Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Amazon Freshwater Ecosystems Are Vulnerable to Degradation

04.02.2013
A study published in Conservation Letters this week found that freshwater ecosystems in the Amazon are highly vulnerable to environmental degradation. River, lake and wetland ecosystems—encompassing approximately one-fifth of the Amazon basin area—are being increasingly degraded by deforestation, pollution, construction of dams and waterways, and over-harvesting of plant and animal species.

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/abstract

A map and the images can also be accessed here:
http://whrc.org/news/pressroom/index.html
Castello, L., McGrath, D.G., Hess, L.L., Coe, M.T., Lefebvre, P.A., Petry, P., Macedo, M.N., Reno, V., Arantes, C.C. 2012. The vulnerability of Amazon freshwater ecosystems. Conservation Letters DOI: 10.1111/conl.12008

Ian Vorster | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.whrc.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Reibungswärme treibt hydrothermale Aktivität auf Enceladus an

Computersimulation zeigt, wie der Eismond Wasser in einem porösen Gesteinskern aufheizt

Wärme aus der Reibung von Gestein, ausgelöst durch starke Gezeitenkräfte, könnte der „Motor“ für die hydrothermale Aktivität auf dem Saturnmond Enceladus sein....

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Kleine Strukturen – große Wirkung

Innovative Schutzschicht für geringen Verbrauch künftiger Rolls-Royce Flugtriebwerke entwickelt

Gemeinsam mit Rolls-Royce Deutschland hat das Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS im Rahmen von zwei Vorhaben aus dem...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: Transparente Beschichtung für Alltagsanwendungen

Sport- und Outdoorbekleidung, die Wasser und Schmutz abweist, oder Windschutzscheiben, an denen kein Wasser kondensiert – viele alltägliche Produkte können von stark wasserabweisenden Beschichtungen profitieren. Am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) haben Forscher um Dr. Bastian E. Rapp einen Werkstoff für solche Beschichtungen entwickelt, der sowohl transparent als auch abriebfest ist: „Fluoropor“, einen fluorierten Polymerschaum mit durchgehender Nano-/Mikrostruktur. Sie stellen ihn in Nature Scientific Reports vor. (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15287-8)

In der Natur ist das Phänomen vor allem bei Lotuspflanzen bekannt: Wassertropfen perlen von der Blattoberfläche einfach ab. Diesen Lotuseffekt ahmen...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Kinderanästhesie aktuell: Symposium für Ärzte und Pflegekräfte

23.11.2017 | Veranstaltungen

IfBB bei 12th European Bioplastics Conference mit dabei: neue Marktzahlen, neue Forschungsthemen

22.11.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Zahnimplantate: Forschungsergebnisse und ihre Konsequenzen – 31. Kongress der DGI

22.11.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Kinderanästhesie aktuell: Symposium für Ärzte und Pflegekräfte

23.11.2017 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

Seminar „Leichtbau im Automobil- und Maschinenbau“ im Haus der Technik Berlin am 16. - 17. Januar 2018

23.11.2017 | Seminare Workshops

Biohausbau-Unternehmen Baufritz erhält von „ Capital“ die Auszeichnung „Beste Ausbilder Deutschlands“

23.11.2017 | Unternehmensmeldung