environmental, adj.environmentally, adv.
/en vuy"reuhn meuhnt, -vuy"euhrn-/, n.
1. the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu.
2. Ecol. the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time.
3. the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population.
4. Computers. the hardware or software configuration, or the mode of operation, of a computer system: In a time-sharing environment, transactions are processed as they occur.
5. an indoor or outdoor setting that is characterized by the presence of environmental art that is itself designed to be site-specific.
[1595-1605; ENVIRON + -MENT]
Syn. 1. locale, environs. ENVIRONMENT, MILIEU, AMBIANCE, SETTING, SURROUNDINGS all refer to what makes up the atmosphere or background against which someone or something is seen. ENVIRONMENT may refer either to actual physical surroundings or to social or cultural background factors: an environment of crime and grinding poverty. MILIEU, encountered most often in literary writing, refers to intangible aspects of the environment: an exhilarating milieu of artistic ferment and innovation.
AMBIANCE applies to the atmosphere of the surroundings, their mood or tone: an ambiance of ease and elegance. SETTING suggests a background that sets something off: a perfect setting for the emerald. SURROUNDINGS alludes specifically to the physical aspects of the environment: awoke in strange surroundings; blend in with her surroundings.

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▪ 2009


International Activities
      On Jan. 23, 2008, the European Commission (EC) proposed measures aimed at asserting EU global leadership in climate policy. The EC proposed 2020 renewable-energy targets, which ranged from 10% for Malta to 49% for Sweden. It also suggested that transport fuels should contain 10% biofuels. (EU ministers later said that the 10% figure included all renewable energy sources.) Within two years new power stations could be routinely fitted with technologies for carbon capture and storage. By 2020 these measures would reduce EU greenhouse-gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels. Ahead of the announcement, the European Trade Union Confederation said that it feared that up to 50,000 steel workers might lose their jobs if EU plans drove away the steel industry to countries that had less-stringent regulations, and BusinessEurope said that companies would lose competitiveness if they were forced to buy all their rights to emit carbon dioxide. In response, certain industrial sectors, including steel and papermaking, were withdrawn from the emissions-trading scheme.

      The UN Environment Programme published its fourth global environment outlook assessment in late 2007. It warned that climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and land degradation were among the greatest challenges facing the world. UNEP director Achim Steiner said in a statement that “the systematic destruction of the Earth's natural and nature-based resources has reached a point where the economic viability of economies is being challenged—and where the bill we hand on to our children may prove impossible to pay.”

National Developments

      The country's first facility for storing carbon underground opened in early April in Victoria. The facility, which was 2 km (1.2 mi) belowground in an old natural-gas field near Warrnambool, had a capacity of 100,000 metric tons (1 metric ton = about 2,205 lb) of carbon dioxide.

United Kingdom.
      On January 10 the government released a White Paper that endorsed the construction of nuclear power plants to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and enhance energy security. The paper said that licensing procedures would be streamlined.

      After an eight-day trial in September, a group of six Greenpeace activists were found not guilty of having caused more than $50,000 of criminal damage in 2007 when they painted the word “Gordon” on the chimney of a coal-fired power plant under construction at Kingsnorth, Eng. They had intended to paint “Gordon bin it,” which they meant as a critical message to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but they were arrested before they could complete it. The energy company E.ON, owner of the plant, brought the case against the activists, who argued that they had damaged property in order to prevent damage to the planet.

      Beginning June 1, shops throughout China were forbidden to supply free plastic shopping bags, and the production and sale of very thin plastic bags—those that were less than 0.025 mm (0.001 in) thick—were banned. The aim was to reduce pollution.

      It was reported in January that in response to public pressure, Deputy Environment Minister Pan Yue had ordered the relocation of a planned chemical plant away from the seaport of Xiamen, in southeastern China. Construction of the plant, owned by Dragon Aromatics, had begun in November 2006, and the plant was to produce 800,000 metric tons of paraxylene annually for making plastics and polyester. Widespread protests led Pan Yue to call for an independent environmental-impact assessment of both the plant and the Xiamen urban-development plans. The resulting report criticized the company for repeatedly breaching emissions limits and for disregarding requests to remedy the problem.

      The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency reported in June that China's carbon dioxide emissions increased by 8% in 2007 and amounted to 24% of the world total. This made China the world's largest emitter, ahead of the U.S. with 21%.

      In early March people living in Kipevu, near Mombasa, complained of feeling ill because of chemicals leaking from dumped containers of nitric acid that belonged to Kasese Cobalt Co. Ltd., a Ugandan mining company. Phillip Mwabe of Environmental and Combustion Consultants, who was contracted to clean up the site, said that the containers had probably been leaking for a month. When Uwitije Venna, a director of Southern Enterprise, the Ugandan shipping company that transported the containers, failed to appear in court, Mombasa magistrates issued a warrant for his arrest.

United States.
      In October 2007 greenhouse-gas detection systems began to be installed in metropolitan areas of California. The first sensors, which measured gas concentrations in the atmosphere twice a day, were placed on Sutro Tower in San Francisco and Richland Tower in Sacramento. The detection systems formed part of the California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Project, a collaboration between federal and state agencies and universities. Under the plan, sensors would eventually be installed in 10 locations. The data would help officials determine whether the state was achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions into the atmosphere.

      In June 2008 a bill that was aimed at capping greenhouse-gas emissions and introducing a carbon-trading scheme to the United States failed in the U.S. Senate. The climate-change bill was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer and sponsored by Senators John Warner and Joseph Lieberman. After three and a half days of debate, however, a motion to bring the bill to a final vote failed, and the bill was shelved.

      When Hurricane Ike struck the Texas and Louisiana coasts in September, its winds and waves damaged oil platforms, pipelines, and storage tanks, which released at least 1.9 million litres (500,000 gal) of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and coastal marshes. The Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state organizations dealt with more than 3,000 pollution reports. None of the spills caused major damage, but in the aftermath of the storm, about 1,500 sites required cleaning.

      In December, Florida water-district officials approved a $1.34 billion deal to buy from U.S. Sugar, the country's largest sugar producer, most of its extensive land holdings to the south of Lake Okeechobee. The area, about 730 sq km (280 sq mi), would be taken out of production and used to help restore the Everglades. Although the deal had been scaled back from an initial $1.75 billion agreement spearheaded by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in June, completion of the sale remained uncertain given the cost and other concerns.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      The five-year compliance period stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol commenced on Jan. 1, 2008. During this period participating countries needed to meet targeted reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions but could also trade emissions credits with each other. Countries were expected to make most of their emission reductions within their own borders, but they could buy leftover credits from other countries and earn supplemental credits through projects to reduce emissions in other developed countries and in less-developed countries (LDCs). In October UN officials announced that the infrastructure and interconnectivity required for trading in these flexible mechanisms on a global scale had been completed. Any country that by the end of the period exceeded its agreed-upon emission target would be required to reduce its emissions to 30% below the target level during a nominal second commitment period that would begin in 2013, and all noncompliant countries would be suspended from emissions trading.

      The Final Synthesis Report of the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was published in November 2007. It set out the physical basis for climate change and for the first time included the phrase “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,” and it said that the IPCC was at least 90% certain that global warming was real and a result of human activities and that average temperatures would rise 1.8–4 °C (3.2–7.2 °F) by 2100.

      A meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), held in Bali, Indon., in December 2007, ended with an agreement that set the stage for negotiations aimed at forming a new global climate policy to be accepted at a meeting in Copenhagen in 2009. Delegates agreed that the UNFCC should be the body responsible for approving projects to be funded by the adaptation fund, which was generated by a 2% levy on all transactions between parties engaging in carbon trading and was to be used to help the poorest countries adapt to climate change. During the conference, 100 prominent scientists from 18 countries issued an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to argue that the conference should focus on measures to help countries adapt to climate change rather than on efforts to prevent global climate change, because in their opinion such efforts would ultimately fail. Signatories to the letter included more than 40 university professors and emeritus professors, as well as three IPCC reviewers. In 2008 additional UNFCC meetings were held in Bangkok, Bonn (Ger.), Accra (Ghana), and Poznan (Pol.) in preparation for the Copenhagen meeting.

      In January, at the invitation of U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, representatives from 16 of the world's largest economies (Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the U.S.), together with officials from the EU and UN, held a Major Economies Meeting in Honolulu to discuss climate policy. No commitment was made on emission restrictions, but delegates welcomed a new sense of openness in discussing climate. At a subsequent meeting held in Paris for two days in April, delegates failed to agree on an approach to cutting emissions, and both Japan and the U.S. stated that it was too early to set numbers for future emission curbs.

      At a three-day meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) held in Chiba, Japan, in March, Japan won little support for its call for LDCs to formulate national goals based on improving industrial energy efficiency as a means of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. LDCs urged developed countries during the meeting to transfer wealth and technology to them to help them meet the challenge. The meeting ended with no sign of a consensus.

      At a Group of Eight summit held in Toyako, Japan, in July, the G8 countries pledged that by 2050 they would cut greenhouse-gas emissions by one-half, but they did so without specifying dates or amounts of intermediate emission reductions. They also agreed that any meaningful program needed to involve the industrializing LDCs such as China and India, that real progress would depend on technological advances, and that the benefits of action had to justify the consequent slowing of economic growth. The agreement brought the G8 into line with the position of the U.S. administration, but China and India—together with Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa—categorically rejected any measures that would undermine their economic growth.

      The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based organization that championed free-market solutions to social and economic problems, and more than 50 cosponsoring groups hosted the International Conference on Climate Change in New York City on March 2–4. The conference issued the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change, which stated that global warming did not constitute a crisis and asserted that “there is no convincing evidence that carbon-dioxide emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.”

      A study published by the Nature Conservancy in February found that biofuel production, which was seen as a way of reducing the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, was likely to have the opposite effect when biofuel crops were grown on land converted from other uses. According to the study, the conversion of rainforest, peatland, savanna, or other grassland to biofuel production in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States released up to 420 times more carbon dioxide than the reduction in emissions achieved by using biofuels instead of fossil fuels. Another study, by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, found that when land-use change was taken into account, the development of corn-based ethanol production would double greenhouse-gas emissions over 30 years.

      On July 5, at the end of a three-day informal meeting in Paris, EU environment and energy ministers said that an earlier EC proposal on biofuels that would have required an increase in the share of biofuel usage to 10% by 2020 had been misinterpreted. They explained that the 10% requirement also included hydrogen and renewable power sources and that there would be no plans to increase the share of biofuels in road transport to 10%.

Air Pollution.
      China made great progress in 2008 in improving urban air quality. An air-pollution target of 245 “blue sky days” that had been set for Beijing for 2007 was achieved on Dec. 28, 2007, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection. The authorities then set a target of 256 such days for 2008. On March 1, 2008, new car-emission standards, which were in line with those in the EU, came into force in Beijing, the city of Tianjin, Shandong province, and Inner Mongolia. In addition, beginning in July the use of private cars in Beijing and Tianjin was restricted so that cars with odd or even license-plate numbers were allowed on the streets only on alternate days. During the Olympic Games one-third of Beijing's cars were taken off the streets and industrial activity was curtailed in order to satisfy the air-quality requirements of the International Olympic Committee. The dramatic improvement in air quality—a 50% reduction in air pollution—proved so popular with the citizens of Beijing that when the regulations ended September 20, the authorities introduced a set of milder restrictions for a trial period through April 2009. Under the new rules the number of government vehicles on the streets at any one time would be reduced by 30%, and beginning in late October every car would be banned from the streets on one day each week, which was designated on the license plate. Employers were also asked to stagger working hours to reduce peak traffic flows.

      On January 1 the German cities of Berlin, Cologne, and Hanover introduced environmental zones within which every vehicle had to display a green, yellow, or red sticker. The colour indicated the kind of the pollutants it emitted, and drivers of vehicles that entered one of the zones without a sticker would be fined €40 (about $60). The stickers were issued by the vehicle registration authority for a one-time charge of €5–€15, and the requirement applied to all vehicles, including those of foreigners.

      In September the EPA finalized a program to reduce air pollution from small land-based spark-ignition engines that delivered less than 25 hp (19 kW) and from marine spark-ignition engines. The program included lawn-mower engines, small generators, and outboard and other marine engines. The emission limits would come into force between 2010 and 2012, depending on engine size, and they were intended to reduce emissions by about 600,000 tons of hydrocarbons, 130,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 1.5 million tons of carbon monoxide, which amounted to a 35% or 70%reduction overall, depending on the type of engine. Manufacturers planned to use catalytic converters to meet the new emissions requirements.

Toxic Waste.
      In late June government ministers from about 170 countries attended a five-day meeting in Bali on waste management. The meeting of signatories to the Basel Convention focused on the impacts of the large-scale exportation—primarily to LDCs—of hazardous waste, particularly in discarded mobile telephones, computer components, and other forms of “e-waste.” The attendees agreed to promote further cooperation and planning and to share technologies for the sound management of hazardous wastes.

      It was reported in early July that Able UK, based in Billingham, Eng., had overcome environmental concerns and was planning to start work later in the year recycling the 238-m (781-ft)- long former French aircraft carrier Clemenceau at its Hartlepool facility. The Clemenceau had originally been sent to India to be scrapped. It was refused entry, however, over concerns about the 700 metric tons of asbestos it contained, and in 2006 the ship returned to France.

Marine Pollution.
      On Nov. 15, 2007, at a meeting of HELCOM (the Baltic Marine Environmental Protection Commission) in Krakow, Pol., environment ministers from countries that bordered the Baltic Sea adopted the final version of an action plan to reduce marine pollution and restore the sea to “good ecological status” by 2021. The plan covered four topics: eutrophication, toxic chemicals, shipping, and biodiversity. Coastal states agreed to develop targets to reduce discharges of nitrogen and phosphorus; restrictions were introduced on the use of nine organic substances and two heavy metals; and new recommendations were to be issued on maritime safety and limitations on pollution from ships. The Baltic Sea plan was widely seen as a pilot for the regional plans that would be required for all the seas around Europe as part of forthcoming EU marine-protection strategy.

      At a meeting in London in April, the marine environment committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided to reduce the sulfur-content cap of all marine fuels to 0.5% by 2020—down from the existing limit of 4.5%.

      An international ban on the use of organotin antifouling paints came into force on September 17. The measure had been adopted by members of the IMO in 2001 and ratified in 2007. By the end of 2008, all organotin compounds on hulls needed to be removed or coated with a sealant.

Freshwater Pollution.
      The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council confirmed in January a Greenpeace claim that for six years potentially very harmful amounts of radioactive material had been leaking from a landfill into the River Tinto at Huelva, Spain. The landfill held approximately 6,000 metric tons of waste that contained cesium-137 that had been removed from the Acerinox steel plant following an accident in 1998 and subsequently buried in 2001.

      On Nov. 20, 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution stating that the “emergency phase” in the areas affected by the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant was over and that the next 10 years would be “a decade of recovery and sustainable development.” It said that the recovery efforts in the region should focus on addressing the poverty, poor health, and fear that the accident and its aftermath had induced. The resolution followed a report by the World Health Organization that found that the health impact of the accident had been much less severe than was feared initially and that radiation levels in most of the affected areas were close to natural background levels. The General Assembly called on the secretary-general to report on recovery efforts in 2010.

      The 2008 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, administered by the University of Southern California, was awarded to James Galloway, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, and Harold Mooney, professor of environmental biology at Stanford University. Galloway investigated the environmental effects of chemically reactive nitrogen compounds released into the atmosphere from fertilizer and other sources, and Mooney helped start many major environmental programs, including the Global Invasive Species Program, the Ecosystem Functioning of Biodiversity program, the Global Biodiversity Assessment, and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

      The 2008 Zayed Prize for the Environment had five recipients in three categories. Corecipients in the category of environmental action leading to positive change in society were Tierramérica (a Latin American information service concerned with the environment and development and produced by the Inter Press Service news agency) and the Environment Development Action in the Third World (a nongovernmental organization in Senegal). The recipient for global leadership in the environments was Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway, UN special envoy for climate change and former director general of the World Health Organization. Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University and V. Ramanathan, a climate researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, received the prize for scientific and technological achievement.

      Claude Lorius and José Goldemberg won the 2008 Blue Planet Prize for lifetime contributions in addressing global environmental problems. Lorius, director emeritus of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research, was honoured for work dating from the 1950s on calculating ancient levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide from Antarctic ice cores. Goldemberg, of the University of São Paulo, helped launch Brazil's bioethanol program in the 1970s and pioneered the policy by which an LDC “leapfrogs” development based on conventional fuel sources by moving directly to the adoption of renewable-energy technologies.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
       Primates—great apes in particular—featured widely in the news and in published research in 2008. In February the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda launched a 10-year initiative to conserve the mountain gorilla, Gorilla beringei beringei, of which only about 720 still remained in the forested mountains that spanned the three countries. In September, however, renewed conflict was reported between rebel forces and the DRC army on the outskirts of Virunga National Park, where most of the gorillas were located. A report released in October, about a year after the killing of a number of mountain gorillas in the park, revealed that the gorilla population was stable. Although rebels had taken control of virtually all the Virunga gorilla habitat, wildlife guards had been able to resume monitoring the gorillas.

      In June, in a move that could have a significant influence on future great-ape conservation, the environmental committee of the Spanish parliament approved resolutions that urged Spain to comply with the Great Ape Project. The initiative was conceived by a group of scientists and philosophers to promote the idea that great apes deserved rights that previously had been recognized only for humans, such as freedom from capture, torture, and unnecessary death.

      The orangutans, the only great apes found in Asia, were the focus of a new comprehensive assessment published in July. The study found that there were about 6,600 Pongo abelii remaining on Sumatra and at least 54,000 P. pygmaeus on Borneo. Although the Sumatran orangutan was in rapid decline and could become extinct, there were more and larger populations of Bornean orangutans than had previously been known.

      The first comprehensive review in five years of the world's 634 primate taxa, released in August at the International Primatological Society Congress in Edinburgh, reported that about one-half of the taxa were in danger of becoming extinct. The major threat to primates was the burning and clearing of tropical forests, followed by hunting and illegal trade. The review considered reclassifying the mountain gorilla from critically endangered to endangered but postponed doing so both because of the gorilla killings that occurred in 2007 and because of the continuing political turmoil in its habitat. A more positive note during the congress was the release of a census of the critically endangered western lowland gorilla, G. gorilla gorilla. It showed that populations were faring better than expected, with a total of 125,000 individuals in two northern areas of the Republic of the Congo. The census showed densities of up to 8 gorillas per square kilometre (about 21 per square mile), one of the highest ever recorded. Long-term management of the Republic of the Congo's protected areas, remoteness and inaccessibility of some of the locations where the gorillas were found, and a food-rich habitat accounted for the high numbers.

      A study published in January reported that white-tailed jackrabbits in Yellowstone National Park and nearby Grand Teton National Park had apparently “hopped into oblivion” and that their disappearance had gone unnoticed. Such a loss could have impacts on other prey species and their predators. The announcement stirred considerable controversy, however, especially when several naturalists provided information, including photographs, that showed that the large rabbits were still extant in a small corner of Yellowstone National Park.

      A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems published in February indicated that no marine area was unaffected by human influence and that 41% of marine areas were strongly affected by multiple factors such as coastal runoff and pollution, drilling for oil and gas, and fishing. Only 4% of marine areas were relatively pristine, but many of these areas were in polar regions, which were at risk from the effects of climate change.

      Also in February a “Doomsday” seed bank inside a mountain on the Norwegian island of Svalbard officially opened. The vault was in a stable, remote, and cold area to protect it from natural and human disasters and to keep the seeds at the ideal temperature for long-term storage. When full, the vault would contain 4.5 million samples of food-crop seeds from 100 countries. The vault was intended as an insurance policy so that any seeds lost through natural disaster could be replenished with seeds from the collection.

      In March it was reported that logging in central African rainforests posed an indirect threat to nesting marine turtles, especially the critically endangered leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea. Logs lost during transport downriver floated out to sea and then washed ashore, where they accumulated on beaches used by nesting turtles. About 11,000 lost logs were counted along the coastline of Gabon's beaches, with up to 250 logs per kilometre (400 per mile). The logs had a detrimental effect on the turtles; at one beach they caused 8–14% of nesting attempts by the turtles to be aborted or disrupted.

      An interim report, entitled The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, was released in May at the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The report found that living standards among the poor might be severely lowered as ecosystems started to disintegrate and that existing rates of biodiversity loss might lead to a reduction in global GDP by about 7% within 45 years, largely because of deforestation. The effects of the loss would be felt disproportionately by the world's 1.5 billion who lived in poverty, since they were the major beneficiaries of intact ecosystems.

      A separate study published in July confirmed that deforestation continued unabated and at the same rate as in the 1990s. The researchers analyzed satellite data for 2000–2005 and found that during this period 27.2 million ha (67 million ac) of tropical rainforest were cleared, which constituted 2.36% of the world's tropical rainforest cover. Most of the clearing occurred within localized areas, and Brazil accounted for most of the loss (47.8%), followed by Indonesia (12.8%).

      In late July, Brazil launched the international Amazon Fund to raise $21 billion over 13 years to finance conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon rainforest. In September, Norway pledged $1 billion for the fund through 2015, with as much as $130 million beginning in 2009 if Brazil could show that deforestation had been reduced during the year.

      The opening of the IUCN ( International Union for the Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress in October called for businesses to change their attitude toward environmental issues so as to halt the tide of ecological decline. The congress took place against the backdrop of increasing evidence that almost all global environmental indicators pointed downward and that ecosystem functions were not being adequately valued.

Martin Fisher

▪ 2008

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its fourth climate-change assessment, the phaseout of substances that deplete the ozone layer sped up, and the environmental benefit of biofuels was questioned. A surprisingly large wildlife migration was observed in The Sudan, and gorillas in Virunga National Park were in danger.

International Activities
      The third meeting of parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was held in Dakar, Senegal, in April–May 2007. The treaty, which went into force in 2004, called for the phasing out of 12 POPs, including PCBs, chlordane, and dioxins. The Dakar delegates, however, failed to agree on a way to enforce compliance. The meeting did adopt guidelines on the best available techniques and best environmental practices for reducing POPs that were emitted as by-products of industrial processes, and it established a global monitoring scheme to study the convention's impact on POP levels in the environment. It also updated the methodology for estimating the emission of dioxins from industrial and natural sources.

      The 2007 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement from the University of Southern California was presented in April to Gatze Lettinga, professor emeritus of environmental technology at Wageningen (Neth.) University. Lettinga invented the upflow anaerobic sludge blanket, a reactor that used microbes to digest pollutants in domestic sewage and industrial effluents and converted them into methane, which could then be used as a fuel. Lettinga had waived all patent rights, and reactors that used the technology had been built in less-developed countries (LDCs) such as Brazil, Colombia, and India.

      The Asahi Glass Foundation awarded the two 2007 Blue Planet Prizes to Americans Joseph L. Sax and Amory B. Lovins. Sax was honoured for drafting the world's first modern environmental law to be based on public-trust doctrine—it supported citizen action for environmental protection—and for establishing environmental laws internationally. Lovins was rewarded for his contributions to the protection of the environment through the improved energy efficiency advocated by his “soft energy path” and for his invention of an ultralight and fuel-efficient vehicle called the Hypercar.

      In June the World Health Organization published the results of an eight-year analysis of scientific literature and available statistics on health and population. It found that long-term exposure to an unhealthy environment killed far more people than road accidents, wars, and natural disasters combined but that 25% of these deaths were avoidable. The principal causes of death were linked to polluted water, poor sanitation, and smoke from wood-burning stoves. Noise, work stress, and outdoor pollution added to the burden of ill health.

      The annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members, which was held in Sydney in early September, agreed on the nonbinding goal of improving energy efficiency. Before the meeting, Australian Prime Minister John Howard urged member governments to find a new way forward on climate change by using flexible targets for reducing emissions. Led by the U.S. and Australia, the Sydney Declaration reaffirmed members' commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and called for a 25% decrease by 2030 in 2005 levels of energy consumed per unit of gross domestic product.

      In October Canada became a member of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, whose other members were Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in September had called for all countries to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by one-half by 2050, and he said that he wanted Canada to coax the members of the partnership into joining the agreement that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

National Developments

      On Dec. 20, 2006, the European Commission proposed bringing airline emissions from flights between EU airports into the EU carbon- emissions trading scheme in 2011 and in 2012 include all airline flights into or out of EU airports. In 2007 EU transport ministers approved the proposal, and the EU Environment Committee later recommended that the plan begin in 2010 for all flights to or from EU airports. On September 28 in Montreal, however, a majority of delegates to the 36th meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rejected the EU proposals. ICAO Assembly Pres. Jeffrey Shane said that members did not object to the concept of using emissions-trading schemes to combat climate change but objected to the unilateral imposition of such schemes, which he said had to be agreed to by airlines.

      Provisions of the final version of the EU's REACH (registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals) agreement, formally adopted in mid-December 2006, began to come into force on June 1, 2007. Most of the substantive provisions, however, would not become effective until June 1, 2008. The 849-page legal text replaced more than 40 EU laws on chemical policy, and its implementation triggered a cascade of deadlines for meeting its provisions and for establishing a European chemicals agency.

      In September Ukrainian authorities signed an agreement with Novarka, a French construction company, to build a steel cover that would replace the concrete casing placed over the failed Unit 4 reactor at Chernobyl following the 1986 accident, ensuring the safety of the site for 100 years, at a cost of $505 million. The arch-shaped steel casing would be 150 m (492 ft) long and 105 m (344 ft) tall. Under a separate deal, American firm Holtec would build within the site's exclusion zone a $200 million dry-storage facility for the radioactive waste produced by the reactor. The schemes would be financed by international donors and administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

      In July geologists from the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing reported evidence of a large underground deposit of water—the remnants of an ancient lake—in the Darfur region of The Sudan. The discovery raised hopes for providing relief from the competition for scarce water that was helping to drive the armed conflict in the region. The researchers estimated that the deposit had an area as great as 30,000 sq km (12,000 sq mi). Although other researchers disputed the finding, the United Nations mission in The Sudan and the Egyptian Ministry of Water and Irrigation planned to drill test wells.

       China's rapidly growing economy and heavy reliance on coal were contributing to serious environmental problems, but the country was beginning to recognize the economic costs of pollution. (See Special Report (Perils of China's Explosive Growth ).)

 A team of scientists led by Richard Davies of Durham (Eng.) University reported in January that the most likely explanation for the mud volcano that began erupting on May 29, 2006, near Sidoarjo, East Java, Indon., was that drilling at the site had ruptured pressurized limestone about 2,800 m (9,200 ft) below the surface. The report said that 7,000–150,000 cu m (247,000–5,300,000 cu ft) of mud a day might continue flowing for months or years to come and that an area of about 10 sq km (4 sq mi) would probably remain uninhabitable for years. Davies dismissed the alternative explanation, that an earthquake on May 27 had triggered the eruption. During the year an attempt was made to obstruct the outflow from the mud volcano by dropping into its mouth as many as 1,500 concrete balls that were linked in groups of four.

North America.
      On April 2 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case brought by the state of Massachusetts against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that failure to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from motor vehicles was contrary to the requirements of the Clean Air Act. On May 14 Pres. George W. Bush signed an executive order that directed the EPA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture to develop regulations to limit emissions from motor vehicles.

      The Browns Ferry unit 1 nuclear reactor, which had been closed since 1985, was restarted in May after a five-year, $1.8 million refurbishment. The unit was one of three nuclear reactors at the Browns Ferry plant near Athens, Ala., and was reopened by the Tennessee Valley Authority under an existing operating license. It was the first nuclear reactor to be newly placed into service in the United States in 11 years.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      During 2007 the working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) completed their contributions to the organization's fourth climate-change assessment. Working Group I (on the scientific basis of climate change) said that the global average surface temperature had risen 0.74 °C (1.3 °F) over the past 100 years, atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide had increased from a preindustrial level of 280 parts per million (ppm) to about 379 ppm in 2005, and methane concentration had increased from 715 parts per billion (ppb) to 1,774 ppb over the same period. The report predicted that temperatures in 2090–99 would be 1.8–4 °C (3.2–7.2 °F) higher than those in 1980–99 and that sea levels were likely to rise by 18–59 cm (7–23 in) over the same period. Working Group II (on impacts and adaptation) predicted that if left unchecked, climate change would wreak havoc on human societies and the environment. It said that arid areas would become still drier and that other areas would be at increased risk of flooding. More than one billion people might face water shortages in 2050, and by 2020 yields of rain-fed crops in some African countries might be reduced by one-half. Biodiversity might be reduced, with 20–30% of plant and animal species facing an increased risk of extinction if the average global temperature were to rise by more than 1.5–2.5 °C (2.7–4.5 °F). Working Group III (on mitigation) said that a global carbon price was needed to provide incentives to invest in lower-carbon technologies but that greenhouse-gas levels could be stabilized at safe levels and at reasonable cost. (See Special Report (Climate Change-The Global Effects ).)

      In early August the UN General Assembly held its first-ever plenary session on climate, and at the end of the month a preparatory meeting was held for the UN Climate Change Conference. Among the topics discussed at the meeting was the financing of steps to prevent further increases in greenhouse-gas emissions. It was estimated that the cost would reach $200 billion–$210 billion by 2030, which would require an annual investment by 2030 of 0.3–0.5% of global GDP. The UN Climate Change Conference, which included representatives from more than 180 countries, was held in Bali, Indon., on December 3–15. At the beginning of the conference, Australia announced that its new national government had ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Talks at the conference were divided, but on the final day a consensus was reached on how negotiations, to be concluded by 2009, would proceed for the purpose of reaching a new international agreement for replacing the Kyoto Protocol after its 2012 expiration. In addition, programs were set up to compensate LDCs for conserving their forests and to provide funding and the transfer of technology to LDCs to help mitigate and adapt to anticipated climate change.

      The U.S. administration hosted a conference on climate change in Washington, D.C., on September 27–28. Chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the meeting was attended by representatives from Australia, Britain, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa. Representatives from the EU and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change were also present. In a speech before the group, Pres. George W. Bush linked energy security and climate change and pointed out that in 2006 the U.S. economy grew while its greenhouse-gas emissions decreased. He said that there were many policy tools and technologies that countries could use to “reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, strengthen energy security, encourage economic growth and sustainable development, and advance negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” and that each country had to choose those measures most appropriate to its own circumstances. Critics complained that the U.S. continued to fail to commit to binding emissions targets as it maintained its positions that each country should set its own objectives and that technology was the principal tool for reducing emissions.

Ozone Layer.
      Representatives of the 191 countries that had ratified the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, together with the European Commission, agreed on September 22 to advance by 10 years the phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). At their meeting in Montreal, the representatives agreed that developed countries would reduce HCFC production and consumption by 75% by 2010 and 90% by 2015, as measured against the 1987 baseline year, and phase them out completely by 2020. LDCs would make reductions of 10% by 2015, 35% by 2020, and 67.5% by 2025 (as measured against a baseline year of 2009–10) and phase them out completely by 2030, although there was a provision that they could continue to use up to 2.5% of the baseline amount between 2030 and 2040 in order to extend the life of equipment dependent on HCFCs. All participating countries also agreed that by 2013 they would freeze HCFC production at 2009–10 levels.

Air Pollution.
      On Oct. 5, 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled its new air-quality guidelines, last issued in 1997, and at the same time, it challenged governments to improve urban air quality in order to protect public health. WHO estimated that air pollution caused about two million premature deaths each year, with more than one-half of the deaths in LDCs. The new guidelines' value for sulfur-dioxide exposure over 24 hours was reduced from 125 to 20 μg/cu m (micrograms per cubic metre) and the value for ozone exposure over 8 hours was reduced from 120 to 100 μg/cu m. The guidelines also recommended that the annual mean for PM10 emissions (small particulates produced mainly from the burning of fossil fuels) be less than 20 μg/cu m.

      On Aug. 11, 2007, a limit of 1.5% of sulfur in marine fuels used by vessels sailing in the North Sea came into force, as agreed upon by the European Union in 2005.

      The European Environment Agency reported on March 15, 2007, that summer smog in 2006 reached its second worst level in a decade. The EU alert threshold for ozone of 240 μg/cu m was exceeded 190 times, compared with 127 times in 2005 and 99 in 2004, although the 2006 figure was much smaller than the 720 times the alert threshold was exceeded during Europe's 2003 heat wave. The target value of 120 μg/cu m was exceeded at most stations, and the highest ozone level—370 μg/cu m—was recorded in Italy.

      For four days in August, 1.3 million cars were removed from Beijing traffic and some 800 extra buses put into service. The measure reduced air pollution by 15–20%. It also reduced congestion, which allowed traffic to move much faster. Buses, for example, were able to average 20 km/h (12 mph) rather than the customary 14 km/h (9 mph). The experimental scheme, part of the city's preparations for the 2008 Olympics, banned cars that had license plates with odd numbers on Saturday and Monday and cars with even-numbered plates on Friday and Sunday.

Freshwater Pollution.
 In late August the official opening of a pulp mill in Uruguay on the Uruguay River, which separates Uruguay and Argentina, triggered protests in which about 2,000 protesters gathered on both sides of the river to sing their national anthems, and several hundred Argentine protesters crossed over a nearby bridge into Uruguay. The Argentine government and environmentalists maintained that the mill would pollute the river, but the Uruguayan government and Botnia—the Finnish company that owned the mill—disagreed. The dispute had lasted more than two years and had been submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for arbitration, but no resolution was reached before the plant began production in November.

Marine Pollution.
      Rules laid down by the International Maritime Organization that permitted the sequestration (storage) of carbon dioxide beneath the seabed came into force on February 10. The rules exempted carbon dioxide from the general ban on dumping wastes at sea.

      On September 17 Panama became the 25th country to ratify the global ban on using organotin-based antifouling paints on ships without the application of a barrier coat to prevent them from leaching. Following the ratification, the ban was scheduled to become effective on Sept. 17, 2008.

      The annual meeting of HELCOM, or the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, took place in early March in Helsinki. Countries that bordered the Baltic Sea approved the general direction of an action plan released in draft form in 2006, but they called for more detailed measures to be defined for the plan. At the end of a further meeting held on September 17–19, states made progress toward setting maximum allowable pollution inputs and subsidiary national targets. HELCOM estimated that to restore the Baltic to a good condition, phosphorus inputs needed to be reduced by 42% and nitrogen by 18%.

      The use of biofuels to substitute for fossil fuels as a way to combat global warming came under criticism in September from a team of researchers led by Nobel Prize winner Paul J. Crutzen. The group calculated that biofuel production and consumption could result in the release of more greenhouse gases than they saved. For example, the fertilizer used to grow biofuel crops led to the release of nitrous oxide, a gas whose greenhouse effect was 300 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The group also determined that biodiesel made from rapeseed oil (canola) released the equivalent of 1–1.7 times more greenhouse gas than conventional diesel and that fuels derived from sugar cane and corn (maize) released the equivalent of 0.5–0.9 and 0.9–1.5 times more than gasoline, respectively.

      On September 11 a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned that subsidizing biofuels would lead to surging food prices and, potentially, to the destruction of natural habitats. (See Special Report (Biofuels-The Next Great Source of Energy? ).)

Toxic Waste.
      The Indian Supreme Court ruled in September that Blue Lady, a former ocean liner, could be broken up at the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat. Blue Lady had remained off the coast of India since June 2006 while the case was argued. Environmentalists maintained that the ship contained about 1,200 metric tons of asbestos as well as other toxic materials. A technical expert committee, set up to decide whether it would be safe to dismantle the ship, had recommended that work proceed.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      In 2007, as in the previous year, climate change and its potential and observed effects on wildlife conservation were dominant themes, highlighted by several reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as part of its fourth assessment. The report on “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” noted that there was very high confidence, based on more evidence from a wider range of species than its previous assessment in 2001, that recent warming was having a strong effect on terrestrial biological systems. Changes included earlier occurrences of springtime events such as leaf unfolding, bird migration, and egg laying and shifts in the ranges of plant and animal toward higher elevations and latitudes. There was also high confidence that rising water temperatures were associated with observed changes in marine and freshwater biological systems, including variations in ocean algal, plankton, and fish abundance at high latitudes, increases in freshwater algal and zooplankton abundance in high-latitude and high-altitude lakes, and earlier migrations and shifts in the range of fish in rivers. (See Special Report (Climate Change-The Global Effects ).)

 Possibly the most important wildlife discovery of the year occurred in January when an aerial survey of southern Sudan revealed huge numbers of migrating wildlife. Researchers from the American Wildlife Conservation Society observed more than 1.3 million white-eared kob (Kobus kob leucotis), tiang (Damaliscus lunatus tiang), and mongalla gazelle (Gazella thomsonii albonotata) in Boma and Southern National Parks and an estimated 8,000 elephants (Loxodonta africana), mainly in the Sudd, Africa's largest freshwater wetland. The findings ran contrary to the concern that decades of civil war in The Sudan might have depleted wildlife populations. The Wildlife Conservation Society called for the creation of a Sudano-Sahel Initiative to help manage the natural resources in the region.

      In northwestern Kazakhstan the 764,000-ha (1,900,000-ac) Irgiz-Turgay nature reserve was created in March to protect unique wetlands and the habitat of the rare and critically endangered saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), which lived on the steppes. The new reserve was part of the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative, a coalition of international nongovernmental organizations in cooperation with Kazakh authorities that was to create a 6 million-ha (15 million-ac) system of protected areas to safeguard the future of Kazakhstan's steppes and semideserts.

      A two-year survey of tigers (Panthera tigris) in India revealed alarming levels of population decline and cast doubt on previous population estimates. The census found that there were 1,300–1,500 tigers and that the number in some areas had fallen by as much as two-thirds since the last census, in 2002, when the population was estimated at about 3,600. The decline was attributed to poaching and urbanization, and the Indian government was criticized by conservationists for failing to deal with poaching and the illegal trade in tiger skins. In November the government announced a plan to use retired soldiers to patrol tiger sanctuaries.

      The price paid by some rangers in Africa to protect wildlife was highlighted in May when, within the span of one week, wildlife rangers in Africa were slain in three separate incidents. An attack by a group of suspected poachers on seven rangers patrolling the Tana River District in Kenya resulted in a gunfight that left three rangers dead. In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a wildlife officer was killed when Mai Mai rebels attacked patrol posts in Virunga National Park, and three rangers were shot dead in Chad's Zakouma National Park, where elephant poaching was a well-known problem.

      The unrest in the area of Virunga National Park also led to the death of at least10 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) during the year. Fighting between the DRC army and troops loyal to the dissident Gen. Laurent Nkunda made the national park a no-go area for park rangers, and it was extremely difficult to protect the gorillas. In September two men in possession of a dead juvenile mountain gorilla were arrested. The traffickers were attempting to get $8,000 for the gorilla.

      In June the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, home to the first reintroduced population of Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) and a flagship reintroduction project since 1980, became the first site to be deleted from UNESCO's World Heritage List. The World Heritage Committee removed the site following a decision by Oman to reduce the size of the protected area by 90%, a move that the committee viewed as destroying the site's value. The sanctuary, which was placed on the World Heritage List in 1994, had a population of 450 Arabian oryx in 1996, but this number had dwindled—largely because of poaching—to 65 with only 4 breeding pairs.

       East Timor (Timor-Leste), which became an independent country in 2002, in July declared more than 123,000 ha (304,000 ac) as its first national park. Nino Konis Santana National Park linked 3 of the island's 16 areas designated as important bird areas by BirdLife International, and it included more than 55,600 ha (138,000 ac) of the Coral Triangle, a marine area with the greatest diversity of coral and of coral-reef fish in the world. The land areas within the park were home to 25 bird species endemic to Timor and neighbouring islands, including the endangered endemic green pigeon (Treron psittaceus), threatened by the loss of its monsoon forest habitat.

      In perhaps the strangest wildlife smuggling case of the year, a man tracked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was charged with smuggling into the United States three endangered Fijian banded iguanas (Brachylophus fasciatus) and hiding them inside his prosthetic leg. The Fiji banded iguana was protected under CITES Appendix I, which prohibited trade in the species. If found guilty, the smuggler could face up to five years in prison.

 News surfaced in July of plans to build a soda-ash extraction and processing plant on the shores of Lake Natron in Tanzania, which was the breeding site for 75% of the global population of lesser flamingos (Phoenicopterus minor). Lake Natron was a soda lake rich in salt and other nutrients as well as the algae upon which the flamingos feed. The lake was also a Ramsar wetland site (a wetland of international importance). The plant would remove up to 560 cu m (19,800 cu ft) of brine per hour from the lake and would require the building of roads and housing. The plans provoked strong opposition from conservation groups, and in November it appeared that a new environmental assessment of the plant would be ordered.

Martin Fisher

▪ 2007

The World Health Organization highlighted the link between disease and avoidable environmental factors. The dumping of wastes at sea was greatly restricted as the 1996 protocol to the London Convention came into force. Desert ecosystems were identified as especially vulnerable to climate change, and overfishing threatened benthic fish species.

International Activities
      On Feb. 4–6, 2006, environment ministers attended the first International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM), which was held in Dubai under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme. The ICCM adopted a voluntary set of policies and measures, called the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, that was aimed at reducing chemical hazards to the environment and to human health. Among the policies adopted was that of bringing standards for labeling, handling, and disposing of chemicals in less-developed countries in line with those in industrialized countries.

      In a report published in June, the World Health Organization estimated that about one-fourth of the disease burden worldwide was caused by environmental factors that could be averted. Disease burden was measured in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)—that is, the number of healthy years of potential life lost. For children under five years of age, the report estimated that more than one-third of the disease burden was caused by modifiable environmental factors and that improvements in the environment could save the lives of up to four million children per year. The report drew attention to the annual impact of a number of the most serious diseases. Diarrhea (largely from the drinking of unsafe water, a lack of sanitation, and poor hygiene) cost 58 million DALYs. Lower- respiratory infections (largely from indoor and outdoor air pollution) cost 37 million DALYs. Malaria (largely the result of poor water resources, housing, and land management that failed to curb the insect that transmits the disease) cost 19 million DALYs. Road- traffic injuries (largely the result of poor urban design or poor design of transport systems) cost 15 million DALYs. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (largely from workplace exposure to dust, fumes, and other forms of air pollution) cost 12 million DALYs.

      On February 6 the $1 million three-part Zayed International Prize for the Environment was awarded at a ceremony held in Dubai. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was presented with the prize for global leadership and was cited for his work “to catalyze political and public opinion to an understanding that the environment is a fundamental pillar of sustainable development.” The prize for scientific and technological achievement was awarded to the 1,360 scientists who contributed to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a program for integrating knowledge about the world's ecosystems. The prize for action leading to positive change in society was awarded to Angela Cropper, who operated an organization in Trinidad and Tobago for sustainable development, and Emil Salim, a former government minister of Indonesia with high-level involvement in a number of environmental organizations.

      The $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize was awarded at a ceremony in San Francisco on April 24 to six recipients. Craig E. Williams (U.S.) persuaded the Pentagon to abandon plans for incinerating old chemical weapons and to adopt safer means of disposal; Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor (Liberia) exposed rampant illegal logging that was being used to finance warfare; Yu Xiaogang (China) created watershed-management programs and documented the socioeconomic effects of dams; Tarcísio Feitosa da Silva (Brazil) led efforts to create the world's largest area of protected tropical forest in threatened areas of northern Brazil; Olya Melen (Ukraine), a lawyer, used the courts to impede the construction of a shipping canal through valuable wetlands of the Danube delta; and Anne Kajir (Papua New Guinea), also a lawyer, revealed government complicity in illegal logging and fought timber-industry interests in support of indigenous landowners.

National Developments

European Union.
      The European Parliament approved legislation on chemicals called REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) on Nov. 17, 2005, and the Council of Environment Ministers formally adopted the law on December 18, 2006. REACH replaced 40 existing laws, created a European chemicals agency, required the registration and testing of all newly produced chemicals, and encouraged the replacement of the most dangerous chemicals with safer alternatives.

      In July the Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive came into force. It required manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment to phase out the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and the brominated flame retardants PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ether) and PBB (polybrominated biphenyl). The law aimed to protect waste-treatment workers and to prevent these substances from being dispersed in the environment from waste.

      Legislation that curbed greenhouse-gas emissions also came into force in July. It introduced requirements on the containment, handling, recovery, labeling, and reporting of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride and banned some of their applications. A related directive required the phasing out of certain HFCs from air-conditioning systems in new cars by 2017.

      New rules on batteries and battery waste came into force in September. Member states were required to transpose the rules into national laws by September 2008 and to have established battery treatment and recycling plans by one year later. Thereafter, batteries would be banned from landfill sites except in special situations, and it would become illegal to sell most batteries that contained more than trace amounts of mercury or cadmium. Member states would have to meet a binding target of recycling 65% of lead-acid batteries, 75% of nickel-cadmium batteries, and 50% of other consumer batteries by 2010, and manufacturers would have to finance the costs of battery-collection, treatment, and recycling programs.

 On about August 19 the Probo Koala, a ship chartered by the Dutch-based company Trafigura Beheer, unloaded about 400 metric tons (1 metric ton = about 2,205 lb) of petrochemical waste into a number of trucks at the port of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The trucks then dumped the waste in at least 15 places around the city. The dumped material contained a toxic mixture of petroleum distillates, hydrogen sulfide, mercaptans, phenolic compounds, and sodium hydroxide. By mid-September, of the more than 15,000 persons who had sought treatment from exposure to the waste and its fumes, 23 persons had been hospitalized and 7 had died, and the World Health Organization had sent a team to Abidjan to assist the Ministry of Health. A cleanup operation that began on September 17 removed more than 6,000 metric tons of contaminated soil and liquids from sites where the toxic waste had been dumped, and authorities in Côte d'Ivoire conducted investigations into who was responsible for the incident. The Probo Koala, which had sailed to Europe, was detained by Estonian authorities in the port of Paldiski. EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas flew to Estonia on September 28 to ascertain facts concerning the case and to take appropriate action. His spokeswoman said that there appeared to have been systematic flouting of EU waste-shipment laws on what she described as a huge scale. Dimas said he would seek means to reinforce existing regulations and their implementation. The ship departed Estonia in October after it was allowed to unload its remaining cargo of waste, which was to be processed at a waste-treatment facility.

       China was to spend 1.4 trillion yuan (about $175 billion) over five years on environmental protection. The money would be used to improve water quality, lessen air pollution, and reduce land and soil erosion. Sewage-treatment plants were to be built in 10 river valleys to handle wastewater from cities. The Xinhua news agency quoted Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), as saying that every year 12 million metric tons of grain were contaminated by heavy metals present in the soil. Li Xinmin, SEPA's deputy director of pollution control, told a press conference that rising sulfur-dioxide emissions from increased coal consumption were causing environmental harm and economic loss and that China aimed to reduce these emissions by 10% by 2010. In 2005 China emitted nearly 26 million metric tons of sulfur dioxide, a 27% rise over 2000 levels.

      On May 29 hot, poisonous mud erupted from deep below the ground at the drilling site of a natural-gas well near Sidoarjo, East Java, Indon. The subsequent torrent of hot, poisonous mud forced more than 10,000 persons from their homes as it inundated several villages and severed road and rail links to Surabaya. Efforts to block the mud were unsuccessful, and by late September the flow had increased to more than 50,000 cu m (1.8 million cu ft) a day, with more than 400 ha (990 ac) declared unfit for habitation. The government was evaluating ways of channeling the mud to the ocean, and it called on the well operator, Lapindo Brantas, to pay for the cleanup. In late November the explosion of a pipeline believed to have been damaged by the effects of the mud flows killed at least 11 persons.

North America.
      On March 2 a leak was discovered in a corroded pipeline that carried crude oil at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, Alaska. The leak was plugged but not before it had spilled about 1,000,000 litres (270,000 gal) of oil over about one hectare (two acres). It was the worst Alaskan spill since the Exxon Valdez sank in 1989 and the largest spill ever recorded on the North Slope.

      In December 2005 the governors of New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont signed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which set mandatory targets for cutting carbon-dioxide emissions from power stations. Power companies could comply either by installing cleaner technologies or by buying carbon-dioxide allowances from other companies that had reduced their emissions below their established targets.

      In February 2006 conservation groups filed a petition with the UN that argued that rising temperatures were damaging the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a protected area with World Heritage status. The groups maintained that the U.S., as a signatory to the UN World Heritage Convention, was legally obliged to protect such areas.

      In September the state of California lodged a lawsuit against General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, and Nissan that sought monetary compensation for damage it claimed that vehicle emissions were causing to the environment and economy of the state and to the health of its citizens. The state calculated that vehicles made by the named companies accounted for about 30% of all carbon-dioxide emissions in California.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      The 11th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Montreal on Nov. 28–Dec. 9, 2005. About 190 nations attended as signatories to the convention, of which 157 had ratified the Kyoto Protocol. It was the first conference since the protocol went into force earlier in the year. A principal aim was to discuss measures for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions during the remaining seven years of the Kyoto Protocol and to consider the steps that might follow. Harlan Watson, a senior official of the U.S. delegation, said that the U.S. sought progress on the shared objective of the convention to lower greenhouse-gas emissions but without taking steps toward measures to be implemented after the Kyoto Protocol expired in 2012. The conference delegates gave final approval to about 40 decisions, including the adoption of a plan previously negotiated in 2001 at Marrakech, Mor., that essentially provided a rule book for implementing the Kyoto Protocol. A session of the UNFCCC met again May 17–26 in Bonn, Ger., to develop a framework for policies to be pursued following the expiration of the Kyoto caps on emissions. The talks ended with agreement on the need to reduce emissions but no formal conclusions.

      The first meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate was held in January in Sydney. The participating nations (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S.) adopted a charter for future cooperation and a work program that included the creation of task forces to promote cleaner energy from fossil fuels, reduced emissions from coal mining and from steel, aluminum, and cement manufacture, and more energy-efficient buildings and appliances. The agreements were voluntary, with no targets or deadlines.

Ozone Layer.
      Ahead of a meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol held in October–November, a comprehensive assessment by more than 250 scientists published by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimated that the depleted ozone layer should recover by 2049 over middle latitudes and by 2065 over Antarctica. The dates were respectively 5 and 15 years later than those anticipated in a 2002 report. The revisions were necessary because estimates were raised for the amount of chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) that were still in use and for the future production of chlorodifluoromethane, a CFC substitute that also to some extent contributed to ozone depletion. The study found that the amounts of ozone-depleting substances in the stratosphere (the location of the ozone layer) were declining after having peaked in the 1990s.

Air Pollution.
      In the United States a new diesel-fuel usage standard from the Environmental Protection Agency came into force in October for highway vehicles (trucks, buses, and automobiles). It was called ultra-low sulfur diesel, and its sulfur content was limited to 15 ppm (parts per million), which was much lower than the previous limit of 500 ppm. The lower sulfur content would both reduce emissions of sulfur compounds implicated in acid rain and allow diesel vehicles to be equipped with highly effective emission-control systems that would otherwise be damaged by higher concentrations of sulfur.

      On the morning of Sunday, Dec. 11, 2005, a fire at the Buncefield fuel-storage facility near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, Eng., spread to 20 tanks and released a plume of black smoke that spread across a large area of southeastern England. The explosions were heard as far away as The Netherlands, and the fire was claimed to be the biggest in Europe since 1945. The heat was so intense that firefighters were unable to approach the fire until the next day, when they began dousing it with as much as 32,000 litres (8,450 gal) of water and foam per minute. It took four days to bring the fire under control.

      A meeting of the North Sea Conference, held in May at Göteborg, Swed., ended with agreement among the eight North Sea nations to seek new reduction targets for maritime emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. The meeting called for a 40% reduction in limits for nitrogen-oxide emissions and a reduction from 1.5% to 1% in the sulfur content permitted in fuel.

Fresh Water.
      On Nov. 13, 2005, an explosion at a chemical plant in Jilin, China, owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation released approximately 100 metric tons of benzene and nitrobenzene into the Songhua River. All water supplies in Harbin, about 380 km (236 mi) downstream, were shut down for several days, and some 3.8 million people had to use bottled water. Benzene levels were reported to be 10 times higher than was considered safe. The contaminated water emptied into the Amur River on the Russian border and by late December had reached Khabarovsk, Russia, where emergency measures were taken to protect the water supply as the polluted water flowed past the city. During the next several months, the Songhua River was affected by dozens of additional incidents of pollution. In March 2006 the Xinhua news agency announced a $1.2 billion program to clean up the river. The scheme would comprise more than 200 individual projects to reduce industrial pollution and improve sewage treatment and water quality.

      Toxic spills affected two other rivers in China in January. One spill occurred on the Xiangjiang River when a botched environmental cleanup released cadmium into a 100-km (60-mi) stretch of the river in Hunan province. The other spill occurred when a broken pipe released 5.5 metric tons of diesel fuel into a tributary of the Huang Ho (Yellow River) in Shandong province. Officials used chemical treatments to deal with the pollutants, and residential water supplies remained safe.

Marine Pollution.
      In February Mexico became the 26th country to ratify the 1996 protocol to the London Convention, and as a result, the protocol came into force on March 24. The 1996 protocol imposed a general ban on dumping waste into the sea. The ban exempted certain kinds of waste, including sewage sludge, fish waste, vessels and platforms, inert geologic material, and large items consisting mainly of iron, steel, or concrete.

 On July 13–15, during the conflict in southern Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah, Israeli forces bombed the Jiyyeh power plant 30 km (19 mi) south of Beirut. The attack damaged fuel-storage tanks, releasing about 15,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil into coastal waters and contaminating about 140 km (87 mi) of the Lebanese coast and 10 km (6 mi) of the Syrian coast. The cleanup, which could not commence until hostilities ceased, began on August 15. Representatives from UNEP and the International Maritime Organization backed a €50 million (about $64 million) cleanup plan.

Toxic Waste.
      On Dec. 31, 2005, the decommissioned French aircraft carrier Clemenceau left Toulon, France, for a ship-breaking yard in Alang, India. Most of the asbestos on the ship was to have been removed before its departure. An Egyptian environmental official barred the ship from the Suez Canal unless France could show that the ship was not carrying hazardous waste in breach of the Basel Convention. France supplied documents that made the case that the Clemenceau was a warship and therefore not covered by the convention, and after a three-day wait Egyptian authorities cleared the vessel to pass through the canal. On January 16 the Indian Supreme Court banned the ship from entering Indian waters until inspectors could determine whether it carried asbestos or other hazardous waste. On February 15, however, French Pres. Jacques Chirac ordered the Clemenceau to return to France after the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, ruled that the ship was covered by EU waste legislation that prohibited the shipment of hazardous waste outside the EU.

      On April 26 ceremonies were held in Belarus and Ukraine to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Approximately 5,000 protesters held a rally in Minsk, Belarus, and accused the authorities of lying to them about the consequences of the nuclear accident. On the evening of April 25, hundreds of people, each carrying a single red carnation and a candle, gathered for an open-air church service in Kiev, Ukraine. Church bells rang 20 times at 1:23 AM local time—when the accident had begun. A similar ceremony was held at Slavutych, Ukraine, the town built to accommodate former Chernobyl plant workers. Shortly before the anniversary the World Health Organization reported that 116,000 people had been evacuated immediately following the accident and an additional 230,000 people relocated in subsequent years. The report on the health effects of the accident estimated that the final toll might be up to 9,000 cancer deaths among cleanup workers, evacuees, and residents of the contaminated areas of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      The effects of climate change on wildlife were in the news throughout 2006. A 10-year study published in January showed that temperature increases in the Arctic would cause the death of up to 40% of the tundra's moss and lichen cover. These plants would be replaced by invading trees, shrubs, and grasses. The rate at which native species would be lost was expected to be greater than the rate at which new species would colonize the area and thus result in a marked decrease in the biodiversity of the region.

      The UN designated the year 2006 as the International Year of Deserts and Desertification, and the effect of climate change on desert wildlife and biodiversity and the exacerbation of desertification received special attention. On June 5, World Environment Day, the UN Environment Programme released the report Global Deserts Outlook, which indicated that deserts might be among the ecosystems most affected by climate change. Unpredictable climatic events are more important than average conditions in deserts, and even small changes in precipitation and temperature can therefore have a marked impact. The many species of the 3.7 million sq km (1.4 million sq mi) of land that the world's deserts comprise would be adversely affected should the report's projected scenario of increasing desert temperatures and decreasing rainfall prove correct.

      A report in February by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealed that international waters were being overfished to the point that some species faced extinction, with illegal fishing and bottom trawling largely to blame. The orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) was one of the species under threat, and the bottom-trawling method used to catch it was also responsible for destroying benthic habitats such as coral reefs. The report criticized the regional organizations that oversaw fishing regulations for poor decision making and for being unable to control the activities of countries that ignored the regulations.

 At the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in June 2006, a resolution that called for the eventual return of commercial whaling passed by a majority of only one vote. It was a victory for Japan, which had argued that the 20-year-old global moratorium on whaling was no longer necessary. A three-quarters majority was required for the moratorium to be overturned, however. In a related move Iceland—which had abided by the moratorium—announced in October that it would resume commercial whaling. Iceland planned an annual take of up to 30 minke whales and 9 fin whales. The fin whale was classified as an endangered species by the World Conservation Union, but Iceland claimed that it existed in numbers high enough to be hunted within sustainable limits.

      Another WWF report, published in May, highlighted how the conservation of wildlife and land use were inextricably linked. The cork-oak forests of the western Mediterranean provided a habitat for many threatened species, including the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) and the cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus). In addition, the cork industry—with an annual production of 15 billion corks—was a sustainable industry that provided a source of income for more than 100,000 people. The use of screw tops and synthetic stoppers, however, was leading to the demise of the industry, with large areas of cork-oak forests at a heightened risk of desertification and forest fires. The report warned that a continuation of the decline in the cork market could lead to the loss of three-quarters of the forests within 10 years.

 A study by Stuart Butchart and co-workers at BirdLife International identified at least 16 bird species still found in the wild that probably would have become extinct between 1994 and 2004 if not for conservation programs. The extinction of the Seychelles magpie-robin (Copsychus sechellarum), for example, was prevented through a conservation program that included translocations, habitat management, and eradication of invasive species. The study named 10 other species, including the whooping crane (Grus americana), whose survival in the wild probably would not have been possible without conservation programs that existed before 1994. Despite these results, the study noted that many other bird species slipped closer to extinction during the 1994–2004 period, with a total of 164 moved to higher categories of extinction risk on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species.

       Brazilian Pres. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva approved a plan to complete the paving of BR-163, a 1,780-km (1,106-mi) road from Cuiabá to the Amazon river port of Santarém. The unpaved part of the road was essentially a track that ran about 1,000 km (620 mi) through the heart of the Amazon rainforest and close to a number of conservation areas and indigenous reserves. The paving project was to improve transportation between Brazil's soybean belt and foreign export markets, but conservationists expressed concern that it would open the rainforest to squatters, ranchers, loggers, and soybean farmers and hence lead to further forest destruction and the loss of wildlife and biodiversity.

      A related issue was the use of palm and soybean oils to produce biofuel for cars and other vehicles in Europe and North America. The growing demand for biofuel and so-called green energy had promoted the clearing of Southeast Asian rainforests to make way for palm plantations, and the planting of soybeans had become a principal cause of rainforest loss in the Brazilian Amazon.

      In 2006 the governments of India and Nepal banned the production and importation of diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that veterinarians used to treat livestock. The drug had been found to cause kidney failure in vultures that ate carcasses of animals treated with the drug, and the populations of three vulture species had precipitously declined by 97% since the early 1990s. Pharmaceutical firms were told to promote an alternative to diclofenac called meloxicam, which was not harmful to the vultures. Breeding centres for captive vultures were being established in India, but recovery would be a slow process; the vultures do not breed until they are five years old and then produce only one egg per year.

      In February the government of British Columbia announced an agreement among native peoples, environmentalists, loggers, and the provincial government to create the Great Bear Rainforest, a wilderness preserve of 64,000 sq km (25,000 sq mi) along the Pacific coast. About one-quarter of the land would be protected habitat for bears, wolves, salmon, and other wildlife, and the remainder would be managed to permit sustainable forestry. In June U.S. Pres. George W. Bush designated as a national monument an extensive wildlife-rich region of the Pacific Ocean that encompassed a long chain of small Pacific islands that extended northwest from the main islands of Hawaii. Covering about 360,000 sq km (140,000 sq mi), the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument was the world's largest protected marine area. Also in June the Afghan and U.S. governments, together with the Wildlife Conservation Society, launched a biodiversity conservation initiative to set up Afghanistan's first system of protected wildlife areas. Under consideration were areas in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountains, home to such species as the Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon polii) and the snow leopard (Uncia uncia).

Martin Fisher

▪ 2006

The UN completed a comprehensive assessment of the world's ecosystems. The Kyoto Protocol came into force, and in the European Union carbon emissions trading with “carbon credits” began. Studies showed a link between top predators and biodiversity, and a study of bird species yielded important findings concerning biodiversity hotspots.

International Activities
      The results of a four-year, $24 million survey ordered in 2000 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan were published on March 30, 2005. Known as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and produced by 1,360 scientists in 95 countries, the survey aimed to assess the state of ecosystems from the point of view of the people who depend on the benefits that they provide. These benefits included food, timber, and other materials, protection from floods and soil erosion, and recreation. The survey found that 15 of the 24 ecosystem benefits it studied were being degraded or used in an unsustainable manner. Where some ecosystem benefits had improved, mostly through an increase in food production, the improvement had been achieved at the cost of degrading others. Instead of making recommendations, the assessment outlined four different scenarios that might result from particular sets of policies. (1) “Order from strength” was a scenario in which nations were obsessed with security and became fragmented into regional markets and alliances. In this scenario every type of ecosystem would deteriorate, and less-developed countries would bear the worst changes. (2) “Global orchestration” was a scenario in which free trade was encouraged together with an emphasis on poverty reduction. Food production would rise sharply in less-developed countries, but climate change would accelerate and there would be a loss of environmental cultural benefits such as ecotourism. (3) “TechnoGarden,” which emphasized green technologies, was a scenario in which the production of food would rise but would not be maximized. Many environmental problems would decrease, but so would biodiversity. (4) “Adapting mosaic” would use low-technology local-based solutions that would maximize benefits and minimize problems. If it was adopted widely, it would allow all ecosystem-related benefits to improve.

 The Kyoto Protocol came into force on February 16, following Russia's ratification of the treaty in November 2004. Two additional countries, Indonesia and Nigeria, ratified the protocol in December 2004. (See Special Report (Kyoto Protocol: What Next? ))

      In June the European Court of Human Rights, sitting in Strasbourg, France, ruled that European governments had a duty to prevent serious damage to their citizens' health caused by pollution from industrial installations, even when those installations were privately owned and operated. The ruling concerned the case of Nadezhda Fadeyeva, who lived near a privately held steel plant in a town northeast of Moscow. The court found that the state had failed to protect Fadeyeva, either by resettling her or by reducing pollution from the plant, and it ordered the government to pay her compensation of €6,000 (about $7,200) and to resolve her situation.

      At a June meeting held in Stockholm, 28 countries with research interests in Antarctica agreed to rules that would make individual nations responsible for taking immediate action to deal with any incident that resulted in environmental pollution and to meet the cleanup costs. The rules went into effect June 15 as the Stockholm Annex to the 1959 Antarctic Treaty.

 Scientists met in London in February to mark the completion of the five-year, £7 million (about $13 million) Global Nitrogen Enrichment (GANE) Programme to map the worldwide effects of excess nitrogen on rivers, forests, and grasslands. John Lawton, chief executive of the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council, said that the massive increase in the amount of chemically reactive forms of nitrogen that was in circulation was one of the three major environmental challenges facing the world, together with the loss of biodiversity and climate change. The GANE study noted that parts of the Gulf of Mexico were losing marine animals because of high levels of eutrophication (the process by which the nutrient-stimulated growth of aquatic plants depletes oxygen from the water). Researchers suspected that shallow freshwater lakes in the U.K. and Poland might be losing plant species for the same reason.

      The pan-European Göteborg air-pollution protocol became binding following its ratification by Portugal on May 17. The protocol set national ceilings for emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds from industry, agriculture, and transport. International restrictions on the emissions of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides from ships went into force on May 19 as part of Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

      Bob Hunter (Hunter, Bob ), cofounder of Greenpeace, died on May 2. (See Obituaries.) He was 63. Hunter was a journalist working in Vancouver when on Sept. 15, 1971, he led a group of protesters who sailed the fishing boat The Greenpeace into an area where a nuclear-weapons test was planned. That campaign marked the beginning of the organization Greenpeace, which later targeted whaling, the culling of seals, and a range of environmental issues.

      Gaylord Nelson (Nelson, Gaylord Anton ), the former U.S. senator who founded the Earth Day movement, died on July 3. (See Obituaries.) He was 89. Nelson cosponsored the 1964 Wilderness Act, supported vehicle fuel-efficiency standards and strip-mining controls, and wrote the first environmental education act. In 1970 Nelson founded Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22 as a peaceful demonstration of environmental protest and activism.

      At a ceremony held at United Nations headquarters in New York City on April 19, the UN Environment Programme's executive director, Klaus Töpfer, presented the first annual Champions of the Earth awards, which were intended to recognize outstanding contributions to the environment made by people in all parts of the world. The seven recipients were King Jigme Singye Wangchuk and the people of Bhutan, the late Sheikh Zayid ibn Sultan Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, Pres. Thabo Mbeki and the people of South Africa, Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Julia Carabias Lillo of Mexico, Sheila Watt-Cloutier of Canada, and Zhou Qiang and the All-China Youth Federation.

National Developments

      The European Union plan for the trading of carbon emissions came into force on Jan. 1, 2005. Approximately 12,000 industrial installations, which accounted for about one-half of all EU carbon-dioxide output, had their emissions capped. Any factory that emitted more than a specified amount of carbon dioxide would be penalized unless it covered the excess by purchasing “carbon credits” from other factories that emitted less than their allowance. The European Commission had endorsed the national allocation plans for all but four countries (Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Greece), and the plan for Spain was conditional pending minor changes. The first stage, to run from 2005 to 2007, covered the cement, glass, paper-and-pulp, electric-power, and iron-and-steel industries. The second stage, to run from 2008 to 2012, was expected to impose tighter restrictions and would perhaps be extended to cover additional producers, such as the chemical and aluminum industries and, possibly, the aviation industry. The opening price was about €8 (about $11) per metric ton of carbon dioxide, and the trade in unused emission allowances was expected eventually to be worth billions of euros.

      The Eurobarometer survey published in May by the European Commission found that 85% of respondents wished that policy makers would consider environmental policies to be as important as economic and social policies, 88% thought that environmental concerns should be taken into consideration when decisions in other areas were made, and 72% believed that the condition of the environment significantly influenced their quality of life. The survey was the first to include the 10 new member states of the EU. Climate change was rated as the most serious worry among respondents from old-member countries, but it ranked only seventh among those from the new-member countries.

      Peter Calow, a British scientist, was appointed director of Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute in November 2004. The post was formerly held by Bjørn Lomborg, who had generated controversy in his criticism of views held by many environmentalists. Calow, former professor of zoology at the University of Sheffield, Eng., and a specialist in ecology and ecological risk assessment, was a member of the EU scientific committee on health and environmental risks.

      The Obrigheim nuclear reactor closed down on May 11. The 36-year-old 340-MW plant was the oldest in Germany and was the second of the original 19 reactors in the country to close under Germany's plan to phase out nuclear power by 2021.

      A four-year study of the Russian Arctic, conducted by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program and reported in November 2004, found that samples of human breast milk and umbilical-cord blood contained very high levels of a number of persistent toxic substances, including hexachlorobenzene, dioxins, DDT, PCBs, mercury, and lead. The mean concentrations of these substances were similar to those found in Canada and Greenland, with the highest concentrations in the Chukotka peninsula, in the Russian Far East, where people ate large amounts of marine mammals and fish. About 5% of the population, mainly male, had very high PCB levels (0.01 mg/g of blood lipid, or one part in 100,000).

      In February it appeared that the national commitment to phase out nuclear power in Sweden was unlikely to be fulfilled. The four-party opposition alliance was said to be prepared to retain all but one of the existing nuclear plants, and the Social Democratic government was said to have approved a 15 billion Swedish kronor (about $2.1 billion) modernization program to increase capacity at 7 of the existing 10 reactors. Nevertheless, the Barsebäck 2 nuclear reactor was shut down on May 31. Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company that ran Barsebäck, announced plans to replace it with the largest wind farm in northern Europe. The 8 billion Swedish kronor (about $1.1 billion) turbine park would be built offshore near Copenhagen.

      A March opinion poll showed that approximately 80% of Swedes favoured continuing the use of nuclear power, which was supplying one-half of Sweden's electricity, and only 10% supported phasing it out. People feared that abandoning nuclear power would make it necessary to import fossil-fuel-generated power from elsewhere in Europe.

 In March it was reported at a symposium on water management that one-third of China's rural population, which amounted to 360 million persons, lacked access to safe drinking water and that more than 70% of the country's rivers and lakes were polluted. The vice-minister for water resources, Zhai Haohui, said that the provision of clean drinking water should be made a priority. China Daily cited a 2002 study that revealed that more than two million persons had been made ill by drinking water and burning coal containing arsenic.

      On August 11 the authorities declared a state of emergency in the Kelang Valley and Kuala Lumpur when air quality deteriorated because of fires that had been started to clear land in Sumatra, Indonesia. Schools were closed, and people were advised to remain indoors or to wear masks if they went outdoors. Air-quality readings were rated “hazardous” in Port Kelang and Kuala Selangor. After Malaysia helped Indonesian authorities extinguish the fires, air quality reached an acceptable level, and on August 13 the state of emergency was lifted.

United States.
      Addressing an audience in San Francisco on World Environment Day, June 2, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced an executive order that set targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in the state. The order called for a reduction in emissions to year 2000 levels by 2010, to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The Californian economy was the sixth largest in the world, and the state was the world's 10th largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

      In August officials in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont agreed to restrict power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide in 2009 to their 2000–04 average level and then reduce them by 10% between 2015 and 2020. The agreement, which affected more than 600 power plants, would go into effect when all nine states had passed the necessary legislation.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      The 10th conference of parties to the UN Climate Change Convention, held in Buenos Aires Dec. 6–17, 2004, was attended by representatives from about 200 countries. Harlan Watson, the U.S. chief negotiator, stated that the United States had no intention of signing the Kyoto Protocol, which he said was a political document based on bad science. The aim of the Buenos Aires conference had been to open discussions on emission targets to be introduced after 2012, but no agreement was reached. The delegates decided to meet again in May 2005 to discuss post-2012 targets, but it also proved impossible to agree to any post-2012 measures at the May meeting.

      During his visit to Brussels in February, days after the Kyoto Protocol came into force, Pres. George W. Bush said that U.S. determination to stay outside the Kyoto framework remained strong and that all countries should still work together in order to make progress with emerging technologies that would encourage environmentally responsible economic growth. This approach led to the Asia-Pacific Partnership, an agreement reached in July between Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. The partnership aimed to combat climate change by promoting clean-energy technologies, including natural gas, methane capture from waste, hydroelectricity, and nuclear power. Each signatory country would set its own goals for reducing emissions, with no outside mechanism for enforcement.

      In September the German Economics Institute reported that during 2004 global carbon-dioxide emissions from energy generation and use increased by 4.5% over 2003, the highest rate of growth since 2000. The rise was greatest in China, whose 2004 carbon-dioxide emissions were 579 million metric tons more than in the previous year, a rise of 15%. Global emissions, at 27.5 billion metric tons, were 26% above their 1990 level. Total 2004 emissions of all six greenhouse gases from the countries bound by the Kyoto Protocol were 4.1% below their 1990 level.

Ozone Layer.
      In late June an extraordinary meeting of parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer agreed to cap 2006 production of methyl bromide at 13,000 metric tons, a reduction of 20% from the amount permitted in 2005. Developed countries were required to phase out the use of methyl bromide by 2005 but were allowed to negotiate annual exemptions. Less-developed countries, which had consumed 12,000 metric tons in 2003, were to phase out use by 2015.

      Ozone depletion in 2005 was severe in both the Antarctic and the Arctic. Readings from the Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography on the European satellite Envisat suggested that ozone depletion over Antarctica in August covered a larger area than in any other year since 2000. Measurements of the Arctic ozone layer made between January and March by scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Ger., showed ozone losses to have been the largest ever recorded. An analysis of satellite records and surface-monitoring instruments led scientists who worked with the Center for Integrating Statistical and Environmental Science at the University of Chicago to report that the ozone layer was no longer thinning. The study found that in some parts of the world the ozone layer had thickened slightly, although ozone levels remained below levels that existed before ozone depletion began.

      In September the Chernobyl Forum published a three-volume, 600-page report assessing the impact on public health of the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Approximately 50 emergency workers died of acute radiation syndrome shortly after the accident, and 9 children died from thyroid cancer because of radiation exposure. As a result of the accident, an additional 3,940 people—from among the 200,000 emergency workers who were present at the site in the first year following the accident, the 116,000 people who were evacuated, and the 270,000 residents of the most heavily contaminated areas—were likely to die from cancer. These deaths represented a 3% increase over the number of deaths that would be expected from naturally occurring cancer—an increase that would be difficult to detect. Although 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer had been reported in individuals who were children or adolescents at the time of the accident, their survival rate from the cancer was expected to be almost 99%. The report also found that the trauma of being evacuated, combined with persistent myths and misperceptions about the threat of radiation, had produced harmful effects. The report was compiled by more than 100 scientists, economists, and health experts. The Chernobyl Forum comprised seven UN organizations and programs, the World Bank, and the governments of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

Marine Pollution.
      A report from the Swedish environmental advisory council (SEAC), delivered to the government on February 22, expressed the fears of scientists that the marine ecology of the Baltic Sea had become locked into permanent eutrophication. SEAC found that measures to control the release of nutrients from agricultural runoff, drainage, and road traffic had resulted in some improvement in the waters around Stockholm and the Swedish west coast but had not had a discernible effect in the open sea.

 In May Danish authorities failed in their attempt to secure the return of the 51-year-old ferry Kong Frederik IX (later renamed Frederik and finally Ricky), which had been sent to India for scrapping. The ship, which contained asbestos insulation, had docked at the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat on April 19. The Basel Action Network, an environmental group, protested what it considered to be a clear violation of the UN Basel Convention on Trade in Hazardous Waste. Danish authorities said the ship had been exported illegally, but Environment Minister Connie Hedegaard said on May 3 that her Indian counterpart, A. Raja, had refused to return the ship. Raja maintained that the Indian authorities did not regard it as waste and were confident of their ability to dispose of it legally and in an environmentally defensible fashion. The Danish government planned to seek measures through the International Maritime Organization to prevent future incidents of this kind, although the Danish press reported that two more old ferries, the Dronning Margrethe II and the Rügen, were on their way to India to be scrapped. The Ricky remained beached at Alang, and 150 kg (330 lb) of asbestos had been recovered from it by November.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      The annual meeting in June of the International Whaling Commission in Ulsan, S.Kor., opened to fears among the antiwhaling bloc, led by New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom, that pro- whaling nations might finally gain a majority among the 66 member states and overturn the 19-year-old ban on commercial whaling, but the status quo did not change. Japan stood by its plans to increase its so-called scientific catches, stating that it intended to increase its annual minke-whale quota to 935, more than double the previous quota, and take 50 humpbacks and 50 fin whales.

      Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. Ltd., of which Royal Dutch Shell was the main stakeholder, agreed in March to reroute a controversial undersea oil pipeline so that it would avoid the feeding grounds of the critically endangered western gray whale near Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East. Environmentalists said that the offshore oil platforms the company was developing posed the greater problem, and whale experts recommended that the platforms be placed as far from the shore as possible.

      In June a report commissioned by Britain's Royal Society showed that the oceans were becoming more acidic as they absorbed some of the excess carbon dioxide that was being released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. The change could be catastrophic for marine ecosystems and for economies that rely on reef tourism or fishing. Seawater is naturally alkaline, with an average pH of 8.2. (On the pH scale, values above 7 are alkaline, values below 7 are acidic, and lower values correspond to greater acidity.) The study suggested that by the year 2100 anticipated increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide would lead to a fall of 0.5 in the average pH of ocean surface waters. The increasing acidity might affect animals with high oxygen demands, such as squid, since dissolved oxygen would become more difficult to extract from water. The change might also have serious consequences for organisms with calcium-carbonate shells, including lobsters, crabs, shellfish, certain plankton species, and coral polyps, because increasing acidity would affect how readily calcium carbonate dissolves in seawater.

      A study published in January 2005 by the British Antarctic Survey identified the year-round habitats of gray-headed albatrosses. The birds were tracked as they flew from their breeding sites near South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic Ocean to areas of the southwestern Indian Ocean. More than one-half then completed a round-the-world journey, some in just 46 days. By identifying the areas where the birds feed, the report was expected to help governments and fisheries take measures to reduce the number of albatrosses that were dying each year from preying on hooked bait used in longline fishing.

      The charisma of top vertebrate predators was often used to help solicit funds for conservation projects. Although this promotional strategy had been criticized, it received some justification on scientific grounds from a study published in July of habitat data for five raptor species. The study found that the sites occupied by the five apex predators, which differed greatly in diet and habitat, were associated with high biodiversity and thereby ecologically important. In a related matter, a study published in June showed that the large specimens of game fish prized by anglers were also important for maintaining fish populations and thereby called into question fishing regulations that allowed large fish to be kept and required that small fish be released. The study found that the fecundity of female fish often increased with size and that the larvae of large individuals were bigger and better able to survive than the larvae of small individuals. Moreover, the young of some fish species needed to follow older fish to learn how to reach their spawning areas.

      A study published in August of a newly compiled database of the breeding distribution of all the birds in the world found an alarming lack of congruence, or overlap, in the areas defined by three different criteria for biodiversity hotspots (areas with an exceptional concentration of species). The analysis of the three types of hotspots—based, respectively, on the total number of species, the number of endemic species (species with the smallest breeding ranges), and the number of rare or threatened species in the area—showed that only 2.5% of hotspot areas were common to all three types of hotspots and more than 80% were unique to only one type. From the analysis it appeared that separate mechanisms were associated with the different types of diversity and that the different types of hotspots should be used together in setting priorities for conservation efforts.

      Another study published in August showed that the illegal removal of coral from reefs along the coastline of Sri Lanka led to greater destruction than otherwise would have been caused by the tsunami of December 2004. The tsunami reached significantly farther inland through the gaps that were left by the illegal removal of coral. The coral was typically taken to provide souvenirs for tourists or to be ground up for use in house paint.

      The World Heritage Committee inscribed seven new sites on the World Heritage list in July. The sites included two fjords (Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord) in Norway, marine ecosystems within the Gulf of California in Mexico, Coiba National Park and its special zone of marine protection within the Gulf of Chiriquí in Panama, part of the Shiretoko Peninsula of Hokkaido and associated marine ecosystems in Japan, and a mosaic of tropical forests in Thailand. The committee also considered the future delisting of Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo if it failed to protect its last remaining northern white rhinoceroses. Only 10 individuals of this subspecies were believed to be left in the wild.

Martin Fisher

▪ 2005


International Activities
      At a meeting held in Cheju, S.Kor., in late March 2004, environment ministers from about 90 countries discussed such topics as deoxygenation of oceans and lakes, waste management in small island states, and dust storms. Klaus Töpfer, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director, informed the ministers about oceanic “dead zones” up to 70,000 sq km (27,000 sq mi) in extent. In these areas the overgrowth and decomposition of microscopic marine organisms feeding on excess nitrogen from fertilizers, waste, and vehicle and industrial emissions had depleted the water of the oxygen needed by fish to survive. He also spoke of the success of countries bordering the Rhine River in reducing by 37% the amount of nitrogen entering the North Sea.

      The Rotterdam Convention on trade in dangerous chemicals came into force in February, requiring exporters of any of 27 designated substances to obtain prior informed consent from the importing country before making shipment. The substances included a number of pesticides and several forms of asbestos. An additional 14 substances were added in September.

      The Zayid International Prize for the Environment, established in honour of Sheikh Zayid ibn Sultan Al Nahyan (Nahyan, Sheikh Zayid ibn Sultan Al ) (president of the United Arab Emirates; see Obituaries), was presented on February 24 in Dubai at the end of the four-day Dubai International Conference on Atmospheric Pollution. Winners in three categories were chosen. The prize of $500,000 for global leadership went to the BBC. Godwin Obasi, Mustafa Tolba, and Bert Bolin shared the prize of $300,000 for scientific and technological achievement. Obasi was a former secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization; Tolba was a former executive director of UNEP; and Bolin was a former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The prize of $200,000 for action leading to positive change in society was awarded jointly to Badria al-Awadhi, founder of the Kuwait Environment Protection Society, and Jamal Safi, founder of the Environmental Protection and Research Institute in Gaza.

      On April 19, at a ceremony in San Francisco, the 2004 Goldman Environmental Prize was awarded to eight recipients. Margie Eugene-Richard (U.S.) campaigned against pollution from a Shell Chemical plant in Norco, La.; Rudolf N. Amenga-Etego (Ghana) was successful in obtaining a suspension of a water-privatization project that would have impeded access to clean drinking water; Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla (India) led the fight to hold Dow Chemical accountable for the 1984 Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, India; Libia R. Grueso (Colombia) secured territorial rights over more than 2.4 million ha (1 ha = about 2.5 ac) for Afro-Colombian communities; Manana Kochladze (Georgia) won concessions to protect villagers and the environment from any damage caused by the construction in Georgia of the world's largest oil pipeline; and Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho (East Timor) championed the issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in East Timor.

      The Blue Planet Prize was awarded in June to two recipients. Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was honoured for her work in the1980s that showed the role of cold stratospheric clouds above Antarctica in accelerating the destruction of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons. Gro Harlem Brundtland was honoured for building international cooperation on environmental issues. Her work as chair of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development helped lead to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) in 1992. Each winner received ¥50 million (about $460,000) from the Asahi Glass Foundation.

National Developments

European Union.
      On November 1, Stavros Dimas, a Greek lawyer, became the EU environment commissioner and left his former position as employment commissioner of the EU.

      On Oct. 29, 2003, the European Commission had tabled draft legislation to overhaul the regulation of chemicals. The regulations for the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals (REACH) required chemical manufacturers and importers to register all chemicals that they proposed to market in quantities exceeding one metric ton (about 2,205 lb). The most hazardous substances would be authorized for use only if the manufacturer convinced the regulating authority that they would be used safely for specified purposes. Three years after the regulations came into force, companies would have to register carcinogenic substances, mutagenic substances, and reprotoxic substances (substances detrimental to reproduction) that were handled in amounts exceeding one metric ton and other substances in a quantity of more than 1,000 metric tons. Quantities of 100–1,000 metric tons would have to be registered after six years; quantities of 1–100 metric tons, after 11 years.

      Following publication of the draft, concerns remained that the Commission had not adequately assessed the economic effect of the scheme, especially its effect on international trade. Animal-welfare groups feared that REACH would mean a sharp increase in animal testing. In March 2004 the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization, representing key EU trading partners—including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia—described the draft as “overly expansive, burdensome, and costly.” In April the French chemical industry calculated that implementation would cost France €28 billion (about $35 billion) over 10 years, a much higher figure than the Commission assessment of €5.2 billion (about $6.4 billion) over 11 years for the 15 member states. Arguments broke out again following the announcement of the findings of a study presented to the European Parliament's industry committee on August 31. The study found that the controls would reduce GDP by 2.9%, cost the chemical industry €3.3 trillion (about $4.1 trillion) over 20 years, and reduce the output of the industry by 25%.

      On Feb. 26, 2004, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers agreed to end the production and use of 13 persistent organic pollutants: aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene, PCBs, DDT, chlordecone, hexabromobiphenyl, and lindane.

      In May the government announced a 10-year program to cost Can$400 million (about $290 million) for cleaning up a site at Sydney, N.S., contaminated with 700,000 metric tons of chemicals from wastes discharged into the nearby river. The residue included at least 45,000 metric tons of PCBs as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic, lead, and dioxins, and at least 30 sewer pipes continued to discharge material. The Sydney Steel Co. had occupied the 33-ha (82-ac) site for 90 years.

      In a ruling published on Dec. 17, 2003, Denmark's Science Ministry dismissed criticisms that the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty had made of environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg. In his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg was critical of views widely held by environmentalists. The ministry found that the committee had presented no evidence for its allegations of bias and unscientific methodology in his book, had failed to give Lomborg an opportunity to defend himself, and had based their judgments on media reports rather than an independent assessment of the book. In January a group of senior Dutch scientists published the result of their examination of the Danish criticism, finding that only a few minor accusations against Lomborg were valid. In June 2004 Lomborg resigned from his post as director of Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute to return to the University of Århus, Den., as an associate professor.

North Korea.
      DPR Korea: State of the Environment 2003, the first-ever assessment of the environment in North Korea, was published in Pyongyang in August. Written by the country's national coordinating council for the environment, comprising officials from 20 government and academic agencies, together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNEP, the report covered the state of forests, water, air, land, and biodiversity. It found that forests, which currently covered 74% of the country, were declining in area and deteriorating in quality owing to timber production, firewood production, fires, insect pests associated with drought, and deforestation to provide farmland. Large amounts of untreated wastewater and sewage were being discharged into rivers, with adverse health effects. Air quality was deteriorating, especially in industrial and urban areas. Energy consumption was expected to double over 30 years, and this made it important to develop technologies for clean coal combustion, exhaust-gas purification, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Soil quality was also deteriorating, due to deforestation, droughts, floods, and acidification owing to overuse of chemicals. Ri Jung Sik, secretary-general of the national coordinating council, and UNEP Executive Director Töpfer signed a framework agreement on joint activities to address these issues.

United States.
      In July the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and New York City sued the five companies that were the greatest carbon-dioxide emitters in the U.S. for creating a public nuisance. The five companies—the American Electric Power Co., the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Southern Co., Cinergy Corp., and Xcel Energy—together produced 10% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The suit called on each company to reduce its emissions by 3% a year for 10 years, a target the plaintiffs maintained could be achieved without large increases in energy prices by making generating plants more efficient, promoting energy conservation, and using wind power and solar power.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      The ninth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Milan on Dec. 1–12, 2003. Prior to the opening of the conference, the executive secretary of the convention, Joke Waller-Hunter, said that 119 countries had ratified the Kyoto Protocol and that many less-developed countries were already working to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions even though they were not required to do so.

      On Dec. 12, 2003, European Union heads of government approved a communiqué expressing concern over the economic costs of limiting greenhouse-gas emissions. It was projected that more than half of the member states would miss their emissions targets set by the protocol for 2008–12. For example, it was projected that by 2010 the EU countries as a whole would have reduced emissions by only 0.5% of their 1990 levels rather than by the target 8%.

      On January 27 Spanish Energy Minister José Folgado indicated that his government was unhappy with its greenhouse-gas limitation under the Kyoto Protocol. A ministry spokesperson later explained that Folgado was simply reiterating statements made by Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, questioning the potential costs of the Kyoto agreement.

      In February, Finnish Industry Minister Mauri Pekkarinen said that unless the Kyoto Protocol came into force soon, Finland should campaign within the EU for a renegotiation of national targets for limiting greenhouse gases. At an EU ministerial meeting in Brussels on March 2, Italian Environment Minister Altero Matteoli attempted to force from the meeting a declaration that any action on cutting emissions should depend on Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Spain and, to a lesser extent, Finland supported the Italian position.

      On April 14 the Russian Interfax news agency reported Andrey Illarionov, economic adviser to Pres. Vladimir Putin, as having said that the Kyoto Protocol would stifle economic growth by progressively decreasing permitted carbon emissions, and on May 18 the Russian Academy of Sciences advised against ratification of the protocol. Following a meeting with EU leaders on May 21 at which the EU agreed to Russia's joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), however, President Putin said Russia would speed its progress toward ratification and that his government supported the Kyoto Protocol. After the lower and upper houses of parliament approved ratification in October, President Putin signed the ratification document on November 5.

Ozone Layer.
      A meeting of the parties to the Montreal Protocol, held in Nairobi, Kenya, broke down on Nov. 14, 2003, when the U.S. warned that it might overrule the treaty if its demand to continue using methyl bromide pesticide was not met. Industrialized countries were required to cease using methyl bromide by 2005 except for specified exemptions. A UN panel had supported the exemption of one-third of the amount requested by the U.S. for continued use, but the U.S. demanded more. The EU then proposed that all national exemptions be capped at 30% of their baseline methyl bromide consumption.

      On April 14 the Polish government decided to ban immediately the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in freezers and air-conditioning systems. The use of CFCs as aerosol propellants would only be phased out, because their discontinuance might involve changing pharmaceutical laws. The withdrawal of metered-dose inhalers using CFCs, however, was commenced immediately and was to be completed by the end of 2005.

      On June 22, at a conference in Brussels on “green” refrigerants supported by UNEP and Greenpeace, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Unilever announced that they would phase out their use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. Together, these companies operated 12 million coolers and freezers. They planned to replace HFCs with other hydrocarbon gases, carbon dioxide, Stirling motors, and thermoacoustic refrigeration. Unilever said its equipment should be free of HFCs within 10 years; the others were less specific. Coca-Cola had first declared its intention of phasing out HFCs in 2000.

Air Pollution.
      The European Environment Agency announced in October that smog levels in 2003 were the highest in nearly 10 years, and it attributed the elevated levels to unusually hot, sunny weather. Between April and August the public advisory threshold for ozone levels was exceeded at least once in 23 out of the 31 countries monitored. Breaches lasted an average 3.5 hours. The threshold for issuing a public warning was exceeded four times in the first eight months of the year. After this threshold value was reduced by 30% in September, it was exceeded in 15 countries before the end of the year.

      In June smoke from forest fires on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra disrupted flights from the airport at the city of Pekanbaru and affected many cities in Malaysia. The haze over Kuala Lumpur was said to be the worst since 1997–98.

Marine Pollution.
      Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed in February on the terms of a convention aimed at improving the management of ballast water on ships in order to prevent the inadvertent transport of living organisms to new environments where they often became invasive. Equipment to treat ballast water would have to be fitted to all newly built ships by 2009 and to all ships by 2016. The convention would come into force 12 months after it had been ratified by 30 countries that together represented 35% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage. At a meeting in London in late March, the IMO Marine Environment Committee provisionally agreed to give the Baltic Sea special status to afford it greater environmental protection.

      In August, at the Offshore Northern Seas conference in Stavanger, Nor., UNEP issued a report prepared by its Global International Waters Assessment division warning of threats to the Barents Sea, currently one of Europe's cleanest seas. The report said that cod and haddock stocks were being overexploited and that although current levels of radioactivity were low, the area around Murmansk, Russia, held more radioactive waste than anywhere else in the world and long-term strategies were needed for its safe management. The gravest risk, however, came from the development of Russian offshore oil and gas deposits, which would increase sixfold the amount of traffic passing through the sea by 2020. Apart from the risk of spills, the increase in traffic posed a risk of accidentally introducing alien species in ballast water.

Persistent Organic Pollutants.
      The three-month countdown to the implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants began on February 17 when France became the 50th country to have ratified the agreement, and the convention came into force on May 17. The first phase covered aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane, DDT, dioxins, endrin, furans, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, PCBs, and toxaphene.

      Disagreement was anticipated over the risks from brominated flame retardants such as hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) that might be included in the second phase. These substances entered the environment during manufacture processes and use and could accumulate in human and animal tissues. HBCD was recognized as being toxic, but there was some doubt over decaBDE. Tens of thousands of metric tons of both substances were being manufactured every year.

      In September the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that large amounts of toxic chemical waste from obsolete pesticides were being stored at unmanaged sites in a number of countries, particularly in Poland, Ukraine, Macedonia, Moldova, China, Algeria, Cameroon, Eritrea, and Senegal. The FAO program to destroy the stockpiles was due to expire at the end of 2004 and could be extended only if donor countries provided funding. Mark Davis, head of the FAO program dealing with the problem, said that as little as $1 million would allow work to continue.

Genetically Modified Foods.
      Results from a British three-year field-scale evaluation of genetically modified (GM) crops were published in October 2003 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The study, the biggest ecological experiment ever attempted, was conducted on 200 plots at about 60 sites. It compared conventional varieties and herbicide-tolerant GM varieties of oilseed rape (canola), sugar beet, and corn (maize). The study found that weed suppression was more efficient on GM rape and beet sites, with a consequent decrease in invertebrate animals. An increase in populations of certain soil organisms (collembola) in GM rape and beet and in conventional corn was due to an increase in weed biomass during early stages of crop growth and the subsequent killing of the weeds, supplying abundant food for microorganisms that eat decaying matter. GM corn led to an increase in weeds and more invertebrate life. Investigators believed this was due to the fact that the herbicide used for corn was atrazine. GM corn could not improve on the weed control achieved by atrazine, which was especially effective but would soon be banned. Much less herbicide was used on the GM crops, and in some cases farmers used no herbicide at all on them. The evaluation produced no evidence for any new environmental damage resulting from GM technology. The effects that were detected were no different from what would be expected from the introduction of a new, more effective herbicide.

      EU rules on the traceability and labeling of GM products came into force on April 18. They required that food containing more than 0.9% GM ingredients be clearly labeled as such, with a 0.5% limit for ingredients awaiting final safety approval. Food was to be traced from its source of production to its point of sale, and manufacturers and packagers were to test food for traces of GM ingredients. In late January the European Commission approved commercial production of Bt-11, a GM pest-resistant corn developed by Syngenta AG, and on May 19 the Commission authorized its marketing. This action marked the end of the EU's six-year unofficial moratorium on GM products. The authorization would last 10 years and apply to canned food grown mainly in the U.S. In September, for the first time, the EU approved a GM variety for planting: MON810 corn developed by Monsanto Co. to resist the European corn borer. Spain and France had approved it in 1998, and it had been grown in Spain. Under EU law a seed approved in one member country was automatically approved in all the others. Ending the moratorium allowed the European Commission to approve this corn throughout the EU.

      On March 2 voters in Mendocino county, Calif., voted to ban the planting of GM crops. Trinity county, Calif., introduced a similar ban on August 3, and opponents of GM technology were campaigning for bans in several other parts of the U.S.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      A study published in January 2004 of the distribution of 1,103 native species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates in six highly biodiverse regions projected that climate change related to global warming through 2050 would place 15–37% of the studied species at risk of extinction. The study used computer models to simulate how the ranges occupied by the species were expected to shift in response to changes in climate. The models showed that the effects of global warming on climate posed a major extinction threat and that it would be particularly devastating when the ability of a species to move to new areas to survive was limited by a loss of habitat.

      In February attention was focused on chimpanzees, the species of great ape that most closely resembles humans genetically and provides a link to our evolutionary history. An action plan by conservation groups highlighted that only about 150,000 chimpanzees remained of the one million–two million at the beginning of the 20th century. The dramatic reduction in number was caused by habitat destruction, disease (including human infectious diseases), the bushmeat trade, and the capture of young chimpanzees as pets. All four subspecies of the chimpanzee were categorized as endangered on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species.

      The status of the saiga antelope continued to be a serious cause for concern. The Red List status of the Mongolian saiga, Saiga tatarica mongolica, was expected to be officially changed from vulnerable to endangered, following the reassignment in 2002 of S. tatarica tatarica, of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Kalmykia, Russia, from a status of lower risk to critically endangered. Populations of both species fell dramatically because of heavy poaching.

      In April 2004, for the first time in more than 50 years, a newborn western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) was seen in the Lefini Reserve, Republic of the Congo. Its mother, a 16-year-old orphan of the bushmeat trade, was released into the Lefini Reserve in January 2003 along with two other females and two males (one of which was the father of the baby). The group of five adult gorillas was the first group to be released as part of a long-term program to reintroduce the species to the reserve.

       Brazil announced in June the creation of two national forests and two extractive reserves (areas protected by law in which the sustainable extraction of natural resources was permitted). The four newly protected areas were in the states of Paraná (Piraí do Sul National Forest, 125 ha [1 ha = about 2.5 ac]), Paraíba (Restinga de Cabedelo, 103 ha), Maranhão (Cururupu Extractive Reserve, 185,000 ha), and Amazonas (Capanã Grande Extractive Reserve, 304,000 ha). Capanã Grande was an area identified in the Amazon Region Protected Areas program, a 10-year program of WWF Brazil to protect 50,000,000 ha.

      A survey in September of the world's rarest ape, the eastern black-crested gibbon, Nomascus nasutus, counted 37 individuals in the Ngo Khe-Phong Nam forest in Cao Bang province, Vietnam, near the Chinese border. The eastern black-crested gibbon was critically endangered and known to exist at only one other location, a site in China with 13 individuals. The survey increased the total known population of the ape by one-third and included five infants, an indication that the population was increasing. Three new groups were located, which brought the total number of groups in Cao Bang province to eight. The gibbons, referred to locally as Cao Vit, lived on isolated limestone mountain peaks. They were rarely seen by the local people but were renowned for their beautiful calls at dawn.

      In October the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreed upon a number of decisions to strengthen wildlife management, combat illegal trafficking, and update the trade rules for plant and animal species. Ramin (a tree that produces high-value timber) and agarwood (a tree that produces agar oil) were placed on the convention's Appendix II, which imposed trade controls, to help national officials manage stocks and tackle illegal trade. The great white shark and the humphead wrasse were also added to Appendix II and could therefore be traded only under permit. The Irrawaddy dolphin was transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I, which forbade all commercial trade. The conference agreed to a plan to regulate elephant ivory in domestic markets in an effort to prevent the markets from serving as outlets for poached ivory. A request by Namibia for an annual quota for ivory from its elephant population was not accepted, but the country received permission to continue the sale of ivory carvings under strict controls. Namibia and South Africa were allowed to open up trophy hunting of the black rhino, with an annual quota of five animals each, and Swaziland was allowed to export some of its white rhinos and, under strict controls, to open up hunting of the animal. To facilitate trophy hunting of the Namibian population of the Nile crocodile, it was transferred from Appendix I to Appendix II, as was the Cuban population of the American crocodile to facilitate the supply of eggs and hatchlings to ranching operations. More protection was given to 5 species of Asian turtles and tortoises and 11 species of the leaf-tailed geckos of Madagascar by listing them on Appendix II. Trade rules were strengthened for some medicinal plants, including hoodia (used in diet pills), cistanche (a natural tonic), and the Chinese yew tree (which had some cancer-fighting properties).

      Investigations in the Eastern Arc mountains in Tanzania showed that gold was being mined illegally in several areas that were of global importance for biodiversity conservation. The mining was causing water pollution harmful to many birds, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and other animals that inhabited the mountain streams and forests in the area. Despite efforts by the Tanzanian government to curb the illegal activity, small clandestine groups working at night continued prospecting in the smaller streams and swampy areas within protected areas, especially the Amani Nature Reserve.

Martin Fisher

▪ 2004


International Activities
      The governing council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) met in Nairobi, Kenya, on Feb. 3–7, 2003. The most serious of the many unresolved issues concerned legally binding action to reduce mercury pollution, an international code of conduct for sustainable production and consumption, the creation of a new intergovernmental panel on global environmental change, increased public access to information, and efforts to accelerate progress toward international chemicals management. The council learned that mercury pollution was much more widespread than had been thought and that 70% of mercury emissions were from coal-fired power stations and waste incinerators.

      The third World Water Forum held a week of talks in March in three Japanese cities—Kyoto, Osaka, and Shiga. Ministers from 182 countries were among the 24,000 delegates, but the forum made little progress toward the objectives of sustainable water management agreed on at the 2002 sustainability conference in Johannesburg, S.Af. The closing declaration reaffirmed a commitment to reducing by half the number of people lacking access to basic sanitation or clean drinking water but made no reference to how this might be achieved. (See Special Report. (World Water Crisis: Is There a Way Out? ))

      The first of two ¥50 million (about $423,000) Blue Planet Prizes was awarded to the 74-year-old Vietnamese ornithologist Vo Quy for his lifelong efforts to restore Vietnamese forests damaged by war. He had also helped draft Vietnam's first environmental law. A second Blue Planet Prize was shared by F. Herbert Bormann, professor emeritus at Yale University, and Gene E. Likens, director of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Milbrook, N.Y. They were honoured for having established the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study in New Hampshire. The $1 million Templeton Prize was awarded to environmental ethicist Holmes Rolston III (Rolston, Holmes ), and the Whitley Gold Award was presented to Raman Sukumar (Sukumar, Raman ) for his conservation efforts. (See Biographies.)

National Developments

      The sluice gates on the 190-m (630-ft)-high Three Gorges Dam began to close at midnight on June 1. The first of the dam's 26 generators was connected to the grid at 1:31 AM local time on July 10, 20 days ahead of schedule.

European Union.
      A European Union directive that went into effect on May 17 aimed at promoting the use of “biofuels” and other renewable fuels in transportation. Each EU member country was asked to achieve 2% biofuel use by December 2005 and 5.75% by December 2010.

      The U.K. government published an Energy White Paper on February 24 setting out proposals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 60% of 1990 levels by 2050. This would be achieved by increasing the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources to 10% by 2010, with an “aspirational” goal of 20% by 2020. When the existing nuclear power stations reached the end of their working lives, they would not be replaced. Critics doubted that the contribution from renewable sources, especially wind power, could be achieved and considered it unwise to reduce reliance on nuclear power. Plans were also announced for the establishment of a new U.K. Energy Research Centre, with a budget of £8 million–£12 million (about $13 million–$19 million) over five years, to form the hub of a National Energy Research Network. There would also be a dedicated facility located off the coast of the Orkney Islands, costing some £5.5 million (about $8.7 million), to test ocean-wave energy. Grants to expand existing renewable technologies, such as wind power, would be increased by £60 million (about $95 million) to take government expenditure on these technologies to £348 million (about $550 million) over four years.

      The Dutch government signed an agreement in March with groups representing farmers, environmentalists, and the national waterworks association; the goal was to reduce the environmental impact of chemical pesticides by 95% of 1998 levels by 2010. It was hoped that the measure would prevent the recurrence of an earlier situation wherein the criteria for pesticide use were so restrictive that farmers complained that their competitiveness was undermined and environmentalists took legal action to oppose each new pesticide introduction.

      On August 21 the Danish Environment Ministry announced the appointment of Ole Christiansen to head the environmental protection agency. Christiansen, deputy director of the national forest and nature agency since 1995, took over from Steen Gade, who resigned in June in protest against budget cuts.

      In late August a panel of five academics published a 16-page report, commissioned by the Danish government, assessing the first eight reports from the Institute for Environmental Assessment (IMV), headed by Bjørn Lomborg (see Biographies (Lomborg, Bjorn )), the controversial author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, which had attracted fierce criticism from environmentalists. The panel concluded that none of the reports represented scientific work or methods in the traditional sense but pointed out that the IMV had never claimed to be scientific and the IMV reports were well presented, topical, and easily accessible to the public.

      On June 4 Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin told his State Council of senior advisers that 15% of Russian regions were on the brink of environmental disaster. He urged a radical review of the country's environmental legislation.

United States.
      In late February a committee of the National Research Council called for substantial revisions to the draft of the Climate Change Science Program released by Pres. George W. Bush's administration. While describing the draft as a “solid foundation,” the committee said it did not amount to a strategic plan, failed to present a set of clear goals, and was underfunded. The plan was issued in its final form on July 24, at twice its original length, with five goals designed to guide research and a call for 20 reports over four years to provide guidance for politicians. Critics agreed that the program was more cohesive than the earlier draft but complained that it lacked the budget and mechanisms to ensure that its results would influence policy. The program aimed to study natural climatic variability and to improve methods for measuring the climatic effect of releasing greenhouse gases and calculating the risks of global warming. Environmental groups and many climate scientists maintained that enough was already known to justify reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the program would delay necessary action.

      On March 19 the Senate passed by 52–48 an amendment that removed from the 2004 budget resolution the provision that would have permitted oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

      On June 23 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Draft Report on the Environment, identifying indicators that could be used to track changes in environmental quality. It included some 100 indicators, such as ozone levels and levels of mercury in human blood. Owing to scientific uncertainty and political pressure, the EPA decided to omit a section of the report dealing with climate change.

      Throughout the year the government continued to remove federal protections from wetlands, forests, and national parks. In December a federal district judge voided the new rule that allowed snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, and other lawsuits were expected to be filed in regard to other heretofore federally protected areas.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      The eighth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in New Delhi in late 2002, had been attended by representatives from about 185 countries. Some progress had been made in enabling the Clean Development Mechanism to become fully operational from the first quarter of 2003 and on harmonizing the presentation of emissions data. In 2003, however, there was no progress in the debate about how countries should respond to global warming after 2012, the target date for industrialized countries to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, due to be published in 2007, was discussed at the IPCC's 20th Plenary Session, held in Paris on February 19–21. After the meeting, which was attended by some 350 government officials and climate experts, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri, of the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, said that more detailed regional models and carbon sequestration would be considered in the new assessment. A report compiled under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was discussed at a two-week meeting of signatories to the convention held in June in Bonn, Ger. On the basis of data supplied by governments, the report said greenhouse-gas emissions might rise by 10% between 2000 and 2010. The rising trend was attributed to economic recovery in Central and Eastern Europe and to a rapid increase in emissions in highly industrialized countries.

      The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Poland (on Dec. 13, 2002) and Canada (three days later, following an overwhelming parliamentary vote of 195–77) brought to 100 the number of countries that had ratified the protocol. This was insufficient for the protocol to come into force in 2003, however, because the ratifying countries did not account for 55% of all carbon dioxide emissions from developed countries in 1990. This goal would be reached when Russia ratified the protocol. The EU environment commissioner, Margot Wallström, traveled to Moscow in March to try to persuade Russia to ratify the protocol. On September 29, in his speech opening a five-day scientific conference on climate change held in Moscow, President Putin said Russia had not yet decided whether to do so. In early December, however, Russia joined the U.S. in its opposition to the treaty.

Air Pollution.
      In its 2003 monitoring report, the UN Economic Commission for Europe found that the health of European forests remained little changed in 2002. Nearly 20% of trees were classified as damaged, and the proportion classified as healthy rose by 1% to 38.8% in the EU and by 1.5% to 34.1% across 30 countries.

      On March 12 the Norwegian Environment Ministry announced that the volumes of sulfur transported to Norway from other countries had decreased by more than half over the previous 20 years and by 30% over the previous 5 years. Environment Minister Børge Brende said that this showed that “the international agreements on reducing atmospheric sulfur emissions in Europe are working.” The statement said that acidification remained a problem, however, and further reductions in sulfur emissions would be necessary.

      An EU directive limiting the amount of sulfur in road fuels to 10 parts per million by 2009 came into force in March. It called for effectively sulfur-free gasoline and diesel fuel to be available throughout the EU by 2005. In June the European Parliament voted almost unanimously to restrict the sulfur content of marine fuels further and more rapidly than had been proposed by the European Commission (EC). The EC aimed to implement a 1.5% sulfur limit (down from 2.7%) in the North and Baltic seas and the English Channel; the limit was to take effect 12 months after the directive came into force. MEPs, however, agreed that the limit should come into effect six months earlier, should be extended to all EU waters by 2010, and should be followed by a further reduction to 0.5%. This proposed lower limit also would apply to three pollution-control zones and to ferries in 2008 and throughout all EU waters from 2012. The restrictions would apply to all shipping, regardless of where a ship was registered or what its port of origin was.

Ozone Layer.
      It was reported on August 1 that a research team led by Michael Newchurch of the University of Alabama had found conclusive evidence that the rate of ozone depletion in the upper stratosphere had slowed markedly. Analysis of data collected over 20 years showed that ozone depletion had been occurring at 8% per decade for 20 years, but the rate had slowed to 4%. The team said it would be 50 years before the ozone concentration in the ozone layer returned to its original level.

      On September 16 UNEP marked International Ozone Layer Preservation Day with a statement saying that the ozone layer was showing the first signs of recovery. The World Meteorological Organization reported that in mid-September the ozone hole over Antarctica covered about 28 million sq km (10.8 million sq mi), equal to its September 2000 area, which was the largest ever recorded, and in contrast to its very small area in 2002. The increase was due to meteorological conditions in the lower stratosphere and not to any change in the amount of ozone-depleting chemicals present.

      A study of 172 young children in Rochester, N.Y., reported in April, found a significant link between intelligence and blood levels of lead even at very low concentrations. The children were given intelligence tests at ages three and five. Children with up to 10 micrograms of lead per decilitre of blood, the safe limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), scored an average 7.4 points lower than children with only one microgram. The study suggested that there might be no safe level of exposure.

Marine Pollution.
      On Nov. 13, 2002, the single-hull tanker Prestige, owned by the Greek company Mare Shipping and registered in The Bahamas, was damaged in a storm off the coast of Galicia, Spain, while carrying a cargo of 77,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil. Spanish authorities towed it out to sea, but on November 19 the ship broke in two, sinking in 3,500 m (11,500 ft) of water about 250 km (155 mi) from the Spanish coast. By mid-January 2003 an estimated 25,000 metric tons of oil had contaminated the coasts of Spain, Portugal, and France. In April the Spanish authorities announced that the oil group Repsol YPF would extract the remaining fuel oil from the wrecked Prestige. On May 9 the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund agreed to make €170 million (about $195 million) available to cover compensation claims. This was the maximum sum it could release, and it admitted the amount would cover only 15% of the costs of the accident, which was put at €1 billion (about $1.1 billion).

      Within days after the wreck, Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar and French Pres. Jacques Chirac had announced that authorities from both countries would inspect all vessels deemed to be dangerous. If appropriate, they would order them to leave the 320-km (200-mi) exclusion zone around their coasts. Portugal and Italy introduced similar measures, and within a week of the Prestige's sinking, the EC had begun pressing member states for emergency action to improve maritime safety. Loyola de Palacio, the EC transport and energy commissioner, sought to impose limits on the transport of dangerous goods within 320 km of shore and a requirement, with immediate effect, that heavy fuel oil be carried in double-hulled tankers. The required measures, confirmed on December 3, included the publication of a “blacklist” of 66 substandard ships that would be banned from EU waters under safety rules proposed in 2000. Single-hull tankers carrying heavy fuel oil would no longer be permitted to enter or leave any EU port. On March 27, 2003, EU ministers reached outline agreement on the necessary legislation. Single-hulled tankers carrying fuel oil—the most polluting oil—would be banned immediately from all EU ports; the ban would apply to all single-hulled tankers by 2010. A report released in November stated that the tanker Prestige had spilled 64,000 metric tons of oil.

      Tasman Spirit, a Greek-owned tanker chartered by Pakistan's National Shipping Corp., ran aground on July 28 close to Karachi, Pak., carrying a cargo of 67,000 metric tons of crude oil. About 28,000 metric tons of oil leaked from the tanker, contaminating beaches and killing marine animals. Although 37,500 metric tons of oil were pumped from the ship in an operation lasting 15 days, a 15-km (9-mi) stretch of coast remained severely polluted. On September 1 the provincial environment minister, Faisal Malik, said that cleaning up the spill could take three years.

      On February 20 the EU issued the text of a new law banning the use of organotin antifouling paints on ship hulls and oil rigs. The application of these paints was prohibited from May 9, 2003, and from Jan. 1, 2008, they had to be removed or painted over with a sealant to prevent contact with the water. The regulation did not cover warships and initially applied only to ships registered under the flags of EU member states, but from 2008 the rules would apply to all ships calling at EU ports.

      In June the Swedish Commission on the Marine Environment warned that the condition of the Baltic was critical and that the sea might die unless pollution from St. Petersburg was drastically reduced. Populations of half the fish species in the sea were below the critical biological level, and pregnant Swedish women were being warned not to eat herring, a staple food, because of dioxin contamination. Some 30% of the effluent from factories and apartment blocks in St. Petersburg entered the River Neva unfiltered and drained into the sea.

Freshwater Pollution.
 A review released in March by UNESCO stated that if freshwater pollution increased in step with population growth, 18,000 cu km (4,300 cu mi) of water could be polluted by 2050, almost nine times the amount used for irrigation. (For information on world regions undergoing Freshwater Stress,see Map—>.)

      On March 29–30 a chemicals reservoir burst at a wood-pulping factory at Cataguazes, in Brazil's Minas Gerais state. Perhaps as much as 1.5 billion litres (400 million gal) of caustic soda (although some reports said 20 million litres [5.3 million gal]), poured into the Paraiba do Sul and Pomba rivers. Much of the waste flowed over the border into Rio de Janeiro state. Animals on the riverbanks, as well as hundreds of fish, were killed, and people were warned not to drink or bathe in the water. On April 1 the company responsible was fined 50 million reals (about $15 million).

      At a press conference in Göteborg, Swed., on June 27, three groups released early results from their EU-funded studies of antibiotic and other pharmaceutical contamination of European groundwater and soils. They found high concentrations of excreted antibiotics in hospital and household sewage, livestock slurry, and water used for irrigation. They also reported that antibiotics and their metabolites reached the environment directly from livestock feces and urine. EU officials said that these and other similar studies were likely to provide a basis for new management procedures for medicines, with hospitals and water companies being required to take steps to extract antibiotics from water.

      It was reported in July that a team from the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow had completed the first hydrographic survey of the Aral Sea since the early 1990s. The sea level had fallen 3.5 m (11.5 ft) more than predicted by earlier studies, to 30.5 m (100 ft) above mean sea level, and it was 2.4 times saltier than the ocean average, rather than 1.6 times saltier as expected. The sea had separated into two fragments, the North and South Aral seas.

      In August it was revealed that researchers led by Jack Ng of the University of Queensland in Australia had found that people in 17 countries were at risk of being poisoned by arsenic in the groundwater from which they obtained their drinking water. In Bangladesh efforts were continuing to find and replace millions of tube wells that supplied water to about 50 million people, but the government had spent less than $7 million of the $32 million provided by the World Bank in 1998 to pay for an immediate cleanup. The new evidence was from the valley of the Ganges River. In northern India, where 80% of the population relied on groundwater supplies, most of the tube wells had never been tested for arsenic. It was feared that many of the 83 million people living in Bihar state might be at risk; tests of 3,000 tube wells in Bihar had found that 40% had arsenic levels above the WHO limit and 12 wells had 20 times the limit. Parts of China, Vietnam, Argentina, and the U.S. were also at risk.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      The hunting and consumption of wild animals—the bushmeat issue—was in the headlines throughout 2003, particularly with respect to Central and West Africa. Many types of wild animals were being hunted illegally. This was particularly serious for primates. Of additional concern, Ebola fever outbreaks in humans were linked during the year to the consumption of gorilla carcasses. Conservation organizations had begun to work with governments and logging companies to reduce hunting by supplying forest workers with alternative forms of protein. In April a large-scale study warned that although the forests of Gabon and the Republic of the Congo were believed to hold most of the common chimpanzees in the world and 80% of the gorillas (and that 60–80% of those forests remained intact), logging had opened up roads, which facilitated hunting. Ape populations had fared worst in the forests closest to cities, where bushmeat was sought as a delicacy. It was predicted that at current rates of decline, ape populations would fall by 80% over the next 33 years.

      In January three Rwandan poachers convicted of having killed two mountain gorillas and stolen a baby gorilla from the Volcanoes National Park were sentenced to four years in prison. Six others convicted of having solicited a market for the baby gorilla abroad were sentenced to two years. The Virunga Volcanoes region, spanning Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was home to the last 700 mountain gorillas. In 2002 the park had earned Rwanda $1.2 million from 5,895 visitors.

      Also in January it was reported that climate change was affecting butterfly habitats in northern Great Britain. Some butterfly species were found to have moved as much as 41 m (135 ft) uphill in an effort to escape warmer temperatures, which were blamed on global warming. It was believed that the threatened species could experience population declines of up to 80% this century.

      In February the American Association for the Advancement of Science called for the United Nations to issue a moratorium on longline and gillnet fishing, methods that were wiping out populations of fish, turtles, marine mammals, and other species in the Pacific Ocean. More than 70% of global fish populations were considered overfished, and indiscriminate commercial fishing practices harmed and killed millions of nontargeted wildlife, such as seabirds and leatherback turtles, annually.

      In early August Iceland announced that it would resume whaling, and later in the month Icelandic whalers made their first kill in 14 years, slaughtering a minke whale for what were claimed to be scientific purposes. In September, 23 nations issued a démarche, one of the highest levels of diplomatic action, calling on Reykjavík to cease whaling and indicating that Iceland was acting against the will of the International Whaling Commission, of which it was a member.

      In May the subantarctic Campbell Island was declared rat-free following a $2.6 million rat-eradication program. Two years earlier the New Zealand Department of Conservation had spread 120 metric tons of bait on the 11,331-ha (28,000-ac) island, which was estimated to have 200,000 Norway rats. An examination in May 2003 found no trace of rats, which had been present on the island for 200 years. It was now considered safe for the rare Campbell Island teal to be reintroduced.

      In July five new natural sites were inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List by the UN's World Heritage Committee: Australia's Purnululu National Park, Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas in China, Uvs Nuur Basin in Russia and Mongolia, Monte San Giorgio in Switzerland, and Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam. Comoé National Park in Côte d'Ivoire, known for its great plant diversity, was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The park was one of the largest protected areas in West Africa, but the unrest in Côte d'Ivoire was having an adverse effect on the site, which suffered from poaching, wildlife fires caused by poachers, overgrazing by large cattle herds, and the absence of effective management.

      In August conservation and animal-welfare organizations protested about the capture of 200 bottlenose dolphins in the Solomon Islands, some of which were exported to Mexico. The trade appeared to have violated both the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Mexican law. For such export an assessment was required to ensure that the trade would not be detrimental to the species' survival. Permits issued by the Solomon Islands violated CITES regulations because so little data existed about these dolphins that the permits could not have been based on a valid nondetriment finding, while the introduction of an exotic species into a protected area violated Mexican law.

      On September 26, despite earlier protests from around the world, a 5-m (16-ft) female orca, or killer whale, was captured in Avacha Gulf, off the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia, for transport to the Utrish Dolphinarium on the Black Sea. This whale was part of a resident population that was being studied in a long-term Russian-Japanese-British initiative. Female orcas were estimated to have an average life span of 50 years in the wild, but they rarely survived beyond 6 years in captivity.

      In September the fifth World Parks Congress was held in Durban, S.Af. The meeting brought together conservationists, park managers, and representatives of indigenous peoples. Recommendations covered the importance of ensuring that people who resided near protected areas had their needs considered, the recognition that protected areas also provided ecosystem services, and the need to provide tools and training to protected-area managers. The congress announced a commitment from Madagascar to bring 10% of the country under protection by 2008, plans for new national parks in South Africa, the creation of six new protected areas in Brazil, and a pledge of €5 million (about $5.85 million) for building a network of protected areas on the West African coast.

Martin Fisher

▪ 2003


International Activities
      The World Summit on Sustainable Development, which opened on Aug. 26, 2002, in Johannesburg, S.Af., was attended by delegates from 192 countries, the European Union (EU), and a number of intergovernmental institutions. Participants reviewed the implementation of the Agenda 21 plan agreed to at the 1992 Rio Summit, with a particular emphasis on social and economic issues. Though agreement was reached on a plan of action, environmental groups staged a walkout to protest what they saw as U.S. obstruction of a stronger final plan, and some opponents jeered and heckled U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell when he addressed the conference.

      The official four-page declaration supported the leadership role of the UN in promoting sustainable development and committed governments to the action plan as well as regular monitoring of progress. There was no agreement on targets for the proportion of energy that should come from renewable sources, nor was there a clear commitment to introduce rules on corporate social and environmental responsibility.

      The action plan set out a number of objectives. It sought to halve by 2015 the proportion of the world's population living on less than $1 per day, suffering from hunger, or having no access to safe drinking water or improved sanitation. In the same time period, governments would aim to reduce child-mortality rates by two-thirds and maternal-mortality rates by three-quarters, compared with 2000.

      The scheme called for increased investment in cleaner technologies and greater efficiency, especially in energy supply, which would become more diverse; reiterated commitment to the Kyoto Protocol; and urged states that had not ratified it to do so. Adverse health and environmental effects of chemical use should be minimized by 2020. Children's exposure to lead was to be reduced by phasing out lead in gasoline and lead-based paint.

      The blueprint of a plan to prevent illegal fishing was scheduled to be implemented by 2004, with a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) strategy for managing fishing capacity to be in place by 2005. The aim was to maintain fish stocks at maximum sustainable yields, or restore depleted stocks to that level by 2015.

      The plan called on developed countries to try to reach the target of 0.7% of gross national product for overseas development aid, to consider measures for mitigating the volatility of short-term capital flows, and to reduce unsustainable debt burdens through such measures as debt relief. Tariffs on nonagricultural products were to be reduced or eliminated. Countries were asked to formulate national strategies to implement the plan by 2005. The plan would be integrated into the policies of UN agencies.

      Global Environment Outlook-3 was published in May by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The work of 1,000 authors, it recorded improvements in air and water quality in North America and Europe since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment and applauded the steps taken to reduce damage to the ozone layer. Overall, however, the study found that generally there had been a steady environmental deterioration, especially in less-developed countries. The report divided the world into 17 regions and set out four possible environmental scenarios—markets-first, policy-first, security-first, and sustainability-first—extending over 30 years. Markets-first represented the current situation. Policy-first included stronger environmental legislation. Security-first envisaged conflicts and inequalities, with the rich withdrawing into protected enclaves. Sustainability-first assumed a global consensus on dealing with environmental issues. Even under the sustainability-first scenario, however, environmental improvements would take decades to emerge. The UNEP picture was repudiated by many scientists, particularly Bjørn Lomborg, head of the newly created Environmental Assessment Institute. (See “European Union (Environment ),” below.)

      In May delegates attending a meeting in Washington, D.C., of donor nations to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) failed to agree on a budget. The U.S., which owed the GEF $220 million, resisted a proposal to increase funding from $2.2 billion to $3.2 billion over four years to cover the widening of the GEF mandate to include desertification and persistent organic pollutants. The U.S. felt that GEF monitoring was inadequate, and there was no assurance that the money was being spent wisely. The GEF was established in 1992 to fund the UN Conventions on Biological Diversity and Climate Change.

National Developments

      In late June Angolan authorities imposed a fine of $2 million on ChevronTexaco Corp. for an oil spill earlier in the month that was caused by leaks from poorly maintained pipes being used to transport crude oil. It was the first time that an African nation had fined a foreign company operating in its waters.

      In January the government began enforcing a complete ban on the sale and use of polythene bags in the capital, Dhaka. Environment Minister Shahajahan Siraj said the action aimed to avert an imminent disaster caused by the clogging of the city's drainage system. Polythene bags replaced jute bags in the 1980s, and nearly 10 million were disposed of in Dhaka every day.

      In January the government announced an $84 billion, five-year program to combat air and water pollution. The director of the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) said SEPA would also monitor closely the Three Gorges Dam project on the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River). According to the World Bank, millions of tons of waste were being dumped into the dam every year.

      It was reported in May that the government planned a 10-year, $12 billion program to plant trees over almost 500,000 sq km (193,000 sq mi), an area larger than Germany. The deputy chief of the state forestry administration claimed that the plan would help reverse years of environmental degradation during which large areas of forest had been cleared. Deforestation was blamed for increased flooding on the Chang Jiang and for causing severe spring sandstorms.

European Union.
      In February the right-of-centre government elected in Denmark in November 2001 appointed Bjørn Lomborg, a professor of statistics at the University of Århus, to head the Environmental Assessment Institute, which had a €1,300,000 (about $1,282,000) budget. The new institute aimed to improve environmental policy by obtaining the best value for money. Lomborg maintained that environmental problems were exaggerated and could not be solved until poverty had been greatly reduced, because very poor people could not afford to protect the environment. He was the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a controversial best-selling book that criticized and challenged what he saw as exaggerated claims of impending environmental catastrophe. His appointment outraged most environmentalists.

      Following a landslide win for the right in the June 16 general elections in France, Roselyne Bachelot, an outspoken advocate of nuclear power, became the new environment minister. Her predecessor, Dominique Voynet, lost her seat in the election, while the Green Party dropped from seven seats to three in the National Assembly. In the German federal election on September 22, the Green Party increased its share of the vote from the 6.7% it won in 1998 to 8.6%. The Greens' number of seats in the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) increased from 47 to 55.

      Planning permission was granted on January 11 for a scheme to build what could become the biggest offshore wind farm in the world on the 27-km (1 km = about 0.62 mi) Arklow sandbank in the Irish Sea. Construction by the developer, Eirtricity, of the first 60 MW of capacity was scheduled to commence in 2002 and would rise to 520 MW, from 200 80-m (1 m = about 3.3 ft) turbines. The total cost of the project would be about €700 million (about $630 million), and it would supply nearly 10% of Ireland's generating capacity. It also was reported in January that BP PLC and ChevronTexaco had proposed installing a 22.5-MW array of wind turbines at a jointly owned oil refinery near Rotterdam, Neth. This would be the world's biggest wind farm to be built on an industrial site.

South Africa.
      In September, 16 families living in Steel Valley, close to a large steel works at Vanderbijlpark in southwestern Johannesburg, took Iscor Corp., owners of the plant, to court, claiming the plant had polluted their water. In what was described as one of the most important environmental battles in the country's history, the families said the factory had polluted boreholes on their smallholdings, degraded their environment, and caused illness and suffering. The suit contended that the soil was contaminated, crops had failed, animals had died, and no one would buy the farms. The company denied responsibility, but the Department of Water Affairs said that it would close down the plant if the company failed to comply with the law.

United States.
      In April the Senate rejected a plan, supported by Pres. George W. Bush's administration, to drill for oil in 810 ha (1 ha = about 2.5 ac) of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      On April 19 Robert Watson was replaced as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after the U.S. had failed to nominate him for reelection. His replacement was Rajendra Pachauri of India, director of the nonprofit Tata Energy Research Institute and vice-chairman of the IPCC.

      The European Parliament voted in early February (540–4 with 10 abstentions) to support EU ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. On March 4, environment ministers unanimously adopted a legal instrument that would oblige each member state to ratify the protocol, and representatives from all EU governments and the European Commission formally ratified the protocol in New York City on May 31.

      In June Australian Prime Minister John Howard said his country would not ratify the protocol because it would “cost jobs and damage our industry.” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov confirmed at the Johannesburg summit that Russia would soon be ready to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji also expressed support for the measure and said his government had completed the steps needed for its adoption. Although as a less-developed country China was not required to agree to the protocol, Zhu announced that Beijing had ratified it.

      President Bush on February 14 introduced an alternative plan based on tax breaks to encourage industry to make voluntary reductions in American greenhouse-gas emissions. The aim was to achieve an 18% reduction in “emissions intensity”—the amount of emissions relative to economic growth—between 2002 and 2012. Critics—including the EU, many Democratic politicians, and environmentalist groups—claimed this scheme would allow American emissions to increase in absolute terms. The plan also included two scientific initiatives included in the 2003 budget request to Congress that would increase research spending by $80 million. The Climate Change Technology Initiative would encourage research into such areas as carbon sequestration. The Climate Change Research Initiative would augment the existing Global Change Research Program, aimed at discovering whether regulation was required. The Climate Change Research Initiative would study the carbon cycle and aerosols and their climatic influence, bolster climate observations in less-developed countries, and strengthen U.S. climate modeling.

      In its report on the world energy outlook, published in September, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) would fail to meet their Kyoto targets for carbon dioxide reduction even if all the policies currently being considered were implemented. The IEA calculated that with all policies enacted, OECD aggregate emissions would stabilize by 2030 rather than falling by 5.2% between 2008 and 2012, as required by the Kyoto Protocol.

Carbon Sequestration.
      It was reported in June that opposition from environmentalists had led an international consortium to withdraw its application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for permission to conduct a $5 million experiment in carbon sequestration off the coast of Hawaii. The experiment, supported by Japan, the U.S., and Norway, would have injected 60 metric tons (1 metric ton = about 2,205 lb) of liquefied carbon dioxide into the deep ocean. On the basis of an assessment made for the EPA, researchers said there were no environmental reasons for abandoning the plan, but local objectors claimed the experiment would acidify fishing grounds.

      The consortium decided to transfer the experiment to Norway, using less carbon dioxide. Although it received a license from the Norwegian pollution-control agency on July 5, the license was rescinded, and on August 22 Environment Minister Børge Brende announced that the project would be abandoned. Echoing the opinion of Greenpeace and the Worldwide Fund for Nature, Brende said the project might conflict with international rules on the marine environment and that it should first be discussed internationally and its legality clarified. Environmentalists feared the carbon dioxide would damage marine organisms and might eventually leak back into the atmosphere. The experiment was intended to determine whether such fears were justified.

      The success of an experiment in carbon sequestration that had been running in the North Sea since 1996 was reported in September. Instead of being vented to the atmosphere, carbon dioxide separated from methane extracted from the Sleipner Field was made into a fluid slightly lighter than water and pumped into a layer of porous sandstone 800 m deep. The experiment, run under the direction of the Norwegian company Statoil, had returned five million tons of carbon dioxide. Seismic imaging showed that the carbon dioxide had formed a bubble, about 1.7 km wide, that had reached the top of the reservoir but was not leaking from it.

Air Pollution.
      The Indian Ocean Experiment, the results of which were released by UNEP in August, found a brown haze, extending to a height of three kilometres and covering much of southern Asia. A similar haze also covered parts of southeastern and eastern Asia. The haze was caused by forest fires, the burning of agricultural wastes, an increase in the burning of fossil fuels, and emissions from millions of inefficient cookers burning wood, cow dung, and other “biofuels.” The report suggested that by reflecting sunlight, the haze might cool and dry the area beneath it, reducing monsoon rainfall by 40% in some parts of central Asia while increasing rainfall in southeastern Asia.

      In June it was reported that standard statistical software used to estimate the health risk from very small (2.5 parts per million) soot particles had introduced an error that elevated the reputed risk. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., and at Health Canada, Ottawa, revised the risk downward by 20–50%.

Marine Pollution.
      On May 7 the Finnish environment institute warned of the widespread growth of toxic algae during the summer, especially in the Gulf of Finland, southern parts of the Archipelago Sea, and the waters off southeastern Sweden. The forecast, based on measurements of nutrient levels throughout the Baltic Sea, proved correct. Dense blooms formed, and many swimmers reported skin irritation. In August mild weather triggered a surge in Nodularia spumigena around islands off the Swedish coast, forcing the authorities to ban swimming in some areas. (The blue-green algae N. spumigena feeds on nutrients found in sewage, especially effluent from St. Petersburg, which enters the Baltic untreated. It can cause liver damage and is potentially lethal to small children.)

      On September 10 a fire broke out on the Jolly Rubino, an Italian-registered freighter bound from Durban, S.Af., to Mombasa, Kenya, forcing its crew of 22 to abandon ship. The vessel then ran aground about 11 km south of the Saint Lucia Wetland, an internationally important site. Some 400 metric tons of heavy fuel oil leaked through a 20-m crack in the ship's side. Booms placed across the mouth of the Umfolozi River and sand dunes built on top of sandbars contained the slick. Attempts to refloat the ship were abandoned on September 18 owing to bad weather. The remaining 800 metric tons of fuel oil were pumped from the ship's tanks.

      In mid-November the Bahamian-registered oil tanker Prestige broke in two during a storm and sank a few days later some 210 km (130 mi) off the coast of Galicia, Spain. The tanker was carrying twice the amount of fuel that had been spilled in 1989 from the Exxon Valdez, and environmentalists braced for a major ecological disaster.

Toxic Waste.
      A report issued in February said that several villages on the outskirts of Guiyu, in China's Guangdong province, had been turned into heavily polluted recycling centres for Western electronic scrap. The director of the Seattle, Wash.-based Basel Action Network, the main group behind the report, said the ground was saturated in lead and acid by-products and that pollutant levels were hundreds to thousands of times higher than those deemed safe in developed countries. A former recycling director for the state of Massachusetts calculated that about 100 shipping containers of used electronic equipment were being exported weekly from the U.S.

      It was reported in March that the FAO had recommended that chemical waste at the port of Djibouti should be cleaned up and returned to the U.K., where it originated, and that the company responsible for shipping it should bear the cost, possibly exceeding $1 million. The waste consisted of plastic drums containing chromated copper arsenate, a wood preservative, on its way from CSI Wood Protection of Widnes, a subsidiary of the American conglomerate Rockwood Specialties, to Ethiopia, where it was to be used to treat wooden pylons owned by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. The drums, held inside 10 shipping containers, began to spill during unloading in mid-January. By late February, 200 metric tons had leaked onto the dockside, where the material covered two hectares, contaminating soil and threatening a warehouse containing food aid.

      On July 9 the U.S. Senate authorized the building of the nuclear-waste-storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and President Bush signed the congressional resolution. This prepared the way for a further technical investigation by the Department of Energy (DOE), which had to produce convincing data on hundreds of issues, including 293 separate topics raised by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, before construction could begin. The DOE hoped to file its application by 2004. Nevada opposed the scheme and was taking legal action in the hope of preventing it. After studies conducted over nearly 20 years and costing about $7 billion, work building the facility would commence no sooner than 2008. It was due to open in 2010 and would hold about 77,000 metric tons of waste from 103 nuclear power plants, which was currently stored at 131 temporary sites in 39 states. The waste would remain in the facility for 10,000 years.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      In 2002 the bombing campaign in Afghanistan was exacerbating the environmental catastrophe that had been initiated by years of civil conflict and drought. The country's remaining forests were being bombed or burned in the search for terrorists, and refugees were clearing forests for farming and fuel. The number of birds crossing eastern Afghanistan on one of the world's major migratory routes was down by 85%. Afghanistan's mountains—home to leopards, gazelles, bears, and Marco Polo sheep—also were at risk. Some refugees were reported to be hunting rare snow leopards to buy a safe passage across the border.

      Elsewhere, marine conservation issues were prominent. In January the U.S. Navy admitted that its use of a high-intensity sonar system had most likely caused whale strandings and deaths in The Bahamas in March 2000—it was the first time that such strandings had been definitely linked to these commonly used systems. Research using satellite tags to track white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) revealed that they ranged more widely and could tolerate a broader temperature range than was thought previously. In February tropical coral reefs were reported to be endangered by rising ocean temperatures (which causes bleaching), and reefs in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean were being irreparably damaged by unregulated deep-sea bottom trawling. In June an aerial survey confirmed that Australia's Great Barrier Reef was suffering one of the worst coral bleaching episodes on record. The first global study of the dugong (sea cow, an aquatic mammal) found that it was disappearing or extinct in most of its 37 range countries. Only one viable population remained in East Africa, while in much of the tropics, the seagrass beds where dugong fed were being cleared for shrimp farming and saltpans or were smothered by silt. The UN Environment Programme launched an action plan to preserve seagrass habitats.

      In March the secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species reversed a 2001 ban on trade in caviar from sturgeon caught in the Caspian Sea, after the countries involved produced a plan to raise and release young sturgeon. Biologists objected because the problem of illegal harvests, which took 10 times more fish than the legal quotas, had not been solved.

      Introduced species continued to threaten native wildlife in many places. In Tasmania 77 Australian species, including some that had been eradicated on the mainland, were potentially at risk after foxes were introduced, perhaps deliberately by individuals who wanted new game to hunt. Wildlife managers were trying to devise ways of killing the foxes without harming native species. A threat to native freshwater species in the eastern U.S. was feared when northern snakehead fish (Channa argus)—a species that can survive out of water for several days and travel over land—were found in a pond in Maryland. A local man evidently had released two of these voracious predatory fish from China, and they were breeding. In September Maryland wildlife officials sprayed poison into the pond where the snakeheads had been found.

      After four Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) died in two weeks—two in road accidents—Spain in March announced an emergency $6.8 million plan to save the species. In three decades the population had declined from 1,000 to around 200 in the Doñana and Sierra Morena national parks. The new plan would augment rabbit populations (the lynx's main prey), protect scrubland refuges, and connect isolated habitats.

      Illegal logging threatened the Tesso Nilo forest in Sumatra, which the World Wildlife Fund had identified as biologically the world's richest lowland forest. It was Indonesia's most important remaining elephant habitat. Even as the forest was being surveyed, however, it was being felled at a rate that, if continued, would destroy it completely by 2005.

      On the Hawaiian island of Maui, an attempt to bring together a pair of the world's rarest birds failed in May when a female po'ouli (Melamprosops phaeosoma), after being transferred to the territory of the only male, flew back to her own home range without encountering the male. There were only three surviving birds. Efforts to save the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), New Zealand's giant ground-nesting parrot, met with more success. The last surviving birds, brought together on one island that was free of predatory rats, produced 24 chicks, more than in the whole of the previous two decades. This brought the world total to 86 kakapo, compared with 50 in 1995. Conservationists claimed that Australian plans to build a refugee camp on Christmas Island would jeopardize the last breeding colony of Abbott's booby, one of the world's most endangered birds.

      On May 9 two adult female mountain gorillas were shot by poachers and a young gorilla taken for illegal sale. Fourteen people were arrested in connection with the incident. The animals were part of a group habituated for tourism in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and had been monitored daily for 20 years. This was the first gorilla-poaching incident since 1985 in Rwanda, which held about 350 of the 650 mountain gorillas left in the world.

      On October 8 the World Conservation Union published an updated Red List of Threatened Species. It listed 11,167 species, an increase of 121 since the year 2000. Notable changes included some East Asian species, such as the saiga (Saiga tatarica), a medium-sized hoofed mammal, and the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus), which were classified as critically endangered for the first time.

      A new epidemic of phocine distemper started in May in Denmark and by August had spread to Dutch, Belgian, Swedish, Norwegian, French, German, and British coasts, killing an estimated 19,000 seals. The last epidemic, in 1988, had killed 18,000 seals.

      Australian scientists embarked on an attempt to resurrect the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus), which had become extinct in 1936. They successfully amplified DNA extracted from three Tasmanian tigers preserved in alcohol more than 100 years ago. The next steps would include assembling a DNA library for the species, building chromosomes and cell nuclei, inserting genetic material into the egg of a Tasmanian devil, a closely related species, and placing a fertilized egg into a surrogate mother. Some biologists argued that it would be better to spend the money on conservation efforts for extant species.

      New species described during the year included a new species of gerbil (Gerbillus rupicola) found in rocky outcrops in the Inner Delta of the Niger River in Mali and a new Congo shrew (Congosorex verheyeni) from three localities north of the Congo River. A new species of green parrot, bald and with an intensely orange head (Pionopsitta aurantiocephala), was described from the vicinity of the Tapajós and Lower Madeira rivers in Brazil, where its forest home was disappearing at the hands of loggers and ranchers.

Jacqui M. Morris

      Despite a tough year, accredited zoos and aquariums in North America continued to garner large attendance numbers in 2002, attracting over 134 million visitors—more than professional baseball, basketball, football, and ice hockey combined. Innovative new experiences such as the Philadelphia Zoo's Zooballoon ride, a hot-air balloon tour over the zoo's 1,800 animals, attracted repeat and first-time visitors alike.

      International attention focused on the plight of the troubled Kabul Zoo in Afghanistan. The North Carolina Zoo spearheaded a fund to aid the zoo that raised more than $530,000. In April a group of veterinarians, funded by the donations, traveled to Afghanistan to continue the work to aid the zoo. Medical treatment was administered to an injured bear, but, unfortunately, the zoo's most famous resident, Marjan, a lion blinded during the Afghan civil war, had died only a few weeks after supplies of fresh food had been made available. A freshwater supply was established, and preparations were made for drilling a borehole on the zoo grounds to secure a long-term water supply. The struggling zoo continued to be supported through the efforts of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) as well as the North Carolina Zoo.

      The bushmeat (hunting of wild animals for food) crisis in Africa, which was leading to the unsustainable loss of wildlife due to overhunting, was brought to Americans' attention in July when the House Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans held an oversight hearing on the issue. Bushmeat was a long-term concern of the zoo community, addressed through its Bushmeat Crisis Taskforce (BCTF). Michael Hutchins, director of conservation and science for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and steering committee chair for the BCTF, testified, urging an international collaborative effort to provide sustainable financing for a system of protected areas in Africa and advocating for the establishment of a Congressional Bushmeat Caucus to identify actions the U.S. government could take to address the crisis.

      Summer flooding in Germany and the Czech Republic affected several zoos and wildlife parks. The Prague Zoo was the most severely flooded. More than half the zoo was submerged, the roofs of some pavilions no longer visible. The zoo staff stayed long after the city had been evacuated, risking their lives to rescue more than 1,000 animals. Unfortunately, 90 animals drowned, and an Asian elephant and a hippopotamus had to be destroyed because rescue was impossible. WAZA organized a fund to help rebuild the zoo and replace the lost animals.

      Tracey McNamara of the Bronx Zoo (New York City) and Dominic Travis of the Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago) headed up a study of the effect of the West Nile virus on zoo species. WNV swept westward across the country in 2002, particularly affecting bird populations. Nationally, zoo officials worked to administer an equine vaccine to those mammal and bird populations it could protect, and to identify additional methods of protection for other species in their care. In September a promising breakthrough surfaced. Clinical trials of a bird vaccine developed by the American Bird Conservancy in partnership with the AZA showed a 60% increase in survival rates over unvaccinated birds.

      Marking a major advent in the science of protecting endangered species, the San Diego (Calif.) Zoo's scientists fused cow eggs with the DNA of the endangered banteng (a Southeast Asian ox). The DNA came from the “frozen zoo,” a collection of tissue samples that the San Diego Zoo had maintained since 1977. Scientists expected at least six cloned banteng births in March 2003.

      In November the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called upon the North American zoo community to place six polar bears seized from the Suárez Brothers Circus in Puerto Rico. Another bear from the circus was taken in by the Baltimore (Md.) Zoo in March 2002. The rescued bears, accompanied by Diana Weinhardt, the Houston (Texas) Zoo's curator of large mammals, were flown to the Point Defiance (Wash.) Zoo, the Detroit Zoo, and the North Carolina Zoo, where they received professional husbandry and veterinary care.

      While Colorado's Ocean Journey Aquarium declared bankruptcy during the year, several other aquariums began large expansion projects, including the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Several new aquariums, including one in Tulsa, Okla., planned 2003 openings. On November 1 the Churaumi Aquarium opened on the Japanese island of Okinawa. The second largest aquarium in the world, Churaumi featured a wealth of exhibits centring on aquatic life at all depths of the Kuroshio Current, which passes by Okinawa.

Hillary A. Walker

      In 2002 drought again played a major role in gardening. A drought throughout Europe, especially in Italy, affected horticultural crops, while in the U.S. a shortage of rainfall was reported in portions of all 48 contiguous states. Nearly half of the U.S. reported below-average rainfall at some point during the year. In Santa Fe, N.M., the water shortage became severe enough to allow outdoor watering only once a week; many residents turned to artificial flowers to brighten their homes and businesses.

      Despite the drought, sales of plant material continued their five-year climb (up 42% over that period), the only exception being sales of trees and shrubs, which showed a continuing decline. Urban nurseries saw patrons lining up to buy exotic plant varieties with little attention to frugality. “Boutique dirt” was also increasingly popular; Scotts and Miracle-Gro led the trend toward branded specialty mixes, as opposed to unbranded topsoil.

      Harsh weather and pollution continued to take their toll on street trees in the U.S. In Washington, D.C., a survey by the Casey Trees Endowment Fund showed that only 32% of the 106,000 city-owned street trees were completely healthy, and more than 10,000 were dead. That figure conformed with national statistics that showed a 25% decline in the “urban forest” of America over the past 30 years. The U.S. government unveiled a program to plant more trees. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman announced the awarding of $933,000 in grants to plant memorial groves and healing gardens in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C., to honour victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. unveiled prospective plans for a memorial garden at the site of the World Trade Center.

      The year brought changes at two venerable horticultural institutions in New England. The 98-year-old Horticulture magazine was sold by Primedia to F&W Publications of Cincinnati, Ohio. F&W planned to keep the 200,000-circulation publication in its Boston offices. Gardener's Supply Co., which specialized in organic products, purchased the bulb company Dutch Gardens and moved its operation from New Jersey to Vermont.

      There were also major changes on the set of PBS's The Victory Garden, the most recognizable television program in American home gardening for 27 years. In the spring of 2002, the network announced that both producer Russ Morash and host Roger Swain were leaving the show. Michael Weishan replaced Swain, and the bulk of the filming was scheduled for Weishan's garden. Swain signed on to cohost a new program, People, Places & Plants, The Gardening Show, which was seeking sponsors and affiliates.

      The Missouri Botanical Garden received the largest private gift ever to an American botanical garden, $30 million from the Jack Taylor family. The endowment would be used to identify and preserve plant species before they became extinct. The New York Botanical Garden got a $100 million face-lift to its facilities, adding an International Plant Science Center and herbarium and restoring its Beaux-Arts Library Rotunda. At Hanbury Hall, Droitwich, Worcestershire, Eng., a nine-year project to restore the18th-century parterre gardens was completed.

      In 2002 Fleuroselect, the organization that recognized outstanding advances in plant breeding, announced five gold medal winners for 2003: Petunia Blue Wave, a deep blue spreading petunia with good weather tolerance; Salvia superba Merleau, a perennial species that produces bright purplish blue spikes the first year after sowing; Rudbeckia hirta Prairie Sun, an annual with striking two-tone golden blossoms; Viola cornuta Sorbet Orange Duet, selected for its remarkable colour combination of orange and purple, the first ever in a viola cultivar; and Dianthus caryophyllus Can Can Scarlet, a brilliant red carnation that was bred to perform well in the home garden, especially in containers and pots.

      The All-America Selections (AAS) announced its winners for 2003, including three honoured by Fleuroselect: Blue Wave, Prairie Sun, and Can Can Scarlet. Also designated AAS winners were: Agastache foeniculum Golden Jubilee, a symmetrical branching annual ornamental with pale green fragrant leaves and lavender-blue flower spikes; Dianthus Corona Cherry Magic, a bicolor dianthus with five-centimetre (two-inch) blooms of red and lavender; Eustoma Forever White, with large blooms on compact branching plants, good for containers; Gaillardia pulchella Sundance Bicolor, with globe-shaped mahogany and yellow blooms; Petunia Merlin Blue Morn, with blue and white blooms on a tall spreading plant; and Vinca Jaio Dark Red, a red and white vinca. The AAS awarded its highest honour, a gold medal, to the ornamental millet Purple Majesty. The 1.5-m (5-ft)-tall purple-leafed cornlike plants produce long flower spikes that were used for floral arrangements. The AAS also honoured two new vegetable varieties—melon Angel, a very sweet white-fleshed melon, and summer squash Papaya Pear, a yellow squash with a squat, bulbous shape that grows on a semibush plant.

      All-America Rose Selections winners for 2003 were Hot Cocoa, a unique brownish orange Floribunda, bred by Tom Carruth; Whisper, a pure white Hybrid Tea Rose with glossy green foliage developed in Ireland by Colin Dickson; Cherry Parfait, a bicolour white and red Grandiflora from the house of Meilland; and Eureka, an apricot yellow floribunda hybridized by the Kordes Co.

      The All-American Daylily Selection Council announced two new winners: Frankly Scarlet, a vibrant red, and Plum Perfect, a deep purple. Hedera helix Golden Ingot was chosen Ivy of the Year 2003 by the American Ivy Society. This variegated ivy, bred in Denmark, has bright-yellow leaves edged with dark green and vibrant green and gray centres.

      More than two million people attended Floriade, the World's Fair of horticulture, which was held in Haarlemmermeer, Neth. (See Sidebar (Floriade, a Fusion of Nature and Art ).)

Warren Schultz

▪ 2002


International Activities
      On June 5, 2001, World Environment Day, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced a $21-million, four-year study of the condition of the global environment. With the participation of 1,500 scientists and many organizations, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment would be the first comprehensive assessment of this kind ever attempted.

      At a meeting held in Johannesburg, S.Af., Dec. 4–9, 2000, representatives from 122 governments had finalized an international treaty to reduce or eliminate the production and use of the persistent organic pollutants aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, and hexachlorobenzene. Tropical countries were allowed to continue using DDT for malaria control until a suitable substitute became available. The phasing out of polychlorinated biphenyls would be gradual so that equipment containing them could remain in use until 2025. The treaty was opened for signature in Stockholm in May 2001 and would come into force once 50 countries had ratified it.

      Eight people shared the $750,000 Goldman Environmental Prize at a presentation in San Francisco on April 23. The winners were Eugène Rutagarama of Rwanda, who worked to save his country's last mountain gorillas; Yosepha Alomang of Indonesia for helping to reverse some of the damage caused by mining in Irian Jaya; Oscar Olivera of Brazil, who helped reverse the privatization of the Brazilian water industry that had led to sharp increases in water prices; Bruno Van Peteghem of New Caledonia for his opposition to nickel mining in the New Caledonia coral reef; Myrsini Malakou and Giorgos Catsadorakis of Greece, who helped establish the Prespa Park conservation zone in wetlands with the friendly collaboration of Albania, Macedonia, and Greece; and American journalists Jane Akre and Steve Wilson for their investigation into health risks from the agricultural use of recombinant bovine growth hormone.

      On September 7 the European Union (EU) formally approved a directive on renewable energy. This required member states to ensure that 12% of gross internal energy consumption and 22.1% of electricity consumption would come from renewable sources by 2010.

National Developments

      On June 11 the federal government and leading energy companies signed a formal agreement to phase out nuclear power. The core of the agreement was a limit on the amount of power each of Germany's nuclear power plants would be permitted to produce. On the basis of an average life of 32 years for each reactor, this would mean the newest reactor would have to close in about 2021. The government published a draft of the necessary legislation on July 9, and after a period for consultation, the cabinet approved it on September 5. As well as setting a limit to the life span of existing nuclear plants, the law required power generators to provide intermediate storage facilities close to their plants for spent fuel and banned all shipments of waste for reprocessing from 2005.

      On June 6 Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin told journalists in Berlin that the government planned a major expansion of offshore wind-power generation. By 2030 offshore wind parks, with a total of 4,000 generators, would be generating between 75 and 80 terawatts of power annually. Two North Sea areas had been identified as suitable because they were clear of all marine- and bird-conservation areas. The required investment would be made possible by the German renewable energy support law, which guaranteed a price of €0.09 (about $0.08) per kilowatt-hour for wind power.

      On September 5 Boliden Ltd., the Swedish-Canadian company operating the Los Frailes iron pyrite mine at Aznalcóllar in Andalusia, said production at the mine would cease immediately. The mine was the source of the 1998 leakage of waste upstream of the Coto Doñana National Park. The cost of cleaning up the leakage was estimated at €180 million (about $165 million), and compensation also would have to be paid. The company, which filed for bankruptcy in 2000, said these costs were a significant factor in the closure.

The United Kingdom.
      On July 18 the British government announced that there would be no further reprocessing of nuclear fuel at the Dounreay plant in Caithness, Scot. Reprocessing at Dounreay had been suspended in 1996 owing to an equipment failure, and almost 25 metric tons of spent fuel remained on-site. This would either be stored at Dounreay or be transported to Sellafield, Eng., for reprocessing.

      On Dec. 15, 2000, the last of the four Chernobyl reactors was closed down permanently. In fact, reactor 3 had closed some weeks earlier for technical reasons and had to be restarted in order to be shut down formally. Pres. Leonid Kuchma had issued the command through a television link from the Ukraina Palace in Kiev. On April 26, 2001, the 15th anniversary of the accident at Chernobyl, Kuchma led a memorial service in Kiev. Meanwhile, scientists continued to study the long-term effects of low-level radiation released in the accident.

The United States.
      In its annual Toxic Release Inventory, published in April, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that two-thirds of the over 3.5 billion kg (1 kg  =  2.2 lb) of toxic chemicals released into the U.S. environment in 1999 came from hard-rock mining companies and operators of electric power plants. The highest releases were from Nevada and Utah, with nearly 530 million kg and 527 million kg, respectively; Arizona, 437 million kg; and Alaska, 196 million kg. Hard-rock mining companies released some 1.8 billion kg of chemicals into the air, land, and water, and electricity utilities released more than 527 million kg, mostly from stack emissions from coal-burning plants.

      On April 25 the Senate unanimously passed legislation authorizing an annual expenditure of $200 million for cleaning up more than 500,000 abandoned industrial sites. On June 7 a Republican-led subcommittee of the House of Representatives rejected Pres. George W. Bush's request for $2 million for preparatory studies on oil drilling in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (AANW). Though on August 2 the House passed the energy bill by 240 votes to 189, complete with its provision allowing oil exploration and drilling in the refuge, on December 3 the Senate roundly rejected a bill (94–1) that would allow drilling in the AANW.

      In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., acrid smoke, soot, and ash from tons of pulverized debris complicated the recovery in New York City. The EPA reported that asbestos levels did not appear to be dangerous, but doctors recommended that people use special air filters and masks to avoid inhaling particulate matter even during the smallest clean-up operations.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      The sixth conference of parties to the 1992 UN Convention on Climate Change was held at The Hague in November 2000. There was disagreement over the issues of carbon sinks and nuclear power. The umbrella group of countries, led by the U.S. and including Australia, Austria, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, and Ukraine, opposed any restriction on the means used to meet the cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, the group wanted forests (including forests planted long ago), as well as agricultural land, to be counted as sinks that absorb carbon dioxide. Although the EU agreed in the course of negotiations to limit the amount of carbon dioxide counted in this way, EU members rejected the offer on the ground that it would allow countries to claim reductions in greenhouse gas emissions without taking actual steps to reduce them. Negotiations continued during the winter.

      On March 13, 2001, however, in a letter to four senior politicians, newly inaugurated President Bush said he would not accept mandatory controls on emissions of carbon dioxide because this would force utilities to switch from coal to gas, which was more expensive and would raise electricity prices. EPA administrator Christine Whitman confirmed the U.S. position on the protocol on March 27, though on March 29 Bush said he would remain open-minded on ways to address the problem of global warming. The EU sent a delegation to Washington to try to persuade Bush to change his mind. They met Whitman and other EPA officials on April 3, but the effort failed.

      The conference of parties resumed in Bonn, Ger., on July 16 and concluded on July 27. Detailed rules for attaining Kyoto targets were finally accepted on July 23 by 178 countries (including Japan but not the U.S.) after the EU had made major concessions over carbon sinks. Rules for compliance were to be adopted at the first meeting of the parties after the protocol came into force. These rules would give early warning of potential noncompliance, and if limits were exceeded, the assigned amount would be reduced correspondingly in the next accounting period with a penalty 30% increase in the amount by which emissions had to be reduced. Three funds were pledged to assist less-developed countries and to help diversify the economies of countries that were heavily dependent on the oil industry, including Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. In another round of talks that was held in Marrakesh, Mor., and ended in November after two weeks of bargaining, negotiators reached agreement on the details of the treaty and hammered out a compliance scheme to ensure that pollution levels were met. Some 40 industrialized countries would be required to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by an average of 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. Before the Kyoto Protocol could come into force, however, the pact needed to be ratified by 55 countries.

      The 2,600-page latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was published on July 12. It estimated that temperatures might rise 1.4–5.8 °C (2.5–10.4 °F) by 2100 and assumed that carbon dioxide levels would reach 540–970 parts per million by that year. The report also concluded that the burning of fossil fuels and the emission of man-made chemicals “have contributed substantially to the observed warming over the last 50 years.”

Air Pollution.
      Figures published on June 5 by the German electricity-supply industry showed that sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants fell 92% between 1991 and 2000. Most of the improvement resulted from retrofitting desulfurization equipment in former East Germany and closing plants that could not be retrofitted economically.

      The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority reported in August that acid-rain precipitation increased in 2000 over the southern and eastern part of the country. In some areas heavy rain and snowfall increased sulfur deposition to levels comparable to those of the late 1980s, causing damage rated from “marked” to “severe.”

      In September the Mexican Metropolitan Environmental Commission unveiled a 10-year plan to improve air quality. This replaced a five-year program that had ended in 2000. Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico City's environment secretary, said the aim was to reduce levels of ozone and fine particulate matter.

Freshwater Pollution.
      In January thousands of fish were killed by cyanide that had spilled into the Siret River near the town of Lespezi, Rom., 340 km (210 mi) northeast of Bucharest, and nearly 60 people required hospital treatment after eating the contaminated fish. The cyanide level in the Siret and one of its tributaries peaked at 128 times acceptable levels. The spill was thought to have originated at a chemical factory owned by Metadet, and the company was immediately fined. The authorities released additional water into the rivers, and the cyanide concentration was quickly reduced.

      On July 27 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to maintain the limits for arsenic in drinking water set by former president Bill Clinton's administration. These reduced permitted levels from 50 to 10 parts per billion (ppb). The Bush administration asked a National Academy of Sciences panel to review the risks, meanwhile postponing any change. Their report, Arsenic in Drinking Water: 2001 Update, was released in September. The panel found that the dangers were higher than had been supposed and concluded the proposed 10-ppb limit, based on a study done in southwestern Taiwan, had underestimated risks. The previous study had estimated 0.8 extra cancer cases per 1,000 people, whereas the new panel estimated 1.3–3.7 extra cases, depending on whether it used the background cancer rate in Taiwan or the rate in the U.S. In October the EPA adopted the Clinton arsenic standard.

      The Austrian Environment Ministry announced in August that testing for 100 pollutants at 2,000 sites showed that streams and rivers were becoming cleaner. Nitrates in groundwater continued to cause concern, with levels having risen at 13% of measuring stations.

Marine Pollution.
      On January 16 the Ecuadorian-registered cargo ship Jessica ran aground in a bay close to the harbour on San Cristóbal in the Galápagos Islands, spilling about 700,000 litres (1 litre = about 0.26 gal) of diesel and bunker fuel oil from its cargo of about 920,000 litres. About 200,000 litres were removed from the ship safely, and U.S. Coast Guard vessels arrived quickly to help in the effort to contain and recover the oil. The spilled oil formed a slick that reached the islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Fe but caused little harm. Attempts to remove the ship, lying at an angle of about 45° some 800 m (2,600 ft) from the shore, were defeated by heavy seas, and it was decided to make the wreck into an artificial reef.

      The Helsinki Commission (Helcom) announced on August 24 that the amount of 47 hazardous substances entering the Baltic Sea had been halved since the late 1980s and that it would aim for discharges to be phased out completely by 2020. At a Helcom meeting in Copenhagen on September 10, transport and environment ministers from countries bordering the Baltic agreed on tighter rules to prevent oil spills. The need for new rules arose following a collision on March 28 between a cargo ship and a tanker that released about 2,700 metric tons of heavy fuel oil into the southwestern Baltic, causing the worst oil spill in the region in at least six years.

      A meeting of parties to the Ospar Convention, held in Valencia, Spain, in late June, finalized an agreement on the discharge of oil into the northeast Atlantic. The oil content of produced water (a by-product of oil pumping) would be reduced by about 15%, calculated from a 2000 deadline. The meeting also added neodecanoic acid, ethenyl ester, and triphenyl phosphine to the list of substances to be phased out as a priority, bringing the total of such substances to 29.

Radioactive Waste.
      On March 29 the first shipment since 1997 of nuclear waste from the Cogema reprocessing facility at Cap de la Hague, France, arrived at a temporary storage site at Gorleben, Ger. The three-day journey was marked by antinuclear protests, and over 15,000 police were employed to guard the six armoured containers. On May 17 the second shipment, of about 54 spent fuel rods from Germany to Cap de la Hague, was halted for more than an hour by about 20 protesters who blocked the train at Amiens, France. About 15 protesters also blocked the rail track near Caen, France, and on May 16 some 40 protesters threw red smoke generators at the train near Strasbourg, France. Another such incident occurred in November when about 100 protesters attempted to block the motion of a train carrying nuclear waste from la Hague to Gorleben; they chained themselves to signal boxes and trees along the 600-km (375-mi) route.

      Twelve Greenpeace protesters chained themselves to the track beneath an empty wagon at a railhead in Mannheim, Ger., on April 23 to demonstrate against the first shipment in three years of nuclear waste to Sellafield. Police removed the protesters and charged them with dangerous interference in rail transport. The nuclear waste left the next day.

Genetically Modified Food.
      The first meeting of the intergovernmental committee for the Cartagena Protocol took place in Montpellier, France, in December 2000. Representatives from more than 80 countries began developing detailed rules to govern the international movement of live genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The discussions covered information sharing, traceability of GMOs, packaging, handling and transport, national capacity building, and the formation of an expert advisory group. It was agreed to establish a pilot biosafety clearinghouse to give countries access to up-to-date lists of GMOs and information about national policies and regulations.

      The UN Codex Alimentarius Commission agreed in July to require exporters of GM foods to undertake risk assessments, primarily of the foods' allergenicity, before placing them on the market. Findings by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification in New Zealand were published on July 30. The commission recommended that GM agriculture be introduced “selectively with appropriate care” and rejected outright the idea of a GM-free New Zealand as incompatible with the modern world and the nation's future.

      A report published on September 10 found that windborne pollen from corn (maize) plants genetically modified to express Bacillus turingiensis toxins posed a negligible risk to monarch butterflies. The study was prepared for the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Iowa State University, the University of Minnesota, and private biotech companies.

      An integrated crop production (ICP) plan announced on July 6 by Dutch Agriculture Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst aimed to reduce pesticide use in The Netherlands dramatically. Farmers would be required to adopt such measures as choosing pest-resistant crop varieties and growing “companion” plants. Farmers would be allowed to use pesticides only as a last resort, and in 2003 a tax would be imposed on pesticides. It was hoped that farmers would adopt the ICP plan voluntarily, but unless 90% of farmers had gained ICP certification by 2004, noncertified farms would be forbidden to use any pesticides.

      On May 9 a report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) called on leading pesticide manufacturers to help pay for the safe destruction of an estimated 500,000 metric tons of obsolete pesticides that had been dumped in various parts of the world. The FAO reminded the Global Crop Protection Federation (GCPF) of its past commitment to pay up to $1 per litre or kilogram for safe destruction. Chris Waller, coordinator of the GCPF obsolete stocks team, said the industry was waiting for the FAO to devise a scheme that would ensure that money was used to deal only with products made or distributed by the companies contributing to the fund.

Electromagnetic Fields.
      It was reported in March that a study had found that 0.5% of children exposed to electromagnetic fields of 0.4 microteslas or more could double their risk of contracting leukemia before age 15, from 1 in 1,400 to 1 in 700. The study, commissioned by the U.K. National Radiological Protection Board, analyzed 3,247 childhood leukemia cases in Europe, North America, and New Zealand. Epidemiologist Sir Richard Doll of the Cancer Studies Unit at the University of Oxford said that taken by themselves these results might be due to chance, but there was a possibility that intense and prolonged exposure to magnetic fields could increase the risk of leukemia in children.

      On September 11 the results of a study by researchers led by Tom Sorahan at the University of Birmingham, Eng., was published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study found that workers in the electricity industry were no more likely to develop brain tumours than the general population. The study looked at the causes of death of some 84,000 electricity workers in England and Wales and found the death rate from brain cancer similar to that for the general population.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      In January 2001 Mexico's former environment secretary Julia Carabias Lillo received the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Carabias Lillo (see Biographies (Carabias Lillo, Julia )) was credited with doubling the protected-habitat system in Mexico. Thirty years of conservation effort were rewarded in March when the birth of a male golden tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) took the number living in the wild to 1,000. The native habitat of the species was in the lowland coastal forest in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, where habitat destruction had reduced numbers to 200 by the early 1970s.

      A celebrated discovery of a new mammal in 1993 was reported as a fake in February. The wild ox Pseudonovibos spiralis was described from unusual-shaped horns collected from markets in Vietnam and Cambodia. Local hunters claimed it came from a mysterious beast in the forest, but genetic and morphological tests revealed that the horns were of the domestic cow. The horns had been twisted and carved by local people in a long-standing folk industry.

      A report in Science in January indicated that Arctic species were suffering as Arctic ice continued to decline, covering 15% less area than it had in 1978. A long-term study indicated that emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the Antarctic were highly susceptible to climate change and that their numbers were declining markedly in warm periods with reduced sea ice.

      While concern continued over the effects of global climate change on wild species and habitats, some scientists thought that demand for food by a wealthier and larger human population would be the major driver of environmental change in the next 50 years, causing unprecedented ecosystem simplification, loss of ecosystem services, and species extinctions. In May the UN Environment Programme launched the Great Apes Survival Project because poaching and habitat loss could drive the apes of Africa and Southeast Asia to extinction in 5–10 years. The project would help police forests, link patches of habitat, encourage ecotourism, and educate local people. Harvard University biologist Edward O. Wilson argued that large-scale private investment was needed to augment government protection for lands of high value for biodiversity. He said that an investment of $28 billion would protect up to 70% of the species on Earth.

      The ornithological literature reported several new birds, including two new flycatchers: the Mishana tyrannulet (Zimmerius villarejoi) from the white-sand forest near Iquitos, Peru, where an ongoing study had revealed the presence of at least four bird species new to science, and the Chapada flycatcher (Suiriri islerorum) from the Cerrado region of Brazil and adjacent eastern Bolivia. A new species of petrel, the Vanuatu petrel (Pterodroma occulta), was described from specimens collected at sea. It was presumed to breed in the Banks Islands or elsewhere in northern Vanuatu. The chestnut-eared laughing thrush (Garrulax konkakinhensis) was identified from a narrow altitudinal range on Mount Kon Ka Kinh in central Vietnam. There were plans to extend an existing reserve to include the sites where it had been found.

      Populations of some seabirds hit by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 had still to show signs of recovery, according to scientists in Anchorage, who believed that food species in the intertidal zone were still contaminated with oil. The wreck of the oil tanker Jessica in the Galápagos Islands (see Marine Pollution (Environment )) highlighted the fragility of the islands and the inadequacy of conservation legislation. On July 13 at least 35 sea lions in the Galápagos National Park were butchered on the beach on San Cristóbal for their sex organs, which were in demand in Asia for use as aphrodisiacs. Suspicion rested on foreign fishermen harvesting sea cucumbers in the area.

      Many wild species used traditionally as human food were in decline because of increased commercial use, including sharks captured for shark fin soup and sturgeon killed for caviar. The U.S. and Australia had banned the capture of sharks for their fins, and there were calls for other nations to follow. Three caviar-producing states (Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan) bordering the Caspian Sea (source of 90% of the world's caviar) halted sturgeon fishing on June 21 in response to plummeting stocks. India gave legal protection to whale sharks (Rhinocodon typus) on May 28 because trade threatened them with extinction. A workshop convened by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and TRAFFIC (the joint wildlife trade monitoring program of the IUCN and the WWF) was held in Cameroon in September. More than 40 representatives from 18 organizations met to find solutions to the problems of declining populations of wild animals used traditionally for human food.

      Only six Bali starlings (Leucopsar rothschildi) remained in the wild, all in Indonesia's Bali Barat National Park, where relentless trapping for the pet trade threatened them. Saving species created problems for some people. Wolves brought back from the brink of extinction in northern Italy were reported to be hunting farmers' livestock, and legally protected wild boars in Germany caused problems for Berliners by digging up gardens, raiding trash cans, and attacking dogs. In Norway wolves were culled despite court action brought by conservationists.

      The 834 species of the mainly insectivorous bats in the order Microchiroptera faced numerous threats from human activities; some species had experienced precipitous declines. The publication of Microchiropteran Bats: Global Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan in May aimed to stimulate conservation action for these mammals, which occurred in every continent except in the polar regions and constituted a quarter of all known mammal species.

      In September participants in the British Association Festival of Science were warned that coral reefs would disappear in 30–50 years because global warming would cause widespread coral bleaching (a condition in which high water temperatures kill the algal partners of coral). Experiments also showed, however, that corals can evict their algae as an adaptation to warmer seas and may be recolonized by partners better suited to higher temperatures.

      New molecular evidence showed that forest and savanna elephants, heretofore classified as a single species, Loxodonta africana, merited separate taxonomic status. This had implications for conservation, since one-third of the 500,000 elephants in Africa were forest dwellers. On October 4 South Africa announced that the first 40 of a total of 1,000 African elephants were to be moved from Kruger National Park to Mozambique as part of a plan to establish the world's biggest reserve and to reopen natural migratory routes.

Jacqui M. Morris

      Zoos and aquariums continued to be immensely popular in 2001, attracting some 130 million visitors in the U.S. alone. On May 3 officials at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., welcomed the one millionth person to see the giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang since the pair went on display on January 10. The pandas, which arrived in the U.S. in December 2000, were on loan from the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan province. In return for the loan of the pandas for research and exhibit purposes, the Smithsonian Institution, which operated the National Zoo, agreed to donate $10 million to support China's panda preservation and research projects.

      Throughout the year Chinese officials relayed exciting news from Wolong; by the end of October five giant pandas at the centre had given birth to healthy twins, and it was reported that there were several more giant pandas waiting to give birth. The practice of artificially inseminating zoo animals, especially those belonging to threatened or endangered species, was followed elsewhere. At the Colchester (Eng.) Zoo in March, an African elephant named Tanya became the first elephant in the country to become pregnant through artificial insemination. German scientists from the Berlin Institute of Wildlife Medicine and Research performed the procedure.

      Animals at the Kabul Zoo were found to be in poor condition after the Taliban was routed from Afghanistan in December. Overseas zoos raised thousands of dollars in pledges to care for the starving animals.

      Public interest in aquatic environments helped drive a rapid expansion of aquariums. In the past decade new aquariums were opened in Charleston, S.C.; Denver, Colo.; Newport, Ky.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; and Long Beach, Calif. Several smaller aquatic facilities within American zoos also opened. In addition, by 2001 major expansions and renovations were under way in almost every major public aquarium in the country.

      The John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago undertook a five-year, $85 million renovation and expansion program. Its “Amazon Rising” exhibit, which opened in 2000, was recognized by both the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the American Association of Museums as the best new exhibit of the year. The Shedd was constructing a 1,860-sq-m (20,000-sq-ft) addition to house a new exhibit portraying the coral reefs of the Philippines. This exhibit promised to give visitors the sensation of walking on the ocean floor as they moved through a series of marine habitats featuring living corals and the many species that depended on reefs for food and shelter. One of the exhibit's highlights was to be a 1,890,000-litre (500,000-gal) shark habitat, which would give the Shedd an opportunity to exhibit larger sharks for the first time.

      North Carolina's three state aquariums—all located along the coast—also were undergoing major expansion and rebuilding projects. The New England Aquarium in Boston, the Mystic (Conn.) Aquarium, and the New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden all opened new exhibits during the year.

      The aquarium-building boom even prompted a name change by one of the country's major zoological institutions. The venerable Columbus (Ohio) Zoo, which opened in 1927, was renamed the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as a result of the new aquatic facility built on its grounds. One of its most popular features was a new manatee exhibit. The Cincinnati (Ohio) Zoo and Botanical Garden also opened a “Manatee Springs” exhibit. Both of these facilities supported manatee-conservation programs in collaboration with the state of Florida.

      New aquariums were planned for or under construction in Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Ga.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Portland, Maine; New Bedford, Mass.; and several other areas. In addition, new aquariums were set to open in several European locations, including Rotterdam, Neth.; Lisbon, Port.; Hirtshals, Den.; and Plymouth, Eng., and in Japan.

      Aquariums offered research scientists opportunities to observe marine species, especially cetaceans, in ways that would be impossible from research vessels. Sea World in Orlando, Fla.; the Mystic and Shedd aquariums; and facilities in Vancouver, B.C., and New York state were all participating and contributing to the research and husbandry of beluga whales as well as cetaceans and other marine mammals.

      Also increasing in popularity were butterfly gardens, which offered visitors something new and pleasing to the eyes while raising awareness of the importance of invertebrates, especially pollinators, and the need for habitat-conservation measures to protect these often-overlooked animals. Zoological institutions that had expanded their collections with butterflies included the Bronx (N.Y.) Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo, and the St. Louis (Mo.) Zoo.

Ted A. Beattie

      Recent trends in gardening continued unabated in 2001. In the horticultural industry, buying patterns moved farther away from seed toward plants and from mail order to garden centres and mass-market retailers. Consumer interest in heirloom and “organic” seed increased, but commercial growers of flowers and vegetables chose cultivars bred for high yield, disease resistance, and long shelf life, characteristics that were important to their production and distribution methods.

      Foster and Gallagher, which in 2000 claimed that it was the largest horticultural retailer in the United States, filed for bankruptcy protection and ceased operations at its subsidiaries, some of which, including Stark Brothers, Breck's, and Spring Hill Nurseries, were among the most well-established horticultural enterprises in the U.S. The 125-year-old W. Atlee Burpee & Co. also filed for bankruptcy protection; it had acquired some of the assets of the defunct on-line marketer GARDEN.COM, purchased the renowned West Coast Heronswood Nursery, and failed in an attempt to enter the retail sector with a chain of garden stores. Operations were expected to continue under new ownership.

      The European association Fleuroselect chose 34 cultivars for recognition in the upcoming 2002 season, including three that won a Gold Medal. Dianthus barbatus Noverna Purple won for its ability to bloom without vernalization—exposure to a cold period—a first for the species known to generations of gardeners as Sweet William. The 40-cm (1 cm  =  0.4 in) diploid hybrid bloomed only 80–100 days from sowing and bore light purple 1.5-cm single flowers arranged in 7–10-cm clusters.

      A new colour in the Wave series of cascading or spreading petunias also received a Gold Medal. Petunia hybrida Lavender Wave produced large numbers of 5.5- cm light lavender single blooms on plants that, though they reached 10 cm in height, spread to 120 cm, which made them ideal for baskets and containers. Good weather tolerance also made Lavender Wave useful for ground-cover applications in sunny locations.

      The final Gold Medal was given to Viola X wittrockiana Ultima Morpho for its uniquely coloured flowers. The small (5-cm) blossoms had a gradient of blue to white above a lemon-yellow ray petal at the bottom, with radial black markings. Plants of this tetraploid hybrid were a compact 15 cm high and across and bloomed for three to four months in spring and fall.

      All-America Rose Selections presented two awards. Hybrid tea rose Love & Peace—bred by Jerry Twomey and Ping Lim and introduced by Bailey Nurseries, St. Paul, Minn.—was created by crossing the famous Peace rose with an unnamed seedling. Disease-resistant and upright, with glossy dark green foliage, Love & Peace grew in height to 120–150 cm and had a diameter of 90 cm; it produced 12.5-cm-diameter spiraform golden-yellow blooms that had a pink edge and a fruity scent.

      Shrub rose Starry Night was recognized for its wide adaptability and pure white dogwoodlike blossoms. Bred by Pierre Orard of Feyzin, France, by combining the cultivar Anisley Dickson with the species Rosa wichurianna and introduced by Edmunds' Roses of Wilsonville, Ore., Starry Night had a height and width of 90 cm in cool climates but a height and width of 180 cm in mild-to-warm climates. The pure white five-petaled single blossoms, 6–8 cm in diameter, contrasted well with the glossy medium green foliage.

      All-America Selections (AAS) did not award a Gold Medal in either the vegetable or the flower category for the 2002 season. Fleuroselect Gold Medal winners Petunia Lavender Wave and Viola Ultima Morpho received the lesser designation of flower award, along with Petunia hybrida Tidal Wave Silver, chosen for its tall plant habit and unique colouring; Cleome spinosa Sparkler Blush, chosen for its dwarf habit and because it was the first commercial hybrid cleome; Pelargonium zonale Black Magic Rose, selected for its strongly contrasting foliage and flowers; Rudbeckia hirta Cherokee Sunset, recognized for its unique colour range of double and semidouble flowers; and Catharanthus roseus (Vinca) Jaio Scarlet Eye, acknowledged for its single bicolour rose and scarlet blooms. In addition, ornamental pepper (Capsicum annum) Chilly Chili won a flower award for its decorative fruits, which, unlike others of its class were nonpungent and thus made it suitable as a potted plant in homes with small children.

      AAS vegetable awards were given to basil Magical Michael for its attractive flowers with purple calices and white corollas and to Diva—a cucumber bred by Janika Eckert of Johnny's Selected Seeds—for its superior yields of high-quality seedless fruits. Two pumpkins were honoured: Sorcerer for its uniformity in the 6.8–9.9-kg (15–22-lb) jack-o'-lantern class and Orange Smoothie for its compact plant habit, high resistance to disease, small 1.8–3.2-kg (4–7-lb) size, and exceptionally smooth skin, which made it ideal for painting rather than carving. Finally, AAS granted a vegetable award to winter squash Cornell's Bush Delicata for its compact plant habit, improved flavour, and exceptional disease resistance.

      The Perennial Plant Association in the U.S. chose as its Perennial Plant of the Year Calamagrostis xacutiflora Karl Foerster, a natural hybrid of Calamagrostis epigejos and Calamagrostis arundinacea; the long-blooming grass was first found in the Hamburg (Ger.) Botanical Garden collection and was introduced to the nursery trade by Karl Foerster in his 1957 book Einzug der Gräser und Farne in die Gärten.

      In England Belgian landscape architect Jacques Wirtz (see Biographies (Wirtz, Jacques )) continued work on the 5-ha (12-ac) walled garden at Alnwick Castle; he was commissioned by the duchess of Northumberland to redesign the enclosure. Wirtz's garden designs, featuring mass plantings of geometric-shaped hedges, were much in demand in Europe.

      On the lighter side, the ubiquitous garden gnome—a fixture in British lawns and gardens for more than 100 years—fell out of favour during the year. Gnome ownership declined from about 5 million in 1990 to 3.8 million in 2001. In France matters were taken a step or two farther: the self-styled Liberation Front for Garden Gnomes took hundreds of the figures from suburban residences and “returned” them to woodland settings.

Shepherd Ogden

▪ 2001


International Activities
      On Feb. 3, 2000, the European Parliament passed the second reading of the end-of-life vehicles directive, and on May 23 a committee of diplomats and members of the Parliament agreed to its terms. The directive would require automobile manufacturers to pay all or a significant part of the cost of scrapping cars.

      On July 4 the European Court of Justice imposed daily fines on Greece for continuing to use a landfill site in the Chania area of Crete in breach of two waste-management directives. The Greek government was ordered to pay €20,000 (€1 = about $0.84) a day from July 4 until it complied with the law. Greece agreed to the judgment and set a target date at the end of November. By that time the total fine was nearly €3 million.

      Popular protests against high taxes on gasoline (petrol) and diesel fuel erupted across the European Union (EU) in September. The U.K. was the country most seriously affected. Freight haulers and farmers blockaded oil refineries, causing panic buying that emptied gasoline stations within days and almost brought the country to a standstill. People then began buying in food stores, creating local shortages. On September 26 about 7,000 German drivers blocked the central thoroughfare to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, but they left a lane free for public transportation.

National Developments
      China. On August 8 the Xinhua News Agency reported that the Shenyang Smeltery had been closed in June because of the pollution it caused. The factory, in northeastern China, was said to have been discharging 74,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 67 tons of heavy metals each year. It affected about 50 sq km (20 sq mi) of Shenyang, once one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, and accounted for about 42% of the sulfur dioxide in the city. The smeltery was founded in 1936 and refined gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc. In the 1980s it was among the top 500 government-owned enterprises.

      Germany. At a meeting on January 15, the Social Democratic and Green parties moved a step closer to agreement on the operating limit for nuclear power stations. Talks between the government and industry had remained suspended pending agreement between the coalition partners. On June 23 at a meeting in Münster, the Greens approved the deal that had been agreed upon between the government and the power companies. This allowed nuclear plants to operate at full power for an average of 30 years; because the plants did not always operate at full power, however, their average lifetimes would be about 35 years, an average of 5 years shorter than they would have been without the new limit. Production limits were specified for each station, but to maximize operating efficiency, companies were allowed to switch those amounts among stations. Consequently, it was impossible to say when each station would close or when the last one would close. The government undertook not to introduce taxes or other economic measures that would harm the industry and not to strengthen safety standards.

      On September 22 the federal radiation protection authority announced that shipments of spent nuclear fuel were to be resumed. Eight shipments would be allowed during 2000, traveling from the power stations at Stade, Biblis, and Philippsburg to the La Hague reprocessing plant in France. The industry had requested 54 shipments by the end of 2001. The safety regulations were tightened, and plant operators agreed that all plutonium derived from reprocessing would be recycled to prevent it from accumulating.

      An opinion poll published on June 30 found that 94% of the population ranked the environment as important and 71% said they would pay higher taxes to improve environmental protection. About 85% said they considered nuclear power to be dangerous and wished it to be phased out as quickly as possible.

      Norway. On March 9 the Norwegian government became the first in the world to fall over a global-warming issue. Coalition Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik lost a vote of confidence in the Storting (parliament) arising from his opposition to building gas-fired power stations. The government argued that the new stations would release too much carbon dioxide and that the project should be postponed until cleansing technology had been developed. The Conservative and Labour opposition favoured the plan, maintaining that there was no other way to meet the demand for electricity.

      The national statistics agency reported in September that collecting, sorting, cleaning, and transporting household waste for recycling consumed at least 100 gigawatt-hours of power annually, equal to half the output from a proposed new power station. Householders in the survey reported they spent almost 30 minutes and used 50 litres (13 gal) of water each week preparing their rubbish for collection.

      Russia. Pres. Vladimir Putin abolished the State Committee for Environmental Protection in May. It had been responsible for monitoring all aspects of the environment except for nuclear safety and had replaced the Federal Environment Ministry in 1996. Its responsibilities were transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

      Sweden. On August 16 the government postponed the closing of the Barsebäck 2 nuclear reactor, previously scheduled for July 2001. Industry Minister Björn Rosengren said that the country would be unable to make up the resulting shortfall quickly enough by increasing renewable energy capacity. Barsebäck 1 closed in November 1999.

      Brushing aside protests over fuel prices, the government in its proposed 2001 budget announced on September 20 that it would increase the tax on diesel fuel by SKr 0.10 (SKr 1=about $0.10) per litre, raising the price by 3%. The carbon dioxide emission tax was to increase by 15% and the tax on electricity by SKr 0.018 per kilowatt-hour. These were part of a proposed increase of SKr 3.3 billion in environmental taxation, amounting to just over 10% of the final “green tax” target of SKr 30 billion. The increases were offset by reduced employment taxes, including a SKr 12.5 billion reduction in the income tax. Sales taxes on public transportation would be halved to 6% and spending on environmental research and rehabilitation increased by SKr 360 billion.

      Thailand. It was reported in February that five people had been hospitalized in Bangkok after they were exposed to radiation leaking from a cylinder containing scrap metal that had been sold to a recycling yard on the city's outskirts. Two workers who handled the metal cylinder were in comas, and the man who sold it suffered radiation burns to his hands. The owner of the scrap yard and another worker were also taken to a hospital. After searching for 11 hours, staff from the Thai atomic research centre found the cylinder. It contained cobalt-60. This was said to be the first radioactive leak ever to have occurred in Thailand.

      United States. On January 21 the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group, sent faxes to the Associated Press and several newspapers claiming responsibility for a fire on New Year's Eve that did $400,000 worth of damage in the Agriculture Hall at Michigan State University (MSU). The group said that Catherine Ives, director of the MSU Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project, whose office was one of those damaged in the fire, directed a program aimed at persuading less-developed countries to adopt genetically modified crops. On March 13 a group claiming to be from the Animal Liberation Front broke into a Wisconsin warehouse, placed incendiary devices against propane tanks, set the timers, and departed. Later, they claimed to have burned down the refrigerated warehouse, which contained gourmet dog food. The devices malfunctioned, however, and the attack failed.

      On June 12 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed that dioxins were 10 times more likely to cause cancer than had previously been believed, creating a 0.1–1% risk in the most exposed individuals, such as those eating a diet high in animal fat. The agency also upgraded dioxins from “probable” to “known” carcinogens. Some scientists, however, said that the estimate was “unbelievable.” The EPA also said that exposure to dioxins among the population had fallen significantly since the 1980s and was still falling and that there were no indications of ill effects.

Environmental Issues
      Climate Change. The sixth conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in November at The Hague. A week of official preparatory talks took place in Bonn, Ger., in June. These centred on accounting methods for assessing greenhouse gases, rules for liability for emissions, and mechanisms for ensuring compliance.

      The draft of the third assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (operating under World Meteorological Organization and United Nations auspices), scheduled for final publication in 2001, was released in April. The draft revealed that three of the past five years had been the warmest on instrumental record—which went back 140 years—and that 1,000-year tree-ring data had shown the abrupt 20th-century warming to be unique. The report identified a human-induced warming of 0.6 °C (1.08 °F) over the past century but noted that there had been little progress in projecting the future of greenhouse warming because of the many uncertainties about climate models, cloud behaviour, and the changing use of fossil fuels. The report continued to estimate a warming of 2.5 °C (4.5 °F; range 1.5–4.5 °C [2.7–8.1 °F]) from a doubling of carbon dioxide. It also included estimates of the amount of carbon that might be absorbed by changes in land use. The special scientific report on the effects of land use was approved in May by delegates from more than 100 countries attending a meeting in Montreal.

      A report by an 11-member panel of the National Research Council (the research arm of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences complex), published in January, said there was no doubt that temperatures had risen worldwide in the previous 20 years despite the fact that data from satellites and high-altitude balloons had detected little or no warming. The panel found unanimously that although the upper-atmosphere data were reliable, they did not call the ground-based data into question. It found a warming of 0.25–0.4 °C (0.45–0.72 °F) from 1979 to 1999, compared with 0.4–0.8 °C (0.72–1.44 °F) over the past century. The panel said, however, that this did not necessarily mean the warming was caused by greenhouse gases or would continue.

      On January 18 the World Bank announced at The Hague the first global market-based project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and at promoting better technologies in less-developed countries. The project was to be funded by the governments of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and The Netherlands, each contributing $10 million, as well as by several companies, each of which would contribute $5 million. The Bank would act as broker and aimed at a price of about $15 per ton of carbon.

      Air Pollution. Up to 500 fires raging in March in the forests of Sumatra, one of the main islands constituting Indonesia, produced clouds of smoke that drifted toward Malaysia and threatened to repeat the major pollution that affected much of Southeast Asia in 1997. Hundreds of hectares of national park and plantation forest were burned. Many of the fires were set deliberately to clear land for cultivation.

      In March the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new pollution-control standards covering hydrocarbon emissions from handheld tools such as chain saws and garden trimmers. The standards applied only to newly purchased items with engines of 25 hp or less.

      A study by Jonathan Levy and John D. Spengler reported in May that emissions from power stations in Massachusetts could be linked to 43,000 asthma attacks and an estimated 159 premature deaths each year. The companies owning two plants in question agreed to cut emissions, as did four other plants. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide emissions would be cut by 50% by 2003, and carbon dioxide and soot would also be reduced.

      Marine Pollution. In March the European Commission, supported by all 15 member states as well as by nonmember Norway, persuaded the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization to designate the North Sea a low-sulfur-fuel zone. This would require ships in the sea to use fuels containing no more than 1.5% sulfur rather than the 4.5% permitted globally. The Commission said that this should at least halve North Sea sulfur dioxide emissions from the approximately 460,000 metric tons released in 1990. The change would come into effect when at least half the world's fleet had ratified an annex to the Marpol Convention. Panama, with 16.5% of the fleet, and the EU and two applicant countries, Malta and Cyprus, with 20% between them favoured the change, but Liberia and some other countries remained unconvinced.

      The annual meeting of the Ospar Convention was held in Copenhagen in June. Great Britain and France were isolated when other nations called for an end to the reprocessing of spent nuclear reactor fuel, although a few days before the meeting began, British Environment Minister Michael Meacher outlined plans to reduce radioactive discharges by 85% by 2020. The meeting ended on June 30, having made significant progress toward implementing a 1998 agreement to reduce pollution dramatically over a 20-year period.

      In December 1999 a Maltese-registered tanker carrying fuel oil from Rotterdam, Neth., to Leghorn, Italy, broke in two in severe storms 69 km (43 mi) off the coast of Brittany, France, spilling 11.4 million litres (1 litre = 0.26 gal) of heavy fuel oil (10,000 of the 30,000 tons it was carrying). The oil soiled more than 400 km (250 mi) of the coast and polluted oyster beds. Both halves of the 24-year-old vessel sank, with about 20,000 tons of oil still on board. A preliminary report said the ship's structure might have been faulty and criticized the owners and an Italian company responsible for safety checks on the ship. In its official report, a French government committee joined with the European Commission in calling for stricter safety standards, saying ships carrying “black” products (fuel oil, tar, and crude oil) should be subject to the same safety requirements as those carrying “white” products (naphtha, kerosene, and gasoline). The operation to pump oil from the two halves of the tanker was completed on July 30, and the cleanup, paid for by TotalFina, was completed by the end of September.

      Freshwater Pollution. On January 30 a tailings-containment dam failed at the Aurul gold tailings retreatment mine near Baia Mare, Rom. The mine tailings contained an estimated 480,000 oz of gold and 2,200,000 oz of silver. Esmeralda Exploration Ltd., an Australian company based in Perth, owned 50% of the mine and operated it, and the Romanian state-owned company Remin owned the other 50%. Esmeralda Exploration placed itself in voluntary liquidation in order to fend off legal actions. About 100,000 cu m (3,530,000 cu ft) of water contaminated with high concentrations of cyanide as well as large quantities of heavy metals were released into the Lapus River. Cyanide is used in separating gold from the surrounding rock. The contamination fed into the Somes (becoming the Szamos when it crossed into Hungary) and Tisza rivers and from there into the Danube River east of Novi Sad, Yugos., and thereby affected Hungary and Serbia before returning to Romania. It reached the Serbian border on February 10, and by February 16 the cyanide concentration in the Danube in Romania was four times higher than permitted EU levels and almost 20 times higher than the levels permitted in Romania. More cyanide escaped some days later, carried by melting snow, and polluted seven wells in the village of Bozanta Mare, near the mine. As the cyanide moved downstream, city authorities shut down water pumps. The cities of Turnu Magurele and Zimnicea had to rely on wells.

      On March 7, after no dead fish had been found over a period of 24 hours, the Hungarian authorities lifted a water-quality alert on the Tisza River. Life was returning to the Tisza by June as fishermen dumped tiny fish into the water. All the species originally present were being introduced, and it was expected that they would survive. (See Wildlife Conservation (Environment ), below.)

      At about midnight on January 18, a pipeline began leaking oil from the Reduc oil refinery in Brazil, a property of the government-owned company Petrobrás. The oil flowed into Guanabara Bay, contaminating about 14,000 ha (35,000 ac) of mangrove swamps and causing damage to birds, shellfish, and fish. In all, 1.3 million litres were spilled. State environmental officials said that the Petrobrás pipelines were old and poorly maintained.

      On August 15 three chemical company executives and 19 employees were charged in Taipei, Taiwan, with dumping dimethyl benzene solvent into the Kao-p'ing River, the principal source of drinking water in southern Taiwan. The water supply had been shut down after three men were caught dumping the solvent into the river from a tanker holding more than 100 tons. The Shengli Chemical Co., under contract to the Eternal Chemical Co., was alleged to have dumped 13,500 tons of waste solvent into the river since 1987.

      Genetically Modified Foods. On January 29 representatives from about 130 countries agreed in Montreal on the text of rules governing trade in genetically modified organisms. The agreement would become the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (after the city in Colombia where an earlier set of negotiations had ended inconclusively) to the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity and would come into force when 50 parties had ratified it. Representatives of more than 60 countries signed the protocol on May 24, at the end of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Nairobi, Kenya. (See Agriculture and Food Supplies Special Report. (Genetically Modified Foods: The Political Debate ))

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      As a result of captive breeding and conservation efforts, breeding populations of the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) had by 2000 returned to the wild in the Rocky Mountains region of the U.S. The ferret's ultimate fate would, however, depend on that of its prey—prairie dogs. Only one of the five species of prairie dogs was listed as threatened, but all had experienced reductions in their ranges. The black-tailed prairie dog had suffered a 98% reduction in range in 100 years and was being assessed for possible listing as endangered.

      After primates had survived a century with no extinctions, 25 species of apes, monkeys, lemurs, and other primates were at risk of disappearing forever, according to a report released January 10. The main causes for the declines were forest destruction and hunting. Intensifying conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) threatened bonobos (Pan paniscus), which lived only in central DRC; these and other apes fell prey to troops and refugees.

      About 200 tons of fish were killed in January and February as a result of the mine-spill accident in Romania before the 50-km (30-mi)-long pulse of cyanide and heavy metals spilled into the Danube River in northern Yugoslavia, killing still more fish. It may have been the worst-ever case of water pollution in Eastern and Central Europe. Two fish species found only in the upper Tisza may have been pushed to the brink of extinction, and prospects were bleak for other wild species, including white-tailed eagles and otters.(See Environmental Issues: Freshwater Pollution, above.)

      Although a survey of coral reefs off Belize in the Caribbean Sea in February found no signs of recovery from the bleaching caused by the El Niño event of 1997–98, some coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans seemed to be recovering more quickly than expected, possibly owing to the unexpected survival of juvenile coral. The reefs would, however, need a decade or more of undisturbed growth to recover completely, and this was not likely, because repeated bleaching was forecast to accompany the projected global warming. Rising carbon dioxide levels may also cripple coral reefs by dissolving in sea water and reacting with carbonate, reducing the availability of carbonate to corals, which need it to build their skeletons.

      Tuberculosis was diagnosed for the first time in an Iberian lynx in Doñana National Park in southern Spain, and fears were raised for the fewer than 1,000 remaining Iberian lynxes, most of which lived in the park. Wild boar and fallow deer in the area were also infected, and it was suspected that cattle in the park were harbouring the disease.

      The 1,000th giant tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus hoodensis) to be repatriated to its native Galápagos island of Española was released in March, a milestone in the breeding program started by the Charles Darwin Research Station in 1963, when only 14 individuals remained. Attention was now being given to many other threatened tortoise species in the archipelago.

      A 10-year study of Pacific leatherback turtles suggested that they were nearing extinction. The population that nested at Playa Grande, Costa Rica, fell from 1,367 in 1988 to 117 in 1998, and by 2004 there could be fewer than 50. Net fishing off the coast of South America was thought to be catching and killing the turtles accidentally.

      At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in April, it was decided that the ban on regular international trade in elephant ivory should continue and that in the future the issue should be decided by two new bodies established to monitor the illegal killing of elephants and to keep tabs on ivory seizures. Along with 13 other plants, the African tree Prunus africana was given protection by CITES. In order to supply the pharmaceutical trade, this species was being felled much faster than it was being replaced and could be extinct within a decade. On April 22 the discovery of two new marmoset species—Callithrix manicorensis and Callithrix acariensis—in northwestern Brazil was announced. Another 10 new species of monkey, 5 new birds, 1 deer, and 1 peccary were also discovered in the region and awaited scientific description.

      In May it was reported that orangutans were now restricted to the shrinking forests of Borneo and Sumatra; without urgent action they could be extinct in the wild within 20 years because of large-scale habitat destruction for logging and agriculture. A plan was launched to save the species, and there was optimism because International Monetary Fund loans to Indonesia were forbidding extensions to oil palm plantations and loans to loggers.

      Increasing human presence and influence on land use were putting many tropical forest fragments in immediate danger of collapse if new conservation measures were not enacted quickly. Small isolated fragments were unable to sustain their original biodiversity and needed to be connected across broad landscapes. Researchers in July stated that a combination of interacting factors, including forest fragmentation, logging, and El Niño-driven drought, altered the extent of forest fires and thereby caused forest ecosystems to break down and regional climates to change.

      On September 5 Pres. Alberto Fujimori of Peru decreed protection of one of the most biologically important ecosystems in the world. The size of Bahuaja-Sonene National Park was doubled to cover more than 1.1 million ha (1 ha = 2.47 ac) in the rich Amazonian lowland forests at the base of the Andes Mountains, and the adjoining 254,000-ha Tambopata National Reserve, as well as a 262,000-ha buffer zone, was created. As many as 550 bird species and more than 1,200 butterfly species had been recorded in just one of the region's localities. A consortium of oil and gas companies that had held exploratory drilling rights had recently relinquished the area incorporated into the park.

      A viral infectious disease, possibly transmitted through infected battery-hen carcasses, was believed to be the cause of the mysterious and catastrophic decline in vultures in northern India, which had started a decade earlier. One species, the common white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), had been virtually wiped out in some areas, and captive breeding of the birds was being considered.

Jacqui M. Morris

      The gathering of tracking data by zoos had by 2000 become, depending on the animal involved, greatly simplified. For example, Mike Loomis of the North Carolina Zoological Park tracked African elephants in Cameroon, David St. Aubin of the Mystic (Conn.) Aquarium tracked beluga whales in the Canadian Arctic, Molly Lutcavage of the New England Aquarium in Boston used pop-up tags to track bluefin tuna in the North Atlantic, and Scott Pfaff of the Riverbanks Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens in Columbia, S.C., tracked a local population of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes. The Outreach Program at the Baltimore (Md.) Zoo engaged 900 local students to help track wild eastern box turtles by means of radio telemetry. At the New England Aquarium, a display next to a tank containing a harbour seal depicted a real-time tracking of a wild harbour seal moving between Ireland and Scotland and thus immediately linked the captive world to the wild one.

      One of the most significant and gratifying pursuits of zoos and aquariums was the rehabilitation and postrelease tracking of marine mammals and turtles. In 1999 a pair of juvenile long-finned pilot whales had become stranded on the eastern shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The staffs from the New England Aquarium and the Cape Cod Stranding Network were able to respond quickly before the animals could become seriously hurt by abrasion and exposure in the surf. From Cape Cod the animals were transported by truck to the Aquatic Animal Study Center at Mystic Aquarium. The centre was designed specifically for quarantine and intensive care of cetaceans and other marine mammals. Following the whales' arrival, physical examinations revealed evidence of bacterial infection in one animal but little beyond dehydration and stress in the other. Both were later returned to the waters of the western North Atlantic. Each animal carried on its dorsal fin a specially fitted Global Positioning System satellite tag and instrument pack designed to transmit data revealing dive patterns and locations to any of four polar orbiting satellites. A flow of electrical current through seawater prevented signal transmission so long as the unit was underwater; an air break at the surface initiated uplink. Within 24 hours, Mystic had received its first set of transmission data from the tags; some 115 days later, more than 30,000 uplink signals had been received, longer than any other pilot whales (and most other cetaceans) had been continuously monitored. The data continued to indicate that both animals remained together and were swimming and diving consistently.

      During the winter of 1999–2000, sea turtles in large numbers had washed ashore on Cape Cod beaches. Ultimately, the live turtles were transported to Boston's New England Aquarium. Nearly all of them were subsequently relocated to aquariums and marine animal hospitals from Boston to Florida, and they later were released.

      Since 1994 the Zoological Society of San Diego, Calif., in conjunction with the Australian Koala Foundation, had been organizing teams of representatives from interested zoos to assist in collecting field data in Australia with regard to koala habitat utilization and tree species preferences. The data were then analyzed to develop regional models of habitat use by koalas and subsequently to complete further the computerized “Koala Habitat Atlas.” In 2000 two field expeditions were offered to zoo representatives interested in participating in this koala-conservation effort.

      In June 1999 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the City of New Orleans embarked on an exciting new pilot program when the New Orleans mayor and the deputy assistant director of refuges signed the U.S.'s first Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds. With the help of the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge and the Audubon Institute's Louisiana Nature Center, New Orleans began emphasizing the value of cities as sanctuaries for wildlife and exploring ways to enhance parks, gardens, and median areas for the benefit of birds. The mayor of Chicago signed the treaty in March 2000.

      On March 6, 2000, the first African elephant conceived by artificial insemination was born at the Indianapolis (Ind.) Zoo. By July the baby girl, named Amali (a Swahili word meaning “hope”), was a thriving 180-kg (400-lb) toddler. With the numbers of wild elephants dropping sharply in recent years and the level of natural births far below the rate needed to maintain the population, it had become an urgent matter to develop new ways to produce these animals.

      In April the government of China approved the sending of a pair of giant pandas to the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., for breeding purposes. In return, the Smithsonian Institution, which operated the zoo, agreed to donate $1 million per year to China for 10 years for panda research and conservation. Mei Xiang, a two-year-old female, and Tian Tian, a three-year-old male, arrived in Washington on December 6. The pair brings the panda population in U.S. institutions to seven: three at the San Diego, Calif., Zoo and two at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia.

Alan H. Shoemaker

      In 2000 home gardeners continued to purchase plants rather than grow them from seed. In addition, buyers grouped annuals, perennials, grasses, and even tender shrubs together in the landscape or planted them together in a container. There was an increase in the number of gardeners who favoured container gardening, as well as the vegetative rather than seed propagation of both container and bedding plants. Though vegetative propagation had been limited to cultivars not available from seed, such as Lantana, Abutilon, Scaevola, and Bacopa (Sutera), vegetatively propagated petunias, verbena, and snapdragons began to appear.

      All-America Rose Selections (AARS) named three winners for the 2001 season. Glowing Peace—a descendant of Peace, one of the world's best-known roses—was hybridized by the House of Meilland of France from parents Sun King and Roxanne. The plants grew to 1.2 m (1 m = 3.3 ft) in height and were 0.9 m in width, with nearly 8-cm (1 cm  = 0.4 in) blooms that were coloured yellow and cantaloupe-orange above glossy, deep-green foliage that turned burgundy in fall. Slightly smaller was floribunda AARS winner Marmalade Skies, at 0.9 m high and across, with green satiny foliage and clusters of between five and eight 6–8-cm tangerine-orange double flowers on each stem. This stellar rose—developed by Meilland from a combination of Parador, Patricia, and Tamango—was judged excellent for hedging. The first miniature rose to win since 1993 was Sun Sprinkles, an upright, rounded, disease-resistant plant with dark green, glossy foliage. Having a height of only 45–60 cm made Sun Sprinkles ideal for edging or containers. The bright yellow 5-cm double blossoms were moderately fragrant, with an odour of spice and musk. Sun Sprinkles was hybridized by John Walden and introduced by Bear Creek Gardens of the U.S.

      In an effort to build consumer enthusiasm for new plant introductions, seed-industry associations continued to promote award competitions. Interspecific hybrid Zinnia Profusion White, bred by Sakata Seed of Japan for both professional and amateur bedding and container plantings, was chosen to receive a Gold Medal award from both All-America Selections (AAS) and the European flower-testing organization Fleuroselect. Zinnia Profusion White—an open-pollinated diploid annual at 30 cm in height and width, with lance-shaped green leaves and 5-cm single white ray petals crowned by raised orange discs—was also found to be highly resistant to mildew (Erysiphe species.

      Nicotiana x sanderae Avalon Bright Pink, bred for bedding and container use by Floranova of the U.K., also won awards from both organizations—a Gold Medal from Fleuroselect and a bedding-plant award from AAS. It was a very compact F1 hybrid annual with a height of 25 cm and diameter of 30 cm. The star-shaped flowers were 4–5 cm in diameter, with five petals and a unique pale-pink colour with a darker pink edge.Nicotiana Avalon Bright Pink bloomed only 90 days from sowing, resisted summer heat well, and continued to bloom without deadheading until frost.

      Two other plants that received AAS bedding plant awards were Portulaca F1 hybrid Margarita Rosita from Waller Genetics of the U.S. and Eustoma F1 hybrid Forever Blue from the multinational Pan American Seed. Margarita Rosita was a mounding Portulaca; it stood 8–10 cm and spread 30–35 cm. The plants, which had fleshy leaves and semidouble rose flowers 3–4 cm across, were highly heat- and drought-tolerant.Eustoma Forever Blue had a novel basal branching habit that made it more dense than normal Lisianthusand was submitted for a utility patent, which was far more difficult to obtain and more restrictive than a plant patent. Forever Blue reached 30 cm in height and nearly the same in width and bore warm blue 6-cm single flowers atop small shield-shaped foliage.

      AAS awarded one flower award for the 2001 season—to Sunflower (Helianthus) Ring of Fire, bred by Benary Samenzucht of Germany. The late-blooming plants stood 120–150 cm, spread 60–90 cm, and after approximately 120 days displayed a distinct bicolour pattern, with a deep red ring between the golden outer petal colour and the chocolate-brown centres.

      Four vegetables were recognized by AAS for their garden performance in a range of American gardening regions. Hybrid Sweet Corn Honey Select from Rogers (Novartis) of the U.S. was chosen for its enhanced flavour and ease of growth. The 20-cm-long, 5-cm-diameter ears matured in just under 80 days with 18–20 rows of yellow kernels. Honey Select—which contained 75% supersweet genes (which would normally require isolation from other corn varieties) and 25% sugar-enhanced genes (which did not require isolation)—could be grown adjacent to other sweet corns and could withstand a long storage period without losing its flavour.

      Jolly, a new hybrid cluster tomato from Known-You Seed of Taiwan, was awarded a 2001 AAS vegetable award. The peach-shaped pink fruits weighed 40–45 g (1.4–1.5 oz) and were borne in clusters of 9 to 14 on vigorous indeterminate plants about 70–75 days after transplanting when the plants were trellised and pruned.

      Seminis Vegetable Seeds of California earned a vegetable award for Giant Marconi, a hybrid pepper. Introduced as an improved Italian-type grilling pepper, Giant Marconi bore 15–20-cm elongated fruits that were ready for green harvest 72 days after transplanting. The fruits, if left on the 75-cm plants, matured to red up to a month later. The plants were resistant to both potato and tobacco viruses.

      For the first time, an onion won an AAS award. Hybrid Onion Super Star, a globular white onion from Seminis, was chosen for its wide adaptability to daylight. The bulbs were resistant to pink root.

      In the U.S. leading on-line retailer GARDEN.COM ceased operations after failing to secure additional financing, and the nonprofit National Gardening Association (NGA) ceased publication of National Gardening, its for-profit magazine. In addition, the NGA sold to mySEASONS.com—the on-line marketing arm of Foster and Gallagher's stable of horticultural retailers—all rights to the magazine's content as well as to the content of its World Wide Web site, . MySEASONS.com then created a Web site——which incorporated the content from garden.org.

Shepherd Ogden

▪ 2000


International Activities

United Nations Environment Programme.
      About 400 negotiators from 115 countries gathered in Geneva during Sept. 6–11, 1999, for the third of five meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument for Implementing International Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Of these POPs (12 chemicals nicknamed the “dirty dozen”), DDT was the most controversial. Although DDT was banned in 34 countries and its use was severely restricted in 34 more, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved it for malaria control, an action backed by most authorities on the disease. WHO Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland presented the meeting with an “Action Plan for the Reduction of Reliance on DDT for Public Health Purposes.” An open letter signed by 371 scientists, doctors, and health experts, including three Nobel laureates, pointed out that malaria deaths had increased wherever DDT use had declined. The World Wide Fund for Nature nevertheless insisted on a total ban.

      The talks ended with general agreement that production of 8 of the 12 POPs should cease when the treaty came into force in 2003 or 2004. All uses of aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, hexachlorobenzene, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) would be banned, with two exemptions. DDT would be permitted for use as an antimalarial insecticide, but all agricultural uses would be forbidden; and PCBs would still be allowed in electrical equipment, where they were already being used, but would be banned from all new applications. There was less clarity over dioxins and furans, which are by-products of processes. Negotiators planned to meet again in early 2000 in Bonn, Ger., to conclude the treaty at a meeting in South Africa later in 2000, and to sign it in Sweden in 2001.

UN Economic Commission for Europe.
      A multipollutant protocol to the UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution was agreed to on September 2. About 32 European countries were expected to ratify it, and the U.S. and Canada were to sign a modified version. The protocol set national limits for emissions of sulfur, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and ammonia. These would come into force in 2010, and technical annexes would set guidelines for managing ammonia from farms and VOC emissions.

      At a diplomatic meeting of the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers held in Brussels later in September, there was disagreement over how ambitiously the EU should seek to implement the protocol. Southern European countries wished to hold to the figures agreed, but the Commission, supported by several northern states, wanted tougher action.

European Union.
      The Greens emerged as one of the winning parties from the June elections to the European Parliament, increasing their number of seats from 27 to 38. They formed an alliance with nine unaligned regionalist and nationalist members of the European Parliament, creating a bloc that would be known as the Greens/European Free Alliance. The composition of the new European Commission was announced in July. Margot Wallström of Sweden was appointed environment commissioner.

      Ratification of the latest revision to the Amsterdam Treaty, the EU constitution, was completed on March 31 when France ratified it, and it came into force on May 1. It established sustainable development as a central goal of EU policy and gave the European Parliament powers equal to those of the Council of Ministers in environmental matters. This changed the status of procedures between the two bodies from “cooperation” to “co-decision” and removed the power of the Council to overrule the Parliament, which previously had been able to propose amendments but could not force their acceptance.

National Developments

      The Belgian government was defeated in elections on June 13. Socialist and Christian Democrat parties lost votes, while right-wing parties and the two Green parties made gains. The defeat was attributed to a food scandal that ensued when oil contaminated with dioxin, possibly from waste PCB oils, was mixed with food oil, entered livestock feeds, and from there entered the human food chain. The enforced withdrawal of foods emptied shops of meat and milk products and led to bans on Belgian foods in many countries.

      It was reported in February that Gregory Carmichael of the University of Iowa and colleagues in the U.S. and Austria had found that unless emissions from Chinese coal-fired power plants were reduced, deposited acid would acidify soils over a large area by the year 2020. The cost of installing sulfur dioxide scrubbers on all new and all major existing smokestacks and power plants and encouraging greater energy efficiency and a switch to less-polluting fuels would exceed $23 billion per year for 20 years, about 2% of China's gross domestic product.

      The report of a study published on March 30 found that the health of up to 800 million people in China was threatened by arsenic, fluorine, lead, and mercury contained in coal and emitted when the coal was burned for heating and cooking. Peppers dried over coal fires could contain up to 500 parts per million of arsenic, and symptoms of arsenic poisoning had been found in one province. In another area at least 10 million people suffered from fluorine poisoning.

      Following the general election on Sept. 27, 1998, Germany was governed by a “Red-Green” coalition of the Social Democrat and Green parties. Joschka Fischer and Jürgen Trittin of the Green Party became foreign minister and environment minister, respectively. The new government pledged to phase out nuclear power, and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder chaired talks with the nuclear industry to this end. It was also proposed that shipments of spent fuel for reprocessing be ended and contracts with British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) and the French reprocessing company Cogema terminated. On Jan. 26, 1999, however, Schröder announced the abandonment of the Jan. 1, 2000, starting date for the ban on shipping spent fuel, owing to concern about the payment of some $7 billion compensation to BNFL and Cogema. A draft agreement produced at talks in June required each of the country's 19 nuclear plants to close at the end of a maximum 35-year operating life. This would end the use of nuclear power in Germany in the early 2020s. No more fuel would be exported for processing after 2004, when the existing reprocessing contracts expired. A final agreement proved more elusive, however, and on October 3 Schröder threatened the industry with forced reactor closures unless power producers cooperated in negotiating a phaseout program.

      The coalition partners did not fare well in state elections during the year. In February the Green vote in Hesse fell to 7%, from the 11% achieved in 1995, and at elections in Saxony on September 19, it fell to 2.5% from the 4.1% it reached in 1994.

      On September 30 at a uranium-processing plant operated by JCO Co. in Tokaimura, a town of some 33,000 people about 130 km (80 mi) northeast of Tokyo, Japan experienced its worst nuclear accident ever. Three workers were mixing enriched uranium fuel. Instead of using the proper equipment and following safety procedures, two of them poured the liquid by hand into a stainless steel, bucketlike container. They mistakenly poured too much into the container and triggered a nuclear chain reaction that continued for some hours, releasing radioactive particles into the air. Nearly two hours elapsed before the local population was notified, and several more hours passed before approximately 150 residents were evacuated to a community centre. They were allowed to return home on October 2. At least 49 people were exposed to radiation, and the two workers who handled the uranium received potentially lethal doses. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., the parent company, accepted responsibility and promised to pay compensation, but government investigations into the industry continued.

      On June 16 the five judges of the Supreme Administrative Court upheld the right of the Swedish government to order the decommissioning of the 600-MW Barsebäck 1 nuclear reactor at the plant in Malmö. The operating company, Sydkraft AB, announced on July 6 that it would ask the EU to seek a ruling on the matter from the European Court of Justice and to impose a stay of execution on the reactor while the case was being heard. The Supreme Administrative Court agreed that the reactor could remain in operation until the matter was resolved. An opinion poll conducted by the Swedish media research company Sifo Interactive on June 15 found 82% of people questioned supported the continuing use of nuclear power (up from 60% in autumn 1998), 20% wished for it to expand, and 16% favoured phasing it out. The government's draft budget, published on September 20, included a proposal to increase substantially the taxes on both nuclear-generated electricity and diesel fuel. The Swedish Power Association objected, saying the nuclear tax would prevent reinvestment by the industry, leading to higher emissions of greenhouse gases.

Environmental Issues

Climate Change.
      The Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, held in Buenos Aires, Arg., in November 1998, ended with agreement to decide a range of issues by the conference after the next one, to be held toward the end of 2000. Shortly after that the Kyoto Protocol would become “fully operational,” complete with a regime to monitor compliance, and work would be intensified on transferring relevant technologies to less-developed countries. After an additional two weeks of talks on implementing the protocol, held in Bonn in June 1999, it was agreed to submit a series of draft texts to the next Conference of Parties.

      In February British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook announced that Britain would pay $830,200 (£500,000) into a “climate change challenge fund.” This would finance consultancies and training programs and pay for overseas workers to take up placements with British firms in order to help less-developed countries combine economic growth with reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. In late 1998 several multinational companies, including British Petroleum Co., Royal Dutch/Shell, the Italian industrial group Montedison, and DuPont Co. of the U.S., had already pledged to reduce emissions.

Freshwater Pollution.
      In May environmentalists succeeded in curtailing the Hindu practice of throwing corpses into the Ganges River. Thousands of bodies were cremated daily on ghats at Varanasi, a holy city in the north of India, but the demand had become so great that to make room for others, bodies were often removed and thrown into the river while only partly burned. Over the years the river had slowed, and hundreds of decomposing corpses that once would have been carried away by swift currents were trapped among weeds. Ecofriends, a nongovernmental group based in Kanpur, 480 km (300 mi) north of New Delhi, campaigned against throwing bodies into the river and over eight months recovered and burned more than 400. The environmentalists finally persuaded people to cremate their relatives or bury them in the sand beside the river.

      On April 12, representatives of Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands met in Bern, Switz., to sign the third international convention on the Rhine. The previous conventions, in 1963 and 1976, had been successful but had dealt only with controlling pollution. The new convention also included flood management and habitat protection in the alluvial zone on either side of the river. It aimed to reestablish as much as possible of the natural course of the river. The commission administering the convention was given greater powers of implementation.

      The conservation group American Rivers in April announced its list of the 10 most endangered American rivers. The Snake River in Washington headed the list for the second year because of channels and dams that threatened salmon. Dams and channels also threatened the Missouri River in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. Effects from the spread of Atlanta affected the Alabama, Coosa, and Tallapoosa rivers in Georgia and Alabama. Urban development and groundwater pumping threatened the upper San Pedro River in Arizona. Raised banks and flood control endangered trout in the Yellowstone River in Montana and North Dakota. The spread of Seattle threatened the Cedar River in Washington. The Fox River in Illinois and Wisconsin was affected by pollution from Chicago. The spread of Monterey county affected the Carmel River in California. There was a risk of pollution from coal mining in the Coal River in West Virginia. Bear River in Utah suffered reduced flow due to high water consumption in Salt Lake City.

Marine Pollution.
      Work on dismantling Brent Spar, the former oil-storage platform, and converting it to a quay near Stavanger, Nor., began on Nov. 25, 1998. On Sept. 1, 1999, with the task virtually complete, Shell Expro reported that the conversion had cost £41 million ($68 million), compared with the original estimate of £21.5 million ($35.7 million). The company's estimate that about 150 metric tons of oil were in the tanks had been correct, far less than the Greenpeace estimate of 5,000 metric tons. The net energy cost of the conversion was slightly more than double that expected if Brent Spar had been dumped at sea.

      On February 4 the New Carissa, a Japanese-owned, Panama-registered 195-m (639-ft) cargo ship, dragged its anchor and ran aground about 137 m (150 yd) offshore near Coos Bay, Ore., 345 km (215 mi) southwest of Portland, while waiting out a storm before entering the bay to load a cargo of wood chips. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the crew the following day. Pounding surf then breached the ship's fuel tanks, holding about 1,360,000 litres (1 litre = 0.26 gal) of bunker fuel and 141,500 litres of diesel. Three of the five tanks, holding 530,000 litres of bunker fuel and diesel, started leaking, and by February 9 congealed bunker fuel was washing ashore, contaminating some 10 km (6 mi) of coastline. A plan to tow the ship free had to be abandoned when a storm with strong winds threatened to break it apart. After initial efforts to burn the oil in the ship with napalm and plastic explosives failed, U.S. Navy bomb experts boarded the ship and set explosive charges to break open the fuel tanks and allow the oil to flood the cargo holds. They poured nearly 1,325 litres of napalm gel over the ship and ignited it by remote control. The explosion and fire engulfed the vessel, but during the fire the ship broke into two parts. An estimated 90% of the oil was burned, and on the afternoon of February 14 a helicopter dropped a fire accelerant to reignite one of the cargo holds containing up to 190,000 litres of oil. Attempts to burn the remaining oil continued, and it was decided to refloat the 134-m (440-ft) bow section of the ship, tow it to sea, and sink it in deeper water. (There was no plan to move the stern section.) On February 16 an inspection team estimated the forward section still contained about 510,000 litres of oil—about half the original amount rather than the supposed 10%—that by then had become highly viscous. On February 27 the weather eased sufficiently to start moving the bow through the surf and across two sandbars. On the night of March 2 the bow was finally freed and towed to sea, but it came free during a fierce storm and ran aground again, spilling more oil. By March 9 the bow section was being towed once more. In all, the ship spilled about 265,000 litres of oil. The New Carissa was finally sunk on March 11 by explosive charges, 70 shells fired from the USS David R. Ray, and a torpedo from the nuclear submarine USS Bremerton. The final operation took two hours and spilled an additional 150,000 litres of oil, which was removed by a skimming vessel.

Toxic Waste.
      On June 2 Christian Hansen, Jr., the 72-year-old former chief executive of the Hanlin Group Inc., based in New Jersey, was sentenced at Brunswick, Ga., to nine years in federal prison and fined $20,000 for having polluted marshland in southeastern Georgia. The pollution was from the LCP Chemicals-Georgia Inc. plant, owned by the Hanlin Group. Its managing director, Alfred Taylor, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison. Sentencing was delayed for Hansen's son Randall, another former director of the Hanlin Group. The plant was closed in February 1994 and declared a Superfund cleanup site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the EPA, 223 ha (550 ac) were heavily contaminated with substances, including mercury, lead, PCBs, and refinery wastes.

      Royal Caribbean Cruises, based in Miami, Fla., agreed in July to pay an $18 million fine for having illegally dumped tons of waste oil and hazardous chemicals from its shipboard dry cleaning shops and printing and photographic processing equipment into American waters. The company admitted 21 counts of deliberate discharging. The fine was large because crew members had lied to Coast Guard officials when questioned about the slicks behind their ships, and the company had conspired to dump wastes from all its fleet to save money.

      On August 16 Gary Benkovitz was sentenced in Tampa, Fla., to 13 years in prison and fined $14,000 by U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara for causing severe pollution. Benkovitz owned Bay Drum and Steel, Inc., a company that cleaned and resold 55-gal drums. He and his company were charged with having released more than 15,000,000 litres of contaminated water and more than 289,000 kg (636,350 lb) of sludge.

Nuclear Waste.
      On July 20 the North Carolina legislature voted to withdraw from the Southeast Compact, a group of seven states (North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi) that was one of several formed in different parts of the U.S. to deal with the disposal of nuclear waste. The decision meant North Carolina would not have to develop a dump for low-level waste, which left the utilities and research organizations generating waste dependent on a dump at Barnwell, S.C.

      On March 25 a truck carrying about 270 kg (600 lb) of low-level radioactive waste in three stainless steel containers left Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), located near Carlsbad, N.M., 435 km (270 mi) south. It was the first of about 37,000 consignments of waste to be sent to the WIPP. At dawn on April 27, the first truckload of waste left for the WIPP from Idaho Falls, Idaho, 11 years after the state closed its borders to radioactive waste from outside the state.

Michael Allaby

Wildlife Conservation
      In 1999 the World Wildlife Fund–U.S. reported that global warming was disrupting ocean life and thus threatening the survival of large numbers of species, especially at higher latitudes. Some populations of North Pacific salmon had declined badly over the past two years as ocean temperatures in the region rose. Warmer waters had also brought about food shortages that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of seabirds. Climate warming was linked to the northward extensions of ranges of southern British breeding birds and of butterflies in Europe and to earlier breeding among the Mexican jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina) in North America.

      Six individuals of a supposedly extinct giant lizard (a species of Galliota) were captured on Gomera in the Canary Islands. The lizard, which was threatened by cats and rats, was thought to be among the world's most endangered reptiles, and a captive breeding project was under way. A new species of striped rabbit, related to the rare Nesolagus netcheri found in Sumatra in Indonesia, was reported from the Annamese Cordillera of Laos and Vietnam. Many island molluscan faunas were seriously threatened, but Discus guerinianus, one of the most elegant Madeiran land snails, was reported as rediscovered after having been believed extinct.

      In April the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) allowed Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to sell 57.8 tons of stockpiled ivory to Japan under tightly controlled conditions, the first permitted trade in ivory in 10 years. CITES parties had accepted that elephant populations in the three countries were stable or growing and controlled trade should be allowed. Funds from the sales were to be used for conservation.

      Scientists continued to be concerned about diseases that affect marine organisms, especially shellfish, corals, and marine mammals. Many of these diseases were caused by known microorganisms infecting new hosts, with climate change and human activities playing major roles by undermining host resistance and facilitating pathogen transmission. Research into the causes of massive die-offs of frogs resulted in some workers' linking population crashes in amphibians in highland forests in Costa Rica to climate change, whereas others believed that a new, virulent parasitic chytrid fungus was to blame for deaths and extinctions of frogs in Australia, Costa Rica, Panama, and the U.S.

      The discovery of the first hermaphrodite polar bear in Greenland raised fears that the populations of some 100,000 polar bears in the Arctic were threatened by environmental pollution. The phenomenon, which was reported in 1998 in seven bears on the Norwegian island of Spitzbergen, was believed to be the result of ingestion of polychlorinated biphenyls through the food chain. Pesticides were suspected to be the cause of the rapid decline in vultures throughout their range in northern India. As a result, animal carcasses were being left uneaten, creating a potential human health hazard. In the U.S. the removal of the bald eagle and peregine falcon from the endangered species list was hailed as a sign that the enforced reduction in pesticides such as DDT had been a success.

      In July eight Montserrat orioles (Icterus oberi) and nine mountain chickens (Leptodactylus fallax), a frog species valued for its meat, were captured on the island of Montserrat for a breeding program. Both had declined in numbers as a result of volcanic activity on Montserrat. The Australian government proposed a 6,000-km (3,700-mi) increase in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to protect the entire system. The new protected areas included seagrass beds that were of vital importance to dugongs. Oysters were returning to the Hudson River within 16 km (10 mi) of New York City as a result of a river cleanup started in the late 1960s. The numbers of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) rose to 28 in the wild in California; in Arizona 28 had been released since 1996 and 97 were in captivity. Scientists from China's National Academy of Sciences announced in June that they had taken a step toward cloning the giant panda in a bid to save it from extinction. They had produced an embryo by transferring the nucleus of an adult giant panda cell into an egg from a rabbit and were attempting to implant the embryo in the uterus of a black bear foster mother. Twenty percent of the remaining 100 endangered Vancouver Island marmots (Marmota vancouverensis) were captured for a breeding program after clear-cut logging in the valleys had isolated colonies. Mass nesting by tens of thousands of endangered olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) occurred on the beaches of Orissa state in India, for the first time in three years. Conservationists hailed the turtles' return as the fruit of a massive protection exercise by volunteer groups and government departments against drowning of turtles in illegally operated trawl fisheries.

      On April 26 the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service set new rules to stop overfishing of large coastal sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. They called for major cuts in commercial and recreational quotas and a moratorium on 19 species. On May 3 the Norwegian whaling season opened with a fleet of 36 boats set to hunt a “self-awarded” quota of 753 minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), the highest number since the moratorium on commercial whaling went into force in 1986. One week earlier the Japanese fleet had returned with 389 minke whales, killed in the Southern Ocean. In March Iceland had announced plans to resume commercial whaling by the end of 2000. At the 51st meeting of the International Whaling Committee (IWC), held in May in St. George's, Grenada, delegates rejected virtually every proposal by whaling nations Japan and Norway to ease restrictions on commercial whaling, reasserted the IWC's role as the world authority on whale management, and opposed Japan's motion to reopen the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to whaling.

      The growing trade in bushmeat (meat from wild animals) in many parts of tropical central and western Africa was reported to be unsustainable as a result of increased demand from urban markets and logging concession workers. At the first Abu Dhabi International Arabian Oryx Conference, held in the United Arab Emirates in February, it was reported that poachers had reduced the reintroduced wild population of Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in Oman from over 400 to 138. The population was no longer viable, and some of the remaining animals were rescued to form a captive herd. Antipoaching measures had been strengthened, however, and there had been no poaching since January. The Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii), or chiru, was on the edge of extinction as a result of its being hunted for its valuable underwool, called shahtoosh, which was used in making fashionable shawls. Musk deer (species of Moschus) populations were declining fast in nearly all of the 13 countries where they occurred in Asia and eastern parts of Russia as a result of the high demand for musk (from the male scent glands) for medicines and perfumes. Musk was one of the world's most expensive natural products, with a retail value three to five times higher than that of gold. Widespread illegal trade was occurring without the required CITES permits.

Jacqui M. Morris

      Zoos continued to expand their role in reintroducing threatened animals into their natural environments. Six Louisiana pine snakes (Pituophis ruthveni) bred at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans were released in northern Louisiana in 1999. Morphometric analysis by Steve Richling of the Memphis (Tenn.) Zoological Garden and Aquarium indicated that the Louisiana pine snake was arguably the most endangered species of snake in North America. The reintroduction program was carried out with the cooperation of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The released snakes were equipped with transponders for future tracking and recapture studies.

      The Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown, S.D., and the Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, participated in a trumpeter swan restoration project in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Since 1993 Bramble Park Zoo's pair of swans had produced 24 cygnets for this program. The cygnets were parent-raised without human contact and then taken to the Minnesota Zoo before they grew flight feathers. After being fitted with bright orange wing tags, the two-year-old swans were released on lakes in Minnesota.

      By 1998 the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) had disappeared from the last oak prairies of Ohio because of habitat alteration and drought. A signature species of the oak-savannah ecosystem and protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1992, its population had nevertheless declined nationwide by 99% during the past 100 years. With the help of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), the Toledo (Ohio) Zoo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Michigan and Ohio departments of natural resources, and the Nature Conservancy, live specimens from a healthy Karner blue butterfly population in Allegan, Mich., were taken to the Toledo Zoo for breeding. More than 100 adult butterflies were reintroduced to natural environments in Ohio during 1998 and twice that number in 1999.

      In late 1998 a southern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) was moved from the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla., to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Analysis of the genetic makeup of the Kruger rhino population indicated the need for additional genetic enhancement. Potential disease transfer issues prevented the safe translocation of wild rhinos from other regions of Africa. Born at the White Oak Conservation Center in 1996 from parents caught in the wild in Zimbabwe, the young male black rhino made the 56-hour trip to Kruger National Park under the watchful eye of the park's chief veterinarian. Kruger protected one of the healthiest black rhino populations on the African continent, and it was anticipated that the young male would eventually contribute healthy genetic offspring to this cooperative rhino conservation program.

      Project Betampona, a release program of black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata) into Betampona Natural Reserve in Madagascar, continued in 1999. Nine captive-bred lemurs were released in the reserve to bolster its remaining population of 35 wild lemurs. The project was headquartered at the village of Rendrirendy. Support for the project from a number of zoos in the U.S., including the San Francisco Zoological Garden, had made it possible for a team of scientists to do short-term work in the reserve, and the team's presence had virtually eliminated ebony poaching, the real threat to the reserve. Supporting zoos were considering providing additional funds for new projects at the reserve.

      In order to provide accurate biological information to the public about high-profile groups of animals, several conservation groups of the AZA created their own World Wide Web sites. The AZA Felid Taxon Advisory Group (Felid TAG) launched a Web site at http://www.csew.com/felidtag. The specific objective of this site was to provide accurate, up-to-date information on those species of felids targeted by Felid TAG in its Regional Collection Plan (RCP) for captive management. The site provided individual fact sheets on species included in its RCP. The AZA Antelope Taxon Advisory Group also launched its own Web site. Located at http://www.antelopetag.org, this site provided similar information on those species of antelopes targeted by the group's RCP for captive management.

      The death in November of Hsing-Hsing, the male giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., who had been given to the U.S. in commemoration of Pres. Richard Nixon's trip to China in 1972, was widely mourned.

Alan H. Shoemaker

      The wet weather that plagued much of northwestern Europe during the fall and winter of 1998 continued through the spring of 1999 and was followed by a prolonged drought that lasted the entire summer. Despite late planting, many crops matured early, and seed crops, though not as abundant as in some seasons, were of especially high quality, with above-average germination.

      Many seed-producing companies continued to expand their operations in China, where favourable climates, inexpensive, well- trained labour, and government support made operations quite profitable for foreign producers. Although the spring was unusually hot in northern China—where most crops were produced—and led to some damage to cool-weather crops like snapdragon, lettuce, and chicory, the season was successful and crops were good.

      Seed companies in the U.S. noted significant increases in sales of vegetable seed owing to home gardeners' fears about the impact of the Y2K computer problem on energy- and food-distribution systems. This led to sales increases of more than 20% in some cases and spot shortages of some vegetable seed.

      Consolidation also continued in the seed industry. Whereas in previous years ownership changes in the producer and agronomic sectors had been prevalent, 1999 saw retail mail-order nurseries Gurney's and Henry Field's purchased by Foster and Gallagher, which, with holdings that included home garden merchants Breck's of Holland, Spring Hill Nurseries, Michigan Bulb Co., Stark Brothers' Nurseries, and the Vermont Wildflower Farm, claimed to be the largest direct-to-consumer North American distributor of garden products. In a separate transaction, J.W. Jung Seed Co. of Randolph, Wis., purchased R.H. Shumway Seedsman and a host of specialist subsidiaries, including Vermont Bean Seed Co., Seymour's Seeds, Totally Tomatoes, Carolina Seeds, and Horticultural Products and Services.

      The European flower-testing organization Fleuroselect did not award a gold medal for outdoor plants for the 2000 season, but it did reward one commercial greenhouse flower with that medal: Delphinium consolida (Annual Larkspur) Sydney Purple, bred by Hamer Bloemzaden of The Netherlands. Fully double, it bloomed in only 8–12 weeks from sowing, at a height of 120 cm (1 cm=0.4 in).

      All-America Selections (AAS) made four 2000 awards for vegetables. Hybrid Cabbage Savoy Express was chosen for its earliness, only 55 days from transplant. The half-kilogram (one-pound) heads were suitable for both spring and fall plantings, and at 20 cm high and 15 cm across, they could be spaced only 30 cm apart. Hybrid Pepper Blushing Beauty produced blocky, four-lobed, 10-cm fruits that ripened from ivory to coral and to red and were first ready for harvest about 72 days after transplanting. Plants stood 45 cm, were 40 cm wide, and were resistant to three races of bacterial leaf spot. Resistance to Fusarium wilt and powdery mildew were strong attributes of AAS 2000 winner Mr. Big garden pea. The 1.5–1.8-m (1 m=3.3 ft) plants bore mostly double 11–12-cm pods containing 9–10 peas beginning two months after emergence. The final vegetable award from AAS went to Indian Summer hybrid sweet corn. Its 20-cm ears with 16–18 rows of multicoloured kernels matured on 2.1-m plants in about 79 days from sowing. As an sh2 supersweet corn, it had to be isolated from other forms of sweet corn by about 75 m to avoid cross-pollination. The sh2 indicated that the corn had the “shrunken two” gene, which inhibited the normal sweet corn conversion of sugar to starch after harvest, therefore allowing the cobs to remain sweet for 7–14 days after harvest.

      Five new flower varieties also won AAS awards for 2000. Catharanthus roseus Stardust Orchid was the sole bedding-plant winner. Single orchid blossoms four centimetres in diameter with white centres were held just above glossy green shield-shaped foliage. Mature plants grown in a sunny spot reached 35–40 cm in height and width. Cosmos sulphureus Cosmic Orange bore a full covering of golden orange semidouble blooms (5 cm in diameter) on mounding 30-cm plants with moderately divided mid-green foliage. Hybrid Dianthus Melody Pink was a new single-flowered annual with serrated petals and stems 55–60 cm long. The first dwarf Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) to receive an AAS award was Fiesta del Sol, which grew only 60–90 cm in height and width and had orange daisylike flowers (5–7.6 cm in diameter) with raised yellow centres. Soraya became the first true sunflower to win an AAS award because of its colour—orange petals with a chocolate disc. The 1.5–1.8-m branching plants bore multiple 10–15-cm blooms on long side stems, and those not harvested for bouquets provided seed for garden birds, a trait increasingly rare in new sunflower varieties.

      The Perennial Plant Association of the U.S. chose Scabiosa columbaria Butterfly Blue as its Plant of the Year. Reliably hardy from U.S.

      Department of Agriculture zones 3–9, it grew in full sun to light shade and bore 5-cm lavender flowers on 30–38-cm stems from midspring to early fall if kept deadheaded. The nearly flat basal foliage was gray-green, ovate to lance shaped, and hairy, with its upper foliage more finely divided, forming a mounded rosette 15–20 cm in height and at least 30 cm or more across.

      All-America Rose Selections named three winners for the 2000 season. Knock Out was a new hybrid shrub rose developed by William Radler that grew in height and width to 0.9 m. Its 7.6–9-cm cherry red blossoms had five to seven petals that gave off a light tea rose fragrance.

      Crimson Bouquet was a hardy disease-resistant grandiflora rose with 10.1-cm-diameter bright red flowers atop 40–45-cm stems on a rounded plant 11 cm in height and 9 cm in width. A coral and cream bicolour, Gemini was a hybrid tea rose with 11-cm flowers, fully double, with a petal count of 25–30 and long stems for cutting. This disease-resistant rose was hybridized by Keith Zary, using Anne Morrow Lindbergh and New Year as the parents.

Shepherd Ogden

▪ 1999


International Activities

Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.
      Greenhouse-gas emissions remained a major issue in 1998. In December 1997 representatives from 160 signatory nations to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change had attended a meeting in Kyoto, Japan, and reached an agreement, called the Kyoto Protocol, to reduce global emissions by about 5.2% by 2012. The European Union (EU) agreed to reduce emissions by an average 8% below 1990 levels, followed by the U.S. (7%), Japan (6%), and 21 other industrial countries that would reduce emissions by varying amounts. Binding commitments were not required of less-developed countries (LDCs). Shortly before the meeting in Kyoto, it was reported that the World Bank had prepared a scheme, called the Global Carbon Initiative, that would allow developed countries to pay for low-cost, energy-efficient projects in LDCs. The saving in greenhouse-gas emissions could then be credited to the binding emissions target of the donor countries under a system called "joint implementation." Concerns that a reduction could have serious economic repercussions led to doubts over whether the U.S., which accounted for 20-25% of the world emissions total, would ratify the protocol; by the end of 1998, the U.S. had not yet done so.

Global Environment Facility.
      At their first assembly, held in New Delhi in April 1998, Global Environment Facility (GEF) managers agreed to review their policy on supporting environmental projects in LDCs. Funds would continue to be allocated to climate change (40%), biodiversity (40%), ozone depletion (10%), and water supplies (10%), but it was agreed that GEF activities should be more open to inspection and that there should be greater involvement from the private sector, the public, and environmentalist groups. The GEF fund was replenished by $2,750,000,000 over three years, although this figure included $680,000,000 brought forward from the first round of funding and $80,000,000 of unused funds.

Living Planet Report.
      On October 1 the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFN), the New Economics Foundation, and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre at Cambridge, Eng., published the Living Planet Report, comparing the impact human activities were having on the global environment with the impact they had in 1960. The report stated that since 1960 use of freshwater had doubled, which was causing a decline in freshwater habitats. Carbon dioxide emissions had also doubled; consumption of wood and paper had increased by two-thirds; and consumption of sea fish had more than doubled. Most fish stocks were either fully exploited or declining, and few forests were being managed sustainably. The main cause of these increases was said to be rising consumption levels. In many parts of the world, there was heightened interest in ecological restoration. (See Special Report (Ecological Restoration ).)

      The Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty came into force on Jan. 14, 1998, following its ratification by Japan, the last of the 26 parties to the treaty to do so. The protocol required all explorers, tourist operators, and scientific expeditions to obtain permission to enter the region south of latitude 60° and to submit an environmental-impact assessment. Mining of any kind was banned within this area for 50 years, and environmental improvements were to be made at the sites of scientific stations. In April Australian workers started to clean up the abandoned Wilkes Station, which had been built by the U.S. military in 1957 and transferred to Australia in 1959. Australians had used it to study the atmosphere and weather, but in 1969 the researchers moved to Casey Station nearby, leaving years of accumulated garbage in the open.

      Difficulties with waste disposal in the Antarctic climate were illustrated by a report in June that sewage from the U.S. McMurdo Station stretched at least one kilometre (0.6 mi) along the shoreline and for 300 m (985 ft) out to sea. Sewage from McMurdo, which housed about 1,000 people, was routinely macerated but not treated chemically or biologically before being discharged from an outflow pipe 50 m (165 ft) from the shore into 17 m (56 ft) of water. At a meeting held in Hobart, Tas., Australia, in late August, 50 Antarctic specialists agreed on proposals to reduce the risk of carrying pathogens to Antarctica, where they could cause disease among wildlife. The plan would involve briefing everyone visiting Antarctica on ways to avoid spreading pathogens—including proper cleaning of all equipment and clothing, especially boots, before and after visiting wildlife sites and certifying that poultry food products imported to Antarctica were free from dangerous pathogens. The scientists also proposed that sewage be treated by boiling for five minutes. The scheme was to be presented to the next meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations, to be held in Lima, Peru, in 1999.

National Developments

      On February 12 Brazilian Pres. Fernando Henrique Cardoso signed a law imposing strict penalties for environmental offenses. Companies violating environmental regulations would be forbidden to bid for government contracts for 10 years and would lose tax breaks. Their owners would be fined in proportion to the company profits. Anyone caught illegally trading animals, burning trees, extracting minerals, or causing pollution could be imprisoned for up to three years.

      In March Environment Minister Christine Stewart introduced a revised version of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. This emphasized voluntary efforts by industry to achieve environmental improvement and increased cooperation between the federal and provincial governments. The act included the Canada-Wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization with three subagreements, signed at the end of January by Stewart and the provincial governments. It dealt with environmental assessment and the establishment of national environmental standards and inspections under federal law. The federal agency Environment Canada hailed the new act as a significant advance, but critics were concerned at the weakening of the role of the federal government.

      It was reported in July that the Canadian government had reached agreement with the Inuit of the eastern Arctic on a Can$155 million (U.S. $105 million) deal to clean up 15 military radar sites. The sites were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, and other substances. A study by scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, based in Norway, reported in September that 48% of Inuit women living on Baffin Island were ingesting more of the pesticide chlordane than the World Health Organization (WHO) considered tolerable. In addition, 29% of the women exceeded the WHO limit for mercury, 21% for cadmium, and 16% for PCBs. Breast milk in Inuit women contained 10 times more chlordane and 5 times more PCBs than that from women in southern Canada. Most of the pollutants came from Russia, especially from farms and industrial complexes in the north.

Czech Republic.
      In May 45,000 salmon spawn from Germany were released into the Kamenice, Ploucnice, and Ohre rivers, three north Bohemian tributaries of the Elbe River. It was hoped the fish would migrate to the North Sea in two years and return four years later to the rivers from which they had migrated. The release marked the extent to which pollution had been reduced since the last salmon was caught in the Czech portion of the Elbe in 1950.

      Elections to the German Bundestag (parliament) in late September led to the formation of a "Red-Green" coalition between the Social Democrats, led by Gerhard Schröder, and the Greens, led by Joschka Fischer. The Greens were already members of coalition governments in 4 of the 16 German states, but the federal election made the party influential at the national level for the first time, although they won less than 7% of the vote in the election.

      On March 20 more than 30,000 police clashed with thousands of protesters who were trying to prevent a trainload of 60 tons of spent nuclear fuel from being delivered to a storage plant at Ahaus, north of Cologne. Demonstrations began on March 15, with more than 3,500 people protesting outside the Ahaus plant. In addition, about 1,000 protested in Neckerwestheim and about 250 in Günzburg, the two towns in southern Germany near the plants from which the waste was to be moved. The shipment set out on March 19, instead of March 23 as originally planned, in an attempt to outwit demonstrators, but near Stuttgart police found the road to the railhead weakened. A tunnel had been dug beneath it, and protesters were chained to one another inside it. There were demonstrations outside the plant and outside the Gundremmingen plant, near Munich, from which spent fuel was also being dispatched on March 19.

      On April 25 the tailings dam containing a lagoon holding mining waste from the Los Frailes open-pit iron-pyrite mine operated by Boliden Apirsa Ltd., a Canadian-Swedish company, at Aznalcollar, near Seville, burst. A breach 50 m (165 ft) long appeared in the dike, and an estimated 5.7 billion litres (1.5 billion gal) of acid sludge spilled into the Agrio River. The sludge, which contained toxic metals, including cadmium, lead, zinc, and chromium, entered the Guadiamar River, contaminated farmland, and came within eight kilometres (five miles) of the boundary of the Coto Doñana National Park. Crop damage, covering 5,060 ha (12,500 ac), was estimated at $79 million.

      Volunteers began clearing away dead fish on April 28. A series of dikes, hastily constructed from earth and sand, controlled the flow of the material, keeping it away from the park and diverting it into the Guadalquivir River and thence into the Atlantic. On May 3 bulldozers began removing the three million tons of contaminated mud. The plan was to dump the waste into a disused mine. By August delays in the cleanup were leading to fears that autumn floods would wash more poisoned water into the park. A task force of 1,600 workers promised by the regional government had failed to materialize, and the national and Andalucian governments had devised conflicting plans. This meant no agreed-upon plan had been submitted to Brussels, a condition for the release of an EU rescue fund, and the money could not be released before September, after autumn rains caused more flooding.

      On September 22 the federal Environment Ministry announced the cleanup was almost complete. Millions of cubic metres of mud had been shifted, and heavy-metal contaminants were being removed by precipitation in a temporary reservoir. Spain requested ECU 96 million in structural funds for the cleanup and for the Doñana 2005 Programme to restore the Guadiamar River to its original condition. On September 28, however, the WWFN and Adena, its Spanish counterpart, urged the EU to withhold funds for the central and Andalucian authorities responsible for the cleanup program. The WWFN released the results of a study that found that 30% of affected land was still untreated and that 1,600 ha (3,950 ac) in the Entremuros area, at the lowest part of the Guadiamar, had not been included in the program. This, the WWFN said, was an important winter habitat for birds, and it wanted the EU to conduct an independent quality-control study on the program before releasing funds.

      Following a national referendum held on September 27, from the year 2001 heavy-goods vehicles using Swiss roads would be subject to an environmental tax calculated on the distance traveled. The law to impose the tax was passed in 1997, but it required referendum support before it could come into force. The referendum result showed 57% of people were in favour. The result also allowed the government to open Swiss roads to EU vehicles in transit, with an average charge of about 200 centimes (U.S. $1.35) per transit, and thus brought the country closer to finalizing a bilateral trade agreement with the EU.

United States.
      On June 17 it was announced that the Unocal Corp. had agreed to pay the $18 million cost of cleaning up sand and soil contaminated by gasoline, diesel fuel, and crude oil at Avila Beach, Calif., a town of 300 people northwest of Los Angeles. The cleanup required up to 20 homes and businesses to be dismantled or moved from the main commercial street while 1.5 million litres (400,000 gal) of contaminated sand was removed from beneath the street and beach. The operation was scheduled to take 18 months.

      On July 14 the Natural Resources Defense Council published its annual survey of water quality at beaches. The survey covered 29 coastal and Great Lakes states and three U.S. territories and was conducted by the Council and the Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA). Beaches in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Puerto Rico were awarded low marks. In 1997 there were 4,153 beach closings and pollution advisories on ocean, lake, river, and bay beaches, compared with 2,596 in 1996. This did not indicate an increase in pollution, however, because of the inclusion in the 1997 survey of Guam and some freshwater beaches omitted from the 1996 data.

      In September a federal jury in Pittsburgh, Pa., found that the Babcock & Wilcox Co. and Atlantic Richfield Co., the successive operators of the Nuclear Materials and Fuels Corp., had been negligent in their running of a facility at Apollo, northeast of Pittsburgh, that processed uranium for nuclear reactors and submarines for about 20 years and had allowed radiation to escape from it. In the early 1990s the plant was demolished, and more than 2,265 cu m (80,000 cu ft) of soil and debris were moved to a radioactive-waste disposal site.

      The trial, which began on August 10, was in regard to an action brought in 1994 by nearly 100 residents of Apollo, where there was an unusually high incidence of uterine, breast, and kidney cancer and leukemia. The court awarded them and their families $36.5 million. The case was a test for more than 90 personal injury cases, about 120 property damage cases, and a class-action law suit seeking medical monitoring for residents.

Environmental Issues

Environmental Crime.
      On April 5 environment ministers from the U.K., the U.S., Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, and Russia met at Leeds Castle in Kent, Eng., to discuss plans for combatting the smuggling of hazardous waste, substances that damage the ozone layer, and endangered species. It was said that the trade in illicit drugs was the only illegal industry that generated more money than the $5 billion a year produced by the trade in endangered and rare species. The ministers agreed to increase public awareness of illegal trade that damages the environment and to provide more help to LDCs that complied with international environmental agreements and combat environmental crime.

Forest Fires.
      On March 4 the Indonesian Antara news agency reported that haze due to the fires on Borneo was blocking sunlight from crops and causing transport difficulties. In early April schools in one part of Borneo were closed for six successive days because of high air-pollution levels, and on April 12 it was reported that the Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) level on Borneo was 500. (A PSI value of 200 is considered "very unhealthy," above 300 is "hazardous," and above 400 is "very hazardous.") On April 13 the U.S. ambassador to Brunei said he had requested permission from Washington to evacuate embassy staff because of the potentially hazardous air pollution. On April 30 the Malaysian environment minister announced that Kuala Lumpur was to be hosed down from the roofs of skyscrapers to wash the smog from the air.

      There were also severe fires in Central America. In May rural inhabitants burned land as usual in preparation for the planting season. Dry conditions caused by El Niño allowed the fires to spread, especially in the southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero; the eastern states of Yucatán and Campeche; and in Morelos state, near Mexico City. The fires covered about 485,600 ha (1.2 million ac), and their smoke spread through Mexico and into the southern U.S. Mexico City was badly affected. U.S. Southern Command forces helped fight the fires, supplying four helicopters and 21 crew members. On May 25 ozone levels in Mexico City reached 251 g (micrograms)/cu m. (More than 100 is considered unsatisfactory, and more than 200 can cause health problems in children, the elderly, and people with respiratory and other illnesses.) Emergency measures to cope with the smog were imposed. Factories reduced production, schools kept children indoors, and almost 40% of the city's cars were ordered to remain parked for the following day; this ban was extended for several more days. On May 26 and 27, ozone levels exceeded 200 /cu m, and on May 28 the level reached 194. Two days later ozone levels fell below 180, and the pollution alert was lifted.

Air Pollution.
      Environment ministers from member states of the EU agreed on June 30 that from Jan. 1, 2000, permitted emissions from gasoline-engine cars and vans would be reduced by 30-40% and from diesel-engine cars by 50%. The sulfur content of gasoline would be reduced by 70% and of diesel by 30%. These new emission limits would be reduced by an additional 50% from Jan. 1, 2005.

      In the U.K. the results of a Department of Health study, published on January 13, said traffic fumes were causing the premature deaths of 12,000-24,000 people a year and causing 14,000-24,000 to be admitted to a hospital. Ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide were the principal pollutants involved.

      Several steps to reduce air pollution were taken in China. It was announced in March that the Capital Steel Corp. had decided not to increase production at its main Beijing factory so that it would not increase the amount of air pollution it was causing. In 1997 the company had produced eight million tons of steel, 8% of the total national output. Later the same month it was reported that owners of cars and trucks in Beijing emitting more than the permitted amounts of exhaust gases would be required to fit catalytic converters to their vehicles. Up to 50,000 vehicles a year would be subjected to spot checks by police and environmental officers. Drivers whose vehicles exceeded permitted tailpipe-emission limits would have their licenses suspended. These would be reinstated once converters had been fitted.

      On February 28 the Beijing local government started releasing weekly air-pollution reports, joining 27 other Chinese cities that had begun issuing such reports in 1997. The amount of information released varied from city to city. Shanghai issued levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and total suspended particulates; Beijing gave only the level of the worst pollutant among the three. The Beijing authorities also announced that over the next two years they would use 1.5 billion cu m (53 billion cu ft) of natural gas to discourage people from burning coal bricks and planned to establish 40 coal-free zones and encourage the use of higher-quality coal elsewhere. By 2000 half of all homes would be centrally heated. In the late 1990s, 27 million tons of coal were burned each year in Beijing, releasing a haze with a high sulfur dioxide content.

      In the U.S. environmental administrators from northeastern states from Maine to New York met White House officials in July to lobby for an EPA proposal that would reduce emissions from Midwestern coal-burning power plants. The group presented the report of a study commissioned by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management that showed that the Midwestern plants could reduce emissions for $662 a ton; unless they did so, the northeastern states would have to impose controls at a cost of $3.9 billion a year to their own economy.

Ozone Layer.
      The ozone assessment produced every four years by more than 200 scientists on behalf of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) was published in June. WMO Secretary General Godwin Obasi said the report showed that the 1987 Montreal Protocol was working. Full recovery of the ozone layer was expected by the middle of the 21st century, but signs of recovery might not become apparent until about 2020 owing to natural variability.

      In January the European Commission launched the Third European Stratospheric Experiment on Ozone, funded jointly by the EU and national agencies and involving more than 400 scientists, including workers from Canada, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, and the U.S. Due to run until the end of 1999, it had the task of gathering data on the long-term decline in ozone over Europe. Winter and early-spring ozone levels had already been found to be more than 10% lower than those of the 1970s. On October 1 scientists at the WMO in Geneva announced that in 1998 the Antarctic ozone depletion covered a surface area 5% larger than in previous years.

Nitrogen Cycle.
      It was suggested in February that the human contribution to the nitrogen cycle was threatening to overload the biosphere. It was calculated that the use of nitrogen fertilizer and the emission of nitrogen oxides by vehicles and factories produced 60% of all the fixed nitrogen deposited on land and that about 20% of the nitrogen fertilizer used on watersheds entered rivers. The excess nitrogen was polluting coastal and estuarine waters as well as rivers and lakes. Ragnar Elmgren, an aquatic ecologist at the University of Stockholm, attributed the collapse of the cod fishery in the Baltic Sea in the 1990s to nitrogen pollution. He said the nitrogen load in the Baltic had increased fourfold during the 20th century. Excess nitrogen was also said to be harming forests by encouraging tree growth that was unbalanced because of deficiencies in other nutrients, which thus made the trees weak and vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Marine Pollution.
      At a meeting held in Helsinki, Fin., on March 26, the EU and the nine countries bordering the Baltic Sea (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany) agreed on measures to reduce pollution. At their first Baltic port of call, all ships would be charged a dumping fee to encourage them to dispose of their wastes at port facilities. Nutrient discharges from farms, lead emissions from vehicle exhausts, and heavy-metal discharges from industry would also be reduced.

      The 15 European members of the Ospar Convention met in Sintra, Port., in July. They agreed that emissions from nuclear installations would be reduced to "close to zero" by 2020. This would require British Nuclear Fuels to make modifications to the Enhanced Actinide Removal Plant at Sellafield, Eng., in order to reduce its discharges of technetium-99. It also meant all reprocessing of fuel from British Magnox reactors would end by 2020. To achieve this, eight Magnox reactors would have to close between 2007 and 2009.

      The meeting also agreed that in principle all gas and oil rigs would be disposed of on land, although the large concrete platforms and their footings on 41 installations heavier than 10,000 tons could remain at sea temporarily while their final fates were decided on a case-by-case basis. This decision allowed the oil industry to divert the £1 billion (nearly U.S. $1.7 billion) cost of removing the stumps to a "green superfund," which would be used to address what the industry considered to be more urgent environmental problems. Certain sea areas would also be designated as "marine protected areas," within which activities, probably including fishing, would be restricted to allow the marine environment to recover.

      On January 29 Shell Oil Co. announced that Brent Spar, the former oil-storage platform, would be used in the construction of a quay at a roll-on-roll-off ferry terminal at Mekjarvik, near Stavanger, Nor. The structure would be razed, the accommodation platform dismantled and disposed of on land, and the lower part sliced into six sections. These would then be carried on barges to Mekjarvik, filled with rubble, and have a concrete platform laid over them.

      There was evidence that the condition of the Black Sea had improved. For the first time in 10 years, thousands of shellfish were found in April along the Romanian Black Sea coast, which suggested that the Black Sea Action Plan agreed upon in 1996 by all six Black Sea littoral states was having an effect.

Toxic Wastes.
      The fourth Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention on waste management, held under UNEP auspices in Kuching, Malaysia, in February, was attended by more than 300 environment officials from 117 countries. UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer called for solidarity in ratifying the 1995 ban on the export of toxic waste from industrialized to industrializing countries. The meeting agreed on the content of the list of materials defined as hazardous and on a list of countries that were permitted to trade among themselves in toxic wastes.

      UNEP also sponsored a five-day meeting in Montreal over June and July that was attended by delegates from more than 100 countries. Its aim was to reduce or ban the use of what were held to be the 12 most dangerous substances, with the hope of drafting a treaty reducing emissions of them from 2001. The 12 were PCBs, chlorinated furans, dioxins, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, DDT, chlordane, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene, and heptachlor.

Nuclear Waste.
      The British ship Pacific Swan left Cherbourg, France, on January 21 bound for Japan with a cargo of more than 24 metric tons of vitrified nuclear-reprocessing waste, on a route taking it through the Panama Canal. On February 5 the National Coordinating Council for Environmental Groups asked the canal authorities to prohibit the passage of the ship, but Franklin Castellon of the Panama Canal Commission refused, saying the ship met all the requirements for carrying nuclear cargo. Another official, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, said the Pacific Swan had passed through the canal 28 times without incident and 71 ships carrying radioactive waste had passed through the canal safely in 1997. He pointed out that other substances, such as petroleum, corrosive chemicals, and combustible fuels, were more dangerous than radioactive materials.

      The Pacific Swan arrived at Rokkasho, Japan, on March 10, but Gov. Morio Kimura of Aomori prefecture refused to allow it to dock at Mutsu-Ogawara port until Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto assured him progress was being made toward finding a permanent storage site for nuclear waste. Critics maintained that the Rokkasho Mura facility, selected to store waste for 50 years, was an unsuitable storage site because it was located on at least two seismically active faults. About 200 people demonstrated in the fishing village while the ship waited offshore. Late on March 12 Kimura partly relented, allowing the ship into port so that its 26 crew members could rest and avoid rough seas but forbidding it to unload. Following a meeting with the prime minister, Kimura allowed the cargo to be unloaded. It was taken to the storage facility, where it would be held for 30-50 years.

      On June 2 a bill to compel Nevada to accept nuclear waste for storage fell short in the U.S. Senate 56 votes to 39. The bill would have required more than 40,000 tons of waste being held at nuclear power plants in 31 states to be stored at an aboveground facility 160 km from Las Vegas, beginning in 2003.


Wildlife Conservation
      Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) were among the species that suffered the loss of habitat and death at the hands of humans as they fled the fires in Borneo (Kalimantan), Sumatra, and other parts of Indonesia in 1998. More than 30,000 sq km (11,580 sq mi) burned between January and May. Almost all of Kutai National Park was destroyed, as was the Wein River Orangutan Sanctuary.

      In February the Truong Son muntjac deer from central Vietnam was described and named Muntiacus truongsonensis on the basis of 17 skulls and two tails obtained from hunters. In June the description of a new species of marmoset (Callithrix humilis) in Brazil was published. The marmoset, which did not appear to be endangered, had a known distribution covering some 250-300 sq km (95-115 sq mi), by far the smallest for any Amazonian primate. Another new species described in 1998 was a bird (Scytalopus iraiensis) found in an area that was to be flooded by a dam in Brazil. Work on the dam was suspended as a result of the discovery.

      The cherry-throated tanager (Nemosia rourei) was rediscovered in Brazil in February, 47 years after the last sighting. Two other bird rediscoveries were reported in March; the forest owlet (Athene blewitti), not recorded since 1884, was found in India, and a population of the critically endangered bearded wood partridge (Dendrortyx barbatus) was discovered in Mexico, where the species was last seen in 1986.

      A report published in March urged the protection of sharks and other elasmobranch fishes in North American waters. Shark fins had become one of the most valuable fisheries products in the world, and shark cartilage was also used in the growing Western health-food market. In August it was reported that not long after a commercial trawl fishery for rays started in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, the largest species, the barn door skate (Raja laevis), was nearly gone. In the U.S. 27 leading chefs took North Atlantic swordfish (Xiphias gladius) off their menus in response to the finding that the fishery had crashed.

      According to the Red List of Threatened Plants, published by the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in April, 12.5% of the world's plant species were threatened with extinction. The list of 33,798 species included 380 that were extinct in the wild and 371 that might be extinct. Of the species listed, 91% were endemic to a single country. Another report stated that many wild plants and animals used in medicine were becoming scarce in East Africa and southern African countries; it identified 102 plant species and 29 animal species as priorities for conservation action, including the African rock python and the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata). Almost 9,000 of the world's tree species were threatened, according to research results published in September. At least 77 species were extinct, 8,753 were critically endangered, and 1,319 were endangered.

      The 22nd meeting of the Parties to the Antarctic Treaty, held in Norway on May 25-June 6, failed to address the severe problem of illegal fishing for Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) in the Southern Ocean. Illegal fishing was taking about 100,000 tons, compared with the 18,000 tons caught by the legal fishery, and the fish could soon become commercially extinct. The fishery also killed 5,000-154,000 seabirds annually, including threatened petrels and albatrosses.

      Invasions by alien species, already a serious threat to biodiversity, were expected to worsen in the future as the world warmed, according to an international workshop held in San Mateo, Calif., in April. It was believed that the tropical alga (Caulerpa taxifolia) that invaded the Mediterranean Sea in the mid-1980s could move up the Atlantic coast of Europe if ocean temperatures rose. In Tonga an introduced species of long-legged ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) killed hatchlings of the native Tongan incubator birds, and the little red fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) had invaded New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, where it attacked native vertebrates and caused the loss of native invertebrates that had key functions in the natural community. The problem of marine-invading species in Australia was being tackled by a pilot community-monitoring program aimed at the early detection of new invasive species and the development of knowledge about introduced species already present. By 1998 more than 150 introduced species had been discovered in Australian waters, of which eight were considered pests. In the Hawaiian Islands there were once 750 species of native land snails, more than 99% of them endemic. Most had become extinct or severely threatened, largely owing to the introduction of predatory carnivorous snails.

      The 1998 edition of the UN List of Protected Areas revealed a global network of more than 30,000 protected areas covering a total of 13.2 million sq km (5.1 million sq mi) designated under national legislation to conserve nature and associated cultural resources. One of the world's largest and most undisturbed tropical forests was permanently protected in June when Suriname created a 16,200-sq km (6,250-sq mi) reserve, covering some 10% of the country's land area.

      An infectious agent was suspected in a mass mortality of Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) chicks in Antarctica. Antibodies of the avian pathogen infectious bursal disease virus had been found in penguins from colonies near human activity. A possible source of the virus was humans' careless disposal of poultry products or contaminated clothing or vehicles. In January-February, 1,345 New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) pups and 85 adults died from septacaemia. Biopsies of the sea lions, which lived only in the Auckland Islands, revealed salmonella and a second, unidentified bacterium. A new fungal disease was shown to be the cause of death in amphibians found dead at pristine rain-forest sites in Australia and Central America. The fungus, found in the keratinized cells of the skin of adult amphibians, appeared to be the same pathogen on both continents and probably caused death by interfering with supplementary water uptake or respiration through the skin. The disease was identified as the cause of death of frogs and toads belonging to nine genera, including Taudactylus acutirostris, an Australian species that might have become extinct.

      In June conservationists celebrated the fact that 10 mountain gorillas had been born in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the onset of civil unrest 18 months previously, but in September two mountain gorillas were killed by poachers in the park. In 1998 there were only about 600 mountain gorillas left.


      Release programs involving wildlife bred in captivity grew in numbers in 1998. For example, the endangered Mexican gray wolf, Canis lupus baileyi, had been extinct in the southwestern U.S. since the 1950s and unseen in Mexico since 1980. On March 29, 11 gray wolves in three family groups were let out of their acclimatization pens into the 18,000-sq km (7,000-sq mi) Blue Range Wolf Recovery area in the Apache and Gila national forests of Arizona and New Mexico. By late November, however, 5 of the 11 had been killed, one was missing, and 5 had been returned to captivity. Of the Mexican wolves that had remained in captivity, formation of 28 pairs (19 in the U.S. and 9 in Mexico) was planned by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Species Survival Plan Management Group in July.

      A management plan for the Mississippi sandhill crane, Grus canadensis pulla, was initiated in 1965 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The subspecies was listed as endangered in 1973, after which a recovery plan was developed; releases began in 1981. In 1995 the managed flock was transferred to the Audubon Institute in New Orleans and the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla. From 30 adult birds, about 14 chicks were produced in 1998, all but one on a rigorous artificial insemination schedule. The chicks were then transferred to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Miss., for release. By late 1998 the wild population was about 100 birds, existing only on the refuge.

      On June 16 more than 100 endangered razorback suckers, Xyrauchen texanus, that had been raised at the Phoenix (Ariz.) Zoo were returned to their original environment in the Colorado River. The suckers were originally released as juveniles into a lake on the zoo grounds. The objective was to raise the young fish in a quasi-natural environment and then return them to the wild after they were large enough to avoid predators.

      The Columbus (Ohio) Zoo, in partnership with the University of Maryland, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the Ohio Biological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was cohost of a national meeting that addressed the conservation of native freshwater mussels. Papers and discussions focused on such issues as nutrition, rearing and propagation, rescue and reintroduction, physiology, and conservation of habitat of juvenile and adult mussels.

      Cleveland (Ohio) Metroparks Zoo, Ogden/Silver Springs, Fla., and the Venezuelan organizations PROVITA and INPARQUES joined to support the Spectacled Bear Conservation Education Program in Venezuela. This program was presented to elementary-school children living within the spectacled bear's native habitat range. The Cleveland Zoo also established a partnership with INPARQUES and BIOANDINA (another Venezuelan organization) in a program aimed at reestablishing a breeding population of Andean condors in Venezuela.

Awards and Grants.
      The Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy Arizona Chapter selected the Phoenix Zoo as the 1997 recipient of its Morris K. Udall Award, given annually to an individual or group in the public sector that had demonstrated a sincere and consistent commitment to conservation in the state. The zoo was recognized for its efforts in leadership and commitment on behalf of Arizona's endangered or threatened wildlife populations.

      Recipients of the 1997 Pittsburgh (Pa.) Zoo Conservation Fund grants included: Ecological Disturbance in Tropical Rain Forests; Health Screening as a Critical Component of Headstarting and Release Programs for Endangered West Indian Rock Iguanas; Test of Various Methods to Reduce Crop Raiding by Elephants Around Kibale National Park, Uganda; Determining Optimal Conditions for Cryobanking Semen for Artificial Insemination in African and Asian Elephants; Proposal to Preserve the Andean Mountain Tapir; and Assessment of Southern Right Whale Stock Identity and Population Health Using Genetic and Behavioral Data.

      The Riverbanks Conservation Support Fund gave financial support for studying the following regional and international projects: Behavioral Ecology of the Micronesian Kingfisher in the Republic of Palau—The Use of a Surrogate Subspecies in the Recovery of Kingfishers from Guam; Western Giant Eland Ground Survey, Bafing Reserve, Mali; Phytochemistry of Forage and Browse Selection in a Group of Captive Hoatzins; Primate Survey of Monkey Bay National Park and Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize; Subspecies Identification, Captive Management, and Conservation Education Programming for Spider Monkey Populations held in Mexican Zoological Institutions; Development of Artificial Insemination Technology for the Cinereous Vulture; and Determination of Migratory Routes of a Restored Population of Trumpeter Swans Using Satellite/Radio Telemetry.


Botanical Gardens
      The highlight of 1998 for botanical gardens was the fifth International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress, held at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town and attended by more than 400 delegates from 55 countries. At the conference a two-year review process for the international Botanic Gardens Conservation Strategy was launched by Botanic Gardens Conservation International; the results were to be published at the sixth congress, scheduled to be held in Asheville, N.C., in June 2000. A new technical manual for botanical gardens presented at the congress outlined major aspects of their development and management.

      An international conference on medicinal plant conservation took place in Bangalore, India, in February, convened by the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions. The participants urged administrators of botanical gardens to create medicinal-plant-conservation programs and promote the development of medicinal gardens by local communities.

      A meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Association of Botanic Gardens was held in Mexico City in October. A dominant theme at the meeting was the need to strengthen national networks of botanical gardens in the region and focus gardens' efforts on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

      The Botanical Garden in Padua, Italy, was approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Founded in 1545, it is the oldest existing botanical garden in the world. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded a grant of $170,000 to support the U.S. Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) in Hawaii, where it worked with Hawaiian botanical gardens to conserve the critically endangered native flora of the islands. The CPC linked 28 U.S. botanical gardens and arboreta to maintain a collection of more than 500 of the nation's rarest plants.

      Several initiatives in training botanical garden staff were undertaken in 1998. An International Diploma Course on Botanic Garden Management was held at Kew Gardens in London in July for students from more than 12 countries. In Africa a course on conservation techniques was organized at the National Museums of Kenya with the support of the British government, and in South Africa the British Council supported a course on environmental education.

      A Conservation Action Plan for Botanic Gardens of the Caribbean Islands was published in May. Prepared in consultation with more than 50 individuals and institutions in the region, the plan outlined priorities for conservation and garden development in the countries of the Caribbean. During a meeting at the Bogotá (Colom.) Botanic Garden in October, a national information-management strategy was developed for Colombian botanical gardens. Computer-based information systems were to be developed for use in each of the nation's 16 gardens.

      In the Northern Territory of Australia, the Alice Springs Desert Park opened in March 1997. The goals of the 1,300-ha (3,200-ac) park included the conservation of native flora of the region and the interpretation of life in Australian desert ecosystems.

      A meeting of the European Botanic Gardens Consortium was held in Denmark in June to review the preparation of a European botanical gardens action plan. The consortium included representatives of each of the national botanical garden associations in the European Union (EU). In May a workshop on information systems for botanical gardens in Kazakstan and the surrounding countries was held in Almaty, Kazakstan's former capital.

      A new project to develop the botanical gardens of Morocco and Tunisia was funded by the EU. It included the creation of new plant-conservation facilities at gardens in Rabat, Mor., and Tunis, Tun., and was being carried out in partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BCGI) and Fauna & Flora International. The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust (U.K.) sponsored a project for the Kisantu Botanic Garden, Democratic Republic of the Congo, to make available medicinal and other economic plants for local people. In February the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development and BGCI undertook a feasibility study to develop a national botanical garden in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the first such garden in that country.


      The weather continued to have a global impact on gardening in 1998 as cool, wet conditions arising from an El Niño event in the eastern Pacific hurt spring and early-summer sales of both seed and nursery products in the U.S. Seed crops in the major production areas of Europe and Africa were also affected by wetter-than-normal weather leading up to harvest time, and shortages and a reduction in crops for many annual ornamentals resulted. In The Netherlands up to 35% of the bulb crop was lost.

      A more sophisticated understanding of plant adaptation developed as gardeners and gardening experts in the media accepted more widely the notion of adding heat-tolerance data to the cold-hardiness information produced by American and Australian horticultural publishers and mail-order nurseries. Both countries began to include heat maps in their publications to assist gardeners in choosing plants adaptable to the full range of climatic conditions.

      Horticulture continued its rapid expansion with publications in print, radio and television broadcasts, and Web sites; not every new media venture proved successful, however. In the U.K., BBC1 launched its first new garden show of the decade, and new, coordinated zone maps for the U.S. and Europe were developed so that plant culture from one location could be more successfully applied elsewhere. Vegetatively reproduced bedding plants and such container garden favourites as petunia, verbena, fuchsia, portulaca, and helichrysum became available in large quantities and, owing to their ease of propagation and inherent trueness to type, created significant competition with seed-grown crops. Many of the original stock plants used for these programs were introduced from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand and were quickly patented in the U.S. under existing plant patent laws. In Europe marketers formed a new organization, Fleuroprotect, which provided guidelines for the marketplace.

      Among seed-propagated ornamentals, three new introductions were awarded the Fleuroselect Gold Medal. Nemesia strumosa Sundrops, recognized for its wide colour range (golden yellow, pink, red, orange, and white single flowers borne on compact plants), had both a diameter and a height of 25 cm (1 cm = 0.4 in) and a bloom period from May to October in northern temperate climates. Verbena Quartz Burgundy was selected for its unusual wine-red flower umbels with a tiny white eye and the high resistance to powdery mildew of its dark, textured leaves. The plan spread to a diameter of 35 cm and reached a height of 30 cm. The interspecific hybrid Zinnia Profusion Cherry won a Fleuroselect Gold Medal for its uniform, compact habit (3 cm in diameter and height) and the outstanding mildew and bacterial leaf-spot resistance of its lance-shaped foliage. Its warm cherry-red 5-cm-diameter single flowers with a yellow centre were borne May to October only 60 days after seeding. Along with its sister line Profusion Orange, Profusion Cherry also won an All-America Selections (AAS) Gold Medal, the first gold medals to be awarded in 10 years. Other AAS award-winning flowers included the seed-grown tuberous Begonia Pin-Up Flame, a compact (25-30-cm-high) shade-loving plant with bright yellow 5-10-cm-high single flowers that shaded to edges of orange-red and dark, arrowhead leaves. The perennial Tritoma Flamenco (Kniphofia uvaria) convinced the AAS judges of its merit by producing 75-cm stems topped with spikes of tubular flowers in its first season from seed. The warm, yellow-to-red-orange flowers were recognized not only for their long vase life but also for their attractiveness to hummingbirds.

      Four bedding plants were also named AAS award winners. Besides Verbena Quartz Burgundy, Marigold Bonanza Bolero was chosen for its exceptional earliness—it bloomed from seed in only 45 days—and for the irregular gold-and-red bicolour pattern on its 10-cm flowers. The plant had a height of 20-30 cm and a spread of 30-60 cm. Osteospermum Passion Mix, which was 30 cm tall and had a diameter of 40 cm, received recognition for its 5-7-cm pastel-to-white daisylike flowers with azure-blue centres that were less likely to close under low-light conditions. The final AAS bedding plant award went to Portulaca Sundial Peach, the first Portulaca to win such an award. Recognized for its increased petal count and the brilliant colour of its 5-cm flowers as well as their tendency to stay open even in low light situations, this creeping plant spread 20-30 cm and bloomed in only 65-70 days from seeding. AAS also bestowed four vegetable awards. Hybrid zucchini Eight Ball bore dark green 5-8-cm round fruits in only 40-50 days on compact 90-cm plants. Pumpkin Wee Be Little caught the attention of the judges by producing tiny round orange fruits only 225-450 g (8-16 oz) that were ideal for fall decorations; the plants grew to only 180-240 cm, which made them ideal for smaller gardens. Hybrid indeterminate tomato Juliet was an elongated cherry-type tomato recognized for the crack resistance and sweet flavour of the glossy red fruits that were ready for harvest only 60 days after transplanting. Finally, watermelon New Queen won for its 2.5-3-kg (5.5-6.5-lb) mottled green fruits that the AAS judges noted had both crisp texture and a sweet flavour. Plants were vigorous and grew to 270 cm, ripening their first fruits in only 75-80 days from seeding or 65 days from transplant, depending on weather conditions.


▪ 1998


International Activities

United Nations.
      Earth Summit + 5, a special session of the UN General Assembly, was held in New York City on June 26, 1997, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (more commonly known as the Earth, or Rio, Summit). The conference leader, Malaysian UN Ambassador Ismail Razali, opened the proceedings on a pessimistic note, describing the progress made on environmental problems since the 1992 summit as "paltry."

      The session was dominated by public pressure on the United States to join the European Union (EU) in setting specific targets and dates for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which had continued to rise despite a voluntary agreement among developed countries to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. Razali also pointed out that ocean fish stocks continued to be depleted and that there had been no progress in curbing deforestation and desertification. He added that the scope of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an international fund designed to support in less-developed countries environmental projects that would have worldwide benefits, remained too limited to have much effect on these and other environmental problems, in large part because of sharp decreases in aid from rich countries.

      Although leaders from the world's major economies addressed participants, the summit ended without agreement on its primary goal—a political statement indicating how the Rio objectives might be met. Instead, the summit became mired in extended negotiations as participants debated the details of a program for implementing Agenda 21, a blueprint for sustainable development drafted during the Rio Summit. Razali called the results "sobering." Environmentalists were even more disappointed, but UN officials claimed that some progress had been made, citing agreements on the universal phaseout of lead in gasoline and global strategies to conserve freshwater and forests.

United Nations Environment Programme.
      At the annual meeting of the governing council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), held in Nairobi, Kenya, in February, industrialized countries sharply disagreed with less-developed nations over the agency's purpose. The U.S. and the EU wanted UNEP's permanent representatives, a board composed of diplomats stationed in Nairobi, to relinquish their control of the organization to U.S. and EU representatives, charging that the agency had lost sight of its main task—translating the findings of scientific bodies into policy proposals—in its efforts to oversee local projects in such areas as soil conservation, pest control, and the provision of clean water. Great Britain and the U.S. refused to pay their 1997 subscriptions after several Asian countries blocked the formation of a task force in charge of devising reforms.

World Health Organization.
      In May the World Health Organization (WHO) published the results of an assessment of 12 toxic organic pollutants conducted by the International Programme on Chemical Safety. The report found sufficient evidence to warrant international action to reduce or -eliminate the discharge of the following chemicals: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, furans, aldrin, dieldrin, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), endrin, chlordane, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), mirex, toxaphene, and heptachlor. All can be transported long distances from their source via air and water.

World Bank.
      On June 5 the World Bank issued its Green Top 10 Plan, a list of proposed actions to address the world's most pressing environmental problems. The plan pointed out that worldwide energy-related subsidies, amounting to $800 billion annually, rarely benefited the poor and inevitably harmed the environment. According to the authors, carbon dioxide emissions had increased by nearly 25% since the Rio Summit in 1992, and 1.3 billion people were still affected by polluted air. Among the proposed actions were the global phaseout of leaded gasoline and a reduction in the manufacture and use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The plan also supported the practice of trading greenhouse gas emissions, in which countries that are unable to meet their greenhouse-gas-reduction targets could buy permission to exceed their targets from countries whose emissions were below the established standards.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
      Despite a year of preparatory meetings, signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change entered their December 1997 meeting in Kyoto, Japan, with disagreements, although their differences seemed to be narrowing. The U.S. proposed a scheme to base greenhouse gas reductions on a scale known as Global Warming Potential (GWP), which ranks greenhouse gases according to their levels of destructiveness. (The GWP of carbon dioxide, for example, is 1, compared with a ranking of 11 for methane.) Rather than reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, for example, a country might substitute reductions in methane emissions from its coal mines or curtail its CFC production. Countries also might be allowed to "bank" or "borrow" "credits" years in advance, or they could trade reduction quotas and gain credits by investing in reductions in other countries.

      Under a policy known as "differentiation," the U.S. asked for commitments from less-developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the proviso that their reductions would be smaller than those of developed nations. The proposal was made in response to a plan agreed to at the Rio Summit that set emissions targets for developed countries but allowed less-developed countries to increase their emissions for several years. The U.S. feared that this policy would drive industries to relocate in countries with less-stringent standards. This differentiation proposal was rejected by China, the EU, the Alliance of Small Island States (AoSIS), and some environmental groups. The EU offered to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2010, provided that the U.S. and Japan did so too.

      In June The Netherlands, on behalf of the EU, proposed an amendment to the convention that would allow the climate-change treaty to be adopted by a 75-25 majority if achieving consensus proved to be impossible. This proviso would prevent OPEC members and their supporters, the G-77 group of less-developed countries, and some U.S. lobby groups from blocking the signing of the treaty unless it provided them with compensation for lost revenues due to decreased use of fossil fuels.

      On July 28 Robert Hill, Australia's environment minister, said his government remained opposed to the EU plan for uniform reduction targets. The next day Warwick Parer, the country's resources and energy minister, added that Australia would accept measures to combat global warming only if the costs of those measures were shared by other countries. Parer emphasized that the government would not accept measures adversely affecting economic growth.

      In Japan disagreement between the Environment Agency and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) delayed the formulation of the nation's greenhouse-gas-reduction policy. MITI favoured per capita reductions, while the Environment Agency preferred a flat-rate cut of more than 5%. Later, in late September, MITI proposed a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2010. The plan called for doubling nuclear-power production and increasing solar power and other alternative energy sources. At the last moment, Japan acceded to the higher—6%—figure for emissions cutbacks.

      The treaty, renamed the Kyoto Protocol, was signed on December 11. It committed the industrialized countries to reducing emissions of six gases by an average of 5.2% (below 1990 levels) by 2012. Ratification was to begin in March 1998 and was expected to be rocky in some countries, including Canada and the U.S.

Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.
      Representatives from more than 100 signatory countries met in Montreal in September to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer and to discuss ways of improving it. Some of the most important proposals focused on CFCs. Participating nations sought to discourage the illegal trade in CFCs and to seek alternatives to their use in medical products, including asthma inhalers. Governments agreed to adopt a licensing system for the transport of CFCs and to review their procedures for ensuring compliance with the regulations. The decision would give greater power to police and customs officials to intercept cargoes. Participants also agreed to ban most uses of the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide by 2005 in developed countries and by 2015 in less-developed countries. Poorer nations would have access to a fund of $18 million to help farmers convert to alternatives.

International Atomic Energy Agency.
      On September 5 the 62 member nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed to rules on the handling of nuclear waste and spent fuel. The agreement was formally signed at the IAEA's annual conference in Vienna on September 29.

Ospar Convention.
      The 12 nations and EU signatories to the Ospar Convention (formerly the Oslo and Paris commissions) convened at an April 14 meeting in The Hague. Representatives from The Netherlands proposed that all defunct steel oil-drilling platforms in less than 150 m (1 m=3.28 ft) of water in the North Sea be removed in their entirety and disposed of onshore. Previously, platforms that weighed more than 4,000 tons and stood in more than 75 m of water could either be sunk or be left floating partially dismantled. British oil companies said the new rule would reduce the number of platforms that could be disposed of on the seafloor from 110 to 8.

      On September 2 the signatories of the convention met in Brussels to debate ways to eliminate pollution in the North Sea and northeastern Atlantic Ocean. British Environment Minister Michael Meacher announced that Britain would reverse its previous policy and join the ban on dumping low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste into the Atlantic. Britain also agreed to a virtual halt of the country's discharge of harmful chemicals into the ocean by 2020.

Marpol Convention.
      At a September 26 meeting in London of parties to the Inter-national Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the 75 shipping nations belonging to the International Maritime Organization agreed to reduce air pollution from ships by setting a cap of 4.5% on the amount of sulfur permitted in marine fuel oil. This amount was higher than the current 3% average. It was agreed, however, to set lower sulfur limits in designated areas, including the Baltic Sea, where concentrations were limited to 1.5%.

Antarctica and the Arctic.
      On April 18 the U.S. became the 24th country to ratify the Antarctic Environment Protocol. In Japan and Russia the necessary legislation for signing the document was still pending.

      State of the Arctic Environment, a study compiled by 400 scientists from the eight member nations of the Arctic Council, was released in early June at a science symposium at Tromsø, Nor. The authors revealed that concentrations of PCBs, DDT, lindane, and other pesticides from Siberian rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean were much higher than those in North American and Scandinavian rivers. The main sources of Arctic contamination were said to be the Ob, Yenisey, and Pechora rivers. Although DDT had not been manufactured in Russia since the 1980s, farmers continued to use old stocks to control insect plagues. PCBs were thought to be leaking from ships or from sites on land.

      According to the report, the pollutants are carried by winds and ocean currents into the Arctic environment, where they become concentrated in organisms high on the food chain, including humans. One Greenlander in six, for example, was found to have potentially harmful blood levels of mercury, mostly acquired from eating whale and seal meat, and reindeer herders were absorbing radiation doses much higher than those of people in the south, mostly because of persistent fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the 1950s and early 1960s. Later in June the council met at Alta, Nor., to call for a global agreement that would reduce discharges of toxic chemicals.

National Developments
      Under the direction of France's new prime minister, Lionel Jospin, the Superphénix nuclear fast-breeder reactor was closed, and the project to widen the Rhine-Rhone Canal was canceled. On February 27 thousands of antinuclear activists began staging a series of demonstrations intended to disrupt the transport of a load of spent reactor fuel from a nuclear power plant in Bavaria to a storage facility at Gorleben, Ger., located 95 km from Hamburg, Ger. (1 km = 0.62 mi). Protesters blocked roads and bridges, disrupted traffic signals, temporarily halted trains by throwing grappling hooks onto overhead power lines, and set fire to roads, barricades, and railroad crossings. In what was said to be the largest police deployment since World War II, 30 border-police helicopters and 30,000 police equipped with armoured cars and water cannons were enlisted to guard the cargo, which reached Gorleben on March 6. On September 20 about 500 demonstrators clashed with police near the Krummel nuclear power plant just outside Hamburg. About 250 protesters, demonstrating against the export of spent fuel to other countries for reprocessing, barricaded a rail line and set the barricade on fire.

      On the morning of March 11, fire broke out at a nuclear-waste-handling-and-reprocessing plant owned by the state-run Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp. (known as Donen) at Tokai, 115 km northeast of Tokyo. The blaze occurred in a building where low-level waste was mixed with asphalt and then sealed in drums. It was quickly extinguished, but worker carelessness was believed to have created conditions in which volatile asphalt gases accumulated. Ten hours later they caught fire, causing an explosion that blew out a shutter at the entrance, shattered windows, and released smoke. At least 10 of the 50 workers at the plant were reported to have received very small radiation doses in the first fire, and another 27 were exposed in the second blaze. According to officials, 36 minutes after the second fire started, one of the 12 monitoring stations in the 100-ha (1 ha = 2.47 ac) compound recorded a small radiation abnormality, but by 9 PM the reading had returned to normal. Scientists at a meteorological station 55 km southwest of the plant, however, reported that cesium levels 10 times above normal had been detected at the station on March 11 and 12.

      On March 18 a ship carrying 20 tons of nuclear waste docked at the fishing town of Rokkasho, 565 km northwest of Tokyo. The cargo, taken from the French reprocessing plant at Cap de la Hague, had left France on January 14. The ship was met by about 300 protesters, some of whom chained themselves to gates. Police cleared 50 people who were sitting at the dock gates blocking the road. No arrests were made. The waste was unloaded and taken to a facility outside the town, where it was held until a permanent storage site could be found.

      Shortly before midnight on January 8 in the Mughalpura district of Lahore, Pak., a flatbed truck carrying more than 30 poorly sealed cylinders of what officials said was probably chlorine slid into a ditch. Two of the containers leaked, and the resulting toxic cloud killed at least 20 people and injured hundreds more. Nearly 1,000 people had to be evacuated from the area.

      Because of declining revenues and membership, Greenpeace USA announced in September that it had closed all 10 of its regional city offices and would concentrate its operations in the organization's Washington, D.C., headquarters. Greenpeace spokespeople attributed the cutbacks to a drop in annual fund-raising. Revenues had fallen from $45 million in 1991 to $25 million in 1997, and the organization had been left with a deficit of $2.6 million. During that same time period, membership also had fallen from 1.2 million to fewer than 400,000.

Environmental Issues
      Air Pollution. The worst episode of air pollution in half a century unfolded in mid-September as photochemical smog and a pall of smoke from forest fires settled over parts of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia and also spread, although less severely, to Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. On September 19 officials declared a state of emergency in the state of Sarawak, a major tourist area in the Malaysian part of Borneo, and in adjacent Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. At one point Indonesian authorities considered evacuating the city of Rengat, Sumatra, but a change of wind brought some improvement. On October 3 smoke enveloped Jakarta.

      Throughout the disaster, officials routinely recorded off-the-chart pollution levels. The Air Pollution Index used in Malaysia (which is slightly different from the one used in the U.S.) registers levels of pollution on a scale of 0-500. A score of more than 500 connotes an "extreme health risk." When the level in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, reached 635, the authorities closed the airport, ordered schools and shops to close, and advised the 1.9 million residents to stay in their homes. On September 23 the level reached 839. This may have been the highest pollution level ever recorded anywhere in the world. On September 29 heavy rains and a change in the wind direction brought a sharp drop in the Air Pollution Index in Borneo and Malaysia.

      By early October, however, four people in Indonesia had died and at least 32,000 had been treated for smoke inhalation. In the worst areas the effect was said to have been the equivalent of smoking 80 cigarettes a day. In Jambi, Sumatra, where fires surrounded the city and smoke alarms had to be turned off to prevent their constant ringing, visibility was never more than 90 m and sometimes as little as 15 m. There, as in many places, drivers were forced to use headlights in the middle of the day. An Indonesian airliner crashed in September near the Sumatran city of Medan in an area clouded by smoke; all 234 persons aboard were killed.

      In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the U.S. embassy permitted about 75 staff members and their dependents to leave, although flights were canceled because of poor visibility. In Irian Jaya, the Indonesian half of New Guinea, smoke prevented aircraft from delivering supplies to remote villages where drought had withered crops and dried up rivers. At least 275 villagers died of starvation or waterborne diseases.

      Contributing to the degraded air quality was smog created by industrial and traffic emissions in Malaysia, where economic development had been rapid but environmental controls lax. The principal cause, however, was smoke from fires burning in the forests of Indonesia. The blaze was so intense that even underlying peat beds up to nine metres deep also caught fire. Smoke levels in Kalimantan were reported at 7.5 mg per cu m, far exceeding the century's previous record of 4.6 mg per cu m measured during the London smog of 1952, in which 4,000 people died.

      Early in September, President Suharto of Indonesia banned the use of fire to clear forests on land destined for conversion to plantation forest or farms, and during the emergency he twice apologized to Malaysia and Singapore for the problems the fires were causing. Despite their devastating effects, more fires continued to be lit, even after the official ban. On September 15 Indonesian Environment Minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja said at least 300,000 ha had been burned, but Michael Rae of the Australian office of the World Wide Fund for Nature claimed that 485,000-610,000 ha had been incinerated. Conditions were exacerbated by an unusually severe El Niño that caused the worst drought in 50 years. Fires spread out of control in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, and Sulawesi. On September 30, forest fires also were reported in Malaysia, affecting 405 ha near Kuantan, 195 km east of Kuala Lumpur.

      On September 30, after two weeks of sunshine and no wind, smog pollution in Paris reached stage 3, the highest level on the EU Air Pollution Index. Cars with even-numbered plates were banned from entering the city; speed limits were reduced and strictly enforced; free public transportation was offered; and pupils were told to remain indoors during their breaks. It was the first time such measures had been imposed in Paris. The restrictions were lifted on October 2 after a change in the weather brought an improvement in air quality.

      In late June U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton approved new Ambient Air Quality Standards. Under the new regulations, the 24-hour permitted standard for PM2.5 (particles up to 2.5 micrometres in diameter) was set at 65 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Carol Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said it would take up to five years to establish a monitoring network for PM2.5. In addition, factories that continued to exceed acceptable levels of ozone emissions after their fourth citation would be fined. Municipalities, however, would not have to comply with the new rules for at least seven or eight years.

      Following Clinton's approval of the new air-quality standards, a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee added $40 million to the $45 million the administration had requested for research into the effects of ozone and particulate matter in 1998. The subcommittee called for the National Institute of Environmental Health to help distribute the money.

      Ozone Layer. In September the Environmental Investigation Agency, based in London, reported that between 6,000 and 20,000 tons of ozone-depleting CFCs were being smuggled into the EU each year from factories in Russia and China, often through Britain. Illegal traffickers exploited a loophole in regulations governing the trade in CFCs. Although the manufacture and use of new CFCs were prohibited in developed countries, the new chemicals could be imported by these countries provided they were reexported to less-developed countries. Once the chemicals were imported, however, illegal traders often altered their documentation, misrepresenting the new CFCs as reclaimed or recycled chemicals that could be legally sold in developed countries. Smuggling of CFCs also was said to be highly profitable in the U.S., where, despite the fact that almost all production and importation of the chemicals had been banned, their sale remained lawful. Between 1994 and 1996 an estimated 10,000 tons entered illegally through Florida. The street value of CFCs was said to be almost as high as that of cocaine, and CFCs promised an even higher margin of profit.

      Climate Change. As part of the effort to combat global warming, the EU appeared to be on track to beat its own target of reducing emissions to below 1990 levels by 2000, according to Jorgen Henningsen, director of environmental quality at the European Commission. The improvement was due to a number of factors, including the switch from coal to natural gas for generating power in Great Britain, which resulted in a 6% drop in the country's emissions; the closing of old factories in the former East Germany, which allowed Germany to claim a 12% cut; improved performance from French nuclear plants that reduced the use of fossil fuels; and reduced energy demand due to a recession in Europe.

      A study by William K. de la Mare of the Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment, Sport, and Territories, revealed that the mass of Antarctic sea ice remained constant from 1931 to the mid-1950s and then decreased by about 25% between the mid-1950s and the early 1970s. Since then, sea-ice levels had stabilized.

      According to a report released in April, satellite evidence indicated that photosynthesis increased by an average of 10% between 1981 and 1991 in regions between latitudes 45° N and 70° N. The authors also revealed that higher temperatures had lengthened the growing season in those regions by 8-16 days. Ellen Mosley-Thompson of Ohio State University reported at a meeting in April that ice caps on mountains in the tropics and subtropics were melting rapidly, and since 1970 the atmospheric freezing level had been rising by about 4.5 m per year.

      Marine Pollution. The Nakhodka, a 13,157-ton Russian tanker carrying about 19 million litres (1 litre = 0.26 gal) of heavy fuel oil, broke apart during a storm on January 2 while en route from Shanghai to power stations in the Kamchatka Peninsula. The ship's stern, along with most of the ship's cargo, sank beyond recovery in about 1,700 m of water approximately 145 km from the west coast of Japan and about 110 km off the Oki Islands. By January 5 about 3.7 million litres of oil had spilled. Three days later both the oil and ship's bow section had been swept to the coast, fouling a 1.5 km stretch near Mikuni, a tourist and fishing town of 24,000 people in Fukui prefecture. Thousands of local people and volunteers from other parts of Japan worked frantically to clean up the slick with shovels and buckets. By January 29 the bow of the tanker, fragile and filled with oil, rested on rocks near Mikuni, spilling an estimated 4.5 million litres of oil that fouled 800 km of coast. The cleanup was completed on April 27, when more than 40,000 local volunteers participated in a one-day "beach recovery."

      On February 8 the Panamanian-registered tanker San Jorge ran aground off the coast of Uruguay, releasing an oil slick some 32 km long. Despite attempts to disperse the oil sheet into smaller patches with chemical agents, beaches near José Ignacio and Punta del Este were contaminated.

      On August 17 four Greenpeace activists were arrested after having spent a week occupying British Petroleum's (BP's) Stene Dee oil rig as it was being towed to the Foinaven field, 180 km west of the Shetland Islands in an area known as the Atlantic Frontier. Later an Edinburgh court froze all Greenpeace UK bank accounts, issued a writ for £1.4 million, and indicted four of the protesters for losses incurred by delays due to the Greenpeace action. After two days BP withdrew its claim and its charges against three of the activists on the condition that Greenpeace cease to harass its operations throughout the Atlantic Frontier. Greenpeace refused. The organization's spokesman, however, suggested that Greenpeace might shift its attention to Schiehallion, the other major oil field in the area.

      In July French Environment Minister Dominique Voynet issued a precautionary ban on bathing and fishing in the waters off a public beach near the Cap de la Hague nuclear reprocessing plant in Normandy. The action followed a controversy earlier in the year after seawater and sediment samples that Greenpeace activists collected from the end of one of the plant's waste pipes showed 300 microsieverts of radioactivity escaping every hour. Greenpeace retested the outflow in June and measured 155 million Bq (becquerels) of radioactivity per litre of water, compared with a natural level of 10-20 Bq per litre. There was widespread criticism of Cogema, the company operating the plant, when it was learned that Cogema divers had removed underwater monitoring equipment installed by Greenpeace.

      Freshwater. On February 16 a broken pipeline in Russia released nearly 1.3 million litres of oil into the Volga River, about 725 km southeast of Moscow. Emergency personnel rushed to the scene when passing motorists reported oil gushing into a ravine leading into the river. Workers blocked the ravine and halted the flow.

      In the U.S. a string of 25 barges collided with a road bridge over the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge, La., on March 17. One of the barges, carrying 1.5 million litres of toluene and benzene, overturned and started leaking below the water line, releasing fumes. A four-kilometre stretch of the river was closed, and 1,600 students from the nearby Southern University campus and the occupants of 17 homes were evacuated. The river was reopened to single-file, slow-speed traffic on March 19.

      On May 16 a 40-cm (16-in) underground Texaco pipeline ruptured, spilling oil and threatening marshlands surrounding Lake Barre, Louisiana. The line was sealed in about 10 minutes, but not before 40,000-65,000 litres had escaped.

      This article updates conservation.

Wildlife Conservation
      Despite numerous conservation efforts in 1997, evidence pointed to a continued decline in almost all species worldwide. The 1996 Red List of Threatened Animals issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources identified 5,205 species in danger of extinction. In tropical forests alone, for example, biologists estimated that three species were being extinguished every hour.

      Much of the decline was caused by habitat destruction, especially logging. Only 6% of the Earth's forests were formally protected, which left the remaining 33.6 million sq km (13 million sq mi) vulnerable to exploitation. A study in Africa conducted by the Rainforest Foundation, for example, revealed that most of the forested lands in Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo (Congo [Brazzaville]), and Gabon, including those in conservation areas, had been parceled out to logging firms. In Congo (Brazzaville) a logging concession had been granted along the boundaries of the Nouabale-Ndoki Reserve, one of the last refuges of the bongo (Tragelaphus euryceros). In addition to damaging habitat, logging encouraged a trade in bush meat to feed workers in boom towns around sawmills.

      Despite these setbacks, critical habitat was reserved in many other parts of the world. In January the Bastak Nature Reserve was declared to protect 910 sq km (350 sq mi) of forest in the Jewish Autonomous Region of the Russian Far East. Other newly established conservation areas included the Hawar Islands in Bahrain, breeding site for the world's largest colony of Socotra cormorants (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis), and the Masoala National Park in Madagascar. In January Laos and Vietnam agreed to protect the Northern Truong Son mountain range, home to many new and endangered species, including a new species of muntjac deer found in April.

      Scientists reported the discovery of new species in other parts of the world as well, including a tree rat (Isothrix sinnamariensis) in French Guiana, the phantom frog (Eleutherodactylus phasma) in Costa Rica, and in Brazil a brocket deer (Mazama bororo) from the Atlantic rain forest. On the basis of a skull found on Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile, cetologists were able to describe a new species of whale known as the Bahamonde's beaked whale (Mesoplodon bahamondi). Scientists also made several important rediscoveries of animals not seen for several decades, including the Borneo river shark (Glyphis species B), previously known only from a specimen taken from an unidentified river in Borneo more than 100 years ago. Taiwan's largest protected animal, the Formosan black bear (Ursus thibetanus formosanus), was sighted in Yushan National Park for the first time in 50 years. In Vietnam the orange-necked partridge (Arborophila davidi), known only from a single specimen collected in 1927, was rediscovered.

      Overexploitation also continued to take its toll on many wild species. Shark populations suffered from the unregulated trade in their fins, cartilage, and liver oil. In some waters the overfishing was so severe that it resulted in the collapse of commercial fisheries, localized species' extinctions, and major disruptions of marine ecosystems. In the absence of aggressive policing, snow leopards (Panthera uncia) came under further pressure from poachers, who supplied their bones to the Chinese traditional-medicine trade. The damage to leopard populations was compounded by human encroachment on their habitat as new Chinese settlers joined the millions of others who in the last two decades had relocated in Tibet, the heart of the leopard's territory.

      Populations of wild species sustained further damage from such human activities as fishing and farming. A French company was granted a concession to develop 50 ha (125 ac) of fish ponds that would destroy the grasslands that provide forage and display areas for the globally threatened green peafowl (Pavo muticus) in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam. Despite an official ban, industrial fishing fleets from mainland Ecuador, the United States, and the Far East exploited the Galápagos Marine Reserve. Fishermen were implicated in the deaths of hundreds of cetaceans washed ashore by storms on the Atlantic coast of the Bay of Biscay in February and March. More than 74% of the animals showed injuries consistent with being trapped in fishing nets.

      Depletion of fish stocks due to commercial overfishing and the effects of climate change forced Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) in Argentina's Punta Tombo Reserve to forage record distances. Many animals spent up to three weeks traveling and covered distances of more than 480 km (300 mi) to find food. In Tanzania there was concern that the rise in ostrich farming had led to a decline in populations of wild ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus) after breeders removed young ostriches and eggs from the wild and exported them as farm-bred. Wildlife biologists, on the other hand, successfully reestablished ostriches in the 2,200-sq km (850-sq mi) Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area in central Saudi Arabia. The hatching of several chicks in February and March marked the first successful breeding by free-ranging ostriches in the Arabian Peninsula since the extinction of the Arabian ostrich in the 1950s.

      Scientists continued to investigate the links between pollution and animal abnormalities. Studies found that concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the pesticides DDT and lindane in Siberian rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean were hundreds of times greater than those found in North American and Scandinavian rivers, which led them to suspect that pollution was responsible for the high death rate of young polar bears on the Svalbard archipelago, located 930 km (580 mi) north of Tromsø, Nor. A study of European otters (Lutra lutra) concluded that PCBs had contributed significantly to their decline in Europe. High levels of this contaminant detected in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) found along the Hudson River in the northeastern United States were thought to be responsible for the birds' reproductive problems and retarded feather development.

      Accidents and disease also affected endangered animal populations around the globe. In May some 150 endangered Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus), more than half the existing population, died along the northwestern coast of Africa. Analysis of tissues from the dead animals revealed the presence of more than 20 neurotoxins caused by toxic dinoflagellates (marine plankton) found in the water near the seals' caves. In April press reports claimed that 40 of the last Asiatic lions (Panthera leo) in the Gir Lion Sanctuary, India, had been killed in road and rail accidents. About 300 lions remained in the sanctuary, which was crossed by five state highways and a railway line. Poisoning, electrocution, and poaching claimed the lives of 16 additional lions. In May there were unconfirmed reports that at least four mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringei) had been shot dead during a gun battle in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire).

      The 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was held in June in Zimbabwe to discuss problems caused by the wildlife trade. Among the most notable outcomes was the decision to allow Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to export ivory to Japan, a ruling that reflected a philosophical shift toward balancing species protection with the sustainable use of natural resources, particularly in less-developed countries.


      From its conception in 1981, the conservation effort of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) had centred on its Species Survival Plans and related programs. In 1997 these programs grew to include 83 Species Survival Plans encompassing 135 species. Studbook programs, the database for which all Species Survival Plans depended, also expanded and by late 1997 exceeded 325 in number. In addition, AZA Taxon Advisory Groups (TAG), the conservation umbrella that oversaw both programs, grew to 45, including 21 TAGs for mammals, 15 for birds, and 9 for reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Finally, the AZA expanded the broadest of its conservation programs by adding two Fauna Interest Groups, the Venezuelan and the North American. The Venezuelan was an effort by the AZA to better coordinate conservation projects sponsored by American zoos within a particular country or region. The latter program was designed to establish a closer relationship between zoos and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at times when zoos had or could develop the expertise to assist in fauna recovery programs and other conservation efforts involving native species.

      Coral reefs are among the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems but unfortunately are extremely fragile and have a very narrow tolerance for environmental change. As a result, fewer than one-third of the world's reefs were considered "healthy" and in stable condition. In response to the declaration that 1997 would be the International Year of the Reef (IYOR), many AZA members instituted special programs and exhibits for IYOR. (See YEAR OF THE CORAL REEFS: THE FORGOTTEN RAIN FORESTS OF THE SEA. (Coral Reefs: The Forgotten Rain Forests of the Sea ))

      Few formal standards existed to help regulatory agencies evaluate the conditions of captive wildlife (primates, marine mammals, and domestic animals excepted). To address this problem, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture invited the AZA to develop minimum husbandry standards for all remaining groups of mammals not regulated by specific requirements. After five years of development, 41 sets of standards were provided to the regulatory agencies to help them evaluate husbandry conditions of federally licensed zoos, dealers, and research facilities.

      One of the most complex facilities to open in 1997 was the $12 million Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House at the Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens in Chicago. This habitat featured about 200 species of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds on exhibit in a naturalistic, mixed-species environment. Covered by a 14-m (45-ft)-high glass dome, the Lincoln Park facility had an ecosystem that housed species from Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia. The gallery section featured a 25-seat theatre and a replica of an African baobab tree.

      Cat Forest/Lion Overlook, the first major exhibit of cats in nearly 25 years, was opened by the Oklahoma City (Okla.) Zoological Park. Featuring naturalistic habitats, the 1.7-ha (4.2-ac) exhibit complex obtained its $8.7 million funding from a 1/8 -cent sales tax that was approved by the citizens of Oklahoma City in 1990. The exhibit featured 10 species of cats plus meerkats (a mongoose) and more than 4,000 plants to help replicate the animals' natural habitat. Aside from the fact that some of the smaller species were seldom seen in captivity (Pallas's cat and black-footed cat), great pains were taken to acquire specimens whose genetic relationship to other specimens in North American zoos was minimal or totally absent, which thereby improved the captive gene pool for AZA management programs.


Botanical Gardens
      "Eurogard '97," the first European Botanic Garden Conference, was held in April 1997 at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Attended by 200 delegates from 31 countries, it had as its aims the identification of priorities for botanical gardens in a European Botanic Garden Action Plan for the countries of the European Union and the promotion of closer links and collaboration between botanical gardens throughout Europe. The conference was organized through the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)/International Association of Botanic Gardens (IABG) joint advisory European Botanic Gardens Consortium, a body established in 1994 to plan initiatives for botanical gardens throughout Europe.

      The secretaries-general of BGCI and IABG also held meetings with the European Commission with a view toward enhancing recognition of the roles of botanical gardens in Europe in conservation, education, science, and culture. This was supported by a motion passed in the European Parliament in June.

      A workshop on endangered plants in France was organized by the Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest in October. A new research and education centre at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London was opened, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Glaxo Wellcome PLC. In March the Wellcome Trust awarded a grant of £9.2 million to the Millennium Seed Bank project of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. A new major herbarium building was opened at the Irish National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin by the Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern, in October.

      New computer software in Russian was released by BGCI for the management of plant collection information. Training workshops in the new software were held at the Petrozavodsk University Botanical Garden in Karelia, Russia, in March and at the M.M. Grishko Central Botanical Garden in Kiev, Ukraine, in October. Development of a Baltic Botanical Gardens Association (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) continued; an annual review of the seven botanical gardens in the region was published, and several meetings were held.

      The annual meeting of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta was held in May, with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York City as host. The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) in St. Louis, Mo., was awarded the 1996 Denver Botanic Gardens Medal. This award honours outstanding contributions and leadership in the area of plant stewardship and the environment. CPC linked 28 U.S. botanical gardens and arboretums to maintain a collection of 500 of the nation's rarest plants.

      An international symposium on botanical gardens took place in Honolulu, in February, with the Garden Club of Honolulu serving as host. It featured presentations by international delegates and representatives of the seven Hawaiian botanical gardens. The staff of the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum on Oahu Island, Hawaii, reported that they had successfully grown 50 rare native Hawaiian plant species by means of tissue-culture techniques. As of 1997 there were 115 identified Hawaiian plants that were represented by fewer than 10 individuals in the wild. The Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami, Fla., received a gift of $1 million from the Richard H. Simons Charitable Trust to support the garden's programs in rain-forest research, education, and conservation.

      A meeting of the IABG Asia Division was held in Urumqi, China, in August. Also in China, a regional office for BGCI was opened at the Nanjing Botanical Garden. A new botanical garden was established by the College of Agriculture in Nagpur, India, to serve as a centre of conservation and education in central India. An international workshop on conservation and education was held by the Kebun Raya Bogor (Bogor Botanic Garden) in Indonesia. Work began on a new botanical garden at the Tam Dao National Park, near Hanoi.

      A major new conservatory was opened at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town. It enabled the National Botanical Institute in Cape Town to display South African plants that cannot be grown outside in the garden.


      To the surprise of professional horticulturists, computers had a large impact on the field in 1997. Academics led the way, and numerous universities in industrialized countries converted their reference resources to on-line, searchable form, making them freely available via the World Wide Web. The types of information that were obtained from these sites included low-resolution photographs of many species and cultivars of edible and ornamental garden plants, as well as care recommendations developed for a wide range of climates. Disease and pest identification graphics also became widely available so that gardeners with the necessary equipment could diagnose and treat their own garden problems. Amateur horticulturists also gained much greater access to original research in horticulture and related fields as researchers posted their raw data on the Internet.

      Garden encyclopedias and landscape planners on compact disc also became more common, although still not widely distributed, and were regularly reviewed in the garden media. Commercial enterprises also began to establish a presence on the Web, and some entirely new companies became serious players in the dissemination of horticultural product knowledge and a serious threat to established companies in the field.

      Interest in heirloom plants continued to increase in the U.S., whereas Australian gardeners lost some of their absorption in historical cultivars. In Europe increased interest from commercial seedsmen considering entry into the market was curbed somewhat by European Union regulations concerning plant-variety protection. In nonindustrial countries the trend continued away from heirlooms and toward more productionoriented hybrids.

      Two new bedding and potted-plant introductions, one for sunny conditions and one for shade, won gold medals from both Fleuroselect, the European-based international flower-seed-testing organization, and the U.S.-based All-America Selections (AAS). Petunia grandiflora Prism Sunshine's 7.5-8.7-cm-diameter (1 cm = 0.4 in) single yellow flowers were borne on prostrate 38-50-cm-high plants. Unlike older yellow cultivars, the flowers did not fade in strong sun or blush pink when stressed by outdoor conditions. Impatiens walleriana hybrid Victorian Rose had dark green foliage with rose pink 3.7-cm-diameter flowers that contained an extra row of petals, giving the blossoms a more roselike appearance. Intended for bedding in shady conditions or for use in containers, it grew approximately 20 cm high and had a spread of 35 cm.

      Four other new flowers also won gold medals from Fleuroselect. Campanula medium Champion Blue and Champion Pink shared a gold medal; these new varieties were the first true annuals in this species. The single 3.7-cm cup-shaped blooms were borne in clusters on 50-60-cm-high stems that could number up to as many as 10.

      Another Fleuroselect gold medal was awarded to Celosia argenta cristata Bombay Yellow Gold, a sister line to Bombay Purple, the gold medal winner in 1996. The triangular blossoms, borne singly on 1.2-1.5-m (4-5-ft)-high stems, were intended for cut-flower use.

      Hybrid Gazania splendens Daybreak Red Stripe was awarded a gold medal for its unique colour and abundance of blooms. This drought-tolerant South African native —intended for pots and bedding in sunny spots—was compact at 20 cm high and 30 cm in diameter and had 7.5-8.7-cm golden yellow single daisylike blooms, featuring bronze to red spoked highlights in the centre of each petal.

      One vegetable and one herb cultivar won AAS Gold Medals. Sweet Dani was a new Lemon Basil (Ocimum basilicum) that was more vigorous than older varieties but had traditional white flowers. The 60-cm-high plants had an enhanced lemon fragrance and were more resistant to transplanting than were older types.

      Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris) Bright Lights, an improved form of the Australian heirloom Five Color Silverbeet, won the final AAS Gold Medal for its wide colour range. The 60-91-cm-high plants had broad stems in up to 11 different colours, ranging from bright red and purple to pink, yellow, gold, and even white. Heat tolerance and length of harvest were excellent.

      The U.S.-based Perennial Plant Association chose an Echinacea purpurea cultivar, Magnus, as its Plant of the Year in 1997 (for the 1998 season). This sturdy North American native had coarse, slightly hairy serrated leaves 10-20 cm long, stiff stems up to 100 cm tall, and purple daisylike flowers 7-10 cm in diameter. Its encircling ray petals were held horizontal, rather than drooping, which was common to the species.

      See also Agriculture and Food Supplies ; Energy; (Business and Industry Review ) Life Sciences (Life Sciences ).

      This article updates gardening.

▪ 1997



International Cooperation.
      Controversy arose in 1996 over the wording of one chapter in Climate Change 1995, the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Global Climate Coalition (GCC), an umbrella group of some 60 industrial concerns, claimed the part of the main text dealing with human influences on climate had been substantially rewritten after it had passed peer review and been approved. The IPCC mounted a robust defense of the published version, but the argument continued most of the year.

      On September 19 Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy presided at the signing ceremony in Ottawa of an agreement to create a joint Arctic Council, with the aim of protecting the environment while encouraging long-term development in the region. The eight signatory nations were Canada, Denmark (on behalf of Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S.

United States.
      On the evening of January 19, the North Cape, a 104-m (340-ft) barge, ran aground near Block Island, Rhode Island, a wildlife refuge, ruptured 9 of its 14 compartments, and eventually spilled more than 828,000 gal of heating oil from its cargo of 4 million gal (1 gal = 3.79 litres). The accident occurred after the tugboat towing the barge caught fire in a storm. About 600,000 gal of the oil were believed to have evaporated or dissipated in the water, but the remainder caused a 19-km (12-mi) slick, most of which was driven out to sea by the wind. Eklof Marine, which owned both the tugboat and the barge, accepted responsibility and hired workers and vessels to help with the cleanup and to pump the remaining oil into another barge. On January 21-22, 1.8 million gal of oil were removed, which left 1.4 million gal on board in undamaged compartments. Some of this was pumped out later.

      In December 1995 it was reported that Rep. Jim Saxton had drafted a bill to create a National Institute for the Environment, to be funded by combining environmental research programs from several federal agencies so that it would require no new financing. The idea was pursued by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) of the National Science and Technology Council. In May 1996 the CENR was said to be exploring ways of merging all federal environmental programs into a single network responsible for ecological research and monitoring and reportedly had identified about 30 suitable programs.

      The House of Representatives passed a bill in October approving a $21.5 billion budget for research by the major civil agencies in 1996. This was $3 billion less than the 1995 budget and $3.6 billion less than the budget requested by Pres. Bill Clinton. A large proportion of the 22% cut in the research and development budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be taken from research into global warming. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget would be cut by 19%.

      In August U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson rejected a request from South Carolina for an emergency injunction to prevent the shipment of spent fuel rods containing highly enriched uranium from Europe and South America to storage pools at the Department of Energy's Savannah River site. On September 23 the first cargo of 280 rods from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Colombia, and Chile arrived under Coast Guard escort at the Naval Weapons Station in North Charleston, S.C. The program to recover spent fuel aimed to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and involved 41 countries.

Western Europe.
      The U.K. suffered its worst oil spill since the Torrey Canyon incident when the Liberian-registered single-hull tanker Sea Empress ran aground on Feb. 15, 1996, near the entrance to Milford Haven harbour in Dyfed, Wales, and eventually spilled about 70,000 metric tons of oil. The 147,000-metric ton ship was carrying approximately 130,000 metric tons of light crude from the North Sea Forties field to the Texaco refinery through one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in Britain. According to an interim bulletin from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, published on March 7, those in charge of the ship failed to anticipate a changing tidal stream across the harbour entrance. The ship went out of control and slewed onto rocks, spilling some 6,000 metric tons of oil. The harbour master, local pilots, and the local countryside authorities asked that the ship be towed out to sea where it would be safe from the tides and spilled oil could be dealt with before it reached the coast, but their proposal was overruled by the government's Joint Response Centre and the salvagers.

      The Countryside Council for Wales would not permit the ship to be towed into port immediately. Instead, it was decided to detain it in the shipping channel outside the harbour while the cargo was transferred, but the available tugs were unable to hold the ship in heavy seas and 8-m (26-ft) tides. The tanker grounded again at low tide on a rock pinnacle and remained fast despite efforts by eight tugs to free it. By that time much of the neighbouring Welsh coast had been contaminated, and there was a 13-km (8-mi)-long slick offshore; this eventually reached 19 km (12 mi). At 6 PM on February 21, an hour before high tide, the tanker was finally freed by 12 tugs; it was towed into Milford Haven, where what remained of the cargo was transferred to smaller tankers. By mid-March oil from the Sea Empress had contaminated more than 95 km (about 60 mi) of coastline in County Wexford, Ireland, but most of the sandy beaches had been cleaned by April.

      The European Commission on May 14 published a report on bathing-water quality on beaches. It found that 20% of Portuguese beaches, 11% of British beaches, 6.2% of French beaches, and 1.6% of Greek beaches failed to meet minimum standards. Sweden had the cleanest beaches, followed by Ireland. In all, 3,000 beaches failed to meet standards laid down in the 1986 European Union (EU) directive.

      On June 19 the European Commission proposed a directive aimed at reducing levels of vehicle emissions by 70% over 10 years. Tighter emission standards for passenger vehicles and higher-quality standards for diesel fuel and gasoline would be introduced by 2000. Further improvements would be introduced from 2005 according to evidence available by the end of 1998. By 2010, emissions of carbon monoxide would be reduced by 70% and of nitrogen oxides by 65%. The proposed directive drew criticism from environmental lobbyists, who said the proposed controls on the contents of diesel fuel and gasoline were lower than the existing EU average and one-third higher than those already enforced in some Scandinavian countries and the U.S., which raised the possibility of conflict with those member nations planning stricter controls.

      In Britain the Environment Agency began work on April 1, when it took over responsibilities formerly exercised by the National Rivers Authority, the Inspectorate of Pollution, and local authority waste inspectors. It had an annual income of £ 550 million, one-third as government grant and the remainder from fees and charges. The new agency promised to pressure industry to invest in environmental protection, conduct a major public education campaign, and publish regular "state of the environment" reports on the Internet.

      On October 1 the Landfill Tax came into force in Britain, imposing a charge of £7 per ton for domestic rubbish dumped in landfill sites and £ 2 per ton for inert material such as builders' waste. The tax was intended to encourage additional recycling to meet the government target of 25% of domestic waste by 2000. The Association of Metropolitan Authorities said the tax would add a net £ 90 million to council tax bills, amounting to an average tax increase of £5 a year per household.

      On May 8 the first of 110 shipments of radioactive waste from the French reprocessing plant at Cap De La Hague, Normandy, arrived at Dannenberg, Ger., where some 35 metric tons of waste were transferred to a low-loader truck for the final stage of its journey to storage at Gorleben. Protesters blocked railway lines, erected burning barricades, and fought police with stones, firecrackers, and flares. The Hamburg-to-Hannover railway line was closed for a time because of a bomb threat; a fake bomb was found. Pitched battles, in which the police used water cannons, tear gas, and baton charges, continued for several days and involved 15,000 police. At least 30 people were injured.

Asia and the Pacific.
      It was reported in August that the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was developing a project to map and model the environment of the South China Sea, with support from Chinese and Vietnamese officials. Called Econet, the model would take 15 years to establish and cost $150 million.

      In June there were reports that the Australian mining company BHP had agreed to pay at least $A 550 million in an out-of-court settlement to villagers in Papua New Guinea affected by pollution from mining operations. Every year since 1984, when seismic activity and torrential rains caused a dam to collapse, about 60 million metric tons of rocky slurry had poured from the Ok Tedi gold and copper mine. Contaminated with copper and cadmium, the waste flowed into the Ok Tedi and Fly rivers. People from surrounding villages claimed wildlife was killed, parts of the river became too shallow for navigation, and the local way of life was destroyed. BHP agreed to pay for the relocation of 10 villages, establish a trust fund to compensate landowners and villagers, and pay the landowners' legal costs. BHP was also investigating alternative ways to clean up the area.


Climate Change.
      In July delegates met in Geneva for the second meeting of signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The U.S. and the EU won agreement to their proposal requiring Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states to adopt legally binding limits to greenhouse gas emissions, with targets and timetables for their reduction, from 2000. Australia, Russia, and members of OPEC opposed the proposal, and less-developed countries (LDCs) were concerned about the effect of mandatory reductions on their emerging economies; the convention required only developed countries to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2000.

      Climate Change 1995, the IPCC report published in June, claimed that global warming had been detected. After allowing for the cooling effects of aerosols, IPPC Working Group I predicted a temperature rise of 1° -3.5° C (1.8° -6.3° F) by 2100 and a sea-level rise of 15-95 cm (6-37 in). Working Group II, addressing the possible consequences of climate change, said warming at the higher end of this range would shift climatic zones poleward by about 550 km (340 mi). Some tree species might not survive, and in places hardwood forest might give way to grassland and scrub. Tropical diseases might extend into higher latitudes, which would lead to 50 million to 80 million additional cases of malaria annually (10-15% increase) by late in the 21st century and an increased incidence of dengue, yellow fever, and viral encephalitis. The report was criticized by the GCC for having had chapter 8 reedited before publication, after it had been peer-reviewed and approved. This chapter dealt with potential human influence on climate change, and John Shlaes, GCC executive director, said the substantial deletions and significant changes to the approved version made the chapter unbalanced. The charge was vigorously rebuffed by the IPCC.

      The World Energy Council reported in July that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels rose 12% between 1990 and 1995, the increase from LDCs being three times that from industrialized countries. Most OECD members increased emissions 4%; those in the Asia-Pacific region (except Australia, New Zealand, and Japan) registered a 30% increase. Those in the Middle East rose 35%, in Africa 12.5%, and in Latin America 8%. Apart from France, Germany, and Great Britain, industrialized countries were unlikely to meet their target of returning emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. In Central and Eastern Europe, 1995 emissions were 75% above 1990 levels (70% in the former U.S.S.R.).

      It was reported in August that Norway was about to start burying one million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year in rocks one kilometre (0.62 mi) below the seafloor in the North Sea. The carbon dioxide was a waste product from natural gas from the Sleipner West field. If released into the air, it would increase Norwegian emissions 3% and cost Statoil, the Norwegian state oil and gas company, about $54 million a year because of the country's carbon tax. The plan was to pass the gas through an amine solvent in an absorption tower, release it from the solvent by heating, compress it into a supercritical fluid, and pump it into pores in sandstone from which gas had been extracted in the past. The gas might react with water or with the rocks themselves, locking it away permanently.

Ozone Layer.
      Signatories to the Montreal Protocol met in Vienna and in December 1995 agreed on new limits on ozone-depleting substances. Industrial countries agreed to phase out methyl bromide by 2010, and LDCs planned to stabilize its use at average 1995-98 levels by 2002.

      A report in May found that tropospheric concentrations of chlorine attributable to halocarbons released by human activities peaked near the beginning of 1994 and by mid-1995 were decreasing at a rate of 20-30 parts per trillion per year. Bromine concentrations were still increasing, but the combined effect of all halogens was a decrease. The study calculated that stratospheric concentrations of chlorine and bromine would reach a maximum between 1997 and 1999 and decrease thereafter, assuming the adjusted and amended limits set by the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer were not exceeded.

      At a conference on climate and ozone arranged by the European Commission environmental research program and held in Brussels in May, Paul Crutzen (a Dutch scientist with the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Ger., who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his research into the decomposition of ozone) said ozone smogs over rural Brazil, central Africa, and the island of Borneo were often worse than those in European cities and that during the dry season carbon dioxide emissions were greater in the Southern than in the Northern Hemisphere. The reason, he said, was mainly biomass burning by farmers, including forest fires, savannah grassland burning, burning farm wastes, and slash-and-burn cultivation. Together, these released between 1.8 billion and 4.7 billion metric tons of carbon a year as carbon monoxide, methane, and carbon dioxide, as well as nitrogen oxides, with ozone as a by-product. Crutzen urged that more resources be devoted to long-term atmospheric research in the tropics.

Air Pollution.
      On February 12 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in Geneva that a study had shown that smog claimed 350 lives a year in Paris and that pollution, mainly from vehicle exhausts, made it 10 to 100 times more dangerous to live in a city than inside a nuclear power plant. Air pollution, according to the study, causes cancer and lung diseases and might be reducing male potency.

      Concern grew over PM10, a category of airborne particles less than 10 micrometres (millionths of a metre) in size. In October 1995 WHO reported that there was no safe level for exposure to PM10 and calculated that in a city of one million people, a three-day episode of PM10 at 50 micrograms per cubic metre would produce 1,000 additional asthma attacks and four deaths. In Britain the Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards published a review in November 1995 in which it found that PM10 caused 2,000-10,000 British deaths a year. A second report, from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, published on the same day, warned that although there was little evidence that particulate matter caused cancer, the particles contained substances that might do so. The chief medical officer, Kenneth Calman, announced a new maximum limit of 50 micrograms of particulates per cubic metre of air averaged over 24 hours. According to Airborne Particulate Matter in the United Kingdom, a report from the Quality of Urban Air Review Group published in May 1996, that level was exceeded in London on 139 days during 1992-94, about 86% of the PM10 being from road traffic, while in Oxford levels had been found five times higher than the limit. At the same time, a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council on 239 U.S. cities estimated that about 64,000 U.S. deaths annually from cardiopulmonary causes could be attributable to particulate air pollution.

      On September 25 the British company PowerGen announced that it was to close its Ince power station, near Chester, for commercial reasons. Ince was the only British power station burning Orimulsion, a mixture of bitumen and water that had been described as "the world's dirtiest fuel." PowerGen said it would not be using Orimulsion again in the foreseeable future.

Acid Rain.
      It was reported in September that 22 studies in 12 countries published by the European Forest Institute showed that tree growth in Europe had increased over the past few decades. Although the studies found no clear growth trend for trees in far northern Europe, there was a positive trend in most of central Europe and some of southern Europe. Faster growth might be due to increased soil nitrogen, carbon dioxide from car exhausts, local climate changes, or the fact that many of the forests studied were relatively young. Heinrich Spiecker, a coeditor of the report, said he expected no catastrophic loss of forest in the near future. Others disagreed. Hubert Weinzierl, of the German conservation group BUND, suggested that increased tree growth might be a response to damage. This view was supported by the Forest Ecosystems Research Center at the University of Göttingen, whose scientific secretary said increased tree growth is associated with chronic shock and weakness. The forestry department of the German Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry found that 60% of trees on the 5,000 sites under observation were losing leaves or needles and therefore were damaged. The European Commission published a survey of forest conditions in the EU that discovered 20% of all trees at specified sites showing clear signs of leaf or needle damage. Damage was most extensive in central Europe.

      Studies of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, conducted over 30 years and published in April, found that although sulfur dioxide emissions had fallen in the U.S., Canada, and the countries of the EU, the acidity of surface waters had not declined as expected. Scientists found that the acid waters had leached base mineral ions from the soil and thus reduced buffering.

      In a letter to the International Maritime Organization in June, Jan Thompson of the executive body overseeing the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution warned that sulfur pollution from ships was increasing so rapidly it might soon negate improvements made by reducing emissions from power stations. Thompson said that by 2010 total emissions from merchant fleets could more than double and that in some sensitive areas ships could be one of the main contributors to sulfur deposition, or even the primary source.

Fresh Water.
      The Xinhua news agency in China announced on October 1 that all paper mills on the upper reaches of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) were to be closed in order to reduce pollution and minimize the effects of the Three Gorges Dam project. A budget of about 90 million yuan had been allocated for an environmental monitoring network.

      In its biannual report, published in July, the International Joint Commission for the Great Lakes recommended that the U.S. and Canadian governments impose a total ban on persistent organic pollutants. These reached the Great Lakes from the air, often traveling great distances. Some had been identified as coming from as far away as California and Florida.

      It was reported in January that a pipeline spill of some 31,000 gal of oil in the southern Urals had polluted drinking water in several villages in the Bashkortostan republic, 965 km (600 mi) from Moscow, and had threatened to contaminate the Kama River.

      In December 1995 the U.S. House Committee on Science heard arguments concerning the toxicity of low levels of exposure to dioxin. A report from the EPA said that even at the background levels present in most human bodies, dioxin can cause cancer and infertility and interfere with fetal development. Critics of the report, who maintained that dioxin is harmless at low exposure levels, were said by environmentalists to be representing the interests of industries producing dioxin.

      Coalite Products of Bolsover, Derbyshire, Eng., was fined £ 150,000 and ordered to pay court costs in Leicester Crown Court on February 21 in a case brought by the Inspectorate of Pollution. When it burned large amounts of chemical waste at low temperature, in breach of its own guidelines, for four days in 1990 and again in June and August 1991, Coalite had failed to prevent potentially harmful dioxin emissions from its waste-incineration plant. It was believed that human health had not been harmed.

      In July an internal report by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare proposed bringing down Japanese limits for dioxin exposure. Japanese limits, of 100 picograms per kilogram body weight per day, were 10 times higher than the maximum level recommended by WHO, but the ministry had no immediate plans to reduce them.

Toxic Waste.
      The U.S. Department of the Interior called in February for a further study of proposals to dump low-level radioactive waste at a site in Ward Valley, California. The four-to-six-month study, to be conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif., would monitor the movement of radioisotopes deposited by weapons fallout, to make sure that waste leachates would not contaminate groundwater or the Colorado River. The proposals had already been argued back and forth for nearly 10 years.

      It was reported in August that the Chinese authorities had refused entry to a shipment of 200 metric tons of plastic waste from the U.S. intended for recycling. The waste was returned to the trader in Hong Kong who had negotiated the deal, but the Hong Kong authorities also refused to accept it, saying it should be returned to the U.S. The situation arose because China was faster than both Hong Kong and the U.S. in incorporating into its law the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, signed in 1989, which required all exported waste to have an export permit as well as import approval from the destination country. Chinese authorities said nine cargoes of scrap metal were also being held prior to their rejection because they were contaminated with rubbish, including medical waste.

      In March a report from a University of Michigan team said most children in African cities had blood-lead levels high enough to cause neurological damage and in some cities more than 90% of children suffered from lead poisoning. Africa accounted for 20% of the global emission of atmospheric lead, the relatively high figure being due partly to severe reductions elsewhere.

      In September a study by the Warentest Foundation of 9,000 samples of drinking water collected throughout Germany since 1994 reported that those from areas throughout the former East Germany and also from around Hamburg contained lead at concentrations up to 10 times the German legal limit.

      The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on October 1 that despite an 18-year ban on lead-based paints, playgrounds across the country had dangerously high levels of lead from paint. A study of 26 playgrounds in 13 cities found unacceptably high levels of lead from paint in 16 playgrounds in 11 cities. In addition to its test results, the commission said it had received reports of lead paint in 125 playgrounds in 11 cities. Most of the paint remained from before the 1978 ban, and in some cases paint had been used that was intended for industrial purposes.

Environmental Estrogens.
      Concern grew during the year that chemicals released into the environment might mimic estrogens in their physiological effects, reducing male fertility in a range of species. Results of research published in June indicated that although individually the estrogenic substances were much less potent than estrogens occurring naturally, when two or more of them were tested in combination, they were 10 to 1,600 times more potent. It was reported in September that British industrial discharges of two groups of estrogenic compounds, phthalates and nonylphenols, possibly exceeded proposed new safety limits. Scientists from the British and Scottish environmental agencies said discharges of these compounds from textile and electronics factories might be high enough to cause sex changes in fish.

      In July the French government banned almost all production and use of asbestos from January 1997 after INSERM, the national medical research agency, reported that at least 1,950 people would die in 1996, about 750 from mesothelioma and 1,200 from lung cancer, all as a result of past exposure and nearly all work-related. On July 14 Pres. Jacques Chirac announced that about 38,000 students and 10,000 staff were to be moved out of the Jussieu campus of Paris VI and Paris VII universities by the end of 1997 because the 26 high-rise blocks forming the campus were contaminated by asbestos. A few days later François Bayrou, the education minister, refuted the president's statement, saying there would be no relocation of staff or students and no limit to the state's financial commitment to removing the asbestos. The cost was estimated at $176 million to $200 million.

      "Health Consequences of the Chernobyl and Other Radiological Accidents," a conference held in Geneva in November 1995 and attended by about 600 scientists, public health specialists, and policy makers from 59 countries, discussed studies of the health effects of the 1986 accident. These revealed three main areas of concern: the increase in psychological disorders, especially among workers dealing with the accident and people living in highly contaminated areas; thyroid cancer among children; and illnesses that were expected to emerge in the future, including leukemia, breast cancer, bladder cancer, and kidney diseases. The accident had caused severe radiation sickness in 134 people and 30 deaths and had exposed about 5 million people to significant radiation. Dillwyn Williams, professor of histopathology at the University of Cambridge, warned that the 680 cases of thyroid cancer detected in children since 1986 in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia might increase and that up to 40% of the children exposed to the highest levels of fallout when they were under a year old could develop thyroid cancer as adults. He said babies were 30 times more likely to contract the disease than children 10 years old at the time. Most of the 680 thyroid cancer cases in children had been treated successfully, but figures presented at a meeting in Vienna on April 8 showed this illness increasing, especially among children, in areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia close to the reactor site. In 1995, 133 cases were reported in Belarus and Ukraine in children under 15, compared with 121 in 1994 and an average of 5 cases a year prior to the accident.

      At a Moscow meeting of 45 nongovernmental organizations in April, Aleksey Yablokov, head of the Centre for Russian Environmental Policy, said the medical consequences of the accident had been seriously underestimated; data gathered by scientists from the former Soviet Union showed biological alterations at many levels in exposed populations and an increased incidence of many ailments. Western scientists were cautious because of the lack of controls and uncertainties about diagnoses. It was reported in April that genetic mutations had been detected in people and in two species of vole exposed to radiation after the accident. (MICHAEL ALLABY)

      In 1996 as part of a last-ditch attempt to increase the size of the western flock of Siberian cranes (Grus leucogeranus), two captive-raised adult males from the U.S. were released in Iran to join the small flock (8-11 birds) that wintered in the Caspian lowlands. If they paired with wild females and flew north, transmitters attached to the birds would enable the unknown breeding grounds in Russia to be located. The only other flock of the western population, which wintered at Keoladeo National Park in India, had been feared extinct when the birds did not appear for two consecutive winters in 1993-94 and 1994-95, but four birds arrived in the winter of 1995-96. Six captive-raised California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) were released in Arizona north of the Grand Canyon in early December.

      In February scientists in Chile located what might be the last remaining viable wild population of the liana Berberidopsis corallina, which grew only in Chile and was essential to rural basket weavers. Its survival in the wild had been jeopardized by clearance of lowland forest, and seed was collected as a first step to restoring the species.

      A network of sites to protect some 60 species of birds that migrate from the Arctic down eastern Asia to Australia was launched in March at a meeting of the 92 signatories to the Ramsar Convention (on Wetlands of International Importance). Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and the Philippines were expected to nominate sites for the scheme, which would be known as the East Asian-Australasian Shorebird Reserve Network.

      In the spring Russia established a new 4,200-sq km (1,620-sq mi) nature reserve in the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, including Domashniy Island, home to the world's largest colony of ivory gulls (Pagophila eburnea). Wapusk in northern Manitoba became Canada's 37th national park. It contained one of the world's largest known polar bear (Ursus maritimus) denning sites and provided shelter for thousands of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. New Zealand established the Kahurangi National Park in northwestern Nelson; it contained some of the country's rarest birds and 100 plant species seen nowhere else.

      In May the Congo bay owl (Phodilus prigoginei) was seen for the first time since 1951 in the Itombwe forest in eastern Zaire. The forest was considered to be the most important area for bird conservation in Africa, but it was unprotected and was threatened by logging, hunting, and agriculture. Other rediscoveries reported in 1996 included the lesser masked owl (Tyto sororcula; not recorded since 1922) in the Tanimbar archipelago of Indonesia and Edwards's pheasant (Lophura edwardsi; not seen since 1928) in Bach Ma National Park in central Vietnam. In October 1995 the Tibetan red deer (a subspecies of Cervus elaphus), which had been thought to be extinct, was discovered in southeastern Tibet. Most of the deer were in scattered remnant herds, but one viable population was discovered in hills where there were good prospects for its conservation, and moves were made to establish a reserve for the animal in cooperation with local residents.

      The future of the endangered Madagascar tortoise, or angonoka (Geochelone yniphora), was threatened by the theft of two breeding females and 73 young from the world's only captive-breeding centre for the species, 145 km (90 mi) from Baly Bay, Madagascar, the only place in the world where the species occurred in the wild. On May 31 Malaysia and the Philippines established the world's first conservation area for marine turtles to cross international borders. The Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area included nine islands that housed the largest green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting population in Southeast Asia and an important hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) nesting ground.

      Long-term turtle-protection efforts appeared to have paid off in Mexico, where there was evidence of rising populations of olive ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea) in Oaxaca and of Kemp's ridleys (L. kempii) at Rancho Nuevo, Tamaulipas. The first documented case of a sea turtle species' returning to nest at a site where it had been experimentally imprinted was recorded. Two Kemp's ridleys, which had been hatched from eggs laid at Rancho Nuevo and reared, tagged, and released in the 1980s at Padre Island, Texas, returned to nest at the release beach.

      News of the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) was not so good; numbers crashed in Mexico, where half the world's leatherbacks nest. Only 500 turtles nested in the 1995-96 season, compared with 6,500 in 1984. Numbers of this species had been falling steadily worldwide, and it was possible that the population had reached a critical level.

      In June it was reported that 20,000 Swainson's hawks (Buteo swainsoni) had died after feeding on grasshoppers at their winter feeding grounds in the La Pampa region of Argentina. Organophosphate pesticides used in intensive crop cultivation were thought to be to blame. In July U.S. scientists announced that the cause of an epidemic that killed 158 of the 2,600 manatees (Trichechus manatus) in Florida in March and April was a toxin produced by the red tide that had been affecting Florida's west coast.

      Two new species of mammals were reported in August; a new species of bushy-tailed cloud rat, Crateromys heaneyi, from Panay Island in the Philippines brought the total number of known bushy-tailed cloud rats to four, all from the Philippines, and a new marmoset in the southern Amazon, between the Tapajós and Madeira rivers in Brazil, had been named Callithrix sateri after the Sateri people, on whose land it was discovered.

      Rhino horns weighing a total of 240 kg (530 lb) and worth almost £3 million were seized by police in London in September. The horns, the largest seizure ever recorded, were believed to be destined for Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and Chinese communities in the U.K. and were probably from private collections gathered from animals shot earlier in the century.

      During the year new categories and criteria developed by IUCN-the World Conservation Union were used to evaluate the status of the world's wild animal species. The results were published in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals in October at the World Conservation Congress in Montreal. (JACQUI M. MORRIS)

      The cause of the tragic fire at the Philadelphia Zoo on Christmas Eve 1995, the worst zoo fire in U.S. history, was identified as a malfunction in an electrical heat trace cable used to prevent pipes from freezing. The fire destroyed the World of Primates building and 23 of its inhabitants, including the longest-established gorilla family in the United States, which died from smoke inhalation. The zoo immediately began fund-raising efforts to build a new primate house, estimated to cost about $21 million. Donations poured in so quickly that officials planned to begin construction early in 1997 and open the new facility in spring 1999.

      Other primate exhibits around the world made headlines in 1996. On August 16 at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago, Binti Jua, a female West African gorilla, rescued a three-year-old boy who had slipped and fallen into the primate pavilion. Before anyone could reach the child, the gorilla scooped him up into her arms. She cradled and protected the boy from the other gorillas as she carried him to the entrance of the enclosure and deposited him at the feet of astounded zoo personnel. At the Copenhagen Zoo, space was made in the primate house for a unique display: two Homo sapiens. A Danish couple moved into temporary living quarters at the zoo with the intention of reminding visitors of their close kinship to the apes.

      Two giant pandas arrived from China in September to reside at the San Diego (Calif.) Zoo for the next 12 years. The pandas, the first to be allowed into the United States since 1993, were on loan as part of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Giant Panda Species Survival Plan, a program dedicated to conservation, education, research, and captive breeding. In return, the San Diego Zoo was to donate $1 million annually to habitat-preservation projects in China. Six California condors bred at the Los Angeles Zoo and at the Peregrine Fund World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, were released into northern Arizona by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December. About four hectares (ten acres) of federal land around the site were closed temporarily to protect the birds until they dispersed.

      In efforts to enhance contributions to wildlife conservation, research, and education and to provide more realistic environmental settings for their animals, many zoos continued to create exhibits that represented major ecosystems. In exhibits such as the RainForest at the Cleveland (Ohio) Metroparks Zoo, which opened in 1992, complex relationships between plants, animals, and environment were explored. To celebrate its centennial the Denver (Colo.) Zoological Gardens opened Primate Panorama, a new naturalistic wildlife habitat, in 1996.

      Unfortunately, a number of zoos remained financially strapped and unable to make necessary improvements. One such was the zoo in Santiago, Chile, built in 1920, never renovated, and considered one of the worst facilities in Latin America by many veterinarians and animal rights activists. The zoo received national attention in 1996 when a pair of lions twice escaped from their cages. (MARY JANE FRIEDRICH)

      The development of international policies to harmonize the responses to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) dominated the international activities concerning botanical gardens during 1996. At the third meeting of the Conference of Parties to the CBD, held in Buenos Aires, Arg., an international working group was established.

      A conference for botanical gardens in Latin America and the Caribbean was held in Caxias do Sul, Brazil. The program included courses on collection maintenance and botanical illustration. Also in that region, about 80% of the collections of the 100-year-old Cienfuegos Botanic Garden in Cuba was badly damaged or destroyed by a hurricane in October. The garden then launched an international appeal for funds for restoration. In Paraná, Arg., a workshop was held at the National University of Entre Ríos to plan the development of its new botanical garden.

      Work was completed by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) on a new version of the International Transfer Format for botanic garden living plant records. This international standard was used to help facilitate the transfer of electronic data between botanic gardens.

      Meetings of a European joint advisory group to BGCI and the International Association of Botanic Gardens were held in Pisa, Italy, and Córdoba, Spain, to strengthen links between European botanical gardens and between the gardens and the European Union. Representatives from the major botanical gardens of the EU nations were included. Also during the year in Europe, the Dutch Botanic Gardens Foundation produced a catalogue of the 7,000 conifer trees in cultivation in Dutch botanic gardens. The Lyon (France) Botanic Garden celebrated its 200th anniversary by serving as host of a congress of the French botanical gardens association.

      A project in the U.K. to establish a national botanic garden in Wales received funding from the U.K. national lottery. A new greenhouse display on plant evolution was opened at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London. The Cambridge University Botanic Garden celebrated its 150th anniversary. A new plant-collections network for Britain and Ireland, PlantNet, was launched at a conference held at the Oxford University Botanic Garden, which also celebrated its 375th anniversary during the year.

      The Australian Network for Plant Conservation produced new guidelines for germ plasm (the bearers of heredity) conservation in Australia. Workshops on the development of computer databases for botanical garden collections in Indonesia were held at two gardens, in Java and Bali. An international workshop on biodiversity conservation and evaluation took place at the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Trivandrum, India.

      The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., developed an emergency plan to prevent the genetic loss of 110 of Hawaii's most critically endangered species. The CPC linked 28 U.S. botanical gardens and arboretums to maintain a collection of 500 of the nation's rarest plants.

      Great Britain's Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species funded BGCI for a three-year project to prepare computer software for Russian botanical gardens and to hold a series of training workshops. A workshop on "Institutional Management for Botanic Gardens in the Former Soviet Union" was held at the Central Siberian Botanic Garden in Novosibirsk.


      In nonindustrialized parts of Asia, flower gardens were proliferating in concert with the opening of the economy to private enterprise and the increased availability and affordability of food. In China a large flower market opened near the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and an even larger one was planned in a southeastern suburb that had traditionally housed those who for centuries had provided the flowers used in the Imperial Palace.

      The growth in floral popularity, partly fueled by young Chinese suitors who began observing Valentine's Day, prompted peasants in rural areas to turn over garden space to flowers that would be sold in Beijing. The rise of a significant middle class in India affected gardening there as well. With sufficient income to add fresh vegetables to their diet on a regular basis, Indian consumers were driving the creation of a produce packing and shipping industry resembling that of the United States. The use of hybrid vegetable seed by growers in India, as in the U.S., swelled from 25% to about 45% of the market.

      India's middle class was also increasing its purchases of ornamental plants, especially foliage plants, which were easier to maintain in India's diverse but almost entirely hot climates. A whole industry of small nursery operators sprouted to provide these plants. In addition, landscape contractors were hired to create private gardens and yard landscapes, an activity that was previously restricted, for the most part, to public institutions.

      The 1995-96 winter in Europe was very hard, with cold temperatures, little snow cover, and a late spring all the way from the Baltic region to Hungary and Romania. As a result, many perennials died back, production was reduced for many nurseries, and consumer sales were delayed until late in the season. Among Central and Eastern European suppliers, however, sales were robust, owing primarily to the rise of a middle class with money to spend and an interest in improving their lives and property.

      Four gold medals were awarded in 1996 by Fleuroselect, the European-based international seed-testing organization. A hybrid, Delphinium Centurion Sky Blue, was the first of its kind to receive this prestigious award. It was taller, 90-120 cm (35-47 in), than many of the newly introduced delphiniums, and it bloomed the first year from seed. The flowers were a clear, light blue with a white centre, or "eye."

      Celosia argentea cristata Bombay Purple was slightly taller and was bred primarily for professional growers of cut flowers. The plant was extremely uniform in habit, and the blooms, which were triangular, 15 cm (6 in) on a side, were borne singly on erect stems.

      The sun-loving hybrid Gazania splendens Daybreak Bright Orange was a bedding plant. This low-growing South African native, the second of the Daybreak series to win a Fleuroselect gold medal, reached only 23 cm (9 in) but had a spread of almost 30 cm (12 in). The flowers were bright orange, with a narrow brown ring around the ochre centre, and were about 8 cm (3 in) in diameter.

      Myosotis sylvatica Rosylva was a biennial. The small, 6-8-mm (0.2-0.3-in), flowers were borne in unusually tight florets, appeared earlier and lasted longer than other forget-me-nots, and were pink rather than blue. The plants grew to about 20 cm (8 in) tall and had a spread of 25 cm (10 in).

      The winter was also very harsh in the eastern U.S., where gardens got off to their slowest start in decades. The cold affected many producers and marketers of garden seeds and plants, though once the weather warmed up late in the season, sales returned to near normal levels. Consolidation in the seed industry continued at a rapid pace.

      All-America Selections (AAS) awarded medals to three vegetable entries, two flower entries, and one bedding plant entry, Zinnia angustifolia Crystal White. The small-flowered, heat-tolerant, long-blooming relative to the common Zinnia elegans had a high tolerance to most common zinnia diseases and grew only to about 25 cm tall. Of the flower winners, Prestige Scarlet Celosia was one of a new type called "multiflora" celosia, which provided more and smaller blooms than older types. Prestige Scarlet's deep-coloured blooms, about 90-100 mm (3.5-3.9 in) in diameter, were borne on plants 40-50 cm (16-20 in) tall and were useful for both fresh and dried bouquets.

      Gypsy baby's breath, Gypsophila muralis, was a dwarf that grew to only 25-40 cm (10-16 in) instead of the 75-100 cm (29-39 in) more common for the perennial form G. paniculata yet was more substantial than the annual form G. elegans. The 0.6-cm (0.25-in) stellarlike pink blooms were borne on bushy plants with finely textured foliage ideal for containers.

      AAS awards for vegetables in the 1997 season went to Dynamo hybrid cabbage, a green variety that matured in about 70 days and was resistant to Fusarium wilt (yellows) and stressful growing conditions. Okra Cajun Delight was a new okra hybrid suitable even for northern gardens. The pods were ready to harvest at the 7-10-cm (3-4-in) stage only 55 days after being transplanted into fully warmed soil.

      An herb, Siam Queen Thai basil, an improved form of the standard Licorice basil, captured the final AAS award. Plants were stocky, reaching a mature height of 60-91 cm (24-36 in) and spread of about 60 cm, with dense, dark violet flowers. First harvest could occur only 45-50 days after transplantation into thoroughly warm soil.


      This article updates conservation; gardening.

▪ 1996



International Cooperation.
      The threat of global warming continued to dominate environmental concerns in 1995, and for the first time, climatologists were confident they had detected conclusive evidence of it. Some progress was made by European countries toward curbing traffic pollution. What was said to be the third largest oil spill ever recorded, in the Russian Arctic, caused less damage than had been feared. Most of the oil was contained, and an effective cleanup operation was launched. In June Greenpeace protesters drew worldwide attention to an obsolete oil-storage platform, Brent Spar, which was to have been sunk in the Atlantic Ocean, and succeeded in persuading the owner, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, to opt instead for disposal on land. Many scientists, however, believed deep-sea disposal would have been preferable from an environmental standpoint, and Greenpeace eventually discovered an error in the sampling on which it based its objections. The controversy over what constitutes "safe" disposal lasted throughout the year. (See Sidebar (Brent Spar ).)

      At a meeting on toxic-waste exports held in Dakar, Senegal, in March, Denmark offered to serve as host for further discussions on the substances covered by the Basel Convention on international trade in hazardous wastes. This deflected attempts to prevent an extension of the ban—agreed upon in 1994 on exports of waste from countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to non-OECD countries—to the export of substances intended for recycling. The U.S. government was delaying ratification of the convention until it was amended to permit such shipments, provided the countries involved agreed and the waste was handled by internationally agreed upon and environmentally sound methods. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also opposed the ban, which it said would affect the $2.2 billion a year the U.S. earned from trade in recyclable materials. In September, however, the 89 signatory countries to the convention agreed to the extension, forbidding the 25 OECD members to ship wastes to non-OECD members for recycling after 1997.

      At a meeting of members of the OECD held in Paris in June, Canada and Australia blocked an agreement, proposed by the U.S. and the European Commission, to reduce the amount of lead in the environment by phasing out lead in such products as gasoline, solder used in food and beverage cans, and paint used on toys and to reduce exposure to lead from paint, ceramics, and crystalware. Australia and Canada favoured a "voluntary action plan" in which the lead-producing industry would finance a database on lead and its health risks and advise governments on ways to reduce exposure. European and U.S. officials said this was inadequate unless incorporated in an agreement committing member states to recognizing the need to reduce exposure.

United States.
      In proposals for the fiscal 1996 budget presented to Congress by the White House on February 6, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested $7.4 billion, $138 million more than its 1995 budget. The Office of Research and Development asked for an $84 million increase, to $630 million, some of which would come from reclassifying research funds from elsewhere in the EPA. The EPA, which celebrated its 25th anniversary during the year, sought approval for an additional $42 million to be spent on external research grants and $5 million for more graduate student fellowships.

      On April 18 Vice Pres. Al Gore introduced the National Environmental Technology Strategy, a document describing environmental progress made in the U.S. since the first Earth Day, in 1970, and setting goals for the 50th, in 2020. On April 22 (Earth Day 1995), 30 environmental groups launched a major campaign opposing congressional plans to weaken environmental regulation.

Western Europe.
      In the European Union (EU), Ritt Bjerregaard, a Social Democrat from Denmark, was appointed environment commissioner in the newly appointed European Commission announced on Oct. 19, 1994.

      In November 1994 negotiators for the European Parliament and Council of Ministers agreed on new limits of 35 g per cu m for volatile organic compounds (VOC) released during the loading and unloading of gasoline tankers. The limit would apply initially to new installations but would be phased in at existing plants and garages. Two additional directives being drafted by the Commission would limit VOC emissions at the pump and from solvents, such as those in paint and dry-cleaning fluid.

      On January 4 the Commission announced a directive reducing by 80% the maximum permitted levels of lead in drinking water. The directive followed a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation by reducing the limit from 50 to 10 micrograms per litre at a total cost of almost $64 billion over 15 years.

      The first shipment of high-level radioactive waste to be transported from Europe to Japan sailed from Cherbourg, France, on February 23 under commando guard. The cargo, comprising 28 steel 100-ton flasks containing 14 metric tons of Japanese spent reactor fuel that had been reprocessed and vitrified at Cap De La Hague, was carried on the Pacific Pintail. Greenpeace sought to prevent the shipment, and on February 21 the group was ordered by a Cherbourg court not to approach within five miles of the Pacific Pintail while it was in French waters or to blockade it or interfere with the loading of its cargo. On the day the ship sailed, a French tugboat rammed the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick. Commandos boarded the Moby Dick and a trawler chartered by another environmental group. Twenty Greenpeace protesters on three inflatables were captured by commandos when they tried to approach the Pacific Pintail. On April 25 the Pacific Pintail arrived, to more protests, at Mutsu Ogawara, Japan, near Rokkasho, where its cargo was to be stored for 50 years.

      In the German Bundestag (lower house of Parliament) election in October 1994, the Greens won 7.3% of the vote, which entitled them to 49 seats, after a four-year absence from the chamber. In the Land (state) elections held in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Thuringia, however, they received fewer votes than the 5% needed to gain seats, despite their ties with the Alliance '90 civil rights group.

      A court in Lüneberg, Germany, ruled in November 1994 that no nuclear waste could be transported from the Phillipsburg power station in Baden-Württemberg to the Gorleben interim storage depository near Hamburg until a decision had been reached on a challenge by local residents to the repository's right to operate. The ruling bought time for the antinuclear movement, which was using opposition to storage at Gorleben in its efforts to prevent the continued use of nuclear power in Germany. Permission was later given for the depository to receive its first consignment of spent fuel rods. After clashes that began on April 22, 6,500 police were brought in on April 25 to disperse demonstrators attempting to block the delivery. Border guards rode on the train carrying the waste, and five helicopters landed more guards inside the Gorleben site to prevent demonstrators from storming the entrance when the gates were opened. Protesters set fire to a railway car, set up a road and rail barricade, pulled up rail track, and threw grappling hooks onto power lines. More than 20 people were injured and nearly 200 arrested.

      On July 26 Germany introduced a nationwide ban on cars without catalytic converters, which would be enforced when at least three monitoring stations reported ozone levels higher than 240 micrograms per cubic metre. Commuters able to prove they had no other means of transport, vacationers, and commercial traffic were excluded.

      In the Swedish election for the European Parliament held on September 16-17, the Greens, who were opposed to EU membership, won 17.2% of the vote, which entitled them to four seats.

      On Oct. 13, 1994, British Environment Secretary John Gummer published the Environment Agencies Bill, which would combine the National Rivers Authority (NRA), the Inspectorate of Pollution, and local authority waste regulators into a single agency. Environmental groups said the bill would weaken existing legislation because of its requirement that the agency take costs and benefits into account before exercising its powers. The NRA issued a statement that the proposed agency would be weak and unable to deliver promises made by ministers. It was particularly concerned that the agency's duty to conservation would be replaced by a duty to "have regard to the need for conservation" and objected strongly to the requirement that environmental improvement costs be justified in advance by benefits that would accrue from them.

      New regulations to reduce pollution by vehicles were announced on Feb. 27, 1995, by British Transport Secretary Brian Mawhinney in a speech to a conference organized by the pressure group Transport 2000. Curbside checks would be introduced in 23 cities, covering all types of vehicles. Failure to comply with the regulations would lead to automatic prosecution and fines of up to £ 2,500. On June 13 Environment Minister Robert Atkins introduced powers, added as an amendment to the bill, allowing ministers to instruct local authorities to establish car-free zones or fine drivers of vehicles without catalytic converters entering cities when pollution levels were high. On July 25 Transport Secretary Sir George Young said spot checks over three months on more than 46,000 cars, vans, and taxis in 23 towns showed that the number causing unacceptable pollution had more than halved in a year. Prohibition notices were issued to 7.2% of the 4,203 light freight vehicles tested, 4.5% of cars, 4.1% of trucks, and 2.8% of public service vehicles.

      The Environment Act became law on July 20, obliging local authorities to monitor and curb air pollution. A new set of targets for substances harmful to health—including benzene, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, ozone, and nitrogen oxides—were being prepared, and the number of monitoring stations was to be increased from 26 to 36 by the end of 1996.

      The British Inspectorate of Pollution announced a change in policy to allow teams of inspectors to make random checks at factories. In its annual report, published on July 21, the inspectorate said it responded to 2,200 reports of pollution incidents in 1994-95 and issued 106 prohibition, improvement, and enforcement notices, compared with 56 in 1993-94. Pollution complaints in England and Wales increased 30%.

Eastern Europe.
      Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Eastern European countries had begun the arduous task of cleaning up environmental pollution. (See Pollution in Eastern Europe (Spotlight: Pollution in Eastern Europe ).) The third Ministerial Conference of the "Environment for Europe" Process, held in Sofia, Bulg., on October 23-25, addressed environmental challenges and opportunities facing the region and the progress made in improving the European environment. At the conference a "debt for environment" agreement was signed between Bulgaria and Switzerland, under which Switzerland canceled some of the debt owed it by Bulgaria in return for Bulgarian financial support for environmental projects in Bulgaria. The conference was attended by environment ministers from 57 countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Japan. Key donor agencies were also represented, including the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

      An emergency was declared in Russia's northern Komi Republic in October 1994 when rain washed away a dike built to contain oil leaking from a badly corroded 19-year-old pipeline, spilling nearly 200,000 tons of crude. The pipeline, carrying oil from the Arctic to refineries in central Russia, had ruptured in February 1994. When the cleanup halted at the onset of winter, Anatoly Yakovlev, of the Ministry of Protection of the Environment and Natural Resources, said the extent of the contamination had not been determined, but the oil was almost entirely contained within a layer of swamp above the permafrost, and isolated from the water table, along a 51-km (1 km = 0.62 mi) stretch of the pipeline. Rivers were not seriously affected, although a small amount of oil had been detected in the Kolva River. Aleksandr Avdoshin, of the Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies, and Natural Disasters, said 80% of the oil had been cleaned up, and there was no risk of polluting the Pechora River basin or the Barents Sea. On the other hand, Valerian Silabok, of the Committee for Nature Protection at Usinsk, said the containment barrier was ineffective, the Pechora had been contaminated, and fishermen were removing large lumps of oil from the river. In April 1995 the World Bank approved loans of $99 million to the Komineft company that managed the pipeline to help mitigate the damage. The cleanup resumed in March 1995, but it was hampered by an early thaw and delays in reinforcing earth dikes to protect the Kolva River.

      A UN conference on the condition of the Aral Sea opened on Sept. 18, 1995, in Uzbekistan and was attended by delegates from littoral republics. They had inherited from the former Soviet Union financial responsibility for reversing environmental damage in the region. Formerly the fourth largest body of inland water in the world, the Aral Sea had shrunk to about half its original surface area, and its depth had decreased from 69 m (1 m = 3.28 ft) at the deepest point to 54 m, exposing about 36,200 sq km of the bed and almost tripling the salinity of the remaining water.

Central America.
      At a meeting of the American Chemical Society, held in April at Anaheim, Calif., Donald Blake and Sherwood Rowland of the University of California, Irvine, reported that up to 25% of low-level ozone in Mexico City was produced by leaks of liquefied petroleum gas used for heating and cooking. Stopping all these leaks could reduce ozone levels by 25%.

Asia and the Pacific.
      In December 1994 Chinese Premier Li Peng inaugurated the Three Gorges Dam, due to be completed in 2009, on which construction work had already commenced. The dam would power 26 sets of 700-MW turbines with a planned capacity of 18.2 gigawatts. The project was budgeted at $22 billion to $34 billion, not all of which had been raised. Doubts also remained over how more than a million people living in the area to be inundated by the 600-km-long reservoir were to be relocated and how sewage contamination and sedimentation would be minimized in large cities upstream, including Chongqing.

      There were fears in India in July that a leak of cesium-137 and other isotopes from the Tarapur nuclear-waste-immobilization plant had contaminated wells and ponds around Ghivali, a village of 3,000 people about a kilometre away. The plant had been closed on April 15 when a leak of steam from defective pipes was discovered. Officials said the isotopes would be immobilized in the soil and any contamination would be negligible and harmless.


Climate Change.
      In September the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate (IPCC) made novel use of a World Wide Web page on the Internet to post a draft of its final report for "peer review." In the draft the panel concluded that the observed increase in global mean temperature of 0.3° -0.6° C (0.5° -1° F) was unlikely to be entirely due to natural causes. This was the first time climatologists had claimed to have detected a clear sign of global warming.

      A team led by Thomas Karl at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., combined data gathered since 1910 on summer droughts, wet winters, drenching rainstorms, and other extremes of weather in the U.S. to produce a Climate Response Index. Karl reported in April that this had remained at a high level since the late 1970s. Although the trend to more unsettled weather over a 15-year period did not prove global warming had begun, it revealed a pattern consistent with that possibility.

      On February 6, delegates from the countries that signed the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) in Rio de Janeiro met in New York City to prepare for the first full post-Rio meeting. That meeting, the Conference of the Parties (i.e., the 116 signatories that had ratified the Rio convention), opened in Berlin on March 28 and lasted two weeks. OPEC countries opposed the setting of targets for fear it would harm their oil revenues, and the 36 members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) regarded a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2005 as only a first step. After all-night negotiations, agreement was reached on April 7 on the "Berlin Mandate," which accepted that the target agreed upon at the Rio Summit—of returning carbon dioxide emissions to their 1990 levels in the industrialized countries by the year 2000—was inadequate and further reductions would be needed after 2000. A permanent secretariat was to be established in Bonn, Germany, with a staff building to 50 over two years, a £12 million budget over two years, and a negotiating group representing major power blocs, including AOSIS, OPEC, the EU, China, India, and some other less developed countries. The signatories to the FCCC would meet annually, and the negotiating group would report to the 1996 meeting. Firm proposals produced by then would be discussed at the 1997 meeting and, if approved, would become international law by 2000. The IPCC would remain the principal advisory body.

      Evidence emerged of the climatic effect of atmospheric aerosols. In May another study by Karl found that aerosols reduced temperatures by approximately 0.5° C (0.9° F) over the Northern Hemisphere, about equal to the global warming observed over the past century. A projection by the Hadley Centre for Weather Prediction and Research based at the U.K. Meteorological Office in Bracknell, Berkshire, England, suggested that the sulfate aerosol cooling effect would offset about 30% of greenhouse warming, but with no reduction in emissions, the atmosphere would warm by about 0.2° C (0.36° F) per decade. The combined effect of aerosols, increased mid-level cloudiness produced by them, and greenhouse warming were believed to account for the disparity between changes in maximum and minimum temperatures. Between 1951 and 1990 average daily maximum temperatures at the land surface increased 0.28° C (0.5° F) and average daily minimum temperatures by 0.84° C (1.51° F). Clouds reduce temperatures during the day and raise them at night.

      It was reported in March that an iceberg measuring about 78 by 37 km and 200 m thick had broken away from the Larsen Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. Argentine scientists reported that there was a 64-km crack in the shelf and that a channel had opened, allowing the circumnavigation of Ross Island at the tip of the peninsula. The calving was believed to be due to rapid warming in recent decades. Robert Crawford of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, reported on March 22 that Blomstrandhaloya, an Arctic peninsula, had become an island because the ice linking it to the Spitsbergen mainland had melted. He found that flowering plants had colonized a larger area than ever before. Analysis of two consecutive series of data by a team at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre in Bergen, Norway, reported in August, showed that since 1978 sea ice had been melting around Antarctica, and Arctic pack ice was melting faster than previously, at 2.5-4.3% per decade. Tree-ring studies by Keith Briffa of the climate research institute at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, and colleagues in Switzerland, the U.S., and Russia showed that on average Siberian summers over the past 90 years were the warmest for 1,000 years.

Ozone Layer.
      The Second European Stratospheric Arctic and Mid-Latitude Experiment found that in the early spring of 1995, ozone levels at 16-18 km above the Arctic and northern Europe were 50% lower than any previously observed. It was not clear how much thinning was due to chemical depletion and how much to the mixing of air masses at different levels, but exceptionally cold winter weather had caused a polar vortex to form.

      Thinning of the Antarctic ozone layer, beginning in October and lasting until February, was reported in August to have increased in severity, duration, and extent for each of the past 10 years. Austral spring values at the Halley Research Station of the British Antarctic Survey were less than 40% of their 1960s values. The World Meteorological Organization reported that ozone levels over Europe and North America had fallen 10-15% since the 1980s and that the Antarctic "ozone hole" had doubled in size in the preceding year, to twice the size of Europe.

Air Pollution.
      A report by the World Wide Fund for Nature, published in July, found that more than half the prime nature reserves in Europe were being damaged by acid rain. The most seriously affected area, where more than 90% of ecosystems were being damaged, was in a belt stretching from Liverpool, England, to Moscow.

      The reduction of industrial emissions of sulfur dioxide was reported in September to be producing signs of sulfur deficiency in vegetation across Europe. Sulfur deposition on fields fell by 80% from the late 1970s to 1995. Trees were dying, crop yields were falling, and crop diseases were increasing, with oilseed rape and other brassicas the worst affected. Grain crops, which are more tolerant of sulfur shortage than rape, were starting to show signs of distress. It was also possible that sulfur shortages were causing plants to emit smaller amounts of hydrogen compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide, which reduce atmospheric ozone. This might make them more vulnerable to ozone damage and be linked to increasing ozone pollution.

      Buses in London, Lyons, France, and Dresden, Germany, were reported in November 1994 to be testing exhaust-gas filters that might reduce small particulate (PM10) emissions by 90% and nitrogen oxide emissions by about 10%. The filter used nitrogen dioxide in the exhaust to oxidize carbon to carbon monoxide over a platinum catalyst, then oxidized carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and reduced nitrogen dioxide to nitrogen.

      A hot, dry summer brought pollution alerts to several European cities. In an attempt to combat pollution, for four hours on the morning of April 10 the centre of Athens was closed to all traffic except vehicles used by residents or carrying tourists to three city-centre hotels, free minibuses, and delivery vans. On May 5, smog levels reached high levels in England and Wales. In central London they were almost double the guideline limits.

      In Paris on July 25, Police Chief Philippe Massoni asked drivers to leave their cars at home over the weekend to reduce pollution. Mayor Jean Tiberi announced that when heavy pollution was forecast, city parking would be free and public transport fares would be reduced or waived, depending on the seriousness of the pollution. Pollution forecasts would be displayed publicly, cars would be checked to make sure they complied with emission standards, and more bus lanes and cycle paths would be provided. The French Ministry of Environment issued more than three times as many ozone alerts in 1994 as in 1993 (1,316 against 357). Part of the increase was the result of a growth in the number of monitoring stations from 64 to 90, but even allowing for this the number at least doubled.

Fresh Water.
      A study by The Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek, Calif., reported in late May, found that up to 70% of chemical pollutants in San Francisco Bay originated in ordinary activities rather than from industrial discharges. Pollutants included oil leaked from cars, dust containing copper from brake pads, and garden fertilizers and pesticides.

      In a study of 34,000 water samples, the most extensive ever undertaken in the U.S., reported in September, the U.S. Geological Survey found that water in 9% of all domestic wells and 21% of shallow wells beneath farmland had more than the accepted safety level of 10 mg of nitrate per litre. Previous studies had found only 2.4% of wells exceeding the limit. The survey studied data from 1970 to 1992 and found nitrate levels increasing steadily in all wells where data were comparable throughout the period.

Marine Pollution.
      Russian scientists warned in January that chemical weapons dumped off the British coast after World War II were in danger of leaking from their containers. The British Ministry of Defence said the weapons had been sealed in ships and sunk at depths of up to 6,000 m in four locations: 400 km southwest of Land's End, 130 km northwest of Northern Ireland, and two sites off the coast west of the Hebrides. Armed Forces Minister Nicholas Soames said 120,000 tons of material, mainly mustard gas and phosgene, were disposed of between 1945 and 1949 and an additional 25,000 tons of British and German weapons, containing Tabun, were dumped in the Atlantic Ocean between 1955 and 1957. Weapons dumped in the Irish Sea were blamed in March for elevated levels of arsenic found in plaice caught in Liverpool Bay, and 700 containers, some of flares and some of blistering gas, had been washed up on the coasts of the former County Antrim, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the west coast of Scotland.

      A European Commission report published on June 14 said that in 1994, 82% of water at 457 British bathing beaches met mandatory EU standards for coliform bacteria. In Germany the figure was 80%, in The Netherlands 63.5%, and in Ireland 100%. This was an improvement for the U.K., from 76% in 1991, but a rise in enteroviruses caused concern. Only 33.7% of British beaches met the more stringent guideline standards, compared with 91% in Greece, 89% in Ireland, and 81% in Italy.

      In 1990 burbot and trout in Lake Laberge, Yukon, were found to contain toxaphene, a volatile pesticide widely used in tropical Asia and Latin America, at 10 times Canadian health limits. Some burbot contained up to 2,330 parts per billion. It was reported in July that a Canadian study had found that the pesticide resulted from air pollution, not dumping. Levels of toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and heavy metals were higher in northern than in southern lakes, seemed to be increasing, and—according to David Schindler of the University of Alberta, who led the study—resulted from biomagnification.

Toxic Wastes.
      Stanford University agreed in October 1994 to pay nearly $1 million in fines for mishandling hazardous-waste materials. The university would pay $460,000 in penalties to the state, $235,000 in costs, and $300,000 to environmental groups, after admitting liability for 40% of the 1,600 violations of which it had been accused. These involved spills of toxic material, mislabeling of containers, and inadequate waste storage between 1988 and 1992.

      A new containment technology was being developed in July at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where compounds including trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) were leaching from a nearby military base. Migrating at one metre every two to three days, they had already forced the closure of a well supplying 25% of the public water supply to a nearby town and were within 300 m of another well. The new technique involved sealing the contaminants inside a wall made from steel sheets sunk several metres into the ground and funneling groundwater into a small opening filled with sand mixed with iron filings. The iron would supply electrons to reduce chlorinated compounds, and a corrosion reaction would strip chlorine atoms from such compounds as TCE and PCE, breaking them into harmless ethene and ethane gases.

      WHO reported on March 25 that the screening of 70,000 children under the age of 15 had found an incidence of nearly one in 10,000 of thyroid cancer in the Homel region of Belarus, probably due to exposure to iodine-131. There was also a 100-fold increase in northern Ukraine and an 8-fold increase in the Bryansk and Kaluga regions of Russia. In a letter to the British Medical Journal, Keith Baverstock, a WHO radiation scientist, and his colleagues said up to 2.3 million children may have been exposed. By the end of 1993, 418 cases of thyroid cancer had been diagnosed in Ukraine in people aged 18 and under at the time of the accident. Of these cases, 170 were among people 14 and under at the time of the accident and 248 in people over 15. In Pripyat, 3.5 km from Chernobyl, six cases of thyroid cancer were found in 1990-92 among 14,580 people under 18 at the time of the accident. (MICHAEL ALLABY)

      In the wildlife conservation community, the debate over the sustainable use of wild species became both widespread and intense in 1995 as pressures increased on wild animals and their habitats. Conservationists were divided over the issue; some advocated that the sustainable use of a species can be used to ensure its conservation, while others argued that sustainable use can be a guise for exploiting wild animals with no conservation gain. This important issue was the focus of several articles published in Oryx (the Journal of Fauna and Flora International) during the year.

      The most dramatic example of this split in the conservation world was the case of the African elephant. Countries with elephant populations generally fall into two groups: those that believe that sales from ivory and other elephant products should be used to raise revenue for conservation and those that argue that any resumption in trade would result in an upsurge in elephant poaching. Since the ban on international trade in elephant products came into force in 1990, a group of the former exporting countries had pressed for a resumption in carefully controlled trade, but this had been resisted at the biennial meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The ninth meeting, held in November 1994, was no exception. South Africa withdrew a proposal that would have allowed it to trade internationally in meat and hides from the hundreds of elephants that had to be culled annually in the Kruger National Park when it became clear that no other elephant range states would support it. Instead, the parties to CITES agreed to set up an intra-African assembly to review the issue of ivory stockpiles with the help of the African Elephant Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Species Survival Commission (IUCN-SSC). On Feb. 9, 1995, Kenya burned 10 metric tons of confiscated ivory in a "reaffirmation of its commitment to save the elephant." Kenya's management policy for elephants did not include culling. To help reduce conflict between people and elephants, the Kenya Wildlife Service established a Problem Animal Management Unit and adopted an early strike policy on marauding elephants to reduce human deaths.

      The situation did not improve for the tiger in 1995. Poaching accelerated, and there were extensive, well-organized illegal trade networks operating. Seizures by law-enforcement authorities showed that hundreds of tigers were being killed every year in India alone, primarily for use in traditional Chinese medicines. Peter Jackson, chairman of the IUCN-SSC Cat Specialist Group, said that the tiger would be virtually extinct in the wild by 1999 unless India and other range states declared open war on poachers and illegal traders.

      Illegal wildlife trade continued to affect many other species adversely. In some countries of the former U.S.S.R., poaching escalated, driven by economic problems and made easy by a breakdown in law enforcement and border controls. There were reports of snow leopards and lynx being poached for their skins and of argali (a species of wild sheep) being killed for their horns, as well as an extensive trade in rare amphibians and reptiles.

      In March poachers killed four mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Park in Uganda, probably to capture a young animal for the illegal trade. In 1995 only about 600 of these animals were left in the world. Until these deaths, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (run as a partnership between the African Wildlife Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, and World Wide Fund for Nature) had been pleased to report that during the previous decade not one mountain gorilla was known to have been killed. This was largely due to the efforts of the program and the commitment to the conservation of the gorillas and their habitat by the governments of Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire. More deaths followed in August, this time in Zaire, where three more mature gorillas were killed in two separate incidents. A baby also was captured, but it was later found abandoned and was restored to its family group. The gorillas that died were in two groups that were regularly visited by tourists, and the killings dealt a blow to gorilla-based tourism, which brought in much-needed foreign earnings. Gorilla protection was stepped up, especially in Zaire, where the national park, home to the gorillas, was being severely damaged because of its proximity to Rwandan refugee camps.

      In April Oryx carried the results of a survey that found that the saola, or spindlehorn antelope (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), which had been discovered in Vietnam in 1992, also lived in Laos. Plans were made to extend conservation areas in its range. On June 16 more than 60 nations signed the Agreement for the Conservation of Migratory Waterbirds under the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. Conservationists welcomed the agreement but expressed concern that it allowed hunting of some birds that had uncertain conservation status.

      Several new species were described in 1995, including a mountain goat (Pseudonovibos spiralis) from Vietnam, a nightjar (Caprimulgus solala) from Ethiopia, a nighthawk (Chordelies vielliardi) from Brazil, and a pygmy owl (Glaucidum parkeri) from Ecuador. Reported extinctions included the river pipefish from South Africa and the Formosan flying fox (Pteropus dasymallus formosus) in Taiwan. The last Spix's macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) in the wild—a male in northern Brazil—was given a mate (one of 30 or so in captivity) in the hope that they would breed. The release followed months of research and preparation by the Spix's Macaw Recovery Committee, led by the Brazilian wildlife authorities. A golden conure (Aratinga guarouba) hatched at Sorocaba Zoo in Brazil, the first time that the endangered species had bred in a zoo. The birds continued to be captured illegally, however, with specimens smuggled out of Brazil fetching as much as $1,800 each.

      The first comprehensive UN report on biodiversity, released on November 14, estimated that there were as many as 15 million animal and plant species in the world, of which only 1,750,000 had been identified. A minimum of 5,400 animal species were considered endangered. (JACQUI M. MORRIS)

      The worst zoo tragedy in U.S. history occurred on Christmas eve when smoke from a fire in the World of Primates building at the Philadelphia Zoo, the nation's oldest, killed 23 primates—six western lowland gorillas (including two infants and an unborn fetus), three Bornean orangutans, four white-handed gibbons, six ring-tailed lemurs, two ruffed lemurs, and two mongoose lemurs. All were considered endangered species, and several were among the few remaining wild-born animals. The personal grief of the zoo staff and the city's zoogoers was overwhelming, but the loss to the primate gene pool was especially catastrophic. In addition, the incident seemed likely to give added momentum to the animal rights activists, who recently had been instrumental in closing the Vancouver, B.C., zoo.

      In 1995 many "new zoo" programs designed to breed and preserve the various species were in place around the world. The Europäisches Erhaltungszucht Programme (EEP) coordinated 112 species programs involving 117 species and 137 taxa. They also identified 26 working Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs) and 21 studbooks encompassing 29 taxa. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) administered 70 Species Survival Plans (SSPs) covering 117 species. They also coordinated 43 TAGs, 240 studbooks, and a variety of other scientific advisory groups. In 1995 the AZA formed a field conservation committee to focus the attention and energy of North American zoos and aquariums on field conservation efforts.

      Globally, species management programs based on the EEP and SSP models were being developed to coordinate worldwide efforts to preserve species. In 1995 the Australian Species Management Program developed a zoo-collection-planning software system for international circulation.

      Despite this emphasis on cooperative species management, there was a shift in the overall planning process. Worldwide, there was a limited amount of space available to house the captive-bred animals, and native habitats were disappearing so rapidly that there was no real "wild" in which animals could be reintroduced. In order to address this, researchers began to develop programs that would encompass a more "holistic" approach to conservation of endangered species.

      In some areas the holistic approach also called for the designation of a "flagship species" to represent a specific habitat. This concept advocated employing an animal that is well-loved by the general public to represent an entire ecosystem. For example, if a conservation and education program was based upon the preservation of habitat for the giant panda, in theory not only would the panda be saved but so also would the other plants and animals that inhabit the ecosystem.

      In early October 1995 the World Zoo Organization (officially the International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens) published Zoo Future 2005, an action plan derived from the 1995 Futures Search Workshop, held in Cologne, Germany. This innovative document outlined the "ideal future" for a world-class zoo, the constraints and opportunities, an ambitious plan of action, and task assignments. (JANE COYLE BALLENTINE)

      In 1995 emphasis was placed on developing networks among botanical gardens and organizations involved in the research and protection of plants. That theme pervaded the fourth International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress, which was organized by Botanic Gardens Conservation International and held in Perth, Australia. At the Planta Europa meeting in Hyères, France, the principal resolution involved the creation of a Planta Europa Network to coordinate efforts to save Europe's wild plants and their habitats. The Auckland Plant Collection Network was formed to create a structure to improve the effectiveness of botanical gardens in New Zealand.

      Celebrations were held marking the 50th anniversary of the Main Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. It was founded in April 1945 as a methodological and coordinating centre for the country's botanical gardens. In January a large electrical storm inflicted considerable damage on the Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane, Australia; more than 100 mature trees were uprooted or snapped. In July the Montreal Botanic Gardens was the site of the American Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboreta annual conference, which highlighted the progress made in the biodiversity of plants in public gardens and ways in which public gardens could attract larger and more diverse audiences.

      The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, secured £ 1.5 million from the Ministry of Agriculture to redevelop the deteriorating Jodrell Laboratory and herbaceous greenhouses. Plans were developed to establish a new national botanical garden in Nairobi, Kenya. The centre would focus on education and conservation of native plant taxa outside their natural habitat. The Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, received a grant to support the establishment of a seed-storage and germination laboratory. The National Botanic Gardens in Limbé, Cameroon, opened a centre devoted to research and fieldwork based on the larger Mount Cameroon Project.

      Botanical gardens in Bonn, Germany, and Göteborg, Sweden, returned 150 clones of the extinct tree Sophora toromiro to Easter Island; the last such tree had been seen there in 1958. Worldwide, individual specimens of S. toromiro were identified in a number of botanical gardens, increasing the confirmed number of surviving trees. The Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth launched a new A$ 230,000 plan intended to conserve 11 endangered plants in that city and three Eucalyptus species elsewhere in the western part of the country. Botanic Gardens Conservation International, in conjunction with its regional office at Utrecht (Neth.) University Botanic Gardens, launched the Dutch Plant Charter Group as a forum for business and industry to lend support and voice concern for the conservation of plants.


      In a rare coup, Salvia farinacea Strata, a newly introduced bedding plant, captured the triple crown of flower breeders in 1995. It won both the All-America Selections gold medal and the Fleuroselect (the European-based seed-testing cooperative) gold medal and was named 1996 Plant of the Year by the British Bedding and Pot Plant Association. This well-proportioned plant was 45-61 cm (18-24 in) tall and almost as broad, with thin, smooth foliage typical of its species. Its sweep of the awards was attributed to its entirely new colour: bicolour flowers, with grayish white calyxes that contained mid-blue corollas just touched with white in the throat.

      The All-America bedding plant winner was a cultivar: Petunia Fantasy Pink Morn, which represented a new class of petunias called "milliflora." The pink flowers with creamy white throats were small, 2.5-3.8 cm (1-1 1/2 in), but in scale with dwarf plants that naturally grow only 30 cm (12 in) high and up to 45 cm (18 in) across. The natural growth habit of dwarfs was prized by growers, who were able to avoid the use of growth retardants to prevent crowding and stretching during plant production. This easy commercial production—referred to as pack performance—was not considered an indicator of actual garden performance; however, garden maintenance probably would be minimized.

      Fleuroselect, which would also include pack performance as a criterion for future awards, decided to expand its testing program to North America but in a nonvoting form. The organization also announced that it would hold its 1996 meeting in California, the first time the event would convene outside Europe.

      Two other Fleuroselect gold medal winners were Ammobium alatum Bikini, rewarded for its compact habit, and Petunia x hybrida Lavender Storm, chosen for its tolerance of rainy weather.

      The Perennial Plant Association named Perovskia atriplicifolia, commonly known as Russian sage, its Plant of the Year. The specimen had a long growing season and light blue flowers that added a striking ornamental effect to gardens.

      An Australian study that tracked the worldwide purchase of garden products found that middle-aged married couples with relatively high incomes purchased the largest number of garden products and did their shopping at independent garden centres, while retirees made the highest dollar volume of purchases at mass-market discount stores.

      In the U.S., where enthusiasm for gardening continued to grow, gardeners "chatted over the fence" by using such on-line services as America Online, Prodigy, and CompuServe. Such new software programs as Key Home Gardener, Design Your Own Home-Landscape, Landscape Design, FLOWERscape, Mum's the Word, and Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Gardening moved gardening into the high-tech world of home computers. While some of the programs concentrated on hardscape aspects of landscape design (fences, patios, and decks), others focused on the plants themselves and included a database of hundreds of ornamentals, vegetables, trees, shrubs, herbs, and grasses.

      In Central and Eastern Europe the well-established practice of community gardening came into conflict with land privatization. In the Czech Republic many long-established garden communities found that their plots rested on land scheduled to be returned to those who owned the property before communist governments seized it. In Prague, where real estate values were high, those who had had ownership restored to them and wished to sell were not in a position to settle with all of the current occupants. The problem created insecurity for gardeners, who depended on their community plot for food, and headaches for the government, which had to accommodate all interests.


      See also Agriculture and Food Supplies ; Energy (Business and Industry Review ); Botany (Life Sciences ).

      This updates the articles conservation; gardening.

▪ 1995



International Cooperation.
      Efforts continued throughout 1994 to implement agreements made at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, or Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro. The June 1994 deadline for drawing up the desertification treaty and action plan called for in Agenda 21 was not met, but the convention was agreed and signed in October. The UN General Assembly had agreed that priority should be given to Africa, but countries of Latin America and Asia refused to accept this, and the nations likely to provide most of the financing were uneasy about the open-ended nature of the plans being submitted.

      At a meeting in December 1993, European Union (EU) environment ministers agreed to ratify the UN Convention on Climate Change after six members withdrew their objection that ratification would be hypocritical in the absence of a carbon and energy tax. The tax was opposed by the U.K., and at a meeting in Luxembourg on Oct. 5, 1994, the British secretary of state for the environment, John Gummer, reiterated his government's rejection of it, even though the chairman, Germany's Klaus Töpfer, suggested a compromise that would permit governments to raise existing fuel and energy taxes rather than introduce new ones.

      An International Conference on Chemical Safety, held in Stockholm April 25-29 under UN auspices, was attended by delegations from 130 countries. Arising from Agenda 21, it aimed to find ways of policing the trade, use, and disposal of toxic substances. An International Forum on Chemical Safety was established as an instrument to integrate and consolidate efforts to promote chemical safety.

      Countries participating in the Global Environment Facility (GEF) were presented with the recommendations of a study they had commissioned to evaluate its work at a meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, in December 1993. The study concluded that GEF activities should be suspended, control removed from the World Bank, and an independent secretariat appointed. The main criticism was of a lack of agreement between industrialized and less developed countries (LDCs) on the purpose and strategy of the GEF and the linking of projects to development schemes run by the same dominant institutions. The talks in Cartagena broke down over disagreements about the composition and chairmanship of the 30-member executive council. It was agreed to refresh GEF funds by $2 billion when negotiations were finally completed in March 1994.

      In July François Goutorbe, director of the Institute for Polar Research and Study, told Greenpeace International that France had abandoned plans to build a landing strip near its Dumont d'Urville base on the Adélie Coast, on which about $22 million had already been spent, but it was considering renovating the small existing strip for the use of light aircraft. In January a large piece of the Astrolabe glacier had fallen into the sea, causing a huge wave that engulfed the 1,100-m (3,600-ft) runway, washed away a service road, and pushed boulders onto the runway. The area was important for wildlife.

United States.
      In October 1993 Pres. Bill Clinton published his 50-point plan to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases by 100 million tons. The plan relied on voluntary measures, such as greater energy efficiency in homes and electrical appliances, increased reliance on hydroelectric power, reduction of power-plant emissions, and tree planting. It made no attempt to reduce car emissions and was criticized by environmental groups for failing to set targets. In July 1994 Carol Browner, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, told a meeting of the President's Council on Sustainable Development that the EPA planned to allocate half its annual research budget to long-term research. This would direct more of its funds to universities and would improve standards of peer review.

      In late July the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the California desert protection bill. The legislation, which was the largest U.S. land-conservation measure since 1980, had been debated for eight years. It was expected to protect some 3.2 million ha (8 million ac) of desert and more than 2,000 species of plants and animals.

      Hearings relating to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound commenced in Anchorage, Alaska, in May. The plaintiffs sought $1.5 billion in compensation from Exxon Corp. and the ship's captain, Joseph Hazelwood. In June the jury found in favour of the plaintiffs, and in September, in one of the largest awards in legal history, it ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion in punitive damages to a group of up to 34,000 fishermen, native Alaskans, and others for harm they had suffered. Hazelwood was also ordered to pay $5,000 in damages.

United Kingdom.
      During the early part of 1994, most environmental interest centred on the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) for spent reactor fuel at Sellafield, Cumbria, England. It was reported in December 1993 that 63% of the 42,500 people who responded to a government request for comments on the desirability of the facility were opposed to it. Most objected to increased radioactive discharges and the lack of a fresh public inquiry. On December 15 Gummer announced in the House of Commons that permission had been granted for Thorp to commence operations and that the discharges permitted would not lead to unacceptable risks to human health or to the environment. Greenpeace and the Lancashire County Council applied in the High Court for orders that would block authorization of the plant, on the grounds that Gummer acted unlawfully and wholly unreasonably in failing to hold a public inquiry, but on March 4 their application was rejected. Thorp had already commenced operating on January 17. Following the High Court hearing, Thorp's operator, British Nuclear Fuels, Ltd., announced that reprocessing would start within one month.

      Concern also grew over pollution caused by road traffic. In May the Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards recommended a maximum level for ozone of 50 ppb (parts per billion) measured over eight hours. Monitoring stations had recorded ozone levels exceeding the recommended limit on up to 83 days a year in southeastern England. For this target to be met, emissions of nitrogen oxides would have to be reduced by more than 95% and volatile organic compounds by 75-85%. The report of a two-year study by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, published in September, concluded that the projected doubling of the number of cars over the next 30 years would cause unacceptable environmental damage.

      The Inspectorate of Pollution received 524 complaints about industrial processes, a 60% increase, which its director, David Slater, welcomed as indicating that it was becoming better known. Following a U.S. report on health risks associated with dioxin, Slater announced a review of U.K. emissions and hinted that emission standards might have to be tightened.

Western Europe.
      Environment ministers from EU countries agreed to a directive on packaging waste on Dec. 16, 1993. Within five years of the directive's coming into force, probably by 2000, 25-45% of packaging waste would have to be recycled, either for reuse or for incineration to generate power. Different recycling targets were set for different materials, but none was below 15%. Greece, Ireland, and Portugal were allowed a longer implementation period. Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands were permitted higher targets, provided the European Commission was persuaded they had sufficient recycling capacity to handle those targets without requiring the export of waste.

      The Green parties, which fought the June elections for the European Parliament on a joint manifesto, maintained that economic growth should not continue regardless of its social and environmental costs. The German Greens held a congress in October 1993, while opinion polls showed their support holding steady at 8-10%. The dominant figure was Joschka Fischer, the environment minister in Hessen, who was influential in securing the merger with Alliance '90, the environmental and civil rights party from the former East Germany, and in broadening Green policies to include wealth redistribution. The Greens/Alliance '90 held a conference in Aachen in November 1993 at which old differences over the wisdom of power sharing reemerged, but at a later meeting of 700 delegates held in Mannheim on Feb. 26-27, 1994, the Greens pledged their readiness to share power. At the June elections earlier polls were confirmed as the Greens took 10% of the vote and 12 seats. Ireland's Green Party, which benefited from a protest vote and low poll, won two seats in the European Parliament.

      The environment minister in the new Italian government, Altero Matteoli of the neofascist Italian Social Movement, said in May that he welcomed the idea of parks and specially protected areas (provided they were not off-limits to people or barred from possible economic use) and favoured nuclear energy. He also said he would revive plans for a major highway down the west coast from Livorno to Civitavecchia that had been shelved, largely because of environmental concerns. Environmentalists were outraged, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi moved swiftly to placate them by appointing Roberto Lasagna—a former international director of the World Wildlife Fund and an opponent of nuclear power—as Matteoli's deputy.

      On Dec. 1, 1993, Greenpeace protesters were evicted from the nuclear plant site at Cadarache, France, 50 km (31 mi) from Marseilles, after they climbed a chimney and unfurled a banner. They objected to an experimental meltdown that scientists studied by monitoring the movement of radionuclides through the reactor vessel. The experiment lasted five hours, and the meltdown went further than the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, with about 20% of the fuel melting. Fission products that escaped into the containment shield through safety valves in the pressure vessel were allowed to travel to different parts of the reactor for four days and then into an outer tank, where robots monitored them for three months.

Eastern Europe.
      Opposition to the Gabcikovo hydroelectric scheme in Slovakia weakened with the discovery, reported in July, that diversion of the Danube River might have actually proved environmentally beneficial by reviving wetlands and recharging underground aquifers. In response to environmental concerns, Slovakia had fed part of the diverted flow into wetlands, some of which had been largely dry for 30 years, apparently because dams built in Austria had altered the hydrology and caused the river to erode its bed. Until the flow was increased, there was less than one month each year when the water level rose high enough to enter the old arms of the river.

      NIPSCO Industries, Inc., Wisconsin Electric Power Co., and Edison Development Co. agreed in May to contribute $200,000 each toward the $1.5 billion cost of converting the highly polluting Decin Bynov power plant in the Czech Republic from burning brown coal to burning natural gas and improving its efficiency. Carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 12,800 tons a year, more than 65%. The balance of the cost would be met by the city of Decin. The Czech government agreed to transfer to the U.S. 40% of the credits it earned for reducing emissions under the Convention on Climate Change. The U.S. companies hoped they would be allowed to offset this against cuts required in their own plants.

      On September 26 the Greek High Court ruled that the government had acted illegally in proceeding with the EU-backed £ 1 billion scheme to divert the Achelous River without commissioning a full environmental-impact statement (EIS). The action was brought by three environmental groups—the Hellenic Ornithological Society, World Wildlife Fund Greece, and Elliniki Etaria—that feared the project would dry out wetlands and damage an important bird reserve. The judgment meant work had to cease on a 17.7-km (11-mi) tunnel through the Pindus Mountains and on a series of partially completed dams until the EIS was completed, which could take two years.

      The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in October 1993 that the incidence of thyroid cancer among children in some areas of Belarus and Ukraine continued to rise following the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine. Since 1989, 225 new cases had been identified in Belarus and 158 in Ukraine, against a normal incidence of 1-2 cases per million population. Thyroid cancer was also high among adults, with 2,039 cases registered in Belarus and more than 3,000 in Ukraine. Certain puzzling features remained unexplained. In Belarus more than half the cases were in Gomel oblast, with few reported from neighbouring Bryansk oblast in Russia, and in Ukraine the rise in cases was delayed and less pronounced than in Belarus. At a meeting in July the Group of Seven agreed to add $200 million to the $600 million already pledged to Ukraine by the EU, much of the additional funding coming from Europe, in the hope that the money would be used to close down the two remaining gas-graphite reactors at the Chernobyl plant. Ukraine also wanted to use the funds to complete five reactors that were under construction. Studies by the U.S. Department of Energy and the World Bank, however, found it would be cheaper to improve industrial efficiency than to build new reactors.

      In March a group of Russian scientists and representatives of public interest groups announced the establishment of the Centre for Ecological Policy. The centre would be run by a board chaired by Aleksey Yablokov, a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Its aim was to influence government policy by offering novel solutions to urgent ecological problems, and it was expected to supply the environmental movement with objective scientific information and advice.

Asia and the Pacific.
      In Australia it was reported in November 1993 that the Tasmanian government had ordered the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Co. to halt the revegetation of hills near Queenstown and to refrain from spraying fertilizer on native seedlings that were already planted. The hills had been denuded by acid rain caused by a copper smelter operated by the company, which was bound by legislation to revegetate the area. Opposition came from local people who preferred the hills to be left barren as a valuable tourist attraction and as part of the history and cultural heritage of the town. Most of the damage occurred between 1896 and 1904, when iron pyrite was used in the smelting process, but between 1904 and 1969, when smelting ended, the use of coal produced enough acid rain to prevent natural regeneration.

      In May villagers living near the Ok Tedi River in Papua New Guinea lodged a $A 4 billion lawsuit against Australia's largest company, BHP. The action, started in Melbourne by Rex Dagi, leader of the Miripiki clan, was the largest civil claim ever lodged in Australia and was a representative action for about 7,500 villagers, with more writs expected to follow. The plaintiffs claimed that a copper and gold mine managed by BHP had destroyed their traditional way of life by discharging material into the river since 1984, clogging and polluting it with copper and cadmium. The plaintiffs claimed that the river was biologically dead and that villagers had had to move because they could no longer maintain market gardens.


Air Pollution.
      Results of a study commissioned by the Swedish NGO Secretariat on Acid Rain, reported in July, identified 100 installations responsible for about 43% of Europe's sulfur dioxide emissions. Of the offenders, 95 were power plants, with 11 of them in Britain, but the biggest was the Maritsa plant in Bulgaria, which released 350,000 tons of sulfur dioxide a year. Three installations were metal smelters, two of them in the Russian Arctic; one was an oil refinery; and one was a blast furnace producing pig iron. EU figures released in May showed that in 1993 unleaded gasoline accounted for nearly 90% of sales in Germany, more than 75% in The Netherlands and Denmark, 52.6% in the U.K., and 20.9% in Portugal. The EU average was 53.3%. Results of a study of Antarctic snow, published in May, showed lead concentrations fell during the 1930s, declined overall between about 1920 and 1950, doubled by 1980 to six parts per billion, and declined again to five by 1986, probably because of the use of unleaded fuels in Brazil.

      In March estimates by Joel Schwartz, an epidemiologist at the EPA, suggested that microscopic particulate emissions called PM10s could be causing up to 10,000 deaths a year in England and Wales, with vehicle emissions being the major source. This idea found support at a meeting on urban air pollution and public health held in London in September, when Jon Ayres of the Chest Research Institute at Birmingham (England) Heartlands Hospital reported that asthma attacks increased with rises in PM10 levels. Douglas Dockery of the Harvard School of Public Health said evidence that linked an increase of PM10s per cubic metre of air with a slight increase in deaths from heart attacks, respiratory illness, and asthma attacks was growing. He said these trends had been detected in 10 U.S. cities and in São Paulo, Brazil. Although PM10s were not known to be toxic, it was suspected they might carry toxins on their surfaces into the lungs. Medical researchers also found a link with gaseous pollutants. Ayres reported that patients with mild asthma caused by an allergy to house-dust mites had more severe symptoms if they inhaled nitrogen dioxide, which acted as a potentiating agent that made the respiratory tract more sensitive to allergens. Jagdish Devalia of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, reported studies that found nitrogen dioxide could inflame cells lining airways, preventing them from expelling allergens. Increased asthma was therefore linked to rising numbers of house mites, which thrive in centrally heated homes, and to rising emissions of nitrogen dioxide from vehicles and gas fires.

      For four days in June an experiment in traffic control brought a marked improvement in air quality to Heilbronn, Germany. Cars were prevented from entering the town unless they had been fitted with three-way catalytic converters, and trucks were barred unless they had the most efficient diesel engines. At the same time, a 60-km/h (37-mph) speed limit was imposed on the nearby autobahn. Traffic within the town was reduced by 40%, and use of public transport increased 50%. Urban concentrations of nitrogen oxides decreased by 40%, and in the town centre benzene concentrations were halved. Results on the autobahn were inconclusive, although there was a reduction in traffic noise. In late July the state of Hessen introduced a 90-km/h (58-mph) speed limit on autobahns and an 80-km/h (50-mph) one on other roads in an attempt to curb tropospheric ozone levels, which reached record levels during a long spell of hot weather in Central Europe.

      In June the U.S. government announced that alcohol made by fermentation of corn (maize) had to be added to gasoline sold in several cities in an effort to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. The decision required that by 1996 30% of the oxygen content in reformulated gasoline would have to come from renewable sources, mainly ethanol, which was made from corn. The remaining 70% would continue to come from methyl tertiary-butyl ether, made from methanol, which is derived from natural gas.

Ozone Layer.
      On October 4, scientists of the British Antarctic Survey reported a 65-70% depletion in stratospheric ozone over the Faraday base. This was similar to the depletion reported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in October 1993, when ozone levels at three stations reached their lowest values in 30 years over a 22 million-sq km (8.5 million-sq mi) area extending across part of South America for two days in late September. Scientists believed the increased depletion was due to meteorologic conditions that produced record low stratospheric temperatures, possibly allowing polar stratospheric clouds to form at a higher altitude than usual.

      It was reported in May that the WMO found springtime ozone levels over northern Europe more than 10% below the long-term mean. A team from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado reported levels 12.6% below normal between January and April 1993 over the U.S., with reductions of up to 18% over Caribou, Maine, and Wallops Island, Virginia. Between May and August, levels at four sites were 8.5% below normal and 3.7% below the previous lowest levels for that time of year. Over Hawaii, summer levels were reduced by 5.5%. At a meeting of signatories to the Montreal Protocol held in Bangkok, Thailand, in November 1993, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said that while industrialized countries had reduced emissions of implicated substances by 45%, only nine LDCs had reduced their emissions. It was agreed to double the Interim Multilateral Fund to help LDCs phase out ozone-depleting chemicals.

Climate Change.
      At a meeting of the negotiating committee for the Convention on Climate Change, held in Geneva in August, it was agreed that the initial target of stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions at their 1990 levels was insufficient to prevent global warming. Germany suggested adding a clause to the convention requiring industrialized nations to make specified emission reductions by a target date after 2000. The committee failed to agree on new targets, although most industrialized countries agreed on the need for them.

      In its 1994 report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) endorsed the consensus reached in 1990 and repeated its conclusion that unless greenhouse gas emissions were reduced, average temperatures would rise 1.4° -4.5° C (2.5° -8.1° F) by 2100. Sir John Houghton, an IPCC working group chairman, suggested that a 20% reduction in emissions over 20 years would be appropriate and probably achievable for developed countries. The report revised upward the effect of methane and found that the upward trend in carbon dioxide and methane emissions had slowed from 1991 to mid-1993, but by late 1993 carbon dioxide emissions were rising again. Two reports, published in June and August, found that atmospheric particles (aerosols), primarily of sulfuric acid and ammonium sulfate, were having a marked cooling effect—directly by increasing albedo and indirectly by nucleating the formation of small-droplet clouds. Taken together, direct and indirect aerosol effects were found to be equal to those due to greenhouse gases, but the climatic results were uncertain because of the concentration of aerosol emissions in particular regions.

      In August the Japanese Environmental Agency reported that Japan was unlikely to reduce its total carbon dioxide emissions to the 1990 level by 2000, but it might be able to keep per capita emissions to the 1990 level. The per capita calculation allowed for a small increase in total emissions because of the increase in population. In the U.K. the department of applied ecology at the University of Cambridge said planned government action would easily meet the U.K. target of stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions by 2000 but would not make an adequate contribution to preventing global warming because the targets were well short of the required 60% reduction below 1990 levels.

Fresh Water.
      In October 1993 it was reported that a study of 40,000 people in Taiwan had found more than 400 cases of skin cancer among people exposed to water containing high levels of arsenic, some samples having up to 600 ppb, with a clear positive correlation between the number of cases and arsenic levels. A similar link had been found in Mexico and Germany. WHO planned to reduce its recommended limit for arsenic in tap water to 10 ppb, and the EPA was considering a 2-ppb limit in the U.S. Other scientists were skeptical, however, pointing out that there was no evidence of increased cancers in parts of Hungary with high arsenic levels.

      In its fourth annual report, published in September, the National Rivers Authority said the number of pollution incidents in British rivers rose 8% in 1993, to 25,299, but the number of major incidents fell by 57, to 331. Some 25% of the incidents were caused by the sewage and water industries, especially from sewage overflows, a figure that was expected to fall over the next 10 years as investment programs were completed. Industrial sources accounted for 111 of the most serious incidents, diesel fuel being one of the most common pollutants.

Marine Pollution.
      On Nov. 12, 1993, the International Maritime Organization (IMO)—by a 37-0 vote with 5 abstentions (Belgium, the U.K., France, China, and Russia)—modified the London Dumping Convention by replacing the 10-year moratorium imposed in 1983 with a worldwide ban on the dumping of radioactive wastes at sea. Two weeks earlier Russian authorities had dumped 900 tons of radioactive cooling and cleaning water from submarine reactors into the Sea of Japan about 500 km (310 mi) from the Japanese coast. Following the outcry, Russia suspended plans to dump an additional 800 tons, and Japan abandoned its support for dumping radioactive waste. The IMO ban also covered the dumping of industrial waste and the incineration of industrial waste at sea.

      A report by the North Sea Task Force, published in April, said pollution levels were falling in some parts of the sea but increasing in others, especially in inshore waters in the south. High cadmium and mercury levels were found in the kidneys and livers of seals and porpoises, cadmium in the livers of fish on the Dogger Bank, and lead on the coast of northeastern England and in the Dogger Bank and Norwegian Trench. Nutrients carried by rivers were causing algal blooms on Dogger and off Norway and Sweden, killing stock in fish nursery areas.

Toxic Wastes.
      On March 25, member countries of the Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes—which had already prohibited dumping—agreed to ban from the end of 1997 all exports of toxic waste to LDCs for recycling, although the EU said it would continue to export substances it considered safe. In the U.S., on September 13 the EPA issued a draft of a report, to be finalized in September 1995, on the findings of a three-year review of the health effects of dioxins. The 2,000-page, six-volume report by more than 100 scientists affirmed a link between dioxins and cancer, a reduction in male sperm count, damage to fetuses and the immune system, and diminished IQ in children. The EPA concluded that there is no safe threshold for exposure. The main source of dioxins was found to be waste incinerators, which accounted for at least 95% of known emissions, and contaminated food and drink were the principal route by which humans encountered them. No immediate new controls were planned.

Radioactive Contamination.
      A report from the British Health and Safety Executive (HSE), published in October 1993, found that children who were born in Seascale, Cumbria, and whose fathers had worked at the Sellafield nuclear power plant prior to 1965 were 14 times more likely to develop leukemia or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than the national average, but the incidence of these diseases was not raised among the 90% of Sellafield workers not living in Seascale. In a further report published in the British Medical Journal in August, the HSE said the methods used by Martin Gardner in his original study in 1990 had led to gaps and double counting in calculations of radiation doses, distorting his results. It found that there was no need to reduce the maximum permitted radiation dose for potential fathers, but the search for the cause of the cluster at Sellafield would continue.

      In September a U.S. federal appeals court overturned an injunction brought by South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell, Jr., to prevent two ships carrying 153 spent fuel rods from entering U.S. waters. The rods, from European research reactors but originally produced in the U.S., contained highly enriched bomb-grade uranium.

Power Lines.
      In October 1993 the British Medical Journal reported conflicting findings from studies of the health effects of power lines. One, from a team led by Jorgen Olsen of the Danish Cancer Society, over 20 years examined 1,707 cases of various types of cancer in children under age 15 and found that the number living within 45 m (50 yd) of power lines was five times higher than expected. The other, a Finnish study of almost 135,000 children living within 500 m (550 yd) of power lines, found 140 cancer cases rather than the 145 expected and reported no increased cancer risk. A report by Britain's National Radiological Protection Board published on June 9 found no strong biological evidence for a general link between electromagnetic radiation and cancer but said some Scandinavian evidence suggested a possible link with childhood leukemia.

      On August 25 the Institution of Electrical Engineers published the report of a two-year study that also found no clear evidence to link increased exposure to electromagnetic fields with cancer. The investigation analyzed 245 separate studies, none of which showed firm evidence of biological effects or identified any plausible mechanism by which such effects might occur. The Swedish study, it said, failed to take account of the length of time cancer patients had lived near power lines, and in Denmark, where electricity consumption had increased 30-fold since 1945, incidence of childhood cancers, including leukemia, had not changed significantly. It was reported in July that James Brewer, a former worker at the Kaiser Aluminum smelter in Tacoma, Wash., had won state workers' compensation for cancer, which he claimed was caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields while at work between 1969 and 1986 in a pot room where the metal was smelted. Brewer's claim was allowed because it was supported by his doctor, who said it was "more probable than not" that his cancer was due to workplace exposure to electromagnetic radiation. (MICHAEL ALLABY)

      The Convention on Biological Diversity—the Rio Treaty—came into force on Dec. 29, 1993, 30 days after the 30th nation ratified it, and the first meeting of the signatories was held in December 1994 in The Bahamas. An Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe (under the Bonn Convention) came into force on Jan. 16, 1994. It was the first international agreement to protect bats throughout Europe and aimed to provide cooperation on the protection of bats and their habitats, both in research and in the promotion of public awareness.

      The flock of Siberian cranes (Grus leucogeranus) that once wintered in India's Bharatpur sanctuary was presumed extinct when no birds arrived in the winter of 1993-94. Numbers had been falling over the previous 30 years—probably owing to hunting along their migration route over Pakistan and Afghanistan. A survey for Queen Alexandra's birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae), the world's largest butterfly and the symbol of Papua New Guinea's Oro province, found that the butterfly's range was three times more extensive than previously known. Plans to extend oil palm plantations in the area threatened the butterfly's habitat, and a conservation program was being developed.

      A survey of the Nam Theun National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA) in Laos between January and April found 50 trophies of an undescribed species of muntjac deer. In March the survey team found an adult male of the new species in a private collection near the NBCA. The new deer was also found in the Vu Quang Nature Reserve in Vietnam, where the saola, or Vu Quang ox, had been discovered two years earlier. In May a new species of tree kangaroo was found in Irian Jaya, the Indonesian part of New Guinea. The black-and-white animal showed little fear of humans and was familiar to local people; in the western part of its known range it was protected by the Moni people, who revered it as an ancestor. Other new species described in 1994 included a bird—the chestnut-bellied cotinga (Doliornis remseni) from cloud forest in the Podocarpus National Park in the Andes of southern Ecuador—and a bat (Lasiurus ebenus) from southeastern Brazil.

      Botanists were astonished by the discovery that a tree thought to have been extinct for 150 million years was still flourishing in a remote rain forest in New South Wales, Australia. Only 39 specimens of the tree, named the Wollemi pine, were found in the Wollemi National Park, about 200 km (125 mi) from Sydney. The largest was 40 m (130 ft) tall.

      The world's tiger numbers continued to decline, and a Global Tiger Forum was established on March 4. It aimed to eliminate the use of tiger parts in traditional medicine in Asia. The demand for these products was causing heavy poaching of tigers in almost all range states. Particularly affected was the Amur, or Siberian, tiger in southeastern Russia and China; 20-25% of this population was lost to poachers between November 1993 and March 1994, leaving numbers as low as 150-200. (See Sidebar (WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: Save the Tiger ).)

      In May a meeting of a the African Rhino Specialist group of IUCN-the World Conservation Union concluded that more than 2,550 black rhinos and 6,750 white rhinos survived in Africa. Black rhino numbers seemed stable, indicating in part that the sanctuary/intensive protection zone strategy in use in most countries appeared to be succeeding. In November several rhinos were found dead, apparently killed by elephants.

      An oil slick from the Apollo Sea, which sank on June 20 off the west coast of South Africa, caused untold damage to colonies of breeding jackass penguins (Spheniscus demersus), which were found only off South Africa and Namibia. Penguins were airlifted from affected beaches to treatment centres, and on July 24, 1,400 of the 7,000 rescued birds were returned to their breeding islands. Bird experts predicted that there would be at least a 20% decrease in the population over the next 10 years.

      The world's largest nesting ground for olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), located on Gahirmatha beach in Bhitarkanika sanctuary, Orissa state, India, was threatened by the construction of fishing quays and associated developments. The Orissa state government carried on with the work despite a ban by India's Ministry of Environment. The legal wing of the World Wide Fund for Nature sued the state and central government for gross violation of various environmental laws. In addition, the Indian army used one of Bhitarkanika's islands, another mass turtle nesting site, as a target for missile testing.

      In July Namibia started its cull of Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) despite the fact that 120,000 animals had already died in an unprecedented mass mortality. The cause was unknown, but tests were conducted to discover whether it was associated with a morbillivirus.

      Almost the entire Antarctic Ocean, which was used by seven species of endangered whales, was declared a whale sanctuary by the International Whaling Commission at its meeting in Mexico on May 23-27. The meeting also acknowledged completion of the Revised Management Procedure, which would be used to calculate allowable catches of whales if the moratorium on commercial whaling was lifted in the future. On June 15 the California gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) was removed from the U.S. endangered species list, the first time a marine animal had been removed from this category. There were now about 21,000 gray whales, compared with 2,000 just before the turn of the century, when heavy whaling brought numbers down. On June 30 the American bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus) was reclassified from endangered to threatened in most of the U.S. because of successful recovery efforts.


      This updates the article conservation.

▪ 1994

      In January 1993 it was reported that a temporary secretariat would be established in Geneva to coordinate implementation of the Convention on Protecting Species and Habitats (the so-called biodiversity convention), agreed at the UN Conference on Environment and Development, nicknamed the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The agreement was signed by 167 countries. Ratified by the members of the European Community (EC) in December 1992, the treaty took force on December 29.

      A four-page petition sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists and signed by at least 1,500 eminent scientists, including nearly 100 Nobel Prize winners, was sent to government leaders throughout the world on Nov. 18, 1992. Entitled "Warning to Humanity," the paper called for more efficient use of resources, an end to activities that damage the environment, the elimination of poverty, and the granting to women of control over their own reproductive decisions.

      Two weeks later a joint report by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of health problems caused by urban air pollution and urged a reduction in pollution levels. Urban Air Pollution in Megacities of the World described a 15-year study of the 20 cities in which 47% of the global population would be living by the year 2000. Each city had, or by then was expected to have, 10 million or more inhabitants. Mexico City was the most seriously polluted. Suspended particulate matter was serious in 11 cities. Seoul, South Korea, and Beijing (Peking) had very high levels of sulfur dioxide; Karachi, Pak., had the highest lead levels; and ozone pollution was serious in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and São Paulo, Brazil. Overall, Tokyo, New York City, and London were the cleanest cities, usually meeting WHO guidelines for four or five of the six pollutants studied.

      As the Global Environment Facility (GEF) approached the end of its three-year pilot phase, representatives of 60 governments met in Beijing in May 1993 to discuss disagreements that had arisen over funding between European governments and the United States. European officials called for more definite commitments to the $3 billion-$4 billion the GEF was estimated to need over five years, but criticisms of secrecy and bureaucratic slowness had led the U.S. to withhold its pledged $150 million. There was also disagreement between rich and poor countries over the voting system for making decisions. Poorer countries preferred giving one vote to each participating country, while the wealthier nations were in favour of a weighted system reflecting the size of the financial contribution made by each country.

European Community.
      The composition of the European Commission for 1993 and 1994 was announced in December 1992. Acting environment commissioner Karel van Miert was appointed competition commissioner, and Yannis Paleokrassas became the new environment commissioner. In October 1993 Copenhagen was selected to house the new European Environment Agency.

      A section of the Single European Act permitting free trade to be overruled for environmental reasons was used in October 1992 when environment ministers of the 12 member countries agreed to permit national governments to forbid the importation of toxic wastes. The agreement, which came into force in October 1993, allowed the exportation of a "green list" of less toxic wastes to countries in Eastern Europe and of any waste intended for recycling or recovery to less industrialized countries other than those receiving aid under the Lomé Convention agreement. In December 1992 environment ministers also agreed on regulations to block the importation to the EC of nonradioactive hazardous wastes.

      On Nov. 25, 1992, the European Court of Justice found the British government guilty of having failed to achieve promised improvements in drinking-water quality by 1985, in contravention of the 1980 directive on drinking-water quality. Nitrate levels had been found to exceed the 50 parts per million EC limit in 28 areas. On Dec. 16, 1992, the advocate-general for the court gave a reasoned opinion that in failing to ensure clean bathing waters on beaches at Blackpool and Southport, Britain was in breach of a 1976 directive.

      A survey published in Britain in July 1993 showed that the EC drinking-water directive was being breached in several countries. Some failed to supply adequate data—an action that itself was a breach—and it appeared that those providing the most complete information were most likely to be prosecuted. Britain proposed to the Commission that the drinking-water directive be revised in accordance with a draft of new WHO standards. Britain also continued to press for the new limits at talks held in September, arguing in favour of rules based on existing scientific knowledge rather than the "precautionary principle" preferred by The Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark, under which products would be banned unless they could be shown to be safe. France joined Britain in urging that pesticide rules be framed under a different directive administered by agricultural officials.

      Disagreement continued on ways to meet the undertaking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions given in the UN Convention on Climate Change. A document on transport policy published in December 1992 forecast that emissions would rise about 24% between 1990 and 2000, road transport would account for 30% of all EC carbon dioxide emissions by 2010, and stabilization could not be achieved by technical improvements in fuel efficiency alone. According to another Commission forecast, emissions would be 3% higher in 2000 than they had been in 1990 because substantial reductions planned by Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and The Netherlands would be insufficient to offset increases from Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, which were industrializing.

      In March 1993 ministers from Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, and Luxembourg, supported by the Commission, warned that reduction targets could not be met unless Britain accepted the proposed carbon and energy tax. British Environment Minister David Maclean doubted whether the tax would achieve the required reduction and stated that the two-thirds reduction to which Britain was committed would result from its planned imposition of a value-added tax (VAT) on fuel and energy. Discussions resumed in April. British Energy Minister Tim Eggar supported Maclean, and on June 28, at the end of another meeting, British Environment Secretary John Gummer said the EC tax was "all but dead," with individual countries having agreed to adopt their own measures to meet the Rio objective. At a meeting of environment ministers on October 5, the British minister of state, Tim Yeo, said that unless other member states abandoned the tax, Britain would ratify the climate change convention alone, making it impossible for EC members to hold a joint ratification ceremony.


      The $5 billion Bangladesh Flood Action Plan seemed likely to founder in August because of reluctance by Western governments and the World Bank to finance the building of huge embankments on the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. There were doubts about the feasibility of sealing the rivers from their flood plains and fears of adverse environmental and social consequences arising from the attempt to do so.

      Two Brazilian conservationists were murdered in 1993. Paulo Vinha, a biologist who opposed the extraction of sand from beaches, dunes, and salt marshes, was found shot dead on a beach in Barro do Jucu, in Espirito Santo, on April 28. Vinha was working on a documentary film about environmental destruction. Arnaldo Ferreira, a leader of the Rural Workers' Union in Eldorado do Carajas, Amazonia, and an opponent of the logging of mahogany in tribal lands and ecological reserves, was shot dead while he slept on May 2.

      The Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg, Man., reported in July that some hydroelectric reservoirs emitted as much carbon dioxide and methane as coal-fired power plants of similar capacity. The gases were produced by the decomposition of organic material inundated when the reservoirs filled.

      The two environmentalist parties, the Greens and Ecological Generation, united to contest the March general election, fielding a single candidate in each of the 555 constituencies. Only three candidates won enough first-round votes to contest the second round, in which they were all defeated. After the election the green coalition fragmented. The Greens divided at a council meeting in August when a group opposed to an alliance with the Socialist Party formed behind Antoine Waechter. In September Ecological Generation leader Brice Lalonde, a former environment minister, declared his support for the right-wing prime minister, Édouard Balladur.

      Police guarded approaches to the port of Cherbourg and naval and coastguard vessels protected the harbour when the Japanese ship Akatsuki Maru arrived in October 1992 to load about 1.5 tons of reactor-grade plutonium from La Hague reprocessing plant. Protesters from Greenpeace International squared off against some 2,000 French police and naval commandos. Greenpeace's inflatables were chased by harbour patrol vessels, its ship Beluga was towed from the harbour, and commandos boarded the Moby Dick. The Japanese ship sailed on November 7, accompanied by the helicopter carrier Shikishima and shadowed by the Greenpeace ship Solo, which had evaded boarding by French authorities. On Jan. 5, 1993, the Akatsuki Mara reached Tokai, Japan, where there were further Greenpeace demonstrations.

      The Institute of Research into the Exploitation of the Sea reported in July that shellfish around the French coast were less heavily contaminated with metals and organic pollutants than they had been in 1979. High levels of cadmium, from a pond near a factory that had closed, were found off Bordeaux, and high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found at several places.

      In local elections the Greens increased their share of the vote in Hesse to 11%, while the Green Alternative List won 13.5% of the vote in Hamburg. The Greens and Alliance 90, an association of civil rights campaigners from former East Germany, sealed their merger at a conference in Leipzig on May 15-16. The union encouraged the Greens to hope they might emerge as a third force in the 1994 general election.

      Agriculture Minister Ignaz Kiechle reported in November 1992 that 27% of forest trees continued to be affected by pollution, a 2% increase from 1991. Although pollutant emissions had greatly decreased, forest ecosystems were responding slowly.

      The national waste-recycling program caused difficulties. Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate left the scheme in June, and other federal states were considering following suit. The Dual System Deutschland (DSD) required householders to wash containers, separate them from other waste, and sort them by type, but the annual volume of accumulated recyclables, estimated at 400,000 tons, exceeded the capacity of recycling plants, and DSD was DM 500 million in debt.

      The states had agreed to contribute an additional DM 160 million for servicing the debt, and on June 21 there were calls in the Bundestag (parliament) for a packaging tax to help pay the high recycling cost. On July 21 Environment Minister Klaus Töpfer said the accumulated waste would stimulate the building of recycling facilities. It was estimated that about 180,000 tons would be reprocessed in 1993 and that a new plant to be built in eastern Germany would convert 250,000 tons a year into synthetic oil.

      Plans to halve 1987 emission levels of methane, nitrous oxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide by 2005 were published in August. Since 1987 carbon dioxide emissions over Germany as a whole had fallen 14.5%, and a further 25-30% reduction was considered feasible.

      Plans by a consortium of British, French, and Italian companies to construct a hydroelectric and irrigation project on the Akheloos River, reported in March, were opposed by conservationists. They said that three dams and an 18-km (11-mi) tunnel from Sikia in the western Pindus Mountains to Trikala on the Plains of Thessaly would destroy a wetland that was protected under EC law and the Ramsar Convention and would partly drain the Mesolongion Lagoon.

Hong Kong.
      In order to reduce pollution, the government was reported in June to have started collecting chemical waste for free disposal in its own $167 million plant. The accumulation of heavy metals from two million tons of mainly untreated waste discharged daily, much of it from circuit-board manufacturing, had reached critical levels in coastal waters.

      Despite five days of protest demonstrations in October and objections from the Hungarian government, diversion of the Danube River to the Gabcikovo Dam began on Oct. 25, 1992. On April 7, 1993, Hungary and Slovakia agreed to refer their dispute over the project to the International Court of Justice, meanwhile operating a temporary water-management scheme to reconcile the Slovakian need for hydropower with Hungarian concerns about water supply and environmental effects.

      In October 1992, 59% of the World Bank's directors voted to continue funding the controversial Sardar Sarovar Dam project on the Narmada River in India, although U.S., German, and Japanese directors were opposed. The president of the World Bank, Lewis Preston, said changes to the project made by the Indian government and the affected states justified continuing for a few months longer. In March it was reported that the Indian government would not seek further World Bank funding for the project to provide drinking water and irrigation by building 30 large, 135 medium, and about 3,000 small dams. The scheme would involve resettling about 100,000 people and flood some 121,400 ha (300,000 ac) of forest. Nearly 400 protesters were arrested on August 5 to prevent them from drowning themselves deliberately. On August 10 the government agreed to review some aspects of the scheme.

      The possible cause of the large evil-smelling, mucilaginous mats that had formed in the Adriatic Sea every summer since 1989 was revealed in April. Scientists from the Institute for Water Research and the University of Milan believed they were due to zeolites and polycarboxylic acids used in place of phosphates in "green" detergents.

      An explosion at the Siberia Chemical Centre plant near Tomsk on April 6 released 20 cu m (700 cu ft) of radioactive contaminated material. The accident, near the Tomsk-7 nuclear weapons site, occurred during reprocessing of a fuel element for uranium recovery. The radioactive cloud moved east, and pollution was confined to a largely unpopulated area. Residents near the plant were advised to remain indoors, and contaminated snow and soil were removed, but workers were not evacuated. As a precaution, children were evacuated from the village of Georgiyevka in the affected area.

      The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources reported in January that 50 million Russian people were breathing air with 10 times—and 60 million breathed air with 5 times—the permitted levels of pollutants. The report also drew attention to severe pollution by ammonium nitrate in the Oka River and by phenols and heavy metals in the Ivankovsky reservoir that supplied water to Moscow, as well as to viral contamination in the Volga, Don, and Ob rivers. Toxic wastes were said to be dumped in quarries and on waste ground and radioactive wastes in ordinary waste dumps.

United Kingdom.
      In his March budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont announced that from April 1994 fuel and energy for domestic, residential, and charity use would become liable to 8% VAT, rising to the standard 17.5% rate in April 1995. The measure was justified as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but critics pointed out that it failed to discriminate by energy source and therefore would not encourage a shift toward power-generation systems that release no carbon dioxide.

      It was announced in May that in March 1994 the principal government air-pollution laboratory, the Warren Spring Laboratory, would close and its work would be merged with that of the Atomic Energy Authority Laboratory to form a National Environmental Technology Centre. Many of the 152 members of the scientific staff were not prepared to move, and it was feared that some teams would disintegrate, making it difficult to attain the declared objective of bringing the best environmental research under one roof.

      In April the Marine Conservation Society gave poor water quality as the main reason for omitting more than 70 beaches from its Heinz Good Beach Guide. Sewage pollution was serious, and litter was also common, a finding confirmed by a report supported by WHO and published on April 16 in the British Medical Journal. On May 31, however, the National Rivers Authority reported that compared with 1988-90, the proportion of a sample of 416 beaches satisfying EC criteria between 1990 and 1992 increased from 57% to 64%.

      Controversy continued throughout the year over plans to commission British Nuclear Fuels' (BNF) Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) at Sellafield, Cumbria. The Thorp would reprocess reactor fuel, much of it imported from Germany and Japan, returning fissionable uranium and plutonium but retaining most of the waste for disposal in Britain. Concern over planned emissions of krypton-85 that might increase the atmospheric content of this gas by 15% a year led to a commissioning delay in October 1992. BNF decided on cost grounds against installing the £ 50 million plant needed to remove the gas and maintained that the emissions would be 20 times lower than those allowed in its original approval granted in 1977. The Inspectorate of Pollution instructed BNF to allow eight weeks of public consultation over emission levels before taking radioactive material into the plant, and the environment minister ordered a three-month postponement of the Jan. 1, 1993, commissioning date, although BNF, trade unions, and the Department of Trade and Industry warned of the risk to existing contracts and jobs. On Nov. 16, 1992, the inspectorate published its draft permit, allowing an increase in emissions of some radioactive substances but lowering the total dose to people most exposed by reducing overall discharges. The Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee said that since the Thorp would convert a small volume of high-level waste into a greater volume of medium- and low-level waste, it could not be justified on waste-management grounds and reprocessing would probably prove more expensive than disposal in an underground repository. The National Radiological Protection Board agreed with this assessment.

      In June 1993 Ireland and Denmark expressed concern over the discharges, and at its annual meeting the Commission of the Paris Convention on Marine Discharges from Land-Based Sources called for fresh consultations and a full environmental impact statement, to which the British government agreed. On August 4 a policy paper from the Department of the Environment said a final decision on the Thorp would be delayed until December, but it dismissed health threats and fears of plutonium's falling into the wrong hands. The second round of consultation began with the publication of a favourable joint report by the inspectorate and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAFF), two reports by BNF also in favour of commissioning, and a government report dismissing health and environmental objections and saying economic arguments were a matter for BNF.

      On August 25 the inspectorate and MAFF gave permission for trials of the separation plant using nonenriched uranium nitrate to commence on September 2. Greenpeace applied for a judicial review but was refused an order delaying the trials pending the hearing of its application. The application was refused on September 29. By October 1993 the Department of the Environment was anticipating that there would be 60,000 objections to the Thorp in addition to the 83,000 it had received in January. On October 4 about 600 protesters blocked the government offices at Whitehall. However, on December 15 the government gave Thorp the go-ahead.

United States.
      Shortly before he left office in January, Pres. George Bush signed an executive order establishing a National Biodiversity Center to store data from the U.S. and its territories. On February 8 President Clinton formed a White House office for ecological coordination to be led by Vice Pres. Al Gore. The new president also promised to bring the director of the Environmental Protection Agency into his Cabinet.

      On the eve of Earth Day, April 21, Clinton said he would sign the biodiversity convention agreed at the 1992 Earth Summit and introduce legislation and controls to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions at their 1990 levels by the year 2000. He would require federal agencies to use ozone-friendly products, energy-saving computers, fuel-efficient vehicles, and recycled products. Agencies releasing toxic substances would have to devise plans to halve emissions by 1999 and to report emissions publicly.

      In April Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt pledged support for the California Desert Protection Act. This would create a 607,000-ha (1.5 million-ac) Mojave National Monument in East Mojave and add 526,000 ha (1.3 million ac) and 81,000 ha (200,000 ac), respectively, to the Death Valley and Joshua Tree national monuments.

      Clinton announced a far-reaching forest-management plan in July that would allow logging to continue on federal land while protecting key watersheds and old-growth forests. A follow-up agreement in October would permit some logging to be resumed in Washington and Oregon in forests inhabited by the northern spotted owl.

      The administration was reported in September to be planning to drop pesticide restrictions imposed under the Delaney Clause Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (1938), which it felt were scientifically anachronistic. New regulations would permit pesticide residues on raw and processed food if the risk from them was judged to be no more than one cancer per million people over a lifetime.

      The National Science Foundation estimated in July that 64 cruises would visit Antarctica during 1993, taking at least 8,460 American tourists ashore, compared with 59 cruises and 6,400 tourists in 1992. Reversing the decision of a lower court, on January 29 the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the National Environmental Policy Act applied to U.S. Antarctic bases. The ruling meant that food wastes could no longer be incinerated at McMurdo Station, although all other waste was shipped out for disposal. Several U.S. federal agencies urged Clinton to contest the ruling, but in March he refused.


Climate Change.
      Dust from the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the ending of an El Niño episode of unusually warm water in the southeastern Pacific were believed to account for a worldwide fall in temperature during 1992. The British Meteorological Office reported in January that for 11 months of 1992 the global average temperature was 0.17° C (0.31° F) above the 1951-80 average, compared with 0.36° C (0.65° F) higher in 1991 and 0.39° C (0.7° F) in 1990.

      Water at intermediate depth in the North Atlantic was reported in November 1992 to be cooler and less saline than in the 1960s, possibly because of increased precipitation. A study of 27,000 temperature profiles over 40 years, reported in January 1993, showed no evidence of surface warming in the Arctic Ocean and a significant temperature decrease in the western ocean between 1950 and 1990.

Ozone Layer.
      Record ozone depletion (up to 21%) was recorded in the winter and spring of 1992-93 between latitudes 45° and 65° in the Northern Hemisphere, although any increase in penetration of ultraviolet radiation was too small to detect. Globally, depletion was about 4% in 1993, an increase from 1992 that was attributed to changes in stratospheric chemistry and air circulation due to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. The 1993 seasonal Antarctic depletion began earlier than usual, in September rather than October, and was particularly severe.

      The fourth Montreal Protocol meeting was held in Copenhagen in November 1992. European countries advocated transferring the administration of the proposed fund, of $240 million over three years, from Montreal Protocol officials to the GEF. The fund was intended to assist less industrialized countries in introducing technologies to eliminate use of ozone-depleting chemicals, but some refused to deal with the GEF, over which they had little control.

      Agreement was reached on phasing out halons by January 1994 instead of 2000; abolishing carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform by January 1996 instead of 2005; reducing hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) use by 35% by 2004, 65% by 2010, and 90% by 2015; and eliminating HCFCs altogether by 2030. There was no general agreement to phase out methyl bromide, which was used as a soil fumigant to control pests, although the U.S. planned to do so by 2000 and urged other countries to adopt the same target.

Acid Rain.
      Negotiations under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Europe began in Geneva in March with the aim of establishing a protocol for the reduction of sulfur-dioxide emissions. The critical loads that sensitive ecosystems could tolerate without damage would be identified and targets calculated to reduce by at least half the difference between present acid precipitation and the critical load. Talks resumed in September, but Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, and Spain proposed measures producing less than the required reductions, and no agreement was reached. The draft UN treaty on reducing European sulfur-dioxide emissions negotiated in May replaced the critical-load formula for 11 badly affected areas, covering 250,000 sq km (96,500 sq mi), in which less stringent targets would apply.

      In December 1992 the World Bank was reported to have made a $1 million grant to help fund an international scientific network planning to map the impact of acid rain in Asia. The scientists would use the computer model developed at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, which guided EC acid-rain policy.

Toxic Wastes.
      At the first meeting held under the Basel Convention in Piriápolis, Uruguay, in December 1992, industrial countries blocked an attempt by less industrialized countries to impose a total ban on the export to them of toxic wastes. A compromise was agreed, permitting the export of wastes intended for recycling. UNEP said that only half of the 56 signatory nations attending had ratified the convention and that 95% of the wastes under discussion were produced by countries that had not ratified.

Marine Pollution.
      The Greek tanker Aegean Sea grounded in severe weather on rocks near the Tower of Hercules, off La Coruña, Spain, early on Dec. 3, 1992. The ship broke in two, rupturing seven of its tanks. One tank exploded and the ship caught fire. Continuing bad weather hampered efforts to contain the oil, and by December 6 about (97 km) 60 mi of the Galician coast had been contaminated and the slick covered about 52 sq km (20 sq mi).

      On Jan. 5, 1993, the Liberian-registered tanker Braer lost power in heavy seas between Fair Isle and Sumburgh Head, at the southern tip of the Shetland Islands off Scotland. Rescue attempts failed, and the ship was driven onto rocks in Quendale Bay, eventually losing all its cargo of 85,000 tons of light-crude and 5,000 tons of heavy-fuel oil. There was extensive contamination of both east and west coasts of Shetland and damage to farmed salmon. On June 17 the Ecological Steering Group studying the effects reported that the survival of wildlife was not threatened.

      Scientists met in Oslo, Norway, in February under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency to discuss radioactive contamination of the seas caused by the damaged reactor and warheads on the submarine Komsomolets, which sank in April 1989. Raising the submarine would cost $500 million. Russia could not afford this and proposed to smother the wreck in a chitin and chitosan gel, which would absorb heavy metals without compromising future plans to raise the vessel. At the meeting Russian scientists confirmed that seven reactors with their fuel rods and more than 11,000 containers of low-level waste had been dumped in the seas.

Power Lines.
      The Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technological Development was reported in October 1992 to have been convinced by a study carried out at the Karolinska Institute concerning a link between childhood leukemias and electromagnetic radiation from power lines. A second study, by the Swedish National Institute of Occupational Health, linked exposure to electromagnetic radiation to brain cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in men.

      In August Ray and Denise Studholme, who lived near Manchester, England, were granted legal aid to sue the power-supply company Norweb over the epilepsy and death from leukemia of their son, Simon. They attributed this to the electromagnetic field in his bedroom, which was 10 times higher than that linked to leukemia in the Swedish and earlier U.S. studies. (MICHAEL ALLABY)

      On Dec. 1, 1992, six California condors were released into the wild to join the single bird surviving from the two released the previous January. Five of seven Hawaiian crow chicks hatched in Hawaii in April 1993 were released, the first captive-hatched 'alala ever to fly in the wild. Two other chicks were transferred to the existing captive flock of 12 birds.

      In November 1992 it was reported that only 2,475 black and 5,800 white rhinoceroses were believed to be left in Africa. In Zimbabwe efforts to save the rhinos from poachers appeared to be failing. A survey in Java revealed that only about 50 Javan rhinos survived. On May 29, 1993, China became the last nation to legislate against domestic trade in rhino horn, but in July undercover investigators from international conservation organizations claimed that Chinese state officials had offered to sell them one ton of rhino horn. Taiwan had also banned the sale of medicines containing rhino horn in November 1992, but six months later 19 out of 24 pharmacies in Taiwan still offered them for sale. On September 7 the standing committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species recommended that wildlife trade sanctions be taken against China and Taiwan.

      Illegal trade in Asia also threatened tigers, particularly Bengal tigers in India and Siberian tigers in southeastern Russia and China. Their numbers were declining because of high levels of poaching to supply bones and skin for traditional medicine in China and South Korea. India's 20-year-old Project Tiger, whose 19 reserves were home to two-thirds of the world's remaining tiger population, came under criticism for inflating its reported figures. Project officials claimed a rise in the tiger population from 1,800 to 4,600 since 1973, but others believed that only 2,000 tigers remained in India.

      The 45th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which convened in Kyoto, Japan, May 10-14, upheld the ban on commercial whaling, but Norway announced that it would resume commercial whaling anyway. It killed the first of a proposed total of 296 minke whales (160 for commercial purposes and 136 for research) in June. Japan announced that it intended to catch 300 minke whales for research in the 1993-94 season. Increases were reported for some whale populations, including the southern right whale population off South Africa, humpback whales off Australia, and blue whales off California.

      New Zealand declared a Marine Mammal Sanctuary around the Auckland Islands Nature Reserve to protect Hooker's sea lion, which was vulnerable to by-catch by squid trawl fisheries. California sea lions with gunshot wounds were washed up in record numbers on the shores. It was suspected that the animals were the victims of fishermen, who blamed the sea lions for meagre fish stocks. Increasing numbers of common seals and gray seals were being shot illegally by fishermen around the coast of Scotland.

      Wolves started to make a comeback in several countries in 1993. In western Germany wolves returned after an absence of more than 140 years. In former East Germany any wolves migrating across the border from Poland in the past had been shot, but after reunification in 1991 the former West Germany's hunting regulations applied throughout the country. Wolves were recorded in France for the first time in 50 years, and in the U.S. it was reported that gray wolves had returned unaided to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. Elsewhere in North America wolf hunting was controversial. In October Alaska authorized a kill of 80% of the wolves in a region southwest of Fairbanks. In Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, 35 of 75 wolves were killed when they followed deer that had migrated out of the park. The Yukon government planned to kill 150 wolves in 1993 but found fewer than they had estimated and killed only 61.

      A new species of bovid—the vu quang ox (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)—was described from Vietnam. Its most striking feature was the very long, almost straight, sharp horns. The animal had not yet been captured alive by scientists, but 20 specimens were obtained from hunters in Ha-tinh province along the Laos border. It was the first new mammal to be identified in more than 50 years. Among the reports of new bird species described were two species of leaf warbler from China (Phylloscopus sichuanensis and P. hainanus), an antpitta (Grallaria kaestneri) from Colombia, and a tyrannulet (Phylloscartes kronei) from Brazil. The Cebu flowerpecker (Dicaeum quadricolor), which had not been seen for 80 years, was rediscovered on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. The giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) was refound in Laos after an apparent absence of 30 years. A search of Mana Island, New Zealand, found 100 goldstripe geckos (Hoplodactylus chrysosireticus). None had been seen for 10 years. Bulmer's fruit bat (Aproteles bulmerae) was reported rediscovered in Papua New Guinea, having been previously known only from a skin collected in 1975. Salim Ali's fruit bat (Latidens salimalii) was rediscovered in the High Wavy Mountains in southern India, where it had been last seen in 1948. In Australia the Adelaide bluetongue (Tiliqua adelaidensis) was believed extinct, having last been seen in 1959, but a specimen was discovered inside a road-killed snake in late 1992, and this was followed by the discovery of living individuals and the establishment of a captive-breeding population in 1993. Spanish biologists discovered 350 Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus) in caves in the disputed border zone of Western Sahara and Mauritania, doubling the known world population.

      Ornithologists spent three months in Cuba searching for the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis bairdii) but concluded that it was almost certainly extinct. In August it was reported that the last surviving individual of the cafe marron (Ramosmania heterophylla) on Rodrigues Island in the Indian Ocean had been damaged by persons unknown. (JACQUI M. MORRIS)

      This updates the article conservation.

* * *

      the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.

      The Earth's environment is treated in a number of articles. The major components of the physical environment are discussed in the articles atmosphere (atmosphere, evolution of), climate, continental landform, hydrosphere, and ocean. The relationship between the principal systems and components of the environment, and the major ecosystems of the Earth are treated in the article biosphere. The significant environmental changes that have occurred during Earth's history are surveyed in the article geochronology. The pollution of the environment and the conservation of its natural resources are treated in the article conservation. Hazards to life in the biosphere are discussed in the articles death, disease, and immune system.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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