Category Archives: Ecosystem Destruction

Réunion Island Revokes Order to Hunt Sharks, Yet Controversy Arises

La Réunion Island, Indian Ocean. La Réunion (previously Île Bourbon) is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south west of Mauritius, the nearest island. Photo courtesy: © Isabelle Duflo


The mayor of a town on Réunion Island has been forced to withdraw decision to pay fishermen to hunt and kill sharks because it contravenes French conservation law.

Conservationists estimate that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year. An Australian study from 2011 which found that the increase in shark attacks were related to an increase in human population: more people going to beaches, an increase in water-based sports, or visiting areas that were previously isolated. “When it comes to shark attacks, surfers and swimmers tend to be more at risk but it’s important to remember that these people are entering the habitat of a wild animal…”

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Réserve Naturelle Marine St Leu, Ile de La Réunion

La Réserve marine de la Réunion se défend d’être le garde-manger des requins, France 24

France to hunt sharks after Reunion island attacks, Reuters
Aug. 6th- France will hire professional fishermen to kill some 20 sharks off the Indian Ocean island of Reunion this week in an effort to understand the reasons for a series of attacks in the surfing hotspot.

Réunion Shark Controversy, Surfer Magazine
Over the course of the past 13 months, three surfers have been killed by sharks on the island. The news of the latest attack has reignited a debate on the island surrounding a proposal to pay local fisherman to kill sharks in the marine reserve.The marine reserve on the island was put in place five years ago to protect the coral reefs that surround the popular tourist destination…

Emerging Trends in Land-Use conflicts in Cameroon

Cameroon. Photo source: ©© zzilch
Located in the southwestern corner of Cameroon, bordering on Equatorial Guinea to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Campo-Ma’an National Park and its buffer zone cover an area of approximately 700,000ha. Here, one finds 80 species of mammals, such forest elephants, leopards and gorillas, as well as 302 bird species, 122 reptile species and 250 fish species. Threats to this rich biodiversity include coastal development, unsustainable and illegal logging, and poaching. Captions: © WWF


In 2011, WWF produced a map of the protected areas of Cameroon at the request of the government. Simultaneously, observations had been made by conservation groups that mining permits were being granted inside of Cameroon’s protected areas, though the origin and credibility of the data was unclear.

Also in 2011, several mining companies presented their credentials to the conservators of the Campo Ma’an and Nki National Parks to inform them that they would begin mining exploration activities inside these protected areas. This propelled WWF, CED, and RELUFA to make an official request to the Ministry of Mines in Cameroon for all valid mining permits.

Using official data only on mining permits granted or renewed during the period spanning 2009-2011, the authors and GIS experts produced a mining map of Cameroon which is the basis of this paper. A limited number of oil permits were also made available to the researchers. The authors are aware of the existence of further mining and oil permits that do not appear on the map as the official data has not been made available.

The report reveals that there currently exists 30 mining exploration permits overlapping 12 protected areas, and dozens more are in the immediate vicinity of protected areas, with a high potential for conflicting with the government’s conservation objectives. In addition, petroleum permits have been granted in an additional four protected areas. Under Cameroon law these overlaps are illegal.

Some of Cameroon’s most important protected areas, including Korup National Park, Dja World Heritage Site, Nki National Park and Bouba N’Djijda National Park, which harbor much of Cameroon’s natural heritage, are threatened by these permits. The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, mandated to manage these areas, did not give permission for these permits, as required by Cameroon’s mining laws.
Whilst it is clear that Cameroon and indeed the Congo Basin is rich in minerals, and these minerals need to be extracted in order to deliver economic growth, such overlapping conflicts do not project a smooth path towards economic development.

The report proposes that, worse than this, such land-use conflicts could lead to large compensation payouts, potentially tarnish the reputation of Cameroon in terms of conservation leadership in the Congo basin and damage the country’s Doing Business ranking.

The report recommends that granting of future permits be suspended until a clear process is implemented to avoid future land-use conflicts. Finally, the report proposes that portions of mining permits overlapping already existing land rights be “cut” (re-delineated)…

Korup National Park is in the Southwest Province of Cameroon and extends over 1,260 km2 of mostly undisturbed primary forest. It is reputedly one of Africa’s oldest and richest rainforests in terms of floral and faunal diversity. It is 50 km inland from the Bight of Biafra, 20 km from the edge of the mangrove swamps of the Rio Del Rey estuary and partially borders Nigeria. Captions and Photo source: Wikimedia

Read Original Article, WWF

Liberia’s Hasty Forest Sell-Off Risks More Conflict, Guardian UK
More than half of Liberia’s forests — dense and packed with rare and endangered species, sprawling for hundreds of miles over the small coastal country — have been granted to logging firms, bypassing environmental laws and with few benefits to the people.

UN Adopts Historic Land Grab Guidelines, BBC News
Over the past few years, companies and foreign governments have been leasing large areas of land for farming and exploitation, in some of Africa’s poorest countries. All evidence points to a phenomenon of unprecedented scale, raising serious questions about the terms of the contracts that governments are signing up to..

Rock Drilling ‘Threatens’ Scotland’s Geology

Stone dragon sculpture, sits above the sand dunes, overlooking Irvine Beach, Ayrshire coast, Scotland. Photo source: ©© Mike 138


Irresponsible drilling of holes into rocks to extract samples threaten to “annihilate” geological features in Scotland, with the general public experiencing defaced outcrop in every setting imaginable – remote beaches and islands, mountain tops, and, lamentably, classic geological sections within statutory protected areas…

Read Full Article, BBC

Climate Change and Deforestation: Pre-Human Effect On Biodiversity in Northern Madagascar

Madagascar, Northern coast. Photo source: ©© belgianchocolate


A recent study, by an international research group led by Lounès Chickhi, group leader at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (Portugal) and CNRS researcher (in Toulouse, France), questions the prevailing account that degradation of tropical ecosystems is essentially a product of human activity.

Their findings call for reassessment of the impact of local communities on their environment…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Original Study, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The impact of climate change and anthropogenic deforestation on biodiversity is of growing concern worldwide. Disentangling how past anthropogenic and natural factors contributed to current biome distribution is thus a crucial issue to understand their complex interactions on wider time scales and to improve predictions and conservation strategies. This is particularly important in biodiversity hotspots, such as Madagascar, dominated by large open habitats whose origins are increasingly debated…

Why the 2012 Sumatra Earthquake Was a Weird One

Mangroves. Large acres of Mangroves, which plays vital role in eco-system have recently been destroyed, just to build flats. Captions and Photo source: ©© Baban Shyam


Already a curiosity for its sheer size, the 8.6-magnitude earthquake that shook the seafloor west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on April 11 appears to have been even weirder than scientists thought…

Read Full Article, Our Amazing Planet

Mangrove: The Root Of The Matter
Countless people clung to life in the branches of trees hemming the shorelines during the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in Indonesia, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka. In the aftermath of the disaster, land change scientist Chandra Giri from the U.S. Geological Survey decided to explore how these unique trees, which make up valuable forest ecosystems called mangroves, help safeguard lives, property and beaches during hurricanes, tsunamis and floods.

Liberia’s Hasty Forest Sell-Off Risks More Conflict

Photo source: ©© Naguilum


More than half of Liberia’s forests have been granted to logging firms, bypassing environmental laws and with few benefits to the people.

More than 40% of the Upper Guinea rainforest is in Liberia. Rich, dense forest packed with rare and endangered species sprawls for hundreds of miles over the small coastal country. Sapo National Park, one of three protected areas in Liberia, contains more than 40 endangered species including the pygmy hippo, forest elephant, golden cat and western chimpanzee.

After 14 years of civil war, during which the country was stripped of roads, electricity, hospitals and schools, the revenue from logging concessions is crucial for rebuilding the country…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Haiti’s Unnatural Floods

A Giant Brought To Its Knees

Papua New Guinea’s Deforestation

Land Grabs
Over the past few years, companies and foreign governments have been leasing large areas of land for farming and exploitation, in some of Africa’s poorest countries, such as Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Mozambique, Ghana, Tanzania, Liberia have all signed major land deals with foreign investors.“Land grabs” are now one of the biggest issues in Africa and all evidence points to a phenomenon of unprecedented scale.