Judge halts excavation plans for largest-ever Brazilian goldmine

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer Amazon Dams, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Mining, Amazon People, Controversial, Environment, Forests, Gold Mining, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Infrastructure, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon The Belo Sun goldmine, to be Brazil’s largest, would use cyanide and other industrial processes to produce 5 million ounces of gold over 12 years. The company´s environmental impact assessment says it will process nearly 35 million tons of rock. The open-pit mine would leave behind gigantic solid waste piles covering many hectares, plus a huge toxic waste impoundment near the Xingu River.A Brazilian judge suspended the project’s installation license this week, faulting the Canadian company that would be excavating Belo Sun with improperly acquiring federal land and potentially removing families from those lands to “reduce social costs.”The proposed Belo Sun goldmine is within a short distance of the controversial Belo Monte dam, which has dislocated residents, caused deforestation, and harmed the environment, causing major fish kills on the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon River. Residents are concerned that the addition of the nation’s biggest goldmine will do more severe harm.Residents fear that a failure of the Belo Sun toxic waste impoundment dam would create a disaster on the Xingu River similar in scale to the Samarco Fundão dam collapse in 2015, which dumped roughly 50 million tons of toxic iron ore waste into the Doce River, polluting it for 500 miles, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, and causing Brazil´s largest environmental disaster. A large open pit goldmine in Western Australia. The Belo Sun open pit goldmine, the largest in Brazil if excavated, would sprawl across a 175,000-hectare (675-square mile) site. After 12 years of digging, it would leave behind massive solid waste piles; along with a huge toxic waste impoundment near the Xingu River. Photo by Benutzer-CrDunder licensed the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2A Brazilian judge dealt a blow to the Belo Sun mining company’s plans to open the largest goldmine in Brazil this week. The proposed mine is slated for the Volta Grande bend of the Xingu River, very near the site of the controversial Belo Monte dam in Pará state.The court handed down a 180-day suspension of the Canadian company’s installation license. The ruling, issued February 21st, found that Belo Sun Mineração Ltda. had made efforts to illegally obtain federal land and to dispossess the rural populations living on those lands while also preventing them from hunting and fishing.The decision noted that while the company had not yet obtained an environmental permit for its proposed mine, it improperly purchased the land from three purported owners. Judge Álvaro José da Silva Sousa described this as “a way of removing the families from these areas and thus reducing the company’s social costs”.The proposed Belo Sun goldmine site covers 175,000 hectares (675 square miles), would be the biggest in Brazil, and produce an estimated 5 million ounces of gold over a 12-year period. The company´s environmental impact assessment says it will process nearly 35 million tons of rock. The open pit mine would leave behind massive rock spoil piles covering many hectares, plus a huge toxic waste impoundment near the Xingu River. The company had planned to spend US $5 million on exploration this year. The court decision sent shares in Belo Sun down by 2.68 percent to $1.09 in mid-afternoon trading in Toronto on Tuesday.The Brazilian judge concurred with an argument by the Public Defenders’ Office, noting that the proposed site of the mine has also been the focus of agrarian land reforms. He pointed out too that three years had passed between the issuance of the preliminary environmental license and the installation license, but that the area’s residents still remained in limbo regarding their land rights. Da Silva Sousa said that it is “unjustifiable” that the company has left the residents “still at the mercy of fate without knowing what their destiny is as [to when] the Volta Grande mining project [will] begin set up.”The judge said that the firm may not undertake any activities to develop the mine site as long as the land issues remain unresolved. In early February, Brazil´s National Council on Human Rights appealed for a denial of the dam´s license.The Volte Grande of the Xingu River, deprived of water by the Belo Monte dam and reservoir, has seen significant fish kills in the recent past. The proposed Belo Sun goldmine, if allowed to go forward, could do more environmental harm. Map by Morgan Erickson-Davis / MongabayBelo Sun responded to questions from Mongabay and said that it will appeal the decision: “Belo Sun Mineração has already signed sales contracts for properties with the occupants of the lots and/or farms relevant to the Volta Grande Project’s installation following all the necessary legal parameters and independent appraisals of the areas and their improvements.” The firm said it had prepared a plan for reallocation, negotiation and social inclusion aimed at two of the affected communities, Vila Ressaca and Vila Galo, and that it had submitted this plan to the state’s environmental agency. The company also maintained it had “a deep dialogue with these communities”, and that it would update its census and discuss relocation with residents in 2017.The Belo Sun mining project has run into snags before. In 2014, another judge suspended the Canadian firm´s environmental license because the firm hadn´t adequately evaluated the impact the mine would have on nearby indigenous communities. The Canadian company is owned by Forbes & Manhattan, a private merchant bank. According to Forbes & Manhattan´s website, the bank focuses on “the resource-based sector, technology, telecommunications, and on-line gaming.” Social responsibility is also a priority for the bank, according to its website.Residents living in the area targeted by the mine have already faced serious challenges brought by rapid development. Last year, the Belo Monte dam, the world’s third largest hydropower project, began operating nearby, with devastating impacts to the environment and to the fishery, affecting people who depend on the Xingu River for survival.Jackson de Sousa Dias, 25, is a critic of the mining project and a member of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens, MAB). “First of all, [the mining company is] a transnational company, it’s Canadian. So, the majority of the shareholders are Canadian banks. So, we already know where the wealth from the Amazon is going, to the Canadians,” de Sousa Dias said.He also pointed out that IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, is required to monitor the area around the Belo Monte dam for six years once the dam begins operating at full capacity, planned for 2019. “IBAMA has to monitor this region until 2025 because the [river’s] flow in this region has been reduced by up to 80 percent by the Belo Monte dam. So our position is that there shouldn’t be any other major projects until 2025 since we won’t know the full impact in this region [of the dam] until then.”Screenshot of a page from the BeloSun Mining website. The Canadian company promoting the project is actively seeking investors, but it ran into a major litigative stumbling block this week when the Brazilian courts put a 180-day hold on the project.The Xingu River flows through the state of Pará, whose Secretariat of the Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS) granted an installation license to Belo Sun for the mine at the beginning of February. IBAMA declined to comment to Mongabay about this week’s court suspension, stating that SEMAS is handling the licensing process.Carolina Piwowarcyzk Reis, an attorney with the Instituto Socio-Ambiental (ISA) and NGO, told Mongabay that Belo Sun´s licensing process, “has had various irregularities since the beginning, starting with the lack of prior, free and informed consultation.” This, she said, applies to the indigenous populations in the area as well as the traditional populations who rely on fishing and small-scale gold mining for a living.The specter of Brazil´s largest environmental disaster to date, also hangs over the Belo Sun project. Environmentalists criticize the Canadian company´s plan to use a waste storage dam similar to the Fundão dam employed by Vale and BHP Billiton´s joint venture, Samarco in Minas Gerais state. The dam collapsed on November 5, 2015, dumping roughly 50 million tons of toxic iron ore waste into the Doce River and was Brazil´s largest-ever environmental disaster.The controversial Belo Monte dam, which forced indigenous and traditional communities from their lands, caused deforestation and major fish kills. The Belo Sun goldmine could do serious environmental harm and would be disruptive to indigenous and traditional communities. Photo by Zoe SullivanWhen asked about its willingness to consider other, safer storage options, a Belo Sun spokesperson told Mongabay that the Volta Grande waste dam would be smaller, with just one-third the Fundão dam´s capacity, and that “after the closure of operations, [the waste storage impoundment] offers the option with the greatest financial and technical viability.”Gold mining requires the use of toxins to separate the gold from waste. Belo Sun has said that it will use cyanide to process the 5 million ounces of gold it expects to extract from the project. Residents and activists fear that a spill of these toxic materials would prove disastrous to the Xingu River, impacting communities already made vulnerable by deforestation and the Belo Monte dam.Belo Sun responded to questions from Mongabay about the use of cyanide, explaining that the poisonous chemical compound is used internationally to separate valuable minerals from ore. The firm also said that every step of the production cycle will be closely monitored and that “the cyanide will be placed in adequate installations, with closed and protected tanks.”Bel Juruna called the judge’s suspension this week “the best news I’ve had about Belo Sun yet”. Juruna lives in the village of Muratuí along with 70 members of the Juruna tribe. “We’re fighting a lot to be consulted because that is our right,” she told Mongabay. “There are going to be a lot of impacts, of cyanide and other things, and there’ll be a time when neither [Belo Sun nor Norte Energia, the Belo Monte dam’s operator] wants to take responsibility for compensation measures or for the environmental damage.”She concluded: “We don’t want what happened with Belo Monte to happen again.” Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Successful Colombian rainforest project exposes problems with carbon emissions trading

first_imgThe Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor, as the community’s REDD+ project is called, is the first REDD+ project to be certified in Colombia. In 2012 it was the first REDD+ project operating on community land in the world.COCOMASUR, an organization representing 2,600 Afro-Colombians, utilizes a team of forest rangers to monitor the tropical rainforest.Despite their success, now the community is struggling to get compensated due to a carbon trading market that has “bottomed out.” Ferney Caicedo, a trained forest ranger, is slipping and sliding over the forest path while he leads a horse and a group of four other people up a hill. Rain from the night before has made the wooded slopes almost impossible to ascend. The humidity is high. Sweat drips constantly from underneath Caicedo’s cap. This is the tropical rainforest in the extreme northwest of Colombia.This is familiar terrain to Caicedo. On a clear day, he says that you can see the Caribbean Sea from atop the peak he is now climbing. In the other direction lies the border with Panama, somewhere in the impenetrable jungle of the isthmus connecting North and South America. Known as the Darién Gap, it runs between Colombia and Panama and is made up of marshland, mountains, and tropical rainforest. It’s the only still-unfinished part of the famous Pan-American Highway, which will someday connect North and South America. Although there have been plans to complete the road for years, so far the impenetrable jungle, as well as several rebel groups hiding out in it, have made it impossible.Caicedo and his team of colleagues work to protect the forests for COCOMASUR, short for “Consejo Comunitario Mayor de la Cuenca del Rio Tolo y la Zona Costera Sur de Acandí,” the community council of the Tolo River basin and the coastal zone south of Acandí. The organization represents 2,600 Afro-Colombians, or about half of the total population of the municipality of Acandí. These Colombians are descended from African slaves. In Colombia, Afro-Colombians are seen as a separate ethnic group, along with the many native communities in the country. About 80 percent of the population of the northwestern region of Chocó is Afro-Colombian.Wearing fluorescent orange safety vests and armed with machetes and GPS equipment, they trek through the forest every day to stop deforestation.Forest protectors from an Afro-Colombian community set out on patrol on horseback in the far northwest of Colombia. Photo by Bart Crezee.Some of the trees Caicedo works to protect can reach over 100 feet high.“The wood from one of these trees will fetch a lot of money on the market,” he said. But the community is too remote for logging to be profitable for them. Acandí, the closest village, is an hour away from the community by motorcycle taxi. From there, it’s another two hours by boat over the Caribbean Sea to Turbo, the nearest major city. The dense forests make overland travel impossible.Consequently, since before anyone can remember, the rainforest has been burned down to create new land for agriculture, on average about 200 hectares (nearly 500 acres) per year. In particular, large landowners from outside the community have tried to get their hands on more and more valuable land this way.Meanwhile, COCOMASUR has found a way for the community to earn money from their own forests. By stopping illegal logging, the community has been able to prevent a lot of CO2 emissions. And that’s worth money these days, in the form of carbon credits. Under an international trading mechanism called REDD+, (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), these credits can be bought by banks, energy companies, and other corporations such as airlines wanting to reduce their ecological footprint.The Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor, as the community’s REDD+ project is called, is the first REDD+ project to be certified in Colombia. In 2012 it was the first REDD+ project operating on community land in the world. The Chocó-Darién project was awarded a Gold Level certification from the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance for its outstanding contribution to biodiversity. Over 500 different bird species have been recorded within the project boundaries. The area is also home to 42 endangered animal species (including a Central American tapir and the Colombian spider monkey) and 15 endangered plant species.The fact that this is collectively-owned land is important, said Brodie Ferguson in a Skype interview. An American anthropologist who helped the village set up the REDD+ project, Ferguson explains that under the Colombian constitution, Afro-Colombian communities have the right to collective ownership of the land they have traditionally lived on.“This made it possible for COCOMASUR to decide together about the use of their land,” Ferguson said. “Their culture and identity as a community are directly connected with the land on which they live.”This sentiment is underlined by the text on the white T-shirts that Caicedo and his team are wearing under their vests: “Por el rescata de nuestra identidad cultural, y el manejo ordenado del territorio” (For the rescue of our cultural identity, and the orderly management of the land).Taking matters into their own handsFrom the late 1980s until the beginning of this century, this area was plagued by heavy violence. The Afro-Colombians were driven apart and thrown off their land by extreme-right-wing paramilitary groups paid by large landowners from Medellín, Bogotá or other cities. For next to nothing, these landowners could buy up enormous parcels of land and destroy the rainforest to create pastureland for grazing their livestock. You still have to pass their vast livestock ranches on the way to this far corner of Colombia.Rainforest that was clear-cut two years ago. Photo by Bart Crezee.Everildys Córdoba was one of those who fled the violence with her children. Since returning to the village in 2010, she has devoted herself to healing the divided community of COCOMASUR. With her jet-black hair and sparkling dark eyes, the charismatic Córdoba is a natural leader who everyone calls out hello to when she walks down the street.Córdoba’s family has always been the heart of the community. Her uncle was the village leader in 2009, when he first put forth the idea of REDD+. Following in his footsteps, Córdoba has taken on the project’s day-to-day operations.Starting up something new in this part of Colombia is a nearly impossible task. There are only three ways for the local population to earn money: logging, working as a day laborer on one of the big cattle ranches, or emigrating to the city.“None of the three are long-term options,” Córdoba said. “Saving the forest through the REDD+ program was the best way to invest in the community.”A successful projectBut convincing everyone of the idea wasn’t easy. The community of 2,600 is spread out over nine hamlets and was still extremely divided in the aftermath of the violence. It took Córdoba over two years to get all the residents to back the plan.“But the people who had objected the most then are the most enthusiastic now,” she said with a grin.After a lengthy information campaign, the whole community decided to approve the project. From that day on, cutting down forests for agriculture was prohibited. Timber for constructing houses may only be cut in specially designated zones now. In the meantime, nearly 13,500 hectares (some 33,000 acres) of tropical rainforest have been protected.The logistical challenges of the project were legion. To begin with, the forest boundaries and its carbon content had to be determined. Ranger team leader Caicedo spent six months in the forest measuring the thickness and height of the trees. Then it was another six months, using satellite data, before this information could be translated into actual carbon credits. But now that it’s done, everyone knows precisely how much carbon is stored in the forest.In 2012 these credits were among the first 100,000 carbon credits to be put on the market.Over the next 30 years, this land is expected to generate a reduction of 2.8 million metric tons of CO2 – that’s like taking 25,000 cars off the road every year. The Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor has an initial duration of 30 years, during which new CO2 credits are issued every other year by external certification bodies.The project has Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard (CCB) certification. These are the two most widely used standards for REDD+ projects worldwide.On patrol against illegal loggingOut on patrol with Caicedo, we come to a flat clearing. Two years ago, a large landowner from outside the community clear-cut the land even though it was illegal, and soon will be grazing his cows here. Tree trunks still lay strewn about, rotting away in the grass.“These forests have to be protected,” Caicedo said. “Not only for the carbon credits, but also to retain the water and prevent erosion. In the long term, that benefits the cattle ranchers too.”Residents of the community cross a river. Photo by Bart Crezee.In addition, the project helps maintain the region’s astonishing biodiversity. Recently, some villagers even spotted a rare wild jaguar, a sign of a thriving ecosystem.Caicedo explains that when they run into illegal loggers, they simply start the conversation by “telling them that logging is prohibited in this area.” That can be dangerous, since some of the loggers are armed. Until now, no one dared to try to stop them.But Caicedo knows he has the support of the entire community.“Our goal is mainly prevention,” he said. “Just by being in the forest every day.”The challenge of marketingHowever, selling the CO2 certificates makes protecting the forest look easy by comparison. COCOMASUR sells the CO2 saved by the project on the international carbon-credit market. But that’s more complicated than it sounds.The problems started in 2012, according to Ferguson.“We went to the market to sell the first CO2 credits,” he said. “But it turned out that the demand that we anticipated in 2009 didn’t exist anymore.”Worldwide, there are eleven obligatory (“compliance”) compensation markets, of which the European ETS (emissions trading system) is the best known. But these markets were only intended for specific industrial sectors. International trade in REDD+ certificates is often not even an element of these trading systems, and thus takes place on a voluntary basis.Ferguson therefore had to very actively approach buyers himself, and ran into roadblocks.“Nobody is obliged to buy CO2 compensation,” he said. “That means that projects like ours are not financially sustainable in the long term.”In total, 27.3 million metric tons of CO2 were traded on the voluntary offset market in 2015. At the same time, 39.7 million metric tons went unsold. In other words, for every CO2 credit sold, 1.6 credits stayed on the shelf.In the meantime, REDD+ projects are putting new CO2 credits on to the market every year. An additional 40 million metric tons is expected for 2016 alone. This brings the total surplus to nearly 80 million metric tons of CO2, according to a report by environmental NGO Forest Trends. This surplus has substantially lowered the price of CO2 credits from REDD+ projects for the last few years. In 2012 the average price was still almost $8 per metric ton. In 2013 it dropped to about $5, in 2014 to $4 and last year the price was fluctuating around just over $3 a metric ton.“The market has completely bottomed out,” Ferguson said.In 2016, the price for a metric ton of CO2 rose slightly, to $4.25 a ton in September, notes the 2016 REDD Price Report by Thomson Reuters, following the Paris climate accord and agreements about emissions reductions in the aviation sector. Ferguson hopes that the aviation sector will use REDD+ to compensate its emissions, which would at least partly offset the low demand.Investing more doesn’t work anymoreSince 2013, it’s been very hard for COCOMASUR to make ends meet. The income they make from selling CO2 credits goes to two things: paying off the debts incurred by setting up the project, and the ongoing operational expenses, such as bookkeeping, forest patrols and new certification rounds.All other income from sales of offsets must go to a “development fund,” for solar panels, a health clinic or other priorities set by COCOMASUR. The problem is that income from sales of CO2 credits is not enough to even cover the operational expenses now.“A minimum price of something like $10 per ton of CO2 would be an enormous help to REDD+ projects worldwide,” Ferguson said.“When we started this project, the expectation was that the carbon price would be $10-$20 a ton,” he added. “But the prices are much lower now. That’s a fundamental problem. The idea is to use the carbon income to create other forms of employment for the community, the way microfinancing helps small businesses. We can’t make those investments now.”Ferguson says that solution should include a “minimum price” of about $10 per ton of CO2 to help REDD+ projects globally.“That would be a real incentive for sectors like aviation to reduce emissions,” he added. “But that means that someone has to pay the difference, so ticket prices will go up.”Thus, companies will have to be forced into it after all. It’s ultimately another form of taxation, a carbon tax, and Ferguson said that it will “require political will.”Homes belonging to residents of the community. Photo by Bart Crezee.In spite of its financial problems, according to community leader Córdoba, the project is still quite a success – largely because of the sense of community it created.“The project was jointly implemented. It gave structure to a torn community,” she said.More than thirty jobs, including Caicedo’s, have been created, and have kept the project going. Investments were also made in an office and computers. “This gives COCOMASUR the ability to organize similar projects for the community in the future. It’s made us much stronger,” said Córdoba.Córdoba is also proud of the fact that everything was set up without government support. Recently, COCOMASUR began to help set up REDD+ projects in other parts of the country. The government sees the project as a model of what REDD+ can do for the country.For Ferguson, ultimately the most important aspect of REDD+ is the increased awareness.“Nobody likes polluting; nobody’s smiling while they write a check to pay for offsets,” he said. Though REDD+ is ultimately a temporary solution, he thinks that providing direct compensation is making organizations and consumers more aware of their impact on the climate. “The indigenous communities in Colombia are reconnecting with the opportunities their land presents for them.”Caicedo agrees: “Thanks to REDD+, we’ve been able to claim another future for ourselves.”Banner image: Rhinella granulosa toad in Chocó-Darien, Colombia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.This article was produced part of a series on CO2 compensation, made possible in part by support from the Netherlands’ Postcode Loterij Fonds from Free Press Unlimited. Read more (in Dutch) about the Postcode Lottery’s journalism fund. It was translated from the original in Dutch by Anne Hodgkinson.Bart Crezee is a contributing correspondent on carbon offsets for De Correspondent. This article originally appeared in Dutch on www.decorrespondent.nl. You can find him on Twitter at @bartcrezee.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. 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 Avoided Deforestation, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Offsets, Carbon Trading, Conservation, Conservation Finance, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Payments For Ecosystem Services, Rainforests, Redd center_img Article published by Genevieve Belmakerlast_img read more

Rhino poachers in Borneo: Q&A with a conservationist who lived with them

first_imgEditor’s note: this interview has been edited for length and clarity. It was modified on April 19 to clarify that Saikim’s research did not include the JICA-SDBEC project.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. Animals, Conservation, Ecotourism, Endangered Species, Environment, Forest People, Hunting, Interviews, Mammals, Megafauna, Poaching, Rhinos, Sumatran Rhino, Wildlife Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim — now a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation — spent two years living with Tidong communities on the outskirts of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Malaysian Borneo.These communities included both poachers and people employed in ecotourism and conservation programs centered around the Sumatran rhino and other endangered species.According to Saikim, attempts to engage communities in anti-poaching programs can succeed when they demonstrate that conservation has better long-term economic returns than poaching.The Sumatran rhino is now extinct in the wild in Malaysia, but Saikim believes lessons from Tabin can be applied in places where rhinos still exist in the wild. Details of this interview are contested.The Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is extinct in the wild in Malaysia. But a recently published study sheds some light on what motivated poachers in the Tidong community in Malaysian Borneo’s  Sabah State — and offers insight about how to reduce poaching in areas where the Critically Endangered species still survives.In 2005, Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim, now a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, undertook ethnographic research by living in for two years in villages located just outside Tabin Wildlife Reserve (TWR) in eastern Sabah. Established in 1984, the reserve covers over 120,521 hectares (297,814 acres), and is home to the Bornean pygmy elephant, orangutan, banteng, proboscis monkey, sun bear, clouded leopard, and bearded pig. Until the early 2000s, the Sumatran rhinoceros also roamed there.Saikim’s research examined the potential for community-based ecotourism to serve as a tool to reduce poaching. While sharing close quarters with Tidong families for months on end, she was able to evaluate the effectiveness of a 2002 conservation education program funded by Bornean Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation (BBEC), and a related community-based homestay and nature-tourism project founded by the Japanese International Cooperation (JICA) — both of which aimed to encourage community members to give up traditional activities like hunting, particularly endangered species. (A 2013-2017 JICA project in Sabah, the JICA-Sustainable Development for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Conservation, was initiated after Saikim carried out her research, and was not the subject of the study.) Mongabay spoke to Saikim about her interactions with poachers and their attitudes towards conservation, the potential of ecotourism programs as a conservation tool, and whether lessons from Tabin can apply in places with surviving rhino populations.Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim, left, at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Photo courtesy of Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim.AN INTERVIEW WITH FIFFY HANISDAH SAIKIMMongabay: Could you describe the ecosystem of Tabin Wildlife Reserve?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: The Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a huge protected area. But because of the timber industry, the forest has not been a primary forest since the ’70s and ’80s. There are a lot of trails for people going to cut the trees. The Tabin Wildlife reserve is surrounded by oil palm plantations — if you Google a map of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, it is one big patch of forest surrounded by oil palm plantations. And bear in mind: because it is surrounded by oil palm plantations, not only the local community gets access to the forest, but also the oil palm people, so sometimes you can hear the gunshots from the oil palm area.Mongabay: Why?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: They are hunting for animals. They are hunting for wild boars because these oil palm people, especially those workers — most of them are not local or Malaysians — sometimes need some extra meat, so they go out and find it.Mongabay: And what about the communities that live in Tabin Wildlife Reserve?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: There are a few villages surrounding Tabin Wildlife Reserve, but for my research I only selected those who are living near the border of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve: Kampung Dagat, Kampung Tidong, and Kampung Parit. These three Kampungs [villages] are the Tidong community, a small ethnic minority in Sabah. When I was doing my interviews in 2005 there were 518 villagers including children. And they are very remote and very traditional, and if you wanted to interview the women you need to have the consent from the husband.Deforestation for oil palm in Malaysia’s Sabah State. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Mongabay: In a recent article, you wrote that “Illegal hunting in Borneo appears to have been relatively sustainable at least until the 1970s, with the exception of the Sumatran Rhinoceros which was already in decline by the 1930s.” How can illegal hunting be sustainable, and in this context what is the difference between hunting practices of the Sumatran Rhinoceros and other species?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Hunting can be sustainable if they have permits from the Sabah Wildlife Department, because the Sabah Wildlife Department allowed people to hunt. But you need to have permits, and you have to follow lists of scheduled animals that can and cannot be hunted. Those that can be hunted include the deer, the wild boar, etc. What cannot be hunted is the rhino. In reality, these people are opportunistic, so their hunting could be unsustainable.Mongabay: Why did community members indicate that the Sumatran rhinoceros is a species of particular value?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Because in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, in addition to our Wildlife department, there was also an NGO: the SOS Rhino Borneo Bhd. The president of the SOS Rhino Borneo Bhd during that time was Nan Schaffer, an American lady, who used her own money to create this NGO. Once the SOS Rhino Borneo settled there they organized regular activities such as going to the jungle tracking rhinos, because they needed to know how many rhinos were left in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.So, the local community got to know about the rhino when their sons and their grandsons started working as rhino trackers with SOS Rhino Borneo. They knew the rhino is very valuable in the black market, but then because their sons and grandsons were working with an NGO to conserve these rhinos, eventually they had a little bit of information on why is it not okay to hunt Rhinos. They are very traditional, and their ancestors have been hunting and poaching for a long time, so it’s hard, actually, to convince the elderly when compared to the young people.Tam, one of three Bornean rhinos still surviving in Malaysia, all of whom live at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary, a fenced-in facility in the Tabin Reserve. Photo by Jeremy Hance/Mongabay.Mongabay: And at that time how many rhinos were left in the wild?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Based on the last statistics, in 2005 the population of rhino during that time was less than 30 individuals. Now, if you ask me about the statistics of the rhino population in the wild in Sabah, it’s zero.Mongabay: What is the routine of village life around Tabin Wildlife Reserve? What pressures do local communities face, and what role does the forest play in local families’ lives?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: They are fishermen so they sell their products to the nearest place they can — mostly to Lahad Datu, or to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve people, to SOS Rhino and the oil plantation people. But sometimes they do encroach into the forest in Tabin Wildlife Reserve because of their needs for medicinal plants and meat.Even though they are Muslim, they do hunt wild boars, and because they are fishermen they have a ritual about a “water god,” so they need to feed the water spirits, and they need to go to the forests to get herbs or animals for their rituals. And then the youngsters, they just copycat what their ancestors have been doing. Because their fathers and their grandfathers previously were hunters, they want to become hunters as well because it shows they are “superiors.”Mongabay: And what role did the forest play in their lives?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Before SOS Rhino and the idea of conservation came, they needed the forest just for their consumption of food or medicines. But thanks to SOS Rhino they had also an employment opportunity. When SOS Rhino opened up and provided opportunities for their sons, the forest became very important for them because the forest provided them with an alternative income, and because they had monthly pay as compared to just encroaching and selling the products to the local market.A Bornean bearded pig snacking on fruit. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Mongabay: Could you describe the tourism project that was set up in the area in 2002, and how it impacted local communities both in the long and short term? I know it was quite successful in the short-term, but then its effects were not long-lasting.Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: This tourism project, the community-based homestay program, was initiated by the JICA, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and local agencies like the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Forestry Department. It was quite successful in the short run because the people from these organizations were there. They were doing some short-term workshops and teaching the local community how to do tourism, do home-stays, and some of them could speak Japanese – because most of the tourists were from Japan. It was quite successful because they had the help from these agencies, and two tour operators brought tourists who stayed there for a few days with the local community to experience the local culture.But then these agencies stopped giving funding. For the first months it was OK because they still had these connections with past tourists and tour operators. But slowly, gradually, the flow of tourists become smaller and smaller, and suddenly it was just gone, and the project ended. Also, the tour operator, the Tabin Wildlife Resort during that time, kept on changing their management. Every time you change the management, you miss some of the important things in the agreement, so now they don’t have any more package to go to the Kampung Dagat.Mongabay: People admitted to poaching while also saying they supported conservation. Why did they poach, and how could you explain this contradiction?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: I interviewed five elders, the eldest people in the community, and they said, “It’s good the rhino is there.” They supported conservation because their sons and grandsons were working there. I think they supported the conservation because it became part of the families’ incomes. But at the same time, they need to hunt because it’s in their blood, in their culture, and it had been done by their ancestors, by their grand-grandfathers, and they are just continuing what has been done.But as it was in contradiction with conservation they tended to limit the animals that they hunted: so next time if they see a rhino they won’t hunt it. But as they were hunters, their skills also helped the wildlife protection units because they were already used to the forest, knew the trails, and whenever they saw a rhino footprint they helped to cover it up. Mongabay: And the concept of poaching was clear to them?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Yes, very much. I think if they can see the monetary value is higher for them in the long run they are very supportive in terms of conserving rhinos. These local communities, based on my experience from my previous projects, when they see the monetary value in the forest they would definitively support it, even though they are actually not so into conservation.A male probiscus monkey in Malaysia’s Sabah State. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Mongabay: How open people were about their participation in poaching, particularly rhino poaching. It was something they were ashamed of or they talked about it openly? Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: They don’t talk to you openly about poaching. When they talk to the government personnel, like the wildlife protection units from the SOS Rhinos or from the Wildlife Department, they don’t talk about it, because they know it’s wrong. But because they trusted me, and they treated me like their own, they opened up to me and talked about it. But if, for example, there were other researchers — especially foreign researchers — they won’t talk about poaching, because they know it’s wrong. So they would just say “we support conservation, we are no longer poachers” or something like that. But still you can see these guns in their houses.Mongabay: And what was their reason for poaching rhinos?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Based on the interviews with the elderly, they poached rhinos because they saw the value in the market. People like their horn because, they said, the Chinese liked to drink from this horn of rhino and it gave them some medicinal value. I asked: “Where did you find get this information that rhino horn can heal something?” They answered: “From the Chinese people we know from the market, they talked about it.” Rhino was an opportunity for them to get more money. But when they knew that the rhino population was getting scarce they got anxious, because they were afraid that there would be no more income for their grandsons and sons. That would mean they wouldn’t have enough money anymore. Because they are fishermen, and their income in 2005, if I am not mistaken, was less than 300 Malaysian Ringgit (USD$ 68) — not good.A rhino calf at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Mongabay: Sumatran rhinos are now believed to be extinct in the wild, but populations survive in Indonesia. Are there lessons you learned in Borneo that could be applied to places like Kalimantan and Sumatra where wild populations still survive?Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Yes, we could learn from them, and we can also teach them what we have done. Cincinnati Zoo successfully bred their rhinos, and the son Harry has been being transported back to Indonesia – there is a joke about Harry being there in Indonesia because of the language barrier. What happened in Borneo is we had unhealthy rhinos, probably because they have been solitary for quite long in the forest, they were unable to find each other in the forest, and so the female reduced heats making it hard to breed. Moreover, the migration of rhinos become problematic because of palm oil plantations, and as the male rhinos were for too long alone in the forest they did not have a very healthy sperm. We could repeat what has successfully happened if the rhinos here were actually healthy.Tourism can play a crucial part in terms of conservation. We’ve done everything: we’ve done workshops about rhinos for the general public, we have done a lot of scientific research on the rhinos and other projects, but now it’s time to go back to the main root of the problem: the people who live adjacent to these protected areas. We have oil palm plantations there, we have local community there, who can easily encroach the forest.I think tourism can be part of the solution. Whenever people want to go to the protected areas they need to go through tourism operators, who check how many people are allowed in and everything else. Then we must get local community engagement through tourism, so they can see the value of the forests, the animals. I think that can create awareness about the importance of the conservation of rhinos. You just need to teach the local people living around the protected areas how important it is to save them and how valuable these animals are alive compared if they are dead.Don’t let the local community depend so much on the agencies or the NGOs. Get them empowered, get them to feel that they own this place, that they are the reasons that these animals are still alive. I think that can help to conserve animals in the forests because now people, even though they are pro-conservation, they don’t think they are playing a role as conservationists there. So, if you ask them “what kind of contribution you can do to help the conservation” they would definitely say “I don’t want to do anything because these people are there to help.”Rhinos enjoying a mud wallow at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Mongabay: How do you think we can empower them and make them really part of the conservation effort? Fiffy Hanisdah Saikim: Well, this is what we are looking among, us the conservationists and biologists. We often do conferences, seminars and workshops among ourselves, so we are increasing our own awareness about this particular project but not the people’s. So, when I do my workshops or seminars in conservation or about protecting the forests I always invite the local community to participate. If we have international foreign speakers, we have a translator for them, make they feel that they are also part of this project. When you do these kinds of things, they will feel like “OK, I am part of it, I am in the circle, I need to do something and I need to convey this kind of messages to my community”. So they will definitely go back and teach their sons and grandsons and also other local communities how to join in the conservation.This is the way to empower them: they are the one doing it, not us — we are just giving them information. I stayed for two years with them and I saw how difficult it is for them to accept conservation itself, because it contradicts with their livelihood. But if we empower them, we teach them and we convince them they are the one doing conservation — not us.Readers based in Kampung Dagat have disputed Saikim’s characterization of the historical and current hunting practices in the Tidong community, as well as the outcome of the homestay project. A formal response is forthcoming and will be appended to this article. Article published by Isabel Esterman 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

Re-peeling the effects of degradation: low-tech application of orange crop waste shows potential to restore tropical forests

first_imgArticle published by Sue Palminteri Banner image shows the 1997 initial biological survey of the site in northwestern Costa Rica to receive the orange waste treatment. Photo credit: Dan Janzen & Winnie Hallwachs Hemispheric photos of tropical rainforest vegetation plots: the regenerating plot on the left has low woody biomass, with 4 trees species plus bamboo and lianas, whereas the more mature plot on the right has a higher biomass, 9 tree species, and no bamboo. Photo credit: 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 The improved soil from the orange mulch led to the growth of larger trees from an enhanced array of tree species: fertilized plots contained 24 species, while just eight tree species remained in the control transects. These trees were larger with three times the wood growth found in the control site.The authors state in their paper, “The effect of the orange peel deposition on edaphic conditions was dramatic and could serve as a reasonable partial explanation for the difference in tree species composition and aboveground biomass between orange waste treatment and control.”A tayra (Eira Barbara), an elusive mammal researchers found in the orange peel-treated regrowing forest. The researchers gathered wildlife data, with an audio recorder, a camera trap, and soil pitfall traps in the treatment and control areas. With too few camera images, too many recorded calls from animals in a nearby forest, and too many unidentifiable beetles and other species, the researchers did not use the data in their analysis. Nevertheless, the numbers and diversity of invertebrates in the traps differed between the treatment and the control areas. Photo credit: Ltshears, CC 3.0Orange is the new GreenSecondary forests support more biodiversity than degraded pastures and shrubland and sequester carbon dioxide, so restoration of degraded forest land is an increasingly common conservation goal.However, the complexity of tropical forests makes their restoration expensive, so there is equally great interest in finding low-cost tools that contribute to regrowth.The authors state in their paper, “Depositing the orange waste on this degraded and abandoned pastureland greatly accelerated the return of tropical forest, as measured by lasting increases in soil nutrient availability, tree biomass, tree species richness, and canopy closure. The clear implication is that deposition of agricultural waste could serve as a tool for effective, low-cost tropical forest restoration, with a particularly important potential role at low-fertility sites.”The work of larvae, fungi, and microbes: the dark nutrient-rich soil resulting from the biodegradation of orange peels approximately 6 months after they were deposited on the degraded old pasture. Photo credit: Dan Janzen & Winnie HallwachsIn an email exchange, Treuer told Mongabay-Wildtech, “We’ve identified a few factors as essential for this sort of initiative: (1) a nutrient-rich anthropogenic waste, (2) suitable biological agents to break down the waste, (3) nearby seed sources and dispersers, and (4) amenable sociopolitical climate.  The first three conditions are probably fairly common in a world where degraded tropical forests are now greater in extent than intact tropical forests.”Regarding the waste from other crops, Treuer added, “We think there’s a wide variety of nutrient-rich crop residues or other agroindustry byproducts that might have a similar result in terms of fertilization and weed suppression. I heard rumor there are already trials underway at a site in Costa Rica using waste coffee cherries.”These agricultural waste streams are both increasingly common and costly to dispose of, suggesting opportunities for low-cost, carbon-sequestering ecological restoration.“We think the next step is definitely carefully controlled trials and experiments with a variety of ag wastes in a variety of degraded land settings,” said Treuer. “We don’t want to give license to the agroindustry to improperly dispose of their wastes willy-nilly, but we certainly want to encourage cautious collaborations between businesses and researchers in heavily degraded lands with nearby seed sources and seed dispersers.”Beetle in Costa Rica. Photo credit: Dirk van der Made CC 3.0In their paper, the authors conclude, “Lower-cost tropical forest restoration methods, particularly those framed as win–win business-protected area partnerships, could dramatically increase the scale of tropical forest restoration activities, thereby providing a variety of societal and ecosystem benefits, including slowing both global biodiversity loss and climate change.”ReferenceTreuer, T. L., Choi, J. J., Janzen, D. H., Hallwachs, W., Peréz‐Aviles, D., Dobson, A. P., … & Wilcove, D. S. (2017). Low‐cost agricultural waste accelerates tropical forest regeneration. Restoration Ecology. Agriculture, Ecological Restoration, Forest Regeneration, low-tech, Restoration, Technology, Tropical Forests, Wildtech The peels and pulp of oranges applied to old degraded pastures as part of a public-private agreement to examine biodegradation of agricultural waste resulted in not only a successful biodegradation, but also dramatic improvements in soil productivity and vegetation cover.Researchers studying the effects of the application found that the area “fertilized” by processed orange peels had richer soil, a more diverse tree community, higher tree biomass, and greater forest canopy closure than an adjacent control area.The researchers suggest that similar initiatives would require: (1) a nutrient-rich anthropogenic waste, (2) suitable biological agents to break down the waste, (3) nearby seed sources and dispersers, and (4) amenable sociopolitical climate, including supportive policy and management.Agroindustrial by-products that are nutrient-rich but expensive to dispose of offer the opportunity for low-cost, scalable, biodiversity-friendly, carbon-sequestering restoration of degraded forests. Researchers have come upon a new low-tech tropical forest restoration strategy, beginning with agricultural waste.They studied the effects on soil and forest health of the purposeful deposition of tons of processed orange peels and pulp on centuries-old rangeland remaining inside Guanacaste National Park in Costa Rica. In their study, published this week in the journal Restoration Ecology, they found three times the number and diversity of forest trees, a 176% greater aboveground woody tree biomass, and a dramatic increase in soil nutrients where the agrowaste had been applied, compared to an adjacent control site.The orange waste had been applied as part of an innovative public-private agreement to consolidate the conservation area and experiment with biodegradation of agricultural waste.The experiment resulted in not only a successful biodegradation, but also dramatic changes in soil productivity and vegetation cover.Aerial imagery of orange peel fertilized treatment area (mosaic of >10 meter trees and dense mats of herbaceous shrubs and vines to right of dirt road) and unfertilized control (rocky expanse of grass with scattered approximately 2 m tall trees to left of dirt road) taken by quadcopter drone in July 2015. Image credit: Tim TreuerA public-private partnership, interruptedThe orange waste had been applied as part of an innovative public-private agreement to consolidate a conservation area and experiment with biodegradation of agricultural waste. In the mid-1990s, Daniel Janzen, a scientist working with the Área de Conservación Guanacaste (Guanacaste Conservation Area, or ACG), offered to take on the waste products of an orange juice company operating near the ACG in return for a donation of the company’s forested lands surrounding the ACG that were not going to be cultivated.The company dumped a trial mass of orange peels and pulp onto an old degraded cattle pasture remaining inside the ACG in which the degraded and compacted soil had been overrun with jaragua (Hyparrhenia rufa), an invasive pasture grass that took over and kept other plant species from regenerating.The initial trial deposition of orange pulp and peels in 1996. Photo credit: Daniel Janzen and Winnie HallwachsThe 18-month trial period resulted in not only a successful biodegradation, but also dramatic changes in soil productivity and replacement of the grasses with native plants. This positive result encouraged the ACG to agree to receive the company’s processed orange residue for 20 years in return for 1,600 ha of intact primary forest.In 1998, the company brought in 1,000 truckloads carrying over 12,000 tons of orange waste and used heavy machinery to spread it over 3 hectares (7 acres) in a layer 0.1-0.5 meters thick. This mass of material weighed 400 kg per square meter and was roughly 1 part organic matter, 4 parts water.Application stopped because of a lawsuit from a competing juice company, and the waste sat without further treatment for 16 years.The experimental site in 1997, approximately 18 months after the test deposition. Photo credit: Daniel Janzen and Winnie HallwachsFast-forward to 2014, and the Princeton University researchers studied and compared changes in soil nutrients, as well as forest biomass, species, and regeneration, in plots that had been “fertilized” (covered) by the orange mulch and adjacent control plots that had regenerated without treatment.They found that the huge deposition of the orange waste had disappeared, decomposed by larvae of several of the area’s fly species and associated fungi and microbes. That biodegradation transformed both soil chemistry and vegetation structure and composition.Replenishing soil nutrients The researchers measured the pH, organic matter, and available concentrations of eight nutrients in soil samples from plots in the control and treatment areas. In an email to Mongabay-Wildtech, lead author Timothy Treuer said, “we were pretty surprised to find that the fertilized area had a more neutral pH than the unfertilized area. This may have been because the orange peels were processed to remove essential oils for use in cleaning solvents.”“The nutrient from the orange waste that disappeared to the greatest extent from the top 10cm of the soil was phosphorous, not leaching-prone potassium,“ said Treuer. “This observation, together with the absence of nitrogen-fixing species from the unfertilized control area suggests the addition of phosphorous may have had an outsize impact on plant growth at the orange peel site.”Fellow author Jonathan Choi hypothesized that, “the addition of nutrients like calcium and potassium were able to shift the overall pH of the system towards one that is less prone to leaching [a major deplete of tropical forest soil nutrients].” Unfortunately, he added, “it is difficult to [confirm] because we lack a time machine to get us back to 1998 to observe the system more closely.”Enabling a more robust, diverse plant community Tropical forests support more tree species than other ecosystems, but what eventually grows back on soils that have been repeatedly burned, compacted, and cultivated is a simplified, depauperate system dominated by a few species resistant to fire and cattle.The 3-hectare treatment area immediately after it was loaded with 1,000 truckloads of orange waste in the late 1990s. Photo credit: Daniel Janzen and Winnie HallwachsThe early anoxic conditions created by spreading the massive orange waste over the initial shrubs and grasses killed their roots, an important step that made the “fertilized” site available for other plants to grow.Treuer told Mongabay-Wildtech, “Fire management has been one of the central tasks of ACG staff over the last three decades in ensuring the continued health of the park. Interestingly, fertilization with orange peels may have added a lot of fire resilience to the system; by suppressing grasses and speeding canopy closure, the orange waste makes the scourge of tropical forest restorationists less of a risk.”The researchers quantified the changes in the vegetation structure and tree community by measuring and identifying trees within three meters of several 100 meter-long line transects within the orange waste treatment area. They did the same within the pasture on the other side of a road that had not been covered in orange peels.They also took hemispheric (“fish-eye”) photographs of the canopy, which “showed significant increases in canopy closure in the area where orange waste was applied relative to control.”last_img read more

Know your ESA: an online resource for Endangered Species Act docs and data

first_imgAnalysis, Conservation, data, Endangered, Endangered Species Act, Environmental Policy, Habitat, Law Enforcement, Technology, Wildlife, Wildtech The ever-increasing number of species needing protection, inadequate funding, and poor understanding of how and where the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been implemented have made it difficult to assess the law’s success.A free, online platform offers access to and analyses of troves of ESA-related documents and data—including otherwise unavailable materials—on species, agency consultations, decisions, and effectiveness.By making these data more accessible, the platform aims to help the conservation community better understand how the ESA is implemented and where it can improve. Do you know where your endangered species are?A new online tool offers access to and analyses of a wealth of documents and data related to the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA), included species distributions, land use decisions, and plans for habitat conservation and species recovery.45 years of endangered species conservationThe US established the ESA in 1973 to conserve endangered and threatened species and their habitats. It’s the country’s premier species conservation law, but the ever-increasing number of species needing protection, inadequate funding, and poor understanding of how and where it has been implemented have made assessing its success problematic, even for agency staff.The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) administer the ESA for terrestrial and freshwater species, and marine wildlife, respectively. These implementing agencies prioritize imperiled species, develop habitat conservation and species recovery plans, carry out recovery actions, and assess progress toward species’ recovery. Over 2,300 species (including 680 foreign species) are currently listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA.The black-footed ferret, found in six western US states, is threatened by loss of native grasslands and its main prey, prairie dogs, which are eliminated by ranchers in the American West. Photo credit: J. Michael Lockhart/USFWS CC.20The ESA protects imperiled species by prohibiting the “take” and the trade of listed animals and plants without a specific permit. “Take” applies to activities that harass, harm, pursue, trap, capture, or collect wildlife, including degradation of habitat sufficient to impair its breeding, feeding, or sheltering patterns.FWS offers extensive information about listed species on its website, but its data management systems make accessing data and documentation on the implementation of the law difficult for the conservation community, the public, and even other agencies.Expanding access to ESA recordsThe Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) at the US non-profit Defenders of Wildlife has launched a web platform that integrates a series of free, online tools, data, and publications on how the law is implemented. The tools complement FWS’s species-specific information by making the extensive ESA documentation and data more accessible to other agencies and the public.In an email interview with Mongabay-Wildtech, CCI Director Ya-Wei Li and data scientist Jacob Malcom explained the impetus to launch the CCI platform. “The ESA remains the most comprehensive law ever enacted to save endangered species, yet we often have very little information about how the law works in practice,” said Malcom and Li. “In the past, a lot of perceptions about the ESA were based on anecdotes and case studies. Using data and technology, we’re painting a far more accurate picture of how this law is implemented. And what we see is cause for real concern, because the conservation challenge is even greater than what many in the public believe.”The site’s home page lists (in unspecified order) the various apps, analyses, and papers, or you can select tools from the drop-down menus. Several tools are still in beta development, and new tools are in the works.A screenshot from CCI’s home page showing drop-down menus, brief instructions, and three of the available apps. Image credit: CCIHere’s a sampling of what’s currently available:1— ESAdocs Search app: The over-arching ESAdocs Search engine allows you to search roughly 15,000 ESA-related documents and data on the platform. You use this tool as you would use Google or Bing, by entering a search term—such as a species’ common or scientific name or a place—and the engine lists all the documents it has containing that term. A search for “pronghorn” produced 50 matches of PDF documents, most of which were consultations, communications regarding federal agency actions that could affect the pronghorn population.You can filter the search by the type of document, such as a report, recovery plan, five-year review, publication, map, or even an interagency letter. The tool makes the text of every document searchable (even the thousands of FWS’s image-format PDF documents).“Full-text search enables new insights that can’t be gained from FWS’s web resources,” said Malcom. “For example, the project that resulted in the first-ever map of recovery units (found here) was only feasible once we could search the recovery plans for >1,200 species that have completed plans.”You can also download a spreadsheet table of results of your search, many of which include links to the downloadable PDF documents. Nevertheless, CCI labels this tool as “beta” because some complex searches are still slow, and the team is still adding to it.Those unfamiliar with the ESA might begin with several “Intro” apps that provide brief overviews of the issue and lead the user to answers.2— ESA listings and occurrences apps: Several apps provide tabular, graphic, and map-based summaries of ESA species listings, including the occurrence of listed species by county or the listed species found only in a single state. You can also filter and download data on these “intrastate” species—Hawaii predictably has the highest percentage of these (99.2%), followed by California, Texas, and Florida.Map of states shaded by the number of intrastate (single-state) listed species, part of one of CCI’s “Intro” apps. Hawaii, not surprisingly, given its isolation, has the most intrastate listed species. Image credit: CCIThe information on the FWS ECOS website offers helpful reports on ESA-listed species—including five-year species review and single-state species data— on a species-by-species basis, said Malcom, but does not permit high-level views or big-picture inquiries, such as seeing where in the US all bird or amphibian species have been listed or how the number of endangered species changes through time.3— Analysis of ESA decisions app: Many imperiled species current wait years to be considered for listing, and producing a recovery plan that articulates actions needed to protect a given species can take several years. This app analyzes and presents data tables and graphs extracted from a PDF-formatted FWS workplan used to evaluate and prioritize the ESA listing of hundreds of species. The app enables users to search, filter and sort the information.“Deep-dive” apps, which present more detailed assessments or analysis, are designed for readers familiar with the ESA. Access to some of these requires permission.4— An ESA expenditure app displays data from 2008-2013 from FWS annual reports, with amounts spent on specific species. Currently, the lack of a system for prioritizing funding means that a few better-known species get most of the funding.5— The Section 7 Explorer app displays maps and graphs of data on the 100,000 consultations with FWS by federal and state agencies, as required under Section 7 of the ESA. Federal agencies must support the ESA and “consult” with FWS or NMFS to ensure the development activities they authorize or support (such as road building, drilling, or logging projects) are not likely to harm listed species or critical habitats.The Section 7 Explorer allows you to filter the data to explore consultations for particular species, places, years, agencies, or types of development project. The data include more than 4,000 consultation documents that FWS has not made publicly available, many of which contain up-to-date information on species status, as well as background and glossary of terms for users with limited ESA experience.A screenshot from the Section 7 Explorer app, with statistics on agency consultations with the ESA implementing agencies. Image credit: CCI6— Analyses: Besides the apps, the platform presents analyses of ESA-related data, generated through ESA consultations and other findings, cover specific topics and are presented as reports and figures. Several of these analyses use data from FWS’s otherwise unavailable Tracking and Integrated Logging System (TAILS) database. For example, CCI analyzed how well the FWS tracks the amount of “take”—harming of a listed species—it authorizes. It found that the current amount of “take” is not well known. Despite the obvious importance of knowing how much harm to an endangered species has been authorized previously before permitting future take, these data were insufficient to do so.They also learned that roughly half of the inter-agency consultations reported the geographic coordinates of a project, and that certain regional offices were more likely to include coordinates in their reports. As the platform grows, CCI expects to expand the currently limited mapping/spatial data analysis component.Clearing of forest habitat, such as here in Oregon, in areas critical to a listed species would be an example of “take”. Photo credit: Calibas CC 3.07— Papers: CCI has published expanded versions of some analyses as papers. These include an assessment of species recovery plans that found nearly 25% of listed species lack recovery plans, plans take more than five years to finalize, and half are at least 19 years old. Another paper analyzed data on over 88,000 consultations and found they did not hinder economic development and took less time than conventional wisdom suggested.8— Working Papers are unpublished works in progress that describe ongoing projects, upcoming features, new ideas, and case studies. For example, a working paper on dynamic recovery provides several models to address the need to modernize species recovery plans. The ESA requires recovery plans for each listed species, but many plans are out of date.“Current recovery plans are static Adobe PDF documents that are rarely updated, making them less useful for conservation,” explained Malcom and Li. “We are…creating the first-ever web-based recovery plan that can be very easily updated, like how people update a Wikipedia page in a snap.”The modernized, online format has piqued the interest of both FWS and NMFS, as well as the US Department of Defense, which follows species plans on land it manages, and some of these plans are more than 30 years old. As it progresses, the CCI is writing up a brief analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the various dynamic recovery plan types.The palila honeycreeper, like many Hawaiian birds, is highly endangered by loss of habitat and avian malaria, to which they lack resistance from thousands of years of isolation. Brought by human-carried mosquitoes in the 1820s, the disease has already caused the extinction of multiple bird species. Photo credit: HarmonyonPlanetEarth-Flickr CC 2.0A tool for practitionersMany of the CCI tools target ESA practitioners with some understanding of how the law works.“Part of the issue was that FWS’s internal software doesn’t allow them run simple queries of their data and visualize the results,” said Malcom and Li. “We have stepped in and filled that void. That’s why FWS, other federal agencies, Congressional staff, and the regulated community use the [Section 7] Explorer regularly. For example, the US Forest Service has used the Section 7 Explorer to help answer Congressional inquiries about how the agency fulfills its duty to consult on the effects of their timber harvest and other projects.”Advocates have used the tools to answer questions relevant to current issues in Congress, such as the status of the required ESA-listed species five-year status reviews. “There are proposals in Congress to stop federal funding for species that are behind schedule on the reviews,” said Malcom and Li, “which would be very bad for ~54% of species that meet the criterion.”Learn more about the ESA in this helpful FWS introduction video: Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_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

Two new dog-faced bats discovered in Panama and Ecuador

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 Animals, Bats, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Mammals, New Species, Research, Species Discovery, Wildlife Researchers have described two new species of dog-faced bats: the Freeman’s dog-faced bat (Cynomops freemani) from Panama and the Waorani dog-faced bat (Cynomops tonkigui) from Ecuador.The Freeman’s dog-faced bat was named after bat specialist Patricia Freeman.The species name of the Waorani dog-faced bat, “tonkigui,” honors the Waorani tribe of Ecuador that lives near one of the locations where the bats were captured, the study says. For the past few decades, scientists have known of six species of fast-flying, insect-eating bats with dog-like faces — collectively called the dog-faced bats.Now, a group of researchers has described two more species of dog-faced bats in a new study published in Mammalian Biology: the Freeman’s dog-faced bat (Cynomops freemani) from Panama and the Waorani dog-faced bat (Cynomops tonkigui) from Ecuador.Researchers from the Panama-based Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) first came across the Freeman’s dog-faced bat inside abandoned wooden houses in the town of Gamboa in 2012. Over the course of five nights, the team captured 56 bats using specialized mist nets, took their measurements, then released them. They also recorded the bats’ calls and collected one individual that had died.At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C, the scientists compared their field observations, including DNA, sound recordings and body measurements of the bats, with existing museum collections from across the Americas and Europe, and confirmed that the bat was new to science. They named it Freeman’s dog-faced bat after Patricia Freeman, a bat specialist currently at the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History.“We were very lucky to catch several different individuals of this species in mist nets and to record their calls,” Thomas Sattler, who was one of the team members in Panama at the time of collection, told Smithsonian Insider. “Knowing their species-specific echolocation calls may make it possible to find them again in the future with a bat detector — without catching them—and to find out more about their distribution and habitat preferences.”In fact, some STRI staff recently spotted pregnant females of the species in Gamboa in August 2017, and some young individuals the following month.Thomas Sattler holds two Freeman’s dog-faced bats discovered in Gamboa, Panama. Photo: Elias BaderThe Smithsonian team described the second new species — the slightly smaller Waorani dog-faced bat — from individuals collected by other naturalists and researchers from Ecuador’s rainforests. The team did not have any call recordings of the bats, so they confirmed its status by comparing the bats’ physical measurements and DNA with those of other museum specimens collected in Ecuador.“Identifying two mammal species new to science is extremely exciting,” Ligiane Moras, lead author of the study who did part of this work as a fellow at NMNH, said in a statement.Rachel Page of STRI added: “Molecular tools combined with meticulous morphological measurements are opening new doors to the diversity of this poorly understood group. This discovery begs the question — what other new species are there, right under our very noses? What new diversity is yet to be uncovered?”A Waorani dog-faced bat. Photo by Diego Tirira.The newly described Freeman’s dog-faced bat. Photo by Thomas Sattler.Citation:Moras, L. M., et al. (2017). Uncovering the diversity of dog-faced bats from the genus Cynomops (Chiroptera. Molossidae), with the redescription of C. milleri and the description of two new species. Mammalian Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2017.12.005.center_img Article published by Shreya Dasguptalast_img read more

Duterte orders navy to fire on foreign poachers in Philippine waters

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 Basten Gokkon Anti-poaching, Coral Reefs, Crime, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Policy, Fish, Fisheries, Illegal Fishing, Law Enforcement, Marine, Oceans, Overfishing, Poaching center_img Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called on the navy to open fire at foreign vessels suspected of poaching or extracting natural resources in the Southeast Asian nation’s exclusive waters.Duterte made the decision to address concerns about territorial rights over Benham Rise, an undersea plateau off the country’s northeastern coast believed to be rich in oil, gas and fisheries.A number of Southeast Asian nations, notably Indonesia, have recently taken a tough stance against marine poaching in the region, which is home to some of the world’s richest underwater ecosystems and threatened by overfishing. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has called on the navy to shoot at foreign ships suspected of extracting natural resources from his country’s exclusive maritime territory.Duterte made the statement Feb. 9 at a news conference where he addressed the Southeast Asian nation’s rights to Benham Rise, an undersea region off the country’s northeastern coast. The area is thought to hold oil and gas deposits as well as rich fishing sites.Philippine authorities recently flagged concerns about intrusions when a Chinese ship was monitored crisscrossing the waters early last year, drawing public attention to the territory.All foreign scientific groups, including from China, Japan, South Korea and the United States, have concluded their research work in the waters, and Duterte wants future research missions to be carried out by Philippine nationals.“If you get something there from the economic zone, I will order the navy to fire,” Duterte said as reported by the Associated Press.He was referring to the country’s 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometer) exclusive economic zone, where coastal states are granted special rights to exploit natural resources under a 1982 UN treaty. Foreign ships are allowed to sail through those waters.The president did not elaborate on the protocol for such action, such as whether suspect boats would be fired on with crew members on board.Facing the Pacific Ocean, the underwater plateau stretches about 240,000 square kilometers (about 92,700 square miles) and a large part of it is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. The remainder was granted by the United Nations as part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf. In an attempt to strengthen its claim on the region, Duterte last year officially renamed the plateau Philippine Rise.“I’m putting notice to the world that the Philippine Rise, which we call Benham Rise, is ours … and the economic zone is ours,” Duterte said.“I said and ordered the Philippine Navy and Air Force to do regular patrols,” he added as quoted by CNN Philippines.Indonesian fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti been seizing illegal foreign fishing vessels like this one and blowing them up at sea. Photo courtesy of Indonesia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.Such drastic measures are not unprecedented in the hotly contested waters of Southeast Asia, where some of the world’s richest marine ecosystems are routinely plundered by poachers and threatened by overfishing. The region is also home to the Pacific Coral Triangle, one of the most important global centers of marine biodiversity.Duterte’s decision was warmly praised by Indonesia’s fisheries minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, who has led her own campaign of seizing and blowing up illegal foreign fishing vessels caught poaching in Indonesia’s waters.“It’s good, they understand that theft isn’t just about fish,” Susi told reporters in Jakarta, as quoted by local media outlet Kompas. “There are other motives, other crimes, and they’re not playing around.”She added that transnational organized crime such as illegal fishing was carried out “in many countries by several nations, creating a massive integrated [fisheries] business.”Under Susi’s command — and with the blessing of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the firepower of the navy — Indonesia in 2014 began a campaign of vacating and blowing up foreign fishing vessels seized in its waters. The campaign is part of Jokowi’s pledge to revive the country’s maritime sector, which for decades was plagued by illegal, unreported and undocumented (IUU) fishing.Indonesia has since scuttled more than 320 foreign fishing boats.Malaysia announced in July 2016 it would also start sinking poaching boats in a way that would encourage the growth of artificial reefs.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.last_img read more

‘Photo Ark’ a quest to document global biodiversity: Q&A with photographer Joel Sartore and director Chun-Wei Yi

first_img Amphibians, Animals, Beetles, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Birds, Cats, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Ecosystem Services, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Film, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Insects, Interviews, Mammals, Mass Extinction, Orangutans, Parks, Photography, Primates, Rainforests, Rhinos, Saving Species From Extinction, Sixth Mass Extinction, Species, Tigers, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Zoos Mongabay: How long have you been working on the Photo Ark, and what was the original impetus behind the project?Joel Sartore: I started about 12 years ago. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she’s fine now, her treatment took about a year, and I stayed home to take care of her and our three young children. During my time at home, I began to think more and more about what I might do with the second half of my life and career in order to make a difference. That’s how the Ark got started, and I’ve been going at it ever since.How did you first hear about Joel’s work and the Photo Ark? What made you decide to feature his work as the subject of a documentary?Chun-Wei Yi: I met Joel back in 2006 or 2007 through Stella Cha [the film’s producer and writer] during my early days at National Geographic Television & Film. This was soon after he had started what was to become the Photo Ark (with a naked mole rat), and I was immediately blown away by what kind of impact eye contact with an animal could have on someone. Stella and Joel had already made a bunch of films together and were longtime colleagues with [executive producer] John Bredar. With Joel’s humor and passion driving the story, John had always thought that a behind-the-scenes look at these intimate portraits would be hilariously revealing.Fast forward to 2013, Joel now had over 3,000 species in the Photo Ark, and I helped him produce and edit a video about his latest work. Once John saw it, he had a pitch tape to send to commissioners. It took a few years, but we eventually found ourselves in eight different countries filming some of the rarest animals in the world, a couple with population counts in the single digits.Three yearling Burmese star tortoises (Geochelone platynota), a critically endangered species, at the Turtle Conservancy, taken for the National Geographic Photo Ark. © Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark.What was it like traveling to all these different locations to film Joel as he took photos of endangered animals? Did any of the locations present significant obstacles to filming due to remoteness or ruggedness of terrain, etc.?Yi: The scientists and rangers on the front lines of conservation put in an unimaginable amount of work day after day in some of the harshest conditions in the world. We wanted audiences to get a taste of that, and what better way to do that than to put Joel in harm’s way. I’m only half joking, but really, Joel’s up for anything that’ll get species the attention they need and deserve.The trips we made to New Zealand and Cameroon required a fair bit of hiking. Now, hiking with 25-40 pounds [11-18 kilograms] of gear is one thing. Hiking while filming with 25-40 pounds of gear is another. To give a sense of the ruggedness in Cameroon, we hiked over 40 kilometers [25 miles] in three days, which at first doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you factor in over 3,000 feet [914 meters] of total elevation changes, up and down thick forest mountains and valleys that gorillas prefer, your already-deep appreciation for the cinematographer, Erin Harvey, and sound recordist, Rodrigo Salvatierra, grows exponentially. Last but not least, our support crew of warm and friendly porters made everything possible.And in New Zealand, a protected forest is a dense forest. So during a trek with a biologist looking for a rare kiwi nest, even though the hike was less than a mile long, it took over six hours to cover it … and you too can suffer through this hike with Joel all throughout the third and last episode!You photograph your 5,000th species in the course of the film, a Persian leopard in Budapest. Are all 5,000 species endangered?Sartore: We photograph all species, great and small, rare or common. The goal is to show what biodiversity looks like at this point in time. We’re nearing 8,000 species photographed now, by the way.You also photographed one of the rarest species of rhinoceros in the world, the northern white rhino, in the Czech Republic. What’s it like to encounter so many endangered animals? I imagine you must eventually wish you could do more than just photograph them.Sartore: You bet, I wish I could save them all, and that’s what I’m trying to do through the Photo Ark. It’s humbling and a big responsibility to tell the story of these animals before they leave us. I’m determined to do it as well as I can in order to prevent further extinction.How do you go about finding them?Sartore: I approach the zoos, aquariums, wildlife rehab centers and private breeders wherever I’m going to speak. I also target specific places housing species that I’ve been hoping to get.After a photo shoot for the National Geographic Photo Ark at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, a clouded leopard cub (Neofelis nebulosa) climbs on Joel Sartore’s head. The leopards, which live in Asian tropical forests, are illegally hunted for their spotted pelts. © Photo by GRAHM S. JONES, COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM.Have you prioritized certain endangered animals over others, or are you just systematically trying to photograph them all?Sartore: I do look for extremely rare animals, hoping to get to them before they’re not found in human care anymore.Do you have any favorites?Sartore: The next one.Do you have any favorite moments in the film?Yi: It’s always fun to watch Joel at his best. A perfect example of this is from the very beginning of the second episode where Joel drops to his knees near the end of an unsuccessful 10-hour hike in the highlands of Cameroon. He’s tagging along with Wildlife Conservation Society [WCS] scientists who study the Cross River gorilla, and unlike Joel, they do this hike every day.Since their 4 a.m. start time, the team hasn’t seen any of the world’s rarest gorillas and Joel hasn’t shot a single frame either. We’re rolling on him and figure we’re getting more funny “exhausted Joel” footage, but we soon realize he’s not capitulating. Rather, he’s digging through a fresh pile of cow dung!I’ve never seen anyone more excited about poop. As he peels back each moist lump, we see the gold he’s after: dung beetles. A herd of cattle have infiltrated the gorilla sanctuary, and from within this cow pie about the size of a personal pan pizza, he pulls out four new species of dung beetle to add to the Photo Ark.All I could think was, “This guy knows how to get a picture.” He’s always figuring out different ways to show people how our planet works and the animals with which we share it. After witnessing scenes like that, you really begin to understand how this guy has built his Photo Ark to over 7,000 species. Just when I thought he was too exhausted to go on, he was really just getting started and went on to photograph those dung beetles late into the night back at camp by generator. I think he even returned those beetles to a dung pile. I’m not too sure — I was asleep by then.A Fiji Island banded iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus) at the Los Angeles Zoo, taken for the National Geographic Photo Ark. © Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark.How does it feel to have the project documented in film? Will it help raise the profile of these endangered species even further?Sartore: Yes, the more coverage the better. This is a public awareness campaign that will span many decades. We need to make folks aware that all species need our empathy and our support. And they need habitat to survive as well. That’s critical. We must leave some areas of the Earth alone so that species can thrive in those places.The best part is that when we save other species, we’re actually saving ourselves as well. We need bees and other pollinating insects to bring us fruits and vegetables. We need healthy, intact rainforests to regulate rainfall around the planet, the moisture we need to grow our crops. These ecological functions are crucial to human survival. The sooner all of us realize that, the sooner we can start to save nature, and ourselves in the process.In the end, what is the main story you’re trying to tell here? And what do you hope your documentary can achieve?Yi: We wanted to tackle a word that many of us may find boring: biodiversity. We may turn off at its mention, but Joel taught me a great analogy early on — that our planet is like a plane and all the species in the world are like the rivets keeping the plane intact and flying. Now you lose a few of those rivets and the plane’s OK — we’re still flying. But you lose enough of them or lose ones in critical places, and the plane’s going down with us in it. To extend this analogy a little bit further, we’re not just passive passengers. In fact, each one of us helps run the airline company, so the integrity of the plane (or planet) is on us.Like Joel says about his pictures, we’re hoping to get people to care about these animals while we still have time to save them. If we can get folks to look at an animal differently, see the value in them and their direct role in our lives, then we’re getting the idea and importance of biodiversity across.Awareness is also a goal. If folks Google something about a species or come away with a new favorite animal after watching these shows, the necessary global awareness is growing and that’s progress. And if a kid watching Joel or the scientists in our films realizes that she wants to do the same with her life, that’s great bonus points.A pair of red wolves (Canis rufus gregoryi) at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, taken for the National Geographic Photo Ark. © Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark.Have you seen any impacts from your photography?Sartore: The Florida grasshopper sparrow got extra protection (extra funding) from the federal government after Photo Ark coverage turned into an Audubon magazine cover story. But overall the goal is to raise public awareness, get people to realize that there are many other amazing species that we share the planet with and that the future of life on Earth really is in our hands now.When and where can the public see the film? What are your distribution plans for the film after the festival?Yi: The three films aired on PBS over the summer of 2017. It’s currently streaming on PBS and Amazon Prime now, and [it’s] available on DVD or Blu-Ray as well.We’ve been talking with National Geographic about the possibility of making a new season, so we will have to see if that could come together. If so, viewers would get to travel around the world with Joel again, meet more amazing species and the scientists dedicated to saving them and see what other lengths Joel will go to get a photo!Editor’s note: this interview has been edited  for style and length.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by John Cannon The film “RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark” follows National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore as he travels the world snapping pictures of thousands of different animal species.In the last 12 years, Sartore has photographed nearly 8,000 species.“RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark” was named Best Conservation Film at the New York WILD Film Festival. At turns haunting, humorous or just downright bizarre, the studio portraits of the thousands of animal species that photographer Joel Sartore has collected are more than just a catalog of life on Earth. When someone sees one of his photographs for the National Geographic Photo Ark, Sartore wants the encounter, often with an animal looking directly into the camera’s lens, to be inspiring.A recent three-part film documents the lengths to which he’ll go to take the most compelling images and showcase our planet’s biodiversity. “RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark” follows Sartore through jungle treks and sittings with ornery birds, and the filmmakers will be honored Thursday for Best Conservation Film at the New York WILD Film Festival, held at the Explorers Club in Manhattan.An endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Nebraska, taken for the National Geographic Photo Ark. © Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark.Sartore isn’t picky about the species he photographs. He’s trained his lens on raccoons and dung beetles as eagerly as he has on critically endangered orangutans and rhinos. But there’s a sense of urgency with the rarer animals. Yes, it’s an image for posterity, a snapshot of life as it exists at this moment in time before some of these animals disappear forever. But Sartore also knows that it might just be the push that someone needs to make a difference.“I want people to care, to fall in love, and to take action,” Sartore says on the project’s website.To his mind, the global extinction crisis isn’t just about the potential loss of a species. It’s an issue that affects us all.“It’s folly to think that we can drive half of everything else to extinction, but that people will be just fine,” Sartore says in the opening moments of the film.Sartore and director Chun-Wei Yi spoke to Mongabay about making the documentary, sharing stories from the field and explaining why the Photo Ark project is so important. 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

Video: Budiardi, labeled a ‘provocateur’ and jailed in a dispute with a palm oil company

first_imgArticle published by mongabayauthor Corruption, Deforestation, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Governance, National Parks, Palm Oil, Plantations, Politics, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests “The palm oil fiefdom” is an investigation by Mongabay and The Gecko Project, an initiative of the UK-based research house Earthsight.The article reveals how Darwan Ali, the former head of Indonesia’s Seruyan district, presided over an elaborate scheme to use shell companies as vehicles to sell plantation licenses to major palm oil firms.Short films produced in conjunction with the article feature some of those affected by Darwan’s licensing spree, including a Dayak man named Budiardi. Budiardi was one of the more colorful characters we met in our reporting for “ The palm oil fiefdom.”Thickset and outspoken, he was previously a member of the local parliament in Indonesia’s Seruyan district. He said he had been inspired to enter politics because the district chief, Darwan Ali, had ceded huge swaths of land to plantation companies that acted with impunity. In Hanau subdistrict, where Budiardi lived, residents had fallen into a bitter dispute with BEST Group, which had bulldozed into a national park home to thousands of endangered orangutans. Worse yet was how they treated the local people. “I’m from here, I know what they did,” Budiardi told us. “Evictions, seizing our land, right out in the open! We reported it everywhere and there was never any response.”Seruyan is on the island of Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.The conflict in Hanau is one of thousands that has erupted across the country since the beginning of Indonesia’s palm oil boom. After the dictator Suharto fell in 1998, power was decentralized from Jakarta to the regions, placing control over land and resources in the hands of district chiefs like Darwan Ali. Where Suharto had sent his cronies to log the forest, these officials, known as bupatis, assigned whole landscapes to plantation and mining firms. They developed a reputation for corruption rivaling that of Suharto, becoming known as “little kings.”The Gecko Project and Mongabay investigated Darwan’s licensing spree, and found that he had presided over an elaborate scheme to use shell companies as vehicles for making money from major palm oil firms. These companies were set up in the names of his relatives and cronies, and received permits from the bupati himself before being sold to some of the industry’s biggest players. As the firms proceeded to clear lands claimed by indigenous and other rural communities, the farmers of Seruyan, many of whom had initially trusted in Darwan’s leadership, grew incensed with his rule.Budiardi, who uses one name, at his home in Hanau. Photo by Leo Plunkett for The Gecko Project.Despite his anger, Budiardi wasn’t against the concept of palm oil. He had a smallholding of his own and drove a truck for one of the companies. But as the years went by and BEST Group continued to ignore their entreaties, Budiardi and his neighbors decided enough was enough. One day, a group of them attacked the plantation, using a rope and truck to tear out a handful of oil palm trees by the roots. “The police came that very day,” Budiardi said. “I wasn’t there, but I was labeled a ‘provocateur’ because in the dispute I was the one coordinating with the company.” He served four months in jail over the incident.The farmers were granted some reprieve at the end of Darwan’s second and final term in 2013, when his son, running to replace his father, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of an independent candidate whose platform was aimed squarely at the palm oil industry. This year, however, Darwan’s daughter will become the latest member of the family to stand for the position, raising the specter of another era of their rule.Watch our short film about Budiardi, below, to find out more. And then read our investigation into Darwan’s licenses, in English or Bahasa Indonesia.“The palm oil fiefdom” is the first installment of Indonesia for Sale, a series about the corruption behind Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis. The series is produced under a collaboration between Mongabay and The Gecko Project, an investigative reporting initiative established by the UK-based nonprofit Earthsight.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

Do environmental advocacy campaigns drive successful forest conservation?

first_imgHow effective are advocacy campaigns at driving permanent policy changes that lead to forest conservation results? We suspected this might be a difficult question to answer scientifically, but nevertheless we gamely set out to see what researchers had discovered when they attempted to do so as part of a special Mongabay series on “Conservation Effectiveness.”We ultimately reviewed 34 studies and papers, and found that the scientific evidence is fairly weak for any claims about the effectiveness of advocacy campaigns. So we also spoke with several experts in forest conservation and advocacy campaigns to supplement our understanding of some of the broader trends and to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.We found no evidence that advocacy campaigns on their own drive long-term forest conservation, though they do appear to be valuable in terms of raising awareness of environmental issues and driving people to take action. But it’s important to note that, of all the conservation interventions we examined for the Conservation Effectiveness series, advocacy campaigns appear to have the weakest evidence base in scientific literature. When a final agreement to protect the Great Bear Rainforest was announced in February 2016, it was hailed as a major victory for First Nations and environmental activists. More than 85 percent of the vast temperate rainforest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada, was made off-limits to industrial logging, and the rights of First Nations as decision-makers on their traditional lands were codified into law.The impacts of the Great Bear deal will likely be felt far beyond British Columbia. “They really set a global precedent for large-scale conservation,” Nicole Rycroft, executive director of the Vancouver-based environmental group Canopy, told Mongabay at the time. “The fact that it’s human well-being alongside large landscape conservation means it can be applied to places like [the] Leuser [Ecosystem in Indonesia] where millions of people live on the land and depend on it.”At 3.6 million hectares (13,900 square miles), the Great Bear Rainforest represents roughly one-quarter of all intact temperate rainforest left in the world. By the mid-1990s, it had become the scene of a fierce struggle between activists concerned about the destruction of old-growth forests and the forestry industry that was clear-cutting British Columbia’s forests. Newspapers dubbed this struggle “the War in the Woods.” More than 900 people were arrested in 1993 alone for taking direct action to stop the logging.But while protests and blockades were halting loggers’ work in one valley, the next valley over might be razed to the ground — and this fragmentation of the forest was jeopardizing the health of the ecosystem as a whole.So in 1997 Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and other environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) launched a new environmental advocacy campaign that aimed to deliver a long-term solution by forcing fundamental changes to how the forestry industry operated in British Columbia.Such campaigns are now quite common and seen as increasingly influential. Through them, NGOs seek to pressure a target — usually a corporation, a government, or a governmental body — to adopt some policy or course of action intended to increase forest conservation. These campaigns employ a variety of tactics and make different demands of their target.In the case of Great Bear, the NGOs took a market-based approach, attempting to persuade the main customers for products from the rainforest to spend their money elsewhere. “The environmental groups took their message to the marketplace—the international buyers of wood and paper products from coastal British Columbia. ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and other groups contacted corporations such as Home Depot, Staples, Ikea, the Fortune 500 companies and the German pulp and paper industry and showed them the destruction associated with their purchases,” Merran Smith of ForestEthics (now called Stand.earth) and Art Sterritt of Coastal First Nations, an alliance of B.C. First Nations, write in an account of the campaign.A bear climbs over a fallen tree in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada. The Kermode or Spirit bear, a subspecies of black bear that sometimes has a white coat, is the namesake of the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo © Andrew Wright / www.cold-coast.com.Some customers immediately cancelled contracts with forest products companies operating in B.C., but many remained unmoved. The NGOs responded by organizing high-profile actions like rallies at stores, boycotts of recalcitrant companies, and shareholder resolutions, as well as placing ads in prominent media outlets and inflicting what’s known as “brand damage” on the laggards.“For the forest companies, what had been a public relations problem had transformed itself into a customer-relations debacle,” Smith and Sterritt write. “Whether it was a blockade at a remote logging site, a demonstration at a corporation’s headquarters in Europe or an article in the New York Times, the message was taking root: ‘The world’s old-growth forests are disappearing. It’s time to protect what’s left.’”In 2000, the B.C. forestry industry at last came to the negotiating table with the First Nations groups and NGOs that stood in opposition to their operations, and a truce was called. The activists would halt their campaign targeting the logging companies’ customers and the companies would stop cutting forests in 100 intact areas. The truce held, and in 2004 the B.C. government and 24 First Nations began formal government-to-government negotiations, which ultimately resulted in the initial Great Bear Rainforest Agreements in 2006 and the strong final agreement announced in 2016.The campaign to save British Columbia’s forests led to long-term, durable policy changes that appear to make a real difference on the ground, but that is certainly not true of every forest advocacy campaign launched by an NGO. Zero Deforestation Commitments have become a common demand of environmental campaigners when targeting producers of agricultural commodities like palm oil, soy, and cattle, for instance, but research has consistently shown that companies are still doing far too little to actually implement those policies and that the companies are thus unlikely to meet their own deforestation targets.So how effective are advocacy campaigns at driving permanent policy changes that lead to forest conservation results?How we investigated effectiveness of advocacy campaignsWe suspected this might be a difficult question to answer scientifically, but nevertheless we gamely set out to see what researchers had discovered when they attempted to do so.Because “environmental advocacy campaigns” is a large and varied topic, we looked for evidence on the effectiveness of campaigns that specifically aimed to conserve globally important forests. We focused on campaigns targeting the environmental impacts of six “forest-risk” commodities: beef and cattle, biofuels, oil palm, pulp and paper, soy, and timber.While we were able to find enough studies through a systematic search of the scientific literature for the other articles in Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series, we used a more opportunistic approach to finding literature evaluating the effectiveness of environmental advocacy campaigns at protecting forests because our systematic search didn’t deliver many articles that focused on outcomes related to one of those six forest-risk commodities.We searched on Google Scholar for relevant studies, we used the references from the studies we found, and used recommendations from researchers that we interviewed to get the final set of 34 studies that we reviewed for this article (you can see a full list of the literature we reviewed here).Though we did examine one literature review assessing the effectiveness of grassroots campaigns related to tree plantations (Gerber 2011), we deliberately did not search for research examining the effectiveness of grassroots campaigns in conserving global forests. Our analysis is limited to national and international campaigns.We found no studies that rigorously or experimentally measured the impact of environmental campaigns. Much of the literature we reviewed used perception-based measurements (such as asking people if they thought the campaigns were effective), did not consider counterfactual scenarios (what would have happened if the campaign hadn’t occurred), and were based on case reports that did not use controls or take into account confounding variables.The research we examined that did use more rigorous methodologies (e.g. case-control studies that compare outcomes in areas that were subject to a campaign with areas that were not; see here for an explanation of the various evidence types we examined for the Conservation Effectiveness series) was mostly related to Zero Deforestation Commitments as opposed to directly measuring the impacts of any specific campaign (e.g. Gibbs et al. 2015, Azevedo et al. 2015).Many of these Zero Deforestation Commitments resulted, at least in part, from advocacy campaigns. Because most of the research on environmental advocacy outcomes that we examined didn’t measure impacts on the ground (e.g. forest cover) but were based on perceptions or specific outcomes (e.g. stopping a project), we included literature on Zero Deforestation Commitments in our analysis as a means of exploring whether or not there were some indirect impacts of advocacy on forest cover.last_img read more