Example of the need for scientific data and information
This is not strictly a reply to Gong's initial message, to which of course the answer is yes we do need sound scientific data and knowledge if we are to manage any set of human actions in the environment. When someone claims to have successfully managed mangroves without such data and information the chances are that they are wrong! It is likely that changes are occurring in the distribution and abundance of organisms that they simply have not noticed because they do not distinguish between the species concerned; or the trends in numbers are so slow as to be not immediately obvious from year to year.
My reason for posting is a news article from a Finnish newspaper that I encountered this morning which I am including herewith:
Stora Enso acquires land for mill site in China
The Finnish-Swedish pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso announced on April 28th that it has acquired a total of 250 hectares of industrial land in China for possible future use as a mill site.
The prospective site is in Beihai City in Guangxi, on the coast of the South China Sea, quite close to the Vietnam border, and its purchase price is about EUR 27 million. Stora Enso has been expanding its forest plantations in Guangxi, planning to establish a pulp and paper/board mill in the area.
Stora Enso stressed that no formal decision concerning the investment has been made as yet. A prerequisite for the investment decision is that the company is able to expand its present eucalyptus plantations in a way that will secure a sufficient fibre base.
Currently, Stora Enso has some 90,000 hectares of land for forest plantations, while the company’s goal is to expand its plantation area to 160,000 hectares.
Stora Enso reported further that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has assessed the Guangxi plantations, finding no major environmental or social issues that could have an impact on Stora Enso’s plantation project in Guangxi.
Stora Enso already owns and operates a fine paper mill in China.
Why I have posted this is not because it will be of immediate interest to our colleagues in the Guangxi Mangrove Institute (although they probably are aware of this already) but because of the statement in the last paragraph that "UNDP has assessed the plantations finding no major environmental or social issues that could have an impact on.........."
Two questions arise from this:
1. Since when has UNDP been the Environmental arm of the United Nations?
2. What proof (i.e. scientific data and information) are available to support this assertion?
Perhaps Dr. Fan is aware of this UNDP study and can enlighten us, since I am very certain that the rate of transpiration of eucalyptus is considerably greater than the native vegetation, the root system penetrates deeper than native tress and hence a likely impact is a lowering of the water table. Does the UNDP study make any mention of this?