Syndicate content

ecosystem

International Day for Biological Diversity: The Water Value of Forests

Melanie Argimon Pistre's picture
To increase awareness and understanding about the many ways forests contribute to improving food security and nutrition, especially in developing countries, the FAO hosted an International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition (May 13-15) in collaboration with the World Bank and with

Using GIS to Manage the Urban Ecosystem

Henry Jewell's picture

Growing up on a farm meant I spent very little time in cities. I felt more at home when surrounded by green than grey. As a kid, I saw cities as noisy, bright, busy and quite frankly, confusing. I always thought to myself why would anyone want to live in them? However, when I grew up, I moved to a city to take advantage of the opportunities it provided. I am not alone. More than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in cities and this number will rise. Cities are hubs of productivity, innovation and vast human capital; but once you live in them you begin to see that they are like any other ecosystem: complex and fragile, whose balance can be easily disturbed. With many cities rapidly growing and evolving, how do you manage this increasing complexity without destroying the ecosystem?

GIS Image.  Source - University of Texas at DallasGeographical Information System (GIS) techniques have proven successful in mapping, analyzing and managing natural ecosystems. It is now time to make use of the same technology to manage, model and design our expanding global system of cities. GIS consists of a proven set of tools that can provide information to leaders at the local and national level to facilitate evidence-driven decision making. It allows us to move beyond 2D paper maps and incorporate everything that lies below, above and around a city to create a 3D digital representation of the city’s ecosystem. By integrating this information into the planning process, it will hopefully lead to harmonized planning across sectors. For example, integrated transport and land use planning and development will allow for economic, social and environmental benefits. More sectors can then be incorporated, with this integration not only happening within the city limits but including the urban periphery, where a lot of urban expansion is currently occurring. This holistic view will allow planners to make cities more livable.

Where wild tigers roam

Anne Elicaño's picture
No tigers made an appearance but this little fellow emerged from across the stream while I was at a lookout tower in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand.

ภาษาไทย | Español

There are only about 250 tigers in the wild left in Thailand and around 3,200* globally. Not a single one made an appearance when I covered the Global Tiger Initiative’s Regional Training on the Smart Patrol System at the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary but I learned more about tigers then than I ever did at a zoo.

Building broadband: Strategies and policies for the developing world

Siddhartha Raja's picture

With broadband becoming an important topic in ICT policy discussions, it seems like the right time to publish a new report on what strategies and policies might help countries boost broadband access and use.

With the generous funding of the Korean Trust Fund for Information and Communications for Development (IC4D), I along with co-authors Yongsoo Kim and Tim Kelly, have prepared a report that does just that. 

Convenient solutions to an inconvenient truth: How old-fashioned conservation helps deal with climate change

Tony Whitten's picture

So much is being written about climate change. The heat is on, so to speak, to find new solutions to increasingly dire predictions from ever more detailed data and refined models.

The destructive side of goats

Tony Whitten's picture

I hate goats. I’ll admit that I do love the feel of a good cashmere scarf or pullover, and have delighted in sensual cashmere socks I’ve been given. I am also partial to goat curry, goat kebabs, roast goat, and goat in a good wine sauce – though I lose my appetite on seeing a pop-eyed goat’s head staring at me out of a bowl of boiled goat bits at some of the meals I’m offered while on mission. And I do enjoy some nice goat cheese with a crisp cracker and celery.

Still, I hate goats.

Biodiversity restoration in Lake Dianchi, China - Part 3: Alien invaders both hold back and support recovery

Tony Whitten's picture

Red-eared Sliders, one of the invasive alien species in Lake Dianchi. See full photogallery.
Another notable achievement of the ‘Restoration of Freshwater Biodiversity in Lake Dianchi’ project (see previous entries--part 1 and part 2) was the discovery and action taken against a number of invasive alien species which had not been recorded from the lake before the surveys initiated by the project. These include the Golden Apple Snail, Louisiana Crayfish, Red-eared Slider (the turtle or terrapin commonly found in pet shops the world over), and Muskrat. Their introduction to the area, as with many alien invasives, “seemed a good idea at the time” but they all have – or likely will have – serious negative economic and ecological impacts. The Golden Apple Snail has a predilection for young rice plants, the Louisiana Crayfish burrows into bunds, and the Red-eared Slider predates on fish.