Specialising in
Grey Water
and
Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

Deforestation could double unless we act now

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 29 Nov 2011

It’s possible to reduce deforestation to near zero by 2020, but delaying action to save forests by even a decade means double the area of forests lost by 2030, says WWF.

Our forests are disappearing while we sort out how to save them

According to the latest chapter of WWF’s Living Forests Report, “Forests and Climate”, the world stands to lose 55.5 million hectares of forest between now and 2020, even if we take urgent action to reduce deforestation. If the world delays the necessary steps, we stand to lose 124.7 million hectares by 2030, according to the report.

These forests are not only vital to the well-being of people and wildlife, but also to the global climate, because deforestation releases greenhouse gases, says WWF. The report finds that reducing deforestation to near zero would also bring global emissions from forest destruction close to zero, but delaying this reduction until 2030 would mean sacrificing an additional 69 million hectares of forest worldwide and at least an additional 24Gt CO2 into the atmosphere, not including losses from forest degradation or the carbon stored below ground. Currently, up to 20 per cent of global carbon emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation – more than the total emissions from the global transportation sector.

The report further finds that new plantations are not the solution, as they will not begin to sequester enough carbon to offset emissions from deforestation until 2040 at the earliest.

“Our forests are disappearing while we sort out how to save them,” said Bruce Cabarle, Leader of WWF’s Forest and Climate Initiative. “This continued loss of forests will have dire consequences for our global climate, for nature and for the livelihoods of billions of people. And we know we can’t plant our way out of the problem. The message is clear – we must act now to protect the world’s forests for good or we’ll lose them forever.” Continue reading Deforestation could double unless we act now

DRC – study warns of alarming trends

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 10 Oct 2011

With half of Africa’s forests and water resources and trillion-dollar mineral reserves, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could become a powerhouse of African development provided multiple pressures on its natural resources are urgently addressed.

About 50% of Africa’s total water resources are concentrated within the Congo basin

A major Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the DRC by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) underlines the global significance and extraordinary potential of the country’s natural and mineral resources.

However, the study warns of alarming trends including increased deforestation, species depletion, heavy metal pollution and land degradation from mining, as well as an acute drinking water crisis which has left an estimated 51 million Congolese without access to potable water.

The outcomes of the two-year assessment have been released today in Kinshasa, by UNEP’s Executive Director, Mr Achim Steiner, and the DRC’s Environment Minister, Mr José Endundo.

Conducted in conjunction with the DRC’s Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, the assessment highlights successful initiatives and identifies strategic opportunities to restore livelihoods, promote good governance and support the sustainability of the DRC’s post-conflict economic reconstruction, and reinforce ongoing peace consolidation.

The study’s good news is that most of the DRC’s environmental degradation is not irreversible and there has been substantial progress in strengthening environmental governance.

For example, through steps such as regular anti-poaching patrols, the Congolese Wildlife Authority has secured the Virunga National Park, which at the peak of the DRC’s crisis was losing the equivalent of 89 hectares of forest each day due to illegal fuelwood harvesting.

However, the country’s rapidly growing population of nearly 70 million people – most of whom directly depend on natural resources for their survival – and intense international competition for raw materials are adding to the multiple pressures on the DRC’s natural resource base. Continue reading DRC – study warns of alarming trends

Countries to seek agreement on forest and climate issues

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 18 April 2011

Representatives from more than 30 countries are expected to hammer out a formal agreement for future discussions on forest and climate issues when they meet next month in the Republic of Congo, reports the […]

Smaller scale plans to prevent deforestation

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 May 2010

Last December, an international conference on climate change approved global plans to prevent deforestation. But those plans have not been implemented, and now a smaller meeting of nations in Oslo will try Thursday to find […]

Forest Protected Areas Combat Climate Change

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 17 March 2010

A new study involving scientists from 13 different organizations, universities and research institutions states that forest protection offers one of the most effective, practical, and immediate strategies to combat climate change. The study, “Indigenous Lands, Protected Areas, and Slowing Climate Change,” was published in PLoS Biology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and makes specific recommendations for incorporating  protected areas into overall strategies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses from deforestation and degradation (nicknamed REDD).

“Deforestation leads to about 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the cars, trucks, trains, ships, and planes on earth.  If we fail to reduce it, we’ll fail to stabilize our climate,” said Taylor Ricketts, director of World Wildlife Fund’s science program and lead author of the study.  “Our paper emphasizes that creating and strengthening indigenous lands and other protected areas can offer an effective means to cut emissions while garnering numerous additional benefits for local people and wildlife.”

The authors highlight analyses showing that since 2002, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been 7 to 11 times lower inside of indigenous lands and other protected areas than elsewhere. Simulation models suggest that protected areas established between 2003 and 2007 could prevent an estimated area of 100,000 square miles of deforestation through 2050.  That is roughly the size of the state of Colorado, representing enough carbon to equal 1/3 of the world’s annual CO2 emissions.  Within these efforts, location matters; protected areas in regions that face deforestation pressures would be most effective at truly reducing emissions.

“This study reinforces the wisdom behind global investments in protected areas,” says Gustavo A.B. da Fonseca, co-author of the study and Team Leader Natural Resources of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).  “In addition to protecting globally important species and ecosystems, the 2,302 protected areas supported by the GEF alone span over 634 million hectares and together store an impressive 30 billion tons of CO2” Continue reading Forest Protected Areas Combat Climate Change