Powering cameras and empowering people

first_imgAnti-poaching, Batteries, Camera Trapping, cameras, Citizen Science, early warning, Law Enforcement, Poachers, Protected Areas, Sensors, Software, Solar Power, Surveillance, Technology, Wildtech Mongabay-Wildtech:  So you’ll do an assessment to help decide on that? Schmidt:  Typically what we’ll do for any given project is start by going out and spending anywhere from one day to one week to really understand what the current operations look like, what challenges they’re facing, see the exact areas that they know they’re having problems with. Understand what the connectivity situation is, you know, is it cellular? Is there internet at the base camp? Is it something that we’ve got to start from scratch?Then we look at the topography, like are there high points where we potentially would need to put towers or whether there are existing towers we can potentially hang new equipment off of, all these different things.And then once we make that assessment, we’ll roll out usually a small, “beta” implementation of anywhere from two to five cameras. We then step back and monitor it for a little bit and really spend time saying, are we seeing what we expected to see? You know, i.e. bad guys coming in and out? Is the partner responding appropriately, or do we need to make adjustments to what we have before we try and do some joint fundraising or something to really expand the presence on the ground there?Camera trap photo shows oryx leaving a waterhole in low light. Oryx are huge and a target for bushmeat hunters in southern Africa. Photo credit: wpsWatchMongabay-Wildtech:  Who monitors the cameras to make sure they are working properly? I know you do some remote monitoring via the app from your office. Do you then contact the people on the ground when you find an issue? Smizik:  Pierre [WPS Africa Project Manager] in South Africa goes through the system almost daily. He’ll call partners up and say, ‘Hey, such and such camera’s down. Let me know if you need help. Here’s what I think might be going on.’  The volunteers are actually going to start participating this year too, sending lists of what cameras are up and down. And then some sites are so in tune to it, I get an email from one in South Africa, and they’ll tell me either the app or a camera has gone down before I’ve noticed it. So that means they are really tuned in to the system.Mongabay-Wildtech:  Is part of your work with field teams to help train them on some basic fixes if, say, the equipment breaks? Schmidt:  We’ve been exploring some ways whereby we can, for new implementations, bring down a little remote computer that we can dial into. So if something happens in the field, like a camera configuration gets messed up, they can just plug the camera in and then we can go in and remotely configure it.Smizik:  Our site in Hawaii has such a well put-together infrastructure on site… with all kinds of equipment and tools. Because they have those sorts of assets, I’ve been working on each trip on training them to build their own battery boxes and learn how to maintain the cameras on their own so that it’s less travel for us. If a site can become virtually self-sufficient, then we can just be sort of a support to as opposed to the primary resource. We don’t want to always have to be the ones to fix it. That’s not scalable.Mongabay-Wildtech:  So what aspects of the system took more time or effort than you expected, or were a lot harder than you thought?Schmidt:  I think resolving the power issues.Smizik:  Just even figuring that out, we spent a lot of time. We knew we were missing images early on, but we didn’t know why. And so we spent a lot of time physically going through every image on the SD card to compare them to what the system returned. And it wasn’t until we did that that we found the battery drop correlation.This low-light image from the app shows one of several sites where reserve managers use the detection system to monitor a fenceline and watch for trespassers coming through the area. Photo credit: wpsWatchSchmidt:  The next challenge is really making this part of everyone’s day. Like if you look at our implementations, some [field teams] do it really, really well. Some of them have [the system], and it’s like they haven’t clicked to it yet. And the differentiator there is whether or not they’ve caught poachers, frankly. The ones who do it and it works, they really click to it and they’re like, ‘Whoa, we’ve got to keep these cameras up. We’ve got to keep it going.’In other places where we put [the system] in, maybe because there aren’t poachers in that area or they just don’t have as high a pressure, they don’t get that kind of quick-hit success that is their eye-opener that says, ‘Oh man, I really do have to respond to this.’ So then they’ll let things like cameras go down, and then it’s more of a struggle. So it’s baking in the use of the system into their daily lives.A baby rhino forages near its mother as they walk along a pathway monitored by a remote camera. Photo credit: wpsWatchMongabay-Wildtech:  What advice would you offer other teams trying to use tech to monitor intrusions into reserves? Is there anything you want to add? Smizik:  I would say have patience and don’t expect this to be the end-all, be-all or that it’s not going to require any sort of maintenance. I find one of my biggest uphill battles on site is that people think you’re going to put something in, and this is the final solution. But you’re gonna still have to go check on these, at least monthly. Make sure they’re still up and running and that no water’s gotten in or no animals have gotten in or a baboon’s turned to the camera this way. They’re always going to be some aspect of maintenance. I think whenever you’re working with any technologies, managing those expectations.Schmidt:  My suggestion will be share data and cooperate. So much of the time I see different groups that are just solo, and insular, and the more we can, between appropriate organizations, share data, the better. Keeping equipment running in harsh field conditions can challenge any tech project, as can working successfully with volunteers.Mongabay-Wildtech spoke with leaders of one project, wpsWatch, that deploys connected camera traps to monitor wildlife and people in reserves and employs volunteers to monitor image feeds from afar.Powering equipment for field surveillance and “making it part of everyone’s day” enable the rapid image detection, communication, and response by ground patrols needed to successfully apprehend wildlife poachers using cameras and other sensors. Keeping equipment running in harsh field conditions can challenge any tech project, as can working successfully with volunteers. Some projects have to manage both.A recent Wildtech post describes wpsWatch, a remote camera and data integration system developed by Wildlife Protection Solutions (WPS) to monitor wildlife and threats in real-time.A pair of white rhinos face off in front of a camera trap. Photo credit: wpsWatchConcealed cameras placed around reserves are connected via one of several networks to managers on site, as well as to staff and volunteers located a world away in the US who use the system’s apps to monitor image feeds. The groups notify each other of wildlife and/or intruders detected in camera images, allowing rangers to take quick action.As part of the discussion with Mongabay-Wildtech, WPS Executive Director Eric Schmidt and Program Director Carrie Smizik explained some of the strategies their team uses to prevent and respond to the twin challenges of deploying technology in remote and rugged areas and maintaining an effective corps of project volunteers.Mongabay-Wildtech:  What are the main challenges in maintaining the cameras and keeping the system going on the ground? Smizik:  Applying solar power to keep the batteries and the cameras up and running was the first issue that we ran into. We learned that as the cameras would drain battery power or lose battery power, the [image] transmission rates were falling off as well. So the camera didn’t have the power to transmit the images it was taking if it lost battery power. So we had to tackle that issue first.Schmidt:  Then it’s, you know, really wildlife and environmental. So in Africa, it’s baboons especially. And in Indonesia it was ants.Smizik:  In Hawaii, it’s rain and we have some theft issues too, so the cameras have to be well-hidden and well-placed. We were trimming branches so they wouldn’t interfere with the viewpoint of the camera, and one of our field guys would take mud and rub over where we had trimmed so that you couldn’t see it was a fresh cut on the tree. So simple camouflage, stuff like that that, really makes a difference in hiding your equipment.Baboons are curious and strong and can be big trouble for remote cameras. Photo credit: Sue PalminteriMongabay-Wildtech:  What are main challenges you face in working with the volunteers to identify photos and getting that information to the team?Smizik:  I don’t think that’s too big of an issue. I designed a training program around how you use the app and what defines a poacher–I have a training section on that specifically. And then we do a little quiz: poacher or not poacher, that sort of thing. I always tell them, ‘when in doubt, send me the image and I’ll make the determination.’ Sometimes I’m not sure, so I let the rangers make that determination if they have staff overturning or something. I’m not always going to recognize all of their staff members.So it’s a matter of just training them pretty thoroughly, and I can do it over the web or in person. It just depends on the size of the group and what their preferences are.The beauty of the system is they can monitor from their phones or their laptops. I have several that monitor all throughout the work day, and they just keep that up on their secondary computer monitor and they’re doing their work at the same time. So having the flexibility for them is a really great part of the program.Mongabay-Wildtech:  Do the volunteers take turns monitoring image feeds? How do you make sure that they have the hours covered?Smizik:  I haven’t dictated hours as of yet, mostly because I don’t want to make that a deterrent, though that’s changing. I’m going to assign specific [reserve] properties to volunteers. And we’ll talk about assigning hours, but I didn’t want, as we were starting the volunteer program, to say you have to monitor it from this time to this time every week. So many of them can’t commit to that sort of time commitment. And I wanted at first to establish the program and see what kind of response we got.A lone spotted hyena caught on camera approaching a work camp in south Africa. Photo credit: wpsWatchMongabay-Wildtech:  How many volunteers help monitor the wpsWatch images? Smizik:  I think we’re up to about 30 now, and they are mostly in Colorado, but we have some that are out of state, all over.And our staff is in the office too, we have the feeds up and we’re monitoring them all the time, along with the partners that are on site are monitoring their own feeds.Mongabay-Wildtech:  Are you seeking new volunteers? Smizik:  Always.Mongabay-Wildtech:  What features are needed at the implementation site, such as power, connectivity, staff capacity, terrain, etc. Schmidt:  The biggest one is staff capacity. If they’ve not got the ability to respond to a real-time system, it makes no sense investing in that level of thing. And so you’re better off to say, well, what do you need to do to get there? Sometimes that’s basics like radios, binoculars, and hydration packs.Smizik: You have to have a basic foundation of minimal sort of infrastructure.Schmidt:  Right. And then from there, you can sort out the [technology]. If it does look like that the basics are there, then you can come up with an appropriate technology mix. And you can compensate for things like no connectivity if you have a lot of money to put up your own towers and that sort of thing. Those become options once they’ve got at least some level of response capability.Screenshots from the wpsWatch app show how the camera traps assist reserve managers with monitoring locations and activity of staff and possible intruders (exact camera locations hidden).  The photo on the left shows employees passing a way point within a nature reserve. The photo on the right shows activity at a gate, as part of that reserve’s effort to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. Image credits: wpsWatch Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_img 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. 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

Duterte orders navy to fire on foreign poachers in Philippine waters

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Basten Gokkon Anti-poaching, Coral Reefs, Crime, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Policy, Fish, Fisheries, Illegal Fishing, Law Enforcement, Marine, Oceans, Overfishing, Poaching center_img Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called on the navy to open fire at foreign vessels suspected of poaching or extracting natural resources in the Southeast Asian nation’s exclusive waters.Duterte made the decision to address concerns about territorial rights over Benham Rise, an undersea plateau off the country’s northeastern coast believed to be rich in oil, gas and fisheries.A number of Southeast Asian nations, notably Indonesia, have recently taken a tough stance against marine poaching in the region, which is home to some of the world’s richest underwater ecosystems and threatened by overfishing. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has called on the navy to shoot at foreign ships suspected of extracting natural resources from his country’s exclusive maritime territory.Duterte made the statement Feb. 9 at a news conference where he addressed the Southeast Asian nation’s rights to Benham Rise, an undersea region off the country’s northeastern coast. The area is thought to hold oil and gas deposits as well as rich fishing sites.Philippine authorities recently flagged concerns about intrusions when a Chinese ship was monitored crisscrossing the waters early last year, drawing public attention to the territory.All foreign scientific groups, including from China, Japan, South Korea and the United States, have concluded their research work in the waters, and Duterte wants future research missions to be carried out by Philippine nationals.“If you get something there from the economic zone, I will order the navy to fire,” Duterte said as reported by the Associated Press.He was referring to the country’s 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometer) exclusive economic zone, where coastal states are granted special rights to exploit natural resources under a 1982 UN treaty. Foreign ships are allowed to sail through those waters.The president did not elaborate on the protocol for such action, such as whether suspect boats would be fired on with crew members on board.Facing the Pacific Ocean, the underwater plateau stretches about 240,000 square kilometers (about 92,700 square miles) and a large part of it is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. The remainder was granted by the United Nations as part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf. In an attempt to strengthen its claim on the region, Duterte last year officially renamed the plateau Philippine Rise.“I’m putting notice to the world that the Philippine Rise, which we call Benham Rise, is ours … and the economic zone is ours,” Duterte said.“I said and ordered the Philippine Navy and Air Force to do regular patrols,” he added as quoted by CNN Philippines.Indonesian fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti been seizing illegal foreign fishing vessels like this one and blowing them up at sea. Photo courtesy of Indonesia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.Such drastic measures are not unprecedented in the hotly contested waters of Southeast Asia, where some of the world’s richest marine ecosystems are routinely plundered by poachers and threatened by overfishing. The region is also home to the Pacific Coral Triangle, one of the most important global centers of marine biodiversity.Duterte’s decision was warmly praised by Indonesia’s fisheries minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, who has led her own campaign of seizing and blowing up illegal foreign fishing vessels caught poaching in Indonesia’s waters.“It’s good, they understand that theft isn’t just about fish,” Susi told reporters in Jakarta, as quoted by local media outlet Kompas. “There are other motives, other crimes, and they’re not playing around.”She added that transnational organized crime such as illegal fishing was carried out “in many countries by several nations, creating a massive integrated [fisheries] business.”Under Susi’s command — and with the blessing of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the firepower of the navy — Indonesia in 2014 began a campaign of vacating and blowing up foreign fishing vessels seized in its waters. The campaign is part of Jokowi’s pledge to revive the country’s maritime sector, which for decades was plagued by illegal, unreported and undocumented (IUU) fishing.Indonesia has since scuttled more than 320 foreign fishing boats.Malaysia announced in July 2016 it would also start sinking poaching boats in a way that would encourage the growth of artificial reefs.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Amazon forest to savannah tipping point could be far closer than thought (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer In the 1970s, scientists recognized that the Amazon makes half of its own rainfall via evaporation and transpiration from vegetation. Researchers also recognized that escalating deforestation would reduce this rainfall producing effect.A 2007 study estimated that with 40 percent Amazon deforestation a tipping point could be reached, with large swathes of Amazonia switching from forest to savannah. Two newly considered factors in a 2016 study – climate change and fires – have now reduced that estimated tipping point to 20-25 percent. Current deforestation is at 17 percent, with an unknown amount of degraded forest adding less moisture.There is good reason to think that this Amazon forest to savannah tipping point is close at hand. Historically unprecedented droughts in 2005, 2010 and 2015 would seem to be the first flickers of such change.Noted Amazon scientists Tom Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre argue that it is critical to build in a margin of safety by keeping Amazon deforestation below 20 percent. To avoid this tipping point, Brazil needs to strongly control deforestation, and combine that effort with reforestation. This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. The Amazon cloud factory. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / MongabayIn Brazil during the 1970s, when the first deforestation was spreading along the route of the Belém-Brasília highway, the Amazon forest seemed endless and eternal. It was mostly a place of resource extraction – rubber, Brazil nuts and more – and a place for science.In the middle of that decade, Brazilian Scientist Eneas Salati published some extraordinary results. By analyzing isotopic ratios of oxygen in rainwater collected from the estuary all the way to the Peruvian border, he was able to demonstrate unequivocally that the Amazon makes half of its own rainfall. The moisture recycles five to six times as the air mass moves from the Atlantic until reaching the Andes. There the uplift caused major rainfall, creating the greatest river system on Earth, holding 20 percent of all river water globally.These were paradigm shattering results. Hitherto the unquestionable dogma was that vegetation is simply the consequence of climate and that it had no influence on climate whatsoever. But that influence is actually visible when plumes of moisture rise from the forest after a rainstorm. It is the consequence of evaporation off the complex surfaces of the forest as well as the transpiration of the trees themselves. Moisture rising from the forest contributes more importantly in the central and eastern Amazon because large-scale factors for formation of rainfall are weaker there.Those results almost immediately raised the question of how much deforestation could cause this hydrological cycle to degrade to the point – a tipping point – where there would be dieback of the forest in the south and southeast and replacement by a somewhat degraded savannah vegetation. It is something we have talked about over the ensuing years and which was addressed by modeling from Nobre’s group in 2007. The conclusion was that the tipping point would be at approximately 40 percent deforestation.A newly cleared section of Amazon forest. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / MongabayMoisture from the Amazon actually contributes in important ways to rainfall, ecology and human wellbeing south of the Amazon itself (contributing winter rainfall in the La Plata basin, even south to southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and central-eastern Argentina).The importance for Brazilian agriculture (extant and aspired to) is complex but still significant. Evapotranspiration from pastures is relatively trivial compared to that produced by forests. That being true, a longer dry season seems to be in the offing from deforestation.The above would be important in itself, but today Amazon deforestation also interacts with climate change and widespread use of fire. The latter is known to desiccate adjacent forest, making it tinder for major wildfires the following year. So it becomes sensible to reevaluate the tipping point to include those two other factors.We believe that with the addition of those two factors the tipping point is much closer – in the vicinity of 20-25 percent deforestation. Past that point, the east, south and central Amazon could flip from forest to non-forest ecosystems. Nobre’s modeling group made some calculations in 2016 that considered the synergistic effect of deforestation, climate change, increased forest fires and also the so-called ‘CO2-fertilization’ effect of increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2, assumed to be positive for vegetation. Their results fully support this conclusion.Evapotranspiration from Amazon cattle pastures is relatively trivial compared to that produced by forests. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / MongabayThere is a good reason to think that the tipping point is close at hand. Historically unprecedented droughts (2005, 2010 and 2015) would seem to be first flickers of such change. Indeed, there is a suite of changes such as warmer temperatures over the tropical North Atlantic associated with changes in the land. And severe floods in 2009 and 2012 (and in Southwest Amazonia in 2014) suggest the Amazon system is oscillating.So what would be the sensible way forward? Clearly there is no sense in the least in discovering the tipping point by tipping it. We believe it is critical to build a margin of safety by reducing the deforested area to less than 20 percent. The current official figure for Brazil is 17 percent but some of the remaining forest is degraded and thus contributing less moisture. So strongly controlling deforestation, and combining that with reforestation, is the sensible course.Brazil committed in Paris 2015 to 12 million hectares of reforestation by 2030 and to significantly curbing deforestation. That commitment should be re-examined to make sure that the nation can also contribute to avoiding the tipping point for the benefit of Brazil and adjacent South America.Scientifically Brazil has contributed centrally to our understanding of this environmental challenge. It should also contribute with concomitant action.The tipping point conversion of a large portion of the Amazon from forest to savannah would have a devastating impact on the region’s biodiversity. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerThe loss of large swathes of Amazon forest would also heavily impact the lives and livelihoods of indigenous and traditional people. Photo by Rhett A. Butler . MongabayCitation:Nobre et al., 2016. The Fate of the Amazon Forests: Land-use and climate change risks and the need of a novel sustainable development paradigm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10/1073/pnas.1605516113.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.Thomas Lovejoy is an ecologist who has worked in the Amazon since 1965. He is University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University.Carlos Nobre is an Earth System scientist from Brazil, with expertise on biosphere-atmosphere interaction in the Amazon. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and a Senior Fellow of World Resources Institute-Brazil. Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Amazon Soy, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Hotspots, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Sequestration, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Climate Change, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Climate Change And Forests, Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Politics, Climate Modeling, Climate Science, Commentary, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Drought, Environment, Environmental Law, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forest Carbon, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Fires, Forest Fragmentation, Forest Loss, Forests, Global Environmental Crisis, Global Warming, Green, Impact Of Climate Change, Industrial Agriculture, Land Use Change, Law, Megafires, Mining, Pasture, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Ranching, Regulations, Research, Saving The Amazon, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation, wildfires 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

In a land untouched by mines, indigenous holdouts fight a coal invasion

first_imgDespite opposition from local officials and the absence of a required environmental impact assessment, a coal company was granted a permit to mine in Indonesian Borneo’s Central Hulu Sungai district.The local Dayak people have vowed to fight the mine, and an environmental NGO is suing the central government for issuing the permit.The permit was issued after changes to the law — said to simplify the process of issuing permits — allowed mining firm PT MCM to sidestep local officials. BATUTANGGA, Indonesia — Stretching across the slopes of the Meratus mountains, where the indigenous Dayak people strip rubber and harvest mountain rice, Central Hulu Sungai is the last district in Indonesia’s South Kalimantan province free of mining and palm oil.Locals in this remote part of Indonesian Borneo say protecting their land has tested their stamina, and they’re worried they may no longer be able to hold out against a new threat.In Indonesia, local governments retain broad rights to decide the fate of their land, and the struggle to curb questionable land deals often pits regulatory agencies in Jakarta against lax enforcement by provincial officials. But here in the forested slopes of Batutangga, a collection of villages islanded by karst towers, local people have found the opposite.In December 2017, despite the objections of local officials, the central government issued a mining permit to PT Mantimin Coal Mining (MCM), a nebulous coal company that has been trying and failing to obtain the required environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a decade.Locals quickly organized protests, and the environmental NGO Walhi in late February sued the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources for allowing Batutangga to be mined.Indonesia’s environmental laws require mining companies to present an EIA before they can be considered for a permit. Walhi argues in the lawsuit that the ministry not only ignored the legal process to grant a permit but also the concerns of residents. Any EIA, they maintain, would be illegal because it would not have the approval of the district. Additionally, roughly 100 hectares (247 acres) of the 1,964-hectare (4,853-acre) Batutangga concession area overlaps with protected forests.“Not only should the laws be considered, but also that the community has been fighting against it from the beginning,” said Kisworo Dwi Cahyono, director of Walhi in South Kalimantan.Bambang Gatot Ariyono, director general of minerals and coal at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, who signed the permit in December, refused to answer questions about the lawsuit, saying they would be answered later in court.Women in Nateh, one of several villages in the concession area, where 8,000 people live. Photo by Ian Morse for Mongabay.A “ghost company”Aribani, the head of the Nateh village council, said he learned about the permit in February, two months after it was signed. Before then, he believed mining would never enter these mountains.He laughed when asked whether he was involved in the permit process at all.Aribani is not alone. In addition to the 8,000 residents in the concession area, provincial officials were also surprised the permit was granted to PT MCM. According to residents and government officials, the company has never been to South Kalimantan, despite seeking support for a permit since 2008. Gunawan Harjito, head of minerals and coal in the province’s Department of Energy and Mineral Resources, said he had never met the company and didn’t know how to get in contact with them.“But if it is mining they are doing in our region, the owners need to come visit,” Gunawan said, confirming his support for the lawsuit against his department’s national equivalent.Bambang, too, said he had never met with any employee or representative of the company. The company was not required to meet with officials in order to obtain a permit, he said. He said he knew only that the owner of PT MCM was from India. A few locals called PT MCM a “ghost company.”Aribani, head of Nateh’s village council, stands against a backdrop of karst towers at the base of the Meratus mountains. Photo by Ian Morse for Mongabay.According to government documents obtained by Mongabay, PT MCM has been listed as a mining company since 1993. After the firm received a permit to begin exploration in 2008, its Indonesian owners sold most of their shares to an Indian company, PT Bangun Asia Persada (BAP), an investment holding company owned by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services in Mumbai. It is IL&FS’s only holding in Indonesia.IL&FS did not respond to repeated requests for comments, nor did Amit Ganguly, the current president of both PT MCM and PT BAP.  When contacted by telephone, a representative of PT MCM directed communications to email, which have not been answered.Since 2010, PT MCM has changed executives nine times, apparently without having an operating coal mine. The latest government documents show that as of September 2017, South Kalimantan mining giant Hasnur Group held a 5 percent stake; when contacted in March, an operator at the Hasnur Group office said the company had divested completely.last_img read more