Biosphere – Biofera Fri, 11 Jun 2021 22:12:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Biosphere – Biofera 32 32 National estuary network helps fuel local economies, study finds Fri, 11 Jun 2021 20:10:54 +0000

A recently published study, commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts, offers insight into the important contributions the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) makes to local economies. Eastern Research Group Inc.’s analysis looked at just four of the system’s 29 reserves – Rookery Bay, Guana Tolomato Matanzas and Apalachicola in Florida and South Slough in Oregon – and conservatively estimated that together they generate over $ 165 million in annual revenues for their communities, including $ 56.4 million in wages paid for at least 1,762 jobs. In short, the study concluded that the work of reserves to build environmental resilience also supports local economic resilience.

The analysis was completed in January and released on March 31 and NOAA will be hosting a webinar on June 14 for reserve managers across the country to discuss the research process and how the results can be applied to make advance the goals of NERRS.

The four study sites educate, train and entertain nearly one million visitors per year, according to the analysis. And the activities that make the reserves popular with the public, including fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, kayaking, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, eco-tourism, and educational and vocational training programs. , also largely contribute to their economic contribution.

In addition, the four reserves provide approximately 423,475 acres of critical habitat and nesting or calving areas for a variety of species, including threatened and endangered Atlantic green, loggerhead and leatherback turtles, whales. critically endangered North Atlantic blackbirds, endangered Florida panthers and bald eagles. .

Reserve system works to protect vulnerable estuaries

The surrounding estuaries and wetlands are typically found where rivers meet the sea and form some of the most productive habitats in the world. Congress created NERRS in the early 1970s under the Coastal Zone Management Act, which was designed to use management plans and other tools to protect the country’s vulnerable coastal ecosystems from increased development and residential, recreational, commercial and industrial activities. The reserve system protects more than 1.3 million acres of coastal and Great Lakes estuarine habitat, including areas on the islands of Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and promotes research, monitoring, stewardship , training and education.

NERRS sites are created and managed through a partnership between NOAA and individual states. NOAA provides the bulk of national funding and direction, while the day-to-day management of each reserve is directed by a state agency or university, often assisted by local, regional, or government-wide non-governmental organizations. ‘State.

In fiscal 2021, NOAA, through congressional appropriations, invested more than $ 33 million in the reserve system, with state and academic partners adding $ 9 million. However, federal funding has remained essentially static in recent years, especially when it comes to accounting for inflation, despite increasing demands on NOAA resources and significant state interest in it. establishment of new sites. For example, Connecticut is in the final stages of designating its first reserve, Louisiana has started the process of creating its first site, and Wisconsin is exploring the possibility of a second reserve.

The economic contributions of NERRS could be much greater

Because the study’s methodology and calculations are quite conservative, its assessments “do not include the many economic benefits, such as ecosystem service values, that result from reserves fulfilling their missions. Incorporating these benefits would result in a much higher total economic value, ”the researchers said. Specifically, the report and supporting documents prepared by the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA) show that the reserves:

  • Protect economically important assets. For example, the Apalachicola Reserve supports a local fishing industry worth $ 14-16 million per year.
  • Fuel local economies. The Rookery Bay Preserve, for example, attracts more than 285,000 annual visitors, who spend nearly $ 11.5 million in the area each year.
  • Generate income. For example, operating expenses for Oregon’s South Slough NERR, including construction and maintenance of facilities, and salaries paid through 56 jobs directly or indirectly associated with the reserve contribute $ 5.3 million. dollars to the local economy.
  • Create jobs. Spending by visitors to the Rookery Bay Reserve, for example, directly creates 104 jobs and supports at least 408 more, mostly among businesses that offer recreation.

The NERRS is designed to protect and study estuarine ecosystems. The NOAA-Pew study shows that reserves also generate significant economic contributions for surrounding communities. The system is poised to scale up, and given its importance to local economies and ecosystems, the additional public and private sector investments needed to achieve this growth would be money well spent.

Identification of 4 national estuary reserves

The economic contributions that the country’s 29 national estuarine research reserves make to their communities are as diverse as the sites themselves. The economic, operational and environmental characteristics of the four NOAA-Pew study reserves reflect the distinctive cultures and climates of each region.

Apalachicola, Florida

Loggerhead turtles

Loggerhead turtles are one of three endangered turtle species that nest at NERRS sites in Florida, including the Apalachicola Preserve.
Janice Becker
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The Apalachicola Preserve, which spans Franklin, Gulf and Calhoun counties, is home to many species of freshwater and saltwater fish prized by Florida fishermen, as well as fiddle crabs, alligators , dolphins and over 280 native bird species. Second in size after the Kachemak Bay NERR in Alaska, the reserve also contains three barrier islands and much of the Apalachicola River, bay and its tributaries.

  • Area: Almost 235,000.
  • Annual visitors: 476 077 to 563 271. (The large size of the reserve and the numerous access points make it difficult to calculate a precise figure.)
  • Jobs: 664.
  • Revenue generated: $ 46.4 million, including $ 15.1 million in labor income.
  • Remarkable: Supports a fishery that generates 14 to 16 million dollars per year and directly supports up to 85% of the local population. Part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Guana Tolomato Matanzas, Florida

brown pelican

A brown pelican hovers above the Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR, which contains habitat and nesting sites for many species of marine life.
Steve allen

From Ponte Vedra Beach in the north to Palm Coast in the south, the reserve crosses Duval, St. Johns and Flagler counties and is home to mangroves, salt marshes and other critical habitat. It provides shelter and nurseries for dolphins, manatees, American alligators, indigo snakes and bald eagles.

  • Area: About 73,000.
  • Annual visitors: 222 361.
  • Jobs: 521.
  • Revenue generated: $ 57.6 M, including $ 20 M in labor income.
  • Remarkable: The reserve has nesting areas for threatened and endangered Atlantic green, loggerhead and leatherback turtles, and winter calving areas for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. extinction.

Rookery Bay, Florida

Rookery Bay, Florida

Two fishermen enjoy inshore fishing at Rookery Bay NERR. Outdoor recreation represents a substantial part of the reserve’s economic contributions to surrounding communities.
Sue Christensen

The Rookery Bay NERR spans most of the northern Ten Thousand Islands region in Collier and Lee counties of Florida, encompassing mangroves, marshes and upland habitats that attract dolphins, manatees, approximately 150 species of birds and the endangered Florida panther. The reserve is also home to breeding grounds for blue and stone crabs, snooks, tarpon and snappers.

  • Area: About 110,000.
  • Annual visitors: 285,369.
  • Jobs: 512.
  • Revenue generated: $ 55 million, including $ 19 million in labor income.
  • Remarkable: Rookery Bay has one of the largest mangrove estuaries in North America. More than 90% of visitors to the reserve in 2019 were boaters.

South Slough, Oregon

South Slough NERR

Canoeists roam the South Slough NERR, which despite its relatively small area and remote location attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year.
Greg Vaughn

The South Slough Preserve in Coos County, Oregon includes uplands with coniferous forests and freshwater streams, lowland wetlands and ponds, high and low grade marshes salt, mud flats and eelgrass beds, varied habitats that are home to salmon, elk and crabs.

  • Area: Almost 5,000.
  • Annual visitors: 9,947.
  • Jobs: 65.
  • Revenue generated: $ 6.1 M, including $ 2.3 M in labor income.
  • Remarkable: Conservation of the reserve supports commercial oyster farmers and provides important nursery habitat for nearby fisheries.

Thomas Wheatley manages ocean conservation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Pew Marine Life Conservation Project in the United States.

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SAM calls on Pahang government to stop mining activities in Tasik Chini Fri, 11 Jun 2021 05:04:59 +0000


KUALA LUMPUR – Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) called for immediate action by the government of Pahang State to save the natural ecosystem of Malaysia’s second largest freshwater lake, Tasik Chini in Pekan, Pahang.

Its chairman Meenakshi Raman said the actions include stopping all mining activities in Tasik Chini and its surroundings.

“Other measures that must be taken immediately are to demolish the spillway that has affected the natural ecosystem of Tasik Chini.

“SAM is also urging the state government to classify Tasik Chini and its surrounding areas as a protected area as it is an environmentally sensitive area,” she said in a statement here today.

Meenakshi said SAM was concerned that the state government ‘s failure to meet its full commitment to address the issue could jeopardize the Tasik Chini biosphere reserve status, granted by the United Nations for the education, science and culture (UNESCO) in May 2009.

The Pahang Environment Ministry, in a statement yesterday, said the water quality in Tasik Chini is clean and safe for all life.

The Tasik Chini issue went viral on social media recently following the spread of photographs allegedly showing the lake at risk due to mining activities.

It drew reactions from various parties, including Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who claimed the photographs were taken two years ago.

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Gray whale found off the coast of Namibia swam almost halfway across the world and set a migration record Thu, 10 Jun 2021 11:54:24 +0000

Image for representation. (Credit: REUTERS)

A 40-foot-long male gray whale became the first animal of its species to swim over 26,876 kilometers (16,700 miles), the longest distance on record in its history.

A 40-foot-long gray whale became the first animal of its species to swim over 26,876 kilometers (16,700 miles), the longest distance on record in their history. According to a study published Wednesday in Biology Letters, a group of scientists from the University of Durham and Sea Search Research and Conservation NPC, shows how they found a gray whale off the coast of Namibia which they say has roamed half of the globe to get there.

The gray whale traced by scientists is native to the North Pacific region. It was first noticed away from home in 2013, when fishermen reported its presence in Walvis Bay off the coast of Namibia. It was a very unusual sight since the gray whales had not been seen in the area. The report caught the attention of oceanographers and zoologists, which led to the training of researchers to learn more about the whale.

The team of researchers took a ship to obtain a small tissue sample of the 40-foot whale. Using this sample, Tess Gridley and Simon H. Elwen of Sea Search Research and Conservation teamed up with evolutionary biologist from Durham University Fatih Sarigol and A. Rus Hoelzel from the Department of Biosciences. Together, the team performed DNA analysis of whale genomes along with other gray whale genomes stored at the US National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Their analysis showed that the gray whale swimming around the Namibian coast was directly linked to an endangered western population of gray whales that normally live in the North Pacific. According to data, it is believed that there are only 200 western gray whales left in the world. Therefore, sightings of this gray whale are quite rare.

After confirming its origins, scientists then traced its possible route so far from its usual location. The study suggests that the male cetacean could have taken a Canadian route through the Northwest Passage, or that it could have swam from the southern route around South America or even across the Indian Ocean. Whichever route you take, the gray whale has clearly traveled half the planet. This unusual long-distance journey by the gray whale also suggests how warming oceans are forcing some marine animals to search for a better biosphere for their survival.

Read all the latest news, breaking news and coronavirus news here

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The award-winning Ballantrae food and drink festival is back online this weekend Wed, 09 Jun 2021 18:45:00 +0000

The award-winning Ballantrae food and drink festival will take place online again this year.

Following last year’s success, the festival is expanding its virtual reach by partnering with Norway, Finland and Germany.

And it aims to offer foodies a program filled with online markets, video presentations, discussions on sustainable food tourism and interactive sessions organized in collaboration with UNESCO Biospheres, The Scottish Food Guide and Slow Food.

Participants will understand; a farmer of wild sheep from Norhordland, a gatherer of wild foods from North Karelia and a producer of apple-sherry from Rhon – whose apple-sherry is aged in casks of Scotch whiskey.

The festival – which takes place this weekend on Saturday June 12 and Sunday June 13 – is supported by Ballantrae Community Development Trust and the revolutionary format adapted to last year’s Covid saw more than 7,000 visitors engage in line, compared to around 3,000 to 4,000 in previous events.

Organizers hope to build on that commitment this year with the benefit of additional funding partners and with support from the Scotland Food and Drink Regional Food Group, whose coordinators have been working with the Ballantrae team since October 2020.

Dr Mhairi Mckenna, Organizing Group Ballantrae (BFFD), said the team was “delighted that UNESCO biospheres are supporting this important initiative”.

Howard Wilkinson, Chairman of the Ayrshire Food Network, added: “The additional resources that SFAD funding has provided us over the past nine months have enabled us to engage more broadly with food tourism businesses across the South. west of Scotland.

The Ayrshire Live app is available for download now.

Get all the local news in your area – plus features, football news and the latest information on the coronavirus crisis – right at your fingertips 24/7.

The free download features the latest breaking news and exclusive stories, while you can customize your page with the sections that interest you.

The Ayrshire Live app is available for download now on iOS and Android.

Marie McNulty, Business Development Manager at the UNESCO Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere, appealed to the organization’s international contacts for the biosphere.

Marie said: “Many learning opportunities arise from transnational exchanges and we want to bring our global network to the heart of the Ayrshire and Ballantrae communities.

“And the Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink is the perfect time to do so, especially in light of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program, which aims to improve the relationship between people and the environment and make our food systems sustainable. “

For more information on the organizations involved, visit;;

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Hawaii Marks World Oceans Day With 9 New Laws To Protect Sharks And Marine Life Wed, 09 Jun 2021 02:13:07 +0000

Beginning January 1, severe penalties will be imposed for the intentional or willful capture, entanglement or death of a shark in state marine waters.

House Bill 553, which has not been passed in previous legislative sessions, was promulgated by Governor David Ige on Tuesday.

Opponents have called for exemptions for research, subsistence fishing and bycatch. While some exemptions will be allowed – for example, murder in self-defense, accidental capture or in accordance with protected cultural practices – the State Department of Lands and Natural Resources is now responsible for establishing rules based on the project. of law.

The penalty for a first offense will be $ 500 and up to $ 10,000 for a third or subsequent offense. Administrative fees, fees and attorney fees may also be levied.

Sanctions could also involve the seizure and confiscation of all sharks or parts of sharks caught and commercial marine licenses, vessels and fishing gear.

Endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks live offshore and enter the shallower waters of Hilo Bay, Kaneohe Bay, Waimea Bay and other parts of Hawaii, according to the Division. of the aquatic resources of the DLNR. A new law will protect sharks in the state’s marine waters. NOAA Fisheries

State Representative Nicole Lowen, lead author of HB 553, said the legislation was “in the works for many years”. She credited her stint to Inga Gibson, policy director of Pono Advocacy, and Michael Nakachi and his son, Kaikea, a father-son duo who advocate more culturally sensitive methods for academic shark research.

The bill signing ceremony in the Governor’s Ceremonial Hall at the State Capitol as well as via Zoom was scheduled to mark World Oceans Day, which was established by the United Nations in 2008 to inform the public of the impact of humans on the oceans and to mobilize their sustainable management.

“They are the lungs of our planet and a major source of food and medicine and an essential part of the biosphere,” says the UN of the oceans, which cover more than 70% of the Earth.

“It’s a big day for the ocean.” – DLNR President Suzanne Case

But, as Ige noted in his remarks, Hawaii faces “unprecedented” challenges related to climate change, heat waves, coral bleaching, degraded reefs, declining ocean populations and more. great pollution of human origin such as runoff.

In addition to the shark protection bill, Ige signed eight other related measures. They cover a range of issues focused on ocean conservation, resource management, regulation and law enforcement.

Bill 1019 establishes a special five-year ocean stewardship fund and a $ 1 user fee for the conservation, restoration and enhancement of Hawaii’s aquatic resources.

According to the DLNR, the fees – which could generate between $ 14 million and over $ 30 million over 15 years, depending on tourism figures – will be collected by commercial shipping operators who provide on-board activities to passengers or passengers. shipless services to customers. .

“Hundreds of millions of visitors have enjoyed our magnificent ocean resources for decades without directly contributing to their management and protection,” DLNR President Suzanne Case said in a press release. “This new fund provides a framework for collecting fees from visitors who use our waters. “

A snorkeling tour in Molokini in 2018. A new law will assess user fees for commercial maritime operators. DLNR

Several of the measures approved by the Ige aim to enable the sustainable exploitation of marine life.

Bill 1017 repeals a section of Hawaii’s revised statutes that prohibits the capture or killing of female lobsters, Kona crabs, and Samoan crabs. Since the 2006 law, the bill explains, new information shows that the Kona crab population is “in very good health.”

It was also determined that banning female lobsters could potentially “create a sex ratio and size imbalance that could prevent successful breeding.” The DLNR has since adopted rules that allow it to regulate the harvest of crustaceans.

House Bill 1018 allows the DLNR to adopt rules for establishing a haul net permit for the use or possession of haul nets “including reasonable permit fees and provisions for revocation, suspension and denial of permit for non-compliance with the rules of laying net “.

Even though the department already has detailed rules on setting nets, the legislature stated in its commission report on HB 1018 that “the illegal and irresponsible use of setting nets continues with adverse effects on fishery resources. and protected species ”.

Bill 1023 creates a recreational marine fishing license requirement and fee for non-residents and prohibits non-residents from fishing, taking or catching marine animals without a license.

While Hawaii’s sea fishing opportunities “attract thousands of visitors each year,” the bill explains, “non-resident recreational fishermen benefit directly from the enjoyment of Hawaii’s marine fisheries resources without directly contributing to the development of the fishery. management of these resources ”.

Other signed bills detail requirements for valid commercial vessel licenses, establish special license plate fees for motor vehicles to support environmental conservation, clarify enforcement duties for conservation officers, and Resources of the DLNR and authorize the Land and Natural Resources Council to adopt, modify and temporarily repeal “certain rules relating to natural resources” if the BLNR deems it necessary to meet “rapidly changing” resource conditions.

Governor Ige’s bill signing featured many supporters of ocean-related bills via Zoom. Screenshot

Seven of the nine bills – with the exception of the shark and license plate bills – were part of the administration’s 2021 legislative package.

Ige described the ocean as Hawaii’s link “to our food, our culture, our entertainment, our business and, most importantly, to each other.”

The governor tied the new laws to the state’s Holomua: Marine 30 × 30 initiative to effectively manage the state’s nearshore waters. It establishes 30% of coastal waters as a network of marine management areas for the benefit of fisheries and ecosystem resilience by 2030.

Case, who attended the signing of the bill, described some of the bills as “long needed” and “state of the art.”

“It’s a big day for the ocean,” she said, adding that the legislature “has really moved the needle.”

Other lawmakers credited with moving the bills forward are Senators Lorraine Inouye and Chris Lee, and Representative David Tarnas.

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UNESCO calls on Hungarian government to halt Fert Lake developments Tue, 08 Jun 2021 09:30:58 +0000

A sports center, a hotel, an eco-center and an eco-park, a large marina, several restaurants, camping sites and a parking lot for 880 cars should be built at Lake Fertő (Lake Neusiedl), the most large endorheic lake in Central Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. The President of the International Council on Monuments and UNESCO Sites (ICOMOS), Mechtild Rössler, called on the Hungarian government to immediately stop the construction of the 30 billion forints (86 million euros) investment. The region has remained untouched for decades, but some argue that development is for the best.

The Fertő-Neusiedler Lake region is unique in that it is the westernmost steppe lake in Eurasia. UNESCO says the current state of the lake is the result of millions of years of various forms of land use based on “animal husbandry and viticulture to an extent not found in others. European lake regions “.

This area, a biosphere reserve and a valuable gene bank, is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna and has been harmoniously shaped for eight millennia by different human groups and ethnically diverse populations.

The organization stresses that modern construction and development in the area must be controlled to ensure that the authenticity of the area is preserved. While having its unique ecology, 18th and 19th century palaces and unique architecture, along with the human-ecological relationship that exists, make it a World Heritage Site.

ICOMOS tries to stop potentially harmful development

Regarding this emphasis, the liberal news portal shared a letter that Mechtild Rössler wrote to the Hungarian government through László Turóczy, Hungarian Ambassador to the OECD and UNESCO.

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Lake Fert is the second largest lake in the Carpathian basin; since 2001, the lake and the surrounding area have been classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. The lake has been known as Hungaricum since 2013. Four-fifths of the lake belongs to Austria, while the surrounding area in Hungary is called “Hanság”. The lake is a […]continue reading

The President of ICOMOS said that if the government of Orbán did not immediately halt its project to “develop Fertő Shore”, it would threaten the credibility and integrity of the site. Not only that, but the park’s Outstanding Universal Value status could be removed.

Fert Lake Shore becomes state property

The Hungarian government is building its “Fertő Shore Development” project on the only part of the lake in Hungarian territory where a beach is accessible. The government took control of construction on said beach and demolished the private stilt houses that had been there for decades, much to the dismay of their owners.

Many owners of stilt houses have resisted the development, saying if it succeeds, no national park would be immune to such projects.

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73 civil organizations call for the protection of the lakes

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Seventy-three civil organizations called on the government in a joint statement to ensure the protection of the Hungarian lakes Balaton, Velencei and Fertő, as well as the old lake of Tata. The petition aims to prevent any new construction, whether state-funded or private, in natural heritage areas, according to a statement the signatories sent to MTI. […]continue reading

The project is coordinated by Sopron-Fertő Touristic Development Nonprofit Ltd., owned by the government. The construction of the state-owned hotels is underway, as part of the company contract of billionaire government ally Lőrinc Mészáros.

Lac Fert architects say there will be “zero pollutant emissions”

Award-winning architect Zoltán Tima, head of Közti’s studio, and landscape architect Sándor Mohácsi, head of S73, told the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet that they had already been requested by the Municipality of Sopron to draw up a development plan in 2015.

Tima said that “it was already evident from our first visit that development – because of its composition and nature conservation context – is both a magnificent task and a serious challenge”.

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LMP calls on government to abandon investments that “harm nature”

LMP calls on government to abandon investments that

The LMP Green Party on Thursday called on the government to review and abandon all investments damaging natural habitats in Hungary, and to pool funding for such projects to help protect against coronaviruses. Party co-leader Erzsébet Schmuck told an online press conference that companies linked to the commercial magnet L businessrinc Mészáros are building a hundred-room luxury […]continue reading

According to the architect, the project can be realized with an economical and ecological solution totally controlled and efficient thanks to which “there can be a practically complete harmony from the point of view of energy and water management, with essentially zero polluting emissions “.

The architects focused on the planned 12-hectare eco-park and the eco-center connected to it, where not only marine life, but the ‘world of reeds and birds can be presented with the interactive exhibition of the installation ”.

According to landscape architect Sándor Mohácsi, “the purpose of this place is for the visitor to experience nature, for which there is a need and a demand. But it must be done in a way that does not affect the much larger territory of the unspoiled region. “

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Mohácsi thinks it would be better if “the first thought that comes to the minds of most people arriving on the shores of Lake Fertő is not the scale of construction and installation in the area. It would be ideal if they were just enjoying their stay by taking in the beauty of the area.

Sopron Tourism CEO says several accusations are false

Béla Kárpáti, CEO of Sopron-Fertő Touristic Development Nonprofit Ltd., said Magyar Nemzet that the criticisms facing development, such as accusations of environmental damage, danger of accidents and the construction of 16 tennis courts, are all false.

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Kárpáti indicated that on the construction site, there are no structures or protected areas of the World Heritage, “thus, we did not bring intact areas, particularly valuable in the development”.

The area will include a sports center with areas for playing soccer, badminton, soccer tennis and tennis courts, Kárpáti said. On the Hungarian side of the lake, a marina meeting European standards will be built as well as an education center to teach children to sail.

Construction has already started, and the CEO said that “the contract for the first phase of development includes a net amount of HUF 8.9 billion (25.6 million euros), which has a deadline of 16 months in depending on weather conditions “.

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The Council of Europe has recognized two other cultural and archaeological routes, the Cyril and Methodius Route and the Iron Age Danube Route connecting Hungary with other countries in the region. According to a statement released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Human Resources, the CoE also recognized the road to Aeneas, the Alvar […]continue reading

According to Kárpáti, the developments on the Hungarian side will follow the model of the already developed Austrian side, but “there will be no private property here, and we will put a lot more emphasis on the needs of the community and the sustainability of the area. ‘from an environmental point of view. friendly point of view.

Featured photo illustration via the Lac Fert Facebook page

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The genetic structures of closely related dragonflies in Yaeyama and Taiwan Islands Mon, 07 Jun 2021 14:49:31 +0000

The Amami region, Okinawa in Japan, could be designated a World Heritage Site in July 2021 based on the recent recommendation from IUCN. The Iriomote wildcat is an iconic species of the region, having evolved independently on the island. The region is home to many other highly endemic and unique evolutionary species. A research group composed mainly of former students of the laboratory of the Faculty of Science of Professor Koji Tojo of Shinshu University focused on the study of dragonflies, following on from their previous study of their comparative embryogenesis. Around 5,000 insect species belonging to 26 families of the order dragonfly are known worldwide, but those with gill-like protrusions on the larval abdomen are extremely rare. Professor Tojo’s laboratory studied the Euphaea yayeyamana and the Bayadera brevicauda from the same dragonfly family Euphaeidae in Japan.

Professor Tojo considers the abdominal gills of these dragonflies to be important traits in the origin of insect wings and has studied embryology and developmental genetics targeting this area. During this study, they noticed an interesting genetic trait that is the subject of this article. The theory of population genetics implies that small, fragmented populations contain less genetic diversity than larger populations. They will have a higher rate of genetic fixation due to inbreeding and random genetic drift. However, the result of their genetic analysis of the COI region of mitochondrial DNA revealed that E. yayeyamana (Ishigaki / Iriomote) which inhabits smaller islands, has a higher genetic diversity than E. formosa (Taiwan) which inhabits a larger island.

Usually, in a small island environment, the population size remains small, so genetic diversity tends to be kept low. Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island, which were the targets of this study, are only 1/125 and 1/155 in area, respectively, compared to Taiwan. The scale of the mountainous areas of the island is also very different, with the highest elevations of Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island being 469m and 526m respectively, while the highest peak of Taiwan is 3,952 m. As for the habitat of Euphaea dragonflies inhabiting mountainous areas, Taiwan has more diverse environments than Ishigaki and Iriomote.

The speciation of E. yayeyamana in Yaeyama (Ishigaki / Iriomote) and E. formosa in Taiwan is estimated to be around 1.4 million years old. In addition, this study clarified that the genetic diversity of E. yayeyamana in Ishigaki and Iriomote is much higher than the genetic diversity of E. formosa In Taiwan. As a result of extensive and comprehensive sampling and genetic analysis on Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands, dispersal has occurred in Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands, and gene flow to each island is actively occurring. On the other hand, gene flow between islands was not observed, and great genetic differentiation was observed. Additionally, it became clear that in the past there had been at least three dispersions from Ishigaki Island to Iriomote Island. The dispersion between Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island is probably due to the westerly wind (probably Taiwan? Iriomote? Ishigaki). No such sign is observed for scattering in the opposite direction. In other words, it was discovered that the dragonfly genomes unique to Taiwan and the Yaeyama region are etched with genetic information that strongly reflects the effects of geological history and meteorology.

The results of this study were very surprising. The investigation into the cause of such a genetic structure remains a mystery, but Professor Tojo believes that “in Taiwan, a phenomenon such as the” bottleneck effect “which once caused a significant reduction in the population size has occurred.On the other hand, on Ishigaki and the Iriomote Islands, habitats such as those inhabited by E. yayeyamana have been relatively stable over much of the island. In the northeast peninsula of Ishigaki Island, the forest environment tends to be small and divided. As a result, genetic diversity is also kept low in this area. Through this research, I became deeply aware of the importance of actually analyzing data without being overwhelmed by biases. “

Not only the evolutionary history, but the morphological traits are unique to this region, and the group plans to continue to analyze the genetic structure using various molecular markers in addition to continuing the relationship between morphogenesis and genetic basis. While adding nuclear DNA analysis, the group has analyzed another region of mitochondrial DNA and want to reassess the scale of gene flow using more sensitive genetic markers.


Acknowledgments: We thank Drs H. Kohno, A. Mizutani (Okinawa Regional Research Center, Tokai University), MH Uehara (Iriomote Station, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus), Dr. M. Nishikawa (Itano Town, Tokushima ), Dr K. Ishida (City of Gifu), Dr AT-S. Lin (Department of Earth Sciences, National Central University, Taiwan), Professor H. Chi (Department of Entomology, National Chug Hsing University, Taiwan), Dr K. Iizumi (Tropical Agricultural Research Front, Japan International Research Center for agricultural sciences), Ms. Y. Watanabe (Nishinomiya City), Mr.H Yokota (Osaka City), Prof. K. Hoyanagi, Dr. K. Yamada, MT Kano (Faculty of Science, Shinshu University) and many students of the Entomology Department of National Chug Hsing University, for their help in collecting specimens. We also thank Dr RB Kuranishi and two reviewers for their helpful comments which improved the manuscript.

Photo credits: Emi KANKE (graduate Fac. Of Science, Shinshu University, Tojo Lab), Kohei SUZUKI (MS from Shinshu University, Tojo Lab), Kazuki SEKINÉ (Assistant professor, Dept. of Environment, Rissho University, MS and PhD from Shinshu University, Tojo Lab), Tomoya SUZUKI (Kyoto University PD, MS and PhD from Shinshu University, Tojo Lab), Kokichi HATTA (Professor Emeritus Nagoya Womens University, Man-Miao YANG (Professor, Chukyo University Taiwan), Koji TOJO (Shinshu University Faculty of Sciences, Institute of Mountain Sciences)

Communication: Emi KANKE, Kohei SUZUKI, Kazuki SEKINÉ, Tomoya SUZUKI, Kokichi HATTA, Man-Miao YANG and Koji TOJO. Unique genetic structure of the population of two closely related euphaeid damselflies in Yaeyama and Taiwan Islands (Odonata: Euphaeidae).
Biological Journal of Linnaean Society, 2021

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‘What a year’, says outgoing mayor of Machynlleth | New Sun, 06 Jun 2021 13:51:10 +0000

Machynlleth City Council welcomed a new mayor and deputy mayor.

At the annual general meeting on May 24, Machynlleth city council voted for the next mayor and deputy mayor.

Cllr Richie Gaskell was replaced by Cllr Tony Jones, who served as deputy mayor alongside Cllr Gaskell as mayor after being presented as the only nomination.

Cllr Jeremy Paige was elected Deputy Mayor after receiving six votes, beating Cllr Ann MacGarry who received four votes.

Cllr Gaskell said: “What a year – I had a lot of help this year and I mean a lot of help.

“I want to thank everyone; I want to thank the deputy mayor, he was brilliant. I want to thank the staff at Plas, Julie Humphreys and everyone else. I would like to thank Cllr MacGarry, without Ann I don’t know what we would have done.

“I want to thank everyone for supporting me and I hope we have a better year next year than this year.”

Incoming Mayor Cllr Tony Jones said: “This is my fourth time in this chair, it is a great privilege and honor to serve the city as well. Hope to do a better job than last time.

“Whenever I become mayor, we don’t have a clerk. But I hope we will soon.

Cllr Jones continued, “In these difficult times, I congratulate Cllr Gaskell on being a successful mayor. I congratulate Cllr Paige on being the Deputy Mayor as well.

Cllr James Honeybill added, “As an advisor, thank you also for your support for us. It means a lot.

During the AGM, the councilors decided on the composition of the colleges of the city council; the Budget Panel, the Staffing Panel, the Market Panel, the Kennels Panel, the Plas Energy Panel and the Climate Action Panel.

Councilors also decided that board representation in external groups, namely Dyfi Biosphere, One Voice Wales, Owain Glyndwr Center Management Committee, SARPA and Railway Line Committee, Shrewsbury Aberystwyth Railway Line Committee and the Patient Forum, should remain the same. .

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Vietnam’s southernmost province attracts tourists | Trip Sun, 06 Jun 2021 02:56:00 +0000

Tourists learn about the magrove forest ecosystem in Ca Mau (Photo: VNA)

City HCM (VNA) – House for beautiful virgin sites and historical and cultural values Throughout more than 300 years of its formation and development, the southernmost province of Ca Mau offers a range of interesting experiences for visitors from inside and outside the country.

Provincial People’s Committee Vice Chairman Tran Hong Quan said that as one of the four localities in the Mekong Delta Key Economic Region, Ca Mau has a World Biosphere Reserve associated with Cape Ca Mau National Park and U Minh Ha National Park, which provide opportunities for ecotourism development.

Ca Mau Park was added to a list of Wetlands of International Importance in 2012, becoming the 2,088th of its kind in the world and the fifth in Vietnam, with a large area of ​​intertidal mudflats and submerged forests. It is the only place in Vietnam with three sides bordering the sea and where two different tidal regimes interact, which contributes to the construction of new mudflats and the creation of favorable habitats for many species.

The site also provides important staging and wintering habitats for a large number of aquatic birds. In 2010, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identified many globally threatened species in the region, including primates, birds, otters, reptiles and fish.

Vietnam's southernmost province attracts tourists hinh anh 2Hanoi Flag Tower at Cape Ca Mau (Photo: VNA)

Besides the freshwater and mangrove forest ecosystems, Ca Mau also offers humanities-based tourism products with national and provincial historical and cultural sites.

The deputy director of the Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Tieu Minh Tien, said that local cultural features such as “don ca tai tu” (amateur song from the south), “gac keo ong” (beekeeping in the wild) and a number of culinary specialties help attract visitors.

A species of crab from Nam Can district and a pot of fermented fish in U Minh forest are listed in the top 100 specialties in Vietnam in 2020-2021 by the Vietnam Record Organization (Vietkings).

Ca Mau Dried Shrimp and U Minh Honey, meanwhile, are also among the Top 100 Vietnamese Specialty Gifts./.


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Sustainable management of natural resources “key to … Sat, 05 Jun 2021 10:34:40 +0000

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that the exercise of sustainable management of the Maldives’ natural resources “is the key to safeguarding [the] environment for posterity “.

The president said this in his speech on World Environment Day on Saturday, highlighting the importance of preserving the Maldives’ natural ecosystems and sustaining natural resources.

Noting that 13 percent of the natural domestic reefs covering 73 different regions of the Maldives have been declared protected areas, President Solih noted that three atolls have so far been declared UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

That being said, the President also noted the importance of protecting the country’s natural resources to pave the way for positive impacts on the country’s economic growth.

Three important industries in the Maldives depend heavily on natural resources; tourism, fishing and agriculture sectors. The Maldives currently has over 50,000 people employed in the tourism sector, both directly and indirectly, and 17,000 people are employed in the fisheries and agriculture sectors.

The incumbent administration has undertaken several projects to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources, including a plan to declare 20 percent of the Maldives’ waters protected by 2030. The plan reflects the global initiative of the Global Ocean Alliance to protect at least 30 percent of the world’s ocean waters as marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2030.

President Solih then underlined the government’s commitment to sustainable governance of the ocean and environmental resources within the framework of the “blue economy” initiative. He went on to urge the preservation and protection of natural resources without causing imbalances in ecosystems, which will take many years to heal naturally.

Some of the initiatives the Maldives have taken to achieve this include sustainable waste management and the government’s ambitious plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The Solih administration has already banned the import of several single-use plastic items into the Maldives, with a promise to ban more items in the coming years.

The president then shed some light on renewable energy sources in the Maldives, such as hybrid photovoltaic solar power systems established across the country, totaling more than 31.5 megawatts of power.

Celebrated on June 5 each year, World Environment Day this year focuses on ecosystem restoration under the theme “Reinvent, recreate, restore”.

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