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State of the Birds 2013

The fourth State of the Birds report highlights the enormous contributions private landowners make to bird and habitat conservation, and state-of-the-birds-report-coveropportunities for increased contributions. Roughly 60% of the land area in the United States (1.43 billion acres) is privately owned by millions of individuals, families, organizations, and corporations, including 2 million ranchers and farmers and about 10 million woodland owners. More than 100 species have 50% or more of their U.S. breeding distributions on private lands.

Birds are important indicators of the health of our environment. To assess bird populations and conservation opportunities on private lands across the nation, the State of the Birds report combined the latest eBird distribution data with land ownership data from the Protected Areas Database of the U.S. As in past reports, the report focused on species dependent on a single primary habitat, or habitat obligates.

The results emphasize the high dependence on private lands among grassland, wetland, and eastern forest birds, with important conservation opportunities existing in all habitats. Many conservation programs available to private landowners offer win-win opportunities to implement land management practices that benefit birds and landowners. The success stories highlighted in the report demonstrate that voluntary private landowner efforts can yield real and meaningful bird conservation results.

Working cooperatively with private landowners is a central theme of ISC-Audubon. That is why ISC-Audubon has created the John James Audubon Conservation Network and the Audubon Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary Program for landowners. ISC-Audubon is looking to greatly expand its network of certified bird sanctuaries over the next year.

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Sustainable Seafood

Swordfish

Ocean fish are the last wild creatures that people hunt on a large scale. We used to think of the ocean's bounty as endless. Recently, we have discovered its limits. Between 1950 and 1994, ocean fishermen increased their catch by 400 percent by doubling the number of boats they used and using more effective fishing gear, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. In 1989, the world's catch leveled off at about 82 million metric tons of fish per year.

We have reached "peak fish," and no number of boats would help us catch more. Today only 10 percent of all large fish — both open-ocean species (tuna, swordfish, marlin, etc.) and the large groundfish, such as cod, halibut, skates and flounder — are left in the sea, according to research published in National Geographic.

"From giant blue marlin to mighty bluefin tuna, and from tropical groupers to Antarctic cod, industrial fishing has scoured the global ocean. There is no blue frontier left," lead author Ransom Myers told National Geographic. "Since 1950, with the onset of industrialized fisheries, we have rapidly reduced the resource base to less than 10
percent — not just in some areas, not just for some stocks, but for entire communities of these large fish species from the tropics to the poles."

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1 in 4 animals caught in fishing gear dies as bycatch, i.e., unwanted or unintentionally caught.

Tons of fish are tossed out because they're not what fishing boats are after, they have no market value, or they're too small to sell. Bycatch often kills young fish that could have rebuilt depleted populations if they had been allowed to grow up and breed. It is estimated that for each pound of shrimp
caught in a trawl net, between 2 and 10 pounds of other marine life is caught and discarded as bycatch.

Some seafood can be farmed sustainably. Clams are raised in special beds on sandy shores, where their harvest does little to disturb the ecosystem.  Oysters and mussels often are raised in bags or cages that are suspended off the seafloor, so little damage is done when they're harvested. Many farmed fish, such as salmon, are grown in net pens like cattle in feedlots.

This is as environmentally damaging in the ocean as cattle feedlots are on land. Additionally, mangrove forests have been cut down and replaced with temporary shrimp farms, which supply shrimp to Europe, Japan and America until the water becomes polluted.

The following are the best choices for your dinner plate, according to the Seafood Choices Alliance: anchovies, arctic char, bluefish, catfish (farmed), clams, crabs (blue, Dungeness, king), crawfish, dogfish, hake, halibut (Pacific), herring (Atlantic), mackerel (Atlantic, Spanish), mussels (black, green-lipped), octopus (Pacific), oysters (farmed), Pacific black cod (sablefish), Pacific cod (pot- or jig-caught), pollock (Alaskan), prawns (trapcaught, Pacific), rock lobster (Australian), salmon (wild Alaskan), sardines (Pacific), scallops (bay-farmed), shrimp (U.S.-farmed), squid (Pacific), striped bass (hybrid), sturgeon (farmed), tilapia (farmed), tuna (Pacific albacore) and sea urchin.

Story from Paramus Post by Shawn Dell Joyce

Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning sustainable activist and director of the Wallkill River School in Orange County, N.Y. You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.com

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org

The Daily Green
www.thedailygreen.com

The Paramus Post
www.paramuspost.com

Sustainability Campaign
sustainabilitycampaign.blogspot.com

Energy Star
www.energystar.gov

takepart
www.takepart.com

California State university
www.csuchico.edu/sustainablefuture

   

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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