Category Archives: Ecosystem Destruction

Fire destroys 1,500 hectares of Patagonia forest

Torres del Paine from Lake Pehoé, Torres del Paine National Park, Southern Chile. Caption and Photo source: ©© Miguel V.


A fire has destroyed or seriously damaged 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of vegetation in a Patagonia nature preserve in southern Chile.

The fire at Torres del Paine National Park that began on Tuesday near a trail “was very likely caused by human negligence.”

Glaciers and Andean lakes lie alongside natural forests and the Patagonian steppe at the semi-desert nature preserve visited by several thousand tourists each year…

“Canvas,” Lake Pehoé, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile. Photograph courtesy of: © Makoto Yamashita

Read Full Article, AFP

Rapid Retreat Of Chile Glaciers, Images

HidroAysen’s Dam Approval Take Chile In The Wrong Direction
May 9th, 2011, Chile’s environmental authorities approved HidroAysén’s proposal to build five dams on two of Patagonia’s wildest rivers, the Baker and the Pascua.

Oily: How A San Francisco Oil Spill Took Its Toll On Fish

Many San Francisco Bay Area beaches and recreation areas were closed during the Cosco Busan oil spill in 2007. Photo source: CA Fish & Games / S. Hampton


How quickly have Americans forgotten about the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Fast enough that that last week BP launched an advertising blitz aimed at giving a “progress report” on the company’s cleanup efforts.

But that doesn’t mean the impacts of an oil spill end when Anderson Cooper goes home. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looks at the aftermath of a 2007 oil spill in San Francisco Bay, and finds the accidents has had lingering effects on local fish—effects that continued well after the spill was cleaned up…

Read Full Article, Time Magazine

Read Original Study: “Sunlight and Bunker Oil Fatal To Fish Species,” UC Davis
The 2007 Cosco Busan disaster, which spilled 54,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay, had an unexpectedly lethal impact on embryonic fish, devastating a commercially and ecologically important species for nearly two years, reports a new study by the University of California, Davis, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Cosco Busan Oil Spill, California

How tourism is taking the turtles from Kenya’s blue waters

Photograph: © SAF


Tourism has boomed along Kenya’s 500km coastline in the past 30 years. Much of the Kenyan coast has been developed, with beaches around Mombasa among the most heavily built-up coastal areas north of South Africa.

But now a global hotspot for turtle-spotting, Kenya is facing a problem: the tourists are destroying what they come for…

Watamu beach, Kenya. Photo source: ©© Ludovico Caldara

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Prime Indonesian Jungle To Be Cleared For Palm Oil

deforestation sumatra
Aceh, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Aceh was the closest point of land to the epicenter of the massive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which triggered a tsunami that devastated much of the western coast of the region. Wikipedia. Photo source: ©© Marc-André Jung


The man known as Indonesia’s “green governor” chases the roar of illegal chainsaws through plush jungles in his own Jeep. He goes door-to-door to tell families it’s in their interest to keep trees standing.

That’s why 5,000 villagers living the edge of a rich, biodiverse peat swamp in his tsunami-ravaged Aceh province feel so betrayed…

Read Full Article, AP

Wetlands focus on climate talks sideline

Greater St Lucia Wetlands, South Africa. iSimangaliso Wetland Park is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa about 275 kilometres north of Durban. It is South Africa’s third-largest protected area, spanning 280 km of coastline, from the Mozambican border in the north to Mapelane south of the St Lucia estuary, and made up of around 3,280 km² of pristine natural ecosystems, managed by iSimangaliso Authority. Caption Wikipedia. Photo source: ©© inkie1010


Wetlands, critical for the health of South Africa’s coasts and river systems, already have been degraded or seriously altered by human activity, and experts fear global warming threatens them further.

As talks to shore up the international response to global warming entered their second and crucial week in the South African coastal city of Durban, environmentalists led a tour of a wetlands area nearby…

Read Full Article, AP

Stressors To Florida Keys Marine Ecosystem, A Study

Mangrove trees, on Short Key, near Key Largo, Florida Keys. Photo source: ©© Monica R.


NOAA scientists have found that pressure from increasing coastal populations, ship and boat groundings, marine debris, poaching, and climate change are critically threatening the health of the Florida Keys ecosystem. Many historically abundant marine resources such as green sea turtles and coral habitat continue to be at risk with low rates of recovery.

The findings were released today in the Condition Report 2011 for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, describing the status and trends of the sanctuary’s water quality, habitats, and marine and cultural resources, and the human activities that affect them. This report is one of an ongoing series of condition reports for NOAA’s 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It will guide a comprehensive review of sanctuary regulations and management plan beginning in 2012 and provide an important baseline on the status of sanctuary marine resources.

The report documents improvements in local water quality and an increase in the size and abundance of some fish species and spiny lobster in large reserves within the sanctuary, but also notes that challenges remain such as, addressing regional influences to water quality, human impacts on marine resources, and the effects of climate change. It further suggests additional efforts are necessary to support sustained management efforts, and increase regulatory compliance and community engagement to address those challenges.

“This report provides us with a great benchmark that can be used to protect our sanctuary’s valuable and productive marine ecosystem,” said Sean Morton, superintendent, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. “The report also helps identify gaps in current monitoring efforts and highlights areas where we need additional information. Our long-term monitoring shows management actions are contributing to some positive results, however recovery of ecosystem health takes time.””

Since its designation in 1990, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has worked with a wide array of local, state, and federal partners to promote conservation and sustainable use of the Keys ecosystem for future generations. These objectives are addressed through public education and research programs, the implementation of regulations including the prohibition of pollution discharge in sanctuary waters, and the designation of highly protected no-take marine zones to protect 6,000 species of marine life and reduce user conflicts. These efforts have been critical tools for natural resource management in the Florida Keys where ocean recreation and tourism supports more than 33,000 jobs, and accounts for 58 percent of the local economy and $2.3 billion in annual sales.

NOAA prepared the condition report in consultation with outside experts from the scientific community. The full report is available online at

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hard bottom, sea grass meadow, mangrove communities and sand flats.

Original Article

Threats to Mangrove, Florida Keys, NOAA
Human activities such as dredging and careless boating are threatening South Florida’s mangroves and seagrass

Loving the Chambered Nautilus to Death

Nautilus shell cut in half. The chambers are clearly visible and arranged in a logarithmic spiral. The nautilus shell is composed of 2 layers: a matte white outer layer, and a striking white iridescent inner layer. The innermost portion of the shell is a pearlescent blue-gray. The osmena pearl, contrarily to its name, is not a pearl, but a jewellery product derived from this part of the shell. Caption and Photo source: ©© Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons

Excerpts; The New york Times

It is a living fossil whose ancestors go back a half billion years, to the early days of complex life on the planet, when the land was barren and the seas were warm.

The word “nautilus” comes from the Greek for boat. When the first shells arrived in Renaissance Europe, collectors were stunned: They saw the perfect spirals as reflecting the larger order of the universe.

Nautilus lives on the slopes of deep coral reefs in the warm southwestern Pacific, but scientists say, humans are loving the chambered nautilus to death, throwing its very existence into danger…

Palau nautilus in cage after being captured, from a depth of approximately 30m. Palau, Micronesia. Caption and Photo source: ©© Lee R. Berger / Wikimedia Commons

Read Full Article, The New York Times