Implementing Rules and Regulation for Green Infrastructure
Watersheds Lost Up to 22% of Their Forests in 14 Years. Here’s How it Affects Your Water Supply
by Yiyuan Qin and Todd Gartner - August 30, 2016
Drought in Sao Paulo. Flooding in the Himalayas. And pollution in Sumatra. These three distinct water crises have a common cause—degradation in forests.
That’s because upstream forests, wetlands and other “natural infrastructure” play a critical role in supplying clean water downstream. They stabilize soil and reduce erosion, regulate water flow to mitigate floods and droughts, and purify water. Yet the world’s watersheds lost 6 percent of their tree cover on average from 2000-2014, putting citizens at risk of losing their water supplies.
On the Yangtze River at Badong, China. Photo by Bernd Thaller/Flickr.
Who Can Use GFW Water?
GFW Water allows anyone with internet access, regardless of expertise, to visualize critical watershed information and threats, and screen for cost-effective, sustainable natural infrastructure solutions. For example:
- Downstream utilities, municipalities, businesses and others who make infrastructure investments can identify risks and explore natural infrastructure options and find information to improve operations and protect water at a lower cost.
- Finance and development institutions can gather data, explore trends and gain insights about the regions they support to develop a pipeline of investable opportunities to enhance water security and bolster economic development.
- Researchers and civil society can use data to support their projects and find the information needed to advance their research and campaigns to protect watersheds.
Global Forest Watch (GFW) Water, a global mapping tool and database launched today, examines how forest loss, fires, unsustainable land use and other threats to natural infrastructure affect water security throughout the world. GFW Water provides data sets, statistics and risk scores for all of the world’s 230 watersheds, areas of land where all of the water drains to a common outlet such as a river. Users can drop a pin anywhere to learn about the risks to the water supply near them, and find resources on how investing in natural infrastructure protection can help alleviate these threats.
Findings from GFW Water reveal some of the watersheds most threatened by forest loss, fires and erosions:
Recent Forest Loss in Sumatra, Indonesia Watershed
As forests are cut down or converted to other land uses, their ability to regulate flow and purify water diminishes, putting communities at risk of flood, drought, higher water treatment costs and greater incidence of drinking water contamination.
The watershed of Sumatra, Indonesia experienced the most forest loss from 2000-2014, losing more than 22 percent of its forest cover (8 million hectares, or an area about the size of South Carolina). Research shows that agricultural expansion, logging and infrastructure extension as a result of expanding global markets for pulp, timber and oil palm are among the major drivers. Forest clearing in the region has intensified floods, landslides, fires and water pollution.
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.
The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
The Paris Agreement is a bridge between today's policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century.
Mitigation: reducing emissions
- a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;
- to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change;
- on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries;
- to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.
Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans (INDCs). These are not yet enough to keep global warming below 2°C, but the agreement traces the way to achieving this target.
In Memory of Aydin Sayili
Aydin Sayilli (1913-1993) was an eminent historian of science whose pioneering work during a 50-year career uncovered many hidden treasures in the history of mathematics, astronomy and medicine, especially in the Islamic tradition. In this special section, we celebrate his memory and publish the list of his articles published on our web portal.
Figure 1: The young Aydin Sayili. Courtesy of Dr. Hüseyin Gazi Topdemir.
Aydin Sayilli (1913-1993) was an eminent historian of science, especially of Islamic science. His career was aided by chance when meeting with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whom he impressed enough to receive a state-supported scholarship to attend graduate school at Harvard, where he studied under George Sarton.
One of his biographers, Professor Ekmeledin Ihsanoglu, qualified him in the following words: "Aydin Sayili is one of the first eminent figures of the history of science in Islam to pursue an academic career in this discipline. He was fortunate to earn the first PhD from the history of science chair established by George Sarton in Harvard University. With this distinguished background, he made valuable contributions to this field throughout his life" (see Aydin Sayili (1913-1993) At Work: His Scientific Biography).
The doctoral dissertation of Aydin Sayili on scientific institutions in the Islamic civilization, completed in Harvard in 1942, was the first thorough essay on this important topic. Its chapter on the multi-faceted aspects of the observatory in the world of Islam is until now a unique example of deep investigation in which minute analysis of sources led to outstanding historiographical results.
Figure 2: Aydin Sayili at the height of his academic career. Source: Archives internationales d'histoire des sciences (N°. 134, pp. 135-148) and Aydin Sayili (1913-1993).
The work of Sayili may be outlined briefly as follows:
"Aydin Sayili was born in Istanbul in 1913. His primary and secondary education took place in Ankara for the most part. After completing his secondary education, he took part in competitive state examinations and was sent by the Turkish Ministry of Education to the United States for his higher education. The program of his university education was planned and organized under the guidance of George Sarton, one of the foremost pioneers in the field of the history of science and one of the most central figures in securing for it the status of an independent academic discipline. Sayili's training at Harvard was broad in scope with his so-called "horizontal" specialization or concentration in the history of science being in the world of Islam and his "vertical" specialization in the history of physics. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in the history of science in 1942 from Harvard University which was apparently the first such degree to be given in that discipline anywhere" (In Memoriam of Aydin Sayili: Biography and Account of his Scientific Activity).
Figure 3: Aydin Sayili and George Sarton. Courtesy of Dr. Hüseyin Gazi Topdemir.
During a long and fruitful career that span over 50 years, until he passed away in 1993, Aydin Sayili produced an impressive list of monographs exploring different areas of history of Islamic sciences and history of science at large. His work touched on the history of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and he was interested in other different areas, one of which had attracted his attention throughout his life: setting the record for the Turkish contribution to history of science, since the time of Abdulhamid ibn Turk in the 9th century until the Ottoman period (see the list of his publications section 2 of In Memoriam of Aydin Sayili: Biography and Account of his Scientific Activity).
Figure 4a-b: Two views of Hayatta en Hakikî Mürsit Ilimdir (The Truest Guide in Life Is Science) by Aydin Sayili, first edition, 1948 (2nd edition Ankara, 1990)./td>
The list of articles by Aydin Sayili published on www.MuslimHeritage.com:
The 12th International Congress of Ecology ( INTECOL 2017 Beijing) organized by INTECOL will be held in Beijing, August 20-25, 2017. As the host of the congress, the Ecological Society of China warmly welcome you to join this meeting together with leaders in ecology from the globe, as well as scientists, educators, practitioners and policy-makers, who are dedicated to protecting and preserving our planet.
The theme of the congress is Ecology and Civilization in a Changing World, which will focus on harmonious and sustainable development among people, nature, and society in the context of global development. During the congress, the issues on the following fields will be thoroughly discussed, i.e., ecosystem service valuation and sustainable development, culture conservation and human well-being, global change, environmental change in urbanization, ecosystem restoration and management, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem health, ecological civilization, molecular ecology and ecological genomics.
We do hope you can join us for discussing the issues faced by human and finding solutions to them, as well as making new friends from the other regions.
We are looking forward to seeing you in Beijing in August 2017!
Ecocentrism and Traditional Ecological Knowledge
By J. Stan Rowe
Of what relevance to current industrial civilization are Indigenous Cultures (ICs), those islands of aboriginal society that still persist here and there in quiet backwaters not yet invaded by world trade and commerce? Does Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) offer useful lessons for Westerners seeking harmonious and sustainable ways of living on Earth? Recent discussion of TEK on the Internet (Ecopolitics-l listserver) prompted the following essay.
Anthropologists and sociologists have long had an interest in the flexible ways diverse cultures adapt to the various physical and biological landscapes of Earth. One modern approach is the study of Historical Ecology, tracing patterns of change in cultures as they evolve. The presumption is that cultures are subject to historic selection, responding to what is outside them and within. External forces - varying according to geographic place- are local environmental conditions (soils, water, climate, biota), large-scale environmental change (especially climatic change), and local human actions (cooperation and/or competition with neighbouring societies). Internal forces, the focus of particular interest, are traditional activities and beliefs that determine "the practical engagement of people in the world." In other words, how a society adapts to its dynamic environment.
Established in 2012, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an international organization committed to strengthening the role of science in public decision-making on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
To achieve this, IPBES will:
- respond to government requests for information on biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- identify and prioritize key scientific information needed for policymakers;
- perform regular and timely, scientifically credible, independent, and peer-reviewed assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services on a comprehensive global, regional, and sub-regional scale;
- support policy formation and implementation by identifying relevant tools and methodologies;
- identify and create key capacity-building tools to support the use of science in policy.
Linking biodiversity, material cycling and ecosystem services in a changing world
Biodiversity is the foundation for almost all ecosystem services. The known relationships, though, between biodiversity and material cycling may or may not inform the translation into ecosystem services. As the concept of the ecosystem service is of interest not only to scientists but also to policy makers and stakeholders, understanding the relationship between these three components is essential. The 102nd annual meeting will support sessions that focus on and explore, in general, how biodiversity is the foundation for many ecosystem services, how ecosystem functioning can translate into ecosystem services, and the role different dimensions of biodiversity play in developing such understanding.
–Christopher Swan, Program Chair
–Marion Dresner, Local Host Chair
Arne Næss and George Sessions
Basic Principles of Deep Ecology
In April 1984, during the advent of Spring and John Muir’s birthday, George Sessions and Arne Næss summarized fifteen years of thinking on the principles of deep ecology while camping in Death Valley, California. In this great and special place, they articulated these principles in a literal, somewhat neutral way, hoping that they would be understood and accepted by persons coming from different philosophical and religious positions.
Readers are encouraged to elaborate their own versions of deep ecology, clarify key concepts and think through the consequences of acting from these principles.