Indonesia unveils plan to halve forest fires by 2019

first_imgArticle published by Hans Nicholas Jong Banner image: A peat swamp in Sumatra smolders during the 2015 haze crisis. The drainage canals were dug in order to prepare the land for planting with oil palm, but the practice renders the land vulnerable to catching fire. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forestry, Forests, Indonesia, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests The Indonesian government has launched a plan to cut down land and forest fire hotspots by nearly half, in part by protecting peat forests.The program, which calls for $2.73 billion in funding, aims to ensure that 121,000 square kilometers of land, a fifth of it peat forest, will be fire-free by 2019.The move comes as the government anticipates drier weather conditions than usual next year in perennial hotspot regions like West Kalimantan. JAKARTA – The Indonesian government has unveiled an ambitious plan to nearly halve the number of fire hotspots in the country by 2019, in part through the restoration of degraded peat forests.The fires are an annual occurrence, linked to the clearing of forests for logging and monoculture plantations. In recent years the problem has been exacerbated by the draining of peat swamps, which leaves them highly combustible.Under the new plan revealed Tuesday by the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, the government aims to tackle the fires through a two-pronged approach.First is ensuring that the 24,000 square kilometers (9,266 square miles) of degraded peat areas slated to be restored by Indonesia’s peatland restoration agency (BRG) are not burned. Second is boosting prevention efforts in 731 villages in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo, identified as being historically prone to fires.In all, the plan calls for the protection of 121,000 square kilometers (46,718 square miles) of land, which, if kept successfully free of fire by 2019, will reduce the anticipated number of hotspots by 49 percent compared to business-as-usual levels.Fire set for peatland clearing in Riau Province, Indonesia in July 2015. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerFive action plansBecause of its wide scope, the plan will involve multiple government agencies and require at least 39 trillion rupiah ($2.73 billion) in funding.It comprises five action plans, the first of which is to provide economic incentives and disincentives. Each of the fire-prone villages, for instance, will be eligible for 300 million rupiah ($21,000) in funding if it manages to prevent land and forest fires for a full year. Concession holders, meanwhile, risk the revocation of their permit if found liable for fires on their land.“This strategy is the most important [of all the strategies], in my opinion,” Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said on the sidelines of the launch of the plan.The second action plan calls for empowering villagers and forest communities to prevent and tackle fires, while the third focuses on more stringent enforcement of existing laws and regulations on forest concessions.Improving water management in peat forests, exploring weather modification techniques and developing wind farms make up the infrastructure-oriented fourth action plan. The last one calls for upgrading fire monitoring systems, setting up a crisis center and early response system, and distributing fire-extinguishing equipment.Indonesia on fire, October 16, 2015. The fires there were blamed on a record El Nino drought that was intensified by climate change, along with forest clearance for industrial agriculture. An image posted on Twitter purporting to show the smoke-choked city of Palangkaraya.Dry weather aheadThe rollout of the plan comes as Indonesia’s weather agency, the BMKG, is predicting drier-than-usual conditions in parts of the country starting in May next year, as a result of the La Niña weather system.A similar phenomenon occurred in 2016, when the country experienced a longer-than-normal wet season. This time around, however, the prolonged rains from La Niña will only affect regions such as Sulawesi and Maluku, while provinces such as West Kalimantan, one of the main areas routinely stricken by fires, will see drier weather.“The region that needs special attention is West Kalimantan because the rainfall there is expected to be significantly lower than normal,” BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati told reporters at the unveiling of the fire-prevention plan. “The region is relatively the driest compared to other regions.”Drier weather across Sumatra brought by El Niño in 2015 led to fires across huge swaths of land that generated some of the worst haze on record. Smoke from the fires sickened half a million Indonesians, per government estimates, and drifted into neighboring countries. At the height of the disaster, the daily emissions of carbon dioxide as a result of the burning exceeded those from all U.S. economic activity.In the wake of the disaster, the government has taken steps to prevent peat fires, including ordering the conservation of peat forests in existing plantation concessions. 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

Two new dog-faced bats discovered in Panama and Ecuador

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 Animals, Bats, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Mammals, New Species, Research, Species Discovery, Wildlife Researchers have described two new species of dog-faced bats: the Freeman’s dog-faced bat (Cynomops freemani) from Panama and the Waorani dog-faced bat (Cynomops tonkigui) from Ecuador.The Freeman’s dog-faced bat was named after bat specialist Patricia Freeman.The species name of the Waorani dog-faced bat, “tonkigui,” honors the Waorani tribe of Ecuador that lives near one of the locations where the bats were captured, the study says. For the past few decades, scientists have known of six species of fast-flying, insect-eating bats with dog-like faces — collectively called the dog-faced bats.Now, a group of researchers has described two more species of dog-faced bats in a new study published in Mammalian Biology: the Freeman’s dog-faced bat (Cynomops freemani) from Panama and the Waorani dog-faced bat (Cynomops tonkigui) from Ecuador.Researchers from the Panama-based Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) first came across the Freeman’s dog-faced bat inside abandoned wooden houses in the town of Gamboa in 2012. Over the course of five nights, the team captured 56 bats using specialized mist nets, took their measurements, then released them. They also recorded the bats’ calls and collected one individual that had died.At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C, the scientists compared their field observations, including DNA, sound recordings and body measurements of the bats, with existing museum collections from across the Americas and Europe, and confirmed that the bat was new to science. They named it Freeman’s dog-faced bat after Patricia Freeman, a bat specialist currently at the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History.“We were very lucky to catch several different individuals of this species in mist nets and to record their calls,” Thomas Sattler, who was one of the team members in Panama at the time of collection, told Smithsonian Insider. “Knowing their species-specific echolocation calls may make it possible to find them again in the future with a bat detector — without catching them—and to find out more about their distribution and habitat preferences.”In fact, some STRI staff recently spotted pregnant females of the species in Gamboa in August 2017, and some young individuals the following month.Thomas Sattler holds two Freeman’s dog-faced bats discovered in Gamboa, Panama. Photo: Elias BaderThe Smithsonian team described the second new species — the slightly smaller Waorani dog-faced bat — from individuals collected by other naturalists and researchers from Ecuador’s rainforests. The team did not have any call recordings of the bats, so they confirmed its status by comparing the bats’ physical measurements and DNA with those of other museum specimens collected in Ecuador.“Identifying two mammal species new to science is extremely exciting,” Ligiane Moras, lead author of the study who did part of this work as a fellow at NMNH, said in a statement.Rachel Page of STRI added: “Molecular tools combined with meticulous morphological measurements are opening new doors to the diversity of this poorly understood group. This discovery begs the question — what other new species are there, right under our very noses? What new diversity is yet to be uncovered?”A Waorani dog-faced bat. Photo by Diego Tirira.The newly described Freeman’s dog-faced bat. Photo by Thomas Sattler.Citation:Moras, L. M., et al. (2017). Uncovering the diversity of dog-faced bats from the genus Cynomops (Chiroptera. Molossidae), with the redescription of C. milleri and the description of two new species. Mammalian Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2017.12.005.center_img Article published by Shreya Dasguptalast_img read more

Hope for the rarest hornbill in the world (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki There are three Critically Endangered hornbill species in the world. The rarest, the Sulu hornbill in the Philippines, is little studied, does not occur in any protected areas, and is in imminent danger of extinction.In January 2018, a team of conservationists from the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore visited the only known habitat of this bird to assess its status and make recommendations regarding its survival.Five individuals were located, as well as a potential nesting site. Work will continue this year to train local rangers in hornbill study techniques; the patches of forest where the Sulu hornbill clings on should be granted legal protection from logging, hunting, and human encroachment.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Of the 32 hornbill species found in Asia, three are currently considered Critically Endangered with global extinction, according to IUCN criteria.One of those, the helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), is currently the focus of a conservation project by a recently formed Helmeted Hornbill Working Group. Another, the rufous-headed hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus waldeni), is being studied under a project supported by BirdLife International.Meanwhile, the Sulu hornbill (Anthracoceros montani) has the smallest population of any of the Critically Endangered hornbill species and must in fact be considered the rarest and most endangered hornbill in the world. Its distribution range has shrunk, its population has collapsed, and the species is in imminent danger of disappearing altogether — yet it has received no conservation attention.The Sulu hornbill — “tawsi” in the local language — is endemic to the Philippines, occurring only on islands in the Sulu Archipelago between Mindanao and Borneo. It is the sole member of the Bucerotidae family within its area and was described as widespread and abundant at the time of its discovery in 1880. Since then, the population has crashed.Today, the only viable breeding population of the Sulu hornbill known to exist is found on the small island of Tawi-Tawi, where a mere 100 square kilometers (close to 25,000 acres) of suitable forest remains, according to the IUCN. The total global population is estimated to be about 40 individuals.Parts of a hill where the Sulu hornbill has been found has been illegally logged by villagers who moved into the area in recent years. Photo by Bee Choo Strange.Complicating survey work, the Tawi-Tawi island and the Sulu area in general are not safe: there are active insurgents operating in this region. Two European birdwatchers were abducted on Tawi-Tawi in February 2012 while looking to photograph the hornbill. One of them escaped in 2014, but a Dutch national is still believed to be held captive, although he has most likely been moved to another island, possibly Jolo.To facilitate the study and conservation of the Sulu hornbill, Dr. Pilai Poonswad and I visited Tawi-Tawi in January 2018. Dr. Poonswad is Emeritus Professor of Faculty of Science at Mahidol University in Bangkok; she has studied hornbills in Thailand since 1978 and founded the Thailand Hornbill Project. She also founded the Hornbill Research Foundation in 1993 to branch out and share the team’s experience with governments and NGOs in the rest of Asia. Recently, she has agreed to be one of the advisers in the newly re-established Hornbill Specialist Group under the auspices of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.Before our site visit, biodiversity surveys on Tawi-Tawi were conducted by staff of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation from September 30 to October 2, 2017. Some two or three Sulu hornbills were seen together in various patches of forest on the island, usually a pair together. The maximum sighting this century was 10 birds seen in one area in 2014 (Paguntalan et al. 2017), all mature individuals. No immature birds have been reported within the last 20 years. In May 2015, a local villager reported seeing the nesting cavity of a Sulu hornbill, with a chick inside, in a large fallen dipterocarp tree. Other than that, there are no nesting records for this species, and little is known about its habitat requirements, breeding habits, or ecology in general. It feeds on fruits and some animal prey such as insects and small lizards. It seems to depend on large forest trees for nesting, but will fly up to one kilometer into nearby plantations and agricultural land to feed.As mentioned, traveling in the Sulu archipelago is not safe. To visit the Sulu hornbill habitat on Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi Province, we needed the co-operation of Mayor Rejie Sahali, Colonel Romulo “Bim” Quemado, and the marine soldiers of the Philippines Marine Corps. Our main target was the secondary forest at Upper Malum. Traveling was difficult and even our military escort vehicle got stuck in the mud several times while traveling the 12 kilometers to the site. We reached an elevation of some 250 meters, although the hill further inland goes to about 500 meters above sea level.During our visit, we managed to locate a total of five Sulu hornbills. Perhaps most importantly, coming back from the hill one of the rangers spotted a hornbill emerging from a hole in a tree. Pilai established that this was a hole produced by a large woodpecker, most likely a White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis). Although this doesn’t constitute a confirmed nesting record, we decided to watch the potential nesting tree the following day in the hope that the male or female would check out the nest hole again.A possible nest hole of a Sulu hornbill. Dr. Pilai Poonswad indicated that the hole is made by a large woodpecker, likely the white-bellied woodpecker. Photo by Bee Choo Strange.Most Asian hornbills start their breeding at the onset of the cool-dry season, when the forest trees flower and ripe fruits are abundant in time for chick rearing. Females of all hornbills in the Bucerotidae family will enter a nesting cavity in a large, living tree after copulation. She will then seal the nest hole with her feces, regurgitated food, and mud until it is an elongated vertical slit, large enough for the male to deliver food to the female and later the chick or chicks. She will stay there until her young fledge. Unfortunately, no hornbills returned to the hole we had observed, as there was disturbance by the locals — on-going logging at the site using chainsaws.The forest patch where the Sulu hornbill occurs now is only about 10 square kilometers in area (a little under 2,500 acres). It is currently not protected in any way; in fact, there are no nature reserves or national parks in the Tawi-Tawi Province at all. Of utmost priority is to gazette the remaining quality forest on the island as protected area, safe from logging operations, mining, hunting, and intrusion from settlers.Mayor Rejie and Colonel Bim are working with Philippines authorities to gazette the site as a wildlife sanctuary. The municipality has employed six Tawsi rangers from the village near the forest to survey and safeguard the local hornbill population. Pilai also recommended a survey to identify figs and other food and nest trees of the hornbills, as well as installation of artificial nest boxes at the site with the aim of providing nest holes, as there may not be sufficient trees for the birds to nest. There are plans for a program to be put in place to engage with the villagers to plant fig trees and other hornbill food trees and also trees that provide nest holes for the species.Once the security situation in the area is normalized, this beautiful terrain could ideally be opened up as an eco-tourism site for everyone to visit and enjoy. Apart from the hornbills, there are some six species and 23 subspecies of birds endemic to the Sulu region, i.e. found nowhere else in the world (Paguntalan et al. 2017).In the meantime, more studies are needed to improve our understanding of the Sulu hornbill’s requirements. Towards the end of our visit, it was decided to bring some of the rangers and other local conservationists for training with the Hornbill Research Foundation at their facilities in the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. There they will learn plant phenology, tree climbing techniques, and other skills essential for hornbill studies.Locally in the Philippines, there is an increased awareness of the importance of biodiversity studies and conservation. It is encouraging that, with co-operation from national officials and decision makers, we are now starting an international support program that is bringing hope to the last remaining population of the Sulu hornbill.A pair of Sulu hornbills, male on the left and female on the right. Picture taken at site. Photo by Nicky Icarangal.CITATIONS• Paguntalan, L.J., Jakosalem, P.G., Quemado, R., Sahali-Generale, R., Fernandez, G., de la Cruz, M., & Sali, E.D. (2017). Tawi-Tawi Biodiversity Conservation Project: Philippines Hornbills Conservation Programme. Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc.• Poonswad, P., Kemp, A. & Strange, M. (2013). Hornbills of the World: A Photographic Guide. Draco Publishing and Hornbill Research Foundation.Bee Choo Strange is a Singaporean nature conservationist. She is the international coordinator of the Hornbill Research Foundation, based in Thailand. She was project director of Hornbills of the World (Poonswad et al., 2013). Animals, Birds, Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Endangered Species, Environment, Researcher Perspective Series, Saving Species From Extinction, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Study: Indonesia’s ambitious peat restoration initiative severely underfunded

first_imgBanner image: A peatland burns in Indonesia, spewing haze into the atmosphere. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Conservation, Deforestation, Ecological Restoration, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forests, Indonesia, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Plantations, Rainforests, Restoration Indonesia will need an estimated $4.6 billion to restore some 20,000 square kilometers (7,720 square miles) of degraded peatland by its self-imposed deadline of 2020, a study suggests.To date, however, funding for the project that began in 2016 amounts to less than $200 million, with the result that only 5 percent of the restoration target has been achieved.The study authors say the Indonesian government faces a dilemma over whether to concentrate its resources in a smaller area or risk potentially ineffective restoration methods to cover the entire target area. JAKARTA — High costs and a lack of funding stand in the way of Indonesia achieving its target for the restoration of degraded peatland across the country, a new study says.The government in 2016 embarked on a program to restore 20,000 square kilometers (7,720 square miles) of degraded peat forest by 2020. The cost for this undertaking, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, will likely exceed $4.6 billion.To date, however, the Indonesian government has budgeted just $200 million for the initiative, according to the study, and the results are telling: only 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) of peatland, or 10 percent of the total, had been rewetted by the end of 2017.That funding includes 34 million Norwegian krone ($4.4 million) from the Norwegian government and $134.6 million from the U.S., U.K., Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. For its part, the Indonesian government initially allocated the equivalent of $60.5 million from its 2017 spending budget.The $200 million figure cited in the study, though, used the lowest cost projections available and did not account for the subsequent slashing of Indonesia’s contribution by half, as part of wider cost-cutting measures by the Ministry of Finance.A peat bog being drained in Kalimantan. The lack of oxygen due to wet conditions in peat bogs prevents the peat from breaking down. When peat bogs dry out they start to decompose and large quantities of stored carbon are released to the atmosphere. Photo credit: Rhett ButlerPreventing firesThe peat-restoration initiative was born out of the need to prevent the kinds of land and forest fires that devastated huge swaths of the country in 2015. While such fires are an annual occurrence linked to the clearing of land for commercial agriculture, the burning and haze in 2015 were exacerbated by the draining of peat forests, which render the permanently moist peat soil dry and highly combustible.Peat forests are globally significant both for their ability to store carbon dioxide and for their biodiversity. In Indonesia, peatlands in Sumatra are home to critically endangered species such as orangutans, rhinos and tigers.“Restoring peat will, therefore, be critical not only for Indonesia to achieve its emission reduction target, but also to provide habitat for these species,” Amanda Hansson, a co-author of the new study, told Mongabay.To protect these landscapes, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in 2016 established the Peatland Restoration Agency, or BRG.Hansson and her team used data from the BRG to examine the case of peatland restoration in Sumatra, Papua and Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. They classified peat forests based on their fire, logging and drainage histories, as well as their current hydrological conditions.They found that peat areas with low-intensity fires were more easily restored than those that had experienced high-intensity fires, with the former showing greater signs of unassisted recovery compared to the latter.But the biggest determinant of the total cost of restoration, the researchers found, is the width of the canals dug to drain the peat soil in preparation for planting. The wider the canals, typically associated with oil palm plantations, the more difficult, and more expensive, it is to restore the peat areas, Hansson said.“I was particularly surprised by the high cost associated with restoring wide canals, which can reach up to $23,500 per hectare,” or about $9,500 per acre, she said. “Restoring peat which has been drained using large-scale canals can quickly become very expensive.”Restoring or rewetting small-scale agricultural landscapes, however, is relatively inexpensive, starting at around $400 per hectare. These areas typically have much smaller canals that can be dammed much more cheaply.Fire set for peatland clearing in Riau Province, Indonesia in July 2015. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerFunding gapPeat areas that have been drained and burned for commercial use make up the bulk of BRG’s working area, driving the potential cost of the entire endeavor to $4.6 billion, the study estimated.The stark difference between the actual funding allocated and the money required to successfully restore the targeted 20,000 square kilometers of peatland leaves Indonesia facing a difficult decision, Hansson said.“This shortfall means Indonesia will have to choose between using best-practice methods in smaller areas or using cheaper and potentially ineffective restoration methods to reinstate larger areas of degraded peat forest,” she said.The government, she added, would have to address the shortfall if it wanted to meet the target.“Attracting global funding will be essential for Indonesia in realizing this target, and developing a cost estimate may help in highlighting the need for international support in this process,” Hansson said.When asked about the findings, BRG head Nazir Foead said he had not yet read the study but would look into it. 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

Afcon safety, security systems ‘in place’

first_img28 November 2012South Africa has put effective plans in place to ensure a safe and secure 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament, Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday.“Everything is in place with regards to security; we started planning as early as May this year, [and] both national and international screening with regard to all participating 16 teams has been completed,” Sotyu said.“Security will be provided to all the participating teams including Bafana Bafana 24/7. We will strengthen security at all ports of our entry during this period, especially our borders, airports, seaports and land ports of entry.“All the teams will be escorted from the airport to their respective hotels; teams will also be escorted from their hotels to their training venues 24/7 to make sure that they are safe,” she said.Sotyu also said permanent police officers would be deployed to all the hotels where the national teams will be staying.She said Home Affairs was ready to handle the movement of both people and goods at the ports of entry.“We also have our own police officers that we’ve trained with regard to assistance at the ports of entry in case we need more man power,” she said.“Buses carrying players will be escorted by the police all the times; each and every movement of the buses carrying the teams will be provided with security by the police.”Dedicated investigators for criminal casesWith regard to criminal cases during the tournament, Sotyu said that unlike the 2010 Fifa World Cup there wouldn’t be special courts for criminal activities, but there would be dedicated investigators who will focus on the cases that happen during the tournament.While there would be the normal procedure of handling the cases, she said criminal cases committed during the tournament will always be prioritised in the courts of law.Police were going to make sure that they control the crowd in and outside the stadiums.Chairperson of the National Joint Intelligence Structure, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela, said part of their security concept to effectively deal with any form of hooliganism in the stadiums was also in place.“Part of our security concept to deal with hooliganism in and around the stadiums includes ensuring that we put ‘spotters’ among the spectators to identity the so- called hooligans, remove them from the stadium and take them into police custody.“We will ensure that the intelligence community that we are working with in the region, through the Southern African Regional Police Chief Council Organisation (Sarpcco) and Interpol, will also assist us with the movement of the people who will be coming to our country for the tournament,” he said.Sarpcco is an official forum comprising all the police chiefs from southern Africa.“We are not going to drop the standards which we’ve created in dealing with all the major events that we host in our country,” he said.Should the security guards, who will be working at the stadiums, decide to embark on an illegal strike like they did during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, General Mawela said: “We have plan D and even plan E.”“We have a reserve group at a national level who can be moved around the country at any given time and we also have the contingency funds whereby we will ensure that people will be moved around head office to whatever affected stadium. We will never have any problem with regards to this issue.”South Africa will host the tournament from 19 January to 10 February 2013.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

Plan, pack and get out there!

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

Transit officer shot at Vancouverarea SkyTrain station police look for suspect

first_imgThe Canadian Press VANCOUVER — The RCMP say a transit police officer has been shot and they were searching for what they believe to be an armed suspect near a Skytrain station in Surrey, B.C.Cpl. Elenore Sturko says officers were called to the area of the Scott Road SkyTrain at about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday.The RCMP established a containment zone, including the airspace, and was asking members of the public to stay away from the area.Sturko says trains were not being allowed into the station.The officer has been taken to hospital with unknown injuries.last_img

St Louis upset of Memphis headlines NCAA Tournament action at Nationwide Arena

Day one of the NCAA Tournament in Columbus Friday did not disappoint. Midwest No.11-seed North Carolina State, Midwest No. 3-seed Georgetown, West No.9-seed Saint Louis and West No.1-seed Michigan State all won, advancing to the third round. Georgetown and N.C. State is scheduled to meet in the first game at Nationwide Arena at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, with MSU and SLU 30 minutes following, with berths to the Sweet 16 on the line. Midwest Region’s No. 11-seed North Carolina State upsets No. 6 Seed San Diego State, 79-65 Playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, the No. 11-seeded North Carolina State Wolfpack (23-12) upended No. 6-seed San Diego State (26-8), taking advantage of its superior play in the paint on the way to a 79-65 victory. N.C. State got a team-high 22 points from junior forward Richard Howell, and sophomore guard Lorenzo Brown added 17 while grabbing nine rebounds. “I thought today inside around the basket we were able to get a lot done,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “And I thought Richard (Powell) in the first half was just sensational. And it wasn’t just him. But Richard really set the tone for us offensively.” It was a two-man show for SDSU, as sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin (23) and junior guard Chase Tapley (19), combined for 42 of the Aztecs’ 65 points. SDSU coach Steve Fisher attributed the loss to N.C. State’s size. “It’s one thing to be big. It’s another thing to be big and good. And they’re big and good. And we had a hard time with their size,” he said. N.C. State outscored the Aztecs’ 38-18 in the paint. During the first half, neither team was able to pull away, with the lead changing six times and N.C. State on top, 33-29, after twenty minutes. The beginning of the second half was more of the same, but towards the midway point, SDSU started to miss shots, and NCST didn’t. The Wolfpack shot 65 percent from the field in the final twenty minutes, with the Aztecs only managing to hit 37 percent of their second-half shots. Midwest Region’s No. 3-seed Georgetown defeats No. 14-seed Belmont, 74-59 Georgetown and senior guard Jason Clark weren’t going to be denied this time. After being one-and-done in their previous two NCAA Tournament trips, the No.3-seeded Hoyas, propelled by Clark, played with insistence Friday, cruising past No.14-seed Belmont, 74-59, in the second round. Clark led the way for Georgetown (24-8), pouring in a game-high 21 points, while Hoyas’ freshman forward Otto Porter scored 16 and senior center Henry Sims added 15. Sophomore forward Blake Jenkins dropped a team-high 17 points for Belmont (27-8). “I think it was definitely a sense of urgency, not just for me but the whole team,” Clark said. “We know what we’ve done in the past. So it was a big thing for us to get this win today.” The urgency showed early, as Clark scored 10 of Georgetown’s first 14 points. Along with Clark’s play, the Hoyas’ used a major size advantage inside to take a 36-27 lead into half time. The lead remained around the 10-point mark for the majority of the second half. Belmont coach Rick Byrd said his team was not able to make any runs against the Hoyas’ zone defense. “I just didn’t predict that we’d face zone or that we’d do as poorly as we did,” he said. “But (Georgetown’s zone is) a great one. They’re well taught, and they’ve got great athletes.” Georgetown’s efficiency on the offensive end allowed it to stave off any Belmont runs as well. The Hoyas shot 61 percent from the field, including nearly 70 percent in the final 20 minutes. West Region’s No. 9-seed Saint Louis beats No.8-seed Memphis, 61-54 In the most competitive game of the day, No.9-seed Saint Louis (26-7) held all but one No. 8-seed Memphis (26-9) player to single-digit points in a 61-54 victory. Billikens junior guard Kwamain Mitchell led all scorers with 22, and SLU senior forward Brian Conklin played tough inside against bigger Memphis defenders, adding 16 points. Conference USA Player of the Year Will Barton was the only Tiger in double-digits with 16 points. Memphis sophomore forward Tarik Black, who Barton said Thursday was the Tigers’ biggest advantage heading into the game, was held to four points and only played 19 minutes due to foul trouble. SLU frustrated the Tigers by preventing them from getting out and running. “Honestly, they didn’t even – they didn’t have nobody on offensive boards, just one guy, and the rest of their players got back on defense,” Memphis sophomore guard Joe Jackson said. “So they basically took away the fast break, and we played into their hands, just settling for bad shots.” The first half saw back-and-forth play with the teams tied, 23-23, after 20 minutes. SLU held Memphis to 33 percent shooting, 1-of-8 from 3-point range in the first half. “To keep (Memphis) to 23 points in a half is really good, but look, that’s what we pride ourselves on is our defense,” SLU junior forward Cody Ellis said. Memphis used a 7-2 run early in the second half to get up 37-29, thanks in part to a few steals by Barton and sophomore guard Chris Crawford. The Billikens followed with a 14-5 run of their own. After a long, shot-clock beating three pointer by Mitchell, SLU led, 48-44, with fewer than five minutes to play, and held on for the victory. “We could have given up and went down, 10, 15 points, but the guys kept fighting back, making big shots and knocking down key free throws,” SLU sophomore forward Dwayne Evans said, who scored six points and grabbed 11 rebounds. West Region’s No.1-seed Michigan State beats West No.16-seed LIU Brooklyn, 89-67 It was closer than expected for the first 25 minutes, but eventually, No.1-seed Michigan State (28-7) proved why it is a top-seed, as the Spartans topped the No.16-seeded LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds (25-9), 89-67. MSU senior forward Draymond Green led the way with a triple-double, pouring in 24 points while adding 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Spartans’ centers sophomore Adrien Payne (16 points and seven rebounds) and junior Derrick Nix (18 points and eight rebounds)-combined for 34 points and 15 rebounds. “Those guys are monsters. They’re really good players and they’re really skilled. That’s why they’re a No.1 seed,” LIU Brooklyn coach Jim Ferry said, LIU Brooklyn jumped out to a five-point lead early, but it didn’t last long, as the Spartans started to feed their bigs, exploiting the Blackbirds lack of size inside. Greeen, Payne and Nix combined for 24 points and 16 rebounds in the first half, as the Spartans scored 34 of their 42 first-half points in the paint. A balanced attack kept LIU Brooklyn in the game, with eight different players scoring in the first twenty minutes. MSU led, 42-37, at the end of the first half. The Blackbirds held strong early in the second half, but a 28-12 run by MSU allowed the Spartans to cruise for the majority of the game’s final minutes. “It was a big win for us, on a team that I think is a very solid, good team. I was concerned (early), but I thought we took control in the second half,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. read more