CONTENTS VOL. 11
17 SPECIAL REPORTS 6 9 13
Failing to account for the value of biodiversity and ecosystems loss could lead to wrong choices and decisions in addressing sustainable development challenges. The wealth of biodiversity in the ASEAN region and its continuing loss must be valued and appreciated in order to effect appropriate policy changes and solutions. Photo by Angie Metin
Valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services Economic methods for valuing ecosystem services Learning from the UK experience TEEB – The UK National Ecosystem Assessment Ecosystems and biodiversity in the Heart of Borneo: Building blocks for a green economy Valuing ecosystems and biodiversity in the ASEAN: The GIZ Approach Rising to the challenge of making nature’s value visible Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: The ASEAN Experience
SPECIAL SECTION – GIZ 30 Climate change and marine biodiversity Saving our ocean’s web of life under threat
SPECIAL SECTION – ASEAN-WEN 33 Viet nam’s top legislator meets AIPA SG, wildlife advocate 34 Private sector to take active role in saving Indonesia’s natural heritage 36 Asia’s police and customs strengthen cross-border cooperation against wildlife trafficking 37 Exchange meetings connect South and Southeast Asian regional efforts to fight wildlife crime
SPECIAL SECTION – ASEAN CHAMPIONS OF BIODIVERSITY 38 BusinessMirror: Initiating little activities with extraordinary impacts 39 ASAPHIL-UP: Promoting green architecture 41 Chevron Philippines Incorporated: Promoting healthy marine ecosystems JANUARY - APRIL 2012
43 World Wetlands Day, February 2 Save wetlands with sustainable tourism 44 Status of wetlands in the ASEAN region 45 International Women’s Day, March 8 Empower rural women – end hunger and poverty 46 World Water Day, March 22 Water and food security 47 Earth Day, April 22 Mobilize the earth 50 World Malaria Day, April 25 Invest in biodiversity and keep malaria at bay 51 Unraveling the natural wonders: The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition 53 Multi-billion illegal wildlife trade threatens Southeast Asia’s biodiversity
55 Viet Nam Tam Dao National Park 58 Indonesia Savu Marine National Park
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BOOKMARKS 61 ACB announces new Governing Board chair 61 CBD has new executive secretary 61 GBIF has new secretary 61 International organizations renew alliance to conserve SE Asia’s marine biodiversity 62 ACB and Myanmar hold workshop on biodiversity information management 62 Asian countries act to save dying profession of taxonomy 62 ASEAN holds taxonomy workshop in Indonesia 63 ASEAN countries to update biodiversity strategies
72 63 Search for best biodiversity and climate change reporting is on 64 GBIF reports successes in access to biodiversity data 64 Global meeting adopts Manila Declaration for protection of marine environment 65 Green investments in marine sector can bring economic and social benefits 65 International Year of Forests closes with awards ceremony 65 Viet Nam designates fourth Ramsar site 66 World ocean summit set in December 2012 67 BIODIVERSITY NEWS
SOUTHEAST ASIA 74 FOCUS
Publisher Rodrigo U. Fuentes Editor-in-Chief Rolando A. Inciong Managing Editor Leslie Ann Jose-Castillo Head Writer and Researcher Sahlee Bugna-Barrer Designer, Graphic and Layout Artist Nanie S. Gonzales Circulation Assistant Angela Rose Crissie A. Metin Editorial Board Clarissa C. Arida Rodrigo U. Fuentes Rolando A. Inciong Wilfredo J. Obien Monina T. Uriarte Sheila G. Vergara ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Headquarters 3/F ERDB Building, Forestry Campus University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna, Philippines Telephone: +6349.536-3989 Telefax: +6349.536-2865 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.aseanbiodiversity.org ACB Annex Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City 1156 Philippines Disclaimer: Views or opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent any official views of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The authors are responsible for any data or information presented in their articles. Letters, articles, suggestions and photos are welcome and should be addressed to: The Editor-in-Chief ASEAN Biodiversity Magazine ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity College, Laguna E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Contributors Ms. Clarissa Arida is currently Director of Programme Development and Implementation at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). Ms. Arida joined ACB in May 2008 and is responsible for the overall management of programme portfolio of the ACB particularly to assist in fulfilling the commitments of the ASEAN Member States to the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity and related multilateral environmental and ASEAN regional agreements in the areas of policy development, and capacity building on biodiversity. Ms. Arida has substantial experience in policy, programme and project development, management and monitoring on environment and natural resources management. She has a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the Institute for Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering in Delft, The Netherlands and a B.S. degree in Biology (Major in Ecology) at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños. Luke Brander has a background in environmental economics. He obtained his Masters degree in Environmental and Resource Economics at University College London (1997-1998). From April 2000 to September 2010 he worked as a researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University Amsterdam. He obtained his doctoral degree in environmental economics from the VU University Amsterdam in 2011. His main research interests are in the design of economic instruments to control environmental problems and the valuation of natural resources and environmental impacts. He has worked on the valuation of wetlands, forests, grasslands, mangroves and coral reefs through meta-analyses of the ecosystem valuation literature. He is currently working as a freelance environmental economist based in Hong Kong. Lucy Emerton is the Chief Economist of the Environment Management Group, an association of experts providing technical support in environmental sustainability to the corporate sector, governments and international agencies. She was a contributing author to “TEEB Ecological and Economic Foundations” and reviewer for “TEEB for Local and Regional Policy Makers Report” chapters. She currently works as a consultant on Biodiversity and Economy for GIZ. Philipp Gassner is a cross-disciplinary environmental scientist with an international track record in project management, research, consultancy, and science communication. He has a B.Sc. degree in Geoecology and Ecosystem Management, with technical expertise and strong interest in both the science-policy and the development-environment interface. Philipp is an intern at the ACB-GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project and currently working on a variety of projects, including economic valuation of ecosystems, their biodiversity and services. In particular he is supporting an ASEAN-wide TEEB study. Chris Greenwood is the International Communications Manager for the Heart of Borneo Global Initiative. Based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on the island of Borneo, he manages a team of local communications staff and international consultants. A former journalist, Chris has worked in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam with WWF and before that worked with an Australian communications consultancy for 10 years in the agriculture, business and environmental sectors. Anna van Paddenburg is the Sustainable Finance and Policy Strategy Leader for the Heart of Borneo Global Initiative. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, she teams up with WWF Indonesia and WWF Malaysia staff to secure long-term financial resilience to maintain the Heart of Borneo forested landscape. Her work explores a diverse set of sustainable finance sources, mechanisms, policies and incentives to encourage the local and national governments in the three countries and other stakeholders to conserve the HoB forests and watersheds and sustain the area’s ‘Natural Capital’ while continuing a sustainable development pathway. Agnes Pantastico - is the senior advisor for communications for the GIZ supported Biodiversity and Climate Change Project based in Los Banos, Laguna. Development of communication and public relations strategy and writing communication materials are part of her tasks. Prior to this, she worked as technical advisor for communications, public relations and results-based monitoring for GIZ initiatives on conflict transformation and conflict sensitive resource management in Mindanao for five years. She holds a degree in AB Communication Arts from UPLB. John Pearson is Head of the British Government’s network on climate change in Southeast Asia. Based at the British High Commission in Singapore, he has held the position since September 2008. John joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1990. He has held a variety of positions in London, including working in the FCO’s Non-Proliferation Department, United Nations Department and Environment Policy Department. His first posting was to Madrid, from 1992-1994. From 1996-2000, he worked at the British Embassy in Brasilia, where he covered human rights and environmental issues. From 2005-2008 he was Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay. Before arriving in Singapore he worked on climate change issues at the British Embassy in Jakarta. His first degree was a BS in Geography from the University of Nottingham, where he specialized in coastal environments and air pollutants. He also has an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College, London, where he wrote his dissertation on ‘Climate Change and the Implications for International Peace and Security’. Mr. Norman Emmanuel C. Ramirez is a Programme Management Officer at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. He has more than 12 years of progressive experience in the field of training and capacity building, as well as project management. Prior to joining ACB, he worked as Training Specialist from 1999 to 2002 under the Training and Extension Branch of ACB’s predecessor – the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC). He also worked with the Local Government Finance and Development (LOGOFIND). He earned his bachelor’s degree in Forestry at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños and is now completing his Master in Management degree at the same university. Adam Tomasek is WWF’s Leader of the Heart of Borneo Global Initiative. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, he oversees a diverse team working in cooperation with the governments of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as other partners. Adam began working with WWF in 2001 and since has worked on projects in 15 countries across Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Prior to working with WWF, Adam worked in private consulting and with the U.S. Federal Government on environmental programs.
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The ASEAN region’s rich biodiversity provides food for close to 600 million people.
Photo by Mari Rose Lim
Valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services By Rolando A. Inciong* f France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the United States are the world’s economic superpowers, Southeast Asia, known as the ASEAN region, can be considered as the world’s “biodiversity superpower”. The region is home to three of the 17 known mega-diverse countries (Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines). These are countries that have less than 10 percent of the global surface, but supports more than 70 percent of the planet’s biological diversity. It has several biogeographical units: Malesia, Wallacea, Sundaland, Indo-Burma and the Central Indo-Pacific. These are areas supporting natural ecosystems that are still intact. Native species and communities associated with these ecosystems are well represented. They also have high diversity of endemic species. Based on global estimates, the ASEAN region has one-third, or 86,025 square kilometers, of all known coral reef areas in the world. Such natural wealth sustains essential life support systems both for the region and the world, providing the much-needed water, food and energy. The region’s biodiversity and eco-
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system services sustain a wide range of economic activities and livelihoods for over 500 million people and contribute to global environmental sustainability. Biodiversity and ecosystems, what are they? The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biodiversity as the variety of life on Earth. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment defines biodiversity as the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part. Biodiversity includes diversity within species, between species and between ecosystems. An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of plants, animals and all other living organisms, along with their non-living environment, all interacting as a functional unit.There are four types of ecosystem services. First is provisioning, such as food, air and water, including air purification; regulating, such as stabilization of climate, control of diseases, detoxification of wastes, creation of drainage systems;supporting, such as nutrient cycling, crop pollination, soil fertilization, pre-
SPECIAL REPORT vention of soil erosion; and cultural, such as social, spiritual and recreational benefits. Economists have valued such serviceswithin the ASEAN region at over US$2 billion annually. This does not include the value of lost and degraded biodiversity and ecosystems. Managing and investing in natural capital Biodiversity and ecosystem services contribute to a country’s economy. They are called natural capital. Like all other tangible capital, biodiversity and ecosystem services, including their continuing loss, must be valued and appreciated. Like all economic or business capital, biodiversity and ecosystem services must be properly used and sustainably managed. To ensure that our natural capital remains strong, we must invest in them through protection and conservation measures. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Managing and investing in natural capital is the center of a study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). The study aims to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions on conservation and management. TEEB is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with financial support from the European Commission, Germany, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Japan. The initiative began at the meeting of the environment minis-
ters of the G8 countries and the five major newly industrializing countries that took place in Potsdam in March 2007. During the meeting, the German government proposed a study on ‘”The economic significance of the global loss of biological diversity” as part of the “Potsdam Initiative” for biodiversity. The proposal was endorsed by G8+5 leaders at the Heiligendamm Summit on June 6-8, 2007. The study, led by Dr. Pavan Sukhdev, founder-director of the green accounting project Green Indian States Trust (GIST) in India, is being conducted in three phases. Preliminary findings from the first phase were presented, in the form of an interim report, by Minister Gabriel, Commissioner Dimas and Mr. Sukhdev at the HighLevel Segment of the Ninth Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP-9) in Bonn, Germany, in May 2008. Although TEEB was triggered by the German proposal, it was inspired by the results of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that the degradation of ecosystem services could grow significantly worse during the first half of this century. It also concluded that irresponsible human activities are depleting Earth’s natural capital. The assessment showed that with appropriate actions, it is possible to reverse the degradation of ecosystem services over the next 50 years. Managing and investing in natural capital as advocated by TEEB is a key to sustainable develop-
ment and most especially, to poverty reduction. The study highlights the inseparable link between poverty and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems. TEEB promotes a better understanding of the true economic value of ecosystem services and offers economic tools that take proper account of this value. The study presents the economic, societal and human value of the benefits of ecosystems and biodiversity, and the scale of the benefits lost. One of the ultimate goals of TEEB is to provide policy makers with the tools they need to incorporate the true value of ecosystem services into their decisions. According to Dr. Pushpam Kumar, Chief of the Ecosystem Services Economics Unit of the Division of Environment Programme Implementation (ESE-DEPI) of UNEP, “The TEEB tries to provide a methodological approach to capture the benefits we get from biodiversity and ecosystem services because many of those benefits are not captured in the decision making process. Such benefits should be internalized in the many strings of the decision process. This means source allocation across the sector. It means taking them into designing of fiscal policy, one of the best ways to bring efficiency in the economy.” The TEEB study espouses that managing and investing in natural capital must earn recognition and understanding at the highest level of political and economic leadership. When political and economic leaders fail to account for the value of biodiversity and ecosystem losses, there could be a tendency to make wrong choices and decisions in addressing poverty reduction and sustainable development challenges.
Managing and investing in natural capital is the center of a study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). The study aims to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions on conservation and management. Dr. Kumar emphasized that natural capital or natural resources should be treated the way man-made capital is treated. He added that TEEB recommends to capture the benefits from natural capital and to reflect them in general practices and policy formulation. “There should be a comprehensive accounting, measurement, and a monetary evaluation of natural capital, the way we do for man-made capital. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Measurement is really the corner stone for the management
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Photo by Michael Caballes
Biodiversity and ecosystems services contribute to a country’s economy.
of any resources,” Dr. Kumar explained. He added that if leaders can fully understand and appreciate the values of biodiversity, political support can be mobilized to effect changes in the way biodiversity resources and ecosystem services are used and managed. Political support can mobilize sufficient financial and human resources to address the threats and drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem losses. Targeting the key players TEEB consists of a series of reports targeting distinct key players in the sustainable development process: ecologists and economists, policy makers, business leaders and citizens. The report for ecologists and economists examines the global economic costs of biodiversity loss and the costs and benefits of actions to reduce these losses. It synthesizes and presents the latest ecological and economic knowledge to structure the evaluation of ecosystem services under different scenarios. The 8
report recommends appropriate valuation methodologies for different contexts. The report for policy makers aims to develop guidance for policy makers at the international, regional and local levels in order to foster sustainable development and better conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. This guidance includes a detailed consideration of subsidies and incentives, environmental liability, national income accounting, cost-benefit analysis, and methods for implementing instruments such as payments for ecosystem services. The report for the business leaders enables easy access to leading information and tools for improved biodiversity-related business practice – from the perspective of managing risks, addressing opportunities, and measuring business impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. The report for citizens aims to raise public awareness of the contribution of ecosystem services and biodiversity towards human welfare, of an individual’s
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impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as identifying areas where individual action can make a positive difference.
Phase 3 is focusing on facilitation and support for national, regional, local and sectoral studies being initiated around the world.
Enormous economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem losses Phase 1 of TEEB showed that the economic size of the losses in biodiversity and ecosystem services is enormous, including their impact on human welfare. Biodiversity and ecosystem losses are hindering the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, specifically on ending extreme poverty by 2025. For the policy makers, the study emphasizes that biodiversity must become the responsibility of everyone with the power and resources to act. TEEB addresses the role of business within the context of biodiversity benefit and loss. The study is examining how the context of business and biodiversity is changing; the business opportunities in relation to biodiversity and ecosystems; how business can measure and report impacts on biodiversity; how business can improve its positive impact on biodiversity, and the risks of biodiversity loss and how business can manage such loss. Phase 2 of TEEB gave recommendations on the following concerns: rewarding the benefits of conservation; recasting today’s subsidies to meet the priorities of tomorrow; rewarding unrecognized benefits and taxing uncaptured costs of ecosystem services and biodiversity; accounting for the dependency of the world’s poor on natural public goods and measuring the “GDP of the Poor”; showing discounting as an ethical choice; and measuring what matters and what we manage.
Challenges While the TEEB study addresses the complexity of putting economic values to biodiversity, ecosystem services and losses, it is facing an enormous challenge of convincing the “unconvinced”. As natural capital is not as tangible as money, buildings, people and other economic resources, it will take great efforts and resources to convince the top echelons of the economic and political sectors to mainstream biodiversity in the overall development process. Complicating this challenge is the need to strengthen the interaction and cooperation between science, economics and policy. The TEEB is not a oneshot deal. It is a continuing and long process aimed at mainstreaming biodiversity. Thus, the challenges do not solely rest on the shoulders of the study leaders and staff of TEEB. Target stakeholders – ecologists and economists, policy makers, business leaders and citizens – who have read the initial reports of the TEEB may send feedback from the field. Contact the TEEB Headquarters. Tell them your ideas and stories. Contact: TEEB Media and Communications, E-mail: georgina.langdale@unep. org. *Rolando A. Inciong is head, communication and public affairs, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. Reference: The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Reports http://www.teebweb.org/
Economic methods for valuing ecosystem services By Dr. Luke M. Brander* t is well established that human well-being is dependent upon ecosystem services provided by nature. The concept of ecosystem services covers the broad range of connections between the environment and human well-being, including: supporting services (e.g. nutrient cycling, soil formation), provisioning services (e.g. food, fresh water), regulating services (e.g. climate regulation, flood control), and cultural services (e.g. recreational, spiritual, aesthetic). Many of these ecosystem services have the characteristics of ‘public goods’ such that the people who benefit from them cannot be excluded from receiving the service provided (e.g. downstream flood control provided by upstream forests); and that the level of consumption by one beneficiary does not reduce the level of service received by another (e.g. recreational opportunities provided by a protected area). Due to these characteristics, markets for such services often do not exist and the incentives for individuals to sustainably manage ecosystem services are weak. In economic jargon, there is a ‘market failure’ and, by their inherent nature, ecosystem services will be under-supplied by the market system. As a consequence, ecosystem services are often undervalued in both private and public decision-making relating to their use, conservation and restoration. The lack of understanding ofthe value of ecosystem services has generally led to its omission in public decision making. Information on the economic value of ecosystem
services can be used in cost-benefit analyses of conservation programs or development projects that affect ecosystems; setting compensation fees for environmental damage; establishing payments for ecosystem services; and raising awareness of the importance of natural capital to the economy. In response to the lack of information on the value of ecosystem services, there has been a large effort within the field of economics to develop methods to estimate monetary values for ecosystem services. It is the aim of this article to introduce some of these methods and explain which services can be used to value. Production-based valuation methods The most straightforward and commonly used method for valuing any good or service is to look at its market price (i.e. how much it can be bought or sold). In a competitive market without distortions (e.g. taxes or subsidies), price is determined by the relative demand for and supply of the good or service in question, and reflects its marginal value (i.e. the value of a small change in the provision of that good or service). Market prices are therefore useful for valuing ecosystem goods and services that are directly traded in markets, for example, products such as timber, fuel wood, fish and other food.The major disadvantage of this method is that many ecosystem services are not traded directly in well-functioning markets and so readily observable prices are not available for them.
Illustrations courtesy of JNCC
Market prices: the money value of forest products such as timber can be observed directly in markets.
Market prices can be used to value some ecosystem services that are directly traded in markets.
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SPECIAL REPORT The production function method estimates the value of a non-marketed ecosystem product or service by assessing its contribution as an input into the production process of a commercially marketed good. A production function describes the relationship between inputs and outputs in production. For example, the production of a fishery that is supported by the habitat and nursery service provided by mangroves may be described as a function of hours spent fishing and the area and quality of the mangrove. Cost-based valuation methods The replacement cost method estimates the value of ecosystem services as the cost of replacing them with alternative manmade goods and services. For example, the value of a lake that acts as a natural reservoir can be estimated as the cost of constructing and operating an artificial reservoir of a similar capacity. The replacement cost method assumes that the costs incurred in replacing lost environmental assets with man-made alternatives can be interpreted as an estimate of the value of the goods and services received from the environmental asset. It is assumed
Production function approach: The fishery value of a mangrove can be calculated by estimating the lost value of the catch in a degraded or destroyed mangrove area.
The production function method can be used to value ecosystem inputs in production.
that the amount of money society spends to replace an environmental asset is roughly equivalent to the lost benefits that asset provides to society.The replacement cost method is particularly useful for valuing ecosystem services that have direct man-made or artificial equivalents, such as water storage or waste water processing. The replacement cost method does not, however, produce a strictly correct measure of economic value, as it is not based on peopleâ€™s preferences for the goods and services being valued. Instead, this method assumes that if people pay to replace a lost ecosystem service, then that service must be worth at least the cost of replacement. Therefore, this method is
most appropriately applied in cases where replacement expenditures have been, or will be, made. Ecosystems frequently provide protection for other economically valuable assets. The damage cost avoided method uses either the value of property and assets protected, or the cost of actions taken to avoid damages, as a measure of the benefits provided by an ecosystem. For example, if an upstream forest reduces the occurrence of downstream flooding, the value of the flood protection service of the forest may be estimated as the damages avoided or by the expenditures avoided by downstream residents to protect their properties. The damage cost avoided method is partic-
Replacement cost: The value of a natural reservoir can be estimated as the cost replacing it with a man-made reservoir.
The replacement cost method can be used to value ecosystem services that have man-made equivalents.
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ularly useful for valuing ecosystems that provide some form of natural protection. A potential weakness of the method is that, in most cases, estimates of damages avoided remain hypothetical. They are based on predicting what might occur under a situation where ecosystem services decline or are lost. Even when valuation is based on real data from situations where such events and damages have occurred, it is often difficult to relate these damages to changes in ecosystem status, or to be sure that identical impacts would occur if particular ecosystem services declined. Revealed preference methods Revealed preference methods are based on actual consumer or producer behaviour and identify the ways in which a non-marketed good influences actual markets for some other good. Preferences and values are â€˜revealedâ€™ in complementary or surrogate markets. The hedonic pricing method can be used to estimate economic values of ecosystem services that directly affect the price of marketed goods. The basic idea underlying the hedonic pricing method is that the www.aseanbiodiversity.org
SPECIAL REPORT Damage cost: the monetary value of up-stream water retention by forests can be estimated as the avoided damage to property downstream.
The damage cost method can be used to value ecosystems that provide natural protection from storms and floods.
The hedonic pricing method can be used to value environmental amenities and disamenities associated with the location of houses.
Travel cost: the value of a recreational site can be estimated from the number of visitors and the cost of travelling there.
The travel cost method can be used to value the recreational use of natural areas.
price of a good is related to its characteristics, including its environmental characteristics. The hedonic pricing method is often used to value environmental amenities that affect the price of residential properties. For example, a house that is close to an attractive natural area may be worth more than a similar house that is further away. Such differences in house characteristics and prices may be used to identify the value of natural amenities using statistical methods. The travel cost method is used to estimate the value of ecosystems or sites that are used for recreation. The premise behind this method is that the travel expenses that people incur to visit a site represent the â€œpriceâ€? of access to the site. Travel expenses include the actual travel costs (e.g. price of using public transport, petrol and maintenance for travel by private car, aeroplane ticket etc.), time costs, and admittance fees. With this information, peoplesâ€™ willingness to pay to visit a site should be estimated based on the number of trips that they make at different travel costs. For example, for a forest that is used for recreation, information on the number of people that visit the site and the time and cost they spend travelling to reach it can be used to estimate the economic value of the recreational service that is provided. Stated preference methods Stated preference methods use surveys to ask people to state their preferences for hypothetical changes in the provision of ecosystem services.This information on preferences is then used to estimate the values that people attach to the services in question.
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Contingent valuation: the monetary value of environmental services can be estimated by asking survey respondents for their willingness to pay for them.
Contingent valuation can be used to value most ecosystem services.
The contingent valuation method involves directly asking people, in a survey, how much they would be willing to pay for specific ecosystem services. The contingent valuation method can be used to estimate economic values for all types of ecosystem service. The term “contingent” denotes that valuation is based on a specific hypothetical scenario and description of the environmental service. For example, in the case that a wetland provides habitat for a popular species of animal, respondents to a survey might be asked to state how much additional tax they are willing to pay to preserve the wetland in order to avoid a decline in the population of that species. In some cases, people are asked for the amount of compensation they would be willing to accept to give up a specific environmental service rather than their willingness to pay to avoid its loss. A major advantage of the contingent valuation method is that it can be applied to estimate values for all types of environmental goods and services, including non-use values (the value that people place on the existence and preservation of biodiversity, unrelated to 12 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
any direct or indirect use) and also changes in ecosystem services that have not yet occurred. Because contingent valuation does not rely on actual markets or observed behaviour, it can in theory be applied to any situation, good or service. A weakness of this method is that responses to willingness-to-pay questions are hypothetical and may not reflect true behaviour. Hypothetical scenarios described in contingent valuation questionnaires might be misunderstood or found to be unconvincing to respondents, leading to biased responses. Choice modelling or choice experiments is also
a stated preference method and is similar to contingent valuation in that it can be used to estimate economic values for virtually any ecosystem good or service. It is also a hypothetical method – it asks people to make choices based on a hypothetical scenario. Choice modelling is based on the idea that any good can be described in terms of its attributes or characteristics. Changes in attribute levels essentially result in a different good, and choice modelling focuses on the value of such changes in attributes. Values are inferred from the hypothetical choices or trade-offs that people make between different combinations of attributes. Choice
Choice modelling: the monetary value of environmental services can be estimated from the trade-off people make between environmental attributes and income.
Choice modelling can be applied to value most ecosystem services.
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modelling is different from contingent valuation in that it asks respondents to select between a set of alternatives, rather than asking directly for values. Values can be derived from the responses by including a money indicator (e.g. price of the good) as one of the characteristics. Value transfer The valuation methods described above have been used to estimate values for virtually all ecosystem services provided by almost every biome. Thousands of value estimates for ecosystem services have been published in economic reports and journals.Conducting new valuation research, however, is time intensive and expensive since it generally involves collecting new data or fielding public surveys. For this reason, methods have been developed for transferring estimated values from existing valuation studies to inform other policy contexts. Value transfer (or benefit transfer) is the procedure of estimating the value of an ecosystem service of current policy interest (at a ‘policy site’) by assigning an existing value estimate for a similar ecosystem (from a ‘study site’). Value transfer methods can be divided into three broad categories: unit value transfer (values are transferred without or with adjustments, usually for income differences); value function transfer (values are transferred using a value function from an individual primary study); and metaanalytic function transfer (values are transferred using a value function estimated from the results of multiple primary studies). *Dr. Luke Brander is a freelance environmental economist based in Hong Kong.
SPECIAL REPORT Learning from the UK experience
TEEB – The UK National Ecosystem Assessment By John Pearson* he UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) was carried out from 2009 to 2011. It cost around £1.3 million (or about US$2 million) and involved some 500 natural scientists, economists, social scientists and policy makers. Although produced with the support of the UK Government, it was a fully independent report. The NEA was in part a UK response to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project, which the UK had also supported. The UK Government thought that TEEB was a groundbreaking work – and that it would be worth carrying out a similar assessment on a national scale. The report is the most comprehensive assessment of the UK’s natural environment and resources ever undertaken. It assessed the status and trends of UK ecosystems and their services looking back 60 years and looking forward 50 years using six plausible future scenarios. This was used to assess the economic values and shared social values of ecosystem services, and to evaluate a set of response options. The key finding from the NEA was that the benefits that we derive from the natural world and its constituent ecosystems are critically important to human well-being and economic prosperity – but they are consistently undervalued in economic analysis and decision-mak-
ing. The report found that many factors have driven changes in UK ecosystem services during the past 60 years. These include the conversion and intensification of natural habitats, e.g. semi-natural grasslands to farmlands; the exploitation of natural resources, especially marine fish; invasive alien species, e.g. tree pests and animal diseases; air and aquatic pollution, especially from nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus; and climate change, e.g. increased air and sea temperatures. These changes have largely been influenced by demography (with an increasing and ageing population), the economy (e.g. sustained economic growth and trade liberalization), and technological advances (e.g. increased mechanization and use of agrochemicals). These have collectively placed a greater demand on the goods and services provided by UK ecosystems, and influenced the way we manage our natural resources. Despite recent improvements, just over 30 percent of ecosystem services in the UK are declining and many others are in a reduced or degraded state (Figure 1). A growing population, which will increase the demand for food and other basic services, coupled with climate change, will place significant future pressures on many ecosystems and their services. Therefore, the need to manage our ecosystems is going to become Figure 1. Trends in UK Ecosystem Services (physical measures): 1945 to present more pressing, not less. We therefore will need more resilient ways of managing ecosystems, and a better balance between production and other ecosystem services. Indeed, one of the major challenges is to increase food production, but with a smaller environmental footprint.
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SPECIAL REPORT How ecosystem services affect human well-being Society in general directly benefits from a wide range of ecosystem services. For example, the increase in food production (crops and livestock) has resulted in a wider selection of food at a reduced cost for everybody. Carbon sequestration by soils and woodlands limits human-induced climate change. Ecosystems also positively affect physical and mental health and the quality of life in general, often through access to the wider landscape and through the use of parks and gardens. Ecosystems also act as a catalyst for behavioral change by encouraging the adoption of healthier lifestyles; and reduce air pollution. Changes in ecosystem services have impacts on human well-being. For example, the conversion of salt marshes for farming results in increased agricultural production, but locally it leads to loss of habitat for recreation and has implications for coastal defense against storm surges. The economic value of ecosystem services The benefits that we derive from ecosystem services are critically important to human well-being and the UK economy, and each should be considered when evaluating the implications of changes. However, the values of most ecosystem services are currently omitted from national economic frameworks and local decision making, even though a range of economic techniques can be used to assess the value of different ecosystem services. This includes assessing adjusted market prices, contribution to output, avoided costs, observed behavior and stated preferences. Effective conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems are critical for human
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well-being and a future thriving and sustainable green economy. Failure to include the valuation of non-market values in decision making results in a less efficient allocation of resources. How ecosystems and their services might change in the UK under plausible future scenarios In order to understand what the future might hold, a range of plausible scenarios was developed. Some of these emphasized environmental awareness and ecological sustainability, while others stressed national self-sufficiency or economic growth and the removal of trade barriers. These plausible futures show that there is a huge range of potential outcomes for the state of the nation, its people and its ecosystems in the coming decades. Decisions that we make now and in the immediate future will have a major impact on these outcomes.
to continue to be major drivers of change for biodiversity and ecosystem services, although by 2060 climate change is also predicted to be a significant driver of ecosystem services and of losses and gains of species throughout the UK.
Six storylines employing very different policy priorities were developed (Figure 2). A Green and Pleasant Land, assumes a preservationist attitude to UK ecosystems. Nature at Work assumes ecosystem services are promoted through the creation of multifunctional landscapes.Local Stewardshipis where society strives to be sustainable within its immediate surroundings, while Go with the Flow assumes that current trends will continue. National Security has a reliance on greater selfsufficiency and efficiencies, while under World Markets, the goal is economic growth and the elimination of trade barriers. Storylines that emphasized environmental awareness and ecological sustainability resulted in significant gains in the output of a broad range of ecosystem services, in contrast to storylines that emphasized national self-sufficiency or economic growth. Land use change and pollution are projected
The economic implications of the different plausible futures Applying the economic values derived for ecosystem services (using the conceptual framework shown in Figure 3) to these scenarios shows that there is a huge range of possible outcomes. Each of the scenarios was assessed in terms of the changes they would introduce. Assessments examined five major ecosystem services: (i) agricultural food production; (ii) the net change in greenhouse gases from land use; (iii) open-access recreation; (iv) urban green space amenity; and (v) biodiversity (assessed using birds as indicator species).
Figure 2. Plausible Future Scenarios â€“ How might UK ecosystems and their services change under plausible scenarios? What would be the effect of such changes?
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National security World markets Local stewardship Go with the flow Nature at work Green and pleasant land
SPECIAL REPORT Figure 3. Approach. From ecosystem services to their value
Even recognizing the limitations of the UK NEA study (e.g. not all goods and services are valued), the analyses demonstrate that simple reliance upon market prices will probably give an inaccurate assessment of the overall economic value of different scenarios to society. If market values only are taken into account then storylines that emphasized national self-sufficiency or economic growth resulted in the largest economic gains in the short- to medium-term due to increased agricultural production. Conversely, if all values are taken into account then the storylines that emphasized environmental awareness and ecological sustainability resulted in the largest economic gains to society, much of which is available over the long run. Therefore, a key challenge will be to get the economics right. Contemporary economic techniques allow us to consider the monetary and non-monetary values of a wide range of ecosystem services. These techniques need to be adopted in everyday
decision-making practice. Failure to do so will result in a less efficient allocation of resources, with negative consequences for social well-being. Full recognition of the value of ecosystem services would allow the UK to move towards a more sustainable future, in which the benefits of ecosystem services are better realized and more equitably distributed. How we can secure and improve the continued delivery of ecosystem services No issue (e.g. air and water quality) has ever been successfully addressed without an appropriate enabling framework – which needs a mix of regulations, technology, financial incentives and behavioral changes. A move to sustainable development will require changes in individual and societal behavior and adoption of a more integrated approach to ecosystem management. Responding to the pressures to provide food, water and energy security, while at the same time conserving biodiversity and adapt-
ing to rapid environmental change, will require getting the valuation right, creating functioning markets for ecosystem services, improving the use of our resources and adopting new ways of managing those resources. The Natural Choice – Securing The Value of Nature The National Ecosystem Assessment was an independent report, and it had a lot of impact. Given this, the UK Government decided that it needed to respond with some policy measures. As a result, it issued a White Paper – The Natural Choice: Securing The Value of Nature, soon after the NEA came out. This acted as a statement of government policy on the natural environment. In this White Paper, the UK Government recognizes that nature operates as a complex system – and that the functioning of this system is of fundamental importance to the economy and the well-being of the UK population. The Paper sets out 92 commitments and actions designed to
make this a reality. The overall ambition is that we should be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it. There are several new initiatives. One is the overall aim to encourage more landscape-scale, integrated approaches to managing biodiversity and other aspects of the natural environment. There were also some steps designed to incorporate the value of nature more firmly into economic decision making. Some of these affected the way the UK Government works, such as the foundation of a Natural Capital Committee reporting to the Treasury (Finance Department) and the inclusion of natural capital in the UK Environmental Accounts. Others are aimed at the private sector, including providing further guidance on possible environmental impacts, exploring in partnership with business the opportunities for new markets for ecosystem services, and looking at the new business opportunities arising from managing ecosystems more proactively and sustainably. In conclusion The bottom line is that we already have enough information to start managing our ecosystems more sustainably and good evidence of the benefits of doing so. The excellent work carried out by the TEEB study has allowed the UK to assess these issues in more detail. We hope that the National Ecosystem Assessment, and the White Paper The Natural Choice: Securing The Value of Nature will allow us to implement a more integrated approach to sustainable development. *John Pearson is Head of the British Government’s Network on Climate Change in South East Asia.
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Ecosystems and biodiversity in the Heart of Borneo: Building blocks for a green economy By Adam Tomasek, Anna van Paddenburg and Chris Greenwood* hrough an historic Declaration made in 2007, the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia committed to conserve and sustainably manage 200,000km 2 of contiguous tropical forest on the island of Borneo, an area now known as the Heart of Borneo (HoB). The HoB is one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. In the past 15 years alone, more than 500 new species of flora or fauna have been discovered, at a rate of more than three species per month.One of Asiaâ€™s last great rainforests, it is home to the charismatic but threatened orangutan, pygmy elephant, clouded leopard and the critically endangered Sumatran rhino. Despite the significance on the global stage of this transboundarytropical forest sanctuary,
it is currently under intense threat from unsustainable and sometimes illegal logging, forest clearing for oil palm plantations, mining and wildlife hunting. The threat is growing despite the tremendous benefits that the HoB provides in ecosystem services. In 2010, WWF brought together several partners to design a program to support the governments to invest in natural capital as they transition towards a green economy. What is a green economy for the HoB? For a forested region like the HoB, a green economy is one that values natural capital where governments, business and communities pursue green growth by recognizing the economic, ecological and social values of forests.
Photo by Engelbert Dausip â€“ WWF-Malaysia
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Photo by Raymond Alfred – WWF-Malaysia
It also involves investing in sustaining these values to mitigate climate change, ensure food and water security, and maintain crucial ecosystem services. The momentum to build a global green economy is growing. There is a need to curb greenhouse gas emissions, use resources more efficiently, provide longterm sustainable increases in standards of living, and value the natural assets and the goods and services they provide that have underpinned economic success over the centuries. These pressures go
hand in hand with opportunities for green jobs, new products and innovations, cost reductions and the long-term benefits of a low-carbon economy. In many ways, the HoB Declaration was the first step taken by the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia to invest in nature for a green economic future. Recognizing the value of the HoB’s forested and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity will help them deliver environmental and economic sustainability, while generating needed green growth.
The Heart of Borneo Declaration is the ideal platform from which to invest in natural capital and pursue green growth. A growth which has policy and regulatory support to guide more efficient use of natural and social assets, and one which gains support from multiple sectors to realize conservation and development that can be sustainable and inclusive. However, a green economy in Borneo will only be realized if the values of the HoB’s natural capital become part of prevailing economic development
plans. The value of natural capital is still under-appreciated in land use and policy decision making, as is the interconnectedness of the economy and nature. The economy-nature disconnect Even though nature is ultimately the most essential resource underpinning any economy, standard economics and business-asusual policies both fail to take into account the value of nature to the economy. In today’s economy in Borneo, rapid economic growth prevails at the cost
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SPECIAL REPORT Elements of the Green Economy (GE) Scenario
Green Economy (GE)
Coherent land use plans including category for degraded land, expanding community forests and implementation of watershed protection.
Reduced impact logging and international sustainable forest management certification. Concession management is improved, and there is no degradation of inactive concessions. Forest restoration concessions are implemented to restore large areas of natural forest.
Palm oil Plantation
Oil palm plantations do not expand in any area of natural forest. Land swaps for permits granted on natural forest, to ensure expansion on degraded land. Roundtable for Sustainable Oil Palm ensures that management practices are improved. Reduced fertilizer and pesticide application.
Mining follows international good practice guidelines. Improved waste management treatment, improving water quality.
Sustainable agriculture practices are implemented to support and restore soil quality. The use of chemical fertilizers is reduced, improving water quality. A larger biodiversity gene bank provides wild varieties that may be hybridized to ensure greater resilience to pest and diseases.
Energy efficiency is prioritized to reduce domestic consumption, especially of fossil fuels. Higher efficiency, which also includes fuel switching, reduces costs, natural resource use and health issues. Investments in non-hydro renewable energy power plants are implemented to decentralize power generation, reduce the consumption of coal for electricity supply and lower GHG emissions.
Sustainable biodiversity products from legal community forests (NTFP and agro-forestry) to support soil quality, minimize erosion and sedimentation, secure forest carbon by reducing pressure to convert forests. Added value generated in region and markets accessible.
Innovative Green Sectors
New business models build local economies from effectively utilizing waste products of current industries in the HoB.
of many people’s well-being. The way in which the economy operates under current accounting and incentive schemes depletes natural stocks. This, in turn, has an impact on the value of natural capital as a whole and consequently on the quantity and quality of ecosystem goods and services that nature provides, ultimately affecting both production and consumption. The critical contribution of nature to people’s well-being is largely ignored. For example, forest clearance for commodities such as timber or oil palm results in pollution downstream and increases the risk of landslides and erosion. The causes of deforestation and environmental deterioration vary, but at a fundamental level they share a common 18 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
underlying cause – the disconnect between economy and nature. HoB’s ecosystems and biodiversity value to the current economy An example of the importance of the HoB to the economy can be found in water security, providing as it does, a large proportion of water to Kalimantan’s three main river basins. This value, however, is being eroded at huge cost to society. With current economic activities, water pollution from excessive or improper use of fertilizers, pesticides and palm oil mill effluent, as well as mercury, cyanide and acidic mine tailings from irresponsible mining, has forced cities to construct pipelines to extract water further up-
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stream at an additional cost of over US$10 million. The additional cost for pumping is estimated at US$2 to 2.5 million per year. Fire and haze pollution provides another example. During the 1997-1998 forest fires, the total damage directly resulting from haze was calculated at US$1,012 million for Indonesia, US$310 million for Malaysia, and US$104 million for Singapore. At a more local scale, though no less important, in West Kalimantan, as a consequence of the forest fires in 1997, loss of wild bee honey production was estimated at US$67-84,000 per group of gatherers. The HoB has many values. Some are more easily expressed in costs to society while others are less
tangible, though arguably, more important. For example, the rich culture of the Dayak people, so closely linked to the forests and rivers, has economic, subsistence and sacred value. HoB and climate change mitigation One other extremely important value that the HoB provides to the global economy and people’s well-being is moderation of the impacts of climate change through climate regulation and increased resiliency. While some can be expressed as ‘costs’ or ‘damage to society’, some of these values can never be expressed in monetary terms. As virtually all economic sectors are linked to the environment in one way or another, ecosystem re-
SPECIAL REPORT silience supports the wider economy by creating buffers. Economies are more capable of withstanding change when they are diversified. Standing forests in the HoB alongside the flow of clean rivers from the HoB will support resilience in the economies on the island of Borneo. Modeling the Green Economy In order to utilize the green economy concept in informed decision making, an assessment was carried out on the basis of five dimensions of green growth. These dimensions include elements of classical economic growth combined with values of ecosystems and inclusive social development. While the assessment is focused on natural capital, these dimensions clearly present the importance of a holistic approach to measure progress. Based on this framework and various spatial and economic tools, a quantitative estimation of different future paths [Green Economy (GE) versus Business as Usual (BAU)] was developed and applied through a pilot study for Kalimantan in the Indonesian part of Borneo. While the HoB as a whole covers 22 million hectares, the modeling was only applied to Kalimantan’s four provinces, with an emphasis on the value of the HoB. However, the results and the per capita values may be roughly applicable to Malaysia and Brunei, assuming that the contribution of nature (including ecosystem services) to economies is comparable across the HoB. The following impacts have been determined under a GE scenario. • Impacts on growth – According to the findings of the as-
FIVE DIMENSIONS OF GREEN GROWTH
sessment, an alternative future which fully recognizes the value of natural capital would help to reduce poverty, build local economies and support climate change mitigation. In the long term, gross domestic productgrowth will increase more rapidly in a GE scenario, where natural capital is sustained. • Impacts on equity – Under the BAU scenario, the total value of natural capital declines and shortly after 2020 becomes a
‘natural cost’ rather than an asset, with the costs related to impacts of reduced environmental services. • Impacts on natural capital – In contrast, conservation and improved management of natural capital in the GE scenario enhances natural stocks and the flow of goods and services. Looking at the multiple benefits of the Green Economy compared with the BAU, there are not only net biophysical benefits, but that the transition
within a social cost-benefit framework suggests that the benefits outweigh the costs. An economic policy package to deliver Green Growth and value Nature The scenario analysis indicates that, in the long term, a Green Economy has environmental, social and economic advantages. However, for a Green Economy to develop, a shared green vision and initiatives by civil society, businesses, consumers, and other sectors are required. These efforts can bring about an economic transformation,
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SPECIAL REPORT provided an enabling economic environment is established by HoB governments. It is up to governments to give meaning, content and, finally, concrete substance to this vision. The most essential enabler of a transition to a green economy is therefore a structural one: the economic infrastructure. A carefully designed set of synergetic cross-sectoral policy changes at the national and local levels can help lead the change of behavior by providing incentives for environmentally sustainable economic activity and penalize actions that lead to environmental degradation. Economic policies and related instruments will not work in isolation; a package is necessary to ensure synergies and to distribute costs (short-term burdens), as well as to encourage a fair distribution of future benefits.Based on these policies, economic instruments could be designed and implemented to incentivize biodiversity-based industries and other green sectors to secure important natural stocks, as well as to promote the use of degraded land for cultivation and other forms of development. In addition, conversion and poor management of forest ecosystems would be disincentivized. Mobilizing domestic public finance in support of such green policy interventions is essential for jumpstarting a green economic transition. Ministries of Finance play a crucial role. Important decisions would need to be made to eliminate perverse incentives and reallocate national and local budgets to this end. In the medium and longer term, funds could also be raised through imposing charges on ‘bad’ (unsustainable) behavior. 20 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
International finance (including REDD+ finance), as well as businesses and private investors and households, can and should support governments in their transition to a green economy. Critical steps The work carried out so far in the HoB is only preliminary in nature, but it demonstrates that an alternative economic approach is indeed feasible and that the HoB landscape is an area worth investing in. Indeed, the HoB has the potential to be a prime example in the region to demonstrate that a green economy approach to achieve the HoB governments’ vision of conservation and sustainable development in the HoB will indeed benefit people and economies of Brunei, Kalimantan, Sabah and Sarawak. Road to Rio 2012 The Rio+20 Summit in June 2012in Brazilpresents a unique global opportunity to showcase the relevance of the Heart of Borneo to developing green economy
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approaches. By presenting a Green Economy Roadmap,the three member countries can capture input, support and commitment from strategic local and international partners to integrate natural capital values into economic development plans and business practices in the HoB. .As part of the lead-up to the Rio+20 Summit, WWF and key partners are working to assist the three governments and stakeholders to: • Integrate HoB plans and priorities into national development frameworks; • Develop key interventions necessary to support the transition towards a green economy; • Stimulate relevant policies and incentives (for the business and public sectors) which could be put in place to deliver green growth; • Identify and explain the values of the HoB’s ecosystems and natural capital; and
• Support learning exchanges with peers who are doing/have done the same thing. In addition, WWF is working with the private sector through its HoB Green Business Network to ensure it understands the positive role it can play and the incentives available to become a driving force for sustainability in the HoB. The Green Economy Roadmap will guide a multitude of stakeholders to demonstrate political, financial and technical support for the Heart of Borneo. The results are expected to be brought to the Rio+20 Summit to highlight concrete policies and practices to invest in natural capital and recognize the value of ecosystem services in order to support poverty alleviation and lasting inclusive growth. *Adam Tomasek is WWF’s Leader of the Heart of Borneo Global Initiative (HoBGI). Anna van Paddenburg is the HoBGI’s Sustainable Finance and Policy Strategy Leader, while Chris Greenwood is the International Communications Manager for the HoBGI.
Photo by Angie Metin
Accounting for the value of ecosystems and biodiversity is crucial in addressing poverty reduction and sustainable development challenges.
Valuing ecosystems and biodiversity in the ASEAN: The GIZ approach By Lucy Emerton, Agnes Pantastico and Philipp Gassner* cosystem degradation is threatening human development. As the recent study on “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) found out, just one year’s worth of biodiversity loss will end up costing the global economy more than 1 trillion– close to the combined gross domestic products of all ten ASEAN Member States. It has become increasingly evident that, without tackling biodiversity loss, we run the risk of undermining the very asset base of economies, which assures the well-being and livelihoods of millions of Southeast Asians. TEEB aims to bring attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity, highlight the growing cost of ecosystem degradation, and draw together expertise from science, economics and policy to support the mainstreaming of these considerations in policymaking. It had its gen-
esis in the March 2007 meeting of G8 environment ministers in Potsdam, Germany. TEEB is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and supported by various donors including the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The findings of TEEB’s first two phases were released in 2010 via a series of reports, targeted at different audiences: ecologists and economists, international and national policy makers, local and regional policy makers, business, and citizens (summaries can be downloaded from http://www.teebweb.org). It is now moving into a third phase, which focuses on supporting national and sectoral activities in partner countries. Governments in Brazil, Georgia, Germany, India, Norway, and the European Commission have already committed to undertaking national and regional TEEB studies.
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SPECIAL REPORT You cannot manage what you do not measure How can TEEB serve as a tool to help in identifying more sustainable, equitable and efficient development paths? TEEB tells us that we must recognize biodiversity and ecosystem values first, and demonstrate them accordingly. Environmental or “green” accounting and ecosystem valuation are increasingly being used by Asian governments to help guide their policy, planning and management decisions. China, Cambodia, India and Viet Nam are all in the process of developing green growth strategies. The private sector is also starting to look at the way in which nature presents risks and opportunities to their business operations. The next step is capturing these values. The aim is to make it more profitable for people to conserve biodiversity in the course of their economic activities than to degrade it. For example, various provisions now exist in Malaysia’s laws and policies which offer tax exemptions, low-interest loans, reduced land rent charges and taxes, preferential export credits and import duty exemptions for environmental investment. Creating or improving markets for sustainably-sourced
products and services is another tool that enables producers to take up new opportunities and technologies – such as organic agriculture, ecotourism or certified timber production. One example is the “Green Choice” label in the Philippines. This is awarded to products manufactured using environmentally sound policies, practices and norms. In addition to these incentive structures, Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is rapidly gaining ground in the region. Under PES, the aim is to reward organizations or companies for the provision of valuable services such as watershed catchment protection, flood control or habitat conservation. They charge the beneficiaries (e.g. downstream hydropower schemes, industries, water utilities or tourism operators), and channel the funds to the land and resource users whose actions serve to conserve ecosystems. In Viet Nam, a country-wide policy on Forest PES was introduced in 2010. Similarly, forest carbon finance schemes have recently emerged as a market-based mechanism for rewarding sustainable land and resource management practices as seen in the Oddar Meanchey Reducing Emissions from De-
forestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) pilot project in Cambodia. The GIZ Approach GIZ** has been a key player in the TEEB initiative from the start. At the global level, it has recently put together guidelines and a training course on “Integrating Ecosystem Services (IES) into Development Planning”. IES is a relatively new tool based on TEEB, providing detailed steps towards the implementation of the Ecosystem Services concept in the planning of development interventions. The first Training of Trainers (ToT) was conducted on January 23 to 26, 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany. In Asia, the Biodiversity and Climate Change Working Group of the GIZ Sector Network Natural Resources and Rural Development Asia has continued to be a forum for exchange and inspiration among its members. In 2011, the sub-working group on TEEB was organized to promote the results of the study within Asia, encourage implementation at the regional and national levels, as well as serve as a platform for exchange and knowledge transfer. Dr. Berthold Seibert, Project Director of the ACBGIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project (BCCP), is
Photo by Michael Caballes
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the coordinator of the subworking group. BCCP’s continuing involvement with TEEB At the ASEAN level, GIZ and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) are implementing the BCCP. The project supports the ASEAN Member States in the elaboration of policies and practices to appropriately address the interface between biodiversity and climate change. It has two components: (1) Biodiversity and Ecosystems, which enhances the understanding of the interrelation between biodiversity and ecosystems in a changing climate; and (2) Biodiversity and Economy, which supports policy and action for valuing biodiversity in the context of ecosystem services. Through Component 2, the BCCP aims to apply TEEB approaches to help governments, businesses and local communities to better benefit from and capture the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services. BCCP has been supporting ACB in this endeavour through the participation of staff and representatives from ministries and other counterpart organizations in the ASEAN Member States in international fora, as well as through conduct of workshops and trainings. These include dialogues, workshops and trainings on TEEB, Access and Benefit Sharing, and PES for the ASEAN Member States. Since March 2010, BCCP has been engaged in a combi-financing agreement with the European Union for the implementation of the project “Enhancing the Economics of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Thailand/Southeast Asia (ECO-BEST).” The project aims both to effect tangible on-the-ground changes in biodiversity, ecosystems and
ed scientific and operational capacities of the ASEAN in this sector. To address these shortcomings, GIZ uses a multilevel approach, aiming to support policies and actions for valuing biodiversity in the context of ecosystem services, raising awareness, and integrating ecosystem services into sustainable development planning. BCCP plans to engage in activities that will advance the TEEB initiative in the ASEAN by conducting a TEEB ToT for the ASEAN Member States. This concept will build upon the vast experience gained by ACB and BCCP from trainings, fora and conferences. Moreover, ACB is organizing a TEEB study in the ASEAN with the aim of localizing approaches for easier implementation and adoption by the ASEAN Member States. These activities are envisioned to create opportunities for a wider implementation of TEEB and related approaches in the ASEAN towards biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. After all, we still have a lot to learn about the value of nature.
Our TEEB Timeline
*Lucy Emerton is the Chief Economist of the Environment Management Group. Agnes Pantastico is the technical advisor for communications of the GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project, while Philipp Gassner is an intern in the ACB-GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project.
economic conditions, as well as to generate capacity, learning and best practices, which can be shared and replicated nationally and at the regional level in other ASEAN and Greater Mekong Sub-region countries. Furthermore, BCCP has facilitated the participation of ACB in the establishment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Under the
auspices of UNEP, IPBES is currently emerging to be an interface between the scientific community and policymakers that aims at building capacity for and strengthen the use of science in policymaking. For further information see http:// www.ipbes.net/. From July 2011 to March 2012, ACB was engaged in the project “Disseminating the Values of Ecosystems and Biodiversity to Enhance Climate Change and Biodiver-
sity Strategies in Southeast Asia” supported by the British Foreign Commonwealth Office through the British High Commission in Singapore. Through this project, further trainings and workshops were also conducted. Towards an ASEAN-wide TEEB Although the TEEB approach attracts increasing interest in the region, the project recognizes the limit-
**The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a non-profit cooperation enterprise for sustainable development and operates in more than 130 countries worldwide. Most of the activities are commissioned by the German Government. GIZ works closely with the public and private sector as well as civil societies to carry out results-oriented international cooperation. Its considerable experience with alliances in partner countries is a key factor for successful projects.
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Rising to the challenge of making nature’s value visible By Clarissa C. Arida, Leslie Ann Jose-Castillo and Norman Emmanuel C. Ramirez* iodiversity, the web of life, has a very high economic value. It offers a host of products and services to people across the world. Unfortunately, these benefits are often not recognized nor given an economic value. “At the heart of this complex problem is the lack of market prices for ecosystem services and biodiversity, which means that the benefits we derive from these goods, which are often public in nature, are usually neglected or undervalued in decision-making. This in turn leads to actions that not only result in biodiversity loss, but also impact on human well-being,” Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, said. He underscored that if policy makers fail to account for the value of ecosystems and biodiversity, they will make the wrong choices in responding to these and other challenges. “Understanding and capturing the value of ecosystems can lead to better informed and possibly different decisions. Accounting for such value can result in better management. Investing in natural capital can yield high returns. Sharing the benefits of these actions can deliver real benefits to those worst off in society. Clearly, making the benefits of biodiversity and ecosystem services visible to economies and society is necessary to pave the way for more efficient policy responses,” the biodiversity expert explained. In the ASEAN region, efforts are being undertaken to encourage government agencies to use The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study as a platform to encourage stronger implementation of environmental laws and policies. The TEEB study is a major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward. From July 2011 to March 2012, ACB and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKFCO), through the British High Commission in Singapore, jointly implemented the project, Disseminating the Values of Ecosystems and Biodiversity to Enhance Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategies in Southeast Asia. The project sought to engage policy and decision
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makers in recognizing the economic benefit and values of ecosystems and biodiversity, understanding the costs of biodiversity loss, and taking action towards incorporating these values into national plans and budget. “A better understanding of this issue can generate support to change policies, and mobilize financial resources to address biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation,” says Mr. John Pearson, Head, Southeast Asia Climate Change Network, British High Commission in Singapore, said. Regional Policy Dialogues Policy dialogues were convened to engage senior government officials from the environment, finance and economic planning sectors. ACB and the UK-FCO organized two policy dialogues. The first one, dubbed Southeast Asia Regional Policy Dialogue on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Transforming Policies into Actions, was held in Manila, Philippines on January 25 to 26 for Cluster 1, which included Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. For Cluster 2, which covered Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Myanmar, the
H.E. Stephen Lillie, British Ambassador to the Philippines, addresses participants of the TEEB dialogue in Manila.
SPECIAL REPORT raising the awareness of participants on the importance of integrating the values of ecosystems and biodiversity into national planning processes. Through the dialogues, we also provided a venue for deliberating and prioritizing programs and policies on biodiversity and climate change, as well as promoting synergy among different sectoral programs and policies in the context of TEEB and climate change.â€? These events, Mr. Fuentes added, generated keen interests on the TEEB initiative and provided insights and recommendations from participants on practical approaches to consider TEEB in national planning processes.
Dr. Mike Christie from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences of Aberystwyth University provides an overview on valuation methods.
Participants exchange insights during a short exercise on valuation of ecosystem services
Dr. Pushpam Kumar of UNEP discusses the importance of TEEB.
dialogue entitled Regional Workshop on Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services Approaches into Development: Application of Economic Valuation for Designing Innovative Response Policies was held on February 8 and 9 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Key experts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as economic valuation and TEEB experts from NGOs and academic and research institutions from UK, India and Southeast Asia participated in the dialogues.
According to Mr. Fuentes, the policy dialogues â€œprovided venues for introducing the TEEB initiative, communicating new perspectives and opportunities that highlight the benefits of ecosystems and biodiversity for economic development, and
A major component of the project was a regional training workshop organized on March 29 to 30 in Tam Dao, Viet Nam. The two-day activity was held to raise the awareness and build the capacity of technical-level officials from ASEAN Member States who are implementing programs and policies related to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The workshop was designed to demonstrate various tools and methodologies for biodiversity and ecosystems assessment and valuation, discuss lessons learned from programs and policies on biodiversity and climate change that relate to TEEB, and share insights on possible future directions on TEEB at the national, regional and global levels. Over 30 representatives from the ASEAN Member States and resource persons from UNEP, WWF, World Bank, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), GIZ and UK-FCO participated. Communicating TEEB Since communication is a crucial component of the
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TEEB initiative, the project developed and disseminated information, education and awareness (IEC) materials on TEEB as part of its campaign to disseminate the economic values of ecosystems and biodiversity. Printed materials or fliers were distributed to participants of the dialogues and workshop. A dedicated website for the TEEB project also was developed as part of ACB website. “We also reviewed and analyzed existing communication, education, and public awareness (CEPA) documentation from the ASEAN Member States, as an intervention to identify information and process gaps and to determine the
best approach to enhance national CEPA action plans and strategies from a TEEB perspective,” Mr. Fuentes said. This activity, she added, attempted to underscore the linkages of TEEB with other biodiversity concerns of equal importance such as taxonomy, access and benefits sharing, and climate change, among others. Building Capacity on TEEB Under the regional project, ACB and its partners initiated the development of a training module on TEEB for technical level officials from the ASEAN Member States. “Our goal is to sustain capacity building for ASEAN Member States on
TEEB. The module includes topics such as the identification of ecosystem services, valuation tools and methodologies, and basic economic analysis. We plan to pilottest the training module in 2013,” Mr. Fuentes said. The Centre also initiated the conduct of an ASEAN TEEB Scoping Study to further pursue the mainstreaming process of TEEB. The scoping study carried out the assessment and valuation of key ecosystems and ecosystem services in Southeast Asia. Results of the scoping study are expected to be presented by ACB, UNEP, GIZ and UKFCO in a side event during CBD COP11 in India in October 2012 to engage negotiators on policy discussions on TEEB. The same results will also be used as basis for a full ASEAN TEEB Study. Lessons Learned In assessing the outcomes of the project, Mr. Fuentes reported that “Despite the challenges faced in the region, the project was able to ascertain ways on how to move the TEEB agenda forward, one of which is the proposed ASEAN TEEB study.” He highlighted that further collaboration and engagement of stakeholders
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from the private sector, the academe, scientific institutions, local authorities and communities, and other government sectors is crucial to facilitate knowledge sharing and data gathering. “We need to strengthen partnerships and synergies with these stakeholders to foster a better understanding of the intricacies of biodiversity and climate change, and facilitate an integrated approach to mainstream TEEB.” Mr. Fuentes also underscored the importance of identifying TEEB champions from the executive and legislative branches of government who can engage other politicians and decision-makers to set up enabling conditions for mainstreaming TEEB. “Enhancing the political aspects of the TEEB process will encourage buy-in of policy- and decision-makers. Inclusion of natural capital in national accounts would be feasible along these lines,” he said. * Clarissa C. Arida is ACB’s director for programme development and implementation. Leslie Ann Jose-Castillo is the organization’s development communication consultant and Norman Emmanuel C. Ramirez is programme development officer.
Mainstreaming the economics of nature: The ASEAN experience By Sahlee Bugna-Barrer* Is there a price tag for clean air and water? How do we value coral reefs that provide habitats for fish and other marine life? What is the cost of maintaining healthy mangroves that serve as breeding areas for marine species and protect coasts from wave surges? What is the dollar value of forests that clean air, filter water and provide habitats for endangered species? In short, what is the value of nature and its services? “Priceless” would be the common answer, but for years, policy makers have posed these questions to conservationists as a basis to design and implement policies to protect the environment. Various economic approaches have since been developed to answer these questions, one of which is The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study. TEEB is a major international initiative that draws attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, highlights the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and draws together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to produce practical actions in conservation. Experts from around the world evaluated the costs of biodiversity loss and the associated decline in ecosystem services and compared these with costs if effective conservation and sustainable use. TEEB intends to raise awareness among governments, local and regional policy makers, the business sector and the general public on the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services and facilitate the development of effective policy and concrete action.
In ASEAN, efforts are being undertaken to encourage government agencies to use TEEB as a platform to encourage stronger implementation of environmental laws and policies. In 2011, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) established a partnership with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK-FCO) to jointly undertake a project on “Disseminating the Values of Ecosystems and Biodiversity to Enhance Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategies in Southeast Asia”. In some ASEAN Member States (AMS), biodiversity conservation is already part of the economic agenda and has been incorporated in national development plans and budgets. In Indonesia, national policies on biodiversity include the Indonesia Biodiversity Action Plan (IBSAP); Mission no. 6 of the National Medium Term Development Plan 2010 – 2014; and the National Action Plan for Mitigation (RAN-GRK). Other biodiversity conservation actions have been incorporated in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects. Funding for reforestation and biodiversity is also available through the Reforestation Fund and the Special Allocation Fund for Forestry. The Reforestation Fund aims to accelerate the rehabilitation of critical forests to enhance the economic and social well being of forest communities. The fund has been in force since 1989 and is funded by volume-based levies paid by forest concessionaires. For over 20 years, the Reforestation Fund has generated revenues of approximately US$ 5.8 billion, making it the largest separated pooling fund from the forestry sector.
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SPECIAL REPORT Special Allocation Fund for Forestry funds rehabilitation activities in protected forests, forest parks, urban forests, community forests as well as the rehabilitation of swamps, peat, mangrove areas and beaches. Year
Special Allocation Fund for Forestry (Budgeted in US$ million)
In the Philippines, sustainable development is mainstreamed in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the Public Investment Program (PIP) for 2011-2016. The PDP is anchored on President Benigno Aquino III’s “Social Contract with the Filipino People” and translates the commitment into effective, efficient and inclusive government interventions that would result in an improvement in the quality of
life of all Filipinos. The Plan envisions a country that has achieved an inclusive growth, which is characterized as high, sustained and broad-based. Chapter 10 of the PDP focuses on the Conservation, Protection and Rehabilitation of the Environment and Natural Resources and envisions an environment that is healthy, ecologically-balanced, sustainably productive, climate-change resilient, and provides for the present and future generations of Filipinos. An integrated and community-based ecosystems approach to environment and natural resources management will be used. It will be anchored on the principles of shared responsibility, good governance, participation, social and environmental justice, inter-generational space, and gender equity. The people shall be at the core of conservation, protection and rehabilitation, and developmental initiatives. A conservation initiative that is currently implement-
ing TEEB is the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative. The Heart of Borneo is a conservation agreement initiated by the World Wide Fund for Nature to protect a 220,000 km² forested region on Borneo island. The agreement was signed by the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia on 12 February 2007. TEEB is being implemented to provide political, institutional and financial support to deliver the Heart of Borneo Declaration and aims to create the political platform and a partners forum to support the development of, and investment, in a HoB Green Economy; engage private sector leaders to drive sustainable practices and business investments for low-carbon and green development; and develop green growth model(s) based on ecosystem values including the creation of long-term In Lam Dong, Viet Nam, the Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program (ARBCP) of Winrock International, with support from
Photo by Lee Shan Khee, WWF Malaysia
The Heart of Borneo is home to endangered species such as the rhinoceros.
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USAID/Regional Development Mission for Asia, supported the Government of Viet Nam in implementing the successful pilot program of Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES). Lam Dong is part of the Southern Highlands Province, bordering the provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan and Khanh Hoa. Lam Dong has a total area of 977,220 hectares, where 601.474 hectares are forested. Lam Dong also lies upstream of nine provinces of Dong Nai river system. Because of the natural values of the area, those who benefit from Lam Dong’s natural resources pay for the forests’ environmental services. These include 18 hydroelectric power plants, 10 factories, 17 resorts as well as the local tourism industry. The PFES has improved livelihoods of over 40,000 rural poor while promoting biodiversity conservation in Lam Dong Province and across Viet Nam. By December 2010, PFES payments totaling 87,067,200,000 Vietnam Dong (VND; US $4.46 million) were made to 22 Forest Management Boards and forestry businesses, as well as to 9,870 households, 6,858 of which are ethnic minorities. PFES activities have resulted in enhanced protection of 209,705 hectares of threatened forestland. In 2010, the average annual payment per household was 10.5-12 million VND (US $540-615), representing an almost 400 percent increase over previous forest protection payments by the Government of Viet Nam. Based on information in logbooks maintained by patrol teams, forest protection patrols supported by PFES payments have
Photo by David Bonnardeaux
PFES-contracted farmers patrol forests in Da Chais commune in the Da Nhim watershed, deterring illegal logging and encroachment of agricultural plots in return for payments of up to 350,000 VND/ha/year.
resulted in a 50-percent decrease in the number of reported cases of illegal logging and wildlife poaching in the Da Nhim watershed area. The implementation of the project in Lam Dao has strengthened the capacity of technical staff of the province in the management of forest resources. There is also greater awareness of the value of forests at all levels, from the communities industries, since the economic value of forests have been clearly demonstrated through payments, income and improved living conditions. There is also greater appreciation for the investments in forest protection since these support sustainable production of hydropower, irrigation, tourism and water for production and human consumption. On September 24, 2010, the successful implementation of the pilot PFES policy
in Lam Dong Province culminated in an announcement from the Prime Minister of Viet Nam that a National PFES Decree had been approved. The PFES Decree transforms the way forests are viewed and managed in Viet Nam, providing a measure of assurance that critical forests, and the ecosystems services they provide, will be protected into the future through the scale up of PFES nationwide. The efforts made by Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as the implementation of TEEB in the Heart of Borneo and PFES in Viet Nam may provide models for replication in other countries in the region. These national and regionally significant achievements may provide incentives for other ASEAN Member States that are struggling to find economically viable approaches to support biodiversity conservation while addressing the needs of communities
that directly depend on natural resources. These cases provide the economic bases for biodiversity conservation as a matter of policy, and will hopefully pave the way for the mainstreaming of conservation and management of natural resources in national budgets and in long-term development plans. Sahlee Bugna-Barrer is ACBâ€™s publications consultant. References Indonesia Policies and Challenges in Preserving Biodiversity. Presentation by Irfa Ampri, Director of Climate Change Financing and Multilateral Policy, Fiscal Policy Office, Ministry of Finance of Republic of Indonesia at the South East Asia Regional Policy Dialogue on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB): Transforming Policies into Action, 25-26 January 2012, Manila. Investing in natural capital for a future green economy: Lessons learned
and experiences to date. Presentation by Adam J. Tomasek, Leader, WWF Heart of Borneo Initiative at the South East Asia Regional Policy Dialogue on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB): Transforming Policies into Action, 25-26 January 2012, Manila. Mainstreaming Sustainable Development in the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan. Presentation at the South East Asia Regional Policy Dialogue on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB): Transforming Policies into Action, 25-26 January 2012, Manila. Payment for Forest Environmental Services: A Case Study on Pilot Implementation in Lam Dong Province Vietnam from 2006 - 2010, Winrock International, 2011. Sharing of Experiences on the implementation of Policy on Payments for Forest Environmental Services in Lam Dong. Presentation at the Southeast Asia Regional Training-Workshop on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity on 29-30 March 2012, Tam Dao, Viet Nam.
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Climate change and marine biodiversity
Saving our ocean’s web of life under threat By Philipp Gassner magine a refreshing dip in the ocean during your weekend get away to the beach. The sun is shining, no cloud in the sky, and the water temperature is some cozy 45°C. A bit too warm for you? Animals of the Ordovician, 480 million years ago, thought so, too, when marine water temperature was that hot, due to a “super greenhouse effect” with very high CO2 levels in the atmosphere. It took another 40 million years and a temperature drop of 15°C for complex living organisms to develop in the sea, similar to the ones in present day equatorial waters. This example from fossil records shows just how strongly cli-
able services, such as food, medicines or clean air. At the same time, it is under threat from exposure to environmental degradation, pollution and unsustainable resource exploitation, like overfishing. Climate change poses a new challenge as it often exacerbates the impacts of other pressures.
“Climate change poses a new challenge as it often exacerbates the impacts of other pressures” 30 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
mate change affects marine biodiversity. A recent study on the distribution of 11,000 marine species in relation to water temperature supports that the current human induced climate change has huge consequences for our marine ecosystems. And a 15°C change is not even necessary. In the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, a 0.050.1°C temperature anomaly proved to be already enough to significantly alter its biodiversity - the variability among living organisms and their habitats, including the diversity within species, between species and within ecosystems. Biodiversity is essential for human wellbeing, as it provides valu-
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Climate change means ocean change Rapidly rising greenhouse gas concentrations
are driving ocean systems toward conditions not seen for millions of years, with an associated risk of fundamental and irreversible ecological transformation. Oceans absorb more than 90 percent of the global warming (Figure 1) and are thus particularly affected. A grim example of what we have to expect is the 1998 El Niño event, when exceptionally high temperatures caused the bleaching and death of 16 percent of all
Figure 1. Infographic on where global warming is going.
Atmosphere 2.3% Continents 2.1%
Glaciers & ice caps 0.9% Arctic sea ice 0.8% Greenland Ice Sheet 0.2% Antartic Ice Sheet 0.2%
Source: John Cook, SkepticalScience.com, January 20, 2011
SPECIAL SECTION corals worldwide. Mass coral bleaching is triggered by elevated water temperatures, as witnessed during the last 50 years’ increase by 0.7°C around the world (Figure 2). Experts agree that under current scenarios, 90 percent of coral reefs will have dramatically changed or disappeared by mid-century. If, and when they go, they will take with them about one-third of the world’s marine biodiversity, causing a domino effect on other ecosystems. Moreover, higher temperatures favor the spread of alien species, such as virulent green algae affecting water quality, species richness and fisheries. However, direct impacts of climate change on oceans are in no way limited to elevated sea temperature. It also includes ocean acidification, due to more dissolved CO2, and sea level rise, due to melting ice masses. Today, water is about 30 percent more acidic than in pre-industrial times, depleting carbonate ions - the building blocks for many marine organisms; while 30 percent of coastal wetlands are threatened by the increasing sea levels. Likewise, accompanying impacts such as changes in salinity, dissolved oxygen, circulation patterns, frequencies of extreme weather events, increased thermal stratification and reduced upwelling change our oceans and their ecosystems fundamentally. One consequence is the decline in phytoplankton, a critical part of our planetary
“Over a billion people rely on marine ecosystems as a source of food.”
life support system, which produces half of the oxygen we breathe. In this fashion, dead zones or areas too low in dissolved oxygen to support life, which were rare 40 years ago, now number several hundred and threaten global ecosystems and fisheries. At the same time, over a billion people rely on marine ecosystems as a source of food and over half a billion people are dependent on oceans and coasts for their livelihoods. Ocean biodiversity is also of utter most importance for the resilience and stability of ecosystems. In 1983, a sudden collapse of the Caribbean coral reefs occurred, following several centuries of over fishing the diverse herbivores, leaving the control of algal cover almost entirely to a single species of sea urchin. When this species disappeared, the reefs shifted irreversibly with huge economic losses, illustrating how vulnerable the system had become. This makes the case for the high insurance value in
biologically diverse ecosystems and the importance of conservation, especially under climate change scenarios. What does this mean for Southeast Asia? The ASEAN region, well known as the coral triangle (Figure 2), is mega-diverse: It supports 75 percent of global coral species, six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and 51 of the 70 mangrove species worldwide, with many species endemic to the region. The annual estimated value of ecosystem services from coral reefs comes to $112.5 billion, mangroves account for $5.1 Billion. At the same time the region is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, in combination with other human activities, leaving e.g. 98 percent of Philippine coral reefs at risk. Intact biodiversity poses immense opportunities for climate protection and adaptation to climate change, particularly true in
the ASEAN region. Conserved or restored habitats can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Ecosystem-based adaptation, which integrates the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall adaptation strategy, can be cost-effective and generate social, economic and cultural co-benefits and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Nevertheless, this tangible value to society has not yet been fully appreciated. National development strategies consider only some aspects of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, scientific knowledge remains sparse and the general awareness about the issue limited. These common regional challenges call for a joint approach. Only if national efforts are effectively coordinated, do we stand a chance to conserve the region’s unique marine biodiversity and the services it provides to us, also under climate change scenarios.
Figure 2. Coral Reefs of South East Asia and the Coral Triangle.
Modified from World Fish Centre ReefBase Project, undated.
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SPECIAL SECTION A regional framework to address climate change and marine biodiversity One answer to this need is the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), based in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. As a regional intergovernmental organization, it coordinates national and regional efforts on biodiversity conservation and sustainable management in South East Asia. Since September 2010, GIZ, the German development cooperation arm, through the Biodiversity and Climate Change Project (BCCP), supports the institutionalization of ACB’s core program on biodiversity and its links with climate change. In doing so, the project focuses on the elaboration and implementation of ASEAN-wide strategies, employing two components. The Ecosystem Management approach aims at enhancing the understanding of the close interrelation between biodiversity and ecosystems in
a changing climate, and its importance for sustainable development. The focus on Biodiversity and Economy supports policies and actions for valuing biodiversity in the context of ecosystem services, raising awareness and integrating ecosystem services into sustainable development planning. In this context, the project has a strong emphasis on marine topics, including ‘blue carbon’, the role of oceans as carbon sinks, and networks of marine protected areas. The international community’s answer As the challenges discussed above are of a global nature and not confined to one region, an internationally operant mechanism is a prerequisite to design sustainable solutions. Such a mechanism is provided by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an international legally binding treaty since 1992. This year’s CBD Conference of Parties (COP 11) in Hyder-
“Policy-makers have a critical role to play in preserving marine biodiversity, as poor management is a main cause of biodiversity loss” abad, India and the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2012 underpin the importance of marine biodiversity in a global warming context. In the International Youth Forum ‘Go4 BioDiv’ to be held at COP 11, young messengers from five continents will send wake-up-calls to the world to act univocally in protecting marine ecosystems with all their social and economical dimensions. Both ACB and GIZ through the BCCP support these initiatives in numerous ways.
Photo by Joel Forte
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Similarly, this year’s Future Policy Award is dedicated to oceans and coasts, emphasized by Ahmed Djoghlaf, former CBD Executive Secretary: “Ocean ecosystems harbor an incredible diversity of life. Policy-makers have a critical role to play in preserving this biodiversity, as poor management of marine and coastal environments is a main cause of biodiversity loss and degradation of these vital ecosystems.” The road ahead Despite the complex nature of the connection between climate change and biodiversity, particularly in the marine context, solutions are at hand. Priority must be given to reducing non-climatic stresses, such as pollution, over-exploitation, habitat loss and fragmentation and invasive alien species. This relies on a wider adoption of conservation and sustainable use practices, strengthening of protected area networks and facilitating adaptive management through improved monitoring and evaluation systems. In Southeast Asia, 646 marine protected areas cover only an estimated 8 percent of the coral reefs and only 14 percent were rated as effectively managed. The Biodiversity and Climate Change Project’s agenda recognizes that this situation needs to be urgently improved, since recovery of marine ecosystems can take decades. Ultimately, to conserve our oceans’ diversity, functionality and heritage we need to address the root cause of climate change. Without swiftly cutting greenhouse gas emissions, we will soon find ourselves taking a swim in much hotter and emptier oceans.
Viet Nam’s top legislator meets AIPA SG, wildlife advocate
iet Nam National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung this month welcomed ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Secretary General Antonio V. Cuenco, who visited to drum up support for wildlife protection. Mr. Steven R. Galster Director of FREELAND Foundation and Chief of Party of Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) was with Secretary General (SG) Cuenco during the courtesy call. His Excellency (H.E.) Hung told his visitors Viet Nam’s NA is ready to partner with the AIPA Secretariat, and hoped that it (Secretariat) would ceaselessly perfect and improve its operations to meet heightened demand in the context where both AIPA and ASEAN are making efforts to build the ASEAN Community by 2015. Cooperation H.E. Hung wished that the AIPA Secretary General will continue to act as a conduit between the Vietnam NA and AIPA members, as well as with the AIPA observers. For his part, SG Cuenco requested the Vietnam NA to actively engage in placing cooperation in preventing wild animal trafficking onto the agenda of the upcoming 33rd AIPA General Assembly (GA) in September. SG Cuenco said he believed that with Vietnam’s support, the cooperation will reap more effective results in ASEAN. He likewise hoped that Vietnam and ASEAN members will engage in stronger actions in establishing agencies that
Viet Nam National Assembly Chairman His Excellency Nguyen Sinh Hung (second from left) shakes hands with AIPA Secretary General Antonio Cuenco following their meeting in Ha Noi. With them is Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Chief of Party Steven Galster (left) and Committee on Science, Technology and Environment Vice Chairman Phung Duc Tien (right).
oversee and prevent wild animal trafficking, contributing to protecting nature. Joint regulation In the same meeting, H.E. Hung applauded F R E E L A N D / A R R E S T ’s proposals in drafting a joint ASEAN regulation on the prevention of wild animal trafficking. He affirmed Viet Nam’s support for the effort, adding that the NA has come up with concrete and strict regulations and took part in related international conventions on wildlife trafficking prevention. Mr. Galster was thankful for the meeting and the Secretariat’s assistance.
“AIPA has opened a big door for us to work at the top level of such an important country for conservationists. ARREST will now follow up, while looking forward to more collaboration with AIPA in other key countries,” he said. Legislative reform ARREST and the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), an ASEAN intergovernmental law enforcement network, is seeking to introduce the issue before the 33rd AIPA GA in Lombok, Indonesia for the body to consider developing a statement for legislative reforms. AR-
REST is a private-public partnership program with non-government organizations, which include Conservation International and Mr. Galster’s FREELAND Foundation; international organizations; and the ASEAN governments (ASEAN-WEN). Specifically, ARREST would like AIPA Member Parliaments to enhance national laws to curb illegal wildlife trade and to support the creation of a common ASEAN regulation on the international trade of endangered species of flora and fauna. (with a report from www.talkvi-etnam.com)
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Private sector to take active role in saving Indonesia’s natural heritage epresentatives from the private sector, nongovernment organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and the Governments of the United States and Indonesia have rolled out a ideas, concepts and plans to combat the depletion of Indonesia’s natural heritage – its unique wildlife and forest resources. The plan was launched at the “Indonesia Endangered Species Forum” held on January 10, 2012 at Kempinski Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. The forum, which focused on the role of the private sector in species and habitat protection, was organized by Eco-dynamics Ltd., an organization whose mission is to promote cooperative programs between the private, nonprofit and public sectors through corporate responsibility and environment-relat-
ed programs, together with the Bakrie Group, one of Indonesia’s foremost corporations with business interest in infrastructure, telecommunication, and plantations. Indonesia is famous for its great biodiversity. An estimated 300,000 animal species inhabit its many ecosystems. This equates to 17 percent of worldwide fauna species concentrated in 1.3 percent of the world’s total landmass. Indonesia has more species of mammals (515) than any other nation. It also has 1,539 bird species, as well as 50 percent of all the world’s species of fish. However, Indonesia also is home to the most endangered species of any nation in the world, including the iconic symbol of Indonesia’s conservation efforts, the Orangutan. According
to IUCN, Indonesia has 147 endangered mammal species, 114 endangered bird species, 91 endangered fish species, and two billion endangered invertebrate species. Major conservation efforts will be necessary to avoid near-term extinction. “I am proud to announce the launch of what we call simply the Bakrie Environmental Initiative. We believe that in embarking on this new endeavor, we are keeping true to the principle of my grandfather - the flora and fauna of this nation belong to the people and are for the benefit of the people,” said Ms. Adinda Bakrie Ong, Executive Director of the Bakrie Untuk Negeri, Bakrie Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility arm. She recalled that “in 2005, a program called ASEAN Wildlife Enforce-
ment Network (ASEANWEN) was established in Bangkok under the aegis of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the FREELAND Foundation. We at the Bakrie Environmental Initiative are committed strongly to supporting the work of FREELAND’s latest regional efforts at stemming the flourishing trade in illegal wildlife that robs us of our heritage.” One of the private sector partnership’s leading goals in support of the forum is to collaborate with the USAIDfunded ARREST Program (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking) implemented by FREELAND Foundation. ARREST, a five-year private-public partnership program, aims to reduce illegal wildlife trade and consump-
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ASEAN-WEN tion through strategic campaigns, law enforcement capacity, and supporting the ASEAN-WEN and other similar platforms. “The private sector creates jobs and the government regulates”, said former US Defense Secretary William Cohen, who encouraged stronger collaboration between the government and the business community as a sensible and ethical move to balance economic development and conservation. He noted the strong interest and ongoing support of the US to Indonesia in developing tools and opportunities in conserving the nation’s natural heritage. Secretary Cohen, Chairman of the Cohen Group and a US-ASEAN Strategy Commissioner, also recognized the role of the ASEAN-WEN in combating wildlife crime in the region. Mr. Cohen also served as US Senator and Congressman prior to his appointment as Secretary of Defense (1997-2001) during the administration of US President Bill Clinton. At a public lecture at the ASEAN Secretariat a day before the “Endangered Species Forum”, Secretary Cohen urged Indonesia to work toward a greater community with more unity of actions, especially in issues related to human rights, freedom and democracy. He said that with challenges of fighting terrorism, piracy and human, animal and drug trafficking, America and ASEAN should share techniques and technology. Addressing the forum, former Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said, “Corporate social responsibility must be optimized or we’re just stuck here talking at meetings at hotels like this. The issue of orangutans is a symptom. What we’re trying to do here is not to talk about the symptom, rather why that symptom appears.
The threat to the country’s endangered orangutan population is a symptom of unchecked resource exploitation. Their forest is gone. The same thing with us humans, for instance, in Jakarta; if we don’t have any parks or green spaces, we too become restless. Their lives are threatened because their habitat is disappearing.” Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stressed
the need for a new global awareness to conserve biodiversity. He lauded the ongoing private sector initiatives of the organizers and forum partners as a contribution to ASEAN governments’ efforts in protecting the region’s rich biodiversity. The Secretary-General noted the contributions made by the USAID to ASEAN in providing technical support to combat wildlife depletion and habitat destruction. The forum event also showcased National Geo-
graphic Channel’s “Crime Against Nature” episode on the illegal trade of exotic pets in Thailand with links to an Indonesia smuggling syndicate. The Crime Against Nature Series highlights private sector support to Thailand’s Wildlife Enforcement Network (Thai-WEN) –ASEANWEN’s National Task Force – in combating wildlife crime in Thailand and across its borders. The TV series was produced by ARREST Partners FREELAND and AsiaWorks TV.
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Asiaâ€™s police and customs strengthen cross-border cooperation against wildlife trafficking uring February 13-14, 2012, the heads of police and customs from 13 Asian countries were briefed on the USAIDsponsored ARREST (Asiaâ€™s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking) Program at an INTERPOL environmental crime seminar in Bangkok. Top officials agreed to tighten controls and improve cross-border cooperation to curb trafficking of tigers and other critically endangered species. Multi-national action points and cooperation strategies were developed during the seminar, following discussion of national priorities, challenges and best practices. ARREST partners including the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and international NGOs joined the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat and the World Bank in support
of the seminar and resulting accord. The Royal Thai Government through Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Ubamrung highlighted the role of ASEAN-WEN and their national Thai-WEN (Thailand Wildlife Enforcement Network) stressing that in 2005, Thailand took
the lead in pursuing the establishment of the regional ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network in the Southeast Asian region as an important step to improve law enforcement in the region through better networking nationally and regionally, and adding that Environ-
mental Crime has become a critical issue and threat to the security and welfare of the global community, requiring more concerted and committed efforts from different government and non-government sectors and stronger political will by governments.
Ad hoc meeting on wildlife enforcement matters in ASEAN at the 23rd Meeting of the INTERPOL Wildlife Crime Working Group, Bangkok n 15 February 2012, six countries from ASEAN-WEN met during a side-event of the 23rd Meeting of the INTERPOL Wildlife Crime Working Group which was hosted by the Royal Thai Police and chaired by Deputy Director General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant
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Conservation (DNP). The group discussed sharing of information in ASEAN-WEN on hotspots of illegal trade in Southeast Asia, cross-border cooperation among ASEAN-WEN Member agencies and inter-regionalcooperation on specific CITES issues and Proposals for CITES COP 16 in
2012 in Thailand, and exchange of information and intelligence in ASEAN. The ad hoc meeting also met with the representative of the UN Universitydeveloped WEMS or Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System to explore national or regional use of this platform.
Exchange meetings connect south and Southeast Asian regional efforts to fight wildlife crime embers of the new South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) visited their counterparts at the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) in January 2012, bringing together the world’s two largest law enforcement efforts dedicated to stopping the illegal wildlife trade for the first time. Two members of SAWEN’s Secretariat in Nepal are participating in a
three-day observer trip to Bangkok, hosted by ASEAN-WEN’s Program Coordination Unit (PCU). The visit provides an important opportunity to exchange best practices and improve cooperation in the front-line battle each network is waging against wildlife traffickers in their region. The Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking Program (ARREST) Program, implemented by FREELAND
Foundation, is sponsoring the visit. “South Asia and Southeast Asia are both crucial regions in the global effort to stop the poaching and trafficking of endangered species, including tigers, elephants and rhinos,” said ARREST Senior Program Officer OnkuriMajumdar. “Law enforcement from both region’s have different strengths and experiences to contribute, and exchanges like this will help
A customs officer at the Suvarnabhumi Airport shows a SA-WEN officer seized contraband and demonstrates new smuggling technique used by wildlife traffickers.
strengthen Asia’s overall response to wildlife crime.” ASEAN-WEN was the world’s first regional wildlife enforcement network, started in 2006. ASEANWEN’s success in strengthening enforcement and bringing down major wildlife traffickers has spurred the development of several other regional networks around the world using it as a model, including the recently launched SA-WEN. As part of the visit, SA-WEN is also meeting with numerous agencies working with ASEAN-WEN in Thailand, including Thailand’s national wildlife crime task force: Thai-WEN, Royal Thai Customs, and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. “As a young network in South Asia, we are keen to learn more about ASEAN-WEN and its national task forces, particularly here in Thailand,” said SA-WEN Chief Enforcement Coordinator Krishna Archarya,“Thai-WEN shows that national commitments are essential for the success of a regional enforcement network. Interagency coordination should always be a cornerstone of enforcement work. Wildlife criminals are organized, and the enforcement community should be too. ASEAN-WEN’s regional and national interagency network is a good model and SAWEN is proud to benefit from this exchange.” ARREST is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and coordinates with ASEAN-WEN and SAWEN.
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SPECIAL SECTION 3rd
ASEAN Champions of Biodiversity
Media Category Champion: 3rd Place Nominated by: Mr. Joel Paredes, President, Initiatives for Farm Advocacy and Resource Management
Initiating little activities with extraordinary impacts tocks, economic indicators, insurance, trade and finance – these are the usual topics headlining business papers. Because of this, many editors do not see how biodiversity fits into their pages. With BusinessMirror, a Philippines-based daily newspaper which targets business people and policymakers, biodiversity is considered a crucial business issue. Bringing out the business angle in biodiversity issues, the newspaper features stories on the economic value of biodiversity, the impact of biodiversity loss on livelihood, as well as the equitable sharing of biological resources. “The BusinessMirror’s editorial policy to give premium attention to biodiversity stories has been valuable and effective in allowing its readers to appreciate and understand how biodiversity loss impacts on health; how
progress affects biodiversity; the economic value of biodiversity; and how biodiversity could mitigate climate change, among others,” Mr. Joel Paredes, president of the Initiatives for Farm Advocacy and Resource Management, said. Asked what inspired the paper to give a special focus on biodiversity, Ms. Lyn Resurreccion, BusinessMirror’s science editor and president of the Philippine Science Journalists’ Association, Inc., said “The paper appreciates the importance of biodiversity conservation because it sees it as not just a concern of scientists and environmentalists; rather, biodiversity is an anchor for the economy – supporting agriculture, pharmaceuticals, business and ecotour-
Making Biodiversity a ‘Sexy’ Topic Its effort to report on biodiversity, however, is not without challenges. “When we started focusing on biodiversity issues, we faced the unique challenge of making it a ‘sexy’ topic, which could hook readers and generate public support. Our reporters and editors also had to be constantly encouraged to embrace the subject and ap-
“In much the same way that BusinessMirror made a commitment when its first issue came out to present the public with a ‘broader look at today’s business,’ BusinessMirror is committed to promote biodiversity conservation through its day-to-day reportage as well as special reports, through its evaluation and presentation of stories across all sections, and through its interface with our sister media outlets (radio, online). We believe that biodiversity as a subject doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part and parcel of much of everyday life, especially those relating to our business constituencies. You could say that we continually seek to promote biodiversity as no less than the business of living.” – Lourdes MolinaFernandez, Editor in Chief, BusinessMirror
preciate the seamless connection between biodiversity, climate change and the very stake of human survival. It’s not exactly a simple topic to handle; some biodiversityrelated issues are complex and can’t be written simplistically, or without careful research and extensive interviews with multidisciplinary experts,” Ms. Resurreccion said.
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ism, among others. Thus, the newspaper supports the conservation and protection of biodiversity by publishing across all sections and pages, and by uploading also in its web site, articles that tackle the issues and problems, solutions to these and initiatives on biodiversity conservation.”
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SPECIAL SECTION 3rd
Youth Category Champion: 3rd Place Nominated by: Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, Director, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines
Promoting green architecture
Architecture students present their plan for the Candaba Wetlands Center.
ver recent years, green architecture has become a buzzword among property owners and developers. True advocates of this movement equate green architecture with sustainability. For them, it involves construction designs that are energy efficient and environmentally sensitive. In the Philippines, a group of university students are using the concept of green architecture in their campaign to promote wetlands conservation. Known as critically important ecosystems, wetlands provide significant ecological, economic and social benefits. Wetlands in the ASEAN region, however, are under extreme pressure from human activities such as urban expansion, wetlands conversion and pollution.
Conserving Wetlands To contribute to wetlands conservation, the Architectural Students’ Association of the Philippines – University of the Philippines Diliman Chapter (ASAPhil-UP) joined hands with the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW) in 2005 for a design competition dubbed “Designing the Lumban Delta as an Ecotourism Site.” The
“ASAPhil-UP aims to help raise awareness on the conservation of natural resources through programs and projects promoting sustainable architecture. Through the years, ASAPhil has conducted two design competitions that were geared towards educating the youth on biodiversity conservation and wise use of wetlands. The organization currently takes an active stance towards the development of managed forestry in the Philippines in the vision of a harmonious natural and built environment.” – Mary Grace Montemayor, Project Manager for Wetland Center Design Projects, ASAPHIL-UP
pioneering design contest sought to create awareness among college students on sustainability in the fields of architecture, tourism, and the environment. The winning entries were turned over to the Munici-
pality of Lumban for implementation. By promoting the Lumban Delta as an ecotourism site, it is expected that there will be an increase in economic activity in its catchment area, alleviating the local inhabitants’ poverty
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and increasing the capability of the community to help preserve, protect, conserve, sustain and limit stress on the catchment area. In 2009, ASAPhil-UP and SCPW conducted another contest, the Candaba Wetlands Center Design Competition, to provide a venue for Filipino architecture students to showcase their architectural talents while contributing to the greater cause of advocating the wise use of wetlands. The winning design for the wetlands center will be implemented in 2011. Envisioned to be an educational gateway to the Candaba Marsh in Pampanga, Philippines, the Candaba Wetlands Center will rise at the edge of a 3,000-hectare system of freshwater marshes that is a major staging ground for thousands of migratory birds. Ms. Stanie Soriano, manager of the Philippine Convention and Visitors’ Corporation of the Tourism Department, lauded the students’ initiative, say40 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
ing the wetlands center will help boost ecotourism by promoting the Candaba Wetlands as a premiere destination for bird watching. Young Architects Committing to Conservation According to Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, director of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, the design contest shows the commitment of the architectural profession to natural resources conservation. “ASAPhil-UP deserves to be the considered an ASEAN Champion of Biodiversity because of the relevance of its projects to biodiversity conservation, its innovations in integrating activities to their academic course, and the commitment of the organization that resulted in increasing the awareness on biodiversity conservation of more than 300 architecture students and professors,” she said.
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SPECIAL SECTION 3rd
Business Category Champion: 3rd Place Nominated by: Mr. Buenaventura Maata, Jr., National Director, Project Seahorse Foundation for Marine Conservation, Inc.
Chevron Philippines Incorporated
Promoting healthy marine ecosystems id you know that the Philippines is home to the only double barrier reef in Southeast Asia? Danajon Bank, which straddles the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Southern Leyte, is one of the world’s six double barrier reefs – very rare geological phenomena built by coral growth. A known breeding area for fish, Danajon Bank is the main source of food and livelihood for many communities living along its coastlines. It also protects nearby islands from typhoons and storms. Like many rich marine ecosystems, however, Danajon is a target of illegal fishers. This poses a significant threat to the lives of thousands of people who depend on the area’s bounty.
To save the Danajon Bank, Chevron Philippines, Inc. (CPI), marketer of Caltex brand of quality fuel and lubricants, joined hands with the Project Seahorse Foundation for Marine Conservation, Inc. in 2007 to establish the “Sustainable Marine Protected Areas as Catalysts to Enhancing Inter-Sectoral Collaboration on Marine Resource Conservation in Danajon
“Protecting people and the environment is a core value at Chevron that underlies the work we do to conserve biodiversity in association with our projects and operations. A healthy ecosystem impacts Chevron’s business in two ways: first, it allows an environment that supports the drawing and creation of energy from nature in a sustainable and respectful way and; second, providing for the well-being and progress of local communities will ultimately contribute to the health of the economy. Biodiversity is integrated into our business decisionmaking and management through our Operational Excellence (OE) management system. Biodiversity projects will always be part of how Chevron operates.” – Mr. Jim Meynink, Country Chairman, Chevron Philippines Inc.
A diver explores the marine sanctuary.
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Double Barrier Coral Reef.” Also known as Project Seahorse, the initiative resulted in the creation of the Minantaw Marine Park and Sanctuary (MMPS), a pioneering 214.6-hectare innovative multi-use marine zone. MMPS encompasses a fishing zone, an ecological seaweed farming zone, an ecologically sustainable use zone, and a 50-hectare strictly no-take zone. The project focuses on community organizing, capacity building, and the establishment, monitoring and maintenance of the sanctuary. Environmental education is also a key project component. Project Seahorse’s strength lies on the partnerships it has generated among the local government, the community surrounding Danajon, and the business sector. Key stakeholders such as the City Government of Lapu-Lapu, Barangay Caubian, and the
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Project Seahorse’s guard house and research station at the Minantaw Marine Park and Sanctuary
United Fishers of Caubian or NAMACA are active participants in the project’s implementation. Inspired by the commitment of CPI and the local government unit, 21 fishing communities formed a regional fishers’ alliance in Danajon Bank. Known as KAMADA, the alliance now helps other fishing communities establish their own marine protected areas. According to Angelie C. Nellas, senior biologist of Project Seahorse Founda-
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tion for Marine Conservation, “since the creation of the sanctuary, local fisherfolk organizations, fish wardens and village leaders observed the fish population increasing inside the MMPS. Bird species that disappeared years ago are coming back and flocking near pumpboat docking areas. Barracudas and stingrays have started to appear every afternoon.” Apart from drastically reducing the number of ille-
gal fishers, the project has encouraged the communities near Danajon to take responsibility in protecting their environment. The residents of Caubian, for example, now understand the value of the marine sanctuary. This understanding resulted in greater participation in patrolling and other community activities. For these achievements, the Caltex-Project Seahorse Foundation bagged the “Most Promising Corporate Social Responsibility” award at the 2009 CSR Excellence Awards of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. The partnership also received the prize in the Environment category of the 45th Anvil Awards. The Anvil is the symbol of excellence in public relations in the Philippines, awarded by a distinguished multisectoral jury to outstanding public relations programs and tools.
FEATURE World Wetlands Day (February 2)
Save wetlands with sustainable tourism L
akes, rivers, mangroves, coral reefs and other wetlands have long been the cornerstone of humanity, providing the necessary physical, cultural and spiritual sustenance to ensure the survival of people and communities. Today, however, threats such as pollution, habitat destruction, siltation, and encroachment for business and human settlement, among others, have caused the widespread degradation of these important and fragile ecosystems. Wetlands play a vital role as they provide fundamental ecological services – theyprovide food and clean water; control erosion; regulate water regimes and climate; maintain biodiversity, as well as constitute a resource of great economic, scientific, cultural, and recreational value for the community. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands seeks to bring attention to the sustainable and wise use of wetlands by spearheading the global cel-
ebration of World Wetlands Day each year on February 2, which marks the signing of the convention. World Wetlands Day is an opportunity for governments and conservationists to bring attention to the plight of wetlands and urge cooperation to ensure their protection. The theme for World Wetlands Day 2012 is Wetlands and Tourism, which highlights the natural beauty and biodiversity of wetlands as ideal locations for tourism. Sustainable tourism is increasingly be-
coming a significant funding resource for the conservation of many of the world’s protected areas. Millions of people pour tourism dollars into trips to wetland areas, and sustainable tourism, or tourism that protects the environment, encompasses environment-friendly services, and supports the local economy while providing a pleasurable experience to visitors, may provide the long-term solution to ensuring wetland health and local livelihoods. According to Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, there are a number of significant wetland areas in ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs) that are already prime areas for sustainable ecotourism. Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park in Brunei Darussalam features the black Tasek Merimbun Lake, the largest lake in the country. The lake harbors a wealth of biodiversity, and is black because a major segment
Photo by Sahlee Bugna-Barrer
The Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park in Brunei Darussalam
of water that flows into the lake passes through peat swamp forest. In Malaysia, visitors can enjoy boat rides through Taman Negara National Park, which also has a sanctuary for the endangered kelah fish (Malaysian mahseer). In Myanmar, the Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary has the largest inland lake in Southeast Asia, while the wetland at Inle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary is so closely entwined with the local community that they have created a unique agricultural system with floating islands planted with tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, peas, beans and eggplant. In the Philippines, a number of marshlands such as the Candaba Wetlands Bird Sanctuary and Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary are havens for local and migratory birds. Agusan Marsh is also recently known for the capture of a massive 21-foot, 2,370pound crocodile. Among the country’s AHPs, Mt. Apo Natural Parkprotects several mountain lakesnamed Agco,Venado, Maag and Jordan. Wetland tourism benefits both people and wildlife by creating stronger economies, sustainable livelihoods, healthy people and thriving ecosystems. Cultural aspects of wetlands also highlight the importance of wetlands and add value to visitor experience. Participation in sustainable tourism to wetlands thus saves the environment, supports economic growth, and protects traditional cultures. For more information on World Wetlands Day 2012, log on to www.ramsar.org.
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Status of wetlands in the ASEAN region By Dr. Filiberto Pollisco, Jr. etlands, as one of the most biologically productive natural ecosystems, are comparable to coral reefs in vibrancy. These are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters. Wetlands are areas where water primarily controls the environment and its associated flora and fauna. They serve as a habitat for myriad plants and animals, including many endangered and threatened species. The presence or absence of water in wetlands during seasonal changes impacts considerably on the life cycle of native organisms. Scientists now realize the value of this ecosystem in moderating global climate, as it naturally stores carbon within plant communities and the soil. Due to an increasing awareness and under-
standing of the wetlands’ multiple roles and benefits to humanity, national and global initiatives have been intensified to restore the lost or degraded hydrobiological functions of wetlands. The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) of 1971 has set the stage for globally recognizing the value of the wetlands ecosystem. The Ramsar Convention is “an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the wise use, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.” In the ASEAN region, eight of the ten member states are parties to the Ramsar Convention and have given due recognition to the special attributes of wetlands. From 26 Ramsar sites in 2005, three more wetlands from Malaysia and Indonesia were added to
The Candaba Wetlands in the Philippines
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the list. As of 2008, Ramsar sites within the ASEAN Member States numbered up to 29, with a total area of 13,204 square kilometers. Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines are the top three countries with the most number of Ramsar sites in the region. In terms of total area, however, Indonesia has the largest, at 6,565 square kilometers; followed by Thailand with 3,706 square kilometers; and Malaysia with 1,342 square kilometers. Through the years, the establishment of Ramsar sites has been sporadic. Southeast Asia began establishing Ramsar sites from a total of 120 square kilometers in 1988 to 1,627 square kilometers in 1992. A lull in establishing new sites was experienced from 1995 to 1998, during which only a mere five square kilometers were additionally recognized. From 1999 to 2008, Southeast Asia increased its Ramsar sites to 29, covering a total of 13,000 square kilometers.
Photo courtesy of ASAPHIL-UP
Wetlands in the ASEAN region are under extreme pressure by factors originating from human activities. Urban expansion, wetlands conversion, pollution, sedimentation and siltation are among the most common factors affecting wetland ecosystems. Global warming and climate change have become the immediate global threat. Changing climate patterns have reduced rainfall in many wetlands, resulting to lower water levels, even to the point of parchment of some areas. Other areas experience excessive rainfall, resulting to higher water levels and flooding. Either way, the life cycles and reproductive patterns of many organisms are affected. In higher latitudes in Asia, the migration of avifauna has been commencing uncharacteristically earlier, and the early onset of reproduction has likewise been observed. The timing of the nesting season vis-à-vis the period of food availability is also becoming a problem for more and more species. Still, the largest threat to the resilience of intertidal wetlands to climate change is the presence of barriers that would prevent its landward migration. Barriers to the landward migration of intertidal communities may be imposed by natural features (e.g., steep slopes). However, urbanization, agriculture, and other human activities that build berms, bunds, seawalls and roads on coastal plains impose significant threats on intertidal communities such as mangroves, salt marshes and salt flats. Barriers also reduce connectivity between ecosystems and overall productivity.
Photo courtesy of Green Community
International Women’s Day (March 8)
Empower rural women – End hunger and poverty
By Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias Executive Secretary Convention on Biological Diversity his International Women’s Day is one of inspiration and celebration. This day serves to connect women from all walks of life in all parts of the world. However, according to some estimates, women represent 70 percent of the world’s poor. These women are particularly dependent
on biodiversity for their livelihoods, and in some cases, their survival. This year’s theme “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty” is particularly relevant to the first and third Millennium Development Goals which call for the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty as well as the promotion of gender equality and empowerment. This cannot be done without special attention to the world`s biodiversity without which we would all be economically, socially and culturally poorer. The current rate of biodiversity loss is severe. So severe in fact that we are exacerbating the detrimental impacts of climate change and risk initiating further conflicts over limited natural resources and accelerating widespread poverty. The Convention on Biological Diversity is strongly committed to recognizing and
promoting the integral yet distinct roles that women and men play in conserving, sustainably using, and sharing biodiversity. For example, the Convention has recognized the vital role of women in its preamble, and the Conference of the Parties has adopted a Gender Action Plan, included women’s needs into the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, emphasized the importance of mainstreaming gender into all the programs of work under the Convention, and called for the full support of women in the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Additionally, the Conference of the Parties has promoted national-level biodiversity management by requesting that gender be mainstreamed into Parties’ national biodiversity strategies and action plans. In December 2011, the first Expert Meeting on Bio-
diversity for Poverty Eradication and Development was held in Dehradun, India. This Expert Group produced recommendations on the integration, valuation, capacity development, and monitoring of how to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into poverty eradication and development processes. One of the conclusions of the Expert Group was that the Convention process needs to ensure that women,indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable are able to understand as well as benefit from initiatives for conserving, using and valuing biodiversity. As the world celebrates this year’s International Women’s Day, we at the Convention Secretariat are proud to be doing our part in ensuring that this goal will be met and that all citizens of the planet, without exception, can benefit from biodiversity and contribute to a sustainable future. I wish all women of the world a memorable and meaningful celebration of this International Women’s Day.
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FEATURE World Water Day (March 22)
Water and food security
By Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General United Nations ver the coming decades, feeding a growing global population and ensuring food and nutrition security for all will depend on increasing food production. This, in turn, means ensuring the sustainable use of our most critical finite resource â€“ water. The theme of this yearâ€™s World Water Day is water and food security. Agriculture is by far the main user of freshwater. Unless we increase our capacity to use water wisely in agriculture, we will fail to end
hunger and we will open the door to a range of other ills, including drought, famine and political instability. In many parts of the world, water scarcity is increasing and rates of growth in agricultural production have been slowing. At the same time, climate change is exacerbating risk and unpredictability for farmers, especially for poor farmers in low-income countries who are the most vulnerable and the least able to adapt. These interlinked challenges are increasing competition between communities and countries for scarce water resources, aggravating old security di-
lemmas, creating new ones and hampering the achievement of the fundamental human rights to food, water and sanitation. With nearly 1 billion people hungry and some 800 million still lacking a safe supply of freshwater, there is much we must do to strengthen the foundations of local, national, and global stability. Guaranteeing sustainable food and water security for
Photo by Charlie Batin
all will require the full engagement of all sectors and actors. It will entail transferring appropriate water technologies, empowering small food producers and conserving essential ecosystem services. It will require policies that promote water rights for all, stronger regulatory capacity and gender equality. Investments in water infrastructure, rural development and water resource management will be essential. We should all be encouraged by the renewed political interest in food security, as evidenced by the high priority given to this issue by the agendas of the G8 and G20, the emphasis on the nexus of food, water and energy in the report of my Global Sustainability Panel, and the growing number of countries pledging to Scale Up Nutrition. On this World Water Day, I urge all partners to fully use the opportunity provided by the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. In Rio, we need to connect the dots between water security and food and nutrition security in the context of a green economy. Water will play a central role in creating the future we want.
Biodiversity information at your fingertips! Check out our website for information materials on biodiversity conservation in ASEAN! The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity produces a number of public awareness materials on biodiversity in the region, including the quarterly newsmagazine ASEAN Biodiversity, as well as profiles of ASEAN Heritage Parks and endangered species. Proceedings on workshops organized by ACB focusing on issues such as marine gap analysis, multilateral environmental agreements, and business and biodiversity, among others are already available. The Policy Brief Series focuses on ASEAN actions and recommendations on issues such as community conserved areas, ecotourism, and invasive alien species. Visitors can access the Biodiversity Information Sharing Service (BISS) to check species lists and protected area network data in ASEAN. Links to biodiversity information in other ASEAN Member States can be accessed here as well. ACB has also produced videos on ACB and its work in ASEAN, as well as the values and the need to protect our treasured natural resources. For more information log on to www.aseanbiodiversity.org.
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Photo courtesy of Palawan Conservation Society
Earth Day (April 22)
Mobilize the earth By Leslie Ann Jose-Castillo eople all over celebrate Earth Day every April 22. But did you know how this global celebration started? Forty-three years ago in 1969, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin had a light bulb moment after witnessing how the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California ravaged the environment. He thought of holding a “national teach-in on the environment” for the national media. According to Earth Day Network, Nelson “realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.” Armed with his bright idea and wide network of friends, allies, and likeminded individuals, he led over 20 million Americans marching to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy,
sustainable environment on April 22, 1970. The massive protest, the Earth Day Network said, “achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. By 1990, the Earth Day movement became viral. More than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in the global cam-
paign. Earth Day 1990 shored up recycling efforts, paving the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Today, Earth Day is one of the most popular global environmental celebrations that concerned organizations and individuals look forward to year after year. For Earth Day 2012, more than one billion people around the globe are expected to participate in the campaign dubbed “Mobilize the Earth.” “The Earth Day 2012 campaign is designed to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them toward quantifiable outcomes, using vehicles such as petitions, and the Billion Acts of Green campaign,” said the Earth Day Network.
According to the group, “Earth Day 2012 will act as a launch pad for growing the environmental movement and will put forth a bold declaration demanding immediate action to secure Renewable Energy for All and a sustainable future for our planet. The movement will be comprised of individuals of every age from all corners of the Earth, and will call upon local, national, and international leaders to put an end to fossil fuel subsidies, embrace renewable energy technology, improve energy efficiency, and make energy universally accessible.” In the ASEAN region, a good number of groups and individuals are contributing their share in the global campaign of conserving mother earth. With Southeast Asia being a biodiversity-rich region, some activities have been focused on conserving flora, fauna, and their habitats.
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FEATURE Brunei Darussalam
Princess Rashidah Young Nature Scientist Award The Princess Rashidah Young Nature Scientist Award (PRYNSA) was launched in 1997 to provide secondary school students an opportunity to experience close contact with nature. It is a project jointly implemented by the Forestry Department, the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, and Brunei Shell Petroleum Sdn Bhd, with the Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah as patron. Every year, organizers invite secondary school students to submit research proposals that inculcate love for the forest and the natural environment among the young generation. One is chosen as the awardee. PRYNSA is more than just a mere competition. It is seen as a means of boosting the students’ competence to become science-based professionals, who will eventually lead their country in conservation efforts.
promotion of awareness and commitment of youth to love nature and the mobilization of environmental actions related to biodiversity form part of founder Adeline Tiffanie Suwana’s goals and commitments. Activities of Sahabat Alam include planting coral reefs, freeing hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), breeding fish, planting mangroves, promoting ecotourism, cleaning up marine debris, planting native Indonesian plants, freeing native Indonesian birds, conserving butterflies, organizing biodiversity exhibitions, producing biodiversity films and conducting school seminars on biodiversity conservation.
Community Outreach and Conservation Awareness Program In Lao PDR (Laos), the Watershed Management and Protection Authority (WMPA) conducts its Community Outreach and Conservation Awareness Program at Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area. The WMPA staff, with the help of the village headmen, discuss with the village folks ways to improve conservation methods in the protected area. To make the learning process interactive and informative, games, demonstrations and role playing are applied. Colorful and easy-to-understand posters and brochures are distributed to people about key species found in the area and the importance of conserving them. They also have a school education program where children are encouraged to learn about biodiversity at an early age so that they can grow up to be protectors of the environment.
Young nature scientists and their PRYNSA award
Sahabat Alam Sahabat Alam or “Friends of the Nature” is an educational program and action for young people designed specifically to enhance their love of nature and their environment. The
Lao children perform a native dance
Sahabat Alam founder Adeline Suwana plants mangroves with volunteers
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The Dalaw-Turo (Visit and Teach) Program in the Philippines illustrates how biodiversity education works in the non-formal setting. Launched in 1989 by the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB) as an information, education and communication tool, Dalaw-Turo teaches various stakeholders, particularly upland dwellers about the need to conserve biodiversity. The program uses street theater, creative workshops, exhibits, games, and ecological tours to stimulate creative thought and motivate learners to act on environmental issues. Trainers from DENR-PAWB conduct school and community extension
FEATURE activities; train other prospective trainers; and distribute IEC materials to forest occupants, local leaders, students and teachers.
Dalaw-Turo volunteers teach Filipino students about biodiversity conservation through interactive activities.
Sirinath Rajini Mangrove Ecosystem Leaning Center The Sirinath Rajini Mangrove Ecosystem Learning Center was built by PTT Public Company over a once-abandoned shrimp farm that has been turned into a lush mangrove area. At the learning center, visitors can discover the story of how the area was revitalized. A one-kilometer long natural trail enables visitors and the local community to learn about the importance of mangroves. Visitors learn mangrove management through lectures, study tours, international forums, interactive exhibits, and IEC materials. PTT has also joined hands with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to empower the Sirinath Rajini community committee to manage the area’s resources, share the lessons learned from rehabilitating the mangrove, and develop biodiversity site-specific management. The officers and staff of the mangrove learning center also share their know-how on mangrove management through lectures, study tours and international forums.
TeamSeagrass TeamSeagrass is a volunteer-based monitoring program established in November 2006 and employs methods established by Seagrass-Watch, a global scientific, non-destructive, seagrass assessment and monitoring program. It is a partnership activity among the National Parks Board (NParks), Seagrass-Watch, Schering-Plough, Raffles Girls’ School, Ria Tan and Siti Maryam Yaakub. TeamSeagrass volunteers come from all walks of life, mostly young working adults caring for Singapore’s intertidal habitats. The team regularly monitors seagrass sites at Chek Jawa Wetlands, Pulau Semakau, Cyrene Reef and Tanjong Rimau on Sentosa, gathering data that will help better understand and manage Singapore’s seagrass meadows. In addition to monitoring, the Team has also ventured into Outreach and Public Awareness and has managed to increase the knowledge and awareness of seagrass habitats and their importance through various mediums such as exhibiting at local, regional and international roadshows and workshops.
Bring Team and Seagrass together
Young volunteers help plant mangroves
ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity executive director Rodrigo U. Fuentes lauds the people behind these projects. “These groups and individuals are at the forefront of contributing their share for the billion acts of green campaign under the Earth Day banner. It is our hope that they will inspire more people to take action now, especially in the effort to conserve biodiversity – the web of life.” “Unfortunately,” Fuentes said, “not many people know what biodiversity means exactly. Even fewer grasp its significance especially now that human beings are becoming increasingly cut off from nature. As a result, the majority of the population does
not appreciate the fact that biodiversity is their ultimate source of well-being – the provider of their food, medicine, fresh air and water, lumber for shelter, as well as livelihood. This estrangement from nature makes it difficult for people to see the dangers inherent in the ongoing loss of biodiversity.” He urged the public to support the Earth Day celebration by performing simple acts that could go a long way in conserving biodiversity. “A key step is to mobilize all relevant stakeholders to address the primary drivers of biodiversity loss,” Fuentes said. Know more about Earth Day at http://www.earthday.org.
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FEATURE World Malaria Day (April 25)
Invest in biodiversity and keep malaria at bay alaria, a disease that is part of human history, unfortunately continues to remain prevalent in the world. In 2010, about 3.3 billion people - almost half of the world’s population were at risk of malaria. Every year, this leads to about 216 million malaria cases and an estimated 655,000 deaths. People living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable. April 25 marks World Malaria Day and was established to recognize the global effort to provide effective control of malaria. It also provides an opportunity for affected countries to learn from each other’s experiences and support each other’s efforts, create new partnerships, and showcase scientific advances in the fight against malaria. The theme for World Malaria Day 2012 – Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria – calls for greater investments in malaria control as
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this has created a momentum and led to remarkable decreases in malaria cases around the globe. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected Anophelesmosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. Transmission also depends on climatic conditions that may affect the number and survival of mosquitoes, such as rainfall patterns, temperature and humidity. In many places, transmission is seasonal, with the peak during and just after the rainy sea-
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son. Malaria epidemics can occur when climate and other conditions suddenly favor transmission in areas where people have little or no immunity to malaria. Malaria control will thus benefit from investments in biodiversity conservation. Widespread changes to terrestrial ecosystems have led to the reemergenceof a number of infectious diseases such as malaria. A number of studies have shown the interrelation between ecosystem changes and diseases, and specifically the correlation between forest quality and the incidence of malaria. First, deforestation changes the ecology of a disease vector and its options for hosts. For example, cleared lands are generally more sunlit and prone to the formation of puddles with more neutral pH, which can favor specific anopheline larvae development. Second, deforestation can
negatively impact biodiversity that favor proliferation of malaria-related species by eliminating species such as dragonflies that prey on anopheles larvae. Third, deforestation can change local climate and thereby affect the spread of disease by raising ground temperatures, which can increase the rate at which mosquitoes develop into adults, the frequency of their blood feeding, the rate at which parasites are acquired, and the incubation of the parasite within mosquitoes. Fourth, forest degradation is often the beginning of a variety of land use changes that may not only result in mosquito populations that have higher rates of malaria transmission, but may also lead to increased human contact and transmission. Finally, deforestation is accompanied by migration that aids transmission. Not only do migrants have little previous exposure and lower natural immunity, it is difficult to administer health services to transient populations. Rodrido U. Fuentes, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, said investments in forest protection and biodiversity conservation will contribute to reduced cases of malaria. “Biodiversity conservationmay not provide direct and immediate relief, but it should be considered as part of long-term solutions and cost-effective interventions. Governments and businesses, and the health sector must invest in biodiversity conservation tohelp sustain malaria control efforts,” Director Fuentes emphasized.
Unraveling the natural wonders: The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition By Pamela Reblora Though a lot of species have already been discovered through scientific explorations and studies, it is believed that 90 percent of life on the planet is yet to be known. Though Earth is just a pinprick of a planet in the universe, it is the only known planet that supports life. Humans, the most intelligent form of life, have been struggling to identify other life forms through scientific explorations. The Philippines, being considered as one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, has been a treasure trove of new species discoveries. The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition Aiming to conduct the first “comprehensive survey of both terrestrial and marine diversity” in the Philippines, scientists, biologists, taxonomists, science educators and students from the University of the Philippines (UP) and the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) conducted the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition which explored the forests of Mt. Makiling, Mt. Banahaw, Mt. Isarog, the freshwater of Taal Lake, the shallow waters of marine ecosystems of the Verde Island Passage in Mabini and Anilao, Batangas and the deep sea around Lubang Island, Mindoro. The expedition was funded by a generous $500,000 gift from Margaret and Will Hearst III, as well as resources from the University of the Philippines. From April 26 to June 8, 2011, the 94-member expedition team, including
Photos courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences
a group of American and Filipino journalists, documented the sites’ biodiversity and discovered new species. Dr. Terrence Gosliner, Dean of the CAS, led the American team while Dr. Perry S. Ong, Director of the UP Diliman Institute of Biology and Dr. Edwino S. Fernando of the UP Los Banos College of Forestry and Natural Resources, led the Filipino contingent. The expedition was a baptism of fire for the then newly installed administration of UP President Alfredo E. Pascual, who was able to mobilize the university’s resources to be actively involved in undertaking this international research col-
laboration on an extremely urgent environmental issue, that of biodiversity conservation. The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition is a reflection of the priorities of what the university intends to pursue in the coming years. On February 9, 2012, Dr. Gosliner presented a follow up report on the results of the expedition at a forum held in UP Diliman. “We were inspired to conduct the study here in the Philippines not just because of its biological richness but also because of the enthusiasm and receptivity to conservation recommendations expressed by our Filipino partners,” said Dr. Gosliner.
Discoveries Comprised of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to a wide variety of species. This was reaffirmed by the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition with the discovery of approximately 500 new species found in rainforests, coral reefs, and the ocean floor. According to Dr. Gosliner, among the interesting species discovered include a deep-sea, shrimp-eating shark that inflates its stomach with water to bulk up and scare off other predators; a cicada that makes a “laughing” call; three new lobster relatives that squeeze into crevices in-
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stead of carrying shells on their backs; a worm-like pipefish that hides among colonies of soft coral; a starfish that only eats sunken driftwood; and a crab with needle-like teeth on its pincers. To confirm that these species are indeed new to science, scientists will proceed to the next stage of exploration, using microscopes and DNA sequencing complete species identification and ultimately to publish these results. Realizations The expedition did not just unveil new species but also validated the existence of environmental problems such as the continuous dumping of human wastes in different bodies of water
and the destruction of coral reefs caused by human activities. According to Dr. Gosliner, the expedition made them realize the importance of biodiversity and research, science and environmental education, especially for children; connecting people to nature; individual actions; making education locally relevant; long-term sustainability versus shortterm profit; partnerships; and integration of education, research, public policy and economics. “We’re doing all these not just for the sake of knowledge but more importantly, for future generations. We are trying our very best to come up with best environmental conservation efforts so as to ensure that our
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children will also experience the benefits from nature that we are enjoying now,” said Dr. Gosliner. According to Dr. Perry Ong, “The discoveries made during this expedition reinforced the stature of the Philippines as a megadiverse country and as the hottest of the biodiversity hotspots. The importance of taking action now cannot be overemphasized. UP as the national university is taking on this challenge head on. Lest it be forgotten that most of Philippine biodiversity are endemic, and thus represents part of global patrimony. The responsibility of keeping them from becoming extinct lies not only with the Filipino people, though we should take the lead, but the global community as well. Thus, we appreciate all the help that we can get from the international research and conservation community such as the CAS, in partnerships and in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.” Dr. Edwino Fernando expressed his willingness to be part of future scientific explorations. “I believe that there’s still a lot to discover in the country, even in Mt. Makiling alone. We are more
than willing to participate in expeditions like this in the future. This is also a great opportunity for academic institutions to engage their students in this kind of work for them to appreciate the beauty of nature and eventually help conserve biodiversity,” said Dr. Fernando. Recommendations After the discoveries, the expedition team came up with the following recommendations for marine conservation: reduce marine debris and sedimentation; place more moorings at popular dive sites; enforce marine protected areas (MPAs) and increase their sizes; and establish new MPAs in unique habitats. “It is unfortunate that Philippine forests and marine ecosystems have been continuously destroyed by human activities. Protected areas should be expanded and deforestations should be stopped,” said Dr. Gosliner. The 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition was able to demonstrate that environmental concern can be reinforced, not just by imagining life without all these natural wonders but also by appreciating what we still have.
Multi-billion illegal wildlife trade threatens Souheast Asia’s biodiversity By Leslie Ann Jose-Castillo viation Security personnel seized a box containing 58 pounds (26.5 kilograms) of Philippine pangolin or anteater meat on January 4 at the Puerto Princesa City airport. The cargo was about to be smuggled to Manila via a Cebu Pacific flight as goat meat. The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development announced it will pursue the case against the consigner, the buyer, and others involved in the shipment in compliance with Republic Act 9147 also known as the Wildlife Resources and Conservation Act. Also in January, airport authorities seized several boxes containing anteater scales and turtle scutes at the Puerto Princesa City airport. The shipment, bound
for Cebu, was declared as dried fish with an estimated value of P1 million. The two incidents form part of the spate of crimes committed against wildlife not only in the Philippines, but also in the rest of the biodiversity-rich ASEAN region. The ASEAN region has long been targeted by illegal wildlife traders as a hotspot in the lucrative, multi-billion dollar global trade of wildlife, in which both live and processed goods of most species are traded, ranging from tigers and elephants to rare orchids and indigenous medicinal herbs, from rare marine species to endemic reptiles and songbirds. “The illegal wildlife trade has esoteric economic implications for the region, involving broad and complex
networks of sourcing and marketing. It engages a diverse range of actors including rural harvesters, professional hunters, and an array of traders from wholesalers to retailers, up to the final consumers,” Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), said. While all ASEAN Member States are signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the poaching, trafficking and illegal consumption of wildlife parts and products remain rampant. “The scale of illegal wildlife trade is alarming. Due to the illicit nature of the trade, it has been hard to obtain exact figures, but experts estimate the value
of illegal wildlife trade at USD10 to 20 billion annually,” Fuentes. Data from the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) show the rich biodiversity of Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar as being particularly targeted. Smugglers have been frequently caught utilizing transport links through Thailand and Viet Nam. However, poaching, transit and consumption occur in all countries in varying degrees. A significant proportion of wildlife trafficked through the ASEAN region is purchased by wealthy consumers from outside the region, i.e., China, Europe and the United States. Almost all wild species, including illegally cut timber, birds, reptiles and
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FEATURE mammals, are traded in the ASEAN region. ASEANWEN estimates that 13,000 metric tons of turtles are shipped to China every year from ASEAN countries, where approximately three-quarters of freshwater turtle species are already considered threatened. Illegal wildlife traders have also exported snakes in large numbers to China from Viet Nam, resulting in an explosion of the local rat population in the latter, which subsequently affected crop production. Fuentes warns that illegal wildlife trade will result in massive and irrevocable biodiversity loss if left unchecked. The ASEAN-WEN cites that, “If trends continue, scientists predict that 13 to 42 per cent of the region’s animal and plant species could be wiped out this century. At least half of those losses would represent global extinctions.” In June 2010, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) declared that the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the trafficking
in wildlife from Southeast Asia are disrupting fragile eco-systems and driving species to extinction. “In the web of life, all species of animals and plants are crucial in keeping the ecological balance. If they suddenly become decimated from the food chain, there could be trouble,” warned Fuentes. He emphasized that “ASEAN Member States must adopt effective legislation on wildlife law enforcement, implement the laws strictly, conduct research and capacity building on conservation of species and sustainable management of biological resources, and conduct public education and information campaigns if we are to save species like the pangolin for the survival of humankind.” In the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB) is implementing the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act which mandates that, “Any person
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or persons caught in the trading of wildlife, collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives, maltreating and/or inflicting other injuries and transporting wildlife, will be meted with the corresponding fines and penalties.” DENR-PAWB is the chairperson of the ASEANWEN for 2011-2012. In the ASEAN region, authorities are strengthening inter-agency and international cooperation on law enforcement to address illegal trading of wildlife species. The ASEAN-WEN is one of the key regional institutions leading the regional response in Southeast Asia to address illicit trans-national trade in protected species, which threatens to drive many endangered species to extinction and endangers public health. National efforts are also being heightened through the support by ASEANWEN, FREELAND Foundation, TRAFFIC International, and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity for continued training and capacity devel-
Photo by Hazel Laude
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opment of institutions and individuals involved in combating this big business of illegal wildlife trade. ACB and the ASEANWEN are working together to arrest illegal wildlife hunting in Southeast Asia. Under the ACB-ASEAN-WEN collaboration, a series of capacity building activities enhanced the understanding by ASEAN Member States of CITES policy and helped developed national regulations and policies on wildlife trafficking, particularly in engaging other sectors and agencies outside of environment ministries. In 2011, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded ARREST (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking) program was launched to fight trafficking in illegal wildlife in Asia in three ways: reduce consumer demand; strengthen law enforcement; and strengthening regional cooperation and anti-trafficking networks. ARREST partners include the ASEAN-WEN, FREELAND Foundation, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, ACRES, AsiaWorks TV, Conservation International China Program, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), GreenEyes China, IFAW, INTERPOL, JWT, National Geographic, MTVExit, Wildlife Alliance, US Department of State, US Department of Justice, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. “Citizens of ASEAN are also encouraged to contribute their share in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. Let’s stop patronizing food and accessories produced from the illegal trade, especially of endangered species. Let’s also be vigilant. We can help report cases wildlife trading,” Fuentes said.
Photo by Sahlee Barrer
â€˘ Viet Nam
Tam Dao National Park am Dao National Park is located about 70 kilometers north of Hanoi, Viet Nam. It extends 80 kilometers in the northwest and southeast direction, bordering the provinces of Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang and Vinh Phuc. Established as a National Park in March 1996, the park covers 36,883 hectares and is one of the largest national parks in Viet Nam. It is also one of the last natural areas close to urban Hanoi, which has not been transformed into agricultural land.
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PROFILES Situated on the northern fringe of the Red River Delta, Tam Dao National Park forms a unique ecological island, combining dense tropical rainforests with species from the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, the temperate forests of southern China and the alpine forests of the eastern Himalayas. The highest summit is Tam Dao North with an altitude of 1,592 meters. Three other peaks with beautiful scenery are Thien Thi at 1,375 meters, Thach Ban at 1,388 meters and Phu Nghia at 1,300 meters. Habitats The natural forest of Tam Dao is of two main types: lowland evergreen forest and lower montane evergreen forest. Lowland evergreen forest is distributed at elevations between 700 and 800 meters, and is heavily degraded. The diversity of tree species in this forest type is high, with the Fabaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Meliaceae, Burseraceae, Myrtaceae and Anacardiaceae families being well represented. Lower montane evergreen
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forest is distributed above 800 meters. This forest type is dominated by species in the Fagaceae, Lauraceae, Magnoliaceae, Aceraceae, Theaceae, Hamamelidaceae, Sapotaceae and Ericaceae families. A number of conifer species are also present, such as Decussocarpus fleuryi, Amentotaxus argotaenia, Podocarpus imbricatus and Fokienia hodginsii. In addition to the two main forest types, Tam Dao National Park supports elfin forest, dominated by species in the Ericaceae and Theaceae families. Wildlife The rich flora of the parks consists of 490 species belonging to 344 genera and 130 families. Rare and valuable flora such as Sam bong Po mu (Fokienia hodginsii), Kim giao (Polocarpus fleuryi), Lat hoa (Chukrasia tabularis), Lim xanh (Erythrophlocum fordii), Do quyen (Rhododendron simmi), Sen mat (Madhuca pasquieri), and Thong tre (Podocarpus nerlifolius) have been recorded in Tam Dao. The National Park is a habitat of diversified fauna, with 281 species
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belonging to 80 families and 26 orders. Eleven of these species are endemic to Tam Dao National Park including the snake species Amphiesma angeli and Boiga multitempolaris, the amphibian Paramerotriton deloustali and eight species of insects. Twenty-two (22) species are endemic to North Vietnam including nine bird species, four reptiles, three amphibians and six species of insects, while six are endemic to Viet Nam (five bird species and one species of amphibian). Some of the birds that have been recorded in the park include Chinese francolin, yellow-legged buttonquail, red-headed trogon, Asian koel, Asian palm swift, Asian paradiseflycatcher, rufescent prinia, and chestnut bunting. Conservation Programme In 2003, over 190,000 people, belonging to six different ethnic groups, live in the immediate surroundings of the national park. These communities rely on the resources of the park as grazing land for livestock,
as well as source of firewood and bamboo, and edible and medicinal plants. They also hunt wild animals, and collect water in the area for drinking and irrigation. Balancing the needs of the community as well as the goals of conserving the wildlife resources of the park was a challenge for protected area managers. At the time, there was a lack of instruments for balancing the competing demands of local usage and governmentsupported efforts to develop agriculture, industry and tourism, and a lack of strategies for the sustainable protection and management of the natural resources. A project on the Management of Tam Dao National Park and Buffer Zones was thus established with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which would be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and relevant Peopleâ€™s Committees from 2003 to 2009. The project aimed to improve the management of the Tam Dao National Park; guarantee the protection and conservation of biodiversity; and enhance the livelihoods of the population living in the parkâ€™s buffer zones. The project resulted in the introduction of more than 80 village-based resource-use plans in all provinces encompassing the park. There is also greater understanding among stakeholders of environmental and resource-conservation issues. Models for forest rehabilitation, including the re-introduction of indigenous trees, have
been introduced and implemented. Tam Dao National Park is also home to the Moon Bear Rescue Center, which is operated by Animals Asia Foundation (AAF). Hailed as one of the most successful conservation stories in Viet Nam, the sanctuary is currently home to 99 sun bears and moor bears. The bears were confiscated from bile farms or voluntarily given up by pet owners. On bear farms, the animals are kept in cages with catheters in their gall bladders, allowing bile to drip into a container. The bile is then sold as a traditional medicine. Sun bears, the smallest of the bear family, and moon bears, which have a distinctive white “V” on their chests, are both threatened species. The center will eventually house 200 to 250 bears, mostly
animals that have suffered for years on bile farms. Ecotourism Tam Dao is popular with tourists since it provides a cool refuge during the warm summer months and is only an hour and a half away from Hanoi. The park is frequented by birdwatchers and popular birding routes include trails from Tam Dao town to Rung Rinh, the walk up 500 steps to the television tower above the town, and the walk through the forest from behind the park headquarters to Nung Village. Visitors can also visit the Moon Bear Rescue Center and help support efforts to rescue endangered sun and moon bears from bile farms. Aside from the national park, visitors can go to Tam Dao town, which was
originally developed as a hill station by the French colonialists in the early 20th century. In recent years, the town has been re-established as a site for tourism, and now receives thousands of domestic and foreign tourists each year. Tam Dao is nestled in a valley covering only three sq km. Attractions include a number of cafes, some villas and buildings built by French colonists, Thac Bac (the Silver Fall) and Rung Rinh peak. The town also has the Tay Thien Quoc Mau Temple (Temple of East Heaven National Mother) and several pagodas. How to get there Tam Dao National Park can be reached following National Road No.2 to Vinh Yen Town (Vinh Phuc Province) where you should
turn right in to National Road No.2B and go further about 13 kilometers. References: Animals Asia Foundation (www.animalsasia.org) Birding in Vietnam (http:// birdlifeindochina.org/birdlife/ birdwatch/tamdao.html) Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (http://www.gtz. de/en/themen/umweltinfrastruktur/10064.htm Vietnam Beauty (http:// www.vietnam-beauty. com/top-destinations/ vietnam-national-parks-anature-reserves/26-vietnam-nationalparks-a-nature-reserves/149-tam-daonational-park-a-unique-tourist-site. html) Vietnam.com (http://www. vietnam.com/listing/tam-daonational-park.html) Vietnam National Parks (http:// www.vietnamnationalparks. org/vietnam-national-parks/ north-eastern-area/tam-daonational-park.html)
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Savu Sea Marine National Park n 2009, Indonesia launched INDONESIA Savu Sea Marine National Park, Southeast Asia’s biggest marine park, at the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Sulawesi. Savu Sea is located in the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur and borders the west coast of East Timor. Covering 3.5 million hectares, the Savu Sea Marine National Park was established with a primary aim to better manage rapidly increasing pressures on cetaceans and other large marine life, to safeguard their associated habitats, and to develop sustainable fisheries for local communities – an estimated total of 4.5 million people are dependent on the seas in this region. The initiative will also boost the representation of ‘dee-sea yet near shore’ habitats for the marine protected area (MPA) networks in the Coral Triangle.
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PROFILES Habitats The Savu Sea lies at the intersection of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its deep ocean trenches (which can extend downward to more than 6,500 feet) are a highway for migrating cetaceans and turtles and are used by 14 species of whale, including the blue whale. These areas also act as nurseries and feeding grounds for whales and dolphins, which are attracted to these highly productive waters. And sea turtles surf on the exceptionally strong currents of the Indonesian throughflow to reach favored beaches for nesting. The combination of strong currents and steep underwater cliffs make the Savu Sea ideal for these migrating endangered species. But just as importantly, they cause cold-water, nutrient-rich upwellings that serve two purposes. First, they keep the corals cool and protect them from bleaching during periods of increased water temperature. Second, the nutrients make marine habitats more productive, helping them support large populations of fish such as tuna and making the Savu Sea the “bread basket” of the Lesser Sunda. As a result, the Savu Sea is one of the most resilient and adaptive tropical marine ecosystems in the world in terms of future climate change impacts, particularly sea temperature rise. If properly protected, the Savu Sea will become a refuge for coral reefs, large marine life and productive fisheries amid global climate change. Biodiversity Savu sea waters is located in the Coral Triangle, which has the
highest coral reef and other sealife biodiversity level in the world. It includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. Recorded biodiversity in the Savu Sea Marine National Park include 500 species of corals, 11 species of mangrove, 31 species of marine mammals (18 species of whale, 12 species of dolphins, one species of dugong), and six species of turtles. Some of the sea mammals found in the Savu Sea include the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata), killer whale (Orcinus orca), short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrohynchus), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata), spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis)
and bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The six (out seven total) turtle species found in the marine park are the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), loggerhead turtle (Carreta carreta), and flatback turtle (Natator depressus). Several turtle nesting beaches have been identified but further study is necessary to plan for sea turtle conservation in Savu Sea. Other marine resources in the Savu Sea includes small pelagic fish, which mainly consists of tiny fish such as mackerels, tiny sea fish, flying fish, bloatfish, spanish mackerel, and sailfish, among others. The small pelagic fish are marketed for local consumption, regional markets and as baits for large pelagic fishing. Large pelagic fish (found mostly in deep
waters) consist of skipjack, tuna, madidihang tuna, large-eyed fish, albacore and marlin. Almost all kinds of tuna can be found in the waters of Nusa Tenggara Timur, except for northern blue-fin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and southern blue-fin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus). Demersal fish (groups of fish living on the bottom/near the bottom of the waters) include grouper, bambangan, white pomfret, snapper, marlin, gerot-gerot fish, sea sponge, tonguefish, kapas-kapas, wangi batu and kipper. Threats Pressures on the environment in the Savu Sea Marine National Park include pollution, poor law enforcement, unsustainable fishery harvests to satisfy increasing demands for fish, and illegal fishing practices such as the use of explosives and cyanide. Endangered species such
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as whales and turtles also suffer as bycatch in fishing. These and other threats, including climate change, damage marine systems and spoil coastal habitats. Conservation Programme The Savu Sea Marine Protection Area Development Project was initiated by the Department of Marine and Fishery of Indonesia to develop the largest marine conservation area in the Coral Triangle. The Nature Conservancy-Savu Sea MPA Development Project (TNC-Savu Sea Project) supports the Government in its attempts to plan, develop and establish Savu Sea Marine National Park in Savu sea territory as one of the comparison location for developing the Lesser Sunda Eco-region marine conservation area network in cooperation with the East Nusa Tenggara provincial government and Tim Pengkajian, Penetapan dan Perancangan Pengelolaan Kawasan Konservasi Perairan Laut Sawu (Tim P4KKP Laut Sawu). The German Government, through the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, is supporting the Savu Sea Marine National Park in East Nusa Tenggara in accordance with the 60 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
Indonesian governmentâ€™s commitment to enlarge its marine conservation area to 20 million hectares in 2020 and to help achieve the goals of the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fishery and Food Sustainability (CTI-CFF). The German Government support is channeled through the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safetyâ€™s (BMU) International Climate Change Initiative. It helped facilitate the establishment of the Savu Sea Marine National Park in May 2009 and has been instrumental in facilitating active participation and engagement of all key stakeholders in the management of the marine park - from the national government to the provincial and community levels. It also included local NGOs, community c organizations, fishery industries, universities and other stakeholders. The project built and supported the capacity of the Tim P4KKP Laut Sawu (Team for the Study, Determination and Management Planning of the Savu Sea MPA), a multi-stakeholder forum established through a provincial government decree to support establishment and management of the marine park.
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The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is also providing assistance in managing the reserve and is contributing to efforts to stamp out illegal practices and develop ecotourism. Ecotourism Due to the areas rich marine biodiversity, divers from around the world flock to see the spectacular marine life of the Lesser Sundas and the Savu Sea. Surfing is also another popular activity among visitors. In Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), villagers from Lamalera and Lamakera on Lembata and Solor Islands respectively have a tradition of whalefishing that dates back a hundred years. This forms part of subsistence whaling fishery (that also takes toothed whales, manta rays and dolphins) that has been allowed to continue. Subsistence whaling includes the use of traditional fishing tools (made from local materials), which can only be carried out by the local population (specifically from villages in Lamalera) where the catch is to be used for domestic needs, and not for commerce or trade. While there is great respect for traditional practices, this can also be an opportunity to introduce new wildlife ecotourism ventures.
This will help conserve threatened marine species as well as provide economic benefits to local communities. Development of ecotourism operations based on interactions with whale sharks could provide a potential conservation and management strategy as well as provide considerable income to local communities. References: Coral Triangle Initiative (http:// www.coraltriangleinitiative.org/ news/german-governmentsupports-multi-stakeholderparticipation-savu-sea-mpa) Reuters (http://www.reuters. com/article/2009/05/14/ us-indonesia-marineidUSTRE54D1T820090514) Savu Sea Marine National Park (http://tnplautsawu.net/html/) Stacey, Natasha; Johanna Karam; Mark G. Meekan; Samuel Pickering; and Jotham Ninef. 2012. Prospects for whale shark conservation in Eastern Indonesia through bajo traditional ecological knowledge and community-based monitoring. Conservation and Society. Vol. 10, Issue 1, Pages 63-75. (http://www. conservationandsociety. org/article.asp?issn=09724923;year=2012;volume=10;is sue=1;spage=63;epage=75;au last=Stacey) The Nature Conservancy (http://www.nature. org/ourinitiatives/regions/ asiaandthepacific/indonesia/ placesweprotect/savu-sea. xml)
BOOKMARKS ACB announces new Governing Board Chair Dana A. Kartakusuma of Indonesia is the new chairperson of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity’s (ACB) Governing Board, succeeding Mr. Vann Monyneath of Cambodia. Composed of the ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN), the Governing Board has overall responsibility and accountability for the operations of ACB. Mr. Kartakusuma is the assistant minister for economy and sustainable development Kartakusuma and acting assistant minister for global environment of Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment. He is the chair of ASOEN-Indonesia and the chair of the ASOEN from 2011 to 2014. Mr. Kartakusuma is also the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) operational focal point and a member of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Governing Board for the period of 2012-2013, representing the Group of Asia. Between 1978 and 1989, he worked with the Ministry of Public Works, Directorate of Planning and Programming of the DG Water Resource Development before transferring to the Bureau for Planning, where he also served as the Secretary of The EIA Technical Team. From 1989 to 2006, he held various posts with the Ministry of Environment. Mr. Kartakusuma holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), a Bachelor in Management degree from the University of Indonesia, and Master of Science degree in Environment Management from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Collaboration with the University Paris XII.
CBD has new executive secretary United Nations SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon announced on January 20 the appointment of Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, a Brazilian, as Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, at the Assistant SecretaryGeneral level. Mr. Dias will succeed Ahmed Djoghlaf, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his continued commitment and contribution to the Convention on Biologi- Dias cal Diversity (CBD) in his capacity as Executive Secretary. Mr. Dias brings to this position extensive experience in policymaking and in coordinating the implementation of biodiversity policies, programs, and projects at the national and international level. Currently the National Secretary for Biodiversity and Forests at the Brazilian Ministry of the
Environment, Mr. Dias is directly responsible for overseeing several multi-institution programs and the work of four institutions attached to the Ministry. He has been deeply involved with the negotiations and implementation of the CBD since its origin. He also participated, as a member of the Brazilian delegation, in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee of the CBD. Mr. Dias was previously a Member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility, Vice-President of the International Union of Biological Sciences, and the Steering Committee Coordinator of the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network. He holds a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from the University of Brasilia and is a trained scientist, with a doctorate in zoology from the University of Edinburgh. Born in 1953, Mr. Dias is married and has one child.
GBIF has new secretary The new Executive Secretary of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Donald Hobern, has taken up his post and set out his vision for the direction of the organization in coming years. Hobern, former director of the Atlas of Living Australia, succeeds Nicholas King as director of the GBIF Secretariat based in Copenhagen. GBIF was set up by governments in 2001 to encourHobern age free and open access to biodiversity data, via the Internet. With a secretariat in Copenhagen, its participants include national governments and international organizations. More than 320 million primary biodiversity records (records of the occurrence of named organisms) have been mobilized via the GBIF data portal (http:// data.gbif.org), from more than 9,000 datasets held by over 300 data publishers. The data are used in a variety of scientific and policy applications, including predicting the spread of invasive alien species, projecting the impacts of climate change, maintaining the genetic diversity of crops and identifying priority areas for conservation. GBIF Secretariat
International organizations renew alliance to conserve SE Asia’s marine biodiversity Two international organizations have renewed their alliance to help conserve Southeast Asia’s dwindling marine biodiversity. The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) have signed a letter of commitment (LOC) renewing their cooperation to promote the conservation and sustainable use of coastal marine biodiversity. The LOC was signed by Rodrigo Fuentes, Executive Director of ACB, and Raphael Lotilla III, Executive Director of PEMSEA. The renewed alliance will continue the two institutions’ partnership in the areas of information exchange, capacity
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BOOKMARKS tablish and maintain its website using Joomla!; and upload contents and other website enhancements. Participants to the workshop included CHM managers and staff, PA and park managers and staff, GIS staff and mappers, information technology staff, museum curators, staff of NGOs, and researchers from academic institutions with biodiversity data.
Asian countries act to save dying profession of taxonomy Mr. Fuentes (seated, left) and Mr. Lotilla (seated, right) sign the LOC while Mr. Adrian Ross of PEMSEA and Ms.Clarissa Arida of ACB witness the signing.
development, policy advocacy, and public awareness. The first LOC was signed on August 27, 2009. The first joint activity for 2012 will be ACB’s participation in the East Asian Seas Congress being organized by PEMSEA. The congress will be held from July 9 to 13 this year in Changwon City, Republic of Korea. ACB and PEMSEA will co-convene a workshop on achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the new global targets in reducing the rate of biodiversity loss. The Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as Aichi Targets, addresses the underlying causes of biodiversity loss through global action to reduce the pressures on biodiversity, safeguard biodiversity at all levels, enhance the benefits provided by biodiversity, and provide for capacity-building.
ACB and Myanmar hold workshop on biodiversity information management The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and information management experts from Myanmar recently conducted a workshop on biodiversity information management to enhance the country’s capacity to manage its biodiversity resources. The workshop, which was held at capital city Nay Phi Taw from February 6 to 10, enabled Myanmar to enhance its capacity for the management of biodiversity clearinghouse mechanism (CHM) and establishment of species and protected areas (PA) database. Dr. Sheila Vergara, director of ACB’s biodiversity information management unit, said the workshop specifically helped Myanmar to digitize species and PA information; organize species and PA information into summaries useful for species and ecosystems management; map species and habitats based on available information; establish and manage Myanmar’s CHM focusing on defining roles of stakeholders, CHM managers and CHM focal points; es-
Ms. Clarissa C. Arida, ACB director for programme development and implementation, address participants of the taxonomy workshop.
The dying profession of taxonomy received a boost in the arm when representatives of ten ASEAN Member States and Japan met in Hanoi on March 5 and 6 to plan for a project that will enhance the taxonomic capacities of countries in Southeast Asia and East Asia. The workshop planned the activities for the second year implementation of a project on Taxonomic Capacity Building and Governance for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity being implemented by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and funded by the ASEAN-Japan Integration Fund (JAIF). The project’s inception and planning meeting coincided with a planning workshop of the East and South East Asia Biodiversity Information Initiative conducted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan as its Secretariat. Participants were national focal points of the Global Taxonomy Initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), members of the ACB-JAIF Project Steering Committee; and members of the ACB Scientific Advisory Committee. Taxonomy is the science of naming, describing and classifying plants, animals and microorganisms. The CBD has recognized that the diminishing numbers of taxonomists all over the world and the lack of capacity of countries to do taxonomic work have contributed to the failure of the global community to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss.
ASEAN holds taxonomy workshop in Indonesia To boost the capacity of the ten ASEAN Member States to use taxonomy as a tool to conserve and sustainably manage biodiversity resources, ACB in partnership with Japan’s Ministry of Environment and CSC-LIPI in Bogor Indonesia, conducted a Training Workshop on Taxonomy of Terrestrial Plants on March 15 and 16 in Bogor, Indonesia.
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Taxonomy expert Dr. Edwino Fernando oversees the workshop
Held at Herbarium Bogoriense, Research Centre for Biology, CSC-LIPI, the workshop was attended by representatives of governments and the academe from ASEAN Member States, Japan, China, Korea and Mongolia, with background on botany, plant ecology and related fields. Participants learned about the general biology of terrestrial plants, especially Pandans, Palms and Orchids, and advanced methodologies in the areas of morphological observation, collecting, processing, managing, and databasing these terrestrial plants. The workshop was fourth in a series of activities under a project on Taxonomic Capacity Building and Governance for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity funded by JAIF.
In October 2010, the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10) adopted a new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity from 2011 to 2020 to enable the global community to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, sustainably manage biodiversity resources, and ensure access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits from such natural treasures. The new global Strategic Plan has set specific targets, also known as the Aichi Targets, covering all biodiversity concerns. To ensure that the new targets are met, the new Strategic Plan asks Parties to the CBD to update their NBSAPs with the Aichi Targets. Parties have been asked to include reporting on their adopted national targets at the CBD COP11 to be held in India in October 2012. The initial outcomes of their new national strategies will be reported during COP12. The Tam Dao workshop was co-convened and co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and NatureServe, in cooperation with the Biodiversity Conservation Agency of Viet Nam and ACB. The workshop was designed in co-ordination with the Secretariat of the CBD, and is an activity of the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership.
Search for best biodiversity and climate change reporting is on
ASEAN countries to update biodiversity strategies Representatives of ASEAN Member States held a three-day workshop in Tam Dao, Viet Nam on March 25-28 to learn and discuss ways to align their current National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) with the new global biodiversity targets. Participants were representatives of government agencies, NGOs and academic institutions who are involved in updating their respective countries’ NBSAPS. The participants learned about the requirements in setting new national targets and indicators and gained new ideas, inspiration and opportunities for NBSAP updating from the experience of other countries in the region.
Mr. Rolando A. Inciong, ACB’s head of communication and public affairs, announces the launch of the best in biodiversity and climate change reporting award
The hot issue of biodiversity and climate change received a much-needed public awareness boost when the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation) or GIZ, and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) launched the special award on “Best in Biodiversity and Climate Change Reporting” at the 16th National Press Forum on April 24 at Traders Hotel Manila. The launch of the special award was announced at the press forum by Rolando Inciong, head of ACB’s Communication and Public Affairs. “The relationship between biodiversity and climate change cannot be translated into a gut issue that the man on the street will understand without the help of media, especially the newspapers. GIZ and ACB recognize media’s significant role as a partner in demystifying biodiversity and promoting the link between biodiversity and climate change and highlighting their importance to humans,” Dr. Berthold Seibert, Project Manager of the ACB-GIZ Biodiversity and Climate Change Project, said.
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BOOKMARKS In recognition of media’s key role in generating a greater awareness of biodiversity, ACB and GIZ are partnering with the PPI for the special award, which will be part of the 2012-2013 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards. Hosted by PPI and The Coca-Cola Export Corporation, the awards is an annual event that aims to recognize community papers excelling in the field of civic journalism in the Philippines. “By opening this special category, ACB, GIZ and PPI will recognize the efforts of community journalists who have taken the initiative to educate more people about biodiversity and climate change,” Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of ACB, said.
GBIF reports successes in access to biodiversity data In its 2011 annual report released this month, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) highlights current achievements and compares them with the original aims of the body. The report features the growing use of data mobilized by GBIF’s global network of participant countries and organizations, in a wide range of peer-reviewed scientific studies. GBIF successes include: being cited as the source of data for more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers in 2011, making available more than 300 million individual records; new incentives for publishing biodiversity data with the introduction of the “data paper” describing datasets in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal; regional training events and mentoring grants, enabling the publication of several biodiversity datasets, portals and decision-making tools in African countries; and making available information on invasive alien species under a new joint work program for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. In Asia, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity is a regional partner.
The Philippines’ Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said that the adoption of the Manila Declaration reaffirms the commitment of member countries to step up their efforts, particularly on priority areas identified in the GPA, such as the reduction, control, and prevention of marine litter, wastewater, and pollution from fertilDENR Secretary Ramon Paje izers. He stressed that while the conference output is non-binding, “what is binding is our responsibility to our people who depend on our marine resources for employment, income and subsistence.” The Manila Declaration contains 16 provisions centering on programs to be undertaken for the period 2012-2016 at the international, regional, and national levels, and within the framework of integrated coastal management, on GPA’s priority areas such as marine litter, wastewater, pollution from fertilizer, and biodiversity loss. The Declaration also calls on member countries to engage and step up their efforts to develop strategies and policies on the sustainable use of nutrients as to improve nutrient use efficiency with attendant economic benefits for all stakeholders, including farmers, and to mitigate negative environmental impacts. A free iPhone application, named UNEP Carbon Calculator, was launched in December 2011 at the official opening of the One UN Pavilion at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi. Developed by GRID-Arendal for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this application allows users to access information on UNEP’s work on Blue Carbon and Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation (REDD);learn about coastal and forests ecosystems that are featured in the Application; and calculate the carbon dioxide emissions of air and road travel in terms of equivalent area in hectares of coastal (seagrass, mangroves, saltmarsh) and terrestrial (tropical humid and miombo) ecosystems. The application also provides information on specific actions that the users can take to minimize their carbon footprint and conserve carbon sinks. Available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian and Spanish, the application can be downloaded from the Apple store. UNEP
Global meeting adopts Manila Declaration for protection of marine environment Over 300 delegates, including 17 environmental ministers from 65 governments and the European Commission adopted the Manila Declaration on Furthering the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities. The declaration was made during the Global Conference on Land-Ocean Connections (GLOC) and the Third Intergovernmental Review (IGR3) Meeting on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment.
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BOOKMARKS Green investments in marine sector can bring economic and social benefits Healthy seas and coasts would pay healthy dividends in a green economy, according to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners on January 25. The report highlights the huge potential for economic growth and poverty eradication from well-managed marine sectors. The report, Green Economy in a Blue World, argues that the ecological health and economic productivity of marine and coastal ecosystems, which are currently in decline around the globe, can be boosted by shifting to a more sustainable economic approach that taps their natural potential - from generating renewable energy and promoting eco-tourism, to sustainable fisheries and transport. The report was produced by UNEP in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WorldFish Center and GRID-Arendal. The report highlights how the sustainable management of fertilizers would help reduce the cost of marine pollution caused by nitrogen and other nutrients used in agriculture, which is estimated at US$100 billion per year in the European Union alone. With five months to go before world governments meet at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil, Green Economy in a Blue World presents a case to stimulate countries to unlock the vast potential of the marine-based economy in a paradigm shift that would significantly reduce degradation to our oceans, while alleviating poverty and improving livelihoods. The synthesis report also examines how Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as those in the Asia-Pacific and Caribbean regions, can take advantage of green economy opportunities to reduce their vulnerability to climate change and promote sustainable growth. UNEP News
people, as well as the winners of the 2011 International Children’s Art Contest to “Celebrate the Forests;” a screening of film clips from the award-winning International Forest Film Festival, organized with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival; and the launch of the “Forest for People” book, with contributions from 75 authors from 35 countries. In addition, the Forest Heroes Awards were presented, recognizing regional forest heroes for their energy and visionary approach. The awardees were: Paul Nzegha Mzeka (Cameroon), Shigeatsu Hatakeyama (Japan), Anatoly Lebedev (Russian Federation), Paulo Adario (Brazil) and Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva (United States). Through activities held worldwide throughout 2011, the IYF promoted awareness of the issues confronting the world’s forests and the people who depend on them, and the vital role of people in the sustainable management of all types of forests. Several governments, regional and international organizations and Major Group members supported activities related to IYF 2011. UN DESA News
Viet Nam designates fourth Ramsar site The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) has announced that the Government of Viet Nam has designated the country’s fourth Wetland of International Importance, bringing the total number of Ramsar Sites globally to 2,000. The designation coincided with the celebration of World Wetlands Day 2012. According to Ramsar, Tram Chim National Park is one of the few places in the region where the Brownbeard Rice communities survive. It supports nine bird and five fish species that are globally threatened, over 20,000 waterbirds in the dry season, and more than one percent of population of six waterbird species. The site acts as a natural buffer against floods and droughts. Activities carried out on the wetland include tourism and fishing. Ramsar News
International Year of Forests closes with awards ceremony The International Year of Forests 2011 (IYF) came to an end with closing speeches and an awards ceremony held at UN Headquarters in New York on February 9. The closing event included: announcement of the winners of the 2011 Universal Postal Union’s international letter-writing competition, in which children imagined themselves as trees writing to
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World ocean summit set in December 2012 The World Ocean Council’s second “Sustainable Ocean Summit” (SOS) will be held December 3-5 in Washington D.C. to further advance leadership and collaboration among the diverse ocean business community in addressing marine environment and sustainability challenges. The SOS is the only international, cross-sectoral ocean sustainability conference designed by and for the private sector. The 2012 event builds on the highly successful SOS 2010, held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which drew together more than 150 representatives from a wide range of ocean industries. The conference will address priorities for cross-sectoral industry leadership and collaboration in ocean
sustainability, including: ocean policy, regulations and governance; marine spatial planning; the role of industries in ocean and climate observations; biosecurity and invasive species; fisheries and aquaculture interaction with other industries; cross-sectoral collaboration in responsible use of the Arctic; port waste reception facilities and marine debris; marine mammal interactions; and the role of finance, insurance and legal sectors in ocean sustainability. Limited opportunities are available for speakers to address the themes above. Experts interested in being considered as speakers are encouraged to contact the WOC: email@example.com. WOC News
ASEAN Biodiversity magazine online For in-depth information and news on biodiversity across Southeast Asia, check out the ASEAN Biodiversity Newsmagazine, the international publication of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)! ASEAN Biodiversity features special reports on biodiversity-related themes in the ASEAN context, such as climate change, ecotourism, transboundary protected areas, and ASEAN Heritage Parks. Profiles on protected areas provide information on the status of habitats and wildlife, and interesting activities in the parks. A pull-out section on specific species can be interesting reference materials for researchers and students. The magazine also features ongoing programs and activities of ACB that assist ASEAN Member States in addressing various biodiversity conservation issues. ACB welcomes contributions from volunteer writers and photographers who want to help popularize biodiversity. Interested parties may contact Mr. Rolando Inciong, Editor-in-Chief of ASEAN Biodiversity at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ms. Leslie Castillo at email@example.com, or call ACB at (+632) 928-3210 and (+632) 929-4147. For more information visit the ACB website at www.aseanbiodiversity.org.
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BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA Brunei Darussalam Designation of protected waters by mid-2012 eyed. The Fisheries Department announced its plan to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) on Brunei waters by middle of 2012. The MPAs are part of enforcement strategies under the National Plan of Action in combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing. A new patrol boat was also purchased to enhance the department’s monitoring, control and surveillance operations to curb illegal maritime activities. The Brunei Times Environmental preservation is vital. Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar of the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) stressed the significance of the environment in a talk on “The Malay Islamic Monarchy and the natural green environment” at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. He added that although some studies may show that Bruneians are more interested economic development, the MIPR would not allow development that would lead to massive habitat loss and the extinction of species. Laws and programs have been introduced to protect forests and wildlife, including the Heart of Borneo initiative, which was formed due to concerns over the deterioration of the forests of Borneo. YB Pehin Dato Hj Yahya added that as part of efforts to carry out the government’s responsibility towards the forests and resources, MIPR would continue to educate the public of the importance of protecting the natural environment. The Brunei Times HRH: Unite to preserve the environment. His Royal Highness Prince Haji ‘Abdul ‘Azim supported the call for increased awareness on environmental conservation during a dialogue with 200 youths at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. The dialogue, themed “Volunteerism and Empowering Young Leaders of Youth”, included a session where the youth shared their concerns on education and the environment. Some of the
environmental issues raised involved tougher penalties for improper trash disposal; cleanliness and solid waste management; and the creation of a network of school organizations to push for environmental goals. The Brunei Times Brunei ranked 26th in ‘Green’ Index. Brunei Darussalam ranked 26th in the world in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), only second behind Malaysia in the region and fourth in Asia. The EPI was developed in 2002 by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the European Commission and the World Economic Forum. Brunei ranked 26th out of 132 countries, which were ranked on environmental health; effects on human health of air and water; ecosystem effects of air and water resources; biodiversity and habitat; agriculture; forests; fisheries;and climate change and energy. In ASEAN, Malaysia is ranked 25, Thailand 34, Philippines 42, Singapore 52 and Indonesia 74. BruDirect.com
Cambodia Sun bear caretaker earns global prize. Chuon Vuthy, country program manager of Free the Bears, became the first Cambodian to win the Future for Nature Award at a ceremony in the Netherlands. Free the Bears works to rescue endangered bears and educate
Chuon Vuthy with a rescued sun bear
people about the need to protect them and their environment. The 50,000-euro award will be used to help fund three projects run by the NGO, which cares for 118 sun bears and Asiatic black bears at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Takeo province. The Future for Nature Award is a global award given to three outstanding young conservationists who were having a real impact in protecting endangered species. Free the Bears in Cambodia now cares for 118 sun bears, and is described as the world’s biggest sanctuary for the world’s smallest bear species. The Phnom Penh Post Community forestry inches closer to trade carbon credits The Cambodian For many years, Buddhist monks and villagers in Oddar Meanchey have been leading the fight to protect the forests in this northwestern part of Cambodia from illegal logging and concessions. Against all odds and pressures they have met in their mission, their efforts are now about to pay off. Thirteen community forestry sites – including the wellknown Monks’ Community Forestry which is led by Buddhist monk Venerable Bun Saluth – are well on their way to begin offering carbon credits to sell to investors.With the financial support from the United Nations Development Programme, villagers are now back in the protected forest sites to survey 100 biomass plots to measure how much carbon has been sequestered, said Amanda Bradley, Community Forestry Programme Director at Pact, an international non-governmental organization in Cambodia. Pact is working with community forestry groups in the province to help them preserve the forests and biodiversity on which they depend for sources of livelihood. UNDP Cambodia Hun Sen issues permanent ban on industry fishing at Tonle Sap lake. Prime Minister Hun Sen extended indefinitely a ban on commercial fishing in Tonle Sap lake, citing ongoing illegal fishing to the detriment of local villagers. Despite government restrictions, illegal fishers continued to burden
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BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA surrounding communities, often harassing villagers and using equipment that threaten the sustainability of the area. The newly extended ban covers 600,000 hectares of fishing waters in five provinces – Battambang, Siem Reap, Pursat, Kampong Thom and Kampong Chhang provinces. The area produced about 445,000 tonnes of fish in 2011, a jump from 400,000 in 2010, although government revenues from fishing had decreased because of illegal fishing. The Phnom Penh Post Endangered turtle released into Cambodian river. The southern river terrapin, one of the world’s most endangered turtles, has been released into a Cambodian river and will be tracked by satellite to see how it navigates through commercial fishing grounds and other man-made hazards. The terrapin is one of only about 200 adults remaining in the wild. Once the sole property of Cambodia’s kings, the 34-kilogram terrapin has been decimated along with other species by traffickers who cater to the demand for exotic wildlife in China. The Wildlife Conservation Society says the terrapin only survives in Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. NZ Herald
Expanding plantations were driving the elephants out of their natural habitat and forcing them into more frequent conflict with villagers in Nunukan district. WWF called for support for human-elephant conflict mitigation and the protection of remaining populations of pygmy elephants through sound forestry management activities. The Jakarta Globe 100 orangutans estimated lost in Indonesian fires. Conservationists warned that fires raging in the Tripa swamp forest in Aceh province may have killed a third of the rare Sumatran orangutans living there and all of them may be lost this year. About 200 critically endangered Sumatran orangutans still live there out of a world population estimated at 6,600. Cloud-free images from December 2011 show only 12,267 hectares of Tripa’s original 60,000 of forest remains. The rest has been broken up and degraded as palm oil companies drain the swamp. A prolonged drought and fires would endanger the survival of many other endangered species, such as tigers and sun bears. Associated Press
pending negotiations for the Nagoya Protocol. All the government has is a clearing house with limited information on resources such as plant and animal species. The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has been assigned to make a comprehensive database of the country’s biodiversity, given that it already had its own database and research. As of 2010, LIPI said it had identified and catalogued at least 2.5 million specimens of fauna and 2 million specimens of plants but efforts to build up a comprehensive database were held back by a lack of government attention and old, crashing computers. Biodiversity issues have also been set aside in favor of more popular issues such as climate change. The Jakarta Globe
Miller’s grizzled langur
Southern river terrapin
Indonesia Kalimantan palm plantations threaten last pygmy elephants. WWF Indonesia states that with no more than 80 Borneo pygmy elephants left in Indonesia, the massive clearing of forests to make way for palm oil plantations poses a major threat to the survival of the species. A four-year survey showed that all of the elephants were in northern East Kalimantan on the border with Malaysia’s Sabah state. 68 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
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No database for sea of biological wealth in Indonesia. The head of the Environment Ministry’s Genetic Resources Management Program said that the country might lay claim to being the country with the second-highest level of biodiversity in the world after Brazil, but the government has no database to catalogue that wealth. There used to be a database with the full data from 2005-10 on the medicinal properties of plants, but this was taken down
‘Extinct’ monkey rediscovered in Indonesia jungle. Using camera traps, scientists working in the jungles of Indonesia have rediscovered Miller’s grizzled langur, which was previously thought to be extinct. An extensive field survey in 2005 found no evidence of the species. The cameras recorded Miller’s grizzled langur in Wehea forest, on the eastern tip of Borneo island, an area well outside the monkey’s previously recorded home range. The monkey once roamed the northeastern part of Borneo, as well as the islands of Sumatra and Java and the Thai-Malay peninsula. Much of their habitats have been destroyed by fires, human encroachment and conversion of land for agriculture and mining. In the past, grizzly langurs were hunted to near extinction for their meat and the bezoar “stones” that
BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA can, on occasion, be found in their guts. Bezoars are believed by some to neutralize poison. The next step for scientists will be to return to the 38,000-hectare forest to try to determine the population of the grizzly langurs. The Guardian
Lao PDR Communal land titles could save more than forests. With pressure on natural resources increasing in Lao PDR, the first community land titles granted to five villages in Vientiane Province could provide a national model for environmental protection while safeguarding the livelihoods of villagers. The communal land titles can give communities the right to access and harvest natural resources, and overcome land concessions to companies. The title deeds cover an area of 2,189 hectares of bamboo-producing forest. Giving ownership of more of the land to the villagers who earn their living from it could be critical to the government’s stated ambition of restoring forest cover to 65 percent of the country by 2015. EC-FAO Food Security Programme ACRES And Lao Zoo open first wildlife rescue center in Vientiane. ACRES, Lao Zoo and the Love Wildlife Foundation, announced the establishment of the ACRES Wildlife Rescue and Education Center (AWREC) in Vientiane, Lao PDR. In recent years, Lao PDR has emerged as a source country in Asia’s illicit wildlife trade, which may threaten its rich biodiversity and those that depend on it. AWREC will provide a sanctuary to animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, primarily bears, and serve as a landmark educational facility to create wareness on the wildlife trade, environmental protection and a host of animal protection issues. ACRES will be providing technical assistance for the operation and management of the Lao Zoo. A new Wildlife Crime and Rescue Hotline will also be set up to help combat the illegal wildlife trade. ACRES and the Lao Zoo will work in close collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Division of the Department of Forestry Conservation
of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for all project activities. AsianScientist Japan eyes support for Lao forest protection. Forest cover in Lao PDR declined from more than 70 percent in 1940 to only 42 percent in 2002 due to rapid population growth and economic development. The Lao PDR government has been trying to promote forest conservation through the Forestry Strategy 2020, aiming to restore forest cover to 70 percent by 2020. It has been promoting Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) as a measure against climate change, and as a useful means to support farmers who rely on forests for their livelihood. In support of these goals, the government of Japan has committed to providing various forms of Official Development Assistance to Lao PDR’s forestry sector. This support includes the Forestry Sector Capacity Development Project, which focuses on capacity development for implementation of the Forestry Strategy 2020 and other forestry related issues; the Participatory Land and Forest Management Project, a field level project that aims to reduce deforestation at the local level; and the Programme for Forest Information Management, which includes construction of a forest resource information centre, development of a forest base map, and capacity building for forest information management. Vientiane Times Women’s groups confirm the importance of biodiversity conservation in Beung Kiat Ngong wetlands. The Mekong Water Dialogue’s work in Champassak Province, Lao PDR includes a study on women’s groups and their traditional use of natural resources. Part of local women’s daily work is the collection of fish and aquatic plants in Nong Takoat swamp within the wetlands using tools that the women make themselves, such as scoop nets, scoop baskets, and bamboo tube traps for eels, frogs and others. The food collected from the swamp is a
main part of the local families’ diets and the daily collection can usually support a family’s needs despite the growing local population. IUCN Lao PDR
Malaysia Malaysia to restrict trade in bigeyed sugar gliders. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) announced that Malaysia would tighten controls on the trade in sugar gliders, a big-eyed gliding possum increasingly popular in the pet trade in Southeast Asia and the United States. Perhilitan will move to protect sugar gliders under Malaysia’s Wildlife Conservation Act. Currently sugar gliders are subject to quotas in Malaysia, but the 225 annual harvest limit appears to be grossly exceeded. mongabay
Pangolin poachers busted. In its second pangolin bust in six months, the Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) arrested two local men and saved 18 live Pangolins. Perhilitan officers from Ipoh and Gerik patrolling the Gerik-Jeli highway spotted the car of a known poacher and gave chase until they caught up with the suspects. Though small, the seizure and arrests are significant in light of its proximity to protected areas and trafficking routes between northern Malaysia and southern Thailand. The case is being investigated under Section 68 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010. Perhilitan also confirmed that the seized pangolins have been released into the wild. WWF Malaysia Concern over rare rhino rouses clean energy drive. Potential threats to the rare Sumatran rhino, coral reefs, and other fragile animals
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BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA helped galvanize a highly publicized campaign in 2011 to stop a coalfired plant from being built on the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The coal plant was planned along Sabah’s coastline, 19 kilometers from the border of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Malaysia’s largest animal park and one of the last remaining habitats for the Sumatran rhinoceros. The world’s smallest rhinoceros at only about 4.3 feet tall, the Sumatran rhino is one of the most critically endangered species on Earth, with only 200 remaining in areas of Indonesia and Malaysia. Poachers and encroaching habitats have trimmed the number of rhinos on Borneo to an estimated 30 to 50. The Tabin reserve also includes pygmy elephants, Bornean orangutans, sun bears, and leopards. Protesters were armed with evidence that renewable energy such as hydropower, geothermal, and waste from the region’s abundant oil palm mills could compete with coal in costs. Environmentalists won the impassioned battle when government officials killed the plant in February 2011. Instead, a 300megawatt natural gas plant is slated to ease Sabah’s power crunch. National Geographic
Borneo’s most elusive feline photographed at unexpected elevation. Although known to science for 138 years, almost nothing is actually known about the bay cat (Pardofelis badia). This reddish-brown wild feline, endemic to the island of Borneo, has entirely eluded researchers and conservationists. The first photo of the cat wasn’t taken until 1998 and the first video was shot in 2010. A new camera trap 70 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
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study, however, in the Kelabit Highlands of the Malaysian state of Sarawak has added to the little knowledge scientists have by photographing a bay cat at never before seen elevations. The bay cat was photographed in Pulong Tau National Park, which unfortunately has no budget or infrastructure for conservation operations. Thought to be naturally rare, the bay cat is also imperiled by deforestation due to logging and palm oil plantations on the island of Borneo. The camera trapping expedition also recorded several other endangered species including the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi), marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata), banded civet (Hemigalus derbyanus), sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), sambar (Rusa unicolor), bearded pig (Sus barbatus), pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina), Hose’s langur (Presbytis hosei), tufted ground squirrel (Rheithrosciurus macrotis), and Bulwer’s pheasant (Lophura bulweri). The existence of these species highlights the need to strengthen the protection of Pulong Tau National Park. mongabay.com
Myanmar Environment law deterrents not strong enough: activists. Environmentalists warn that fines and jail terms specified in a new law designed to safeguard the
country’s natural environment may not be strong enough to deter foreign and local businesses. While individuals who violate the law face a jail term of up to five years, fines range from just K100,000 to K2 million (about US$2500). Though the Environmental Law was designed to deal with large projects implemented by local and foreign investors, the amount of the fine is minimal compared to the size of the investment. The Environmental Law contains 14 chapters that define the rights and responsibilities of the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, environmental standards, environmental conservation, management in urban areas, conservation of natural and cultural resources, process for businesses to apply for permission to engage in an enterprise that has the potential to damage the environment, prohibitions, offences and punishments. Myanmar Times Project to protect rare monkey gets new funding. A project led by Fauna and Flora International (FFI) to help protect the rare Myanmar snub-nosed monkey is one of 33 to get a share of £8.5m of funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the United Kingdom. The project will try to establish how many of the monkeys are left and
BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA how best to protect them. The new funding will pay for fieldwork to find out more about the species including distribution, behavior and threats. That will involve a community-based monitoring scheme. Conservationists will use the information to set up an action plan to protect the species. BBC News Myanmar snub-nosed monkey caught on camera. First described scientifically from a dead specimen collected by a local hunter in 2010, the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri) has now been photographed living in the wild for the first time. The discovery was made by a joint team from Fauna & Flora International, Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association, and People Resources and Conservation Foundation. The images were taken using camera traps, triggered by infra-red sensors, placed in the high, forested mountains of Burma’s northerly Kachin state, bordering China. The species has black fur, prominent lips and wide upturned nostrils that fill with water when it rains, causing the monkeys to sneeze. It differs from other snubnosed monkey species found in Viet Nam and China and has not been found outside Kachin State. Experts estimate that there are about 330 individuals left in the wild. Some of the females were carrying babies, signifying a new generation of Myanmar’s rarest primate. However, hunting and habitat loss mean that the species is likely to be classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The camera traps set up by the team also captured images of other rare animals, including the red panda, takin, marbled cat and Malayan sun bear. NewScientist
Snub nosed monkey
Philippines Endangered eagle hatched in Philippines. A Pinsker’s hawk-eagle chick hatched at the Philippine Eagle Foundation wildlife center in the Philippines is the first example of the species to be born in captivity. The Pinsker’s hawk-eagle, a genus of eagles found mainly in tropical Asia and in the Philippines, is considered endangered due to the loss of its natural habitat of subtropical lowland forest. Pinsker’s hawk-eagles are slender-bodied, medium-sized birds with rounded wings, long feathered legs, barred wings and crests and are usually found in forest habitats. UPI
land area. It is Pangasinan’s largest remaining forest and is considered as an important biodiversity area by the DENR. Philippine Daily Inquirer A turtle success story in the Philippines. In 2011, green sea turtles laid a staggering 1.44 million eggs on just one island in the Philippines, breaking all previous records. The graceful and enigmatic green turtle faces a variety of threats globally, and as a result is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Since 1984, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has kept records of nesting activity on Baguan Island in southern Philippines, one of nine islands forming the Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area (TIHPA), a unique sanctuary jointly managed by Malaysia and the Philippines. The DENR reported that a grand total of 14,220 green turtle nests were counted in 2011, breaking the previous record of 12,311 set in 1995. The development presents great hope for boosting green turtle populations. With an average of 90 percent hatching success and 1 percent survival rate up to sexual maturity, Baguan in 2011 alone could contribute up to 13,000 to the adult turtle population. Environmental News Network
Pinsker’s hawk eagle
Loggers target Pangasinan’s last rainforest. Environment officials state that Pangasinan’s largest remaining rainforest in Mangatarem town is threatened by illegal logging after roads were built deep into the forest for easier hauling of logs. A team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Mangatarem government and the military inspected the forest and discovered signs of illegal logging. From the main artery, the government inspection team discovered a network of smaller roads and trails that go deeper into the forest. The team saw felled trees, stumps and lumber ready for hauling. The area where illegal loggers had been operating was part of the 13,863.61-hectare old growth tropical rainforest of Mangatarem town, which comprises 44.7 percent of the town’s total
DENR to nominate Puerto Princesa Underground River as Ramsar Site. After its proclamation as one of the World’s Seven Wonders of Nature, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is set to nominate the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in Palawan as a Ramsar Site. Among PPUR’s many features is a spectacular limestone or karst landscape that contains an 8.2 kilometer-long underground river that flows directly to the sea. PPUR National Park encompasses various interconnecting ecosystems from the mountain to the sea, including eight types of forests such as ultramafic and limestone; inland wetlands like rivers and fresh swamp; karst ecosytems; and coastal wetlands such as tidal flats and seagrass beds. The Philippines currently has four Ramsar Sites: Olango Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu; Tubbataha Reefs in Palawan; Naujan
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BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA Lake in Mindoro Oriental; and Agusan Marsh in Agusan del Sur. DENR
Singapore Ayes all round for Singapore eye in the sky. Since May 2011, X-Sat, which hovers 800 kilometers above ground, has taken and beamed back more than 1,000 satellite images, including Sumatra’s forest fires and the Bangkok floods, from space to help researchers on the ground monitor the effects of environmental changes. The National Environment Agency and environmental consultancy Sentinel Asia have benefited from X-Sat’s images since the red-and-black photographs beamed by the satellite - with red denoting vegetation and black representing bodies of water can be used to measure soil erosion, sea pollution and environmental changes within an area of 50 kilometers by 30 kilometers. Wild Singapore Singapore green labeling scheme completes 20 years. The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) commemorated the 20th anniversary the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS). The scheme has played a significant role in business and the environment and helped consumers make informed decisions about their purchases; opened new opportunities and markets for businesses; and facilitated a shift towards green construction. SEC plans to expand the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme into the region by first reaching out to companies in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia where the scheme already enjoys considerable success. The next step would be to work with another group of countries with untapped expansion potential, such as Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR. Singapore Environment Council Green Mark hits 1,000th landmark. The sun louvres on the facade of the recently opened Pasir Ris Sports and Recreation Centre look brand-new, but they were actually made from timber benches from the old National Stadium. The use of the recycled materials and other environmentally friendly 72 ASEAN BIODIVERSITY
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Pasir Ris Sports and Recreation Centre
features has won the complex the Building and Construction Authority’s green certification, known as the Green Mark. The sports complex is also the 1,000th building in Singapore to attain the Green Mark, a milestone for the scheme that started with just 17 buildings in 2005. The Straits Times Singapore raises sea defenses against tide of climate change. Singapore covers 715 squaree kilometers and has already reclaimed large areas to expand its economy and population - boosting its land area by more than 20 percent since 1960. Now, a 15-kilometers stretch of crisp white beach is one of the key battlegrounds in Singapore’s campaign against rising sea levels linked to climate change. In 2011, the government decided the height of all new reclamations must be 2.25 meters (7.5 feet) above the highest recorded tide level - a rise of a meter over the previous mandated minimum height. The decision highlights the problem facing other low-lying island states and coastal cities and the need to prepare. Aside from sea live rise, Singapore also has to contend with more intense rainfall has caused floods in the city center. The country is also one of the most energy intensive in Asia since it needs massive resources to power its industries and airconditioned malls and office towers. The Times of India
Thailand Thailand wins three PATA Awards 2012, all in Environment and Heritage categories. A community-based homestay project
located in Sukhothai province was one of three Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) awards picked up by Thailand at the annual PATA conference held in Kuala Lumpur. The “Ban Na Ton Chang Community” project won a PATA Gold Award in the Heritage category. The other two were the PATA Grand Award won by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for its environmental project, “7 Greens Concept” and another Gold Award won by the Organic Agriculture Project, Sukhothai Airport, in the Environment Ecotourism Category. This is the first time that TAT and the Thai tourism industry won PATA awards in the environmental and heritage categories. Tourism Authority of Thailand TREES – a new mark of Thailand’s greenness. The Thai Green Building Institute launched TREES, a Thai scheme that provides green building certification. A green building certificate provides a certification of owners’ care in terms of efficiency in energy, water and other resources; protecting occupants’ health and improving employee productivity; and reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation. TREES covers eight areas – energy conservation, indoor environmental quality, location and landscape, materials and resources, building management, water conservation, innovation and environmental protection. About 30 percent of TREES criteria come from the LEED environmental assessment system, with the remainder modified to fit Thailand’s environment. CSR Thailand
BIODIVERSITY NEWS SOUTHEAST ASIA NGO says Thailand must list rosewood under CITES. In order to save its remaining forests, Thailand must list the rosewood under the Convention on the international Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) according to a report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Illegal logging and smuggling of rosewood is being driven by increasing demand in China since rosewood is used to produce high-end luxury furniture known as “Hongmu.” EIA adds that loggers are targeting two species, Thailand rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) and Burmese rosewood (Dalbergia bariensis), both of which are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. There is a nationwide ban on the logging of rosewood but this would be strengthened if the species were protected by CITES. mongabay.com Poaching for meat poses new extinction risk to Thai elephants. Thailand’s revered national symbol is being poached not just for its tusks but also for its meat. Two wild elephants were found slaughtered in December 2011 in a national park in western Thailand, alerting authorities to the new practice of consuming elephant meat. Consuming elephant meat is not common in Thailand, but some Asian cultures believe consuming animals’ reproductive organs can boost sexual prowess. The authorities report that the elephant meat was ordered by restaurants in Phuket. Poaching elephants is banned, and trafficking or possessing poached animal parts is also illegal. Elephant tusks are sought in the illegal ivory trade, and baby wild elephants are sometimes poached for inclusion in talent shows. The quest for ivory remains the top reason poachers kill elephants in Thailand. Thailand has less than 3,000 wild elephants and about 4,000 domesticated elephants, according to the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department. The Guardian
Viet Nam Sea level rise threatens Mekong rice. With Viet Nam’s fertile Mekong delta threatened by rising sea levels and saltwater
ingress, the country’s future as a major rice exporter depends critically on research underway in the Philippines. Scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are working with Vietnamese counterparts to develop a new strain of rice that can withstand submergence for over two weeks and also resist salinity. A floodtolerant variety, dubbed ‘scuba rice’, which has the submergence (SUB 1) rice gene, already offers half the solution. The Mekong delta accounts for nearly 50 percent of the 42 million tonnes of unmilled rice produced in Viet am - the world’s second largest rice exporter after Thailand - with three annual harvests. In 2011, Vietnam exported a record seven million tonnes of rice, mainly to the Philippines and other Asian markets. IPS Serow released from trap in Saola Nature Reserve, Viet Nam. Forest guards patrolling the Saola nature reserve in Thua Thien Hue Province, Viet Nam, found a serow, a species of goat-antelope, trapped in a snare set by poachers. After successfully removing the snare, the serow sprang up and disappeared into the forest. There are six species of serow, with the mainland serow (Capricornis milneedwardsii) native to China and Southeast Asia. The mainland serow is quite large and has been known to grow to be six feet long and three feet high at the shoulder, and an adult typically weighs over 150 kg. The mainland serow is territorial and lives alone or in small groups. It usually stays in a small area of only a few square miles where it grazes on grass, shoots and leaves from along beaten paths. It is most active at dawn and dusk, and spends the rest of the day in thick vegetation. The Saola nature reserve forest guard team removed more than 8,000 snares and 90 illegal hunting and logging camps during a sixmonth period in 2011. Management approaches in the reserve, which is home to the critically endangered saola, include an innovative forest guard model, management information system (MIST) and law enforcement activities that aim to tackle rampant poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. WWF
70 percent of lakes in Hanoi are polluted, need urgent solutions. According to the Center for Environment and Community Research, 71 percent of the 100 lakes in the six districts of the inner Hanoi city have incurred organic pollution from domestic wastewater and rubbish thrown into the lakes. Organic pollution is the source of phosphorus and nitrates, which lead to the increase the floating plants and algae. When the plants die they accumulate at the bottom of the lakes and reduce water volume. Algae decomposition also needs oxygen, which decreases the amount of oxygen in the water, thus affecting the life of aquatic animals. The pollution is also causing serious health issues for local communities. Government environment agencies are currently working on plans to address the issue. Vietnam Environment Administration
Irrawaddy dolphins sighted. A school of about 20 Irrawaddy dolphins has been sighted around the Ba Lua Archipelago in the protected Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve. The population was discovered by a group of researchers from the Centre for Biodiversity and Development run by the Institute of Tropical Biology and HCM City University of Natural Sciences. Little research on the Irrawaddy dolphin has been conducted in Viet Nam and they are not listed in the country’s Red Book of endangered species. The researchers will work with the International Union for Conservation of Nature to work out a detailed plant to protect the dolphins. In the meantime, the Centre for Biodiversity and Development has joined hands with local fishermen to track the population of dolphins in the Ba Lua Archipelago. Viet Nam News
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Striking damselfish (Chrysiptera cymatilis) According to Final Frontier: Newly Discovered Species of New Guinea (1998—2008), a report by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the damselfish (Chrysiptera cymatilis) is one of 1,060 new species found on or near the island of New Guinea. Found in 1999, the “striking” blue fish lives in the pristine Coral Triangle, a region that supports the most diverse marine ecosystems on Earth. The Coral Triangle covers the coastal waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, and is home to 3,000 species of fish and nearly 500 reefbuilding coral species – an amazing 75 percent of all known coral species – while its shores provide nesting grounds for six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles. The striking damselfish is marked by its brilliant deep blue color. It has lighter blue eye-like markings on the head and breast, and a black spot or blotch at the base of posterior dorsal rays. The damselfish also has tubed lateral line scales and its caudal fin is emarginate or has a shallow notch at
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the tip, similar to petals. The species is marine and reef-associated, and live in depths ranging from 3 to 20 meters. Adults are found in sheltered seaward coral reefs and lagoons and presumably feed on zooplankton. They are oviparous (egg laying) and eggs are deposited near the bottom, where they adhere to the substrate. Males guard and aerate the eggs. The striking damselfish will grow to a maximum total length of 3.6 centimeters. References: Encyclopedia of Life (http://eol.org/pages/210418/details) FishBase (http://www.fishbase.org/summary/ speciessummary.php?id=60765) National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ news/2011/06/pictures/110627-new-species-rare-animalspapua-new-guinea-wwf/) Thompson, Christian; Neil Stronach, Eric Verheij, Ted Mamu, Susanne Schmitt and Mark Wright. 2011. Final Frontier: Newly discovered species of New Guinea (1998 - 2008). World Wide Fund for Nature Western Malenesia Programme Office.
Indonesian speckled carpet shark (Hemiscyillum freycineti) Also known as Freycinet’s Epaulette shark, the Indonesian speckled carpet shark (Hemiscyillum freycineti) has beautifully patterned skin that resembles the coat of a leopard. Rust-brown hexagonal spots, with paler centers, are closely packed over the body. Smaller dark spots cover the snout, and large, dark ‘epaulettes’ (shoulder patches) are situated just behind the pectoral fins. The two dorsal fins and the anal fin are placed far back on the extremely long, thick tail. There is very little information on the biology of the Indonesian speckled carpet shark. During the day it hides in coral crevices or under overhangs, and at night the carpet shark becomes more active, and can be found using its pectoral fins to ‘walk’ along the sea bottom, hunting prey such as bony fishes and invertebrates. It is oviparous (egg laying) and may grow to as long as 72 centimeters. The species appears to be restricted to the Indonesian province of Papua Barat (West Papua), around the western peninsula of the island of New Guinea in the Western Central Pacific. The Indonesian speckled carpet shark occurs in shallow waters on coral reefs, and sandy and
grassy substrates. Given its habitat, this species is very susceptible to habitat destruction via dynamite fishing and other illegal fishing practices. Since it is a very attractive and hardy species the carpet shark may be sought for the aquarium trade. References: Encyclopedia of Life (http://eol.org/pages/208200/details) FishBase (http://www.fishbase.org/summary/ SpeciesSummary.php?id=5904) Kyne, P.M. & Heupel, M.R. 2011. Hemiscyllium freycineti. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 09 May 2012. Marine Species Indentification Portal (http://speciesidentification.org/species.php?species_group=sharks&menu entry=soorten&id=271&tab=beschrijving) Shark Foundation (http://www.shark.ch/Database/Search/ species.html?sh_id=1056) Thompson, Christian; Neil Stronach, Eric Verheij, Ted Mamu, Susanne Schmitt and Mark Wright. 2011. Final Frontier: Newly discovered species of New Guinea (1998 - 2008). World Wide Fund for Nature Western Malenesia Programme Office.
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Flasher wrasse (Cirrhilabrus cenderawasih) The flasher wrasse (Cirrhilabrus cenderawasih) is one
between about 22 to 60 meters, although it is
of several flasher wrasses discovered in Indonesia in
more abundant below about 35 meters. The fish
2006. Discovered in the marine environment of the
often travel in groups of about 10 to 20 individuals,
Vogelkop region of Papua, the species is endemic
including one to five males. It apparently feeds on
to Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia.
zooplankton, which is typical for the genus, at a
The fish is named for their brilliantly coloured
short distance above the bottom.
displays, which the normally drab males flash to
There are no known major threats to this species,
entice females to mate. The live colour pattern
although it is occasionally seen in the international
features of males include a pink overall coloration
with a broad, irregular yellow stripe or rectangular blotch on the middle of its side, and a series of
4-5 large, irregular black blotches along back.
FishBase (http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/ SpeciesSummary.php?ID=63948&genusname=Cirrhilabrus& speciesname=cenderawasih)
Females are mainly reddish pink with pupil sized black spot on upper caudal peduncle, or the narrow part of the body to which the tail attaches. This species inhabits sheltered rubble substrates at the base of slopes. It is common on sheltered seaward reefs, primarily on the inner and eastern portions of the Cenderawasih Bay at depths
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Rocha, L. 2010. Cirrhilabrus cenderawasih. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 10 May 2012. Thompson, Christian; Neil Stronach, Eric Verheij, Ted Mamu, Susanne Schmitt and Mark Wright. 2011. Final Frontier: Newly discovered species of New Guinea (1998 - 2008). World Wide Fund for Nature Western Malenesia Programme Office.
Snub-fin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni) One of the remarkable discoveries in New Guinea is the unexpected discovery in 2005 of a new species of dolphin called the snub-fin. The snub-fin is the first new dolphin species found anywhere in at least three decades. Originally thought to be a member of the Irrawaddy dolphins, researchers later determined that snub-fins are their own species, with a different coloration, skull shape, and fin and flipper measurements. Similar in appearance to its close relative the Irrawaddy dolphin, the snub-fin dolphin is a robust dolphin with a round melon and almost no beak, which gives its head a blunt appearance. A neck crease may be visible behind the head. It has a small triangular or falcate dorsal fin, giving it its name of snub-fin, and large spatulate flippers with rounded tips. The flukes are relatively small with pointed tips. The color of the snub-fin dolphin runs from slate to blue-grey. There is generally a darker cape on the dorsal side of the dolphin, with a lighter band of grey or brownish-grey on the side, and the belly is a lighter almost whitish grey. Calves are born a somewhat darker and more uniform grey and lighten with age. Adult size reaches 2.3 meters in females and 2.7 meters in males, and body mass reaches 130 kilograms. In terms of reproduction the calving season of the species is not well known. Gestation may last approximately 14 months. Maturity seems to be reached at 4-6 years of age and longevity is around 30 years.
Snub-fin dolphins appear to be opportunisticgeneralist feeders, eating a wide variety of fish and cephalopods associated with coastal-estuarine waters, including bottom-dwelling and pelagic fishes. Snub-fin dolphins are discontinuously distributed mostly in the coastal, shallow, brackish, or fresh turbid waters at the mouths of rivers. The species occurs in Northern Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Threats to snub-fin dolphins include habitat degradation and being accidently caught in fishing and anti-shark nets. Other conservation problems include loss of prey from over-fishing and destruction of fish habitat, vessel disturbance, pollution and maybe direct killing. References: Convention on Migratory Species (http://www.cms.int/ reports/small_cetaceans/data/O_heinsohni/O_heinsohni.htm) National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ news/2011/06/pictures/110627-new-species-rare-animalspapua-new-guinea-wwf/#/papua-new-guinea-new-specieswwf-snub-fin-dolphin_37041_600x450.jpg) Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (http://www2. wdcs.org/species/species.php?sp=Orcaella_heinsohni) World Wide Fund for Nature (http://wwf.panda. org/who_we_are/wwf_offices/australia/projects/index. cfm?uProjectID=AU0102)
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The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity Conserving Southeast Asia’s Biodiversity for Human Development and Survival
he ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is an intergovernmental regional centre of excellence that facilitates cooperation and coordination among the ten ASEAN Member States and with relevant national governments, regional and international organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such natural treasures. ACB’s goals are: • To serve as an effective coordinative body to facilitate discussion and resolution of cross-country biodiversity conservation issues; • To provide a framework and mechanism for sharing information, experiences, best practices and lessons learned for efficient access of ASEAN Member States; • To implement a pro-active approach in monitoring and assessing biodiversity conservation status as a strategic approach towards identifying critical issues and future trends; • To deliver/facilitate conduct of capacity-building services and technology transfer through engaging relevant and appropriate expertise; • To enhance common understanding of biodiversity conservation issues, strengthening ASEAN regional positions in negotiations and in compliance with relevant multilateral environmental agreements; • To promote public awareness to develop champions and enhance support at different stakeholder levels on biodiversity concerns; and
• To undertake innovative resource generation and mobilization measures to pursue highimpact activities that will enhance biodiversity conservation in the region. ACB supports ASEAN Member States in the following thematic concerns that are of global and regional importance: Agriculture and food security, including food certification and biodiversity; Access to, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits from biological and genetic resources; Climate change and biodiversity conservation; Ecotourism and biodiversity conservation; Payment for ecosystems services and valuation of biodiversity; Wildlife enforcement; Managing invasive alien species; Peatland management and biodiversity; Support to the Global Taxonomy Initiative; Support to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Programme of Work on Protected Areas; Managing biodiversity information and knowledge; and Business and biodiversity. For more information, log on to www.aseanbiodiversity.org. ACB Headquarters 3/F ERDB Building, Forestry Campus College, Laguna 4031, Philippines Telephone/Fax: +6349 536-3989 / +6349 536-2865