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Climate, not beetles, causes forest fire: Report


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A new report by four forest ecologists has found that it is climate rather than beetles which causes the risks of forest fire. The report suggests that the risk is best addressed by creating defensible spaces around homes instead of logging in the backcountry.

The report questions the proposed rules that would allow for limited logging in roadless portions of national forests for purposes that include protecting communities and municipal watersheds from fires and the spread of insects and disease in trees.

Report authors said that forests being attacked by beetles in Colorado and other states are naturally dense, and large and severe fires in those forests are the norm. They said drought and warm temperatures are such major factors in creating high fire risk that beetle outbreaks do little to add to that risk.

The report authors say that using fire-resistant building materials and clearing brush around homes are more cost-effective protections from wildfire than backcountry logging, which also can cause negative environmental impacts.

Dominik Kulakowski, a professor of geography and biology at Clark University in Massachusetts, has studied the relationship between beetle outbreaks and forest fires in Colorado for more than a decade.

He said new research is showing that dry needles of beetle-killed trees don’t increase fire risk, because they fall from trees quickly enough to reduce the total volume of fire-carrying fuels in the forest canopy.

To read the full report, visit:
http://nccsp.org/files/Insect%20and%20Roadless%20Forests.pdf

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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