Saving the Pacific, One National Monument and Climate Warrior at a Time
The Pacific Ocean and Pacific Islands are in trouble, and not just from the recent spate of storms.
But there is always hope.
The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument contains remarkably rich coral ecosystems. Photo Credit: Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Global Ocean Legacy project has played a key role in urging governments to protect almost one million square miles of ocean from ecosystem threats. Their latest undertaking? Urging President Obama to expand and protect the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
The planned expansion of the national monument, announced in June, would create an area larger than Alaska, increasing protection of U.S. waters in the Pacific by up to 671,000 square miles. Extending the boundaries would result in the world’s most extensive network of marine protected areas, which, as research shows, is essential to increasing oceans species’ diversity and resilience to climate change.
While the national monument expansion is still under consideration by the Obama administration, a group of Pacific Islanders called the Pacific Climate Warriors are doing their part to protect their home from the effects of climate changes, telling the world: "We are not drowning. We are fighting.”
Photo credit: 350 Pacific
The Pacific Climate Warriors have been building traditional canoes in preparation for an epic journey to Australia this October, where they will stand up to those blocking climate action and to the fossil fuel industry that is destroying their homelands.
350 Pacific, active in 15 of the Pacific Island Nations, launched a video explaining the mission of the campaign:
The Pacific Warriors will travel Australia and share their story of struggle, confident that Australians will stand up and say “we will not let our neighbors drown.”
As the group states:
For 20 years we’ve asked world leaders to take action to stop polluting the atmosphere. Unless we act now, many of our Pacific Islands face losing everything to sea level rise. We cannot wait any longer.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
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A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
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