COLOMBO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Warm April weather is nothing new in Sri Lanka. Over generations, Sri Lankans have become accustomed to temperatures of up to 34 degrees Celsius during this month, when the sun moves directly overhead. They also know from experience that the baking heat will soon be eased by the arrival of the monsoon in May. But this once-predictable cycle is changing. Weather experts, government officials, farmers and ordinary people seem unsure as to what the monsoon season is likely to bring this year. http://www.trust.org/item/20140424080217-ofdz5/?source=hptop
YANGON, Myanmar (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It is still home to some of the most pristine forests in Southeast Asia. But forest experts warn that Myanmar is fast losing its woodlands due to a combination of commercial logging, agricultural expansion and firewood harvesting. According to the UN-REDD Programme, at least half of Myammar’s land of 667,000 square kilometres is still covered in forest. But the country also has suffered an alarmingly high rate of deforestation. The UN–REDD Programme estimates that in the 15 years between 1990 and 2005, the country lost 18 percent of its forests, and the deforestation rate may have since increased.The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), looking at a somewhat longer period, estimates that Myanmar lost more than half of its dense forest cover between 1990 and 2010, with the area covered by forest falling from 45 percent to around 20 percent. http://www.trust.org/item/20140326124321-kpqdz/?source=hptop
COLOMBO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The recent appointment of a new head for Indonesia’s fledgling REDD+ Agency, tasked with reducing climate-changing emissions from deforestation, is expected to accelerate tree planting and other efforts to protect forests in the Southeast Asian nation, as well as raising more funds for this work. http://www.trust.org/item/20140108104601-gxicv/
Experts in Sri Lanka fear that despite the increased frequency of extreme dry seasons, the country still lacks measures to ease the impact on vital sectors like agriculture, energy and water resources. Ranjith Punyawardena, chief climatologist at the Department of Agriculture, said that this year’s main paddy rice harvest was likely to shrink by 7-10 percent due to the shortage of rainfall. – http://www.trust.org/item/20140214194424-vmupo/?source=hptop
TOKYO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It is often said that people in the poorest countries suffer most from climate hazards and the effects of a warming world. Now we have the data to prove it.
Between January 1980 and July 2013, climate-related disasters caused 2.52 million deaths around the globe. Of the total, a disproportionately high number of deaths – 1.28 million or 51 percent – were recorded in the world’s 49 least developed countries (LDCs), according to a recent briefing paper from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). – http://www.trust.org/item/20131206094547-fy6ma/?source=hptop
New research by the Colombo based economic think-tank, the Institute of Policy Studies says that traditional rice varieties that went out favor in the last 60 years with the advent of hybrids, are much more reseilient than their successors. My story for the Thomson Reuters Foundation http://www.trust.org/item/20131010112839-bhdna/?source=hptop
Sri Lanka has been increasingly witnessing erratic rain patterns that have had a debilitating impact on the country’s vital agriculture production. Now research has shown that centuries old irrigation schemes spread wide in the rural areas can be used as a workable solution to the vagaries of these shifting rain patterns. – http://www.trust.org/item/20130702101105-pvwac/?source=hptop