Data fusion opens new horizons for remote imaging of landscapes

first_imgArticle published by Sue Palminteri Artificial Intelligence, Biodiversity, data, Forests, Mapping, Monitoring, Peatlands, Remote Sensing, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Technology, Wetlands, Wildtech Scientists use remotely sensed data from satellites to map and analyze habitat extent, vegetation health, land use change, and plant species distributions at various scales.Open-source data sets, analysis tools, and powerful computers now allow scientists to combine different sources of satellite-based data.A new paper details how combining multispectral and radar data enables more refined analyses over broader scales than either can alone. Imagine you needed to map the spread of an invasive plant species in a tropical forest. Hyperspectral imaging and LiDAR are great at identifying vegetation, but have their limitations and tend to be costly.Other, more accessible remote-sensing technologies now exist that, combined, can do the trick. Radar, which emits radio waves and measures the signal created as these bounce off an object, can trace out the forest canopy structure, while multispectral imaging can be used to analyze the reflected sunlight off the leaves to determine vegetation type.Solutions to this and other kinds of remote imaging and surveying applications don’t have to be new or expensive technology, a recent review paper suggests, but can instead be an innovative blending of available remote-sensing technologies known as data fusion.In the paper, the authors introduce techniques for combining satellite data, along with their respective benefits and drawbacks for ecological studies.Satellite image showing agricultural plots in Brazil and forest remaining in between them. Image courtesy of NASA.Transmitting and detecting energyRadar and multispectral sensors are perhaps the best-known examples, respectively, of active and passive remote sensors typically found on board Earth-observation satellites.Active sensors emit their own radiation and then measure the backscatter, or radiation that reflected back from the target object. The radiation is in the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is small enough to penetrate clouds and most weather conditions. The information from the backscatter permits calculation of distances, size, volume, and orientation of objects on the Earth below.Radar sensors emit radiation that backscatters, or bounces off objects, in different ways. These difference enable the sensor to “identify” the object. Image credit: Fernandez-Ordonez et al (2009)Radar can’t see color but can determine the structure and surface roughness of objects, such as buildings or trees of different height, width, and density, or soils that are dry versus water-saturated, even below the canopy if the wavelength is fine enough. By emitting its own radiation, radar also functions day and night.Multispectral sensors, because they are passive, require an external source of radiation, namely the visible and infrared bands, or portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. They detect the natural energy radiated by the sun or reflected by another object and produce what most of us think of as satellite images.Multispectral sensors can distinguish levels of brightness and color, allowing us to differentiate between green, healthy vegetation and unhealthy vegetation, as well as identify the chemical properties of the surface of objects, such as the carbon or moisture content of vegetation, that correspond to different degrees of reflectance of energy.Multispectral satellite images distinguish vegetation by the reflectance of sunlight in several bands, or portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Greener vegetation reflects more of the green portion of the spectrum than brown vegetation, which enables the use of satellite imagery to assess vegetation health. Image credit: educationally.narod.ruThe two types of sensors thus detect complementary types of data, both of which are now freely available for the whole planet. The European Space Agency’s new Sentinel-1 satellite provides free access to global radar data, while Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites, among others, make their respective global multispectral imagery freely available.Two is better than one   The opportunity created by the availability of spatial data, plus the computing power to process and combine them, prompted this recent assessment. Combining structural data from radar with the reflectance data from multispectral imaging can improve the accuracy of assessing and monitoring biodiversity, especially at large scales or across gradients.“Satellites provide opportunities to access information about the natural world at scales that are inaccessible to people measuring things on the ground,” said author Nathalie Pettorelli of the Zoological Society of London.Cost, time, and logistics have limited where we can measure the distributions of plant species. Most freely available multispectral and radar data have spatial resolutions that are too coarse to assess species distributions while hyperspectral imaging and LiDAR data, in addition to being costly, tend to be available primarily at fine (landscape, rather than regional or continental) scales.Combining multispectral reflectance data and radar structural data has helped various research efforts to more accurately map and predict the distribution of both plants and animals. Researchers have, for instance, mapped the extent of alfalfa species in grasslands by their different growth form and leafing, flowering, and fruiting periods and predicted tree species distributions across South America, using two spectral indices—plants’ leaf area index and their greenness (a.k.a. NDVI)—in combination with canopy moisture and roughness metrics derived from radar data.The example highlighted at the beginning comes from a study in which scientists mapped invasive plant species in a tropical forest by combining vegetation type, from multispectral imagery, with canopy structure derived from radar.Scientists have also mapped animal species that rely on specific vegetation structure: one study more accurately predicted bird species distributions by combining data on woody material, or biomass, from radar with vegetation type information from multispectral imagery.Joining multispectral data that pick up on differences in vegetation “greenness” with radar backscatter containing information about canopy structure and volume helps map ecosystems and land cover. For example, the structural information has helped researchers distinguish vegetation stands at different stages of regrowth, primary from secondary forest, or plantations (trees of the same age and species) from natural forests, as well as assess vegetation health. Radar information on the direction of the return signal can also identify wetlands or saturated soils, even under the canopy.The variability in reflectance of the spectral bands in a satellite image can be used to distinguish among ecosystems and land cover types. Image credit: educationally.narod.ruPettorelli told Mongabay-Wildtech that her team plans to incorporate fusion techniques into projects mapping peatlands in Indonesia and various habitats in West Africa’s W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) transboundary protected area.“Our aim is to start answering some of the issues we mention in the paper, using these case studies,” she said. “This means trying all different types of fusion techniques and comparing their efficiency in these particular contexts.”Data fusion may enhance the mapping of threats, such as deforestation. The authors propose that adding radar data, which can penetrate clouds, may help speed the time needed to detect forest clearing in regions with heavy cloud cover, enabling more timely responses on the ground. The recent addition of radar data to Brazil’s monthly Amazon deforestation monitoring, for example, suggests that prior deforestation rates were likely underestimates.Large-scale data on vegetation structure would better enable assessments of forest degradation, the loss of vegetation under the canopy that is difficult to identify using spectral imagery alone. Mapping invasive plant species, which may differ from the native species in leaf chemistry (which affects spectral reflectance) and/or growth patterns (which affects radar backscatter), would also benefit from combining these data types.Data fusion techniques We can combine these two types of information using software for integrating or fusing the data, which lead author Henrike Schulte to Bühne describes in a refreshingly easy-to-understand video:Data integration, which the authors also call decision-level fusion, simply uses the two images as separate variables to classify land cover types or predict a parameter of interest, such as the presence of a species or habitat, or to assess woody biomass across a landscape.Object-level fusion extracts vector objects, such as lines or shapes, from pixel-based imagery by clustering adjacent pixels with similar signals into objects and combining them with clusters of pixels with similar values from the second image.The resulting feature map contains objects that relate to ecological features on the ground. Thus, clusters of pixels from both image types with values that together indicate old-growth forest can then be labeled as old-growth forest polygons, and linear clusters of pixels from both image types with values that together indicate water would be combined as rivers.Image, or pixel-level fusion combines the pixel values in the two images to create a single new image with all-new pixel values. Each pixel retains its unique spectral and radar signal values (and is not clustered into objects, as with object-level fusion) so may be better suited for mapping variables that vary at fine spatial scales, such as different successional stages or soil types within a forest category.This method speeds analysis by reducing the amount of data that needs processing, but the new blended variables may be more difficult to interpret than the original measures of reflectance or structure.Several of the algorithms allow the user to combine images with different spatial resolutions and can help “refine” a lower-resolution image without losing its original value.An overview of multispectral-radar SRS data fusion techniques– pixel-level, object-level, and decision-level fusion– to predict either a categorical variable, like land cover, or a continuous variable, like species richness. Image credit: Schulte to Bühne & Pettorelli (2018).Challenges facing adoption of data fusion techniquesOpen-source modeling software that can combine these data already exists, and the increasing availability of global-scale data at minimal cost has increased access to users beyond remote sensing specialists. Nevertheless, some experience working with spatial data would be helpful for most of these methods.Many ecologists are unfamiliar with remote sensing data, especially radar data. Sourcing, pre-processing, and interpreting the data take some expertise and hardware capacity, though cloud computing may help reduce this barrier.In addition, not all studies reviewed in the paper compare the mapping accuracy achieved after data fusion to that achieved by using a single type of sensor, so it remains unclear what the added value of data fusion was in these cases. Better understanding of the contexts in which data fusion adds value will help to broaden its use.The authors recommend that the ecology and remote sensing communities collaborate to identify where and how to cost-effectively apply the growing availability of satellite data to addressing the challenges of monitoring biodiversity.“Collaboration between these communities could be particularly beneficial when set around a project in biodiversity-rich countries, where information can be sparse,” said Pettorelli. “How is the difficult question, as it requires finding long-term solutions to boost interdisciplinary work.” ReferenceSchulte to Bühne, H., & Pettorelli, N. Better together: Integrating and fusing multispectral and radar satellite imagery to inform biodiversity monitoring, ecological research and conservation science. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12942 Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Scientists discover 18 new spider-hunting spiders from Madagascar

first_imgResearchers have added 18 new species to the assassin spider family, upping the total number of known Eriauchenius and Madagascarchaea species to 26.Assassin spiders, also known as pelican spiders, have special physical and behavioral adaptations that allow them to hunt other spiders.The new species were discovered in Madagascar’s forests and through examination of previously collected museum specimens.Madagascar is currently experiencing high levels of deforestation. Researchers say the loss of Madagascar’s forests is putting the new assassin spiders – as well as many other species – at risk of extinction. With their long “necks” and sharp, fang-like mouthparts, assassin spiders hunt a strange prey – other spiders. Now, thanks to a study published recently in ZooKeys, there are 18 more known species in the world. Researchers think even more lie in wait in Madagascar’s unique, isolated forests, but are worried the country’s rampant deforestation will claim the spiders before they’re discovered.Assassin spiders, also called pelican spiders, are native to Madagascar, South Africa and Australia. They’re nocturnal, hunting other spiders under the cover of darkness by following the silk lines of their unsuspecting prey. Once an assassin spider is close, it dispatches its victim by stabbing it with its fangs; its protracted “neck” keeps the hunter at a safe distance in case the other spider puts up a fight.Known as “living fossils” because those that are alive today have scarcely changed from their forebears preserved in amber 50 million years ago, assassin spiders have been little studied since the first was discovered in Madagascar in the late 1800s.Pelican spiders are beautiful and iconic Madagascan spiders. They have a bizarre appearance, with a long “neck” and chelicerae (“jaws”) that are used to prey on other spiders from a distance. This pelican spider (pictured above, top) is dangling its spider prey (bottom) upside-down using its chelicerae after capturing it. These spiders also occur in Australia and South Africa; however, the species with the longest “necks” occur in Madagascar. All of the pelican spiders that Wood described live only in Madagascar, an island whose tremendous biodiversity is currently threatened by widespread deforestation. The new species add to scientists’ understanding of that biodiversity, and will help Wood investigate how pelican spiders’ unusual traits have evolved and diversified over time. They also highlight the case for conserving what remains of Madagascar’s forests and the biodiversity they contain, she says. Photo by Nikolaj ScharffHannah Wood, curator of arachnids (spider and scorpions) and myriapods (millipedes and their ilk) at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, set out to change this. She and her colleague Nikolaj Scharff focused on the Eriauchenius and Madagascarchaea genera, examining museum specimens as well as traveling to Madagascar to see what they could find in the island’s unique forests.Wood and Scharff studied hundreds of spiders, which they grouped into 26 different species. Of these 26 species, 18 had never before been described – a discovery that wasn’t entirely unexpected.“I wasn’t surprised,” Wood said. “We know very little about the total diversity of arachnids, and particularly in an area like Madagascar, I would say the majority of tiny arthropods are new species.” As field workers continue to collect more specimens in Madagascar, Woods believes more new assassin spiders are bound to come to light.But Woods cautions that these undiscovered arthropods are at risk. Madagascar is currently experiencing widespread deforestation, fuelled by logging, mining and agricultural expansion. Satellite data from the University of Maryland show tree cover loss in Madagascar more than doubled between 2012 and 2013, and has remained high ever since. In total, the island lost more than 27,000 square kilometers (10,700 square miles) – or 16 percent – of its tree cover between 2001 and 2016.Around 5 percent of Madagascar land area is officially protected. These places are less at risk of deforestation, but threats still persist. Protected areas cover most of Madagascar’s remaining intact forest landscapes – areas of native habitat that are undisturbed and connected enough to retain their original biodiversity levels. But these, too, are being whittled away, losing around 466 square kilometers (180 square miles) of old growth forest between 2001 and 2013.Satellite data show Madagascar’s intact forest landscapes (IFLs) experienced significant degradation during the past decade. Several of the new species described in Wood and Scharff’s study were found in the IFLs shown.In addition to these new assassin spiders, Madagascar’s forests are home to a unique array of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. From iconic lemurs to the world’s smallest chameleon, scientists and conservationists fear what will happen to Madagascar’s wildlife if its forests continue to be cleared at current rates.Woods adds her own concerns on behalf of assassin spiders, saying their vulnerability to habitat change is leaving her worried about the future of these new species.“For most of these species, if you lose the forests where they live, the species will go extinct,” Woods said. “These species are mostly found in pristine forests with very small distributions – for example, one species lives on a mountain top and nowhere else. These traits make these species susceptible to going extinct.” Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Agriculture, Deforestation, Environment, Featured, Forests, Logging, Mining, New Species, Old Growth Forests, Population, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Research, Species Discovery, Tropical Forests Banner image:  Zephyrarchaea barrettae from Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia. Photo courtesy of Michael G. Rix and Mark S. Harvey, Western Australia Museum via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)Citations:Wood, H. M., & Scharff, N. (2018). A review of the Madagascan pelican spiders of the genera Eriauchenius O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1881 and Madagascarchaea gen. n.(Araneae, Archaeidae). ZooKeys, 727, 1.Hansen, M. C., P. V. Potapov, R. Moore, M. Hancher, S. A. Turubanova, A. Tyukavina, D. Thau, S. V. Stehman, S. J. Goetz, T. R. Loveland, A. Kommareddy, A. Egorov, L. Chini, C. O. Justice, and J. R. G. Townshend. 2013. “High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change.” Science 342 (15 November): 850–53. Data available on-line from:http://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest. Accessed through Global Forest Watch on February 6, 2018. www.globalforestwatch.orgFEEDBACK: 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. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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

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

ICC slams ‘disrespectful’ West Indies

first_imgDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC):Cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), blasted the West Indies cricket team for the behaviour of some of its players following the final of the Twenty20 World Cup in India earlier this month.In an unusual step yesterday, the ICC labelled the players’ behaviour as “inappropriate and disrespectful” and argued that it “brought the event into disrepute”.In a statement following a meeting of its board over the weekend, the ICC said it had even given “serious consideration” to bringing sanctions against the players.INAPPROPRIATE”The board considered the behaviour of some of the West Indies players in the immediate aftermath of the final and unanimously agreed that certain comments and actions were inappropriate, disrespectful, and brought the event into disrepute,” the governing body said.”The board acknowledged an apology by the WICB but was disappointed to note that such behaviour had detracted from the success of what was otherwise a magnificent tournament and final.”West Indies beat England by four wickets in a dramatic final over in Kolkata to win their second Twenty20 World Cup, following their triumph four years ago in Sri Lanka.Many of the Caribbean players celebrated wildly afterwards, with some removing their shirts as they danced in delight.West Indies captain Darren Sammy also stunned many by openly criticising the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) during the official post-game interview and highlighting the players’ ongoing pay dispute, which had marred the build-up to the tournament.Man-of-the-Match Marlon Samuels was also fined for his verbal tirade against bowler Ben Stokes during the final over of the game.While not specifying exactly what behaviour the ICC found offensive, the ICC chairman, Shashank Manohar, said the Windies players actions were not “acceptable conduct” for ICC events.”The sport of cricket is proud of its unique spirit and this involves being gracious in victory as well as defeat and respectful at all times to the game, one’s opponents, the sponsors and the fans,” Manohar said.”The Board also noted that very serious consideration had been given to bringing Code of Conduct charges in respect of the behaviour of the West Indies players and emphasised that this was not acceptable conduct at ICC events played out on a world stage in front of millions of people around the globe.”Following Sammy’s interview, WICB president Dave Cameron also tendered an apology for what the board deemed to be his “inappropriate” comments and promised to investigate.last_img read more