Urban trees – an air pollution solution?

Central_parkImage: Unsplash, Pixabay.com

One of a series of blogs written by CABI editors for One Health Day – November 3rd 2016

November 3rd 2016 will be host to the first ever One Health Day, an international campaign that aims to bring attention to how planetary health challenges are addressed.  It may not be obvious, but public health and the environment are inextricably interlinked.  The physical environment, which includes housing, sanitation, drinking water and air, has significant effects on human health and well-being.  Therefore, effective management of the environment is important, so that potential health issues can be avoided.  With this in mind, the focus of this blog is urban air pollution, its impact on health, and how trees could help improve the air quality in towns and cities.

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School expedition gathers data on biodiversity in Mexico

Scuba quadrat Scuba quadrats. Image credit: David H. Williams, Rye St Antony

Our guest blogger this month is David Williams, who is the Head of Science at Rye St Antony School, Oxford. He recently led a group of schoolgirls on an Operation Wallacea expedition to Mexico, where they took part in a conservation project which involved conducting mammal surveys and assessing the impacts of tourism on turtle populations and coral reefs. David tells his story as a diary looking at events over the two-week expedition.

I was delighted to be asked to blog on this subject. One of my student’s parents works at CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) – an organisation that focuses on the environment and biodiversity. As an editor at this organisation, she saw the opportunity to highlight the work of schools and conservation. I’m keen to promote science both as a career and as an interest for life, and feel that this is best done by encouraging an appreciation of science as a real, relevant and ongoing subject. My story starts here …

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World Water Week 2016 kicks off in Stockholm

Irrigation
Today marks the third day of the 26th World Water Week (28 August – 2 September), an annual event which is hosted and organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).  It is aimed at addressing global water issues as well as concerns related to international development. Each year, the event focuses on a different theme, to generate discussion of a specific water-related topic. The theme for this year’s event is “Water for Sustainable Growth”.

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Forestry and farming can deliver food security, says new report

EZine Forestry Report

A report published earlier this week by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) suggests that improving co-operation between the forestry and agricultural sectors could help to improve food security as well as reducing deforestation, highlighting the successful efforts of Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, Ghana, Vietnam, Tunisia and the Gambia. According to the FAO, integrating land-use planning is vital to balancing land uses, supported by suitable policy instruments to promote both sustainable agriculture and forests.

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Nuclear and isotopic techniques help the fight against land degradation

Cracked_land

Land degradation is the result of a number of largely human-induced factors, such as poor soil and water management practices, deforestation, overgrazing, improper crop rotation and unsustainable land use. In turn, these can significantly affect soil fertility, resulting in diminished crop yields and food insecurity.  Traditional methods of modelling and monitoring soil erosion usually require a large number of parameters and many years of taking measurements.  However, over the past decade, nuclear technologies and isotopic techniques have been introduced, which can effectively assess the soil and water status of an area, as well as identifying hot spots of land degradation. But how does it work?

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Ambitious landscape restoration target may be within reach

Forested_landscape
In September 2011, at a high-level meeting of world leaders, the Bonn Challenge was launched, with an ambitious goal to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s degraded and deforested land by 2020. This target was recently supplemented by the New York Declaration on Forests, which added an further 200 million hectares to be restored by 2030, putting the total area at 350 million ha, equivalent to an area the size of India.  Earlier this year, at the second Bonn Challenge conference, environment ministers discussed the progress that had been made.  Over 60 million hectares have already been taken under active restoration, and further pledges are in the pipeline.  With one-third of the world’s largest restoration initiative already within reach, there appears to be widespread recognition of the importance of forests in achieving multiple objectives such as tackling species extinction, climate change and restoring livelihoods.

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Indonesia’s mangroves key to climate change mitigation, says study

Mangrove_forest

Mangrove forests in Indonesia store approximately 3.14 billion tonnes of carbon, therefore protection of these ecosystems should be considered a major priority in terms of global climate change mitigation, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change

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