Tag Archives: Urbanization

Q&A with MycoWorks Co-founder Sophia Wang | Instant News

Fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil and is responsible for 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions. Carbon intensive production animal hideout and Plastic for leather and synthetic clothing further exacerbates the impact of this industry, while waste from every stage of the fashion pipeline contributes to rampant air, water and soil pollution. As experts have known for years, the rise of fast fashion has enlarged the world’s resources and demonstrated the fragility of our current methods of production and consumption. If we want a future in which high-quality textiles play a role, we must act to change our habits on a system-wide scale.

When her artistic collaborator, Phil Ross, shared with her about the mycelium sculptures she has been working on for decades, artist Sophia Wang was amazed at the many possibilities in its natural pigments and textures. The mycelium consists of the root structure of the fungus and, like the edible part of the fungus, has a textural quality unlike that found in the animal or plant kingdom. Sophia had never seen anything like it and described Phil’s mycelium as “both stiff and foamy; compact and endlessly expressive.”

Cultivating mushrooms for consumption is an ancient industry that has a strong production and distribution infrastructure around the world. Mycelium’s abundance and biodegradability and carbon sequestration make it a clear choice for future sustainable goods. Companies like Eco-Friendly Design and Rhizoform LLC has spent decades developing mycelium as a packaging alternative for fragile fish and consumer goods and has even won support from Ikea and packaging giant SealedAir, but in fashion nothing has been tried on this scale yet.

Project with Sophia and Phil, MycoWorks, based on their proprietary process for mycelium cultivation called “Fine Mycelium ™”. This process uses the capacity of the fungus to bind itself and carbon-based materials to produce a durable three-dimensional structure. The first product they developed with Fine Mycelium was Reishi ™, the sustainable choice for skin that looks, feels and functions like an animal-derived version. Following their successful brand launch for Reishi in February 2020 at New York Fashion Week, MycoWorks plans to announce collaborations with some of the biggest names in the fashion world.

We sat down with Sophia Wang to discuss what makes MycoWorks a game changer for sustainable mode and what lies ahead.

China Environment Forum: What is unique about fashion as a means of presenting the delicate mycelium material?

Sophia Wang: Fashion is uniquely positioned to take the lead in new material adoption due to its global presence, impact and presence. There is a power made possible by creating high-value objects that are beautiful, aesthetically appealing, and long-lasting. A high-quality handbag or a beautiful piece of clothing becomes something intimate, that you live with, and that matters to you. When we started the company, it was an option to make things like structural panels, foam blocks, or protective packaging. But as far as introducing this new material and its extraordinary performative and expressive aesthetic qualities to the world, packaging applications do not represent all that. In our opinion, fashion is a very strong partner for introducing material in a way that adds value while communicating its own value.

CEF: What makes Reishi unique?

SW: Reishi is a highly engineered and customizable material, so we can develop specifications, be it size or features, and eliminate a lot of waste in the production process. Typically, working with animal hides is limited to what the farm can produce and the parameters of the animals you harvest. [With Reishi], we can develop the product straight to the design to eliminate waste from cutting and trimming. We may also work with customers to meet certain performance specifications, customize their appearance and develop those specifications.

CEF: How is Reishi advancing closed loop modeling in the fashion industry?

SW: We have new models for advanced material production. Mycelium grows on vegetable biomass and wood-based substrates so there is potential to centralize the production process by placing fine mycelium production alongside wood or biomass production. This highly portable technology is our strongest intervention in current supply chain models.

You can even collaborate with the fabrication of the final product. The by-product of Reishi production is actually the production of more mycelium-based products. The Reishi material is planted on a composite substrate, which self-implants in other mycelium components, which you can then use in structural panels, beams and foam packaging. There is a lot of potential closed loop in our manufacturing process, which is of great interest to us.

CEF: How does MycoWorks foster collaborative relationships with the leather industry?

SW: Instead of claiming that we are trying to replace skins, or provide an alternative to skins, we create options. Reishi, being a natural and non-plastic material, can be considered another delicate and rare skin along with other exotic skins such as crocodile, alligator, and ostrich. The leather industry, through our partners, is excited to work with us as we bring advanced material technology and a data-driven approach to the industry based on hundreds of years of craft expertise and know-how. . We have learned a lot from our partners in the leather industry and they have learned a lot from the processing methods and approaches we carry. They never had the opportunity to work with natural ingredients they could develop to specifications, which have a similar three-dimensional structure to collagen.

You might think of what we do as a crossroads between agricultural technology and the leather industry. The initial stages of our process are very similar to agricultural mushroom production in that we start with a similar substrate and inoculum. We then took some of the wisdom and models that come from tanning and finishing leather, and developed new chemicals and processes specifically for entirely new materials that are natural but not collagen or animal plastics.

CEF: What is the future for MycoWorks?

SW: In the next few years, our focus will be entirely on scaling our production processes to bring Reishi to our short list of selected brand launch partners who are exclusively engaged in fashion and luxury footwear. We opened a pilot facility and finally a full scale facility to support this launch and deliver the high volume that our brand partners have committed to. We think launching with these brand partners is the first step towards making Reishi and this technology ubiquitous as our partners are known for setting the highest standards for performance, quality and design.

In the long term, we hope to enable manufacturing co-locations to make supply chains more efficient and have an impact not only on the carbon footprint, but also on the overall production cost structure of these items.

Reishi is very measurable. I want this technology to be available in every corner of the world where there is agricultural production. There is potential worldwide for small producers to make secondary products with existing mushroom production and distribution infrastructure. Mycelium grows everywhere all over the planet and the input is very low – we just control the environment.

CEF: Is there someone who has inspired your work as a Closed Loop Innovator?

SW: As I began to understand and understand the stories I had to tell, I have to say that I was very inspired by Céline Semaan, the founder of Slow Factory Foundation and a defender of social and environmental justice. She educates about the fashion industry through an integrated approach that links it to economic justice and understands the impact of global colonialism, as well as issues around the workforce, environment and consumer production infrastructure. The messaging and communication interventions he takes to the world and the work he does with Slow Factory are integrated stories to tell.

I think the only way we can really change the system for all is with a very integrated approach. We are positioned [at MycoWorks] to make a tremendous impact in terms of the materials and fashion industry and I’m very excited to develop a platform through MycoWorks that can influence policy and direct decisions that affect the lives of individuals.

This blog part from the Closed Loop Innovators Series, featuring stories of women around the world innovating in business, civil society and science to reduce plastic waste pollution. A condensed version will appear in the forthcoming publication of the China Environmental Forum, InsightOut: Closing the Loop on Plastic Waste in China and the US

Clare Auld-Brokish is a research assistant at the Wilson Center’s China Environmental Forum where she works on urban water issues in China and global plastic waste. He recently returned from a Fulbright fellowship in Yunnan, China where he conducted environmental science research in freshwater lakes and developed wetlands.

Tongxin Zhu is a research assistant at the Wilson Center China Environment Forum. The focus is currently on marine plastic waste in China with an emphasis on consumer-facing industries. He recently graduated from Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy with an MPP.

Source: Center for International Environmental Law, Edible Fungi and Medicines: Technology and Applications, Procedia Energi, United Nations News

Lead image credit: Sophia Wang, photo by Carla Tramullas, courtesy of MycoWorks.


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Q&A with Evrnu co-founder, Stacy Flynn | Instant News

Stacy Flynn is very familiar with the ins and outs of the fashion supply chain. She knows how clothes travel the world as they go through the stages of design, textile production, and clothing shaping before landing at your local retail store. Over the years, he’s managed this supply chain for Dupont and Target, making regular visits to suppliers in China showing his original manufacturing facilities where he inspects samples of textiles and clothing and discusses prices and shipping. Nothing could have prepared him when he returned in 2010 with a Seattle-based startup to visit the smaller textile and dyeing factories, and see the staggering pollution generated by these second and third tier suppliers. His guide told him that during periods of increased textile production, wastewater emissions turned rivers into unnatural colors and factory exhausts blocked the air outdoors and even indoors for workers.

Stacy immediately began a mental tally of the millions of yards of fabric he’s worked on throughout his career and the associated environmental costs. The pride he held for his profession quickly deteriorated. At a crossroads, she asked herself, “Is this the end of the story, is this our state or is there some other way for the fashion industry?”

Today’s global fast fashion models encourage the fast design of inexpensive seasonal clothing. This fast moving supply chain produce over 92 million tonnes of waste annually and consumes 79 trillion liters of water. Cheap synthetic fiber which makes light and durable fabrics the fuel for this industry, but its high environmental cost and durability. In 2015, the annual greenhouse gas emissions from polyester production for textiles reached equal impact of 185 coal-fired power plants. The polyester fabric is very dangerous because when wearing or washing they can release plastic microfibers at an alarming rate. Scientists are currently unraveling how these microfibers accumulate in our bodies seabed, National Parks, seafood, and House.

Evrnu is a collaboration between Stacy Flynn and Christopher Stanev to counter the impact of the fashion industry on natural resources by licensing their supply-side innovations to global producers. Evrnu is innovative NuCycl Technology strips old clothing down to the fibers of its components for a stronger, more reusable finish. They modernize the textile industry by designing waste from the supply chain and leveraging discarded textiles as a resource for the future.

Evrnu made leaps and bounds in innovation and advocacy through his collaboration with Adidas and Stella McCartney and Levi Straus & Co, and appearances in the national industry alliance to promote United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We sat down with Stacy to discuss Evrnu’s business model and why her company is uniquely pushing our understanding of fashion into the future.


China Environment Forum: What is meant by redefining the textile industry supply chain?

Stacy Flynn: As the world and where our industry is located, we keep repeating the same formula in hopes of a different outcome. Focusing on the future does require us to think creatively and more holistically about what the solution is by starting small and scaling it over time.

We have seen the negative environmental impact and limits of our growth with the way we do business today. What if we start designing our product with the intention of recycling it in the future? What if future textile byproducts were used to create the supply chain instead of mining raw materials?

CEF: What makes Evrnu recycling technology unique?

SF: You can take the trash and turn it into something else, but if that something else has the fate of ending up in a landfill or incinerator, you’re just creating an inevitable delay on the trash. Our NuCycl technology is unique in that it redesigns products so that they can be more fully recycled and reused in the future. Our research focuses on garment-to-garment recycling and garment-to-downstream technology which includes patents for converting textile waste into different types of paper for cardboard, packaging, and the like. Our technology will provide end-of-life solutions for textile waste that are harmless to our environment.

Today the business is based on producing large quantities at low prices. As a result, they do not keep up with the pace of innovation because there is no money to invest in them. Our technology is designed to redistribute incentives so that there is clear value for the entire supply chain. We are redefining our value proposition by creating products that align with consumer values ​​in reducing impact and training consumers to recycle their products so we can turn them back into new materials and give them access in a variety of forms.

CEF: The garment-to-garment recycling process is integral to Evrnu’s success. How is the closed loop process started?

SF: In the United States, we dispose of 17 million tonnes of clothing waste each year. Only 20 percent of this clothing waste goes to charities such as the Goodwill and Salvation Army, so far most of the textile waste goes to garbage and eventually goes to landfills. Of the percentage donated, charities try to resell or reuse as much as possible. Anything that can’t be sold is sent to clothing recyclers who manually sort and process it for the secondary market which is usually an emerging market. Things that can’t be resold or reused have to go straight to landfill and that’s where our technology is designed to intersect.

We want to reduce the amount of textiles that are going to landfill as much as possible by mining or dismantling the polymer and re-polymerizing it into new materials for new, high-value products. This waste supply chain is in place today and as we start donating more and more old textiles to the supply chain for sorting and splitting, it will continue to expand worldwide.

CEF: What is the future for NuCycl?

SF: That’s the million dollar question. When you have your own factory, you can control your own destiny, but the downside of owning your own factory is that it is very expensive. We chose to use a licensing model because we didn’t have to build a facility, but we often depend on the supply chain. So we’ve had to work really hard over the last two years to build strong relationships with waste owners, paper pulp mills and fiber producers in order to properly cut the existing waste supply chain. The process is very long, like a symphony that requires an end-to-end supply chain partnership to be successful.

Our early technology converts cotton waste into pulp which can pass through the same solvent systems currently used to dissolve wood pulp. The current system has been designed specifically for trees, so that it is compatible with fiber production systems [with our Regenerative Cellulosics technology] has taken time and we are now completing the final stages of development to get the quality fiber producers demand so they can make commercial fiber from our pulp. Next year we will maintain our pulp business by integrating pulp mill owners with fiber producers. We aim to bring between three and six brands to market next year.

CEF: Are regulations emerging to facilitate the redesign of the textile industry?

SF: We are starting to see the EU making strong policies about the environmental impact of the textile industry. For example, Ireland and France have clothes that are prohibited from dumping in landfills. Environmental damage from the textile industry is a colossal problem affecting mankind but no one has put money into it as many professional investors consider it a women’s problem. We have to change the fashion business in ways that make sense, and for this to work we have to find people who believe it’s possible.

The blog is the first in a new Closed Loop Innovator Series, featuring stories about women around the world innovating in business, civil society and science to reduce plastic waste pollution. A condensed version will appear in the forthcoming publication of the China Environmental Forum, InsightOut: Closing the Loop on Plastic Waste in China and the US

Clare Auld-Brokish is a research assistant at the Wilson Center’s China Environmental Forum where she works on urban water issues in China and global plastic waste. He recently returned from a Fulbright fellowship in Yunnan, China where he conducted environmental science research in freshwater lakes and developed wetlands.

Tongxin Zhu is a research assistant at the Wilson Center China Environment Forum. The focus is currently on marine plastic waste in China with an emphasis on consumer-facing industries. He recently graduated from Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy with an MPP.

Source: Eunomia, Greenpeace, National Park Conservation Association, Earth Nature & Environment Review, Plastic Soup Foundation, The Guardian, United Nations Development Program, World Resources Institute

Main Photo Credit: The global fast fashion industry is in production more than 92 million tonnes of waste each year, belong to Shutterstock.com.


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Department Store Markets In Germany | Growth Momentum Declines During 2020-2024 | Technavio | Financial business | Instant News

LONDON – (Antara / BUSINESS WIRE) – 5 Nov 2020–

Technavio has been monitoring the department store market in Germany and its growth is expected to fall by USD 1.36 billion during 2020-2024. This report offers up-to-date analysis of the current market scenario, current trends and drivers, and the overall market environment. Download a Free Sample Report on COVID-19

Technavio has announced a new market research report entitled Department Stores Market in Germany 2020-2024 (Graphic: Business Wire)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the growth of various industries, but the immediate impact of the outbreak is mixed. While some industries will see reduced demand, many will remain unharmed and show promising growth opportunities. COVID-19 will have a low impact on department store markets in Germany. Market growth in 2020 tends to decline compared to market growth in 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Based on the segmentation by product, which is the leading segment in the market?
    Clothing, Footwear and Accessories.
  • What are the main trends in the market?
    Favorable micro location and concept have it all under one roof.
  • Who are the top players in the market?
    ausberlin, C&A Mode GmbH & Co. KG, E.Breuninger GmbH & Co., KODi Diskontladen GmbH, Manufactum GmbH, Muller Handels GmbH & Co. KG, SIGNA Holding GmbH, SOCIETE ANONYME DES GALERIES LAFAYETTE, The TJX Companies Inc. and Woolworth GmbH are the top players in the market.
  • What are the key market drivers and challenges?
    The market is driven by rapid urbanization and increased consumer spending. However, slowing sales at retail stores could stifle growth.

Buy 1 Technavio report and get the second one at a 50% discount. Buy 2 Technavio reports and get the third one for free.

The market is concentrated, and the level of concentration will increase over the forecast period. ausberlin, C&A Mode GmbH & Co. KG, E.Breuninger GmbH & Co., KODi Diskontladen GmbH, Manufactum GmbH, Muller Handels GmbH & Co. KG, SIGNA Holding GmbH, SOCIETE ANONYME DES GALERIES LAFAYETTE, The TJX Companies Inc., and Woolworth GmbH are some of the key market players. While rapid urbanization and increased consumer spending will offer enormous growth opportunities, slowing sales in retail stores is likely to be a challenge for market vendors. In an effort to help players strengthen their market footing, this department store market forecast report provides detailed analysis of the leading market vendors. The report also empowers industry princes with information on the competitive landscape and insight into the wide range of product offerings offered by various companies.

Technavio’s special research report offers detailed insights into the impact of COVID-19 at the industry level, regional level and subsequent supply chain operations. This customized report will also help clients keep abreast of new product launches in markets related to direct & indirect COVID-19, upcoming vaccines and pipeline analysis, as well as significant developments in vendor operations and government regulations.

Department Store Markets in Germany 2020-2024: Segmentation

Department Store markets in Germany are segmented as follows:

  • Product
    • Clothing, Footwear and Accessories
    • Consumer Electronics And Electricity
    • Home Furniture And Furnishings
    • Cosmetics And Fragrance
    • Others

Department Store Markets in Germany 2020-2024: Coverage

Technavio provides a detailed overview of the market through study, synthesis and summation of data from various sources. That department store market in Germany the report covers the following areas:

  • Department Stores Market in Germany Measure
  • Department Store Market Trends in Germany
  • Department Store Markets in German Industry Analysis

This study identifies a favorable micro location and the concept of having it all under one roof as one of the main reasons driving the growth of the Department Store Market in Germany over the next few years.

Technavio suggests three forecast scenarios (optimistic, possible and pessimistic) taking into account the impact of COVID-19. Technavio’s in-depth research has reports of market research impacted by COVID-19 directly and indirectly.

Sign up for the free trial today and get instant access to 17,000+ market research reports.

Department Store Markets in Germany 2020-2024: Key Highlights

  • Market CAGR over the forecast period 2020-2024
  • Detailed information on the factors that will help the growth of the department store market in Germany over the next five years
  • Estimated size of the department store market in Germany and its contribution to the wholesale market
  • Predict upcoming trends and change in consumer behavior
  • The growth of the department store market in Germany
  • Analysis of the market competition landscape and detailed information on vendors
  • Comprehensive detail of factors that will challenge the growth of department store market vendors in Germany
  • Market ecosystem
  • Value chain analysis
  • Market definition
  • Market segment analysis
  • 2019 market size
  • The retail market in Germany
  • Market outlook: Forecast for 2019 – 2024
  • Five strength summaries
  • Bargaining power of buyers
  • Bargaining power of suppliers
  • The threat of newcomers
  • Replacement threat
  • Competition threat
  • Market conditions

Market Segmentation by Product

  • Market segment
  • Comparison by Product
  • Consumer electronics and electricity – Market sizes and forecasts 2019-2024
  • Furniture and home furnishings – forecast and market sizes 2019-2024
  • Cosmetics and fragrances – Market sizes and forecast 2019-2024
  • Others – Market sizes and forecasts 2019-2024
  • Product based market opportunities
  • Customer landscaping
  • Market mover
  • Market challenges
  • Market trends
  • An overview
  • Landscape vendors
  • Landscape disturbance
  • Covered vendors
  • Market position of the vendor
  • ausberlin
  • C&A Mode GmbH & Co. KG
  • E. Breuninger GmbH & Co.
  • KODi Diskontladen GmbH
  • Manufactum GmbH
  • Muller Handels GmbH & Co. KG
  • SIGNA Holding GmbH
  • The TJX Companies Inc.
  • Woolworth GmbH
  • Report coverage
  • Currency exchange rate for US $
  • Research methodology
  • List of Abbreviations

Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company. Their research and analysis focuses on emerging market trends and provides actionable insights to help businesses identify market opportunities and develop effective strategies to optimize their market position. With more than 500 specialized analysts, Technavio’s report library is comprised of more than 17,000 reports and counting, covering 800 technologies, spread across 50 countries. Their client base consists of companies of all sizes, including more than 100 Fortune 500 companies.This growing client base relies on Technavio’s comprehensive coverage, extensive research, and actionable market insights to identify opportunities in existing and potential markets and assess their competitive position in a changing market scenario.

CALL: Technavio Research

Media & Marketing Executive

Website: www.technavio.com/


SOURCE: Technavio Research

Copyright 2020 Business Wire.

PUB: 11/05/2020 12:30 PM / DISC: 11/05/2020 12:31 PM

Copyright 2020 Business Wire.


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From disease to wildfires, Australia’s iconic koala faces a bleak future | Wider Image | Instant News

At work, Morgan Philpott (pictured below) looks after sick children. During her recess hours, the Australian pediatrician turns her attention to an equally defenseless group: the unhealthy koalas.

. Kurrajong, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Philpott collects leaves to give to koalas in rehabilitation.

“They are really at risk of extinction in our lifetime,” Philpott said of the New South Wales koala population at a veterinary hospital on the outskirts of Sydney while helping vets treat rescued koalas infected with the bacterial chlamydia disease.

. Sydney, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

A sick koala named Wally, rescued by WIRES, is being treated at the University of Sydney Animal Education Hospital.

Widespread infection among koalas, raging forest fires, drought, deforestation and encroachment of urban habitats are some of the many destructive forces that continue to threaten their survival. This power, a government report warned in June, could make Australia’s symbolic animal extinct in New South Wales – the country’s most populous state – by 2050.

“If the areas that did not burn last year burnt this year, it will be catastrophic,” said Philpott, who joins the country’s largest animal rescue agency, Information Services, Rescue and Wildlife Education, or WIRES, at his urging. her daughter.

“Future fires could mean the end of them.”

. Jenolan, AUSTRALIA. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Burnt tree bark is seen in forested areas, in habitat for koalas damaged in forest fires, in Kanangra-Boyd National Park, in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

The country’s worst summer wildfires in a generation scorched more than 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres), nearly half the size of Great Britain, pushing a tree-hugging gray marsupial into the center of national conversation and political issues. a warm one.

In New South Wales, at least 5,000 koalas died in fires that burned 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and 24% of koala habitat on public land, said a June government report.

As the summer comes, koalas face the threat of more wildfires, although forecasters expect months to be wetter and cooler than the previous year.

. Jenolan, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Research scientist Dr. Victoria Inman and Dr. Kellie Leigh, releasing the koalas named Pele and Joey back into their natural habitat, after a team from Science for Wildlife, caught them briefly to do Pele’s radio collar maintenance and assess him and Joey’s health.

A new state law seeks to limit farmers’ ability to clear land deemed important for koala habitat, sparking political clashes between urban conservationists and forest people who want to manage their own property.

“The rate of tree cutting and habitat loss is behind all the other factors threatening them in developing areas which includes domestic dog attacks and vehicle attacks,” said Kellie Leigh, head of Science for Wildlife, a non-profit conservation organization, before releasing mother koalas and joey. to a charred tree growing in a green ditch in Kanangra-Boyd National Park, about 200 km (124 miles) west of Sydney.

The release is part of his research, the Blue Mountains Koala Project, on koala recovery in areas ravaged by forest fires.

. Kurrajong Heights, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

The houses stand near the foothills of the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney, an area where koalas are threatened by land clearing and urban expansion, visible from Kurrajong Heights.

Koala conservationists, who blame climate change for the majority of wildfires, are also focusing on cities as population growth in a metropolitan city like Sydney drives demand to clear forests and make way for homes. Traffic safety signs have appeared now on the outskirts of the developed city warning of the risk of koalas crossing the road.

. Wedderburn, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Tracey cares for koala twins Joey, who have been diagnosed with underweight, and their mother, Gladys, who was rescued from an area where urban development is disturbing koala habitat, in a rehabilitation pen next to her home.

“There needs to be a balance to ensure that these species survive,” said Tracey, a WIRES volunteer, who asked not to give her last name, as she fed mother and twins joeys eucalyptus leaves in a rehabilitation pen next to her home.



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Improving Biodiversity Conservation, Improving Public Health and Food Security | Instant News

Our collective development goal will not be achieved if it sacrifices biodiversity and natural resource management Jeff Haeni, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator at the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and the Environment at USAID. He spoke at the Wilson Center recently virtual event, jointly with USAID, which explores the relationship between conservation and public health with examples from USAID BRIDGE project, which aims to build an evidence base for integrating biodiversity conservation considerations into policy discussions and cross-sectoral decision making. “The ability of people throughout the world to develop and develop depends on the health of forests, fisheries, and the natural systems around them,” he said.

Fisheries and Nutrition

An estimated 3 billion people depend on fish for most of their food security, said Barbara Best, former Coastal and Policy Management Specialist at USAID. “Fishing is one of the biggest sources of nutritious food, and the biggest use of extractive biodiversity,” Best said. The most widely traded food worldwide, fish is the main source of high-quality protein and important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. It is also an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for early brain development in children.

However 10 percent of the global population at risk of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies due to decline and poor management of wild fisheries, according to one study. Countries throughout West Africa are particularly vulnerable because of their high dependence on fisheries for nutrition and livelihoods. “When fish stocks decline, largely due to poor management, for millions of people living in the tropics, fish adds micronutrients and missing proteins to what would otherwise be an unbalanced diet,” Best said.

Misconceptions About Illegal Fishing

Illegal fishing is often ignored in international dialogue and international food security programs, Best said. To find out the reason, he and his colleagues interviewed people at USAID to understand why fisheries were not on their radar. Many do not think about catching wild fish, nor do they realize how important that is. Others know that fish catch is declining, but think that nothing can be done to reverse the trend. Therefore, they assume that fish farming is the only solution. Despite common misconceptions, we can reverse the decline in fish and increase the natural productivity of wild fisheries, enabling them to recover, Best said.

To increase resilience, he recommends involving fishermen in the management process through a participatory joint management system, securing ownership and access for small scale fishermen to fishing areas, and reducing subsidies that can encourage overfishing. Illegal fishing and ecosystem services need to be better integrated into the food system and development program. As Best said, illegal fishing and fishing are “too big to ignore” to achieve global food security goals.

The Power of Forest Food

Deforestation is often justified in terms of food security, usually to produce staple crops, said Amy Ickowitz, Chair of the Landscape & Sustainable Livelihood Team at the Center for International Forestry Research. But forests themselves are important for food security, according to preliminary findings from his study in Zambia. Wild food collected from nearby forests accounts for 68 percent of women’s weekly fruit consumption, and more than 25 percent of the recommended daily fruit intake, according to preliminary findings. The researchers did not expect forest food to make such a large nutritional contribution, Ickowitz said. Without counting the contribution of forest food to food security, it is easy to ignore these foods and not give them the attention they deserve, he said.

When forests are cut down to grow more corn and other staple crops, people lose access to micronutrients found in fruits and wild foods. Although more research is needed, evidence in studies like this helps organizations understand the need for cross-sector collaboration between forestry, food security, agriculture, conservation, and development programs.

Global Relationship

Building an evidence base at the local and regional level can inform global efforts. By generalizing on a small scale relationship between nature and human health, progress can be made globally, said Taylor Ricketts, Professor Gund and Director of the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. Ricketts shows this by looking at various health outcomes and how they relate to the surrounding ecosystem. One study explores how watershed conditions affect downstream diarrheal disease among children in Mozambique. Deforestation undermines efforts to develop a WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) program, because the risks increase with greater human activity and less tree cover upstream. Watershed reforestation must be a significant complement to more traditional policy interventions, such as WASH.

Another project highlighted by Ricketts shows how closeness to the forest affects dietary diversity in children. Households that are closer to the forest have 16 percent more variety of diets than those farther away, showing links to nutrition, health, and forest conservation. It is clear that forests and conservation affect children’s health, with rural and poor households most directly dependent on nature, Ricketts said. “Over and over again, we have found that rural and poor households depend more directly on nature than on the reverse,” Ricketts said. “So there is a huge equity problem here in terms of preserving nature for human health.” Thus, “natural investment can be a public health investment.”

Although investing in forests cannot replace traditional approaches to improving human health around the world, said Ricketts, it is a good complement that shows synergy between the conservation, health and development sectors – which often operate in separate places. Projects that improve health and forests can advance not only poverty goals, but also health and nature goals at the same time, he said. The SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) guides global investment throughout the development world. “But it is very clear that we will not succeed unless we find synergies in them,” Ricketts said, “and advance many of them at once.”

Source: Center for International Forestry Research, Nature, University of Vermont, U.S. International Development Agency

Photo Credit: Ghanaian Fish Sellers Prepare Fish for Smoking in Busua, Western Region, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Glenn G. Page, SustainaMetrix.


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