Forest Stewardship Council cuts ties with Austrian timber giant

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 Morgan Erickson-Davis A year-long investigation by the FSC found Holzindustrie Schweighofer was illegally sourcing wood from Romania – including from national parks. In response, the FSC put the company on probation, a move seen as a slap on the hand by critics.On February 17, the FSC announced its intention to fully disassociate from Schweighofer. Re-association is possible in the future.Romania is home to Europe’s last old-growth lowland forest, which is losing its tree cover to deforestation activities. The Forest Stewardship Council has formally disassociated from Austrian timber giant Holzindustrie Schweighofer. The announcement came last week, February 17, following a year-long investigation that uncovered the company persistently sourced illegal timber from Romania.The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the word’s most influential forest products certification organization. The announcement follows a two-month probation implemented by the FSC in December, 2016 – a move panned by the NGO Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).The EIA, which described the previous probation as “shocking” given the FSC investigation’s conclusions, is now applauding the decision to disassociate.“Europe’s last great forest is under threat due to illegal logging, and Schweighofer has been the main culprit,” said EIA Executive Director Alexander von Bismarck. “With this decision, FSC is taking concrete action to avoid certifying trade in stolen wood.”Romania hosts Europe’s last old-growth lowland forest, a 1,000-square kilometer (386-square mile) tract home to bears, wolves, and lynx – long lost from many other parts of the continent. The forest is also the site of multiple protected areas, including national parks.However, despite protections, deforestation is an ongoing problem for the forest. Satellite data from the University of Maryland show it lost around 840 hectares of tree cover from 2001 through 2014. While amounting to less than 1 percent of its total area, this deforestation still resulted in the forest losing its status as an “intact forest landscape” – a designation given to areas of native land cover large and undisturbed enough to retain their original levels of biodiversity.While tree cover loss has been decreasing in the old-growth forest, 2014 saw a spike over previous years.The FSC investigation that led to its December probation of, and now, disassociation from Holzindustrie Schweighofer found that the company illegally sourced wood from Retezat National Park, which is contained almost entirely within the old-growth forest tract. In a 2015 statement, Schweighofer asserted they did not accept wood coming from national parks.The disassociation may not be permanent, with an FSC statement on the move stating that re-association is possible if Holzindustrie Schweighofer shows enough progress in its efforts to “develop a roadmap to end the disassociation.”“FSC will begin to build a permanent presence in Romania to effectively engage with its members and stakeholders to secure the right mechanisms, such as the establishment of a dedicated solutions forum, to identify long term solutions to the challenges of responsible forest management in the country,” Kim Carstensen, FSC Director General, said in the statement. “To this effect it will engage in a constructive dialogue with the Schweighofer Group and all relevant stakeholders in the country.”In its own statement, Holzindustrie Schweighofer acknowledged the disassociation and stated its intent to become re-associated by the FSC as quickly as possible.“FSC’s disassociation from us is a good basis to calmly prepare for a new start with FSC,” said Frank Aigner, Managing Director of the Schweighofer Group. He added the company “will continue to follow the strict regulations laid down by the FSC, regardless of whether the group remains disassociated.”In the meantime, the EIA urges more progress preserving what’s left of Romania’s forests.“Romania has taken amazing steps over the last two years to help expose what’s happening in the forest, giving hope for a sustainable future,” said von Bismarck. “Now it’s absolutely critical for Romania to build on that progress.”Banner image by Francis C. Franklin (CC 3.0)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 Environment, Forest Stewardship Council, Forests, Illegal Logging, Logging, Primary Forests, Protected Areas, Temperate Forests, Timber last_img read more

Palm oil giant FGV will ‘endeavor to rehabilitate’ peatlands it trashed in Borneo

first_imgBanner image: A cleared peat swamp forest on Indonesia’s main western island of Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. 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 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. Certification, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Deforestation, Degraded Lands, Environment, Environmental Crime, Forestry, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Plantations, Reforestation, Restoration, Rspo, Zero Deforestation Commitments center_img About a year ago, Felda Global Ventures promised to stop clearing rainforests and peatlands to make way for its oil palm estates.This year, though watchdogs reported that the company had continued to clear over 1,000 hectares of forest and peat in Indonesian Borneo, violating not only its green pledge but also its obligations as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), as well as a new government regulation.Last month, FGV renewed its commitment and said it would try to rehabilitate the peatlands it planted since August 2016. JAKARTA — After a year in which it destroyed over 1,000 hectares of peat swamp forest in violation of its own sustainability policy, palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures said it would “endeavor to rehabilitate” the damaged lands in Indonesian Borneo.In August 2016, FGV promised to stop clearing rainforests and swampy peatlands. But on the ground, it continued to plow through the carbon-rich environments, creating space for its oil palm plantations.In doing so, FGV violated not only its own green pledge, but also its obligations as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the world’s largest association for ethical production of the commodity, found in everything from chocolate to laundry detergent.“This is the first time a palm oil company has been forced by its customers to restore the forest it cleared,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bagus Kusuma said in a statement.FGV, which calls itself the world’s largest palm oil producer, is listed on the Bursa Malaysia, while the Malaysian government holds a one-third stake.FGV’s transgressions had been highlighted by watchdogs Greenpeace and Chain Reaction Research in April and July. Two of FGV’s Indonesian units — PT Temila Agro Abadi (TAA) and, to a far lesser extent, PT Citra Niaga Perkasa (CNP), both in Landak district, West Kalimantan province — had cleared over 1,000 hectares (3.86 square miles) of forest and peat since August 2016, according to the reports.Satellite images of PT Temila Agro Abadi’s concession in Landak district, West Kalimantan. Image courtesy of Aidenvironment Asia.Following these findings, FGV said in a statement last month that it had “permanently discontinued…the land development work” in both concessions, and amended its previous sustainability policy by promising not to develop peat “irrespective of when the lands are acquired or owned by FGV group.” That means it won’t clear peat in areas it was licensed to develop before it issued the commitment.FGV also said it would “endeavor to rehabilitate” the peatlands it had planted since it issued the commitment in August 2016.It did not note the extent of area it intends to restore, but Eric Wakker, a member of the Chain Reaction Research team, said the company had cleared over 1,000 hectares since then.The land clearing appears to have violated not only FGV’s own policy but also that of the RSPO. FGV joined the association last December.“In respect of the peat lands which have been developed at PT TAA and PT CNP, FGV will use RSPO’s land rehabilitation guideline as guidance and will consult Indonesia’s Peat Restoration Agency on the course of actions to be taken to implement the rehabilitation program,” the company said.Wakker, who is also director of corporate sustainability transformation at environmental consultancy Aidenvironment Asia, called it “the most ambitious peat rehabilitation commitment made by any RSPO member so far.”“The company must however realize that this commitment is easier made than fulfilled. With everyone’s eyes on this case, the pressure is on,” he wrote in an email.A peatland cleared by a plantation company in Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Greenpeace called on the companies that buy palm oil from FGV — including refiners Wilmar International and Musim Mas, and consumer goods giant Unilever — to halt their purchases until the Malaysian firm provides “credible proof” that restoration is underway.“Making commitments is the easy part,” Greenpeace’s Kusuma said. “[FGV] must now draw up and implement a time-bound action plan to deliver on today’s promises.”The RSPO is investigating the allegations against FGV, according to RSPO communications chief Stefano Savi.“The case is still being deliberated upon…and an on-site verification is in the plans at the moment,” Savi wrote in an email. “The complaints desk and the technical team are in discussion with FGV in taking this matter forward.”RSPO members that break the rules of the association are supposed to pay compensation, although no system has ever been worked out for implementing that, despite the raft of violations.Chain Reaction Research expressed optimism that FGV would become the first palm oil company to have to do so, it said in a statement.Since last December, the Indonesian government has also banned all new development of peatlands, to prevent another disastrous outbreak of haze-causing wildfires. Wakker said the government had been notified about the allegations against FGV.On the sidelines of an event in Jakarta, Bambang Hendroyono, secretary general of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, did not indicate he was aware of the case, but said he was committed to ensuring that plantation companies abide the rules.“No matter who does it or where it happens, our stance is clear: to comply with our peatland regulation,” he said last week. Article published by Basten Gokkonlast_img read more

U.S. court ruling complicates Trump’s elephant and lion policy

first_imgAnimals, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Hotspots, Carnivores, Cats, Conservation, Deforestation, Ecosystems, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Environmental Politics, Extinction, Global Environmental Crisis, Green, Habitat, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Hunting, Lions, Mammals, Mass Extinction, Over-hunting, Overconsumption, Rainforest Conservation, Trophy Hunting, Tropical Deforestation, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation 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 A federal appeals court has found that the Obama administration did not follow proper procedures in 2014 when it banned importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. The USFWS failed to seek public comment at the time, among other infractions.This new ruling puts the Trump administration decision, made in November, ending the ban and allowing elephant trophy hunting imports, into question.Further complicating matters is Trump’s dubbing of the November USFWS decision as a “horror show,” and his putting of the policy on hold awaiting his response. To date, Trump has said nothing further.The way things stand now, U.S. hunters can import elephant trophies from South Africa and Namibia. They can import lion body parts from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. But the legality of importing elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe remains in limbo. Savannah elephant populations have plunged by 30 percent in just seven years, while forest elephant numbers have fallen by 62 percent in ten years, and lion populations have dropped by 43 percent in the last 21 years. Photo courtesy of USFWSOn December 22, a federal appeals court ruled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) did not properly follow procedures when it banned importing elephant “trophies” – including heads, tusks, or other parts – from Zimbabwe in 2014. While the ruling was aimed at an Obama Administration policy, its impact will likely influence how the Trump administration treats trophy hunting across Africa.Trump’s USFWS made waves in November when it announced that it was overturning the Obama-era ban, and would allow imports of elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe, the latter which was undergoing a coup at the time.Simultaneously, news broke that the administration had quietly okayed lion trophy hunting imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe as well.However, both these decisions were made to reverse the Obama administration ban – a protocol which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has now rejected on a procedural point. The judge wrote that the Obama decision was essentially “rule-making,” meaning it required notice to the public and an open comment period, something the USFWS did not do. The Trump Administration followed by also failing to include a public comment period.“Thus these new findings [by the Trump Administration] are contrary to law,” Anna Frostic, Managing Attorney of Wildlife & Animal Research Litigation for The Humane Society of the U.S., explained. She added that the Trump administration’s recent reversal of the bans “have already been challenged in a case pending before the same federal district court judge who ruled on the 2014-2015 findings.”The lawsuit against the Obama USFWS ruling was brought by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and by Safari Club International – strident trophy hunting advocates. The pending lawsuit against the Trump USFWS was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council.Carvings made from elephant ivory on display as part of the USFWS “Buyer Beware” exhibit located in Logan airport, Boston, Massachusetts. The exhibit is designed to educate travelers about the hazards of purchasing wildlife products abroad that are made from endangered or protected species. Photo courtesy of the USFWSThe president muddies the watersAll of this leaves the U.S. government’s current policy on trophy hunting imports up in the air, especially given that the administration is still waiting a decision from the president himself on the matter. Two days after the USFWS announced its new policy allowing elephant trophy imports from Zambia and Zimbabwe, President Trump tweeted that he was putting the decision on hold.“Big-game trophy decision will be announced next week but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal,” he tweeted.However, no decision was forthcoming. Six weeks have now passed since Trump’s tweet and he has not announced a decision either way, leaving everyone in limboThe Department of the Interior has said it will not allow trophies of elephants or lions from 2016 to 2018 to be imported. But Frostic said the department has not “formally rescinded” its November decision allowing imports.“We remain concerned,” she noted, adding that “trophy hunting of elephants and lions undermines the conservation of those species and cannot lawfully be permitted under the Endangered Species Act.”U.S. trophy hunters can currently legally import lion trophies from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Photo by Ken Stansell / USFWSArguing a point of lawIn order for American trophy hunters to bring their quarries home, the government must find that the hunting “enhances” conservation under current U.S. laws.Proponents argue that trophy hunting brings in vital conservation revenue, especially in remote areas rarely visited by non-hunting tourists and where land might otherwise be converted to agriculture or overrun by cattle. Without trophy hunting, they say, significant chunks of unconserved lands across Africa could be lost.However, critics contend that trophy hunting is a bloodsport that has long outlived its usefulness – if it ever had any. In an age where savannah elephant populations have plunged by 30 percent in just seven years, where forest elephant numbers have fallen by 62 percent in ten years, and lion populations have dropped by 43 percent in the last 21 years, trophy hunting is now seen by conservationists as just one more high card in a deck already stacked heavily against Africa’s megafauna.Many conservationists argue that corruption and lax governance in many African nations means that little money gleaned from trophy hunters ever reaches the parks, rangers, local communities, or the animals needing protection.In recent years, the global public has also become increasingly outraged at the moral implications of wealthy trophy hunters killing endangered species.Still, conservationists remain split on the efficacy of trophy hunting in providing funding and land for species. Even though many scientists and activists – including Jane Goodall – have become increasingly outspoken against the practice.“There is ample scientific evidence showing that lions, leopards, and elephants in particular are highly imperiled and cannot sustain the loss of individuals to recreational hunting… Thus, it is highly concerning that American trophy hunters are fighting to minimize the federal government’s scrutiny of their efforts to slaughter thousands of animals in danger of extinction every year,” said Frostic.A new U.S. federal court ruling puts into limbo the legality of importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, as banned by the Obama administration in 2014, and as approved in November 2017 by the Trump administration. Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim as licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2A legal quandaryWhile the DC federal appeals court found that the Obama Administration did not follow correct protocols in 2014, it also affirmed that the past administration’s decision – i.e. blocking elephant parts from Zimbabawe – was warranted by the evidence.So it remains to be seen how all of this legal wrangling will pan out in 2018. But for now, U.S. trophy hunters can import lion trophies from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe (according to the most recent information on the USFWS website) and elephant trophies from Namibia and South Africa. Elephant trophy hunting imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia remain unsettled until the Trump administration clarifies its decision on that policy.“We are reviewing the decision,” Gavin Shire, Chief of Public Affairs with the USFWS, said in response to the DC district appeals court ruling.Meanwhile, lawsuits against the Trump administration’s USFWS trophy hunting import changes are already moving ahead through the courts.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 Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more

Drone photography allows scientists to measure marine mammals without a catch

first_imgScientists tested the accuracy of determining marine mammal size by analyzing aerial photography taken from a small drone as a less costly, less stressful alternative to manual capture and measurement.To be precise in their measurements of leopard seals, the researchers took overhead photographs at three different altitudes, and three scientists measured the photographs of each seal independently.They found that the new aerial photography method produces results comparable to standard manual methods. Scientists in Antarctica recently tested a novel technique to measure the body size and mass of wildlife — aerial photography.The method, used on leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx), allows scientists to take necessary measurements of individual animals from aerial photos without spending the substantial time, labor and resources needed to physically capture them. It also avoids the stress that capture could cause the animals.Leopard seals hauled out in the Antarctic. Scientists took aerial photos of seals when they were on land. Photo credit: NOAA AERDThe study, “An accurate and adaptable photogrammetric approach for estimating the mass and body condition of pinnipeds using an unmanned aerial system,” took place in Cape Shirref, Livingstone Island, Antarctica. Leopard seals are seasonally resident and already marked in this area.Historically, scientists have measured seals by darting the animal with a sedative, and maintaining sedation intravenously, Krause said. Once scientists sedated the animal, they would sample it, take all necessary measurements, reverse the sedative and release it, and then monitor it to ensure it recovered fully.The team tested the feasibility of aerial photography analysis to replace manual techniques. They went through several steps to ensure the best results, including taking photos of each animal immediately after capture from an unmanned aerial system (UAS), from four different altitudes for comparison. The UAS included a camera mounted on a small drone. Identifying information was removed from the test photos to avoid bias. Three independent observers also measured the animal’s length and width at standard locations in each photo.Using aerial photography, the researchers could measure body size, or straight-line distance from the snout to the tip of the tail, within about 2 percent and mass within about 4 percent of manual measurements.A leopard seal as seen from above. The researchers tested ground and aerial photo measurements to calculate each animal’s size and mass using the body length (between the blue dots) and width at various points along the body (the pink dots). Photo credit: NOAA AERD“We’re talking about being within 40 or 50 pounds on a 1100-pound animal,” said lead author Douglas J. Krause of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center. “Our confidence and our ability to take those measurements is just as good as if we had that seal sedated on the ground, right next to us.”According to the study, measuring body size and mass can provide information about the age, physiology, foraging ecology, life history and evolution of marine animals. Krause said that taking these measurements on leopard seals specifically is especially important because they can indicate the health of the entire ecosystem and how it may be impacted by climate change.Leopard seals are one of Antarctica’s top predators and, like many other marine predator species, a major consumer of krill. Tracking the health of leopard seals leads to a better understanding of the health of krill populations and, in turn, the health of many other Antarctic species.Meet one of Antarctica’s top predators, the leopard seal. They eat prey, from krill to penguins. Photo credit: NOAA AERDKrause said their major limitation in comparing ground and photographic measurements was the time and effort they put into manually capturing and measuring an adequate-size sample of leopard seals for initial testing. After measuring the seals on the ground, they were able to compare the results from the UAS.“Because we took the time to develop this technique and verify that it’s doing what we think it’s doing, we can feel confident about gathering monitoring information in the future that will both help us understand ecosystem function and also give us better data to support conservation efforts,” Krause said.Krause and his colleagues have worked with leopard seals in the Antarctic for many years, which allowed them to avoid many potential complications such as unfamiliarity with the terrain or species. Additionally, Krause said, they chose a robust UAS model that was able to fly in snow, rain and winds up to 22 knots.The UAS, made by Aerial Imaging Solutions, is currently used across NOAA Fisheries systems. With the drone system, Krause said, they can now measure an adult female leopard seal—which could weigh over 500 kg and would normally require a several-member team to safely capture—in just a few minutes. Additionally, they can measure more seals over a broader range than was possible with ground captures.NOAA researchers launch the unmanned aerial system (UAS), an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, or drone) plus camera and flight control mechanisms. Photo credit: NOAA AERD“While we could capture 17 individual leopard seals over two years manually,” Krause said, “we can now easily survey dozens of animals over a much broader area.”The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS technology helped reduce error in the measurements itself. Krause said the team had to do fewer angular corrections because the quadcopter drone is self-leveling, and the photographs taken with a camera-sensor matched lens resulted in few distortions.The battery-powered UAS is also relatively quiet to avoid disturbing wildlife in the surrounding area. In this case, the researchers did not detect any behavioral response to the UAS being flown at least 23 m (75 ft) above them.Krause envisions this study as an important step forward in conservation and determining the health of individual species and entire ecosystems. He said one limitation other scientists experienced in using this method is confidence in the technology, which he hopes this publication will solve.“I think we’re going to certainly see it more and more within the marine mammal community, specifically on animals like whales that you don’t even have the option to perform a manual capture. I would also not be surprised to see a similar approach to this applied more widely to terrestrial animals.”Bundle up — the NOAA field camp at Cape Shirref, Antarctica. Photo credit: NOAA AERD FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored cameras, Drones, Marine, Marine Mammals, Research, surveys, Technology, Wildtech Article published by Sue Palminterilast_img read more

‘A real surprise’: Study reveals low phosphorus doesn’t hinder rainforest growth

first_imgPhosphorus is an important nutrient for plants and is required for protein synthesis and cell division, among other critical processes. But phosphorus is typically scarce in the soils underlying tropical forests.A group of researchers investigated this by looking at trees in the forests of Panama, where soil phosphorus levels vary considerably.The researchers were surprised to find that tree species in low-phosphorus soils grew faster on average than species in high-phosphorus soils. Their results also indicate the growth rates of tree communities comprised of a variety of species doesn’t change doesn’t change in relation to soil phosphorus amount.The authors and other scientists say the study’s findings further our understanding of the dynamics between tropical plants and phosphorus and could help farmers grow crops more effectively without having to use environmentally harmful fertilizers. Scientists have long believed the lack of nutrients in tropical forests soils meant that they weren’t very productive when it came to plant growth. But at the same time, trees didn’t seem to grow any taller when fertilizer was added to increase soil nutrient levels. A group of researchers sought to resolve this apparent paradox by looking at one specific, important nutrient – phosphorus – and how differing amounts in the soil affect tree growth.The study’s results reveal that tropical forest trees have an unexpected ability to persist in low-phosphorus soils. The researchers say their study, published recently in Nature, could have big implications for human understanding and management of forests and crops.Phosphorus is an important nutrient for plants and is required for protein synthesis and cell division, among other critical processes. But phosphorus is typically scarce in the soils underlying tropical forests, having been washed away by frequent heavy rains and consumed by iron oxide compounds, which readily bind up phosphorus into a form that can’t be used by plants.While rainforest trees can apparently handle low-phosphorus soils, crops often become stunted without nutrient inputs. This is often remedied through the application of fertilizer.But still, despite their poor soils, rainforests are host to a huge variety of plant life – including very tall trees. And when scientists have added phosphorus fertilizer to the soil of tropical forests around the world, it didn’t seem to have much of an effect on tree growth.So just how important is phosphorus to rainforest trees? A group of researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) investigated this by looking at trees in the forests of Panama, where soil phosphorus levels vary considerably. They examined 19,000 individual trees from 541 different species, measuring their growth and the amounts of phosphorus and other nutrients like calcium and nitrogen present in the soil.Their results revealed that, overall and as expected, the average growth rates of tree species tended to go up with phosphorus amount. But when the researchers zoomed in on the areas with the highest and lowest growth rates, they were surprised to find that this correlation was switched – tree species in low-phosphorus soils grew faster on average than species in high-phosphorus soils.The study also finds the growth rates of tree communities comprised of a variety of species doesn’t change doesn’t change in relation to soil phosphorus amount.“Finding that species adapted to low phosphorus soils are growing so fast was a real surprise,” Ben Turner, an STRI staff scientist who led the study, said in a statement. “We still don’t understand why this occurs, nor why high phosphorus species are not growing faster than they are. Perhaps trees invest extra phosphorus in reproduction rather than growth, for example, because seeds, fruits and pollen are rich in phosphorus.”The authors and other scientists say the study’s findings further our understanding of the dynamics between tropical plants and phosphorus and could help farmers grow crops more effectively without having to use environmentally harmful fertilizers.“This study highlights our limited understanding of how plants cope with phosphorus-poor soils, a significant challenge to farmers through much of the tropics,” said Jim Dalling, STRI research associate and professor and head of the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “Comparing how plants adapted to high versus low phosphorus availability acquire and use this critical nutrient could suggest new approaches for increasing food production without relying on costly fertilizers.”The authors also write that their study may help us understand how tropical forests react to environmental changes like global warming.“For now, these results help us to understand how soil fertility influences tree growth in tropical forests, and demonstrate once again the power of tropical diversity to surprise us,” Turner said. Citation:Turner, B. L., Brenes-Arguedas, T., & Condit, R. (2018). Pervasive phosphorus limitation of tree species but not communities in tropical forests. Nature.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-Davis Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Fertilizers, Forests, Global Warming, Plants, Rainforests, Research, Trees, Tropical Forests, Tropics 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

Brazilian lawmakers funded by donors guilty of environmental crimes: report

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 Glenn Scherer The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies has 513 members. Of those, 249 received a total of 58.9 million reais (US$18.3 million) in official donations during the 2014 election from companies and people who committed environmental crimes, including illegal clearing of forests, says a recent report by Repórter Brasil.Receiving these donations is not a crime, but it does provide insight into how environmental offenders are connected to, and potentially influencing, lawmakers and their decisions. Of the 249 deputies who received tainted donations, 134 are members of the Bancada Ruralista, the pro-agribusiness rural caucus that dominates the chamber.Since the 2014 general election, Brazil’s election laws have been tightened. In 2015, the Federal Supreme Court passed a decree that made it illegal for companies to donate to candidates and political parties. These new rules will be in effect for the October 2018 presidential election.Analysts still worry that money from those who have committed environmental crimes will go right on flowing to politicians — possibly illegally or utilizing newly discovered campaign finance law loopholes — risking the possibility of influence peddling. Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies during a joint session of the National Congress. Photo by Waldemir Barreto / Agência SenadoRoughly half of the high-ranking politicians serving in Brazil’s lower house of congress received campaign donations in the last general election from companies and individuals that committed environmental crimes, an investigation by Repórter Brasil has found.Of Brazil’s 513 elected members of the Chamber of Deputies, 249 received a total of 58.9 million reais (US$18.3 million) in official donations during the 2014 election from companies and people who illegally cleared and/or burned forests, or committed other environmental crimes. These donations were both direct and indirect (i.e. funneled through committees), and came from 92 companies and 40 individuals registered on a list of environmental crime perpetrators complied by IBAMA, the nation’s environmental agency.Though receiving these donations is not a crime, nor forbidden by Brazil’s Electoral Court, it does provide insight into how environmental offenders are connected to, and potentially influencing, lawmakers and their decisions. Some analysts feel strongly that the raft of anti-environmental legislation launched by the National Congress, which comprises the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate, since 2014, especially under the Temer administration, may be closely linked to these recent campaign contributions.Of the 249 deputies who received tainted donations, 134 are members of the Bancada Ruralista, the pro-agribusiness rural caucus that dominates the chamber.“There are parties, congressmen and rulers who use their offices and draft laws in favor of those who finance them, or in exchange for favors and interests, even though this often means harming their own country,” said Marcio Astrini, coordinator of public policies at Greenpeace Brazil.Repórter Brasil’s data was compiled from donation declarations made by candidates to the High Electoral Court as compared to IBAMA’s list of environmental offenders as of November 2017. A number of these alignments between the acceptance of donations from environmental transgressors, and decisions made by politicians, are particularly notable.Federal Deputy Adilton Sachetti (left), with then President of the Senate, Senator Renan Calheiros (right). Photo by Jonas Pereira / Agência SenadoThe case of Adilton SachettiTake, for example, the case of Adilton Sachetti, a deputy from Mato Grosso state and an active member of the bancada ruralista. Sachetti received $300,000 from five entities that had committed environmental crimes — a quarter of all donations he amassed in the run-up to his 2014 election.In 2015, six months after taking office, Sachetti authored three bills that would have directly benefited the economic interests of these five funders. All three related to the building and utilization of industrial waterways; the first two were to permit companies to more freely utilize waterways on the Paraguia, Tapajos, Teles Pires and Juruena rivers.The third bill would have allowed the construction of industrial waterways for the transport of soy and other commodities on rivers running through the states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará and Goiás. If approved, the canals would open the way for large cargo vessels to sail from two Mato Grosso municipalities, where the businesses of the donors charged with environmental crimes are located, northeast all the way to the mouth of the Tapajós River, then down the Amazon to the Atlantic, with the commodities then exported globally. These proposed waterways have long been promoted for their time and economic savings, and for their potentially high profits to agribusiness. All three bills are yet to be voted on in congress.Federal Deputy Adilton Sachetti (right); and then Senator, now Agriculture Minister, Blairo Maggi (left), with Senator Renan Calheiros (center). Photo by Jonas Pereira / Agência SenadoThe Maggi connectionPerhaps the best known of those who donated to Sachetti was Eraí Maggi, an agribusiness producer who inherited the crown of “king of soy” from his cousin, the well-known and highly controversial agriculture minister, Blairo Maggi. Eraí, who donated $15,000 to help put Sachetti into power, is a member of the Bom Futuro Group, an agribusiness concern based just 200 kilometers (124 miles) from where the cargo vessels would leave Mato Grosso headed downriver toward the coast.IBAMA hit Erai with a $136,000 fine and seized his property when the environmental agency learned that he had deforested 1,463 hectares (3,615 acres) of land in 2016.Sachetti, in a statement responding to Repórter Brasil’s findings, said: “With our legislation, whoever works on the agricultural frontier will be unable to avoid getting into trouble with IBAMA. In Mato Grosso, which is a state on the agricultural frontier, there are many rural producers, and it is difficult to find anyone who hasn’t been fined. Yes, I received donations [from people and companies fined by IBAMA], and I have nothing to hide.” He maintains that the donations had no bearing on his policy decisions or votes.About the offending donors, he said: “They are my friends, we are all leaders in the sector. We arrived in Mato Grosso together and I have a history with these people. Eraí Maggi is from the same city that I grew up in, in the interior of Paraná.”Erai Maggi did not respond to Mongabay’s request for comment.Deputy Marco Antônio Cabral, 2015. Courtesy of wikimediaMore coincidencesExperts agree that it is hard to prove that particular campaign contributions result in specific political positions or votes. “The problem is you can’t know if donors are giving money to make a politician behave a certain way, or thanking them for how they would have behaved anyway,” said Taylor Boas, a political science professor from Boston University, who has researched the relationship between campaign donations and policy in Brazil. “But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” he said.Among those who have obtained donations from environmental offenders is Rio de Janeiro State Deputy Marco Antônio Cabral, who received a total of $400,000 in indirect donations from construction and energy companies on IBAMA’s list. He has consistently voted against increasing the size of national parks, and against granting rights to traditional workers.“All donations were made in a transparent manner, complying with the rules of electoral legislation,” Cabral said.Deputy Nilson Leitão. Photo by Ana Volpe / Agência SenadoNilson Leitão, one of the most ardent ruralist deputies in congress, and a staunch member of the bancada ruralista, received a total of $203,000 from construction, energy and agribusiness companies on IBAMA’s list of environmental offenders. In the years following his election he authored a number of bills that would likely have benefited the businesses in which many of his funders work. In 2014, he tried to halt a bill that would prohibit the collection and commercialization of plant species under threat of extinction. He also called for the annulment of the demarcation of two indigenous territories in Mato Grosso and Pará states, where major sugarcane companies are based (though this effort was ultimately unsuccessful). And in 2016, he crafted a bill that would allow rural workers to be paid for their work with food and shelter. None of these bills have been voted on yet.Ceará deputy Antonio Balhmann received a direct donation of $6,000 from melon producer Agricola Famosa Ltda, which has been fined by IBAMA in 2011 for producing its fruit without the required licenses. The following year Balhmann authored a bill, yet to be voted on, that would allow pesticides to be used in non-traditional farming.Luis Carlos Heinze, Federal Deputy of Rio Grande do Sul. Photo by Antonio AraújoLuiz Carlos Heinze, a deputy from Rio Grande do Sul, received around $170,000 in 2014 campaign donations from a wide range of Brazilian corporations on IBAMA’s list, including producers of sugarcane and other crops, and from cleaning products companies located in his state. In the same year, he called for the suspension of legal recognition of a Quilombola, a community of descendants of runaway slaves, in the state. The move was unsuccessful. In 2015, he authored a bill, still in the legislative queue for consideration, to get the letter “T” removed from the packaging of products containing transgenics, a move that seemed aimed at pleasing conventional farmers.Deputies Leitão, Balhmann and Heinze did not respond to Mongabay’s request for comment on the influence of campaign donations on the bills they authored and voted on.The large proportion of funder-offenders giving to ruralist politicians is noteworthy in the context of recent legislative actions that have rolled back environmental regulations and broadened the confines within which companies can legally operate. Among these decisions is a provisional measure that legalizes and facilitates companies invading, acquiring and deforesting public land. Astrini, from Greenpeace, noted that “what this law did was to open the doors to the grabbing of public lands by criminals and mafias, thereby making legal what was before a crime.” Heinze voted in favor of the provisional measure, which has now been made into law; three of his donors had been fined by IBAMA for deforestation.“As a rule of thumb, it can be said that any legal proposal in Brazil that would harm the environment, has behind it the concrete parochial interests of companies or organizations that want to see environmental legislation weakened or overturned,” said Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of the NGO Observatorio da Clima.Brasília: President Michel Temer receives the bancada ruralista, the rural caucus, the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA). Photo by Antonio Cruz / Agência BrasilToughened campaign finance lawsSince the 2014 general election, Brazil’s election laws have been tightened. In 2015, the Federal Supreme Court passed a decree that made it illegal for companies to donate to candidates and political parties.“As corporate election funding was still legal in the last parliamentary election, many deputies didn’t bother to hide their ties to their funders’ interests,” said Wagner Pralon Mancuso, an academic from the University of São Paulo. “On the contrary, there are deputies who explicitly spell out these links, even as a kind of accountability to those who supported them, and in the expectation that [funder] support will be repeated in the next campaign.”There were five arguments for banning corporate election funding in 2015: combatting the influence of economic power in elections; promoting political equality; catalyzing political competition; defending the public interest; and reducing the influence of donations on elected representatives’ behavior. The new election rules will be in effect for this year’s presidential election.Though hailed by some analysts as a significant democratic advance, others fear the rich and well-connected will still have significant influence over Brazil’s upcoming general elections this October. President Michel Temer helped maintain the link between funders and politicians by fighting to ensure that individual entrepreneurs will still be able to donate up to 10 percent of their gross annual income to candidates. Indeed, in city elections since 2015, Brazil has witnessed the major influence of millionaires.“What is yet to be seen, now that corporate gifts have been made illegal, is whether that organic tie between parliamentarians and business sectors will diminish, or whether it will find new ways to manifest itself,” Mancuso said.One potential concern, cautioned Boas, is that corporations will simply move from making legal donations to making illegal ones, passing money under the table. “They always have done so in the past and there’s no reason to think they won’t in the future,” he said. In recent years, the Lava Jato (Car Wash) corruption scandal rocked the nation as investigators unveiled mass political corruption in Brazilian politics.A Brazilian congressional meeting. Photo by Jonas Pereira / Agencia SenadoInternational comparisonsThe link between campaign contributions and politicians isn’t particularly Brazilian. A comparison between Brazil’s campaign finance regulation framework and those of other nations is enlightening, and shows that election regulations are both stronger and weaker elsewhere.Brazil, for example, with its 2015 rule tightening, now has much stricter regulations than the United Kingdom, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Brazil presently bans donations by companies to candidates and political parties; Britain allows both. Likewise, Brazil forbids contributions going from trade unions to political parties, as does the United States; such contributions are permitted in the U.K.However, there are no rules in Brazil or the U.K. against receiving donations from individuals who have behaved illegally by breaking environmental laws. As a representative from the Electoral Commission in the U.K. said: “So long as they’re a registered person, their money is valid.”Clearly, lax campaign finance laws can open the door to political influence by wrongdoers. Similarly, in the U.S., a cloak of secrecy enshrouds political action committees (PACs) and other shadowy election finance groups, leading at least to a lack of transparency, and at worst, to influence peddling.That being the case, many academics and environmental activists agree that the Brazilian government needs to crack down even harder to prevent “dirty” money from influencing policy. “I think there should be stricter donor control systems, especially for those who have behaved illegally,” said Greenpeace’s Astrini.If politicians can be barred from running based on a corruption conviction, as may happen with former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, “then it seems logical and fair that convicted individuals could be banned from making campaign donations,” Boas said.There are currently no bills in Brazil’s National Congress that would prevent anyone convicted of crimes from making campaign contributions.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 Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Dams, Amazon Destruction, Controversial, Corruption, Dams, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Energy Politics, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Grabbing, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation last_img read more

Under the sea: Life is the bubbles in newly described deep-reef zone

first_imgBiodiversity, Deep Sea, Environment, Fish, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Marine, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Ecosystems, New Discovery, New Species, Oceans, Saltwater Fish, Sea Levels, Species Discovery Article published by Basten Gokkon Scientists have recently described a layer of the deep ocean zone as the “rariphotic,” calling it home to an array of unidentified reef fish and a refuge for species from shallower waters drive out of their coral habitats by warming waters.Nearly 4,500 fishes were observed representing 71 species, nearly half of them new species, the researchers reported.The scientists are calling for more exploration into deeper marine ecosystems to better understand the deep-reef ecosystems and the impact of changes taking place in shallower zones. Scientists have described a new zone in the Caribbean’s deep ocean, shining a light on a little-known world that’s home to numerous previously unidentified reef-fish species.The area in question lies at a depth of between 130 and 309 meters (427 and 1,014 feet). Scientists have proposed calling it the “rariphotic” (“scarce light”), in a recently published study in the journal Scientific Reports.The rariphotic joins two previously defined “faunal zones,” or layers of the ocean that host marine life: shallow areas and the mesophotic. The shallow zone refers to the band of ocean running from the surface down to a depth of about 40 meters (131 feet), where reef corals abound and SCUBA divers can normally go. The mesophotic (“middle light”) falls below this, down to 150 meters (492 feet), where some corals can still survive.Below these and the rariphotic lies the aphotic region, where there is effectively no light and relatively fewer marine species, including anglerfish, lanternfish, segmented worms and siphonophores.Classification of faunal zones above the aphotic based on analysis of fish assemblages at Curaçao. Representative coral and fish species are depicted for each zone. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.The classification of the rariphotic came about after surveys between 2011 and 2016 in the waters off southern Curaçao by marine scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. As warming surface waters sparked a decline in the health of shallow reefs, the scientists looked at the deep-reef ecosystems.This region, sometimes known as the “coral reef twilight zone,” has long been thought of as a refuge for shallow-water organisms. Indeed, the Smithsonian team’s findings corroborated previous research showing that assemblages of the kinds of reef-fishes that inhabit shallow water have double the depth range they were previously thought to have as their coral homes deteriorate.“[T]ropical deep reefs are not barren landscapes on the deep ocean floor: they are highly diverse ecosystems that warrant further study,” Carole Baldwin, curator of fishes at the Smithsonian and lead author of the report, said in a statement.“It’s estimated that 95 percent of the livable space on our planet is in the ocean. Yet only a fraction of that space has been explored,” she added.The scientists said their research had “resulted in the most extensive database to date on the diversity and depth distributions of reef fishes” between depths of 40 to 309 meters below the surface, “at a single location anywhere in the tropics.”During the underwater surveys, carried out with a manned submersible vehicle, the researchers observed nearly 4,500 fish thought to belong to 71 species. Within just one 20-hectare (49-acre) area of reef, they identified 30 new species.Using techniques such as DNA barcoding, they analyzed the fish to determine which species were previously documented and which were entirely new. The analyses “clearly point to the existence of a faunal zone immediately below the mesophotic that extends down to at least 309 meters and that is home to a unique reef-fish fauna.”The image below shows families of reef-fish species observed in the study, with the predominant depth category to which each can be assigned.“About one in every five fish we’re finding in the rariphotic of the Caribbean is a new species,” said Ross Robertson, marine biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and a co-author of the paper.Most of the fish in the rariphotic zone look similar and are more closely related to true deep-ocean fish, which belong to quite different branches of the evolutionary tree, the researchers said.In addition to the describing a new faunal zone, the Smithsonian researchers also suggested changing the name of the band of shallow water to “altiphotic,” or high light.“We hope that by naming the deep-reef rariphotic zone, we’ll draw attention to the need to continue to explore deep reefs,” Baldwin said.Representative Caribbean fishes inhabiting the rariphotic zone off Curaçao. Haptoclinus dropi (Labrisomidae); Pontinus castor (Scorpaenidae); Anthias asperilinguis (Serranidae); Lipogramma evides (Grammatidae); Serranus notospilus (Serranidae); Polylepion sp. (Labridae). Photograph of A. asperilinguis by Patrick Colin, other photographs by C. C. Baldwin and D. R. Robertson.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

At Carlon’s Funeral, Young Kesselly’s Forthright and Courageous Appeal

first_imgHe was only a high school senior when, in 1984 in the living room of his father, Dr. Edward Binyah Kesselly, Dr. S. Jabaru Carlon and others met to found the Unity Party to contest the 1985 presidential and Legislative elections.Young Kesselly recalled that UP’s founding fathers, by giving it the name “Unity Party,” were determined that the party would “epitomize Unity.”  Its original motto was “One People, One Destiny.”  He then told the Unity Party Leadership and membership that the best way to honor Dr. Carlon and all of its fallen heroes is by returning “to day zero—a day for us to reflect, start all over and finally realize that the Unity Party is an institution that was founded on ideals and principles, not on individuals and personalities.  We should revert to its original path for which he and other great men suffered, bled and died—one that epitomizes Unity.” One could candidly say that with Unity Party’s standard bearer, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, present at the funeral and listening, young Kesselly’s was a mouthful.    What was significant about the Tribute was what he did not say, but preferred to hold on the ancient dictum: “A hint to the wise is quite sufficient.”The Daily Observer on Sunday morning called around to talk with some UP stalwarts to gauge their reaction to Mr. Kesselly’s call.  Most of them said what the public already knew: that the party is in apparent disarray.  UP has not held a congress since 2011 when they met to nominate President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph N. Boakai to succeed themselves on the UP ticket.The party’s youth wing has been critical of the leadership, and many members have bitterly complained that the administration has not rewarded it partisans with jobs.  Said one, “The entire Cabinet is filled with ‘friends of the President,’ not with partisans, and this has seriously embittered the party rank and file.Ironically, one of those in the party leadership being criticized is young Kesselly himself, who heads one of the major components of government, the Liberia Maritime Authority.  They say there is no party stalwart in the whole of Maritime except, of course, the Commissioner himself.Unfortunately, Mr. Kesselly could not be reached yesterday for comment on this allegation.But we wish to state that jobs for partisans alone are not what constitute a viable and properly functioning political party.  A properly functioning political party is one that holds regular meetings of the rank and file.  If it is the party in power, which UP currently is, it should keep the membership regularly informed about government policies and programs, in order to enlist party support. A political party, in developing countries, especially, should hold leadership seminars and workshops to empower the membership with leadership skills to keep them in top shape always, not just at election time.But the lack of jobs for the rank and file is not the only problem that has embittered the UP membership.  Some of them, including leading businesspeople within the party ranks, complain that they are unable to get a single contract from the UP-led government.  Here again, they complain that the party leadership is giving business opportunities only to “the President’s friends.”  Several key partisans with some financial resources say they have been trying to get into the ownership of some of the oil blocks, but to no avail.  They say the President’s friends are linking up with foreigners to purchase oil blocks; and these partisans are bitterly and painfully disappointed.Most Liberian leaders are very conversant with how American politicians do business.  Both Republicans and Democrats in power reach out to their partisans not only with jobs, but contracts also.  These beneficiaries, in turn, oil the parties’ money machines.  That is in part of how the American middle class keeps democracy functioning.But it appears that successive administrations in Liberia have frustrated the development of a Liberian middle class.  These administrations have consistently favored foreigners. Yet who can and will build Liberia in the way it should be built but Liberians themselves, in the same way the Americans and Europeans have built their countries and the Nigerians and Ghanaians are building theirs?  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Diplomats Recalled for Tête à tête

first_img-President stresses foreign service-cabinet collaborationThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited back to the country heads of diplomatic and consular missions for consultations through a two-day retreat (March 9-10) convened in Monrovia to deliberate on what can be done to further enhance Liberia’s relationship with the rest of the world and how to attract more investments, through bilateral means, to the country.The retreat, which began on Thursday and ended Friday, was held at a local resort in Paynesville under the general theme: “Promoting Liberia’s Transformation Agenda through the Liberian Foreign Service,” and its working theme is “The Liberian Foreign Service: A Partner for Transformative Economic Development.”The diplomats were here to examine lapses/gaps in communication and coordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the missions; develop strategies to bridge said gaps; and develop policies that will increase trade, which will support priorities set forth in the Agenda for Transformation (AfT).They, during the course of the retreat, developed policies by which Liberia can attract technical and logistical support for the justice and security sector in view of UNMIL’s drawdown, officials of the ministry said yesterday in Monrovia.The retreat brought together all 25 heads of Liberia’s diplomatic missions across the world.In light of her impending departure from office, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called for a robust and effective intra-governmental working relationship so that her administration can finish on a strong note.The President said diplomats need to bring back home what they have learned in other countries to help build Liberia, adding that the consultation is necessary because it will help broaden the understanding of the workings of various segments of the government.She called on members of Liberia’s diplomatic and consular missions across the globe to share with their colleagues at home (members of the cabinet) best practices, policies and programs that are making tremendous impacts in their areas of assignment to see how they can be implemented locally.President Sirleaf said the meeting was also convened to thank the Foreign Service officials for sticking with her throughout the years.“This is an opportunity to thank you all for being with us all these years and the successes we had had together collectively. We want to appreciate you for what you have done. You are career public servants, which mean you move from one administration to another. So what we are doing will pass on to the next people,” the President said, adding that though there will be changes, reforms, new policies and approaches, “but there are some things that will remain. There are certain fundamentals, foundations we have put in place that anyone who succeeds me will want to build upon. You will be the ones that will be part of the continuity and will be able to carry on these things that will help to further improve the country as the new administration will want to.”The President said that “all of these should be done with one thing in everyone’s mind—the interests of the country’s. In all that we are doing and want to do, the country’s interests remain paramount.”Meanwhile, MOFA authorities said that retreat is meant to provide a platform for determining viable strategies and options that Liberia’s missions abroad can use to deepen engagements with host governments and the private sector in their jurisdictions to encourage investment in Liberia and enhance development partnerships, support and cooperation between respective countries.Minister Marjon Kamara said participants are expected to deliberate on ways by which the ministry can achieve its top three priorities over time, namely: Operationalize the implementation of existing bilateral and multilateral agreements for speedy economic recovery and growth; transforming the Liberian Foreign Service; and improving service delivery to and relations with Liberian citizens, national agencies, and foreign nationals and institutions.Though the retreat has been long overdue, Minister Kamara said “there could have been no perfect time like this. This retreat has provided the platform where we are to meet and share ideas. I’m glad for your presence.”A working session was convened immediately after the opening program, during which the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Commerce and Industry, Justice, National Investment Commission, General Services Agency, and the National Elections Commission made presentations.It is anticipated that at the end of the retreat there will be an acceleration of the Ministry’s efforts to operationalize existing bilateral and multilateral agreements for speedy economic recovery, growth and developmentLiberia currently has 21 embassies, two permanent missions and two consulates-general accredited near various capitals in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.This is the second time diplomats have been invited for a retreat; the first was in August 2011.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Things have changed since Sherwood took over’ – Aston VIlla star reveals second thoughts over exit

first_img1 Aston Villa centre-back Ron Vlaar Aston Villa centre-back Ron Vlaar has revealed he could yet sign a new deal with Aston Villa this summer.The Dutch defender is out of contract at the end of the season and was expected to quit the club, with talks on hold until they seal Premier League survival.But, after helping Villa to the FA Cup final against Arsenal with Sunday’s 2-1 win over Liverpool, Vlaar insisted it is possible he could extend his stay.“Yes it is,” said the 30-year-old, who signed from Feyenoord in 2012. “Things have changed for me in the past few months since [Tim] Sherwood took over.“It’s been a hard season for me with all the injuries. Now I just want to play and be important for the team. This helps – you can trust me on that.“I don’t know about my future but to be part of this feels so good. To feel the joy and relief after the West Brom game [the quarter-final]. So many people came on the pitch.“The impact for the fans; how big this club and what it all means – I called my dad and said ‘This really means something’. It’s great. Everything helps.”Vlaar helped Villa to their first FA Cup final in 15 years as Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph scored to shock Liverpool at Wembley following Philippe Coutinho’s opener.Villa are still in danger of going down but Vlaar insisted they deserved their victory and he has been blown away by the Cup fever.“It feels really good – unbelievable. This is just so big for the club and the fans,” said the Holland international.“I’m not that familiar with the English FA Cup. I don’t think I realised just how big it is. You can just see it in the stands and out there on the pitch with us. It’s massive.“It’s great and I think we really deserved it, to get through to the final.“We showed great character after losing Nathan [Baker] so early and then going behind.“We’ve shown we can do that. We did it against QPR. We got the equaliser within a few minutes. The team spirit is really good.”last_img read more