Archive for the ‘Landscape Conservation’ Category

Can palm oil be part of green growth in Indonesia … interesting ideas from (

July 3, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog rates the mongabay web site/blog as excellent and a must read for anybody interested in environmental issues (or in this case anybody gagging on that infamous Indonesian generated rainforest burning haze!)

Mongabay’s articles and opinion pieces are always timely and close to the bone.

Can palm oil be part of green growth in Indonesia?

Declining Mekong forests big trouble for species – Embargo 2 May 2013

May 2, 2013

Hugh Paxton Blog got this a few days ago. There was an embargo – May 2.

It is May 2. Embargo over!

Read on! Weep! Take action! Win!

Hugh Paxton in Bangkok over and out

And over to them!

Subject: Declining Mekong forests big trouble for species – Embargo 2 May 2013

For further information: Sarah Bladen, Communications Director, WWF-Greater Mekong, tel: +844 37193049 ext 164. mobile: +84 1224 223 760 sarah.bladen

Ecosystems in the Greater Mekong: past trends, current status, possible futures,” concludes that at the present rate of deforestation, only 14 percent of the Greater Mekong’s remaining contiguous forest will be capable of sustaining viable populations of many wildlife species by 2030 if no action is taken to slow forest loss.

The report also highlights the Xayaburi dam as the key threat to the health and productivity of the Mekong and charts the decline of species including tigers, Asian elephants, and Irrawaddy dolphins among others.

Amid the gloomy forecast, the report also shows that sustainable solutions exist but cautions that time is running out to put them in play.

The full report is available for download at

Photos and captions:

For video b-roll, please go to:

Please contact Sarah Bladen for more information at +84 1224 223 760 or sarah.bladen


Media Release Embargoed to 00:01GMT 02 May 2013

New forest loss figures highlight need for green growth in the Greater Mekong – WWF

Bangkok, Thailand – The Greater Mekong subregion in Southeast Asia risks losing more than a third of its remaining forest cover within the next two decades if regional governments fail to boost protection, value and restore natural capital, and embrace green growth, warns a new WWF report.

WWF’s analysis reveals the Greater Mekong has retained about 98 million hectares of natural forest, just over half of the region’s land area, but further rapid loss is expected if current deforestation rates persist. Between 1973 and 2009, the five countries of the Greater Mekong lost just under one-third of their remaining forest cover. During this period, Cambodia lost 22 per cent of its 1973 forest cover, Laos and Myanmar lost 24 per cent, and Thailand and Vietnam lost 43 per cent.

Large connected areas of core forest also declined significantly across the region, from over 70 per cent in 1973 to about 20 per cent in 2009. Core forest is defined as an area of at least 3.2km2 of uninterrupted forest. If current trends continue, WWF predicts that by 2030 only 14 per cent of the Greater Mekong’s remaining forest will consist of contiguous habitat capable of sustaining viable populations of many wildlife species.

“The Greater Mekong is at a crossroads,” said Peter Cutter, Landscape Conservation Manager with WWF-Greater Mekong. “One path leads to further declines in biodiversity and livelihoods, but if natural resources are managed responsibly, this region can pursue a course that will secure a healthy and prosperous future for its people.”

The report, “Ecosystems in the Greater Mekong: past trends, current status, possible futures,” provides new analysis on the current status and potential future of the region’s principal forest and freshwater ecosystems, and some of the most endangered species these ecosystems support.

The report offers two scenarios for the region’s ecosystems, one predicts what will likely happen by 2030 under an unsustainable growth model in which the deforestation and degradation observed over the past decade persists, while the other scenario assumes a 50 per cent cut in the annual deforestation rate and offers a future based on green growth. Under the green economy scenario, core forest areas extant in 2009 across the five Greater Mekong countries would remain intact.

“The green economy approach is the choice for a viable future in the Greater Mekong,” added Cutter. “Regional leaders have already affirmed that healthy economic growth goes hand in hand with healthy and productive ecosystems, but fast and effective responses are needed now to avoid permanent environmental degradation.”

The report highlights the Xayaburi dam development as a key threat to the health and productivity of the Mekong river and delta. The Mekong basin hosts 13 unique, yet connected, freshwater ecosystems, but the controversial Xayaburi project will sever the mainstem of the lower Mekong river, blocking migratory fish and sediment flow with devastating consequences for livelihoods and food security for 60 million people.

The report also maps the enormous decline in the range of several important and iconic species of the region, including the tiger, Asian elephant, Irrawaddy dolphin and the endemic saola. The survival of many species in the Greater Mekong depend on the existence of effectively managed protected area systems, and while protected areas have expanded dramatically since 1970, many are not well managed.

“Many protected areas exist in name only,” added Cutter. “Even relatively secure protected areas are under intense pressure from poaching and timber theft, while others have been reduced in size by government’s eager to cash in on land concessions to mining companies or plantation owners.”

Despite documenting the degradation of ecosystems over the past 50 years, the report also emphasizes the region is still rich in natural resources and the value of its ecosystem services, including food, water and fibre, is among the highest in the world. The Greater Mekong’s vast natural wealth provides a significant opportunity for sustainable development, and WWF believes building greener economies is well within reach.

“Given that the majority of the region’s biological heritage and supporting ecosystems occur in landscapes that cross borders, regional collaboration is critical,” concluded Cutter. “Increased and more sustainable investment in maintaining ecosystem integrity must also be a priority at landscape, national, and regional scales."

For further information:

Sarah Bladen, Communications Director, WWF-Greater Mekong, tel: +844 37193049 ext 164. mobile: +84 1224 223 760 sarah.bladen

Notes to Editors:

· To download the full report go to:

· For photos and captions please download at:

· For video b-roll, please go to:

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.


Sarawak Corruption and rainforest rape: Global Witness’ expose and the response by those exposed.

April 4, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has a great deal of respect for Global Witness. It’s a UK based NGO, very sleek, hard working, and brave. There follow some video clips that expose Sarawak’s killer elite for indulging in a range of crimes. I felt like vomiting when I saw these people.

Thanks to Celina for passing this on.

Celina says:

You can watch the man himself speak at




Please consider the environment before printing this email.

Sharks and Manta Rays Receive Protection Under CITES

March 11, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is getting more and more of these shark press releases. It seems that a lot of people out there care! Always nice to see! I’ll post any that come with really nice images but otherwise I’ll retain my energy for different animals. I’m hearing bad things about slow loris to Japan where they are considered cute. To terrible effect the slow loris IS cute. It looks like a Furbie children’s toy. It is excruciatingly expensive, the trade is illegal and their bite is poisonous (only two mammals have a poison bite – the platypus and this loris). Dealers, traders, similar filth pull out their teeth without calming dugs prior to transport then stick them in their underpants.

How low can you go?

Anyway, here’s the shark stuff!


From: Kessler, Danielle []
Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 6:20 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Sharks and Manta Rays Receive Protection Under CITES


Media Contact:

Bangkok, Thailand: Danielle Kessler

+66 (0) 81-750-4216


USA: Claire Cassel



Sharks and Manta Rays Receive Protection Under CITES

(Bangkok, Thailand—11 March 2013) Sharks and manta rays have received protection today under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES member nations, referred to as “Parties,” voted to increase protections for five species of sharks as well as two species of manta rays. Leading up to and during this meeting, the United States has worked with a coalition of countries committed to gaining support for these proposals—Brazil, Colombia, the European Union, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Comoros, and Egypt, among others.

“We are extremely pleased that CITES member nations have given greater protections to these commercially exploited marine species,” said Bryan Arroyo, head of the U.S. delegation to the treaty’s 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Bangkok. “Through the cooperation of the global community, we can begin addressing the threats posed by unsustainable global trade in shark fins and other parts and products of shark and ray species.”

A proposal submitted by Colombia, and co-sponsored by the United States and Brazil, to list oceanic whitetip sharks in Appendix II was adopted in a secret ballot vote with 92 in support, 42 opposed and 8 abstentions. The United States jointly submitted this proposal due to concerns that over-exploitation for the international fin trade is negatively impacting the population status of this shark species.

In addition to oceanic whitetip sharks, proposals to increase protection for three species of hammerhead sharks – scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, and smooth hammerhead; porbeagle sharks; and manta rays were adopted by the Parties. The United States strongly supported these marine species proposals and commends the leadership of the countries responsible for their submission.

"Sharks and manta rays are extremely important to the ocean ecosystems," said Sam Rauch, of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The global protection that CITES offers these incredible species will complement existing international shark protection measures by ensuring their trade is sustainable and does not threaten their survival. We are thrilled these important shark and ray proposals were adopted and applaud the leadership of the many countries that helped us get there."

Today’s decisions could be reconsidered later this week, when the Parties hold a decision-making session to finalize recommendations made throughout the week. “Populations of these species are in severe decline, primarily due to commercial exploitation. The science supports these listings,” said Arroyo. “We are confident that the CITES Parties will uphold these decisions.”

Sharks are over-harvested in many parts of the world, primarily for their fins. Most shark fins are exported to Asia, where they are a main ingredient in shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy in many Asian countries. Due to their low productivity and high economic value, populations of these shark species have suffered severe declines. Porbeagle sharks also face pressures due to demand for their meat, while manta rays are over-harvested for their gill plates.

While some regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) have adopted measures to manage sharks, these regional measures alone cannot ensure the international trade of this species is globally sustainable. Not all range countries are members of RFMOs and many marine species that are traded internationally swim long distances, often crossing national boundaries. For these species, conservation can only be achieved by working collaboratively with other nations.

Today’s votes place the five shark species and all manta rays in Appendix II of CITES – an action that means increased protection, but still allows legal and sustainable trade. Listing commercially-exploited marine species, especially those taken on the high sea, in the CITES Appendices has been a highly polarized and much debated issue at recent Conferences of the Parties, in part because the provisions for marine species taken on the high seas were open to interpretation. Earlier in this meeting, the Parties passed a resolution clarifying CITES implementation for marine species taken on the high seas, termed “Introduction from the Sea.” The Introduction from the Sea provisions provide CITES Parties with a clear, comprehensive framework for implementation of listings of species taken on the high seas and CITES is well-positioned to assist in securing the future of our fishery resources.

CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and is currently signed by 178 countries regulating global trade in imperiled wild animals and plants including their parts and products. A meeting of the Conference of the Parties is held every 2-3 years to review, discuss, and negotiate changes in the management and control of trade in the various wildlife species covered by the agreement.

Species protected by CITES are included in one of three appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. Changes to Appendices I and II must be proposed at a CoP and agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the Parties present and voting. In contrast, listings to Appendix III can be requested by individual Parties at any time. Appendix III includes species protected by at least one country that needs assistance from other Parties to control trade.

For additional information about the many marine proposals discussed at CoP16, visit the U.S. CoP16 Marine Issues webpage at

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at or on Facebook at

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at


Allan Savory TED Talk: How to green the desert and reverse climate change

March 9, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog received the following TED talk from a friend. Interested in drylands and desertification? Essential viewing – all 22 minutes of it! If what Allan Savory is saying holds true for drylands the world over then the implications are profound.

Wots this warming all about: Infographic about How Climate Change is Destroying the Earth

February 21, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is sure you’ve heard about global warming. But what is it? Allison Lee of springs to the rescue with a great infographic. I strongly recommend this for parents who are being pestered by their children with difficult questions, teachers who are being pestered by children with difficult questions, people who can’t figure out what the heck is actually going on and why it’s so darned cold…in fact most of us. The inforgraphic is really nicely put together and it covers all bases without sending you into a state of science-speak hibernation or raising your blood pressure to boiling point.

Hugh Paxton’s Blog gives this noble effort that rare accolade – A Hugh Paxton’s Blog Five stars rating. Share it around.

People need to know this stuff!

Thanks to Allison Lee and for sharing it around!

Best! Hugh in Bangkok (currently veering between floods and drought)

Hi Hugh,

I appreciate the response. You can check it out here:

Title: How Climate Change is Destroying the Earth

If you like it and think it’s a fit, I would love for you to share it.

Thank you!


New post Magnificent Mangroves!

September 6, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has to admire this burst of activity and creativity from our sister (or more accurately brother) blog, Wild Open Eye. As normal well worth a read!

Cheers from Hugh in Bangkok!

wildopeneye posted: “Here is the second comic in our “Life’s A Beach” series, this one looks at estuaries and mangrove forests, very valuable and productive habitats. Estuaries and mangroves Comic

New post on Wild Open Eye

Magnificent Mangroves!

by wildopeneye

Here is the second comic in our “Life’s A Beach” series, this one looks at estuaries and mangrove forests, very valuable and productive habitats.

Estuaries and mangroves

Comic created with Comic Life from plasq –

According to the excellent video below, produced by Mangroves For The Future, mangroves are enormously important to wildlife and humanity alike. Covering about 15.2 million hectares of tropical and subtropical coastline mangroves are highly significant areas of biodiversity being home to 1000’s of species and they serve as important nurseries for fish and crustaceans and support millions of people too. As sources of food, timber, dyes and medicines mangroves are commercially important.

Furthermore, they protect against coastal erosion and ameliorate storm damage from surges, protect coral reefs from suffocating sediments and sequester over 80,000,000 tons of atmospheric carbon annually!

Wildopeneye Mangrove comic page 1

Click above linked image to view post on Wildopeneye

For more information about Mangrove forests, threats to their well-being and efforts to conserve them, please click here for Mangroves For The Future website.

wildopeneye | 06/09/2012 at 12:19 am | Tags: biodiversity, Estuaries, GEF funded mangrove nursery, Hainan China, Mangroves, Mangroves for the future, wildopeneye | Categories: Environmental education, Message, The World’s Water | URL:

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Save it with Flowers | Global Environment Facility

July 18, 2012

Can we please protect more of The Coral Sea?

February 16, 2012

Here’s a good cause if you care about the state of The Coral Sea. An opportunity to ask the Australian Government to protect more of the precious reefs and breeding areas.

Hi,The Australian government has the right idea about needing to protect the Coral Sea. But the plans on the table don’t go far enough to keep this incredible part of ocean safe for the marine life that call it home.

Tell Environment Minister Tony Burke that you expect higher standards for saving the Coral Sea »

Late last year, the government released a draft plan that has a number of good provisions. It would ban oil and gas extraction and trawling. But it leaves much of the area’s most critical resource — the fragile coral reefs — unprotected.

The reefs are absolutely critical habitat for all kinds of marine life. In fact, the Coral Sea is one of the last places on earth where large marine animals congregate in large numbers, including more than 300 threatened species.

Protecting just part of the Coral Sea isn’t enough. Tell the government that you want proper protection for the Coral Sea and the species that depend on it for survival »

Thanks for taking action!Emily V.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team
The Coral Sea Isn’t Safe Unless You Protect All of It
Take action link:

Please Support The Orton Fells Landscape Designation

February 1, 2012

Here’s your chance to help positively influence British landscape conservation! Some of our readers will have visited the British Lake District National Park and the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales National Park. The chances are good that you will have passed through some beautiful countryside in between that wasn’t designated as Park the first time around in the late 1940’s,  Westmorland’s The Orton Fells.

The Orton Fells Landscape is being considered for inclusion in the Dales National Park

The Orton Fells Landscape is now being considered for inclusion in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

It’s a wild and beautiful landscape of karstic limestone pavements, upland meadows and heather-clad moorland (home to Black Cock, a form of rare Grouse), hardy sheep and fell ponies, with the rich fertile Orton valley running to The Lunesdale gorge. It’s Eden District’s Wild West.

Fell Ponies at Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, Westmorland, Cumbria

Fell Ponies at Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, Westmorland, Cumbria

The time has come for all those of us who support our Orton Fells’ inclusion in The Dales National Park to write in to the Secretary of State for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman to voice our support and suggest amendments where they seem desirable.

Aerial view of distinctive limestone pavement overlooking The Orton valley

Aerial view of distinctive limestone pavement overlooking The Orton valley

Limestone pavement above Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells

Limestone pavement above Sunbiggin Tarn, Orton Fells, rare sub-arctic flora micro-habitat of internationally recognised importance.

Why would this be a good thing?
It is likely that our Orton Fells’ inclusion in the National Park would help conserve the natural beauty of this lovely area of Westmorland for our own and future generations and would facilitate considerable economic uplift for local businesses while being an asset to the Nation and for visitors from other regions. The inclusion of our area is long overdue, everybody so far consulted agrees that the natural beauty warrants conservation. Some of the most beautiful Dales in the National Park are Cumbrian (Mallerstang with its historic Pendragon Castle for instance) and in no sense would our section of the Park be a “poor cousin”, we would preserve our identity under a wider banner that truly deserves special status for landscape quality and that is closely connected geologically and topographically with The Dales.
We have had the spoken assurance of The Dales National Park’s Chief Executive (at the January 19th Fells To Dales Business Forum meeting in Kirkby Stephen) that the naming of our area of the Park will be arranged to best suit local wishes, for example The Westmorland Fells or Westmorland Dales. This may well be resolved at a Public inquiry, should we have one, later in the year.
Economic Benefit
At the same meeting we heard estimates of anticipated economic benefit for local businesses involved in tourism to be somewhere between 10 and 20% increase in annual turn-over, with the duration in occupancy expected to be extended to about 34 weeks in the year.
At this stage we can still ask for amendments to the planning, if we wish. One important amendment to request would be the adoption of the northern boundary proposed by The Friends of The Lake District that would include land with superb views around Reagill and Sleagill. A good deal of thought has gone into this boundary suggestion and it enjoys popular support among many of the residents of those Parishes.
Making Your Voices Heard – Key Points

  • You don’t have to be a resident to voice your opinion on this matter. Past and prospective visitors to the area are welcome to voice their support, please state your interest and it will count.
  • In your communication please include your name, address and signature and include your message.  Do refer to the benefits mentioned above as justification if you wish.
  • Each member of your household may write in separately with equal validity.
  • Numbers count.
  • This is a once in a life-time opportunity that will have far-reaching and long lasting benefits for us and the Nation.

The address to write to, please, is:
Department for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
Protected Landscapes Team,
Zone 1/09 Temple Quay House,
2 The Square, Temple Quay,
Or by email to

The deadline for getting your message to DEFRA is March 16th.
For more information on the planning, please see the Lakes To Dales Section of Natural England’s Website


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