Shipping companies face criminal charges after coal barges damage reef in Indonesian marine park

first_imgCoal, Coral Reefs, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Environment, Environmental Law, Fish, Fisheries, Law Enforcement, Oceans, Protected Areas Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored In two separate incidents this winter, five coal-carrying vessels ran aground on reefs in Central Java’s Karimunjava National Park.The boats were given permission to take shelter in the area during storms, but broke loose from their moorings, damaging 1,400 square meters of coral.Officials are pressing charges of gross negligence and seeking financial compensation.These incidents preceded a March case in which a cruise ship ran aground on a reef in Raja Ampat in eastern Indonesia. Indonesian authorities have indicted five local shipping companies on charges of gross negligence after their coal barges damaged coral reefs in a Javan marine park, a local official told Mongabay.About 1,400 square meters (15,000 square feet) of reef in Central Java’s Karimunjava National Park were wrecked when five coal-carrying vessels separately ran aground during storms Jan. 14 and Feb. 10, according to the head of the Karimunjava National Park Agency, Agus Prabowo.One of seven marine national parks in Indonesia, Karimunjava (also known as Karimunjawa) is known for its extraordinary coral reefs — which include two protected biota species, black coral (Antiphates sp.) and organ pipe coral (Tubipora musica). Nearly 500 species of reef fish thrive in the waters around Karimunjava, and the park is a popular tourist attraction among divers and snorkelers from Indonesia and abroad.Reef life in Karimunjava National Park. According to WCS Indonesia, the park is home to some 500 species of reef fish and 300 species of coral. Photo by Stella Nostra G. A. via Wikimedia Commons.According to Prabowo, the vessels that damaged the reefs were granted permission by the head of the local port to make an emergency detour and take shelter at the park’s islets — Cilik and Tengah — due to bad weather.But in each case the ships’ mooring lines broke as strong currents dragged the boats to the reef, he added.“We are trying to prove if there was actually negligence by the boat captains,” said Prabowo by phone, adding that the Central Java police are handling the case.The ship operators are Jakarta-based PT Sindu Mulia and PT Pancaran Samudera Transport; Surabaya-based PT Pancamerak Samudera; Bintan-based PT Nasional Bina Buana; and Samarinda-based PT Peti Samudera Adi Jaya, according to the park agency.Under Indonesia’s 2009 Environmental Law, individuals convicted of damaging the environment through negligence face a maximum of 3-years imprisonment and fines of up to 3 billion Indonesian rupiah ($224,000).On top of the criminal charges, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s law-enforcement body has been in negotiations for compensation with the companies’ insurers, said Prabowo.“The amount of settlement should consider many aspects, such as environmental damages and social economy impacts,” he said.Karimunjava’s clear water and extraordinary coral reefs make it popular among local and international divers and snorklers. Photo by Batara via Flickr.The boats trashed coral from various genera, such as acropora, porites and diploria, environmental activist Amiruddin told local media. A coordinator at the NGO Indonesia Coral Reefs Action Network (I-CAN), Amiruddin was involved in the preliminary investigation.The damage to the coral reef was estimated to reach about 28 billion Indonesian rupiah, Abdul Rachim, head of local green group Central Java Environmental Partnership Network (Jamilah) reported to state news agency Antara.“The compensation will be used to revive the damaged area, and the restoration will be the responsibility of the companies,” Prabowo said, adding that the firms have been “pretty cooperative” with the government in handling the case.Declared in 2001 as a marine reserve, the park — which houses 22 islands stretching across 1,100 square kilometers (425 square miles) — is part of the Karimunjava Archipelago, also known Crimon Java.The reserve has nine zones in which different activities are permitted, such as traditional fishing, tourism or scientific research, in accordance with 2012 regulations by the Natural Resources Conservation Directorate General (KSDA) at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.Although the park is protected, various activities are allowed within different zones of the park, and the islands have busy boat traffic. Photo by Fachrul Stream via Wikimedia Commons.Despite its protected status, Karimunjava’s reefs face multiple threats including trawl fishing, global warming and irresponsible diving and snorkeling, said Prabowo.“We have marine police patrolling twice a month across the national park to check on fishermen’s activities. Also, we have asked the locals to spread the word about fighting against destructive fishing,” Prabowo said when asked about his agency’s efforts in preventing hazards to the marine ecosystem.“What’s important is a working cooperation between the authorities and the people in managing Karimunjava National Park,” he added.The Indonesian government is mulling the revision of its ocean regulations in order to beef up security in its marine protected zones in the wake of a Bahamian-flagged cruise ship grounding that wrecked 18,882 square meters of coral reef in the Raja Ampat islands in 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.Banner image: A bi-color angelfish swims in coral, courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.center_img Article published by Isabel Estermanlast_img read more

Interoceanic Highway incites deforestation in Peru, threatens more to come

first_imgArticle published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Between July and August, 435 hectares of forest were lost around Iberia, a Peruvian town that has been turned into a deforestation hotspot.The Interoceanic Highway is threatening forests in eastern Peru’s Amazon rainforest where many residents depend on sustainably harvesting rubber for their livelihoods. IBERIA, Peru — Saturnino Cuchama is proud of the business he runs in the middle of a lush tropical rainforest. Every day at 4 a.m., the 42-year-old rubber gatherer walks through the trails in the forest extracting latex from the bark of wild rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis), which grow naturally in this part of the Peruvian Amazon.It’s an exhausting job. Cuchama has to collect latex from three trails every day; each one consists of about 100 individual trees. Since the rubber trees grow sporadically throughout the terrain, a single trail in the tropical rainforest can measure up to five kilometers in length.The Shiringa Concession in Iberia. Ecological leather is made from the latex from the Shiringa trees. Saturnino Cuchama Puma works in the concession. Photo by Rochi León.I follow Cuchama through the forest. He stops at each tree to make an incision with a sharp knife, letting the rubber fall into plastic bottles that he will later collect. It is a practice that has existed for centuries in this part of the Amazon, especially during the Amazon Rubber Boom at the end of the 19th century, in which hundreds of thousands of people worked as slaves in the tropical rainforest.But times have changed. Cuchama leads a social enterprise of 22 traditional rubber workers who live around the Peruvian town of Iberia in Madre de Dios, close to the borders of Bolivia and Brazil. The communal rubber company, Ecomusa, helps protect the rights of the rubber workers and lets them collectively sell their latex at fair prices on the market.Saturnino Cuchama shows a rubber tree and demonstrates how latex is extracted. Photo by Rochi León.Last year, the rubber workers, or shiringueros, as they are known locally, produced a total of more than 2,000 kilograms of natural latex, valued at $4 per kilogram. After being dried and pressed, the latex is sent to Portugal to make shoe soles. It’s a sustainable forest practice: people extract goods, but they don’t destroy the forest. Ecomusa’s work wouldn’t be possible if the company didn’t have the right to use the tropical jungle for rubber extraction. In 2008, the Regional Government of Madre de Dios awarded the rubber worker collective about 7,900 hectares of rubber trees in a concession.However, almost ten years later, only half of that area remains. Over the years, 4,000 hectares of low-lying tropical forest, which is about half of the original concession of rubber trees, has been invaded and burned by farmers.“They keep taking our lands,” Cuchama said. “The biggest part of the forest has been converted into cornfields, but they also use it to plant bananas, papaya, or for livestock grazing.”The Interoceanic HighwayCuchama’s rubber trails are only 15 kilometers away from the Interoceanic Highway, a road completed in July 2010 that goes through the Peruvian Amazon from the Andes on the west to the Brazilian border on the east. The monumental project —one of the largest and most expensive roads in Peru— was intended to connect Brazil’s economic strength with Lima and other strategic ports along the Pacific coast.Travelers on the Interoceanic Highway from Puerto Maldonado to Iñapari, on the Peruvian-Brazilian border. Photo by Rochi León.However, this 2,400-kilometer highway, built by Brazilian companies like Odebrecht (which is currently part of an investigation into allegations of bribery of Peruvian civil servants to win a bid) opened the doors to other social and environmental problems.One of those problems: the rapid advancement of deforestation in the area where Ecomusa’s rubber concessions are located. Between 2012 and 2014, the area around Iberia had low to medium levels of deforestation. In 2015, the levels passed from medium to high.Between 2013 and 2015, the deforestation surrounding the town of Iberia and on both sides of the Interoceanic Highway totaled 1,830 hectares (MAAP #28). This loss of forest, which is evidenced by small patches visible in satellite images, is situated within the forest concessions set aside for the use of wood and rubber collection. The satellite images concur with on-the-ground observations made by Mongabay Latam.A map showing the increase of newly-deforested areas for small-scale agricultural use within the Shiringa concession area. Image courtesy of USGS, PNCB/MINAM, UMD/GLADAccording to a report recently published by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP #68),  the town of Iberia continues to be one of the most deforested areas in the Peruvian Amazon. Based on the latest high-resolution satellite data, MAAP calculated that between June and August 2017, 435 hectares of low-lying tropical rainforests were deforested around this town bordering the Interoceanic Highway.Satellite data show deforestation of 435 hectares of land (the size of 595 soccer fields). MAAP’s report indicates that a large part of the deforestation occurred in areas designated as forest concessions. Photo courtesy of MAAP and Planet Labs.Evidence of deforestation is obvious when traveling to Iberia. Large expanses of forest have recently been burned, leaving vacant land that will soon be turned into fields for growing papaya or corn. On portions of the land, active fires continue to burn.A large part of this new deforestation is occurring within the forest concessions set aside for the use of rubber collection, such as those used by Saturnino Cuchama.Roadside deforestation along the Interoceanic Highway. Photo by Rochi León.However, until the first half of 2017, in the middle of July, Ibera was not considered a big deforestation hotspot. Because of this, those working in the area say the recent forest losses are probably associated with the beginning of the dry season, which generally starts in June and creates the best conditions for local farmers to practice slash-and-burn agriculture.Deforested and burned land that will soon be converted into agricultural fields. Photo by Rochi León.During last year’s dry season —which resulted in one of the most severe droughts in decades— the portion of the Interoceanic Highway along the Brazilian border, from Iberia to Iñapari, was the scene of many forest fires. These forest fires led to deforestation, with almost 600 hectares lost in this area during the dry season of 2016.The National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru, confirmed to Mongabay Latam that there were indeed 435 hectares of forest recently deforested around Iberia. According to SERFOR, Peru is establishing a department for the control and vigilance for forests in Madre de Dios, which will coordinate the activities of various public institutions to confront the area’s deforestation.Deforestation continues around the town of Iberia, where those who depend on the forest fear losing their land. Photo by Rochi León.Low demandThe Interoceanic Highway, which has facilitated this increase in deforestation, has played a central role in the corruption scandal that continues to torment Peruvian politics. Brazilian construction company Odebrecht won a contract for the construction of the highway after bribing former president Alejandro Toledo with $20 million. This is according to a declaration by financial collaborators from Panama, Costa Rica, and the U.S. Department of Justice.This wasn’t the only case of bribery. Today it is known that the Brazilian construction company paid $788 million in bribes in 11 Latin American countries in order to gain the rights to construct large-scale profitable infrastructure projects.A part of the route connecting Puerto Maldonado and Iñapari, on the border with Brazil. Photo by Rochi León.The Interoceanic Highway, which passes through Iberia, was one of the most expensive of all. The total cost of the project tripled from $658 million to almost $2 billion upon completion (IIRSA), much of which was paid by the Peruvian government and by Brazilian development banks.The hopes that the new highway would allow Peru to export agricultural products —like potatoes— to Brazil were high. However, the demand for Peruvian products continues to be low in the western Brazilian states of Acre and Rondônia. The Brazilian states closest to Peru are also its most populated states. The increase in population means that the demand for Peruvian food products should also increase, but Peruvian exporters still prefer to send their products for less money to the east coast of Brazil, which has more demand.However, the disappointing level of demand hasn’t stopped farmers from using the new highway to put Madre de Dios’ “virgin territories” to use. When driving outside of the capital, Puerto Maldonado, one can see burned forests for miles and miles. The empty fields are only interrupted by tall, blackened chestnut trees. These solitary trees are a reminder of what was once a lush tropical rainforest.Burned forests are part of the scenery in the town of Iberia. Photo by Rochi León.Papaya has been the preferred crop for this area. In 2015, papaya fields covered 204 hectares, more than half of the total annual deforestation along the Interoceanic Highway from Puerto Maldonado to the Brazilian border. Papaya coverage has increased significantly since 2014, when the crop only covered 55 hectares.Papaya fields in Iberia. Photo by Rochi León.Fieldwork conducted by the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment confirmed that all papaya crops in the area are small (less than five hectares) or medium (between five and 50 hectares), which is consistent with the type of small-scale deforestation indicated by satellite imagery.However, since 2016, papaya has suffered from low prices because of overproduction and viral diseases, such as papaya ringspot virus. Cuchama told Mongabay Latam that the majority of the newly cleared forest that threatens his rubber trails is now used to grow corn, which suggests a transition from papaya to this new crop. Rubber as an alternative“Of course, the Interoceanic Highway has had a big impact,” said Alejandro López, a colleague of Cuchama. López is a chemical engineer who helps Ecomusa process latex and turn it into products like bags, shoes, and toys.The road, which was once just a small dirt trail, has improved access to markets. It allows the rubber worker collective to send their rubber to the Peruvian coast, from where it is sent on to Portugal. “The road has brought progress,” says López, “but also destruction.”López isn’t only referring to slash-and-burn agriculture, which each year brings more destruction to Ecomusa’s rubber. “At the moment, it’s much more easy to cut wood.” The State itself has granted logging concessions close to the Shiringuero land, so there is not much they can do about it, he explained.A small farm in the area bordering forest concessions like that of Ecomusa. Photo by Rochi León.Logging not only threatens Ecomusa’s rubber concessions, but also conservation areas like Rodal Semillero Tahuamanu, which is only a few kilometers from the Interoceanic Highway. Cuchama is sure that the loggers are illegally taking wood from this protected area. “Ever since they built a logging trail in the forest three years ago, the loggers regularly enter with trucks,” he said.Luis Espinel is the vice president of International Conservation Peru, an institution that owned this protected area until June 1, when the Ecological and Environmental Association of Tahuamanu (Ecomath) took charge of it. Espinel confirmed to Mongabay Latam that illegal logging is the main threat to Rodal.“During the [past] 10 years, we have suffered from at least three illegal entrances with the goal of cutting down mahogany trees, which were reported to the respective authorities in Madre de Dios,” he explained. “These events generally occurred in the rainy season, when activities like control and vigilance are made more complicated, since the concession has flooded areas that are inaccessible at those times.”The Rodal Semillero Tahuamanu conservation area functions as a refuge for wildlife coming from neighboring areas where agriculture or other activities have altered the ecosystem, says Espinel. The area also serves as a seed bank for many species. “Its 12,000 hectares house a sample of the biodiversity in the Madre de Dios region,” Espinel said.According to SERFOR, the conservation concession is particularly important for its diversity of bird species (at least 124), including macaws and toucans.López believes that the only way to protect the forest is to give it a different economic value. “The State tells us that we should protect the forest, but it doesn’t tell us how to live. With rubber we can do both.”Saturnino Cuchama cuts the Shiringa trees carefully to extract rubber without killing the tree. Every day, they cut into up to 100 trees and collect the latex in recycled bottles. Photo by Rochi León.López and Cuchama hope to expand Ecomusa’s rubber business to include more high-quality products. They know that only the increase in income will allow them to open more rubber trails.“If we don’t work in the forests, the loggers and farmers will enter. With rubber, we try to give people an alternative.” Agriculture, Agroforestry, Corn, Crops, Deforestation, Environment, Featured, Forest Loss, Forests, Infrastructure, Logging, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Research, Roads, Rubber, Tropical Forests Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored This story was first published in Spanish by Mongabay Latam on October 24, 2017.Banner image by Rochi León.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

UN General Assembly adopts resolution to move forward with high seas treaty negotiations

first_imgThe General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on Sunday to convene negotiations for an international treaty to protect the marine environments of the high seas.Earth’s high seas represent about two-thirds of the oceans, but are not governed by any one international body or agency and there is currently no comprehensive management structure in place to protect the marine life that relies on them.According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the treaty would be the first international agreement to address the impacts of human activities like fishing and shipping on the high seas. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on Sunday to convene negotiations for an international treaty to protect the marine environments of the high seas.Vast areas of ocean that lie outside any country’s exclusive economic zone — or, in other words, more than 200 nautical miles or more from any country’s shores — the high seas are areas of Earth’s oceans that lie beyond all national jurisdiction. They represent about two-thirds of the oceans, but the high seas are not governed by any one international body or agency and there is currently no comprehensive management structure in place to protect the marine life that relies on them.According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the treaty would be the first international agreement to address the impacts of human activities like fishing and shipping on the high seas. It would not only create a global system for coordinating the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, but would also pave the way for the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) and fully protected marine reserves in open waters.The UN reports reports that, as of 2017, 5.3 percent of the total global ocean area has been protected. That includes 13.2 percent of marine environments that fall under national jurisdiction, but just 0.25 percent of marine environments beyond national jurisdiction.Pew’s Liz Karan told Mongabay that high seas fisheries are estimated to account for up to $16 billion annually in gross catch, while estimates of the economic value of carbon storage from the high seas ranges from $74 billion to $220 billion a year. There are regional and sectoral bodies that have a very narrow mandate to look after particular high seas areas, but no body that looks at the ecosystem as a whole. “In these times, with a changing climate, looking at ecosystem resilience is especially important,” Karan said.The resolution adopted on December 24 had been anticipated since the final meeting this past June of a UN Preparatory Committee, which issued an official recommendation that the General Assembly launch an intergovernmental conference to negotiate a high seas treaty.“After more than 10 years of discussion, it is encouraging that United Nations member states unanimously agreed to move forward in 2018 with negotiations for an international agreement that would fill the gaps in ocean management to ensure protection for marine life on the high seas,” Karan said in a statement.“The international community, including scientists and members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), agrees that at least 30 percent of the world’s ocean should be set aside in MPAs and reserves to achieve a sustainable ocean. Protecting biodiversity on the high seas will be a key component of moving toward this goal.”The resolution lays out the negotiation process as consisting of four meetings, starting in 2018 and going through mid-2020. The first intergovernmental talks will take place in September 2018, and the final treaty text is expected by the end of 2020.At the conclusion of its meetings, the UN Preparatory Committee issued a report that made several recommendations of items to be included in an international high seas agreement, but there are still some crucial issues that must be hammered out via treaty negotiations.“Key questions that the countries will be discussing over the next two years through this intergovernmental conference will be what are the protections that can be taken at an international level, who are the decision-makers, how will that management be conducted and implemented, and then what kind of mechanisms for monitoring, review, and enforcement will follow through to make sure that those protections are not just designated but actually result in conservation benefits and change on the water,” Karan told Mongabay.Many other conservationists were quick to applaud the UN’s adoption of a resolution to move forward with high seas treaty negotiations, as well.“This is great news. This vote could open the way to create a Paris Agreement for the ocean,” Maria Damanaki, a former European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries who now works for The Nature Conservancy, told The Guardian on the eve of the adoption of the resolution to move forward with treaty negotiations. “This could be the most important step I have seen in my 30 years working on oceans.”Two fishing vessels at sunset. Photo via Max Pixel, licensed under Creative Commons Zero – CC0.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Mike Gaworecki 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 overSponsoredcenter_img Climate Change, Climate Change And Conservation, Environment, Fisheries, Fishing, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Protected Areas, Oceans, Oceans And Climate Change, Protected Areas, United Nations last_img read more

Indonesian palm, pulp companies commit to peatland restoration

first_imgArticle published by Hans Nicholas Jong Some 125 palm oil and pulp companies have committed to restoring a combined 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) of degraded peatlands that fall within their leases over the next eight years.The move is part of government-driven efforts to prevent a repeat of the massive land and forest fires that flared up in 2015, largely as a result of peatlands being drained for planting and rendered highly combustible.At the heart of the rehabilitation work is the extensive blocking of drainage canals, which aims to restore moisture to the peat soil. JAKARTA — More than a hundred palm oil and pulp companies in Indonesia have pledged to restore a combined area of peat forest the size of the state of Connecticut, in response to government measures to prevent a repeat of the disastrous fires of 2015.Eighty of the companies are palm oil planters and 45 are pulp and paper firms, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Of these, 49 palm oil companies and 31 pulp companies have had their plans approved by the ministry.Karliansyah, the ministry’s head of environmental pollution and damage control, thanked the pulp companies in particular for cooperating with the ministry since late last year to finalize restoration plans for peatlands that lie inside their leases. Those companies have agreed to block the canals initially dug to drain the peatlands in preparation for planting, and to rehabilitate nearly 5,200 square kilometers (2,000 square miles) of degraded peatlands.Together with the palm oil companies, they plan to restore at least 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) of their concessions that fall within protected areas by 2026.The restoration project is mandated by the Indonesian government under various policies, issued in the wake of the 2015 fires, to protect the carbon-rich peat forests.Land and forest fires have been an annual occurrence in the country over the past two decades, and peaked in 2015 with widespread blazes and a resultant massive haze, stoked in large part by the drainage of Indonesia’s vast peat swamps that rendered them highly combustible. Combined with slash-and-burn clearing, the results proved disastrous.Smoke from the fires that year sickened half a million Indonesians, according to government estimates, and drifted into neighboring countries. At the height of the disaster, the daily emissions of carbon dioxide as a result of the burning exceeded those from all U.S. economic activity.Karliansyah, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name, said it was crucial that the companies make good on their commitments in order to avoid a disaster on a similar scale.“Next year, we’ll face a dry season,” he said. “Hopefully, these companies can encourage other companies” to do the same.Indonesia’s weather agency is predicting drier-than-usual conditions in parts of the country starting in May, as a result of the La Niña weather system, which raises the risk of fires breaking out and sustaining.Key to preventing this is blocking the drainage canals and allowing the soil to retain water once again. The goal is to ensure that the peat layer stays moist down to a government-mandated 40 centimeters (16 inches) below the surface, Karliansyah said.“I see some companies have managed to do that. Around 70 percent have met the standard. So the risk [of fires] can be reduced,” he said.Among those that have committed to the initiative is PT Satria Perkasa Agung, a pulp and paper company that operates in Sumatra’s Riau province, the region worst-affected by the fires and haze in 2015. The company has pledged to conserve the 254 square kilometers (98 square miles) of protected areas that account for a third of its concession.“The key to our success in optimizing our productivity is preventing forest fires, managing water levels and implementing silviculture,” said company representative Hendri Tanjung, referring to the practice of developing and nurturing forests.This private sector-led initiative is part of the wider peat protection policy rolled out by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo with the idea that rehabilitating peatlands by wetting peat soil and planting peat-friendly crops will make them less prone to fires.In 2016, the president established an agency, called the BRG, to spearhead nationwide efforts to restore 20,000 square kilometers (7,720 square miles) of degrade peatland by 2019; announced a moratorium on the draining of peat swamps; and issued his signature piece of anti-haze regulation, which calls for, among other things, companies to conserve peat areas within their concessions.Under this regulation, pulp and paper companies can see their crops through to the end of the current harvest cycle, at which point they must restore the peatlands by blocking drainage canals, maintaining the water level and planting native vegetation. Plantation companies will be allowed to keep operating in peat areas until their permits expire, at which point they must commence their restoration plans. 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 Banner image: A peat swamp in Sumatra smolders during the 2015 haze crisis. Drainage canals are dug through the peat to prepare the land for planting with oil palms, but the practice renders the soil highly combustible. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Ecological Restoration, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forestry, Forests, Indonesia, Peatlands, Plantations, Protected Areas, Pulp And Paper, Rainforests, Restoration, Tropical Forests last_img read more

Cerrado Manifesto could curb deforestation, but needs support: experts

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer Agriculture, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, China’s Demand For Resources, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Industrial Agriculture, Land Use Change, Rainforests, Social Justice, Soy, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests The Cerrado Manifesto, issued in 2017, calls for a voluntary pledge by companies to help halt deforestation and native vegetation loss in the Cerrado. The Brazilian savannah’s native vegetation once covered 2 million square kilometers that has been reduced by soy, corn, cotton, and cattle production by more than half.A Manifesto Statement of Support (SoS) has been signed mostly by supermarkets and fast food chains, including McDonalds, Walmart, Marks & Spencer and Unilever. However, commodities firms such as Cargill, Bunge, and ADM, all active in the Cerrado, have yet to sign the SoS. Experts say big traders must join in to make the initiative effective.The Cerrado Manifesto is a call to action, and is somewhat akin to the 2006 Amazon Soy Moratorium, which some say was effective in cutting deforestation due to the direct conversion of forests to soy plantations. Critics of the Manifesto say that its top down approach should also include major incentives to farmers to not clear native vegetation.One concern is that the Manifesto and other deforestation mechanisms could force good actors out of the Cerrado, creating a vacuum into which entities unsupportive of environmental reform might enter. Among entities of concern is China, which already buys a third of Cerrado soy. China has not signed the Manifesto. A single tree is all that remains of native vegetation cleared for soy production in the Cerrado. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthIn October 2017, global companies, especially supermarkets and fast food chains including McDonalds, Walmart, Marks & Spencer, METRO, Tesco, Nando’s and Unilever introduced a Statement of Support (SoS) for the Cerrado Manifesto. In that document they called for action to halt deforestation and native vegetation loss in Brazil’s Cerrado.Seen as the uncharismatic sister to the Amazon, the Cerrado biome has been under-appreciated by conservationists, and significantly under-protected by government, for decades. Once seen as mostly worthless savannah east and south of the Amazon, the Cerrado is now known to support significant biodiversity including 10,400 species of plants, nearly half of which are endemic; 935 species of birds; 780 freshwater fish; 113 amphibians; 180 reptiles; and nearly 300 mammal species. Known as an “upside-down forest” for its small but very deeply rooted trees, shrubs and grasses, the region also has an enormous carbon storage capacity, which acts as a buffer against climate change.But the biome, originally covering more than 2 million square kilometers (772,204 square miles), has been reduced by more than half, as soy and cattle production rapidly replaces native vegetation and wildlife.In 2016, researchers found that cropland within 450,000 square kilometers (173,745 square miles) of the Cerrado had doubled over a decade, increasing from 13,000 square kilometers (5,019 square miles) in 2003, to 25,000 square kilometers (9,652 square miles) in 2013. Land conversion has intensified since then.The Cerrado Manifesto is being hailed by some environmentalists as a remarkable advance toward getting the Cerrado the environmental recognition and conservation it deserves. “The Manifesto represents a significant breakthrough in civil society consensus that there’s no need to destroy native ecosystems for soy,” said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of Mighty Earth, an environmental NGO.But others say the declaration lacks teeth. It doesn’t spell out specific actions to be taken to conserve the region, or to curb new deforestation due to agriculture. Nor has the SoS so far been signed by large-scale industrial agribusiness, or by transnational commodity companies like ADM, Cargill, and Bunge, or Brazilian firms like Amaggi.Signs of the times: Bunge and Cargill logos planted in the Cerrado soil. The support of the big commodities companies for the Cerrado Manifesto is crucial to its success, but hasn’t come yet. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthThe need for the ManifestoThe Cerrado Manifesto does not clearly set out any rules that must be followed by agribusiness in the region. It is a call to action whose parameters are yet to be defined. The Manifesto is aimed at “companies that purchase soy and meat from within the biome, as well as investors active in these sectors.” These entities are asked to adopt “effective policies and commitments to eliminate deforestation and conversion of native vegetation and disassociate their supply chains from recently converted areas.” Since its creation, the Cerrado Manifesto has amassed 62 signatories, mostly in the consumer and retail sectors.Many conservationists arguing in favor of the Manifesto say that new public policies and legislation to protect the Cerrado are not likely to be created or implemented in time to curb the biome’s wholesale destruction. With that in mind, they say that markets and supply chains must play a leading role, which is where the Manifesto comes in.Some supporting the Manifesto believe that its application needs to be modeled on the Soy Moratorium (ASM) implemented in the Amazon in 2006. That agreement is reported to have significantly reduced direct deforestation caused by new soy plantations. Spporters argue that there is a huge amount of already degraded land in the Cerrado that farmers could use to grow crops, allowing the soy market and profits to continue expanding, while drastically reducing new deforestation.They also say that the best way forward is to get commodities companies to make a voluntary pledge to stop buying soy grown on newly deforested land. That would put pressure on growers to make a rapid shift away from forest conversion.A tractor tears up the last of the tree roots resisting crop cultivation. Deep-rooted Cerrado native vegetation helps to improve carbon storage, which curbs global warming. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthCargill silo and sign in the Cerrado. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthCommodity companies key to the agreementHurowitz believes that for the Cerrado Manifesto to be a success it needs to be adopted by the region’s two major commodities traders – Cargill and Bunge – who have been mostly silent on the initiative, and have resisted it, to date.In a statement, Cargill said: “We applaud the NGO Cerrado Manifesto signatories and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) for taking a stand on deforestation and addressing issues in the Cerrado.” Beyond that, the transnational firm has made no movement.Asked why Cargill has not signed, the company replied: “the terms of the statement of support remain very high level and we await more clarity on the full weight of the expectations from such a manifesto. We recognize it will take all of us working together, especially with local governments and farmers, to develop and implement workable solutions.” While Cargill waits, say analysts, more native Cerrado is being plowed under.In a statement, Bunge said: “Bunge already has a clear commitment to eliminate deforestation in our supply chains, we are collaborating with NGOs, peers and other companies to build and use tools and approaches that drive conservation on the ground, and we are creating incentive programs that benefit farmers willing to engage beyond legal compliance.”Hurowitz expressed his frustration with another major Brazilian soy trader, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). It has refused to back the Manifesto, even though the company is reportedly producing soy in a relatively deforestation-free way.Jackie Anderson, spokesperson for ADM, said: “In the complex ecosystem and economic environment of the Cerrado, ADM believes that solutions to address deforestation and land use issues must be developed in consultation with, and buy-in from, all relevant stakeholders including local farmers, government, industry and civil society.” Moves by the company to help achieve this umbrella of cooperation were not enumerated.So far, the majority of Manifesto backing has come from consumer and retail food companies, with just one supporter from the agribusiness sector, Nutreco NV, a Dutch fish food production company. The initiative’s supporters to date also include 43 retail companies, 9 consumer goods companies, 3 food service firms, and four food processing and personal care companies.A tractor ploughs up newly deforested land. Experts say that there is plenty of degraded land in the Cerrado that could be brought into cultivation, without further deforestation. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthThe perils of delay Tiago Reis from IPAM (The Institute of Amazon Environmental Research) expressed great concern that a delay in clear policy action on the Cerrado Manifesto is causing farmers to deforest as much land as they can now to beat the clock, action driven by fears that a Cerrado Soy Moratorium could be just round the corner.Some say that the implementation delay is due to the inexactitude of the Manifesto itself, which fails to outline concrete policies for implementation. As Ida Breckan Claudi, Policy Adviser at Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) put it, the Manifesto “plans to establish ‘working groups’ and ‘roadmaps’” in order to drive significant change, “but we also know that [such mechanisms] can stagnate progress.”Until these details are worked out to the satisfaction of commodities companies, critics say, it seems the Manifesto could remain ineffective.Two international NGOs, Mighty Earth and Rainforest Foundation Norway, have also criticized the Manifesto for its Brazilian exclusivity. “There’s no technical reason why conservation issues can’t be applied continent-wide, to places like the Bolivian Amazon,” says Hurowitz. “The excuse boils down to the same inertia that prevented the soy moratorium from being expanded beyond the Amazon in the first place.”RFN’s Claudi agrees, noting that, like the Cerrado, the Gran Chaco in Argentina and the Atlantic Forest in Paraguay are undergoing widespread deforestation due to agribusiness cultivation, which needs urgently to be curtailed.Ploughing up the Cerrado to plant soy. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthIncentives needed for farmersSome economists argue against the consumer and commodities driven approach represented by the Manifesto. They advocate a “collaborative approach,” in which sustainably-minded commodities companies work directly with farmers and lawmakers to create a system that is palatable for all parties.This camp voices skepticism toward the Cerrado Manifesto due to its perceived lack of concern for Brazilian farmers. Current law holds that farmers whose properties lie within most of the Cerrado need only protect 25 percent of native vegetation (or 35 percent if their land falls within the bounds of Legal Amazonia). These farmers, many of whom have gone to some length to ensure they are abiding by the law, worry that they will suddenly start being penalized by the market for cutting trees and utilizing land for commercial purposes, even though they have the legal right to do so.Scientist Daniel Nepstad, who has written extensively about supply chain interventions in the beef and soy industries, points out that no financial compensation is currently being offered to farmers to offset the cost of protecting native vegetation on their land.“Farmers’ land value will decrease dramatically,” if the Cerrado Manifesto is implemented, Nepstad warns. He says that the Manifesto corroborates the suspicions of many Cerrado farmers who believe that international NGOs and governments are hell-bent on harming the agricultural sector, taking away their land and land rights.But others argue that Nepstad’s insistence on involving farmers is misplaced. “Giving deforesters a veto over forest protection would be like giving coal mine owners a veto on clean air laws,” says Hurowitz. “It’s a complete nonsense idea!” He believes that large-scale soy growers are the major players who need to be brought onboard in the Cerrado, but they seem unlikely to easily give in to conservationists.Recent clearance in the Cerrado. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthNevertheless, Nepstad asks: “Why don’t we frame this in a way that’s going to work for farmers? Particularly as Brazil cannot afford to seriously constrain [the agribusiness] industry.” Nepstad and his colleagues have written extensively about the importance of financial incentives offered in support of sustainable farming practices. They point to the effectiveness of credit programs which reward farmers who successfully limit their conversion of native vegetation to cropland.Tiago Reis says that he completely supports the idea of such a credit system, but that it’s hard to find the funds. “Current [native vegetation] conversion rates in the Cerrado are alarming – it’s an emergency,” he said. “That’s why we’re considering an immediate [deforestation] ban, and then we can work out financial mechanisms.” The Cerrado Manifesto does mention the importance of creating financial incentives for farmers.One source of incentive financing could be the Amazon Fund, a United Nations REDD+ mechanism (the U.N. Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries). However, the Cerrado is not currently considered for such investments, because most of its land lies outside of Legal Amazonia, a Brazilian designation. Still, experts argue that the Cerrado should be a candidate for the Fund.According to Nathalie Walker, from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), a number of NGOs and strategic partners are indeed working on a strategy for “Aligning Capital,” to establish incentives, business models and financial mechanisms that reward actors that adopt deforestation-free production alternatives.Fires rage as native vegetation is cleared for new croplands. Farmlands don’t have anything close to the carbon storage capacity of Cerrado lands covered in native plants. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthAn animal skull revealed in the aftermath of a fire. Fire is often used as a tool for converting forests to croplands. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthRisk of companies opting-outNepstad, while critical of the Manifesto’s lack of farmer incentives, is also concerned that this kind of top-down corporate pledge could have serious unintended consequences. Namely, sustainably-minded companies could simply stop buying from overly contentious regions, like the Cerrado, out of fear for the potential negative PR consequences from continued business there.Other companies could then swoop in and take their place as commodities purchasers – companies with little or no commitment to slowing deforestation, and who show a complete disregard for environmental sustainability.Nepstad points out that “China is by far the biggest buyer of Brazilian soy, and right now they don’t give a rip” about the environment. China currently purchases a third of all soy produced in the Brazilian Cerrado, according to Trase, a sustainability tool developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute. Withdrawal of Cargill or Bunge might simply create a commodities vacuum which the Chinese would be all too willing to fill.Indeed, European customers currently make up 52 of the 62 companies that signed in support of the Cerrado Manifesto, with 26 from the Netherlands, 10 from the U.K., 6 in the U.S., 3 in Brazil, and the rest scattered among EU countries. China is notably absent.Despite these challenges, preservation of the Cerrado biome remains fundamental to the preservation of global biodiversity, to curbing global warming, and to limiting Brazilian water shortages. So it makes sense for conscientious commodities traders and retailers to use their purchasing power to drive positive change – working with the national, state and local governments to ensure that soy farmers and cattle ranchers don’t convert native vegetation to farmland, but expand their operations into already-cleared land.Many analysts agree that the Cerrado Manifesto is a useful innovation in curbing deforestation, but if it is to be effective, they say, it needs to be acted on swiftly, with traders leading the way.“The Cerrado is a region where win-wins for production and habitat protection are possible,” says an optimistic Nathalie Walker. “We’d like to see that possibility put into action.”Clarification: This story originally quoted a “representative of Rainforest Foundation Norway.” Those statements have now been attributed to Ida Breckan Claudi, Policy Adviser at Rainforest Foundation Norway.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.Mountain top clearance for soy, while fires rage behind. Brazil’s Supreme Court, in its March 2018 decision upholding the constitutionality of the Forest Code, legalized the clearance of steep slopes and hilltops for cultivation. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty EarthAn enormous cleared area in the midst of what was once Cerrado forest and native vegetation. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty Earthcenter_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

Mastering maths via Mxit

first_imgThe project has just been expanded to the Eastern Cape province, where KwaKomani Comprehensive School, Gill College, JS Skenjana High School, Kanise High School, George Mqalo High School and Victoria Girls High School have been chosen to take part. Criteria for the participating schools included general packet radio service network coverage in the area, a computer with internet connection for maths teachers, and most pupils should have GPRS-enabled phones. “The success of this project in these six schools will see it being rolled out in the entire province,” Kavuma said. According to chief education specialist Henry Kavuma, the project is being piloted in 30 schools around the country. “Each school from the 30 that were chosen has been provided with a kit which includes 10 mobile phones and training,” Kavuma said in a statement by the Eastern Cape Department of Education this week. 23 February 2010 SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material According to education specialist Henry Kavuma, the project, which allows grade 10 learners to access mathematics content and assessment exercises via MXit software on their mobile phones, will be a great success because learners nowadays spend hours of their free time on programmes like MXit. The South African government has teamed up with cellphone giant Nokia and publisher Pearson to develop the Imfundo Yam/Yethu project, which aims to get students more interested in mathematics through the use of popular instant messaging programme Mxit. GPRS network, ICT literacy Teachers must also have basic information communication technology (ICT) skills, such as being able to use e-mail programmes, word processors and spreadsheet programmes.last_img read more

Gujarat govt to conduct ‘yagna’ for good monsoons

first_imgAs water levels in reservoirs across Gujarat are dipping rapidly, the State government has decided not to take any chances with vagaries of monsoon. It is going to organise “Parjanya Yagna”, which, it believes, will ensure good rains. These rituals will be performed at 41 places in 33 districts and eight major cities on May 31. The ‘yagna’ will mark the culmination of the government’s water conservation drive ‘Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan,’ said Water Supply Minister Parbat Patel.“The government has decided to perform Parjanya Yagna so that we get good rains this time. Ministers will also take part in this endeavour, aimed at filling up the water bodies de-silted during the Jal Abhiyan,” said Mr. Patel. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said a yagna is an invite to the rain god. “As we have deepened several water bodies during this drive, we will now invite the rain god through this Yagna to fill them up,” Mr. Rupani told reporters at Dwarka. The Jal Abhiyan was launched on May 1, during which silt was removed from around 13,000 lakes and ponds and 32 rivers.Opposition Congress said the BJP government was seeking refuge in religious rituals to cover up its mismanagement.“Gujarat is reeling under acute water shortage because of the BJP government’s mismanagement. Like the Jal Abhiyan, this Yagna too is aimed at diverting people’s attention from the failures of this government to conserve water,” state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.last_img read more

Former Lady Eagles saddened by Ateneo-Bundit drama

first_imgThe former UAAP Best Setter gave nod to the contributions of the Thai coach to her career, saying that she wouldn’t be able to get to the level she’ isnow in if not for the hard practices Bundit subjected the Lady Eagles to.“I wouldn’t be where I am today if he didn’t coach us,” she said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutMichelle Morente also acknowledged multi-titled mentor’s huge part in helping her become one of the best opposite spikers in college today.“When I heard the news, I was saddened because we spent a lot of years together and I learned a lot from him,” she said. “I’m so thankful to him because I know I improved a lot as a player. I got my physical and mental toughness from him.” For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Middle blocker Aerieal Patnongon, meanwhile, will always be grateful for Bundit for helping them reaching greater heights, especially with their breakthrough title in 2014.“Coach Tai gave me one of my most memorable moments in college which is to be a part of Ateneo’s history as we won the school’s first women’s volleyball championship. Though we had a love-hate relationship, I still loved and respected him despite all the pains we had to endure during training, some of which even made me cry,” she said.With Bundit at the helm, Ateneo was able to go to four Finals appearances and win the UAAP titles in Seasons 76 and 77.He has reportedly been at odds with the current group of Lady Eagles, with the main issue stemming from the bench tactician’s hard practices.Ateneo president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ had already stepped in to find a resolution to both parties, with the amiable priest saying that Bundit is still the team’s coach.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Coach Lue says Cavs’ losses ‘unacceptable’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMembers of Ateneo’s back-to-back women’s volleyball champion teams couldn’t help but feel sad following the reported rift between coach Tai Bundit and the current Lady Eagles.“Of course, it’s sad because he really gave a lot for the school,” said setter Jia Morado.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

Bonded for life

first_imgMy Brother & IYou don’t need to be a twin to feel especially close to a sibling. There have been times when my brother, Anil, (43,and a doctor settled in Hyderabad) and I have had no contact with each other for months – but have somehow known just when to call each other. ‘I had a feeling – at the back of my mind – that I needed to speak with you,’ he’s said to me innumerable times always to have me promptly break into tears because something had been bothering me. It has happened again and again, even in the time that he was studying in the US and I was living away from home in Kodaikanal. (Tamil Nadu) We are only three years apart and have shared a troubled childhood through which he’s done his best to protect me and vice-versa. But we weren’t especially close to begin with; we didn’t have a “real” conversation till quite late. The turning point in our relationship came the night our mother died. He was 22 and I, 19. We were shattered – we had no language, no words to articulate that feeling of unreality that had set in; that utter and somewhat unmitigated feeling of being abandoned. We kept looking at our father who was surrounded by his siblings and was talking his way through his own grief. And we turned to each other in the only way that siblings do – irrevocably.Anil rented a whole lot of brainless, Hollywood action films, came home and took me by my arm to the TV room, and we watched movies all night. We couldn’t sleep – not for any extended periods of time, we didn’t know what to say to each other but just being in the same physical space was somehow reassuring. We would fall into bouts of fitful slumber and wake up to the other talking about what had happened in the interim – as if it was important. It just helped to be able to hear each others’ voices. And so the most difficult night of our lives passed…A Bond, Quite ApartShared happiness is fleeting while shared traumas forge a bond that’s immutable – the loss of a parent is an equal loss in a sibling relationship.There is no other person who felt thee devastation quite like the two of us did when we lost our mother. Yet we were, and are, so different. Most sibling relationships are a bit like a lava lamp- two disparate elements in one container that are connected by the electricity of shared memories and traumas. The magic bubbles up in common history, a jigsaw puzzle of memories . The missing pieces of which are in the others mind.My Sister, My FriendPreeti Ray, a yoga enthusiast and middle sibling of three sisters from Bangalore says,”As we were growing up, there was never any need to go out and seek other friends . My best friend was my sister,” Neeti who now lives in Bhubaneswar. This when they are very different as people, Neeti, was the good girl, while I was completely bindaas. They filled each others lives in ways that other friends could never do. Their younger sister Keerti, who lives in Hyderabad, is nine years younger than me, so both of us tended to mother her a little but as we grew older and she hit her 30s, we forged a more equal relationship. Keerti is the official keeper of the family memories and dotes on her nieces and nephew. My son Rijul relates to her more as an equal than an aunt,laughs Preeti. Despite the age difference, Keerti helps keep them together, through times serious and light. She’s so good with imitating people and mimicry . All our family gatherings have to have her doing some impression or the other. We’re all just rolling on the floor with laughter. Eccentric aunts, redoubtable relatives, you name it, she can do it!My Brother’s Best!Sometimes the relationship is so special that there aren’t any words to describe it. Swati Thakur, 40, gets a glow on her face when she talks about her brother Umesh Desai who is two years older. She says, “We’re very close and we are there for each other?c Thinking back, I am mortified that I hung on his coat tails for so long!”. She says that everything Umesh decreed was good for her and if he turned his back on something so did she. In solidarity with utter and absolute faith that he knew best! And this when he was just two years older.”I wonder if I bugged him. He was the arbitrator of good taste, music, books, sports and what have you. I watch far more sports channels than any other woman I know and that’s entirely because of my brother,” she says. She talks of a time when she would call him and cry because the team that she had been supporting . in whatever sport . had lost! They were each others’ confidants and friends through crushes and careers. That’s true for me too. My world view has a definite Anil slant to it . He seems to read the same newspapers that I do , but what he gets out of them is so much more than the arid bits of information that I glean. By the time I’ve figured out that there is a particular political movement or trend in society underway, Anil has already figured out the ins and outs of it and knows the trajectory it will follow.When I was doing a stint as an editorial consultant with a local magazine for the first time, I would religiously call up my brother for fodder for my editorial. Every other relationship in the world is different from the one that you share with your sibling; your relationship with your parent comes with the intrinsic authority, the one with your spouse is a social construct that you chose, as are the ones with your friends, peers and co-workers… Each type of relationship comes with its own level of expectations and limitations. Dr Anuradha Reany, a neuropsychiatrist from Hyderabad points out that while every other relationship (except that with your parents) can and sometimes dissolve, there is no such dissolution for siblings. You can fall out but you cannot divorce a sibling. The effects of an emotionally distant sibling relationship is far more devastating because there is absolutely no dissolution of the physical connect. This bonding despite differences is sometimes reflected in the more thinking movies. For example, in the film No One Killed Jessica (based on a true story), the very different older sibling, is devastated by the murder of her younger, ebullient and vivacious sister, and goes all out to bring her killer to justice.While the movie focuses on the pursuit of justice, the side story, and a very strong one, is the one of sibling bonding through differences.Comfort And SafetyThe feeling of the ever present safety net, the one person that you can always count on, is singular to siblings. “When we talk of unconditional love and understanding, I think we get it only from our siblings,” says Preeti. There are very few people in the world that you can call and start a conversation midsentence and they’ll get you. Kamini Mathai, a Chennai-based mother of two and the elder by 111.2 months of two siblings completely agrees. She adds that since she wasn’t so good with people while her brother was socially adept, all his friends became her friends too. In fact her son’s piano teacher is her brother’s friend’s wife. So the circle enclosing her life in its warm approval was created for her by her brother today. Anith Mathai, 32 works on a Virtual Soldier Programme in Iowa. He’s the only guy I know who’s been playing with soldiers from when he was a child and still hasn’t stopped,’ quips his sister. Kamini’s reminiscences of her life – like all of us Preeti, Swati, and me – have this sustaining thread of her sibling(s) through it all. We are but the stories that make up our lives. Anith got his entire class to vote his sister into the school cabinet, ‘I never knew he did that till my mom told me about it much later. My brother and I learnt to love movies together, and nearly all of our childhood truly reminds me of reenactments of film scenes. One memory stands out among all others – we’d both sit in the foot well of the old-fashioned peddle rickshaws with our mom sitting in the middle of the seat and loudly sing the hit Sholay number, “Yeh Dosti? hum nahin choodhenge?.”, much to our mum’s embarrassment.’Beyond DifferencesVera de Jong, a Canadian artist who lives in Kodaikanal, is the sixth of seven siblings. ‘Each of whom has a different world view, and take on things. One brother, Ed, is an ardent Bahai and another brother, Jerry, is a scientist and they clash spectacularly about their differences of opinion – never losing that inherent and very basic bond they share. My other brother Frank is a school teacher and also a Green Party candidate in Ontario. He for his part, brings an entirely different perspective on anything to the table. When we get together we talk up a storm. We have so much to say to each other – so much to discuss and delve into. The de Jong gatherings are never quiet – we don’t know how to do quiet !’ she laughs. The siblings are spread across three continents – the majority in Ontario, while Jerry is in Netherlands and Vera lives in India. But there is no dearth of communication – they’ve jumped on every technological band wagon and Skype and G-chat often. This apart from a flurry of emails and articles that are sent and discussed endlessly on their family website. So this is about sibling love, revelry and sometimes rivalry. But through it this is one relationship for keeps, through good and not so good times.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementBonded for lifeInvolve Them In Your World: Make an effort to stay in touch with your sibling; sometimes your relationship can slip up easily, thanksto the busy pace of life in urban India. Unlike friends, siblings don’t have to be of the same age to click with each other? Also another good part is that they can be siblings when needed and friends otherwise! Unconditional love apart, siblings are the best bet to share secrets with. You always have this one member of the family who knows all about you. And you don’t mind. So make that call, send that sms or email, whenever you can. It’s Worth The Effort: Unlike your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your sibling is like a reflex action – you are born with it. Childhood pangs of jealousy usually give way to a mature closeness. Emotional investment in your sibling is bound to bring you rich dividends – warmth, care and companionship especially as you grow older.Don’t Let Gender Be An Issue: It doesn’t matter if you have a brother or sister. You can still be best friends with your sibling. Remember protectiveness is different from possessiveness and an elder brother can be as useful as a man friend in guiding you.Revisit “talk-points”: Every set of siblings that I have known, share their own special “talk points”. It could be something that they both enjoyed as a family or childhood stories that no friend will identify with. These talk points also work to cement your bond. Don’t let go off this habit – share your good times and bad. It will bring you closer.Beyond Bullying: Remember it’s fine to be pampered if you are the younger one, but things will even out as you grow up. Your elder sister might still bully you in front of your children, but you should no that deep down she is there for you no matter what and how you goof up.Make Room For Differences: Chances are that you have had your worst fight ever with him/her but it is also true he/she has seen you at your best. Accept the fact that you will have differences always, yet make room for each other whenever possible. It’s worth it.Accept Their Other Ties: If you have a sibling of your own age, chances are that he/she is married too. Make an effort to mingle with his/her spouse ; this won’t come automatically like the bond you share with your sibling. It’s okay to be initially apprehensive of your sibling’s new world, just like they were of yours, but with time, things will settle down. Also, be mature enough to understand that his/her love for you will never diminish, she/ he will still remain your midnightfriend, who is always there.last_img read more

Plan, pack and get out there!

first_imgSoul connect AaliaAalia is a secret hidden deep in the quiet countryside of Haridwar. About 12 kilometres away from the city, this beautiful property provides the perfect solace to those looking to find peace away from the metropolitans. Aalia is one of the only few luxury hotels in Haridwar, with,Soul connect AaliaAalia is a secret hidden deep in the quiet countryside of Haridwar. About 12 kilometres away from the city, this beautiful property provides the perfect solace to those looking to find peace away from the metropolitans. Aalia is one of the only few luxury hotels in Haridwar, with its 12 villas fully equipped with modern amenities and perfectly manicured gardens.However, it was the resort’s private riverbed that took our breath away. We chose one of the river-facing villas and spent our early mornings and evenings looking at the pure, white and serene waters of the Ganges flowing right in front of our eyes. Complete bliss. We feel you could spend your days at Aalia doing just that. But if you’re one of those who love the adrenaline rush, then take an all-terrain bike from the resort and go zooming on the riverbed. Or you could go back to your school days with a game of foosball, table tennis and badminton or laze around in the cool waters of the pool.And after all this is done, go for a yoga and pranayama class organised by the resort. Also make it a point to pamper yourself at the spa-a little space with just two therapy rooms but some wonderfully trained therapists. Even a trip to the spa can make your holiday worthwhile here. At Near Rajaji National Park,Chila Range, Haridwar Tel 47077520 (for reservations) Tariff Rs 8,000 per night Insider’s Tip Haridwar is known for it’s ganga aarti, and we suggest you skip the fancy aarti held at the resort’s riverbed and head to the ghats instead. Around Town White water Rafting at RishikeshadvertisementGetting thereTake the Dehradun Shahtabdi from New Delhi Railway Station, or drive down on NH 58, a five-hour ride to Haridwar. Distance from Delhi 220 Kms.By Rewati RauRock n’ river Soulitude by the riversideAt Soulitude bythe Riverside in thepicturesque village of Chanfi, you’re kept companyby the birds, the sound of a gushing and playful Kalsa River, and a warm and courteous staff of 15. After a 1.2 km (30-minute) trek, whichinvolves crossing the river several times, and hence unsuitable for very young children or the elderly, the property seems like an oasis in themiddle of wilderness, preserving nature and setting the mood for arelaxed holiday.The carefully designed and well-thought-ofambience of Soulitude resembles a home, but the rustic-style rooms andcottages are fully equipped with all the luxuries of a fine vacationfarmhouse. Ample attention has been given to every small detail and itis hard to imagine how everything must have been brought over on footdue to the resort’s inaccessibility by car. There is plenty of time toidle about the fishpond sipping endless cups of the refreshing lemongrass tea, spend hours lost in a book on the simple, stark balconies, or sit by the riverside with feet dipped in the water.If you feel like it (though it might be hard to shake off the laziness that setsupon you), you can take a short, one km trek to Parital waterfall. Liedown on the huge rocks that surround the waterfall and be gently lulledinto a nap by the sound of gushing water. Back in the resort, you canenjoy the deliciously simple food, in tune with the rustic surroundings. Because Soulitude is a working farm, a large part of vegetables,lentils, fruits and herbs are grown on the property. The placedefinitely redefines “solitude” and not just in spelling. At ChanfiVillage, Kalsa River, Distt. Nainital, Uttarakhand Tel 9999330379 Tariff Rs 8,000 onwards Insider’s Tip Plan your trip during the full moon tosee the breathtaking landscape bathed in white light. Around Town Treks, bird watchingGetting thereTake the Anand Vihar KathgodamShatabdi Express or drive for 7 hours via Hapur, Gajraula, Moradabad,Rampur, Bilaspur, Rudrapur, Haldwani, Kathgodam, Bhimtal. Distance fromDelhi 305 KmsBy Kavyanjali KaushikSpiritual Reconnect Pushkar resortPushkar may not be the first place that comes to mind for a weekend getaway inthis heat. But this spiritual city is worth checking out anytime of theyear. After a six-hour train journey and a 45-minute drive, we arrivedat Sewara Group’s Pushkar Resort. Situated on the outskirts of thecity, things change as you near the resort.a narrow and lush green road, surrounded by the Aravallis, makes you wonder if you’re still inRajasthan. Sprawled across 32 acres of verdant greens, the resort hasindependent cottages, which, though not luxurious, make for acomfortable stay.After sleeping it off through the afternoon,we were geared for our outdoor dinner, accompanied by a folk danceperformance. Recreating the magic of Royal Rajasthan. With an aim towake up early and trek up to Savitri temple, located a few kilometresfrom the property, we called in the night soon. Mornings at Pushkar areas pleasant as the evenings and you will find abundant birds flock hereat this hour. The temple makes for a great photo-op with an overview ofPushkar Lake and the city.Make sure you walk downhill beforethe sun is out in full bloom. After a quick shower, we spent the nextfew hours lazing around on the property. Our kafila arrived, just as the sun went down. The resort organises a kafila ride through the mini sand dunes.bumpy, but magical. Just as you near the sand dunes a mysticalaura is created by the young musicians who walk around the area playing a sarangi, trying to earn a buck or two. A picturesque sight with thehills on one side and barren land on the other, the music echos in theforefront as the sun sets in the backdrop.advertisementAt Pushkar Resort,Pushkar For Bookings 26494531/32 Tariff Rs 5,000 per night onwards,including taxes and breakfast Insider’s Tip Make sure you discuss youritinerary with the hotel staff in advance to avoid disappointment onreaching there. Around Town Treks, bird watching, Kafila rides, PushkarLake, rose factoryGetting thereBoard the Delhi-AjmerShatabdi Express, followed by a 45-minute drive to Pushkar, or drivedown on NH 8, a nearly 9-hour journey to Pushkar. Distance from Delhi355 KmsBy Ekta MarwahaHome away from homeItmenaan EstateThis is worth a visit if you want a break from the hectic urbania. Locatedin the lap of the Kumaon Himalayas is this lesser-known getaway calledItmenaan Estate. The 10-acre estate includes virgin pine, rhododendronand oak trees; terraced fields and a small, perennial natural spring.Itmenaan is known for its hospitality and the experiences it creates,most of which are in isolation and likewise this property too is located deep within a valley, away from the madness of the city. A threehourdrive from Kathgodam to Chalnichina is followed by a 20-minute walk tothe estate. A sense of calm sets in just as you get here.We were welcomed with a refreshing glass of fresh mango-mint juice and thenshown our cottage. Built to recreate the traditional Kumaoni style stone houses, the rooms look rustic from outside but are well equipped andcomfortable. Take a leisure walk around the property, pluck some freshfruits which are grown in abundance here, or gaze at the beautifulsnowclad peaks of the Nanda Devi, visible on a clear day. Our host,naturalistcum-manager Partho, helped us in spotting birds, enlightenedus about the local Kumaoni culture and helped us plan our treks aroundthe estate. The chef will amaze you with his creativity by recreatingcontinental dishes with his own twist, using inhouse produce and herbs.At Village Naugaon, Tehsil Bhanoli, District Almora Tel 9818705508 TariffRs 7,000 onwards Insider’s Tip Carry proper trekking shoes, and planyour visit for a minimum three days as there’s plenty to see and do.Around Town Treks, bird watching (don’t miss the Blue Magpie), Jageshwar temple. Getting ThereTake the Kathgodam Shatabdi Express followed by a three-hour drive to Itmenaan Estate.Distance from Delhi- 375 kmadvertisementBy Ekta MarwahaThe Walls say it all VivaanaAn orange Ambassador stands pretty outside this property, as if welcomingyou to an era gone past. The wall illustrated with paintings isintriguing and urges you to peek inside. Behind the heavy brown doorslie a different world of heritage, culture and memories. Located in anancient village called Churi Ajitgarh, Vivaana is a beautifully restored 19th century haveli, meant to give travellers a peek into an oldRajasthan. Tucked away in Shekhawati, a region famous for its oldhavelis with frescoes or painted walls, Vivaana is a fascinatingretreat, just six hours from Delhi.The haveli is captivating,adorned with fascinating paintings, depicting Lord Krishna’s flirtations with the gopis and his romance with Radha, both on the exterior andinterior. The 23 rooms are also done up traditionally, but with all themodern amenities in place. Carved wooden doors and windows, andartifacts scattered all around, make it an experience to live here.While all rooms are pretty, the piece de resistance is the largecouple’s room with frescoes all over the walls. And to make your holiday complete, the resort has a swimming pool, a spa and board games. Makebest of your holiday at Vivaana by spending time at their fresco lounge, reading about their property or taking a camel ride across the village. Take a day out to go to Mandawa (10 kms) and do a photo session at themarvellous havelis adorned with frescos.At Churi Ajitgarh,Mandawa, Rajasthan Tel 01592275164 Tariff Rs 7,000 per night onwardsInsider’s Tip Refrain from going during off-season. The service tends to get terribly slow and unenthusiastic. Around Town Mandawa, Jhunjhunuand Sikar.Getting thereTake a train to jhunjhunu or drive through nh 8, and you will be at vivaana in 6 hours.Distance from Delhi-260 km.By Rewati RauInto the wild Whispering PinesTrekking through terrace farms, catching the sunset sitting in your tent,enjoying a bonfire late into the night, not having a mobile network fordays-these are just some of the highlights of Whispering Pines,Dhanolti. As you leave behind the hustle and bustle of Mussoorie (25 kms away), and reach the much quieter and less commercialised Dhanolti, you discover the true meaning of an “off-beat getaway”. But what you get is stunning views of snow-capped Himalayas (weather gods permitting) andgreen-laden valleys, rejuvenating peace, and many adventurous trekkingtrails. Whispering Pines, probably one of the highest adventure resortsat 8,300 feet, is perched, rather precariously, atop a side of themountain which is hidden away from rest of Dhanolti.Evenexperienced drivers eye the sharp cut and steep road reaching theproperty suspiciously, but once there, you realise there is no reason to return to the mainland till your visit ends. The well-landscapedproperty has deluxe and superdeluxe tents (exactly the same as deluxetents, but they come with an attached bathroom), which are just aboutenough for two adults or a small family. They are comfortable with aplug point, a kerosene lamp, a small table and a bed, but you forget the necessities once you stare out at the magnificent Himalayas risingabove you and the sun going down behind them. Once there, you can go for moonlight treks, rock climbing, mountain biking and many otheradventurous activities. Resources are limited (even hot water forbathing has to be boiled in the kitchen), but the courteous staff morethan makes your stay comfortable.At Jwarna, PO Kanatal, OffMussoorie-Chamba Road, Dhanolti, district Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand Tel 9897684867 Tariff Safari tents start at Rs 3,099 (with breakfast)Insider’s Tip Tehri Dam, one of the highest dams in the world, is justan hour’s drive from Dhanolti, which not many tourists realise. Don’tmiss out on the chance to check out this fascinating structure. AroundTown Dhanolti Eco Park, Surkanda Devi Temple.Getting thereEight-hour drive from Delhi via NH 58. Or take the Dehradun Shatabdi to Dehradunor Rishikesh and drive down to Whispering Pines from the station.Distance from delhi-295 kmBy Kavyanjali KaushikRooftop romance Te ArohaWhite walls, yellow rooftops, red bricks, purple flowers and blue birds-TeAroha is a fairytale abode. It’s here that you can fall in love againwith yourself, your partner, nature or life. And that’s why the name TeAroha, which means a ‘place of love’ in Maori language. Perched on ahilltop in the nondescript village of Dhanachulli, Te Aroha is a labourof love and it shows in every nook and corner of the property. Choose to take any one of its 12 rooms, and you’re sure to find somethingfascinating. Be it the four poster beds, the period furniture, thecarefully chosen upholstery or the dim lighting, every room here looksstraight out of a Victorian fairytale.At Te Aroha, life seems to stand still. You could spend days lazing around the rooms or sippingcoffee marvelling at the larger-than-life mountains. Evenings are forcurling up with a book from the resort’s library even as some greatmusic plays in the background. Early mornings are not meant to be spentin the bed here though. Soak in the beauty of the crimson sun risingfrom behind the mountains as you take a walk down the village and soakin the rustic beauty. Meals at Te Aroha are a simple affair. You canchoose to eat in the dining area or sit outside, gazing at the greenmountains The chef whips up intersting Indian and Continental delicacies from the fresh vegetables grown in the region. The typical Kumaoni meal is often cooked and served lovingly by the staff who are all localsfrom the nearby villages. Despite the quiet, there’s never a dull moment at Te Aroha for those who love all things peaceful.AtDhanachuli Bend, Near Mukteshwar Tehsil Dhari, District Nainital,Uttarakhand Tel 8755080736 Tariff Rs 5,900 onwards Around TownWalks toDhanachuli Village, Day trips to Naainital, Mukhteshwar, RanikhetInsider’s Tip There’s a lot of climbing up and down in the property. Not a great idea for the elderly or very young children.Getting ThereTake the Kathgodam Shatabdi to followed by a one-and-a-half hour drive to Te Aroha.Distance from delhi-325 KmsBy Rewati RauOld world charm the claridges Nabha residenceOnce upon a time this was a summer retreat for the erstwhile Maharaja ofNabha. But, today it’s an ideal holiday destination for those who wantto visit the most frequented hill station, Mussoorie but are looking for some quite away from the chitter-chatter of the city. The ClaridgesNabha Residence is a cosy conclave set amidst 13 acres of private cedarand silver oak forest. We got there in time for lunch, and starving,walked straight to their dining room The Pavilion. The corridors leading to the restaurant remind you of a bygone era with huge chandeliershanging off the ceiling, vintage architecture and black and whitephotographs of the Royal family.The rooms are simple and chicwith some reminiscence of the years gone by. Take leisurely walks around the property or challenge yourself on the trekking trails around. Forsports enthusiasts, there’s a huge tennis and basketball court alongwith an indoor play area that has everything from table tennis to a play station. We spent the next few hours sweating it out on the courts andlater pampered ourselves with an indulgent spa session. We started thenext day with a ‘nature walk’ on the property-narrow pathways cutthrough the forest. Nothing difficult about this one, but it sure isexciting for those who haven’t been on treks, or in such foliage before.At Airfield Barlowgunj, Mussoorie Tel 01352631426 Tariff Rs 10,000 onwards Insider’s Tip Take time out and go through picture books at theirlibrary. Around Town Avoid the chaotic Mall and drive up to Lal Tibba to enjoy the weather and site seeing. Make sure you look at the snowcovered Himalayan peaks through binoculars, walk around Sisters Bazaarand visit Prakash Store that sells delicious homemade jams and peanutbutter. You might even bump into the famous Ruskin Bond here!Getting ThereTake the Delhi-Dehradun Shatabdi Express, followed by an hour-long car ride to The Claridges Nabha Residence.Distance from delhi-270 kmBy Ekta Marwahalast_img read more