Mass mangrove restoration: Driven by good intentions but offering limited results

GR:  Ecosystem restoration is difficult and expensive. The mangrove example provided here shows how easy it is for even large-scale efforts to fail. One study I read found that restoration of one acre of shrubland can cost $100,000 or more. Preservation is extremely cheap compared to restoration. Perhaps one day we humans will become a responsible species and begin devoting a large part of our wealth and energy to restoring the lands and seas that we have damaged.

“There is an urgent need to address the global degradation of coastal ecosystems, but are mass mangrove planting initiatives sustainable?”

“In recent years, hundreds and sometimes thousands of volunteers have been involved in mass mangrove planting efforts, gaining media recognition and even earning entries into the Guinness Book of World Records. This has drawn attention to the urgent need to address the global degradation of coastal ecosystems. But are these planting initiatives sustainable? Do they have the desired impact? In short, do they work?

“Coastal communities are first to face the impacts of coastal degradation – reduced flood protection, decreased water quality, extreme soil erosion and a rapid decline in the variety and abundance of food sources (many of which come from mangroves in the tropics). Mass mangrove plantings should help address these challenges in certain areas, but instead many restoration efforts worldwide (for example, in the Philippines) are failing.

What’s going wrong?

“There are several issues. Restoring a mangrove is a complex process that needs to be founded on the principles of ecosystem management. Often, fast-paced and large-scale ‘restoration events’ are not necessarily scientifically robust in terms of which mangrove species should be restored, and where.” –IUCN (Continue reading: Mass mangrove restoration: Driven by good intentions but offering limited results | IUCN.)

Nature-Conservation News (Animals, Climate, Humans)

Blogging the Nature Conservation News

For two years, I’ve blogged about nature conservation and my EcoSciFi work. I’ve written original articles about invasive plants and Arizona wildlife, and I’ve added almost 500 comments to news reports. My busiest day was 22 blog posts and 4,600 visitors. Finding interesting news items, formatting posts, and adding comments is absorbing work, but it leaves no time for writing longer articles, stories, and books. In January 2015, I cut back on blogging.

Nature conservation is the great challenge of our time.  Human beings are imposing the great death, the sixth mass extinction of Earth’s creatures.  As citizen naturalists, we respond by volunteering to help specialists acquire real-world information, and repair damaged and invaded ecosystems.  We also advise and direct our leaders using letters, petitions, and demonstrations.  Effective response requires current information.

I’ve designed RebelMouse newsletters that summarize the news in continuous streams. The newsletters automatically display stories from sources that I pre-select. I choose sources that report on relevant subjects and that have high standards for honesty and presentation quality.  The editorial slant follows the Land Ethic.

The newsletters are more current and complete than my blog ever was.  They are easy to scan for interesting stories, and I can add information and insights.  A click shares the stories on social-media.

Following or subscribing to the newsletters produces a daily email, but I recommend bookmarks instead.

You are welcome to share the newsletters and to send me comments on the stories and sources.

Thank you.

Here’s the news:

Nature Conservation News:  Animals, animal-rights, biodiversity, habitats, human impacts, wildlife, and many related topics.

Climate News:  Climate change, global-warming, storms, human impacts, etc.

Slave ants and their masters are locked in a deadly relationship

Ants have a reputation of being industrious hard-working animals, sacrificing their own benefit for the good of the colony.


GR:  Ants are a critical component of the earth’s terrestrial ecosystems.  They consume and break down large amounts of material, they control the populations of numerous species, and they provide food for many others.  For instance, ants make up 40% of the diet of the Northern Flicker, a common Arizona bird.  Despite being small and not so visible, ants account for 15% to 25% of all animal biomass on our planet’s land surface—far more than any other animal group.  Read more.

World wildlife populations ‘plummet’

The global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, with wildlife populations halving in just 40 years, a report says.


GR:  Okay, the news is out there. I believe leadership will have to come from the public. We’ve begun with petitions and peaceful assemblies. Now the assemblies must grow.  Where is the next one?

Great Biodiversity Cartoons

Nature Cartoons

“Anyone who reads knows that I like to inject a bit of humour into my (often gloomy) messages. Sniggering, chortling, groaning and outright guffawing are useful ways to deal with the depressing topics conservation scientists examine every day. This is why I started the ‘Cartoon of the Week’ series, and now I have a compendiumof quite a few biodiversity-related cartoons. Cartoons can also serve as wonderfully effective political tools if they manage to encapsulate the preposterousness of bad policies, navel-gazing politicians or Earth-buggering corporate tycoons. A good cartoon can be far more effective at transmitting a deep and complex message to a wide audience than most scientific articles.

“Who are these gifted artists that bring together wit, humour and hard environmental truths into something that practically every scientist  wants to include in conference presentations? I am inspired by some of these people, as I’m sure are many of you, so I decided to put together a little list of some of today’s better biodiversity cartoonists.”


GR:  You will love these cartoons.

Fish are Sentient and Emotional Beings and Clearly Feel Pain

Fish are Sentient


Puffer Fish CC BY-SA 3.0 Brocken Inaglory

Fish deserve better treatment based on data on their emotional lives


GR:  Evidence shows that living creatures have varying degrees of sentience and intelligence. They play, they fear, they learn, and they try to survive.  All are responding to their surroundings by adjusting their form and behavior over successive generations.  As they evolve, they change their environments and create the Earth biosphere on which we depend.  Given time, it seems likely that other species will develop intelligence that matches or exceeds our own. Thus, for practical and ethical reasons, we should protect the creatures that furnish our home and share our existence.