natural resources, gaia, land, soil, fauna+flora

>forests, deforestation, amazon, Brazil

>commodifcation, commons, enclosure, financialisation, land, monetisation

natural resources, gaia, earth – land, soil, fauna+flora

 earth – energy – fossil fuels – mining – oceans –  water

see also >  17/12/2021 The Biodiversity Crisis Needs Its Net Zero Moment
Climate change isn’t the only major crisis facing the world. We’re in the middle of a mass extinction, and we’re missing all of our biodiversity targets.  by Matt Reynolds   2/9/2021  Bats, butterflies and bumblebees threatened by an ‘extinction catastrophe waiting to happen in next decade’ – ‘Importance of preserving each species cannot be overestimated,’ says Jo Hatton, Horniman Museum’s principal curator of natural sciences  by Tom Batchelor

…”Some of the UK’s best-loved wildlife, from hedgehogs to bats and butterflies to bumblebees, could face extinction within a decade if action is not taken to halt their decline, research suggests.”…     6/2021 Quick fixes’ to the climate crisis risk harming nature  By Helen Briggs 4/2021 Introducing Down to Earth, our new project on the biodiversity crisis – Why a reporting initiative on the science, politics, and economics of an ecological catastrophe is so badly needed. By Eliza Barclay and Brian Anderson  

You can probably guess the three global threats that topped a recent list from the World Economic Forum.

  • No. 1? Infectious disease. (Nothing like a pandemic to remind us of this.)
  • No. 2? Inaction on climate change.
  • No. 3? Weapons of mass destruction.
  • But No. 4? That one might surprise you: biodiversity loss. The forum’s survey found that the irreversible impacts of ecosystem collapse and species extinction pose a greater global risk in 2021 than the debt crisis.

A number of recent events have helped spark this awakening — from the breathtaking 3 billion animals, many of them rare, killed or displaced in the 2020 Australia wildfires to the possible emergence of the coronavirus from wildlife farms in China. There’s also been a wave of groundbreaking studies in the past year — on the rapid rate at which mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, and plants are disappearing; on the economics of biodiversity; on Indigenous communities’ forest management expertise; and on the cost of invasive species — that have helped clarify this mounting ecological catastrophe underway and the necessary responses…”…   3/2021  Economic benefits of protecting nature now outweigh those of exploiting it   by Fred Lewsey   

““Even if you are only interested in dollars and cents, we can see that conserving and restoring nature is now very often the best bet for human prosperity” Professor Andrew Balmford  –

The economic benefits of conserving or restoring natural sites now “outweigh” the profit potential of converting them for intensive human use. This is according to researchers behind the largest-ever study comparing the value of protecting nature at particular locations with that of exploiting it. A team led by the University of Cambridge and RSPB as part of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative analysed dozens of sites – from Kenya to Fiji and China to the UK – across six continents. A previous breakthrough study in 2002 only had information for five sites.  The findings, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, come just weeks after a landmark review by Cambridge Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta called for the value of biodiversity to be placed at the heart of global economics. For the latest study, scientists calculated the monetary worth of each site’s “ecosystem services”, such as carbon storage and flood protection, as well as likely dividends from converting it for production of goods such as crops and timber…”…   3/2021  ‘Land is worth more when left to nature’ –  The economic benefits of conserving or restoring natural sites now ‘outweigh’ the profit potential of using the same areas for farming or timber, a landmark study has found – Conserving or restoring natural sites such as woodlands and wetlands would be more valuable than using the same sites for farming or timber, according to a major new study.  – by Nicola Slawson   3/2021 Climate change: ‘Forever plant’ seagrass faces uncertain future   By Matt McGrath   3/2021  Ancient Plants Buried a Mile Under Greenland’s Ice Are a Grim Warning From The Past – Michelle Starr  

The Greenland ice sheet has been there for a long time. As near as we can tell, it could have been extensive as early as 45 million years ago. Evidence, as well as our understanding, is patchy, but scientists have been pretty confident on one thing: It seems to have been in place for at least 1 million years.  New evidence has come to light that contradicts that, however. At the bottom of a 1.4-kilometer (0.87-mile) ice core drilled from northwestern Greenland, scientists have found remnants of ancient plant material.  This suggests that, at least once within the last million-year period, and multiple times in the few million years prior, Greenland’s ice sheet melted long enough during warm periods for significant vegetation – perhaps even a forest – to take root and thrive.  Warm periods like those we are currently experiencing due to climate change, according to an international team of scientists led by geologist Andrew Christ of the University of Vermont.  “Our study shows that Greenland is much more sensitive to natural climate warming than we used to think – and we already know that humanity’s out-of-control warming of the planet hugely exceeds the natural rate,” Christ said.  5/2021  Reviewing 15 years of research on neoliberal conservation: Towards a decolonial, interdisciplinary, intersectional and community-engaged research agenda Elia Apostolopoulo, Anastasia Chatzimentor,  Sara Maestre-Andrés, Marina Requena-i-Mora, AlejandraPizarro, Dimitrios Bormpoudakis

In this paper, we undertake an extensive review of the neoliberal conservation literature with the aim to explore and substantiate the principal ways in which conservation is neoliberalized in practice as well as who has studied these processes and through which collaborative patterns. Using descriptive statistics and thematic content analysis, we explore selected characteristics of the peer-reviewed scholarship, including most commonly used concepts, methods and topics, geographical and co-authorship patterns, critical readings of key processes of neoliberalization, including commodification, privatization, dispossession, governance rescaling, governmentalities, and its engagement with the economic crisis, austerity politics, and social struggles. Our analysis shows the breadth of the literature in unraveling the unequal social, spatial and environmental impacts of neoliberal conservation policies as well as a significant degree of novelty in terms of topics and theories. Nonetheless, it also unravels some key gaps, including a limited engagement with quantitative methods and community-engaged social sciences and humanities approaches, a lack of focus on urban areas and urbanization, some important gaps in the theorization of the commodification of nature, a domination of Global North scholarship that contradicts the clear empirical focus of the field on the Global South, a limited engagement with social movements and grassroots activism, and a conspicuous lack of attention to the dynamics of class, gender and race. We conclude by identifying key directions for future research to address current gaps in the literature, and initiate a shift towards a decolonial, interdisciplinary, intersectional, community-engaged approach and an in-depth encounter with everyday practices of resistance.  5/11/2021 America’s native grasslands are disappearing – The Great Plains are being torn up at a ferocious rate – with frightening implications for biodiversity and carbon storage 7/2021 Monks Wood Wilderness: 60 years ago, scientists let a farm field rewild – here’s what happened by Richard K Broughton

In the archive of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology there is a typed note from the 1960s that planted the seed of an idea. Written by Kenneth Mellanby, director of the Monks Wood Experimental Station, a former research centre in Cambridgeshire, UK, the note describes a four-hectare arable field that lies next to the station and the ancient woodland of the Monks Wood National Nature Reserve. After harvesting a final barley crop, the field was ploughed and then abandoned in 1961. The note reads:

It might be interesting to watch what happens to this area if man does not interfere. Will it become a wood again, how long will it take, which species will be in it? 2/4/2021 Climate change has impacted agricultural productivity growth by 21% since 1960s – The impact of climate change on agricultural productivity is having a disproportionate effect on poorer, warmer countries.   26/3/2021    Supercharged soil could pull carbon right out of the air   A simple seed treatment could drastically increase the amount of atmospheric carbon captured by crops, and store it underground for longer  Delle Chan 24/2/2021 One of Earth’s giant carbon sinks may have been overestimated – study – the potential of soils to slow climate change by soaking up carbon may be less than previously thought by Damian Carrington 2020 Soil carbon is a valuable resource, but all soil carbon is not created equal

by Francesca Cotrufo and Jocelyn Lavallee

Human society is literally built on soil. It feeds the world and produces vital fuel and fiber. But most people rarely give soil a second thought. Recently, though, soil has been getting some well-deserved attention from environmental organizations, policymakers and industry leaders. It has been covered in news articles, argued over in policy debates and has even received an international day of recognition.

Why all this attention? Because the world urgently needs ways to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, and to build food security for a rapidly growing global population. Soil can do both. However, current efforts to promote carbon storage in soil miss a key point: Not all soil carbon is the same. As scientists focusing on soil ecology and sustainability, we believe that managing soil carbon effectively requires taking its differences into account.