Best of our wild blogs: 8 Jun 15

black bitterns @ SBWR - June 2015

Asian Golden Weaver Feeding Juvenile
Bird Ecology Study Group

Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) @ Punggol
Monday Morgue

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Vietnam: Sea, river erosion threat to farmers in Mekong

Vietnam News 8 Jun 15;

HA NOI (VNS) — Erosion in many places in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has claimed about 500 hectares of land as authorities struggle to find effective answers.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, sea water intrudes about 30-40m into coastal land in the region. Erosion occurs in 20 places along a 200km stretch of coastline.

Places reporting severe erosion include Binh Dai and Thanh Phu districts in Ben Tre Province, and in Hiep Thanh and Dan Thanh districts in Tra Vinh Provinces.

Tang Quoc Chinh from the ministry's Irrigation Department said erosion had also occurred along riverbanks in the delta.

"Erosion has hit 265 places along the delta's rivers and estuaries. The total length of collapsed riverbanks is 450km," he said.

Chinh told a conference on the issue on Saturday in Soc Trang Province that the erosion was mainly caused by the construction of irrigation and hydropower reservoirs along the upper parts of the Mekong river, which had changed the flow of water.

He also said that over-exploitation of underground water and climate change impacts were among the causes.

The erosion has affected cultivation and the lives of millions of residents living in the coast and along the eroded rivers.

Christian Henckes of the German International Co-operation Agency (GIZ) suggested that agencies should take prompt action to deal with the problems.

He said preventive forest plantations, construction of sea walls and river embankment should be carried out.

The delta supplies nearly 90 per cent of rice for Viet Nam, one of the world's leading rice exporters.

Deputy Minister Hoang Van Thang agreed with Henckes, saying the delta needed an integrated approach to deal with the problems.

Erosion and sea water intrusion are expected to become more severe. Experts forecast that 39 per cent of the delta area will be under 30m under sea water in 2100 because of climate change. — VNS

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Understanding the ocean's value

WWF 7 Jun 15;

The ocean is changing more rapidly than at any other point in millions of years – and not for the better.

The ocean feeds families, safeguards coasts, stores carbon and creates employment, yet we are allowing it to collapse before our eyes.

Two recent WWF reports detail the ocean's staggering wealth and undeniable role in supporting human and economic well-being. Those same reports highlight the threats facing this critical global resource as well as the solutions that can help support it.

Reviving the Ocean Economy shows that the ocean ranks seventh among the world’s top 10 economies. The report conservatively estimates the ocean's annual output of goods and services to be US$2.5 trillion and places its overall value at US$24 trillion.

“The ocean rivals the wealth of the world’s richest countries, but it is being allowed to sink to the depths of a failed economy,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, at the time of the report's release.

A separate analysis of the ocean focusing on marine protected areas concludes that every dollar invested in marine protection would be at least tripled in benefits from employment, coastal protection, and fisheries.

Further underscoring the ocean's enormous economic potential, the analysis demonstrated that increased protection of critical habitats could result in net benefits of up to US$920 billion between now and 2050.

Despite all of the benefits offered by the ocean, we are assaulting it through over-exploitation, habitat destruction, climate change and pollution. With most of the ocean's economic output reliant on its health, current conditions will only further erode the ocean's ability to provide essential services to humans and nature.

In coming months, governments will make critical decisions that will direct the fate of the ocean for generations. WWF argues that it is not too late to reverse the troubling trends and ensure a healthy ocean that benefits people, business and the environment.

“The ocean is collapsing before our eyes, but the good news is that we have the tools to fix it. We have serious work to do to protect the ocean, starting with real global commitments on climate and sustainable development,” added Lambertini describing the conclusions of WWF's research.

Among the most urgent solutions presented by WWF are embedding ocean recovery throughout the UN’s post-2015 agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals, taking global action on climate change and delivering strong commitments to protect coastal and marine areas.

As human reliance on the ocean increases so does the need for us to protect it. WWF’s global ocean campaign, Sustain Our Seas, recognizes this need and builds on decades of work by the organization and its partners on marine conservation. WWF is working with governments, businesses and communities to encourage leaders to take urgent measures to support the ocean and protect the lives and livelihoods of billions of people around the world.

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