The study was led by Dr. Leandro Castello, a research associate at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), in collaboration with scientists from various institutions in the United States and Brazil. These included the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
Damage to Amazon freshwater ecosystems greatly impacts Amazonians, who historically have been so dependent on freshwater ecosystem goods and services that they have been called ‘water peoples.’ Current per capita fish consumption in the Brazilian Amazon averages 94 kg/yr in riverine populations, which is almost six times the world average. Increasing fishing pressure has shrunk the size of harvested species, partly due to the progressive depletion of high-value, large-bodied species. A century ago, the mean maximum body length of the main species harvested in the basin was ~206 cm—today it is ~79 cm.
Science and policy in the Amazon have focused largely on forests and their associated biodiversity and carbon stocks. Three decades of effort have generated an understanding of some key biophysical transitions in the basin, and established a network of protected areas, largely designed to preserve forests and their biodiversity. Little attention has been paid to freshwater ecosystems, which through the hydrological cycle are interconnected to other ecosystems at local and distant locations, being highly sensitive to a broad array of human impacts.
“Despite some terrestrial protections that are high by global standards, this paper shows key gaps in protection for the Amazon’s freshwater systems and species,” commented Robin Abell, the Senior Freshwater Conservation Biologist at World Wildlife Fund. The Madeira River basin, for example, is threatened by oil exploration, deforestation and dams in its headwaters, even though protected areas cover 26% of the catchment area. “The pressures that the authors detail need to be addressed now, before conservation opportunities are lost. Restoration can be far costlier than proactive protection,” cautioned Abell.
The principal threat to most Amazon freshwater ecosystems is large-scale alteration of the basin’s natural hydrology. “There are a total of 154 hydroelectric dams in operation, 21 in construction, and plans to construct 277 additional dams in the future. There are also thousands of small dams located in small streams to provide water for cattle,” noted coauthor Marcia Macedo of WHRC. “These infrastructure projects, together with deforestation-induced changes to regional rainfall, could fundamentally change the hydrology of Amazon freshwater systems,” she added. The study suggests that, if uncontrolled, such hydrological alterations could disrupt fish migrations and associated fishery yields, threatening riverine livelihoods and food security.
Adequate protection of Amazon freshwater ecosystems requires broadening the forest-centric focus of prevailing environmental management and conservation strategies to encompass aquatic ecosystems. By building upon existing protected areas, it is possible to develop a river catchment-based conservation framework that protects both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, effectively protecting the Amazon river-forest system. The Amazon watershed spans six countries, with Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru accounting for most of the area. Therefore, "A pan-Amazonian, catchment-based approach is critical, in addition to national conservation and management efforts," said coauthor Dr. Laura Hess of Earth Research Institute, UCSB.
“There are environmental issues everywhere, but the case with Amazon freshwater ecosystems is different, because no one talks about it. Their problem has been concealed,” said Castello. Emphasizing the need for a shift, he added, “Significant strides in Amazon conservation have been on deforestation because deforestation has been studied and monitored year after year. We now need to do the same for these aquatic ecosystems.”
The study can be found here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12008/abstractA map and the images can also be accessed here:
Ian Vorster | Newswise
New approach for environmental test on livestock drugs
27.07.2016 | Universität Zürich
Managing an endangered river across the US-Mexico border
18.07.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Neuartiges Ionenmikroskop nutzt einzelne Ionen, um Abbildungen mit einer Auflösung im Nanometerbereich zu erzeugen
Wissenschaftler um Georg Jacob von der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz haben ein Ionenmikroskop entwickelt, das nur mit exakt einem Ion pro Bildpixel...
Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...
Vor der Markteinführung müssen neue Computersysteme auf ihre Korrektheit überprüft werden. Jedoch ist eine vollständige Verifikation aufgrund der Komplexität heutiger Rechner aus Zeitgründen oft nicht möglich. Im nun gestarteten Projekt SELFIE verfolgt der Forschungsbereich Cyber-Physical Systems des Deutschen Forschungszentrums für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI) unter Leitung von Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler einen grundlegend neuen Ansatz, der es Systemen ermöglicht, sich nach der Produktion und Auslieferung selbst zu verifizieren. Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) unterstützt das Vorhaben über drei Jahre mit einer Fördersumme von 1,4 Millionen Euro.
In den letzten Jahrzehnten wurden enorme Fortschritte in der Computertechnik erzielt. Ergebnis dieser Entwicklung sind eingebettete und cyber-physische...
Elektronen offenbaren ihre Quanteneigenschaften, wenn man sie in engen Bereichen gefangen hält. Ein Forschungsteam mit TU Wien-Beteiligung baut Elektronen-Gefängnisse in Graphen.
Wenn man Elektronen in einem engen Gefängnis einsperrt, dann benehmen sie sich ganz anders als im freien Raum. Ähnlich wie die Elektronen in einem Atom können...
Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.
In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...
24.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen
24.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen
23.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen