A makeshift boat in a dry portion of a reservoir outside Maputo. Credit: WWF/Jill Schwartz
Mozambique Moving Forward With National Natural Capital Program
BY JILL SCHWARTZ
Just as I am dozing off in the back seat, my body starts flopping to the beat of the bumpy road beneath me. I look up and see that it's because our driver has turned off of the asphalt two-lane road that led us out of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, and onto a dirt path that's barely as wide as our car. Other than a few sparse, low-lying shrubs, the area is barren and appears lifeless.

"Wow," says WWF-Mozambique water specialist Herminio Mulungo, from the front seat. It's the first thing he's said that I have not needed him to translate from his native Portuguese to English.

Then "wow" again. And "wow" again. And again.

Herminio gets out of the car and walks to a rusty metal rowboat perched atop dry land.

"That's the reservoir out there," he says, pointing to a faint glimmer of water in the distance.

"Three months ago, the reservoir came all the way up to where we are standing. We would've been more than knee deep in water here."

This empty portion of the reservoir is a dramatic sign of how Southern Mozambique is suffering from a terrible drought. The conditions are influenced by El Nino, which in 2015 inundated the land with rain, causing severe flooding followed by an extended drought.

I see other signs of the drought...


Natural Capital Protocol Will Help Businesses Account For Nature In Decisions

The Natural Capital Coalition launched a framework earlier this month that will help businesses take into account risks and opportunities associated with their use of natural resources.

Corporate financial accounting practices have traditionally ignored companies' dependence on natural capital-the benefits nature provides like air, soil and water necessary for both life and commerce. This puts companies at risk from natural disasters like flooding, drought, and other shortages. The Natural Capital Protocol provides guidance to businesses looking to avoid risks and to start integrating the value of nature into everyday decisions...


Photo credit: Kaleb Nimz/Unsplash


Research Highlights Connection Between Hydropower Sustainability And Watershed Conservation In Northern India

Himachal Pradesh is a province in the mountainous Himalayan region in northern India. Its numerous rivers make it a major source for hydropower in a rapidly growing region-a boon to the state's economy. But the region's many steep canyons and gorges also create challenges for building typical hydropower reservoirs.
Unlike in flatter areas, where reservoirs can store water behind a dam and release it at a controlled rate to provide a steady power source, in dramatic landscapes like the Himalayas, there's nowhere to build a reservoir.

Instead, engineers rely upon what's called a run-of-river system, where water is diverted from a river into a power plant, and then channeled back into the river. Run-of-river systems are also cheaper and easier to build than traditional large dams. The downside to this system is that it's vulnerable to high sediment concentrations, since there's no reservoir for sediment to settle into. Another drawback is that when a river stops flowing, so does the power.

Yet another downside is that during flash floods, the power facilities have to shut down to avoid being damaged. There's nowhere to store the water and no way to capture energy, so it flows away, untapped.

Problems with sediment and flow can be partially mitigated by investing in watershed conservation activities upstream, a new study shows...


Photo credit: Henrik Johansson/Flickr



InVEST is o ur flagship tool with 18 different models for mapping and valuing ecosystem services. Check out all our software at naturalcapitalproject.org/software
Recent Press & Publications

Mandle, Lisa, James Douglass, Juan Sebastian Lozano, Richard P. Sharp, Adrian L. Vogl, Douglas Denu, Thomas Walschburger and Heather Tallis
Environmental Modelling & Software 84:121-133. October 2016. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2016.06.008

Quantifying flood mitigation services: The economic value of Otter Creek wetlands and floodplains to Middlebury, VT
Watson, Keri B., Taylor Ricketts, Gillian Galford, Stephen Polasky and Jarlath O'Niel-Dunne
Ecological Economics 130:16-24. October 2016. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.05.015

Poser, Stephen, Christy Getz and Taylor Ricketts
Environmental Science & Policy 64:30-37. October 2016. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2016.06.003

Landscape configuration is the primary driver of impacts on water quality associated with agricultural expansion
Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca, Perrine Hamel, Richard Sharp, Virgina Kowal, Stacie Wolny, Sarah Sim and Carina Mueller
Environmental Research Letters 11(7). July 11, 2016. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074012

by Natural Capital Coalition, July 2016

Guannel, Greg, Katie Arkema, Peter Ruggiero and Gregory Verutes
PLoS ONE 11(7):e0158094. July 2016. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158094

Kennedy, Christina M., Daniela A. Miteva, Leandro Baumgarten, Peter L. Hawthorne, Kei Sochi, Stephen Polasky, James R. Oakleaf, Elizabeth M. Uhlhorn and Joseph Kiesecker
Science Advances. July 2016. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1501021

Vogl, Adrian L., P. James Dennedy-Frank, Stacie Wolny, Justin A. Johnson, Perrine Hamel, Urvashi Narain and  Anil Vaidya
Environmental Sciences & Policy 61:221-229. July 2016. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.03.004


by Jim Morrison, Smithsonian.com, July 13, 2016

by Carolyn Shapiro, The University of Vermont Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, July 6, 2016

by Kris Johnson, The Nature Conservancy Cool Green Science, July 1, 2016



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