Rainforests: the year in review 2017

first_img2017 was a rough year for tropical rainforests, but there were some bright spots.This is Mongabay’s annual year-in-review on what happened in the world of tropical rainforests.Here we summarize some of the more notable developments and trends for tropical forests in 2017. Between America’s abandonment of leadership on conservation and environmental policy, Brazil’s backtracking on forest conservation, massive forest fires worldwide, and the revelation of a sharp increase in global forest loss in 2016, 2017 was a rough year for tropical rainforests. Still, there were bright spots, including the establishment of new protected areas, better forest monitoring and research, and continued progress in recognizing the critical role local and indigenous communities play in forest conservation.The following is a short review of some of the more notable developments and trends for tropical forests in 2017. This review is not exhaustive, so feel free to add developments we missed via the comment function at the bottom.Reviews from past years: 2018 [Update 12/30/18] | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2009Forest lossAs reported in Mongabay’s last year-end review, there wasn’t a major update on global forest loss in 2016. In 2017 however, we got updates for both 2015 and 2016, and the numbers weren’t pretty: last year global forest loss hit the highest level on record (the dataset goes back to 2000).While much of that “loss” — which includes all tree cover loss, ranging from deforestation to harvesting of plantations to instances where blocks of forests have lost all their leaves from, for example, fire and beetle infestation — occurred outside the tropics, Brazil, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malaysia, Bolivia and Laos made the top 10 list for 2016 in terms of loss of dense tree cover.Analysis suggests that tree cover loss in the tropics may have been higher than normal in 2016 due to fire. Brazil and Indonesia were both particularly hard hit by drought and fire during the 2015 El Niño, which would have shown up in satellite data in 2016.The continuation of severe fires in the tropics in 2017 — Brazil, Indonesia and Guatemala, for example — suggests the past 12 months will go down as another year of high forest cover loss. CommoditiesCommodity production is the biggest direct driver of tropical deforestation, so commodity prices are an important factor in deforestation trends. In 2017, prices of commodities most commonly linked to deforestation in the tropics were generally flat in dollar terms, with the exception of rubber, which rose by about a quarter, and cocoa, which fell nearly 30 percent. Energy and metals prices increased modestly over 2016.Adoption of commodity sourcing safeguards is often associated with falling commodity prices, which give buyers leverage for extracting concessions from suppliers. Continuing in that trend, in November the governments of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire said they would take action to address deforestation for cocoa production.Companies continued to make and strengthen No Deforestation, No Peat conversion, No Exploitation (NDPE) commitments, but some NGOs expressed concern about progress. For example, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) said in its annual “Forest 500” report that less than a quarter of the companies assessed had extended zero deforestation policies to cover all of the commodities in their supply chains. GCP called out banks as laggards on zero deforestation, echoing campaigns that targeted financial institutions like HSBC and pension funds, which underwrite deforestation by lending to, and investing in, plantation and logging companies. A report from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) noted that some publicly traded companies aren’t disclosing the full extent of their “landbanks,” making it harder to determine whether they are abiding by their sustainability commitments. Some prominent companies that have signed NDPE agreements said they need more help from governments to make zero deforestation a reality.Some major companies made headlines for the wrong reasons in 2017. Goodhope Asia Holdings was sanctioned by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for environmental and human rights abuses in Indonesia’s Papua region. It subsequently established an NDPE policy. Samsung’s relationship with Korindo, a South Korean conglomerate that has cleared thousands of hectares of Papuan rainforest, made it a target of Mighty Earth, an upstart campaign group that in 2017 also went after Burger King for deforestation in dry forests in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina, as well as chocolate buyers for forest clearing in West Africa. JBS, the world’s biggest meat company, was sanctioned by Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, for buying cattle from illegally deforested areas in the Amazon. Pulp and paper giants APRIL and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) got caught up in scandals that felt like throwbacks to their pre-NDPE days: APRIL for deforestation in Sumatran peatlands as well as transactions documented in the Paradise Papers, and APP for deforestation by allegedly “independent” suppliers that an Associated Press investigation said are actually owned by APP’s parent Sinarmas.An analysis by Brazilian NGO Imazon confirmed the role the cattle business plays in deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest. The study found that 88 percent of deforestation that occurred in the Brazilian Amazon between 2010 and 2015 was within the “zone of influence” of the 128 slaughterhouses that process 93 percent of cattle raised in the region. The findings suggest that slaughterhouses may offer the best leverage point in working to address deforestation in the cattle sector in Brazil.Mining may also be a bigger driver of deforestation than traditionally thought. A Nature Communications study estimated that mining caused five to 10 times as much deforestation as previously estimated in the Brazilian Amazon between 2005 and 2015. The researchers incorporated indirect deforestation from mining, including infrastructure built to support mineral extraction and transport, into their estimates, concluding that 11,670 square kilometers (4,500 square miles), an area twice the size of the state of Delaware, of forest loss was attributable to mining during that period.And finally, a paper in Environmental Research Letters highlighted a non-conventional driver of deforestation: money-laundering by narco-traffickers in Central America. The paper said profits from the drug trade are being used to finance agricultural expansion in the region.Lowland rainforest in Sulawesi’s Tangkoko Reserve, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.CertificationThe Forest Stewardship Council, a timber and wood products certification body, held its General Assembly, which takes place every three years. Notably, the assembly passed a motion to allow certification of plantations cleared post-1994. The move — which was opposed by some environmental members of the FSC — would expand certification to countries like Indonesia, where large-scale forest clearance has occurred for plantation development since that date. The body voted down a motion to increase transparency around certified concessions.Two leaders of eco-certification decided to become one. In June, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ announced they would merge to create a single sustainability standard and certification program under the Rainforest Alliance brand.The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) announced it would stop working with certification in agriculture. In reaching the decision, Andre de Freitas, executive director of SAN, said “We have seen many positive impacts from certification for workers, producers and the environment. But we have also increasingly come to recognize the limitations of certification as a tool to drive change in agricultural production systems at scale.”Various parties reached agreement on a methodology for determining what areas should be off-limits for conversion within oil palm concessions. Known as the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Toolkit, the methodology is the product of years of debate between palm oil producers, buyers, traders, and civil society groups.BrazilBrazil houses the largest extent of rainforest in the world, most of which lies within the Amazon. Since the early 2000s, Brazil has led the world in setting aside protected areas and indigenous reserves, creating financial incentives for forest conservation, building forest monitoring systems and reducing rainforest loss. As such, the country has been seen by forest giants like Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as donor nations like Norway seeking to reduce deforestation and associated emissions, as a model to potentially emulate.But Brazil’s success story started to sputter over the past few years as the costs of the country’s financial and political crisis has started to impact its conservation initiatives. Part of Brazil’s apparent success has been a façade — agricultural expansion in the woody grassland called the cerrado has allowed Brazil to ramp up commodity production, while slowing deforestation in the rainforest biome — but some of it has indeed been real, the product of a combination of policy, law enforcement, monitoring, and activism and pressure from civil society and indigenous peoples.In 2017, Brazil seemed to backtrack on recent progress, with President Temer leading a rollback of environmental protections, including reducing conservation areas, targeting indigenous land rights, cutting budgets for monitoring and enforcement, and granting amnesty for environmental crimes. Many of Temer’s initiatives were blocked by courts, public prosecutors, or public outcry. Things looked so bad at one point that Norway, which has put hundreds of millions of dollars into Brazil’s coffers for forest conservation, took the unusual step of condemning Temer’s plan to remove a vast swath of land from conservation areas. The government was also ineffective in stemming violence against environmental, indigenous and land rights reform advocates. More than 60 were killed through the first 10 months of 2017.While the broad trend in Brazil was bad news for its forests, there were moments of elation for environmentalists, including the creation of the 12,000-square-kilometer (4,630-square-mile) Turubaxi-Téa Indigenous Territory in Amazonas state; some of Temer’s most environmentally damaging proposals failed to advance; infrastructure expansion in Brazil and neighboring countries got bogged down by corruption scandals and basic economics; indigenous communities won a series of legal victories and settlements against the state, and the headline deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon fell 16 percent versus last year. 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 Indonesian rainforest. Photo for Mongabay by Rhett A. Butler.Indonesia2017 was an up and down year for Indonesia’s rainforests. Data released during the year showed that tree cover loss in Indonesia’s primary forests shot up in 2016 as a result of the 2015 fire crisis. And satellite data seems to suggest significant ongoing forest clearing into 2017, especially in Kalimantan and Papua.In an effort to avoid a repeat of past fire and haze crises, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued several policies governing the management of peatlands, including a land-swap mechanism that allows companies to trade carbon-dense areas in their concessions for lands elsewhere as a means to reduce fire risk. Some of the regulations were struck down by the Supreme Court. His administration also announced a plan to reduce fires by half by 2019. Indonesia’s parliament, however, pushed legislation, including a major palm oil bill that could become law in 2018, that threatened to undermine those goals by loosening restrictions on plantation expansion. An analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI) concluded that Indonesia is likely to miss its near-term climate targets.Central government agencies also sent mixed signals. For the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 2017 was all about attempting to assert control. It stepped up prosecution of firms linked to illegal fires and peatlands clearance — including plantation giants Asia Pulp & Paper and APRIL — but also took measures against groups seeking greater transparency and accountability in the forestry sector. Greenpeace and Forest Watch Indonesia engaged in legal battles trying to get the Indonesian government to publicly release oil palm concession data.Plantation lobby groups — the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) and the Indonesian Association of Forestry Concessionaires (APHI) — asked the Constitutional Court to revise the national forestry law and environment law so they aren’t strictly liable for fires that occur in their concessions. Plantation companies have argued that fires within their concessions are often the result of burning by communities on adjacent lands. These fires can quickly spread in peatlands because drained peat is highly flammable.The Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) in Sumatra. Photo by Maxime Aliaga.Scientists’ decision to classify a second species of Sumatran orangutan reignited global interest in saving Sumatra’s fast-dwindling forests. The Tapanuli orangutan is classified as critically endangered and is immediately threatened by a planned dam. Conservationists warned that proposed road projects pose additional threats to endemic species in Sumatra. One of those species, the Sumatran rhino, may be on the brink of extinction in the wild, with fewer than 100 — and possibly fewer than 30 — surviving outside captivity.Jokowi’s administration made slow progress in recognizing customary land rights per a landmark court decision in 2013. By November, the government had rezoned 164 square kilometers (63 square miles) as customary forests. The Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) says that some 19,000 square kilometers (7,340 square miles) are immediately ready to be rezoned as customary forests.See Indonesia in 2017: A fighting chance for peat protection, but an infrastructure beatdown for indigenous communities for an in-depth look at other major environmental developments in Indonesia during 2017.Rainforest in Madagascar, which has experience an increase in its deforestation rate in recent years. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Other geographiesAustralia often ranks among the countries with the highest forest loss, but the revelation that deforestation has surged in Queensland was particularly concerning to environmentalists, given the uniqueness of the ecosystem and its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. A government assessment found that 3,950 square kilometers (1,525 square miles) of tree cover was cleared in Queensland between 2015 and 2016, 40 percent of which occurred in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.A paper in Nature Ecology and Evolution argued that forest loss in tropical Africa has been greatly overestimated due to inaccurate assumptions about original land cover. According to the research, some of the areas classified as once having forest were actually savanna. The study estimated forest loss in the region at just over 20 percent since 1900. That is roughly on par with the percentage loss in the Brazilian Amazon.A vast swamp in the heart of the Congo was determined to be the world’s largest tropical peatland. Estimated to cover 145,500 square kilometers (56,200 square miles), the peatland may hold more than 30 billion tons of carbon. Scientists made a case to governments that the area should be off-limits to logging and conversion for industrial agriculture.Myanmar’s national logging ban expired in March, although reports indicate that illegal logging persisted during the year-long moratorium.Please see Mongabay’s location feeds for news from more countries.Redwood forest in Santa Cruz County, California. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Lack of U.S. ambitionThe Trump Administration‘s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, weaken environmental and conservation regulations at home, and signal an intent to cut protections for wildlife abroad raised fears that important conservation programs and grants that benefit rainforests will be reduced or eliminated when they come up for renewal in 2018. Given that many of these are federal programs run under the State Department or Fish and Wildlife Service, it is unclear whether subnational jurisdictions like states and cities will step in to fill the gap.Large-bodied animals like this knobbed hornbill play an important role in forest ecosystems. Studies show that the loss of seed dispersers can have long-term effects on the carbon storage of forests. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerResearchPlenty of important research on tropical forests was published in 2017. Here are a few highlights.A paper published in Science Advances assessed trends in intact forest landscapes (IFL), revealing that forest ecosystems greater than 500 square kilometers (190 square miles) in area and showing no signs of human impact declined more than 7 percent between 2000 and 2013. The rate of loss tripled in the tropics since the beginning of the study period. The research identified timber harvesting and agricultural expansion as the primary drivers of IFL loss. It seemed to suggest that timber certification seems to be contributing to IFL loss in the Congo Basin by opening up previously inaccessible areas to logging.A number of studies looked at the climate impacts of forest loss. A paper published in Environmental Research Letters assessed climate impacts of deforestation beyond releasing carbon dioxide, including methane and nitrous oxide emissions. The researchers estimated that tropical deforestation alone could cause a 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7-degree Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures by 2100.A Science paper concluded that tropical forests are now a net source of carbon emissions, with deforestation and forest degradation releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere on an annual basis than forests can sequester. The research — which used satellite imagery, airborne LiDAR systems, and field measurements — put net annual emissions at about 425 million tons.A study published in Environmental Research Letters added further evidence that deforestation is becoming more industrialized, with a growing proportion of forest clearing being classified as medium, large or very large, corresponding to the rise of plantations and industrial agriculture in the tropics.A study in Scientific Reports found that protected areas lost only 0.2 percent of their forest cover between 2000 and 2012. While that loss was low, it resulted in a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions because the protected areas had higher density of forest cover relative to unprotected forests. Nine percent of the reserves accounted for 80 percent of the emissions from protected forest loss.Emissions from tropical forest degradation are higher than emissions from outright deforestation in many countries, found a study published in Carbon Balance and Management. Forest degradation emissions were primarily from logging, fuelwood harvesting and forest fires. According to the paper, the countries with the highest forest degradation emissions are Indonesia, Brazil, India, Malaysia and the Philippines.The 2015-2016 drought in the Amazon rainforest produced the highest temperatures and extended to the largest area ever recorded in the region, said a study published in Scientific Reports. The research estimated that temperatures were some 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than during the 1997-98 El Niño and extreme drought affected an area 20 percent larger than the previous record.A Nature Communications study estimated the extent of tropical forest fragmentation globally at 50 million fragments. The researchers argue that this fragmentation increases emissions from tropical deforestation by 31 percent.Yet another study warned about the potential adverse impacts of carbon-focused conservation policies on biodiversity. The Scientific Reports study found lack of correlation between tree biodiversity and carbon storage across different geographies.Amazon DamsEnvironmentalists and biologists are highly concerned about plans to build nearly 300 dams in the Amazon basin. New research published in 2017 adds to the evidence that their fears are well-founded. A PLoS ONE study forecast the impacts of six dams planned in Peru and Bolivia. It found that the six dams would retain nearly 900 million tons of river sediment annually, preventing those nutrients from reaching floodplains, potentially affecting food security downstream. The authors also said the dams would generate 10 million tons of carbon emissions annually and worsen mercury pollution. A separate study, published in Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, found that Brazilian mega-dams flooded far larger areas than projected in the dams’ environmental impact assessments, resulting in higher carbon emissions and economic losses.Conservation technologyMonitoring technologies continued to make advances in 2017. By the end of the year, World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch had GLAD alerts — near real-time deforestation tracking — covering 22 countries. The platform also added 25 new datasets, ranging from palm oil mills to Brazilian Amazon land cover, as well as Places to Watch, a “data-driven storytelling initiative that combines deforestation alerts with satellite imagery.”Planet, which operates a constellation of shoebox-sized satellites, was increasingly being used for forest research and monitoring applications.Groundwork began to be laid for a biodiversity-monitoring satellite mission that would use the chemical signatures of plants to discern species richness.The Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) continued to produce impactful reports on forest change in Peru and neighboring countries using satellite data.Buttress roots of a rainforest tree in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Conservation strategyStill more research was published in support of the argument that granting land titles to indigenous and local communities is an effective conservation strategy. A Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper used remote sensing data to show that forest clearance and disturbance dropped sharply after the granting of land title to an indigenous community in Peru. Those findings were echoed more broadly in a Scientific Reports paper that found, on average, there was less deforestation and forest degradation in community-managed protected areas in the Peruvian Amazon than in those managed by the government.In recognition of the dividends of helping indigenous peoples and local communities in rural areas secure rights to their traditional lands, in October the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) announced the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility, a $100 million, fund for scaling up recognition of rights to collective lands and forests. The tenure facility aims to secure at least 400,000 square kilometers (154,400 square miles) of forests and rural lands for local and indigenous communities.A study published in PLoS Biology identified places where deforestation — and by extension, conservation — is most and least beneficial economically. It concluded that areas with high agricultural yields, low production costs and good access to markets — like the Atlantic Forest and the Gulfs of Guinea and Thailand — are places where conservation faces long odds in terms of economics. The research indicates that, overall, deforestation yields large net economic losses even once factoring in agricultural outputs.More academic papers added to the body of research showing the importance of protecting wildlife, including large-bodied birds and mammals, for maintaining forest carbon stocks.The lower Kinabatangan river. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerGains for rainforestsIn Sabah, the eastern state in Malaysian Borneo, a plan to build a bridge over the Kinabatangan River near a wildlife sanctuary was canceled. Conservationists said the bridge would have disrupted wildlife migration in an area that has been hard hit by extensive conversion of forests to oil palm plantations. Sabah also set aside a 1,010-square-kilometer (390-square-mile) tract of orangutan-rich rainforest slated for logging as a conservation area. And the state began to work with a “wall-to-wall” map of its carbon stocks, the result of a mapping campaign initiated last year. Those maps will help identify what unprotected areas are most important for conservation in Sabah.Norway continued to have an outsized role in tropical forest conservation efforts. In January, the Nordic country contributed $100 million toward a new fund that endeavors to support small farmers boost agricultural output while avoiding further deforestation and degradation. It later banned the public procurement and use of palm oil-based biofuel; hosted the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative to bring together faith leaders to build on the moral case for protecting tropical forests; and used diplomatic pressure to encourage Brazil to stand by its forest protection commitment.Papua New Guinea established its largest-ever conservation area after a 32-year process involving local communities and other stakeholders. Managalas Conservation Area covers 3,600 square kilometers (1,390 square miles).After a global outcry, Nigeria rerouted a super highway so that it would no longer cuts through the center of Cross River National Park, although concerns remained about the potential path of the road.Fungi in Costa Rica. Photo by Rhett A. Butler2018 OutlookBrazil: Watch for continuing fallout from the Lava Jato scandal, including impacts on large infrastructure projects that have involved corrupt dealings. Stripping corruption and contact-padding out of these deals, will make it harder to get big dams and roads financed.Indonesia: Sub-national and national elections are right around the corner. Typically politicians in Indonesia get their campaigns finances by granting plantation, timber and mining concessions, meaning that what happens in the run-up to an election can have significant implications for forests after the election. A major palm oil bill is currently working its way through parliament. 2018 isn’t expected to be an El Niño year, meaning fire risk should be lower than 2015-2016.United States: There is a great deal of uncertainty about what international conservation programs will proceed under the Trump administration. If the first year of the administration is any indication, there won’t be much leadership from the United States on conservation issues.Technology: Look for continuing advancements in satellite detection and analysis as well as on-the-ground sensor systems like camera traps. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being applied to conservation challenges, and bioacoustics has huge potential to emerge as a good tool for biodiversity monitoring.Biodiversity: There’s a perception that biodiversity is losing out to climate in conservation policymaking, but in 2018 watch for a concerted push to get wildlife back on the public’s radar.center_img Article published by Rhett Butler Biodiversity, Carbon Emissions, Cattle Ranching, Commodity Roundtables, Community Forestry, Conservation, Conservation Technology, Dams, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Featured, Fires, Forest Fires, Forest Stewardship Council, Forests, Green, Indigenous Peoples, Land Rights, Logging, Mining, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Protected Areas, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Remote Sensing, Rspo, Satellite Imagery, Technology, Technology And Conservation, Tropical Forests, Year in review – rainforests, Zero Deforestation Commitments last_img read more

Agroforestry bolsters biodiversity and villages in Sri Lanka

first_imgResidents of the rural Sri Lankan village of Pitekele relied on the nearby rainforest as a source of food, fuel, fiber and medicine for generations, until it was made into a park.The forest’s new conservation status and rules for accessing traditional products caused traditional “home garden” agroforestry plots to replace the forest’s role in villagers’ incomes and food procurement strategies.These unusually diverse agroforestry systems have reduced the pressure on native primary rainforest and serve to provide habitat, forest cover, biodiversity and food security within the buffer zone, where land is otherwise increasingly being used for tea cultivation.Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot, and its home gardens are very diverse too: Pitekele’s home gardens support a richness of 219 species in 181 genera and 73 families. PITEKELE, Sri Lanka — Visitors to the Sinharaja Man and Biosphere Reserve, Sri Lanka’s largest remaining primary rainforest, could easily miss the fact that adjoining the forest’s entrance is the old and thriving community of Pitekele. Yet on foot, it takes just a quick turn and a climb over a boulder or two to exit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and enter into this bucolic village landscape of fallow rice paddies, sprawling tea gardens, and homes surrounded by some of the most diverse, and biodiverse, gardens in the whole region.Pitekele, Sinhalese for “the village outside the forest,” is located within the 3-kilometer-wide (1.9-mile) buffer zone on the northwestern side of Sinharaja, the last remaining example of a once extensive mature wet-zone rainforest containing species endemic to Sri Lanka, and is itself a prime example of applied agroforestry.View of a Pitekele home garden surrounding dense plantings of tea. Photo by Chandni Navalkha for MongabayVillagers have a complex relationship with the protected area; while they fully support the conservation of the forest for its contribution to the local climate and clean water, conservation rules implemented after the reserve’s establishment in 1986 have curtailed their ability to use forest resources upon which they have depended for generations.These restrictions have made the villagers’ “home gardens” — multi-story combinations of trees, shrubs, herbs and lianas planted around houses — increasingly important for their livelihoods and food security.Shifting away from forest resourcesForest resources were once a central part of villagers’ livelihoods. Three decades ago, men and children in Pitekele would often go to the forest to gather valuable products for use at home and to sell.Villagers tell of the many different plant species they would gather at different seasons. A favorite was wild cardamom (Elletaria ensal), known locally as enasal, used to flavor curries and sweets. A yellow vine called weniwelgetha (Coscinium fenestratum), which has recognized anti-tetanus properties and is now critically endangered, was prized as medicine for ailments as common as fevers and as rare as snakebites. On their way to tap fishtail palms (Caryota urens), known as kitul, whose sweet sap is used to make hard sugar and syrup, men would gather up nuts and resins from native dipterocarps (Shorea sp.) to eat and to sell.Since the creation of the reserve, these activities are forbidden. Now, to tap palms within the forest, villagers are required to purchase permits. As a result, people rarely enter the forest; even village elders told Mongabay that they go maybe once a year.“Before, we used to go to the forest to gather food, spices, medicine, to tap fishtail palms,” says Guneratne W.* “We used to sell resins and fruits we collected, and now we don’t, we sell areca nut, coconuts, or bananas that we have on our land when we need extra income. Now, we must grow what we want to eat or sell in our home gardens.”Nam nam is a fruit tree common in Sri Lankan home gardens, this one has a fruit that’s almost ready to be picked. Photo by Chandni Navalkha for MongabayAn extraordinarily diverse agroforestry systemScholars believe home gardens in Sri Lanka are an ancient agroforestry system that has been practiced for more than 2,500 years. The age of tropical home gardens is less well understood, but Vijaykumara W.* knows his family has maintained a home garden in Pitekele for at least 200 years. “I am the fifth generation here,” he says, “this is my ancestral village.”According to village elders like Vijaykumara, most of the home gardens in Pitekele were planted between 30 and 50 years ago, established by children when setting up their own households. Some home gardens, those of the older households, are more than 100 years old.These home gardens also feature a high level of diversity compared to other regions of Sri Lanka. A forthcoming study on Pitekele by Klaus Geiger et al. in association with Yale University finds that the tropical home gardens found here demonstrate a much higher species richness than those found in other studies of Sri Lankan home gardens. Through their survey of 10 home gardens in the village, the authors found a total species richness of 219 species in 181 genera and 73 families. Similarly, their mean species richness per home garden of 64 species is much higher compared to other estimates of Sri Lankan home gardens, which range from 42 to 46 in a 2009 study by K. Kumari et al.People here say that their home gardens have existed as far back as they can remember, even if the species mix has changed over time. Jayawira*, a tea planter and kitul tapper in Pitekele, remembers walking 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from Weddagala, the closest town, carrying construction materials for his house on his back.“In the past, there was no road … we would walk,” he recalls. “We had to grow everything we wanted because we couldn’t buy it, including medicine because we were far from the doctors and hospital. Now we have less than we used to in the home gardens because we don’t need to grow medicines anymore, we have the road and can go to the hospital.”While no single home garden in the village is the same — each reflects the individual preferences of a family — all contain a mix of edible, medicinal and ornamental trees and plants. The most common trees in home gardens are the native kitul palms and two species which are ancient introductions: coconut palms (Cocos nucifera), including the famous king coconut (Cocos nucifera v. aurantiaca), and areca palms (Areca catechu), the nuts of which are sold for cash throughout the year.In addition to these native palms, jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) and mango (Mangifera indica) trees dominate the canopy of home gardens and provide an important source of both fruit and timber. Exotic fruit species from Latin America and the Asia Pacific, like breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), ambarella (Spondias dulcis), water apple (Syzygium malaccense), and rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), as well as spice trees like clove (Syzygium aromaticum), compose the mid-canopy.“Here, we don’t buy fruits,” Niyentara G.* says as she hands me a 2-kilo (4.4-pound) bag of ambarella from her garden to make curry for dinner. “We eat from the garden as things come into season. But the animals eat the manioc and bananas, and we still need to buy things like vegetables in town.”Edible and medicinal herbs cover the ground in Pitekele’s home gardens. Photo by Chandni Navalkha for MongabayLower-canopy trees consist of exotic citruses such as lemon (Citrus aurantifolia), orange (Citrus sinensis), and mandarin (Citrus reticulata), plus guava (Psidium guajava) varieties, nam nam (Cynometra cauliflora), the native cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum verum) and medicinal trees such as nika (Vitex negundo) and pawata (Pavetta indica). Black pepper (Piper nigrum) and betel (Piper betel) vines often adorn the trunks of these trees.Ground-story herbs and shrubs supplement edible fruits with edible leaves like koppa (Polyscias scutellaria), niramulia (Hygrophila schulli), gotukola (Centella asiatica) and bowitiya (Osbeckia aspera), used to make the sambal sauces that traditionally accompany meals of rice and curry. Spices like curry (Murraya koenigii) and pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) leaf are also found in this layer of the home garden, as are popular medicinals like polpala (Aerva lanata) and iraweriya (Plectranthus zatarhendi var. tomentosa), which are used for stomach ailments.Changing livelihoodsThe road is a symbol of the villagers’ changing livelihoods. Two or three decades ago, sheets of freshly tapped and rolled rubber would be drying outdoors on clotheslines; people grew coffee and cinnamon as cash crops, sold forest products, tapped kitul and planted their own rice.Around the same time as the establishment of Sinharaja, however, villagers began replacing their rubber and cinnamon plantations with tea plants and stopped growing rice altogether.According to villagers, this shift began when the price of low-grown tea rose above rubber prices. Infrastructure, like the road and a daily truck sent to pick up villagers’ tea harvest, encouraged people to switch from rubber and cinnamon to tea. “We became busy with growing tea and picking the tea leaves,” Lakshi R.* explains, “We didn’t have time to grow rice, and with our income from tea, we can buy rice instead.”Even as higher incomes enable families to purchase rice from the market, villagers say that as food prices increase home gardens are vital in supplying their households with food staples like peppers, coconuts, spices, and fruits and vegetables. Ashoka W.*, who started his tea plantation in Pitekele about 10 years ago, told Mongabay, “Our lives depend on the price of tea. If it goes down, so does our quality of life.”Useful trees visible in this typical home garden include coconut, jackfruit, areca palm, banana, mango, breadfruit, and citrus varieties. Photo by Chandni Navalkha for MongabayGrowing their own food in home gardens ensures that even if the price of tea decreases, villagers in Pitekele are food secure. The same study by Geiger et al. found that an equal amount of Pitekele’s land area is in tea cultivation as in home gardens.Recognizing this, the Sri Lankan government has encouraged the establishment of home gardens through its rural development and agricultural policies. In 2011, the Sri Lankan Department of Livelihoods (Divi Neguma, later consolidated into the poverty alleviation program known as Samurdhi) launched an initiative to foster the establishment of more than 1 million home gardens. Annual targets continue to extend this number; in 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture aimed to create 500,000 additional home gardens throughout Sri Lanka.Maintaining tree cover and combating climate changeIn a country where deforestation has decreased its original forest area by half since 1956, home gardens like those in Pitekele are crucial to maintaining forest cover and ecosystem services. A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009 found home gardens compose nearly 15 percent of Sri Lanka’s land area and 33 percent of its total forest area.Like other agroforestry systems globally, home gardens in Sri Lanka play an important role in combating climate change. Annually, agroforestry sequesters 0.73 gigatons of carbon around the world. While quantitative studies of carbon storage in home gardens is lacking, experts agree that Sri Lanka’s tropical home gardens have a high degree of existing and potential carbon storage“These are tree-based systems that store large amounts of carbon in both above-ground biomass and in soils,” says James Roshetko, an expert on agroforestry in Southeast Asia at the World Agroforestry Centre. Along with carbon storage, home gardens boost resilience to climate change: “The diversity of home gardens helps farmers eliminate the risk associated with changing climate conditions.”Mangala De Zoysa, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka, notes that even as home gardens themselves sequester carbon, they reduce the risk of deforestation and degradation of carbon-sequestering forests like Sinharaja.Sixty percent of Sri Lanka’s timber is supplied by home gardens, he says. “People get their fuelwood and firewood from their gardens, which helps to protect natural forests.”Home gardens capture carbon and provide dense cover for creatures to hide, forage, and nest in, as with this gourd tree. Photo by Chandni Navalkha for MongabaySupporting biodiversity, from monkeys to monitor lizardsAlong with reducing pressure on forest resources, contributing to villagers’ food security and livelihoods, and maintaining forest cover in the buffer zone of Sinharaja, the tropical home gardens of Pitekele support biodiversity conservation in the region by providing a habitat for important fauna, many of which are endemic species.“Home gardens provide excellent habitat for pollinators like insects and birds,” Roshetko says. “And at the same time their diversity helps farmers to keep out pests and disease.”Talking with villagers about the birds and animals they witness commonly within their gardens, they mention just a few of the many species they see.One family often spies the endemic Sri Lankan gray hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis) eating papaya from a tree in their garden. Villagers put out rice to feed the birds, and the Sri Lankan jungle fowl (Gallus lafayetii) can be seen in many home gardens as a result. Other commonly seen and heard birds are the pied cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus), the brown-headed barbet (Megalaima zeylanica), the Sri Lanka blue magpie (Urocissa ornata), and the rarer Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger). Yellow-billed Babbler in a Pitekele garden. Photo by Le Do Ly Lan 1234 read more

List of 100 most unique and endangered reptiles released

first_imgArticle published by Rhett Butler Animals, Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Environment, Herps, Reptiles, Snakes, Turtles And Tortoises, Wildlife Zoological Society of London has released a list of the 100 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered Reptiles.Using a formula published in a PLOS ONE Study, each species receives a score that takes into account how evolutionarily unusual it is as well as its risk for extinction.ZSL hopes these rankings will provide a scientifically rigorous and standardized method to assign conservation priority to vanishing species. What do the world’s tiniest chameleon, a color-changing snake, and a turtle that breathes through its genitals have in common? Each of these reptiles sits perched on its own unique branch of life and, according to Zoological Society of London (ZSL), is headed for extinction unless urgent steps are taken for their protection.The ZSL has released a list of 100 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered Reptiles through its EDGE of Existence program. Using a formula published in a PLOS ONE Study, each species receives a score that takes into account how evolutionarily unusual it is as well as its risk for extinction. ZSL hopes these rankings will provide a scientifically rigorous and standardized method to assign conservation priority to vanishing species.The worm-like Madagascar blind snake (Xenotyphlops grandidieri) has no use for eyes as it burrows through the forest floors of Madagascar. Photo by: Jörn Köhler courtesy of ZSL.A juvenile Minute leaf chameleon (Brookesia micra) perches on a match head. This is the smallest chameleon in the world and is found exclusively in the forests of Madagascar. Photo by: Glaw et al“When EDGE launched in 2007,” said EDGE of Existence Program Manager Nisha Owen, “our vision was to shine a light on those species that, if they were allowed to go extinct, would effectively take an entire branch of the Tree of Life with them.”EDGE has published lists for mammals, birds, amphibians, and corals in the past and has partnered with other organizations to fund work at the frontlines of conservation. Beyond increasing awareness of these high priority life forms, EDGE and partners invest in early-career conservationists and conservation research, working with species from the pangolin to the Philippine Eagle.“Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals,” said EDGE Reptiles co-ordinator Rikki Gumbs. “However, the EDGE Reptile List highlights just how unique, vulnerable and amazing these creatures really are. From the world’s largest sea turtles to a blind species of snake found only in Madagascar, the diversity of EDGE Reptiles is breath-taking.”The color changing Round Island keel-scaled boa (Casarea dussumieri) is the last remaining member of its evolutionary family. Photo by: Nick Page courtesy of ZSL.The Gharial crocodile (Gavialis gangeticus) uses its slim snout for fishing. Photo by: Josh More courtesy of ZSL.The largest turtle in the world, the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) is the last of its phylogenetic family and Photo by: Hans Hillewaert courtesy of ZSL.Breath-taking indeed. This top 100 list includes the charismatic, slick, and scaly likes of turtles, tortoises, geckos, lizards, snakes, chameleons, and crocodiles which demonstrate some unusual survival strategies. The #1 EDGE ranking Madagascan big-headed turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis) has large, golden plates which protect its big head; the Pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) uses its pig-like snout as a snorkel; and the Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus) can breathe underwater for up to three days.“Just as with tigers, rhinos and elephants, it is vital we do our utmost to save these unique and too often overlooked animals,” said Gumbs.“Many EDGE Reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages, whose branches of the Tree of Life stretch back to the age of the dinosaurs. If we lose these species there will be nothing like them left on Earth,” Gumbs continued. “We also hope to bring the plight of these weird and wonderful creatures to the public’s attention before they disappear.”The Madagascan big-headed turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis) uses golden plates to protect its giant head. Photo by: Bill Hughes courtesy of ZSL.The Roti Island snake-necked turtle (Chelodina mccordi) is still hunted for food and is among the 15 most endangered turtles in the world. Photo by: Daniel Kane courtesy of ZSL.Able to stay underwater for up to three days, the Mary river turtle (Elusor macrurus) uses specialized breathing organs in its cloaca. Photo by: Chris Van Wyk courtesy of ZSL.EDGE’s 50 top reptilesMadagascar Big-headed Turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis)Central American River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii)Madagascar blind snake (Xenotyphlops grandidieri)Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis)Chinese Crocodile Lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus)Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi)Dahl’s Toad-headed Turtle (Mesoclemmys dahli)Hoge’s Toadhead Turtle (Mesoclemmys hogei)Western Short-necked Turtle (Pseudemydura umbrina)Flattened Musk Turtle (Sternotherus depressus)Flat-tailed Tortoise (Pyxis planicauda)Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora)Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata)Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides)Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)Magdalena River Turtle (Podocnemis lewyana)Big-headed Turtle (Platysternon megacephalum)Pig-nosed Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta)Asian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle (Chitra chitra)Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei)Round Island Keel-scaled Boa (Casarea dussumieri)Union Island Gecko (Gonatodes daudini)Bojer’s Skink (Gongylomorphus bojerii)Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)Marbled Gecko (Oedodera marmorata)Big-headed Amazon River Turtle (Peltocephalus dumerilianus)Pritchard’s Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina pritchardi)Bell’s Sawshelled Turtle (Myuchelys bellii)Chaco Side-necked Turtle (Acanthochelys pallidipectoris)Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus)Newman’s Knob-scaled Lizard (Xenosaurus newmanorum)Williams’ Dwarf Gecko (Lygodactylus williamsi)Paroedura lohatsara (Paroedura lohatsara)Rhampholeon hattinghi (Rhampholeon hattinghi)Lygodactylus mirabilis (Lygodactylus mirabilis)Desperate Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia desperata)Zong’s Odd-scaled Snake (Achalinus jinggangensis)Colombian Dwarf Gecko (Lepidoblepharis miyatai)Gulbaru Gecko (Phyllurus gulbaru)West African Slender-snouted Crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus)Nguru Pygmy Chameleon (Rhampholeon acuminatus)‘Eua Forest Gecko (Lepidodactylus euaensis)Uroplatus guentheri (Uroplatus guentheri)Uroplatus malahelo (Uroplatus malahelo)Pronk’s day gecko (Phelsuma pronki)Black-breasted Leaf Turtle (Geoemyda spengleri)Ryukyu Leaf Turtle (Geoemyda japonica)Chapman’s Pygmy Chameleon (Rhampholeon chapmanorum)Mount Inago Pygmy Chameleon (Rhampholeon bruessoworum)CitationRikki Gumbs, Claudia L. Gray, Oliver R. Wearn, Nisha R. Owen. 2018 Tetrapods on the EDGE: Overcoming data limitations to identify phylogenetic conservation priorities. PLOS ONE.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

NGOs acquire land in Brazil to create wildlife corridor

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 Atlantic Forest, Forest Fragmentation, Forests, Fragmentation, Habitat Degradation, Land Use Change, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Rehabilitation The acquired land plot is located in a region of the Atlantic Forest, and will be connected to the Poço das Antas reserve by a bridge that will cross over a major highway.Brazilian NGO Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD), in collaboration with US NGO SavingSpecies and Dutch charitable foundation DOB Ecology, has acquired a 237-hectare (585 acre) plot of land next to the Biological Reserve of Poço das Antas, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Currently, a four-lane highway separates the newly acquired land from the reserve.The organizations now plan to restore the forest in the plot and build a bridge that will connect both areas over the highway. The bridge will allow animal species to circulate between the two regions, curtailing the negative impact of forest fragmentation.One of the species that will benefit from the new corridor is the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia), an endangered primate which only occurs in this region. The tamarin has been the focus of conservation efforts in recent years. Brazil’s Atlantic Forest is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. However, over the last 500 years its extension has been dramatically decreasing, and today it occupies roughly 15 percent of its original area and 7 percent of its original forest cover. The remaining forest areas are severely fragmented, causing habitat loss and increasing the pressure on the remaining species.Conservationists have found that a way to alleviate the impact of fragmentation is to implement wildlife corridors that connect interspersed patches of remnant forests. On April 9, three conservation NGOs announced they had acquired land for one such corridors – also known as a land bridge. The area will be created in the vicinity of the Biological Reserve of Poço das Antas, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The corridor will include a bridge overpass over a large highway that runs north of the reserve and will allow animals to circulate beyond the limits of the reserve.A golden lion tamarin. Photo courtesy AMLD.Among the species that will benefit from the corridor is the endangered golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia), endemic to the region. The golden lion tamarin’s protection has been at the core of the project.SavingSpecies is one of the three non-profits that have joined efforts to create the corridor. The other two are the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD), a Brazilian NGO that has been working on the conservation of the golden lion tamarin for the last 25 years, and the Netherlands-based DOB Ecology, a philanthropic organization that supports restoration and conservation programs in Africa and South America.Detail of restoration area. Image courtesy AMLD.“This fragmentation and infrastructure cut off tamarin populations from each other,” said Stuart Pimm, President of NGO SavingSpecies. “Since tamarins live their lives in trees, even high in the forest canopy, a ‘bridge in the canopy’ from one forest to another is necessary for the tamarins to connect to each other.”To create the corridor, the NGOs purchased Fazenda Igarapé, a 237-hectare (585 acres) land plot located next to the reserve, adjacent to the four-lane highway that limits the reserve on its north side. The next steps will be to reforest 100 hectares (247 acres) of the land which is currently occupied by pastures, and to install a bridge to connect the Fazenda Igarapé to the Biological Reserve of Poço das Antas. If everything goes according to plan, the works to install the bridge will begin in the next weeks. Once ready, the corridor will allow tamarins and other species from the reserve to expand their habitat northwards.A fruitful partnershipThe new corridor will be the second one for SavingSpecies and AMLD in the region. Ten years ago, they followed a similar approach, purchasing and reforesting a 140-hectare property located some 28 km (17 miles) from where the new corridor will be. That land plot abutted the Biological Reserve of União and connected the reserve to other forests uphill.“The restored land was incorporated into the reserve area and therefore under federal protection, its future secured,” Pimm said. “That improved forest connectivity greatly for the tamarins, increasing genetic diversity among previously isolated forests.”Detail of restoration area. Image courtesy AMLD.Thanks to projects such as these, the population of golden lion tamarins has been steadily increasing in recent years. According to the IUCN, the major threats that tamarins face today are “reduced numbers and limited possibilities for growth in the few fragmented and degraded forests that remain in their restricted range,” noting that “current and future conservation efforts are attacking this problem with reforestation and the establishment of corridors.”“Thirty years ago, there were only 200 tamarins left. Today that number has increased to 3,200, but the landscape continues to be seriously fragmented,” said Luis Paulo Ferraz, Executive Secretary of AMLD.Green corridorsIn the last decade, different wildlife corridors have been implemented by the Brazilian government as a way of connecting often-interspersed protected areas. Officially, the first wildlife corridor created was the Mosaic Capivaras-Confusões, that in 2006 connected two national parks in the state of Piauí, Serra da Capivara and Confusões. Located in north-east Brazil, the corridor created a 412,000 hectares (1,020,000 acres) stretch of protected ‘caatinga’, a type of desert vegetation that covers circa 10 percent of Brazil’s territory.Since then, other corridors followed in different regions, including some in the Atlantic Forest.Detail of restoration area with a habitat bridge. Image courtesy AMLD.Outside of Brazil, bridges to connect green areas that overpass roads – or land bridges – are becoming increasingly common. The Netherlands has dozens of wildlife crossings, called ‘ecoducts’ in Dutch, and in Canada the 41 Banff Wildlife Bridges allow animals in the Banff National Park to safely cross over the Trans Canada Highway. These type of bridges remain rare in Brazil.“This bridge will be the first of its kind in Brazil and it could become a model for landscape connectivity involving highways,” says Ferraz, from ALMD. “We have a great responsibility and we want to show that it is possible to do things right.”Ignacio Amigo is a freelance journalist based in São Paulo, Brazil. You can find him on Twitter at @IgnacioAmigoH.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 Genevieve Belmakerlast_img read more

Cappa makes pro debut

first_imgFormer Humboldt State Lumberjack turned Tampa Bay Buccaneer Alex Cappa made his regular season NFL debut in a 27-9 win over the visiting San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon in Tampa, FL. The win snapped a four game losing spell for the Bucs (4-7) and served as a warm welcome to the NFL for Cappa.“More than anything, it was good to get a win as a team,” Cappa said. “Definitely enjoyed getting out there and playing some football.”Cappa was one of eight offensive linemen who suited up for the …last_img

Nuclear power ‘will help cut emissions’

first_img20 February 2013 South Africa plans to expand its use of nuclear power in a safe and secure way as a key part of the country’s move towards a diversified, low-carbon energy mix, says Energy Minister Dipuo Peters. “If we are serious about diversification towards a low carbon economy, we cannot belittle the role that natural gas and nuclear power can play in the realisation of that 2030 low carbon energy vision,” Peters said at the Africa Energy Indaba in Johannesburg on Tuesday. South Africa’s Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) for 2010 to 2030, a 20-year projection on the country’s electricity supply and demand, envisages 9 600 MW of additional nuclear capacity by 2030. The plan is due to be reviewed soon.Fukushima nuclear accident The government was in the process of finalising the IRP when the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred in 2011. Following the accident, the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) conducted safety re-assessments of the country’s existing installations, the Safari-1 research reactor in Pelindaba west of Pretoria, and the Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town. In June, the NNR announced that the country’s nuclear installations could withstand natural events. South Africa is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and had signed up for stress tests to ascertain whether its reactors were vulnerable to natural causes like tsunamis. Last week, the agency ended their peer review mission to South Africa – their first visit to a country with an existing nuclear programme. “We need to ensure that energy security is pursued as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity throughout the continent,” Peters told the Energy Indaba on Tuesday.Renewable energy programme South Africa’s IRP also envisages about 42% of electricity generated in the country coming from renewable resources. The Department of Energy, under its renewable energy programme for independent power producers, last year selected bidders for a total of 2 614 MW of solar and wind energy to be added to the country’s power grid by 2016. Peters said the department was about to enter the next phase of the programme, which seeks to procure 3 625 MW of renewable energy in total. The minister added that her department had installed 335 000 solar water systems as it moved towards its target of 1-million by the end of 2014. Peters also spoke about the need to equip young people on the continent with knowledge and skills in science and engineering, and in the energy sector in particular. “Partners in the private sector should collaborate with government in finding solutions to address the brain drain,” she said. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Finding That Parking Space May Soon Get Easier, Thanks To … Xerox

first_imgTags:#connected cars#Drive#parking#ParkMe#Parkopedia#Xerox bradley berman ReadWriteDrive is an ongoing series covering the future of transportation.Google might eventually disrupt the auto industry with self-driving cars, just as Tesla plots its threat with long-range electric vehicles. But the more immediately transformative influence over the driving experience will likely come from a surprisingly old school technology company: Xerox.See also: Why Google’s Driverless Car Is EvilWith its $6.4 billion acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services in 2009, Xerox obtained technology systems that for decades have managed the data back-end of “transportation services” for governments around the world. Those services include public transit, tolling, and parking. It’s part of Xerox’s shift from document management to a wide range of services technology.As we enter an era of highly connected cars, these enterprise-level transportation systems—software and hardware—could fundamentally change the thing most people like least about operating a motor vehicle: parking.Parking Rage“Parking is a painful experience from start to finish,” said David Cummins, managing director of Xerox parking solutions. “We’re all confused by parking signage, frustrated by scrounging around for coins, and studies have shown that 30 percent of urban congestion is caused by people cruising around looking for parking spaces.” Those issues, according to Cummins, will become a thing of the past, as cars develop the capability of telling you where there’s available parking, if you’re allowed to park there, and what the rate is.Right now, that intelligence is mostly served up by Xerox to city websites, as well as third-party apps like ParkMe and Parkopedia.Sam Friedman, chief executive of ParkMe, started the company about three years ago, after missing a movie because he couldn’t find a parking spot in Santa Monica, where the company is based. As of late 2013, the company—funded by a handful of VC sources, including the private venture arm headed by Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.— had about 30 employees.In June 2013, Audi became the first car company to offer ParkMe in its cars, providing drivers with immediate access to info about the closest, cheapest available parking. When I met Friedman at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, he was meeting with other major car companies, selling them on the idea to put ParkMe into the dashboards of cars.The company makes money by charging a transaction fee. “We don’t care how we get in front of consumers,” he told me. “There are now three screens. There was the desktop. Now there’s mobile.  And here comes the connected car.”Friedman described ParkMe’s business strategy as “like any other remnant marketplace model.” He said the “little secret” is that even garages in crowded places like Times Square don’t sell out.Data IntegrationParking technologies are still in their early adolescence, with many emerging apps, sensor companies, and data streams vying for acceptance. The role played by car manufacturers, which are also diversifying into mobility services, is uncertain. (BMW’s ParkNow app is available in San Francisco, Oakland and Palo Alto.) And mapping giants like Google could step in. With a 30-year legacy in transportation services, Xerox appears to have scale and thus a reasonably good position to serve as integrator of all the data.Today’s sensor technology for parking is relatively expensive—about $200 installed, plus $5 to $10 a month per sensor. Cummins believes that, in many cases, sensors are unnecessary—especially after studies by Xerox revealed that data from parking meters can provide a sufficient level of real-time accuracy.Today, feeds about open spots come mostly from parking meters and parking garage gates. Increasingly, data is coming from sensors and cameras—and eventually it could come from satellite imagery, and maybe even drones.Cummins believes that within 10 years, most cars will have their own sensors and will ping other vehicles and infrastructure as soon as they vacate a parking spot, leaving it open for the next driver.Dynamic pricing, already in use by ParkMe, will become more important as these systems mature, and we can expect the inclusion of peer-to-peer networks, allowing urban property owners to offer driveways (and other nooks and crannies) to desperate drivers seeking a parking spot. Think Lyft or Airbnb for parking.Making It EasyAccording to Cummins, cars using Siri-like voice recognition will analyze your navigation system settings and strike up a conversation with you. The car will say, “Do you want to park in a garage or on the street?” It will explain, for example, that on-street rate is a buck-fifty an hour, but you’ll save $5.00 at the garage two blocks away. Respond with your preference, and the car will automatically reserve the spot, show you the way, and handle the payment transaction.This is not a far-fetched futuristic vision. Xerox already owns much of what makes this possible. Xerox’s Vector technology manages the backend of electronic toll collection—including transponders and payment infrastructure—for systems such as EZPass on the northeast U.S. Its Merge platform similarly controls parking meters, revenue collection, and violation information from handheld devices.Xerox doesn’t write the tickets, but manages nearly all the other tasks. Until current laws change, tickets need to be set by hand on windshields. You didn’t expect technology to take all the pain out of parking, did you?Lead image by Flickr user kdingo, CC 2.0 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Corbett Tiger Reserve Director removed after his shoot-at-sight order

first_img Last week, Mr. Dhakate had issued shoot-at-sight order and pressed two drones into service after movement of poachers was reported along the southern fringes of the park.150 forest officials were deployed and a total of 388 camera traps installed at sensitive points within the territory of the park.Villagers in the area were also informed of the same and were advised to avoid taking animals for grazing to the core areas.The order, however, raised eyebrows following which Mr. Dhakate has been removed from his post. The Director of Corbett Tiger Reserve has been removed from his post following a controversy over shoot-at-sight order issued by him in the national park to check the activities of poachers.Uttrakhand’s Chief Secretary S. Ramaswamy said that Parag Madhukar Dhakate has been replaced by Dheeraj Pandey as Director.D.V.S Khati, the Chief Wildlife Warden, said that Mr. Dhakate was not authorised to issue any such order.Also Read Corbett Tiger Reserve workers get the nod to kill armed poachers last_img read more

Three, including infant, missing in several boat incidents in Assam

first_imgAn 18-month-old infant girl has been missing after a reportedly overcrowded boat capsized in Rakhaldubi river in western Assam’s Goalpara district on Monday evening, while two more boat incidents occurred across the State on Tuesday evening. The Rakhaldubi mishap is the third boat capsize in the State in the last one week after a mechanised country boat sank in the Brahmaputra off Guwahati killing four. Officials in Goalpara district said the unregistered row-boat had 15 people on board when it sank in the river. All other passengers were rescued by locals.Around the same time, a mechanised country boat also capsized in the Beki river near Kalgachia in Barpeta district. The boat drifted after its engine failed and hit the pillar of a bridge across the river. Around 30 people on board managed to either swim ashore or were rescued.In another incident on Tuesday, a rowboat sank in western Assam’s Goalpara district around dusk, the fourth such incident since a mechanised country boat capsized in the Brahmaputra off Guwahati on September 5. According to initial reports from the district, two people — Bilal Hussain, 26 and Amina Khatun, 7 — were missing after the boat with at least four people on board sank at Khankhowa Char near Goalpara town.These mishaps involving unregistered boats happened on non-notified routes. We have registered cases against the operators,” Bharat Bhushan Dev Choudhury, director of the State’s Inland Water Transport Department, said.On Monday, Assam Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said no mechanised country boats would be allowed to operate in the entire river system of the State. After a review meeting with IWT officials, he ordered all single-engine ferries to be converted into double-engine ones with reversible gears.“As per the safety norms, there must be one life jacket for each passenger in the vessel and it will be mandatory for each passenger to put on the life jacket while boarding the vessel. The deputy commissioners shall conduct a safety audit of the ferry vessels within their respective districts,” Mr. Patowary said.last_img read more