Pavan Sukhdev for accounting that is inclusiveof real natural wealth

Environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev, who stresses eco-friendly agriculture, solar power and protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services as free sources of income for the poor, is the new Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

An advocate of ‘GDP of the poor’ and biodiversity benefits going to millions of India’s less affluent citizens, Mr. Sukhdev spoke on many platforms at the ongoing Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity here on Wednesday. He was formally inducted by Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, to join such predecessors as Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and American actor Don Cheadle.

India’s top bureaucrats managing forests and elephants, and the wildlife conservation NGO community on Wednesday showcased public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives that promise to connect more of the 88 identified elephant corridors with forests, potentially reducing the stress on the species.

On its part, the Centre is considering hiking compensation for voluntary resettlement of residents to increase habitat available to elephants and reduce man-elephant conflict.

Namibia, the country with the ‘world’s oldest desert’ and two global biodiversity hot spots, is pursuing an uncommon conservation model— one that sets wild species survival quotas for local communities and allows ‘cropping’ of surplus animals.

A country of 2.1 million with a land area of about 800,000 sq km, Namibia has its entire 1,500 km-long coastline and 44 per cent of the land mass under conservation management. National parks constitute 17 per cent of the land. In contrast, India with its dense population has about 4.7 per cent of its total geographical area under a protected area network.

A major report that will help countries understand the economic value of inland wetlands, which cover a vast area of the earth’s land surface and provide key ecosystem services, was released at the conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity here on Tuesday. The message ofthe report is simply, ‘drain it, lose it.’

Inland wetlands cover at least 9.5 million sq km of the earth’s surface, and together with coastal wetlands, 12.8 million sq km. Restoration of this particular type of ecosystem is the most expensive. These water bodies provide clean water for drinking and agriculture, cooling water for the energy sector; they also regulate floods. Agriculture, fisheries and tourism sectors depend heavily on the health of wetlands.

State governments have acted positively to protect it, say agencies

The lion-tailed macaque, one of India’s endangered mascot species, is no longer on ‘The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates’ list, after the international body compiling it determined that the State governments had acted positively to protect it. The list of 25 primates is put out by a group of specialist agencies — the Primate Specialist Group of the IUCN/Species Survival Commission; the International Primatological Society; Conservation International (CI); and the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation.

Countries that wait to ratify international protocols relating to bio-safety are keen to understand the complexity involved and take an informed decision.

But they are likely to affect higher-level species such as birds, says ornithologist

The long-term environmental impacts of Genetically Modified Organisms need intensive study, but they are very likely to have impacts on higher-level species such as birds. Dr. P.A. Azeez, director of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, made that observation here in reply to a question on the potential impact of GMOs on bird diversity and health. He was speaking on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing Meeting of the Parties on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which covers living modified organisms.

One of India's iconic tiger reserves is emblematic of its efforts to save the big cat

Preserving India's wild tigers has become a popular cause today. Most people might never see a wild tiger, but they fully support measures to save it. They are aware that, in spite of several challenges, tigers do persist and need help. Poaching, mining, indifferent forest bureaucracies, highways in sanctuaries, and unrestrained consumerism — all pose a threat.

Steady release of mercury into the air, soil and water poses a significant health risk. But, it appears, not for policymakers in India.

Birth of a Greater One-horned Rhino calf seen as proof of continuing success of reintroduction plan
The birth of a Greater One-horned Rhinoceros calf about 10 days ago at the Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh is being seen as proof of the continuing success of a programme that began in 1984 to reintroduce the species in the habitat.

Starting with a population of seven under the plan, the 2