‘Alarming’ extinction threat to Europe’s trees

‘Alarming’ extinction threat to Europe’s trees

SOURCE: BBC DATE: September 27, 2019 SNIP: The conker tree has been put on the official extinction list. Ravaged by moths and disease, the horse chestnut is now classified as vulnerable to extinction. The tree is among more than 400 native European tree species assessed for their risk of extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). About half face disappearing from the natural landscape. Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN Red List unit, described the findings as “alarming”. “Trees are essential for life on Earth, and European trees in all their diversity are a source of food and shelter for countless animal species such as birds and squirrels, and play a key economic role,” he said. Experts are now turning their attention to plants, with an assessment of all 454 tree species native to the continent. The report found that 42% are threatened with extinction (assessed as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered). Among endemic trees – those that don’t exist anywhere else on Earth – 58% are threatened. Species highlighted include the horse chestnut, which is declining across Europe, and most of almost 200 trees in the family that includes the rowan and mountain ash. The report identified a wide range of threats, including pests and diseases, competition from invasive plants, deforestation, unsustainable logging, changes in land use and forest fires. Luc Bas, director of IUCN’s European regional office, said human activities were causing tree population declines across...
Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Suffer Wave of Invasions and Attacks

Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Suffer Wave of Invasions and Attacks

SOURCE: Amazon Watch DATE: February 20, 2019 SNIP: Emboldened by the institutional assault upon indigenous rights being waged by the regime of Jair Bolsonaro, rural mafias are organizing an unprecedented wave of land invasions and attacks on native territories and communities. As Brazil’s indigenous agency FUNAI is systematically dismantled, with its mandate to title and monitor indigenous lands handed to agribusiness interests and religious zealots, vast Amazonian forests are becoming increasingly vulnerable to exploitation. According to a report by the Brazilian NGO Repórter Brasil, there are currently fourteen titled indigenous territories under attack. Indigenous leaders and their allies speak of a general abandonment of state protections over indigenous lands, as Bolsonaro’s dangerous rhetoric emboldens a range of criminal forces – from illegal loggers and miners to land grabbers and speculators – to act with apparent impunity. Karipuna indigenous territory in the Amazonian state of Rondônia has seen a spike in illegal logging of ancient hardwoods. “These invasions will get worse,” said Adriano Karipuna, a local indigenous leader who has suffered threats from the loggers. “Bolsonaro preaches that [indigenous people] do not need land, that they do not work, and that we are like animals in a zoo. Those who were already wicked enough to [invade our lands] are now receiving [the president’s] support. These people now have no fear of coming onto our lands.” Aside from Karipuna lands, those of the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau and Karitiana in Rondônia also face invasions, as do the territories of the Guajajara and Ka’apor in Maranhão and the Arara and Xicrín of Pará, to cite a few flashpoints in the Amazon. The Pankararu of Pernambuco...
Farm Bill With Huge Giveaways to Pesticide Industry Passes House

Farm Bill With Huge Giveaways to Pesticide Industry Passes House

SOURCE: EcoWatch DATE: June 22, 2018 SNIP: A farm bill that opponents say would harm endangered species, land conservation efforts, small-scale farmers and food-stamp recipients passed the U.S. House of Representatives 213 to 211, with every House Democrat and 20 Republicans voting against it, The Center for Biological Diversity reported. “This farm bill should be called the Extinction Act of 2018,” Center for Biological Diversity Government Affairs Director Brett Hartl said. “If it becomes law, this bill will be remembered for generations as the hammer that drove the final nail into the coffin of some of America’s most vulnerable species.” The bill would also be devastating for land conservation efforts. It would allow logging and mining in Alaskan forests, including the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, the Tongass, and get rid of the Conservation Stewardship program, which funds farmers who engage in conservation on their land, according to Environment...
Victorian logging could trigger ecosystem collapse, researchers say

Victorian logging could trigger ecosystem collapse, researchers say

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 30, 2017 SNIP: Decades of unsustainable logging has created an “extinction debt” in Victoria’s central highlands that will trigger an ecosystem-wide collapse within 50 years without urgent intervention from the state government, ecologists have warned. According to modelling produced by Australian National University researchers Dr Emma Burns and Prof David Lindenmayer, there is a 92% chance the mountain ash forests will not be able to support its current ecosystem of arboreal animals, like the critically endangered leadbeater’s possum, by 2067. If current logging practices continue, or if the forests experience another Black Saturday level bushfire, the likelihood of collapse approaches 100%. [T]he problem is the product of historical logging practices and that no amount of future logging is compatible with the ecosystem’s...
Logging Plays Bigger Climate Change Role Than U.S. Acknowledges

Logging Plays Bigger Climate Change Role Than U.S. Acknowledges

SOURCE: Inside Climate News DATE: May 5, 2017 SNIP: The U.S. has consistently underestimated the impact that logging has on accelerating climate change and the role that preserving its forests can play in sucking carbon out of the atmosphere. That’s the conclusion of a new report that also seeks to rebut the notion that burning wood is a “carbon neutral” alternative to burning coal and oil for electricity. Published by the Dogwood Alliance, a North Carolina-based forest conservation group, the report argues that the U.S. has placed too much emphasis on protecting the world’s tropical forests, while ignoring the logging industry’s impact on greenhouse gases released from cutting its own natural woodlands, especially older forests. The report comes as the issue of burning wood for energy is getting fresh attention in Washington. This week, Congress, backed by the logging industry, included language in its budget deal that would declare the burning of woody biomass for electricity “carbon neutral,” sparking the latest controversy in a long-running debate. …annual carbon emissions from logging in the U.S. between 2006 and 2010 amounted to nearly 600 million metric tons, more than the emissions produced each year by all residential and commercial...