Dangers to biological diversity from proliferation of global cashmere garment industry

July 24, 2013 — A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Snow Leopard Trust reveals a disturbing link between the cashmere trade and the decay of ecosystems that support some of the planet’s most spectacular yet little-known large mammals.The study finds that as pastoralists expand goat herds to increase profits for the cashmere trade in Western markets, wildlife icons from the Tibetan Plateau to Mongolia suffer — including endangered snow leopard, wild yak, chiru, saiga, Bactrian camel, gazelles, and other remarkable but already endangered species of remote Central Asia. Ecological effects of the growth in goat herds include increasing conflicts with pastoralists, predation by dogs on wildlife, retaliatory killing of snow leopards, and displacement of wildlife away from critical food habitats.The study appears in the August issue of the journal Conservation Biology. Authors include: Joel Berger of WCS and University of Montana, Bayarbaatar Buuveibaatar of WCS Mongolia, and Charudutt Mishra of the Snow Leopard Trust.Goats from this region produce high-quality fibers that, when processed into cashmere, are highly sought by western consumers. With 90 percent of the world’s cashmere emanating from China and Mongolia, the vast highlands and open spaces that once were populated by wild camel and wild yak, Przewalski’s horse, chiru, saiga antelope, Tibetan gazelle, kiang, khulan, and snow leopard are increasingly dominated by domestic goats and other livestock.The study results from fieldwork in India, western China, and Mongolia and builds upon economic data including herder profits, changes in livestock numbers, and the relative abundance of wildlife.”The consequences are dramatic and negative for iconic species that governments have signed legislation to protect, yet the wildlife is continually being squeezed into a no-win situation,” says lead author, Joel Berger, a biologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and professor at University of Montana. “Herders are doing what we would do — just trying to improve their livelihoods, and who can blame them?”The purpose of the study is to raise awareness among western consumers about the origins of cashmere and its growing impact on wildlife. The authors suggest that the study should serve as the beginning of a dialog among the garment industry, cashmere herders, and conservationists to address and mitigate these impacts.WCS has already begun to help tackle the problem by engaging with the Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform (RESP), a public-private partnership initiative aimed at addressing sustainability issues from the beginning to the end of select supply chains across the fashion, cosmetics and jewelry industries, including cashmere.”In the absence of commitment across global and local scales, the iconic wildlife of the world’s highest mountains and great steppes will cease to persist as they have for millennia. Rather than serving as symbols of success, these species will become victims of fashion,” said Peter Zahler, WCS Deputy Director for Asia Programs.This study was supported by the Snow Leopard Trust, Trust for Mutual Understanding, National Geographic Society, Whitley Fund for Nature, and the British Broadcasting Company Wildlife Fund

Read more

Altitude may affect the way language is spoken

June 12, 2013 — Language is formed by giving meaning to sounds and stringing together these meaningful expressions to communicate feelings and ideas. Until recently most linguists believed that the relationship between the structure of language and the natural world was mainly the influence of the environment on vocabulary. Now, a new study published in the June 12 edition of PLOS ONE shows that there is a link between geographical elevation and the way language is spoken.The study reveals that languages containing ejective consonants are spoken mainly in regions of high elevation. Ejectives are sounds produced with an intensive burst of air, and are not found in the English language.The findings show that 87 percent of the languages with ejectives included in the study are located within 500 km of a region of high elevation on all continents. The findings also indicate that as elevation increases, so does the likelihood of languages with ejectives.”This is really strong evidence that geography does influence phonology—the sound system of languages,” says Caleb Everett, associate professor of anthropology, in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami and author of the study. The study is titled “Evidence for Direct Geographic Influences on Linguistic Sounds: The case of ejectives.”An area of high elevation is defined as exceeding 1500m above sea level. Most of the inhabitable high altitude areas of the world are found in six regions, including the North American Cordillera; the Andes and the Andean altiplano; the southern African plateau; the plateau of the east African rift and the Ethiopian highlands; the Caucasus range and Javakheti plateau; and the Tibetan plateau and surrounding plateaus.For this project, Everett analyzed the locations of about 600 representative languages, of the 7000 or so languages of the world. Ninety two of this sample had ejectives. He utilized the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures—the most comprehensive survey of linguistic sounds. Everett imported the coordinates of these languages into the geographic software of Google Earth and ArcGIS v. …

Read more

Utilizzando il sito, accetti l'utilizzo dei cookie da parte nostra. maggiori informazioni

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close