Indigenous groups, Amazon’s best land stewards, under federal attack

first_img(Leia essa matéria em português no The Intercept Brasil. You can also read Mongabay’s series on the Tapajós Basin in Portuguese at The Intercept Brasil)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.Scientists worry that the Amazon is at, or near, a tipping point: too much deforestation and the wet climate of the rainforest could shift to permanent drought, leading to massive tree death and the Amazon’s shift from being a carbon sink to becoming a carbon source, adding dangerously to global warming. The Temer government’s rejection of indigenous land claims, which could result in major gains for agribusiness, could lead to major deforestation and push the Amazon past that tipping point. Photo by Rhett A. Butler Article published by Glenn Scherer “As president of the Kabu Institute, I keep an eye on everyone coming into our forest — gold miners, loggers, farmers (who do most of the deforestation), and so on. We protect our entire area so it will remain as it always was,” indigenous leader Anhë Kayapó told us.We’d just arrived and introduced ourselves at his office in the town of Novo Progresso in Pará state. Without more ado, he spoke briefly to us about the long indigenous occupation of the land and the Indians’ mistrust of “whites.” Then added brusquely: “That’s all I have to tell you,” ending the interview. He shook our hands firmly and left us alone in the room.Anhë Kayapó, president of the Kabu Institute, and leader of the Kayapó Mekrãgnoti, Indians who live in the Indigenous Territory of Baú: “I keep an eye on everyone coming into our forest — gold miners, loggers, farmers (who do most of the deforestation), and so on. We protect our entire area so it will remain as it always was.” Photo by Thais BorgesAnhë Kayapó is the leader of the Kayapó Mekrãgnoti, who live in the Indigenous Territory of Baú, which lies to the east of the BR-163 highway. Unlike the Munduruku Indians we’d visited earlier in our trip — highly democratic and famous for long meetings aimed at reaching consensus — the Kayapó are more hierarchical and dislike drawn-out discussions. They prefer action to debate, so the brevity of our meeting didn’t surprise us.Anhë Kayapó’s distrust of “whites” too is understandable in light of the near perpetual state of conflict that marks the history of indigenous land claims and white settlement in the Amazon — a contentious relationship that seems about to boil over as Brazil’s agribusiness-backed Temer administration pushes ahead with anti-indigenous policies.Guardians of the forestThe Baú territory inhabited and protected by the Kayapó Mekrãgnoti and other indigenous groups covers 1.5 million hectares (5,800 square miles). When combined with surrounding indigenous territories and conservation units, the land conserved here totals a staggering 28 million hectares (108,000 square miles) — one of the largest protected wild corridors in the world, and a vast swathe vital to conserving Amazon tropical rainforest.The Kayapó aren’t the only Indians in Brazil to resolutely defend their forest territory against intruders. In fact, the Amazon’s indigenous people do a better job curbing deforestation than any other group of land managers. According to data for 2014 from the Forest Transparency Bulletin of Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation took place on privately held lands, 27 percent occurred within conservation units, and 13 percent within agrarian reform settlements. But just 1 percent of deforestation occurred on indigenous lands.As a result, Brazil’s nearly 900,000 Indians, belonging to 305 ethnic groups and speaking 274 languages, not only make a major contribution to the country’s social and cultural diversity, but they have proven to be unparalleled stewards of ecological diversity as well. And that has made these forest guardians, along with their indigenous reserves, a primary target of those wanting to unleash unregulated development in the region.According to data for 2014 from the Forest Transparency Bulletin of Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation took place on privately held lands, 27 percent occurred within conservation units, and 13 percent within agrarian reform settlements. But just 1 percent of deforestation occurred on indigenous lands, demonstrating that indigenous groups are among the Amazon’s best land stewards. Photo by Sue BranfordBut the Indians are fighting back — with Brazil’s 1988 Constitution, agreed to after the end of the military dictatorship, giving them a strong legal basis for their struggle. Until then, indigenous land had only been ceded to Indians provisionally, until they were “assimilated” into so-called “national society.” Among other advances, the new Constitution brought Indians the right to be Indians forever. It was a turning point for indigenous people in a century that had been characterised by massacres. During the 25 years of the military dictatorship alone, it is estimated that at least 8,300 Indians were assassinated.One key advance under the new Constitution was its recognition of the Indians’ right to the permanent possession of their land. But working out exactly which land was theirs, and disentangling competing claims, proved to be a complex and slow business, with the official demarcation of indigenous boundaries still progressing almost 30 years after the new Constitution became law.Now that process — far from complete — has been halted by the Temer administration and Brazil’s Congress, which are openly hostile to the idea of recognizing more indigenous land.This of course has major repercussions for Indians whose land claims have yet to be settled. It means, for example, that there is virtually no chance at the moment of ending what a mission of the European Parliament has called “the genocide of the Guarani Kaiowá people.” Every time these Indians try to reoccupy their traditional land — which happens to lie beside federal roads — they face threats from private militias employed by agribusiness. The Guarani Kaiowá have been tortured and assassinated, and suffer from high rates of malnutrition, alcoholism and suicide.Indigenous reserves and conservation units in the Amazon. Map by Mauricio TorresFew advances under LulaLike social movements throughout Brazil, indigenous people placed high hopes in President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who in 2002 became the first person raised in the working class to ever be elected to the country’s highest office.But Lula did not live up to these expectations. His social policies, widely praised for tackling the country’s historic problem of profound social inequality, were directed mainly to the poor living on the outskirts of large cities. The difficulties faced by indigenous and traditional communities were never a priority for Lula.The leader Gersem Baniwa, from the Baniwa ethnic group in the state of Amazonas, summarized well what many Indians felt at the time:After two decades of intense struggle by the Brazilian indigenous movement and a historic political conquest by the Workers’ Party, and Lula… it would be a pleasure to be able to talk about the historical gains… made in the field of indigenous peoples’ rights. But unfortunately, this is not the feeling that prevails among indigenous peoples. Instead, they feel disappointment and doubts. The state of mind is not worse because, thanks to recent advances, indigenous people no longer put their hope in a party or a “savior of the country,” but in their own strength and capacity for resistance, mobilization and struggle.Lula’s two presidential terms saw only 81 new indigenous territories created — a significant drop compared with the 118 designated during the two terms of predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso (FHC), a president whom the Indians had not regarded as an ally. In part, Lula’s poor performance was justifiable, as FHC had dealt with the uncontroversial indigenous territory designations, leaving his successor to handle the more complex and problematic cases, which often involved serious conflicts.Dancing Munduruku warriors. The Munduruku have battled for years with the Brazilian government to get their lands formally demarcated, as have many other indigenous groups. Photo by Mauricio TorresDilma fails to deliverIndigenous relations only worsened under President Dilma Rousseff who took office in 2011. “There was a real rupture in Indian policy from the Lula to the Dilma governments,” said Márcio Santilli, a founding member of the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA) and a former president of the government’s indigenous agency, FUNAI.During Dilma’s time in office, only 26 indigenous territories were created, a poor showing that would have been worse if she hadn’t rapidly signed decrees establishing reserves during the final days of her government, when she knew her impeachment was imminent.Dilma’s indigenous-unfriendly policies were the result of “the radical expression of an almost desperate strategy to promote economic growth at any price,” Santilli explained. “As well as reducing dramatically the rate at which indigenous territories were established, her government largely kept temporary presidents at the head of FUNAI, and cut the agency’s budget. [Dilma] also reduced the rate at which land titles were given to quilombolas [areas occupied by runaway slaves] and at which conservation units and agrarian reform settlements were created.”All this showed, Santilli concluded, that her government was reluctant to conserve land for social and environmental purposes, and instead, supported largely unregulated economic development in Amazonia.Dilma’s main vehicle for unleashing economic progress was her Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), an ambitious government program, first announced by Lula, then expanded greatly during her government. PAC resulted in huge investments in highways, energy and water resource projects — all with a view to increasing exports and promoting unregulated economic growth.Fires lit intentionally to clear land for agriculture follow along the BR-163 highway in 2014, a process that reveals red-brown soils. A long line of newly cleared agricultural patches snakes east from BR-163 toward the remote Rio Crepori Valley. Extensive deforested areas in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state appear in tan at the top of the image. The fires show the advance of deforestation into Pará state, now second after Mato Grosso in terms of deforestation acreage. Photo and analysis courtesy of NASACleber César Buzatto, executive director of the Missionary Indigenous Council (CIMI), an important Catholic institution that has been working with Brazilian Indians since 1972, said that Dilma subordinated the rights of indigenous peoples to the demands of the PAC: “A prime example of this was the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant on the Xingu River in the state of Pará,” he said.The indigenous impacts of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam — one of the biggest in the world — were so severe that in 2015 Thais Santi, the prosecutor for the independent Federal Public Ministry (MPF) in Altamira, told Mongabay: “There is a process of ethnic extermination underway in Belo Monte by which the federal government continues with the old colonial practice of integrating the Indians into the hegemonic society.”The MPF is currently suing the Brazilian federal government and construction company, Norte Energia, for the crime of ethnocide against Xingu River indigenous communities.FUNAI’s failuresThe anthropologist Márcio Meira was president of FUNAI from 2007 to 2012, when the agency adopted a raft of policies that enraged indigenous groups. These included agreeing to the licensing of Belo Monte, as well as other hydroelectric dams, such as the Teles Pires and São Manoel projects in the Tapajós river basin, along with a controversial restructuring of FUNAI itself.Anthropologist Márcio Meira, president of FUNAI from 2007 to 2012: “The Brazilian economy has become increasingly dependent on agribusiness and this has had political repercussions. It is not a question of people being against the Indians because they are Indians or even because they have too much land. The problem is that the Indians have lands these political actors want.” Photo found on TwitterMeira said later that he was aware at the time of the emergence of formidable new anti-indigenous forces: “When I was president of FUNAI, it was clear to me that an anti-indigenous wave was gathering force in Brazilian society, mainly due to the power of the heirs of the old agrarian elites, who were launching an attack on land in the north and northwest of the country.”According to Meira, seismic shifts in the national economy fuelled hostility to indigenous land claims: “There has been a decline in industrial output, while agricultural production and agricultural exports have increased,” he explained. “The Brazilian economy has become increasingly dependent on agribusiness and this has had political repercussions. It is not a question of people being against the Indians because they are Indians or even because they have too much land. The problem is that the Indians have lands these political actors want.”The ascendant bancada ruralista, Brazil’s agribusiness lobby, has long eyed indigenous reserves and other conserved Amazon lands hungrily. Under Dilma, the lobby’s power and influence grew.In a June 2013 press release, National Congress Senator Kátia Abreu claimed that activists had seized control of FUNAI and were causing trouble: “Ideological militants inside FUNAI, linked to CIMI and national and foreign NGOs, are encouraging the Indians to invade productive lands,” she accused.Sen. Abreu, also president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), and later to be Dilma’s Agriculture Minister, went on to say that: “The CNA supports the idea of adopting a new indigenous policy, in which decisions are taken, not only by FUNAI, but with the participation of other ministries and federal government bodies. It is unacceptable that a question as important as [indigenous territory designation] is in the hands of a single body, staffed by ideological militants who are not furthering the national interest.”This strongly worded challenge — only a proposal in 2013 — is becoming reality today.A patchwork of legal forest reserves, pasture and soy farms in the Brazilian Amazon. The bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby, which includes powerful ranchers and soy growers, has long put pressure on government to rollback indigenous land rights. President Michel Temer received crucial support from the bancada ruralista in his controversial 2016 bid for power, and is now taking steps to reduce indigenous rights and end recognition of new indigenous territories. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerAnti-indigenous land offensive intensifiesMichel Temer received crucial support from the bancada ruralista in his controversial bid for power, which succeeded on a temporary basis in April 2016 and became permanent in August. From the beginning, he made it clear that as President he would reverse the indigenous land measures that the Justice Minister and FUNAI president had rushed through during the last months of Dilma’s administration. He also promised the bancada ruralista that he would rollback indigenous rights. But, with indigenous groups and their supporters geared to damage control, Temer hasn’t yet achieved all his goals.At the end of 2016, with the government reeling from corruption accusations, it still found time to issue new draft regulations changing the administrative procedure for marking out indigenous land. Indians and NGOs linked to the indigenous movement reacted angrily, calling the plan “an unprecedented aberration” that would make it impossible for the state to carry out its “constitutional obligation” to give Indians the right to possess their land.The reaction was so strong that the proposal had to be to be withdrawn. but on 18 January 2017 the Justice Ministry issued Ministerial Order 68, another attempt to push through the same changes. Once again, the reaction was fierce and just a few hours after Temer openly supported the new order, it was revoked. But that wasn’t the end. Soon after, the Justice Ministry publishedMinisterial Order 80, a watered-down version of the earlier proposal. Even so, it contained an important change in the way indigenous lands are recognized, creating a Specialized Technical Group to do the job.Previous to Ministerial Order 80, indigenous lands were recognized and borders established through a technical process carried out by experts, including anthropologists, within FUNAI. But Order 80 brings new bodies into the decision-making process, including some known to be hostile to the Indians, along with professionals with no specialist indigenous knowledge. According to Juliana de Paula Batista, an ISA lawyer, the government’s intention was to “interfere politically in technical studies.”Indigenous groups worry that Temer has more draconian plans. Federal deputy Osmar Serraglio, a hard-line politician, has long campaigned for curtailing the constitutional rights of Indians, traditional communities and quilombolas. He has repeatedly said that no more land should be given to Indians, because “land doesn’t fill stomachs.” In other words, Indians are a welfare problem, which should be resolved through federal hand-outs of food, but they shouldn’t be entrusted with land.In February 2017, Temer put Serraglio at the head of the Justice Ministry, to which FUNAI is subordinated. From the indigenous perspective, the fox now runs the henhouse.Mongabay requested interviews with the Justice Minister, the current president of FUNAI and members of the bancada ruralista but none agreed to comment.Federal deputy Osmar Serraglio has long campaigned for curtailing the constitutional rights of Indians, traditional communities and quilombolas (areas originally occupied by runaway slaves). In February 2017, Temer appointed Serraglio head of the Justice Ministry, to which FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian affairs agency, is subordinated. That’s potentially bad news for indigenous communities with outstanding land claims. Photo by Camara dos DeputadosProspectsThe government offensive to limit indigenous rights is gaining momentum. In March 2017, Temer restructured FUNAI, abolishing 87 of the 770 primary managerial positions in the agency, and creating new barriers for appointing replacement staff. The personnel most affected by these cuts dealt with the demarcation of indigenous land and the provision of environmental licenses for infrastructure projects such as dams. Antônio Fernandes Toninho Costa, the current FUNAI President, was not consulted In the restructuring.Marcio Santilli was outraged: “The government and Congress are rotten and the rights of the whole population, including Indians and traditional populations, are threatened.” From Santilli’s perspective the one bright light is that the indigenous movement is resisting courageously and has not been co-opted by Temer’s government.Indeed, despite recent gains, agribusiness isn’t having it all its own way: it and the government have been rocked by recent scandals and plagued by infighting. Not long after Serraglio’s appointment as Justice Minister, for example, a federal police operation, code named Carne Fraca (Weak Meat), revealed a large-scale criminal scheme in which inspectors and slaughterhouses colluded to circumvent the country’s public health controls. China and other buyers of Brazilian meat banned shipments. Serraglio’s name was mentioned in the evidence. JBS, the world’s biggest meatpacking company, which is one of the companies under investigation, was the biggest funder of Serraglio’s electoral campaign in 2014.“Those behind the anti-indigenous offensive will find growing resistance both from Indians and from other sectors of society,” concluded Santilli.A traditional Munduruku dance. Hundreds of thousands of Indians live on indigenous lands in Brazil, but much of that land has never been officially demarcated due to decades of government delay. From April 24-28, indigenous groups from all over the country will gather in Brasilia to protest against the Temer government’s indigenous policies. Photo by Thais BorgesThat movement plans a major show of strength with an event on 24-28 April. The initiative, called the Acampamento Terra Livre (Free Land Camp), will bring together 1,500 indigenous leaders from across the nation. They’ll set up camp in Brasilia, host marches, debates, protests and cultural events. The indigenous leaders will also seek meetings with the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of the government. The aim is “to unify struggles in defense of the Indian people.”With Brazil still in its worst economic recession ever, the Temer government wracked by scandal and its popularity as low as Dilma’s the month she was impeached (Temer now has a 73 percent disapproval rate) — the Free Land Camp could make a significant impact.The key role indigenous communities play in Amazon rainforest protection, combined with the significant carbon sequestration those forests provide, means that the outcome of the current land rights battle matters greatly, not just for indigenous groups, or even for Brazil, but to the whole world. Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Corruption, Culture, Environment, Environmental Politics, Ethnocide, Featured, Forests, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People center_img According to 2014 data for Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation occurred on privately held lands, 27 percent in conservation units, 13 percent in agrarian reform settlements, and a mere 1 percent on indigenous lands — demonstrating that indigenous land stewards are the best at limiting deforestation.Indigenous groups control large reserves in the Amazon and have the constitutional right to more, but land thieves and agribusiness are working to prevent recognition of new indigenous territories — forested territories that, if protected, could sequester a great deal of climate change-causing carbon.While President Lula failed to live up to indigenous expectations, the Dilma and Temer governments, heavily influenced by the agricultural lobby, showed much greater hostility to indigenous needs and demands. Indigenous groups plan a mass protest on April 24-28 to make their grievances known to the Temer government.“The Brazilian economy has become increasingly dependent on agribusiness [with] political repercussions.… People [aren’t] against the Indians because they are Indians or because they have too much land. The problem is that the Indians have lands these political actors want.” — Márcio Meira, former head of FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian affairs agency. Much of the Amazon basin rainforest in Brazil, known for its staggering biodiversity, is on lands claimed by indigenous people. But now the Temer government seems intent on reducing indigenous rights and not allowing new indigenous land claims to go forward. Photo by Rhett A. Butler(Leia essa matéria em português no The Intercept Brasil. You can also read Mongabay’s series on the Tapajós Basin in Portuguese at The Intercept Brasil)The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build 40+ large dams, a railway, and highways, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions on the planet.Those struggling to shape the Basin’s fate hold conflicting opinions, but because the Tapajós is an isolated region, few of these views get aired in the media. Journalist Sue Branford and social scientist Mauricio Torres travelled there recently for Mongabay, and over coming weeks hope to shed some light on the heated debate that will shape the future of the Amazon. This is the twelfth of their reports. 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

The rise and fall of Regina Lopez, the Philippines’ maverick environment minister

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 Activism, Environmental Activism, Environmental Heroes, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Governance, Government, Mining Keith Schneider is an international correspondent specializing in global trends related to water, energy, and food. Based in northern Michigan, he has reported from six continents. Read his blog at ModeShift.org and reach him on Twitter @modeshift. 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. Article published by Isabel Esterman Lopez was a well-known environmental activist prior to her 2016 appointment as director of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources.During her 10-month tenure, Lopez shut down or suspended 26 mines that failed to pass environmental audits, cancelled approval of 75 proposed mines, and banned new open-pit metal mines.On May 3, Lopez was removed from her post by a House-Senate committee charged with rejecting or confirming political appointments. The committee included politicians with ties to the mining sector.President Rodrigo Duterte — a firm supporter of Lopez — appointed a former Armed Forces chief of staff to replace her. QUEZON CITY, Philippines — On June 20, 2016 Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines, asked Regina Lopez to join him in Davao City for an extended conversation about the condition of his country’s land and water.It turned out to be an eventful encounter. The glib, rough talking, 71-year-old strongman former mayor of Davao City sought help from a 62-year-old woman known inside her wealthy family as the renegade daughter, and outside as an incorruptible foundation director and maverick environmentalist. As head of her family’s ABS-CBN Foundation Lopez led one national campaign to ban open-pit mining. She organized another to clean up a portion of the filthy Pasig River that flows through Manila just to prove it could be done.When the meeting concluded, Duterte extended Lopez an invitation to direct an agency widely noted to be notoriously feeble — the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).She accepted. On July 1, the day after Duterte’s inauguration and with his enthusiastic support, Lopez launched environmental compliance audits of the country’s 41 big hard rock mineral mines that eventually resulted in shutdown or suspension orders against 26 mines. She reviewed government approvals for 339 proposed mines and cancelled 75 of them. In the last week of April, the DENR banned new open-pit mines.Gina Lopez announcing ban on open pit mining in the Philippines on April 27. In the foreground, a cell phone broadcasts the event live on her Facebook page. Photo by Keith Schneider.And all the while, during her 10 months in the post Lopez planted bamboo to clear the nation’s waters of pollution, and invested in environmental restoration projects that produced new jobs for indigenous communities. Lopez also started a joint police-military-prosecution task force that curtailed illegal logging and jailed offenders.“What I’m doing is life,” Lopez said in an April 29 interview with Mongabay. “You need to sustain life. Maybe from that comes a deeper and more enlightened perception of what is needed to sustain life, and the role of the environment in the sustenance of life.“If we kill our land, our water, our air for whatever reason, you kill life. For me, you kill the constitutional right of a Filipino, which is the right to a clean and healthy environment. Here it is forces of greed and selfishness that threaten life. I see the government as the only institution that’s in the position to curtail the forces of greed and selfishness. It’s the role of government to do that.”Industry strikes backRarely has an environmental officer in any nation so aggressively challenged the industrial community. Not surprisingly, Philippine business interests mounted a ferocious counter attack within the Congress and the Duterte administration, which includes several cabinet members close to the mining industry. Lopez faced pointed criticism from newspaper editorialists and columnists, who accused her of being inept and prone to “authoritarian tendencies.”A skilled organizer, Lopez proved to be tenacious. She countered with frequent tours of towns affected by polluting mines, and inspected dozens of mine sites by helicopter. Her exploits were covered in the media and on Lopez’s Facebook page, which kept hundreds of thousands of Filipinos informed about the value of the closure orders.Twice Lopez survived review by a 25-member House-Senate committee charged with approving or rejecting cabinet appointments. The family of the committee’s vice chairman, Ronaldo B. Zamora, owns the country’s largest nickel mining company. On May 3, though, on its third try the committee voted in secret and rejected her confirmation. Lopez was done as environment secretary. On May 8, President Duterte announced the appointment of Roy Cimatu, the former Armed Forces chief of staff, to lead the DENR.Executives in the Philippine mining sector, one of the world’s largest with annual production worth around $2 billion, celebrated the committee’s 18-6 vote as a triumph of law over misguided enforcement and arbitrary administration. “We have been agonizing for the past 10 months,” Nelia Halcon, executive vice president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, told reporters. “I just think that we made our point and we were able to discuss the issues we brought forward.”If the purpose of dumping Lopez, though, was to put a lid on the attention that the determined secretary had attracted, it did not work. The committee’s vote prompted three days of intense news coverage. Filipinos viewed Lopez’s ouster as a Legislative setup engineered by lawmakers in the pocket of big business. President Duterte said as much when he suggested the vote against Lopez was secured by lawmakers who accepted “lobby money,” a Philippine term for bribes. Members of the committee denied the charge.Lopez’s departure has stirred an intriguing discussion among her allies about the secretary’s insistence on being independent and not playing by conventional rules of currying favor to keep her job. A longer term in office, the thinking goes, would have embedded her successes more deeply in the system. Lopez rejects that notion, arguing that having been given the chance to install more oversight of Philippine polluters she wanted to pursue that goal without regard to her job security. “The damage was urgent and I needed to act with urgency,” she said.A sign of the timesLopez’s short and uncommonly audacious tenure as environment secretary represents a policy and leadership breakthrough for the Philippine landscape, its bountiful marine resources, and its indigenous people. In the days following her ouster the Catholic Church said it would try to convince Lopez to run for president in 2022, when she turns 69. Lopez responds, “I’m not a politician. That’s not who I am.”Lopez’s work also transcends the Philippines. Few Asian government officers express their goals with nearly as much fervor as Lopez. Still, a good number are just as resolute in linking environmental safety to gains in their economies and quality of life. In many ways Lopez’s stint as the Philippines’ lead environmental manager is a distillation of the shift in the environmental values and economic development principles now taking hold in Asia. While the Philippines and other Asian countries haven’t entirely abandoned extraction-oriented economic development strategies, there are increasing signs of a tilt toward cleaner, resource-conserving programs.A core element, for instance, of China’s strategy to clear its dirty air, and solve serious water scarcity, has been to cancel 300 coal-fired power plants and build the world’s largest clean energy manufacturing sector.Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in mid-April, halted work on the Hoa Sen Group’s $10.6 billion, 4,200-acre steel plant to protect coastal waters.In 2013, Mongolians re-elected President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, who campaigned on stamping out gold mining operations that were polluting Mongolia’s rivers, and strengthening environmental oversight of big mines. With the support of President Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, is seizing and sinking foreign trawlers fishing illegally off the country’s coastIndia’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat cleanup program is convincing Indians to pick up garbage and litter in their unkempt cities and countryside. Modi is investing billions of rupees to scrub human waste from the Ganges River. In December 2016, the Modi government released a draft national energy plan that set a target of generating nearly 60 percent of the country’s electricity, around 275 gigawatts, from wind, solar, biomass, and small hydropower plants by 2027.Driving Asia’s awakening are ecological and demographic trends that are becoming more urgent. Fixing air and water pollution is now a significant health and economic issue in Asia. The contest for fish, water, timber and food is more intense in fast-growing and densely populated countries. Much of Asia is growing noticeably hotter. Well-organized indigenous communities across the continent refuse to be moved out of the way of big mines and construction projects that consume thousands of acres and are vulnerable to Earth’s new and more powerful wrath — high heat, floods, droughts, typhoons, and earthquakesOceanaGold’s open-pit copper and gold mine in the Sierra Madres range in Didipio, a tiny mountain village with mixed feelings about the enormous scar the mine has produced. Photo by Keith Schneider.It is for those reasons and more that Gerry Arrances, a leader of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, said environmental lawyers are prepared to defend the mining shutdown orders in court. “People support what she’s doing and what it means for the Philippines,” he said.Maria Paz Luna, the DENR undersecretary for legal, legislative affairs and anti-corruption confirmed in an interview that the mining shutdown orders issued by Lopez are not easy to rescind. “If they reverse those positions they have to have a really good reason,” said Luna, the department’s chief legal counsel. “They can’t just lift the law. It’s going to be hard to justify. The open pit mine ban for example. They are going to have to say, ‘No. We can take care of them forever.’“She said open pit mines are a perpetual liability to government. The mining law states that the secretary can issue permits and set the guidelines. Open pit mining is a method of mining and she has authority to prohibit a method of mining. Open pit mining is seen by her to be environmentally destructive and not acceptable for rehabilitation. This method is not acceptable because future generations are at risk.”All over the Philippines, residents and local government officials expressed profound frustration at Lopez’s dismissal and fresh resolve to take up the causes that the secretary started.  Nueva Vizcaya is a case in point. A mineral rich region in mountainous northern Luzon, the province passed an ordinance in 2014 to ban open-pit mining and counted on Secretary Lopez to help enforce it. More than 50 mines are proposed in the province.“Our people oppose mining. Gina Lopez took up our fight,” said Carlos Padilla, the provincial governor, in an interview. “She showed what is possible with a strong and committed environment secretary. Now we know that mining can be stopped.”The Pasig River, which bisects the Manila. Lopez spearheaded a campaign to clean up a heavily polluted section of the river. Photo by Miguel Castaneda via Flickr.A history of activismGina Lopez led an examined and prominent life well before President Duterte summoned her to Davao City. Her family owns the ABS-CBN Corporation, the Philippines’ largest media company, which owns a national television network. As a teenager she was the family’s unconventional daughter, high-spirited and indomitable according to relatives. After leaving college in Boston, Lopez devoted much of her early adulthood traveling to spiritual retreats in India, and working as a missionary for 12 years in Africa. She meditates 90 minutes a day, does not eat meat, and has the slim figure and energy of a schoolgirl.She also knows and despises corrupt politics and the power of venal government. Her father was jailed for five years by Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippine dictator. ABS-CBN was seized from the family.Lopez gained prominence as an environmentalist and social activist as the director of the ABS-CBN Foundation. She financed big projects, like the restoration of the 6,750-acre La Mesa Watershed that surrounds Manila’s primary source of drinking water. The project  proved her thesis that repairing ruined ecosystems provides big social and economic returns. The centerpiece of the restored watershed is the 82-acre La Mesa Eco Park that employs over 100 people and attracts thousands of visitors a day, generating revenue that is reinvested to plant more trees and other watershed restoration projects.Lopez was fearless in a nation full of the graves of dead environmental activists; 88 environmentalists were murdered in the Philippines from 2010 to 2015, according to Global Witness, a London-based human rights organization. One of the victims, Gerry Ortega, was a close friend who was killed in January 2011 while he and Lopez worked to defend the island of Palawan from several proposals for big new mines.Lopez was the last person Ortega talked to before his death. She honored him by leading a national campaign in 2011 to shut down open pit mines. This activism produced a presidential executive order in 2012 that blocked mining in ecologically sensitive regions and turned Lopez into one of the most influential anti-mining activists in Asia.President Rodrigo Duterte and Lopez during a December 2016 Cabinet meeting. Photo courtesy of King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo.Duterte needed someone like Lopez to direct the DENR, a big agency that had seldom lived up to its charge to safeguard people and natural resources. Campaign promises to stamp out corruption and kill drug traffickers formed the central ideas of Duterte’s election victory and elevated him to international prominence. Human rights groups have assailed the drug war, which has left over 8,000 people dead and prompted an investigation by the Philippines Commission on Human Rights. Less well known, though, was his allegiance to conserving the country’s breathtaking landscape, its bounty of marine resources and its indigenous communities.Duterte was especially vexed by the metal mining industry, which operated with uneven oversight and was tearing up the ground and polluting rivers around Davao City, on Mindanao island, where he’d served as mayor for 22 years. During the election campaign Duterte distributed flyers that displayed aerial photographs of Mindanao mine practices that horsewhipped mountains, leveled forests, and produced mudslides that turned rivers the color of dried blood.“The mining people must shape up,” Duterte told a big crowd of supporters two weeks before his meeting with Lopez. “They’re spoiling the land. They’re destroying Mindanao. You have to stop.”Five years ago, the chairman of the country’s largest mining company publicly accused Lopez of lying about environmental damage from hard rock mining. Lopez stood her ground at a well-attended industry conference and impassively offered unassailable facts to support her view. The confrontation between the serene environmentalist and the red-faced industrialist was videotaped, and attracted national headlines.It also impressed Duterte. He met with mining executives before election day to issue a warning. He told them that if he won, his administration was prepared to rein in the industry’s rapacious practices with much stricter regulatory enforcement.“Just take care of the environment,” he said. Then he met with Lopez.True to form, she surprised her family when she accepted the job. ABS-CBN opposed Duterte’s campaign and has been critical of Duterte’s presidency. “I support him because he believes in helping people,” Lopez says about Duterte. “He’s sincere about that. He really is. It’s in his heart. I admire him for that. We agree on a lot of things. I told him give me one year, maybe two years. I’ll make a difference. If I don’t I’ll leave. He said okay.”last_img read more

Bringing rhinos back to India’s parks

first_imgLaunched in 2005, the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 aimed to boost the population of rhinos in Assam State and expand the species’ range within the state from three protected areas to seven.Manas National Park was the first to receive translocated rhinos. The animals appeared to adapt well to their new home, but poachers repeatedly struck the park.The program then turned to Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary, but the rhinos moved there grew sick and died.Conservationists still believe the overarching goal of boosting the state’s rhino population to 3,000 by 2020 is achievable. On the evening of Jan. 13, 2013, Deba Kumar Datta was on his way to a remote camp inside Manas National Park, a 500-square-kilometer (193-square-mile) protected area in the northeastern Indian state of Assam.Datta was excited that Sunday. It was the beginning of the Magh Bihu harvest festival in Assam. The day also marked Datta’s fifth anniversary at Manas National Park. As a senior project officer with WWF India, he had spent the last five years tracking the movements of greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) that had only recently been reintroduced to the park.Many of these rhinos—brought in from different parts of Assam—were thriving in their new residence, and Datta was keen to celebrate his joy with some forest guards. But his happiness was short-lived.Datta had barely driven 100 meters when a villager called him to say that a rhino had been killed a few kilometers away. Datta’s team rushed towards the location of poaching with the forest department staff. There, in front of them, was Iragdao — an adult male rhino, lying dead on his side.“It was a brutal scene,” Datta told Mongabay. “Poachers had removed Iragdao’s horn, some part of his legs and nails. We all lost our appetite that night.”For conservationists, Iragdao’s death was tragic. He was one of the last adult breeding males in the park at the time of his death. He had also been one of the first two Indian rhinos to be reintroduced to Manas as part of a high-profile translocation project.A greater one-horned rhino in Assam State’s Kaziranga National Park. Photo by Udayan Dasgupta for Mongabay.A new vision for rhinosThis ambitious project, called the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020), was launched in 2005 in response to the declining population of rhinos in Assam.By the late 1990s, poachers had wiped out hundreds of rhinos across the state. More than 90 percent of Assam’s rhinos were now concentrated in just one park — Kaziranga National Park— with small populations in Orang National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. This was worrying.With the distribution of rhinos limited to a handful of protected areas, the species was at heightened risk of being decimated by threats like diseases, natural disasters or poaching.In 2005, when Assam was celebrating 100 years of conservation in Kaziranga National Park, the state government and conservationists came up with an elaborate plan to change the status quo.Kaziranga had nearly 1,855 rhinos then, with an additional 68 in Orang National Park and 81 in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Experts believed they could increase this number to 3,000 within the next 15 years. This overarching goal led to the birth of IRV 2020 — a collaboration between the Assam Forest Department, the Bodoland Territorial Council, WWF India, the International Rhino Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and various local conservation groups.The IRV 2020 strategy called for expanding the species’ range from three protected areas within the state to seven. This would involve translocating wild rhinos from Kaziranga and Pobitora to parks that no longer harbored these animals: Manas National Park, Burachapori and Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuaries and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.IRV 2020 aimed to establish or strengthen rhino populations in seven protected areas across Assam State. Base map courtesy of Google Maps.To achieve this, IRV 2020 would continue to boost the protection of existing rhino populations in the state and better manage their habitats.After a series of preliminary checks to assess the current state of security and habitat in Assam’s various protected areas, and the support they would need in the future, the state’s newly instituted rhino task force made its decision: Manas National Park would be the first protected area to be restocked with rhinos and Datta’s team would monitor the animals.Manas, located at the Himalayan foothills, had its own thriving population of more than 100 greater one-horned rhinoceros until the beginning of the 1990s. It was even declared a World Heritage site in 1985 by UNESCO. But a spate of poaching incidents during a decade of civil unrest between 1989 and 2001 wiped out every single rhino from the park.The experts believed that by boosting security and prepping the habitat, Manas could be turned into a haven for rhinos again. “Manas had the highest potential then,” said Amit Sharma, WWF India’s senior coordinator for rhino conservation.But reintroducing rhinos to Manas — and keeping them safe — was not going to be easy.last_img read more

Rethinking camera traps for the small, fast, and elusive

first_imgBirds, Camera Trapping, cameras, Open-source, Research, Sensors, Technology, Wildtech Article published by Sue Palminteri 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 To solve the logistical challenge of filming hummingbirds, researchers have developed a mechanical camera trap trigger system that separates the camera from the sensors that detect an animal’s movement or heat.The independent positioning of multiple sensors enables users to detect small, fast-moving animals before they reach the camera and to adapt to immediate surroundings, such as vegetation that can trigger unwanted photos.The do-it-yourself nature of the circuit, powered by AA batteries, keeps it low-cost, long-lasting, and easy to recharge for those with some knowledge of wiring and electronics. When you picture (ahem) a photo taken by a camera trap—a remote camera triggered by movement—you might think first of a tiger or some other stealthy forest cat. Recent Wildtech readers might think of primates or other arboreal mammals. You probably don’t think of hummingbirds.A male green-tailed trainbearer shows his stuff during tests of the new trigger system near Bogotá, Colombia. Other hummingbird photos in this post were taken using the trigger system in Colombia. Photo credit: Alejandro Rico-GuevaraCamera traps typically take a photo when a warm-bodied animal walks in front of cooler vegetation and triggers the system’s passive infrared (PIR) sensor. The sensor detects a change in surface temperature from the surroundings and triggers the device to take a photo or video automatically, with no human interference. Field biologists have thus used camera traps to record the presence and behavior of animals in a variety of situations.Camera traps have limitations, however, for particular species and behaviors. They do not yet support high-speed video recording. And the time lapse between detection by the sensor and release of the camera’s shutter button is often too long to capture the whole body of a small, fast-moving animal in the photo.Hummingbirds are the epitome of small, fast-moving animals, flapping their wings roughly 50 times per second, faster than the human eye can see, and moving at 15 meters each second (54 km/h; 34 mph). Measuring 5-22 cm (2-9 in), hummingbirds are often too small and fast to be captured by standard camera traps.To address the difficulty in photographing hummingbirds automatically, researchers have recently developed a triggering system that physically separates the sensor that detects the target animal from the actual camera.A hovering juvenile sparkling violetear captured during tests of the new trigger system near Bogotá, Colombia. Other hummingbird photos in this post were also taken using the trigger system. Photo credit: Alejandro Rico-GuevaraWing beats made visibleResearchers Alejandro Rico-Guevara and James Mickley, both from the University of Connecticut, were studying the net gain by hummingbirds from feeding on flower nectar. They aimed to compare the energy the birds expended approaching the flower and feeding to what they gained from consuming the nectar.“Monitoring the drinking and pollination behavior of wild hummingbirds can be truly time and resource consuming,” said Rico-Guevara in an email to Mongabay-Wildtech. “Many researchers record their visits while standing near flowers…some approaches include leaving a camera recording a flower from far away for many hours (which can only be done in normal speed) and identifying when the bird comes later, but neither of these were good enough solutions [for us]. We could not find a commercial camera trap that would collect the information described above, and that struggle gave birth to developing our own approach.”To make this comparison, the researchers needed to count each bird’s wing beat frequency and feeding rate. Hummingbirds can deplete a flower’s nectar in less than one second. To be able to count the birds’ movements, the scientists had to film them and then slow the footage down enough for a human brain to count wing beats and nectar licks.A female black-tailed trainbearer’s wing beats at full speed are impossible for the human eye to follow. Photo credit: Alejandro Rico-GuevaraThe commercial camera traps they reviewed lacked several features necessary for capturing hummingbird flower visits. Their triggers were too slow (0.5 seconds), their video frame rate was too low (<60 frames/second), or they lacked the necessary remote triggering.The pair teamed up and collaborated with the University’s Electrical Engineering Department to build a new camera trap triggering system that would be both inexpensive and adaptable.Their new system uniquely separated each of their four high-speed video cameras from the sensors that triggered them. It also used an array of PIR sensors set around focal flowers in each of four hummingbird territories to trigger the respective camera when hummingbirds approached.The camera trap trigger system setup in one hummingbird’s territory. A high-speed video camera (covered, on the left) is connected to two sensors, one on either side of the target flower (the red Heliconia at the top), to detect and begin filming the bird before it reaches the flower. Photo credit: Rico-Guevara and Mickley (2017).This separation of sensors from camera allowed the photographer to connect and independently position several sensors to a single camera and gave the camera advance warning of a small animal flying in front of it. It also allowed them to pair the sensors with the high-speed video cameras necessary to capture the hummingbirds’ fast movements.“We were able to pair our triggering mechanism with the perfect camera for our research, and…other researchers could pair with a different camera uniquely suited for their own research,” said Mickley.They used the videos to measure several factors—including how fast the birds licked the nectar, how deeply they inserted their bills into the flowers, the amount and properties of the nectar collected, and the number of wing beats per second—to determine the energy content of their meal, the calories burned while hovering, and the net energy they gained from feeding.A sword-billed hummingbird can reach into much longer flowers than other species but requires more energy to carry and negotiate the bill, which is longer than its body. Photo credit: Alejandro Rico-GuevaraThe researchers found their system to effectively capture the photos they needed for their work.“We were satisfied with the high temporal and spatial resolution that we achieved,” said Rico-Guevara. “No one had filmed hummingbird visits to wild flowers in slow motion in which you could see the drop of nectar inside and measure how fast they drink it!”The researchers filmed both the visiting hummingbirds and the new system with a backup camera, to look for false positives, the triggering of a photo by non-target movement, such as vegetation moved by a strong breeze, or missed visits to the target flowers. The ability to re-position the sensors helped the researcher reduce the number of false positives, which was relatively high in the study’s initial testing, to a small proportion of photos.According to Mickley, “Once calibrated, our trap was great at only triggering when a hummingbird visited, but also not missing any hummingbird visits.”The backup videos also showed that, despite the use of camouflage, the hummingbirds inspected the cameras and sensors when they first arrived. All the birds went on to visit the flowers, and the minimal sound from the trigger mechanism did not elicit any observable behavioral changes in the hummingbirds.Do-it-yourself electronics: intricate but straightforward The electric camera trap circuit converts the low-voltage signal from a standard PIR sensor into a short pulse with a voltage and amperage high enough to operate a car door lock actuator that automatically presses the camera’s shutter button and takes the photo.center_img Anticipating that this do-it-yourself setup requires a fair knowledge of electrical wiring, the researchers include in their publication, “Bring your own camera to the trap: An inexpensive, versatile, and portable triggering system tested on wild hummingbirds,” a series of detailed plans and drawings of the system for other researchers and photographers to build their own. Ideally, with some help.“The collaboration with the engineering department was important in the design and development of the system,” explained Rico-Guevara, “but in its final version I believe that with the information that James [Mickley] provided [in the publication], it would be straightforward to replicate.”Mickley added, “Alejandro and I as ecologists did the bulk of the building of this system.  Major modifications might require more of a learning curve and some electrical experience, but as currently built, it is not difficult to reproduce without much knowledge of electronics.”A closeup of the triggering circuit, which can be copied using the rows and columns of the ‘breadboard’ base. When a PIR sensor activated, the triggering circuit briefly turned on a mechanical actuator, which manually pushed the shutter button of the camera. Further explanation in the paper’s supplemental materials. Photo credit: Rico-Guevara and Mickley (2017)The circuit basically combines sensors with a mechanism to press the camera’s shutter button. The researchers explain that the mechanical nature of the system allows it to pair nearly any camera on the market, including those with no remote triggering, to nearly any available sensor. Researchers can thus use models they already own or switch models as needed, and they can incorporate sensors that detect light, heat, or color, as well as motion.Mickley explained, “Most camera traps… have fewer features and lower quality than a cheap point-and-shoot digital camera. Better cameras would make these traps prohibitively expensive…I don’t think there is an easy way around this tradeoff, and that’s why our system is so appealing: you can use it with a camera you already own with the requisite features, or buy cheap used cameras.”The do-it-yourself nature of the circuit, powered by standard AA batteries keeps it relatively low-cost, long-lasting, and easy to recharge.  “While doing conservation research…it is vital to obtain not only the right information, but also to do it in the most cost-efficient way,” emphasized Rico-Guevara.A male glowing puffleg in Colombia captured mid-flight. Photo credit: Alejandro Rico-GuevaraRico-Guevara has used these traps “under pretty hot and arid conditions, and they have worked without problem.”  “Currently,” he added, “a student of mine is using it to collect data on high-altitude hummingbirds in paramo habitats.”The high-speed video cameras needed to film hummingbirds in this study were not waterproof and required coverings and regular maintenance, but, the authors said, researchers that need to film for longer periods could use waterproof cameras that can remain in standby mode for weeks at a time.The authors state in their paper, “While designed for hummingbirds, our application can be extended to any system where specialized camera or sensor features are required, or commercial camera traps are cost-prohibitive, allowing camera trap use in more research avenues and by more researchers.”The female blue-throated starfrontlet looks motionless but is moving rapidly even while hovering. Photo credit: Alejandro Rico-GuevaraReferenceRico‐Guevara, A., & Mickley, J. (2017). Bring your own camera to the trap: An inexpensive, versatile, and portable triggering system tested on wild hummingbirds. Ecology and Evolution, 7, 4592–4598. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3040 Above, the video camera with the actuator above to press the shutter button. It attaches using adjustable, off-the-shelf articulating arms and clamps. Photo credit: Rico-Guevara and Mickley (2017)At right, the two PIR sensor units they are light enough to attach to a low-cost “gorilla pod” (above) that wraps around a branch or stem or to a standard tripod mounting plate. Photo credit: Rico-Guevara and Mickley (2017)last_img read more

Indigenous victory: Brazil’s Temer decrees 1.2 million Amazon reserve

first_imgAgriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Logging, Amazon People, Deforestation, Environment, environmental justice, Environmental Politics, Farming, Forests, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Rights, Logging, Protests, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon In a rare recent victory for Brazil’s indigenous people, President Temer has established the 1.2 million hectare Indigenous Territory of Turubaxi-Téa along the Middle Negro River in Amazonas state.While NGOs and indigenous groups applaud the move, they note that the region has not been claimed by the Temer-backed ruralists, agribusiness and mining interests, who have aggressively disputed indigenous claims to ancestral lands in the southern Amazon region.Two weeks ago, Temer reversed a decree establishing the 532-hectare indigenous Territory of Jaraguá in São Paulo state, ancestral home to 700 Guarani Indians. As a result, the indigenous group has now been squeezed into a reserve covering just 1.7 hectares.Brazil also just established the 5,200-hectare Indigenous Territory of Tapeba, near Fortaleza, the capital of the northeastern state of Ceará. These indigenous victories do not seem to indicate a shift away from Temer’s wave of initiatives undermining indigenous land rights. Tapeba Indians during a “retomada” (reoccupation) of their ancestral land in the Indigenous Territory of Tapeba. Photo by Renato Santana / CimiThe Temer government, widely criticized for its attacks on indigenous rights, has approved its first significant measure in favor of the country’s indigenous communities.Last week, Brazil’s official gazette published a decree, signed by Justice Minister Torquato Jardim, establishing the Indigenous Territory of Turubaxi-Téa along the middle reaches of the Negro River in the state of Amazonas. More than 900 Indians from ten different groups, distributed in eight villages, inhabit the reserve, which covers 1.2 million hectares (2.9 million acres).It is an important victory for the Indians, who have been struggling for over two decades to have their lands recognized. The long delay has harmed the communities, as the un-demarcated land has been repeatedly invaded by loggers and farmers.The indigenous groups are confident that the situation will now improve. “We are still suffering threats and other acts of disrespect,” said Carlos Nery Pira-Tapuya, president of the Association of Indigenous Communities on the Middle Negro River (ACIMRN). “But we believe that, once our territory is demarcated, there will be fewer invasions and in this way our communities will be able to make great advances in administering the territory.”Marivelton Barroso Baré, president of the Federation of the Indigenous Organization of the Negro River (FOIRN), said the government has finally done what it should have done years ago: “It is the duty of the Brazilian state to recognise the rights of the indigenous population as the original inhabitants. Now we need to go on struggling to speed up other demarcations in the region.”A Guarani protest, called “O Jaraguá é guarani,” in the center of Sao Paulo, in July 2014. Photo by Isabel Harari / ISADespite the repeated incursions by loggers and farmers, the dispute over this land has by no means been as fierce or violent as in the southern Amazon basin, where large scale agribusiness has arrived and highway construction has increased access to outsiders and led to a rocketing in land prices.No one in Brasilia was lobbying against the creation of Turubaxi-Téa reserve and no one contested its boundaries, established by the indigenous agency FUNAI after an anthropological study. In the southern Amazon, the ruralistas have worked aggressively to undermine indigenous rights and dispute land claims.Even so, the process is far from complete. The anthropologist, Lúcia Van Velthem, who coordinated the anthropological study, said that two important steps are still required: the physical marking out of the limits of the reserve, and the final approval, known as homologação, which gives the Indians definitive rights over the land. “Both of these procedures take time and are difficult,” she warned.The territory of Turubaxi-Téa is inhabited by Indians from the Arapaso, Baniwa, Baré, Desana, Nadöb, Kuripaco, Pira-Tapuya, Tariana, Tikuna and Tukano groups. The creation of this new reserve brings to eight the number of indigenous territories in the region. Together, these eight indigenous reserves cover almost 13 million hectares (32 million acres), with a total population of over 30,000.This mosaic of territories is currently functioning as an effective barrier against deforestation and helping to protect one of the least spoilt stretches of tropical forest in the world.Despite the political uncertainty of recent years, the communities along the Middle Negro River have made several important advances. They’ve managed to get their traditional way of farming recognized as a “national heritage” by the culture ministry’s IPHAN (the Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage).They also created an innovative community-based recreational fishing project in which trained Indians assist visiting fishermen and monitor their activities, a program implemented in association with FUNAI, the environmental agency IBAMA, the NGO Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) and the Santa Isabel do Rio Negro municipal council. The fishing project has become a sustainable source of income for the communities.An indigenous mother and child enjoy an Amazon river. The establishment of the Indigenous Territory of Turubaxi-Téa, covering 1.2 million hectares along the Middle Negro River in Amazonas state, is a major victory for indigenous groups in Brazil, at a time when many government decisions have gone against their ancestral land rights. Photo credit: Zanini H. via Visual Hunt / CC BYAlthough the establishment of this territory is important, the Temer government’s record on indigenous affairs remains dismal, say critics. “The declaration of the limits of the indigenous territory of Turubaxi-Téa lifts minister Toquato Jardim’s achievements up to a little above zero, given that the Temer government hasn’t yet completed the demarcation process of any indigenous territory,” commented Márcio Santilli, founder-member of ISA.The Temer government has attacked indigenous rights in a variety of ways. It has instructed FUNAI to reject all demarcations of indigenous land where the Indians were not physically present on the territory in 1988, the date of the promulgation of the current constitution (a legal maneuver known as the marco temporal). The administration has also introduced legislation that would make it possible for “strategic” public works, such as dams or roads, to be undertaken on indigenous land without consulting the Indians, violating the International Labor Organization’s 169 Convention, signed by Brazil.FUNAI’s budget has been drastically slashed, making it much harder for the agency to monitor what is happening in distant regions. Two as yet unconfirmed massacres of uncontacted Indians in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Territory, in the southwest part of Amazonas, are an example of the kind of atrocity that could occur as a result.Indeed, the creation of the Indigenous Territory of Turubaxi-Téa seems to be an isolated case, without signalling a shift in government policy.Just two weeks ago, the same Justice Minister — Torquato Jardim — declared invalid a decree that had established the indigenous territory of Jaraguá in the state of São Paulo. This territory, covering 532 hectares (1,314 acres), is the ancestral home to 700 Guarani Indians. As a result, the indigenous group has now been hemmed into an area of just 1.7 hectares (4.2 acres), the size of two football pitches.The reversal provoked a fierce reaction from 29 NGOs and indigenous bodies. They jointly issued a strongly-worded press release in which they called the act “an unconstitutional measure that sets a serious precedent and demonstrates the determination of the Temer government to review all indigenous territories currently been demarcated so as to please the rural caucus, its base in Congress.”The indigenous territory of Jaraguá was created in June 2015, after the Guarani Indians carried out a series of well-supported mobilizations in the city of São Paulo. But local landowners didn’t accept the legal agreement handing over this valuable real estate to the Indians. Former federal deputy, Tito Costa, went to court, claiming that the land belonged to him in an action that has not yet been judged in court.In a small piece of good news for Brazil’s indigenous people, earlier this month Torquato Jardim also established the 5,200 hectare (12,850 acre) Indigenous Territory of Tapeba, located on the outskirts of Fortaleza, the capital of the northeastern state of Ceará. This action marks the end of a long negotiation process, involving FUNAI, state and municipal governments, indigenous Tapeba leaders, and one of the region’s most powerful political forces, the Arruda Coelho family, which owns a farm superimposed atop the indigenous land.At first, the Indians dubbed a demand to relinquish 544 hectares (1,444 acres), about 10 percent of their claimed territory — most of it to the Arruda Coelho family — as “indecent and immoral”. But, because the demarcation process came to a standstill after the elite family went to court, the Indians finally gave in to creating a smaller reserve. The 7,000 Indians have warmly welcomed the creation of the territory after so many years of struggle, but others see it, at best, as a partial victory.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. Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_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

Amazon dam impacts underestimated due to overlooked vine growth: study

first_imgNew research on the rapid growth of lianas – native woody vines – on the artificial reservoir islands of the Balbina dam in the Amazon finds that forest communities there underwent a transformation as a result of severe habitat fragmentation, resulting in the altering of the carbon sequestration and emission balance.Some tree species are severely impacted by this extreme form of habitat fragmentation and die, while native lianas — woody vines that climb to reach the forest canopy — thrive and rapidly fill the biological niche left by failing trees.Trees, with their greater biomass, store more carbon in trunks and branches than lianas, so the carbon balance shifts as lianas dominate. Rather than sequestering carbon, these dam-created islands end up emitting carbon as the trees die.The rapid growth of lianas further contributes to the degradation of remnant tree communities challenged by fragmentation. Amazon dam environmental impact assessments don’t currently evaluate increased reservoir island carbon emissions. One of over 3,500 islands created by the Balbina mega-dam in the Brazilian Amazon. A new study has found that while tree communities degrade due to their isolation, liana communities are “remarkably robust to the negative impacts of landscape-scale habitat fragmentation caused by reservoir creation.” Photo © Isabel JonesThe environmental impacts of Amazon hydropower projects are many and varied, from inundating primary rainforest, driving deforestation, and releasing the potent greenhouse gas methane, to interrupting long-distance aquatic migrations, altering sediment flows and attenuating flood cycles. New research now suggests that one more effect may be added to the list: carbon emissions from islands created by hydropower reservoirs.A new study of the Balbina mega-dam in Brazil, one of the oldest in the Amazon, found that plant communities on reservoir islands underwent a transformation as a result of becoming isolated. Lianas — woody vines that climb trees to reach the forest canopy — continued to thrive, but the trees suffered. Because trees store more carbon in their trunks and branches than lianas, the carbon balance shifts as lianas dominate. Rather than sequestering carbon, these dam-created islands end up emitting carbon as the trees die.“A quick ‘back of the envelope’ calculation […suggests] that annual carbon emissions associated with forest islands in Balbina could be in the region of 10,000 tons (equivalent to emissions from ~230,000 barrels of oil),” said the study’s lead researcher Isabel Jones, of the University of Stirling, UK.With hundreds of dams currently planned and under construction all across the Amazon basin, failing to take these increased carbon emissions into account in environmental impact assessments and cost-benefit analyses of hydropower developments is a serious oversight, the scientists warn.A member of the field team carrying out surveys in one of 89 study plots scattered across 36 island and mainland sites. The study investigated the influence of island size, surrounding forest cover, distance from the mainland, and fire damage on liana and tree communities. Photo © Isabel JonesResearch at one of the Amazon’s oldest mega-damsBalbina was built in the 1980s, flooding 3,129 square kilometers (1,208 square miles) and creating 3,546 islands with a combined area of 1,180 square kilometers (456 square miles). Jones and her team studied tree and liana communities in 77 study plots scattered across 36 of those islands. They observed 12 further plots on the mainland for comparison.The islands form a part of the Uatumã Biological Reserve, and have not experienced logging or other human disturbance other than a fire in 1997 which started outside of the reserve and spread to a few of the islands.Despite their inaccessibility, these artificial islands are an extreme example of habitat fragmentation, a process that causes ecological degradation. As pockets of forest habitat are isolated, their edges are exposed to harsher, brighter, drier conditions and plant and animal dispersal between habitat fragments is made more difficult; in addition, habitat fragments may be too small to sustain populations of some species.This has already been observed in the tree communities on Balbina’s islands, which have rapidly degraded since their isolation, Jones said, “but what we didn’t know is whether the remaining island tree communities might be facing additional pressure from increasing competition from lianas — we needed to know how lianas were responding to this landscape-scale habitat fragmentation compared to trees, to better understand the potential long-term trajectories of these forest islands for biodiversity and carbon storage.”A giant liana. Because lianas don’t store as much carbon as trees, shifts in plant composition on islands have implications for carbon storage and emissions. As a result, islands are likely to be emitting thousands of tons of CO2 each year, something that is currently overlooked in dam environmental impact assessments. Photo © Isabel JonesLooking at lianasJones designed her study to explore the effect of island size, distance from the mainland, the amount of surrounding forest cover, and varying degrees of fire damage on island plant communities.In the study plots, the team surveyed both sapling and mature lianas and trees, noting particular details about the composition and abundance of the liana communities and whether they were dispersed by animals or by the wind.In contrast to what is already known about the tree communities, Jones found no evidence of degradation of the island liana communities when she analyzed the data.“We were surprised that [they] appeared to be remarkably robust to the negative impacts of landscape-scale habitat fragmentation caused by reservoir creation,” she noted, “and saw no difference in the liana communities on islands compared to the mainland.”Even on the small, severely fire damaged islands, liana sapling abundance was comparable to the mainland despite challenging conditions. In contrast, tree saplings performed so poorly that lianas dominated the sapling layer of vegetation.Jones had anticipated that the lianas wouldn’t be as affected as tree communities. Their ability to grow rapidly and “to exploit the high-light and low moisture conditions associated with forest fragment edges and canopy gaps, much faster than even disturbance-adapted tree species, gives them a competitive advantage over trees” she explained.But even so, “we were still expecting to see some effects associated with isolation within a water matrix because, for example, liana seed dispersal across water may have been affected by the severe reduction in vertebrate dispersers seen across the archipelago,” said Jones. However, lianas have another adaptive trick to help overcome this limitation. “Lianas can also reproduce clonally and vegetatively,” so can “rapidly colonize newly-disturbed habitat,” Jones revealed.A tangle of vines in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Lianas themselves are an important component of tropical forest ecosystems. However, their competitive advantage over trees means that they may come to dominate fragmented forest habitats. “Lianas are adapted to exploit the high-light and low moisture conditions associated with forest fragment edges and canopy gaps,” explained study lead, Isabel Jones. Photo © Claire SalisburyLess biomass, more carbonBut what do thriving liana communities mean for Balbina in the long-term, and for the Amazon in general, as hydropower development rapidly expands across the basin?For reservoir islands, “a persistent liana community will likely exacerbate the degradation of remnant tree communities,” the scientists warn. This will have a knock-on effect on the animal species that inhabit these islands, as well as having serious implications for the carbon balance of hydropower dams relative to other sources of energy.“A forest with more lianas has less woody biomass (long term carbon storage), tree growth is reduced and tree mortality is increasing,” said Hans Verbeeck of Ghent University. Verbeeck, who was not involved with the study, but examined the role of lianas in tropical forest dynamics and carbon cycling. “However, only one experimental study — a large liana removal experiment in Panama, has proven lower carbon uptake in forest with lianas versus forests where lianas have been removed.”That particular experiment was carried out by Stefan Schnitzer, of Marquette University, as part of a major liana ecology research project. Schnitzer, who was also not involved in Jones’ research, agrees that “lianas are extremely important” in influencing carbon storage in tropical forests.“According to Jones’ work, and combined with previously published studies, additional dams are going to have a positive effect on lianas and a detrimental effect on long-term carbon storage,” Schnitzer concluded, although he emphasized that lianas are not inherently ‘bad’ but “are an important component of tropical forests with a number of positive effects on the ecosystem.”The impact of dams on tree and liana composition “will for sure have an impact on carbon sequestration,” agreed Verbeeck. “But it is difficult to quantify that impact.”Lianas’ resilience to water scarcity and fire damage may also play to their advantage in a warming Amazon, with increasing droughts and more frequent fires predicted for the region as climate change escalates. Research into potential feedbacks between liana growth, carbon sequestration, and climate change is ongoing, Jones said.Belo Monte dam under construction in 2015. Hundreds of dams are planned or under construction in the Amazon rainforest. Islands created by dams “are not counted as part of area calculations for land impacted by dam construction,” explained Jones, meaning that dam impacts are being significantly underestimated. Photo by Pascalg622 used under a CC BY 3.0 licenseLost forests, lasting impactsThe low-lying, undulating topography of the Amazon means islands are likely to be created in at least some of the reservoirs that will accompany the dams currently planned and being built, Jones noted. And of great concern is the fact that “islands are not counted as part of area calculations for land impacted by dam construction.”Jones’ work adds to a growing body of evidence that reservoir islands should no longer go unaccounted for. “I want to see the legal framework surrounding dam construction, and developers, properly accounting for the long-term impacts versus energy outputs of dams.”“There is a wealth of experts in their fields producing evidence, year after year, on the extreme negative consequences of dam construction; I am yet to see any robust evidence that the benefits of dams can outweigh these consequences,” she concluded.“Protecting tropical forests from disturbance is one of our best means to reduce atmospheric CO2 — yet ~10 million hectares [38,610 square miles] of forests are predicted to be flooded for reservoirs in Amazonia for ‘green energy’ production.”Citation:Jones, I. L., Peres, C. A., Benchimol, M., Bunnefeld, L. and Dent, D. H. (2017) Woody lianas increase in dominance and maintain compositional integrity across an Amazonian dam-induced fragmented landscape. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0185527. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185527FEEDBACK: 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. Article published by Glenn Scherer 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 Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Dams, Amazon Destruction, carbon, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change, Climate Change and Dams, Climate Change And Forests, Climate Science, Dams, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, electricity, Energy, Environment, Flooding, Forest Carbon, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Fragmentation, Forest Loss, Forests, Fragmentation, Global Environmental Crisis, Global Warming, Green, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Infrastructure, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation last_img read more

Top 20 forest stories of 2017

first_img5. Forest fragmentation may be releasing much more carbon than we thinkMany of the world’s tropical forests have been severely fragmented by human disturbance, and research has shown the trees that live on the edges of these fragments are more likely to die than those living in the fragment interiors. With this death comes the release of carbon as trees decompose. A 2017 study published in Nature Communications found that the carbon released by this higher tree mortality at fragment edges increases deforestation emission estimates by 31 percent. In total, the researchers found there are around 50 million tropical forest fragments today and, put together, their edges would span a third of the distance from the earth to the sun.The Atlantic Forest is one of the most fragmented forests in the world.6. Tropical deforestation is getting biggerAs nations race to keep forests standing and the world from warming, scientists are trying to figure out what human activities are causing deforestation and how best to stop them. A study published earlier this year in Environmental Research Letters lends some new insights, finding the majority of forest loss in the tropics is due to medium- and large-scale clearing, which are hallmarks of industrial agriculture like palm oil production. South America and Southeast Asia had the largest increases in these larger clearing activities. The researchers who authored the study say policy changes are needed to reduce deforestation for commodity crops. 11. Does community-based forest management work in the tropics?Community-based forest management, a conservation strategy in which local communities are in charge of the forests they live within, is often touted as a one-stop solution for everything from improving forest health to reducing poverty. A review of 30 studies revealed that community-based forest management may improve forest conditions. Results on socio-economic benefits is mixed, but research suggests that community-based forest management may occasionally exacerbate prevailing inequities within communities. In addition to improving forests, community-based forest management tries to ensure their sustainable use. However, there is very little research on whether community-managed forests are actually sustainable over the long term. 4. Cross River superhighway changes course in NigeriaA major new road is in development through southeastern Nigeria that will connect landlocked cities with the port of Calabar on the Gulf of Guinea. The six-lane superhighway was originally slated to run through the center of Cross River National Park, a biodiversity hotspot and home to endangered wildlife like drills, Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees and Cross River gorillas – the rarest and most threatened of the world’s gorilla subspecies. But after conservationists raised the alarm about the environmental perils the road may bring, the Nigerian government altered the path of the superhighway from the middle of the national park to outside its western periphery. The move is being celebrated by conservation organizations, but concern still exists about the highway’s new path through forested areas and protected lands. 9. World’s largest tropical peatlands discovered in swamp forests of Congo BasinThe discovery of the world’s largest tropical peatland was announced earlier this year. The huge peatland is located in the vast rainforests of the Congo Basin and straddles two countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo – and comprises an area larger than England. The researchers who discovered it initially estimated it contained around 30 billion metric tons of carbon. But subsequent surveys revealed the peat swamp to be deeper than they first thought, and it likely stores even more carbon. Movement by the DRC to open more forests in the region to logging and other development are prompting concern from conservationists who worry that draining the peatland could release significant amounts of greenhouse gas.Congo Basin experts from the UK and DRC take samples from the peatland. Photo by Kevin McElvaney/Greenpeace10. Do protected areas work in the tropics?A meta-analysis of 56 scientific studies by Mongabay revealed that, overall, protected areas appear to reduce deforestation. But other ecological effects of protected areas, like biodiversity or poaching, remain very understudied. But ultimately, there has been a lack of rigorous study of the efficacy of protected areas. What scientific literature does exist suggests that terrestrial protected areas help reduce deforestation, but to varying degrees. In some places, parks avoid high rates of forest loss; in others, the effects are modest to negligible. But finer details about the health of protected forests (the status of biodiversity, levels of hunting or logging) are harder to get. The evidence on socioeconomic impacts is very thin. What limited rigorous research exists shows that protected areas do not exacerbate poverty generally, but anecdotal studies suggest that protected areas could be making other aspects of people’s well-being worse off. 19. Oil palm firms advance into Leuser rainforest, defying Aceh governor’s ordersThe Leuser Ecosystem straddles lies in northern Sumatra and is home to an array of rare animals, including rhinos, elephants, tigers and orangutans. The government of Indonesia’s Aceh province has banned land clearance for oil palm development inside Leuser. However, deforestation is still ongoing as some companies ignore the moratorium. During the first seven months of 2017, conservation watchdogs report Leuser lost 3,941 hectares of forest cover.20. Conserving Congo’s wild places on a shoestringThe 76,000-hectare (around 188,000-acre) Mangrove Marine Park, 250 miles west of Kinshasa, is an expanse of ocean, beach, savannah and mangroves that hugs Congo’s 23-mile strip of coastline. The park operates on a budget so small, staff say they can hardly afford to patrol it. Though the beach and savannah portions of the park are partially protected areas, a handful of communities have continuously lived there since long before the park’s creation. Park officials and rangers face the difficult task of protecting the vast area with just a handful of rangers and are up against generations of ingrained practices by residents, such as poaching turtles and their eggs. The park’s future rests on the ability of the its director to raise more money while persuading those who live in and around the site that conservation is in their best interest. 17. Indigenous forests could be a key to averting climate catastropheA study published in Science in October found the world’s tropical forests may no longer be carbon sinks, with a net loss of 425 million tons of carbon from 2003 to 2014. In addition, 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon is emitted globally per year due to land use of forested areas  (4.4 billion metric tons are absorbed by standing forests on managed lands, but 5.5 billion metric tons are released via deforestation and degradation). As a result, curbing deforestation and degradation is now considered a key strategy for nations to meet their carbon reduction goals and keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Research finds that indigenous and traditional community management of forests could offer a key to curbing emissions, and give the world time to transition to a green energy economy. Scientists found Amazon deforestation rates were around five times higher outside indigenous territories and conservation units than inside. A delegation of global indigenous delegation in attendance at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, are conducting a campaign to solicit support from the world’s nations to protect indigenous forests from encroachment by extraction industries.Degraded forests are more likely to burn, releasing their carbon to the atmosphere. Research indicates indigenous communities may do a better job of conserving native forests than do forest managers outside indigenous reserves. Photo courtesy of IBAMA18. Women could be a key to great ape conservation in the CongoWomen have suffered a heavy toll from violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The nation’s civil struggle, together with bushmeat hunting and other kinds of human pressures, also affect its wildlife such as gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees. Scientific surveys indicate bonobos have been vanishing rapidly from DRC forests over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, researchers estimate only around 3,800 Grauer’s gorillas remain, and the subspecies is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Chimpanzees are listed by the IUCN as Endangered. But now, DRC women, assisted by international conservation organizations, are working to protect apes and other DRC wildlife. The organizations foster a variety of projects, from funding micro-credit projects for women who want to launch business enterprises to employing women as surrogate mothers for newly orphaned gorillas during an initial 30-day quarantine period and training women in livestock breeding and agriculture to reduce great ape hunting. Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Agriculture, Animals, Apes, Climate Change, Deforestation, Environment, Featured, Fires, forest degradation, Forest Fires, Forest Loss, Forests, Global Warming, Habitat Loss, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Logging, Oil Palm, Orangutans, Palm Oil, Primates, Rainforests, Ranching, Roads, Wildlife 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. 8. Charcoal and cattle ranching tearing apart the Gran ChacoParaguay’s Gran Chaco has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, with nearly 1 million hectares of tree cover lost in 2008 alone. The Chaco is home to many unique species, such as the endangered Chacoan peccary or taguá. Soy cultivation, cattle ranching and charcoal production are major drivers of Chaco deforestation. A year-long probe by the non-profit organization Earthsite revealed that most Paraguayan exports of charcoal come from the Chaco and are marketed as sustainably sourced, but may not actually meet sustainability certification requirements. This charcoal is sold in several international supermarket chains.center_img 15. Record Amazon fires stun scientists; sign of sick, degraded forestsBy mid-October, Brazil had experienced more than 208,000 fires, putting 2017 on track to beat 2004’s record 270,295 fires. While drought has exacerbated the fires, experts say that nearly every blaze this year has been human-caused. In September, the highest concentration of fires in the Brazilian Amazon was in the São Félix do Xingu and Altamira regions. September fires in Pará numbered 24,949 – a six-fold increase over the 3,944 recorded in the same month in 2016. The Amazonian regions experiencing the most wildfires have also seen high levels of deforestation and degradation as logging, cattle ranching, agribusiness and dam-building expand. Scientists warn of a dangerous synergy in which forest degradation is turning the Amazon from carbon sink to carbon source in some dry years, while human carbon emissions are worsening drought and fires globally. Researchers warn of the coming of bigger “mega-fires” unless trends are reversed.16. Mining activity causing nearly 10 percent of Amazon deforestationIn results published this year, scientists announced that nearly 10 percent of the deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon between 2005 and 2015 was due to mining activities — up from a previous estimate of 1 to 2 percent. They found mining-related deforestation present in areas up to 70 kilometers away from actual mines. To address the high level of deforestation caused by mining in the Amazon, conservationists say Brazil needs to significantly revise its environmental impact assessment process to include ancillary infrastructure up to 70 kilometers away from mines along with related hydroelectric dam construction. 13. Paying for healthcare with trees: win-win for orangutans and communitiesIn 2016, the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) was declared Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Orangutan habitat is fast disappearing due to deforestation from agriculture and logging. One of the most important remaining P. pygmaeus populations, with roughly 2,000 individuals, is in Indonesia’s Gunung Palung National Park. Two non-profit organizations — one based in Indonesia and another from the U.S. — united to try to reduce illegal logging in the park through a novel, healthcare-based approach.  They discovered that many people reported logging because of expensive medical costs, while unsustainable agricultural practices depleted the soil of nutrients, requiring the use of costly fertilizers. The two NGOs opened an affordable health clinic and hospital, offering discounted medical services to communities that stop logging. “Forest guardians” recruited from participating villages, encourage people to curb deforestation while monitoring illegal activity and reforestation efforts and educating residents about organic farming methods.Orangutans are listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. An innovative NGO program in Borneo offers a discount on healthcare to communities that reduce logging in conserved forests, protecting key orangutan habitat.14. Over the bridge: The battle for the future of KinabatanganThe Kinabatangan River and the wildlife sanctuary named for it threw the state of Sabah into the global spotlight this year as the proposal of a bridge crossing the river from the town of Sukau across attracted local and international opposition. Project proponents say that a bridge and associated paved road to Sukau would have helped the town grow and improve its residents’ standard of living. But conservation groups argue that the region has potential for high-end nature tourism that could result in similar economic benefits without disturbing the elephants, orangutans and other wildlife that depend on the region’s forests. In mid-April the bridge was cancelled, a move heralded as a success for rainforest conservation. But bigger questions remain about the future of local communities, the Kinabatangan sanctuary and the region’s wildlife. 2. Indigenous groups, activists risk arrest to blockade logging in MalaysiaThe Malaysian state of Kelantan has seen an uptick in deforestation as tree plantations expand. Deep in the rainforests in the northern part of the state, anti-logging campaigns are setting up blockades along logging roads to try to deter logging companies from entering forests claimed by indigenous Orang Asli communities – a claim upheld by Malaysian high courts. However, activists and community members say logging continues in the area, and they vow to continue their blockades against deforestation despite repeated arrests of their members.A logging truck at the side of the road in Kelantan state, Malaysia. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com3. The palm oil fiefdomToday, oil palm covers more than a fifth of the district of Seruyan in Indonesian Borneo. Ninety-six percent of it is owned by the super-rich, and profits flow out to the capitals of Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Only a fraction of the taxes collected by the state find their way back to Seruyan. Over nine months, The Gecko Project and Mongabay investigated the land deals that were done in Seruyan during its transition to democracy. Investigators followed the trails of paper and money, tracked down the people involved and talked to those affected by Darwan’s actions. It was a journey that took them from law firms in Jakarta to a prison in Borneo, from backwater legislatures to villages that stand like islands amid a sea of oil palm. Banner image by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com 7. ‘Last frontiers of wilderness’: Intact forest plummets globallyResearch published this year found that between 2000 and 2013, the world lost a Venezuela-sized area of untouched forests – what scientists call intact forest landscapes (IFLs). The study shows more than 7 percent of the world’s IFLs disappeared during that time. This loss appears to be accelerating in the tropics, with three times more IFLs lost between 2011 and 2013 than between 2001 and 2003. Paraguay was the most affected, losing nearly 90 percent of its remaining IFLs over 13 years. Timber harvesting and agricultural expansion are considered the leading causes of IFL loss. 12. Sudden sale may doom carbon-rich rainforest in BorneoA pristine tract of rainforest known as Forest Management Unit 5 (FMU5) encompasses more than 101,000 hectares in central Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. The area provides important habitat for Bornean orangutasn and other endangered species, and safeguards watersheds critical to downstream communities. Conservation groups had been working with the state government and concession owner to set up a concept conservation economy on FMU5. But in October, the rights to the land were acquired by wood product manufacturing company Priceworth. Mongabay published hundreds of stories on forests in 2017. Here are some of our favorites.1. Rebel road expansion brings deforestation to remote Colombian AmazonWith the demobilization of Colombia’s FARC militant group, the country is expanding agriculture and infrastructure in places in the country once too dangerous to develop. One of these areas is a stretch of rainforest in the Colombian Amazon. A small road that was initially carved illegally through the forest and used by the FARC to transport coca is in the process of being widened and paved to help communities transport their agricultural goods to larger markets. But conservationists are criticizing the project, saying road expansion will incite land-grabbing, the illegal development of more roads and accelerated deforestation. 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

Meet Indonesia’s new honeyeater species from Rote Island

first_imgA new bird species from Indonesia has been described by a group of scientists after it was first observed in 1990, a paper said.The bird, which belongs to the honeyeater family, has been named after Indonesia’s first lady, Iriana Joko Widodo, as a way to promote the protection of the species.The researchers said the newly described species’ population was primarily threatened by deforestation to clear land for residential and agricultural use. Scientists have described a new species of bird found only on the island of Rote in eastern Indonesia — but already the population of the honey-eating fowl is threatened by habitat loss as a result of rapid deforestation.The discovery of Myzomela irianawidodoae — named after Indonesia’s first lady, Iriana Joko Widodo — involved a series of separate field studies between 1990 and 2015 by different groups of researchers, according to a paper published Dec. 31, 2017, in the scientific journal Treubia.The first observation of a Myzomela species on Rote in East Nusa Tenggara province — one of the many islands that comprise the Lesser Sunda Islands — was carried out by the Australian ornithologist Ron Johnstone in 1990.Scientists have discovered a new bird species that lives only on Rote Island in eastern Indonesia. Photo courtesy of Philippe Verbelen.The survey, however, was too brief for visual or audio recordings to be taken, and subsequent scientific publications referred to the bird species on Rote as being similar to one on Sumba, an island in the same chain about 230 kilometers (143 miles) to the west.Nearly 20 years later, two Belgian ornithologists visited Rote for a different project in which they photographed extensively and made a long series of sound recordings of the birds they encountered there.“Considering the fact that Sumba and Rote have a distinct biogeographical history — they were never connected to each other — it would appear unlikely that the Rote bird would be the same species as on Sumba,” Philippe Verbelen, one of the two Belgian researchers, told Mongabay in an email.“This suspicion was further strengthened when we realized how strong the vocal differences were between the song of the Rote and the Sumba myzomela,” he added.That led the Belgian scientists to conduct another field study in 2014, during which they performed a bioacoustic analysis comparing the responses of Sumba myzomelas and Rote myzomelas to playback recordings of the birds.The result, Verbelen said, was that the song of male Rote myzomelas failed to trigger territorial reactions from male Sumba myzomelas, and vice versa. Meanwhile, playback experiments on both Sumba and Rote triggered strong territorial reactions when recordings of the territorial song of  a male myzomela from the same island (playback of Rote recordings on Rote; playback of Sumba recordings on Sumba) were used.“The territorial song of Myzomelas has a strong biological function. Those reactions are a strong indicator that the Myzomelas from Sumba and Rote are indeed different species,” the researchers said in a statement.The final confirmation of a new bird species was made by scientists from the National University of Singapore and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) who went to Rote in December 2015 to capture four specimens of the bird.The team made another bioacoustic analysis, and also compared the animals’ body structure with other species in the Myzomela genus, such as the Buru myzomela (Myzomela wakoloensis), the Seram myzomela (Myzomela elisabethae), the Banda myzomela (Myzomela boiei), the Sulawesi myzomela (Myzomela chloroptera), the Sumba myzomela (Myzomela dammermani), the Timor myzomela (Myzomela vulnerata), and the red-headed myzomela (Myzomela erythrocephala).“The Rote Myzomela is closely related to other species of honeyeater that occur on surrounding Indonesian islands, but it has a unique song which differentiates it from all its relatives,” the statement said. They also noted several subtle and previously overlooked differences in shape and plumage, including a narrower black breast band than the Sumba birds.The honeyeater, Rote myzomela (Myzomela irianawidodoae), was named after Indonesia’s current First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo, as a way to promote the protection of the species which is threatened primarily by habitat loss due to deforestation. Photo courtesy of Philippe Verbelen.The newly described bird typically inhabits the tropical woodlands on Rote, the researchers said. However, they also noted that most of the island, which is only 1,226 square kilometers (473 square miles) in size, smaller than Phoenix, Arizona, had been heavily deforested and developed for residential and agricultural use to accommodate a growing population.“[Rote] does not have a major terrestrial protected area despite the fact that it has several endemic bird species as well as other birds with a highly restricted range — only shared with Timor and Semau [islands] for example — and certain species that are highly threatened throughout their range, such as the olive-shouldered parrot, the yellow-crested cockatoo and the Timor green pigeon,” Verbelen said.In Indonesia, members of the genus Myzomela, including the Rote myzomela, are protected under the country’s 1990 conservation law and a 1999 government regulation on wildlife. The researchers hope that naming the new species after the wife of President Joko Widodo will do even more to promote the protection of the bird.“The fact that this bird was named after Indonesia’s first lady generated big media attention. I believe and hope this can help the general cause of forest conservation and biodiversity protection in Indonesia. It is badly needed considering the rates of forest destruction in Indonesia,” Verbelen said.Due to these threats, the team has also suggested that the species be categorized by the IUCN as “Vulnerable,” and that follow-up surveys be made to describe the population size of the Rote myzomela.“If the Rote myzomela were to vanish from Rote, I’d expect that other unique bird species such as the Rote boobook that strongly depends on good quality forests and big trees would go extinct, too,” Verbelen said.“The world becomes a poorer place each time we are losing a species. In general, it is important to halt biodiversity loss and prevent any species from going extinct,” he added.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. Article published by Basten Gokkon Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation, Deforestation, Dry Forests, Environment, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Land Use Change, New Discovery, New Species, Species Discovery, Tropical Deforestation, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation 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

Data fusion opens new horizons for remote imaging of landscapes

first_imgArticle published by Sue Palminteri Artificial Intelligence, Biodiversity, data, Forests, Mapping, Monitoring, Peatlands, Remote Sensing, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Technology, Wetlands, Wildtech Scientists use remotely sensed data from satellites to map and analyze habitat extent, vegetation health, land use change, and plant species distributions at various scales.Open-source data sets, analysis tools, and powerful computers now allow scientists to combine different sources of satellite-based data.A new paper details how combining multispectral and radar data enables more refined analyses over broader scales than either can alone. Imagine you needed to map the spread of an invasive plant species in a tropical forest. Hyperspectral imaging and LiDAR are great at identifying vegetation, but have their limitations and tend to be costly.Other, more accessible remote-sensing technologies now exist that, combined, can do the trick. Radar, which emits radio waves and measures the signal created as these bounce off an object, can trace out the forest canopy structure, while multispectral imaging can be used to analyze the reflected sunlight off the leaves to determine vegetation type.Solutions to this and other kinds of remote imaging and surveying applications don’t have to be new or expensive technology, a recent review paper suggests, but can instead be an innovative blending of available remote-sensing technologies known as data fusion.In the paper, the authors introduce techniques for combining satellite data, along with their respective benefits and drawbacks for ecological studies.Satellite image showing agricultural plots in Brazil and forest remaining in between them. Image courtesy of NASA.Transmitting and detecting energyRadar and multispectral sensors are perhaps the best-known examples, respectively, of active and passive remote sensors typically found on board Earth-observation satellites.Active sensors emit their own radiation and then measure the backscatter, or radiation that reflected back from the target object. The radiation is in the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is small enough to penetrate clouds and most weather conditions. The information from the backscatter permits calculation of distances, size, volume, and orientation of objects on the Earth below.Radar sensors emit radiation that backscatters, or bounces off objects, in different ways. These difference enable the sensor to “identify” the object. Image credit: Fernandez-Ordonez et al (2009)Radar can’t see color but can determine the structure and surface roughness of objects, such as buildings or trees of different height, width, and density, or soils that are dry versus water-saturated, even below the canopy if the wavelength is fine enough. By emitting its own radiation, radar also functions day and night.Multispectral sensors, because they are passive, require an external source of radiation, namely the visible and infrared bands, or portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. They detect the natural energy radiated by the sun or reflected by another object and produce what most of us think of as satellite images.Multispectral sensors can distinguish levels of brightness and color, allowing us to differentiate between green, healthy vegetation and unhealthy vegetation, as well as identify the chemical properties of the surface of objects, such as the carbon or moisture content of vegetation, that correspond to different degrees of reflectance of energy.Multispectral satellite images distinguish vegetation by the reflectance of sunlight in several bands, or portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Greener vegetation reflects more of the green portion of the spectrum than brown vegetation, which enables the use of satellite imagery to assess vegetation health. Image credit: educationally.narod.ruThe two types of sensors thus detect complementary types of data, both of which are now freely available for the whole planet. The European Space Agency’s new Sentinel-1 satellite provides free access to global radar data, while Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites, among others, make their respective global multispectral imagery freely available.Two is better than one   The opportunity created by the availability of spatial data, plus the computing power to process and combine them, prompted this recent assessment. Combining structural data from radar with the reflectance data from multispectral imaging can improve the accuracy of assessing and monitoring biodiversity, especially at large scales or across gradients.“Satellites provide opportunities to access information about the natural world at scales that are inaccessible to people measuring things on the ground,” said author Nathalie Pettorelli of the Zoological Society of London.Cost, time, and logistics have limited where we can measure the distributions of plant species. Most freely available multispectral and radar data have spatial resolutions that are too coarse to assess species distributions while hyperspectral imaging and LiDAR data, in addition to being costly, tend to be available primarily at fine (landscape, rather than regional or continental) scales.Combining multispectral reflectance data and radar structural data has helped various research efforts to more accurately map and predict the distribution of both plants and animals. Researchers have, for instance, mapped the extent of alfalfa species in grasslands by their different growth form and leafing, flowering, and fruiting periods and predicted tree species distributions across South America, using two spectral indices—plants’ leaf area index and their greenness (a.k.a. NDVI)—in combination with canopy moisture and roughness metrics derived from radar data.The example highlighted at the beginning comes from a study in which scientists mapped invasive plant species in a tropical forest by combining vegetation type, from multispectral imagery, with canopy structure derived from radar.Scientists have also mapped animal species that rely on specific vegetation structure: one study more accurately predicted bird species distributions by combining data on woody material, or biomass, from radar with vegetation type information from multispectral imagery.Joining multispectral data that pick up on differences in vegetation “greenness” with radar backscatter containing information about canopy structure and volume helps map ecosystems and land cover. For example, the structural information has helped researchers distinguish vegetation stands at different stages of regrowth, primary from secondary forest, or plantations (trees of the same age and species) from natural forests, as well as assess vegetation health. Radar information on the direction of the return signal can also identify wetlands or saturated soils, even under the canopy.The variability in reflectance of the spectral bands in a satellite image can be used to distinguish among ecosystems and land cover types. Image credit: educationally.narod.ruPettorelli told Mongabay-Wildtech that her team plans to incorporate fusion techniques into projects mapping peatlands in Indonesia and various habitats in West Africa’s W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) transboundary protected area.“Our aim is to start answering some of the issues we mention in the paper, using these case studies,” she said. “This means trying all different types of fusion techniques and comparing their efficiency in these particular contexts.”Data fusion may enhance the mapping of threats, such as deforestation. The authors propose that adding radar data, which can penetrate clouds, may help speed the time needed to detect forest clearing in regions with heavy cloud cover, enabling more timely responses on the ground. The recent addition of radar data to Brazil’s monthly Amazon deforestation monitoring, for example, suggests that prior deforestation rates were likely underestimates.Large-scale data on vegetation structure would better enable assessments of forest degradation, the loss of vegetation under the canopy that is difficult to identify using spectral imagery alone. Mapping invasive plant species, which may differ from the native species in leaf chemistry (which affects spectral reflectance) and/or growth patterns (which affects radar backscatter), would also benefit from combining these data types.Data fusion techniques We can combine these two types of information using software for integrating or fusing the data, which lead author Henrike Schulte to Bühne describes in a refreshingly easy-to-understand video:Data integration, which the authors also call decision-level fusion, simply uses the two images as separate variables to classify land cover types or predict a parameter of interest, such as the presence of a species or habitat, or to assess woody biomass across a landscape.Object-level fusion extracts vector objects, such as lines or shapes, from pixel-based imagery by clustering adjacent pixels with similar signals into objects and combining them with clusters of pixels with similar values from the second image.The resulting feature map contains objects that relate to ecological features on the ground. Thus, clusters of pixels from both image types with values that together indicate old-growth forest can then be labeled as old-growth forest polygons, and linear clusters of pixels from both image types with values that together indicate water would be combined as rivers.Image, or pixel-level fusion combines the pixel values in the two images to create a single new image with all-new pixel values. Each pixel retains its unique spectral and radar signal values (and is not clustered into objects, as with object-level fusion) so may be better suited for mapping variables that vary at fine spatial scales, such as different successional stages or soil types within a forest category.This method speeds analysis by reducing the amount of data that needs processing, but the new blended variables may be more difficult to interpret than the original measures of reflectance or structure.Several of the algorithms allow the user to combine images with different spatial resolutions and can help “refine” a lower-resolution image without losing its original value.An overview of multispectral-radar SRS data fusion techniques– pixel-level, object-level, and decision-level fusion– to predict either a categorical variable, like land cover, or a continuous variable, like species richness. Image credit: Schulte to Bühne & Pettorelli (2018).Challenges facing adoption of data fusion techniquesOpen-source modeling software that can combine these data already exists, and the increasing availability of global-scale data at minimal cost has increased access to users beyond remote sensing specialists. Nevertheless, some experience working with spatial data would be helpful for most of these methods.Many ecologists are unfamiliar with remote sensing data, especially radar data. Sourcing, pre-processing, and interpreting the data take some expertise and hardware capacity, though cloud computing may help reduce this barrier.In addition, not all studies reviewed in the paper compare the mapping accuracy achieved after data fusion to that achieved by using a single type of sensor, so it remains unclear what the added value of data fusion was in these cases. Better understanding of the contexts in which data fusion adds value will help to broaden its use.The authors recommend that the ecology and remote sensing communities collaborate to identify where and how to cost-effectively apply the growing availability of satellite data to addressing the challenges of monitoring biodiversity.“Collaboration between these communities could be particularly beneficial when set around a project in biodiversity-rich countries, where information can be sparse,” said Pettorelli. “How is the difficult question, as it requires finding long-term solutions to boost interdisciplinary work.” ReferenceSchulte to Bühne, H., & Pettorelli, N. Better together: Integrating and fusing multispectral and radar satellite imagery to inform biodiversity monitoring, ecological research and conservation science. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12942 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

New sloth book features amazing photographs and busts myths [PHOTOS]

first_imgSloths have gained in popularity in recent years but some misconceptions about them remain, such as their being ‘lazy,’ which is not true. Rather, it’s increasingly clear that sloths are quite active and incredibly stealthy.A new book by an award-winning wildlife photographer and a world expert on sloths aims to raise awareness of facts like this, and raise funds for their conservation.Sloths in fact sleep just 8-10 hours a day, and are otherwise quite active. And when they swim, they can move quite quickly.Mongabay interviewed the authors and shares here several of the stunning images printed in the book. Photographer Suzi Eszterhas was working on a story in Costa Rica when she met sloth researcher Dr. Rebecca Cliffe for the first time. The pair spent weeks in the field together, as she says below, following a mother three-toed sloth and her tiny baby. Some days the pair spent hours lying on the forest floor, just staring up at the mother sloth, “hundreds of feet up in a tree. But other days she came down low to feed, and even crawled across the forest floor in front of us…presenting the most incredible photo opportunities.”Incredible images were indeed the result. Another outcome was that during all that time spent sloth-watching, the photographer and sloth expert decided to publish a book meant to raise awareness and support for the species’ conservation. The result is a fantastic new book, “Sloths: Life in the slow lane,” and the pair discussed it with Mongabay recently.Brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus) newborn (less than 1 week old) clinging to mother, Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica. Twig in background digitally removed. Photo by Suzi Eszterhas.INTERVIEW WITH REBECCA CLIFFE AND SUZI ESZTERHASErik Hoffner for Mongabay: Why do we all seem to love sloths? Rebecca Cliffe: Sloths are evolutionary oddballs. We are often led to believe that the most successful animals are those which are the fiercest, fastest or the most intelligent, yet [sloths] have managed to hang around for over 64 million years, making them one of the most ancient species of mammals, by basically doing nothing. As adults, the slow movement and eccentric biology combined with a permanent, enigmatic smile make them intriguingly weird, while baby sloths are cute enough to melt even the coldest of hearts. I think it is this combination of strange and adorable that has resulted in the soaring global popularity of sloths.In terms of conservation, however, increased popularity does not equal increased protection. Sloths are being poached for tourist photo opportunities (‘sloth selfies’) and for the pet trade in massive numbers, and the rainforest is being degraded as more people travel to countries that [have] sloths. With only one baby every 4 years, and a 60% mortality rate in infant sloths, a slow rate of reproduction means that populations are now in rapid decline. This has a knock-on effect for the entire rainforest ecosystem, as sloths are key recyclers of nutrients, and represent a main prey species for many birds of prey (including the harpy eagle) and big cats (jaguars, ocelots and margays). If you take sloths out of the rainforest, everything else suffers as a consequence.Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni). Photo by Suzi Eszterhas.Mongabay: Sloth species range in conservation status from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ and even ‘of least concern’ in some cases. Do you have a favorite species, and what’s its status?Rebecca Cliffe: I am fascinated by all sloths, but as a biologist I think my preference probably lies with the Bradypus family. This group takes the sloth lifestyle to the extreme a little more – they have a slower metabolism, slower rate of digestion, slower movement, more specific diet, and they are still very poorly understood, as they do not survive well in captivity. Within this family I have worked mostly with the brown-throated sloths that are currently listed as ‘least concern,’ however I believe this is likely due to a lack of population data. There are no accurate population estimates for sloths as they are so difficult to observe in the wild, but based on numbers being admitted to rescue centers, populations are almost certainly in decline.Suzi Eszterhas: Definitely the Bradypus family for me too. As a photographer, I find their perma-grin look particularly endearing. They are also easier to photograph than their more nocturnal two-fingered cousins. As far as a specific species in the Bradypus family, I can’t pick one. They are all absolutely charming!Male brown-throated three-toed sloth, (Bradypus variegatus), Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica (captive: rescued and in rehabilitation program). Photo by Suzi Eszterhas.Mongabay: How did a sloth expert and a renowned wildlife photographer come together for this book project?Suzi Eszterhas: I first met Rebecca while working on a sloth story in Costa Rica. She was working on her PhD at the time and we spent weeks in the field together, following a mother three-toed sloth and her tiny, two-week-old baby. Some days we spent hours lying on the forest floor, staring up at a small patch of the mother’s fur, barely visible, hundreds of feet up in a tree. But other days she came down low to feed, and even crawled across the forest floor in front of us, with her tiny baby clinging to her chest – presenting the most incredible photo opportunities.During our days slogging through the jungle and laying on that muddy forest floor, Rebecca regaled me with fascinating information about the life of these mysterious animals. Her passion for sloths was contagious. And her quirky, hilarious personality was incredibly entertaining. We quickly became friends and hatched a plan to photograph sloths throughout Central and South America.Mongabay: The book is packed with great images of sloths and also shares new science. Can you talk about something Mongabay readers may not yet know about sloth behavior or ecology that’s in there?Rebecca Cliffe: The main message I wanted to get across with this book is to dispel the long-held notion that sloths are simple, lazy creatures that do little other than sleep all day. As we learn more about these animals through research, it is becoming apparent that their slow movement is in fact a deliberate and incredibly successful survival strategy. Rather than lazy, sloths are incredibly stealthy – so stealthy that they have fooled even the most eagle-eyed scientists for many decades. Throughout the book we explore this theory and present a new view of sloths that might be surprising to a lot of people.Rebecca Cliffe measuring the arm of adult male brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary, Costa Rica. Photo by Suzi Eszterhas.Mongabay: OK, so ‘slothful’ is a misnomer, and rather than being lazy, sloths keep to a slow pace for strategic reasons. And while individuals in captivity may sleep most of the day, in nature, aren’t they much more active? Rebecca Cliffe: Sloths in nature aren’t lazy at all, but they are certainly slow. While they only sleep between 8 to 10 hours per day – and I know many humans who sleep more than that – they move slowly for the rest of the time and split activity randomly throughout the day and night. All of this works as a survival strategy, as their predators do not identify slow moving things, and cannot predict at what time of day the sloths will be vulnerable. The only time sloths do manage to pick up a bit of speed – other than when they fall out of a tree – which happens an astonishing amount – is when they find themselves in water. This can be to cross a river or – in the case of the pygmy sloths – when they need to swim through the ocean that surrounds their island home. Sloths are entirely buoyant thanks to their oversized, gassy stomachs, and so a sloth in water can float along three times faster than it can move on the ground!Mongabay: So Suzi, how did you manage to get the incredible images of sloths swimming?Suzi Eszterhas: It took five days for me to get this shot. And yes, I did take it underwater by swimming with the sloth. There are a few wildlife experiences in my life that stand above the rest, and this is definitely one of them. Swimming with this sloth was a magical, intimate encounter that rivals experiences I have had sitting with mountain gorillas and floating with humpback whales. This career is a great privilege.Pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) swimming among mangrove forest, Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama. Photo by Suzi Eszterhas.Mongabay: What are the main conservation challenges faced by sloths?Rebecca Cliffe: Sloths are the ultimate creatures of habit, which means that they cannot adapt to the quickly changing modern world. They are not physically able to jump across gaps in the canopy as a monkey might, so they heavily depend on continuous rainforest in order to move from tree to tree. Unfortunately, the sloths’ remaining habitat is becoming more and more disturbed. Roads, farms, towns and cities now dominate the landscape, cutting the once continuous forest into smaller and more isolated segments. This is forcing sloths to descend to the ground where they become incredibly vulnerable. All over Central and South America sloths are being hit by cars, attacked by dogs, electrocuted on power lines, and poached for the pet trade. As if this isn’t enough, they are also now facing the problems of inbreeding as sloth populations are becoming isolated due to habitat fragmentation. The only way forward is to promote education, protect the remaining forest and work to connect the fragmented forests with canopy bridges and natural corridors.Four-month-old pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus), Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama. Photo by Suzi Eszterhas.Mongabay: What do you hope the book will achieve and change in the world? Suzi Eszterhas: As the photographer, it is my hope that the images in this book will give people a glimpse into the life of these incredibly mysterious creatures. I hope that by seeing their beauty and vulnerability, readers will feel compelled to do something to help protect sloths from deforestation and other threats they face. The Sloth Conservation Foundation is the world’s only organization with the mission to conserve sloths in the wild and I am immensely proud that our book is helping to raise funds for their programs.Rebecca Cliffe: I hope this book will help to change the perception of sloths away from the lazy stereotype that they have been plagued with for centuries. To instill a sense of admiration and intrigue about these animals is the only way that people will feel inspired to join us in the battle to save the worlds slowest mammal! Proceeds from the sale of this book are going directly towards supporting the work of the Sloth Conservation Foundation, a registered non-profit organization that is working to protect sloths in the wild. More information about our sloth conservation efforts and ways in which you can get involved can be found on our website, slothconservation.com.Dr. Rebecca Cliffe is a British zoologist, a leading authority on sloths, and the founder and executive director of the Sloth Conservation Foundation. Suzi Eszterhas is an award-winning wildlife photographer best known for her work documenting newborn animals and family life in the wild.  Her photographs have been published in over 100 magazine cover and feature stories. Suzi has sixteen books in print with another four in progress. Biodiversity, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Illegal Trade, Interviews, Photography, Rainforests, Sloths, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking 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 Article published by Erik Hoffnerlast_img read more