Notes from a rare planet: Forest loss slows as ‘International Year of Forests’ starts

forest light

Forest loss slows as UN marks ‘International Year of Forests’ (Mongabay)

  • “According to FAO data released last year, forests presently cover around 31 percent of global land area, or nearly 4 billion hectares.  FAO figures show deforestation across 121 tropical countries averaged 9.34 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, down from 11.33 million hectares per year in the 1990s.”
  • “But risks to forests remain. Rising demand for food, fiber, and fuel will put pressure on remaining forest lands while climate change could increase the vulnerability of some forests to drought, fire, and disease outbreaks. Poor design, insufficient governance, and entrenched interests in the forestry sector intent on maintaining the status quo could undermine the REDD mechanism, hurting a key potential source of funding for forest protection and management.”

Eagle Love: A wild bald eagle has been making daily visits to a California zoo’s 6-year-old female bald eagle, Olivia (Discovery News)

  • The wild bird “frequently perches near the enclosure of Olivia…and calls back and forth with her.”
  • “If eagle love is in the air at the Orange County Zoo, however, Olivia will have to satisfy herself with flirtation alone. [Olivia's] not well enough to survive in the wild, so she’ll stay safe in her enclosure while her feathered friend stays in his wild domain.”

Southern Virginia prepares to build biomass power plant using the wood waste left over from the local logging companies (NWF)

  • “Michal Dailey, NOVEC vice president, business development and energy services, says the renewable energy plant will be “carbon neutral.” In other words, it will not add any more carbon dioxide to the ecosystem than what would be released through natural decomposition.”
  • “Dailey anticipates that the plant will generate 6.5% of NOVEC’s power requirements by 2014 – enough to supply electricity to about 10,000 NOVEC customers.”

“Death Of A Forest” Documentary Details The Killing of Keystone Species by Pine Beetles (Treehugger)

  • “To date millions of acres of forests and billions of trees are dead and there is no end in sight. Some estimates predict that by 2013, 80% of the North American forests could be gone. In addition, we are losing forests that otherwise provide a carbon sink for our production of greenhouse gases, and as the trees die, they emit more Carbon Dioxide back into the atmosphere.

W. Virginia Coal Country Gets Its Largest-Ever Clean Energy Project (Treehugger)

  • “So, why is a tiny installation of rooftop solar panels in the middle of West Virginia noteworthy? Because it’s the epitome of coal country — exactly where ideological inroads need to be made before we’ll be able to see large-scale climate action. And the first steps towards accomplishing this includes making a tangible demonstration that there’s work, and life, beyond coal. Especially in local economies that have long been built up around mining the stuff.

New U.S. Forest Service scientific report documents permanent effects of drilling (NRDC)

  • Many impacts are unexpected. According to the scientists: ”Unexpected impacts, however, were perhaps more important, and because they could not be carefully controlled or planned for, are less likely to be mitigated successfully.”

A lot of people love snow. But tigers, well, they really love snow. ()

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