Digest of Socio-Ecological Union International for March 17, 2024. №65

Dear friends and co-fighters!

Welcome to the next issue of Positive News.

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Sviatoslav Zabelin, SEU coordinator

 

Digest of Socio-Ecological Union International for March 17, 2024. №65

The Black Lands Reserve was established on June 11, 1990 to protect and study the Kalmyk saiga population, to study the steppe, semi-desert and desert landscapes of Russia. The main part of the reserve is located on the Caspian lowland, between the lower reaches of the Kuma and Volga rivers. The total area of the reserve is 121,900 hectares.

 

The UK’s net zero economy grew by 9% in 2023, a report has revealed, in stark contrast to the 0.1% growth seen in the economy overall. Nevertheless, the report pointed out that strong future growth from green businesses was being put at risk by government policy reversals, lack of investment and competition from the EU and US.

Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is vital to limiting the damage from the climate crisis. Photograph: UCG/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Thousands of new green companies were founded in 2023 and overall the sector was responsible for the production of £74bn in goods and services and 765,000 jobs, according to the report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Read more

 

The EU nature restoration law, agreed with member states, will restore degraded ecosystems in all member states, help achieve the EU’s climate and biodiversity objectives and enhance food security.

Parliament has adopted the first EU law to restore degraded ecosystems across the EU © Arnau / Adobe Stock

To reach the overall EU targets, member states must restore at least 30% of habitats covered by the new law (from forests, grasslands and wetlands to rivers, lakes and coral beds) from a poor to a good condition by 2030, increasing to 60% by 2040, and 90% by 2050. In line with Parliament’s position, EU countries should give priority to Natura 2000 areas until 2030. Once in a good condition, EU countries shall ensure an area does not significantly deteriorate. Member states will also have to adopt national restoration plans detailing how they intend to achieve these targets. Read more

 

The European Union has become the first international body to criminalize the most serious cases of environmental damage that are “comparable to ecocide”. Ecosystem destruction, including habitat loss and illegal logging, will be punished with tougher penalties and prison sentences under the EU’s updated environmental crime directive.

An oil leak from a ship. Water abstraction, ship recycling and pollution are among the environmental activities covered by the updated directive

The European Parliament is set to vote through the tougher law today (27 February) after countries reached an agreement in November. Member states will then have two years to enshrine it in national law. Here’s what you need to know about the updated law, which experts are calling revolutionary. Read more

 

Tradeoffs and synergies between ecosystem services constitute an important topic in ecosystem management. The value of each service is substantially influenced by human activities, and changes will affect human decisions.

Credit: Environmental Science and Ecotechnology (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.ese.2024.100391

Given the variability in tradeoffs and synergies, the simultaneous optimization of multiple ecosystem services presents a considerable challenge. In a study published in Environmental Science and Ecotechnology, a team from the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, which has completed China's Green GDP Accounting (2004–2022) and China's Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) Accounting (2015–2022), conducted an estimation of the ecosystem services of forests, wetlands, grasslands, deserts, and farmlands, analyzed the GEP composition and distribution across 179 countries by using remote sensing data with a spatial resolution of 1 km. Read more

 

In Northern Tanzania, we partner with Trias and LEAD Foundation to breathe new life into Arusha and Manyara regions. The regions are home to the farmers and pastoralists, who rely on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods but face challenges due to drought and insufficient pasture. Time for a change! That’s why we are restoring agricultural and communal grazing lands along the Lake Manyara – Lake Natron Wildlife Corridor together with LEAD FoundationTrias and Member Based Organizations.

 

Our goal is to improve the lives of local communities while restoring nature through Rainwater Harvesting (RWH), Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and Pastoralist Managed Natural Regeneration (PMNR). These methods are fast, cost-effective, and sustainable, allowing residents to rejuvenate their lands, benefiting water availability, soil health, crop yields, and livestock fodder. At a larger scale, regreening also has a cooling effect on the local climate. Read more

 

In the face of rapid urbanization, China has embarked on an impressive journey of urban greening, transforming the environmental narrative from degradation to sustainability. The collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has yielded groundbreaking insights through satellite analysis of the evolution of greenness in over 974 cities from 2000 to 2020. This strategic pivot towards revitalizing urban ecosystems is meticulously documented in a new review published in the Journal of Remote Sensing on February 8, 2024, marking a significant stride in sustainable urban development.

Change types of MODIS NDVI in urban areas for 2001 to 2020. (A) Yearly mean NDVI in urban core and urban expansion areas during 2001 to 2020. (B) Vegetation change types for each urban areas (n = 965), including urban core and urbanization. (C) Number and timing of breakpoints of the class recovery (n = 609). (D) Percent of urban vegetation cover change types for different geographical zones. (E) Percent of vegetation change types for groups of different urban area sizes. Credit: Journal of Remote Sensing (2024). DOI: 10.34133/remotesensing.0112

This study delves into the evolving landscape of Chinese cities, showcasing an optimistic trend where the greening of urban cores effectively counters the loss of vegetation due to sprawling urban expansion. By harnessing advanced satellite imagery analysis, researchers meticulously tracked changes in urban vegetation across China from 2000 to 2020. They developed a novel classification system to distinguish between areas of greening, browning, stability, reversal, and recovery. Read more

 

Thousands of miles off the southeast coast of South America lies a set of remote islands, one broad and comma-shaped, the others a series of small dots that trail off into the South Atlantic Ocean. These are the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, located north of the icy mass of Antarctica. The islands, which the U.K. governs as an overseas territory but which Argentina also claims, are inhabited by millions of seals and birds, and the surrounding waters teem with fish and krill. Baleen whales, such as humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and fin (Balaenoptera physalus) whales, make yearly migrations to this area to feast on the surplus of krill. On Feb. 26, the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) government, which acts as an extension of the U.K. government, announced a decision to safeguard the marine biodiversity within its jurisdiction.

Baleen whales, such as humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae), make yearly migrations to this area to feast on the surplus of krill. Image by ArtTower via Unsplash (Public domain).

A preexisting 1.24-million-square-kilometer (479,000-square-mile) marine protected area (MPA) around the islands was originally established in 2012, and it banned all bottom trawling as well as bottom fishing at depths less than 700 meters (2,300 feet). The government has now established new no-take zones within the MPA that will be adopted into SGSSI legislation. These new no-take zones prohibit all fishing on a total of 166,000 km2 (64,100 mi2) of the MPA. Read more

 

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