Notes from a RarePlanet: Could biodiverse Madagascar become like Haiti?

Fort Dauphin [Madagascar]
This photo of Madagascar comes courtesy of Flickr user Francesco Faf.

Could biodiverse Madagascar become like Haiti, stripped of much of its forests and biodiversity?

  • “Niall O’Connor from the World Wildlife Fund warns in a Carte Blanche production that if the ecological destruction of Madagascar continues, the poor island country could become “Haiti-like”, where he says, “most of the biodiversity, most of the forests are gone”.
  • “Carte Blanche, an African investigative journalism show, went to Madagascar to look into the current environmental crisis where rosewood is being logged in National Parks threatening Madagascar’s unique biodiversity.”

EPA has a new report showing that many parts of the U.S have experienced sharp temp increases over past century

  • “The Northeast, Midwest, and West all experienced significant warming from 1901 to 2008, with temperatures soaring by 2 to 4 degrees F in much of New England, the Upper Great Plains, and southern California and southern Arizona. Nearly all of Alaska also warmed by up to 4 degrees F — well above the global average of 1.3 degrees F over the last century. “
  • “In addition to rising temperatures, the report said the U.S. also has seen an increase in heat waves since the 1970s, declining snow cover and mountain snow pack, and a rise in sea surface temperatures.”

Save Our Taimen. Save Our Money. (great social marketing in action)

  • “Over the past two years WWF, the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, and Mongolia River Outfitters (MRO) have worked with these fishermen to train them in fly-fishing techniques, catch and release methods, and taimen monitoring. Through that collaboration and hard work, these 25 fishermen now release every taimen they catch and regularly conduct monitoring when on the water, and are now being leveraged as major influencers in Gaana’s Pride campaign.”
  • “Gaana had a special surprise in store for the new fishing club members: WWF would be giving each of them a savings account! None of these men have ever had enough money to save and this would be a huge opportunity for them to invest for the future. Each fishing club member was given 90,000 tugriks (roughly $65) that came with 3 conditions: (1) they must work to protect taimen and continue to monitor on a regular basis, (2) they must add at least 5,000 tugriks to their account every month, and (3) they cannot remove any money from this account within one year or within saving 1 million tugriks.”

The federal government has given the green light to the Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast

  • “After nine years of regulatory review, the federal government gave the green light Wednesday to the nation’s first offshore wind farm, a highly contested project off the coast of Cape Cod.”
  • “The approval of the 130-turbine farm gives a significant boost to the nascent offshore wind industry in the United States, which has lagged far behind Europe and China in harnessing the strong and steady power of ocean breezes to provide electricity to homes and businesses.”

Fabled giant palouse earthworm found, not extinct as previously thought

  • A rare earthworm long thought extinct has been found.
  • Although described as a “giant,” the earthworm actually measured between 10 and 12 inches.
  • They don’t spit or smell like lilies, contrary to past descriptions about the creature.