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Keenan R.J.,University of Melbourne | Reams G.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Achard F.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | de Freitas J.V.,Brazilian Forest Service | And 2 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2015

The area of land covered by forest and trees is an important indicator of environmental condition. This study presents and analyses results from the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 (FRA 2015) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FRA 2015 was based on responses to surveys by individual countries using a common reporting framework, agreed definitions and reporting standards. Results indicated that total forest area declined by 3%, from 4128Mha in 1990 to 3999Mha in 2015. The annual rate of net forest loss halved from 7.3Mhay-1 in the 1990s to 3.3Mhay-1 between 2010 and 2015. Natural forest area declined from 3961Mha to 3721Mha between 1990 and 2015, while planted forest (including rubber plantations) increased from 168Mha to 278Mha. From 2010 to 2015, tropical forest area declined at a rate of 5.5Mhay-1 - only 58% of the rate in the 1990s - while temperate forest area expanded at a rate of 2.2Mhay-1. Boreal and sub-tropical forest areas showed little net change. Forest area expanded in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, East Asia, and Western-Central Asia, but declined in Central America, South America, South and Southeast Asia and all three regions in Africa. Analysis indicates that, between 1990 and 2015, 13 tropical countries may have either passed through their forest transitions from net forest loss to net forest expansion, or continued along the path of forest expansion that follows these transitions. Comparing FRA 2015 statistics with the findings of global and pan-tropical remote-sensing forest area surveys was challenging, due to differences in assessment periods, the definitions of forest and remote sensing methods. More investment in national and global forest monitoring is needed to provide better support for international initiatives to increase sustainable forest management and reduce forest loss, particularly in tropical countries. © 2015. Source

Hofer T.,Watershed Management and Mountains | Marquis G.,Watershed Management and Mountains | Veith C.,Watershed Management and Mountains | Ceci P.,UN Food and Agriculture Organization
Landslide Science and Practice: Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

Landslides pose considerable risks to the environment. They threaten the lives of people and livestock and destroy land-use systems and agricultural production. This has heavy impacts on the livelihoods of affected people, their economic situation and food security. In developing countries, poor and marginalized people are often forced to settle and to cultivate land in hazard-prone areas due to population pressure and, accordingly, the effects of landslides on lives and assets can be disastrous. People and their land-use systems, on the other hand, can influence the occurrence of landslides. Besides the physical causes and triggers of landslides such as geological failures, erosion processes and heavy rainfall events, activities such as forest harvesting, road construction, mining, unsustainable agricultural practices and overgrazing have been found to have an impact on shallow landslides. Their influence on deep-rooted landslides is, however, minimal. Most of the current approaches in landslide risk reduction follow a mainly technical path and neglect the human factor. Integrated approaches that take into account people and all aspects of local livelihoods, including socio-economic issues, agriculture, pasture, forestry and hydrology are needed in order to address this complex problem. To organize spatially the different land-uses and promote the implementation of suitable practices, one ideal approach is watershed management. It allows addressing upstream-downstream linkages, such as landslides, and provides a framework for sound land use planning. Adapted landuse systems and adequate natural resource management can reduce the potential for landslides and, especially, mitigate the processes leading to increased landslide hazards, such as gully erosion. Experience shows that often the underlying causes of unsustainable land-use are social or economic and that sustainable land-use practices are not adopted because they are socially not acceptable and/or economically not viable. Diversification of livelihoods, vegetation cover types and crop species - the mixing of different land uses in general - increases the resilience of local farmers and may improve the way natural resources and corresponding livelihoods can be rehabilitated after landslide events. Further, the sustainable management of natural resources and the diversification of livelihoods increase people's food security and have positive effects on water resources. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. Source

Jepson P.C.,Oregon State University | Guzy M.,Oregon State University | Blaustein K.,Oregon State University | Sow M.,Enda Pronat | And 3 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

We outline an approach to pesticide risk assessment that is based upon surveys of pesticide use throughout West Africa. We have developed and used new risk assessment models to provide, to our knowledge, the first detailed, geographically extensive, scientifically based analysis of pesticide risks for this region. Human health risks from dermal exposure to adults and children are severe enough in many crops to require long periods of up to three weeks when entry to fields should be restricted. This is impractical in terms of crop management, and regulatory action is needed to remove these pesticides from the marketplace. We also found widespread risks to terrestrial and aquatic wildlife throughout the region, and if these results were extrapolated to all similar irrigated perimeters in the Senegal and Niger River Basins, they suggest that pesticides could pose a significant threat to regional biodiversity. Our analyses are presented at the regional, national and village levels to promote regulatory advances but also local risk communication and management. Without progress in pesticide risk management, supported by participatory farmer education, West African agriculture provides a weak context for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production or for the adoption of new crop technologies. © 2014 The Authors. Source

News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/green/

Demand for animal products in emerging economies such as Indonesia -- a country of 250 million with a rapidly growing middle class -- is also tipped to explode. (AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo ) More Jakarta (AFP) - Climate change is the last thing on Maya Puspita Sari's mind as she tucks into a steak and splurges on ice cream, products that were once a luxury but are now a growing staple in the diets of millions of Indonesians. But the livestock sector is a major contributor to climate change -- accounting for 14.5 percent of the total global amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization -- more than those produced from powering all the world’s road vehicles, trains, ships and planes combined. Emissions are predicted to jump dramatically as demand skyrockets -- the FAO predicts consumption of meat and dairy is expected to have risen 76 per cent and 65 per cent respectively by 2050. Nowhere is this insatiable appetite growing faster than in Asia, where a huge, new middle class is consuming animal products like never before as tastes change and incomes rise. Consumers in China and India are driving this trend but demand in emerging economies such as Indonesia -- a country of 250 million with a rapidly growing middle class -- is also tipped to explode. For consumers like Sari, a 31-year-old accountant living in the cosmopolitan capital Jakarta, livestock products that were once rarely consumed outside major religious holidays, if at all, are now in abundant supply. She grew up in rural Sumatra eating red meat once or twice a year, with little on offer besides rendang, a traditional spicy beef stew. “Meat is no longer a luxury now and there are so many choices, like steak," she told AFP. "In Jakarta you can find all kinds of ice cream, yoghurt and other dairy products. It’s great." Christabelle Adeline Palar, a 25-year-old editor at a travel magazine, barely remembers eating meat as a child but now with a disposable income and an array of options, she knows what she wants. "It's always meat," she said of her daily food choices, "except for days where I need to be more thrifty. Indonesians still consume less meat than their Asian neighbours -- averaging 2.7 kilograms per person every year, compared to 8 kilograms in Malaysia -- but this is changing. London-based think tank Chatham House ranks Indonesia a top-ten nation for forecast growth in beef, pork and chicken consumption by 2021. Jakarta and its affluent, densely populated suburbs lead the way in meat consumption. People there -- often young with cash to spare -- eat around 12 kilograms of meat annually. “Not only can they afford it, but there are many cafes and restaurants in the city that serve meat,” Asnawi, chairman of the Indonesian Association of Meat Traders (APDI), who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP. Dairy producers are also optimistic. The Indonesian Association of Milk Producers says the market potential for dairy in Southeast Asia's largest economy is "tremendous", while New Zealand's Fonterra declared Indonesia one of its most important global markets when it opened its first local factory in September, predicting soaring demand as the "large and increasingly affluent population" seeks new products. Nearly 90 per cent of Indonesia's dairy is imported, mainly from New Zealand and Australia, but local producers are also riding the wave as consumption grows. “Our family only had about 20 cows when we first relocated here. Now we have 70," dairy producer Rahmat said from his small ranch on the outskirts of Jakarta. Ruminant animals emit huge amounts of methane, a gas that is more than 20 times more efficient than carbon dioxide in trapping the sun's heat, through belching and flatulence. Nitrous oxide, another potent greenhouse gas, is also released by manure and fertilisers. Growing population, urbanisation and incomes will increase global demand for meat and dairy, the FAO says, creating a "pressing" need to reduce the livestock sector's environmental footprint. A 2013 report by the UN body says emissions could be reduced by 30 percent if farmers adopted better practices -- including quality feed, good manure management and improved breeding and animal health. But a recent review by the International Panel on Climate Change found the greatest potential for cutting emissions is a change in consumer habits.

News Article | April 29, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/environment.xml

The price of steaks might increase in Denmark because the country mulls about taxing beef and other red meats in its battle against climate change. The Danish Council of Ethics, an independent body that advises the government, announced that Danes have an ethical obligation to reduce the impact of climate change and they could do this by lowering their red meat consumption. "An effective response to climate-damaging foods that will also contribute to raising awareness of climate change must be united, which requires that society sends a clear signal through regulation," said Mickey Gjerris, a spokesman for the council. The majority of council members (14 of 17) said they support the "red meat tax." The council recommends an initial tax on beef, but will include other red meats in the future. It added that other food products that will be deemed harmful to the environment could also be taxed. "The Danish way of life is far from climate-sustainable, and if we are to live up to the Paris Agreement target of keeping the global temperature rise 'well' below 2 degrees Celsius, it is necessary both to act quickly and involve food," the council said. Animal agriculture accounts for about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the overall emissions from all types of transport across the globe, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said. It is a common notion that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are the key factor that contributes to the growing problem of global warming. Scientists, however, believe that there are other key factors that contribute to climate change, including global food production, animal agriculture and waste disposal. Animal agriculture or farming may be one of the major key drivers of climate change. This produces two other main greenhouse gases, which are methane and nitrous oxide. About 10 percent of all emissions are from cattle and more than 43,000 liters of fresh water are required to manufacture just 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of beef. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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