Study reveals forests have yet another climate-protection superpower

first_imgScientists looked at reactive gases emitted by trees and other vegetation, finding they have an overall cooling effect on the atmosphere globally.As forests are cleared, emissions of these cooling reactive gases are reduced. The researchers estimate the loss of this function this may contribute 14 percent towards deforestation-caused global warming.The authors write that effective climate policies will require a “robust understanding” of the relationship between land-use change like deforestation and climate, and urge more research be done toward this goal. As big carbon storehouses, forests have the power to influence the climate. So much so that the protection and expansion of forests is a key part of the Paris Agreement, which seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst effects of global warming.A new study, published last week in Nature Communications, finds forests may have an even bigger cooling effect on climate than we thought. And that without them, the world may be heating up more quickly than expected.Living vegetation emits gases that can react and combine with other gases in the atmosphere. Some of these, called biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), affect the formation of other compounds like aerosol, ozone and methane, the presence of which can influence atmospheric temperature.For their study, an international team of researchers led by the University of Leeds in the UK looked at these reactive compounds to see what kind of a temperature changes they induce. To do this, they simulated boreal, temperate and tropical forest conditions and calculated different warming and cooling effects through computer modeling.They discovered that while trees emit gases that can warm the atmosphere (e.g., they can increase the formation of ozone and methane), gases that had a cooling effect had a greater overall impact.“We found that the cooling impacts of these gases outweigh the warming impacts, meaning that reactive gases given out by forests have an overall cooling effect on our climate,” said study coauthor Dominick Spracklen, a professor at the University of Leeds.A kapok tree bursts into bloom in the Amazon rainforest. The study found warming and cooling effects related to the emissions of reactive gases is most closely balanced in tropical forests compared to temperate and boreal forests.As forests are cleared, emissions of these cooling reactive gases are reduced. The researchers estimate the loss of this function this may contribute 14 percent towards deforestation-caused global warming.According to the researchers, this study is the first thorough analysis of the climatic impact of non-CO2 reactive gases emitted by forests and how it’s affected by human-caused land-use change.“Most previous assessments on the climate impacts of deforestation have focused on the amount of carbon dioxide that would be emitted, or changes to the way the land-surface exchanges energy and water with the atmosphere,” said lead author Catherine Scott of the University of Leeds. “But as well as taking in carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen, trees emit other gases that take part in complicated chemical reactions in the atmosphere and there are implications for reducing these gases.”The scientists write that effective climate policies will require a “robust understanding” of the relationship between land-use change like deforestation and climate, and urge more research be done toward this goal.“By understanding these complex effects we now know more about how forests are affecting our climate, and we are able to see a clearer picture of the repercussions of deforestation,” Scott said. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored boreal forests, carbon, Carbon Sequestration, Climate, Climate Change, Climate Politics, Environment, Gas, Global Warming, Global Warming Mitigation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Rainforests, Research, Temperate Forests, Trees, Tropical Forests Citation:Scott, C. E., Monks, S. A., Spracklen, D. V., Arnold, S. R., Forster, P. M., Rap, A., … & Ehn, M. (2018). Impact on short-lived climate forcers increases projected warming due to deforestation. Nature Communications, 9(1), 157.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. Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davislast_img read more

Video: Budiardi, labeled a ‘provocateur’ and jailed in a dispute with a palm oil company

first_imgArticle published by mongabayauthor Corruption, Deforestation, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Governance, National Parks, Palm Oil, Plantations, Politics, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests “The palm oil fiefdom” is an investigation by Mongabay and The Gecko Project, an initiative of the UK-based research house Earthsight.The article reveals how Darwan Ali, the former head of Indonesia’s Seruyan district, presided over an elaborate scheme to use shell companies as vehicles to sell plantation licenses to major palm oil firms.Short films produced in conjunction with the article feature some of those affected by Darwan’s licensing spree, including a Dayak man named Budiardi. Budiardi was one of the more colorful characters we met in our reporting for “ The palm oil fiefdom.”Thickset and outspoken, he was previously a member of the local parliament in Indonesia’s Seruyan district. He said he had been inspired to enter politics because the district chief, Darwan Ali, had ceded huge swaths of land to plantation companies that acted with impunity. In Hanau subdistrict, where Budiardi lived, residents had fallen into a bitter dispute with BEST Group, which had bulldozed into a national park home to thousands of endangered orangutans. Worse yet was how they treated the local people. “I’m from here, I know what they did,” Budiardi told us. “Evictions, seizing our land, right out in the open! We reported it everywhere and there was never any response.”Seruyan is on the island of Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.The conflict in Hanau is one of thousands that has erupted across the country since the beginning of Indonesia’s palm oil boom. After the dictator Suharto fell in 1998, power was decentralized from Jakarta to the regions, placing control over land and resources in the hands of district chiefs like Darwan Ali. Where Suharto had sent his cronies to log the forest, these officials, known as bupatis, assigned whole landscapes to plantation and mining firms. They developed a reputation for corruption rivaling that of Suharto, becoming known as “little kings.”The Gecko Project and Mongabay investigated Darwan’s licensing spree, and found that he had presided over an elaborate scheme to use shell companies as vehicles for making money from major palm oil firms. These companies were set up in the names of his relatives and cronies, and received permits from the bupati himself before being sold to some of the industry’s biggest players. As the firms proceeded to clear lands claimed by indigenous and other rural communities, the farmers of Seruyan, many of whom had initially trusted in Darwan’s leadership, grew incensed with his rule.Budiardi, who uses one name, at his home in Hanau. Photo by Leo Plunkett for The Gecko Project.Despite his anger, Budiardi wasn’t against the concept of palm oil. He had a smallholding of his own and drove a truck for one of the companies. But as the years went by and BEST Group continued to ignore their entreaties, Budiardi and his neighbors decided enough was enough. One day, a group of them attacked the plantation, using a rope and truck to tear out a handful of oil palm trees by the roots. “The police came that very day,” Budiardi said. “I wasn’t there, but I was labeled a ‘provocateur’ because in the dispute I was the one coordinating with the company.” He served four months in jail over the incident.The farmers were granted some reprieve at the end of Darwan’s second and final term in 2013, when his son, running to replace his father, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of an independent candidate whose platform was aimed squarely at the palm oil industry. This year, however, Darwan’s daughter will become the latest member of the family to stand for the position, raising the specter of another era of their rule.Watch our short film about Budiardi, below, to find out more. And then read our investigation into Darwan’s licenses, in English or Bahasa Indonesia.“The palm oil fiefdom” is the first installment of Indonesia for Sale, a series about the corruption behind Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis. The series is produced under a collaboration between Mongabay and The Gecko Project, an investigative reporting initiative established by the UK-based nonprofit Earthsight.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

Epic battle between tiger and sloth bear caught on film

first_imgAnimal Behavior, Animals, Bears, Carnivores, Environment, Strange, Tigers, Video, Wildlife Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Footage of a fight between a male tiger and a mother sloth bear in an India wildlife reserve has gone viral on Facebook.The video, shot this week in Tadoba National Park, was captured by Akshay Kumar, the chief naturalist at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge in Maharashtra.The video starts with the tiger chasing off a sloth bear that was headed with her cub toward a water body.The bear then charges the tiger and the fight ensues. A naturalist at an ecotourism lodge in India has captured footage of a battle between a tiger and a mother sloth bear protecting its cub.Akshay Kumar, the chief naturalist at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge in Maharashtra, shot the video during an afternoon safari on Wednesday in Tadoba National Park.Screen capture from video shot by Akshay KumarScreen cap from video shot by Akshay KumarScreen cap from video shot by Akshay KumarScreen cap from video shot by Akshay KumarThe video starts with the tiger — a well-known dominant male named Matkasur — chasing off a sloth bear that was headed toward a water hole with her cub. The bear then charges the tiger and the fight ensues.Kumar told NDTV that the bear’s attack was “motherly instinct”.Screen capture of footage shot by Akshay Kumar of the battle between a male tiger and a mother sloth bear over access to a water hole in Maharashtra’s Tadoba National Park. Via @the_bamboo_forest on InstagramMother sloth bear charging a male tiger in Tadoba National Park. Photo by Akshay Kumar, the chief naturalist at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge. Via @the_bamboo_forest on Instagram“The tiger attacked the bear more than five minutes. It went after the sloth bear but she kept charging in order to protect her cub,” Kumar told NDTV. “It went on for 15 minutes. The tiger was roaring. It was a severe fight.”Both animals were injured in the encounter. Kumar said the bear’s thick fur saved her from a worse outcome.center_img Article published by Rhett Butlerlast_img read more

Indonesia races to catch tiger alive as villagers threaten to ‘kill the beast’

first_imgA conservation agency in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island has deployed two teams to capture alive a wild tiger that has reportedly killed two people at an oil palm plantation.The incidents prompted villagers living near the plantation to threaten to kill the tiger themselves if it was not caught.Authorities are keen to take the animal alive, following the killing of a tiger earlier this month under similar circumstances. PEKANBARU, Indonesia — A wildlife conservation agency in Indonesia has deployed two special teams to capture alive a tiger blamed for killing two people this year, amid mounting calls for the animal to be killed.The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Riau province has been on the trail of the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) since the first reported incident, on Jan. 3, when the tiger attacked three workers at an oil palm plantation in Indragiri Hilir district. The tiger killed one of the workers, identified as Jumiati, 33, after she fell from a tree that she had climbed up to escape the animal.Although the BKSDA set out traps in the area around the palm estate run by the Malaysian company PT Tabung Haji Indo Plantations, the tiger proved to be elusive.Just over two months later, on March 5, the same tiger reportedly killed a 34-year-old man, Yusri Efendi, who was passing through the same plantation with a group of other people when they were attacked.A Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae). The big cats have increasingly been pushed out of their forest habitats by rampant deforestation and hunting. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.The two deaths prompted hundreds of residents of Pulau Muda village, where Yusri was from, to stage a protest on March 12 at the office of the plantation company. They demanded the company and the BKSDA immediately capture the tiger, which has been nicknamed Bonita.“The people of Pulau Muda will take action to kill the beast, whatever it takes,” said Ujang, one of the protesters, reading from list of demands to the agency and the company. “And we refuse to face any criminal charges over this.”Under Indonesia’s 1990 Conservation Act, the killing of protected species such as Sumatran tigers carries a prison sentence of up to five years and fines of up to 100 million rupiah ($7,000).In response to the demands, the BKSDA reached an agreement with the villagers not to kill the tiger, on condition that the BKSDA capture it before March 19.The agency has deployed two teams to capture the tiger by tranquilizing it. The teams are made up of officers from the police and military, as well as representatives from NGOs, veterinarians and companies operating in the area.Suharyono, the head of the Riau BKSDA, said the team had orders not to shoot the tiger with live ammunition unless under attack. Even then, they would only be allowed to shoot at its hind legs, and avoid its body and head.Suharyono said that once captured, the tiger would be transported to a wildlife rehabilitation center.The conservation authorities in Riau are determined to take the tiger alive, in the wake of a near-identical case earlier this month in which villagers in neighboring North Sumatra province speared a tiger to death and mutilated its body. The tiger had reportedly attacked and injured two people who were part of a hunting party out to catch the animal, which they considered a supernatural incarnation.In that incident, the villagers had earlier threatened and driven out a BKSDA team sent in to capture the tiger, insisting they were within their rights to kill the endangered big cat.Conflicts between humans and wildlife flare up regularly across Sumatra, whose once vast swaths of forest have been cleared at alarming rates for commercial development, primarily palm oil and rubber plantations, as well as mines. There are an estimated 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, according to WWF. The species is listed by the IUCN as critically endangered, or just a step away from going extinct.The Sumatran tiger is a key conservation focus for the Indonesian government and wildlife activists; two other tiger subspecies native to Indonesia, the Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) and the Bali tiger (Panthera tigris balica), were officially declared extinct in 2003 due to poaching and habitat loss — the same threats stalking the Sumatran tiger today.UPDATE (April 24, 2018): The tiger was captured alive and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.Banner image: A Sumatran tiger. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.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. Article published by Basten Gokkon 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 Animal Rescue, Animals, Big Cats, Conflict, Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Forest Destruction, Habitat Loss, Human-wildlife Conflict, Mammals, Rainforest Animals, Rainforest Deforestation, Tigers, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Rescues last_img read more

How a series of shady deals turned a chunk of Borneo into a sea of oil palm

first_imgIn the leadup to the release of the second installment of Indonesia for Sale, our series examining the corruption behind Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis, we are republishing the first article in the series, “The Palm Oil Fiefdom.” This is the fourth part of that article. The first part described a secret deal between the son of Darwan Ali, head of Indonesia’s Seruyan district, and Arif Rachmat, CEO of one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil companies. The second part gave Darwan’s backstory. The third part chronicled Seruyan’s plantation boom. The story can be read in full here.Indonesia for Sale is co-produced with The Gecko Project, an initiative of the UK-based investigations house Earthsight.Cover image for ‘The Palm Oil Fiefdom.’One day in early 2007, a car rolled up outside the home of Marianto Sumarto, the sawmill owner who had helped Darwan Ali get elected. He lived in Kuala Pembuang, a small coastal town that serves as Seruyan’s capital. Marianto recognized the man behind the wheel as a government official, as he rolled down the window to hand over a bundle of papers.“Take a look at these  —  there are some issues,” the man said flatly, before driving off.When Marianto examined the dossier, he found copies of plantation permits Darwan had given to a handful of companies, with a list of directors and company addresses. He immediately recognized the names of some of Darwan’s relatives. Among the addresses, he noted the Kuala Pembuang home of Darwan’s brother.“I don’t know why he brought me that data,” Marianto told us earlier this year, sitting outside the same house where he had met the whistleblower. “Maybe he cared about Seruyan and wanted to right the ship. Maybe he felt disappointed with how things were going and thought I’d be brave enough to do something about it.”Marianto examines an oil palm concession map at his home in Kuala Pembuang.A migrant from the island of Java, Marianto had arrived in Kalimantan in 1985, joining a friend’s shipping company before switching over to a Malaysian-run timber outfit. He learned on the fly, eventually striking out on his own as an “illegal logger,” as he put it.When Seruyan formed, Marianto became head of the PDIP party within the new district, at the same time that Darwan was leading the party in neighboring East Kotawaringin. He joined his campaign to become bupati, in 2003, and his brother-in-law became Darwan’s first deputy. But by the time he met the whistleblower, Marianto had soured on Darwan’s rule. He felt he had betrayed the hope that Seruyan would be developed for the benefit of its people. The plantations he had allowed to flood in were having the opposite effect. “That’s what I saw,” Marianto told us. “Maybe I’m the most critical person in this district.”Wiry and tall, Marianto had a bald head, a raspy voice and a grin that curled upward. When we met, two of his fingers were wrapped in gauze; he had damaged them in a car accident a few days earlier and lost both fingernails. His nickname, Codot  —  meaning “bat”  —  was a relic from his days in an amateur rock band in the 1980s. “I know just about everyone in Seruyan,” he declared. “And everyone in Seruyan knows of me.”A few days after the leak, Marianto and a friend made the four-hour drive to Sampit, to check out a collection of other addresses in the documents. He recognized the first as the home of Darwan’s son Ahmad Ruswandi. They had held campaign meetings there in the run-up to his selection as bupati. Once or twice Marianto had stayed the night. He knew the next one too. It belonged to Darwan’s tailor, who had made their PDIP party shirts.“The thing is, our country is a corrupt country,” Marianto told us. “A lot of public officials, they didn’t want to bring Seruyan to life. They just wanted to suck it dry.”***The Gecko Project and Mongabay pieced together the story behind Darwan’s licensing spree based on stock exchange filings, government permit databases and company deeds. More information and testimony were provided by Marianto, and a local activist named Nordin Abah, who separately investigated Darwan around the same time as Marianto. We corroborated our findings in interviews with people involved in several of the companies.The picture that emerges is an elaborate and coordinated scheme to establish shell companies in the names of Darwan’s relatives and cronies, endow them each with licenses for thousands of hectares of land, and then sell them on to some of the region’s biggest conglomerates. Those involved stood to profit to the tune of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of dollars. If the plan was carried through to completion, it would transform almost the entire southern stretch of the district, below the hilly interior, into one giant oil palm plantation. If Darwan had his way it would be possible drive 75 kilometers east to west and 220 kilometers south to north through a sea of palm.Licenses issued to companies owned by Darwan Ali’s family and cronies threatened to turn the southern reaches of Seruyan into one vast oil palm plantation.The scheme involved a cast of more than 20 people who appeared as directors or shareholders in the shell companies. They included members of Darwan’s family, associates from his time as head of a building contractors association, members of his election campaign team, and at least one person who said his name was used as a front.Darwan’s wife, Nina Rosita, was a shareholder in one. His daughter Iswanti, who would go on to serve as a provincial politician herself, was a director and shareholder in one, a shareholder in a second and director of a third. His daughter Rohana was also a director. His son Ruswandi got a more prominent role, as director of several companies and a shareholder in at least one more. His older brother Darlen had two companies, his younger brother Darwis one. It stretched into his extended family, through Darwan’s nephew and the husband of his niece.IswantiIn total, we identified 18 companies that connected to Darwan. Three were incorporated several years before he became bupati. That shows that his interest in large-scale oil palm predated his political career, but that it had stalled: The companies remained inactive until after he assumed office. Two more were formed in 2004, a year into his reign, and then in early 2005 the real flurry of activity began.Five companies cropped up in a two-day window in late January; another appeared two weeks later. We were able to determine the directors for all of the companies, and the shareholders for all but six.Almost all of the companies involved at least one of Darwan’s family as a shareholder. His name did not appear on any of them, but Marianto came to the view that he was coordinating the scheme. “They’re like pawns on a chessboard,” he said. “Darwan moves the pieces.”***Most of the names were used sparingly. But some cropped up more often than others, and these would provide important clues as to how the scheme functioned. The first was Vino Oktaviano, who was named as a shareholder in three companies set up on the same day, and a director in one.Nordin Abah, the local activist who carried out his own investigation of Darwan, happened to know Vino well; they sent their children to the same school and sometimes met for coffee. In the wake of the scandal around BEST Group and the national park, Nordin sought out the names behind Darwan’s permit spree. When he found Vino’s name, he challenged him over it. Vino told Nordin that Darwan had used his name, and that he had no actual role in the companies.“He thought it was normal, that nothing would come of it,” Nordin told us at the Palangkaraya office of his NGO, Save Our Borneo. “He just didn’t want to take any responsibility for it.”Nordin Abah sinks into the memory of his investigation during an interview in 2017.Vino worked as a building contractor, obtaining jobs from Darwan’s administration, and was a nephew of Darwan’s wife. The name of his boss, a confidante of Darwan’s from his days in a trade association, also appeared in company documents.“You’re going to go to jail Vino, if this thing blows up,” Nordin recalled telling him. “They made me do it, Din.” Vino replied. “I was tricked.”Where Marianto was a political insider, a mover and shaker in the logging game who soured on the man he once considered an ally, Nordin was a campaigner who hounded the palm oil companies ravaging Seruyan. He also had strong connections to and within the district. His uncle had served as the regional secretary, the highest position in its civil service. On Darwan’s trail, he set about tapping his own relatives in the bureaucracy for leads. He had managed to uncover most of the names involved, noting like Marianto that many of the addresses to which the companies were registered were either duds or owned by the bupati and his family.Nordin observed that a plantation company would need to operate a factory to mill the fruit, and Vino “couldn’t even run a tofu factory.” He was adamant that other people had been used in the same way. “You might be a teacher, you might be a journalist, you might be a contractor  —  there’s no way someone like that can get a permit for a plantation,” Nordin explained. “You don’t know how to develop an oil palm company. And you don’t have the money. It’s just for selling. The story is, I use your name to make a permit to sell to someone else.”The name Ambrin M Yusuf appeared as director of one of the companies. Nordin identified him as a confidante of Darwan from their time in the East Kotawaringin builders association. We tracked him down to his house in Kuala Pembuang, where he had recently returned after serving a jail term for his role as a bag man delivering cash in a local bribery scandal.Ambrin M Yusuf at his home in Kuala Pembuang.He admitted to being a political ally of Darwan, and said that intermediaries had asked him to put his name to the company. But he claimed, implausibly, that he had turned them down, and that the person named in the documents was another man with the same name. He nevertheless admitted that it was “normal” for a bupati to give permits to a family member.Yusuf and Vino’s stories suggested that cronies were being used as fronts, potentially to keep someone else’s name  —  the true beneficiary  —  off company documents. Nordin and Marianto believed that other people whose names appeared were more complicit. They both pointed to a man named Khaeruddin Hamdat as a central figure.Khaeruddin Hamdat alias DaengKhaeruddin appeared as director of three of the companies, though never a shareholder. Marianto, Nordin and others identified him as Darwan’s “adjutant.” It is a term commonly used in Indonesia for the person who serves variously as the advisor, right-hand man and fixer for important politicians. Known as Daeng, an affectionate term for a man from his home island of Sulawesi, Khaeruddin was only in his mid-30s by the time the companies were formed. Nordin described him variously as the “boss in Jakarta” and Darwan’s gatekeeper, meeting with palm oil executives in a posh hotel in the capital. (Khaeruddin declined to comment for this article.)“Because Darwan has to protect himself,” Nordin said. “No way he uses his own name to cut a deal.”Most of those involved in the scheme proved to be elusive or declined to comment when they got a sense of what we were asking questions about. But one of the few people we knew for sure where to find was Hamidhan Ijuh Biring. He had been jailed for yet another corruption scandal, and we tracked him down to a prison on a main boulevard in Palangkaraya, the provincial capital.Hamidhan’s name appeared as a director and shareholder of one of the 18 companies. He was also married to Darwan’s niece. He told us that he had set up the company and received a license from Darwan, but lacked the capital to develop a plantation. Darwan encouraged him to sell the company to a political ally in Jakarta who also served as director of an existing plantation company in the district. After the deal went through, Hamidhan received one portion of the payment but the second, he later discovered, went directly to Darwan. “It turns out Darwan was inside, telling him, ‘No need to pay Hamidhan’,” he said bitterly.Before his relationship with Darwan soured, Hamidhan was an insider, campaigning with him ahead of his 2008 reelection bid. He corroborated Nordin and Marianto’s claim that Khaeruddin Hamdat served as Darwan’s adjutant. He said that whenever he met the bupati, Khaeruddin was there with him.***The sequence of events after the shell companies were formed tells us two things. Firstly, that the intent was never for the founders to develop the plantations themselves. Between December 2004 and May 2005, Darwan gave 16 of the companies permits for plantations. By the end of 2005, at least nine of them had been sold on to major palm oil firms for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It seems implausible that a series of interconnected people, in many cases family members, would concurrently form companies only to decide that they lacked the capacity to run them. The sole explanation is that they were set up to be sold, endowed with assets from Darwan.Darwan Ali provided licenses to 18 companies owned by his family and cronies. Almost all of them were sold to Triputra Agro Persada and to the Kuok Group’s oil palm arm, PPB Oil Palms, which was later merged with Wilmar International. Source: Bursa Malaysia, Ditjen AHU, Nordin Abah, Marianto Sumarto and others.Secondly, it tells us there was a strong degree of coordination in the ways they were both formed and sold. Most of the companies were established within a small window of time, many of them just days apart. Several were also sold within a small period of time some months later.Eight of the shell companies were bought by the Kuoks in late 2005. Darwan’s family and cronies would eventually derive just under a million dollars from the deals with the Malaysian billionaires. In the scheme of things, it was a pittance, a fraction of what the Kuoks would earn from the plantations if they were developed. But in these deals, the shareholders linked to Darwan also kept a 5 percent stake in each of the companies, which could make each of them multimillionaires in their own right.The Kuok Group’s PPB Oil Palms announces a deal to buy 95 percent of a company owned by Darwan Ali’s brothers and a Seruyan politician, in October 2005. The company had been incorporated nine months earlier. Source: Malaysian stock exchange.The evidence Nordin obtained of the connection between Darwan’s family and the companies sold to the Kuoks was first outed in an international NGO’s report, in June 2007. It was just two weeks before two of the Kuok family companies were merged under the name Wilmar International, forming what is now possibly the world’s largest palm oil firm. Wilmar was already attracting heat for a litany of illegalities and social and environmental abuses across its plantations. The same year, a consortium of NGOs filed a complaint with the World Bank ombudsman, providing evidence, later upheld, that the institution had breached its own safeguards by financing the controversial firm.Though the allegations regarding Darwan’s licenses only received a brief mention in the NGO report, the whiff of a corruption scandal may have proved too much. In an email responding to questions for this article, Wilmar told us that it had decided to mothball the companies issued by Darwan after engaging with NGOs. It declined to mention when the decision was made, and continued to list the companies in its annual reports as late as 2010.Triputra Agro Persada, presided over by the young Arif Rachmat, bought seven companies from the bupati’s family. (Triputra declined several requests for an interview, directed to Arif Rachmat, although they did respond to some questions via email.) Four of these companies were later mothballed, but the other three, which were developed, linked directly to Darwan’s son Ruswandi. By the end of 2007, two of these companies had already begun clearing vast tracts of forest, peat soil and farmland. Triputra would emerge as one of the worst oil palm companies in Seruyan for people and the environment, in a crowded field.***Marianto was certain that Darwan had betrayed his constituents. By the time he met the whistleblower in early 2007, the plantation boom was fully underway, yet the average Seruyan resident remained worse off than in the era of logging. Now, the only option for many farmers was to earn a pitiful wage as a laborer on one of the estates. They were losing their farmland, the destruction of forests deprived them of food and other resources, and fishing grew increasingly difficult in polluted waters. Above all, the promise that the mega-plantations would be accompanied by smallholdings for the farmers, thereby cutting them in on the spoils, went undelivered.Marianto placed the blame for the problems that were emerging at Darwan’s door. The bupati had the power to revoke licenses as well as issue them; if he was motivated to do so, surely he could force the companies to deliver for Seruyan’s people? The leak confirmed that his motivations lay elsewhere.Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission, the KPK, born after the fall of Suharto, was emerging as a new force in the fight against graft by public officials. In June 2007, as Indonesia passed Malaysia to become the world’s top palm oil producer, Marianto packaged up his findings and traveled to Jakarta to deliver them to the agency in person.As 2007 drew to a close, delegates from around the world arrived on the Indonesian island of Bali for the 13th annual UN climate change conference. The fate of the earth’s forests was firmly on the agenda. But in the high rises of Jakarta a different game was afoot. Four days before the UN summit began, as Darwan Ali prepared to campaign for his first direct election, his son Ruswandi stepped into the Kadin Tower for his meeting with Arif Rachmat, to cut another deal with Triputra.***After Suharto resigned there was optimism that the grand larceny of his regime would recede. It was hoped that the rapid decentralization of authority would shift accountability for political decisions close to the people affected by them. But by 2008, the year of the first direct vote for bupati of Seruyan, it was increasingly clear that corruption had simply been moved down through the system.In a forthcoming book entitled Democracy for Sale, political scientists Ward Berenschot and Edward Aspinall write that Indonesia’s districts came to be dominated by “a netherworld of personalized political relationships and networks, secretive deal making, trading of favors, corruption, and a host of other informal and shadowy practices.”Elections were a cornerstone of this game. They had become hugely expensive affairs, with the cost proportionate to the amount of power over lucrative projects or natural resources the winner could dole out to supporters. For bupatis governing land- and forest-rich districts, they routinely ran into the millions of dollars. Berenschot, Aspinall and other academics who have studied Indonesian elections over the past two decades have identified a uniform, systematic process by which candidates spend their money.First, they pay off officials in their political party to ensure their selection as a candidate. Next, they recruit an extensive group of political activists and influential figures to join their “success team.” Then they provide cash for the success team to buy up the support of local powerbrokers  —  village chiefs, religious leaders and the heads of sports clubs who enjoy extensive influence in some places. These individuals in turn solicit the support of people within their own spheres of influence.Candidates organize expensive rallies and concerts, paying for popular singers to perform and handing out free meals. Finally, they engage in what is generally referred to as a “dawn attack,” organizing dozens of supporters to hit the streets and knock on doors, handing out money directly to voters to solicit their endorsements. This, Berenschot told us, is the costliest part for candidates. He estimated the price of running for bupati at between $1.2 million to $6 million.The funds come from local businesspeople and contractors, in the expectation of rewards if the candidate is successful. “After the election, it is payback time, and campaign donors and workers can expect to be rewarded by winning candidates with jobs, contracts, credit, projects and other benefits,” write Berenschot and Aspinall. But they also note that incumbents start from a position of advantage, having built up a “war chest  —  typically by engaging in various forms of corruption,” for the next election. “The exchange of favors and material benefits at every stage of the electoral cycle is so pervasive that it is apt to think of democracy in Indonesia as being for sale.”By his own admission, Hamidhan Ijuh Biring, the husband of Darwan’s niece who obtained a license from the bupati, played such a role in the 2008 campaign. At the time, Hamidhan told us, he already believed that Darwan had ripped him off. But he still thought he could be rewarded if the incumbent retained his seat, and he was in on the winning ticket.Hamidhan Ijuh BiringHamidhan told us he contributed $50,000 to Darwan’s campaign ahead of the election. He understood he was joining a cast of characters who had benefited personally from the bupati’s patronage: building contractors to whom Darwan had handed lucrative projects without public bidding, which was then legal; plantation bosses who could instruct their workers, many of them migrants from other islands, to vote for the incumbent. In the dawn attack, he said, cash worth $10 to $25 would be attached to the back of instant noodle packets and distributed to voters.In February 2008, Darwan won the election and resumed his position as bupati of Seruyan for a second five-year term. To celebrate, his brother Darlen organized a concert near the lake, featuring the singer Rhoma Irama, known as the King of Dangdut. No one had stood a chance of making a meaningful challenge to Darwan given the spending advantage provided by his hold on the bupati’s chair. He prevailed despite a brewing storm, as resentment of the plantations grew. The consequences of the land deals he presided over would soon become fully apparent to the people of his district.Read the entire the story here. And then follow Mongabay and The Gecko Project on Facebook (here and here in English; here and here in Indonesian) for updates on Indonesia for Sale. You can also visit The Gecko Project’s own site, in English or Indonesian. Read the article introducing the series here. Anonymous Companies, Climate Change Politics, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corruption, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Forestry, Forests, Palm Oil, Plantations, Threats To Rainforests, Transparency, Tropical Forests Article published by mongabayauthorcenter_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

Audio: Maroon 5’s James Valentine on why he’s working to stop illegal logging

first_imgActivism, Amazon Logging, Animals, Conservation, Corridors, Critically Endangered Species, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Activism, Illegal Logging, Illegal Timber Trade, Interviews, Logging, Marine Protected Areas, Podcast, Protected Areas, Redd, Redd And Communities, Reptiles, Timber, Turtles And Tortoises, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Corridors 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 On today’s episode, we speak with multiple-Grammy-winning musician James Valentine about his work to stop illegal logging and make concert tours more environmentally friendly.As lead guitarist of Maroon 5, Valentine has traversed the globe numerous times on tour, taking the band’s music around the world. But late last year, Valentine went to Peru with a much different mission: he was part of a group of musicians who spoke in Lima in support of the “No More Blood Wood” campaign. He also visited a sustainable logging operation in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve in 2016.Valentine is here to tell us about his experiences in Peru and Guatemala and to tell us all about the work he and Reverb are doing to keep illegal wood out of musical instruments, lower the environmental impact of touring, and engage music fans in environmental action. On today’s episode, we speak with a multiple-Grammy-winning musician about his work to keep illegal and unsustainable wood out of musical instruments and make concert tours more environmentally friendly.Listen here:Our guest today is James Valentine, lead guitarist of Maroon 5, a pop rock band that has sold more than 75 million records, had 13 songs make the Billboard Top 10 Hits list, and won three Grammies. Valentine has traversed the globe numerous times on tour, taking the band’s music around the world. But late last year, he went to Peru with a much different mission: he was part of a group of musicians who spoke in Lima in support of the “No More Blood Wood” campaign, which aims to stop illegal logging in the Amazon. The group also visited some indigenous Amazonian communities to see the impacts of illegal and unsustainable logging firsthand.“A lot of the wood we were using in our instruments was coming from illegal sources,” Valentine says. “And the quickest way to sort of get people on the same page is to call it ‘blood wood,’ because everybody is familiar with the ‘blood diamond’ concept, and so they’re familiar with the idea that some of the practices around mining and those illegal markets that were around these diamonds were having these horrible repercussions on the communities where they were taking these diamonds from. And it’s the same with wood.”James Valentine onstage with Maroon 5. Photo by Travis Schneider.That wasn’t Valentine’s first time visiting the forests where the tonewoods used in guitars and other instruments are harvested. In 2016, Valentine went to Guatemala to visit communities engaged in sustainable forestry in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. On both trips, Valentine was accompanied by Adam Gardner, singer for the band Guster and co-founder of Reverb, the non-profit organization that launched the “No More Blood Wood” campaign and also works with musicians and others in the music industry to reduce the environmental impact of tours.“Certainly we get some pushback from people through social media who would rather we shut up and sing,” Valentine says. “But just because I chose to play in a pop band doesn’t mean I turn in my citizenship. … I have just as much a right to speak on these issues that I care about as anyone else, and I’m going to continue to do that.”Valentine is here to tell us about his experiences in Peru and Guatemala and to tell us all about the work he and Reverb are doing to keep illegal wood out of musical instruments, lower the environmental impact of concert tours, and engage music fans in environmental action.“The wood that’s being used for guitars, of course, that’s just a small drop in the bucket. The larger issue are the consumer goods that everyone uses, the tables, the chairs, dressers,” Valentine says. “It does start with consumers, asking and creating that demand for wood products that can be traced. So that’s why we’re out here — that’s why I’m here talking about this now — because awareness is going to be the first step.”Here’s this episode’s top news:‘IUCN Green List of species’: A new way to measure conservation successNew report highlights top 50 tortoises and turtles on brink of extinctionOver $720 million in profit from tourism in Peru’s protected natural areasReport finds projects in DRC ‘REDD+ laboratory’ fall short of development, conservation goalsBelize creates one of Central America’s largest biological corridorsBrazil creates four massive marine protected areasThis is our 40th episode since we launched the Mongabay Newscast in 2016, and if you’ve been enjoying the show for any or all of that time, we ask that you please consider becoming a monthly sponsor via our Patreon page. Just a dollar per month will really help us offset the production costs and hosting fees, so if you’re a fan of our audio reports from nature’s frontline, please support the Mongabay Newscast at patreon.com/mongabay.You can subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, RSS and via Spotify. Or listen to all our episodes via the Mongabay website here on the podcast homepage.James Valentine (right) playing guitar in the Madre De Dios region of Peru with Adam Gardner of Guster/REVERB (center) and K.T. Tunstall (left). Photo courtesy of the Environmental Investigation Agency.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by Mike Gaworeckilast_img read more

Kaziranga’s rhino census finds the population is growing, but more slowly than expected

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 Isabel Esterman Kaziranga National Park in India’s Assam state is home to the majority of the world’s greater one-horned rhinos.A census completed in March counted 2,413 rhinos, an increase of 12 individuals since 2015.Officials believe rhinos were undercounted, likely due to poor visibility. Other observers suggest changes should be made to survey methodology.If the numbers are accurate, it could suggest the park has reached its carrying capacity. However, a large number of young rhinos were counted, indicating that the population remains healthy and breeding. The good news for conservationists is that the population of greater one-horned rhinos in India’s Kaziranga National Park is still on the rise. According to the official rhino census, concluded on March 28, the park’s population now stands at 2,413, up by a dozen from the last tally in 2015.The not-so-good news, however, is that officials had anticipated a higher number. “The results indicate that there has been undercounting and there are plans to conduct the census once more next year,” said N.K. Vasu, chief wildlife warden of the state of Assam.The total number of greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) counted in the park included 642 adult males and 793 adult females, plus 206 adults whose sex could not be determined. Among sub-adult rhinos, aged roughly 3 to 6 years, there were 116 males, 149 females and 122 of unknown sex. The census also counted 155 calves under a year old and 230 between 1 and 4 years old.Park officials, however, had expected a higher total, given that the last census, in 2015, tracked an increase of 111 rhinos in two years.A team consisting of a mahout, an enumerator and an armed forest guard prepares to count rhinos. Some 300 people, 45 elephants and 30 vehicles were directly involved in the census. Photo by Moushumi Basu for Mongabay.Rabindra Sharma, a research officer at Kaziranga, cited low visibility caused by overgrown vegetation in the grasslands as one possible factor for the unexpectedly low number of rhino sightings. Large tracts of tall grass are burned annually as a part of rhino habitat management, Sharma said. This encourages new growth, providing the rhinos with fresh vegetation to graze on, while also keeping woody species in check.Normally these tall grasses start drying up in January, and around 70 to 80 percent can be burned by the end of February. This year, however, a longer-than-usual flood season meant that barely 15 to 20 percent of the grasslands could be burned. As a result, Sharma said he suspected many rhinos were simply not spotted in the tall, dense grass.Other factors may have also been in play. Uttam Saikia, a Kaziranga honorary wildlife warden, speculated that the rhinos might be avoiding areas of the park where heavy machinery was being used to shore up the artificial highlands that provide shelter to animals during floods.With floods receding late this year, tall grasses could not be burned before the census, limiting visibility. Photo by Moushumi Basu for Mongabay.Saikia also pointed to the privately owned elephants that were hired along with their mahouts to escort the census takers through the park. Unlike the forest department’s own elephants, these animals were not well acquainted with the landscape or accustomed to wild animals, Saikia said. This made it difficult for some of the census-takers to go through the dense grass thickets or woodlands, and could have resulted in potential rhino sightings being missed.Indeed, some of the census takers reported a number of incidents during their work. Indumoni Chetia, one of only two women in the group of 60 enumerators, said she was startled by the sound of a gunshot while scanning the grasslands through her binoculars. It turned out the ranger assigned to her had fired a blank to scare away a wild buffalo that appeared to be about to attack their elephant. The elephant, in turn, “got so petrified that it began running here and there and our mahout [elephant rider] had to spend nearly 15-20 minutes to get it on track,” Chetia said.Sangita Medhi, the other female enumerator, told of her elephant and its calf being chased by rhinos on two occasions during the second day of counting. Each time the calf saw a rhino after that, it got spooked and began running erratically, prompting its mother to follow suit, Medhi said. “Even the forest guard was about to fall off once from the elephant’s back,” she said. Nonetheless, she still managed to sight about 70 rhinos.Indumoni Chetia rides high on elephant for rhino sighting. Photo courtesy of Indumoni Chetia.‘Worrying’ growth rateWhile individual census takers were pleased with their tallies, the overall rate of increase in the rhino population did not cheer the conservationists. “This 0.5% growth rate of the rhino population in KNP during the past three years since 2015 is worrying as it indicates the possibility that the rhino numbers in KNP may be nearing its carrying capacity, and more area is required to accommodate them,” said Anupam Sarmah, head of the Assam landscape program at WWF-India.While senior officials at the Assam Forest Department are considering holding a rhino census next year, rather than in 2021 as scheduled, Saikia, the honorary warden, recommended that any future plans and habitat preparedness be evaluated by a committee of experts. Privately owned elephants can be requisitioned for census work, he said, but must be trained beforehand to acclimate them to forest conditions. He also advocated for the use of more up-to-date surveying techniques. “It is time for the park to upgrade the census technologically giving more stress on accuracy with scientific inputs,” he said.Others point to weaknesses in the survey methodology. According to Sarmah, the total-count method that was used is more appropriate for smaller areas. For a park the size of Kaziranga, he argued a system known as the line transect method would be more appropriate. This method is based on distance sampling: lines are drawn at random across a study region, and an observer travels each line using a rangefinder and a compass to record the perpendicular distance from the line to each of the detected animals. Traveling along a straight line, observers cannot spot all of the animals in the surveyed strip, but their findings can be used to model the probability of detection in the study area, and thus estimate the density or abundance of the species.This method, which is already in use for estimating herbivore population density in India, greatly reduces the odds of both double-counting and failing to spot animals, Sarmah said.Sandwiched between a mahout and a forest guard, a census-taker enters the woods on elephant back. Photo by Moushumi Basu for Mongabay.‘Labor of love’The census relied on a mass effort by more than 300 forest personnel, members of conservation groups and wildlife-loving volunteers to perform a headcount of the rhinos in the species’ most important stronghold, said Kaziranga divisional forest officer Rohini Ballav Saikia. “It was a juggernaut,” he said.Officials divided the 430-square-kilometer (166-square-mile) park into a grid of 74 compartments, each assigned to one census taker. Sandwiched between an elephant and mahout in front and an armed forest guard behind, the census takers set out for the forests at 5 a.m., scanning their areas for rhinos and marking the GPS locations for the next seven to eight hours.Those who participated called it a labor of love.“Our first reaction on sighting a rhino was obviously a squeal of delight. Adjusting the binocular further for a closer view, we simply gaped at the magnificent animal in awe for the first few seconds,” said Chetia and Medhi, both researchers from Gauhati University’s Department of Zoology.It was the first rhino census for the pair. On the first day Chetia was given a compartment in the Bagori (western) range of the park, where she covered about 5 square kilometers (1.9 square miles). “I sighted nearly 60 rhinos,” she said excitedly.Beyond the excitement of simply spotting rhinos, census takers looked for signs of each animal’s sex and age. Kamal Azad, a wildlife biologist at the regional office of the National Tiger Conservation Authority in Guwahati, said overall size was the most easily perceptible difference. Males, he said, are bigger and bulkier than females, with thicker skulls, bigger shoulder muscles and a prominent arch on their backs. It’s also sometimes possible to spot a male’s genitals from behind. Calves, meanwhile, are smaller with undeveloped horns, are generally found close to their mothers, and lack the prominent knobby skin folds found in adults. In between are sub-adults, who are beginning to show signs of maturity, such as developing horns.Around 3,500 greater one-horned rhinos live in India and Nepal, roughly 70 percent of them in Kaziranga. Photo by Moushumi Basu for Mongabay.The two-day census on March 26 and 27 was followed by random sampling of the rhino population in 16 compartments of the park on March 28. The figures were then scrutinized and collated by a technical committee before being announced on March 29.WWF’s Sarmah said the census was not just about generating a number. The exercise also keeps park management abreast of the status of the habitat and the population, giving insight into the distribution of rhinos in the park and how best to carry out habitat management in the future.Sarmah also pointed to encouraging signs in this year’s figures: the abundance of calves and sub-adults indicates that the park’s rhinos are healthy and breeding, while the male-to-female ratio of 1:1.2 offers reason to hope the population will continue to grow.Banner image: One of the 2,413 rhinos counted during the 2017 census. Photo by Moushumi Basu for Mongabay.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 Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, In-situ Conservation, Mammals, One-horned Rhinos, Protected Areas, Rhinos, Wildlife last_img read more