Lead poisoning blocks recovery of California condor population

Lead poisoning blocks recovery of California condor population

ScienceDaily (June 25, 2012)A comprehensive study led by environmental toxicologists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shows that California condors are continually exposed to harmful levels of lead, the principal source of that lead is ammunition, and lead poisoning from ammunition is preventing the recovery of the condor population.

The scientists reported their findings in a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the week of June 25 (online Early Edition). First author Myra Finkelstein, a research toxicologist at UC Santa Cruz, said the study shows that without a solution to the problem of lead poisoning, the condor population can only be sustained through intensive and costly management efforts.
"We will never have a self-sustaining wild condor population if we don't solve this problem," she said. "Currently, California condors are tagged and monitored, trapped twice a year for blood tests, and when necessary treated for lead poisoning in veterinary hospitals, and they still die from lead poisoning on a regular basis."
With a total population of just 22 birds in 1982, the California condor once teetered on the brink of extinction. A successful captive breeding program enabled the reintroduction of condors into the wild (at sites in California, Arizona, and Baja California), and the total population grew to nearly 400 birds (captive and free-flying) by the end of 2010. But the new study, which focuses on condors in California, describes a population still on the verge of collapse, sustained only by ongoing human intervention.
Since 1997, about half of all free-flying condors in California have required treatment for lead poisoning, and each year about one in five birds needs treatment. This usually involves capturing the birds and transporting them to a zoo where they can receive chelation therapy to remove lead from their blood and supportive care until they are healthy enough to return to the wild.
Condors are opportunistic scavengers, feeding primarily on the carcasses of large mammals such as deer. They can ingest fragments of lead bullets from feeding on carcasses or gut piles of animals shot by hunters. Lead poisoning was probably one of several factors that led to the near extinction of the species.
The new study brings together an interdisciplinary team and several lines of evidence to understand the impact of lead on the condor population, said coauthor Donald Smith, professor of environmental toxicology at UC Santa Cruz. A previous study from Smith's lab had already identified ammunition as the principal source of lead poisoning in condors. By expanding the number of cases studied by about five times, the new study confirms and extends the earlier findings.
The UCSC researchers are able to identify the source of the lead in a condor blood sample using a "fingerprinting" technique based on the isotope ratios found in different sources of lead. Condors raised in captivity that have not yet been released into the wild have low blood lead levels, with lead isotope ratios that fall within the range of background environmental lead in California. Most free-flying condors, however, have lead isotope ratios consistent with those found in ammunition, and the higher a bird's blood lead level, the more likely that its lead isotope ratio matches the lead in ammunition.
In addition to blood samples, the researchers also analyzed lead in feathers. Because feathers grow over a period of several months, sampling sequentially along the length of the feather gives a record of the bird's history of lead exposure. The results not only show that condors are chronically lead poisoned, but also suggest that the magnitude of lead exposure is likely much higher than indicated by periodic blood monitoring, Finkelstein said.
The study also found that even when blood lead levels are below the threshold that would prompt treatment for lead poisoning, condors experience sublethal health effects from lead exposure. The researchers used a biochemical test that is a well-established biomarker for lead toxicity in humans and wildlife. The results showed that condors are as sensitive to lead as other species, and about 30 percent of condors every year are exposed to levels that cause sublethal health effects.
The research team's analysis of condor population demographics, led by University of Colorado biologist Dan Doak, was particularly discouraging. Without continued releases of captive-reared birds and interventions to treat lead-poisoning, the condor population would again decline toward extinction, the researchers found. How long this would take depends on assumptions about the mortality rate from lead-poisoning, but demographic projections indicated that, within the next few decades, the wild condor population in California would be reduced once again to just 22 birds.
The free-flying condor population does appear to be roughly stable under current levels of intensive management, the study found. Coauthor Jesse Grantham, who recently retired as head of the condor recovery program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, estimated the current cost of the condor program to be about $5 million per year, including the contributions of all the agencies and organizations involved in the effort. This level of management would have to continue in perpetuity to keep the population from again declining toward extinction.
Efforts in California to address the problem of lead exposure have led to state regulations banning the use of lead ammunition in condor habitat. A partial ban went into effect in July 2008 and was later expanded. So far, however, researchers have found no evidence that the ban has resulted in a reduction in blood lead levels in condors.
"Unfortunately, even if only a few people are still using lead ammunition, there will be enough contaminated carcasses to cause lead poisoning in a significant number of condors," Finkelstein said. "We found that over the course of 10 years, if just one half of one percent of carcasses have lead in them, the probability that each free-flying condor will be exposed is 85 to 98 percent, and one exposure event could kill a condor."
These findings suggest that greater regulation of lead-based ammunition may be necessary to protect condors, she said. Although alternatives to lead ammunition are available, regulations limiting the use of lead-based ammunition face stiff opposition from hunting organizations and gun-rights groups.
In addition to Finkelstein, Smith, Doak, and Grantham, the coauthors of the PNAS paper include Daniel George, condor program manager at Pinnacles National Monument; Joe Burnett of the Ventana Wildlife Society; Joseph Brandt of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Molly Church of the San Diego Zoo's Wildlife Disease Laboratories. This research was supported by the National Park Service, Western National Park Association, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



Berri txarrak Kantabria aldetik.

Iturria: Eco Astillero veintiuno


El pasado 6 de junio técnicos de SEO/BirdLife detectaron la presencia del helecho acuático Azolla sp. en las Pozonas de San Román (San Román de la Llanilla, Santander). La especie ha cubierto gran parte de la lámina de agua de este pequeño humedal y su proliferación ha sido espectacularmente rápida, ya que en una visita realizada un mes antes no se registró esta pteridófito exótico.

Azolla sp. está incluida en el “Catálogo español de especies exóticas invasoras” y puede provocar importantes impactos sobre los humedales que ocupa.


Tapiza la lámina de agua lo que limita la entrada de luz y afecta negativamente a la vegetación sumergida, llegando a provocar su desaparición. En invierno puede provocar una reducción en la concentración de oxígeno del humedal debido a la descomposición de sus restos. Además, la fijación de gran cantidad de nitrógeno, que realiza gracias a su simbiosis con un alga cianofícea, contribuye a la eutrofización de los humedales que ocupa.


Parece que las aves pueden ser un importante vector de dispersión, por lo que podría extenderse de forma rápida por los humedales de la región.


Ante la amenaza que supone la especie para los humedales de agua dulce y el riesgo real de dispersión SEO/BirdLife ha solicitado a la Dirección General de Montes y Conservación de la Naturaleza actuaciones urgentes para su eliminación de las Pozonas de San Román, mediante la retirada manual de la alfombra de Azolla sp.

También es importante informar sobre la especie al personal de guardería para en caso de su dispersión a otros humedales poder realizar una detección temprana y facilitar su control.

Maca Tobiarra: lehen neurriek lehen emaitzak eman

Iturria: BirdLife International

Hooded Grebe Appeal – Action on breeding grounds already delivering results

Tue, Jun 26, 2012

Hooded Grebe Appeal – Action on breeding grounds already delivering results
In January this year we launched an international online appeal to save the Hooded Grebe Podiceps gallardoi as a new BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme initiative, building on earlier support provided by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation as part of BirdLife’s High Andean wetlands initiative. We are delighted to report today that conservation actions undertaken earlier this year are already delivering results.
Hooded Grebe is endemic as a breeding species to Santa Cruz province in Southern Argentina and is now so threatened it has been uplisted to Critically Endangered in this year’s IUCN Red List update.
Previous research has identified that the main threats to Hooded Grebe are nest predation by an increasing population of Kelp Gulls Larus dominicanus; predation of adults by introduced American Mink Neovison vison; predation and competition for food resources from alien Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss; loss of breeding sites through sedimentation as a result of land erosion caused by overgrazing; and breeding failure, due to increasingly strong winds, that are detaching floating nests from their moorings.
An adult Hooded Grebe on its  floating nest – © S Imberti

Urgent conservation action is now underway for the Hooded Grebe to address these threats led by BirdLife National Partner and Species Guardian – Aves Argentinas and local Patagonian NGO – Ambiente Sur, who are both working around the clock to prevent its extinction.  During the first few months of 2012 (the austral summer in Patagonia) the two organisations led a substantial field team to the grebe’s breeding grounds to attempt a number of pioneering conservation initiatives.
Please click here to visit our appeal page and see a video of breeding Hooded Grebes filmed by the conservation team earlier this year. 
We are also seeking BirdLife Species Champions for the Hooded Grebe. If you or your company would like to find out about this opportunity please email species.champions@birdlife.org
The immense, remote plateaus of Santa Cruz Province – © Andrea Pigazzi

The Hooded Grebe Conservation Team visited 180 lakes in the remote plateaus of western Santa Cruz province, an area that covers nearly 20,000 square km. A total of 13 people participated in the fieldwork including naturalists, ornithologists and biologists, from Aves Argentinas, Ambiente Sur, Buenos Aires University, the Austral Centre for Scientific Research, the Santa Cruz Birdwatchers Club, and the Argentinian National Parks Service. Important information was obtained about the reproductive biology of the Hooded Grebe and the factors that affect its reproduction, such as predation by Kelp Gull, American Mink, and increasing wind gusts.
Visiting lakes with officials from the National Parks Service - © Pablo Hernandez

The team’s first action was to assess the species’ abundance at known breeding colonies and investigate its presence at several new locations. Results from this survey confirmed the very precarious conservation status of the species, though several new colonies were discovered. A total of 265 breeding pairs were located of which just 64 were successful.
Colony Guardians collecting field information – © Hernan Casañas

This year a pioneering new approach dubbed “Colony Guardians” was trialled at El Cervecero Lagoon, one of the most important Hooded Grebe breeding locations on the Buenos Aires Plateau. Last year the significant colony there was wiped out when invasive American Mink slaughtered more than 30 breeding adult Hooded Grebes at this one site, leading to 40-plus eggs also being left abandoned. This year, a team of three scientists acting as Colony Guardians monitored the birds throughout the breeding season with one of the team always present during the important stages of incubation, hatching and the initial parental care of fledglings.
A predatory adult Kelp Gull – © James C Lowen

The Colony Guardians approach made a big difference, helping to protect the breeding birds from avian predators including their primary threat – Kelp Gulls - which have been increasing throughout the province since assessment began in the ’80s. This year a breeding colony of Kelp Gulls was located at a site in the middle of the Buenos Aires Plateau for the first time, rather than at their historical breeding areas along rivers and the marine coast of Santa Cruz province.
An adult Hooded Grebe protecting its chicks – © Pablo Hernandez

In addition to combating aerial predation, the team also set a number of traps for mink. While evidence of mink was again clearly present this year, none were caught in traps. Apparently the Colony Guardians’ human presence was sufficient to deter the mink from a repeat attack. As a result of the predator control actions, breeding success at the colony has greatly improved over the norm and some 60% of nests were successful, with most of the young reaching the juvenile stage. This is a higher reproductive success than has been historically recorded for the species anywhere else.
Following their anti-predator activities, the Colony Guardians at El Cervecero Lagoon were also able to catch and apply individually marked wing tags to several of the adult and juvenile Hooded Grebes present. This activity was also conducted at other colonies and a total of nine birds were tagged including three juveniles. The plan was to monitor these birds at the lakes but hopefully also then try to record them on their wintering grounds when they had migrated to the unfrozen fjords of the Santa Cruz south-eastern seaboard.
Colony Guardians at El Cervecero Lagoon Preparing for wing-tagging Hooded Grebes

The wing-tagging activity is not without risk to the conservation team. To catch the grebes, a small inflatable dinghy is used to approach the birds in deeper water where they make their floating nests.  The tagging operation is conducted in half-light and usually the naturally windy conditions at the lake make handling a small craft bobbing about on the waves quite a precarious platform. Falling in the icy water is clearly not to be recommended. This year dramas were luckily averted, and using a strong torch to distract and transfix the birds, they were simply caught in a long-handled fishing net and processed as quickly as possible to avoid any unnecessary stress.
One of the wing-tagged grebes shortly before release.

The wing-tagging activity proved an instant success, with researchers able to monitor the progress and behaviours of individual birds with considerable accuracy, contributing to a far greater understanding of their ecological requirements. One of the tagged juveniles, along with another juvenile and three adults, was found to still be present on the partially frozen El Cervecero Lagoon as recently as May 8th.
Remarkably, in the last few days, a wing-tagged juvenile Hooded Grebe has been seen at Rio Gallegos on the coast in the far south-eastern part of Santa Cruz province. Volunteers conducting biological research there made the sighting and, having heard about the project to save the species through the considerable national publicity that has recently been generated in a variety of media, passed on the news.  This young bird has been identified from its unique number as one of the individuals tagged by the Colony Guardians at El Cervecero Lagoon.  This is not only the first time the origin of a wintering Hooded Grebe has been confirmed, it is also the first time a juvenile has ever been recorded on the wintering grounds.
The juvenile wing-tagged Hooded Grebe still present at its breeding site in May 2012.

Throughout the summer the Hooded Grebe Conservation Team has also been working closely with landowners, local food producers and their staff, and local authorities, informing them of the uniqueness of the Hooded Grebe and its plight, and of the simple measures that can be undertaken to help secure its future. This has been a gradual process of building trust that will provide a strong foundation for future action, including support for the protected area, and on-the-ground action such as predator control and habitat restoration on private properties. A number of landowners are already actively collaborating with the team.
About two years ago, Ambiente Sur and Aves Argentinas developed and presented a proposal to the Argentinean Government’s National Parks Authority, for the creation of a protected area within the Buenos Aires Plateau. Several colonies of Hooded Grebes breed inside the boundaries of the proposed protected area.  Since then, both organisations have been providing additional technical information and lobbying for the creation of a new national park. Recent feedback from the National Parks Authority suggests that approval of a law creating a protected area for the species may now only be a few months away. If successful, the creation of a new national park will afford Hooded Grebe the highest level of legal protection available for its habitat.
A dead Rainbow Trout – the main threat to Hooded Grebe on the Strobel Plateau.

The main area where introduced Rainbow Trout are a problem is south of the Buenos Aires Plateau in the Strobel Plateau.  The effect of the introduced trout there has been so great it has reduced Hooded Grebe breeding by more than 98% in the last 25 years.  In addition to reducing food sources, the presence of trout leads to a change in the turbidity of the water, which prevents the growth of “vinagrilla”, the filamentous plant that provides indispensable nesting material for all the water birds that breed in the lagoons. During the summer, substantial information was gathered by the Hooded Grebe Conservation Team about the impact of introduced trout in the lagoons there, which will be published shortly. This information will be used to inform provincial technicians and officials about the need to legislate appropriately to restrict further introductions.
As part of their outreach work in the area this year, the Hooded Grebe conservation team has also been holding meetings with local authorities (mayors, and other local government representatives) to explain about the threat that the introduced trout pose to the Hooded Grebe. These meetings have received a good reaction with offers of future support made by several stakeholders.
With support from the National Secretariat of Tourism, the Hooded Grebe conservation team has also begun the development of a bilingual video on the species, to promote its conservation at a national and international level. The video will be available in July 2012.
Filming Hooded Grebe conservation for the new documentary - © Pablo Hernandez

Next actions planned for the project are to repeat the work conducted this year but focus on some specific additional activities. Firstly the conservation team would like to increase the numbers of breeding sites at which Colony Guardians operate. If funding were secured, the plan would be to repeat the successful pilot at El Cervecero Lagoon at three additional colonies in 2013.
Restoration of the lakes in the Strobel Plateau is also a priority. Several measures to reduce numbers of introduced Rainbow Trout and combat land erosion (which leads to silting) at various private lakes there will be attempted.
A third measure that builds on the initial wing-tagging exercise is to establish a satellite-tracking scheme. In this way it is hoped birds tagged with transmitters can be constantly monitored by conservationists throughout their migration, providing important information about the routes they take, clarifying the risks they encounter and establishing where they spend the winter.
The cost of this urgently required action will be a minimum of $20,000 for the tagging alone, so unless more funding can be secured, very few of the planned measures will be possible in future years.
There is clearly much to be done if the fortunes of the remarkable Hooded Grebe are to be turned around. A robust plan is in place and work has already begun thanks to support from the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation and funds raised locally and through the international appeal. However, significant new funding is now urgently required to deliver this ambitious project and achieve long-term success.
Every little helps and every one can join in. If you would like to help save the magnificent Hooded Grebe from slipping away, within just four decades of its original discovery, please click here to make a donation online today.
If you or your company would like to become a BirdLife Species Champion for Hooded Grebe, please contact species.champions@birdlife.org
Facebook friends can follow the latest news on the Aves Argentinas and Ambiente Sur team’s work (in Spanish) by visiting their Facebook pages here.
On behalf of all the conservationists, scientists and volunteers working tirelessly on this project we would like to thank all those donors and new Species Champions who have responded so generously so far.
This appeal news is brought to you by The BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.


Markel Olano: «Si las mancomunidades paran la incineradora, lo aceptaremos»

Iturria: Diario Vasco

«Si las mancomunidades paran la incineradora, lo aceptaremos»
El máximo dirigente de la Diputación de Gipuzkoa afirma que sus prioridades son potenciar la innovación y un reparto equitativo de la riqueza
«Si las mancomunidades paran la incineradora, lo aceptaremos»
El nuevo diputado general, en un parque de San Sebastián. [JOSÉ MARI LÓPEZ]

Markel Olano (PNV) anunció en el pleno de investidura como diputado general una decisión que va a reabrir el polémico debate sobre la incineradora. El PNV se comprometió con EB-Aralar a dejar en manos de las mancomunidades la definición de cómo se debe resolver el problema de los residuos que se generan en Gipuzkoa. A cambio, la coalición votó en blanco en el pleno, propiciando el nombramiento de Olano. Tras las últimas elecciones, es casi seguro que varias de estas instituciones comarcales tengan nuevas mayorías políticas en contra de la incineración. En esta primera entrevista como diputado general, Olano realiza un repaso a los principales retos de la legislatura, entre las que destaca colocar a Gipuzkoa como territorio puntero en innovación.

-¿La solución al problema de los residuos pasa por la puesta en marcha de una incineradora?

-Apoyamos el Plan de Residuos, que contempla la incineración como el cierre de un proceso que se inicia en la prevención y continúa con el reciclado y el compostaje. La Diputación debe dar cobertura a las instituciones responsables en la materia, es decir, a las mancomunidades, donde los ayuntamientos han delegado sus competencias. En el pleno indiqué que respetaremos las decisiones que se adopten en estas instituciones, sean las que sean. Apoyaremos la fórmula que elijan.


Unac: Los cazadores quieren una PAC más respetuosa con el medio ambiente

Unac: Los cazadores quieren una PAC más respetuosa con el medio ambiente

Iturria: CCBP


La Unión Nacional de Asociaciones de Caza (UNAC) participó el pasado 28 de mayo en la jornada organizada por Amigos de la Tierra, Ecologistas en Acción, Greenpeace, SEO/BirdLife y WWF España en la Sede de la Oficina del Parlamento Europeo en Madrid con el título “La PAC a examen. ¿Más verde, más justa?”.

El objetivo de la jornada era debatir sobre el futuro de la Política Agraria Común (PAC) más allá de 2013, con los principales actores implicados; para posteriormente elaborar y difundir un documento de conclusiones para una PAC inteligente, integradora y sostenible, enfocado desde la realidad española.

Los cazadores de la UNAC comparten, en este caso concreto, la preocupación de los grupos ecologistas que han denunciado recientemente que España pertenece al grupo de países que están poniendo en riesgo las metas ambientales de la futura Política Agraria Común (PAC), buscando alternativas menos ambiciosas y eliminando el "greening" de la futura PAC.

Entre otras cuestiones, los cazadores, consideran necesario corregir cuestiones tan delicadas como la cosecha nocturna de siembras, la conservación de linderos, el uso de fitosanitarios, las semillas tratadas o los monocultivos intensivos o bajo plástico.

Además es necesario adecuar los ciclos vitales de laboreo y pastoreo de tierras a los de las especies de aves y algunos mamíferos, sobre todo en las zonas más áridas de la península vinculándolos a dichos ciclos vitales. Dichos “greening” deben poner en marcha su sincronización con las diferentes figuras medioambientales que existen en España de manera que se lleve a cabo una verdadera política de futuro.

Por Miguel Minondo


Un gran paso adelante... que viene muy mal dar ahora

Iturria: Diario Vasco


Los 27 logran un pacto sobre la reforma pesquera

Acuerdan apoyar medidas contra la sobrepesca como la gestión de los recursos en base a su rendimiento máximo sostenible y el fin de los descartes

13.06.12 - 12:41 -

Los ministros de Pesca de la Unión Europea han logrado esta madrugada un acuerdo político que afirma su apoyo a medidas contra la sobrepesca como la gestión de los recursos en base a su rendimiento máximo sostenible (RMS) y el fin de los descartes, pero diluyen su impacto al rechazar su puesta en marcha inmediata, tal y como reclamaba Bruselas.

Tras más de 20 horas de reunión y contactos bilaterales en Luxemburgo, los Estados miembros han cerrado la que será su posición sobre la reforma de la política pesquera común (PPC) que debería entrar en vigor el próximo año, pero que está aún pendiente de negociación con el Parlamento Europeo.

El calendario propuesto por la comisaria de Pesca, Maria Damanaki, para lograr en 2015 el objetivo del RMS y para prohibir los descartes desde 2016 --y obligar a los pescadores a descargar en puerto todo lo pescado-- encontró las mayores resistencias en España y Francia, países con las mayores flotas de la UE.
La supresión de los descartes --pesca accesoria que por su escaso valor comercial es devuelta al mar-- se producirá de manera "progresiva, realista y pragmática", esto es, se aplazará hasta "al menos 2018 ó 2019", según ha indicado el ministro del ramo francés, Frédéric Cuvillier, en un comunicado difundido al término de las negociaciones.

Sin embargo, la ministra danesa y presidenta de turno del Consejo, Mette Gjerskov, encargada de dirigir las negociaciones, ha celebrado en rueda de prensa que exista un consenso mayoritario para una reforma "radical" en la que "la prohibición de descartes será una realidad". "No discutiremos más si la pesca debe ser sostenible, sino cuándo y cómo", ha justificado la danesa esta madrugada, para después subrayar que los países apoyan el fin de esta práctica con un calendario "claro" que se fijará "pesquería por pesquería".

Un gran paso hacia adelante

Pese a la resistencia de Francia, España y otros países de aceptar el veto inmediato de los descartes, la comisaria ha contado con otros valedores como Reino Unido y Alemania, más partidarios de una reforma drástica para reducir la sobrepesca, según han explicado fuentes europeas. Las mismas apuntan los esfuerzos de la presidencia danesa por tratar de incluir a España y Francia en el documento final que, sin el apoyo de las principales fuerzas pesqueras, perdería fuerza en los contactos con el Parlamento Europeo.
Damanaki ha asegurado que el acuerdo político logrado es "un gran paso hacia adelante en la buena dirección", aunque ha lamentado que no fuera tan "ambicioso" como su propuesta inicial, al tiempo que se ha comprometido a tratar de recuperar algunas de sus exigencias en las conversaciones con los eurodiputados.

El enfoque pactado por los Veintisiete también deja como medida de carácter voluntario el sistema de derechos transferibles, una medida que Bruselas prefiere obligatoria y que España ve con buenos ojos. Las discusiones sobre el nuevo Fondo de pesca que el Ejecutivo comunitario propone dotar con 6.500 millones de euros se producirán durante el próximo otoño, con países como España y Francia en contra de la idea de Damanaki de eliminar las ayudas al desguace y reestructuración de la flota.


Iritako hezegunea berreskuratzeko eskatu dio Arkamurka taldeak udalari

Iritako hezegunea berreskuratzeko eskatu dio Arkamurka taldeak udalari

Iturria: Urola-Kostako Hitza


Industria Errotaberrira eraman eta hezegunea babesteko eskatuz pankarta jarri dute parkearen atarian (Argazkia: Arkamurka)

Arkamurkakoen arabera, Iritako parkea «oso garrantzitsua» da natur ikuspegitik. Eremua, ordea, arriskuan dagoela ohartarazi dute. Hori dela eta, hezegunearen atarian pankarta bat zintzilikatu zuten pasa den astean, hezegunea aztertzeko helburuarekin egindako irteera aprobetxatuz. Horren bitartez, Iñurritza, Irita eta Asti parke bihurtzea aldarrikatu dute natur taldekoek, eta industria oro Errotaberrira eramateko eskatu. Horrez gain, Zarauzko Udalari eskaera zuzena egin diote: Iritako hezegunea berreskuratu eta natur parke bihurtzeko bitartekoak jartzeko.
Askotariko interesak
Arkamurkakoen arabera, eremu horrekiko askotariko interesak daude: «Agintean egon diren politikarien eskutik, Iritan industriagunea egokitzeko asmoaren berri izan dugu behin eta berriz. Batez ere, Imanol Lasaren ahotik». Zarautzen «hobetu eta sustatu» beharreko industriagunea, ordea, Abendañon dagoela nabarmendu dute natur taldeko kideek. «Han behar du industriaguneak Zarautzen, behar bezala ekipatuta eta antolatuta».
Natur baliabideak babestu behar direla gaineratu dute. «Irita eta Asti herri honek dituen ekialdeko birikak dira, eta Iñurritzako biotopoarekin erriberetako parkea izan daitekeen eremua bihurtzeko bokazioa dute. Ez dezagun luzorua gehiago xahutu». Ildo horretatik, «natur balio handiko» eremu hori berreskuratzeko eskatu dute. «Euskal Herrian hain urrituta eta desagertarazita dauden hezeguneen ordezkari bikainak dira Irita zein Asti», adierazi dute.

Iturria: Diario Vasco


Ihidietako parkea babesteko eskaera zuzena Udalari

Hezegunea berreskuratzea eta natur parkea bihurtzeko eskaera egin dio Arkamurkak Udalari

08.06.12 - 02:04 -
Arkamurka natur elkartekoak natur ikuspegitik hain garrantzitsua den Ihidieta eremua arriskuan ikusten dutelako, duela aste pasa bertara irteera bat antolatu zuten. Eremu honek duen potentzialtasuna eta bertan egun aurki ditzakegun balioak aztertzeaz gain pankarta bat ere jartzeko aprobetxatuzuten.
Pankartan jartzen duen bezala, eskaera zuzena egin diote Udalari: Ihidietako hezegunea berreskuratzea eta natur parkea bihurtzea. «Eremu horrekiko interesak ezberdinak dira, eta bertan industria-gunea egiteko ekimenaren berri behin eta berriz jakin dugu Udalean agintean egon diren politikariengandik, bereziki Imanol Lasarengandik. Zarautzen, ordea, hobetu eta sustatu behar den industria gunea Abendañon dago, eta aurreko legealdian Errota Berrira handitzeko plana onartu zen. Han behar du industria guneak Zarautzen, behar bezala ekipatu eta antolatuta», diote Arkamurkakoek.
Natur Elkartearen esanetan, Ihidieta eta Asti eremuak herri honek dituen ekialdeko birikak dira, eta Iñurritzako Biotopoarekin Erriberetako Parkea izan daitekeen eremuan bihurtzeko bokazioa dute. «Ez dezagun lurzoru gehiago xahutu, eta berreskuratu dezagun natur balio handiko eremu hau, Euskal Herrian hain urritu eta desagertarazita dauden hezeguneen ordezkari bikainak baitira Ihidieta zein Asti. Beraz, Ihidieta parke bihurtu, industria gunea Errotaberrira».

Ihidietako parkea babesteko eskaera zuzena Udalari
Pankarta hau ikusi daiteke Ihidieta eremuan (Irita), Itxasmendi auzoaren aurrekaldean, Arkamurka Natur Elkarteak jarrita.


GEO 5 txostena: Perspectivas del medio ambiente mundial

El Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) ha publicado recientemente el informe GEO 5 - Perspectivas del medio ambiente mundial.

Un resumen del mismo, destinado a los polñiticos, está disponible en este enlace:


La ONU alerta de cambios “sin precedentes” en la Tierra

Iturria: EL PAÍS

La ONU alerta de cambios “sin precedentes” en la Tierra

Un informe previo a la cumbre de Río avisa del retroceso ambiental

El planeta se calienta y pierde biodiversidad y bosques a un ritmo desconocido

Dos décadas de buenas palabras y de discursos a favor del medio ambiente no han evitado que los principales parámetros para medir la sostenibilidad de la actividad humana hayan empeorado. El objetivo de contener el calentamiento en dos grados para final de siglo se aleja; los océanos son cada vez más ácidos; la biodiversidad desaparece a un ritmo desconocido desde la extinción de los dinosaurios y la deforestación está alcanzando tales cotas que supondrá un coste para la economía mundial superior a las pérdidas derivadas de la crisis financiera de 2008. Así lo constata el informe GEO-5, elaborado por elPrograma de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (Pnuma) como previa a la cumbre de Río+20 que se celebrará en Brasil dos décadas después de la primera cumbre de la Tierra. De 90 objetivos solo hay avances significativos en cuatro. La ONU recomienda a los Gobiernos que, entre otras cosas, acaben con las subvenciones a los combustibles fósiles.
“Los cambios que actualmente se observan en el sistema Tierra no tienen precedentes en la historia de la Humanidad”, arranca el documento, en el que han colaborado unos 600 expertos: “Los esfuerzos por reducir su velocidad o su magnitud han dado resultados moderados pero no han conseguido revertir los cambios ambientales adversos”.
El informe —que alerta de que esas alteraciones de los ecosistemas no son lineales y que llegados a un punto pueden ser abruptos e irreversibles— puede agitar algo la cumbre de Río, que se presenta con un perfil bajo, menor que la de Johanesburgo en 2002 o la primera, en Río en 1992.
  • Atmósfera. El Pnuma señala que el Protocolo de Montreal ha logrado reducir la emisión de sustancias que dañaban la capa de ozono. Suscrito en la ciudad canadiense en 1997, es el ejemplo de cooperación internacional para superar un problema ambiental global. Tanto, que desde “1994 han mejorado en un 31% los indicadores relativos a las sustancias que agotan el ozono en latitudes medias y previsiblemente se han evitado unos 22 millones de casos de cataratas en personas nacidas entre 1985 y 2100 en Estados Unidos, sin contar otros países”.  Sin embargo, las conversaciones dentro de la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas para el Cambio Climático siguen estancadas o, en el mejor de los casos, avanzan a un ritmo lentísimo. Así, el objetivo de limitar el calentamiento a dos grados centígrados (pactado en la cumbre de Copenhague en 2009) se aleja. Debido a la quema de combustibles fósiles iniciada con la revolución industrial, la concentración de CO2 en la atmósfera es la mayor en 850.000 años (ya roza las 400 partes por millón). Ese CO2 retiene parte del calor que emite la Tierra y calienta el planeta. El IPCC considera que para eso habría que limitar la concentración en 450 partes por millón. El Pnuma cree preciso eliminar subsidios perversos o perjudiciales para el medio ambiente, especialmente a los combustibles fósiles; impuestos a las emisiones de carbono; incentivos forestales para la captura de carbono. Según la Agencia Internacional de la Energía, la subvención a energía fósil en el mundo es cinco veces mayor que la de renovables.
El 80% de la población vive en zonas donde el suministro de agua está amenazado
  • Uso del suelo y deforestación. El informe señala que “el ritmo al que se pierden los bosques, especialmente en los trópicos, sigue siendo alarmantemente elevado” y lo atribuye a que “el crecimiento económico ha tenido lugar a expensas de los recursos naturales y los ecosistemas; debido a los incentivos perjudiciales, es probable que solo la deforestación y la degradación de los bosques supongan un costo para la economía mundial, incluso, superior a las pérdidas derivadas de la crisis financiera de 2008”.
  • Agua dulce. El acceso al agua potable es una de las pocas buenas noticias. En 1990, la ONU fijó el reto de reducir a la mitad antes de 2015 el número de personas sin acceso al agua potable. El objetivo está a punto de ser conseguido (si no lo ha sido ya), pero el Pnuma señala que no se alcanza el del saneamiento, ya que aún hay 2.600 millones de personas sin acceso a la depuración de aguas. El 80% de la población vive en zonas amenazadas por la seguridad de suministro de agua.
  • Océanos. Las señales de degradación del mar no cesan. “El número de zonas costeras eutróficas (con proliferación de microorganismos por la contaminación) ha aumentado considerablemente desde 1990: al menos 415 zonas costeras han dado signos de una eutrofización grave y, de ellas, solo 13 se están recuperando”. Además de la contaminación, “la absorción excesiva de CO2 de la atmósfera está provocando la acidificación de los océanos, que se cierne como una gran amenaza para las comunidades de arrecifes de coral y los mariscos”.
  • Biodiversidad. El mundo vive la llamada “sexta extinción” de las especies, ya que la biodiversidad desaparece a un ritmo desconocido desde la desaparición de los dinosaurios. El Pnuma alerta de que “hasta dos tercios de las especies en algunos taxones están amenazadas de extinción; las poblaciones de especies están en declive, desde 1970, las poblaciones de vertebrados han disminuido en un 30%; y desde 1970 la conversión y la degradación han provocado una reducción del 20% en algunos de los hábitats naturales”. “El cambio climático”, añade, “tendrá repercusiones profundas en la biodiversidad”. El Pnuma cita un índice creado por WWF, el del Planeta Vivo, que analiza los cambios en el tamaño de 7.953 poblaciones de 2.544 especies de pájaros, mamíferos, anfibios, reptiles y peces de todo el planeta, que bajó un 20% entre 1970 y 2007 y recomienda aplicar “instrumentos de mercado para los servicios de los ecosistemas, incluidos pagos por servicios ecosistémicos”.


Reign of the giant insects ended with the evolution of birds

Reign of the giant insects ended with the evolution of birds

ScienceDaily (June 4, 2012)Giant insects ruled the prehistoric skies during periods when Earth's atmosphere was rich in oxygen. Then came the birds. After the evolution of birds about 150 million years ago, insects got smaller despite rising oxygen levels, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Insects reached their biggest sizes about 300 million years ago during the late Carboniferous and early Permian periods. This was the reign of the predatory griffinflies, giant dragonfly-like insects with wingspans of up to 28 inches (70 centimeters). The leading theory attributes their large size to high oxygen concentrations in the atmosphere (over 30 percent, compared to 21 percent today), which allowed giant insects to get enough oxygen through the tiny breathing tubes that insects use instead of lungs.
The new study takes a close look at the relationship between insect size and prehistoric oxygen levels. Matthew Clapham, an assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, and Jered Karr, a UCSC graduate student who began working on the project as an undergraduate, compiled a huge dataset of wing lengths from published records of fossil insects, then analyzed insect size in relation to oxygen levels over hundreds of millions of years of insect evolution. Their findings are published in the June 4 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
"Maximum insect size does track oxygen surprisingly well as it goes up and down for about 200 million years," Clapham said. "Then right around the end of the Jurassic and beginning of the Cretaceous period, about 150 million years ago, all of a sudden oxygen goes up but insect size goes down. And this coincides really strikingly with the evolution of birds."
With predatory birds on the wing, the need for maneuverability became a driving force in the evolution of flying insects, favoring smaller body size.
The findings are based on a fairly straightforward analysis, Clapham said, but getting the data was a laborious task. Karr compiled the dataset of more than 10,500 fossil insect wing lengths from an extensive review of publications on fossil insects. For atmospheric oxygen concentrations over time, the researchers relied on the widely used "Geocarbsulf" model developed by Yale geologist Robert Berner. They also repeated the analysis using a different model and got similar results.
The study provided weak support for an effect on insect size from pterosaurs, the flying reptiles that evolved in the late Triassic about 230 million years ago. There were larger insects in the Triassic than in the Jurassic, after pterosaurs appeared. But a 20-million-year gap in the insect fossil record makes it hard to tell when insect size changed, and a drop in oxygen levels around the same time further complicates the analysis.
Another transition in insect size occurred more recently at the end of the Cretaceous period, between 90 and 65 million years ago. Again, a shortage of fossils makes it hard to track the decrease in insect sizes during this period, and several factors could be responsible. These include the continued specialization of birds, the evolution of bats, and a mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous.
"I suspect it's from the continuing specialization of birds," Clapham said. "The early birds were not very good at flying. But by the end of the Cretaceous, birds did look quite a lot like modern birds."
Clapham emphasized that the study focused on changes in the maximum size of insects over time. Average insect size would be much more difficult to determine due to biases in the fossil record, since larger insects are more likely to be preserved and discovered.
"There have always been small insects," he said. "Even in the Permian when you had these giant insects, there were lots with wings a couple of millimeters long. It's always a combination of ecological and environmental factors that determines body size, and there are plenty of ecological reasons why insects are small."