Climate change key suspect in the case of India’s vanishing groundwater

first_imgArticle published by Maria Salazar Since the Green Revolution, Indian farmers have depended on groundwater to grow enough crops to feed the country’s 1.3 billion people, but groundwater is vanishing in many parts of the country.The combination of overpumping and climate change – resulting in weaker monsoons – has resulted in social disruption in many parts of India, including violent protests and suicides.India won’t be able to solve the problem with just water legislation: the country also needs to take a look at climate change as well. Local farmers and cattle herders gather to withdraw water at a well in the Marwar region of western Rajasthan, India. Courtesy of Dr. Trevor Birkenholtz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.In three short months during monsoon season, India historically receives 75 percent of their annual precipitation. Imagine awaiting this promised, bountiful rainfall and receiving 14 percent less than average. This is what happened in 2015 – and it compounded decades of drought. India is suffering a water scarcity crisis but, until recently, most people believed that over pumping groundwater was the number one reason behind it. Now, a new study published by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar in Nature Geoscience, shows that variable monsoon precipitation, linked to climate change, is likely the key reason for declining levels of groundwater.India’s rainfall has decreased since the 1950s. When rainfall decreases, so does the water table. By observing climate patterns and well depths, researchers found that groundwater storage dropped in northern India about two centimeters per year between 2002 and 2013. Today, groundwater irrigates over half of India’s crops, but aquifer levels are falling, threatening both water and food security.“We find that climate has much bigger impacts on groundwater resources than we previously thought,” said Dr. Yoshihide Wada, contributing author to the study, senior researcher at IIASA’s Water Program and research scientist at NASA. When groundwater is pumped, it can take years to replenish. In the throes of record-breaking drought, India feels that loss.India’s groundwater problem is detectable from space. From 2002-2013, a satellite from NASA mapped aquifers around the world. The Gravity Recovery Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite detects the Earth’s mass below it and uses this data to measure groundwater pumping. GRACE reported that 54 percent of 4,000 measured groundwater wells are declining, some dropping by more than three feet per year.A warming world has made India’s monsoon season less predictable. During the past century, the Earth warmed 1.5 degrees, largely due to humans’ unprecedented burning of fossil fuels. What appears to be a small change in temperature is causing drastic upheavals in natural patterns. Increased atmospheric temperatures are changing wind currents and causing more frequent and intense storms. In some cases, this is also redistributing rain and intensifying drought.In India, warmer air over the Indian Ocean has altered the path of monsoons – leaving Indian farmers high and dry the past two years in a row.There is no singular definition for water scarcity that takes into account the availability, accessibility, and quality of potable water. However, the Falkenmark Indicator (FI) is a popular tool that measures water runoff and population to determine levels of water stress. According to the FI, a country is considered ‘water scarce’ when they have less than 1,000 cubic meters of usable water per person annually. In 2015, analysis using FI categorized India as having ‘absolute scarcity’, with less than 500 cubic meters of water per person annually.So little water affects security. Last September, protesters set 56 busses on fire in Bengaluru when the Supreme Court ordered that Karnataka must release more water from Cauvery Dam to be used by a bordering state. Retrofitted oil trains deliver millions of liters of water to Lature, a district east of Mumbai. Madhya Pradesh, a state in Central India, deployed armed guards to protect one of its reservoirs after farmers from a neighboring state attempted to steal water last year.Farmers are on the frontlines of the water crisis with India seeing a serious uptick in farmer suicides. Some estimates put the number of related suicides at 500 in 2015, but the central government only publicly acknowledges that 13 farmers’ suicides were related to water shortages. According to the Government of India, 52 percent of agricultural households were in debt in 2014. Heavy debts have resulted in an exodus of farmers, who are now seeking daily labor in large cities.“In spite of the challenges of the agrarian life in India (as with elsewhere) Indian farmers and farming households are some of the most generous that I have ever met,” says Birkenholtz. “They are also innovative; India is full of ‘makers’ – people who see a problem and are determined to find a solution.” Photo from the Marwar region of western Rajasthan, India Courtesy of Trevor Birkenholtz.“Farmers invest their own borrowed money for sinking bore wells to develop agriculture,” said Secretary R.H. Sawkar of the Secretary, Geological Society of India (GSI). Bore wells are similar to tube wells, long shafts that are drilled into the earth. Electric pumps are used to draw the groundwater through the tube to the surface. Most rural farmers pay a flat fee for unlimited electricity to pump from tube wells, leading to over-pumping.But farmers don’t have the money, tools, or know-how to drill deeper wells that can access sinking water tables. This creates a serious dilemma in areas where levels drop by almost a meter per year.“Only rich farmers can effectively pump groundwater from deep aquifers and the urban rich can buy extra water for their luxuries like car washing, [maintaining] lawns near their residence and [using] bottled water for drinking purpose,” said Sawkar.There are over 20 million tubewells in India today, a technology that enabled the Green Revolution in India. The Green Revolution was a global shift in agricultural production, beginning in the 1930s; it mechanized farming for developing nations and utilized new technologies, like pesticides and genetically modified crops, to feed a booming population. Developing countries could suddenly grow more food on the same amount of land.When India gained independence in 1947 the central government – along with the Rockefeller and Ford foundations –brought the Green Revolution to India. This meant cultivation of genetically adapted, high-yielding seeds, a deluge of fertilizers, and flood irrigation. Tube-wells proved to be the best way to irrigate more land, since they reached untapped groundwater. But today, annual groundwater pumping removes at least 24 times what was consumed in the 1950s.“India also inherited Britain’s water policies that were based on water abundance. Any landowner had the right to pump as much groundwater as they wanted… India doubled ag[riculture] productivity between 1972 and 1992 under this system,” said Trevor Birkenholtz, political ecologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Chapmaign. “In short, there was no groundwater law.”Laissez-faire pumping is today reflected in the fact that farmers pay a single flat fee for electricity to power tubewell pumps.India solidified their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions when the Indian government ratified the Paris Climate Agreement last October. Climate change is a key driver of changing monsoon patterns which exasperate drought conditions across India. Above, Indian women and children collect groundwater in Marwar region of western Rajasthan, an area affected by climate-exasperated drought.The same revolution that once sustained India’s growing population is partly to blame for the cracked and barren landscape that farmers try to cultivate today. According to the World Bank, India’s population tripled since the 1960s, hitting 1.3 billion in 2015. As India continues to battle climate change and overpumping, an equitable distribution for groundwater, if it ever comes, will take considerable intervention.“This requires strong political will to address this issue, which is lacking,” Sawker said.Groundwater law and rulemaking falls under the purview of individual states in India. Researchers say that the central government will have a difficult time overcoming this decentralized system, if they wish to establish national water laws. To date very few politicians have fought to limit water pumping.“No politician wants to be the one that tells farmers – who vote at rates upwards of 85 percent – that they can no longer pump groundwater at current rates,” said Birkenholtz.It’s more likely that authorities will mandate drip irrigation or restrict the supply of electricity, perhaps through metering, to limit pumping. Using drip irrigation and gaining “more crop per drop” is an efficient alternative to flood irrigation.In parts of India like Marwar region depicted above, some village women spend hours each day collecting water. They enlist the help of their female children, who are taken out of school. When a family must choose between education and water, it’s nearly impossible for them to rise above poverty.Unfortunately, groundwater pumping is only half of the problem. Taking on climate change is equally important in solving India’s water scarcity. Climate change weakens monsoons, groundwater fails to recharge, wells run dry, and families go without water. The future of India’s water security, in part, rests on international agreements to combat climate change like the United Nations Paris Agreement.“Weather is uncertain by nature, and the impacts of climate change are extremely difficult to predict at a regional level,” explained Wada. “But our research suggests that we must focus more attention on this side of the equation if we want to sustainably manage water resources for the future.”Today, India accounts for 4.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Paris Agreement, the country has committed to generating at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and decreasing carbon emission intensity related to GDP by 33-35 percent by 2030. This means India’s emissions will likely rise, depending on the level of its economic growth.Citation:Asoka, A., Gleeson, T., Wada, Y., & Mishra, V. (2017). Relative contribution of monsoon precipitation and pumping to changes in groundwater storage in India. Nature Geoscience. Agriculture, Cattle, Climate Change, Drought, Farming, food security, Global Warming, Interns, Water 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

Delays continue over signing of Guyana-EU trade agreement to combat illegal logging

first_imgPart of the process involves setting up a Voluntary Partnership Agreement, or VPA – a trade agreement between the EU and a timber-producing country to ensure legal sourcing.Negotiations, which take place under the auspices of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), are expected to continue for much of 2017.Delays with VPA’s are not unheard of, but a new deadline on the Guyana trade agreement has been pushed back to the end of 2017. GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Guyana’s plan to sign a trade agreement with the European Union by the end of 2016 to combat illegal logging has been delayed again.At the fourth Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) negotiation session of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) agreement held in March 2016, Guyana had said it remained committed to signing the VPA by the end of 2016. A VPA is a legal trade agreement between the EU and an external timber-producing country meant to ensure the legal sourcing of timber and timber products exported to the EU.However, Kenny David, head of the EU FLEGT Secretariat at the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), said in an interview that the deadline has been pushed back to the end of 2017 because it was recognized as too ambitious.“Both parties agreed that to ensure the credibility of the VPA, the timeline had to be adjusted,” David wrote in an email. “After the last round of consultations, which concluded in August, there were some concerns raised by key stakeholders groups, which needed to be addressed.”Those key stakeholders include loggers, logging associations, Amerindian villages and communities, sawmillers, timber exporters and government agencies, and others.David, who is also assistant commissioner of forests for Guyana, has been involved with the negotiation process since the beginning. He said that Guyana and the EU are still working toward their ultimate goal.This is the second time the timeline for signing the agreement has been pushed back. When Guyana began the process in March 2012, the negotiations joint roadmap anticipated ratification in 2015.Ongoing processA National Technical Working Group (NTWG) – a multi-stakeholder group comprising representatives from the private sector, indigenous organizations and government departments – was developed to represent Guyana in the VPA process.Guyana and the EU have developed a draft agreement with 10 annexes that include things like the products covered by the agreement, the Legality Definition (LD) for what constitutes legal forest operations, the procedure for verifying compliance, and the requirements to obtain a FLEGT license, among others.“The NTWG has held discussions on comments which have been received from the most recent consultations, which were held in August 2016,” David said. “These comments, from both local and international stakeholders, will result in some changes to these Annexes.”These changes were incorporated into updated versions of the Annexes that were released on Guyana’s FLEGT website on Jan. 20, 2016. They include minor edits to some Annexes for grammar and clarity, and significant changes to others, including the Guyana Timber Legality Assurance System (GTLAS), which is the procedure to verify legal compliance through the harvesting, transportation, processing and trade of the wood.A comparison between the GTLAS of March 26, 2016 and Jan. 20, 2017 shows that the newer version, added several sections including a breakdown of the enhancements to the existing system to comply with the VPA and definitions of legality and legal timber, among others.The newest Annexes also extend the VPA to an additional product: shingles, meaning the VPA will now cover the trade of timber products in seven commodity areas.Guyana will now field test the system and report back on the results, before the final agreement with the EU can be signed. The testing is expected to begin in the second quarter of the year, according to David.What is FLEGT?The EU’s FLEGT Action Plan was created in 2003 because of growing concern over the illegal logging of forests, particularly in the tropics. It aims to increase sustainable forest management. Guyana is one of nine countries that are currently in the FLEGT negotiation process, which uses a licensing system to ensure timber going to the EU has been harvested and exported in accordance with local laws. Six countries have signed a VPA and are working on systems to meet the requirements.A jaguar (Panthera onca), one of the many animals found in Guyana’s forests that are protected through sustainable logging. Photo by Pascal Blachier via Wikimedia CommonsAccording to the EU FLEGT website, the EU’s strategy involves entering into a bilateral trade agreement between the EU and a timber-exporting country, through a voluntary process whereby “the timber-producing country develops systems to verify that its timber exports are legal, and the EU agrees to accept only licensed imports from that country.”Guyana is building on existing systems to ensure the VPA is easily implementable and achievable, according to David, but the VPA is helping the country to continually seek to improve its systems of tracking and tracing timber.After the initial agreement is signed, it goes back to the governments of both parties for official ratification. Then the VPA moves on to the implementation stage, with the issuance of FLEGT licenses.Once the VPA is officially rolled out, it becomes legally binding on both sides.According to a GFC report in 2013, entitled “Roadmap for Guyana – EU FLEGT VPA Process,” the World Bank estimates that the net loss to developing countries caused by illegal logging is $15 billion a year.“Thereby denying developing countries revenues that could be used to improve the livelihoods of its people,” the report states.Guyana’s draft VPA requires forest sector operators (producers, processors and traders) to show compliance with a range of laws and regulations, including forest regulations, environmental protection laws, tax and employment laws, and regulations governing the traditional rights of Amerindian peoples, among others.The VPA allows for different requirements to show compliance with the laws depending on the size and type of forest sector operator, such as a large international corporation or a local indigenous community.Delays common in FLEGT negotiationsAccording to FLEGT facilitator Alhassan Attah, every VPA that has been concluded faced similar delays in their negotiation timelines as Guyana.Attah, who is based in Guyana, acts as the neutral broker between the EU and the Government of Guyana in the negotiations. He also helps various stakeholders engage in the VPA process, by overseeing a grant program funded by the UK Department of International Development (DFID) and Government of Norway, and facilitated by the NTWG.Before coming to Guyana, Attah led the FLEGT negotiation process in his native Ghana. He also worked for the United Nations as a Senior Trade Policy Adviser at the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFF).Logging “bulletwood” in the Berbice River, Guyana in 2006. Photo by Jesse Knight via Wikimedia Commons“It has the same challenges,” he said. “Normally the negotiation periods are short, but in reality it takes a much longer period… So for me, it’s not very different from the other countries.”He points to an example in an African country.“If you look at Ghana, initially we thought we could do it in a year, the negotiations, and it took us from 2005 to 2008.” Indonesia also presented challenges: he said the process began in 2005 and was ratified in 2013.In fact, in November 2015, an independent audit by the European Court of Auditors found in general progress on the FLEGT licencing scheme “has been very slow and many countries have struggled to overcome the barriers to good governance.”Of the 15 countries that have entered into discussions since 2005, only Indonesia has officially started to ship wood under the FLEGT legality scheme. They made their first shipment in November 2016.However, some conservation organizations have said that while the processes have been slow globally, they credit the participatory nature of the VPA for providing a roadmap for communities and civil society to be a true partner in managing their forests.Attah said because the process is deliberative and there must be consensus among stakeholders, it can be hard to estimate accurately in the planning the amount of time you will require to address certain social or economic issues. The time between the negotiation, ratification and implementation stages can also take time, he added.“In some countries it’s very short, like six months, three months,” he said. “In other countries, it takes two years; it takes three years. So depends on both the EU and the partner country – their readiness to ratify.”But he added that he thinks Guyana’s process has gone fairly well. “There have been some challenges, but I think the NTWG is working towards addressing those challenges.”Attah said he is hopeful that the initial agreement will be signed this year.Addressing all stakeholder concernsMichael Mc Garrell, GIS Specialist and forest policy officer with the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), says that he thinks overall the VPA process has been beneficial.“What the process has done is that it has opened up a space where stakeholders can talk with each other,” he said, adding that this hadn’t existed prior to the VPA process. “The FLEGT VPA process, we feel actually is a very good thing. We feel that what it has done in Guyana is that it has started to improve forest governance in that sense.”He added that it has brought some key issues to light for more open discussion, but the Amerindian communities still have concerns about their land that they want addressed before the country formally signs on to the agreement.“We want to see something concretely said that, ‘This is how we’re going to approach the land issues,’” he said, suggesting a protocol involving free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), as an example.Mc Garrell explained that one of the main concerns is that many communities do not hold documentation giving them legal title to their lands, giving an example of two Amerindian communities along the Mazaruni River that fall within a number of forestry concessions: Tasarine and Kangaruma.“They do not have legal title to their land, meaning that they don’t have documentation, which shows or says this legally belongs to them, but they have been living there for generations.”He added that the process for Amerindian communities to legally get land in Guyana can take years, but getting forestry or mining concessions only takes a few weeks.“Because of the laws of Guyana, whoever gets the paper first, basically owns the land,” Mc Garrell said. “That is where we have a lot of problems.”Mc Garrell added that while Amerindian communities recognize that the FLEGT VPA process cannot resolve the land issues, they want to see a mechanism written into the document that agrees to address the issues within a certain time period.In the most recent update released in January, the VPA recognizes that it is necessary to respect land rights in order to comply with legal origin of produce. It states, “FLEGT can be used as a platform for the discussion of land ownership issues related to indigenous communities.”While the document does not include a specific timeline, it does recommend establishing a Multi-Stakeholder FLEGT Coordination Committee to facilitate the discussions. It also states the committee will partner with the Land Titling Project, in collaboration with the UNDP.The NTWG does not expect there to be any major changes to the most recent version of Annexes, according to David, though there may still be slight adjustments to the text before it is finalized. Once it is finalized, field-testing will begin. After field-testing is complete, the fifth negotiation session between Guyana and the EU will take place.Alex Abdelwahab is a Canadian freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in Guyana. You can find her on Twitter at @alexabdelwahabBanner image: The rainforests of Guyana. Photo by Loriski via Wikimedia CommonsFEEDBACK: 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. Forestry, Forests, Illegal Logging, Rainforests, Sustainable Forest Management Article published by Genevieve Belmakercenter_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

In defining plantations as forest, FAO attracts criticism

first_imgThe FAO lumps non-oil palm tree plantations into its definition of forest cover when conducting its Global Forest Resource Assessments. The assessments analyze land cover change in countries around the world using largely self-reported data.Nearly 200 organizations have signed an open letter authored by the NGO World Rainforest Movement to change how they define forest.Remote sensing technology currently doesn’t provide the ability to differentiate the canopies of forests and tree plantations. But researchers say that within a decade, technological advances will make this a reality.A representative of FAO said the organization is unlikely to change its definition since it is already well established and accepted by governments and other stakeholders. What’s in a definition? For some, too much.Nearly 200 organizations have signed an open letter to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), calling for the agency to change how they define “forest” – the very landscape honored today on International Day of Forests. FAO’s definition is too inclusive, writes the World Rainforest Movement (WRM), the non-profit that authored the letter.“There is an urgent need for the FAO to stop misrepresenting industrial tree plantations as ‘planted forests’ or ‘forestry’… This deliberate confusion of tree plantations with forests is misleading people, because forests in general are viewed as something positive and beneficial,” WRM writes.Tree plantations do not provide the same benefits as forests, they argue, and should be removed from the agency’s definition – the “the most widely used forest definition today,” according to a study.The letter adds fuel to an ongoing debate about how the basic term, “forest,” is defined.Under FAO’s definition, natural forest and tree cover are represented equally. As a result, a Christmas tree farm in Iowa is as much of a forest as a jungle in Ecuador, assuming it meets some basic area requirements. Plantations of other timber, such as rubber and eucalyptus (but not oil palm), are also considered forest by the FAO – even when the plantation is “temporarily unstocked due to clear-cutting.”An acacia plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerWorld Rainforest Movement claims that defining forest inclusive of tree plantations is problematic – as do scientists.“You certainly should not be including plantations in a definition of forest cover,” William Laurance, a Distinguished Research Professor at James Cook University in Australia, told Mongabay. “Overall, plantations are just nothing like natural forests.”Especially when it comes to biodiversity, he adds. Plantations typically comprise even-aged trees of a single species, forming a wood monoculture – they’re optimized for wood production, after all. Once you add in an intensive harvest cycle, there’s really not much value for wildlife compared to the native vegetation in which they evolved.“For biodiversity and anything related to biodiversity, like pollination, plantations don’t compare to natural forests,” Laurance said. “In general, plantations would be more similar to your front lawn then they would be to a forest, in terms of their biological composition.”Assuming your front lawn isn’t on the steps of the Amazon, that is.Other researchers echo Laurance’s sentiment, suggesting that plantations do indeed provide value for timber production and some other services, but they should be considered separately from natural forests.“Combining both natural forests and plantations can provide very misleading information because they offer very different things to people,” Robin Chazdon, professor emerita at the University of Connecticut and Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute (WRI), told Mongabay. “This is not to say that plantations shouldn’t be counted – they’re important for timber production – but they should be classified as plantations.”So why are the two unified under FAO’s definition?The definition was developed in the late 20th century for FAO’s “Global Forest Resource Assessment” (FRA), one of the agency’s flagship projects that produces global forest cover statistics every five years. FRA relies on country-reported data to compile the assessment – a self-reporting of sorts – and the consistency and quality of those data depends on a broad, universally-accepted definition of forest.“The aim of the definition is to enable consistent reporting and gather reliable data…,” Anssi Pekkarinen, an FAO official, said in an email to Mongabay. “Maintaining a broad definition of ‘Forest’ allows many different ‘forest types’ to be included which satisfies the needs of most countries.”In other words, the FRA has to collate data from hundreds of countries, so simplicity is paramount.The definition also reflects the FAO’s legacy, researchers say. Just look at the name, “Forest Resources Assessment,” said Rachael Petersen, Impacts Manager at WRI’s forest-monitoring platform Global Forest Watch.“It’s about using forests as a resource; it’s not necessarily a conservation focused assessment,” Petersen told Mongabay. “It’s really about looking at forests as resources and, with that lens, you want to look at production forests because they’re actually providing products.”Managed tree plantations have their place, many researchers agree. Indeed, they provide valuable economic resources and, in some cases, ecological services that are comparable to natural forests. But it shouldn’t be included in the definition of “forest,” say conservation groups like World Rainforest Movement, because this misconception produces consequences beyond confusion.Under FAO’s definition, supplanting native forest with tree plantations does not register as deforestation – it’s reported as net neutral. This allows countries to “mask” loss of native forests when they report forest cover to the FAO, Laurance says. In India and China – this is already happening, he says. And in Chile, it’s the same story.“If you think about that definition, a rainforest is a forest, but if it’s turned into a plantation, it’s still a forest,” Matt Hansen, a leading expert on remote sensing and professor at the University of Maryland told Mongabay.But deforestation in the wake of plantation expansion is far from the FAO’s intent – it “must be avoided for a range of reasons,” FAO’s Pekkarinen said.And the FAO isn’t completely to blame, according to Chazdon.“Countries are taking advantage of the vagueness of the definition to support whatever they want to show,” she said. “That’s not really FAO’s fault.”According to Laurance, FAO is moving towards a more objective approach to forest assessments that involves remote sensing. Just as police use security footage to verify crime reports, researchers can use high-resolution satellite imagery to verify reports of forest cover change.But a big problem lies in their way. Although tree plantations are biologically distinct from natural forests, the two land types don’t look very different. Especially to satellites.An acacia plantation abuts natural rainforest in Malaysia. Can you tell the difference? Photo by Rhett A. Butler“With the freely available satellite imagery, often times the canopy of mature plantation forests looks very similar to natural forests,” Petersen told Mongabay. “A lot of algorithms [for analyzing satellite imagery] look at the presence or absence of tree cover, but aren’t sophisticated enough to differentiate different types of tree cover.”As a result, harvesting trees from a plantation will register the same as deforestation, she says.For example, take the University of Maryland’s Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) dataset, used frequently in reporting at Mongabay. The alerts point to areas where tree cover loss has likely occurred. Global Forest Watch, which visualizes the dataset, decisively calls these “tree cover loss alerts” instead of “deforestation alerts” because, in some cases, they may signal a plantation harvest.Tree cover loss alerts from the University of Maryland’s Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) lab currently register in both plantation concessions and primary forest (shown here in East Kalimantan, Indonesia). While the latter is likely deforestation, the former may include both the harvesting of plantation stock and the clearing of natural forest.So we’re back to the same problem – whether they’re pixels on a computer or numbers in the latest FAO Forest Resources Assessment, tree plantations and natural forests still have equal representation.But not for long, researchers say.According to Petersen, Global Forest Watch is experimenting with what she calls “deep learning techniques” – a phrase you may only hear on the streets of Silicon Valley – to differentiate natural forest from tree plantations using artificial intelligence. The technology is not unlike what Facebook uses to automatically detect friends in your photos.“We’re working with a Silicon Valley artificial intelligence company to try and differentiate plantation forests based on their shape,” she said. “The technology learns the pattern, shape, and texture of a plantation so that it can identify them.”Matt Hansen, who created the GLAD dataset used on Global Forest Watch, is equally optimistic that remote sensing technology – which is much of what his lab is studying – will soon be able to distinguish between natural forests and plantations.“There’s no question that this will be automated at a global scale in ten years,” he told Mongabay. “I think it’s a cool problem, and we can solve it.”But despite advances in remote sensing and petitions from organizations like World Rainforest Movement, it’s unlikely that FAO’s definition will change, Pekkarinen says.“The current definition is a result of an extensive consultation with the governments and other stakeholders,” he said. “Furthermore, it has been adopted by many countries which are using it when collecting data and reporting on forest resources and their changes. Considering this, and the fact that this well-established definition has been used since FRA 2000, FAO has no plan to change the forest definition.”Disclaimer: Mongabay and the World Resources Institute (WRI) have a funding partnership, and the author worked for WRI between 2013 and 2015. However, Mongabay retains sole editorial control of all stories produced. Artificial Intelligence, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Environment, Forest Loss, Forests, Habitat Loss, Industrial Agriculture, Plantations, Primary Forests, Pulp And Paper, Rainforests, Remote Sensing, Research, Satellite Imagery, Tropical Forests Article published by Morgan Erickson-Daviscenter_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 clown tree frogs discovered in the Amazon

first_imgClown frogs are widespread throughout the Amazon region and get their name from their unique, bright coloration.The two newly discovered clown frogs were previously considered to belong to other species, but researchers were able to show that they are their own distinct species after analyzing their DNA and the calls they make.According to the international team of researchers who made the discovery, the conservation status of both clown frogs has yet to be determined — but it is likely that the species could already be considered threatened, especially given that both are reported to have particularly small distribution areas that are endangered by habitat destruction. Two new species of clown tree frogs have been discovered in the Amazonian rainforests of Bolivia and Peru.Clown frogs are widespread throughout the Amazon region and get their name from their unique, bright coloration.The two newly discovered frogs were previously considered to belong to other species, but researchers were able to show that they are their own distinct species after analyzing their DNA and the calls they make. The new species were described in a paper published in the journal PLoS ONE earlier this month.According to the international team of researchers who made the discovery, the conservation status of both clown frogs has yet to be determined — but it is likely that they could already be considered threatened, given that both are reported to have particularly small distribution areas with a high risk of habitat destruction.“Amazonia is vulnerable to several increasing threats such as deforestation, mining, petroleum extraction and climate change,” Marcel Caminer of the Universidad Católica del Ecuador, the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “Therefore, it is necessary to have a complete inventory of the Amazonian species to take the appropriate measures to protect this biodiversity.”Reticulate treefrog (Dendropsophus reticulatus). Photo by Santiago R. Ron.During expeditions to six Amazonian countries, Caminer and team examined two “universal” clown tree frog species, Dendropsophus leucophyllatus and Dendropsophus triangulum. They found that D. leucophyllatus and D. triangulum do not constitute just two different species, but what’s known as a “species complex” — at least five species and possibly even as many as seven (including the two described in the PLoS ONE paper).“Our new study shows once again that we are not even close to knowing the actual species diversity of South American frogs and that even supposedly widespread species may be endangered,” Caminer said.Martin Jansen of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, one of Caminer’s co-authors on the paper, said in a statement that the team employed “integrative taxonomy” in order to establish the new species as distinct from D. leucophyllatus and D. triangulum.“We compared morphological and genetic information as well as the frogs’ calls with each other — and through a combination of the different methods we were then able to delimit the new species and show that the two previous species actually comprise an entire species complex,” Jansen said.One of the new species was discovered on the grounds of Ecological Research Station Chiquitos in Bolivia, which is co-run by the Senckenberg Research Institute. “This beautiful frog serves as a ‘flag ship’ that underlines the importance of biological field stations and the benefits of observing a region’s nature over a period of many years, especially in the unexplored areas of mega-diversity countries,” Jansen added.The researchers argue that the results of their study suggest that the number of Neotropical frog species is still greatly underestimated, especially in the vast Amazon Basin, which has not been subjected to a comprehensive, region-wide scientific survey.“The discovery of additional new species in the D. leucophyllatus–triangulum complex is to be expected, especially in Colombia and Brazil, where further taxonomic work and molecular analysis are needed,” the researchers write in the paper. “This study, like similar others, highlights the importance of integrative approaches and international collaborations to clarify the status of taxonomically difficult species groups of the Neotropical frogs.”“Only once we truly know all species and their distribution areas, will we be able to make well-founded statements regarding the effects of such factors as climate change, for example,” Jansen said.“However, the largest threat to amphibians worldwide continues to be the destruction of their habitats. Our study shows that effective protection measures require prior knowledge of the actual diversity of species and the study of their actual spatial distribution. To achieve this, we need a larger number of experts — taxonomic research is in higher demand today than ever before.”Arndts’ treefrog (Dendropsophus arndti). Photo by Martin Jansen.Reticulate treefrog (Dendropsophus reticulatus). Photo by Gustavo Pazmiño.Triangle treefrog (Dendropsophus triangulum). Photo by Santiago R. Ron.Triangle treefrog (Dendropsophus triangulum). Photo by Diego Quirola.Triangle treefrog (Dendropsophus triangulum). Photo by Santiago R. Ron.CITATIONCaminer, M. A., Milá, B., Jansen, M., Fouquet, A., Venegas, P. J., Chávez, G., … & Ron, S. R. (2017). Systematics of the Dendropsophus leucophyllatus species complex (Anura: Hylidae): Cryptic diversity and the description of two new species. PloS one, 12(3), e0171785. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171785Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001.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 Amazon Biodiversity, Amphibian Crisis, Amphibians, Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Climate Change, Deforestation, Environment, Frogs, Herps, Mining, New Species, Oil, Rainforests, Species Discovery, Tropical Forests, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img Article published by Mike Gaworeckilast_img read more

Cattle ranching threatens core of Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua

first_imgIn the last five years (2011-2016) more than 54,000 hectares of forests were converted to grasslands in the core area of ​​the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua, which represents 19.4 percent of its size.According to data published by the Nicaraguan Export Processing Centre, last January, beef was Nicaragua’s main export product with more than $43.9 million in sales.Livestock production in Nicaragua typically consists of allocating one block (0.7 hectares) for each head of cattle, which explains, in part, why the development of this industry threatens sites such as the reserve.The sale of land for agricultural production in southeastern Nicaragua has not only displaced human populations into the depths of the forest, it also makes them migrate to the cities of Nueva Guinea and Bluefields, or Costa Rica, in search of better incomes. SOUTHEAST BIOSPHERE RESERVE, Nicaragua – The Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua is bigger than countries like Qatar or Jamaica and shelters 526 species of birds—more species than can be found in Europe. Although it is said to be the kingdom of the jaguar (Panthera onca), cows appear to be more common nowadays.This contradiction is the result of almost 50 years of human depredation in the lush forest, which despite the agricultural pressure to which it is subjected, has the equivalent of 10 percent of the planet’s species, according to data from the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA).Mongabay-Latam visited the area and it was possible to observe the human-forest conflict: the forest that used to reach the edge of the road that links Southeastern Nicaragua to the Pacific is nowhere to be seen. In the less populated areas only cattle farms exist.In Nicaragua, cattle producers allocate one block of land for each cow, which translates into the disappearance of thousands of forests within the natural reserves. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayAlthough the area now has better infrastructure, traveling by bus is still a challenge. To get to Nueva Guinea, a municipality located inside the reserve, you have to leave at midnight. Despite the excellent condition of the road, the trip can take between six to eight hours. The bus will drop you off 200 kilometers from Managua, and from there, you have to take another bus that will get you to your destination.The reserve extends over 13,923 square kilometers, of which half, 52 percent, is considered a buffer zone—controlled human activities with low impact development are allowed—the next 28 percent is the so-called transition zone, with more stringent regulations; and the remaining 20 percent is the core zone, where land use change is not allowed and is the least affected by the local livestock development.Although livestock is one of the main sectors of Nicaragua’s economy, its level of production is not optimal. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabaySeven protected areas make up the reserveThe seven protected areas that make up the reserve are the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception Historical Monument, the Solentiname Islands National Monument, Río San Juan of Nicaragua and Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuges, Indio Maíz Biological Reserve and the Cerro Silva and Punta Gorda Natural Reserve.Inside these protected areas one can find impenetrable rainforests, coastal areas of the Caribbean Sea, the country’s most voluminous river (San Juan of Nicaragua), and islands south of Nicaragua’s Great Lake, or Cocibolca.Today, high biodiversity is mainly seen in the core zones of each protected area that make up the great reserve, not because they are protected, but because they are difficult to access. The easier way to access most of them is by taking a small plane and then paying for a private boat. The areas of easier access require your own transportation; a motorcycle is ideal because crossing the rivers and rocky roads is more complicated.The Solentiname Islands National Monument, part of the Southeast Biosphere Reserve. Photo via Wikimedia commonsLife is different within the core areas of the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua; plants are scattered and human presence is scarce. Time seems to freeze between the stillness of the leaves and the infinite chirping of cicadas, there are more orchids in the trees that one can count, and less visible fauna than one expects.In the reserve, in addition to the jaguar, you can also find species such as the wild boar (Tayassu pecari), the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), the crocodile (Crocodylus Acutus), the three-toed sloth (Barypus variegatus), the anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), the green macaw (Ara ambiguus), the red macaw (Ara macao), and the manatee (Trichechus manatus), among others.In the last two decades, some populations of threatened species have been further reduced. There are large mammals that today can only be observed with trap cameras, a mechanism that was used by biologist Sandra H. Potosme between 2010 and 2014 when she investigated the presence of jaguars in the Caribbean Biological Corridor. On the contrary, the number of cattle exceeds 1.1 million in the municipality of Nueva Guinea, according to data of the most recent National Agricultural Census (2011).Nueva Guinea, located in the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACS), 282 kilometers from Managua, is located in the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast of Nicaragua; due to its location, the municipality is used by livestock producers to get to the core zone.In 1992, Nicaragua’s former president, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, declared southeastern Nicaragua “a territory of sustainable development” in an attempt to curb the expansion of extensive cattle ranching and promote forest management; however, it did not work. In 2003, the government of Enrique Bolaños managed to declare the zone a Biosphere Reserve, after MARENA designed a strategy of sustainable management.The economic weight of livestockStatistics from the Export Processing Centre (Cetrex) confirm that livestock production in the country, far from being controlled, enjoys great dynamism: last January, beef was Nicaragua’s main export product with more than $43.9 million in sales.In fact, five of the top 15 products exported by Nicaragua in January 2017 fell inside the livestock category, while none of the forest production category appears in the top 30.The remaining four livestock products are cheese ($10.2 million), milk ($4.6 million), edible offal and viscera of cattle ($2.3 million), and live cattle ($2.1 million).Adding up all the timber products sold last January, from lumber to furniture, the industry sold $1.4 million, demonstrating how livestock production has developed more than the forestry industry in Nicaragua, despite legal attempts to preserve the country’s forestry vocation, including that of the Southeast.Cattle production is a stable business in Nicaragua, which puts pressure on the forested areas of the southeast of the country. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayOfficial statistics are not a coincidence. In the ranking of the 20 Nicaraguan products with the largest sales abroad throughout 2016, beef displaced raw gold in the first position, with sales of $430 million; cheese came fourth with $116 million in exports; milk in position 11 with $51 million; live cattle in 13 with $28 million; and edible offal and viscera of cattle in the 16th place with $24 million.Although these data belonged to all the Nicaraguan livestock production, Jurgen Guevara Alonso, the head of Extractive Industries for the environmental NGO Humboldt Center, recalled that three-quarters of the Nicaraguan territory is forested, although the soil is used for other activities, such as agriculture, or livestock in the case of Nueva Guinea.Nueva Guinea is not a conventional cattle ranch municipality. According to the latest National Agricultural Census (IV Cenagro 2011), this is the jurisdiction with the most cattle farms in Nicaragua, all developed in the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua.Despite the strong impact of livestock farming on forests, the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua is the area with the most cattle activity in the country. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayAccording to the census, of a total of 136,687 records of livestock activity in Nicaragua, 19,193 are established in Nueva Guinea, which represents 14 percent.This positions Nueva Guinea as the Nicaraguan municipality with the greatest livestock activity—despite being inside the reserve—surpassing even jurisdictions that are known historically for cattle ranching activities, such as Boaco and Chontales, in the central part of the country.Distinguishing areas of cattle ranching on a satellite map is challenging because they are combined with forested areas in a sort of mosaic around the core areas.The threat of ‘chontalinization’What happened in Nueva Guinea and is now affecting the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua is locally known as ‘chontalinization:’ the transformation of forests into land for extensive cattle ranching. This happened at the end of the last century in the province of Chontales, in the center of the country, where pastures replaced forests.Extensive livestock farming is the most widely used production technique in Nicaragua, and consists of allocating one block (0.7 hectares) for each head of cattle, which explains, in part, why the development of this industry threatens sites such as the southeast reserve, where there is constant rain and the terrain is flat and suitable for the fast growth of pasture.Attracted by these advantages, farmer José Santos Casco arrived in Nueva Guinea more than three decades ago. With around 1,200 head of cattle on his farms, today he is one of the biggest cattle producers in the southeast.In southeastern Nicaragua, forests can still be seen near pastures; deforestation gradually gains ground towards the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for Mongabay“I was Chinandegano (from the northwest), now I am from Nueva Guinea, we came here because of the same problem: in the northern area we have little rain, and since we like cattle ranching, we came here because it rains all year round,” said Casco.Like most of the wealthiest ranchers in the area, Casco wears a plaid shirt, jeans, boots, and a hat. His simplicity contrasts with the SUV parked near his spacious house. He has no problem taking responsibility for forest degradation, but also insists that he is now aware of forest conservation, something he did not know when he first arrived in Nueva Guinea.Not all ranchers are like Casco. Most people avoid talking to strangers, even if they were sent by somebody the rancher knew. After apologizing, they continue working on their farms, side by side with their employees, sinking their rubber boots into the mud while they inspect the cattle, give orders to take the cows that have already been milked to the paddocks, remind the landlord that fences need repair, and ask for a horse so that they can supervise the lands that are destined for cattle ranching.‘Chontalinization’ began in southeastern Nicaragua in the late 1960s as a result of a volcanic eruption in the northwest, across the country.“With the eruption of Cerro Negro in 1968, the government decided to transport some of the victims to those remote places (southeastern Nicaragua) as a solution to the destruction of their crops. But these people knew nothing of forest management so they began cutting down forests,” Jaime Incer Barquero, scientist and the presidential advisor for environmental issues, told Mongabay-Latam.Deforestation and desertification in southeastern Nicaragua has not stopped since then, not with the establishment of the seven protected areas that make up the Biosphere Reserve nor with the investment of more than $80,000 in park ranger monitoring posts between 1999 and 2003, as part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB).Landscapes such as these are common in the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua, where forests formerly dominated. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayThis is confirmed by the latest report issued by the Humboldt Center (2016), specifying that in the last five years (2011-2016) more than 54,000 hectares of forests were converted into grasslands in the core area of the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua: 19.4 percent of its size.However, verifying the transformation of forests into grasslands within the core zone is complicated, as these patches are dispersed and often one can find peasants with a maximum of five livestock.Getting to the core area of the reserve through Nueva Guinea is not easy, the poor state of the roads or lack thereof, as well as the lack of transportation, makes it difficult to enter the area. Also, some farmers present a hostile attitude because they see the presence of people from outside the area as a threat.That is why an evangelical pastor of Punta Gorda, in the northern part of the biosphere reserve, refuses to give his name but confirms that “there is cattle (in the core area), not much, but there is. It’s hard to find the owners, and if you see them they just do not want to talk to you. They do not say anything because they know they have their business inside the core area.”Researcher Amaru Ruiz, who studies the dynamics of land concentration for the environmental NGO Fundación del Río and the agency for inclusive development Nitlapan, confirmed that in the core area there are families who own two to five head of cattle, although their activity is mainly agricultural.It is possible that the authorities have the exact data, but officials give different excuses for not revealing them. In Nueva Guinea, the local government also opted to close the Office of Public Information and send the press chief to attend the Municipal Library, where it has discretionary hours.But this is not an isolated case, the government of Daniel Ortega is characterized by providing public information only through official media, or by the daily speeches of the vice president Rosario Murillo, with all the limitations that this entails.The advance of cattle ranching into the forestAccording to Ruiz, ‘chontalinization’ advances due to “a land purchase issue that has generated population displacement, which in turn increases the invasion-deforestation processes inside the reserve.”According to cattle producer Alfredo Hidalgo, the acquisition and sale of land happens in different ways inside the reserve. The most common one is when large cattle farmers deliver some of their cattle to small producers established in plots deeper inside the reserve—they sometimes also force animals inside their plots—and force them to sell their land.The purchase and sale of land for livestock production is a common practice inside the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayThe farmer states that there are people who steal livestock and then register them under their name, which means they need more land for their stolen cows.There are also properties that lose value for agricultural companies and are taken advantage of by farmers. Also there are ones offered by the ‘tomatierras’ who take the government’s word, which in different ways promote cattle raising and farm titling in the area, as happened in the municipality of El Almendro in the last decade, which gave rise to villages such as La Filadelfia in 2006, in the buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua.“The government continues to encourage and resolve social problems by expelling peasants and forcing them to move inside forest reserves, even at the expense of affecting indigenous communities,” added Incer Barquero, who said that he does not worry about a possible dismissal as a presidential adviser for criticizing the Executive.Likewise, Ruiz believes that the government has direct responsibility for what is happening.“The public policies favoring the raising, fattening and selling of livestock promoted by the government, coupled with the extensive way in which livestock is traditionally established, have created the necessary conditions for the increase of new areas dedicated to livestock inside the buffer zones,” said Ruiz.For Hidalgo, owner of about 30 head of cattle, the purchase and sale of plots in the southeast reserve “is widespread and because of that the agricultural frontier is advancing.”This old farmer, with a thick mustache, string bracelets, a white shirt with long sleeves and bare chest, assured that the main reason for the trade of land in the reserve is the economic crisis that the population faces, but is not reflected in a macroeconomic point of view, which places Nicaragua as the country with the highest economic growth in Central America in recent years, averaging 4.7 percent, compared to 3.7 percent in the rest of the region, according to the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN).The impact of livestock productionHidalgo confirms that there are thousands of livestock farmers who have a maximum of five head of cattle, some of which buy land within the southeast reserve because it is cheaper, about $2,000 per block, compared to $4,000 near the roads. Production costs have tripled because of inflation —at least 3 percent annually— while meat, milk or live cattle prices have declined by about 15 percent.Forested areas of southeastern Nicaragua are gradually becoming infertile because of the permanent presence of ruminants. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayThe sale of land for agricultural production in southeastern Nicaragua has not only displaced the populations of the reserve into the depths of the forest, it also makes them migrate to the cities of Nueva Guinea and Bluefields, or Costa Rica, in search of better incomes, according to the statements of Hidalgo and the pastor of Punta Gorda.Incer Barquero identified other impacts as striking as the displacement of indigenous populations, such as the change of forest composition, loss of biodiversity, the change from a tropical humid climate to a dry one, increased vulnerability to disasters and the effects of climate change, reduced rainfall, more frequent flooding, sedimentation of rivers, destruction of aquatic fauna, and disruption of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, stretching from Mexico to Costa Rica.Experts agree that livestock production has the capacity to completely deforest the biosphere reserve because it requires the minimum presence of trees, which are replaced by grass. Pastures, apart from not giving greater value to biodiversity, grow for a short period because cattle compress the soil —an effect that, combined with the rain and the lack of flora, eliminates the nutrients of the soil.Gerd Schnepel, an adviser of the agro-ecological organization Sano y Salvo, said that although the livestock industry contributes millions of dollars to Nicaragua (10 percent of the gross domestic product, according to official data), its producers do not pay the actual cost of their business.If they “had to pay the expenses of their activity, it would not be sustainable at all, because the society is the one that pays the consequences with scarcity of water, disease, hunger, thirst, dry rivers. Farmers do not pay for the consequences of their activity, they only think about their profit,” explained Schnepel.The necessary changeCasco insists that while most livestock producers ignore the new techniques of livestock activities, there are some who have begun putting them into practice. New techniques include forestry which mixes the cultivation of forests with livestock.“We are learning and we are trying to improve,” he insisted.However, the Humboldt Center considers that the demand should be higher, and advocates for intensive livestock, which consists of raising more cattle in less area, in combination with systems such as forestry, explained Guevara Alonso.Schnepel proposes a technique of organic agriculture that consists of “imitating nature,” so that, instead of cutting trees, the owners of farms plant species such as cacao, vanilla or vines, as well as tubers or musaceae. As for livestock, he recommends that it should be limited to guaranteeing family consumption.“No one is convinced here because the cattle are not used to it, they are not fattened and they are stressed,” said Hidalgo referring to the fact that cattle are not adapted to graze in confined spaces.Schnepel stated that more than cattle itself, the owners are the ones who do not get used to practicing different ways of cattle ranching; this is the case of Sano and Salvo, that started the project in Nueva Guinea five years ago with about 300 producers, and now there are only 100. The majority were not willing to wait between eight and 20 years to see gains.“First we have to develop a new attitude, organic farming is not a technical method, but a way of life,” explained Schnepel.But the way of life will not change if the government continues stimulating livestock activity and showing an inability to control the loss of forests, insisted Incer Barquero.Nicaragua is the largest exporter of milk in Central America and the fourth in Latin America, according to the Pan-American Dairy Federation (Fepale), all based on extensive cattle ranching. Photo by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayLast January the government of Nicaragua and the European Union announced an agricultural development project that aims to provide technology and training to 9,000 families in the southeast to develop sustainable livestock production over the next four years at a cost of $21.7 million.The experts cross their fingers for the project to deliver the expected results, as they remember that it is not the first of its kind announced in Nicaragua.Incer Barquero, who for two decades predicted ‘chontalinization’ and accelerated degradation of forest cover in his country, insisted that, as the forest decreases in the Biosphere Reserve of Southeast Nicaragua, all the wealth will be lost in about 20 years, “being very optimistic.”Getting out of a biosphere reserve always produces restlessness, not so much because you leave nature, but because, as you stop seeing the enormous laurels, palm trees and almond trees rising above humus, you begin to notice the pastures and monocultures of the east of Nicaragua as an omen of what could happen.Banner image by Wilder Pérez R. for MongabayThis story was reported by Mongabay’s Latin America (Latam) team and was first published in Spanish on our Latam site on March 8, 2017. 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 Agriculture, Biodiversity, Cattle, Cattle Ranching, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Protected Areas center_img Article published by Romina Castagninolast_img read more

In remote Indonesian villages, indigenous communities fight a hydropower dam

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Activism, Dams, Endangered Environmentalists, Energy, Environment, Human Rights, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy, Social Conflict This story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team. A version of this article was first published on our Indonesian site on Sept. 8, 2017, with updates throughout January, February and March.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. Seko, in the North Luwu subdistrict of South Sulawesi, is home to Pohoneang, Hoyyane and Amballong indegenous communities.Surveys have begun for a planned 480-megawatt hydroelectric dam, part of a broader plan to build 1,154-megawatts of hydropower in the region.The dam has become the center of a bitter fight that has divided families and communities.On March 27, a district court sentenced 13 Seko residents to seven months in prison in connection with an August 2016 action against the dam.This is the first in a series of two articles on the situation in Seko. NORTH LUWU, Indonesia — Benyamin Langga invited me to walk with him along the rice field embankment, climbing up a hill and then down a steep slope. At 60 years old, he could still maintain a steady balance while walking in all kinds of terrain.When we arrived at a slope overlooking the Betue River, we could see the water flowing below like strokes of white paint. A black eagle soared over us with its wings spread wide. Further down the slope, three sparrow hawks chased each other.We were walking to the site where developers of a hydroelectric dam have begun drilling and testing samples. Our destination was a thirty-minute walk away, according to the residents of Tana Makaleang Village in the Seko Subdistrict of North Luwu, in the southern part of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. Alas, I was not as nimble as the locals – it took us about an hour and a half.center_img Tana Makaleang village has a temperate climate. Its people belong to an indigenous group called the Pohoneang. Houses on stilts are huddled together on narrow streets — some paved, most just muddy.The is no cellphone service in the area, and the national electric company seems to be reluctant to build an electric network to reach this remote area. Those who can afford it buy generators, with several houses often sharing the cost of the machinery and fuel oil in order to enjoy a few hours of power in the evenings.I visited the village in June 2016 and spent a week enjoying the hospitality of the local people. They smiled freely, offering snacks and coffee when I passed their houses. But inside, the people were gripped by an unsettling feeling.Since 2014, the Seko Power Prima Company has planned to build a 480-megawatt hydroelectric dam in the area. The company and the local government have told residents that once the dam is built, the village will be electrified.Despite these promises, many villagers are wary of the development. According to the project’s environmental impact documentation, the company plans to dam the mainstream of the Betue River at the village of Sae, rerouting it towards Ratte village, roughly 18 kilometers away (11 miles), via three eight-meter-wide (26 feet) channels.These channels would stretch through trees, cliffs, and even run underground. They would also divide villages, the primary source of concern for communities.The planned height of the dam is 30 meters (about 98.4 feet). When the dam finally operates, the water will rise for about 15 meters (almost 50 feet).  I made repeated attempts to contact Ginandjar Kurli, the project’s operations manager, but so far, he has not responded.A view of the Betue River Valley in the Sae area. Plans are underway to dam the valley for hyrdoelectric power. Photo by Eko Rusdianto for Mongabay.An encounter with the headmanOn our way back from the drilling site, my throat was parched. Langga took off over a hill, reappearing with a basket of cucumbers on his back. “From my own garden,” he said. “Eat these so you won’t be thirsty.” The cucumbers were delicious.As we enjoyed our snack, we heard a motorbike coming toward us from the direction of the drilling tents. Two men arrived, wearing what looked like military-issued boots. One of them was Topel, village head Tana Makaleang.  So angry his lips were quivering, he demanded to know where I was from. “Why do you come here? You should have reported yourself first,” he said.“I am with the local people here, we wanted to see their garden,” I said.“Oh, it doesn’t work that way. I am the head of this village. I am the government here. All activities and everything going on in this area has to be to my knowledge,” said Topel.He continued talking without pause.“You should report yourself first. I don’t know who you are. Who knows if you’re a provocateur? I could have easily accused you of being provocateur. Young man, you have to know, it’s currently unstable around here. Things are volatile because there are some people who are trying to prevent the company’s activities here. What if I chase you away from here? That could have happened.”Topel sat in front of me, in the tent used by the workers to rest. A few sample rocks from the drilling were stacked nearby. While speaking, he stamped the ground with a machete sheathed in a round metal pipe.This encounter with the village headman was just a taste of the trouble brewing below Seko’s peaceful surface. From October 2015 to May 2016, a month before my visit, residents successfully blockaded the road to Central Seko, keeping heavy machinery out — an effort that succeeded until police until police detained two of the protestors for questioning, creating a distraction that allowed equipment to be slipped in.In the months that followed my visit, some of the residents would escalate their resistance to the mine, dismantling the drilling-site tent and removing soil samples collected by company engineers. Eventually, 13 Seko residents would be arrested for vandalism and, on March 27, sentenced to seven months in prison. In the meantime, I have regularly received disturbing updates from my contacts in the area: reports of children beaten at school, a police raid that sent most of the village scrambling to the forest to hide, detainees being brutally beaten by police, women’s demonstrations being violently dispersed, and a general climate of fear.Poor roads make the journey to the village long, grueling and expensive. Motorcycle taxi drivers, who spend much of the trip pushing their bikes, charge passengers as much as 1.2 million rupiah ($90, a large sum in rural Indonesia) for the journey. Photo by Eko Rusdianto for Mongabay.Debate within the communityIn June 2016, in the company of two members of the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (abbreviated in Indonesian as AMAN), I rode motorcycle taxis for two days from Sabbang to Central Seko to Tana Makaleang village. When we finally arrived, filthy and exhausted, at the house of local resident Andri Karyo, we saw around a hundred pairs of sandals lined up outside. A meeting of residents opposed to the dam was in session.The living room was bursting at the seams. Young and old, men and women were there. As they sat on the floor discussing the plans, I observed from the kitchen door. A woman held her sleeping grandchild on her lap, while intently listening to the discussions.“Why are you against the hydroelectric dam?” I asked.“If they build it, it will be in Ratte. I have my plot of land there. If they take it over, where will I plant my vegetables and rice?” she replied. “Even if they compensated me with money and asked me to move, I wouldn’t accept that. I inherited that land from my parents. We have owned it for a very long time.”Karyo said that the people in Seko were divided when they learned about the plan to build a hydropower dam there.“Some supported the plan, some don’t,” he said. “Since I’m against the dam, my house has been used for meetings, then they’ve accused me of being the mastermind.”Nine months later, Karyo would be one of the 13 people sentenced to prison.“We are Pohoneang and Hoyane indegenous people against the construction of the Seko Power Prima hydroelectric plant,” reads a banner during a 2016 demonstration. Photo courtesy of AMAN Tana Luwu.Searching for the factsIn 2016, the North Luwu government arranged for a few community representatives to visit a hydroelectric dam project on the Musi River in South Sumatra.“We were shown how the hydropower plant operates. But there was no explanation whatsoever about how it was in the beginning and how the local people responded,” said Bata Manurun, the head of AMAN in Tana Luwu, who was part of the visit. “Well, since that trip, we at AMAN still reject the project and we’re standing with the people,” he said.Topel, the machete-wielding village head, also went with the group to Musi. “Everything was fine there. In 2014 and 2015, I was one of the strongest opponents of the project here. But after coming home from Musi, I realized that I had misunderstood the project all this time. It turned out that it was all for the good of the people,” he said.The residents assumed, Topel continued, that the tunnels would go through the village and displace houses. This isn’t true, he said.From his spacious terrace, he pointed toward the nearby mountain range. “The information I got is that the tunnels will be placed there. So, the village is safe. If they were asking the villagers to move, I would have also rejected it.”Topel’s statement contradicts what I was told by Ahmad Yani, the head of Mining and Energy Authority in North Luwu, when we met in August 2016.“The Seko Power Prima Company only has the principle permit and also the location permit,” he said. “We don’t know yet how the hydropower plant would turn out. Whether they would build fully-covered tunnels all the way, or open canals. Or maybe they’ll combine both. Let’s wait the for assessments’ results.”Adding to villagers’ concerns, the dam on the Betue River is just one of a group of planned hydroelectric projects in the area.According to to Yani, 11 preliminary permits for hydropower plants have been granted there. These plants are to be built in several areas where rivers have sufficient water flow.“When all the plants are operational, the total power produced will reach 1,154 megawatts. But the thing is, we don’t know when all these facilities will be up and running,” Yani said.Machinery owned by PT Seko Power Prima at work building a road, and dumping soil into the river, in the Palandoang area. Photo by Eko Rusdianto for Mongabay.Unmet promisesOn our way to Sae from Sabbang, our motor taxi had to stop in Palandoang for a while. It is here that the tributaries flow into the Betue River. Heavy equipment was gutting a cliff and flattening the road. In front of this machine – locally known as a beko – two workers were taking a break while staring at the flowing river below.The road’s construction is carried out by the Seko Power Prima Company, the same company building the dam. I could see the soil removed during construction had been dumped into the river, almost blocking the water’s flow.“Why don’t you dump the soil elsewhere?” I asked.“We can’t do that,” replied a worker. “Around here are people’s properties, they’d get angry and wouldn’t let us. If we dump it in the river, no one will complain.”According to preliminary documents for Seko Power Prima’s Environmental Impact Assessment, all soil removed during the construction phase is to be placed in a safe area and used in ways with the least negative impact on the environment.So, it appears that at least one written promise is already not being fulfilled in reality.During a stakeholder meeting in Makassar, Yani said Seko Power Prima had only acquired principle and location permits, and only for activities related to surveying and analysis. At one point, he said, he would have a sit-down meeting with everyone involved and discuss issues using the Environmental Impact Assessment document as reference. “Rest assured that if it turns out that this project has more disadvantages than it does advantages, we’d be the first to reject it. In the meantime, let’s give them a chance,” he said.Since news arrived that a hydropower plant would be built in Seko, a handful of people from three local indigenous communities — Pohoneang, Hoyyane, and Amballong — became anxious. Many rumors floated around, for example, that the surrounding rice fields would be flooded out, and that residents would be evicted.Now the climate of suspicion has been on the increase. The residents are divided between those who welcome the project and those who oppose it.Women in Seko work together to hull rice, using a blend of traditional a modern tools. Photo by Eko Rusdianto for Mongabay.Will the dam power extractive industries?The peaceful Seko land has always been terrorized by actions in the name of development, said Mahir Takaka, a native of Seko Padang who is now a staffer at AMAN, the indigenous peoples’ organization. In the 1990s, a company called Kendari Tunggal Timber had timber concessions covering Baebunta, Sabbang, Rongkong and Seko.At first, the communities were hopeful about the arrival of Kendari Tunggal Timber, which had promised to bring various empowerment programs to the people. “But apparently, it was all empty promises. What that company left behind was only a big mess of forest roads and landslides everywhere because the big upright trees were gone,” Takaka said.I also learned that a plantation company called the Seko Fajar Company held a 35,000-hectare (~86,500 acres) concession in Seko Padang beginning in 1985. In 2011, the property was deemed idle, and the National Land Agency revoked this certificate the following year.“But the Seko Fajar Company appealed at the State Administrative Court and they won it back. So they had control over the area again,” said Takaka.It is not impossible, he continued, that the presence of the hydropower plant could be used as a leverage to bring in bigger industries like mining into the region.According to data released by the North Luwu Mining and Energy Authority, two mining permits have been issued in Seko. The first one was obtained by the Kalla Aribamma Company (owned by the family of Indonesia’s current Vice-President), which has plans to mine iron in Marante, Seko Padang. Their concession area is 6,812 hectares.The second company is the Citra Palu Mineral Company, who will mine gold in its 36,382-hectare concession area in Seko Padang and Rampi.“I was not so good at school, but now we know that there are a few plans for mining in Seko. I assume that all that electricity will be used for these industries,” Karyo said. “Now, I am defending our rights as a community here. Even if I have to die in the process, then that’s the consequence.”So who will be the real beneficiaries of this hydropower plant? Article published by Isabel Estermanlast_img read more

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

first_img(Leia essa matéria em português no The Intercept Brasil. You can also read Mongabay’s series on the Tapajós Basin in Portuguese at The Intercept Brasil)FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Scientists worry that the Amazon is at, or near, a tipping point: too much deforestation and the wet climate of the rainforest could shift to permanent drought, leading to massive tree death and the Amazon’s shift from being a carbon sink to becoming a carbon source, adding dangerously to global warming. The Temer government’s rejection of indigenous land claims, which could result in major gains for agribusiness, could lead to major deforestation and push the Amazon past that tipping point. Photo by Rhett A. Butler Article published by Glenn Scherer “As president of the Kabu Institute, I keep an eye on everyone coming into our forest — gold miners, loggers, farmers (who do most of the deforestation), and so on. We protect our entire area so it will remain as it always was,” indigenous leader Anhë Kayapó told us.We’d just arrived and introduced ourselves at his office in the town of Novo Progresso in Pará state. Without more ado, he spoke briefly to us about the long indigenous occupation of the land and the Indians’ mistrust of “whites.” Then added brusquely: “That’s all I have to tell you,” ending the interview. He shook our hands firmly and left us alone in the room.Anhë Kayapó, president of the Kabu Institute, and leader of the Kayapó Mekrãgnoti, Indians who live in the Indigenous Territory of Baú: “I keep an eye on everyone coming into our forest — gold miners, loggers, farmers (who do most of the deforestation), and so on. We protect our entire area so it will remain as it always was.” Photo by Thais BorgesAnhë Kayapó is the leader of the Kayapó Mekrãgnoti, who live in the Indigenous Territory of Baú, which lies to the east of the BR-163 highway. Unlike the Munduruku Indians we’d visited earlier in our trip — highly democratic and famous for long meetings aimed at reaching consensus — the Kayapó are more hierarchical and dislike drawn-out discussions. They prefer action to debate, so the brevity of our meeting didn’t surprise us.Anhë Kayapó’s distrust of “whites” too is understandable in light of the near perpetual state of conflict that marks the history of indigenous land claims and white settlement in the Amazon — a contentious relationship that seems about to boil over as Brazil’s agribusiness-backed Temer administration pushes ahead with anti-indigenous policies.Guardians of the forestThe Baú territory inhabited and protected by the Kayapó Mekrãgnoti and other indigenous groups covers 1.5 million hectares (5,800 square miles). When combined with surrounding indigenous territories and conservation units, the land conserved here totals a staggering 28 million hectares (108,000 square miles) — one of the largest protected wild corridors in the world, and a vast swathe vital to conserving Amazon tropical rainforest.The Kayapó aren’t the only Indians in Brazil to resolutely defend their forest territory against intruders. In fact, the Amazon’s indigenous people do a better job curbing deforestation than any other group of land managers. According to data for 2014 from the Forest Transparency Bulletin of Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation took place on privately held lands, 27 percent occurred within conservation units, and 13 percent within agrarian reform settlements. But just 1 percent of deforestation occurred on indigenous lands.As a result, Brazil’s nearly 900,000 Indians, belonging to 305 ethnic groups and speaking 274 languages, not only make a major contribution to the country’s social and cultural diversity, but they have proven to be unparalleled stewards of ecological diversity as well. And that has made these forest guardians, along with their indigenous reserves, a primary target of those wanting to unleash unregulated development in the region.According to data for 2014 from the Forest Transparency Bulletin of Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation took place on privately held lands, 27 percent occurred within conservation units, and 13 percent within agrarian reform settlements. But just 1 percent of deforestation occurred on indigenous lands, demonstrating that indigenous groups are among the Amazon’s best land stewards. Photo by Sue BranfordBut the Indians are fighting back — with Brazil’s 1988 Constitution, agreed to after the end of the military dictatorship, giving them a strong legal basis for their struggle. Until then, indigenous land had only been ceded to Indians provisionally, until they were “assimilated” into so-called “national society.” Among other advances, the new Constitution brought Indians the right to be Indians forever. It was a turning point for indigenous people in a century that had been characterised by massacres. During the 25 years of the military dictatorship alone, it is estimated that at least 8,300 Indians were assassinated.One key advance under the new Constitution was its recognition of the Indians’ right to the permanent possession of their land. But working out exactly which land was theirs, and disentangling competing claims, proved to be a complex and slow business, with the official demarcation of indigenous boundaries still progressing almost 30 years after the new Constitution became law.Now that process — far from complete — has been halted by the Temer administration and Brazil’s Congress, which are openly hostile to the idea of recognizing more indigenous land.This of course has major repercussions for Indians whose land claims have yet to be settled. It means, for example, that there is virtually no chance at the moment of ending what a mission of the European Parliament has called “the genocide of the Guarani Kaiowá people.” Every time these Indians try to reoccupy their traditional land — which happens to lie beside federal roads — they face threats from private militias employed by agribusiness. The Guarani Kaiowá have been tortured and assassinated, and suffer from high rates of malnutrition, alcoholism and suicide.Indigenous reserves and conservation units in the Amazon. Map by Mauricio TorresFew advances under LulaLike social movements throughout Brazil, indigenous people placed high hopes in President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who in 2002 became the first person raised in the working class to ever be elected to the country’s highest office.But Lula did not live up to these expectations. His social policies, widely praised for tackling the country’s historic problem of profound social inequality, were directed mainly to the poor living on the outskirts of large cities. The difficulties faced by indigenous and traditional communities were never a priority for Lula.The leader Gersem Baniwa, from the Baniwa ethnic group in the state of Amazonas, summarized well what many Indians felt at the time:After two decades of intense struggle by the Brazilian indigenous movement and a historic political conquest by the Workers’ Party, and Lula… it would be a pleasure to be able to talk about the historical gains… made in the field of indigenous peoples’ rights. But unfortunately, this is not the feeling that prevails among indigenous peoples. Instead, they feel disappointment and doubts. The state of mind is not worse because, thanks to recent advances, indigenous people no longer put their hope in a party or a “savior of the country,” but in their own strength and capacity for resistance, mobilization and struggle.Lula’s two presidential terms saw only 81 new indigenous territories created — a significant drop compared with the 118 designated during the two terms of predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso (FHC), a president whom the Indians had not regarded as an ally. In part, Lula’s poor performance was justifiable, as FHC had dealt with the uncontroversial indigenous territory designations, leaving his successor to handle the more complex and problematic cases, which often involved serious conflicts.Dancing Munduruku warriors. The Munduruku have battled for years with the Brazilian government to get their lands formally demarcated, as have many other indigenous groups. Photo by Mauricio TorresDilma fails to deliverIndigenous relations only worsened under President Dilma Rousseff who took office in 2011. “There was a real rupture in Indian policy from the Lula to the Dilma governments,” said Márcio Santilli, a founding member of the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA) and a former president of the government’s indigenous agency, FUNAI.During Dilma’s time in office, only 26 indigenous territories were created, a poor showing that would have been worse if she hadn’t rapidly signed decrees establishing reserves during the final days of her government, when she knew her impeachment was imminent.Dilma’s indigenous-unfriendly policies were the result of “the radical expression of an almost desperate strategy to promote economic growth at any price,” Santilli explained. “As well as reducing dramatically the rate at which indigenous territories were established, her government largely kept temporary presidents at the head of FUNAI, and cut the agency’s budget. [Dilma] also reduced the rate at which land titles were given to quilombolas [areas occupied by runaway slaves] and at which conservation units and agrarian reform settlements were created.”All this showed, Santilli concluded, that her government was reluctant to conserve land for social and environmental purposes, and instead, supported largely unregulated economic development in Amazonia.Dilma’s main vehicle for unleashing economic progress was her Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), an ambitious government program, first announced by Lula, then expanded greatly during her government. PAC resulted in huge investments in highways, energy and water resource projects — all with a view to increasing exports and promoting unregulated economic growth.Fires lit intentionally to clear land for agriculture follow along the BR-163 highway in 2014, a process that reveals red-brown soils. A long line of newly cleared agricultural patches snakes east from BR-163 toward the remote Rio Crepori Valley. Extensive deforested areas in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state appear in tan at the top of the image. The fires show the advance of deforestation into Pará state, now second after Mato Grosso in terms of deforestation acreage. Photo and analysis courtesy of NASACleber César Buzatto, executive director of the Missionary Indigenous Council (CIMI), an important Catholic institution that has been working with Brazilian Indians since 1972, said that Dilma subordinated the rights of indigenous peoples to the demands of the PAC: “A prime example of this was the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant on the Xingu River in the state of Pará,” he said.The indigenous impacts of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam — one of the biggest in the world — were so severe that in 2015 Thais Santi, the prosecutor for the independent Federal Public Ministry (MPF) in Altamira, told Mongabay: “There is a process of ethnic extermination underway in Belo Monte by which the federal government continues with the old colonial practice of integrating the Indians into the hegemonic society.”The MPF is currently suing the Brazilian federal government and construction company, Norte Energia, for the crime of ethnocide against Xingu River indigenous communities.FUNAI’s failuresThe anthropologist Márcio Meira was president of FUNAI from 2007 to 2012, when the agency adopted a raft of policies that enraged indigenous groups. These included agreeing to the licensing of Belo Monte, as well as other hydroelectric dams, such as the Teles Pires and São Manoel projects in the Tapajós river basin, along with a controversial restructuring of FUNAI itself.Anthropologist Márcio Meira, president of FUNAI from 2007 to 2012: “The Brazilian economy has become increasingly dependent on agribusiness and this has had political repercussions. It is not a question of people being against the Indians because they are Indians or even because they have too much land. The problem is that the Indians have lands these political actors want.” Photo found on TwitterMeira said later that he was aware at the time of the emergence of formidable new anti-indigenous forces: “When I was president of FUNAI, it was clear to me that an anti-indigenous wave was gathering force in Brazilian society, mainly due to the power of the heirs of the old agrarian elites, who were launching an attack on land in the north and northwest of the country.”According to Meira, seismic shifts in the national economy fuelled hostility to indigenous land claims: “There has been a decline in industrial output, while agricultural production and agricultural exports have increased,” he explained. “The Brazilian economy has become increasingly dependent on agribusiness and this has had political repercussions. It is not a question of people being against the Indians because they are Indians or even because they have too much land. The problem is that the Indians have lands these political actors want.”The ascendant bancada ruralista, Brazil’s agribusiness lobby, has long eyed indigenous reserves and other conserved Amazon lands hungrily. Under Dilma, the lobby’s power and influence grew.In a June 2013 press release, National Congress Senator Kátia Abreu claimed that activists had seized control of FUNAI and were causing trouble: “Ideological militants inside FUNAI, linked to CIMI and national and foreign NGOs, are encouraging the Indians to invade productive lands,” she accused.Sen. Abreu, also president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), and later to be Dilma’s Agriculture Minister, went on to say that: “The CNA supports the idea of adopting a new indigenous policy, in which decisions are taken, not only by FUNAI, but with the participation of other ministries and federal government bodies. It is unacceptable that a question as important as [indigenous territory designation] is in the hands of a single body, staffed by ideological militants who are not furthering the national interest.”This strongly worded challenge — only a proposal in 2013 — is becoming reality today.A patchwork of legal forest reserves, pasture and soy farms in the Brazilian Amazon. The bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby, which includes powerful ranchers and soy growers, has long put pressure on government to rollback indigenous land rights. President Michel Temer received crucial support from the bancada ruralista in his controversial 2016 bid for power, and is now taking steps to reduce indigenous rights and end recognition of new indigenous territories. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerAnti-indigenous land offensive intensifiesMichel Temer received crucial support from the bancada ruralista in his controversial bid for power, which succeeded on a temporary basis in April 2016 and became permanent in August. From the beginning, he made it clear that as President he would reverse the indigenous land measures that the Justice Minister and FUNAI president had rushed through during the last months of Dilma’s administration. He also promised the bancada ruralista that he would rollback indigenous rights. But, with indigenous groups and their supporters geared to damage control, Temer hasn’t yet achieved all his goals.At the end of 2016, with the government reeling from corruption accusations, it still found time to issue new draft regulations changing the administrative procedure for marking out indigenous land. Indians and NGOs linked to the indigenous movement reacted angrily, calling the plan “an unprecedented aberration” that would make it impossible for the state to carry out its “constitutional obligation” to give Indians the right to possess their land.The reaction was so strong that the proposal had to be to be withdrawn. but on 18 January 2017 the Justice Ministry issued Ministerial Order 68, another attempt to push through the same changes. Once again, the reaction was fierce and just a few hours after Temer openly supported the new order, it was revoked. But that wasn’t the end. Soon after, the Justice Ministry publishedMinisterial Order 80, a watered-down version of the earlier proposal. Even so, it contained an important change in the way indigenous lands are recognized, creating a Specialized Technical Group to do the job.Previous to Ministerial Order 80, indigenous lands were recognized and borders established through a technical process carried out by experts, including anthropologists, within FUNAI. But Order 80 brings new bodies into the decision-making process, including some known to be hostile to the Indians, along with professionals with no specialist indigenous knowledge. According to Juliana de Paula Batista, an ISA lawyer, the government’s intention was to “interfere politically in technical studies.”Indigenous groups worry that Temer has more draconian plans. Federal deputy Osmar Serraglio, a hard-line politician, has long campaigned for curtailing the constitutional rights of Indians, traditional communities and quilombolas. He has repeatedly said that no more land should be given to Indians, because “land doesn’t fill stomachs.” In other words, Indians are a welfare problem, which should be resolved through federal hand-outs of food, but they shouldn’t be entrusted with land.In February 2017, Temer put Serraglio at the head of the Justice Ministry, to which FUNAI is subordinated. From the indigenous perspective, the fox now runs the henhouse.Mongabay requested interviews with the Justice Minister, the current president of FUNAI and members of the bancada ruralista but none agreed to comment.Federal deputy Osmar Serraglio has long campaigned for curtailing the constitutional rights of Indians, traditional communities and quilombolas (areas originally occupied by runaway slaves). In February 2017, Temer appointed Serraglio head of the Justice Ministry, to which FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian affairs agency, is subordinated. That’s potentially bad news for indigenous communities with outstanding land claims. Photo by Camara dos DeputadosProspectsThe government offensive to limit indigenous rights is gaining momentum. In March 2017, Temer restructured FUNAI, abolishing 87 of the 770 primary managerial positions in the agency, and creating new barriers for appointing replacement staff. The personnel most affected by these cuts dealt with the demarcation of indigenous land and the provision of environmental licenses for infrastructure projects such as dams. Antônio Fernandes Toninho Costa, the current FUNAI President, was not consulted In the restructuring.Marcio Santilli was outraged: “The government and Congress are rotten and the rights of the whole population, including Indians and traditional populations, are threatened.” From Santilli’s perspective the one bright light is that the indigenous movement is resisting courageously and has not been co-opted by Temer’s government.Indeed, despite recent gains, agribusiness isn’t having it all its own way: it and the government have been rocked by recent scandals and plagued by infighting. Not long after Serraglio’s appointment as Justice Minister, for example, a federal police operation, code named Carne Fraca (Weak Meat), revealed a large-scale criminal scheme in which inspectors and slaughterhouses colluded to circumvent the country’s public health controls. China and other buyers of Brazilian meat banned shipments. Serraglio’s name was mentioned in the evidence. JBS, the world’s biggest meatpacking company, which is one of the companies under investigation, was the biggest funder of Serraglio’s electoral campaign in 2014.“Those behind the anti-indigenous offensive will find growing resistance both from Indians and from other sectors of society,” concluded Santilli.A traditional Munduruku dance. Hundreds of thousands of Indians live on indigenous lands in Brazil, but much of that land has never been officially demarcated due to decades of government delay. From April 24-28, indigenous groups from all over the country will gather in Brasilia to protest against the Temer government’s indigenous policies. Photo by Thais BorgesThat movement plans a major show of strength with an event on 24-28 April. The initiative, called the Acampamento Terra Livre (Free Land Camp), will bring together 1,500 indigenous leaders from across the nation. They’ll set up camp in Brasilia, host marches, debates, protests and cultural events. The indigenous leaders will also seek meetings with the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of the government. The aim is “to unify struggles in defense of the Indian people.”With Brazil still in its worst economic recession ever, the Temer government wracked by scandal and its popularity as low as Dilma’s the month she was impeached (Temer now has a 73 percent disapproval rate) — the Free Land Camp could make a significant impact.The key role indigenous communities play in Amazon rainforest protection, combined with the significant carbon sequestration those forests provide, means that the outcome of the current land rights battle matters greatly, not just for indigenous groups, or even for Brazil, but to the whole world. Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Corruption, Culture, Environment, Environmental Politics, Ethnocide, Featured, Forests, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People center_img According to 2014 data for Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation occurred on privately held lands, 27 percent in conservation units, 13 percent in agrarian reform settlements, and a mere 1 percent on indigenous lands — demonstrating that indigenous land stewards are the best at limiting deforestation.Indigenous groups control large reserves in the Amazon and have the constitutional right to more, but land thieves and agribusiness are working to prevent recognition of new indigenous territories — forested territories that, if protected, could sequester a great deal of climate change-causing carbon.While President Lula failed to live up to indigenous expectations, the Dilma and Temer governments, heavily influenced by the agricultural lobby, showed much greater hostility to indigenous needs and demands. Indigenous groups plan a mass protest on April 24-28 to make their grievances known to the Temer government.“The Brazilian economy has become increasingly dependent on agribusiness [with] political repercussions.… People [aren’t] against the Indians because they are Indians or because they have too much land. The problem is that the Indians have lands these political actors want.” — Márcio Meira, former head of FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian affairs agency. Much of the Amazon basin rainforest in Brazil, known for its staggering biodiversity, is on lands claimed by indigenous people. But now the Temer government seems intent on reducing indigenous rights and not allowing new indigenous land claims to go forward. Photo by Rhett A. Butler(Leia essa matéria em português no The Intercept Brasil. You can also read Mongabay’s series on the Tapajós Basin in Portuguese at The Intercept Brasil)The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build 40+ large dams, a railway, and highways, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions on the planet.Those struggling to shape the Basin’s fate hold conflicting opinions, but because the Tapajós is an isolated region, few of these views get aired in the media. Journalist Sue Branford and social scientist Mauricio Torres travelled there recently for Mongabay, and over coming weeks hope to shed some light on the heated debate that will shape the future of the Amazon. This is the twelfth of their reports. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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

Ex-mine security head cleared of murder, assault against indigenous Guatemalans

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Corporate Responsibility, Endangered Environmentalists, Environment, Environmental Activism, environmental justice, Featured, Governance, Government, Green, Human Rights, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights, Law Enforcement, Mining, Social Conflict During protests over contested land in 2009 a well-known Maya Q’eqchi’ community leader and mine opponent named Adolfo Ich was killed, another Maya Q’eqchi’, German Chub, was shot and paralyzed from the waist down, and several other community residents were wounded.Guatemala’s Office of the Public Prosecutor charged Mynor Padilla, the Fenix mine’s head of security at the time of the protests, with homicide and assault. Padilla maintained his innocence throughout the trial.On Thursday a judge in Puerto Barrios acquitted Padilla and ordered his immediate release, instructing the Office of the Public Prosecutor to pursue criminal charges against Padilla’s accusers. Indigenous community residents seeking justice for attacks in Guatemala faced a major setback Thursday. A judge in the Caribbean coastal city of Puerto Barrios acquitted the former head of security of a mining project of homicide and assault charges.On September 27, 2009, protests broke out in the vicinity of the Fenix ferro-nickel mining project on the outskirts of the town of El Estor, on the northern shore of Izabal Lake. The demonstrations were sparked by fears of evictions in Las Nubes and other nearby Maya Q’eqchi’ communities involved in land disputes with the mining company.In the midst of the protests, a well-known Maya Q’eqchi’ community leader and teacher who opposed the mine named Adolfo Ich was beaten, attacked with a machete, shot, and killed, Another Maya Q’eqchi’, German Chub, was shot and paralyzed from the waist down. Several residents from Las Nubes were attacked and wounded along the road where the protests were taking place, according to lawsuit plaintiffs.Google map showing the location of the Fenix mining project and Puerto Barrios, where the trial of the head of the mine’s security force took place.At the time, Mynor Padilla, a former military coronel, was the Fenix mine’s head of security. According to eyewitnesses and the prosecution, Padilla personally shot Chub, participated in the attack that killed Ich, and was also responsible for the actions of other company security force members. Immediately prior to being shot, Ich was at home and Chub was playing soccer on the field near the company’s installations, according to the prosecution’s case.A judge issued an arrest warrant for Padilla following the 2009 attacks, but he was not arrested until 2012. He was held without bail for homicide in Ich’s case, for assault causing grievous bodily harm in Chub’s case, and for assault causing bodily harm in the cases of the injured Las Nubes residents. The trial did not begin until 2015.Padilla maintained his innocence throughout the trial. His defense was largely in line with the position of Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals, then the parent company of Fenix mine owner and operator Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN), which has since changed hands. Hudbay presents a very different version of events from that of the prosecution on its website.According to Hudbay, conflicts arose as a result of illegal squatters occupying company lands, and subsequent government evictions. In September 2009, protesters stole police weapons and opened fire on CGN personnel and attacked company-funded property, including homes and a hospital, according to Hudbay’s website, which adds that five of CGN’s security personnel were injured. Hudbay’s version of events neither confirms nor denies that Padilla or other security or company personnel shot anyone, but maintains that “CGN security and other personnel showed extraordinary restraint and acted only in self defence.”Padilla politely declined an interview with Mongabay following the acquittal, but stopped to pose for a photograph with his family on their way out of the courtroom. CGN did not respond to a request for comment.Mynor Padilla, a former military coronel who faced homicide and assault charges for attacks that occurred when he was head of security at a Guatemalan mine, celebrates with his family immediately following his acquittal on April 6. Photo by Sandra Cuffe for Mongabay.Hudbay Minerals did not respond to repeated email and telephone requests for comment on Padilla’s acquittal or on whether the company paid for his Guatemalan legal defense team. Canadian lawyer John Terry testified for Padilla’s defense in 2015 and testified that he had been hired and paid by Hudbay.“We are not going to say anything that might be distorted on the Internet or otherwise used to interfere with Mr. Padilla’s presumption of innocence or right to a fair trial,” Hudbay Minerals director of corporate communications Scott Brubacher told The Toronto Star last year when asked whether the company paid for Padilla’s Guatemalan lawyers.Regardless of who paid for it, Padilla’s high-profile defense team has had a rocky history. One of Padilla’s lawyers, Francisco Palomo, had previously participated in the defense team of Efraín Ríos Montt, a former general initially convicted of genocide for massacres during the 1960 – 1996 armed conflict. In June 2015, Palomo was shot and killed in Guatemala City, allegedly in connection with organized crime. Another of Padilla’s lawyers, Frank Manuel Trujillo, was charged in February 2016 with bribery, influence peddling, and other charges in connection with a massive crackdown on corruption that resulted in the resignation and arrest of Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina and other high-level officials in 2015.Reaction to the verdictAfter two years of court hearings in his case against Padilla, Chub knew his route well. Choosing the best streets along which to manoeuvre his wheelchair, he criss-crossed the few blocks to the Puerto Barrios courthouse after eating breakfast Thursday morning with supporters from Maya Q’eqchi’ communities and the capital. Two young men carried him up the courthouse stairs to the second floor courtroom to await the verdict.“I’m fine on the outside, but on the inside, I don’t know,” Chub told Mongabay inside the courtroom while waiting for the hearing to get under way. He had hope for a conviction, he said, but wasn’t sure of anything. “On the inside, it will devastate me,” he said of the potential acquittal that would become a reality about two hours later.Shot and paralyzed in 2009, German Chub needs assistance to get up the stairs to the second floor courtroom to face the former head of mine security he says shot him. Photo by Sandra Cuffe for Mongabay.As soon as the judge arrived, everyone who was not party to the case filed out the door. In February 2016, the judge implemented an unusual measure, ordering the remainder of the trial to take place behind closed doors, citing threats to herself and to the plaintiffs. Q’eqchi’ witnesses and plaintiffs had been reporting threats and intimidation, but they did not request or agree with the measure, which prevented the presence of media and even government human rights observers while court was in session.Angélica Choc, the widow of Ich and one of Chub’s fiercest supporters, is party to the case but was unable to attend court on April 6 for health reasons. Outspoken in her calls for justice in the case of her husband’s killing, Choc left her home and community for her own safety after an attack in September 2016, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on the house in which she and two small children were sleeping.Based in Puerto Barrios, Patricia Quinto participated alongside the public prosecutors in her capacity as Choc’s lawyer. In an interview with Mongabay in the courthouse following Padilla’s acquittal, she expressed her dismay at the outcome and its implications.“From my perspective, [the judge] took into account the arguments presented by the defense. At no time did she take into account the arguments we presented as plaintiffs,” Quinto said.“The sentence will be final in 10 days. The judge ordered [Padilla’s] immediate release. She didn’t wait for the final judgment,” she said, adding that judges usually wait until after the brief verdict appeal period before ordering the release of detained defendants.What most bothers Quinto is that her client Angélica Choc and other key witnesses including Choc’s children, will now go from being victims to being accused of crimes. As part of her ruling, judge Ana Leticia Peña ordered the pursuit of criminal charges against them for obstruction of justice and perjury. Once the sentence is final, the Office of the Public Prosecutor — the same office that brought the case against Padilla — will be instructed to open cases against Choc and the others, Quinto said.“Credibility in the justice system is, one could say, almost non-existent in terms of indigenous peoples. And with this [ruling], it sort of confirms that lack of credibility. It continues, and that gap might grow and indigenous people won’t believe in the justice system, because after being a victim, it now turns out that Angélica Choc will be prosecuted,” Quinto said.Lawsuits continue in CanadaThursday’s ruling may have been a blow to Maya Q’eqchi’ plaintiffs and their larger community, but they aren’t only seeking justice in Guatemala. Three related lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals are moving forward in Canada. Choc and Chub each filed claims related to the September 27, 2009, attacks, and 11 Q’eqchi’ women also filed a claim alleging they were gang-raped by Fenix mine and government security forces during a 2007 eviction from lands disputed by communities and the mining company.A Toronto-based law firm, Klippensteins, Barristers & Solicitors, is representing the Q’eqchi’ plaintiffs in the Superior Court of Ontario in all three cases. Past attempts by victims from other countries to pursue justice in Canada for human rights violations allegedly committed by Canadian mining companies abroad have largely failed. The three Guatemalan cases set an important precedent in 2013, when Superior Court of Ontario Justice Carole Brown ruled that the cases could proceed to trial in Canada.The Canadian lawyers aren’t fazed by Padilla’s acquittal in Puerto Barrios. “Unfortunately, this acquittal in Guatemala is what we always expected and predicted,” Murray Klippenstein, one of the lawyers arguing the Canadian cases, said in a statement Thursday.“The Guatemalan legal system is corrupt and seeking justice there is, sadly, hopeless, especially against large international corporate interests like Hudbay,” Klippenstein said. “That’s precisely why Angélica’s and German’s best hope for justice against Hudbay has always been in Canadian courts.”Rosa Elbira Coc is also hoping for a win in the Canadian courts. Coc is one of the 11 Q’eqchi’ women who are plaintiffs in the third Canadian lawsuit, for gang-rape allegedly perpetrated by police and mining company security forces. She came to the courthouse Thursday in support of Choc, Chub, and others, and was upset that Padilla was able to walk out the front door.“I feel sadness because he went free and we indigenous people are just left like this. It shouldn’t be like this,” Coc told Mongabay in an interview outside Quinto’s law offices after the verdict Thursday.“We have to keep moving forward. We can’t stay quiet,” she said in halting Spanish, a language she only recently began learning. “We’re continuing [to seek] justice. We have to go on. Even if it’s a struggle and there are challenges, we have to move forward.”Rosa Elbira Coc (second from the left) is one of 11 Maya Q’eqchi’ women involved in one of the lawsuits in Canada against Hudbay Minerals. Photo by Sandra Cuffe for Mongabay.center_img Article published by Rebecca Kesslerlast_img read more

Guatemala issues red alert as national parks burn

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