7 new frogs discovered in India, some smaller than a thumbnail

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Amphibians, Animals, Conservation, Deforestation, Forests, Frogs, Habitat Loss, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Illegal Mining, Mining, New Species, Research, Species Discovery, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img All the newly described species belong to the genus Nyctibatrachus, commonly known as night frogs.Apart from being tiny, these frogs live a secretive life under forest leaf litter or marsh vegetation and they sound like insects, making it difficult for researchers to locate them.But these species seem to be common and abundant in the locations they were found, researchers say.Despite being commonly encountered, all seven species might be threatened by habitat loss. Indian scientists have discovered seven new species of frogs in the Western Ghats, a biodiversity-rich mountain range in India.All the newly described species belong to the genus Nyctibatrachus, commonly known as night frogs.Four of these frogs are only 12 to 16 millimeters in length, making them smaller than a thumbnail. In fact, these miniature-sized amphibians are among the smallest frogs in the world, researchers report in a new study published in PeerJ. The world’s smallest frog is believed to be the 7.7-millimeter long Paedophryne amauensis, found in Papua New Guinea.Seven new species discovered from the Western Ghats. A. Radcliffe’s Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus radcliffei), B. Athirappilly Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis), C. Kadalar Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus webilla), D. Sabarimala Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus sabarimalai), E. Vijayan’s Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani), F. Manalar Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus manalari), G. Robin Moore’s Night Frog. [(D-G. Size of the miniature species in comparison to the Indian five-rupee coin (24 mm diameter)] Photo credit: SD BijuFinding the night frogs was not an easy task.Apart from being tiny, these frogs live a secretive life under forest leaf litter or marsh vegetation and they sound like insects, making it difficult for researchers to locate them. These frogs may have remained undiscovered for a long time, but these species seem to be common and abundant in the locations they were found, researchers say.“The miniature species are locally abundant and fairly common but they have probably been overlooked because of their extremely small size, secretive habitats and insect-like calls,” said lead-author Sonali Garg, a PhD student at the University of Delhi.Despite being commonly encountered, all seven species are likely to be threatened by habitat loss, researchers say. They are all known only from the single locations where they were discovered, some of which lie outside protected areas. Moreover, much of the southern Western Ghats, where the new species were discovered, is currently threatened by illegal mining, construction of hydro-power dams and large-scale infrastructure development.Data from the University of Maryland visualized on Global Forest Watch show the southern Western Ghats, where the new frogs were found, lost around 1.5 percent of its tree cover between 2001 and 2014. The region is home to many previously known endemic amphibian species that are found nowhere else in the world. The NGO Alliance for Zero Extinction shows the ranges of four that are endangered.Two of the frogs, Radcliffe’s night frog (Nyctibatrachus radcliffei) and the Kadalar night frog (N. webilla) for example, were found inside private or state-owned plantation areas. The Athirappilly night frog (N. athirappillyensis) was discovered near the Athirappilly waterfall in the state of Kerala, which lies inside a reserved forest that is threatened by a proposed hydroelectric project. Similarly, the Sabarimala night frog (N. sabarimalai) was found close to a popular pilgrimage center that is estimated to attract over 100 million devotees every year.“Over 32 percent, that is one-third of the Western Ghats frogs are already threatened with extinction. Out of the seven new species, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritization,” Prof SD Biju, who led the new study and has also formally described over 80 new species of amphibians from India, said in the statement.Athirappilly Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus athirappillyensis) was discovered from areas adjoining the Athirappilly waterfall, site for a proposed hydroelectric project. Photo credit: SD Biju.Between 2006 and 2015, scientists described 1,581 new species of amphibians. Of these, 159 species were discovered in the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka region, making it one of the leading biodiversity hotspots for new amphibian species discoveries, researchers say.Until now, the night frog genus Nyctibatrachus included 28 recognised species, of which more than half were described over the last five years. The discovery of the seven new species raises the number of Nyctibatrachus species to 35.Vijayan’s Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus pulivijayani), a 13.6 mm miniature-sized frog from Agasthyamala hills in the Western Ghats, sitting comfortably on a thumbnail. Photo credit: SD Biju.Citation:Garg S, Suyesh R, Sukesan S, Biju S. (2017) Seven new species of Night Frogs (Anura, Nyctibatrachidae) from the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India, with remarkably high diversity of diminutive forms. PeerJ 5:e3007 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3007FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Guatemala issues red alert as national parks burn

first_imgNorthern Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve comprises several national parks and other protected areas.Fire activity is concentrated in one park in particular – Laguna del Tigre National Park – where satellite data from NASA recorded more than 400 fires occurring over the past week.Land use is restricted in Guatemalan national parks, but officials say the fires are largely human-caused by illegal cattle ranching, logging, and drug trafficking. Budget challenges have limited the capacity of local institutions to effectively control the forest fires. The Guatemalan government issued a red alert for the Peten department Tuesday due to forest fires in national parks inside the Maya Biosphere Reserve.The biosphere reserve covers the northernmost fifth of the country and borders both Mexico and Belize. Along with adjacent areas in those two countries, the Maya Biosphere Reserve is part of one of the largest contiguous tracts of tropical forest north of the Amazon, according to the United Nations.A fire that began Saturday in the Laguna del Tigre National Park has proven to be especially challenging to combat, according to an official government video communiqué. The fires may have already consumed 30,000 hectares of land, according to the National System for the Prevention and Control of Forest Fires (SIPECIF).The red alert enables the mobilization of additional personnel and resources from the national government and other areas of the country to assist local officials, firefighters, and soldiers who have been struggling to get the forest fires under control.“We have two helicopter available that will probably spring into action. We hope they contribute to preventing the expansion of the fires,” Guatemalan vice president Jafeth Cabrera said at a press conference Tuesday.The Ministry of Defense has assigned 200 more soldiers to assist in the firefighting efforts, and seven more SIPECIF firefighters have also been assigned to Peten. The Guatemalan government has also requested support from Mexico.An aerial photograph taken Tuesday by government officials monitoring the extent of forest fires shows fires burning in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in northern Guatemala. Photo credit: Geovany Martínez/CONRED/FacebookThis particular fire in the southeastern area of the Laguna del Tigre National Park in Guatemala was reported and photographed on April 7. Photo credit: CONAP/facebookThe fires in Peten may have been started intentionally to clear areas for cattle ranching or other illegal activities, government officials speculated.While the Maya Biosphere Reserve is home to success stories like those of certain community forest concessions in the multiple use zone, it is also plagued by serious challenges, including illegal cattle ranching, wildlife poaching, and drug trafficking, particularly in the Laguna del Tigre and Sierra del Lacandón National Parks in the western half of the biosphere reserve.“[The forest fires] could be the actions of drug traffickers to take advantage and build clandestine airstrips,” Cabrera said. Determining whether fires are premeditated is difficult, he said, but human activity is almost always to blame.“Ninety-eight percent of fires are caused by people, by human activity, for various purposes [including] for hunting, for changes in land use,” National Protected Areas Council (CONAP) executive secretary Elder Figueroa said at a separate press conference Tuesday.Few activities are permitted in the Laguna del Tigre National Park, which is the largest core area of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Still, there are exceptions. Two communities in the park, Maya Q’eqchi’ of Paso Caballos and Buen Samaritano, both have agreements with CONAP and have strictly regulated agricultural areas. Several oil wells and operations were also grandfathered in; however, a 15-year extension to the oil contract the Guatemalan government granted in 2010 generated significant controversy.Along with the largely neglected buffer zone, the Laguna del Tigre National Park has one of the highest deforestation rates of any area in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Illegal deforestation in the park stems from a range of activities, and is largely concentrated in a swath of territory along the road – now dotted with unregulated settlements – leading to oil extraction operations. Illegal cattle ranching and drug trafficking also drive deforestation in the area, according to government officials.According to satellite data from NASA visualized on Global Forest Watch, 443 fires were detected in Laguna del Tigre National Park between April 4 and 11.Global Forest Watch shows fires occurring in and around Maya Biosphere Reserve between April 4 11, 2017. Many are concentrated in Laguna del Tigre National Park, where a clusters of fires are burning in forest near Guatemala’s last scarlet macaw breeding site.Official Guatemalan government data differs from that of Global Forest Watch, which registers individual hotspots and fires regardless of how and why they are burning, whereas the government data distinguishes between agricultural burns and forest fires, and likely register clusters of individual hotspots and fires as one forest fire.According to the Guatemalan government, there have been 407 forest fires since the beginning of this year, and the Peten and Quiche departments have been especially affected.One of the forest fires of particular concern in the Laguna del Tigre National Park is in the area of El Perú-Waka’, an important Mayan archaeological site. The last remaining scarlet macaw (Ara macao) nesting area in Guatemala is located in that same area. The park is also home to more than 180 other bird species, the endangered Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii), and iconic near-threatened species like the jaguar (Panthera onca).Endangered Guatemalan black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) feed in trees in the southeastern area of the Laguna del Tigre National Park, currently affected by forest fires. Photo by Sandra Cuffe for Mongabay“It’s worrisome that [the fires] are destroying virgin forest,” Alma Polanco Solís, the regional CONAP director for the Peten, told Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre. “If it’s not fought, it could affect the only scarlet macaw nesting area,” she said.Budget challenges have limited the capacity of local institutions to effectively control the forest fires. CONAP has wide-ranging management responsibilities in more than 300 protected areas covering roughly 30 percent of Guatemalan territory, but has only received roughly 0.15 percent of the national budget in recent years.CONAP has requested an additional 40 million quetzales ($5.45 million) for SIPECIF, Figueroa said Tuesday. However, concerns about the lack of funding for forest firefighting were raised months ago, before the worst of the forest fire season.In January, SIPECIF officials presented a request to the Ministry of Finance for an additional $1.09 million, Nery Franco, the SIPECIF regional director for the Peten, told a local Peten media site this past February, when SIPECIF and other institutions created a Coordination Commission for Forest Fires. The additional funds would have doubled SIPECIF’s annual budget, which was basically only enough to cover limited personnel, according to Franco.“We don’t really have a way to cover the whole operational side of things at the moment,” Franco said. In past years, SIPECIF has had at least 140 personnel, he said, but this year there are only 70 people: 62 operational staff (firefighters), seven technical staff, and one administrator.Additional government and army personnel and resources continued to arrive to the region Wednesday morning, and firefighting activities continue. Agriculture, Birds, Cattle, Cattle Ranching, Drug Trade, Endangered Species, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forest Loss, Forests, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Loss, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Citations:Banner image:  After a red alert was declared Tuesday in the Peten department of Guatemala, the Ministry of Defense assigned 200 more soldiers to assist firefighting efforts. Photo credit: Ejército de Guatemala/twitterNASA FIRMS. “VIIRS Active Fires.” Accessed through Global Forest Watch on April 12, 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgcenter_img Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Forest conservation might be an even more important climate solution than we realize: Study

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Adaptation To Climate Change, Climate Change, Climate Change And Conservation, Climate Change Policy, Conservation, Environment, Forest Carbon, Forests, Global Warming, Global Warming Mitigation, Mitigation, Rainforests, Research, Temperate Forests Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Trees are a crucial regulating factor in the cycle of water and heat exchange between Earth’s surface and atmosphere — and thus forests play a key role in regulating local climates and surface temperatures, according to the authors of the study.The researchers discovered that forests often help keep temperate and tropical regions cooler, while contributing to warming in northern high-latitude areas.“Forests play a more important role in cooling the surface in almost all regions of the Earth than was previously thought,” Kaiguang Zhao, an assistant professor of environment modeling and spatial analysis at The Ohio State University and a co-author of the study, said in a statement. It’s estimated that deforestation is responsible for about 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Of course, in addition to the direct emissions created, the destruction of a forest means the removal of a valuable carbon sink, as well, which is why deforestation represents a “double jeopardy” scenario for Earth’s climate system.These are just two of the chief reasons why efforts to keep forests standing are considered critical if we’re to halt climate change. But according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change late last month, we may be underestimating the extent to which forest conservation and reforestation initiatives can help curb rising global temperatures, as sequestering carbon dioxide is only one of the climate-regulating attributes inherent to the world’s forests.Trees are also a crucial regulating factor in the cycle of water and heat exchange between Earth’s surface and atmosphere — and thus forests play a key role in regulating local climates and surface temperatures, according to the authors of the study.“Forests play a more important role in cooling the surface in almost all regions of the Earth than was previously thought,” Kaiguang Zhao, an assistant professor of environment modeling and spatial analysis at The Ohio State University and a co-author of the study, said in a statement. “This really affirms the value of forest conservation and protection policies in the fight against climate change.”In order to get a more complete picture of how land-use changes — such as conversion of forests to agricultural land or pastureland — can influence local climatic conditions, Zhao and colleagues created a model that combines locally collected meteorological data with extensive records derived from satellites and other Earth observation systems.After observing the differences in surface-atmosphere heat exchange between forests and areas converted into farms or pastures, the researchers were able to estimate the surface temperature change caused by switching the land from one type of dominant vegetation to another. They discovered that forests often help keep temperate and tropical regions cooler, while contributing to warming in northern high-latitude areas.“We find that forest cover gains lead to an annual cooling in all regions south of the upper conterminous United States, northern Europe, and Siberia — reinforcing the attractiveness of re-/afforestation as a local mitigation and adaptation measure in these regions,” the researchers write in the study.The researchers also examined the mechanisms that allow forests to help regulate surface temperatures and found that the transfer of water and heat from the land to the atmosphere via the processes of convection and evapotranspiration might be even more important than scientists previously thought — possibly even wielding a more significant influence in some areas than the sun.Past research that focused on albedo, or how much of the sun’s light is reflected back into Earth’s atmosphere after hitting the planet’s surface, as a measure of how forests can shape local climates has had inconclusive results, Zhao said. Forests, which tend to be darker than cropland or pastureland, absorb more heat and, in some cases, increase local temperatures, he added. Yet the results of the present study clearly show that forests can and often do lead to local cooling of surface temperatures.Ryan Bright of the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy Research, the study’s lead author, said that while it’s true forests often absorb more solar radiation than grasslands or agricultural lands, they also release more moisture into the air than the shorter vegetation found on farms or pastures. Thus, while replanting a forest that has been chopped down may lead to an albedo decrease (in other words, more solar energy being absorbed), that reforestation project could still “effect a cooling at the surface owing to enhanced evapotranspiration and turbulent mixing of air — two key non-radiative drivers of the surface energy balance,” Bright and his co-authors write.“What we are finding is that these mechanisms are often more important, even in some of the higher-latitude regions, where surface light reflection has been given more weight,” Bright added.These results suggest that non-radiative mechanisms such as evapotranspiration must be more fully taken into account by land managers and policymakers when designing local land-based climate mitigation or adaptation policies, Bright said.“In a world facing increasing competition for land resources for food and livestock production, sensible forest protection policies will be especially critical in our efforts to mitigate climate change, particularly local warming,” he noted. “Our research could help in the identification of regions where forest protection, re-forestation or policies promoting the creation of new forests should be started or ramped up.”Photo courtesy of The Ohio State University.CITATIONBright, R. M., Davin, E., O’Halloran, T., Pongratz, J., Zhao, K., & Cescatti, A. (2017). Local temperature response to land cover and management change driven by non-radiative processes. Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE3250Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Illegal trade threatens nearly half the world’s natural heritage sites: WWF

first_imgPoaching, illegal logging and illegal fishing of rare species protected under CITES occurs in 45 percent of the natural World Heritage sites, a new WWF report says.Illegal harvesting degrades the unique values that gave the heritage sites the status in the first place, the report says.Current approaches to preventing illegal harvesting of CITES listed species in World Heritage sites is not working, the report concludes. Wildlife crime plagues nearly half of the world’s natural UNESCO World Heritage sites, according to a new WWF report.Illegal harvesting — poaching, illegal logging and illegal fishing — of rare species protected under CITES (Convention on International trade in Endangered Species), and their trafficking, occurs in 45 percent of the more than 200 natural World Heritage sites, the study reported.Poaching of threatened animal species, such as elephants, rhinos and tigers, has been reported in at least 43 World Heritage sites, for example. Illegal logging of high-value tree species like rosewood and ebony was found to occur in 26 heritage properties, and illegal fishing has been reported from 18 out of the current 39 marine and coastal properties.Illegal rosewood stockpiles in Antalaha, Madagascar, in 2007. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Natural World Heritage sites, from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the Sundarbans in India and Bangladesh, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Galápagos Islands, include some of the world’s most iconic species. Many of these sites are also the last refuges of critically endangered species.For example, Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia is believed to host the last remaining wild population of around 60 critically endangered Javan rhinos. Similarly, the Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California is home to the critically endangered vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise. The extremely rare vaquita is now estimated to be down to the last 30 individuals.Conservationists fear that if current levels of illegal harvesting continue in World Heritage sites, many species could soon become extinct.“This report is a sobering reminder of just how far this type of organized crime can reach, extending even into the supposed safety of World Heritage sites,” Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said in a statement. “This is a global challenge that can only be tackled through collective, international action.”Less than 100 Sumatran rhinos remain, mostly in Indonesia’s Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Illegal harvesting of rare species from the World Heritage sites degrades the unique values that gave these places the status in the first place, the report says. Many of these sites also generate considerable tourism and local revenue, and decline of species due to illegal trade undermines the sites’ attractiveness to tourists, and threatens the livelihoods of the local communities.Wildlife trafficking also endangers the lives of conservation workers, the report notes. Between 2009 and 2016, for example, at least 595 rangers were killed in the line of duty, many of whom were protecting World Heritage sites.Current approaches to preventing illegal harvesting of CITES listed species in World Heritage sites is not working, the report concludes.“Governments must redouble their efforts and address the entire wildlife trafficking value chain, before it’s too late.” Marco Lambertini, Director General at WWF International, said in the statement. “We urgently need more collaboration and integration between CITES, the World Heritage Convention and national authorities to lead a more coordinated, comprehensive response to halt wildlife trafficking — from harvesting of species in source countries, transportation through processing destinations, to sales in consumer markets.”John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, added: “This report provides a range of options to further enhance coordination between CITES and the World Heritage Convention, focused around World Heritage sites. It is essential that CITES is fully implemented and that these irreplaceable sites are fully protected. In doing so, we will benefit our heritage and our wildlife, provide security to people and places, and support national economies and the rural communities that depend on these sites for their livelihoods.”World Heritage sites host almost a third of all remaining wild tigers. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. Animals, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Elephants, Endangered Environmentalists, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Crime, Mammals, Marine Animals, Marine Conservation, Marine Mammals, Plants, Protected Areas, Rhinos, Rosewood, Tigers, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking, World Heritage Convention Article published by Shreya Dasguptacenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

‘Science needs to catch up’: Deep sea mining looms over unstudied ecosystems

first_imgScientists compiled all known population genetics studies of deep sea ecosystems, finding a paucity of research.The researchers warn that human impacts like pollution, fishing, and mining are encroaching further into deep sea areas faster than scientists are studying them.They say more research will enable stakeholders to protect vulnerable ecosystems. We know very little about the deepest parts of the ocean – and are disturbing them faster than we’re learning about them, according a study published this week in Molecular Ecology.To see just how big this knowledge gap is, researchers at Oxford University conducted a survey of all known population genetics studies of deep sea invertebrates. Population genetics is the study of the differences between and within populations, and helps scientists understand how groups of plants and animals evolved and how they may respond to environmental changes.The researchers discovered that there have been 77 papers published on this topic in the last 33 years. Of these, just nine looked at areas deeper than 3,500 meters – which comprise about half the planet’s surface.A juvenile octopus of an unknown species 1,200 meters down off the west coast of Scotland. Photo courtesy of JC136/Deeplinks/NERC/Univ of Plymouth / Univ of Oxford.Additionally, the researchers focused on invertebrates. They say what while invertebrates comprise the bulk of wildlife at the bottom of the deep sea, research of the last few decades has been aimed instead on vertebrates like fish, as well as animals living in unusual ecosystems like hydrothermal vents.A lack of basic informationThe relative few studies they found on the population genetics of deep sea invertebrates shine a valuable, if dim, light on an otherwise unknown expanse. They indicate the animals that live in the deep may be about as genetically diverse as shallow-water species, and that some populations are distinct and isolated from each other even in small areas.But that’s pretty much it. The researchers write that there is a lack of even basic ecological information for all but a few species.According to Christopher Roterman, co-author and postdoctoral researcher in Oxford’s Department of Zoology, the researchers “found it concerning that so few studies accounted for the largest ecosystem on the planet. Only nine studies for half the planet and only two for a quarter of it.”Roterman told Mongabay that their findings indicate populations may be structured differently in the deep, and that current research methods may not be effective in their study.“In terms of the actual data, our review revealed a picture of high connectivity within species over large distances (100s-1000s of miles), but revealed population structure (low connectivity) with depth, suggesting a stratification of some species into sub-populations separated by a few hundred meters of depth – which may reflect adaptation to changing conditions as you go deeper – i.e. changes intemperature, pressure, food availability or oxygen availability. In some cases this population separation amounts to the populations being designated as separate, but superficially identical species,” Roterman said. “We also revealed that the use of some genetic markers may not be very useful for inferring patterns of demographic change over recent history, suggesting that newer methods should be used.”The importance of protecting the deepRoterman and his colleagues say study and protection of deep sea ecosystems is important for many reasons. For one, the deep sea could represent “a potential larder for biotechnology and biomedical research,” he said, and is a “key cog in the machinery of how the planetary ecosystem maintains dynamic equilibrium.”“Large-scale disruption of the deep-sea, while very remote to us at present could have long-term negative consequences unless we manage to learn more about how these deep-sea communities function and are structured,” Roterman said.In addition to unveiling the secrets of deep sea ecosystems, the researchers say investment in genetics studies will help stakeholders more effectively manage and protect marine diversity and resources as human impacts on the deep intensify.“These studies have the power to influence the way that stakeholders areable to manage sustainably deep-sea resources,” Roterman said. “While deep-sea animals do not make up a large part of our diets at present (although consumption is higher in Asia), biomass harvesting is getting deeper and deeper. These population genetic studies therefore can have a direct impact on food supply and are important.“However we also noticed that little work has been done on species that are habitat forming – such as sponges and deep-water corals. These animals are much like the trees in rainforests and host a variety of other species, some of which are commercially harvested. Population genetic information can therefore be crucial in the setting up of marine protected areas (MPAs) that provide oases from human activity that can lead to greater productivity in the areas that are open to human harvesting.”Ever-increasing human impactThey warn that despite this lack of knowledge and exploration of the deep, human activities are leading to ever-greater impacts. For instance, microplastics can now be found in the deepest, most remote reaches of the ocean. Commercial bottom-trawling fishing is tearing through ancient, deep sea ecosystems, turning them into “faunal deserts.” And about 1.8 million square kilometers – an area about the size of Libya – has been allotted for potential exploration and extraction of metals.“Today humans have an unprecedented ability to [affect] the lives of creatures living in one of the most remote environments on earth — the deep sea,” Roterman said in a statement. “At a time where the exploitation of deep sea resources is increasing, scientists are still trying to understand basic aspects of the biology and ecology of deep sea communities.”A sea cucumber (Psychropotes longicauda) inhabits a deep sea abyssal plain dotted with polymetallic nodules, which are sought-after by mining operations. Photo by Lenaick LEP (image license available here).Roterman calls for more research of the deep sea, saying it will help us figure out how its ecosystems may respond to disturbance and how best to protect them.“Population genetics is an important tool that helps us to understand how deep sea communities function, and in turn how resilient they will be in the future to the increasing threat of human impacts.” Roterman said. “These insights can help governments and other stakeholders to figure out ways to control and sustainably manage human activities, to ensure a healthy deep sea ecosystem.”Roterman said fishing is currently the activity having the biggest impact on deep sea communities. But he warns that metals mining may soon become the bigger threat.“What may start off in relative terms, as a pin-prick on the seafloor, may rapidly expand before the long-term detrimental effects are fully understood,” he said.“What we don’t know at present is how human activities and climate change will affect these populations in the future, but history tells us that we shouldn’t be complacent.”Technological advances could further study at a lower costGetting good data from 5,000 meters down can be a tricky and costly undertaking. Roterman says this is due to the high cost of specialized sampling equipment, as well as the large volumes of fuel required to travel out into the open ocean far from the coast where deeper areas tend to be.“For this reason, there are few studies that span most of the abyssal plains and the hadal trenches,” Roterman said. “Until now, human impacts in these areas have been restricted to pollution (rubbish, microplastics industrial and nuclear waste), but large-scale mining pilot studies have begun that could result in large areas being heavily disturbed.”But the researchers say advances in technology may help population geneticists learn about the denizens of the deep more cheaply, easily, and quickly. They point to the increasing availability of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that are already at work mapping and sampling the ocean’s depths. And development of “next-generation sequencing” technologies over the past five years means geneticists are able to get more information from fewer individuals, lowering the costs associated with collecting them from the deep.“Next-generation sequencing allows us to scan larger and larger portions of an animal’s genome and at a lower cost,” Michelle Taylor, co-author and senior postdoctoral researcher in Oxford’s Department of Zoology “This makes deep sea population genetic studies less costly, and for many animals, the sheer volume of data these new technologies create means they can now be studied for the first time.”But, Taylor urges, haste is of the essence.“We cannot bury our heads in the sand and think that people are not going to try and exploit resources in the deep sea, so science needs to catch up.” FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Editor’s note: This story was updated with direct quotes from the researchers. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Citation:Taylor, M., & Roterman, C. N. Invertebrate population genetics across Earth’s largest habitat: the deep-sea floor. Deep Sea, Deep Sea Mining, Ecosystems, Environment, Fishing, Genetics, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Ecosystems, Microplastics, Mining, Oceans, Plastic, Pollution, Research, Water Pollution last_img read more

Palm oil mounts ‘new offensive’ in Colombia while workers decry labor conditions

first_img*Interviewee names have been changed and the palm oil company name omitted to protect sources.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Agriculture, coca plantations, Conflict, Deforestation, Development, Drug Trade, Environment, Featured, Forests, Habitat Loss, Industrial Agriculture, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforests, Trees, Tropical Forests Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Demobilization of the FARC and other militant groups are opening vast areas of Colombia to new development.Colombia is Latin America’s biggest palm oil producer. Researchers expect the industry will be expanding into these new territories, and are worried about how Colombia’s native ecosystems will fare against new oil palm plantations and how communities will be treated by the industry.Advocacy organizations say Colombia is facing a grave security crisis for human rights defenders, unionists, community activists, and indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, with more than 120 social leaders reportedly killed so far in 2017.Mongabay traveled to Magdalena Medio to talk with oil palm plantation workers; they reported dangerous working conditions and deadly retribution from anti-union organizers. MAGDALENA MEDIO, Colombia – It is a usual hot and humid day at one of the oil palm plantations in Magdalena Medio, Colombia. Beneath the two-story canopy of the plantation, Francisco Calderón* sweats while carrying a wobbly 12-meter (40-foot) iron pole he uses to slice the precious fruit free. The work is long and back-breakingly arduous.The sheer weight and length of the pole makes balancing it an art. Calderón tightens his muscles and once more steers the pole towards the palm fruit to show the practice that has been damaging his body for more than two decades.As most of the plantation workers affirm, almost nobody reaches their full pension age working the palm trees. They say the hard task of cutting and lifting clusters of palm fruit damages one’s shoulders and back and makes plantation work impossible past a certain age.Colombia produces more palm oil than any other country in Latin America, and is the fourth-largest producer worldwide after Indonesia, Malaysia (together the two countries produce around 83 percent of the global supply) and Thailand. According to federal census data, Colombia had nearly 466,000 hectares of oil palm planted in 2015 – but as much as 16 million hectares of land is regarded as suitable for cultivation.Calderón deftly uses a long pole to harvest fruit from an oil palm tree. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.Palm oil is produced from the fruit of the oil palm tree. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.Currently, most oil palm grown in Colombia is done so on land that had already been deforested by the cattle industry. But monocrop agriculture such as oil palm cultivation can be very hard on the environment and conservationists worry industry expansion could threaten the country’s ecosystems, several of which are among the most biodiverse in the world.Conflict can also be a byproduct of the palm oil industry, with accusations of land-grabbing and even murder reported in many areas around the world where plantations are expanding. Such is the experience of Calderón, who says he knows of several co-union workers who were assassinated allegedly because of their involvement in palm oil workers’ unions.“To be a unionist, in this country and zone, is very difficult,” he says.Calderón, who is legal representative of a local palm workers union, is 48 and has already been working 28 years in the sector. Due to the heavy work, he could not continue in the plantation after a certain point and was reassigned to do a different task. His job now is to sit at a desk conducting quality control of oil palm fruit harvested at the plantation. Despite it being a reprieve from back-breaking labor harvesting fruit, Calderón says he is bored at his current position and laments he still has 14 years to go until his pension kicks in.Labor conditions: “The risk is permanent”Walking through an extraction plant in the Santander department is a hellish experience. Ticking, sizzling and hissing sounds of glowing hot machines dictate the rhythm of the work and the sweat drips from the foreheads of the plant workers who wear jean jackets, protection boots and helmets. A digital thermometer shows the temperature – 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).“The plant is 55 years old,” Calderón says. “It’s an obsolete plant, the risk is permanent.” About 60 to 80 workers are active on a daily basis in the extraction plant, where the palm fruit is cooked and where the palm oil is extracted. The oil is exported all over the world and ends up in many consumer products as biofuel, shampoos, snacks and toothpaste.Clusters of fruit from oil palm trees are cut from trees and collected in an ox-drawn cart. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.Oil palm fruit is transported by truck to the palm oil processing factory. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.A palm oil production factory in Magdalena Medio, Colombia. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.One of the faces between the rusty metal machines belongs to Antonio Ranchero*. “[The company*] needs to improve the security situation because accidents do happen.” A colleague of his reveals a hand that got stuck in a machine; he can no longer feel half of it. Calderón refers to the palm oil extraction plant as a “time-bomb” while he stands on a rusty platform just above a sweltering and humming machine.The work in the extraction plant is hard, risky and exhausting, but plantation work has an even worse reputation. Laura Palanca*, who currently works in reception for the same palm oil company, explains how she was bitten by a venomous snake hiding in a tree while working on an oil palm plantation about a year and a half ago. She says she still suffers from health complications.Most women who work at the plantation are tasked with pollination and herbicide application. Like at the factory, working conditions in the plantation are described as unbearable.“The temperature is really high,” Lyda Monterrey* says. The 45-year-old single mother of two does not wear a respirator or facemask as she sprays the palm fruit, saying is makes her work more difficult. She explained that a mask in front of her face would just fill with sweat. Monterrey said pollinators need to spray a daily quota of 10 hectares of palm trees. She believes the herbicide she sprays on the palm fruit affects her lungs, but she prefers not to wear face protection as it slows her down.Payment is also an issue. Despite working at the plantation,Monterrey says that she is not able to afford the education of both of her children at the same time.A plantation worker applies herbicide to an oil palm tree. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.Oil palm trees border the factory. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.Daily quotas set the tone on the plantation, according to workers interviewed by Mongabay, with different quotas for different tasks. They said each plantation worker is obliged to harvest a minimum of around 1,600 kilograms of palm fruit per day. The advantage of working on the plantation, the workers say, is the bonus payment they get if they harvest more than the quota, which gives them an additional bit of income above the minimum wage.But despite the hard work required on the plantation, Calderón says the company only values healthy workers.“The objective of the company is not to have sick workers,” Calderón says. “They are a cost, they become a burden, but we as workers give our lives to this company. We enter at a young age while healthy and we do not think that it is well earned, after giving your life to this company, to be thrown on the streets where nobody will give you work because you left your job as a sick person.” While both Palanca and Calderón were given desk jobs after they became physically unable to perform plantation work, they say they were forced to take a pay cut in their new positions.According to Ximena Alexandra Gómez, with labor protection group Corporación Justicia y Libertad, most workers in the sector do not possess fixed contracts and lose their jobs after having health problems. union pressures won contracts for its workers. But Calderón says a worker whose health becomes impaired may simply be stuck in a lower-paying job.“If one gets sick he receives two punishments. One is the disease and the other is the impairment of the salary,” according to Calderón, who after a lifelong career in palm oil says he now makes about $9 a day. Since all that is grown around his village Puerto Wilches is oil palm, food needs to be imported from other regions and is relatively expensive. To make ends meet, he sells eggs and clothing after a hard day’s work.The palm oil production company that was visited for this report did not respond to requests for comment.Palm oil in post-conflict ColombiaResearch by the government-run National Center of Historical Memory (CNMH) indicates palm oil and forced displacement often go hand-in-hand in at least five Colombian departments. CNMH found violence was aimed both at farmers who had land that was suitable for oil palm cultivation and at union leaders fighting for decent labor conditions and who were considered liabilities by palm oil companies.Calderón says “dark forces” are present in the area and that palm oil is the only industry offering jobs in his region, but that residents are fighting for their rights. “There are still no sufficient guarantees,” he said.A new wave of palm oil expansion may be on the horizon following successful peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). After 52 years of guerilla fighting, the FARC officially handed over its weapons to the UN in June 2017 and shifted its identity from an armed group to a political party.“In the peace agreement with the FARC they [are] talking about formalizing and opening up 7 million hectares to give Colombia the big push,” says Daniel Hawkins, director of investigation at the National Syndical School (ENS). “Where you had heavy FARC presence in the past, but now [that] they’ve demobilized it’s gonna open up [the land] for possible use for palm oil.”An oil palm plantation. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.Large territories that formerly were under the control of FARC guerrillas are now safe to enter. Conservationists worry this might mean a big push by agro-industry, including the palm oil sector.“That’s all gonna be in the departments of Meta, Casanare and Guaviare,” Hawkins said. He added that he didn’t expect much more activity in the Magdalena Medio region, where Calderón lives. “If you look to the Magdalena Medio region, there is not really much in terms of possible extension, because you already have heaps of palm oil there.”One region of particular concern is Colombia’s eastern plains – called the Altillanura. Comprising around 4.5 million hectares, the Altillanura’s acidic soil and conflict with the FARC had made it an inhospitable place for industrial agriculture. But along with FARC demobilization, advances in agricultural technology that could make acidic soil more suitable for crops is also making the region a hotspot for potential agroindustrial expansion.“[We believe] that there is a new offensive of monocrops due to the process in Altillanura lands and other parts of the country where these activities could not enter before because of the conflict,” said Pedro Arenas, director of the Observatory of Crops Declared Illicit, an international network of civil society organizations.Another opportunity for palm oil is to take over where an illicit crop has been grown before – the coca bush, which is the main ingredient of cocaine. After decades of war on drugs yielded insufficient results, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and the United Nations are approaching coca cultivation and its marginalized farmers through a development angle. In 2016, a U.S. government report found Colombia had at least 188,000 hectares of coca crops – the highest in two decades.An ox peers from beneath the fronds of an oil palm tree. Photo by Bram Ebus for Mongabay.One of the key parts of coca reform is voluntary crop substitution, by which legal crops are grown on fields once used for coca cultivation. Monocrops, as oil palm, have been suggested as substitute crops. Data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicate that around 79,800 hectares of palm oil and 11,900 hectares of rubber had been planted via alternative development projects by 2014. The projects are undertaken by the UNODC and other international stakeholders, as well as national and regional Colombian authorities.As peace negotiations with Colombia’s second guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), are under way, more land stands to be secured for new investments like oil palm plantations. Meanwhile, advocacy organizations caution Colombia is facing a grave security crisis for human rights defenders, unionists, community activists, and indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, with more than 120 social leaders reportedly killed so far in 2017.“They catch us between two waters … you fight and you die fighting, or you will die from hunger,” Calderón says. “It’s that simple. That’s why we feel the strength to continue. If one day we die with our boots on, we are defending our work and dignity.”last_img read more

The toughest snake on Earth lives in central Africa and eats baby rodents

first_imgThe skin of the Calabar burrowing python is 15 times thicker and orders of magnitude harder to pierce than the average snake. The skin’s puncture resistance is owed to its layered sheets of collagen fibers.Scientists think the snake’s tough skin may have evolved to protect the snake from the bites of mother rodents defending their young, which make up the entirety of the Calabar’s diet.The snake’s skin is flexible despite being thick and nearly impenetrable. This unique combination of qualities has already intrigued a pharmaceutical company hoping to mimic its structure to create puncture-resistant medical gloves that don’t restrict movement. The fury of rodent mothers may have given rise to the toughest of all snakes.The skin of the Calabar burrowing python (Calabaria reinhardtii), a one-meter-long snake native to equatorial Africa, may be thicker and harder to pierce than any other snake in the world, according to a study due to be published in the January issue of the Journal of Morphology. The Calabar’s armor-like casing may have evolved to ward off biting attacks by the protective mothers of its exclusive prey: the pups of burrowing rodents.Snake skin, like human skin, has an outer epidermis and a deep dermis. In snakes, scales compose the outer layer. Typically, the deeper layer in both snakes and mammals is made up of disorganized bundles of collagen, arranged like loose piles of hay. This lack of structure makes skin quite elastic, but it’s also easily punctured or sliced.The Calabar python’s skin is remarkably different. The discovery arose from a bit of grisly serendipity, recalls study co-author Bruce Young, a biophysicist at A.T. Still University in the U.S. state of Missouri. The tightly packed scales of the Calabar burrowing python don’t spread apart when stretched. Photo Credit: Bruce Young.In 2015, Young and his colleagues were comparing the brain structures of different snakes. Their project required decapitating quite a few of them.“We had gotten this down to a science, but when we got to the Calabar we couldn’t do it,” Young told Mongabay. The razor blade that had easily sliced through every other snake met its match in the Calabar’s tough sheath of skin. A brand-new surgical scalpel and an extra helping of brute force finally separated the Calabar’s head from its body.Intrigued by the struggle, Young kept a bit of the snake’s skin to investigate what had rebuffed his blade. It was thicker than anything Young had come across, so the team took a close look at its structure.A research team led by Dawei Han of Truman State University, also in Missouri, pitted the Calabar’s skin against that of 13 other species of snake. They assessed its thickness with a microscope and its puncture resistance with hypodermic needles and a force transducer, which measured the pressure required to poke through the skin. Results showed that the Calabar’s skin was 15 times thicker and orders of magnitude harder to pierce than the skin of any other snake in the study.A scanning electron microscope created this image of a section of the Calabar’s skin. Photo Credit: Bruce Young.Under magnification, color-stained cross-sections of the skin revealed highly organized layers of collagen under the snake’s scales. Bundles of collagen in each layer ran perpendicularly to those above and below — a tough crisscross arrangement more similar to the hide of a rhinoceros than to the skin of other snakes.The work has surprised and delighted other herpetologists. “Most snakeskin has collagen fibers that run parallel. That organization allows the skin to stretch around a large meal or eggs,” says morphologist Alan Savitzky of Utah State University in the U.S. Savitzky has studied snakes for 35 years but was not involved in the present study. “These cross-ply fibers in the Calabar dramatically increase its strength but reduce its ability to stretch. It’s a very significant finding.”Despite its toughness, the snake’s skin remains flexible. This combination of pliability and puncture resistance has already piqued the interest of a pharmaceutical company seeking to make tougher medical gloves that don’t restrict movement. The company reached out to Han and Young for guidance in mimicking the underlying structure of the Calabar’s skin, according to the researchers.Several other aspects of the snake’s physiology have captured the attention of serpent aficionados. For instance, it looks like a “snake with two butts,” as described by Bruce Young’s 10-year-old daughter, because its head and tail look almost identical. Both ends of the Calabar are blunt and oblong — the head a bit thinner and the tail a bit thicker than the average snake’s. The snake presents its tail — shielded by the thickest skin on its body — to would-be assailants while burying its head beneath its coils.The Calabar python showcases what researchers call “cephalic mimicry,” which means its tail looks just like its head. Photo Credit: Bruce Young.The Calabar’s armor creates some limitations. Calabar pythons have one of the smallest clutch sizes of any snake, for instance. Females lay only four eggs on average, whereas more elastic snakes can lay up to 100. The eggs themselves are long and slender, rather than the chicken-like eggs produced by many other snakes.And while most snakes can famously eat things far bigger than their own heads, the Calabar’s thick skin limits its ability to swell. This partly explains their preference for eating infant rodents. Despite being a close relative to constrictors, which subdue their prey by coiling around it and squeezing, the Calabar’s technique might more accurately be described as “squashing.” Within the tight quarters of underground burrows, the snakes squish their tiny prey against the earthen walls. This tactic allows the Calabar to kill and eat entire litters at once.The individual scales of the Calabar burrowing python, which modern genetic analysis reveals is actually in the boa family despite “python” being in its common name, are only a bit thicker than those of most snakes. However, they’re packed more closely together.“With most snakes you can spread their scales apart and see the inner skin between the scales,” said Young. “You can’t spread the scales of the Calabar.” Pressing down on the scales also appears to make them lock together even more tightly — something Young is anxious to study.“No other snake approached the skin condition of the Calabar,” said Young. “This really is a novelty among snakes.”The blunt head of the Calabar burrowing python looks almost identical to its tail. Photo Credit: Bruce Young.CITATIONHan D, Young BA. The rhinoceros among Serpents: Comparative anatomy and experimental biophysics of Calabar burrowing python (Calabaria reinhardtii) skin. Journal of Morphology. 2018; 279:86–96. doi:10.1002/jmor.20756 Article published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Environment, Herps, Reptiles, Snakes, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Camera trap captures spotted hyena in Gabon national park, the first in 20 years

first_imgAnimals, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Camera Trapping, cameras, Chimpanzees, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Dry Forests, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Forests, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Hunting, Mammals, National Parks, Over-hunting, Parks, Poaching, Primates, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Reintroductions, Savannas, Saving Species From Extinction, Tropical Forests, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife consumption Article published by John Cannon The spotted hyena was thought to be extinct in Gabon’s Batéké Plateau National Park for 20 years as a result of wildlife poaching.But the camera trap image captured has given conservation groups hope that protection of the park is working and allowing wildlife to return.Camera traps have also recently snagged images of a lion, a serval and chimpanzees. Researchers have captured a camera trap photograph of a spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) in a national park in Gabon where the predator hasn’t been seen for two decades.Conservation groups have heralded the hyena’s return as a sign that wildlife is returning to Batéké Plateau National Park.“During our 2001 Batéké lion survey, besides a single image of one small antelope in this vicinity, we only photographed poachers coming in from Congo,” Philipp Henschel, a wildlife biologist and head of Panthera’s West and Central Africa Regional Lion Program, said in a statement. “To see these large carnivores in the same landscape now is incredibly exciting and promising.”The lone lion of Gabon photographed recently in the Batéké Plateau National Park. Photo and caption ©Panthera/Gabon National Parks Agency/The Aspinall Foundation.Poaching decimated wildlife species, including lions and hyenas, in the 2,034-square-kilometer (785-square-mile) park, which the government of Gabon established in 2002. But since then, reintroduced western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, have taken up residence in the park. And in 2015, a camera trap also nabbed a picture of a lion (Panthera leo).“Gorillas, lions, hyenas — the remarkable return of these headline-making species is not only an indicator of the success of two decades of hard work, but also inspires us to keep pushing the restoration forward,” said Tony King, who coordinates the reintroduction program at the Aspinall Foundation, the organization that spearheaded the release of the gorillas beginning in the 1990s.“The Batéké Plateau has many more surprises hidden away,” King added in the statement.Western lowland gorillas have been successfully re-established in Batéké through the Aspinall Foundation’s long-running reintroduction program. Photo and caption ©The Aspinall Foundation.Camera traps have also snagged images of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and a small cat called a serval (Leptailurus serval) in the park. The scientists suspect that the hyena may have come from Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo.In 2017, Panthera, an NGO focused on the conservation of wild cats and the ecosystems in which they live, partnered with Gabon’s National Parks Agency, known as ANPN, to bolster the protection of Batéké Plateau National Park and its growing wildlife population.“The return of these large carnivores is a great demonstration that the efforts of our rangers and partners are having a positive effect on Batéké wildlife,” Lee White, who directs the ANPN, said in the statement.“Predators are gravitating to this protected zone, where prey numbers are recovering as a result of a long-term commitment by ANPN and the Aspinall Foundation to protect the area.”Chimpanzees caught on a camera trap in the savannahs of the Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon. Photo and caption ©Panthera/ANPN/TAF.A serval, typically a savannah species, caught on a camera trap in the Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon. Photo and caption ©Panthera/ANPN/TAF.Banner image of a spotted hyena caught by a camera trap recently in the Batéké Plateau National Park in Gabon ©Panthera/ANPN/TAF.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Four Indonesian farmers charged in killing of orangutan that was shot 130 times

first_imgAnimals, Apes, Borneo Orangutan, Conservation, Crime, Critically Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Crime, Great Apes, Human-wildlife Conflict, Law Enforcement, Orangutans, Wildlife, Wildlife Crime Article published by Basten Gokkon Police in Indonesia have arrested four farmers for allegedly shooting a Bornean orangutan whose body was found riddled with 130 air gun pellets.The suspects claimed to have killed the animal because it had encroached onto their pineapple farm and ruined the crop.The killing was the second such case reported this year in Indonesia, where orangutans are ostensibly protected under the conservation act. But lax enforcement means few perpetrators ever face justice for killing or trading in these great apes. JAKARTA — Police in Indonesia have arrested and charged four farmers with the killing of an orangutan found shot more than 100 times.Investigators in East Kalimantan province, in Indonesian Borneo, detained the four men on Feb. 15 and charged them the following day. They have been identified as 36-year-old Muis; H. Nasir, 55; and Andi and Rustam, both 37. (Many Indonesians go by one name.)As part of the arrest, police also seized four pellet guns allegedly used in the killing.The male Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) was found barely alive on Feb. 5 by officials from Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan. An X-ray revealed its body was riddled with 130 air gun pellets. It died the next day from its extensive injuries.Teddy Ristiawan, the chief of the East Kutai district police, said in a statement on Feb. 17 that the five suspects “all took turns shooting at the orangutan.” Police said a fifth person, a 13-year-old boy, was also involved in the killing, but would not be charged because he was a minor.Police in East Kalimantan hold a press conference to announce the arrest of the four farmers, in orange jumpsuits, charged with shooting and killing a Bornean orangutan earlier this year. Photo courtesy of the Environment and Forestry Ministry in East Kalimantan.According to police, the farmers killed the orangutan because they believed it had encroached onto their pineapple farm and ruined their crop. An autopsy conducted earlier had revealed pineapple remnants in the animal’s stomach.The police have charged the suspects with violating the 1990 conservation act. Under the specific article on killing protected animals, which include the critically endangered Bornean orangutan, the suspects could face prison time of up to five years and fines of up to 100 million rupiah ($7,000).East Kalimantan province is home to an estimated 2,900 orangutans, more than 60 percent of which inhabit Kutai National Park, according data from the environment ministry.The use of air guns, which can be purchased without having to obtain a license and which fire pellets similar to those recovered from the dead orangutan, is common among farmers and plantation workers in East Kalimantan, and other regions that overlap with orangutan habitats, to hunt down animals they see as pests.A recent study suggested that orangutan killing in Borneo was a key factor in the loss of nearly 150,000 of the apes between 1999 and 2015, alongside deforestation and forest clearing for industrial plantations.The orangutan killing in East Kalimantan was the second such case reported in Indonesia this year. In January, an orangutan was found decapitated and shot more than a dozen times with a pellet gun in a river in Central Kalimantan. Police have arrested and charged two rubber farmers in connection with the killing of the protected species.The Bornean orangutan is listed by the IUCN as “Critically Endangered,” or close to vanishing in the wild. The main threats to the species’ survival are hunting, loss of habitat as forests across Borneo are razed to make way for monoculture plantations and mines, and poaching for the illegal pet trade.Orangutans are ostensibly protected by law, but lax enforcement means few perpetrators ever face justice for killing or trading in these great apes.A veterinarian looks at an X-ray photo of the Bornean orangutan, showing 130 pellets in its body. Photo courtesy of the Centre for Orangutan Protection.Banner image: A Bornean orangutan. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Cerrado: appreciation grows for Brazil’s savannah, even as it vanishes

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Glenn Scherer The Brazilian Cerrado – a vast savannah – once covered two million square kilometers (772,204 square miles), an area bigger than Great Britain, France and Germany combined, stretching to the east and south of the Amazon.Long undervalued by scientists and environmental activists, researchers are today realizing that the Cerrado is incredibly biodiverse. The biome supports more than 10,000 plant species, over 900 bird and 300 mammal species.The Cerrado’s deep-rooted plants and its soils also sequester huge amounts of carbon, making the region’s preservation key to curbing climate change, and to reducing Brazil’s deforestation and CO2 emissions to help meet its Paris carbon reduction pledge.Agribusiness – hampered by Brazilian laws in the Amazon – has moved into the Cerrado in a big way. More than half of the biome’s native vegetation has already disappeared, as soy and cattle production rapidly replace habitat. This series explores the dynamics of change convulsing the region. A view of the Cerrado savannah and plateau tablelands. Photo by Alicia PragerThis is the first of six stories in a series by journalists Alicia Prager and Flávia Milhorance who travelled to the Cerrado in February for Mongabay to assess the impacts of agribusiness on the region’s environment and people. View a Cerrado series overview video here.We bounce down a potholed red sand road that cuts through a seemingly impenetrable green thicket that rises up on either side. It’s the wet season in Western Bahia state, Brazil, and the Cerrado blossoms.The long undervalued vastness through which we drive is the most biodiverse savannah in the world: 5 percent of the planet’s animals and plants are native to this biome. More than 10,000 plant species, over 900 different birds and 300 types of mammals live here. Scientists also recently learned that the region’s deep growing grasses, shrubs and trees, along with soils, play an outsized role in storing large amounts of carbon – a hedge against global warming.The Cerrado, as big as it is today, is much diminished. It once covered two million square kilometers (772,204 square miles); an area bigger than Great Britain, France and Germany combined; more than 20 percent of Brazil’s territory; stretching out to the east and south of the Amazon. Today less than half remains in a natural state, and a mere 7.5 percent has been officially protected.Standing in the shadow of its internationally renowned brother, the Amazon, the biome is deeply threatened. Deforestation happens at a faster pace in the Cerrado than in the Amazon, with most of this rapid landscape conversion driven by cattle ranching and soy production.The Cerrado is the country’s latest industrial agribusiness frontier, and its legal protections remain weak. However, in recent years local and national voices began calling for this forgotten biome’s protection – an outcry that has now been heard and magnified by environmental scientists and activists around the world.Mongabay contributors Alicia Prager and Flávia Milhorance on assignment for Mongabay, drive over a river in the Cerrado, February 2018. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceA jaguarundi* caught on camera as it crosses a dirt road. Photo by Natália Machado / Federal University of GoiásIn October 2017, twenty-three global companies – mostly supermarkets and fast food chains – signed the Cerrado Manifesto, a call for action to stop deforestation there. Within three months that nearly tripled to 61 co-signers. The cause gained further attention at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.In addition, a national campaign to conserve the Cerrado (“No Cerrado, no water, no life”) is gaining momentum. Today, the initiative’s 43 participating organizations, including the NGOs ActionAid and Rede Social, and the government’s Federal Public Ministry (MPF), are pushing the Brazilian government, the United Nations, World Bank and other institutions, for better surveillance of the ongoing environmental harm, and of impacts on traditional and indigenous people living there.“This campaign is a result of the increasing awareness of the Cerrado’s importance. It seeks a [form of] development that is less predatory to the people and the environment,” said Gerardo Cerdas Vega, from Action Aid, which has published a report documenting the impacts of deforestation by agribusiness on the Cerrado.A giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus). Photo by Fernando Trujillo / IUCNForest losses in the Cerrado biome, 2000 to 2014. Please click the map for the interactive version. Credit: Willie Shubert  / Map for EnvironmentMore than 100 threatened species What was it that finally brought the spotlight of world attention to the Brazilian savannah?First off, it was the biome’s rich biodiversity and its rapid diminishment. Nearly half of the 10,000+ plant species that grow there are unique to the region. But a further reduction of the Cerrado due to farming would likely lead to an irreversible mass species extinction, researchers warn. At least 137 animal species are currently endangered in the biome, estimates Mariella Superina, from the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources which maintains the global Red List of threatened species.Take the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), for instance. It is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, is very susceptible to land use change, and struggling to adapt as the Cerrado’s native grass, shrubs and trees are converted to farmland. There’s no exact species count, but according to Superina, the population has decreased significantly. Current estimates put its density at less than four giant armadillos per 100 square kilometres (39 square miles). That, along with worsening habitat fragmentation, reduces the chances P. maximus will find a mate. The species’ food supply is also threatened, as expanding agribusiness uses insecticides to wipe out the bugs on which the insect-eating armadillos thrive. (Brazil uses more pesticides than any other nation on earth, and soy production is especially pesticide intensive.)Another iconic Cerrado species is the northern tiger cat (Leopardus tigrinus), a small feline weighing on average about 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds). It is especially in danger because most of its range lies within the unprotected parts of the Cerrado, and so is highly affected by the conversion of habitat to farmland. L. tigrinus occupies widely dispersed territories, so faces a similar difficulty to the giant armadillo, as it tries to locate mates across a fragmented landscape. The IUCN Red List describes the northern tiger cat as Vulnerable, but researchers expect a further sharp decrease in coming years.A northern tiger cat (Leopardus Tigrinus). Photo credit: miguel vanegas on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SAA pair of burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia). Photo by Nathália Machado / Federal University of Goiás“A forest upside down”The public imagination tends to see savannahs as dull. But a few hours drive across the Cerrado reveals a richness of habitats. The region’s vegetation – scattered across more than two million square kilometers – takes many different shapes. The lowlands boast stretches of woodland covered with mid-to-large sized trees with gnarled branches. Climbing into the chapadões, as the Cerrado’s plateaus are called, grasses and shrubs take over. Patches of crooked low-growing trees are sparsely scattered between rocky outcrops. The plateau savannah is the primary target of agribusiness, as these lands are easiest to deforest; flat and easier to plow, plant, and harvest with large tractors; and receive more rain.The Cerrado has two main seasons: wet and dry. Annual severe droughts, lasting from April to September, lead to recurrent spontaneous bushfires. Flora and fauna, faced with these harsh conditions, were required long ago to evolve traits assuring resilience and adaptation to precipitation extremes. Add to this the exchange of species between the neighboring Amazon and Atlantic Rainforest, which allowed the Cerrado to develop over the eons into a robust and very diverse biome, concludes a U.S. study published in the PNAS journal.Above ground, trees evolved a thick and corky bark to guard themselves from flames and to ensure quick recovery. Some even benefit from regular wildfires, which clear space in the habitat and stimulate seed release. Additionally, long roots are needed to tap deep-down water sources in the dry season. A typical Cerrado tree is the pau-terra (Qualea grandiflora), whose taproots allow it to access deep soil layers that remain moist even after months without rain.“The Cerrado is a forest upside down,” explains Rafael Loyola, a professor at the Federal University of Goiás. This largely invisible but exuberant underground ecology has not only caused people to underappreciate it, but also makes the habitat more difficult to restore once disturbed. “Simply planting a bunch of trees does not bring the Cerrado back,” he says.A typical view of the savannah landscape. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceA rufous-tailed jacamar (Galbula ruficauda). Photo by Nathália Machado / Federal University of GoiásThe wholesale replacement of Cerrado trees with pastures and crops might also be changing the regional hydrological cycle, which could further hinder the restoration of native ecosystems, says Marcelo Simon, with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). Recent research shows that forest conversion to agriculture may be deepening Brazil’s droughts, to the detriment of trees and other native plantlife.A constant companion on drives through the Cerrado is the buriti (Mauritia flexuosa), a large fan palm which overlooks the forest or frames the iconic veredas, as Brazilians call the frequent clearings created by grasslands and wetlands. Traditional inhabitants use the buriti for a wide array of purposes: they produce medicine from it, eat the vitamin A-rich fruit, press the plant to produce oil, and use the palm leaves as rainproof roofing. The buriti isn’t the only plant used by traditional communities, who also value the many fruits produced by the Cerrado. Amongst the most popular are the pequi (Caryocar brasiliense) and the araticum-do-cerrado (Annona crassiflora), also called marolo or cascudo.Local people depend on these fruits for variety in their diets, and so did we. No matter how behind schedule we were, or who was guiding us around the countryside of Western Bahia, they always found time for a quick roadside stop to pick fruit – to eat or to show to us. A locals’ trained eyes could quickly spot the ripest pequi or araticum-do-cerrado from afar.Many of these fruits remain unknown to the majority of Brazilians, but are essential for maintaining Cerrado residents’ intimate relationship with nature. Full bags of rounded yellow pequis exuded a strong fruity aroma in our car all during our trip. The peels are as thick as the bark of trees and require great patience if you wish to penetrate these delicious gems – maybe that’s a metaphor and lesson that needs to be applied to this savannah by Brazil and the world.Buriti fruit. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceJoelma de Souza Santos displays guava fruits. Among the most popular local fruits are the pequi (Caryocar brasiliense) and the araticum-do-cerrado (Annona crassiflora), also called marolo or cascudo. Photo by Alicia PragerBirthplace of watersThe Cerrado’s magnificent biological diversity provides just one reason for saving it. Researchers also stress the importance of the region as a vast, crucial Brazilian watershed.Located in the center of the country and composed of many plateaus, the biome aids the distribution of water to other parts of the nation. It feeds eight of 12 water basins in Brazil, among those the Amazon, Paraguay and São Francisco rivers, plus three aquifers: Guarani, Bambuí and Urucuia.”But the removal of native vegetation reduces the resilience of the ecosystem and its capacity to store and deliver that water”, says Bernardo Strassburg, founder of the International Institute for Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro.There’s another critically important reason to protect the biome – a reason that concerns more than the people of Brazil. Deforestation accounts for a high percentage of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the deep-growing vegetation of the Cerrado stores huge amounts of carbon. However, as agribusiness converts savannah to soy fields and cow pastures, that carbon storage capacity is diminishing.The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is among 60 IUCN listed Vulnerable Cerrado animal species. Other Red List Cerrado mammals include the Cerrado fox (Lycalopex vetulus), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), jaguar (Panthera onca), the Tapir (Tapirus terrestres) marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), and pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus). Photo by Náthalia Machado / Federal University of GoiásWaterfalls flow down from the Cerrado’s plateaus to feed Brazil’s rivers. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceAccording to a report by Chain Reaction Research, a U.S. research institute, the Cerrado biome’s deforestation between 2013 and 2015 (when 1.9 million hectares, or 7,335 square miles were cleared), accounted for 29 percent of Brazil’s carbon emissions over that period.Unfortunately for a world desperate to curb greenhouse gas releases, Brazilian law could allow the further removal of up to 80 percent of the Cerrado’s native vegetation. Should this intense deforestation be allowed to reach its legal limits, another 385 million tons of CO2 could be released into the atmosphere, according to research by the Conservation Biogeography Lab at Brazil’s Federal University of Goiás.Scientists who now understand that the Cerrado has a crucial role to play in carbon storage, are urging that the government pass tougher laws conserving the savannah.But the biome could be in serious trouble, even without the continued conversion of forests by agribusiness. Climate change is taking its toll too, causing more severe dry seasons. Rainfall is predicted to decrease by 10 to 20 percent by 2040, says EMBRAPA’s Simon. Other studies predict more frequent wildfires due to deepening drought, which could threaten native species and carbon storage.A black-tufted marmoset (Callithrix penicillata), a forest canopy species. Photo by Donald Hobern, Flickr CCStrategically “empty”Historically, official documents and political speeches long declared the Cerrado to be an empty space sitting in the middle of Brazil, says Clóvis Caribé, a researcher from the Federal University of Bahia. “This argument was used by the government and corporations to take the development plan further following the economic dynamics, but disregarding indigenous groups and traditional communities that lived there for long.”Migration to this “empty” central region first intensified in the 1960s, with the construction of the nation’s capital, Brasília. It intensified again a decade later, as agricultural expansion and infrastructure projects came to the biome. Today, more than 25 million people live in the Cerrado, 15 percent of Brazil’s people.For many decades, the Cerrado’s poor-soil savannah was compared unfavorably with the biodiversity-rich Amazon and Atlantic Rainforest, Simon explains. As a result, many in government and industry saw the biome as a sacrifice zone, to be surrendered to agribusiness and Brazilian economic progress. As a result, even as efforts grew to save the Amazon, few such efforts bloomed in the Cerrado. Fortunately, that’s changing.At last we turned off a bumpy dirt road onto asphalt. Big trucks transporting commodities sped past us on their way to Brazilian coastal ports where their cargoes would be transferred to oceangoing ships for export. Beside the pavement, a seemingly never-ending soy field stretched in every direction to the horizon. Meanwhile, as we drove on, and as you read this, Brazil’s agricultural frontier continues expanding, and the Cerrado biome continues to shrink.*Correction: The photo of the jaguarundi was originally misidentified as a puma; thanks goes to our readers for catching the error.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.A late afternoon view of the Cerrado savannah. Photo by Flávia Milhorancecenter_img Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Hotspots, carbon, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Sequestration, Carnivores, Cats, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Climate Change, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Climate Change And Forests, Conservation, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Drought, Ecology, Ecosystems, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Law, Environmental Politics, Extinction, Featured, Forest Carbon, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Fragmentation, Forest Loss, Forests, Global Warming, Green, Habitat, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Impact Of Climate Change, Industrial Agriculture, Land Use Change, Law, Mammals, Mass Extinction, Pasture, Ranching, Regulations, Research, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation, Wildlife last_img read more