Archive for the 'Ecosystems Research' Category

(Chronologically Listed)

another ooops story: of road salt and watersheds

road salt impacts

My grandots in snow country will love this one! It's a real howler about our "system blindness". And about how un-sustainability means doing all the wrong things.

Wudja believe all that road salt we spread for "safety" purposes actually ends up somewhere our groundwater and streams. (You mean there is no "away" place we can throw this stuff?) Duh!

Yet, it took these new studies from Toronto and Minneapolis to make us realize road salt is a huge mistake (via treehugger).

Nor is this just about the impacts on aquatic life and drinking water. It's also about destroying roads, shortening the life of cars, and killing vegetation. WTF?

Published by Ken on March 5th, 2010 tagged Best Practices, Ecosystems Research, Island Ecosystems, Systems Thinking | 1 Comment »

eco-nomics spotlights asset values outside the market

natural capital

Never mind that market values have diverged from actual values in the economy. Most of our valuable ecological assets aren't even on the books, says Robert Costanza (via commondreams).

That's because large parts of the natural world are usually viewed as "free", says Costanza, including wetlands that purify water, oceans that produce fish, and trees that soak up greenhouse gases...among other 'ecosystem services'.

Costanza sees the current financial crisis as a chance to put price tags on nature in a radical economic rethink to ensure that the depletion of our planet's biocapacity gets figured into conventional measures of wealth. Now that’s eco-nomics!

Published by Ken on November 2nd, 2008 tagged Ecosystems Research, Sustainability Science | Comments Off

species relocation service: new focus for conservation

pinion forest threatened

We got to see early science findings last March when Lee Hannah reported on ‘translocation’ as a method to save certain species at the Oahu climate change form.

Now the mapping of habitat movement is becoming a high art in great demand as conservationists ponder where to focus next.

Peter Aldus reports from the Society for Conservation Biology meeting in Chattanooga last month that research teams across the planet are trying to work out how species and habitats will be affected by changes in temperature, rainfall, sealevel and many other climate variables…just as we are here in Hawaii (via newscientist).

Published by Ken on August 20th, 2008 tagged Climate Change, Ecosystems Research | Comments Off

hugged your watershed lately? on valuing ecosystem services

ecosystem scenarios at kawailoa

Gretchen Daily was kind enough to send along the graphics from Pam Matson's presentation to Stanford Alumni last month, so we can see how the Natural Capital Project is progressing.

‘Tis a treat to observe the rapid advances in valuation of ecosystem services, 'cause we need this stuff like yesterday.

Why? Nothing is more important than re-balancing the way we've been making land use decisions so they include consideration of ecosystem services.

Now, NCP is running scenarios for different future uses of KSBE lands so that decision-makers can quantify the ecosystem impacts of going into biofuels, or subdivisions, or sustainable ag and forestry.

Published by Ken on August 11th, 2008 tagged Ecosystems Research, Island Ecosystems | Comments Off

on giving ecosystem services the value they deserve

ecosystem services special issue of pnas

What a difference valuation of our ecosystems makes! How so?

Writing in the current PNAS, Stanford’s Pam Matson and Gretchen Daily note "a growing feeling of Renaissance in the conservation community" that "flows from the promise in reaching for new approaches that align economic forces with conservation, and that explicitly link human and environmental well-being."

After all, ecosystems are natural capital assets that supply valuable services to people. Leaders worldwide face the challenge of developing incentives and institutions to guide wise investment in ecosystems.

Say Matson and Daily, "scholars and practitioners are seeking to make conservation economically attractive and commonplace."

Published by Ken on July 21st, 2008 tagged Ecosystems Research, Sustainability Science | Comments Off

heading our way: climate change in Hawaii

climate change in hawaii

The science confab last Wednesday yielded several new clues to Hawaii’s future in a field of study that is advancing rapidly.

Climate modeling is providing more fine-grained understanding of relationships between air, ocean and land systems, as well as deeper appreciation of Hawaii's climate system complexities.

Precision is clouded (heh) by different effects over land than over the ocean, and Hawaii is a little of the former in a lot of the latter.

Here's a quick summary of highlights from the day's presentations, after host Stephen Miller outlined an innovative 3-day learning process that includes a strategy session with stakeholder groups.

Published by Ken on March 30th, 2008 tagged Climate Change, Ecosystems Research, HI-specific | Comments Off

dude, where’d my preservation project go?

islands lowering in rising sea

And you tho't driving an SUV to a 'save the whales' protest was like missing the point...

Wot if all those well-intentioned efforts to preserve biologically rich landscapes are beside the point in an era of climate change?

According to Cornelia Dean, many scientists now believe that habitat conservation will be of limited long-term benefit if global warming makes those places inhospitable (via nytimes).

Wetlands will be overrun by sea level change, preserved grasslands will become forests, and endangered species will move elsewhere, says Dean.

“It’s a real dilemma,” says conservation biologist David S. Wilcove, in a classic understatement.

Published by Ken on January 29th, 2008 tagged Climate Change, Ecosystems Research | Comments Off

Kauai as biodiversity garden: new study shows how

lida burney harvests seed pods on kauai

Wot if this 'garden island' were managed like a botanical garden so that threatened species could be reintroduced into our pre-existing wild environment and given a fair shot at recovery?

Good buddies David and Lida Burney are pioneering just such a bold new "inter-situ" approach to conservation here on Kauai by closely managing the recovery areas using the same techniques in zoos and botanical gardens (via star bulletin).

The common methods used by conservationists are failing, say the Burneys, and the risk of further extinction will only get worse as human contact and foreign diseases continue to devastate the natural environment

Published by Ken on November 19th, 2007 tagged Community Initiatives, Ecosystems Research, Island Ecosystems | Comments Off

studying reef impacts without making impacts

hiialakai embraces the sea

Speaking of reefs, Hawaii's oceanographic research vessel used for conducting studies of coral reefs got a mention the other day as an 'eco-friendly' ship (via treehugger).

The Hiialakai is NOAA's Hawaii-based ship for conducting coral-reef ecosystem mapping, bio-analysis assessments, and coral-reef-health and fish-stock studies.

The ship's name is Hawaiian for "embracing the sea," and, true to its moniker, has been dubbed the most environmentally friendly ship he's been on by Allen Gary, its chief steward.

"I've been sailing quite a awhile and I've seen the evolution of the old sailors who dumped everything and now we're to a point where we need to be concerned about Mother Earth," says Gary.

Published by Ken on August 30th, 2007 tagged Ecosystems Research, HI-specific, Island Ecosystems | Comments Off