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Wetlands International's inputs to the ENVI Committee’s draft 2nd reading report on ILUC

Wetlands International welcomes the transition towards the sustainable production and consumption of bioenergy which delivers substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) savings compared to fossil fuels. As an organisation with valuable experience in wetland conservation, restoration and the sustainable use of their resources for people, climate and nature worldwide, we suggest a set of recommendations for inclusion in the European Parliament’s position on the second reading of the Indirect Land-Use Changes (ILUC) file (procedure file 2012/0288(COD)).

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Joint NGO letter on the environment, climate and social impacts of biofuels

This joint NGO letter was sent to the Members of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament to urge them to raise the environmental, climate and social ambition of the Indirect Land-Use Change (ILUC) file. The land-use changes  triggered by the expansion of biofuel crops are linked to greenhouse gas emissions (including significant  peatland emissions) and other negative impacts on people and the environment.

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The whole Pantanal, not just the half

The Pantanal, in the heart of South America, on the border of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, is the largest freshwater wetland in the world. It has an enormous biodiversity and the people who live there mainly live from fishing and tourism. The Pantanal has a water regulating function for an enormous area to the La Plata in Argentina, some 1,500 kilometers away. 'The whole Pantanal, not just the half', supported by Both ENDS, IUCN and Wetlands International reviews the current developments with regard to soy production in the region to create an informed debate. The ultimate goal is to achieve agreements and commitments to stop buying soy from the Pantanal, as already exist on soy from other areas, such as that around the Amazon.

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FISH PASSES: fish ladders and other pass systems

Since the middle of the 20th century, humans have significantly altered the hydrological and hydraulic system of European rivers, with (hydropower) dams, dredging, rectifications, channelling, etc. One of the most damaging effects of these activities results from constructing crossing works over rivers (dams, waterwheels, bridge foundations, etc), which frequently impede or limit the free movement of fish fauna.

The solution to the migratory problem caused by such obstacles is to either demolish the obstacle or to construct an additional structure which facilitates the upstream/downstream movement: a fish pass (commonly known as a “fish ladder”).

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ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND RIVER RESTORATION

Understanding the economic and social value of ecosystem services in a river system can help prioritise river restoration projects. Currently, public administrations rarely consider river restoration projects as investments. Funding for restoring natural capital is substantially lower than the funding available to build and maintain built infrastructure. By reframing river restoration projects as restoration of natural capital it is possible to attract the financial resources needed to restore river systems and better integrate environmental and social values.

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HOW CAN A RIVER BE HYDROLOGICALLY RESTORED?

This technical note on river restoration discusses how hydrological restoration should be incorporated in river restoration, and which are the most adequate strategies to design and implement the restored (functional) flows in rivers. Restoration of a river's flow regime should be the first step in any attempt to recover its ecological integrity, as the flow pattern determines, more than any other physical or environmental feature, the structure and spatial-temporal functioning of the river system.

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WHAT IS RIVER RESTORATION?

This technical note explores the concept of river restoration, addressing it as a process to re-establish or recover a natural system through the elimination of the impacts that degrade it throughout a prolonged period of time, until a natural and self-sustaining functioning is achieved. The process of restoration must attain naturalness, functionality, dynamism, complexity, diversity and resilience of the natural system. Real restoration is, therefore, self-restoration.

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CHANNEL GRADIENT: Calculation process using GIS

This technical note on river restoration adresses the calculation of river channel gradients using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The channel gradient is a fundamental parameter in the geomorphologic characterisation of river systems; it is a reflection of the changes in the longitudinal sequence of a river through the presence of waterfalls, step pools (fasts and pools), riffle pools (rapids and pools), etc., which makes it a discriminating factor of environmental dynamics of differentiated processes.

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RIVER SINUOSITY INDEX: Geomorphological characterisation

This technoical notes on river restoration explores the concept of sinuosity. Sinuosity is used to define the degree of meandering of a riverbed, which is then used to establish geomorphological river types.

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FLUVIAL TERRITORY: Restoration space

This technical note on river restoration explores the concept of Fluvial Territory as a space of sufficient width and continuity to retain or regain the hydro-­‐geomorphologic dynamic, obtain a continuous riverside passageway that would ensure ecological diversity (Habitats Directive 1992/43/CE) and the bioclimatic function of the river system, comply with a good ecological state (Water Directive 2000/60/CE), laminate the avenues naturally (Flood Directive 2007/60/CE), solve management problems of floodable areas, as well as improving and consolidating the landscape around the river.

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Managing Mali’s Wetland Wealth for People and Nature

Wetlands International has been in Mali since 1998. As we near the end of a second decade in the country, we want to highlight and celebrate what’s been achieved and learnt within our growing network of partners. This document reflects on projects past while also looking to the future. More important still, it is a call for partners, old and new, to join us in writing the next chapters of the story – partners with the necessary funds, creativity, vision, ambition and energy to carry this exciting work forward.

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Mudbank

Mudbank is an innovative approach for business to support the conservation of wetlands and migratory waterbirds around the globe. To offset the impact of development projects, Mudbank invests on behalf of companies in the permanent protection of important coastal habitat along migratory flyways. It is designed to be an option in the Mitigation Hierarchy—and not just an “in lieu of” solution.

 

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Keep it fresh or salty

This report provides guidance for program and project developers from, or working in, developing
countries on the numerous funds and finance mechanisms that can provide carbon finance for wetland carbon conservation and restoration. It also highlights ways to access and link carbon activities with non-carbon based sources of financing. 

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Poster : Canal Blocking

Canal Blocking has many benefits :

  • Restoration of 'wet' peat characteristics and reduction of fire
  • Return of the carbon sequestering capacity of peatland
  • Re-establishment of the water buffer fucntion and a reduction of floads
  • Opportunity to plant economically viable species like Jelutung for rubber and Tengkawang (illevenut) for edible oil production; it opens also possibilities for different forms of aquaqulture
  • return of original biodiversity that is opten unique to peat swamp forest 

 

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A Review of Migratory Bird Flyways and Priorities for Management

The phenomenon of bird migration has been a source of wonder for man since time immemorial. However, the biological integrity of this intricate seasonal journey, which covers a network of several biomes across different frontiers and continents, is being compromised due to a plethora of threats and challenges, and consequently the vulnerability of migratory birds is increasing worldwide. A Review of Migratory Bird Flyways and Priorities for Management is an exhaustive work which addresses the issue of conservation of migratory birds and their habitats with a comprehensive approach touching on core thematic areas.

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Next steps for RSPO in relation to peatlands

The new RSPO (April 2013) Principles and Criteria (P&C) require the avoidance of new plantation
developments on peatlands and provide important guidance for addressing the issues related to
the production of palm oil on peat. The new P&C acknowledge that drainage of peatlands results in greenhouse gas emissions and peat soil subsidence, which in turn create fl ooding problems. The new requirements constitute a major step forward in the development of sustainable palm oil. 

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Subsidence of peat soils in South-East Asia – Flooding risks in Sarawak

This paper presents the case study of the Rajang Delta in Sarawak, Malaysia where peatland subsidence will cause flooding, rendering 50% and 67% of the land unsuitable for palm oil cultivation after 25 and 50 years respectively. This is 3 to 4 times the size of Singapore.

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Mangroves for coastal defence

Can mangroves reduce waves and storm surges? How will they influence the forces of a tsunami? Do they actually contribute to stabilizing coasts and build-up of soils? Can they keep up with sea level rise? The “Mangroves for coastal defence: Guidelines for coastal managers & policy makers" provides an in-depth analysis  on the role that mangroves play in defense against waves, storms, tsunamis, erosion and sea level rise. Working with the University of Cambridge to review hundreds of scientific papers, the guide book outlines a practical approach for coastal decision makers.

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Wetlands International Organogram

The Wetlands International organogram was published in September 2014. Click on the PDF to view the goverance structure of our global network. 

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The importance of mangroves to people: a call to action

UNEP has launched a new report in which it warns that the deforestation of the planet’s mangroves was exceeding average global forest loss by a rate of three to five times, resulting in economic damages of up to $42 billion annually and exposing ecosystems and coastal habitats to an increased risk of devastation from climate change. Wetlands International has contributed to this important report and strongly supports its call to action to turn the tide and safeguard and restore the world's mangroves. 

 

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