The Ramsar Bulletin Board

30/07/2014

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Biosphere Connections Newsletter


The latest issue of the Biosphere Connections Newsletter comes in a new appealing format, and highlights activities carried out by the three partners - Star Alliance, IUCN and Ramsar.

The latest issue features sponsored delegates travelling to a workshop on a satellite tool for monitoring the status of wetlands. Dr Tamer Ismael, Manager of the northern protectorates of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency and Nashat Hamidan, conservation specialist from Jordan, participated in the workshop that took place in Tunisia in June this year.

The newsletter also highlights a clean-up activity carried out by nine Star Alliance airlines operating from Seoul Incheon Airport, Republic of Korea, and a project supporting  the conservation of slow lorises, endangered primates found throughout South and Southeast Asia.

Biosphere Connections is a partnership between the Star Alliance Network, IUCN and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Its purpose is to contribute to the promotion and conservation of biodiversity, and the sustainable use of natural resources in the countries in which Star Alliance member airlines operate. [30/07/09]


Vacancy: Deputy Secretary General

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat welcomes applications for the position of Deputy Secretary General.

More information and online application forms are available at: https://hrms.iucn.org/iresy/index.cfm?event=vac.show&vacId=860 
[29/07/14]

Endangered daisy reintroduced in the Banrock Station Ramsar Site, Australia

Today hundreds of Spiny Daisies will be planted at the Banrock Station Ramsar Site, as part of a project aimed at reintroducing the endangered plant in Australia’s Riverland region.

The Spiny Daisy was thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in South Australia in 1999. It is listed as critically endangered under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).

The Banrock Station Wetland Complex was designated as a Ramsar Site in 2002 for its role in supporting several threatened species, including the Regent Parrot, the Southern Bell Frog and the River Snail. Read more [24/07/14]


Dominican Republic designates coastal wetlands as Ramsar Site

The Dominican Republic has designated Humedales de Jaragua (32,979 ha; 17°43'47"N 71°32'0"W) as a wetland of international importance. The Site, as summarized by the Secretariat’s Sara Casallas based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, is made up of three sub-sites: Laguna de Oviedo, Bucán de Base – Canal Beata, and Pedernales Bucanye – Cabo Rojo – Bahía de las Águilas. It features different types of coastal wetland including permanent and temporary lagoons, vast mangrove forests, extensive sea grass beds and coral reefs.

It is rich in biodiversity and supports threatened or endangered species such as the coral Acropora palmata, the Antillean manatee Trichechus manatus manatus, and the birds Dendrocygna arborea and Corvus leucognaphalus. The Site also supports the only known populations of the endemic Jaragua pupfish (Cyprinodon nichollsi) and is of utmost importance for the four species of sea turtle that nest and forage in the area. It has one of the largest populations in the world of juvenile hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and also supports populations of Dermochelys coriacea, Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta.

The wetlands are also essential to the local economy which is based on artisan fishing, as they support species of high commercial value such as the lobster Panulirus argus and the queen conch Strombus gigas. The threats to the Site are associated with different economic activities; among these are the storage and transportation by land and sea of bauxite, the movement and anchoring of boats and the development of tourism in the area. Ramsar Site no. 2210. Most Recent RIS information: 2014  Français | Español [23/07/14]

Rivers Network

The Rivers Network website, www.riversnetwork.org, shares knowledge and resources on rivers from around the world, with a view of improving the management of rivers and water resources and generating new ideas. The website compiles articles, blog posts and videos. It includes country  and watershed maps, with the possibility, in some instances, to add a layer with the location of Ramsar Sites. An example can be viewed here: http://www.riversnetwork.org/rbo/index.php/river-blogs/south-america/item/4027

Rivers Network is also on LinkedIn and Twitter. [18/07/14]


Austria names Upper Drava River as Ramsar Site

Austria has designated as a Ramsar Site the Upper Drava River (Obere Drau; 1,029 ha; 46°45‘N 13°17’E). According to the summary of the Ramsar Information Sheet finalized by the Secretariat’s Laura Máiz-Tomé, the Site is the last free-flowing stretch (of around 68 km) of the inner Alpine mountain river Drau (Drava in English) and its neighbouring alluvial area in the Carinthia region. The river flows in a landscape characterized by Austria’s largest alluvial forest of grey alder (Alnus incana), with permanent freshwater wetlands alongside seasonally flooded agricultural land.

The Site supports threatened species of waterbirds such as the little bittern (Ixobrychis minutus) and the ruff (Philomachus pugnax) and endangered species of amphibians and mammals including bats and the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), which are important to the biological diversity of the Alpine biogeographic region. The permanent freshwater marshes are also an important spawning and feeding ground for several fish species such as spined loach (Cobitis taenia) and different species of crayfish.

The alluvial lands play an important role in water retention and flood mitigation. Human activities include agriculture, forestry, hunting, fishing, and recreational activities such as biking, hiking, canoeing and camping. In the past, various ecologically important habitats were lost due to modifications in the river course accompanied by draining to reduce floods and create areas for settlement and intensive agriculture. More recently, however, two EU-LIFE conservation projects and several habitat-improving measures have been implemented, and the Site once again supports regionally extinct species such as the German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica), the dwarf bulrush (Typha minima) and the Ukrainian brook lamprey (Eudontomyzon mariae). Français | Español [10/07/14]


Republic of Korea adds Songdo Tidal Flat to the Ramsar List

The Republic of Korea has designated Songdo Tidal Flat as a Wetland of International Importance. As summarised by the Secretariat’s Samridhi Rijal based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, the Site (611 ha; 37°24’26”N 126°35’58”E) includes two sections of a larger area of tidal mud flat along the coast of Incheon Metropolitan City, which has a complicated coastline with about 170 large and small islands.

It is an important feeding and roosting ground for threatened waterbirds such as endangered black-face spoonbill (Platalea minor) as well as the vulnerable far eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), great knot (Calidris tenuirostris) and Saunders’s gull (Larus saundersi). It also regularly supports 1% of the population of the Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata as well as of the far eastern curlew.

Traditionally, the Site has been used by fishermen and clam collectors, who fish with their bare hands. Major species collected are the surf clam (Mactra veneriformis), corb shell (Cyclina sinensis) and Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum). Threats to the Site include reclamation and the building of facilities at the adjacent Songdo International City. Français | Español  [10/07/14]


The Tour du Valat research centre turns 60

In 1954 Luc Hoffmann created the Tour du Valat research centre for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands at the heart of the Camargue, on the Rhone river delta.

During the centre’s early years of work, in 1962, Mr Hoffmann organized the seminal MAR Conference (MAR for marshes, marécages, marismas) at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, also in the Camargue, with the participation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wetlands International (then the International Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Bureau, IWRB) and BirdLife International (then the International Council for Bird Preservation, ICBP). The conference’s participants called for a global list of wetlands of international importance and for a global treaty to focus on their conservation, starting the process that led to the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. Read more [09/07/14]


Reminder: Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards 2015

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat is receiving nominations for the sixth edition of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards, which will be presented at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in June 2015.

The deadline for the receipt of nominations is 15 July 2014.

Three Awards will be given – each with the Evian Special Prize of US$10,000 kindly offered by the DANONE Group – in the following categories:
a) The Ramsar Convention Award for Wetland Wise Use
b) The Ramsar Convention Award for Wetland Innovation
c) The Ramsar Convention Award for Young Wetland Champions

Read more
[08/07/14]

Small Grants Fund project for the protection of the Inner Niger Delta completed

The Inner Niger Delta is a complex and unique area characterized by different natural wetland types such as rivers, lakes, marshes and flood plains located in the centre of Mali. It is extremely rich in biodiversity and constitutes an important source of livelihood for nearly one million people.

Due to its rich natural resources, the Inner Niger Delta is constantly exposed to intensive exploitation for fishing, cattle farming, grazing, agriculture, cutting of trees and hunting. Despite its designation in 2004 as a Ramsar Site, its resources are not being used wisely. The lack of water resources in the Sahel, the ignorance of the benefits and values of wetlands and the degradation of the riverbanks are putting lots of pressure on the delta and its resources.

The Small Grant Fund project SGF/ML/2009 “Sauvons le delta intérieur du fleuve Niger” was approved in 2009 to mitigate the impact of human activities on the site and to devise a solution in consultation with local communities. Read more [04/07/14]


New report highlights the important role of sustainable coral reef management

Rare sighting today: large rainbow parrotfish grazing in the Caribbean. Copyright Shutterstock.com
More than half of Caribbean coral reefs have been lost in the past 30 years, but sustainable management practices can stop and reverse this trend, according to a newly released report on the status of Caribbean coral reefs.

Coral reefs host a great variety of animals and plants – they cover only a small fraction of the world’s oceans but are home to 25% of marine species, including the rainbow parrotfish Scarus guacamaia and the lime urchin Diadema antillarum. Corals do more than support wildlife – they also support people. They provide food, income from fishing and tourism, and protection from floods to an estimated 500 million people around the world.
Read more [03/07/14]


Third action plan for French wetlands

On 15 June 2014 Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, launched the third national action plan for wetlands.

The objective of the action plan for 2014-2018 is to understand the status of wetlands in France, including overseas departments and territories, and to develop a strategy for their preservation and restoration. Read moreFrançais [01/07/14]



20th anniversary of the Danube River Protection Convention

The Danube Delta. Copyright Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority

The Danube River Protection Convention, celebrating its 20th anniversary on 29 June, is the oldest mechanism for cooperation on river basins in Europe.

The Danube is the world’s most international river, flowing through ten countries and four capital towns. Its drainage basin extends to 19 countries and is home to 83 million people.

Over the centuries, the Danube has played a vital role in the region, including, for example,  by providing water for agriculture and hydroelectric power and by facilitating transport and trade. The Danube also plays an important role for the region’s biodiversity: just in the delta  there are over 300 species of birds and 45 species of fish.

The Danube River Protection Convention provides a framework for international cooperation to ensure that water within the basin is managed and used sustainably and equitably. It has been signed by 15 countries, also members of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. 

Ramsar works closely with the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the organization implementing the Danube River Protection Convention, and participates as an Observer in its activities and meetings. The ICPDR is now one of the largest international networks of river basin experts in Europe and its successful management of the Danube river should be used as example in other regions. [27/06/14]


Extensive new coastal Site in El Salvador

El Salvador has designated its seventh Ramsar Site, the Complejo Barra de Santiago (11,519 ha; 13°42’24”N 90°0’59”W) at the western end of its Pacific coast. The Site contains an area representative of the mangroves of the dry Northern Pacific ecoregion of Central America and a palm tree (Brahea salvadorensis) swamp representative of an ecosystem specific to the Mesoamerican dry tropical forest ecoregion. It supports numerous threatened or endangered species. Among these are four species of marine turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys olivacea, Dermochelys coriacea and Chelonia mydas) and other species severely threatened by their commercial trade value, such as the yellow-naped parrot (Amazona auropalliata).

The mangroves also support about 75% of the commercially important coastal fauna in El Salvador. Many of these species, such as the shrimp of the family, depend on the mangroves as feeding, spawning and nursery areas. The Site is important for local communities as they depend on artisanal fishing for their livelihoods. It is threatened by unregulated urbanization, overgrazing, the growth of sugar cane and the increasing demand of wood for construction, as these have caused deforestation, changes in the hydrology of the area and pollution.  Français | Español [26/06/14]


Mexico designates two Sites in Chihuahua

Mexico has listed two new Ramsar Sites in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in southern Chihuahua State. Humedales de Guachochi (57.5 ha; 26°50’8”N 107°7’31”W) consists of eight endorheic reservoirs and lagoons in  the municipality of Guachochi, while Laguna La Juanota (232 ha; 26°29’13”N 106°28’28”W) is also an endorheic lagoon, which lies at 2,697 metres above sea level in the municipality of Balleza.
 
As described by the Secretariat’s Sara Casallas based on the Ramsar Information Sheets, they both play an important role in controlling and preventing flooding and in retaining seasonal water. They support numerous species, including migratory birds. Threatened or endangered species include the parrot Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha, the endemic squirrel Sciurus aberti durangi, the endemic hare Lepus californicus Sheldoni, the Mexican duck Anas platyrhynchos diazi and (at Guachochi) the great blue heron Ardea Herodias.
 
The Sites are also important for neighbouring communities, including Rarámuri indigenous groups that depend on them for subsistence fishing and farming.

The Humedales de Guachochi Site is threatened by deforestation in the surrounding area and the demand for spaces for ecotourism and for water and energy supply. At Laguna La Juanota, where the only input of water is from rain, the main threat is extended drought. Overgrazing and deforestation in the surrounding area also pose threats as they result in soil erosion and increased water salinity. Français | Español [26/06/14] 


Okavango Delta Ramsar Site is now 1000th World Heritage Site

On 22 June 2014 the Okavango Delta was inscribed as the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site, bringing the number of Ramsar Sites that also carry the World Heritage designation to 62.

The Okavango is a vast inland water flow that forms each year when the summer rains in the Angola highlands drain onto the plains of Botswana, flooding a wide flat area slightly larger than Belgium. The waters peak between June and August during the region’s parched winter, attracting one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. Read more  [26/06/14]


Farmers compete for the best wet grasslands


Since 2010, French farmers are invited to compete by producing the most colourful flowery hay meadow (“concours Prairies Fleuries”). The competition is organized close to the Ramsar Secretariat by two adjacent Regional Nature Parks on the French and Swiss side of the Jura mountains (Parcs du Haut-Jura et Jura Vaudois). They run a transboundary competition for farmers in France and Switzerland (with slightly different agricultural policies and public subsidies). This year, the competition is about who produces the best wet hay meadow, inspired by World Wetlands Day placing a focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors to work together and become partners for growth. Read more [25/06/14]


Ramsar Small Grants Fund Project Completed in Viet Nam – Ba Be Lake Ramsar Site

Ba Be Lake, the largest natural lake in Viet Nam, is at the centre of the karst mountains of the Ba Be National Park and Ramsar Site. The lake supports a rich variety of animals and plants, including a number of threatened species, and is also an important source of livelihood for the local population.

Despite the efforts of the lake’s Management Board and of a cooperative set up in 2004 to encourage sustainable fishing practices, the productivity and the biodiversity of the lake, in decline for three decades, continued to drop.

The Ramsar Small Grants Fund helped to strengthen the capacity of the lake’s Management Board to maintain and improve the lake’s biodiversity. Read more  [24/06/14]


Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) Webinar: World Wetlands Network (WWN) Africa

Wetland Link International Director Chris Rostron and Ramsar Senior Regional Advisor for Africa Paul Ouédraogo will talk about the opportunity to join like-minded civil society organizations that are delivering wetland conservation, monitoring, education or community engagement in Africa.  The webinar will outline best experiences, national and international wetland work (particularly in the Ramsar context) and future WWN activities in Africa, including WWN’s conference in Uganda.

Date: Wednesday 2 July 2014
Time: English version: 9:30-11:30 EDT (17.30-19.30 CEST); French version: 7:30-9:30 EDT (15.30-17.30 CEST)

Read more and register  | En savoir plus et s'inscrire [23/06/14]


Soco halts oil exploration in Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park
Ramsar calls for clear priority on wise and sustainable use of the site

The hunt for oil in Virunga National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is about to be halted.  A joint statement from the UK-based oil and gas company Soco International and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced the stop, and also noted that both organisations  look forward “to working responsibly with the Democratic Republic of Congo and its people to ensure that future development benefits both people and the environment”; an aim also strongly supported by the Ramsar Convention. Read more | Français [20/06/14]

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