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[en] Changes in diversity and possible decreases in populations of amphibians have not yet been determined in many areas in the Andes. This study aimed to develop an inventory of the biodiversity of amphibians in the Andean areas of the Tamá National Natural Park (Tamá NNP) and to evaluate the patterns of infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in preserved and degraded areas. We performed samplings focused on three habitats (forest, open areas and streams) in four localities from 2,000 to 3,200 m in altitude. Fourteen species were recorded, 12 of which were positive for Bd. A total of 541 individuals were diagnosed and 100 were positive. Our analyses showed that preserved areas play an important role in keeping many individuals Bd–free as compared to those in degraded areas. This was the first study to evaluate diversity and infection by Bd in the northeast region of Colombia. Our findings may help improve our knowledge of the diversity of amphibian species in the area and facilitate the implementation of action plans to mitigate the causes associated with the decrease in amphibian populations. (Author)
[en] Zoning of a protected area is an approach to partition landscape into various land use units. The management of these landscape units can reduce conflicts caused by human activities. Tandoreh National Park is one of the most biologically diverse, protected areas in Iran. Although the area is generally designed to protect biodiversity, there are many conflicts between biodiversity conservation and human activities. For instance, the area is highly controversial and has been considered as an impediment to local economic development, such as tourism, grazing, road construction, and cultivation. In order to reduce human conflicts with biodiversity conservation in Tandoreh National Park, safe zones need to be established and human activities need to be moved out of the zones. In this study we used a systematic methodology to integrate a participatory process with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) using a multi–criteria decision analysis (MCDA) technique to guide a zoning scheme for the Tandoreh National Park, Iran. Our results show that the northern and eastern parts of the Tandoreh National Park that were close to rural areas and farmlands returned less desirability for selection as a preservation area. Rocky Mountains were the most important and most destructed areas and abandoned plains were the least important criteria for preservation in the area. Furthermore, the results reveal that the land properties were considered to be important for protection based on the obtaine. (Author)
[en] Aim of study: The Natura 2000 Network “Montemuro Mountain” Site in Portugal. Material and methods: This study combined several consultation and citizen participation techniques. Main results: The perceptions shared by the stakeholders are some similar, others not similar and others still quite paradoxical regarding forest characteristics and the opportunities they offer. The study has shown that it is possible to implement and improve citizen participation methodologies. This can be a viable way towards more effective forest management and fire prevention as this may help blunt conflicts of interest in forest space management. However, for participation to be truly effective and representative, a policy regarding training and awareness of the importance of information is necessary. Research highlights: The stakeholder perceptions on forests and forest management are assessed; forest fires and agrarian abandonment are central for territory’s development; depopulation, old age and absenteeism emphasize degradation of forest areas; Conscious citizen participation benefit policymaking and forest management. (Author)
[en] The natural environment comprises non-biological elements such as air, water, light, heat and biological elements of animal and plant life; all interact with each other to create an ecosystem. Human activities like over-exploitation of forest results in deforestation and desertification. This consequently changes ecological balance. Topics on: (1) history of elephants utilization; (2) elephant logging; (3) classification of elephants; (4) dragging gear; (5) elephant power; (6) elephant logging and environment, are discussed
[en] A number of studies suggest that natural resources can have a negative impact on the developing prospects of countries. Empirical results suggest that political economy models of patronage and rent-seeking are central to understanding why such a resource curse arises. In other words, the resource curse is created by certain resource rents leading to dysfunctional behaviour. This article introduces the term impartiality enhancing institutions to structure policy debates by distinguishing conditions under which negative effects of resources can be mitigated. Moreover, it is argued that viewing institutions as an equilibrium outcome has implications for the analysis of institutional change. Policy initiatives that do not promote the impartiality of institutions, nor attend to the underlying interests and incentives keeping a bad institutional equilibrium in place, will not help lift the resource curse.
[en] China's economic involvement in Africa has recently attracted unprecedented global attention. Chinese interest in the oil, gas and other natural resources on the continent entails - it is alleged - more harm than good for Africa's environment. Yet much of the discussion about China's role in Africa is conducted in the absence of the most basic information and raw data. We believe that despite all the obvious informational obstacles, the secrecy veil on the China's African involvement can be lifted. And this, in turn, could produce a more accurate picture of the real impact on the Africa's environment.
[en] The National Audubon Society in the USA is dedicated to conserving wildlife in its natural habitat. Since the 1960's natural gas has been produced under lease at the Society's Rainey Sanctuary in the belief that wilderness areas should be out of bounds for oil and gas exploration. The only production on the sanctuary has been natural gas and related low molecular weight hydrocarbons, not crude oil. Natural gas is probably the most benign environmental fossil fuel that we have available to us. The production of natural gas is both less risky to the environment during production as well as during use than all other fossil fuels. The Society believes it is useful to be contributing even in a small way to the domestic production of the most environmentally benign fossil fuel. The drilling has been conducted in a way that has not harmed the sanctuary. In fact, by proper placement of the canals, levees, and equipment, and proper cleanup activities after drilling is done, the habitat of the sanctuary has actually been enhanced for many species of wildlife. To those who contend that a conservation organization should have no part in a fossil-fuels industry that has been responsible for severe pollution problems, the response is that conservationists should not be automatically opposed to any kind of energy production. The Society considers that the mineral activities at the Rainey Sanctuary are an opportunity to demonstrate to the oil and gas industry how to extract minerals without harming the environment. We need energy and we need to protect the environment. By being selective and by insisting on appropriate controls, both needs may be fulfilled. (author)
[en] We argue that 'the 2008 Oil Bubble' was directly and indirectly created by the Federal Reserve in response to deflationary risks that resurfaced after the housing bubble burst and the resulting credit crisis of 2008. Deflationary risks first appeared after the dot.com bubble burst in 2000 and after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Manipulation of the US dollar value has been one of the key emergency tools in the Fed's arsenal. During the entire period from 2000 to 2008, the US dollar has been falling, while the price of crude oil has been rising, with the culmination in July 2008. If other global central banks embrace the Fed's anti-deflationary strategies, the consequences could be dire for the global economy, potentially resulting in an ultimate gold bubble.
[en] Naturally occurring lime in form of calcium carbonate is abundantly available in our country and elsewhere in the world. Its use has not been efficiently made locally in construction perhaps due to lack of understanding of its properties in its different forms. A locally available finely divided hydrated powdered lime of type-S has been studied for its use in concrete. In this paper, behavior of lime modified concrete in comparison to normal concrete having same mix proportions, aggregates, net water-cement ratio and similar curing conditions has been studied in short term up to the age of 56 days during which the specimens were subjected to normal water curing method. Tests were carried out for compressive strength at 3, 7, 14, 28 and 56 days, 24 hours % age water absorption at the age of 56 days and durability (resistance of concrete against N/2 solutions of both nitric acid and hydrochloric acid for 28 days) of concrete were carried out at the age of 56 days. It was seen that the compressive strength of concrete modified with lime was less than the normal concrete. But so far as the durability and % age water absorption are concerned, Lime played an important role and 24 hours % age water absorption decreases with increase in lime as a cement replacement in concrete. It is recommended for durability purposes that 20% replacement of lime with cement was more effective in concrete than with 40% for the mixes investigated. The purpose of this investigation was to apprise the Engineers and the Architects of Pakistan of the potential and economy of this type of lime when used in mortars and concretes. (author)
[en] Protected areas (PAs) are considered a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and the number and extent of PAs are expanding rapidly worldwide. While designating more land as PAs is important, concerns about the degree to which existing PAs are effective in meeting conservation goals are growing. Unfortunately, conservation effectiveness of PAs and its underlying determinants are often unclear across large spatial scales. Using PAs in China as an example, we evaluated the effectiveness of 472 PAs established before 2000 in reducing deforestation between 2000 and 2015. Our results show that the majority (71%) of the PAs were effective in reducing deforestation. Without their establishment, deforestation within the PAs would have increased by about 50% (581 km2), with about 1271 megaton of carbon per year not being sequestered. We also found some attributes of PAs, including surrounding deforestation level, roughness of terrain, and travel time to the nearest city, are significantly related to their effectiveness in reducing deforestation. Our findings highlight the need of systematically evaluating the effectiveness of PAs and incorporating this effectiveness into conservation planning and management to more fully realize the goals of PAs not only in China but also around the world.