bird area.

About six years ago, Cemex shook hands on a 10-year partnership with BirdLife International. The objective was to assess the company’s biodiversity risks and opportunities, and in 2010, it published the results of a biodiversity study.

The study mapped all 543 Cemex sites worldwide and their proximity to key biodiversity areas. Malaysia is one of six pilot project sites for the implementation of a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). The partnership between MNS (the local BirdLife International partner) and Cemex was formed under this framework.

“The surveys are to help Cemex look at how to conserve or maintain biodiversity within their sites of operation, and within the IBA,” says Yeap.

The results of the surveys will be the basis for action plans for the Cemex quarry in Bukit Tambun, Seberang Prai and the Teluk Air Tawar IBA. Quarries involve controlled rock blasting and irreversible change to the physical structure of the landscape, which means that the action plan is likely to involve things like rehabilitating the landscape or creating new habitats.

“I don’t have the survey results yet but people have heard (the calls of) buffy fish owls and spotted the blue rock thrush, probably the first recorded for Seberang Prai. So, creating a suitable artificial nesting site could be one point of action,” says Yeap.

For the IBA, the survey information will be used to identify key threats to biodiversity and the required measures for the action plan.

Using the information gathered to lobby the state to confer some sort of protection status for the site is also likely to be on the agenda.

“The area’s importance in terms of biodiversity is pointed out in the Penang Structure Plan. However, we would like stronger protective legislation or a solid conservation status … such as gazettement into a bird sanctuary, for example,” says Yeap.

A large portion of the raw materials needed in construction come from rock blasting. And with the World Economic Forum estimating that we will require the same amount of housing infrastructure over the next 40 years as has been built over the past 4,000 years, quarries are here to stay. Fortunately, top-level support for environmental management began way back in 1993 for Cemex.

“There is a saying, ‘If your boss is interested, you are fascinated’,” says Fikry. “Our chief executive officer has been hammering the topic for the past 20 years. You have a whole generation of executives in Cemex who are fascinated, because of his interest.”

The company is trying to replicate some of that here, through talks about biodiversity and conservation for its staff.

Yeap says the response has been encouraging. Cemex staff have even asked what birds have been found at the quarry site. The commitment demonstrated by Cemex has been impressive. It is now the leading user of alternative fuels in the cement industry (for machinery and processes). Also, it has introduced a policy disallowing its staff from billing the company for events and functions where endangered species have been consumed or used as gifts. It also funded staff trips aimed at raising environmental awareness, such as to the Raptor Watch in Port Dickson in March and the World Tapir Day event at Taman Negara last month.

Read more!

Indonesia: Jakarta Passes Sweeping Waste Management Regulation

Lenny Tristia Tambun Jakarta Globe 21 May 13;

A new regulation in Jakarta imposes fines of up to Rp 50 million ($5,120) on illegal dumping, while also implementing stricter mandates on eco-friendly bags, biodegradable packaging, littering and waste management.

Unu Nurdin, the head of the Jakarta Cleanliness Office, said the new rule, approved by the Jakarta Legislative Council on Tuesday, mandates that rubbish be put in designated locations and companies manage their waste, especially that which can lead to pollution and environmental degradation.

“If residents and companies do not meet their obligations, as arranged in the regulations, they will face sanctions. The sanctions range from administrative ones to fines of between Rp 500,000 to Rp 50 million,” Unu said after a plenary meeting of the City Council.

Article 126 of the regulation prohibits dumping waste into waterways and water reservoirs, streets, parks and public areas. It also says that waste must be disposed in integrated waste dumps (TPST) and final dump sites (TPA) between 6 a.m to 9 p.m.

“It is also prohibited to dispose waste at the TPST or TPA without a permit, burn waste that pollutes the environment, throw waste from a vehicle, use parts of streets as temporary waste dumps, manage waste that leads to pollution or environmental degradation,” Unu said.

Neighborhood units known as Rukun Warga were also given the authority to slap administrative sanctions on those households which fail to separate their waste into organic and inorganic.

Those responsible over the management of residential, commercial, industrial and other special areas, who are found negligent in providing facilities for waste management will also incur administrative sanctions and fines of between Rp 10 million to Rp 50 million.

Operators of public and social facilities which fail to provide facility for waste separation will incur administrative sanctions and fines of between Rp 1 million to Rp 5 million.

Manufacturers which fail to display matters related to reducing waster or waste handling on their packaging, or use packaging that cannot naturally decompose, may face administrative sanctions as well as fines of Rp 25 million to Rp 50 million.

Shopping center operators who do not use environmentally-friendly shopping bags will also face administrative sanctions as well as fine of between Rp 5 million and Rp 25 million.

“The governor can issue administrative sanctions, including fines, on individuals who intentionally dump waste outside of the allowed time, of up to Rp 100,000,” Uno said.

Litterers, including dumping waste into water ways and reservoirs, on the streets, in parks or in public areas, face a fine of Rp 500,000

Those caught littering from vehicles will also face the same fine. Salvagers working on piles or mounds of waste can also face a fine of a similar amount if they spread the waste.

“These fines will be sent to the regional treasury in line with the regulations and laws. We want the public to be waste conscious, so that we can also reduce floods in Jakarta,” he said.

Read more!

One in 10 grouper species face extinction, with most eaten in HK

HKU researcher wants law to tighten monitoring of trade after study finds 20 species are at risk
Lo Wei South China Morning Post 22 May 13;

One in 10 species of grouper face extinction and most are found on restaurant dinner tables in Hong Kong, a global study has found.

University of Hong Kong researchers, who led the study, urged the government to protect the threatened species through legislation and tighten monitoring over the grouper trade, of which the city is a major centre.

"We as consumers don't really realise the problem because we see plenty of the fish in our restaurants and markets. But the situation is different in the sea," HKU biology professor Yvonne Sadovy said.

The study collected data from different countries and assessed all 163 grouper species known in the world. Of these, 20 were identified as threatened, meaning their population will keep declining if nothing is done.

"Their populations and trade need to be managed if we still want to eat these fish in the future," said Sadovy, who released details of the study yesterday.

Of the threatened species, Hong Kong grouper and longtooth grouper are found in Hong Kong waters and Sadovy said they should be protected by law. These two, the giant grouper, humpback grouper and two other threatened species are sold in Hong Kong.

It also identified 22 other near-threatened species, including the popular leopard coral trout often served at banquets.

Almost all the live grouper sold were supplied to Chinese markets because of the tradition of favouring live fish. One-fifth of these, roughly 3.6 million a year, are consumed in Hong Kong.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Chamber of Seafood Merchants, Lee Choi-wah, said the supply of some grouper species like the leopard coral trout had been declining, but he suspected the threat of extinction was exaggerated.

Lee said supplies of Hong Kong grouper had always been scarce. Demand was low, he said, because of the expense: the wholesale price can be up to HK$1,500 a kilogram.

A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it had been working with other regions in protecting endangered species.

Read more!

Illegal wildlife products: China 'not key player'

Official rebuts report, says checks have been stepped up against such trade
Ho Ai Li Straits Times 22 May 13;

CHINA has lashed out at criticism that it is the main culprit behind the global smuggling of wildlife products, especially elephant tusks or ivory parts, saying it has stepped up checks against the illegal trade.

It is "unprofessional and a bit misleading" to say China is the largest consumer of wildlife animal products, said State Forestry Administration deputy director Yin Hong at a press conference yesterday.

China's rebuttal comes amid growing calls globally for Beijing to do more to stop wildlife smuggling, which observers say has grown in order to cash in on growing demand from the increasingly affluent Chinese. In particular, rising demand has led to the killing of more elephants for their tusks.

Last year, some 32,000 elephants were killed in Africa alone, said animal conservation group Born Free Foundation.

The World Wildlife Fund said there may be as few as 470,000 elephants left in Africa, from over a million in the 1970s.

In terms of frequency and scale, in the period between 2009 and 2011, the Chinese market has been more heavily implicated in illicit trade in ivory than any other country, said a report presented at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora in March.

"Importantly, the number of seizures made by other countries which implicate China in the trade has also increased by nearly five-fold over the same period of time," said the report.

Indeed, with the price of ivory rising by three times since 2006, ivory has become a kind of "white gold" favoured by Chinese investors.

US-based International Fund for Animal Welfare Asia regional director Grace Gabriel said 95 per cent of tourists caught each year with illegal ivory products at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya are Chinese nationals, according to Kenya's wildlife protection bureau.

"In recent years, it has become even more obvious that a lot of the seizures of tusks and ivory products are on their way to China...What more evidence do you need?" Ms Gabriel told The Straits Times.

But Ms Yin said the rise in seizures of illegal wildlife products just "shows that China has stepped up enforcement".

Earlier this year, China led 22 countries in Asia, Africa and America to crack down on cross-border and inter-continental wildlife smuggling, she added. Items seized included 6.5 tonnes of ivory and its products, 22 rhino horns and 10 tiger skins.

China also has a licensing system to regulate the sale of legally purchased ivory products. But critics have said the system is full of loopholes, and allows smuggled ivory products to be sold alongside licensed ones.

To be fair, Beijing has stepped up efforts to control the illegal wildlife trade, said Ms Gabriel.

Online shopping websites like Taobao have banned sales of items like rhino horns, tiger or ivory products. Through brochures and phone messages, Chinese officials are spreading the word that the ugly Chinese tourist is not just one who spits or speaks loudly but also one who buys ivory products abroad.

"The authorities are taking enforcement more seriously now but because China's demand and population is so huge, there's a lot more work to be done," Ms Gabriel said.

Read more!

U.S. pesticide makers seek answers as bee losses sting agriculture

Carey Gillam PlanetArk 21 May 13;

Monsanto Co is hosting a "Bee Summit." Bayer AG is breaking ground on a "Bee Care Center." And Sygenta AG is funding grants for research into the accelerating demise of honeybees in the United States, where the insects pollinate fruits and vegetables that make up roughly a quarter of the American diet.

The agrichemical companies are taking these initiatives at a time when their best-selling pesticides are under fire from environmental and food activists who say the chemicals are killing off millions of bees. The companies say their pesticides are not the problem, but critics say science shows the opposite.

Die-offs of bee populations have accelerated over the last few years to a rate the U.S. government calls unsustainable. Honeybees pollinate plants that produce roughly 25 percent of the foods Americans consume, including apples, almonds, watermelons and beans, according to government reports.

Scientists, consumer groups, beekeepers and others blame the devastating rate of bee deaths on the growing use of pesticides sold by agrichemical companies to boost yields of staple crops such as corn. Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and other agrichemical companies say other factors such as mites are killing the bees.

"This is a difficult, high stakes battle," said Peter Jenkins, a lawyer with the Center for Food Safety, which sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March on behalf of a group of U.S. beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups over what they say is a lack of sound regulation of the pesticides in question.

"They may have a lot of money. But... we're going to win," Jenkins said.

The uproar worries officials at Bayer and Syngenta, who make the pesticides, as well as Monsanto, DuPont and other companies who used them as coatings for the seed they sell.

"Everybody is concerned by it," said Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley in an interview.

Monsanto plans to host a summit in June for experts from around the country to analyze the issue and discuss potential solutions. Bayer is breaking ground on a facility in North Carolina to study bee health.

The European Union said this month it would ban the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or "neonics," used for corn and other crops as well as on home lawns and gardens. Similar constraints in the United States could cost manufacturers millions of dollars in sales.

"We are concerned... that the science sometimes gets trumped by the politics," said Dave Fischer, an ecotoxicologist at Bayer CropScience who is meeting with bee keepers and studying the bee deaths. He said critics "are searching for a culprit."

The companies point to a vicious insect mite as one of many factors harming the bees.


But environmental scientists say evidence increasingly points to pesticides coating corn seeds as the problem, not mites. In recent years, U.S. corn seed suppliers have offered more corn seed pre-treated with types of neonic insecticides so that as the plant grows it repels harmful pests.

A study published last year by scientists at Purdue University in Indiana found evidence that planting the coated corn generates dust that contains very high levels of the neonics that can move beyond the fields where the seeds are planted. The researchers said they found the poison in the soil as well and in pollen collected by bees as food. The neonics were present on dead bees collected for study.

The study's co-author, Purdue University scientist Christian Krupke, said the issue needs more research.

Syngenta and Bayer say they are doing just that. This month both companies announced they were helping fund research grants awarded to Iowa State University and Ohio State University and a Canadian farm group to study the impact of insecticidal seed treatment dust on bee losses.

"This research will provide valuable information," Jay Overmeyer, an ecotoxicology expert at Syngenta, said in a statement.


A May 1 report funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nearly one in three managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost over the winter of 2012-2013. The losses are 42 percent higher than losses seen the previous winter, the report found. Fewer bees spells higher food prices, according to the government.

U.S. officials say there is no conclusive proof that pesticides caused the bee deaths, and they cite many other factors, including the mites.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it is "working aggressively to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide risks through regulatory, voluntary and research programs" but sees no need for a moratorium on pesticides. The EPA has said it will study the situation, but many experts say immediate action is needed.

"One third of the food supply depends on pollinators to be productive," said Doug Gurian-Sherman, a scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It's hard to say that these are definitively the cause of major bee declines. But there is a lot of data coming together that should be seriously examined."

(Reporting By Carey Gillam; Editing by David Gregorio)

Read more!

New book shows the power of ecosystems to protect us

IUCN 21 May 13;

Healthy and well-managed ecosystems reduce the risk of disasters and strengthen our ability to adapt to the effects of climate change, according to a new book launched by the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR).

The role of ecosystems in disaster risk reduction is one of the first volumes to compile latest knowledge and evidence on the links between ecosystems and disasters. It provides case studies from various geographical locations, types of ecosystems and hazards from around the world. The book was co-edited by experts from the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

“This book scientifically demonstrates what local people around the world intuitively know: that healthy ecosystems offer protection and resources for resisting and surviving disasters,” says Karen Sudmeier-Rieux of IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management and one of the editors of the book. “This is why it is better to work with, rather than against nature.”

During the past few decades the number of disasters and their impacts on communities worldwide has increased. As a result of climate change, this trend is set to continue, with an increase in the number of extreme weather events.

In many circumstances, healthy and well-managed ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, mangroves and reefs reduce this risk and act as physical protection for the people and the environment that are exposed to it.

“There is no such thing as a natural disaster, only natural hazards that due to a combination of social, political, economic and environmental contexts may cause severe damages to a community and result in a disaster,” says Marisol Estrella, UNEP’s Project Coordinator on Disaster Risk Reduction and the book’s co-editor. “This book shows evidence that restoring ecosystems and sustainably managing natural resources can play an essential role in strengthening people's ability to prevent and recover from such events.”

“Ecosystems allow us to address all the dimensions of risk: they can reduce the intensity and frequency of some environmental hazards and minimize the vulnerability of communities and their exposure," says Fabrice Renaud, Head of Section at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and lead editor of the book. "There is increasing evidence for this and examples are provided in the book.”

In the Chinese Hubei Province, a wetland restoration programme has reconnected lakes to the Yangtze River and rehabilitated 448 km2 of wetlands with a capacity to store up to 285 million m3 of floodwater. The local government subsequently further reconnected eight lakes covering 350 km2. In addition to contributing to flood mitigation, restored lakes and floodplains have enhanced biodiversity, increased income from fisheries by 20-30 % and improved water quality to drinkable level.

In Argentina, extensive areas of natural forest are protected for flood control, which is seen as a low-cost alternative to infrastructure, with added biodiversity benefits.

European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland and the Eastern European countries bordering the Danube River aim to mitigate floods by removing built infrastructure such as concrete river channels and restoring wetlands and rivers to improve their water retention capacity.

Many forests in the Alps protect people and their assets from rock falls, avalanches, erosion, landslides, debris flows and flooding. The management of these forests is five to ten times less expensive than the construction and maintenance of technical measures. In monetary terms, this risk reduction corresponds to approximately 1,000 Swiss francs per ha per year.

The book was written by 59 professionals from science and practice communities from around the world, representing state of the art knowledge, practices and perspectives on the topic. It was launched yesterday at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

Read more!