Class Research Resources and Assignments

Week 10 - Lecture Video

Land Management and the Global Commons: Air, Oceans, Forests

Forests | Oceans | Air

For 19 November 2002       Some resources are by nature fluid, and for that reason, they cannot be adequately understood as simply localized assets.  Land management decisions in some specific regions affect the health of oceans and the composition of the global atmosphere upon which the whole world community depends for its well being.  How should land management principles be crafted to preserve and protect the global commons of air, oceans, fisheries and forests? 

The Forest:

Real Audio Maine Land Sales. October 8, 1998.From Maine Public Radio, Susan Chisholm reports one of the largest sales of private timberland is taking place this week in Maine. The new owner has promised to be a good steward of the land, but environmentalists worry that portions could be sold to real estate developers. (3:22)

Real Audio Maine Land. March 04,1999. Noah talks with Keith Ross, vice president and director of land protection for the New England Forestry Foundation in Groton, Massachusetts, about the foundation's purchase of more than 700,000 acres of northern Maine forest. This is the largest conservation easement ever in the United States. Under the plan, the Pingree family will sell development rights for a land mass about the size of Rhode Island for about 30 million dollars. The family will continue to harvest timber from the land and it will be open to the public. (4:00) 

Real Video The Great Bear Rain Forest. video clip on the Great Bear Rainforest. Please view the short video clip and note down the most important policy issues which you feel it raises. 


Tropical Rain Forests - Lungs of the World:

The Rainforests of Borneo
Morning Edition

Friday, December 10, 1999

    NPR's John Nielsen reports on the possible slow collapse of the rainforests of Borneo. Because of heavy logging, the forest's giant trees have stopped reproducing, and it is not known if they'll recover. (3:30)

Amazon Deforestation

All Things Considered

Thursday, January 18, 2001

    A study published in the journal Science, points to increasing development of infrastructure in Brazil as a major cause of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. NPR's Martin Kaste reports from Brazil. (7:00)

Liberian Logging

Morning Edition

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

    NPR's Ivan Watson reports on illegal logging of rainforests in Liberia. Since the end of the country's civil war in 1997, the export of timber has been the government's main source of revenue. But now conservationists are worried that under the current rate of depletion, the forests may not be there 10 years from now. (4:37)

Rainforest Preservation in Jeopardy

Morning Edition

Thursday, October 04, 2001

    NPR's Martin Kaste reports from Rio de Janeiro that Brazil's congress appears on the verge of reducing the amount of forest that farmers in the Amazon are required to preserve. The new forestry code would drop the preservation requirement on private land from 80 to 50 percent. For the first time in a decade, farming interests appear to be prevailing over environmentalists. (4:04)

  Status of the Amazon Rainforest

Talk of the Nation

Friday, June 08, 2001


Brazil Correspondent

The Economist Sao Paulo, Brazi WILLIAM LAURANCE

Research Scientist

Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Manuas, Brazil LUIZ GYLVAN MEIRA-FILHO (FILHO is "Jr.")

President, Brazilian Space Agency (Agência Espacial Brasileira) Brasilia, Brazil Back in the 1980s, there were dire predictions about how much of the Amazon we'd have left at the turn of the century. Join us in this hour of Science Friday to find what's left of the rainforests and what the future holds. 

Some Web Resources and Organizations:


The Oceans:

Web Resources:

  • Real Audio THE FISHING INDUSTRY  Talk of the Nation, Monday, February 24, 1997
              Ray Suarez looks at international fishing policy. A recent U.S. report found many common species of fish are in danger because they are being fished faster than they can reproduce. Ray and his guests will discuss the impact of overfishing and its long term effects on the environment. look at how Europe, Canada, and the US regulate their fishing industries on Talk of the Nation from NPR News. 
              Guests: Karen Garrison, Policy analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council; Emma Bonino, European Union Commissioner for Fisheries, Humanitarian Aid and Consumer Policy; Earl Wiseman, Director General of International Affairs, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. 

  • All Things Considered, Monday, July 21, 1997
              NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports on the latest battle between Canadian and U.S. commerical salmon fishers. Canadian fishermen seized a tourist ferry near Prince Rupert, British Columbia and have vowed to hold onto it, despite a court order, until they can talk to Canada's fisheries minister. In the meantime, they have tied up up Alaska's equivalent of a six lane highway on the water. (3:30) 

  • Morning Edition, Thursday, June 11, 1998
              NPR's John Nielsen reports on the suit filed by fishermen and environmentalists against the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the potential delay it could cause in the effort to protect fish populations. Today, the White House will unveil new ocean protection initiatives that will likely include plans to prevent over-fishing and offshore oil development. Vice President Gore will meet with fishermen, environmentalists, and marine scientists at the National Oceans Conference in Monterey, California. (3:29) 

  • Talk of the Nation, Wednesday, August 26, 1998.
              GUESTS: Andy Rosenberg, Deputy Director, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Commissioner to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization U.S. Commissioner to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization; Dennis Nixon Professor of Marine Affairs at University of Rhode Island; Fisheries Attorney Author, Marine and Coastal Law [Praeger Press, 1994]; Vito Calomo, Third Generation Sea Captain. 
              As summer winds down and people make their last pilgrimages to the shore, there are people who remain year-round. Generations of men have earned their living from the sea, but excess fishing threatens to drastically alter their lives. Over fishing has depleted hundreds of fish stocks while some species are near extinction. The U.S. government has placed tight restrictions on North American fishing, but some fishermen and their families feel they're being over regulated. 

  • Real Audio US/Canada Fishing Dispute 
  • Talk of the Nation, Tuesday, June 8, 1999
              GUESTS: Jeff Curtis Western Conservation Director, Trout Unlimited (Seattle, WA) Author, "Resolving the Pacific Salmon Treaty Stalemate" (issued jointly by Trout Unlimited U.S. and Trout Unlimited Canada, January, 1999) Deborah Lyon Commercial Fisher Troll Fishery fishing industry representative at treaty talks for the past 4 years Former member, State Board of Fisheries (1990-1994) The U.S. and Canada last week reached an agreement intended to end a long running dispute over catches in coastal waters. The feud resulted from over fishing of already depleted salmon stocks including coho, chinook, and sockeye. Last year, Canada sharply restricted salmon fishing off its coast, and the U.S. retaliated by listing nine salmon stocks as endangered species in the Pacific Northwest. Join Ray Suarez and guests for a look at efforts to restore salmon fisheries. 

  • Real Audio Dolphins 
  • All Things Considered, January 4, 2000.
              An unusually high number of dolphins have died and washed up onto the Florida coast since August. The average is five to ten a year. But in the last four months, more than a hundred have been counted. Noah speaks with George Gray, President and Director of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge on Okaloosa Island, Florida. (3:30) 
  • Saving Salmon, or Seattle. James Fallows. The Atlantic Monthly, October 2000. 
  • WWF - US World Wildlife Fund - Endangered Seas 

New England Fisheries Issues:

British and European Fishing Issues:

    • One Earth, one ocean.

    • by Professor Jacquie McGlade
             The oceans are of significant economic and social importance to the UK, providing natural resources, determining our climate and generating a variety of commercial activities. But in contrast to many countries, the UK does not have a national ocean's policy into which all of this fits. Does this matter? A few facts and figures help to underline what is at stake. Global marine markets have been estimated at approximately œ800 billion, of which the UK's share is just over œ40 billion i.e. 3 - 4% of gross domestic product. In some markets, such as oil and gas exploration and unmanned underwater vehicles, the UK's share is more than 20%. So yes, we need an ocean's policy, because without one, future efforts to maintain our international presence will become fragmented. 

    • Net Loss Science and Technology BBC World Service. 

    •        World fish stocks may take far longer to recover from being over fished than previously estimated, according to new research at Dalhousie University in Canada. A study, published in the journal Nature, found that popular species like cod and haddock may never recover after years of being heavily fished. Corinne Podger, of BBC Science, reports. In Europe and North America, fish like cod, sardines, haddock and flounder have been favourites for decades - and many of these species are now regarded as endangered. But some fishing experts believe that populations of these fish vary naturally from year to year, and their ability to rapidly reproduce will enable them to repopulate the oceans and save them from extinction. Dr Jeffrey Hutchings, who led the Dalhousie University research, says his findings suggest this perception is wrong.

    • BBC News SCITECH Sealife around UK under threat. 
    • BBC News UK Euro fish plans 'threaten' UK fleet 
    • BBC News SCOTLAND Russian trawlers 'threaten fish stocks.' 
    • BBC News SCITECH Fish and chips under threat 
    • WWF - UK - Oceans Recovery Campaign. 

Canadian Fishing Disputes:

Aquaculture: Promise and Potential Problems

Related bibliography:


The Air: 

The Policy and Science of Climate Change:

Global warming 'worse than feared'

Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK 
The BBC's Susan Watts

"It's the American people who are the chief culprits in pumping global warming gases into the atmosphere"

Co-chairman of the panel, Sir John Houghton 

"The 1990's were the warmest decade in the Northern Hemisphere for the whole millennium"

Keith Shine, meteorologist

"The overwhelming majority of people accept the evidence that the climate has warmed up"

     Immediate action is needed to protect the Earth from dramatic climate change, a top United Nations scientist has warned. 

     Dr Robert Watson was speaking as an influential UN body formally published its third assessment on climate change. 

     The report says global temperatures are rising nearly twice as fast as previously thought. 

     Dr Watson, who chairs the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), dismissed President George W Bush's doubts about the reality of global warming.

     "We know enough to say climate change is a serious environmental issue," said Dr Watson. 

     A host of recent studies have predicted catastrophic consequences for the environment because of global warming. Other research papers, although not as numerous, have been far more circumspect in their analysis of climate change, pointing up the many uncertainties that still grip the research field. 

Sceptics 'threaten' climate pact
Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 13:30 GMT 

     Environmentalists at climate talks in Morocco say Australia and Japan are leading moves to renege on agreements, made just four months ago, to tackle global warming. 

     More than 4,000 delegates from 163 countries are in their second week of talks in Marrakech trying to draft the legal language to give effect to the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to counter what some scientists perceive to be human-induced climate change.

Marrakech nudges climate treaty onwards
Monday, 12 November, 2001, 23:26 GMT 

By Alex Kirby

   BBC News Online environment correspondent 

   The Morocco climate conference succeeded in patching together a compromise which every country could endorse. 

   The optimists say it was at least a working compromise, a springboard for serious action later. 

   The pessimists say it was what always happens at meetings like this - more dilution of previous agreements. 

   What Marrakech certainly means is that the Kyoto Protocol can now enter into force. 

   The conference - Cop7, the seventh conference of the parties to the protocol - had to work out the Kyoto rulebook. 


Climate conference reaches deal 
 Saturday, 10 November, 2001, 20:25 GMT 
  The BBC's David Bamford in Marrakech

"The treaty has a new burst of life"

The BBC's Liz Blunt reports from Marrakech

"The support of countries such as Japan and Russia has become crucial"

  Friends of the Earth's Roger Higman 

"Most countries have finally reached the stage where they'll implement the deal"

     Negotiators in the Moroccan city of Marrakech have agreed the final details of how the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and global warming will work. 

     The deal was voted on by a plenary session of the Kyoto signatories on Saturday. 

     Working through Friday night to meet a deadline set by chairman Mohamed El Yazghi, delegates finally agreed the rules of how to implement the treaty. 

     "There is agreement on everything by everyone," said French environment minister Yves Cochet. 

     The Kyoto Protocol calls on nearly 40 industrial countries to limit or reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases - primarily carbon dioxide from industry and cars - which some scientists believe are rapidly raising global temperatures. 

     The accord assigns each country a target and sets an average 5.2% emission reduction from 1990 levels, to be achieved by 2012 - although environmental groups say the reality is nearer 2%. 

The Question of the 'Global Commons'

Critics of Kyoto talks say air now a commodity 
Wednesday, November 07, 2001

By Gilles Trequesser, Reuters

MARRAKESH, Morocco — Can we really trade the air we breathe? 

Critics of U.N.-organized climate change talks rhetorically asked the question at a news conference Monday to charge that experts meeting in Marrakesh were far removed from real issues that affect the lives of ordinary people throughout the world. 

   Delegates from 164 countries began a second week of highly technical talks to wrap up a deal on the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty to combat global warming and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for raising the Earth's temperature. 

   Representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) said common sense was at times sorely missing in documents being prepared for the ministerial meeting on climate change from Wednesday to Friday, which will conclude the two-week Marrakesh conference, the first major international gathering since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. 

   Nonbureaucrats and nonspecialists were left out in the cold, and the opaque language, not to say jargon, used at plenary sessions, workshops, and in hundreds of documents was unlikely to be easily understood by the majority of people, including the ones most affected by climate change, they said. 

   "There is now talk of privatizing the air we breathe," said Tom Goldtooth of the U.S.-based Indigenous Environmental Network, in reference to an "emissions trading" scheme being planned. The scheme is part of the Kyoto Protocol's "flexible mechanisms" and would allow one country to buy the right to emit from another country which has already reduced its emissions sufficiently and therefore has "spare" emissions reductions. 

Warming 'could affect' winter birds
Sunday, 4 November, 2001, 06:50 GMT 

   Some of Britain's best-loved visiting birds are under threat from global warming, claim conservationists. 

   According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), species that overwinter in the UK are at risk of losing their favourite feeding and breeding grounds. 

   Arctic water birds such as the red knot, dunlin and Brent goose, spend the winter on Britain's coastline. 

Global warming 'altering genes'
Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 11:11 GMT 

 By BBC News Online's Helen Briggs 

    Global warming is leading to changes in the genetic make-up of animals, say scientists. 

They have found that mosquitoes have altered their genes in response to climate change. 

    According to biologists at the University of Oregon, US, many plants and animals are adapting to a warming environment by taking advantage of the longer seasons. 

British birds now lay their eggs more than a week earlier than they did in the 1970s. And frogs are spawning about 10 days earlier. But the Oregon study is the first clear evidence that the genes of animals are changing. 

    In northern latitudes, warming has led to earlier springs, longer summers and milder winters. The shift in the seasons is linked to increasing global temperatures experienced in the second half of the 20th Century. 

    This has affected the life cycle of a tiny species of mosquito found on the eastern seaboard of North America, from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Canada.