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Tag Archive: restoration

  1. Restoration Economy: Save 220,000 Rural Jobs And Conserve Nature?

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    Feb 6 2017 Ecosystem Marketplace see full article here

    …. There is, however, a way to reduce regulations without hurting jobs or the environment ….companies save money by cutting jobs, and in this case, the jobs they cut will be those that pay people to plant trees, restore rivers, and turn soggy, unproductive farms into wetlands that filter water, purify air, and slow climate change.

    Those jobs are part of a $25 billion “restoration economy” that directly employs 126,000 people and supports 95,000 other jobs – mostly in small businesses – according to a 2015 survey that environmental economist Todd BenDor conducted through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    The restoration economy is already providing jobs for loggers across Oregon, and even some coal miners in Virginia, but it could disappear if the GOP environmental rollback continues. Here are 11 things you need to know to understand it.

    1.   It’s not Solar and Wind

    The restoration economy is not to be confused with the renewable energy boom that employs 374,000 people in solar parks and 101,738 on wind farms. Like those, however, the restoration economy is part of a burgeoning “green economy” that’s transforming forests, farms, and fields around the world.

    2.   It’s Government-Driven

    …The demand for restoration, however, isn’t as automatic as the demand for electricity is, because most companies and even some landowners won’t clean up their messes without an incentive to do so. Economists call these messes “externalities” because they dump an internal responsibility on the external world, and governments are created in part to deal with them – mostly through “command-and-control” regulation, but also through systems that let polluters either fix their messes or create something as good or better than what they destroy.

    3.   It’s Often Market-Based

    ….At least $2.8 billion per year flows through ecosystem markets in the United States, according to Ecosystem Marketplace research.

    4.   Infrastructure Also Drives Restoration

    The federal government – especially the military – holds itself to high environmental standards, as do many states. Government activities alone support thousands of restoration jobs. Government agencies are big buyers of credits, often to offset damage caused by infrastructure projects, but the link between infrastructure and restoration goes even deeper than that. In Philadelphia, for example, restoration workers are using water fees to restore degraded forests and fields as part of a plan to better manage storm runoff. In California, meadows and streams that control floods are legally treated as green infrastructure, to be funded from that pot of money. “Green infrastructure”, it turns out, is prettier than concrete and lasts longer to boot.

    5.   Markets Can Reduce Regulations

    Nature is complex, and rigid regulations often fail to address that complexity, as environmental economist Todd BenDor makes clear when he points to regulations ”….Done right, environmental markets can replace overly prescriptive regulations, but they still require government oversight and regulation. “Markets are entirely reliant on strong monitoring, verification, and enforcement of limits,” says BenDor. “Provisions must be made to ensure that, but in reality it’s often a problem.”

    6.   Restoration Stimulates Rural Economies

    In 2015, BenDor published a study called “Estimating the Size and Impact of the Ecological Restoration Economy”, which found restoration businesses in all 50 states. California had the most, but four “Red” states filled out the top five: Virginia, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. Last place went to North Dakota…

    7.   It’s been Mapped…

    8.   The Jobs are Robot-Proof…

    9.   The Jobs are Cost-Effective…

    10.  It Doesn’t Stifle Business…

    11.  It Can Be Improved…

  2. Why Nature Restoration Takes Time

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    Eureka Alert  Feb 8 2017  see full article here

    Relationships’ in the soil become stronger during the process of nature restoration. Although all major groups of soil life are already present in former agricultural soils, they are not really ‘connected’ at first. These connections need time to (literally) grow, and fungi are the star performers here (via Eureka Alert).

    ….A large European research team discovered that when you try to restore nature on grasslands formerly used as agricultural fields, there is something missing. Lead author Elly Morriën from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology explains: “All the overarching, known groups of soil organisms are present from the start, but the links between them are missing. Because they don’t ‘socialise’, the community isn’t ready to support a diverse plant community yet.”…

    …”Fungi turn out to play a very important role in nature restoration, appearing to drive the development of new networks in the soil.” In agricultural soils, the thready fungal hyphae are severely reduced by ploughing for example, and therefore the undamaged soil bacteria have an advantage and rule here. The researchers studied a series of former agricultural fields that had changed use 6 to 30 years previously. With time, there is a strong increase in the role of fungi….

  3. Kenya to Restore Denmark-sized Area of Degraded Land

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    Kenya announced on September 8th that it will restore 5.1 million hectares (12.6 million acres) of degraded land, an area roughly the size of Denmark, to more productive use. The move is poised to improve livelihoods, curb climate change, safeguard biodiversity and more.

    by Hayden Higgins and Aaron Minnick – September 13, 2016 World Resources Institute

    http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/09/kenya-restore-denmark-sized-area-degraded-land

    As a result of poor land use, including overcultivation and overgrazing, Kenya has been quickly losing land to desertification. The drylands that make up much of the country are particularly susceptible. Kenya’s restoration plan is not only notable because it will reverse some of this degradation, but because of how the country set its international target….…. The benefits of these actions go way beyond land—restoration can bolster several sectors of the environment and economy all at once. Estimates show carbon sequestered by restored trees will lower the country’s CO2 emissions by 3.7 percent (14.5 percent of Kenya’s greenhouse gas emissions came from forestry and land-use change in 2011). These reductions will in turn contribute towards other international environmental agreements, such as Kenya’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) to reduce its emissions 30 percent below business as usual by 2030….

    About three-quarters of Kenyans are farmers, and many citizens rely on land and resources for their livelihoods. Continent-wide, 3 percent of agricultural productivity is lost due to soil and nutrient loss. Restoration can boost the quality of soil, reduce drought and erosion, and increase crop yields. Restoring degraded lands to productivity can also improve air and water quality for residents. In particular, land restoration will benefit Kenya’s least-advantaged, including members of nomadic tribes that make their living by grazing livestock and growing food crops in the rangelands. These arid and semi-arid landscapes constitute 80 percent of the country, and are widely degraded. Hitting the 5.1 million hectare target means wide areas of rangeland will have to be restored.

    … Kenya’s commitment is just the latest addition to growing global and regional restoration movements. The Bonn Challenge reached in 2011 aims to restore 150 million hectares (371 million acres) of degraded land by 2020; 350 million (865 million acres) by 2030. So far, 38 countries, now including Kenya, have made commitments to restore degraded lands.

    Regionally, Kenya joins Burundi, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda in making restoration commitments. Collectively, they’ve promised to restore 46 million hectares (114 million acres) by 2030, goals that support the Bonn Challenge and AFR100, a regional, country-led initiative to restore 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of degraded land in Africa.

  4. Forest and watercourse interplay important for restorations

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    August 24, 2016 Umea University

    Humans utilise forests and watercourses in a way that depletes ecosystem habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Many areas are restored to break the trend, but to succeed you need to consider not only the ecosystem in mind, but also surrounding ecosystems.
    ….”Despite evident correlations between land and water ecosystems, forests and watercourses are nearly always restored separately in small-scale projects. When a forest ecosystem abounding in water has been depleted, it

    can be a struggle to retain its original status by restoring only one part of it. Instead, both land and aquatic environments need to be integrated in the restoration,” says Christer Nilsson, Professor at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Umeå University.

    Riparian zones along forest rivers are environments where forests and water meet and benefit from each other. The line of trees along the riparian zones provides shade and wood. Leaves and insects falling into the water are favourable for aquatic insects and bugs and eventually also for fish. Floodings wash up sediment, seeds and other plant parts onto riparian forest zones. New plants grow, which increases production and diversity. Aquatic larvae make up a good food source for insects, spiders, crustaceans, lizards and birds on land. Decaying fish carcasses removed from the river by large animals encourage the growth of riparian trees by enriching riparian areas with nitrogen. That in turn helps trees to grow and to shed more branches and leaves into the water….Free-flowing rivers surrounded by natural forest are expected to be more resistant to climate change than streams surrounded by clearcuts or urbanised areas.

    Another problem is that most studies are conducted at a local level with focus on short-term effects. Long-term recovery is often unknown and in the few cases where restorations of watercourses and forests have been coordinated, they have rarely been evaluated. Both well thought-out, basic measurements and reference areas are needed for comparisons. Good knowledge on ecosystems and their functions in the landscape are necessary to evaluate and improve the measures taken in a restoration project.

    “There are complex correlations over large areas to take into account, which means that seeing the final results of small-scale projects take time. Large-scale restoration projects with a landscape perspective stand a much higher chance of succeeding. Researchers and practicians who undertake restorations are faced with immense challenges ahead,” says Christer Nilsson.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160824110856.htm

    Joakim Hjältén, Christer Nilsson, Dolly Jørgensen, David Bell. Forest–Stream Links, Anthropogenic Stressors, and Climate Change: Implications for Restoration Planning. BioScience, 2016; 66 (8): 646 DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biw072

  5. SF Bay Area Parcel Tax for Tidal Marsh Restoration on Ballot for June 2016

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    The Facebook campus sits next to the Menlo Park Baylands amid the rich colors of the drying mud flats in Ravenswood Slough in this aerial view taken Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 2, 2015, in Menlo Park, Calif. (Karl Mondon)

    First-of-its-kind $12 parcel tax proposed for all nine Bay Area counties

    By Paul Rogers San Jose Mercury News Posted:   01/13/2016 06:09:53 AM PST

    In a milestone for San Francisco Bay restoration that also raises questions about who should pay to protect property from rising seas caused by climate change, a low-profile government agency is expected to place a $12 annual parcel tax on the June ballot in all nine Bay Area counties.

    The measure, whose campaign is being bankrolled by Silicon Valley business leaders and Bay Area environmental groups, is believed to be the first local tax ever placed before voters in all nine Bay Area counties. If approved by two-thirds of voters, the tax would raise $500 million over the next 20 years to build levees and restore thousands of acres of wetlands and tidal marshes as a buffer to storm surges and floods in every Bay Area county. “The bay is a beautiful asset we all want to protect and restore,” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 390 large technology companies and other employers. “… The leadership group, along with Save the Bay and the Bay Area Council, a business group, already has raised $700,000 toward a campaign and plans to raise up to $5 million. Influential leaders such as Robert Fisher of the Gap and John Doerr, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, already have donated to the campaign….Environmentalists say the measure is critical in helping fulfill long-term restoration plans around the bay. A study in October by more than 100 scientists, coordinated by the Coastal Conservancy and other organizations, found that 54,000 acres of wetlands — an area twice the size of the city of San Francisco — need to be restored around the bay in the next 15 years to provide protection from surging storms. The alternative is concrete sea walls, which can cost more and would turn the bay into a giant bathtub over time, with far fewer birds, fish and other wildlife, the report concluded. Driven by melting ice and expanding warming water, the bay and the Pacific Ocean off California will rise up to 1 foot in the next 20 years, 2 feet by 2050 and up to 5 feet by 2100, according to a 2012 study by the National Academy of Sciences.

    This is the most important thing we can do for the bay,” said David Lewis, executive director of Oakland-based Save the Bay. “There’s an urgency to restore tidal marshes, for ecological benefits and flood control benefits. The sooner we start the sooner they can provide benefits. But money has been the missing ingredient for a long time.”