Demand for ivory in Asian markets is driving illegal elephant poaching, with China posing the greatest threat.
Elephant populations are in decline throughout Africa largely due to poaching. Poaching is a problem in all regions of Africa, but especially severe in western and central Africa.
Oyster reefs are in rough shape over much of the world, threatened by over-harvesting in combination with pressures from exotic species (including disease) and pollution. This means those coastal areas are losing the valuable ecosystem services, such as water filtration and protection from storm surges, oyster reefs provide.
Beck, M. W., Brumbaugh, R. D., Airoldi, L., Carranza, A., Coen, L. D., Crawford,
C.,…Guo, X. (2011). Oyster reefs at risk and recommendations for conservation,
restoration, and management. BioScience, 61(2), 107-116. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.2.5
Historic drought in California affects more than California. Local impacts of climate change have broader implications.
The Florida Everglades, where elevation above sea level is often measured in single digits, is on of the most susceptible areas of the country to sea level rise. In addition to its low coastal elevation, the Everglades are threatened as a result of a history of wetland degradation that changed the way water flowed through the large wetland system. Restoring natural freshwater flows will help protect the everglades from the intrusion of salt water due to sea level rise, but it must be done quickly.
Dr. Harold Wanless of the University of Miami Department of Geological Sciences created a series of maps showing the Everglades under varying scenarios of sea level rise. This is the Everglades in 1995.
While deforestation is a major source of global carbon emissions (see previous two posts), the expansion of agriculture into drained organic soils also releases carbon. Wetlands, and especially peatlands, have waterlogged soils. As a result, their soils are depleted of oxygen, preventing decomposition. This means that the carbon in plants and animals is stored in the soils. When these soils are drained, the oxygen returns and organic material decomposes. Decompostion releases the carbon stored in that material. Thus, draining wetland soils releases carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change.
FAO adds emissions from cropland expansion into drained organic soils to deforestation. The result: significant increases in carbon emissions from Indonesia, which has substantial peatlands.