Inflated quotas for captive-bred wildlife in Indonesia may aid traffickers: report

first_imgIndonesia’s captive breeding plan is meant to enable the legal wildlife trade while protecting the country’s natural riches, including its incredible biodiversity.But “unrealistically high” quotas for the maximum production of certain species in the plan are likely being taken advantage of by wildlife traffickers, according to a new study.The Indonesian environment ministry official in charge of setting the quotas says his department has audited the country’s breeding centers to ensure their professionalism and quality. JAKARTA — Inflated quotas for breeding animals in Indonesia’s commercial conservation facilities appear to be fueling the illegal wildlife trade, according to a new study by TRAFFIC, an NGO.To supply markets at home and abroad, the archipelago country sets per-species quotas for the numbers of both wild-caught and captive-bred specimens that can be legally sold. But the latter are “unrealistically high” for 61 species, creating loopholes for traffickers to fraudulently report animals they catch as captive bred. To arrive at their findings, the researchers compared biological parameters used in the Indonesian quotas with published ones from hundreds of books, journals and magazines.“For many species, quotas are much higher than what top-notch breeding facilities can realistically produce, and these quotas may be exploited to launder wild-sourced specimens,” according to the study, published earlier this month in Conservation Biology.In one example, Indonesia’s captive breeding plan allows white-lipped tree frogs (Litoria infrafrenata) to be harvested at 67 times the rate the species can produce naturally. The creature is a popular pet.Some companies are allocated quotas for captive-bred specimens of species with no breeding stock reportedly present at any breeding facilities The earless monitor (Lanthanotus borneensis) and Southeast Asian box turtle (Cuora amboinensis) fall under this category.“That a captive breeding quota has been allocated with no pre-existing breeding stock raises serious concerns that reportedly captive-bred earless monitor may have been taken from the wild,” the report said.Last year, Indonesia allotted harvesting of more than 4.2 million captive-bred animals of 129 mammal, reptile and amphibians to 13 registered facilities.Evidence of wildlife laundering already exists for some species in Indonesia. A 2011 study asserted that nearly 80 percent of 5,337 green tree pythons (Morelia viridis) exported from its breeding facilities from 2009 to 2011 were in fact caught in eastern Indonesia.“The current approach to setting quotas for the captive-bred pet trade is a conservation concern posing a serious threat to the conservation of Indonesian wildlife, as a false sense of sustainability is established when wildlife is laundered through breeding facilities,” the report said.A white-lipped tree frog. Photo by Hans de Bisschop/Flickr.Wiratno, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, is the newly appointed head of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry department that sets the quotas. While he was not involved in setting out the 2016 breeding plan, he said in an interview, he accepts the TRAFFIC report as constructive criticism.Still, he said that breeding facilities did not abuse the 2016 since they ultimately exported less than half of their allocated quotas.“We have audited these breeding centers to ensure their professionalism and the quality of the captive-bred species,” Wiratno said.Regular checks and surprise raids by are among the ways that the ministry monitors the nation’s breeding facilities, he added. His office has involved experts from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and other institutions to design a new plan for the coming years.“This [TRAFFIC] report serves as an input for me,” he said. “I want to run an office that applies clean and open governance, so everyone must be prepared to be evaluated by anybody and data must be published for the public.”Indonesia has been labeled as an epicenter for illegal wildlife trade in reptiles and amphibians. President Joko Widodo has put the fight against illegal wildlife trade as a top conservation priority in his administration. Banner image: Native to northern Borneo, the earless monitor lizard is a semi-aquatic brown 8-inch-long lizard. And yes, it lacks external ears. Photo by Chien C. Lee, Wild Borneo Photography/Wikimedia Commons. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by mongabayauthor Animals, Biodiversity, Captive Breeding, Conservation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Pet Trade, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking last_img read more

Chainsaws imperil an old-growth mangrove stronghold in southern Myanmar

first_imgTanintharyi, Myanmar’s southern-most state, is home to the country’s last remaining old-growth mangrove forest. The trees support village life and a booming fishing industry up and down the coast.But logging for charcoal and fuel wood, much of it illegal, is taking a toll. Studies show that roughly two-thirds of the region’s remaining mangrove forests have been degraded, with consequences for people and wildlife.Conservationists are attempting to expand community forestry and set up mangrove reserves to combat the widespread degradation. TANINTHARYI, Myanmar — When viewed from the bow of a boat, the shoreline near the city of Myeik in southern Myanmar is all green. In every direction, low-slung mangroves blanket the horizon, their trunks submerged under several feet of water at high tide. The trees anchor a sprawling landscape that supports village life and a booming fishing industry up and down the shoreline of Tanintharyi, Myanmar’s southernmost state. But in many places, what appears green and lush from a distance disguises a landscape in peril.Christoph Zockler, an ornithologist with the German foundation Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection, has seen this up close. He first traveled through this labyrinth of coastal islands and mudflats in 2013 in search of shorebirds. In November of 2016, in collaboration with the U.K.-based NGO Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Zockler and a team of researchers from Myeik launched a 12-day expedition of coastal Tanintharyi by boat, sleeping on board and, when the tides allowed, camping on shore. The team cataloged otters, dolphins, vast swarms of crabs at low tide, a wide variety of fish and more than 200 species of birds, including the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea), of which no more than 600 likely remain on Earth.But among the marine wildlife and endangered bird sightings, the team also observed human activity that is putting the future of the mangroves in jeopardy. At 16 of the 20 locations they visited, they witnessed logging with chainsaws: large old-growth trees chopped at the base; boats stacked high with logs destined for the furnaces of factories in Myeik, other cities in Myanmar, and even Thailand. In many cases, only saplings were left behind.For a region that holds Myanmar’s last remaining old-growth mangrove forest, the rapidity and breadth of the destruction was shocking, Zockler said. “These mangroves are like nothing anywhere else in the country, in maturity, in stature, in ecological integrity,” he said. “But I don’t know for how long. The clock is ticking and the pressure is enormous.”Data source: Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA, accessed through Global Forest Watch. Satellite imagery from Planet Labs.According to data from the University of Maryland, the municipality of Myeik lost around 16 percent of its tree cover between 2001 and 2016 — mostly from mangroves. Satellite images from the San Francisco-based company Planet Labs show that mangrove deforestation continued in 2017, particularly in the southeastern portion of the region. However, other research shows that that kind of outright forest loss is actually less common in the area than low-grade forest degradation, which happens when larger, more valuable trees are cut from a forest but smaller trees are left behind. Forest degradation can be subtle and hard to detect.In an unpublished 2016 study, Anna Stephani, a graduate student at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, and several colleagues used satellite images to examine degrees of mangrove loss in the area around Myeik and further south. They characterized just 22 percent of the forest as “intact to slightly degraded,” a category that consisted of old-growth forest that was either untouched or logged lightly enough that it could still regenerate easily. A full 45 percent of the remaining forest she classified as “degraded,” and 18 percent as “heavily degraded.” Another study, conducted across the entirety of Tanintharyi by a team from FFI and the U.S.-based Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, found that 66 percent of the region’s mangroves were degraded and just 34 percent remained intact.The level of deforestation has conservationists concerned that Tanintharyi’s mangroves could soon meet the same fate as those of the Irrawaddy Delta, a vast, populous area to the north where human activity has decimated once plentiful mangroves. Located near Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, the delta has lost more than 80 percent of its mangroves over the past three decades. The destruction has been so widespread that international organizations are considering a plan to replant mangroves throughout the delta using drones. The forests that remain are severely degraded, said Zockler.The effects of the loss on people have been tremendous, highlighted by Cyclone Nargis, which plowed through the low-lying delta in 2008 and killed 140,000 people. Had more of the mangrove forest been preserved, experts believe thousands of deaths could have been prevented.last_img read more

In a Papuan district, tribes push to revive a legacy of sustainability

first_imgActivism, Community Forests, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Environment, Environmental Activism, Forest People, Forests, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Rainforest Conservation Article published by Basten Gokkon Two tribes in the foothills of the Cyclops Mountains in eastern Indonesia have ratified a village regulation that aims to formalize their age-old traditions of sustainable forestry, farming and fishing.Though practiced for generations, the traditions have increasingly been abandoned in favor of higher-yield — but destructive — practices such as indiscriminate logging and blast fishing.The new regulation stipulates customary fines on top of those imposed under national legislation, which the tribes say the government must do more to enforce. JAYAPURA, Indonesia — On a sunny afternoon in early August, two tribal chiefs in northern Papua province, at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, met to formalize the system of sustainable farming, forestry and fishing that their communities had practiced for generations.There was a sense of urgency to the meeting of the two chiefs, known locally as ondoafi, whose people have for decades depended on the natural resources from the land and sea in their homeland at the foot of the Cyclops Mountains, but whose traditions have begun to flag.“We must establish this regulation so that no one will carelessly take something from nature, especially the Cyclops Mountains,” said Yafet Ikari, the ondoafi of Ormu Wari village.Residents of Ormu Wari village discuss the village regulation on sustainable practices. Photo by Ronald Kapisa/Mongabay-Indonesia.It may have seemed a redundant point to emphasize to the people of Ormu Wari, whose environmentally sustainable way of life was hailed as far back as 1983 by the Indonesian government, which bestowed on them an award for their efforts to conserve nature. The villagers are also known to practice herbal medicine using locally sourced plants, which they incorporate into their traditional rituals and culture.But it wasn’t until six years later, when a devastating flood hit the region, that it became clear not everyone was abiding by the age-old traditions. The flooding, Yafet said, was exacerbated by reckless clearing of land uphill by parties “who dismissed just like that the rules that had been handed down since the time of our forefathers.”A similar disregard for convention was also blamed for the overhunting of birds-of-paradise, for which Papua is famous.With the formalization of these ancient wisdoms in the shape of a village regulation, Yafet hopes to restore the once deeply held respect that the people had for local customs. Under the regulation, violators will be liable to pay a fine in the form of a tomako — a traditional stone axe — and up to 25 million rupiah ($1,750) in cash. This is on top of any punishment stipulated under Indonesia’s natural resources conservation law, which can impose jail sentences of up to five years and fines of up to 100 million rupiah.The other ondoafi, Gustaf Toto from Nechiebe village, said protecting the Cyclops Mountains — which cover 314 square kilometers (121 square miles) and comprise primary and secondary dryland forests — was a cause that had been passed down through the generations. The village deems the landscape sacred as it was part of their ancestors’ lives.Tribal elders and local officials at Nechiebe village are backing a village regulation on sustainable management of the natural resources at the foot of Cyclops Mountains, where their homes are located. Photo by Christopel Paino/Mongabay-Indonesia.“Our customs oblige us to never clear land for a plantation in such a way that it damages the forests,” Gustaf said.The ban on destructive activities also extends to the region’s Pacific coast, which some of the Nechiebe people ply as fishermen. Here, their customary laws bar them from blast fishing or cyanide fishing, and prohibit the catching of turtles, sea cucumbers and lobsters. The villagers also observe a ritual known as sasi laut, in which fishing activities are suspended for a period to prevent overfishing.“Nechiebe village has a lot of potential in natural resources from the land, coast and sea,” Gustaf said.The problem, though, is the lack of support from the local government, he said. He cited an instance when the villagers caught and reported a fisherman for blast fishing, which had damaged the surrounding coral reef. The local authorities, however, took no action against the perpetrator.“My hope is for this village regulation on the management of natural resources in the Cyclops Mountains to be implemented by all stakeholders — not only the people of this village, but also those living outside,” Gustaf said.This story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and was first published here, here, and here on our Indonesian site on Aug. 30, Sept. 2 and Oct. 18, 2017.Banner image: A richly forested beach in Nechiebe village in Ravenirara district, Papua province. Photo for Mongabay-Indonesia.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.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Gaza City residents’ water problems continue to compound

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Oceans, Saltwater Fish, Water, Water Crisis, Water Pollution, Water Scarcity Article published by Genevieve Belmakercenter_img Locked between increasingly-polluted seascape and the borders of one of the most tightly-controlled enclaves in the world, Gaza City residents say the water has become so polluted they can no longer go swimming.Situated at the borders of Egypt, Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea, Gaza’s 2 million residents fear that an ongoing electricity crisis has pushed their maritime ecosystem past the brink.80 percent of Gaza’s Mediterranean Sea coastline is thought to be polluted and families who used to rely on it for livelihoods and leisure now fear its waters. GAZA CITY – Red-faced and with his hair still wet, Hani Abu Amirah’s grandson sobbed as he shuffled over to where she sat, looking out on the Mediterranean Sea from Gaza’s Shati refugee camp.The boy’s distress stemmed from his decision to go swimming a little earlier that morning, one that incurred his father’s wrath when he was yanked out of the water and beaten for disobeying orders to stay away from the sea. A year ago, that childlike act of enjoyment would have gone unnoticed but today 80 percent of Gaza’s Mediterranean Sea coastline is thought to be polluted and families who used to rely on it for livelihoods and leisure now fear its waters.“The sea is a part of us, the sea is our life,” said Abu Amirah, 56, who still spends her days sitting by the beach with her grandchildren – even if she struggles to find the same pleasure she once did. “But the pollution affects us now, [the smell of sewage means] we cannot even sit here properly anymore…we banned the children from going down there.”Hani Abu Amirah, 56, watches the Mediterranean Sea with her grandchildren from outside her home in Gaza’s Shati refugee camp. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.Through three wars and a decade of blockade by Israel and Egypt, the Mediterranean has given an escape to 2 million Gazans living in the Palestinian enclave lodged between southern Israel, Egypt and the sea. Families would bathe in its waters to escape sticky summer days, then line the seafront with coffee and stove-roasted corn by night.Many now worry they have lost even that, especially over the past year during which an acute electricity crisis has caused 110 million liters (110, 000 cubic meters) of raw or poorly treated sewage to gush into the sea daily, according to the UN. The newest figures are almost one year old.From her customary position outside the family home, Abu Amirah waves her hand out toward the brown scum seeping out from Gaza’s coastline that now dominates her view because of the 17 wastewater pipes that empty straight into it from various points along the 25 mile (40 kilometer) shore. The blue waters they have replaced over the past year are now only noticeable as she points to the unpolluted waters further out, sitting on the horizon beyond Gaza’s coast.Gaza’s problems with water have been a recurring theme since Israel imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the coastal enclave in 2007 to squeeze the government set up by Hamas, a group Israel has been tangled in conflict with since the early 2000s, when it carried out dozens of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. With nowhere else to turn in a water-scarce region, Gaza has been drawing much of its water from the sea but also expels effluent into the same source. While Israel has met its water needs with desalinated water, building the world’s largest reverse osmosis plant only 30 miles north of Gaza, similar facilities in Gaza lack the electricity to run at full capacity.The Gaza Valley was once a nature reserve, known for hosting migratory birds, but has been destroyed by waste dumped there in recent years. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.Its power problems became critical last March when an internal dispute between Gaza’s ruling leadership, Hamas, and the rival West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) left fuel duties unpaid, forcing the only local power plant’s closure and leaving Gaza with such little electricity that pumps used to funnel sewage to cleansing plants could no longer function. The wastewater instead headed straight to the sea, where pollution levels have reached four times the international standard. It has caused alarm in Israel as well, where beaches close to the enclave have been shut down because of the spreading pollution. The most recent figures are about six months old.Tightly packedWith 2 million people living in their coastal territory, Gaza’s population is almost as tightly packed as notoriously cramped Hong Kong, putting pressure on everything from the aquifer most draw their water from to the electricity needed to power factories, sewage cleansing facilities and desalination plants.Though the ongoing electricity crisis has exacerbated those pressures, they have been consistent sources of concern since Hamas took control of Gaza. A 2017 report by the UN predicted the damage done to Gaza’s aquifer, its only water source, will be irreversible by 2018 – sooner than previous estimations.Much of that population lives in places like the Shati refugee camp, founded to house an influx of Palestinians displaced from nearby villages during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. At Shati, the industrial pipe spewing into the sea also carries medical waste from Gaza’s main hospital, al-Shifa. Residents said their children have complained of itchiness after going swimming and that even the sand smells strongly of sewage. Their fears deepened after five year-old Mohammad al-Sayis died in July 2017 from a form of shigellosis – a disease spread through fecal matter.Parasites, including many that affect humans, were found in almost half the samples collected for a 2014 study into the quality of water on Gaza’s coast led by Ahmed Hillis, an expert with the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority.“It’s a perfect indicator that the shoreline has been polluted by the wastewater,” said Hillis, who believes his study shows there is a strong link between the damage being done to the environment and health risks for Gazans.Palestinian fishermen prepare their nets in Gaza’s port before going out to sea. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.According to the World Health Organization, water-related diseases are the main cause of child deaths in Gaza and estimated to account for a quarter of all illnesses.“This water is a source of pollution and a source of diseases, for the people and also for the environment,” Hillis said. “Visitors to the sea suffer from a lot of illnesses related to the skin because of the direct contact from swimming in this polluted water.”FishingAll along Gaza’s coast, there are pipes expelling wastewater from the towns and refugee camps where most of the population are concentrated. That pollution diffuses outwards over the first six nautical miles, according to Mohammed Abu Thaer, a marine biologist in the Hamas government’s agriculture department – the same distance Israel’s navy has limited Gaza’s fishermen to since the blockade, despite the 1990s Oslo Peace Accords signed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders which allowed them to travel up to 20 nautical miles.Thaer said most of the fish sold in Gaza’s market is safe however, because after the first three miles, most catches are of deepwater fish that live well below the sea’s surface, where the floating film of effluent becomes diluted.A Palestinian man transports building supplies through Gaza’s Shati refugee camp with a horse and cart. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.He also claimed his department has tested the fish as safe by taking samples of incoming hauls but much of Gaza’s population still seem worried about eating the fish, crabs and shrimp their cuisine is known for among Palestinians, according to the fishermen themselves anxious about how few people now pass through Gaza’s almost deserted fish market. They have already struggled for years with catches diminished because of the Israeli restrictions on where they can fish. Now they have to contend with local concerns over their stock.“We try to persuade people but they are still too scared to eat fish because of what they hear, not what they see here,” said Muhammad Mustafa Abu Khair, 32, who insists he fishes in unpolluted waters.The gloomy wet market’s stock is sparse – small presentations of local sea bream (Sparidae), buckets of crabs (Brachyura) and the odd baby shark (Selachimorph) – but Abu Khair is adamant if customers visited, they would see it is all healthy. The problem is that hardly anyone passes through anymore apart from fishermen who sit in circles on its edges, drinking Arabic coffee from paper cups.A 2016 study led by Palestinian Environment Quality Authority researcher Hossam Zaqoot found traces of heavy metals like copper and lead were found in the muscles of fish caught near Gaza’s coast, and warned that though they were not yet at levels dangerous to humans, they could be in future if continued rises in pollution further poisoned the fish. The more immediate impact of the pollution, said Abu Thaer, has been in reducing the fish stocks off Gaza’s coast.“The wastewater consists of a lot of dangerous materials like chlorine, ammonia and soap. This affects the fish itself – their growth is slowed and their stock doesn’t increase,” he said.Some of the fishermen believe that problem has been made worse by overfishing. The blockade prevents Gaza’s ever-growing population from traveling abroad for work while also hindering its own industry. By September 2017, the unemployment rate had soared to 44 percent as factories closed down because of the electricity crisis.Retired fisherman Khaled Rajab Abu Riyal, 50, says he avoided the sea for nine years because of a liver disease he blames on the pollution he had to wade through as a fisherman. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.For many of the jobless, the sea seems an obvious place to search for an income with a boat and some nets. But fisherman Hani Abu Riyal accuses unlicensed fishermen of putting a strain on the industry by crowding out professionals and using fine nets that pick up even the smallest fish.“What ended the jobs here is the government itself because there are no jobs. Everyone can be a fisherman,” said Abu Riyal, who himself returned to the family tradition of fishing after the blockade meant he could no longer travel to nearby Israeli towns where he had worked as a weaver.“They fish everything, even the young fish during the breeding season,” he said, noting the weak governance in Gaza, which has been fractured since PA officials boycotted the Hamas leadership after it seized control of the territory in 2007. “In another country, there would be a system to stop this.”Environmental expert Hillis said Gaza’s water problem is not just limited to the sea; its aquifer, shared with Israel, is also being polluted.A refuse pipe spews untreated wastewater into the sea, a problem that has increased since Gaza’s electricity shortage worsened in 2017. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.Damaged ecologyJust south of the built-up and congested Gaza City, Bedouin fishermen of Gaza Valley live a much quieter life, preparing their nets in corrugated iron beach huts and digging through the shallows for worms they use as bait. Their isolation is interrupted, however, by the imposing stench from a refuse pipe that reaches hundreds of meters away.Starting in the West Bank and winding through southern Israel’s Negev desert before it arrives in Gaza, the 65 mile-long (105 kilometer) valley was once a valued ecological site that hosted migratory birds, like flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) and Great White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus), and was declared a nature reserve in 2000 by the PA. But instead of being protected, the previous wetland has become a wasteland used by local municipalities to dump both liquid and solid waste from nearby towns.A Palestinian man prays at Gaza’s port, where the enclave’s crucial fishing industry now struggles. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.A local Bedouin fisherman said their protests against installing wastewater pipes at the site were ignored, but he and the other fishermen all refuse to say anything more.According to Hillis, Gaza receives only half of the 7.7 billion cubic feet (220 million cubic meters) of rain its aquifer requires a year, even less of which recharges the groundwater, allowing salt water to intrude. It also means there’s space for leachate, a liquid produced by dissolving waste in landfill sites, and cesspools used to store sewage to seep through Gaza’s porous sedimentary rock in places like the Gaza Valley.Dealing with itConcern about pollution and the wider electricity crisis has spread to the Israeli sphere, not only because of the physical impact made by intruding pollution but also as Israeli politicians and the military worry that deteriorating conditions increase the chance of another conflict. They accuse Hamas of causing the crisis by allegedly spending money on building its military capacity rather instead of the population.“Israel has an interest in positive dynamics in Gaza, but one cannot demand from the State of Israel to use its state budget for infrastructure that is harmed because of an internal Palestinian conflict, while Hamas invests money in terrorism,” Israeli military chief Gadi Eisenkot told the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, in July 2017.A Palestinian fishermen prepares his nets in Gaza’s port before going out to sea. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.Israel did agree in late January however to begin supplying electricity to a sewage cleansing plant in northern Gaza. The move followed recommendations made in a state review that criticized the military for refusing to provide a power line to the plant when it was built in 2013.For Hillis, Gaza’s environmental challenges cannot be separated from the blockade, which increases the overpopulated enclave’s dependence on whatever resources are available to it. He highlights that more than 3,000 items needed to develop Gaza’s water and sanitation sector await Israeli approval to enter the strip because of restrictions on “dual-use items”, which Israel claims could also be used to build weapons to be used against it.“Life in Gaza has become more and more complicated by these issues and we need quick solutions for our problems and the environment is the most important,” said Hillis. “All of the international community is responsible.”Banner image: Palestinian bedouin in Gaza Valley dig for worms in the polluted shallow waters on Gaza’s coast to use for fishing. Photo by Kaamil Ahmed/Mongabay.Kaamil Ahmed is a foreign correspondent who has reported on conflicts, labor and the environment in South Asia and the Middle East. You can find him on Twitter at @kaamilahmed.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Microplastic pollution in world’s oceans poses major threat to filter-feeding megafauna

first_imgA study published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution last month looks at how filter-feeding marine animals like baleen whales, manta rays, and whale sharks are impacted by microplastic pollution in the world’s oceans.Filter-feeding megafauna must swallow hundreds to thousands of cubic meters of water every day in order to catch enough plankton to keep themselves nourished. That means that these species are probably ingesting microplastics both directly from polluted water and indirectly through the consumption of contaminated plankton prey.Microplastic particles can block nutrient absorption and damage the digestive tracts of the filter-feeding marine life that ingest them, while toxins and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) found in plastic can accumulate in the bodies of marine wildlife over time, changing biological processes such as growth and reproduction and even leading to decreased fertility. Even as the world is waking up to the problems created by the massive amounts of plastic pollution in Earth’s oceans — and taking steps to address the issue — new research is shedding light on how detrimental that pollution is to marine wildlife.A study published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution last month, for instance, looks at how filter-feeding marine animals like baleen whales, manta rays, and whale sharks are impacted by microplastics. Filter feeders face exceptionally high risks of exposure to plastic pollution in the oceans because many of them are found in some of the most polluted waters in the world, such as the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Coral Triangle, a geographical region that lies in the waters between Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.A 2016 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic waste makes its way into the oceans every year, which works out to be roughly a garbage truck-full of plastic being dumped into the oceans every minute. What’s more, the report also determined that if we allow business-as-usual to continue, plastic pollution could find its way into our oceans at four times the current rate by 2050 — at which point the plastic in our oceans would weigh more than all of the fish combined.In response to this issue, more than 40 countries have joined the UN Environment Programme’s CleanSeas campaign, which was launched last year to combat the use of microplastics in cosmetics and single-use plastic products like shopping bags, two of the biggest sources of marine plastic litter.A whale shark in the waters of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Photo Credit: Dr Simon Pierce/Marine Megafauna Foundation.But, according to Elitza Germanov, a researcher with the Marine Megafauna Foundation and a PhD student at Australia’s Murdoch University, while there is a growing body of research on how microplastics are impacting marine environments, few studies have specifically looked at how large filter feeders are effected.“We are still trying to understand the magnitude of the issue,” Germanov, the lead author of the Trends in Ecology & Evolution study, said in a statement. “It has become clear though that microplastic contamination has the potential to further reduce the population numbers of these species, many of which are long-lived and have few offspring throughout their lives.”Filter-feeding megafauna like whale sharks and manta rays must swallow hundreds to thousands of cubic meters of water every day in order to catch enough plankton to keep themselves nourished. That means that these species are probably ingesting microplastics both directly from polluted water and indirectly through the consumption of contaminated plankton prey.“The estimated daily plastic ingestion rates for filter-feeding megafauna vary greatly, depending on location and feeding behavior, and range from as low as 100 pieces for whale sharks in the Gulf of California to as high as thousands of pieces for fin whales in the Pelagos Sanctuary,” Germanov and co-authors note in the study. “Currently, the plastic ingestion rates by filter-feeding megafauna in the Gulf of Mexico, Bay of Bengal, and the Coral Triangle are unknown, as are the ingestion rates for mobulids anywhere in the world.”Microplastics under a microscope. Photo Credit: Elitza Germanov/Marine Megafauna Foundation.Microplastic particles can block nutrient absorption and damage the digestive tracts of the filter-feeding marine life that ingest them, while toxins and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) found in plastic can accumulate in the bodies of marine wildlife over time, changing biological processes such as growth and reproduction and even leading to decreased fertility. Toxins that have bioaccumulated in long-lived filter feeders can also be passed down from mother to offspring. These effects can pose serious risks to animals that are already facing heightened threats to their existence.“It is vital to understand the effects of microplastic pollution on ocean giants since nearly half of the mobulid rays, two thirds of filter-feeding sharks and over one quarter of baleen whales are listed by the IUCN as globally threatened species and are prioritized for conservation,” Germanov said.Germanov and co-authors note in the study that research has yet to directly confirm that filter-feeding megafauna are exposed to POPs and other toxins associated with plastics through the ingestion of microplastics. Because conventional methods used to study the diets of wildlife, like cutting open stomachs to examine their contents, are not suitable for species whose continued existence is already in peril, a more indirect approach must be taken. “Most studies have now moved onto biopsies as strandings are rare and fisheries illegal or unethical for threatened species,” Germanov told Mongabay. She and her co-authors elaborate on the alternative methods available to researchers: “as the analytical approaches available to detect toxins continue to increase, it is possible to analyze small amounts of tissue obtained nonlethally (i.e., via biopsies) and to test for plastic chemical tracers, such as phthalates, organobromines, or specific congeners of POPs, allowing us to investigate correlations between microplastics in the feeding grounds of filter feeders and the exposure of these organisms to toxins.”Sabrina Weiss, a public relations officer for the Marine Megafauna Foundation, noted in an email to Mongabay that while the definite causal link between plastic ingestion and resulting toxin exposure in marine megafauna has yet to be confirmed, “previous reports and laboratory studies in seabirds (Teuten et al. 2009), and small fish (Rochman et al 2014) have already shown these connections.”Study co-author Maria Cristina Fossi, of Italy’s University of Siena, was one of the first scientists to study megafauna filter-feeders and their exposure to microplastic pollution. She and her colleagues found an average of 0.7 plastic items per cubic meter of water around Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, an important feeding ground for endangered whale sharks, and estimated that whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California, the body of water that separates mainland Mexico from Baja California) may be ingesting more than 170 plastic items every day. They’ve also estimated that fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea could be consuming thousands of microplastic particles on a daily basis.“Our studies on whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez and on fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea confirmed exposure to toxic chemicals, indicating that these filter feeders are taking up microplastics in their feeding grounds,” Fossi said in a statement. “Exposure to these plastic-associated toxins pose a major threat to the health of these animals since it can alter the hormones, which regulate the body’s growth and development, metabolism, and reproductive functions, among other things.”While Fossi and colleagues’ previous research found that large filter-feeders like fin whales, whale sharks, and basking sharks are exposed to plastic-associated toxins and that there is evidence for plastic ingestion, Germanov told Mongabay that they did not show plastic in the stomach or guts of the species with POPs contamination.What is clear at this point, according to Germanov, is that, with plastic production projected to increase globally, much more research is needed on the impacts of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. She suggests that future research should focus on coastal regions where microplastic pollution overlaps with the feeding and breeding grounds of threatened species. “Many areas are biodiversity hotspots and of economic importance due to fisheries and marine tourism,” she said. “Targeting these with the backing of local government and industry will help ensure efforts to mitigate the plastic threat are employed to their fullest.”A manta ray swims amidst plastic pollution in Indonesian waters. Photo Credit: Elitza Germanov.CITATIONS• Germanov, E. S., Marshall, A. D., Bejder, L., Fossi, M. C., & Loneragan, N. R. (2018). Microplastics: No small problem for filter-feeding megafauna. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2018.01.005• Rochman, C. M., Kurobe, T., Flores, I., & Teh, S. J. (2014). Early warning signs of endocrine disruption in adult fish from the ingestion of polyethylene with and without sorbed chemical pollutants from the marine environment. Science of the Total Environment, 493, 656-661. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.06.051• Teuten, E. L., Saquing, J. M., Knappe, D. R., Barlaz, M. A., Jonsson, S., Björn, A., … & Ochi, D. (2009). Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 2027-2045. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0284Follow 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 Animals, Environment, Marine Animals, Marine Conservation, Marine Mammals, Microplastics, Oceans, Plastic, Pollution, Sharks, Sharks And Rays, Whale Sharks, Whales, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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

Understanding bird behavior key to developing risk reduction technologies

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Sue Palminteri Billions of birds collide with man-made structures and aircraft every year, which devastates bird populations and harms companies that must pay the cost of damages.John Swaddle, professor of biology at the College of William & Mary, and his team have developed two technologies to help reduce the risk of collision, the Sonic Net and the Acoustic Lighthouse.The team applied an understanding of birds’ communication and migration behaviors to develop strategies that successfully reduce collision risk. Years of studying birds and their relationship with their environment taught John Swaddle, professor of biology at the College of William & Mary, the importance of understanding animals’ instincts and behaviors when developing methods for improving human-wildlife interactions.Swaddle used what he knew about different bird species’ tendencies to create a pair of systems that minimize collisions with tall man-made structures, such as skyscrapers or wind turbines, and keep birds away from areas where their presence may be unwelcome or a hazard, such as on farmland or airports. He presented his findings in February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas.In his presentation, Swaddle introduced two different technologies, the Sonic Net and the Acoustic Lighthouse.A bald eagle surveys the landscape from a treetop. Eagles and other large birds seeking a high perch or looking down for prey below may accidentally collide with wind turbine blades. Photo credit: Martin Keus, courtesy of Quoddy Tours CC 2.0Testing Sonic Nets to remove birds from risky areasWhen working on the Sonic Net, Swaddle kept the long-standing practice of scarecrows on farmland in mind. He recognized that scarecrows only temporarily discourage birds from visiting an area because birds learn that they are not a real threat.“Birds are pretty smart, they habituate, and if the threat is not real they know and they stick around,” Swaddle said. “Those kinds of technologies just show diminishing returns, no matter how high-tech the technology gets. Birds will still habituate if you don’t take into account fundamental aspects of their behavior.”A fast-moving plane in flight, such as this China Eastern plane near London’s Heathrow airport, can confuse or overwhelm a flock of birds. Photo credit: LHR_NMOS332 CC 2.0Instead, Swaddle looked for long-term solutions. He considered noise pollution and how a higher concentration of noise in an area affects birds. Birds are attracted to quieter areas, where they have a better perception of the predatory risks. Introducing noise prompts birds to perceive greater risk, and they begin to avoid the area.Rather than introducing extraneous noise to a wide area to keep the birds away – which would then affect humans and other wildlife within the area – Swaddle and his team used parametric array speakers, which direct the artificial “pink” noise to a specific space. The speakers enabled Swaddle to direct sound to areas they wanted birds to avoid. They were also able to control the noise’s frequency, so that the sound interfered with the birds’ communication.An upright Sonic Net setup used to direct loud random pink noise toward agricultural fields to discourage particularly seed-eating birds from flocking in fields with ripening crops. Photo courtesy of: Sam McClintock, Midstream IncThey tested this approach using captive European starlings. When the Sonic Net was set at a frequency that simulated the frequency the birds use to communicate, the starlings’ vigilance immediately increased. By hindering their ability to communicate, the loud noise prevented them from being able to hear and respond to alarm calls, forcing them to remain more vigilant and forage less efficiently.In fact, when the team tried to scare the birds, they didn’t perceive the risk and react to the threat. Despite the birds’ increased vigilance, the artificial sound overwhelmed their senses. The methods were also tested in the wild, at an active airfield site in Virginia, where noise discouraged birds from occupying the area.The Sonic Net designed for airports has a low profile to minimize distraction to pilots and others. The speakers in this design direct the loud random noise toward active runways and other areas that may be risky for birds. Photo courtesy of: Sam McClintock, Midstream Inc“In an area where a lot of this introduced noise is specifically designed to prevent them from hearing each other, that’s equivalent to (humans) walking down the dark alleyway,” Swaddle said. “If we give them the choice of a place with less noise, they’ll choose to go there.”Their study, which was published in Ecological Applications, also found that the birds did not habituate to the Sonic Net method after four weeks, which is an encouraging sign that this could become a long-term solution.Common, or European, starlings like these in Northern Ireland, feed in groups on insects in fields, lawns, city parks, or airports. Their large flocks can create problems on active airport runways. Photo credit: Henry Clark CC 2.0An Acoustic Lighthouse to reduce birds’ collisions with man-made structuresSwaddle’s conference presentation also introduced the Acoustic Lighthouse method for minimizing birds’ collisions with large human-made structures. In a study published in Integrative and Comparative Biology, Swaddle and his team set out to discover why birds fly into objects that are seemingly obvious to humans and how directed sound could help the birds notice a structure before a collision.Swaddle explained that when birds are flying, especially during migration, they aren’t looking straight ahead to see where they’re going – rather, their head is angled down with their back flat. The birds’ eyes are also positioned around the side of the skull, instead of in front.“When birds are flying, their angle of view, direction of gaze, is really to the side and down,” Swaddle said. “Some birds, some of the eagles, actually have a blind spot in front of them, so they can’t see, and their attention is not where it should be.”The solution, which the team named an Acoustic Lighthouse, projects conspicuous warning sounds in front of a structure. As the bird approaches the building or wind turbine, the sound diverts the direction of the bird’s attention early enough to avoid a collision.The Acoustic Lighthouse study has not yet been tested in the wild, but Swaddle said results from his captive study look promising. When testing it with 18 domestic zebra finches, his team found that an audible sound field caused the birds to slow down in flight and alter their body and tail position in about 20 percent of cases. These birds would collide with the structure at a much lower velocity or avoid it all together.A zebra finch, native to central Australia, collects nesting material. Like starlings, they inhabit a wide range of grasslands and open woodlands. Photo credit: Gil Dekel CC 3.0Swaddle said that successful development of technologies such as Sonic Net and Acoustic Lighthouse require basic understanding of bird and other wildlife behaviors and responses.  “Without a fundamental understanding of what animals are actually doing, how they’re sensing the world and how they’re behaving, you can’t even develop these kinds of ideas,” Swaddle said. Acoustic, Alternative Energy, Birds, early warning, Energy, Human-wildlife Conflict, Technology, Wildtech 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

Heads of Government to tackle issues of de-risking, Brexit in Guyana

first_imgIn light of threats to the Region’s financial and economic stability by Brexit, when Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Government meet in Georgetown next week, the main focus will be placed on de-risking by International banks and the impact of the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) decision to exit the European Union (EU).According to a release by the Caribbean Secretariat, chief among these are the threats posed by international banks limiting or terminating their relationships with regional financial institutions, and the yet to be determined implications of the British decision to leave the European Union (EU), a key partner in the Community’s development.The statement noted that the referendum to exit the EU has sent Britain and the rest of the world into a ‘tailspin’. The pound sterling fell to its lowest value in 30 years, and international financial markets took a downturn, as the implications hit home.Caricom is claiming it is not immune from the potential fallout, while economists and politicians alike are assessing the situation. The majority of Caricom Member States were former colonies of Britain, which was a key ally of the Region within the EU.The release added, while some have adopted a wait and see stance, confident that any domino effect will not occur in the short-term, others are predicting immediate consequences and want the Caricom Member States to appreciate the value of regional integration and band firmly together to chart the way forward.The concerns range from a dip in the arrivals of tourists for dependent Member States such as Saint Lucia and Barbados, where the UK is a major source market; a decrease in development assistance, to effects on trade agreements the Region has with the EU.last_img read more

Helping Liberians in Proper Voter Decision-making: Accountability Lab-Liberia’s Worthy Initiative

first_imgThe most important act in any election anywhere is not how much money is spent on election preparations, how well they are organized or how much rhetoric and cash candidates spend to woo voters.What is rather more central, critical, compelling in any election is the decision or those decisions each voter will make inside that voting booth. The fundamental question facing the voter will be who to vote for.Should I vote for a crook, a hypocrite, a selfish and corrupt candidate who only wooed me with a bag of rice, money or sweet talk? Or should I vote for someone who I know will sincerely, honestly and patriotically represent my interest, the welfare of my area, my fellow citizens and my beloved Liberia?The answer to these questions is a no-brainer; which means, something you don’t even have to think about because the answer is so obvious. I would vote for the latter—a candidate that will sincerely, honestly and patriotically represent my interest, the welfare of my area, my fellow citizens and the Liberian Republic.That is exactly what the NGO Accountability Lab-Liberia (ALL) is aiming at in launching its music video—sensitizing Liberians about their right to vote, whom to vote for and how properly to utilize their votes. The particular aim, according to our Diplomatic Correspondent Joachim Sendolo, “is to reverse the poor representation and leadership Liberians have experienced in the recent past.”Do we not all know what happened in the distant and most recent past? How since 2006 until now—the period in Liberia we thought was a veritable “new dispensation,” we elected the whole 103 members of the Legislature—30 Senators and 73 Representatives? Each of them, during the campaign season, promised us the world and as soon as they got seated, made themselves—not the people—the center of political gravity (importance, magnitude), taking care of themselves and themselves only, and totally forgetting about the people who elected them.One of the leaders, using the millions he had been allowed to steal from the Liberian people, bribed his colleagues to elect him to a powerful post. Another in the same lower House, a man called “Honorable Forh,” encapsulated (bagged, seized) the corrupt, ruthless and selfish mandate these elected officials reserved for themselves: The County Development Funds (CDF), which he demanded that the Superintendent of Montserrado County share with him, herself and the Minister of Internal Affairs. He told her in a manner utterly bereft of conscience, “You will chop (eat), I will chop and the Minister will chop.” And what would be left for the impoverished people of Montserrado? Nothing but the filth, squalor and poverty into which they were born!And when the Superintendent blew the whistle of graft, malfeasance and misfeasance, these corrupt Legislators angrily demanded that she be removed. Alas! The Liberian people were forced to accept another shocker: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf bowed to the wishes of these despicable (contemptible) “Representatives of the people.” The President, yes, dismissed the Superintendent—a woman like herself.In the upper Chamber, the Senate, things were no different. In mindless and ruthless collaboration with their colleagues in the lower House, the Senators played every trick in the book to shortchange the Liberian people and Liberia. President Sirleaf could hardly get them to pass a bill, or ratify an Agreement or Treaty without her surrendering to each of them substantial sums of cash.There were numerous instances, but we will recall one. When Clemenceau Urey was Chair of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), many oil blocks were being leased or sold to various bidding oil companies. But when each was successfully negotiated and forwarded to the Legislature, especially the Senate, for ratification, they (the Senators) wanted their share before they could touch it.When later Mr. Urey was no longer Chair, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) accused him and a select number of other Board Members of corruption for offering “bribes” to the Legislature. But LACC did not include the Ministers of Justice on the Board, who at various points approved the transaction. Nor were the receivers of the “bribes”—the Legislators themselves—indicted. The LACC’s case could not stand in court, and it was abandoned.We ask our Liberian people, are these kinds of people the ones you want to elect in 2017? The answer should be obvious, but we are not sure. We can say only, we hope not!We commend Accountability Lab-Liberia for its initiative in launching the music video “Whom to Vote For,” and musician Henry Toe for his brilliant musical contribution to the cause. We further commend British Ambassador David Belgrove and the US Embassy staff for supporting this worthy initiative.The Daily Observer pledges to work with Accountability Lab-Liberia in helping to get these extremely critical messages to the public, toward achieving the desired goal of helping our people make the proper choices in the impending 2017 presidential and general elections. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Team Busche participates at Alberta Senior Curling Provincials

first_imgSPRUCE GROVE, A.B. – Team Busche was in Spruce Grove for the Alberta Senior Curling Provincials.Team Busche represented the Peace Region, from February 13 to the 17, in Spruce Grove.Jodi Busche, of Team Busche, says it was tough competition and the outcome wasn’t the kind her Team was hoping for. Adding that they managed to win two games.- Advertisement -“It was a pretty tough field of players and we went down there, expecting to do a little better than what we did. We did come out with a two and five record; two wins, five losses.”While her Team did not make it to the semi-finals, she feels they put in a good effort given the fact they’ve been out of play for a few years.“Just coming back into competitive curling, it was more team building than anything, so we feel pretty good about that.”Advertisement Prior to the Provincials, in January, Team Busche competed in Grande Prairie at the Senior Men’s and Ladies’ Playdown where they went undefeated.last_img read more