Digest of Socio-Ecological Union International for October 20, 2022. №55

Dear friends and co-fighters!

Welcome to the next issue of Positive News.

Let you spread it among your friends and co-fighters in your countries and around the Earth.

We will be glad to receive and publish your positive news from the fields and offices.

Welcome to send us photos of your country's Nature Reserves.

Sviatoslav Zabelin, SEU coordinator

 

Digest of Socio-Ecological Union International for October 20, 2022. №55

The Sanjiangyuan is an area of the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai province, China which contains the headwaters of three great rivers of Asia: the Yellow, the Yangtze, and the Mekong. Parts of the area were protected as the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (SNNR), also called the Three Rivers Nature Reserve. The reserve consisted of 18 subareas, and each contained three zones which were managed with differing degrees of strictness. In 2015, the Chinese government decided to implement a new national park system, and created Sanjiangyuan National Park, which is set to open officially in 2020.

 

The government of the Malaysian Borneo state of Sarawak has revoked a controversial oil palm concession adjacent to the UNESCO-listed Gunung Mulu National Park. The state has not released information confirming why the 4,400-hectare (10,900-acre) concession was revoked, but it had been the subject of protests and a lawsuit by Penan, Berawan and Tering Indigenous communities who said it threatened their livelihoods.

Penan and Berawan victory celebrations in Batu Bungan following the Sarawak government’s decision to revoke an oil palm concession adjacent to Gunung Mulu National Park. Image courtesy of Keruan.

Indigenous activists are celebrating the cancellation of the concession as a victory, and have called on the state government to also suspend a planned infrastructure development project in the area. Read more

 

Deforestation that’s associated with palm oil has fallen by 82% over the past decade in Indonesia, the world’s top producer of the commodity, according to a new analysis. This is despite a rise in palm oil prices, which historically has been associated with a rise in deforestation as land is cleared for new plantings.

Annual area of forests converted to oil palm plantations (thousand hectares, red bars) and annual crude palm oil production (million tonnes, black line) in Indonesia during 2001-2020. Image courtesy of Trase.

Researchers attribute the continued decline in palm oil deforestation to the rising adoption of zero-deforestation commitments as well as public supply chain reporting by companies. Read more

 

In September, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) prohibited the retention of Greenland sharks in international waters. This ban would apply to the intentional catching of Greenland sharks as well as the retention of the species as bycatch.

Greenland are believed to live anywhere from 270 to 500 years. Image by Julius Nielsen.

However, bycatch exceptions could be made if countries prohibit the discarding of fish. Greenland sharks are known to be the longest-living vertebrate in the world, reaching ages of between 270 and 500 years. Read more

 

Experts documented the substantial recovery of coral reefs around the southern Line Islands in the central Pacific after the area was hit by a large-scale coral bleaching event in 2015 and 2016.

At Millennium, a twin-spot snapper chases a school of convict tangs — another one of the herbivores that keep reefs in the southern Line Islands from becoming over-grown with algae. Protecting such fish, Sala says, helps make reefs resilient to global warming. Photo by EnricSala/National Geographic.

Many factors may have contributed to the reef’s recovery, including the fact that the reef is seemingly untouched by human activity, which helped maintain a healthy and resilient ecosystem. But other experts question whether this reef would be able to recover after more frequent bleaching events, which are predicted to increase as global temperatures continue to rise. Read more

 

China will establish the world's largest national park system with more national parks to be built, Chinese authorities said on Wednesday, which marked the first anniversary of the establishment of the initial batch of national parks in the country, during which period the number of wild animals in the territories have greatly increased. 

Photo taken by an infrared camera on May 26, 2022 shows a wild giant panda in the Giant Panda National Park's Tangjiahe area in southwest China's Sichuan Province.Photo:Xinhua

Substantive progress has been achieved in ecological protection of the five national parks since they were officially established on October 12, 2021, said the national park authorities. The five parks - Northeast China Tiger and Leopard, Three-River-Source National Park, Giant Panda National Park, Wuyishan National Park and National Park of Hainan Tropical Rainforest - cover a total area of 230,000 square kilometers in 10 provinces, ranging from north to south China. They protect nearly 30 percent of state-level key species of wild animals and plants on land. Read more

 

Hurricane Ian caused mass destruction to Southwest Florida, taking dozens of lives and leaving millions without power. But in the midst of devastation, a small solar-powered community was left virtually unscathed — despite being just 12 miles northeast of hard-hit Fort Myers. Babcock Ranch is a solar-powered town with roughly 2,000 homes and more than 700,000 solar panels. Homes and businesses in Babcock are built to be energy efficient and weather resistant, many of them constructed with durable insulated panels meant to withstand Florida’s extreme weather.

Many residents have additional solar panels and solar battery systems as an extra layer of protection from power outages. If Hurricane Ian was a test of the town’s resiliency, Babcock Ranch passed with flying colors. Read more

 

The energy crisis has some companies and politicians calling for an increase in fossil fuel exploration, but new data shows that this solution is unnecessary as well as detrimental to avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis. All of the increased electricity demand during the first half of 2022 was met by renewable energy, data released Wednesday from the energy think tank Ember has shown. 

CFOTO / Future Publishing / Getty Images

“Wind and solar are proving themselves during the energy crisis,” Ember Senior Electricity Analyst Malgorzata Wiatros-Motyka wrote in the report. “The first step to ending the grip of expensive and polluting fossil fuels is to build enough clean power to meet the world’s growing appetite for electricity.” The findings came as part of Ember’s “Global Electricity Mid-Year Insights” for 2022. During the first six months of the year, electricity demand increased by 389 terawatt hours, or three percent compared to the first six months of 2021. Read more

 

Silphion cured diseases and made food tasty, but Emperor Nero allegedly consumed the last stalk. Now, a Turkish researcher thinks he’s found a botanical survivor. For ancient Greek physicians, silphion was a cure-all, prized for everything from stomach pain to wart removal. For Roman chefs, it was a culinary staple. But silphion disappeared from the ancient Mediterranean world. Mahmut Miski, whose field at Istanbul University is pharmacognosy, the study of medicines derived from natural sources, had first seen the modern plant he now believes to be the silphion of the ancients while doing postdoctoral research 38 years earlier.

Professor Mahmut Miski cups a handful of flowering Ferula drudeana near Mount Hasan in central Turkey. The scholar of plant medicine believes the species is silphion, beloved by ancient Greeks and Romans and thought to be extinct. PHOTOGRAPHS BYALICE ZOO

Miski’s hunch that Ferula drudeana would prove to be a chemical gold mine turned out to be correct: Analyses of the root extract identified 30 secondary metabolites—substances which, while they don’t contribute to the primary business of helping a plant grow or reproduce, nonetheless confer some kind of selective advantage. Among the compounds, many of which have cancer-fighting, contraceptive, and anti-inflammatory properties, is shyobunone, which acts on the brain’s gamma-aminobutiric acid (GABA) receptors and may contribute to the plant’s intoxicating smell. Miski believes that future analyses of the plant will reveal the existence of dozens of yet-to-be-identified compounds of medical interest. Read more. From Christine Eleanor Anderson 

 

 

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