A new study published in Conservation Biology (abstract) calculates that more than 80 percent of major armed conflicts from 1950-2000 have taken place in one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots. “The fact that so many conflicts have occurred in areas of high biodiversity loss and natural resource degradation warrants much further investigation as to the underlying causes, and strongly highlights the importance of these areas for global security,” says coauthor Russell A. Mittermeier. He and lead author Thor Hansen argue that protecting nature during war can help recovery, and call for integrating conservation “into military, reconstruction and humanitarian programs in the world’s conflict zones.”
In Troubled Waters: Climate Change, Hydropolitics, and Transboundary Resources from the Henry L. Stimson Center, experts from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East “examine the environmental dangers and policy dilemmas confronting the sustainable management of shared water resources in a warming world”—including the potential for conflict. In the concluding chapter, David Micheli finds that climate change is unlikely to lead to full-scale “water wars,” but warns that “rising climatic stresses on common waters will put new and perhaps unprecedented strains on cooperative governance institutions at the local, national, and international levels.”
Rampant logging fueled Cambodia’s decades-long civil war. Now a new report from transparency watchdogs Global Witness, Country for Sale, claims that the country’s emerging oil and mineral sectors may pose a similar threat. Says Gavin Hayman, “The same political elite that pillaged the country’s timber resources has now gained control of its mineral and petroleum wealth. Unless this is changed, there is a real risk that the opportunity to lift a whole generation out of poverty will be squandered.”
Thirty-three countries have been named “highly vulnerable” to the impact of climate change on their fisheries by a new study published in Fish and Fisheries. In these countries, two-thirds of which are in tropical Africa, fish accounts for 27 percent or more of daily protein intake, compared to 13 percent in non-vulnerable nations. InterPress examines the impact of acidification and rising surface temperatures on the fish stocks of coastal South Africa.
Photo: Fish-dependent people of Bangladesh could see their coastal catch reduced as a result of predicted increases in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms. Bangladesh is one of the nations identified as highly dependent on fisheries along with Cambodia, DR Congo, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda. Photo credit: Mark Prein, courtesy of WorldFish Center.