Palm oil firm pledges to stop deforesting after RSPO freezes its operations in Papua

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 Certification, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabbing, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Plantations, Rainforests, Rspo, Tropical Forests, Zero Deforestation Commitments Goodhope Asia Holdings, an arm of Sri Lanka’s Carson Cumberbatch, is the latest palm oil company to promise to purge its operations of deforestation, peatland conversion and human rights abuses.Announcing such a commitment and implementing it are two different matters. Despite the growing prevalence of such pledges, no major user or processor of palm oil can say it has actually eliminated deforestation from its supply chain.Goodhope subsidiary PT Nabire Baru presides over what one watchdog called “possibly the most controversial plantation in Papua.” Goodhope Asia Holdings has issued a new sustainability policy, committing the palm oil giant to stop clearing forests and peatlands.The Singapore-based firm was already a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the world’s largest association for ethical production of the commodity, found in everything from chocolate to laundry detergent. Companies that join the RSPO are prohibited from clearing virgin rainforests and deep peatlands, allowing them to promote their products with the body’s green label.But last week, the RSPO froze Goodhope’s operations on seven concessions in Indonesia. The company had been linked to various cases of environmental and human rights abuses in the archipelago country, including allegations of grabbing land from an indigenous community in Papua province, on the heavily forested island of New Guinea, where the industry is quickly expanding.The RSPO is often assailed for keeping minimal standards and for failing to enforce even those. For example, no public notification of the new planting plans of Goodhope subsidiary PT Nabire Baru were posted to the RSPO’s website until last March, even though the company had been clearing and planting for years amid protests from local communities. Under the RSPO’s New Plantings Procedure, companies must submit a variety of documentation prior to to any establishment or expansion of a plantation. But like many of the RSPO’s rules — and, for that matter, like many of the Indonesian government’s regulations in the natural resources sector — the requirement is commonly ignored, with few if any consequences.But the RSPO’s stop-work order against Goodhope met with approval from environmental watchdogs who lauded it as the kind of thing the body must do if it wants to be perceived as credible. It remains to be seen how the company, which said it opposed the RSPO’s decision, will undertake to resolve the issues in concessions like Nabire Baru, described by watchdog awas MIFEE as “possibly the most controversial plantation in Papua.” The case was also examined by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights as part of an inquiry into land conflicts affecting indigenous peoples.Goodhope’s new policy to purge its supply chain of deforestation and peatland conversion might prove a positive development — if the company can implement it. Other large palm oil firms, including most major refiners and users of the edible oil, have issued similar commitments, but none has managed to even determine where all of the palm oil it buys is coming from. “Full traceability” to the plantation level, as it is known in industry parlance, is a mainstay of such commitments, seen as an early prerequisite before any company that touches palm oil can declare itself free from the taint of destructive and abusive practices.Goodhope has set for itself the date of May 4, 2019, as its deadline for achieving full traceability.Banner image: The Papuan hornbill is one of the birds-of-paradise for which New Guinea’s rainforests are famous. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.center_img Article published by mongabayauthorlast_img read more

Big mammals flourish as Cerrado park’s savanna comes back

first_imgAfforestation, Analysis, Animals, Beef, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Camera Trapping, cameras, Carnivores, Cats, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Conservation, Degraded Lands, Dry Forests, Ecology, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Fragmentation, Gfrn, Global Forest Reporting Network, Global Forest Watch, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Mammals, Megafauna, Parks, Plantations, Protected Areas, Restoration, Savannas, Small Cats, Tapirs, Timber, Trees, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wolves Article published by John Cannon The study examined a state park in the Brazilian Cerrado, which contains land used in recent decades for eucalyptus plantations, cattle ranching and charcoal production.The researchers used camera traps, recording the dry season presence of 18 species of large mammals.In a subsequent analysis, they found that the number of large mammals found in the ‘secondary’ savanna was similar to numbers found in untouched regions of the Cerrado. Part of Brazil’s most altered landscape has proven that it’s capable of regenerating after the effects of farming, timber plantations and ranching, according to a recent study.The research demonstrates for the first time that recovering areas in the savanna-anchored ecosystem known as the Brazilian Cerrado can support about the same numbers of large mammals as pristine sections. The findings, published online in June by the journal Biotropica, offer a bit of hope for biodiversity as the number of human-altered landscapes rises worldwide.A lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris), one of the threatened mammals that inhabit the ‘secondary’ savanna found in the Cerrado’s Veredas do Peruaçu State Park State Park. Photo courtesy of Guilherme Ferreira.A lot of research has shown that secondary tropical forest – that is, the forest that returns after humans have cleared what had been standing – still provides a viable habitat for many animals, though it’s less robust than primary, or old-growth, forest.But the Cerrado has remained a mystery, despite the fact that it covers between 20 and 25 percent of Brazil and half of it has been converted for agriculture. That’s a larger proportion than the conversion that’s occurred in either the Amazon or the Atlantic Forest, lead author Guilherme Ferreira said.“We didn’t know anything about secondary Cerrado,” said Ferreira, an ecologist with the Zoological Society of London and the Biotropics Institute in Minas Gerais, Brazil.Carnivores, like this puma (Puma concolor), were also caught by the team’s camera traps. Photo courtesy of Guilherme Ferreira.An analysis of Global Forest Watch data reveals tree cover loss of more than 17 million hectares (65,637 square miles) between 2001 and 2015 – nearly 11 percent of the Cerrado’s tree cover – which reflects both deforestation and the harvesting of tree plantations. According to a 2016 report by the NGO Climate and Land Use Alliance, the Cerrado is a massive cog in Brazil’s agricultural machinery, responsible for more than half of its soybeans, 40 percent of its beef, and 84 percent of its cotton.Ferreira has been working for more than a decade in the Cerrado’s Veredas do Peruaçu State Park, part of which had been cleared to grow eucalyptus, raise cattle, and make charcoal until the park was established in the early 1990s. Based on his observations, Ferreira suspected that this ecosystem had recovered to the point that it now supports a level of large mammal biodiversity similar to what’s found in untouched parts of the Cerrado.To test his hypothesis, he and his colleagues set up camera traps in 50 locations within the 310-square-kilometer (120-square-mile) park for roughly 30 days during the dry season. The images and video revealed 18 different species of large mammals, and an analysis of the 10 most frequently seen revealed a statistically similar chance of finding them in old-growth versus secondary Cerrado areas.For large mammals at least, “The results show that there is no difference between these kinds of environments,” Ferreira said.Even threatened mammals were represented in the mix, including the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), which are all listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.But Ferreira cautioned that Veredas do Peruaçu State Park may be a unique case.“I don’t want to be unrealistic,” Ferreira said. “I don’t want people to think we can cut everything down and everything will be fine.”The eucalyptus plantation that eventually became part of the park was only present for a relatively short 15 years. Also, the park, as a protected area, is currently managed to protect the life within its borders. And critically, banks of primary Cerrado are nearby, providing a source of the large mammals that Ferreira and his colleagues found there.Other uses, such as cattle ranching, which is common in the Cerrado, might make it more difficult for the ecosystem to bounce back. Ferreira explained that ranchers often use hardy strains of fast-growing African grasses to pasture cattle. These invasive species can be tough to get rid of.Still, the study shows the potential of natural regeneration in the Cerrado.“When you abandon the pasture, it can take some time, but the Cerrado will return, even if it’s not a perfect and primary Cerrado,” he added. “If you give it enough time, I would say that wildlife will return as well.”Data from Global Forest Watch reveals that the Cerrado lost more than 17 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2015, a figure that includes the harvest of trees from plantations as well as deforestation. Source: Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA, accessed through Global Forest Watch.A map from Global Forest Watch and Transparent World shows the locations of tree plantations in the Cerrado.CITATIONSFerreira, G. B., Ahumada, J. A., Oliveira, M. J., Pinho, F. F., Barata, I. M., Carbone, C., & Collen, B. (2017). Assessing the conservation value of secondary savanna for large mammals in the Brazilian Cerrado. Biotropica.Hansen, M. C., P. V. Potapov, R. Moore, M. Hancher, S. A. Turubanova, A. Tyukavina, D. Thau, S. V. Stehman, S. J. Goetz, T. R. Loveland, A. Kommareddy, A. Egorov, L. Chini, C. O. Justice, and J. R. G. Townshend. 2013. “High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change.” Science 342 (15 November): 850–53. Data available on-line from:http://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest. Accessed through Global Forest Watch on 14 July 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgPivello, V. R., Carvalho, V. M. C., Lopes, P. F., Peccinini, A. A., & Rosso, S. (1999). Abundance and distribution of native and alien grasses in a “Cerrado” (Brazilian savanna) biological reserve. Biotropica, 31(1), 71-82.Transparent World. “Tree Plantations.” 2015. Accessed through Global Forest Watch on 14 July 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgFEEDBACK: 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.Banner image of a maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and video of giant anteater (Mymercophaga tridactyla) courtesy of Guilherme Ferreira. 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

Forest Code falls short in protecting Amazonian fish

first_imgA team of scientists reports that Brazil’s Forest Code doesn’t address significant impacts that agriculture can have on fish habitat in the rainforest’s streams and tributaries.The study cataloged more than 130 species of fish, some of them new to science, in Brazil’s eastern Amazon.The authors argue for protections that encompass entire basins and the complex drainage networks that together form the lifeblood of the Amazon rainforest. A new study demonstrates that the extraordinary breadth of fish species found in streams and tributaries of the Amazon isn’t afforded much protection from the effects of agriculture under current laws, such as Brazil’s Forest Code.Such legal protections often focus on the vegetation found in forests, and they often address areas immediately around waterways, as well as the life found above the surface.“When we think about Amazon biodiversity we tend to think of colourful birds, mammals, insects and amphibians,” said Cecília Gontijo Leal, an ecologist at Emílio Goeldi Museum in Brazil, in a statement. “But the small streams in and around the Amazon are also incredibly biodiverse.”An Amazonian stream. Photo by Cecília G. Leal/Emílio Goeldi Museum.Nearly one out of every 10 fish species on the planet lives in the Amazon. Leal and her colleagues hypothesized that farming might be disrupting the habitats of many of these fish since streams flow through both protected areas and private areas, where the Forest Code typically calls for safeguards in the immediate vicinity of streams. The team looked at the potential impacts on 83 streams across Brazil’s eastern Amazon in 2010 and 2011, cataloging 24,420 individual fish representing more than 130 species.“In just one [150-meter (492-foot)] stretch of one stream we found more fish species than are found in whole countries like Sweden or Denmark,” Leal said. “Some of them were new to science, and others were found in only a few individual streams.“Many of these species could be at risk because of changes upstream that are beyond the reach of current conservation efforts,” she added.The researchers found that the number of fish they encountered was affected by more than just the potential changes to the riparian environment or measurements of forest cover — which Brazilian legislation addresses. What had a greater effect on fish abundance were the changes to the “instream habitat,” such as water quality, the amount of shade and the substrate of the stream. Ways to mitigate these indirect human impacts aren’t captured by the current suite of legal protections in Brazil. They published their results online on Nov. 12 with the Journal of Applied Ecology.The authors argue that conservation efforts must encompass entire basins and the complex drainage networks that together form the lifeblood of the Amazon rainforest.A royal tetra (Inpaichthys kerri), a fish found in the Amazon Basin. Photo by harum.koh [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons“The health of small Amazonian streams depends on the health of the catchments they are part of,” said Toby Gardner, an author of the study and ecologist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, in the statement. “Forests far away from the margins are also important, as well as other factors that are overlooked in the legislation, such as dirt roads and agriculture intensification upstream.”The scientists acknowledge the magnitude of the challenge, but also note that the implications of protecting these fish species extend beyond the bounds of the world’s largest rainforest.“Our results highlight the complex challenges of conservation in tropical forest streams,” said co-author Paulo Pompeu, an ecologist at Brazil’s Federal University of Lavras, in the statement. “Protecting this biodiversity matters, not just for the Amazon but also for the world.”CITATIONLeal, C. G., Barlow, J., Gardner, T. A., Hughes, R. M., Leitão, R. P., Mac Nally, R., … & Ferreira, J. (2017). Is environmental legislation conserving tropical stream faunas? A large‐scale assessment of local, riparian and catchment‐scale influences on Amazonian fish. Journal of Applied Ecology, 1–15. http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13028Banner image of a royal tetra by harum.koh.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. Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Rainforest, Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Ecology, Environment, Fish, Freshwater Ecosystems, Freshwater Fish, Protected Areas, Rainforest Agriculture, Rainforest Biodiversity, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforests, Rivers, Saving Species From Extinction, Species Discovery, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Forests, Tropical Rivers, Water, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by John Cannoncenter_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

Indonesia unveils plan to halve forest fires by 2019

first_imgArticle published by Hans Nicholas Jong Banner image: A peat swamp in Sumatra smolders during the 2015 haze crisis. The drainage canals were dug in order to prepare the land for planting with oil palm, but the practice renders the land vulnerable to catching fire. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forestry, Forests, Indonesia, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests The Indonesian government has launched a plan to cut down land and forest fire hotspots by nearly half, in part by protecting peat forests.The program, which calls for $2.73 billion in funding, aims to ensure that 121,000 square kilometers of land, a fifth of it peat forest, will be fire-free by 2019.The move comes as the government anticipates drier weather conditions than usual next year in perennial hotspot regions like West Kalimantan. JAKARTA – The Indonesian government has unveiled an ambitious plan to nearly halve the number of fire hotspots in the country by 2019, in part through the restoration of degraded peat forests.The fires are an annual occurrence, linked to the clearing of forests for logging and monoculture plantations. In recent years the problem has been exacerbated by the draining of peat swamps, which leaves them highly combustible.Under the new plan revealed Tuesday by the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, the government aims to tackle the fires through a two-pronged approach.First is ensuring that the 24,000 square kilometers (9,266 square miles) of degraded peat areas slated to be restored by Indonesia’s peatland restoration agency (BRG) are not burned. Second is boosting prevention efforts in 731 villages in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo, identified as being historically prone to fires.In all, the plan calls for the protection of 121,000 square kilometers (46,718 square miles) of land, which, if kept successfully free of fire by 2019, will reduce the anticipated number of hotspots by 49 percent compared to business-as-usual levels.Fire set for peatland clearing in Riau Province, Indonesia in July 2015. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerFive action plansBecause of its wide scope, the plan will involve multiple government agencies and require at least 39 trillion rupiah ($2.73 billion) in funding.It comprises five action plans, the first of which is to provide economic incentives and disincentives. Each of the fire-prone villages, for instance, will be eligible for 300 million rupiah ($21,000) in funding if it manages to prevent land and forest fires for a full year. Concession holders, meanwhile, risk the revocation of their permit if found liable for fires on their land.“This strategy is the most important [of all the strategies], in my opinion,” Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said on the sidelines of the launch of the plan.The second action plan calls for empowering villagers and forest communities to prevent and tackle fires, while the third focuses on more stringent enforcement of existing laws and regulations on forest concessions.Improving water management in peat forests, exploring weather modification techniques and developing wind farms make up the infrastructure-oriented fourth action plan. The last one calls for upgrading fire monitoring systems, setting up a crisis center and early response system, and distributing fire-extinguishing equipment.Indonesia on fire, October 16, 2015. The fires there were blamed on a record El Nino drought that was intensified by climate change, along with forest clearance for industrial agriculture. An image posted on Twitter purporting to show the smoke-choked city of Palangkaraya.Dry weather aheadThe rollout of the plan comes as Indonesia’s weather agency, the BMKG, is predicting drier-than-usual conditions in parts of the country starting in May next year, as a result of the La Niña weather system.A similar phenomenon occurred in 2016, when the country experienced a longer-than-normal wet season. This time around, however, the prolonged rains from La Niña will only affect regions such as Sulawesi and Maluku, while provinces such as West Kalimantan, one of the main areas routinely stricken by fires, will see drier weather.“The region that needs special attention is West Kalimantan because the rainfall there is expected to be significantly lower than normal,” BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati told reporters at the unveiling of the fire-prevention plan. “The region is relatively the driest compared to other regions.”Drier weather across Sumatra brought by El Niño in 2015 led to fires across huge swaths of land that generated some of the worst haze on record. Smoke from the fires sickened half a million Indonesians, per government estimates, and drifted into neighboring countries. At the height of the disaster, the daily emissions of carbon dioxide as a result of the burning exceeded those from all U.S. economic activity.In the wake of the disaster, the government has taken steps to prevent peat fires, including ordering the conservation of peat forests in existing plantation concessions. 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

As nesting beaches warm, sea turtle populations are turning female–how scientists found out

first_imgClimate Change And Biodiversity, DNA, Genetics, Global Warming, Marine, Marine Ecosystems, Research, Sea Turtles, Technology, Wildtech Article published by Sue Palminteri Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Male sea turtles are becoming increasingly scarce, due most likely to warming global temperatures.Scientists combined hands-on field measurements with genetic and hormonal analyses to link free-swimming sea turtles of known sex back to their natal rookeries along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and determine the sex ratios over time at these locations.They found that females comprised over 2/3 of the turtles originating from beaches in the cooler southern portion of the GBR and nearly all the turtles (up to 99%) that originated from the warmer northern beaches.While a somewhat higher ratio of females may help maintain reproduction, scientists fear the loss of male turtles could jeopardize a population’s ability to sustain itself in the future. Is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef losing its male sea turtles?A new study has found that green sea turtle hatchlings in one of the world’s largest colonies are increasingly female, and this trend has been ongoing for decades, with warming global temperatures the suspected culprit.Sea turtles, as well as some other reptiles, lack sex chromosomes. Their gender is determined by the environment of the nest while the embryos are incubating, and by nest temperature in particular. Warmer sand tends to produce higher numbers of female hatchlings, making sea turtles and other reptiles particularly vulnerable to a warming Earth. Moreover, the range of temperatures that produce 100% males or 100% females spans only a few degrees Celsius.Sea turtle hatchling begins the perilous trip to the ocean’s edge. Baby sea turtles face extreme predation pressure from birds, mammals, and people. Photo credit: Wildlifeppl CC 3.0The study’s authors developed a novel method to determine sex ratios of free-ranging turtles from specific regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The researchers matched the sex and age class of green sea turtles to the nesting beaches from which they hatched by combining basic field methods with genetic and hormone analyses.Lead author Michael Jensen, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, said in an email to Mongabay-Wildtech that where turtle populations from genetically distinct rookeries feed together, scientists have been able to estimate the rookery origin of these turtles through their DNA.“The novelty of this work was the multidisciplinary approach that combined genetic and endocrine data from the same turtle,” Jensen said. “We assessed the secondary sex ratios of turtles at foraging grounds – as opposed to looking at primary sex ratios of hatchlings produced on a specific nesting beach. We believe our approach offers a better way of tracing trends in a population’s sex ratio. Foraging grounds encompass turtles of different life stages (juveniles, subadults and adults), which represents different generations of turtles and therefore many years of hatchlings produced from regional nesting beaches. That gave us a window into sex ratios produced over time from different rookeries.”Wrangling turtles for their DNA Virtually no turtles nest in the middle stretch of Australia’s 2,300 kilometer (1,400 mile) long Great Barrier Reef (GBR), so the northern and southern breeding populations are genetically distinct.The researchers sampled 411 turtles at foraging sites (74 of them during a 2008 study) in the middle section. Turtles of many ages from distinct nesting areas congregate in these shallow waters to feed, so sampling there allowed the researchers to estimate sex ratios of turtle cohorts from various beaches over the past 50+ years.Green sea turtles are vegetarians and forage on sea grasses and algae in shallow waters for years before returning to their natal nesting beach to breed. Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory CC 4.0They first had to catch the turtles—“rodeo-style”—which consisted of finding, following, and hand-catching the animals from a small boat, then bringing them to shore to process them. Assigning age class was easy and based on the length of each animal’s curved carapace.The researchers distinguished adult males turtles from females by noting their longer tails and measuring testosterone in blood samples. Sea turtles lack external sex-based traits until they reach maturity, however, so the scientists also physically examined most of the immature turtles to ensure they’d assigned gender correctly.Laparoscopy, the surgical technique used to definitively determine a turtle’s sex, runs a thin tube into the turtle to briefly examine its reproductive organs. The turtle recovers from the procedure in a couple of days, so researchers have been testing less-invasive and labor-intensive techniques to assess sex ratios of immature turtles.Measuring a turtle’s testosterone level required a far simpler blood sample, allowing the researchers to process hundreds of turtles with high accuracy.The researchers linked each turtle back to the beach from which it hatched by analyzing DNA from skin tissue samples and ran models to group the foraging turtles based on their genetic similarity. Female and male green turtles along Australia’s east coast will feed in various preferred foraging grounds but return to the area around their nesting beach to mate.A lone green sea turtle returns to the sea after nesting on the beach. Photo credit: Brocken Inaglory CC 3.0Where the boys are (not)The scientists showed that the northern part of the GBR, in particular, has been producing mainly females for more than 20 years by determining the genetic origin of turtles from each sex relative to their life stage. They found that turtles that had hatched on the cooler southern nesting beaches showed a “moderate” sex bias (65–69% female), similar to reports from feeding grounds located in the southern region. However, nearly all the turtles (87% of adults and over 99% of both juveniles and subadults) that originated from beaches in the warmer northern portion of the GBR were female.The scientists estimated monthly temperatures of the sand on the key nesting beaches using air and sea surface temperatures from 1960 to 2016. They found sand temperatures consistently remained above the “pivotal” temperature of 29.3o C (84.7o F)—the value corresponding to a roughly equal number of male and female hatchlings—starting around 1980.Some imbalance in the female-male ratio may be expected and potentially beneficial. Male sea turtles tend to breed more frequently and with more individuals than females do, which may mitigate some of the imbalance.Nevertheless, scientists have seen turtle sex ratios become increasingly female-dominated over the past few decades, and they fear that warming air and sea temperatures may begin causing single-sex populations that cannot sustain themselves.Moreover, the authors state in their paper, “extreme incubation temperatures not only produce female-only hatchlings but also cause high mortality of developing clutches.”“While some of the decreased hatching success [that researchers in Australia have observed] might be explained by high temperatures, many other factors influence hatching success (e.g. flooding of the nest from increased water table),” said Jensen. “We are just now beginning to understand the problem, so we have more work to do before we can begin to suggest ways to address it. The good news is that a lot of research is now focusing on understanding the influence of environmental factors on sea turtle hatchlings’ success.”Researchers have seen over decades that warming temperatures alter the sex of sea turtle hatchlings; this study is the first to document the trend in a major wild population.The findings suggest that wildlife managers consider strategies to lower incubation temperatures at key nesting sites of sea turtles and other temperature-dependent species around the world. Moisture and shade from coastal vegetation, for example, also affect sea turtles’ incubation and, thus, the sex of hatchlings, by keeping sand temperatures cooler.Avoiding extreme incubation temperatures, the authors state in their paper, would help “boost the ability of local turtle populations to adapt to the changing environment and avoid a population collapse or even extinction.”Sea turtles like this one in the Philippines, are graceful swimmers. Photo credit: Almudena BartayresJensen and colleagues hope their work will encourage others to do similar studies, as it offers a rapid way to monitor trends in turtle population sex ratios.“However,” said Jensen, “the success of this method depends on many factors, such as accessibility to large sample sizes of turtles at foraging grounds, understanding the genetic characterization of rookeries that might be contributing to the foraging grounds, and the degree of genetic structure among those rookeries. So whether this method will work in other regions and other species should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”center_img 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. ReferenceJensen, M. P., Allen, C. D., Eguchi, T., Bell, I. P., LaCasella, E. L., Hilton, W. A., … & Dutton, P. H. (2018). Environmental Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World. Current Biology, 28(1), 154-159.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.057last_img read more

Volunteering on the front lines of rhino conservation (commentary)

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Erik Hoffner animal tracking, Anti-poaching, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Black Rhino, Conservation, conservation players, DNA, Ecotourism, GPS tracking, Poaching, Rhinos, White Rhino, Wildlife FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post.  Zimbabwe is home to the world’s fourth largest black rhino population after South Africa, Namibia and Kenya.Author Ed Warner travels there frequently to volunteer with the International Rhino Foundation’s Zimbabwe Lowveld Rhino Program, which conducts monitoring and anti-poaching efforts aimed at treating, rehabilitating, and translocating rhinos as needed.Here we publish Warner’s diary of six days in the bush supporting the team’s data collection and anti-poaching efforts.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. In mid-2017, Ed Warner visited Zimbabwe, which has the world’s largest black rhino population after South Africa, Namibia and Kenya, to volunteer for the International Rhino Foundation (IRF)’s Zimbabwe Lowveld Rhino Program.Warner has volunteered for them doing “rhino ops” as he calls it several times, and chronicled it in a 2016 book “Running with Rhinos.” He has also since become a donor to the program.Traveling with IRF’s Raoul du Toit (a 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize winner) and a number of others, Warner was part of a team working to track, study, and protect the rhinos living within conserved lands, by cataloguing calves (via ear notching and taking DNA and blood samples), RFID implanting, and de-horning (horns removed from rhinos by this team to reduce poaching risk are delivered to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for safe storage).Mongabay presents here his diary from those six days for the interest of readers who may be curious to know what this experience is like. – The EditorsOnly about 5,000 black rhinos survive in the wild today. Photo by Lucas Alexander, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.Rhino Ops with the Zimbabwe Lowveld Rhino ProgramRaoul played his usual trick of working like someone possessed until the last moment of time. When we finally got to Charles Prince Airport he had made up his mind to fill up the Cessna 206 owned by the Lowveld Rhino Trust because it was going to be used, while we were gone, by our friend Hugo of the Frankfurt Zoo. By the time we took off, it was almost 3:45 p.m. with sundown coming at 5:30. “Raoul, what is our flight time today?” I enquired.“An hour and forty-five minutes.” Math is one of my specialties. We were going to land at dusk. Ok. Five minutes into the flight, over the headphones, Raoul informed me, “Ed, we have a ‘slight’ headwind.” Uh huh. We landed at Devuli Ranch with about 1 minute of daylight left. It really wasn’t that close. We had to do a high-speed flyover of the dirt strip to make sure that a herd of wildebeests weren’t grazing on the runway. It’s completely usual. Don’t want to land amongst a passel of ungulates. Bad for the paint job. I spotted a herd of giraffes on the fly around. As usual, they ignored the plane. Giraffes never look up. Why bother – they’re the tallest things around.We got to the ranch and Bob, our helicopter pilot, and I, long friends of about three minutes, grabbed drinks and went out to the campfire. Ten minutes later, Raoul sat down, and said, “That was the army right behind us. They were suspicious of an airplane landing so late. I’ve patched it up.” With any luck we won’t receive ground fire as we’re trying to dart rhinos.Devuli Ranch is a historic place. In the 1950’s the Rhodesian colonial government promoted the development of the semi-desert lowveld. The De La Rue family claimed 750,000 acres. Cattle ranching was not commercially successful, so they subdivided into 30,000 acre ‘ranchettes’ and sold most off. Cheshakwe Ranch, where we are staying, was their original headquarters. Years earlier, on a previous rhino operation, I pulled a novel from a shelf in De La Rue’s library to read. Somerset Maugham, “The Razor’s Edge,” signed on the fly by De La Rue. I’m ashamed to say, I kept it. I walked into the library. Virtually nothing left on the shelves. I’m not the only thief in town.Day 1We got a late start today. A family, neighbors of the Conservancy, pitched up after breakfast with half their kids. Four boys from 6 to 16. Raoul invited them to get into position so they could see us work on a sedated rhino. Chap, Natasha, myself, and Bob the pilot all piled into the Robinson 44 with enough equipment to make leg amputations almost mandatory. I sit in the front seat next to the pilot. Under my feet is a chainsaw and two backpacks. I jam my right leg between the center control console and the chain saw. What to do with my left leg? And, how to buckle my shoulder harness, close the door and get my left foot in position as the helicopter is taking off? I figure it out, more or less.Once a rhino is immobilized, its eyes are quickly covered to protect them from the sun and to keep the animal calm. Photo courtesy of International Rhino Foundation, Zimbabwe Lowveld Rhino Program.My job changed about 7:30 this morning when Tasha showed me a drill, some small Ziploc bags and chemicals: “You are going to drill the horn for DNA samples.” Say what? A one-minute tutorial followed. “Drill the horn 5cm from the base at a straight angle. Don’t get near the living tissue, but get deep enough to get through the weathered outer horn.” I’d drilled oil wells, but not rhino horn. Time for a change!“After each horn, dip the tip of the drill into this tube of chemical. Otherwise, the DNA will be contaminated on the next horn.” Then she thought a few seconds, rummaged around and handed me a special paint. “When we dehorn, I want you to paint this on the cut edge. It seals and protects the horn from infection.” Okey-dokey. “Go to the garage and get the toothbrush for the paint.” I had no idea where the garage was, but Tasha is intimidating. I went through the kitchen, around the corner toward the vehicles on the certain assumption that the garage would be in the vicinity of the trucks. I’m usually wrong in my assumptions, but this time, lo and behold, there was the garage and the toothbrush was in plain sight. Such small successes make me happy.We finally took off, but the scouts were on the wrong cow and calf. We set the helicopter down on a creek bed, whilst a herd of about 100 Cape buffalo were drinking. They stomped off and left us in peace. The old buffalo bulls can be a real menace, but for once they behaved. We sat down above the creek on a sandy patch. That is, the three of them sat on clean sand, I sat on a kind of cocklebur and got several dozen burrs stuck in my butt. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before I got in the chopper and made a mess of the seat.It was late morning by then so we flew back to camp. After lunch it became apparent that the scouts couldn’t find the rhinos Raoul wanted. We took the helicopter and joined the search with the spotter plane. Bob the pilot had a particular flying style, which included extremely tight-banking turns. Good thing I don’t get motion sickness. The rest of the day we recorded rhinos from their ear notches. Tasha handed me her notebook and pen that hardly worked. Chap photographed and called out the notch positions and I wrote the data down – when the damn pen ink flowed. I switched to a lead pencil. It was virtually out of lead. I cursed Tasha, and Chap handed me a pen that worked. We found around 20 white and black rhinos before the day was out. All had been ear notched, so the scouts will have to start over tomorrow working another area. Folks are starting to drink, so I’ll say goodnight.Day 2An hour after our return, the helicopter having landed with about 3 ounces of petrol remaining, a pack of African painted dogs ran down an impala in the front yard of the ranch. This dog den was close to the fence line, but I’d already been informed that it was near impossible to approach, so we’d leave them alone. The African painted dog is the most social of the large African predators and a very intelligent animal. This pack had figured out that if they drove impala against the ranch’s barbed wire fence, hunting would be easier and take less time.Black rhino. Image courtesy of International Rhino Foundation.There we were, unpacking gear right around dusk when we heard a big racket outside. Chap, our vet, dropped everything and ran toward the noise. Naturally, I followed him. The impala had cracked its skull on a fence post and the painted dogs fled when Jesse’s dog went crazy. Chap grabbed the impala and ordered me to hold its head down. Chap cut its throat. I know it sounds awful, but it was the humane thing to do. We dragged it out into the field with the hopes that the dogs would return and eat the kill. My coveralls were decorated from my right shoulder to my right knee with a spray of arterial blood. Another baptism. At least Chap didn’t dip his thumb and make the sign of the cross on my forehead.Rhino ops were very productive today. We darted and ear notched four black rhino calves. We also took notes on about 30 more that had identifying marks. Every day of operations the helicopter has to have a spot to set down in between flights. Today, it was a kope (sounds like copy), a granite nob of a hill with about 100 meters total rise. We landed on the flat top. There were three depressions, which in the rainy season would be little stone baths, two filled with lion shit and the last filled with genet shit. I asked whether it was likely that a leopard would live in a kope frequented by lions. “Oh sure, Ed, the leopard knows when to come out of its den.”I took my first DNA sample today. With a little extra instruction from Natasha, I’m now an expert (maybe). I also painted the ass end of a rhino. We use yellow paint that lasts about two weeks. That way, we don’t dart the same animal twice by mistake.Trish, the helicopter pilot’s wife, got a tutorial from our vet, Chap about the drug, which he mixes for each dart. The main ingredient, etorphine, or M99, is a semi-synthetic opioid of fantastic toxicity to humans, 20 micrograms on the pinprick of an open wound and you are dead in about 30 seconds from cardiac and respiratory arrest. Even a drop absorbed on intact skin and you pass out very quickly. He showed her the reversal drug he carries in a fanny pack. I asked about fentanyl, the opioid, which when added to heroin is killing Americans left and right. “Oh, Ed, etorphine is far more toxic than fentanyl.” I can’t tell you how often I have washed off the ooze leaking from a dart stuck in the butt of a rhino. And yet, the team knows the danger, so we are very careful where we place our hands. I’ve never seen anyone pitch over from etorphine poisoning.Day 3Good news this morning. The wild dogs dragged off the impala carcass after dark. Bad news: A “guti” (cold front) came out of the south last night. Today started out gloomy, with wind, low dark gray clouds and drizzle. Cold too. Rhino ops began slowly. Scouts were not moving as fast under these weather conditions, so we finally went out after 11 a.m. to do some scouting from the air.Ed Warner with a white rhino at an orphanage for calves whose mothers were killed by poachers. Photo by Jaime Rupert.Two additional factors gummed things up farther. Raoul, in the spotter plane, made contact with a signal on the ground using a portable receiver. As it was not moving and the frequency corresponded to a receiver on a rhino, he called us in to investigate. We did not have a portable receiver in the helicopter, so Chap and I were dropped off and ran a search pattern across the savanna while Natasha and Bob went off to rendezvous with Raoul to get the one he had in the Husky. Chap and I split up so as to cover more ground. Walking through the bush alone, knowing that besides the ‘dangerous five’ (lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhino) one might run into an Egyptian or spitting cobra, a Russell’s or other viper, or god forbid a black mamba, makes one think. I covered the ground carefully, looking not so much for a carcass, but for shell casings and porcupine quills. Porcupine quills? What have they to do with poaching? Nothing, except I always look for porcupine quills. Part of my “Africa” collections.The helicopter landed and we set up the portable receiver. Chap started walking toward the signal. The three of us fanned out on both sides. After about ten minutes, he took the antenna off. We searched the ground carefully. Nothing. Then partly hidden under a log we found the collar and transmitter that had been fitted to an African painted dog. It had snapped off cleanly. It didn’t belong to the dog research group. In fact, we don’t know where it came from.Off we went and landed atop our favorite kope for lunch. I stripped off my thermals because I got overheated on our walk about. At the end of lunch, a drizzle started, finally cooling me down. A radio call came in from the scouts. While following spoor, they saw the remains of a rhino. Off we went and met with the scouts, driving in a Land Cruiser pickup. Natasha took a hand-held GPS unit and followed it to ‘Sarah’, a 27 year-old black rhino cow that had been shot about eight months earlier based on the condition of the skeleton and her last sighting. Chap started counting bones and called out, “I’ve got three femurs.” Her two-month old calf had been killed in the same ambush. Sarah’s skull was mutilated by a saw when her horn was hacked off. We never found the skull of the calf, hard as we looked. Probably carried off by a hyena.We finally got back to productive work. Ear-notched one black rhino calf and dehorned one large black rhino bull. We would have run out of gas on the way back to camp, so we stopped on a dirt road and rendezvoused with a truck carrying fuel. Twenty liters of gas later we were off. Raoul spotted a lone bull on the way back and so we diverted to get his number off his ear notches, an exercise which resembles a high-speed chase trying to get a license number off a drunk driver. Only, we were dodging trees all the while. We got back to camp with twice the fuel of the night before. Two minutes supply left, up from one minute, oh joy!Day 4Cold and dark cloud cover, but not so low as yesterday. The guti is going and the clouds will start to burn off as the sun does its job. One of the safari camps has clients that would like to join us to see our work. We took off around 9:45 heading southeast to the area just north of the Turgwe River. We’re looking for a couple of black rhino bulls to dehorn and several cow and calf combos, to ear notch the calves.Chap kneels with yet another patient. Next to him is Trish (in blue) and Natasha (in green). Image by Ed Warner.We encountered a half dozen rhinos on the way and buzzed them until we got the ear notch numbers for identification. The helicopter set down at the intersection of two roads and we sat under an Acacia tortilis for shade. Finally, I laid on the ground and went out like a light.The radio squawked with word of a cow and calf and off we went. The cow was darted, went down in a wide-open spot for a change and the helicopter picked up myself and Natasha, and put us down 20 meters from Chap and the calf. I took a DNA sample and off we went. Back to the Acacia for lunch and another nap.The radio squawked again and off we went. This time we had a big black rhino bull to dehorn. Natasha and I were left behind for the darting, but right in the path of the rhino. Tasha said, “Ed, how about that tree?” pointing to a leadwood tree. I replied, “Hey Mom, don’t you think I’m capable of picking out my own tree?” I had found a leadwood with two trunks just the right distance apart for me to shove my boot in the crack and just about walk up the trunk.Five minutes later we spotted the rhino coming toward us through the trees. Maybe he smelled us, but he circled around and disappeared over the brow of a ridge. Minutes later we had word he had gone down a draw and was in the river thicket. Natasha and I took off on a run, which turned out to be almost 2 km. Over ridges, around hillsides over rocky ground, but we got to the rhino in time to help with the dehorning. I took out my cellphone and put the clock app on stopwatch and called out respiration rate. Then I painted the ass end with yellow paint in the shape of a “T”. The rhino’s name was “Torch”, after his mother “Flame” or some nonsense like that. Chap got ready to reverse and Tasha and I ran to the chopper. He started up and waited.Sure enough the rhino emerged from the river bottom only about 100 meters from us. We cranked up the revolutions, prepared to take off without Chap if necessary. The rhino trotted around and behind us. There was no malice in this big boy. He headed away. Chap ran for the chopper and we took off. All in a day’s work.We returned to camp to refuel at two p.m. and didn’t go out again until four. The crew of four in the helicopter did all the scouting and flying for a change. After 30 minutes we picked up an adult black rhino bull that needed to be dehorned.Instead of landing and dropping myself and Natasha we decided, overweight and all, we would just go right in and dart the beast. He was in thick thorn bush with tall trees every 100 or 200 meters. Not good country for darting. We followed him and pushed him to a more open area. High and at an angle, Chap made the most amazing shot, hitting the rhino between his cheeks right up against his spine. We followed him for 2 .5 minutes. He started to show signs of the drug. Another 2.5 minutes passed and Chap started making up another dart. Suddenly the big old bull started to stagger. Chap put the meds away. He kindly collapsed just 100 meters from a clearing we could use as a landing zone.Day 5I started off early this morning, just after dawn, with Jessie of the African painted dog research group (African Wildlife Conservation Fund). We visited the “Nova” pack of 10 puppies and 14 adults. “Why ‘Nova’?” I asked.African wild dog. Image via African Wildlife Conservation Fund.“These dogs were a half dozen males that split off of the ‘Bedford’ pack. They roamed around for an entire season, traveling great distances until they had picked up a female from here and there. We got to calling them the ‘Casanovas.’ So, when they came back up north and settled here on Chishakwe, we shortened the name to ‘Nova.’”The adults were just returning from the hunt as we pitched up. Wild dogs have wonderful coloration, patches of black, brown, rust and white. Dogs just off of a kill have a kind of magenta glow around their heads and shoulders from the fresh blood of the impala or kudu they had minutes earlier torn to shreds. Each adult as it returns is mobbed by the puppies, which lick their faces. They then regurgitate the chunks of meat that they had so recently swallowed.I don’t see this as disgusting, it is in fact brilliant social behavior. A beta female was injured, had given birth to pups and was also lactating. She was looking mighty thin. She ran up the other adults and begged for food. The puppies gathered ‘round her and lo and behold, the puppies regurgitated food to feed her! Wild dogs may be the greatest social predators on Earth.I got back to the ranch just in time to climb into the helicopter and go out on rhino ops. We managed two ear notches and one dehorning today. The last rhino was a 16-month old female black rhino calf. She ran back toward Natasha and me, but we were on open ground and could see a long way off. I had already climbed a tree earlier in the day, but it wasn’t necessary.The ground was flat, so we tracked her as she turned away from us, and ran in after her. Typical of black rhinos, as she got woozy she headed directly into an Acacia thorn thicket, crashing as she went down alongside a fallen mopane tree. It was very bad ground. We had to hand saw and pull away dead thorn, which cuts you badly. Chap was finally able to squeeze through and got the ear tags and ear notches done. Blood drawn, butt and horn painted, we ran back to the helicopter and Chap reversed her. As we circled away she was up and out of the thorns and steadily running towards her mother. It is amazing how fast black rhinos recover from the immobilizing drugs.We ended the day searching for a mother and calf in an area of continuous mopane forest that had just leafed out. Staring though green foliage, looking continuously at the red laterite soil beneath, and continuously focusing without distraction became tough. We kept that up for an hour and turned for home. It was too late in the day to dart. Helicopters are not supposed to fly after sunset and we really try to keep to that rule.Day SixLast day of rhino ops in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe. What an extraordinary day! We started off with an ear notching of a male black rhino calf, which managed to go down in a little watercourse, blocking the whole thing. We had a large Land Cruiser full of locals who wanted to see the operation: a conservancy manager and their boys and an elderly couple.A white rhino in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler for Mongabay.We did our usual stuff, blood and ear notching and all, and when Chap said, “Ed get them all out of here fast,” I looked at his back (he was moving back to the rhino fast) with utter amazement. Mr. Wilson was a bazillion years old, walked with a cane, and moved as fast as a moderately sized tortoise. I ran ahead. The teenage boys ran with me. I stopped and looked back and waited. Here he came! I ran ahead and stopped. Nothing I could do would move these folks a lick faster.I started to laugh. Here we had these slow pokes. On the other end of this adventure we had a 600 pound black rhino calf, which was about to go berserk. Well, what’s fatalism anyhow! I continued to herd them along. We all got back in the vehicle. Chap must have waited an extra 20 minutes before he reversed the drugs. We left them behind and went back to work.The second rhino, a dehorning, was even more amusing. Tasha and I were dropped off in a large open area. We picked out our trees. We could hear the helicopter pushing the big black bull toward us. I tried out my tree. No problemo.I walked over to Tasha who was just then intently looking into the thorn bush. “Did you hear those elephants? They must have gotten wind of us. You better get back to your tree.”“I don’t want to climb a tree. Elephants push trees over when they’re pissed off. Then they stomp you. I want to run away.” We waited not knowing whether to climb or run.The elephants actually behaved and we ran into the rhino site. We saw the elephants from the helicopter after we finished up. The elephants had warned us and then walked off.De-horning can be a poaching deterrent, though horns have to be cut slowly as they heat up very quickly and could cause a rhino discomfort. Research shows that de-horned rhinos survive as well as rhinos with horns, and can still defend themselves. Image courtesy of International Rhino Foundation.I was getting pretty blue. Here it was, our last day, and I had not been the first to spot a rhino from the air. Finally, at 4:30 p.m., we found a cow and calf and lost sight of them while the helicopter spun around. I shouted out: “Mother and calf, 10 o’clock!” I had spotted them before the others. Quite satisfying.We darted the calf, a large, 21-month-old female black rhino, and did our work. We took off, dusk approaching, and looked around for one last job. After 5 p.m. I spotted a black rhino almost underneath us. I shouted out. Seconds later, Natasha called out a white rhino cow and calf. Almost immediately Tasha recognized the calf as the one we had darted a half hour earlier, spotting the mom converging on her position. Four rhinos in the same spot.Tasha screamed: “Get us out of here! Go, go, go!” The black rhino mom and calf were already traumatized. They didn’t need a helicopter chasing them around. Besides the sun was setting. Having flown a Robinson 44 after dark, I was happy to call it done.Thus ended 2017 rhino ops at Devuli Ranch, the Lowveld, Zimbabwe.Ed Warner is an author, a member of the board of directors of The Sand County Foundation, a Trustee for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and an Honorary Professor at Colorado State University. Learn more about his book “Running with Rhinos” at his website, www.edwardmwarner.com. More about the IRF’s Rhino Conservancy Project in Zimbabwe can be found here.last_img read more

Indonesia launches bid to restore national park that’s home to tigers, elephants

first_imgAnimals, Conflict, Conservation, Deforestation, Encroachment, Environment, Fires, Forests, Indonesia, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations, Protected Areas, Rainforest Destruction, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Tesso Nilo National Park in Sumatra is home to critically endangered tigers and elephants, but has been heavily deforested by illegal oil palm plantations and human settlements.The government has introduced a program to gradually relocate the people living within the park’s borders, by encouraging them to shift away from oil palm farming to alternative and sustainable forms of livelihood.If successful, the program could serve as a model for restoring other national parks across Indonesia, which face similar problems of human encroachment. JAKARTA — The Indonesian government has unveiled an ambitious plan to restore a heavily degraded national park that is one of the last remaining habitats on Earth for the critically endangered Sumatran tiger.The restoration of Teso Nilo National Park in Riau province, on the island of Sumatra, has been two years in the planning, and is expected to serve as a model for other national parks across the country if successful.A key focus of the plan will be engaging with the communities that have moved into the ostensibly protected area and over the years cleared the land to establish settlements and plantations.Hariadi Kartodihardjo, a member of a task force of government officials, conservationists and field workers set up in 2016 to survey the various issues on the ground, said the team went from village to village to study how the land was being occupied.What they discovered was that a long history of mismanagement had allowed tens of thousands of hectares of the park and two adjacent logging concessions — which together make up the Tesso Nilo forest complex — to be overrun with oil palm plantations and dozens of villages.The task force also faced hostility from the villager, who, despite occupying a national park and not having any title to the land, insist on remaining there.“During the first meeting [with villagers] at the park, I was kicked out by the locals,” Hariadi, a senior adviser to the minister of environment and forestry, said at an event in Jakarta. “They have this perception that the government is toying with them. So it wasn’t easy.”Illegal logging in Tesso Nilo. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.History of oversightTesso Nilo was once thick lowland forest rich in biodiversity. In addition to its iconic Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica), it is also home to a conservation center for critically endangered Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus).However, large-scale deforestation for illegal oil palm plantations has changed the face of Tesso Nilo, leaving only 25 percent of the park with any remaining intact forest, a revelation that came to global attention after a visit to the area in 2013 by the U.S. actor Harrison Ford for a documentary series.As their habitat shrinks, Tesso Nilo’s elephants are increasingly crossing paths with humans — and being killed as they are perceived as crop-destroying pests. At least 55 elephants have been killed there since 2012, reducing the estimated elephant population in Tesso Nilo to between 150 and 200, according to the government.Ford’s visit culminated in a heated argument between the actor and Indonesia’s minister of forestry at that time, Zulkifli Hasan, over who was responsible for the large-scale destruction of the park.The answer isn’t all that clear-cut.Much of the problems in Tesso Nilo today can be traced back to the long delay by the government in establishing the area as a national park. It wasn’t until 2004 that it received this designation, with the attendant protections it was supposed to afford. But by then, thousands of people, mostly from nearby North Sumatra province, had already settled into the area in search of land.That mass migration was encouraged by local officials during a period when the status of the land was still unclear. Prominent local businesspeople provided financial and logistical support to the settlers, allowing them to fell and burn trees to set up oil palm plantations. Subsequent investigations have found that palm oil originating from these plantations is finding its way into the international market.There are 150 oil palm plantations inside the national park, according to government figures, along with 64 plantations in the adjacent logging concession formerly held by PT Hutani Sola Lestari and 36 in another concession previously held by PT Siak Raya Timber.“How do you solve problems like these when the oil palm trees have matured and some of [the plantations] are even owned by former military personnel?” asked Hariadi.In addition to the sea of plantations, there are also 23 villages in the park, which have a combined 4,000 households. While the families here work on and manage the illegal plantations, most of them don’t own the plantations.According to a 2013 report by WWF, which has been helping the government manage the park since 2004, the average plantation size per individual in the park was 50 hectares (124 acres), far bigger than the typical size for a smallholder, and thus suggesting the presence of significant capital behind the industrial-sized estates.Fifty-eight palm oil companies operating on the outskirts of the park are known to buy up the palm fruit harvested inside, despite being aware of their illegal provenance, Hariadi said.“These firms don’t accept [consignments of palm fruit from illegal plantations] during the day, but they do accept them during the night. The farmers have admitted this,” he said.Burned forest in Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau, Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerEngagement and enforcementWith thousands of livelihoods at stake, the task force set up in 2016 had to first distinguish the genuine smallholders from the big plantation owners, known locally as cukong, who hire the small farmers to manage their estates.The next step is to engage the small farmers in the restoration plan by involving them in the government’s social forestry scheme, through which it provides alternative livelihoods within the national park that don’t involve farming oil palms.The task force has already kicked off this scheme with some villages in the park.“They have cultivated honey and eventually they’ll be able to plant crops that have economic value,” said Chalid Muhammad, a senior adviser to the minister of environment and forestry.The social forestry scheme is the gateway through which the government hopes to gain the trust of the locals. The ultimate goal is to eventually relocate them out of the park and into the neighboring logging concessions. (The companies that held those leases had their permits revoked by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in 2015 due to fires in the concessions.)Until that happens, the locals will be allowed to remain in the national park, where they are expected to commit to the social forestry scheme while gradually giving up oil palm farming. This transition period is expected to last 12 years, after which all work on the illegal plantations will be prohibited.Hariadi said the government cannot relocate the people right away because their livelihoods still depend greatly on the oil palms. In addition, some of the villages were established a long time ago, and their inhabitants have formed strong community bonds, which is why the government cannot separate them.“Just because we have vacant land available doesn’t mean we can just move people there,” Hariadi said. “These people want to stick to their groups, and each group can consist of 500 households. So we’re talking about a mass migration, because community relationships can’t be broken.”At the end of the transition period, the villagers will be given title deeds to the land in the logging concessions, as part of the government’s agrarian reform program. The land inside the national park will go back to its original inhabitants.“There’s no way we will disturb the habitat of the elephants and the tigers [in the park],” Hariadi said.None of this means the cukong behind the illegal plantations, who have been identified by the task force, are off the hook. Bambang Hendroyono, the secretary general of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the government would crack down on them in tandem with the resettlement process for the others.“We’re trying to solve the problems with the social forestry scheme, while not forgetting to enforce the law on illegal parties in forest areas,” he said.The government has already seized 12 excavators from inside the park, Chalid said. These machines are typically used to raze trees to clear land for planting oil palms. A parallel investigation into the ultimate owners of the illegal plantations has also begun, he said.As for the 58 oil palm firms that buy from the illegal plantations, some will be acquired by the government and run by state-owned palm oil firm PT Perkebunan Nusantara 13 (PTPN 13), while the rest will have their permits revoked, Hariadi said.The population of Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) has been pushed out of their forest habitats by rampant deforestation and hunting. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Political uncertaintyWhile the government has vowed to proceed with the program, and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is scheduled to visit Tesso Nilo in the near future, Hariadi said a change in the administration after the 2019 elections could derail the entire plan.Jokowi’s first term ends next year, and while he remains a favorite to win re-election, he faces a resurgent opposition emboldened by its victory over a close Jokowi ally in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election — a proxy for the race for the nation’s highest office. And should he win a second term as president, the vagaries of Indonesian politics could see him restock his cabinet with loyalists not necessarily aligned with the current administration’s views on conservation.“The [election] will have an implication,” Hariadi said. “If the leadership doesn’t commit to the people after 2019, then [the restoration plan] won’t work. Indeed, we can’t guarantee it will work if there’s a change in our politics.”But Hariadi said he was hopeful that with the fundamentals in place, particularly the hard work done by the task force to engage the villagers, and continued commitment from the government, the plan would go through.If it does, and it succeeds, the government will be able to use the same twin-pronged approach of social forestry and law enforcement to restore other national parks across the country, many of which face the same underlying problems.“This will become the model for solving [similar problems] all around Indonesia,” the environment ministry’s Bambang said. Banner image: Forest loss in Sumatra is putting species like the Sumatran elephant at greater risk. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay. Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong 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

How the farmers of Seruyan rose up a against a palm oil fiefdom

first_imgAnonymous Companies, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corruption, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Farming, Forestry, Forests, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Palm Oil, Plantations, Threats To Rainforests, Transparency, Tropical Forests Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored 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 fourth 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 second part gave Darwan’s backstory, and the third part chronicled the palm oil boom that hit Seruyan after he took office. The fourth part examined the corruption behind that boom. 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.The cover image for ‘The Palm Oil Fiefdom.’One night during Darwan’s second term, a farmer named Marjuansyah, who lived in the village the bupati had grown up in, had an unsettling encounter with the police. For two years he had nursed a small patch of oil palm east of Lake Sembuluh, and hundreds of saplings were now close to bearing fruit. But his land also fell within an area licensed to one of the companies Darwan’s son Ruswandi had sold to Triputra.The police told Marjuansyah that they had come on company business. Triputra, they said, would pay him 5 million rupiah, around $550, for each of his nine hectares. The cash would not last long, while the palms he had cultivated could provide him an income for the rest of his life, a security net as he entered old age. He did not want to sell, but felt uneasy about refusing a firm whose approach had been made through the police. Hoping to put them off the trail, he later told them he could accept no less than twice what they were offering.Instead, he told us, Triputra found other people to stake a false claim to his land, and paid them for it. Pliant local officials vouched for the transaction. The company ran bulldozers over his farm  —  smallholder oil palm is typically inferior to corporate-grown trees  —  and demolished a cottage he had built. “I reported it to the police,” Marjuansyah told us at a friend’s home in the village, clutching a blurry photo of his former dwelling. “But there was no reaction.”Marjuansyah displays a picture of the hut destroyed when Triputra, he says, grabbed his land.A similar fate befell many of the people of Seruyan as plantation firms advanced through their farmlands and the surrounding forests. It was not uncommon for the companies to offer some money for their land, presumably in the hope of heading off resistance. But it was not, as Marjuansyah found, a negotiation, and there was little option to refuse.The farmers were at a disadvantage because the state did not recognize their land rights. Some had certificates issued by village chiefs but these were legally precarious compared to the companies’ state-sanctioned licenses. As Marjuansyah also found, they could be forged or manipulated. Many land claims were overlapping, a situation that had not troubled village life when there was no commercial pressure on land, and they could be resolved through customary law. When the companies arrived, they ignited and exploited these disputes, buying land from whomever would sell it first.The presence of the police in negotiating with Marjuansyah was not an isolated incident. In other cases, they took a clear and partial position in protecting the companies’ interests. A farmer named Wardian bin Junaidi told us how Triputra’s same subsidiary tore down his rambutan and durian fruit trees. His appeals to the company were ignored.Wardian bin Junaidi went to jail for stealing fruit from a Triputra plantation.“I got fed up with continually petitioning them,” he said. “So one day I went and harvested some of that palm fruit myself.” He was arrested and imprisoned for several months. “I was accused of stealing. Really, those people are the thieves. But the law is selective. It’s not for us poor people. It’s the companies that have the money.”***From the earliest days of Indonesia’s palm oil industry, the government had sought to strike a balance between ceding land to large companies capable of developing viable plantations, and ensuring that nearby communities benefited. Through the 1980s and 1990s it experimented with various models, involving both the state and private sector. Most commonly, firms were required to equip local farmers with smallholdings planted with oil palm. Just a couple of hectares of mature trees could transform the lives of an impoverished family in rural Indonesia.The proportion of land that companies had to provide varied. Cede too much to the firms and the communities would not benefit; too little and the investment would be unappealing. By 2002 the prevailing regulation was ambiguous over how companies were to support local farmers, but clear that they had to do it. This was the regulation that gave bupatis power over licensing, and also the authority to revoke permits if companies failed to “grow and empower” local communities. In 2007 the rules became more concrete, requiring companies to provide, plant and hand over an area of smallholdings equivalent to a fifth of their license.Every company greenlighted by Darwan was bound by these rules, but across the board they failed to comply. From the moment the Kuoks and Rachmats came into the district, in the early 2000s, they had promised smallholdings. Into Darwan’s second term, their failure to deliver caused growing unrest.If the early land grabs were a cold hard shock, the dearth of smallholdings was a sting that lingered. Without them the communities were left out of the riches generated by the plantations, which were concentrated in the hands of the billionaires who had become the district’s biggest landowners. The villagers had lost their farms, the rivers had become polluted, the best jobs on the plantations went to outsiders seen as more skilled, and day labor picking fruit paid too little to live with dignity.As the villagers’ protests fell on deaf ears, it became increasingly clear that Darwan was not only representing the companies’ interests, but also wielding his control over the state in support of the firms. When Triputra sparked alarm with a plan to build a processing facility upstream of Lake Sembuluh, residents who complained were met with threats from the bupati himself.“In 2010, he came to our village for a religious event and said, ‘no one should oppose the mill or there will be trouble,” one villager told an NGO. “‘If you work in government or plantations, then you will be fired’.” Darwan reportedly installed new chiefs in villages that opposed plantations, eroding the potential for resistance through formal institutions.At the beginning of Darwan’s second term a heavyset, outspoken man named Budiardi was elected to the district legislature with, as he described it, “a mandate to struggle for the people’s rights against the company.” Budiardi came from Hanau subdistrict, where the BEST Group had set up in the national park and in the villages around it. Yet he soon came to the view that it was futile to try to change the system from within. Darwan’s party dominated the parliament; the speaker was his nephew. “It was useless to oppose Darwan’s policies,” Budiardi told us. “The bupati controlled the parliament.”James Watt, a stoic farmer from the lakeside village of Bangkal, had bought into Darwan’s pledge to make the plantations work for the people, before his land was taken by the Sinar Mas Group, an Indonesian conglomerate founded by the billionaire Widjaja family. “All we got was oppression,” James told us. “Clearing our land, dumping waste in our rivers. We never imagined it would be like this.” As the companies pushed forth, Darwan didn’t lift a finger. “It was always empty promises with him. I think he saw being bupati as his chance to make as much money as possible.”As the futility of opposition through the state  —  village institutions, police, parliament, and bupati  —  dawned on the farmers of Seruyan, they began to take direct action. A man named Sadarsyah who claimed his land was grabbed by Triputra became a symbol of the unresolved conflicts in early 2011, prompting villagers to block a company road for days. Triputra accused him of fraud and reported the protesters to the police.Meanwhile in a Wilmar subsidiary, hundreds of villagers shut down a main road into the concession, where mill effluents continued to pollute local water supplies. Anti-riot police had by then become a frequent sight in the plantation. When an NGO team made a research trip to one of Wilmar’s plantations in 2012, among the first things they saw was a soldier with an M-16 assault rifle.***The prospect of a prosecution by the KPK hovered over Darwan. The antigraft agency visited Seruyan in 2008, following up on Marianto’s report only after the bupati was locked in for a second term. They searched government offices for data over several trips to Kuala Pembuang, the seaside district capital, according to Marianto. (The KPK declined to comment on Darwan’s case.)At one point, they held a meeting with Darwan’s aide and a coterie of local figures, Marianto included. “Don’t just come and look around,” Marianto recalled urging them. “We hope the KPK can bring about the result desired by the people.” But as the second term wore on, the investigation seemed to go nowhere.Nordin Abah, the activist who did his own investigation of Darwan, also reported him to the KPK. He was in contact with the agency’s leadership throughout his second term, but a case never transpired. Nordin had the option of reporting him for corruption to the police or attorney general’s office, in addition to the KPK. But he told us that would have been “pointless”  —  they were just as crooked as Darwan.Nordin also feared he could have been “criminalized”: arrested for an offense he didn’t commit. He said he received a threat against his children, sent to his phone. “Nordin, if you come here again, if you stay in Seruyan, you’d better think about your little son,” he told us, taking the voice of his intimidators. “That upset me, those threats about my son. If it’s just me no problem, but if it’s my son I’m worried.” Nordin passed away from hypertension in June this year, at the age of 47.***Toward the end of July 2011, tensions in Seruyan came to a head. Thousands of villagers from across the district descended on the seat of Darwan’s administration in Kuala Pembuang, pitching tents outside the parliament building and demanding an audience with the bupati. The protesters represented 27 villages, and had come to air the twin grievances of land grabs and the failure to provide smallholdings. One of the coordinators was James Watt, the farmer from Bangkal who had lost his land to the Sinar Mas Group. They were accompanied by sympathetic members of the local parliament, including Budiardi. The people unfurled their banners, set up a general kitchen and declared their intent to stay put until Darwan came to meet them.A newspaper clipping from the 2011 protest. The banner reads, “Bupati don’t be afraid we only demand our rights.”Days later, Darwan finally emerged from the door of the parliament building. Stepping out onto a raised veranda, he looked down upon the protesters surrounding it. He had deep jowls and a lopsided smile that gave him a sardonic expression. He wore his dark, button-down bupati’s shirt and a black peci, a Muslim cap. He was accompanied by an entourage of aides and other government figures, including the chief of the local police.James Watt and other protest leaders used a megaphone to recite their demands. They wanted the bupati to use his authority to push the companies to resolve land conflicts, and force them to provide a fifth of their land for community plantations. Darwan listened, and replied that he welcomed the arrival of the people and would try to convey their aspirations to the companies. But he said it would be impossible for companies to provide smallholdings from within their plantations as they were not legally required to do so. They shouted him down, yelling at him that he was a liar, as James remembers it. Darwan raised his hand to try to quiet them. They kept on shouting.“It embarrassed him,” James said. “He decided he didn’t want to talk anymore, so he turned around, went inside and left out the back.”***The protest took place during a sharp escalation of conflicts over land across Indonesia. The following month, a murky conflict in Mesuji, southern Sumatra, became the center of national attention after a retired general screened a video at a parliamentary hearing in Jakarta, purportedly showing evidence that the security guards of an oil palm company had beheaded farmers.A few months later, hundreds of villagers occupied a port on Sumbawa island in defiance of a mining permit issued to an Australian firm. After five days, riot police opened fire on the blockade, killing two teenagers. The same month, 28 farmers from an island off the Sumatran coast sewed their mouths shut to protest a plantation license that covered more than a third of their island. By the years’ end, at least 22 people had died in hundreds of actions across the country.Pundits chided protesters for “disregarding their democratic right of bringing grievances to their elected representatives” in favor of “street power,” as a Jakarta Post editorial put it. Budiardi, the local parliament member from Seruyan, saw it differently. “We tried to communicate with them about resolving the land conflicts and partnering with the people,” he told us. “But I think we can’t do anything if the bupati doesn’t care about what the people want.”Budiardi at his home in Hanau, Seruyan.That December, 11 people from Budiardi’s home subdistrict of Hanau entered a BEST Group plantation to commit their own act of vandalism. Fed up after years of petitioning the company, they used a truck and rope and ripped out several of its palm trees by the root. Everyone who participated was imprisoned for several months. Budiardi was not there, but he had organized protests in front of the company’s office, and was now labelled a “provocateur.” A warrant was issued for his arrest. Ignoring the summons, Budiardi traveled to Jakarta with a delegation of Hanau residents for a hearing at the national parliament. After a month or so as a “fugitive,” Budiardi too was arrested. He was tried and sentenced to four months in prison.For Budiardi, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Upon completing his prison term and returning home, he emptied out his file cabinet, took copies of permits Darwan had issued and other documents behind his house, and set them on fire. “I lost my will to continue this struggle,” he told us. “I didn’t want to have anything more to do with it.”***If grappling with the plantations left Budiardi resigned to defeat, it only stiffened James Watt’s resolve. He would need it, for the frontrunner to replace Darwan after the end of his second and final term was none other than the bupati’s own son, Ahmad Ruswandi.Ahmad Ruswandi on the campaign trail in Seruyan, March 2013.By the time of the election in Seruyan, in April 2013, the post-Suharto era was buckling under the weight of local leaders who had honed the manipulation of democracy into a fine craft. Entire clans swept into the halls of government, as district chiefs sought to continue their reign beyond term limits, installing their spouses, siblings, cousins and children into political office. Later in 2013, the arrest of Indonesia’s top judge for taking bribes to settle election disputes would propel the issue of dynastic politics into the national spotlight. But when Ruswandi stood for bupati, it was already a pressing concern for those in Seruyan who could barely stomach the thought of another five years of rule by Darwan’s family.“The way the people saw it, it was like changing the cover on your phone,” said Wardian, the farmer who had been jailed for stealing palm fruit in retaliation for the company grabbing his land. “Underneath, the machine is the same.”Based on the usual rules of the game, Ruswandi looked like a shoo-in. Every one of the 12 parties with a seat in the local parliament had taken its place behind him. His main challenger had been forced out of the race when one of the parties withdrew its support and backed Ruswandi at the final hour. The head of its chapter in Seruyan expressed confusion at the decision, which had been made at the provincial level.Ward Berenschot, one of the authors of Democracy for Sale, said that money routinely comes into play when candidates are seeking the backing of political parties, from which they need a measure of support in order to run. Parties can demand up to 1 billion rupiah, roughly equivalent to $75,000, for each parliament seat they hold. Ambrin M Yusuf, the man who claimed he narrowly avoided being involved in the licensing scheme, was on Ruswandi’s campaign team. He told us that Darwan had stitched up the support for Ruswandi himself. “Haji Darwan took all the parties,” he said, using an honorific as a mark of respect. “It was bought and paid for at the province.”Darwan was said to be so confident in his son’s chances that he boasted it would make no difference if an orangutan were his running mate. But as Ruswandi campaigned in the villages that had experienced his father’s form of development for a decade, he might have seen reason to take pause. Face to face with Wardian, he heard his path to victory might not be as clear as he anticipated. “You can’t rely on your money to win,” the embittered farmer warned him.Darwan’s confidence proved to be misplaced. A grassroots movement swelled behind the only challenger, Sudarsono. Without the backing of a party, he had to stand as an independent, requiring him to collect thousands of signatures in order to run. Sudarsono was a member of the provincial parliament, while his candidate for vice bupati, Yulhaidir, had accompanied protesters in the massive 2011 demonstration as a member of Seruyan’s parliament. Key figures from the event, such as James Watt, backed the campaign and set up volunteer posts in their homes from which to organize.James Watt at his home in Bangkal. The poster on the left is a relic of the 2013 election campaign.The independents ran on a platform aimed squarely at the palm oil industry, signing a pledge that if elected, they would push the plantations to resolve land conflicts and provide smallholdings. It resonated with voters who felt betrayed by the man in whom they had once placed their faith. Sudarsono and Yulhaidir were announced the winners, taking 53.7 percent to Ruswandi’s 46.4 percent, and becoming the first candidates in Central Kalimantan to win a race for bupati as independents. Ruswandi accused the victors of cheating, but lost his appeal in the Constitutional Court.The era of Darwan Ali was over. While the devastation his land deals had already triggered would continue, he had lost his power to do further damage. At least for the time being.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

How to help penguins (photos)

first_imgWCS Wild View Posts on Penguins 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 This photo essay comes via Mongabay’s partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wild View blog.Once a month we’ll publish a contribution from Wild View that highlights an animal species or group.This month, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s David Oehler, Megan Maher, and Julie Larsen Maher write about penguins.All photos by Julie Larsen Maher, head photographer for WCS. Penguins are found in the Southern Hemisphere and come in all sizes ranging from 13 to 48 inches in height. The smallest is the little penguin from Australia and New Zealand; the largest is the emperor penguin of Antarctica.While these birds cannot fly through the air, they are very adept at using their wings to propel themselves through the water. Some penguins can dive to depths of about 1,750 feet. Their dark and light feathers are tightly packed — 70 feathers per square inch — keeping them insulated in the cold conditions of the marine environment where they live.Chinstrap penguins are found in Antarctica and the world’s other southernmost islands. Changing ocean conditions affect their main food source, krill. Credit: © Julie Larsen Maher / WCSPenguins are social animals that live in colonies like this one of chinstrap penguins characterized by noisy vocalizations. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCSPenguins are noisy and use various calls to attract mates, find their chicks, frighten off would-be predators, or just fuss with their neighboring penguins. Several species have distinctive calls. Magellanic and gentoo penguins bray. Chinstrap penguins scream, causing quite a cacophony in their colonies.Today, penguins are in trouble. They depend on the sea for food and coastal lands to nest, rear their chicks, and molt. Close to two-thirds of the world’s 17 penguin species face population pressures from threats like overfishing, oil spills, and man-made changes to the birds’ environment.Macaroni penguins are among the penguin species that live farthest south in the sub-Antarctic islands. They are one of six penguin species that have colorful crests of feathers. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.Macaroni penguins are among the penguin species that live farthest south in the sub-Antarctic islands. They are one of six penguin species that have colorful crests of feathers. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.While penguins cannot fly through the air, they are very adept at using their wings to propel themselves through the water like this macaroni penguin. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCSHere are some ways to help protect penguins:Seafood Watch Lists – Being a responsible consumer is critical. Read watch lists to ensure the seafood you eat is caught or raised sustainably. Through management of fisheries, marine protected areas, and community participation, fish populations and ecosystems can rebound. Preventing further damage to marine environments will have a positive impact on the health of penguin colonies dependent on these habitats.Oil Spills – This form of pollution is lethal to marine environments, including those of penguins. Make sure human activities do not contribute to the problem. Check fuel and oil lines on vehicles and homes for good condition, and do not dump old oil products into drains. Accidental spills of any pollutants remain in ecosystems and have been shown to accumulate in polar regions.Carbon Footprint – Help reduce carbon emissions to slow climate change. Dynamic changes produce rapid alterations in marine environments and within the food chains that are involved. Take action to help penguins survive by making simple changes like turning off lights when not in use or when you leave the room, or using LED light bulbs.Support Conservation Work – Organizations like WCS are continually working to conserve biodiversity and concentrations of marine wildlife. Establishing marine protected areas is important to preserve regions that penguins depend on for their survival.King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus)King penguins are from Chile and are the second largest of the penguin species standing nearly 3 feet tall. Credit: © David Oehler / WCSKing penguin chicks are covered in fluffy brown down that is warm on land, but not when wet. The young birds can’t go into the water until they have acquired their adult feathers. © Julie Larsen Maher / WCSRockhopper penguin (Eudyptes sp)Rockhoppers are among the smallest penguins at about 22 inches tall. Their food supply has become scarce in South America. Credit: © David Oehler / WCSMagellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)Magellanic penguins leave their coastal homes in Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands in the winter and then return to the same burrows every year. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCSMagellanic penguins leave their coastal homes in Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands in the winter and then return to the same burrows every year. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCSBlack-footed penguin (Spheniscus demersus)Black-footed penguins are also known as African or jackass penguins. They have a donkey-like bray and are found on the southwestern coast of Africa from Namibia to South Africa. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCSBlack-footed penguin chicks are covered in downy feathers. As they grow, their plumage becomes a combination of down and adult feathers that resemble a Mohawk haircut. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCSLittle penguin (Eudyptula sp)Little penguins are the smallest of the 17 penguin species at just 13 inches in height. Their home range is Australia and New Zealand. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCSGentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua)Gentoo penguins look as if they are wearing a bonnet of white where feathers cover the tops of their heads. They live on the Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS The Authors: David Oehler is curator of ornithology at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. Julie Larsen Maher is staff photographer for WCS. Megan Maher is a graduate student and works for WCS.center_img Article published by Rhett Butler Animals, Archive, Birds, Endangered Species, Environment, Penguins, Photos, Wildlife last_img read more

Population of world’s rarest giant turtle rises to 4 with new discovery

first_imgSome experts have now confirmed the presence of a Yangtze giant softshell turtle in Vietnam, increasing the total known population of the turtle to four individuals.Researchers matched environmental DNA collected from water samples from Xuan Khanh Lake in Vietnam to known samples from the species, and confirmed that the giant turtle living in the lake was most likely the Yangtze giant softshell turtle.Threats remain for the recently identified Yangtze giant softshell turtle. Xuan Khanh Lake is not protected, and commercial fishing is allowed there. When Cu Rua, an old Yangtze giant softshell turtle, died in Vietnam in 2016, he left behind only three of his kind: an elderly pair in a Chinese zoo, and a wild individual in a Vietnamese lake called Dong Mo. This meant that the Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), one of the world’s largest known freshwater turtle species, also became one of the world’s rarest.Now, some turtle experts are confident they’ve identified a fourth specimen of this critically endangered turtle in Vietnam’s Xuan Khanh lake.“It’s a good feeling to confirm the presence of a fourth turtle; it gives us hope something can be done to bring the species back,” Timothy McCormack, program coordinator of  the Hanoi-based Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (ATP/IMC), a U.K.-based conservation charity, told Mongabay. “I’ve put a lot of time into looking for this species and have always believed it has a chance.”Nguyen Tai Thang of the ATP/IMC surveying Xuan Khanh Lake in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Van Trong/ATP.But this confirmation comes after a long and winding journey.Reports of a plausible giant softshell turtle in Xuan Khanh Lake first surfaced in 2012 in the form of a photograph, McCormack said. The image wasn’t sufficiently clear to confirm the species, though, and intensive surveys of the lake over subsequent years failed to confirm the turtle’s presence.Then, in May 2017, Nguyen Van Trong, a former fisherman who now works with ATP/IMC, photographed what looked like a giant softshell turtle. Again, the blurry photograph wasn’t enough to confirm the species. So the team partnered with Caren Goldberg, an ecologist at Washington State University, U.S., to see if they could identify the species using environmental DNA (eDNA) — tiny DNA fragments that animals leave behind in the environment when they lose cells, such as by shedding skin or excreting waste.Goldberg’s team matched eDNA collected from water samples of Xuan Khanh Lake to known samples of the species, suggesting that there was indeed a Yangtze giant softshell turtle living in the lake.“It is difficult to detect a species at very low densities with eDNA, the sample has to be collected fairly close to where the animal is or was very recently,” Goldberg told Mongabay. “We analyzed many samples testing negative in addition to this positive sample. Between the visual observations and the sequence from the eDNA sample, there is a good amount of evidence that this turtle is another Rafetus swinhoei.”McCormack said they held back on announcing the turtle’s identity until after Goldberg’s team came back with reliable results.“We didn’t feel the photo in itself [taken in May 2017] was clear enough. Although the animal’s the right shape and a good size, it just wasn’t identifiable,” he said. “Caren did get some initial weak positives for Rafetus but again we have held off on making an announcement until just a few weeks ago she was able to improve the sensitivity. Of course there is still the slim chance that another closely related species could be misidentified or that genetic information on gene bank is not accurate. But we are confident enough to go public with this.”A photograph of the Xuan Khanh turtle taken in May 2017. A clear identification could not be made from this photograph. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Van Trong/ATP.The Yangtze giant softshell turtle, also called the Red River giant softshell turtle, Shanghai softshell turtle or Swinhoe’s softshell turtle, was once known from the Red River in China and Vietnam and from China’s lower Yangtze River floodplain, according to the Turtle Conservation Coalition that recently released a report on the world’s 50 most threatened turtles. The loss of wetland habitats from river damming and infrastructure development, as well poaching for meat and eggs and capture for the pet trade, has reduced the species’ population to just the four known specimens now.There may be more individuals in the wild, though, and Goldberg is hopeful that others can potentially be located with the help of eDNA.McCormack agrees. “The species is very secretive and the lakes and large rivers that they are found in [are] large and complex,” he said. “If you see how difficult it is to observe these animals, even when you know they are in a relatively small area then you’ll understand how hard they will be [to] find. This is why we have tried methods such as eDNA and sonar fish finders in the search for surviving individuals.”The team has prepared a list of other sites where the species historically occurred, where there have been recent accounts of sightings.“These are the next places to look,” McCormack said.Nguyen Van Trong processes water samples by the lake for the eDNA testing. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Tai Thang/ATP.Threats remain for the recently identified Yangtze giant softshell turtle. Xuan Khanh does not lie within any protected area, and commercial fishing is allowed there. “But the lake owner hires a security team and we have a staff member who monitors the lake,” McCormack said. He added that confirmation of the animal’s identity will hopefully mean more attention is paid to protect the animal.“If the fishing teams should catch the animal this week, accidentally or otherwise, we’d expect a rapid response from the authorities,” he said. “During high risk activities, such as fish harvests our team is also full time on the lake. Really we need more staff, as is often the case in conservation [the] funds are limited.”McCormack added that in Dong Mo Lake, where the only other wild individual is known to occur, the lake owner has been very cooperative. The fishermen using the lake have also signed no-hunting agreements, and McCormack’s team has been raising community support for the protection of the species.“Long term, we’d like to see the [Xuan Khanh] animal moved to Dong Mo Lake where we have an island with a large pond identified that would function as a semi-wild area,” he said. “This could be used to bring the two animals so far identified in Vietnam together, if male and female, for breeding.“It would also provide much easier security for the animals,” he added. “Opportunistic hunting in Xuan Khanh and Dong Mo are still very real threats: we’ve had two very close calls that we know of in the past decade for the Dong Mo turtle. In the future we hope the Vietnamese authorities take more responsibility for protection of this species.”A Yangtze giant softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) that was rescued following a dam break in Dong Mo Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2008. Photo courtesy of Timothy McCormack/ATP. Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Endangered Species, Environment, freshwater turtles, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Herps, Poaching, Reptiles, Species Discovery, Turtles, Turtles And Tortoises, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade Article published by Shreya Dasguptacenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more