Meet the activists risking life and limb to protect rivers (commentary)

first_imgHailing from countries as diverse as Chile, Congo, Albania, Mongolia, China, Thailand, and Colombia, the activists had been invited to Georgia because the former Soviet Republic is in the grip of a dam-building boom.During one plenary session, a newly-minted Georgian activist shouted, “I’m just a grape farmer. I don’t know how to stop these projects. We need your help.”For these activists — and the other 85 participants from over 35 countries — the River Gathering in March was just the beginning.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. In late March of this year, an unusual group of activists gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia for a four-day conference to strategize around stopping destructive hydropower projects across the globe.Hailing from countries as diverse as Chile, Congo, Albania, Mongolia, China, Thailand, and Colombia, they had been invited to Georgia because the former Soviet Republic is in the grip of a dam-building boom. Citizens there have been frustrated and overwhelmed by the hydropower onslaught, and are seeking international support for their struggle. During one plenary session, a newly-minted Georgian activist shouted, “I’m just a grape farmer. I don’t know how to stop these projects. We need your help.”The participants also shared ongoing experiences with harassment and intimidation for their opposition to destructive hydropower projects. Meet four activists who are risking life and limb to keep rivers free.Jiten YumnamJiten Yumnam. Photo by David Gordon/International Rivers.When Indian police commandos showed up on Jiten Yumnam’s doorstep in October 2013, it was frightening – but it wasn’t a surprise. He’d had his first run-in with the authorities back in 2009, when he was arrested, tortured with electric shocks, and detained for four months.His crime? He’d been an outspoken critic of flagrant human rights violations around development, especially hydropower development, in his home state of Manipur in Northeast India.Back in the 1980s and ‘90s, Manipur, with the Indian government, initiated an aggressive program of dam-building on the state’s rivers. Locals initially welcomed the attention, and were eager for the promised economic development.But the honeymoon period didn’t last long. “Most of these dams have created a lot of suffering and hardship for communities,” says Yumnam. Instead of providing water for irrigation, the Ithai Barrage, for instance, drowned over 50,000 acres of prime agricultural land, grazing grounds, and forests. Villagers rely heavily on their rivers and forests for collecting seasonal food, fishing, and agriculture; the economic losses for these families have been enormous.In the Mapithel Valley, villagers have watched helplessly as a reservoir’s rising waters consumed their agricultural land, forests, community halls, houses, churches, and school buildings. The experience galvanized their resistance.The developers — National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, Irrigation and Flood Control Project — have been largely unaccountable for the problems they’ve caused, says Yumnam. He’s now working to stop new dams proposed for the Barak River, as well as ongoing development on the Mapithel. He’s even working to decommission some dams.“We feel ultimately that this development process happening in Manipur is no longer democratic. It’s no longer helping the community. And when it comes to the benefit of these dams, most of the power goes to the company first… the people are not getting access to electricity.”“Why should we build dams that don’t perform, and which destroy people’s lands and forests?” he says.“Our job is to let the river flow free. We will not allow these dams to come up. We don’t want our forests to be destroyed. We don’t want our children and our old people to suffer.”Saw John BrightJohn Bright. Photo by David Gordon/International Rivers.When activist John Bright describes life on Myanmar’s Salween River, his eyes light up.He talks of spending idyllic weeks on islands in the river, living solely off fish he’s caught and food gathered on the island. His principal activities? Swimming and singing. “It’s like a vacation,” he laughs.It’s no surprise. The Salween — one of Southeast Asia’s last major undammed rivers — is a hotbed of biodiversity and home to many of the country’s ethnic minorities. It’s also ground zero for the Myanmar government’s decades-long conflict with the ethnic Karen people, a standoff that dates back to the end of the Second World War. (One publication called it “the longest-running civil war you’ve never heard of.”)Over a million people have been displaced during the conflict, and the area is heavily militarized. Now, five major hydropower projects are proposed for the river — right in the middle of the conflict zone.Building these dam projects gives Myanmar further excuse to militarize the region, says Bright, who’s coordinator of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN). “They are using the dam projects to destroy the ethnic nationalities.”KESAN is fighting to stop the projects. In many countries, says Bright, these dams wouldn’t be built — they’re too costly and damaging, and will deliver few benefits to local people. But Myanmar offers ideal conditions for this type of development. “To stay in business,” wrote Bright a few years ago, “the dam-building industry needs countries with weak governance like Burma/Myanmar” so these corrupt, capital-intensive projects can get greenlighted.But for Bright, the region around Myanmar’s Salween River is more than a conflict zone – it’s also home. So he’s working to establish a peace park along the Salween to put an end to development projects that drive or exacerbate local conflicts. A combination of local and international support, he says, is key: “Once you have local pressure and international pressure, then the people you are fighting against will have to listen to you.”The conflict has personal repercussions, too. “We are also facing a risky situation, risky to our personal security,” he says. “But we have to deal with this. We can’t stop.”Sani AyoubaSani Ayouba. Photo by David Gordon/International Rivers.Ask Sani Ayouba what it looks like when people are resettled to make way for a hydropower project, and his answer isn’t pretty.The activist from Niger has firsthand experience with resettlement: From 2012 to 2016, he watched as more than 5,000 people were displaced to make way for Kandadji Dam, a project proposed for the Niger River not far from Niger’s capital city of Niamey.“This first phase of resettlement has faced many problems,” says Ayouba. The resettled families, he says, have no access to water. “You can imagine what life is like without water. They can’t do anything.”Women walk for days to gather drinking water from distant villages, he says, and agriculture is impossible. Villagers who used to fish and farm along the riverbank have lost all means of making a living.As riparian communities, they never had to pay for water access before. “But now they’re supposed to pay for water,” says Ayouba, “and this is a new thing for them.”Niger ranks as one of the least-developed nations on earth, according to the UN. Drought, food security issues, and widespread poverty plague the desert nation, and activists frequently face jail time for their activities.The World Bank and others have held out the Kandadji Dam as a possible solution to Niger’s problems. If dam construction begins, it will oblige more than 14,000 communities — up to 50,000 people — to leave their homes.“We’re trying to organize them [affected people] and let them know their rights, and to get them involved in the process according to public participation principles, so they can enjoy their rights and improve their lives.” Ayouba says the community isn’t against the dam, but doesn’t want it to go forward at their expense.This first group accepted resettlement, Ayouba says, because they wanted their lives to be improved. “But if they don’t see anything from this, this is a problem.”The dams, he says, have also frayed the cultural fabric of the resettled communities. “You can’t leave your land and the history you have. These people are leaving the place where their grandfathers were born.”Dato ChipashviliDato Chipashvili. Photo by David Gordon/International Rivers.Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia share a tense relationship. For a Georgian, there’s no more severe attack on one’s character than being labeled a Russian government operative.But when national news programs accused Georgian activist Dato Chipashvili and his organization, Green Alternative, of working for their Russian neighbors to the north, his first thoughts were not for himself. “I was mostly concerned for my parents. It was a difficult time for them. It was a humiliating experience.” The news programs suggested Dato was a Russian operative fighting economic development in his own country.For years, Dato and Green Alternative have rallied against the government’s drive to turn tiny Georgia into a huge exporter of hydropower. Nearly 85 percent of the country’s energy comes from hydropower, and it has the potential to produce for export more than ten times as much as it currently uses.But the haphazard development of the sector is proceeding without any national energy strategy, resulting in dire consequences for the biodiversity and people of Georgia, particularly in the country’s northwest, which is home to rich mountain ecosystems and the culturally unique ethnic Svan population.The slander campaign was just one of the many tactics used by proponents of dams to discredit the work of Green Alternative. (It didn’t work — Green Alternative brought a lawsuit on charges of libel, forcing the ministry’s hand to discontinue the allegations.) But while the intimidation and threats continue for those who stand in the way of hydropower, once again Dato is not concerned for himself.“I can handle these attacks,” Dato explains. “I am concerned about the Svan people and the threats that they face, because their way of life will be lost to make way for the dams.”Macarena SolerMacarena Soler. Photo by David Gordon/International RiversChilean lawyer Macarena Soler deplores the violence and intolerance against activists and people who are simply defending their rivers and their own way of life. Soler grew up under the military dictatorship in Chile, and she knows the risks of this activism well.At the same time, she says, all this pain should not “obscure our souls.” She believes in meeting these challenges with a sense of humor and a certain Latin American joie de vivre. “Our cause is not only to protect nature, it’s also to build a world of greater happiness, peace, generosity, health, and quality of life.”For herself, she’s decided that these risks are worth the fight because of what’s at stake. Soler works principally on rivers in Patagonia — Baker, Cuervo, Puelo, Nuble, Maipo. She aims to “defend our local culture, our native people and keep nature virgin, pristine and untouched,” she says. “These are the last refuges for flora, fauna, and nature.”Though she does have expertise in the problems with destructive dams, Soler says that’s not enough to win the fight. Arguments are important, but “[w]e must know what we’re defending,” she says. In order to combat dams, “you must have a profound conviction and love for the land. And to love it, you must know it.” Soler says that all human beings have a deep link to their place of birth, to the place where their families and ancestors come from. “And this is our strength.”Soler was part of the winning campaign to stop HidroAysen, a series of dams proposed for pristine Patagonian rivers. Now she’s working towards permanent protection for some of these rivers.Though the work is hard, she doesn’t lose hope. She sees her work, in part, as envisioning the future she wants to see: “Stopping dams is a massive endeavor. It’s a way of showing the world that a dream of beauty, happiness, solidarity, compassion with other living beings on Earth is possible.”For these activists — and the other 85 participants from over 35 countries — the River Gathering in March was just the beginning. The group is now strategizing on ways to share information, create joint strategies, and support each other’s work. Despite language and cultural differences, their goal is the same — to protect communities from large dams that threaten their homes, their livelihoods, and the rivers they depend on.Rainforest river in Indonesia. Photo by Rhett Butler.Sarah Bardeen is communications director for International Rivers. David Hoffman is media director for CEE Bankwatch.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 Mike Gaworecki Activism, Commentary, Dams, Editorials, Energy, Environment, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Infrastructure, Rivers 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

Ring-tailed lemurs down by 95 percent? Maybe not.

first_imgEditor’s note 6/24/17: Lisa Gould, Michelle Sauther, and Marni LaFleur wrote to Mongabay in response to this story. You can read their comments here. Two studies published this winter claim that Madagascar’s iconic ring-tailed lemur has suffered a 95 percent decline in its population and that only some 2,400 animals remain alive.A new paper published in the International Journal of Primatology claims those studies exaggerate the severity of ring-tailed lemur declines.It contends that the other papers have methodological problems, including misinterpretation of existing literature, incomplete sampling of lemur populations, and restricted geographic coverage. Conservationists are struggling to determine the status of Madagascar’s most iconic primate. A series of recent studies warning of sharp ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) declines stirred up a scientific debate over just how close to extinction the species really is. According to a paper published last month in the International Journal of Primatology, recent population estimates exaggerate the severity of ring-tailed lemur declines.The new paper offers a rebuttal to two recent reports among several that outlined stark population declines for the famous lemur. Various news outlets, including Mongabay, covered the studies.“[B]oth studies have likely severely underestimated the size of the extant ring-tailed lemur population because of a range of methodological problems,” the authors write, claiming that they suffer from misinterpretation of existing literature, incomplete sampling of lemur populations, and restricted geographic coverage.Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, the species is increasingly threatened by habitat destruction, illegal hunting, and illegal capture for the pet trade, among other factors.Ring-tailed lemur. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.For one of the studies, published last December in the journal Primate Conservation, researchers collected population information, from their own surveys and existing scientific literature, on 34 sites across the ring-tailed lemurs’ range. The authors conclude that only 2,000 to 2,400 of the animals remain in the wild.In the other study, published in the journal Folia Primatologica in January, a separate team of researchers using similar methods collected population estimates from 32 sites across the ring-tailed lemurs’ range. The authors warn of a 95 percent population decline since the year 2000, and estimate that only 2,220 individuals remain at the sites surveyed in their study.Both studies were disconcerting to conservationists because ring-tailed lemurs are known for their resiliency and adaptability.So how many ring-tailed lemurs are actually left in the wild? The authors of the new rebuttal paper agree that there is ample evidence pointing to ring-tailed lemur population declines and local extinctions in recent decades. However, they firmly disagree with the notion that the species is on the verge of extinction.“I agree that ring-tailed lemurs have faced overall population declines, just like many species in Madagascar have in the past few decades. But I don’t believe it is a ‘95% decline’,” lead author Asia Murphy, a PhD candidate in ecology at Pennsylvania State University, told Mongabay in an email.Barry Ferguson, one of Murphy’s co-authors and an ecologist at Madagascar’s School of International Training, agreed that some population declines were likely. “Habitat clearance and degradation are evident causes. However, Lemur catta is extremely flexible, and in many cases lives in and very near human settlements, and feeds outside natural forests,” he told Mongabay.Ring-tailed lemur standing on its hind legs. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Among a series of specific critiques, the rebuttal paper contends that both studies showing stark ring-tailed lemur declines inaccurately used limited data from previous research to make broad assumptions about large reserves and protected areas. In Tsimanampesotse National Park in Madagascar’s southeast, for example, Murphy pointed out that the authors of the Folia Primatologica paper used surveys from just two locations to represent the entire 2,000-square-kilometer (772-square-mile) reserve.That study’s lead author, Marni LaFleur, a biological anthropologist at University of California San Diego and founder of the non-profit Lemur Love, defended her findings. “Our methods were clear and we repeatedly identify the possibility of both overestimates and underestimates,” LaFleur told Mongabay.Another critique in the rebuttal paper is that the sites the two studies focus on “form an incomplete and potentially unrepresentative sample of known ring-tailed lemur populations.” For instance, it points out that the studies either did not account for at least 45 locations where ring-tailed lemurs have been observed in recent decades or wrongly included the locations as no longer having lemurs. This made both the geographic range and the total population of the species appear smaller than they really are, according to the paper.The criticism came as somewhat of a surprise to the Primate Conservation paper’s authors. Lisa Gould, a primatologist at the University of Victoria, and Michelle Sauther, a biological anthropologist the University of Colorado, Boulder, have been studying ring-tailed lemurs since the 1980s.In an email to Mongabay they explained that their dataset was limited to recent surveys conducted between 2000 and 2016, primarily because of the volatile situation plaguing wildlife in Madagascar. They acknowledged that precise population estimates would require accurate, current survey data, but argued that Murphy and her colleagues failed to present any convincing evidence to the contrary.“[T]hey provide no actual population data in the table of 45 additional sites,” Gould and Sauther told Mongabay. “Their argument lacks the very aspect for which they criticize us — they provide no robust density estimates nor rigorous census methods.”Gould and Sauther went on to contend that the rebuttal paper does not acknowledge the rapid loss of habitat occurring in Madagascar, even in areas once considered protected. They also noted that cultural taboos — known in Madagascar as fady — that once protected lemurs from illegal hunting have begun to erode with the influx of outsiders.Family of ring-tailed lemurs. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Researchers from both sides of the debate agreed that a more complete estimate of ring-tailed lemur populations is needed.Ferguson, co-author of the rebuttal paper, dismissed the possibility of scientists conducting traditional walking surveys. He argued that the remoteness and size of ring-tailed lemur habitat, coupled with the difficulty of detecting them given their speed and camouflaging coloration, make this method impractical. Instead he said the solution would involve working with on-the-ground conservation organizations to survey local people who know where the lemurs live.“I am not an advocate of spending loads of money on scientists doing transect walks in ‘new forests’ to work out the population status. I would advocate for a bottom up approach, drawing off local knowledge and on the ground conservationists,” he said.For their part, Gould and Sauther said they have been considering deploying conservation drones to collect data on ring-tailed lemur populations in hard to reach areas of the species’ range.Some of the researchers on both sides of the ring-tailed lemur population question also agreed that it’s time to act to protect the species.“When entire populations are disappearing from both protected and unprotected areas, conservation action is needed,” LaFleur said.Yet even there, a difference of opinion emerged, with Ferguson arguing that more imperiled lemur species, such as the critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) or the critically endangered sportive lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis), should take conservation priority.“[Q]uite frankly with limited conservation funds available, I would personally allocate zero ‘lemur conservation money’ to Lemur catta right now, and focus on the species which are actually about to go extinct,” Ferguson said.CitationsGould, L., & Sauther, M.L. (2016). Going, going, gone…Is the iconic ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) headed for imminent extirpation? Primate Conservation, 30:89–101.LaFleur, T.M., Clarke, T.A., Rueter, K., & Schaeffer, T. (2017). Rapid decrease in populations of wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in Madagascar. Folia Primatologica. 87(5): 320-330.Murphy, A.J., Ferguson, B., & Gardner, C.J. (2017). Recent Estimates of Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Population Declines are Methodologically Flawed and Misleading. International Journal of Primatology. doi:10.1007/s10764-017-9967-8 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 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.Ring-tailed lemur. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.center_img Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Ecosystems, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Forest Fragmentation, Forests, Habitat, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Hunting, Illegal Trade, Lemurs, Primates, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade Article published by Rebecca Kesslerlast_img read more

Muskox and other Arctic mammals are feeling the heat of climate change

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Climate, Climate Change, Climate Change And Biodiversity, Climate Change And Conservation, Climate Change And Extinction, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Conservation, Ecology, Ecosystems, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Extreme Weather, Forgotten Species, Global Warming, Green, Habitat, Habitat Degradation, Hurricanes, Impact Of Climate Change, Mammals, Mass Extinction, Research, Storms, Weather, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Past studies have looked at Arctic climate change impacts on wildlife primarily among marine animals and with polar bears, but there is little data on most terrestrial mammals.Now, As part of a broader attempt to develop an ecological baseline for Arctic wildlife, researchers have focused on muskoxen, the least studied mammal in North America.According to a new study, increasingly common extreme weather events – such as rain-on-snow and extremely dry winter conditions occurring in Russia and Alaska during muskox gestation – result in smaller head size among muskox young. Smaller animals generally have poor survivorship rates.Scientists say that, with the Arctic warming twice as fast as the world average, new studies are urgently needed on cold climate mammals including muskoxen, reindeer and caribou, to determine how rapidly escalating climate change up North is impacting wildlife, habitats and ecosystems. Muskoxen take up a defense position. These large mammals are well suited to protecting themselves against Arctic extremes, but they may not be so well equipped to handle the rigors of climate change. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyIn Greenland’s Arctic, the Inuit have a word to describe a bizarre, natural phenomenon that occurs within the frozen landscape: Sassat, which translates as “concentrated animals offered as food.” This word has historically encompassed a range of scenarios, including the spectacular sea ice entrapment of 150 narwhals, 170 belugas and uncounted sea otters in southern Berinigia across the historical record.Increasingly, though, sassats aren’t limited to marine mammals. A Chukchi Sea winter tsunami in 2011, for example, entombed 52 wooly muskox and killed them. The effects of a changing ocean/climate are coming ashore in the Arctic.Once rare extreme weather events like rain-on-snow, ice tidal surges, and severely fluctuating winter precipitation have become characteristic of the new Arctic, and scientists want to know exactly how these weather and climate patterns are impacting the region’s animal populations.Mother and newborn muskox, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Alaska. Scientists have found that increasingly common extreme weather events, such as rain-on-snow and extremely dry winter conditions occurring in Russia and Alaska during muskox gestation, result in smaller head size among muskoxen young, with smaller animals having poor survivorship rates. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyA yearling on the run, Igichuk Hills, Alaska. The muskox is the least studied mammal in North America. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyScientists Joel Berger (left) and Freddy Goodhope Jr. (right), Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska. Photo by Ellen ChengAs part of a broader attempt to develop an ecological baseline for Arctic wildlife, researchers have recently focused on muskox, the least studied mammal in North America. “Across a range of species, we’re seeing direct and indirect effects of warming which affect a lot of different parameters of animals’ biology,” said Joel Berger, a senior scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society.In a recent study presented in Scientific Reports, Berger and his co-authors found that the head size of juvenile muskox in Russia and Alaska was smaller, and negatively impacted after extremely dry winter conditions and rain-on-snow events during gestation.The likely cause: warming temperatures have altered air velocity and how long sea ice stays in the Arctic, which in turn has modified oceans currents and the timing and intensity of precipitation. More rain is now reaching some inland areas than snow in the winter months. If temperatures drop below freezing, the ground can ice over, requiring muskox to exert more energy to access food. Conversely, rain without freezing temperatures can make it easier for the animals to reach plants by reducing the snowpack. But without insulation, plant productivity can decline during the next growing season. If mothers are unable to meet the nutritional needs of their gestating babies, muskox young will suffer the consequences.Over seven years, researchers examined the head size of muskox at three different study sites in the Russian and Alaskan Arctic using telephoto lenses and rangefinders. Marci Johnson, then a biologist with the U.S. National Park Service based in Kotzebue, Alaksa, assisted with radio tracking collared animals, while other research parties traveled by snowmachine for hundreds of miles across drifted snow. “Sometimes it would take them a day to travel between two groups of muskoxen,” Johnson said, describing the difficulties of doing such a study.Ultimately, the researchers found that the smallest one- to two-year-old muskox in the dataset occurred after the winter of 2007-2008 when no precipitation occurred between October and April. The largest head sizes followed the wettest winter in their data. (On the Tibetan Plateau, endangered wild yaks, a family relative of muskox, have been shown to have less lactation when snow is scarce.) For three-year-old muskox, the largest animals were those that experienced no rain-on-snow events during gestation.The East Asian sector of Bergingia on Wrangell Island experienced two times more frequent rain-on-snow events, colder temperatures and shorter growing seasons than conditions at Alaskan study sites. As a result, Wrangell Island muskox were smaller than their Alaskan relatives.A newborn muskox. Researchers have determined that certain extreme weather events, now more common due to climate change, are causing smaller head size in muskox young. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyA pair of two-year-old muskoxen. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society“The broader issue dealing with juvenile sizes is that smaller animals have poor survivorship,” says Berger. “We know that [to be true] for a wide range of species. For muskox, we’re using head size as an index to understand questions about population health and population trajectories.”Because so little baseline data exists on muskox, it’s unknown how smaller muskox, or fewer muskox, could be affecting their surrounding habitat and ecosystem; what plants, birds, and other mammals could be impacted. Importantly, what this and other research shows, is that polar bears are no longer the only terrestrial mammals feeling the heat in the Arctic.In coming years, scientists hope to expand their knowledge of how climate change impacts terrestrial mammals throughout the Arctic. Several recent studies have, for example, examined the impact of icing on reindeer and caribou herds there. It’s long been believed that the periodic icing of reindeer and caribou winter ranges is a cause of mass starvation, extirpation of local populations, and catastrophic declines in numbers. But a 2016 study found that there are few datasets showing hard snow or ice present on ranges where populations declined in the winter. Rather, climatic conditions associated with more snow or winter warming were found to increase animal abundance in established populations.Berger and other scientists agree that – with the Arctic warming twice as fast as the world average – deeper research into impacts on Arctic mammals and ecosystems is urgently needed.Muskoxen, raindeer, caribou and other Arctic mammals are likely all being stressed by climate change, but more Arctic research is required to determine specific stressors, their processes and impacts. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyCitations:Berger, J. et al. Climate Degradation and Extreme Icing Events Constrain Life in Cold-Adapted Mammals. (2018) Scientific Reports. 8. Article 1156Tyler, N. J. C. Climate, snow, ice, crashes, and declines in populations of reindeer and caribou (Rangifer tarandus L.) (2010). Ecol. Monogr. 80, 197–219FEEDBACK: 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.Muskoxen eyeball nearby researchers. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyResearcher Freddy Goodhope Jr. with maps. Arctic research is made difficult by challenging terrain and formidable winter weather. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyAdult male muskoxen on Wrangel Island, Chukotka, Russia. Photo by Sergei AbarokThe remote mountainous habitat of the Arctic muskox in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation SocietyA group of muskoxen on Wrangel Island, Chukotka, Russia. Over a period of seven years, researchers examined the head size of muskox at three different study sites in the Russian and Alaskan Arctic using telephoto lenses and rangefinders. Photo by Sergei AbarokAdult female muskox at Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska. Photo by Joel Berger courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society 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

Environmental reporting in Vietnam often a comedy of errors

first_imgEnvironmental Journalism, Forests, Freedom of Information, Illegal Timber Trade, Rainforests, Rosewood, Tropical Forests Article published by Genevieve Belmaker Vietnam’s global press freedom ranking is one of the lowest in the world.Reporters Without Borders ranks Vietnam 175 0f 180 in its 2017 annual press freedom index.Environmental journalists in Vietnam, including citizen journalists and bloggers, routinely face roadblocks and sometimes jail time. HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but reporting on the environment in Vietnam is not an easy task. The one-party state was recently ranked 175 out of 180 in Reporters Without Borders’ 2017 World Press Freedom Index, between Sudan and China.Vietnam’s major newspapers are state-owned, and nearly everything published on paper within the country must go through a censor before it hits the streets. The internet is not restricted in the same way that it is in China, but it is common knowledge that social media networks like Facebook are monitored by government ministries.On the ground, this translates to heavily restricted access for journalists, cagey responses to questions, and absolutely zero interest from anyone involved in the government in talking to the press. Over the last year in particular, numerous citizen journalists have received lengthy prison sentences for writing about corruption and environmental abuses.Since starting as a Vietnam-based correspondent for Mongabay in 2016, I’ve come to rely on NGOs such as the WWF, Forest Trends and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) for access to information and guides when in the field reporting. I quickly learned that emails to government ministries go unread.I’ve gone on four reporting trips in Vietnam for Mongabay; three in the country’s north and one in a national park that is home to several of the world’s largest, most spectacular caves in the central region on the border with Laos. Somewhat surprisingly, given the often suffocating reporting atmosphere here, three out of those four went well, minus a couple of hitches.The main chamber of Hang En, the third-largest cave in the world, located in Phong Nha-Ka Bang National Park. Photo by Michael Tatarski/Mongabay.Power tripsOne trip took me to Cao Bang Province, a poor region in Vietnam’s far north on the border with China. Border regions are particularly sensitive, so I had to send a copy of my passport and visa to the local authorities ahead of time through FFI, as I was reporting on a program they run there.My first day in Cao Bang went off without a hitch, and the local forestry department officers couldn’t have been more helpful or kind. The second day, I was interviewing an older couple in their ramshackle home about a more efficient stove they had received with assistance from FFI.Suddenly, two border police officers barged in without warning.They demanded to know what we were discussing and why I had a camera. An extended conversation ensued between the border officers and my guides, who kept telling me not to worry, but as the discussion went on I became more nervous.If these border guards decided that they didn’t want me there, I would’ve been at their mercy, even though I had received prior approval to be in the area. In the end they simply left. In hindsight the whole encounter was almost comical: two officials on a power trip demanding to know why we were talking about a stove.As if it were some sort of state secret.The most frustrating reporting trip I’ve taken for Mongabay was the most recent, when I went to a small town south of Hanoi called Van Diem. I went there to look into a very reliable tip about an uptick in the import of illegal African timber, much of which is processed for the domestic furniture industry in Van Diem.Huge logs of imported African timber sit on the side of a road in Van Diem, Vietnam. Photo by Michael Tatarski/MongabayIt’s a sensitive issue, so I wasn’t expecting the trip to be a breeze, but I hadn’t foreseen just how ridiculous things would get in the end. Last year, the reporting for a story I did about another wood processing town near Hanoi called Dong Ky went so well that I felt confident this time around.Eyes everywhereI drove down to the town with a Hanoi-based analyst from Forest Trends. That morning, the analyst had called the head of Van Diem, who had promised to show us around and introduce us to timber traders and workshop owners.I was stressed by this, as I prefer to minimize interactions with official oversight, especially when in the field. People on the ground are already often hesitant to talk to a foreign reporter, and with a local leader around there was little chance anyone would be forthcoming. However, I didn’t have a choice.We arrived in Van Diem and repeatedly tried to call the town head, but he didn’t answer. We walked around and talked to some people, but even without a government presence they still weren’t very helpful.An entrance to Hang En the third-largest cave in the world, located in Phong Nha-Ka Bang National Park. Photo by Michael Tatarski/Mongabay.Most professed ignorance regarding where the wood was coming from, or where it was going once they finished working on it. Vietnam does import timber from a number of East African nations – mainly rosewood.Rosewood use and export/import is highly restricted under CITES protections. Yet, the EIA recently released a report on African timber moving into China, some of which also makes its way to Vietnam. It’s described by the EIA as “the world’s most valuable form of wildlife crime.”My tipster told me that Van Diem is one of two towns in the north that work exclusively with African timber.So there I was in Van Diem. Lunchtime arrived, which is when government offices shut down for a full 90 minutes, so we whiled away the time at a simple café on the side of the road. Then we tried the local leader again and this time he answered.However, he was drunk, and had no memory of who we were or why we would be calling him. It was a Saturday, and we learned there were numerous weddings taking place around town. But we were still dumbfounded.A wood workshop in Dong Ky, a town east of Hanoi which processes timber for the domestic and Chinese furniture markets.Photo by Michael Tatarski/Mongabay.We had run out of options for communication, so we simply drove back to Hanoi. As with my experience with the border police in Cao Bang, this interaction would have been quite funny, except for the fact that I had gone all that way for almost nothing. I had spent money and wasted valuable time, which could have been dedicated to other freelance jobs or my work in Ho Chi Minh City.The road aheadGiven some of my experiences, it would be relatively easy for me to decide to stop covering the environment in Vietnam. Every week there is another depressing story in the national news about a beautiful area being trashed in the name of development.So, what is the point?I’m still determined to do my small part by bringing stories, both positive and worrying, to readers. If I can get the attention of someone who can make an important change, then I’ll consider my job done well.Given the prison sentences handed down to Vietnamese journalists and bloggers striving to raise awareness of what is happening to the country’s environment, it is the least I can do.Banner image: A farmer feeds elephant grass to his horses in Cao Bang Province, planted so farmers don’t send their livestock to graze inside a nearby protected forest. Photo by Michael Tatarski/Mongabay.Michael Tatarski is a freelance journalist based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He has covered travel, society, culture, tech and the environment for a variety of publications. Find him on Twitter @miketatarski.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

2018 Tyler Prize awarded to two US-based biological oceanographers

first_imgThe 2018 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement will go to two biological oceanographers based in the United States: Paul Falkowski, a professor of Geological and Marine Science at Rutgers University in the U.S. state of New Jersey; and James J. McCarthy, professor of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University in the state of Massachusetts.Julia Marton-Lefèvre, chair of the Tyler Prize Committee, said that the two scientists were receiving the award in recognition of their pioneering work aimed at understanding and communicating the impacts of human activities on the global climate.“Climate change poses a great challenge to global communities. We are recognizing these two great scientists for their enormous contributions to fighting climate change through increasing our scientific understanding of how Earth’s climate works, as well as bringing together that knowledge for the purpose of policy change,” Marton-Lefèvre said in a statement. It was announced today that the 2018 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement will go to two biological oceanographers based in the United States: Paul Falkowski, a professor of Geological and Marine Science at Rutgers University in the U.S. state of New Jersey; and James J. McCarthy, professor of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University in the state of Massachusetts.Julia Marton-Lefèvre, chair of the Tyler Prize Committee, said that the two scientists were receiving the award in recognition of their pioneering work aimed at understanding and communicating the impacts of human activities on the global climate.“Climate change poses a great challenge to global communities. We are recognizing these two great scientists for their enormous contributions to fighting climate change through increasing our scientific understanding of how Earth’s climate works, as well as bringing together that knowledge for the purpose of policy change,” Marton-Lefèvre said in a statement.“This is a great message for the world today; that U.S. scientists are leading some of the most promising research into Earth’s climate, and helping to turn that knowledge into policy change.”Falkowski has published a number of papers on the role played by microbes in shaping Earth’s global climate cycle. Drawing on the fields of biophysics, evolutionary biology, paleontology, molecular evolution, marine ecology, and biogeochemistry, Falkowski’s work has led to a better understanding of how the global climate has evolved over the history of our planet.Dr. Paul Falkowski of Rutgers University. Photo Credit: Katie Voss.“The main message of my work is that microbes really are the stewards of our planet,” Falkowski told Mongabay. “They made Earth habitable and, thankfully, are extremely robust; they will survive our destructive forces and ultimately help clean up our waste. They are not only intimately critical in greenhouse gas emissions, but also are the major actors in recycling elements across the globe.”Despite the importance of the planet’s smallest lifeforms in making Earth conducive to human survival, Falkowski added, “Humans pay very little attention to microbes, at their peril. The distribution of these organisms across the planet can be impacted by humans, but fortunately virtually all microbes can survive human activities. In the end, microbes will survive long beyond humans, and continue to make Earth habitable for the organisms that will follow.”McCarthy’s own work has focused on how marine nutrient cycles are impacted by human activities and how that, in turn, affects Earth’s climate. He also led the creation of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme, which has made important contributions to the work of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the scientific body at the United Nations that seeks to provide an objective analysis of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of global warming.Dr. James J. McCarthy of Harvard University. Photo Credit: Katie Voss.“Over the course of my career, my study of nutrient cycles has included studies in the Sargasso Sea, the Caribbean Sea, the Black Sea, the tropical Atlantic, and the Gulf Stream,” McCarthy told Mongabay. “For much of the 1980s and 1990s I was involved in a set of studies focused on the regions of the ocean that show strong seasonal cycles in production and are the locations of major fisheries — the Equatorial Pacific, the North Atlantic, and the Arabian Sea. Seasonal climate cycles are a major factor in supplying the nutrients that support this production.”As Earth’s climate continues to heat up, we need to know how fisheries production in the oceans might change, McCarthy argues. But “It is too early to say that we can answer these questions definitively,” he added, “in part because no one knows how seriously society will address measures to slow the rate of greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.”McCarthy himself co-chaired the IPCC in 2001. He also served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 2008 to 2009. His work as a science communicator was one of the reasons the Tyler Prize Committee chose to award McCarthy the 2018 prize.“In the case of climate change, scientists need to appreciate that what we find compelling won’t necessarily be so for a person who isn’t a scientist,” McCarthy said. “Scientists are better communicators when they don’t simply convey facts, but rather explain why they think something is important. This applies especially in the case of climate change. People who aren’t scientists need to realize why we think that this information is important, and for those who agree, it is helpful to see that there are many things that each of us can do to help steer society away from the most damaging of the potential future impacts of a relentless warming.”Both scientists say they are honored by the recognition of their work.“I never expected to be awarded the Tyler Prize,” Falkowski said. “It is an extraordinary honor, and truly humbling to be in the company of so many extraordinary environmental scientists. Obviously, I am extremely proud that my work has been so recognized.”“This is the first time that the Tyler Prize has been awarded to biological oceanographers and I am truly honored to be sharing it with Paul Falkowski,” McCarthy noted. “He and I have known each other for most of our professional careers.”Falkowski and McCarthy will be presented with the Tyler Prize in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 3. Neither has decided what they’ll do with their share of the $200,000 prize money they’ll be splitting equally, but they do have some ideas.“I probably will set up a small fund to help support deserving undergraduate and graduate students to attend scientific meetings,” Falkowski said.“I haven’t had time to think this through,” McCarthy said. “I will certainly use a portion of it to help support science organizations and educational institutions, and probably use some of it to reduce my own carbon footprint.”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 Mike Gaworecki Climate Change, Environment, Global Warming, Oceans, Oceans And Climate Change, Prizes 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

Five years after zero-deforestation vow, little sign of progress from Indonesian pulp giant

first_imgEnvironmental watchdogs have criticized Indonesian paper behemoth Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) for not making good on the zero-deforestation pledge it made five years ago.The NGOs have highlighted several key problems in the implementation of APP’s Forest Conservation Program, including virtually no progress in addressing longstanding land conflicts with local communities, and the glacial pace of peatland restoration.APP has acknowledged some of the shortcomings in the implementation of its pledge, but says many of the outstanding issues and complex and that it remains committed to its goal. JAKARTA — Local and international watchdogs have criticized Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper producer for what they deem a failure to live up to its flagship zero-deforestation policy.The joint statement lambasting Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) comes on the fifth anniversary of the launch of the company’s Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in February 2013, in which it pledged to not destroy natural forests for its pulpwood plantations.According to estimates by Eyes on the Forest, a coalition of environmental NGOs, APP had cleared more than 20,000 square kilometers (7,720 square miles) of natural forest in Indonesia in the three decades to 2010 — an area roughly the size of the U.S. state of New Jersey.Under its FCP pledge, the pulp giant sought to address the criticism by excluding timber sourced from the clearing of peatlands and rainforests. It also vowed to reduce social conflict and seek free, prior informed consent (FPIC) from communities when establishing new plantations. The policy is meant to apply to all APP operations and those of its suppliers.But the recent review by a group of 10 NGOs of how the FCP had been implemented over the past five years concluded that while APP had made some progress, the company still had a long way to go, and highlighted five key issues.The completion of PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mill in South Sumatra — which has greater production capacity than initially advertised — has raised concerns among NGOs whether APP will be able to maintain its zero deforestation commitment. Photo of an acacia plantation in various stages of harvest by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.1. Massive new mill threatens greater deforestationMany of the concerns revolve around APP’s massive new pulp mill in Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) district, in South Sumatra province.Critics say they are worried the mill will boost APP’s appetite for pulpwood, compelling the company to clear more natural forest and peatlands. APP’s overall demand for wood fiber in Sumatra could rise by more than 50 percent once the OKI mill reaches its initial production capacity, stated to be 2 million tons of bleached hardwood kraft (BHK) pulp a year, according to a 2014 analysis by various NGOs.APP says the company could eventually increase the mill’s capacity to 2.8 million tons a year. But a 2017 report in Singapore’s Straits Times found the mill had been approved to produce up to 3.25 million tons of pulp a year, further stoking fears that large-scale deforestation is inevitable.If production capacity rises to APP’s stated figure, the company’s wood demand could increase by nearly 75 percent, according to the NGO report. But if the production capacity hits the higher reported figure, then APP’s demand could increase by 85 percent.The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the country’s biggest green NGO, says there is no way APP’s existing plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, can supply the OKI mill with enough fiber to produce 2.8 million tons of pulp a year.Walhi notes that the government has ordered APP to retire some of its plantations in peat areas for conservation purposes under a new peat protection regulation. The regulation bans all types of commercial plantations in areas with deep peat domes. As compensation, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry will provide non-forested areas for affected companies under a land-swap mechanism.At present, half of APP’s 800,000 hectares of concessions in South Sumatra are in peat areas, according to Hadi Jatmiko, the head of the provincial Walhi chapter.“And when the land-swap policy is enacted, there will be new conflicts in other regions,” he said at a recent press conference in Jakarta. “Because where else do we have mineral soils in Indonesia [suitable for planting]? The land-swap mechanism violates President Joko Widodo’s commitment to solve agrarian conflicts.”Elim Sritaba, the director of sustainability and stakeholder engagement at APP, says that even once the OKI mill is producing at full capacity, the company will not resort to clearing rainforests.“Because of the issue of peatland and forest fires, NGOs always think that we won’t have enough supply [to feed the OKI mill] and accuse us of eventually clearing natural forests,” she told Mongabay in an interview at her office in Jakarta. “But so far, we haven’t done that for the past five years.”And while the OKI mill could eventually produce 2.8 million tons per year, it will need substantial capital investment in machinery to upgrade from the current capacity of 2.5 million tons, Elim said.“We’re committed to our FCP and we’re well aware of the concerns [surrounding the OKI mill],” she said. If supply cannot meet capacity, she said, “then we will lower our production, or import chip.”Another concern highlighted by the NGOs in their five-year review is that APP’s conservation areas continue to be deforested by third parties. Elim acknowledged the problem, calling it APP’s biggest challenge.“That’s what we’re struggling with the most at the moment,” she said. “Our commitment is that after we protect our conservation areas, we have to at least maintain them or even improve them. So if there’s anything degraded, we have to restore them back.”However, Elim said APP had made some progress in tackling illegal logging by third parties, citing a drop in the deforestation rate to less than 1 percent of its conservation areas per year.“But we still want to curb it [further],” she said.Mouley men and a boy brandish their weapons in West Papua. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay2. Lingering land conflictsThe coalition of NGOs have also slammed APP for not working fast enough to resolve outstanding land conflicts with local communities.In 2016, APP said it had resolved 42 percent of the conflicts it had with communities. By the end of 2017, the number was 43 percent. Elim attributed the slow pace of progress to the high complexity of the disputes.“We’re also committed to solving all of our conflicts through deliberation and consensus. And that takes a long time,” she said.In a public statement on its website, APP acknowledged the sluggish progress: “We would agree that we hoped to be further along in resolving conflicts. However we are also committed to resolving conflicts in a lasting way.”The NGOs also criticized the company for not being transparent about the issue, with no information on the number of different conflicts it is dealing with, how many have been resolved, or what kind of resolution process was used.Elim said APP opted not to disclose its data on conflict resolution because of the risk that it might be misused, and thus hamper the resolution process.“They asked us to open [access to] our data, but if we do that then there will be lots of parties involved [in the process] and it’ll be harder to resolve the conflicts,” she said.The NGOs said their monitoring revealed that many communities affected by APP operations in the Sumatran provinces of Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra remained locked in conflict with the company. In cases where an agreement has been reached, some questions remain with regard to the quality and implementation of the agreement, they said.In addition, many communities that lost land, forest and livelihoods to APP’s operations remain unaware the company has made commitments to respect their rights and address their grievances.In response to this criticism and to speed up the conflict-resolution process, Elim said APP had set up working groups in each region in which it had conflicts with local communities, to facilitate discussion for all stakeholders.“We’re opening up the platform for anyone who wants to get involved,” Elim said, adding that this included local communities, NGOs, academics and government representatives. “This has been ongoing for the last six months.”The working groups will focus on those conflicts deemed particularly challenging, which Elim said accounted for roughly 30 percent of the conflicts in which APP is engaged.“There’s a lot of illegal logging, around 80 percent, happening in this 30 percent,” she said.Peat forest cleared for pulp and paper in Riau, Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler3. Lack of progress in restoring degraded peatlandIn 2014, APP publicly announced its commitment restore 10,000 square kilometers (3,860 square miles) of ecosystems in Indonesia, representing an area equivalent to the total plantation area from which it sourced its pulpwood in 2013.But the NGOs say there’s still no robust plan or clear progress to implement this ambitious restoration commitment.APP says it remains committed to restoring peatlands by focusing its initial efforts on mapping its concessions that contain areas of peat. In 2013, it hired Deltares, a Dutch consultancy with expertise in wetlands issues, to map its concessions using the high-resolution laser surveying technique known as lidar.“After the initial result of the mapping came out in 2014, Deltares immediately told us which areas have to be conserved,” Elim said. “So we decided to retire 70 square kilometers [27 square miles] of our concessions in South Sumatra and Riau to save a national park located next to our concessions.”In 2016, Deltares conducted a second round of lidar mapping to get more detailed data to improve the water management of APP’s peat concessions. The results of that survey are still being analyzed by APP, Elim said.The company and its suppliers have also revised their long-term work plans as mandated by the government under the 2016 peat regulation. That regulation calls for the conservation of at least 30 percent of all peat domes — landscapes where the peat is so deep that the center is topographically higher than the edges. It also requires the conservation of areas where the peat is deeper than 3 meters (9.8 feet) and which contain high biodiversity.The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has asked pulp and paper companies, including APP and its suppliers, to revise their work plans based on the ministry’s peat map, so that areas zoned for conservation under the 2016 regulation can be taken out of contention for development and rewetted to prevent future fires.APP says its new work plans have been approved by the government. However, there are differences between the ministry’s peat map and APP’s lidar-generated map, due to the difference in resolution. The ministry’s map has a scale of 1:250,000, while APP’s more detailed map has a finer resolution of 1:50,000.To reconcile these differences, APP plans to carry out field surveys to complement the lidar mapping, Elim said.A pulpwood plantation on a peatland in Indonesia’s Riau province. Photo by Rhett A. Butler4. Misinformation about supplier tiesA recent investigation by the Associated Press uncovered ownership ties between APP and more than two dozen plantation companies linked to devastating fires and deforestation in Indonesia.The news agency used hundreds of pages of corporate records to determine that APP, through parent company Sinar Mas, had “extensive behind-the-scenes ties and significant influence” over a vast network of suppliers that the paper giant had consistently asserted were independent entities. Twenty-five of those suppliers were found to be owned by 10 individuals, including six current and two former employees of the Sinar Mas conglomerate, several of whom work in the latter’s finance department.The coalition of NGOs believe APP has misled stakeholders about the company’s relationship with the suppliers, and thus avoided accountability for Indonesia’s annual dry-season fires.Responding to the report, APP said it had never sought to mislead its stakeholders about its relationships with its suppliers. It also said it had undergone an independent assessment in 2013 and 2014 into its relationships with not only its suppliers but also several other companies that NGOs said had similar ties to APP.The assessment found that APP had business and economic influence over nine of those companies, and business transactions with 26. “And then there are three suppliers with which we had no transactions,” Elim said.A pulp and paper plantation neighboring peat forest in Riau, Sumatra in 2015. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.5. Lack of independent monitoringWhile APP reports its progress in the implementation of its FCP every year, the coalition of NGOs said there was no independent and credible third-party certification to verify the actual progress being made.The world’s most highly regarded forestry certification standard, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), dissociated itself from APP in 2007, citing the deforestation carried out by the company. The coalition of NGOs called on APP to find a way to revive its association with the FSC.APP said it welcomed stakeholder involvement in monitoring the implementation of the FCP through the independent assessment of FCP progress undertaken by the Rainforest Alliance, various public consultations, formal grievance mechanisms, and stakeholder advisory forums, which are held twice a year. The next such forum is scheduled for March 22.“We are open to work with the NGOs listed in this statement, and all other interested stakeholders, on improving how we report on progress so that concerns can be put to rest,” APP said. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Indonesia, Logging, Plantations, Protected Areas, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests Banner image: Deforested peatland and peat forest at sunset in Riau, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.last_img read more

How the son of a tailor rose to power in Indonesia’s palm oil heartland

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 Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corruption, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Forestry, Forests, Illegal Logging, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests In the leadup to the release of the second installment of Indonesia for Sale, our series examining the corruption behind Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis, we are republishing the first article in the series, “The Palm Oil Fiefdom.” This is the second part of that article. The first part described a secret deal between the son of Darwan Ali, head of Indonesia’s Seruyan district, and Arif Rachmat, CEO of one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil companies. The article can be read in full here.Indonesia for Sale is co-produced with The Gecko Project, an initiative of the UK-based investigations house Earthsight.Cover image for ‘The Palm Oil Fiefdom.’Darwan Ali’s son Ahmad Ruswandi was a 21-year-old university student when thousands of protesters occupied the Indonesian parliament in 1998, demanding the resignation of the aging president Suharto. A regional financial crisis had sent the rupiah into freefall, depriving the dictator of his ability to paper over deep inequalities. Economic growth, as well as a willingness to use the army to impose violent control, had served as the bedrock of his regime. But as the economy collapsed, food supplies dissipated and rioters filled the streets nationwide, he was abandoned by his allies, and finally stood down.For three decades Suharto had placed whole sectors of the economy in the hands of his relatives and cronies. He was formally charged with embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds via a network of charities, although he successfully claimed to be too ill to stand trial. A Time magazine investigation estimated that the family had amassed a fortune of $15 billion. Transparency International ranked him as the world’s most corrupt leader.Protesters against Suharto’s treatment of East Timor, which seceded from Indonesia after he stepped down. Photo by Rob Croes/Wikimedia Commons.In the leadership vacuum that followed his resignation, the country threatened to break apart. An implausible nation-state composed of a multitude of ethnically and linguistically diverse people, living across thousands of islands, Indonesia had been held together by military-enforced, highly centralized rule. The bureaucracy had been dominated by Javanese, people from the densely populated island that provided the state with its de facto cultural identity. As their dominance was eroded, long-suppressed identities reemerged as potent forces. Without the heavy center of gravity Suharto had provided in Jakarta, the regions began to spin out of its orbit of control.The jockeying to replace the authority of the Suharto regime catalyzed sectarian violence across the archipelago. Separatist insurgencies gained steam in Aceh and Papua. Christians and Muslims slaughtered each other in the Maluku Islands. In Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, the notion that indigenous Dayaks had been trodden upon was used to foment violence against migrants in the town of Sampit. Everywhere, the goal was control of resources.The prize in view for those who could clamber their way to the top was a share in the spoils of Indonesia’s immense natural wealth. Its islands sat atop precious metals and fossil fuels, and were coated in tropical rainforests replete with valuable timber. For three decades, everyone had looked on, powerless, as the revenues from exploiting these resources flowed out of the islands, to Jakarta and the personal accounts of Suharto’s family and cronies. Now they were up for grabs.It was in this turbulent environment that Darwan Ali emerged as a political force. Darwan had grown up in a staunchly Muslim village on the banks of Sembuluh, a sprawling lake at the heart of East Kotawaringin district, in Central Kalimantan, the largest province in Indonesian Borneo. His origins remain mysterious even to those who have studied the area, but an elder man from the same community told us he was born in the early 1950s into an ordinary family. His parents were tailors who also farmed a small plot of rubber, and named their other boys Dardi, Darlen, Darhod and Darwis. By the 1990s Darwan was operating in the district capital, Sampit, at a time when the local economy was overwhelmingly dependent on logging. Precious hardwoods were extracted from jungles that once cloaked the entire island. The timber was floated downstream into Sampit to be processed and exported.Logs cut in Seruyan’s rainforests were tied together and floated down the Sekonyer River to export hubs like Sampit. Photo courtesy of EIAImages.The logging expanded far beyond what could legally or sustainably be harvested. A shadow economy flourished, predicated on hard cash flushing in from a timber trade unlicensed  —  but tacitly endorsed  —  by the local government. Darwan moved in this world, first as a building contractor for infrastructure projects, then as a lobbyist for industry, and finally as a prominent local member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDIP.Darwan’s occasional appearances in local newspapers at the time chart his rise as a representative of the business community, pushing back against any efforts to regulate it or curb its worst excesses. He protests the banning of companies from bidding for government projects due to corruption; he earns controversy for gaining an untendered contract to supply schools with furniture; he complains about taxes imposed on the forestry sector, intended to prevent illegal logging. “The overall impression is of a typical Borneo frontier businessman who makes a lot of money in the black economy,” Gerry van Klinken, a University of Amsterdam professor who follows Kalimantan politics closely, told us.As Jakarta’s hegemony receded, and the grip of Suharto’s circle on natural resources dissipated, the shadow economy and the characters who controlled it came to the fore. A timber mafia coursed into protected areas. Tanjung Puting National Park, a mostly swampy forest teeming with orangutans, leopards and crocodiles, was heavily targeted for its ramin and ironwood trees. One local government agency that attempted to stem the flow of logs had its office burned to the ground. When a journalist reported on the illegal logging of the park, he was soon after jumped upon, hacked with machetes and left for dead in a ditch. He narrowly survived, crippled and disfigured.Beginning in 1999, Indonesia embarked on an ambitious program of decentralization, transferring a wide range of powers from Jakarta to local bureaucracies in the hope of both heading off separatist urges and making government more accountable. District heads, the bupatis, were granted the authority to enact their own regulations, provided they did not conflict with existing laws. They exercised this authority liberally. One of the first decisions of the East Kotawaringin administration was to begin taxing shipments of illegal logs, tacitly endorsing the shadow economy instead of confronting it.In 2002 Seruyan, named for the river that flowed through it, was carved out of East Kotawaringin as a new district. The following year Darwan, who was by then the head of the PDIP party in East Kotawaringin, became Seruyan’s first bupati. His jurisdiction stretched some 300 kilometers north from the Java Sea into remote jungles populated sparsely by indigenous Dayaks. Its western edge encompassed part of Tanjung Puting National Park. It was dominated by the lowlands between the park and Sampit, with Lake Sembuluh at its heart. At the turn of the millennium, more than two thirds of the district remained covered in forest. Though it was thinned out by logging, it harboured a wealth of wildlife that could rival most landscapes on earth.Indonesia’s Seruyan district on the island of Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.The first generation of empowered bupatis were selected by members of the district parliament. Darwan’s ascent surprised some observers, who saw him as a political novice. He was said to have declared that any bureaucrat who backed his candidacy would rise in rank from echelon one to two, or echelon two to three, and so on, failing to grasp that this would actually constitute a demotion. But he was also viewed as a putra daerah, a “son of the soil,” who would fight for his people. He was awarded a five-year term, half a decade to transform the fortunes of his homeland, before facing his constituents at the ballot box.By 2003 the district economy was stagnating. The log trade was collapsing under the burden of its own excesses. Lake Sembuluh had been a shipbuilding center that attracted craftspeople from other islands at its height. But the vessels were made from hardwood and for transporting it, and the industry died as the commercial timber dried up. With the most valuable trees already stripped from the forest, Darwan was taking the reins of a district whose heyday as a timber hub, its main source of income, was coming to a close.Plantations, specifically for oil palm, were the most obvious replacement. The fruit of the oil palm tree yielded an edible fat used in everything from chocolate to laundry detergent and biofuel. The commodity was in increasing demand globally, and the region south of Lake Sembuluh was seen as having great potential for large-scale development of the cash crop. Though it lacked infrastructure, it was close to the port towns of Pangkalanbun and Sampit. District officials imagined the latter as a vibrant transit town, for laborers coming in to work the plantations and palm oil leaving for global markets. Darwan announced plans to invite investors from Hong Kong and Malaysia. He promised a new harbor to facilitate exports and an easing of regulations.Marianto Sumarto, a local sawmill owner who had joined Darwan’s campaign team in 2003, said the assumption of power by a son of the soil generated hope. “It made people proud,” he told us. “They didn’t know that behind the scenes, he was playing a bigger game.”Read the entire the story here. And then follow Mongabay and The Gecko Project on Facebook (here and here in English; here and here in Indonesian) for updates on Indonesia for Sale. You can also visit The Gecko Project’s own site, in English or Indonesian. Read the article introducing the series here.center_img Article published by mongabayauthorlast_img read more

Cerrado: Agribusiness boomtown; profits for a few, hardships for many

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 Luís Eduardo Magalhães (LEM) is a soy boomtown, built on Cerrado agribusiness. Its population has grown fourfold since 2000, to 83,000 people, and is one of Brazil’s fastest growing cities. But LEM has suffered growing pains as the people from rural areas have rushed there seeking jobs and opportunities.Public services have failed to keep up, with most urban streets still dirt and sanitation services lagging behind population growth. Many new arrivals from the countryside, lacking specialized skills, have been unable to get good jobs or gain access to the highly mechanized and specialized industrial agribusiness economy. So they remain poor.Many have ended up in Santa Cruz, an impoverished neighborhood where drug trafficking and gang violence are a constant daily threat. Those with better skills and more luck may end up in Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden), a nearby upscale neighborhood marked by security fences and security alarms as protection against crime.Experts say LEM seems likely to follow the path of agribusiness boomtowns globally: population grows rapidly, but initial economic gains and urbanization aren’t followed by ongoing development and investment. Disorderly growth negatively impacts the environment, leading to more poverty and a concentration of land ownership and wealth. Cargill soy silos are both a symbol and a source of the prosperity of the city of Luis Eduardo Magalhães, Brazil’s latest agribusiness urban hotspot. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceThis is the fifth of six stories in a series by journalists Alicia Prager and Flávia Milhorance who travelled to the Cerrado in February for Mongabay to assess the impacts of agribusiness on the region’s environment and people.Driving up BR 020 into Luís Eduardo Magalhães, we’re greeted by huge soy storage silos, the property of Cargill, the transnational commodities company — leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that we’ve arrived in the newest urban hotspot serving Brazil’s latest agribusiness frontier.In 2000, this Western Bahia city became a soy hub in its own right, emancipating itself from the state’s other soy capital, Barreiras (of which it was once a part). Since then, the population of Luís Eduardo Magalhães (LEM) has increased more than fourfold to 83,000 people, making it one of the fastest growing urban centers in Brazil.Swelling that population are rural people — fleeing drought or lack of opportunities — along with farmers seeking to prosper by becoming part of the booming agribusiness economy.LEM’s city center boasts some tall buildings, agribusiness suppliers, clothing shops and food stores, plus lots of commodity-related truck traffic. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceToday, Luís Eduardo Magalhães is a national agribusiness powerhouse, with the fourth highest GDP per capita in Bahia state, and ranking 20th in Brazil’s GDP of Agribusiness. Its growth is built almost solely on supplying the agriculture sector, so it is well connected to rural croplands. The highway cutting through the heart of the municipality is brand new, and busy with pickups and big trucks hauling soy, fertilizer and pesticide. The city also boasts seven private airfields, providing easy, fast access to the more remote parts of the countryside for the ruralist elite.But turning off the highway and onto city streets, we began seeing contradictions and contrasts to all that agro-wealth. Despite its rapid urbanization and economic growth, LEM has mostly dirt streets (mud streets in the wet season), no public spaces, and a visibly precarious sanitation system. The closest public hospital is at Barreiras, 90 kilometers (55 miles) away.“Luis Eduardo Magalhães is the main Matopiba hub [the collective name for the four Cerrado states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia]. It has service infrastructure and international investments, with an institutional apparatus, which is difficult to match in a short time,” says Clóvis Caribé, professor at the State University of Feira de Santana, who researched its rapid development. “The region was transformed, but it happened with a huge misalignment with social and environmental issues.”LEM’s Santa Cruz neighborhood keeps growing informally as new, down-on-their-luck, but hopeful, migrants flow in from the countryside. Photo by Alicia PragerVanishing vegetation might one day curb the boomToday, Barreiras and Luís Eduardo Magalhães are centrally positioned to take advantage of their roles as goods and services suppliers to the Matopiba agricultural sector. Since 2000, this four-state region, like much of the rest of the Cerrado biome, has been swept up in commodity production expansion, accompanied by a simultaneous, and equally fast paced deforestation trend. The Cerrado is currently losing native vegetation faster than the Amazon.Agribusiness growth northward is now significantly impacting the Rio de Ondas (Waves River) basin, which encompasses both LEM and Barreiras, a study by Brazilian institutions has found. As of 1984, only 5.3 percent of the basin’s native vegetation had been cleared. Three decades later, the deforested part of the basin reached 48.5 percent, or 2,705 square kilometers (1,044 square miles).That high deforestation rate is not only of concern to conservationists worried about biodiversity. The Rio de Ondas is an important water resource for both cities — providing drinking water, powering hydroelectric plants, and irrigating the outlying area’s large-scale soy, cotton and corn farms. Deforestation reduces water infiltration and hinders the recharge of the Urucuia aquifer, which then reduces stream levels, according to the Brazilian study.That ongoing and drastic loss of available water, enhanced by intensifying drought due to escalating climate change, is becoming increasingly important, especially in the dry season, to Barreiras and Luís Eduardo Magalhães. And ultimately, it could turn agricultural boom to bust.A bicyclist on the streets of Santa Cruz. The farther we travelled into this poor neighborhood the more residents warned us of the dangers. Photo by Alicia PragerNot everybody’s agribusiness El Dorado The BR 020 highway runs next to Santa Cruz, the oldest and biggest LEM neighborhood. It is the primary destination of poor migrants, especially from rural areas, who come to the city seeking their soy paradise. Many arriving in Santa Cruz are small farmers looking for job opportunities, but lacking expertise or a way into the mechanized system of crop production.Today’s Santa Cruz residents face poverty and chronic unemployment. Two years ago, Ernesto José de Souza, 43, left his small farm in Indianópolis, in neighboring Minas Gerais state, hoping for a better life. “I thought I would find more jobs here,” he says. But he never managed to opt into the soy paradise. So he sells popsicles on Santa Cruz streets for R$2 (US$0.60). His wife stayed back home. “It’s even more difficult to find jobs for women,” he says.Ernesto José de Souza came to LEM in hope of better job opportunities, but he never found work in the agricultural sector. Today, he sells popsicles. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceJandeilson Rosa da Silva, 36, tells a similar story. He arrived in LEM only five months ago, but difficult times here have already caused him to plan a return to his hometown of Brejo Cruz, Paraíba state, 1,618 kilometers (1,005 miles) away: “Nobody is hiring anymore,” he says.Silva took out a R$3,000 (US$915) loan to travel to LEM, and rented a R$400 (US$120) house on arrival, which he finds expensive. Therefore, he shares his two-rooms with two friends who took the same migratory gamble with him.“I really thought that things would be better, but they became worse,” says da Silva, leaning over a pile of tapestry pieces that he has been trying to sell. Instead, he has been collecting debts and dwelling on family memories: “I miss them a lot.” His wife and two children are back in his hometown, and they haven’t seen each other since he moved.These men weren’t foolish in coming to Luís Eduardo Magalhães. Despite Brazil’s ongoing economic crisis and its high rate of unemployment at 12.2 percent, LEM did offer more new jobs in 2017 than many other parts of the nation. However experts have pointed out that the rapid mechanization of Brazilian agribusiness has resulted in a trend where the sector pays more, but employs less. New technologies have reduced the number of unskilled workers’ positions, and increased the demand for a more specialized workforce.This is especially true in Western Bahia, where the land is flat, and large tractors, trucks and other big machines can do much of the work, and manual labor is minimally required. “Jobs in modern agriculture are scarce, as people need to speak English, know how to operate big tractors, and how to manage technologies,” says Caribé.Most urban job openings are in the service sector meeting the demands of agribusiness and transnational commodities companies. In the LEM city center, shop windows advertise farming tools, fertilizers, herbicides, and farm safety equipment.Drug trafficking and gang conflicts are common on the streets of Luís Eduardo Magalhães. Pedro José Santana’s daughter was almost killed by a drug trafficker. He makes his living by selling sugar cane broth. Photo by Alicia PragerViolence in the streetsSanta Cruz isn’t just poor. It is nicknamed “Iraq” because of the neighborhood’s high crime rate. Updated statistics for Luís Eduardo Magalhães are lacking, but the local media keeps an annual count of murders. Santa Cruz is at the heart of LEM’s drug trafficking and gang violence.“My daughter was almost killed by a guy involved in drug trafficking a few years ago,” says Pedro José Santana, 59, who settled in Santa Cruz in 2010.Small scale food farmer, Santana came to LEM with four children and his wife. He found a job, but also lots of urban stress. “In the countryside, there was no violence,” he explains. Shifting from job-to-job, he is unable to do the hard labor involved in harvesting, and has started selling sugarcane broth.“There are many killings up there, much trafficking, many kids stealing mobiles,” says Josiane Bezerra, 25, pointing at the long, straight main street of Santa Cruz.Her family moved here from the rural town of Irecê when she was still a child. Her parents fled the countryside’s long droughts, where hoping for rain did not grow food. Back in the 2000s, so many people came to LEM from this rural semi-arid town in Bahia state that a few stores in the neighborhood are dubbed Irecê today. Josiane’s friend, Ariana Nunes, is the same age and shares the same story. Both work in a low budget clothing store in Santa Cruz.“I don’t want to move, I like [it] here, I don’t want to work in the countryside. But there isn’t much to do,” says Nunes. With few urban leisure options, the friends treat the surrounding Cerrado as their playground. “There are plenty of waterfalls. We prefer going to Pedras, Alcides, Coqueiros… ,” she starts listing. Water remains plentiful at these green oases, so far.Josiane Maria Bezerra, Ariana Nunes de Silva, Tatiana Alves (left to right) work in a clothing shop in Luis Eduardo Magalhães. Josiane’s and Ariana’s families came to LEM to escape from the long droughts that made it hard to grow food. Photo by Alicia PragerImproved social indicatorsDespite the poverty and crime, social indicators have improved in LEM. The city has seen an increase in health care availability and education opportunities; the so-called human development Index (HDI) is considered high; and there has been a decrease in inequality, although the level remains at 0.62, higher than the Brazilian inequality index rating of 0.52.“Regions in Matopiba see agribusiness as the only chance of development they will ever have,” says agronomist Fernando Sampaio, executive-director of a Mato Grosso state project known as Strategy of Producing, Conserving and Embracing. “I got to know the South of Piauí [state] and Western Bahia 25 years ago. Where there is agribusiness, money flows, and people live better.”A study by the research group Climate Policy Initiative found that Matopiba municipalities within the Cerrado (a principle target of agriculture expansion) perform better economically than municipalities located outside the biome. The advance of agribusiness has increased those towns’ per capita GDP by 37 percent, and increased by 10 percent access to durable consumer goods, such as TVs and refrigerators, as well as electricity. But the study reports no improvement in access to water or sewage. In fact, only 18 percent of LEM households have proper sanitation, far below the national average of 43 percent. The municipality recently set up a sewage system in Santa Cruz, but it isn’t working yet.There are private health clinics in the city, but no public hospital, only smaller public health facilities. A popular local saying used to be that a farmers’ best hospital is the airplane, says Caribé. Today, people who need care take the BR 020 highway to Barreiras, the closest hospital. “Last week an acquaintance died in the middle of the road when heading to the hospital,” Tatiana Alves, 23, told us.The wealthier neighborhood of Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden) is located very close to the impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhood of Santa Cruz. As a result, residents of the upscale neighborhood make a big effort to protect their homes with security fences and security cameras. Photo by Alicia PragerDifficult development“I feel intrigued with the increasing social indicators,” as they can be misleading, comments Valney Rigonato from the Federal University of West Bahia, who lives on an unpaved street in Barreiras. “You just need to walk around for a while to perceive [the] predatory development [of the city]. From above they can show one reality, but here you see that we are going the wrong way.”In both Barreiras and Luís Eduardo Magalhães — though the streets may still be dirt and vegetation scarce — you can also find people leading the good life, thanks to the money flowing in from agribusiness. Next to impoverished Santa Cruz, lies Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden), where two-floor homes and pickup trucks are guarded by security cameras and high walls.However, many seem to understand that this prosperity relies on exportable mono-crops, a boom that could go bust at anytime.As experts point out, the cities of Western Bahia are being shaped by trends seen elsewhere in the world. Industrial agribusiness, they point out, tends to boost population growth, leading to economic gains and urbanization in rural cities. However, that is not generally followed by ongoing development or further investment. Profits flow out of town, and the cities grow in a disorderly manner, negatively impacting the environment and leading to a concentration of land ownership and wealth, and sometimes reckless speculation. Mongabay contacted the municipality of Luís Eduardo Magalhães several times for comment, but it didn’t respond.Many Jardim Paraíso (Paradise Garden) residents own trucks or other vehicles. Photo by Alicia PragerFew Santa Cruz neighborhood residents own cars. Photo by Flávia MilhoranceA recent paper that focused on the examples of Luís Eduardo Magalhães and Barreiras points toward increasing segregation within these agribusiness-dominated cities, as the divide widens between poor and well to do. While Jardim Paraíso and other parts of LEM see a real estate boom, Santa Cruz keeps growing informally and precariously as new migrants flow in.“Luís Eduardo Magalhães is the Wall Street of soybeans,” declares Deusdete Santiago, a former Monsanto company pesticide salesman, who now owns a large farming tools store in Barreiras. “But the big money doesn’t stay here, it goes to Sao Paulo or abroad,” he says. Just like that, the money flows out of the city, and the inhabitants’ hopes for a better future vanishes.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.Today, Luís Eduardo Magalhães profits from industrial agribusiness. But like other such boomtowns around the world, LEM’s economic growth might not last. Photo by Flávia Milhorance Agriculture, Controversial, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Use Change, Organized Crime, Poverty, Rivers, Roads, Social Justice, Soy, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation center_img Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, April 6, 2018

first_imgConservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update 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 There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments. Tropical forestsA construction magnate in Thailand has been charged with poaching (Reuters).Restoring forests requires the right tools, and we don’t have them all yet (CIFOR Forests News).Might all the world’s wilderness disappear in the coming decades? (Outside Magazine).Rising vanilla prices have led to deforestation and violence in Madagascar (The Guardian).Changes to the shapes of tropical forests could lead to their collapse, new study finds (University of Vermont/Phys.Org).Research tracks a strengthening case for agroforestry in addressing hunger and saving forests (CIFOR Forests News).The island of Puerto Rico, still recovering from Hurricane Maria, begins to reopen its rainforests to visitors (AP/The Washington Post).Other newsA science journalist discusses climate change with her daughter (The Atlantic).Genetic evidence reveals that progenitors to modern baleen whale species interbred (The New York Times).Conservation biologists take a page out of astronomers’ playbook with an algorithm for counting endangered species (The New York Times).New research predicts that, with the right design, carbon taxes could help fight climate change and be fair (Massachusetts Institute of Technology/EurekAlert).Not just bees: Study teases apart the relationships that flowers have with vertebrate pollinators (Ecological Society of America/EurekAlert).Climate change could lead to birds starting their migrations before they’ve stored enough energy (Cornell University/EurekAlert).A new technique that allows scientists to freeze sperm could help save African wild dogs (James Cook University/EurekAlert).Kenya launches effort to tag 22 rhinos in bid to help stop the decline in numbers (Reuters).Fishing for shrimp leads to outsized carbon dioxide emissions (Science Magazine).Scientists discover a four-eyed lizard that lived millions of years ago (Science Magazine, The Hindu).EPA lowers fuel-mileage requirements for cars in the U.S. (The Revelator, Pacific Standard).Monarch butterflies could lose their favorite food, milkweed, as climate change makes it poisonous (Louisiana State University/Phys.Org).Losing ground: Antarctica’s glaciers are melting away from underneath (BBC News).Greenpeace warns that the fishery for krill around Antarctica might endanger whales and penguins (Oceans Deeply).Reef fish diversity suffers when coral bleaches (ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies/EurekAlert).EPA chief removed or reassigned several dissenting staffers (The New York Times).Fourteen states file lawsuit against EPA for lowering methane emissions standards for oil and gas exploration efforts, which they say violates the Clean Air Act (Reuters).A butterfly species makes its first appearance 60 years after it was first collected in Mexico (University of Florida/EurekAlert).Banner image of gentoo penguins with chicks at Jougla Point, Antarctica, by Liam Quinn from Canada via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0). FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by John Cannonlast_img read more

Celtics’ Stevens remains humble as team continues to thrive

first_imgBOSTON, MA – MAY 9: Head Coach of the Boston Celtics Brad Stevens looks on before Game Five against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 9, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFPWALTHAM, Mass. — When Brad Stevens accepted the Celtics head coaching job five years ago, he didn’t allow himself to get caught up in thinking about how he could add his name to the franchise’s rich history.He was too busy trying to figure out how to avoid being buried under it.ADVERTISEMENT “I think they are one of the most well-coached teams in our league,” James said. “No matter who has played for them, he can put guys in position to succeed and get the most out of whoever has been in their lineup over the past few years. It’s not just this year.”Stevens said he’s focused on living in the moment.“From our standpoint, I feel like it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “We talked about it prior to the playoffs; nobody should love a challenge more, nobody should have more fun doing it. I think our guys have done a good job with that.”And though he may never say it, so has their coach.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Yet, Boston won 55 games during the regular season and increased its win total for the fifth consecutive season under Stevens.Despite having a roster that was down to just 11 healthy players by the end of their second-round win over Philadelphia, the Celtics enter their conference finals rematch with Cleveland on Sunday with a 7-0 record at home this postseason.They are also the first team in NBA history to make it back to this point without their leading scorer from the regular season (Irving).Most of the NBA community was taken aback after Stevens failed to receive a single vote from his peers when the National Basketball Coaches Association gave out its coach of the year award. The honor went to Toronto’s Dwane Casey, who was fired Thursday after his team was swept in the East semifinals by the Cleveland Cavaliers.Stevens has always downplayed the attention placed on coaching awards. He said that he thought Casey deserved the honor and didn’t expect him to be without a job for long.ADVERTISEMENT Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film “You realize that if you’re going to break records here, you’re probably going to break bad ones,” he recently said. “Because none of the good ones are reachable.”While achieving Red Auerbach status may not be on Stevens’ radar, in just his fifth season there’s no question the 41-year-old is also beyond being the wide-eyed former Butler University coach who arrived in Boston.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownIn a timeframe that has often already swallowed up most first-time NBA coaches, he’s managed to endear himself to a championship-driven city by helping Boston make an improbable run back to the Eastern Conference finals.The Celtics seemingly had their championship hopes derailed following the season-ending injuries to both of their offseason additions in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES View comments MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anewcenter_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Magnolia outplays GlobalPort down the stretch for 1st win China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Boston’s successes this season aside, Stevens said comfort remains a commodity this profession.“I don’t think that I would ever define anybody in the coaching or playing shoes probably as comfortable,” he said. “You’re just focused on what’s next. But it is basketball. There’s only so much you can do.”But it’s also clear that one of the reasons that Casey lost his job was the Raptors’ inability to challenge the Cavs in the postseason. Toronto was also swept out of the playoffs by Cleveland last season.Most of the credit for Boston’s run thus far surely belongs to veteran Al Horford and the Celtics’ corps of young players, including Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum.Stevens agrees with that assessment and has remained true to his style by blending into the background in public, instead waiting for the huddle or practice to make his voice heard.He believes his team’s mental toughness and grit have carried it more than anything he’s done.Horford said Stevens hasn’t shied away from putting their young players in pressure situations.“I think a lot of our guys have been thrown into the fire. I think it’s been designed that way so guys can just develop and learn as they go,” Horford said. “But I think that one of the things that helps them is the way that coach helps them prepare and the way that he teaches them the game.”There is also at least one person watching from afar who thinks a lot of the credit belongs to Stevens. And it just happens to be the same player he will spend the next few weeks trying to stop: LeBron James.From Stevens’ ability to draw up plays out of timeouts, to his management of late-clock situations, to getting the best out of his roster, James has long been a fan. Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operationslast_img read more