Showing results for: Marine and aquatic ecosystems
The planetary boundaries concept provides a theoretical upper limit on human activity which the planet is able to sustain without major perturbation to the current ‘Earth system’. Previously, nine planetary boundaries (PBs) have been proposed and recently Steffen et al. (2015) have updated these boundary definitions and assessed the current state of the position of human activity with respect to each boundary. In this article, researchers from a number of food, climate change, agricultural and environmental research institutions around the world build on this work by assessing the impact of agriculture on each PB status, based on a detailed literature review of the available research.
This research calculates the carbon footprint of a meal to give a tangible example, aimed at the public in the US, about how daily food decisions can affect deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe). The study uses a life-cycle assessment (LCA) approach that takes into account GHGe arising from the conversion of mangrove to cattle pastures and mangrove to shrimping ponds as well as from forests to pasture (cattle induced deforestation).
A common hypothesis used to link declining human health to environmental outcomes predicts that illness will reduce human populations or harvest effort, thus benefitting the environment. When investigating the behaviour of fishers around Lake Victoria in Kenya, this research found little evidence that illness reduced fishing effort to indirectly benefit the environment. Instead, ill fishers shifted their fishing methods – using more illegal methods concentrated in inshore areas, that are less physically demanding but environmentally destructive.
This paper models human and natural influences on the global capture of wild marine fish. The researchers show that wild fish harvest increases during the 20th century were most likely explained by improvements in fishing technology. Their simulated future projections, that assume ongoing technological progress and open access (i.e. no policy constraints), suggest a long-term decrease in harvest due to over-fishing.
The authors used a species distribution model and applied this to the 887 marine fish (which represents 60% of global average annual catch in the 2000s) and invertebrate species in the world oceans under high and low emissions scenarios. The authors find that global maximum catch potential (MCP) is projected to decrease globally by 7.7% between 2010 and 2050, under the business as usual scenario, and the global revenue from this is predicted to decrease by 10.4% compared to 2010. Under the low emissions scenario, MCP is projected to decrease globally by 4.1% and revenue by 7.1%
This editorial article focuses on an aspect of agricultural food loss and waste, not often considered: the effects that a reduction in food loss and waste at the production stage, might have on the species that have become reliant on food waste.
Researchers from Conservation International have found a small island near Timor-Leste with staggering species richness. Atauro Island, home to about 8,000 people sits in the middle of the so-called Coral Triangle, known for its biodiverse marine environments.
This is the 2016 edition of the FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. The report estimates that fish now provide 6.7% of all protein consumed by humans globally, passing the 20kg per capita and year mark for the first time.
In this paper, researchers at the National University of Singapore identify the major land use changes associated with mangrove deforestation in Southeast Asia, with an aim of ultimately facilitating appropriately targeted policy interventions to manage the forests. Over a 12-year period, the researchers quantified LULCC in deforested patches, and classified the replacement land uses (e.g. aquaculture).
This new paper in Marine Policy suggests that eco-label improvements can be made by integrating the carbon footprints of products in sustainability assessments (eco-labels, sustainability certification, or consumer seafood sustainability guides).
This article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discuss the issue of bycatch – non target animals that are accidentally caught or entangled in fishing gear.
A new joint report by World Bank, FAO and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) entitled "Fish to 2030: Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture” looks at prospects for fisheries and aquaculture and suggests that aquaculture will provide close to two thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030. It highlights the continuing role of China as a major driver of aquaculture demand, and charts the decline in the relative importance of capture fisheries.
This 8 minute video from NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) features Kenny Black and Jo Gosling of the Scottish Association for Marine Science who discuss how fish farming might be made more sustainable.
A new study by researchers at University of Calgary published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the long-term legacy of past fertilizer applications must be considered in reducing nitrate contamination of aquatic ecosystems. The study finds that nitrogen fertilizer leaks out in the form of nitrate into groundwater for much longer than was previously thought. The long-term tracer study revealed that three decades after synthetic nitrogen (N) was applied to agricultural soils, 12–15% of the fertilizer-derived N was still residing in the soil organic matter, while 8–12% of the fertilizer N had already leaked toward the groundwater.