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Eco-briefs

 
 

BRAZIL: Measuring the Impact of Lightning

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 6 (Tierramérica) - Every year, there are 61 million lightning strikes in Brazil, killing an average of 100 people and causing economic losses, according to a study by the atmospheric electricity group at the National Institute of Space Research.

"It is the first precise estimate of the average number of lightning strikes from 1998 to 2005, based on satellite data and a national monitoring network," Kleber Naccarato, a researcher on the team, told Tierramérica.

Lightning varies greatly from year to year, apparently affected by climate phenomena like El Niño and La Niña, which alternate, determined by the temperature of Pacific Ocean currents.

The lightning study is the latest worldwide. In the southern hemisphere summer these electric charges multiply, and provoke clashes of cold, humid winds with warm, dry winds. However, says Naccarato, "we lack data to blame the increase in lightning activity on global warming."

 
 

COLOMBIA: Legume to Counter El Niño

BOGOTA, Nov 6 (Tierramérica) - Cratylia argentea, a legume that is resistant to prolonged drought and highly nutritious for cattle, could be cultivated by Colombian ranchers to counter the effects of the climate phenomenon known as El Niño, according to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

"It is a bush rich in protein, with a high capacity for sprouting during dry periods, replacing part of the commercial concentrates, and maintaining cows' milk production when the weather is too dry or too humid," Carlos Lascano, a CIAT expert who has been studying the plant for 15 years, told Tierramérica.

He said the legume can adapt to different regions of the country, but is particularly useful along the Atlantic coast, a cattle-raising region that sees long dry periods, which could become worse with El Niño, which is predicted to intensify towards the end of the year.

 
 

GUATEMALA: Soldiers to Look After Maya Parks

BOGOTA, Nov 6 (Tierramérica) - Cratylia argentea, a legume that is resistant to prolonged drought and highly nutritious for cattle, could be cultivated by Colombian ranchers to counter the effects of the climate phenomenon known as El Niño, according to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

"It is a bush rich in protein, with a high capacity for sprouting during dry periods, replacing part of the commercial concentrates, and maintaining cows' milk production when the weather is too dry or too humid," Carlos Lascano, a CIAT expert who has been studying the plant for 15 years, told Tierramérica.

He said the legume can adapt to different regions of the country, but is particularly useful along the Atlantic coast, a cattle-raising region that sees long dry periods, which could become worse with El Niño, which is predicted to intensify towards the end of the year.

 
 

ARGENTINA: Sábalo Threatened by Overfishing

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 6 (Tierramérica) - The non-governmental Proteger Foundation revealed on Oct. 30 a nearly secret report by Argentina's fisheries agency which admits that the fish known as the sábalo (Prochilodus lineatus) is at risk of population collapse due to overexploitation.

Proteger, which has denounced the overfishing of this species for years, agreed with the forecast, but criticized the agency for failing to publicize the official study.

The report "confirms what we have maintained all along, but this is a snapshot, and to understand the problem there have to be comparative studies," Julieta Peteán, a member of the Foundation, told Tierramérica.

According to Proteger, some 70,000 tons of sábalo -- the leading river-fish export -- are caught annually, half what was caught 20 years ago with a smaller fishing capacity.



* Source: Inter Press Service.


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