Conserving Sacred Natural sites, plus the Kuberg electric trials motorcycle, and the EU announces deforestation-free products regulation!
Conserving Sacred Natural Sites, Kuberg’s Electric Trials Motorcycle, EU Announces Deforestation-Free Products Regulation!
PRESERVING SACRED NATURAL SITES
The accelerated rate at which biodiversity is being eroded is causing scientists to call for the conservation of large portions of the Earth. Protected Areas (PA) are regarded as the cornerstone of nature conservation; concerns are being raised about their capacity to halt eﬀectively the current biodiversity crisis. Sacred Natural Sites (SNS) are another example of nature protection independent of ProtectedAreas, despite being often spatially overlapping with PAs, which has received considerable recognition from conservationists over the last two decades. Sacred Natural Sites have been deﬁned as “areas of land or water having special spiritual signiﬁcance for peoples and communities”
Piero Zannini of the University of Bologna says Sacred Natural Sites “are becoming ever more important as reservoirs of biodiversity.” He is co-author of a 2021 assessment of their value along with a 7 of researchers. along with Juri Nascimbene, Fabrizio Frascaroli, Angela Persico, John M. Halley, Kalliopi Stara, Gabriele Midolo and Alessandro Chiarucci. In their paper, “Sacred natural sites and biodiversity conservation: a systematic review,” the authors provide the first systematic review on SNS and biodiversity conservation, aiming to evaluate the effect of SNS across different: (i) continents; (ii) taxa; (iii) metrics.
The researchers found that SNS have a positive effect on biodiversity, but also strong geographical and ecological biases, with most research focusing on Asia and Africa and on plants. They also found that SNS have mainly positive effects on ecological diversity, vegetation structure and cultural uses of biodiversity. Why does this study, and the effect of Sacred Natural Sites matter to us? Its results strongly support the view that SNS have positive effects on biodiversity across continents and geographical settings, as found in a number of local studies and earlier overviews. Also, that these effects should be given official recognition in appropriate conservation frameworks, together with the specific forms of governance and management that characterize Sacred Natural Sites.
KUBERG’S ELECTRIC MOTOCROSS BIKE!
I’m a big fan of E-bike technology because I like bikes. The kind you pedal and the motor driven kind. So it’s no wonder that the Czech bike/motorbike manufacturer’s new Ranger electric trials dirt bike caught my eye. Trials are non-speed competitions testing rider’s agility and their the ability to maneuver the bike into almost gymnastics-like situations, up or down steep terrains and balancing on precarious elements, both natural and constructed. Trials BIKES have the general appearance of a dirt bike, sport touring bike, or racer, but with the small frame and modification of other components. Two of the most notable features are the compact size and the lack of a seat.
In a unique twist, the Kuberg Ranger electric trials dirt bike is a high speed convertible dirt bike that can switch between with-seat and no-seat on the fly with a button-activated reclinable seat. The Ranger has a top speed of up to 50mph, paired with a 24Ah lithium ion power pack which gives 19 miles of range. Upgrading Kuberg’s optional twin power pack doubles the range to 39 miles.
Why does this matter to us? Two reasons. First, for those who take their trials bikes on the trails, no more disturbing nature with ridiculously loud motorbike engines! Never ruin another animals day out in nature again. The company claims the loudest component on the Ranger is its sprocket. For me, I think it has great untapped potential as an urban mobility device. Sturdier than a conventional scooter, possessing more torque and power with equivalent range makes it safer, I think. Plus, when you get tired, you can just pop the seat out and sit. What’s not clear is if I can actually buy a Kuberg Ranger right now, or if I’m pre-ordering one. We’ll let you know.
EU ANNOUNCES LANDMARK DEFORESTATION-FREE PRODUCTS REGULATION
According to the food & agriculture organization estimates, 420 million hectares, or just over a billion acres–that’s an area larger than the EU–was lost to deforestation from 1990 to 2020. Consumption of deforestation area products by the EU caused around 10% of losses. In an effort to halt deforestation driven by EU consumption, a new regulation sets up a due diligence requirement to verify that goods placed on the EU market or exported from it are not linked to production on land subject to deforestation and forest degradation anywhere in the world after 31 December 2020; and compliant with local laws in the producer country.
The announcement comes a little over a year after the regulatory proposal on the issue was first introduced by the Commission and one year after the pledge to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, which was signed at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) by more than 140 countries. Why does The EU regulation on deforestation-free products matter to us? It builds on three pillars:
- A focus on relevant commodities and products;
- A mandatory due diligence procedure coupled with strict traceability; and
- A risk-benchmarking system for countries and/or regions.
In other words, it’s a “paradigm shift” for deforestation, moving from voluntary initiatives towards mandatory legislation.
It covers six commodities, as well as some related derivatives and products, which have been identified in supplemental research to represent the largest share of EU consumption-driven deforestation worldwide. These are palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, and timber, as well as derived products, such as beef, chocolate, furniture, charcoal, and printed paper products. The regulation is expected to enter into force in May/June 2023, followed by an 18-month implementation period for larger stakeholders and a 24-month period for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
DEEPER DIVE: The Guardian, IISD