Expansion Of US Marine Protected Zone Could Double World Reserves

Palmyra atoll

The US plans to create the world’s biggest marine protected area (MPA) in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The White House will extend an existing protected area, known as the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Fishing and drilling would be banned from an area that could eventually cover two million sq km. The extended zone would double the world’s fully protected marine reserves.

Rare species; The Pacific Remote Islands Area is controlled by the US and consists of seven scattered islands, atolls and reefs that lie between Hawaii and American Samoa.

Essentially uninhabited, the waters that surround these remote islands are home to a wide range of species including corals, seabirds, sharks and vegetation not found anywhere else in the world.

In 2009, President Bush declared the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, giving the islands the same level of protection as statues or cultural sites.

Now President Obama has signalled that he will extend the area that will be off limits to fishing and mineral exploitation to the limit of US economic control – some 200 nautical miles around the islands.

The White House said the final size of the protected zone would depend on consultations with scientists, fishing and conservation organisations. The Washington Post reported that this would eventually cover up two million sq km.

“This area contains some of the most pristine tropical marine environment in the world,” said White House senior counsel John Podesta, who made the announcement.

“These tropical coral reefs and associated ecosystems are among the marine environments facing the most serious threat from climate change and ocean acidification.”

Continue reading “Expansion Of US Marine Protected Zone Could Double World Reserves”

Example Of Saving An Endangered Species

As a follow on from my previous post, Stuart Pimm discusses and shows the different aspects of an environment that contribute towards a species becoming extinct and then what it took to preserve and rescue them.

An example of practical conservation that follow from using the combined data (of the changing land and ocean use) in Colombia and Brazil, more can be found over @ http://www.savingspecies.org

Human Population Growth (Consumption) Has Increased Species Extinctions by More Than 1,000 Times Natural Rate

A new study published in the internationally recognized journal Science has determined that the current rate of species extinctions is more than 1,000 times greater than the background rate calculated from the fossil record and genetic data, spanning millions of years. The primary cause of this dramatic rise in the loss of species is human population growth and increased consumption, according to the study.

“This important study confirms that species are going extinct at a pace not seen in tens of millions of years, and unlike past extinction events, the cause is us,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The loss of species has drastic consequences for us all by degrading ecosystems that clean our air and water and are a source of food and medicine, and by making our world less interesting and a more lonely place. This study underscores the importance of laws like the Endangered Species Act and the need for swift action to reverse the disturbing trend of extinction.”

In likely the most comprehensive assessment of species extinction rates yet, the study led by acclaimed conservation biologist Dr. Stuart Pimm of Duke University found the rate at which mammals, birds and amphibians are moving toward extinction over the past four decades would have been 20 percent higher were it not for conservation efforts.

The study uses newly available data on species distributions and imperilment to quantify the current extinction rate, which was estimated to be at least 100 extinctions per million species-years. The researchers then analyzed extensive data on rates of speciation and extinction over millions of years to estimate a background or natural rate of extinction of .1 extinctions per million species-years, leading to the new estimate that we have increased the rate of extinction by at least 1,000 times.

This estimate is considered conservative because of the large number of species still unknown to science, the fact that a majority of such species are likely to be rare and at risk, and uncertainties in predicting future extinctions given increased habitat destruction, spread of invasive species and diseases, and global warming.

“The findings of this study are alarming to say the least,” said Greenwald. “But it also shows we can make a difference if we choose to and should be a clarion call to take action to protect more habitat for species besides our own and to check our own population growth and consumption.”

The study further notes that some groups of species are going extinct at even greater rates. North American freshwater fishes, for example, were found to be going extinct at a rate of 305 extinctions per million species-years, or more than 3,000 times greater than the background rate, and the continent’s snails and slugs are going extinct at a rate nearly 10,000 times background. These high rates reflect the degree to which we have degraded rivers and lakes in North America with dams, pollution, spread of non-native species and direct destruction.

“There can be no question that we’re fouling our own nest, but what this study shows is that this has consequences not just for us, but for the millions of other species with which we share this world,” said Greenwald.”

ARTICLE LINK: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/extinction-rate-05-29-2014.html
STUDY  LINK: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6187/1246752.abstract?sid=a4435a49-708d-44b5-9101-e5c5abf91eb0
NAT-GEO LINK: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140529-conservation-science-animals-species-endangered-extinction/

Survival: Highgrove – Natures Kingdom

The first (1993) in-depth television examination of Prince Charles work on his estate at Highgrove in Gloucestershire, it particularly concentrates on the wildlife he has there I found. Cameraman Maurice Tibbles spent 18 months filming the story through the changing seasons and focuses on the Princes commitment to organic farming and conservation.

I liked this look into all wild life and their systems on an organic farm, a side you don’t always get to see in agricultural and horticultural documentaries. People seemed to like previous posts I made regarding a look at Highgrove so thought I’d share this as well.

The Secret World Hidden Beneath An Ant Hill

A completely fascinating look at the hidden world beneath an Ant Hill as a giant ant colony is pumped full of concrete then excavated to reveal the complexity of its inner structure. I was honestly quite taken aback by what’s revealed.

Clip taken from the amazing documentary called “Ants! Natures Secret Power”, well worth a watching the full thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n0SkIGARuo

Its A Bugs Life

Why not create a “Bug Hotel” this year for all those many beneficial insects and pollinators. Creating a home for wildlife in your garden means you won’t have to work as hard in the future trying to attract them in. I plan on creating one in my allotment this year, right in the middle of the wild flower area.

This insect city made me smile
hotel1
The more diverse the materials and designs the better in my opinion. Let the video inspire you and use what you’ve got laid around. I’ll cover this more in the summer when I create my own. Good luck with yours.

Mini-Beast-Mansion

Our Natural Garden Pest Defences

Some natural predators for your garden pest problems, why not build an insect home to attract them in to stay, more on that to follow in future posts. My favorite is the Ladybird, so lovely to look at and effective at pest control too.

Please bare in mind this is from America so all won’t apply to everyone, no Praying Mantis in England 🙂 Image from University of California.

Having Trouble Reading This? View Large Copy Here: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/FAQ/natural-enemies-poster.pdf (PDF)