This week in Natural Capital


Week 4- 8 August 2014, by Anna Heuberger,

Why Restoring Wetlands Is More Critical Than Ever

The article “Why Restoring Wetlands Is More Critical Than Ever” by Bruce Stutz and published by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental studies emphasizes that “with sea levels rising, coastal communities (…) are realizing the value of wetlands as important buffers against flooding and tidal surges.” It is estimated that the world has lost 50% of its wetlands since 1900. They were “diked to create grazing and farm lands (…), dredged for shipping channels, sprayed and ditched for mosquito control, and exposed to nutrient and pollution runoff from upland agriculture, as well as sediment from upstream development.” Besides their great importance for biodiversity, wetlands “may provide the only natural protection from flood waters and ever higher tidal surges”. Furthermore “scientists have discovered over the last few years that sea grass beds, salt marshes, and mangroves sequester and store far more carbon than equal areas of tropical forest. And because most of this “blue carbon” is stored in submerged soil, it is released far more slowly than carbon stored in forest vegetation.” The Ramsar Convention in 1971 in Iran was a milestone in the protection of wetlands but their restoration is a long-term process challenged by changing conditions like the rising of sea levels. Click here to read the article.

More headlines:

Policy making:

Shattering Myths to Help the Climate

New York Times, August 2, 2014

Why aren’t we demanding more forceful action? One reason may be the frequent incantation of a motley collection of myths, each one rooted in bad economics.  More here

New Science Suggests More Land-Based Ecosystems Lost than Biosphere Can Bear

Earth Blog, August 4, 2014

An important scientific journal article published this week finds that 66% of Earth’s land area must be maintained as natural and agro-ecological ecosystems to sustain a livable environment. Yet about 50% have already been lost (…) More here

For most of us, global warming has become ‘normal’ climate

Reuters, August 6, 2014

Global warming has been going on for so long that most people were not even born the last time the Earth was cooler than average in 1985 in a shift that is altering perceptions of a “normal” climate, scientists said. More here

The Threats to Our Drinking Water

New York Times, August 6, 2014

There are specific steps that would make a difference, including providing water utilities with broader authority to address threats found in watershed surveys; beefing up pollution prevention requirements for chemical tanks to include uniform rules for storage of hazardous substances;  More here

What CEOs Are Starting to Do About That ‘Huge Gap’ Obama Mentioned

Bloomberg, August 5, 2014

“There’s a huge gap between the professed values and visions of corporate CEOs and how their lobbyists operate in Washington,” Obama said. More here


Alberta pledges $31 million for natural flood protection and fish habitat restoration

Metro News, August 6, 2014

The Alberta government announced $21 million in funding Wednesday for a program that would improve watershed health, and $10 million to enhance flood and drought-prone areas. More here


Preserving paradise

Business World, August 7, 2014

Does Paradise Found inevitably have to lead to Paradise Lost? This question ran through my mind while I was driving through the scenic Ternate-Nasugbu Highway, a long-awaited government infrastructure project connecting Cavite and Batangas provinces that has brought the dazzling azure coast of Nasugbu virtually to Metro Manila’s front door. More here


Cover crops make stover more sustainable, profitable, August 4, 2014

Farmers using cover crops as a soil conservation method can remove much more corn stover per acre for biofuels or other uses and at the same time potentially increase their income, Purdue University research shows. More here


annaThis weekly blog has the purpose to summarize and collect important stories and news on Natural Capital.

By Anna Heuberger, TEEB Communications and Outreach



Photo Credit: Peter Prokosch

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