View topic - Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010

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PostPosted: October 19th, 2010, 2:08 pm 
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A report prepared by federal, provincial and territorial representives describing twenty-two key findings on the status and trends of Canada's ecosystems... the information given is broadly-based and applies to large land and water areas extending across Canada rather than to specific sites.

Two findings that might have some relevance here are in the extent of protected natural areas (parks) increasing with time, and annual low stream flows in southern Canada trending lower (and not all trends relate to climate change). The other findings are summarized in the overview PDF, or by clicking the Status and Trends heading on the left.

http://www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp? ... 9A50BAB5A3

Quote:
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. It is the intention of the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers to use this report as a partial assessment of Canada’s progress towards the United Nations biodiversity target “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.


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http://www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp? ... 75BB1AA3-1

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2010, 10:49 am 
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Bigger-picture report on the biodiversity conference going on now at Japan, with not one nation having met protection targets set earlier on.

In other reports from the conference, most progress is being made by wealthier nations that have the economic capability to set aside critical land and water areas. Most of the world's species loss and ecosystem destruction is going on in developing nations that can't afford protection measures.



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World leaders tackle a tall order: How to preserve life on Earth

PATRICK WHITE

Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010 11:30AM EDT


Over the next 11 days, 193 national delegations will descend on Nagoya, Japan, in pursuit of a vexing goal befitting a deity: how to preserve life on Earth.

At stake is the fate of the Convention on Biological Diversity, an international agreement signed amid great hope and fanfare in the early 1990s, the status of which has fizzled steadily ever since. The document bound countries to cut mass species loss “significantly” and preserve 10 per cent of the world’s ecological regions by 2010. But this year brought the sobering realization that not one country had met those targets.

After 20 years of high-level talks and treaties, mass extinction continues apace at between 1,500 and 15,000 species a year, depending on the estimate, and leaders are running out of opportunities to turn it around.

“This is the one chance governments have to fix the loss of species and loss of biodiversity, said Bill Jackson, deputy director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a Switzerland-based group working closely with governments in Nagoya. “In some ecosystems, we only have 10 or 15 years left before they’re gone.”

Part of the problem is cosmetic. Since then-prime-minister Brian Mulroney first signed the convention on behalf of Canada in 1992, the issue of biodiversity loss has been overshadowed by sexier environmental fixations such as holes in the ozone, electric cars, acid rain and climate change.

...

With its ambitious targets undermined by inaction, the future viability of the convention hangs in the balance. Several groups have suggested new 2020 targets, most with a heavy emphasis on marine habitat, the most neglected of all ecosystems over the past decade.

The Montreal-based CBD Secretariat (funded in part by $800,000 in federal funds) has proposed 20 new targets that include the elimination of subsidies harmful to biodiversity, reducing by half the degradation of forest ecosystems, eliminating destructive fishing methods and protecting 15 per cent of land and sea areas.

Mr. Prentice will attend the final days of negotiations as a symbol of how seriously Canada takes the convention.

Missing the 2010 targets should inspire us all to do better. I do hope we will successfully negotiate a new protocol,” Mr. Prentice said. “It’s an extremely important summit because biodiversity is an area where we all need to improve. This is a real issue for us and our children.”


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/tec ... le1761052/

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2010, 4:21 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
Most of the world's species loss and ecosystem destruction is going on in developing nations that can't afford protection measures.

That's one way of looking at it. According to the recently published TEEB ("the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity") Report ... developing countries can't afford NOT to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity.

Quote:
The study found that forests, reefs and oceans account for 47 to 89 percent of the effective income of rural and poor households in many large developing countries. This source of income has generally been overlooked by many economists, who have focused on traditional sectors like manufacturing, mining, retailing, construction and energy generation.

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/ ... diversity/

I think it's more a story of geopolitics and low environmental and labor standards, perhaps even political corruption, than affordability. A lot of these countries are induced into debt by a legacy of poor decisions, short term strategies, war and civil strife, geopolitical opportunism, perhaps even collusion and conniving by the IMF, and they are "advised" to buy their way out in a faustian bargain with industry. But when development adversely impacts 47-89% of a population (and sectors of the economy that are still predominantly land based, or tied to sustainable ecosystems and fisheries), you have to wonder who's interests are being served by "development."


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2010, 6:45 pm 
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Whatever the cause, wealthy nations have the financial capacity to protect towards the 10% goal, while poor developing nations don't, and poverty causes the inhabitants of those nations to destroy critical natural areas more and more each year.

After the first biodiversity conference during the early nineties, an often-quoted comment was made that environmentalism is a luxury that only the wealthy can afford. The IUCN estimates that $300 billion per year will be needed to protect critical ecosystems so that they aren't wiped out. Where is this money going to come from? Obviously not the poor developing nations. There may be some agreement reached on international funding needed to protect critical natural areas but the magnitude of the problem has grown so much as a result of inaction some hard decisions will need to be made now on what needs to be protected most.

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PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 8:20 am 
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As an interesting follow-up ... World Bank announced at Japan biodiversity conference a global partnership to assess "economic value" of forests, wetlands, and reefs that underpin businesses and economies. This is different from TEEB. They are calling it "wealth accounting" or "green accounting." They hope to be able to use the new development tools to make recommendations to ministries and finance departments on "benefits of ecosystems and the services they provide to human beings."

Quote from World Bank President Robert Zoellick: "A country’s wealth should not just be the measure of its exploitable assets,” he said. “National accounts need to reflect the vital carbon storage services that forests provide and the coastal protection values that come from coral reefs and mangroves. These services —provided by nature— are just as much a part of the wealth of a nation as its manufactured capital and its human capital.”

Here's Reuter's story on issue.

They discuss two mining projects in India that were scrapped because of concern over broader impacts of development proposal (a controversial bauxite mine on sacred lands of Dongria Kondh Tribe and a $12 billion steel mill). The thought is that the World Bank green accounting tools can be added to environmental assessment processes to make them more objective and more fully account for the long term value and benefits of ecosystems.

This topic also dovetails with the "Norway puts a value on nature" thread on the site.


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