Rachel Carson: A sensitive soul who changed the way we see — and treat — the world

first_imgLeon Kolankiewicz is a wildlife biologist and environmental scientist and planner. He is the author of Where Salmon Come to Die: An Autumn on Alaska’s Raincoast, the essay “Overpopulation versus Biodiversity” in Environment and Society: A Reader, and was a contributing writer to Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation. He also is an Advisory Board Member and Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization. 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 Mike Gaworecki Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz touted Rachel Carson as a heroine and role model for girls in his comic strips. That may well have been the case, but the more I learned about her as I matured and my interest in nature and the environment deepened, the more she became my hero, too.PBS recently aired a two-hour documentary on the life, times, personal struggles, and influence of Rachel Carson, the soft-spoken, retiring, self-effacing woman who became an unlikely champion for nature and helped launch the modern environmental movement.Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring, represented a necessary rebuke to the ascendant hubris of the “Atomic Age,” one symbolized by radioactive fallout, “duck and cover,” and the arrogant slogan “better living through chemistry.”This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. I have something in common with the sassy character Lucy, Charlie Brown’s eternal “frenemy” in the iconic Peanuts cartoon series by Charles M. Schulz. We are both great admirers of Rachel Carson.In fact, the first time I ever heard of Rachel Carson was as a kid and an avid fan of syndicated Peanuts cartoons in the funnies section of our daily newspaper and collected in cheap paperback books, which I devoured from cover to cover. (You can see Lucy mentioning Carson in this strip, and in this one as well.)I remember to this day how on more than one occasion Lucy mentioned how much she looked up to Rachel Carson. I had no clue half a century ago just who Rachel Carson was, or even whether she was a fictitious character like Lucy or not. As a youngster, I hadn’t yet heard of Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring or realized my own life’s vocation.Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture.Peanuts creator Schulz touted Rachel Carson as a heroine and role model for girls in his comic strips. That may well have been the case, but the more I learned about her as I matured and my interest in nature and the environment deepened, the more she became my hero, too.PBS recently aired a two-hour documentary on the life, times, personal struggles, and influence of Rachel Carson, the soft-spoken, retiring, self-effacing woman who became an unlikely champion for nature and helped launch the modern environmental movement. The documentary, with Hollywood star Mary-Louise Parker providing the voice of Carson, is an affectionate, intimate portrait of the very private, shy biologist and writer who grew up in Western Pennsylvania, like I did. Carson was born in 1907 on a small, hardscrabble family farm near the Allegheny River upstream of Pittsburgh. Her family struggled to make ends meet.Encouraged by her doting mother, precocious Rachel was a serious bookworm, aspiring writer, and keen naturalist who explored every nook and cranny of her family’s 65-acre farm. By the age of eight, she had already begun writing her first stories about animals, and she became a published writer at 10. Something of a loner, she sensed her calling in life from the time she was a child, when other girls of her age would still have been playing with dolls and toys. She excelled academically, and in 1925 graduated first in her high school class of 45.Carson attended the Pennsylvania College for Women in Pittsburgh, today called Chatham University, majoring first in English, then biology, and writing pieces for the college’s student newspaper and literary supplement. From there, after a summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, she began graduate studies in zoology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.Carson earned an M.S. from Hopkins in 1932 and soon landed a job in Washington as a science writer for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, which later became part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency where I myself was once an employee and for which I have served as an environmental consultant now for many years.The death of Rachel’s father and then her sister meant that she was soon the sole provider for her aging mother and two young nieces. She began writing articles on the side for The Baltimore Sun and other publications. Ultimately, she was able to make a career of nature writing in the 1940s and ‘50s — and even gain a measure of financial security for herself and her family — with her trilogy of three evocative books about the ocean, the true love of her life: Under the Sea-Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1951) and The Edge of the Sea (1955). These books inspired readers with the same sense of passionate wonder Carson herself felt about Mother Earth. I have all three of them.Cover of first edition of Silent Spring. Image via Wikimedia Commons.Due to the huge success of the best-selling The Sea Around Us, which won the 1952 National Book Award for Non-Fiction and remained on The New York Times Best Seller List for 86 weeks, Carson was even able to purchase a cottage on an isolated stretch of the Maine seashore. It was here, along the secluded Maine coast, surrounded and comforted by the trees, tides, and creatures that she loved, that Carson wrote her magnum opus, Silent Spring, released in 1962.The title refers to a spring sometime in the not-so-distant future, one that comes without beloved bird songs, because the birds have all been exterminated by pesticides, or what Carson referred to as biocides, because they are toxic to all life. In Chapter One, “A Fable for Tomorrow,” she wrote:There was a strange stillness. The birds, for example — where had they gone? Many people spoke of them, puzzled and disturbed. The feeding stations in the backyards were deserted. The few birds seen anywhere were moribund; they trembled violently and could not fly. It was a spring without voices.I first read Silent Spring more than 40 years ago; it was Carson’s searing indictment of the widespread, indiscriminate use of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) and other chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides which had begun to wreak havoc on the natural world. Among their most prominent victims were the majestic birds of prey (raptors) — in particular bald eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons, and brown pelicans — the populations of which plummeted throughout most of North America.DDT first came into widespread use by the allies during World War II and is credited with saving the lives of many thousands of soldiers. It could be applied directly to human skin and hair with few or no immediate ill consequences (i.e., it had low acute toxicity for humans and other mammals). Such was the gratitude of the world that Swiss chemist Paul Müller was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1942 discovery that DDT was effective in killing insects. Unfortunately, it also proved effective in killing birds and fish, as well as persisting and accumulating in the environment. This was a serious drawback.Bald eagles in remote, thinly-populated Alaska, the only state where their numbers did not crash from pesticide contamination. Photo by Leon Kolankiewicz.What DDT and its chemical relatives like aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, and heptachlor did was to interfere with the biochemical process by which calcium was deposited onto the eggshells of these birds. Because of this eggshell thinning, when adults attempted to incubate the eggs, sitting on them in nests, the weaker eggshells would crack under the weight and the developing embryos inside would die. In other words, the raptors’ ability to reproduce themselves was jeopardized. Pesticides affected them more than other birds because of the joint phenomena of “bioaccumulation” and “biomagnification,” by which toxic concentrations increased higher on the food chain.On a personal note, in 1974 and 1975 I worked as a biological technician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, assisting in contaminants research at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, rubbing elbows with some of the very scientists upon whose research Carson had drawn, such as Dr. Lucille Stickel, director of the Center from 1972 to 1982. The eminent Stickel was America’s first woman to become a senior scientist as a civil servant of the U.S. government, as well as to be named the director of a national research laboratory. She was also a 1974 recipient of the prestigious Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, given annually by The Wildlife Society, the professional association of wildlife managers and scientists.Dr. Lucille F. Stickel (1915-2007), Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center from 1972 to 1982 and 1974 recipient of the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award from the Wildlife Society. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.More broadly, Silent Spring represented a necessary rebuke to the ascendant hubris of the “Atomic Age,” one symbolized by radioactive fallout, “duck and cover,” and the arrogant slogan “better living through chemistry.” This hubris, empowered by recent technological advances, held uncritically that man knew better than nature — could even manufacture healthier milk for babies than mothers’ breast milk — and could control and exploit nature without heed to unforeseen side-effects or long-term consequences, not only for nature but for our own species.Not only was Silent Spring’s science mostly sound, but it spoke to the misgivings that millions of Americans were beginning to feel about the dizzying pace of change and where we as a species and our vaunted civilization were headed.It is no exaggeration to say that Carson and Silent Spring were attacked savagely by the chemical industry and its allies and apologists, who perceived her arguments as a direct threat to their profitability and survival. Indeed, in the Cold War and sexist spirit of the times, according to one unsubstantiated account, at least one prominent critic claimed that Carson might be a Communist because she was physically attractive but unmarried for some mysterious reason.The actual secret that Rachel Carson did keep from the public was that she was dying of cancer, a cancer that some have said she suspected might have been caused by the very environmental toxins she wrote so compellingly about in Silent Spring. That cancer finally claimed her life in April 1964, before she’d had a chance to fully defend herself and her thesis.A worker spraying DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) on mosquito breeding water in Brisbane, Australia in 1949 using a hand operated machine. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.Yet the genie was out of the bottle. President Kennedy authorized a scientific panel to investigate her findings and accusations, which were largely vindicated. And a decade after her death, use of DDT in the United States was effectively banned; other persistent pesticides were similarly eliminated in the following years. They were replaced by less persistent chemicals that tended to have higher acute toxicity for humans and required greater care and training in their appropriate use.Over the decades, while Carson has been revered, she has also been reviled. Some have even accused her of causing the deaths of millions of poor people from malaria and other infectious diseases in the tropics. But DDT use continued for years in some of those countries and does today. There, too, malaria continues to be a scourge, because mosquitoes inevitably evolve resistance to the insecticides intended to kill them, making higher and higher doses necessary and ultimately rendering the poisons ineffective. And it must be said that Carson never opposed pest control in principle; rather, she was an early advocate of so-called “integrated pest management,” by which a variety of adaptive methods are used to keep pests in check while minimizing collateral damage to the environment and non-target species.The PBS documentary does a splendid job of covering all these aspects of Carson’s life, times, and legacy. I highly recommend it.It is telling that in Rachel Carson’s instructions for her own funeral, she asked that a reading be made from the elegiac, poetic final passages of, not Silent Spring, but The Edge of the Sea. The very last paragraph of that book reads:Contemplating the teeming life of the shore, we have an uneasy sense of the communication of some universal truth that lies just beyond our grasp. What is the message signaled by the hordes of diatoms, flashing their microscopic lights in the night? What truth is expressed by the legions of the barnacles, whitening the rocks with their habitations, each small creature within finding the necessities of its existence in the sweep of the surf? And what is the meaning of so tiny a being as the transparent wisp of protoplasm that is a sea lace, existing from some reason inscrutable to us — a reason that demands its presence by the trillion amid the rocks and weeds of the shore? The meaning haunts and ever eludes us, and in its very pursuit we approach the ultimate mystery of Life itself. Activism, Commentary, Editorials, Environment, Environmental Activism, Environmental Heroes, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Pesticides, Researcher Perspectives Series last_img read more

World Bank exits controversial Angostura goldmine project in Colombian moorland

first_imgThe IFC (International Finance Corporation) is the lending arm of the World Bank and had long backed the Eco Oro project in the Santurbán moorlands.Colombia has 34 moorlands, including Santurbán, that provide the vast majority of freshwater to the country’s residents.A new Colombian law that prohibits mining in moorlands, followed by an independent audit, led to the IFC’s divestment. BOGOTÁ – A four year-old complaint against global mining company Eco Oro Minerals Corp. has resulted in an investigation and divestment from major investors in a regional project in Colombia. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank, was pressured to divest from a major mining project in Colombia owned by Eco Oro in December 2016. The Canadian junior mining company has struggled since the 1990s (then named Greystar Resources Limited) to develop its Angostura goldmine that is prospected in Colombia’s Santurbán Páramo – a high altitude wetland ecosystem.Colombia has 34 páramos, or moorlands, and according to the Center for International Environmental Law, they are a source of freshwater for millions of people and home to precious metals often sought after by mining companies.In the case of Santurbán, despite the IFC’s interest in the area’s generous gold deposits, the legal situation became prohibitively complicated over time. A new Colombian law that went on the books last year prohibits mining in moorlands, but companies continue to engage in nearby development. A complaint made in 2012 before the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) by the Committee for the Defense of Water and the Santurbán Páramo led to a follow-up investigation by the World Bank´s independent accountability mechanism.The final CAO report issued in August 2016 found that Eco Oro: “Was planning to develop a mine for which the potential to comply with IFC’s environmental and social standards was uncertain and potentially challenging.” The investigation results also determined that IFC’s supervision of the company’s security arrangements and its progress on biodiversity studies were inadequate for the company to be in compliance with IFC standards.Black lagoon of Colombia’s Santurbán moorlands. Photo by Paola Peñaloza via Wikimedia CommonsCarlos Lozano Acosta, an attorney with the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defence (AIDA), describes the decision as a major setback for regional mining.“The decision is a serious political and financial blow, not only to the Angostura project, but also to all large-scale mining in the Páramo of Santurbán, a páramo that provides water for more than one million people,” Lozano said. According to him, the moorlands function as a “water fabric” that adds “a carbon sink that mitigates climate change and a strategic reserve of biodiversity.”The Santurbán Páramo has a surface of more than 142,000 hectares (almost 351,000 acres). Colombian environmental activist groups such as AIDA see the IFC´s decision as an essential step in the protection of the Santurbán Páramo.Functioning as a massive sponge, moorlands are vastly important for the generation and conservation of clean water. They account for about 85 percent of Colombia’s water supply, according to AIDA. Moorlands store collected water from rains and mists in glacial lagoons, peat bogs, marshes and humid soils, according to the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute.Mining issuesConflicts around mining are mainly caused by contamination and extensive water use, Lozano said. Both have environmental and social impacts, especially in regions where the people and their livelihoods depend on aquatic resources.Since 1995, then operating as Greystar, Eco Oro Minerals Corp. tried to develop the Santurbán project but never got beyond the exploration phase. Its Environmental Impact Assessment was denied by the Colombian government in 2009 and again in 2011.Eco Oro changed its approach from an open-pit mine to a proposed underground mine.The IFC’s exit from the project and decision to sell its 10 percent stake in the company last December could have an impact: its equity investment was over $19 million. Eco Oro’s value has already decreased significantly over the past few years – its shares were valued at $8.90 ten years ago and they are currently valued at $0.72 Canadian (about $0.54) as of March 23, according to Bloomberg.The IFC website states that confronting climate change is one of its priorities as their investments hope to achieve long-term business growth and positive development outcomes. However, the IFC still has numerous project investments in the mining industry, and fossil fuel money has been linked to forced displacement, according to an in-depth investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.“You can see that local communities who have had large-scale mining projects for thirty to forty years are poorer, the same or worse off than before,” said Manuel Becerra, who served as Colombia’s first environmental minister in 1994 and is currently a member of the steering committee of the CAO. He says the IFC should be careful about investing in controversial mining projects and suggests they should leave it to the private sector.Other plansLast year, Eco Oro attempted to pursue other money-making ventures in Colombia instead of physically pursuing the development of the Angostura mine in Santurbán. In December, the company announced it had filed a request for arbitration with the World Bank’s International Centre for Investment Disputes. The company argued that Colombia violated its obligations under the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement when the state implemented measures to protect the Sánturban Páramo, limiting the company’s future prospects.Claims based on clauses in free trade agreements could become a concern for Colombia as many mining titles have been granted in environmentally protected areas. U.S. company Tobie Mining & Energy Inc., Canadian company Cosigo Resources, and Cosigo´s Colombia branch Sucustral Colombia have said that they have suffered unfair delays in a project they want to develop in the Yaigoji Apaporis National Park and are seeking compensation.The demand has to do with the Colombian government creating an area of natural protection instead of authorizing mining activities in the Amazon region. The three mining companies’ claim aims to reach $16.5 billion worth of gold believed to be in the area, according to the court claim, which was released by the government. That figure dwarfs the $10 billion given U.S. aid to Colombia since 2000.An Eco Oro spokesperson declined to comment on the case to Mongabay as it is still ongoing.Banner image: Santurban moorlands in Colombia. Photo by Grupo Areas Protegidas CORPONOR via Wikimedia CommonsBram Ebus is a freelance journalist based in Colombia. You can find him on Twitter at @BramEbus.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.Citations:Carbonell, M. H., (2012) The Angostura Mining Project in the Paramo of Santurban, Colombia. EJOLT Factsheet No. 002. Article published by Genevieve Belmaker Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Corporate Role In Conservation, Divestment, Drinking Water, Gold Mining, Mining last_img read more

Madagascar environmental activist convicted, sentenced — and paroled

first_imgArticle published by Rebecca Kessler Activism, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Environmentalists, Environment, Environmental Activism, Environmental Crime, Environmental Policy, Forest Destruction, Forest Loss, Forests, Gold Mining, Governance, Government, Green, Human Rights, Mining, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Trees At a community meeting on September 27, a farmer named Raleva asked to see the permits of a gold mining company trying to restart work in his village in southeast Madagascar.He was arrested and held in prison for about one month. On October 26, a judge sentenced him to two years in prison, and then promptly released him on parole.This follows a recent pattern in the country in which activists are often given suspended sentences, seemingly as a way of keeping them quiet. ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — Last week, an environmental activist in southeast Madagascar was convicted, sentenced to two years in prison — and immediately released on parole. This follows a recent pattern in the country in which activists are often given suspended sentences, seemingly as a way of keeping them quiet.The activist, who goes by the name Raleva, is a farmer in the village of Vohilava, where a gold mining company, Mac Lai Sima Gianna, has repeatedly tried to establish operations. At a meeting on September 27, the company announced that it had the permits to resume work in the area. After Raleva asked to see the permits, which, according to the National Environment Office, had not in fact been granted, he was arrested. He remained in prison for about one month leading up to his trial in Mananjary, the district capital, on October 26.Raleva just before he was taken away by the authorities on September 27 after publicly questioning a gold mining project near his village, Vohilava. His full name is Rajoany, but everyone calls him Raleva. Photo courtesy of Anonymous.The chef de district of Mananjary, a local official who had attended the meeting, charged Raleva with stealing his title — that is, falsely claiming that he, Raleva, was the chef de district. Raleva and other meeting attendees say that the charge is completely false. They pointed out to Mongabay that Raleva would have had no reason to lie about who he was while attending a meeting with his fellow villagers, who knew that he was a local farmer and not a government official.In a joint statement, six civil society groups in Madagascar and abroad, including Amnesty International, denounced the verdict.“The two year suspended sentence handed to Raleva continues the trend whereby the judicial system is used by the authorities to silence human rights activists and prevent them from doing their work,” the groups wrote. “He is being punished for exposing an allegedly non-compliant mining company in Madagascar. The suspended sentence must be immediately overturned, and Raleva cleared of any criminal record in relation to his peaceful human rights activism.”Map shows the location of Vohilava, Madagascar, Raleva’s village. Map courtesy of Google Maps.The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the trial or the joint statement. The prosecutor’s office in Mananjary also could not be reached for comment this week.After the verdict, Raleva was released; the next day he returned home to Vohilava and his lawyer filed an appeal. A resident of Vohilava told Mongabay the community is thrilled to have Raleva back and is hopeful the appeal will clear his name.Mac Lai Sima Gianna’s machinery remains in Vohilava, but the company has yet to resume working in the area, despite the plans they announced at the September 27 meeting.A gold dredge, owned by the Mac Lai Sima Gianna company, dumping tailings into the Itsaka River near the village of Vohilava in southeast Madagascar last month. Much of the region depends on the river for fresh water. Photo courtesy of Anonymous.Banner image: A white spotted reed frog (Heterixalus alboguttatus) in Ranomafana National Park, about 30 miles west of Vohilava. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.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.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

U.S. zoos learn how to keep captive pangolins alive, helping wild ones

first_imgThe Pangolin Consortium, a partnership between six U.S. zoos and Pangolin Conservation, an NGO, launched a project in 2014 which today houses fifty White-bellied tree pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis).Common knowledge says that pangolins are almost impossible to keep alive in captivity, but the consortium has done basic research to boost survival rates, traveling to Africa and working with a company, EnviroFlight, to develop a natural nutritious insect-derived diet for pangolins in captivity.While some conservationists are critical of the project, actions by the Pangolin Consortium have resulted in high captive survival rates, and even in the successful breeding of pangolins in captivity.The Pangolin Consortium is able to conduct basic research under controlled conditions at zoos on pangolin behavior and health – research that can’t be done in the wild. Zoos can also present pangolins to the public, educating about their endangered status, improving conservation funding. Captive pangolins can teach researchers much about species behavior and breeding, information that could be valuable to protecting the animals in the wild. Photo by Jim Schulz courtesy of the Chicago Zoological Society“When we first started talking about pangolins, people thought we were saying ‘penguin,’” says Amy Roberts, Curator of Mammals at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. That remains a problem, even today, with the majority of Americans still not knowing what pangolins look like, much less how much deep trouble they’re in.This is just one issue addressed by the Pangolin Consortium – a partnership of six U.S. zoos, along with the Florida-based NGO, Pangolin Conservation. This alliance, begun in 2014, now holds around fifty African White-bellied tree pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis) including a few born in captivity.Which is remarkable, considering that the common wisdom is that captive pangolins almost always quickly waste away and die.There are eight species of wild Asian and African pangolins in the world today, all under extreme pressure from illegal trafficking – especially due to hunting for bushmeat and use of their scales in traditional medicine.Often called the world’s most trafficked mammal, all eight species are considered by the IUCN to be threatened with extinction. Numbers of the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) have declined by 90 percent, and recent research showed that 2.71 million pangolins of the African species are killed every year in Central Africa, an increase of 145 percent since 2000.Some conservationists argue that pangolins ­– with such rapidly plummeting wild populations, and perceived high rates of mortality in zoos – should not be held at all in captivity. But the Pangolin Consortium argues just the opposite: to conserve remaining wild populations, scientists need to know far more about these unusual animals, data that can only be gleaned under controlled conditions like those seen in zoos.The Pangolin Consortium is working diligently to gain that knowledge, and has already made significant breakthroughs. And the more they learn about captive pangolins, say these experts, the more hope there may be for wild ones.Though protected by law, White-bellied tree pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis) were recently offered as smoked bushmeat in the Kantamanto Market in Accra, Ghana. Photo by Alex WilesDespite international and national pangolin protections, these pangolin scales were offered for sale in a rural village in Togo. The scales are falsely believed to have healing properties and used in traditional medicine in parts of Africa and Asia. The scales are made of keratin, the same material as human nails and hair. Photo by Justin MillerThe captive pangolin dietDiet was widely supposed to be the biggest problem with keeping pangolins healthy and alive in captivity, so that was the first problem that Justin Miller, founder of Pangolin Conservation, set out to solve.In the wild pangolins eat insects, using a long, sticky tongue similar to that of an anteater. This diet can be challenging to replicate for a number of reasons. “For a long time, zoos fed them everything from mince meat to dog food, milk, eggs – nothing insect-based –just readily available food that the pangolin would accept,” Miller says.He had become familiar with research done in Taipei, Taiwan where zoos achieved success at keeping and breeding the local pangolin species, data that clarified some key dietary factors. However, just adopting the Taipei diet wasn’t an option, as it included ingredients not readily available in the United States, such as bee larvae and silkworm pupae.So Miller initiated his own research in 2013. First he needed to figure out exactly what wild White-bellied tree pangolins eat. He went to Africa to observe pangolin eating habits and to collect insects, sending them back to the U.S. for nutritional analysis. Miller recalls that he needed a lot of bugs, so he hired locals to gather them, despite the fact that this wasn’t the most appealing business opportunity.Termites were collected in West Africa during reproductive swarms for nutritional analysis and to determine pangolins’ natural diet. Photo by Justin Miller“It was hard to convince people to catch ants,” he says. “When I tried to show them how, it was just entertainment to watch me be bitten en masse during a few failures. I had to start an impressive system of supply and demand with ant prices changing daily, and even hourly, to get the amounts needed.”Next Miller had to convert that nutritional analysis into a food product using ingredients readily available in the United States. Sourcing those ingredients involved networking and creativity. One important consultant was John Gramieri, the Austin, Texas Zoo’s general curator, and former director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Taxon Advisory Group in charge of xeanrthrans (anteaters, armadillos and sloths), aardvarks and pangolins.Gramieri had helped develop a similar insect-derived diet for captive armadillos, shifting the animals away from the meat diet generally served them in zoos. “I bemoaned the fact that there was very little opportunity in this country to buy insect matter in a manner that was cost effective,” Gramieri says. “If you wanted to feed an armadillo nothing but mealworms, that was incredibly expensive.”The prepared diet developed for pangolins consists of farmed insects and other ingredients nutritious to pangolins and offered in a moist crumble. Photo by Justin MillerThen, one day, someone showed him a United Nations report on insects for human consumption, and it mentioned a company called EnviroFlight. The firm was raising black soldier flies and producing rose fertilizer from their castings and fish food from their larvae. He sent EnviroFlight an email, wondering if there was some chance he could get the raw insects minus the processing.“They called me and said, ‘We’ve got two tons of this stuff in the freezer, what do you want to do with it?’” he says.This led to a couple years research developing an ideal insect-based armadillo diet, which put Gramieri in the perfect position to advise Miller and connect the pangolin researcher with suppliers. Again, Enviroflight turned out to be an excellent collaborator and supplier, but then the delivered insect larvae caused practical problems.“First we got [the larvae] in whole, and they broke a bunch of machines because they gummed them up,” says Jennifer Watts, director of nutrition at the Brookfield Zoo.A specially prepared diet composed of dried insects and other nutritious ingredients is offered to pangolins in “slow feeders” to encourage natural behaviors like clawing. Photo by Justin Miller“The only way we could effectively grind them up, because of the [high] fat content, was to put dry ice with them, freeze them, then grind them,” Miller relates. “But then EnviroFlight said, ‘we can use a cold press, and we can press out the fat and give you what’s left over.’” The company was also able to modify the amount of protein and nutrients in the larvae based on what they were fed.Once Miller designed a nutritionally complete pangolin diet, he acclimated the animals to it while they were still in Africa. “I started them off on their wild diet of ants and termites, and then slowly switched them over to the prepared diet,” he says. This way, when the animals arrived in the U.S., they didn’t need to be persuaded to eat strange food while also acclimating to new surroundings. Lessening stress, the researchers were learning, meant happier, healthier pangolins.Pangolins transported in custom-built crates designed to provide security and reduce stress. Photo by Justin MillerPreparing for the big moveAnother reason pangolins have done poorly in captivity historically is that often captive animals in the past were rescues from trafficking confiscations, so they started out in poor health, which only got worse.Confiscated pangolins “have been in stressful conditions, either obtained from bushmeat markets or hunters,” explains Miller. “They can go through capture myopathy – a buildup of stress that ends up damaging their heart muscles.” When that happens, animals may appear to be doing well, but there is [cardiac] damage, “and then any sort of stressful event can lead to heart failure.”This and other health deficits due to illegal wildlife trafficking puts the animals at a high risk of dying in transit, or shortly thereafter.In contrast, the Pangolin Consortium did everything possible to assure that the animals brought to the U.S. beginning in 2015 started out in good health. While still in their native countries, the pangolins were treated for parasites and infections, with Miller assessing each individual. “Any specimens that showed signs of stress, or any other factors that made them poor candidates, were released into safe areas near their original collection sites [in the wild].” That turned out to be about thirty percent. The remaining captive pangolins were adapted slowly to the presence of people and unusual noises, “primarily consisting of NPR [National Public Radio] and [electric] fans,” Miller says.Miller also minimized the stress and risk of travel, replacing the shocks on transport vehicles to give a smoother ride. “All vans had air conditioning, and I had a spare van follow us in case of vehicle problems. We only traveled during the night so the otherwise busy roads would be clear and allow for shorter transit time and cooler weather in case of air conditioner problems,” he relates. “I never let any specimens out of my sight until they were loaded onto the plane. Even then, I stayed at the cargo warehouse until the plane was in the sky.”An adult male White-bellied tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis), photographed at Pangolin Conservation in St Augustine, Florida. Photo by Dev LeeSettling inOnce in the United States, the first priority was to ensure the wellbeing of the pangolins. Only one was put on public exhibit, at Brookfield, while the rest remained in seclusion.“What everyone has committed to is making sure these animals are well established behind the scenes,” says Gramieri. “We want to do a full and detailed analysis of their behavior, their hormone values, their food consumption. We want to be able to assess that in a private, non-trafficked space, so if we do put them on display, we’ll be able to see if their behavior changes at all.”At Brookfield, the researchers will be analyzing stress hormones, determining the estrous cycle, and monitoring pregnancies – natural processes never scientifically observed in this, or pretty much in any African pangolin species.“We are collecting fecals on everyone, every day, for the first year,” Roberts says. The animals are kept in slightly different environments, to see if minor variations affect their behaviors and health. For example, two settings utilize true reverse lighting to simulate nocturnal conditions, while another allows some daylight in. “There are differences in keeper activity, humidity, noise. We’re tracking [all of that] so we can correlate down the road with the fecal hormone results.”The founder of Pangolin Conservation, Justin Miller, offers water to a rescued female White-bellied tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis). This animal, captured in the wild by a poacher, was discovered in a plastic bag carried by a motorcyclist who was bringing it to a restaurant in Lomé, Togo’s capital city. Another plastic bag was also confiscated at the time; it contained a weak newborn pangolin pup which had been born to the captive female the night before. Many pangolins die in the hands of smuggling networks, without ever reaching market. Photo by Alex WilesMeanwhile, Miller’s facility is starting a study, analyzing stress hormones in any pangolins utilized in public outreach presentations to make sure those individuals are not being negatively impacted.It’s hoped that all of this advance planning, attention to detail and careful research is likely to increase the chance of success with Phataginus tricuspis, as is the coordination and communication within the consortium.“We’ve never been in a better position within the zoological community to quickly exchange information between facilities and rapidly analyze data like nutritional requirements,” Miller reports. “For example, say our animals have their blood analyzed and it shows a nutritional deficiency. We can then rapidly alter the diet, send it off for analysis, and follow up with new blood work weeks later.”In addition, Grameiri’s research has now led him to question the conventional wisdom that pangolins do poorly in captivity. In fact, he says, their lifespans at zoos were improving even before the Pangolin Consortium project began. He has analyzed longevity records and found survival trend statistics that are much better than the figures often cited, which he says incorrectly interpreted data from currently living animals. By analyzing records of 296 pangolins held in zoos since the animals first appear in records in 1954, he found that the captive lifespan has steadily increased. The 45 animals in zoos at the time of his analysis had been in human care for an average 7 years 8 months, which included many that had been in captivity more than ten years so far.Justin Miller, collecting weaver ants in West Africa for nutritional analysis. The development of a natural food specifically designed to meet the dietary needs of captive pangolins was a major breakthrough for researchers seeking to improve the survival rate of pangolins in zoos. Photo by Steven TillisBreeding pangolinsHelping pangolins survive better in captivity is one thing, breeding pangolins in captivity is quite another matter. Miller says that captive breeding was never a realistic possibility before in Western zoos, because most facilities had so few animals to work with, and because many had been confiscation rescues in poor health.But there was evidence it could be possible – the Taipei Zoo bred Formosan pangolins to the third generation. And indeed, the Pangolin Consortium project has already seen successful zoo births. Most offspring, like two recently weaned at Brookfield, had mothers already pregnant when they arrived at the zoo. However, in November, Miller’s facility saw a successful birth from an animal bred since arriving.Maintaining genetic diversity is important for captive populations, and advance planning is underway to assure it. “We’re doing genetic work on each and every individual of all the founder animals to figure out which to breed together for the maximum amount of diversity,” says Miller. “For a lot of species we don’t have that [baseline data] for the founder stock.”While there are no current plans to release captive animals to the wild – where the situation for pangolins is still dire – this attention to genetic health of a captive population will be important for any future reintroductions.A White-bellied tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis). Photo by Jim Schulz courtesy of the Chicago Zoological SocietyAmbassadors and moreSome conservationists have objected to the strategy of bringing pangolins into captivity.Along with the concerns about maintaining them in good health in captivity – an issue that the Pangolin Constortium’s work seems to be addressing successfully – another concern that has been expressed is that the collecting of pangolins for zoos places additional pressure on wild populations. Gramieri thinks it’s worth looking at the statistics: according to conservative estimates “there’s more than a pangolin an hour being poached.” Compared to poaching figures in the millions, the number of animals that have been taken into zoos is miniscule.Pangolin Consortium participants argue that the contribution their efforts make to preserving pangolins in the wild far outweigh the capture of small numbers of individuals, and they have taken significant steps toward that goal. For example, every U.S. zoo that received pangolins was required to pledge its support to in situ conservation. “All the facilities signed off on a strict set of agreements to ensure that this collaborative consortium facilitated research and conservation goals,” says Miller. This includes a mandatory yearly donation that will be pooled and distributed to selected grant applicants who are conducting in situ and ex situ conservation projects.The consortium is also assisting conservation in the wild in other ways. Knowledge gained about the behaviors and breeding of captive pangolins will almost certainly provide useful information that will help their wild relatives.“We’re doing research that would be very difficult in the wild,” says Miller. For example, existing pangolin “reproduction data was grossly inaccurate ­– such as gestation and age of maturity, basic modeling of the population and what is sustainable – none of this is [currently] known, and all can be based off data [gathered] from our captive population.”The careful veterinary attention given to captive pangolins, and veterinary knowledge gained, also has the potential to aid wild populations, especially animals seized from traffickers and in need of immediate medical care and rehabilitation in preparation for return to the wild.The Pangolin Consortium today houses fifty White-bellied tree pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis). Photo by Jim Schulz courtesy of the Chicago Zoological SocietyMiller says it’s unclear how effective current rehabilitation practices are, but notes that the baseline health data gathered at the zoos could be critical to contributing to the health of confiscated and wild populations. He points out that this is information that cannot be easily gathered or analyzed in rehab facilities.Rehab centers “may never have seen a healthy pangolin heart,” he says. “They could be releasing specimens that won’t fare well because they have damaged hearts.” Data from a healthy captive population will make it possible to more accurately assess the health of rehabbed animals before release, upping their chances for survival back in the wild.There is one last argument in support of the Pangolin Consortium’s captive pangolin program, which brings us back to where this story began: nobody is likely to care about conserving pangolins if they’ve never heard of them, and can’t even keep pangolins straight from penguins.When it comes to conservation, public education, recognition and awareness matters. That’s clearly why the Eastern mountain gorilla is receiving significant amounts of conservation funding today, while the Bornean white-bearded gibbon is not.Gramieri points out that while only one pangolin is on exhibit right now, when it becomes possible to display more, the combined consortium zoos could potentially expose more than seven million visitors per year to this amazing keritan-armored animal.“We think this is a very important way of getting the American people involved in the plight of the pangolin,” Gramieri says.Put that potential for education together with the financial and research support for in situ conservation, and the Pangolin Consortium can be seen as a bold innovator: offering a proactive conservation model by which zoos support in situ species survival. Says Gramieri, “This is exactly what zoos are supposed to do.”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.Note: A number of Mongabay readers have asked for a complete list of the Pangolin Consortium partners. They are the Brookfield Zoo, Gladys Porter Zoo, Columbus Zoo, Pittsburgh Zoo, Turtle Back Zoo, Memphis Zoo, and Pangolin Conservation.Response to Mongabay Pangolin Article (Posted Feb 9, 2018)By Lisa Hywood, CEO & Founder of Tikki Hywood Foundation, Zimbabwe and Thai Van Nguyen, Executive Director, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, VietnamWe are writing in response to the Jan. 5 article in Mongabay entitled “U.S. Zoos Learn How to Keep Captive Pangolins Alive, Helping Wild Ones.”The article, which excluded insights from any pangolin conservation groups, asserts that the “Pangolin Consortium” – a partnership between six U.S. zoos and a non-profit organization – is saving pangolins by taking them from the wild in Togo and keeping them in U.S. zoos.One of the main problems with this rationale – that we can save pangolins by transitioning them to captive environments – is that pangolins have a very high mortality rate during capture and in captivity. As such, displaying them in zoos might require a constant flow of wild pangolins into captivity. This is something we can’t risk given pangolins are threatened with extinction and are the most trafficked mammal on earth, with over one million poached for their scales (used in traditional Asian medicine) and meat over the past decade. Indeed, pangolins are in such grave danger that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pangolin Specialist Group – the world’s foremost experts on pangolins – expressed serious concern with the Consortium’s actions in a recent letter to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).Fortunately, at a recent meeting between organizations working on pangolin conservation and the Consortium, the zoos committed to stop importing pangolins from the wild. In other words, even if those they have die; they will not be replaced with wild-caught pangolins. While we remain concerned about the way in which the Consortium acquired its original 45 pangolins, this is an extremely positive step.We are hopeful that the Consortium will now adhere to global conservation action plans developed for pangolins by the IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group, which outline the top priorities for saving such species, such as reducing consumer demand and stopping illegal trafficking. Indeed, zoos can and should be involved in saving these species – as they have other threatened animals – through actions like supporting rescue, rehabilitation and release facilities in countries that make up the pangolins’ habitat like Zimbabwe’s Tikki Hywood Foundation and Save Vietnam’s Wildlife; launching initiatives in consumer nations to help reduce the demand for pangolins; and developing digital media and awareness raising campaigns to raise the profile of pangolins globally.Pangolin populations have undergone such massive declines that we need all hands on deck to prevent the extinction of these unique animals. This means working together to carry out the conservation plans developed by pangolin experts, which prioritize protecting wild populations and their habitat and cracking down on trade—not removing pangolins from their habitat.The general public currently knows little about pangolins and their plight. Zoos can help educate people to the dangers pangolins face from wildlife trafficking. Photo by Jim Schulz courtesy of the Chicago Zoological Society Article published by Glenn Scherer Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Hotspots, Bushmeat, Captive Breeding, Conservation, Ecology, Ecosystems, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Featured, Green, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Hunting, Mammals, Mass Extinction, Over-hunting, Overconsumption, Pangolins, Restoration, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking, Zoos 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

Record Amazon fires, intensified by forest degradation, burn indigenous lands

first_imgAgriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Amazon Mining, Amazon People, Cattle, Cattle Ranching, Climate Change And Forests, Controversial, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corruption, Deforestation, Disasters, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, environmental justice, Environmental Politics, Ethnocide, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Loss, Forests, Green, Illegal Logging, Illegal Mining, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Mining, Monitoring, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Ranching, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Saving The Amazon, Social Conflict, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation 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 Scherercenter_img As of September 2017, Brazil’s Pará state in the Amazon had seen a 229 percent increase in fires over 2016; in a single week in December the state saw 26,000 fire alerts. By year’s end, the Brazilian Amazon was on track for an all-time record fire season.But 2017 was not a record drought year, so experts have sought other causes. Analysts say most of the wildfires were human-caused, set by people seeking to convert forests to crop or grazing lands. Forest degradation by mining companies, logging and agribusiness added to the problem.Huge cuts made by the Temer administration in the budgets of Brazilian regulatory and enforcement agencies, such as FUNAI, the nation’s indigenous protection agency, and IBAMA, its environmental agency, which fights fires, added to the problem in 2017.The dramatic rise in wildfires has put indigenous communities and their territories at risk. For example, an area covering 24,000 hectares (59,305 acres), lost tree cover within the Kayapó Indigenous Territory from October to December, while the nearby Xikrin Indigenous Territory lost roughly 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) over the same period. An area nearly double the size of San Francisco, 24,000 hectares (59,305), lost tree cover within the Kayapó Indigenous Territory from October to December 2017 due to fires, while the nearby Xikrin Indigenous Territory lost roughly 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) over the same period. Photo courtesy of IBAMAThere were nearly 26,000 fire alerts in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pará over a single week in December of last year, according to Global Forest Fires Watch. And as of September, Pará had seen a stunning 229 percent increase in fires over 2016, as reported by the Guardian newspaper, with 2017 on track to be Brazil´s worst ever fire year, according the World Resources Institute (WRI).But statistics tell only part of the story: Brazil’s likely record wildfire season last year incinerated vast swathes of valuable trees, habitat and wildlife, sometimes within indigenous territories, natural resources which native communities rely on for their survival.WRI estimates that an area nearly double the size of San Francisco, 24,000 hectares (59,305 acres), lost tree cover within the Kayapó Indigenous Territory from October to December 2017 due to fires, while the nearby Xikrin Indigenous Territory lost roughly 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) over the same period.Xikrin Kayapó leaders in Altamira demonstration. Photo credit: International Rivers on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SAThe World Resources Institute´s Places to Watch report notes that these particular fires were not completely natural, but likely exacerbated by “previous degradation. In the 1990s, a logging company exploited an agreement with Xikrin and left the territory over-logged and severely degraded.” Timber removal not properly carried out leaves heaps of slash behind, waste limbs and branches that dry in a drought and serve as tinder for forest fires.Importantly, say experts, while the Amazon in general, and Pará state in particular, suffered drought last autumn, this dry spell did not set a record or explain the remarkably high number of fires. The director of Brazil´s National Institute for Space Research, Alberto Setzer, told the Guardian that there is another explanation for the record blazes: “It is fundamental to understand that these are not natural fires. They are manmade.”Fire in the Brazilian Amazon, according to analysts, is often being used as a tool to convert the region’s forests into pasture and cropland; often fire is even employed as a means of settling land conflicts.Fire hotspots in Brazil, 6/1998-9/2017. Source: INPEThe revised Brazilian forestry code introduced in 2012 may be partly to blame; it gave amnesty to those guilty of illegal deforestation. In fact, deforestation has risen steadily across the Amazon region since then, with a 29 percent increase between 2015 and 2016.The many wildfires threatening the Xikrin indigenous community on the Cateté River last fall weren’t only catalyzed by the lingering degradation of over-eager loggers twenty years ago. In mid-September, a federal court ordered Brazilian mining giant Vale to shut down its Onça Puma nickel mine near the indigenous territory and to suspend operations until the company complies with the terms of its environmental license and pays some 50 million Reals (US$ 15 million) in damages to the Xikrin and Kayapó communities.A report filed by Brazil´s investigative news outlet, Agencia Publica, at the start of December, told how Vale mines nickel on hills near the Xikrin territory and described its mill, located a mere six kilometers (3.7 miles) from the indigenous territory’s boundary. The Xikrin´s land is surrounded by mineral wealth, including the world’s largest iron deposit (and the gigantic Carajás iron mine); along with Brazil´s largest copper reserve; plus an exceptionally pure nickel deposit. The area is also known for its biodiverse rainforest, with towering Brazil nut trees that produce bumper crops of the popular nut.Mining – both legal and not – and illegal logging, along with hunting, all vitiate forest integrity, says Eric de Belém Oliveira, a former regional coordinator for Brazil´s indigenous policy and protection service, FUNAI. And that forest degradation, can make fires more intense and wide ranging once they start.Satellite image showing the Carajás iron mine and its deforestation. Mines also cause forest degradation in surrounding areas, which can increase the likelihood and intensity of wildfires. A recent report found that nearly 10 percent of Amazon deforestation in Brazil is caused by mining and its ancillary supporting services. Photo courtesy of NASA“The flexibility that Brazilian law has introduced into its environmental regulations [since 2012] show that its [regulatory and enforcement] agencies don’t represent institutional power anymore,” Oliveira told Mongabay. “Now it’s [global] capital that calls the shots.”Oliveira worked his way up in FUNAI, starting ten years ago as an intern. But he was laid off last March from his position as the Marabá regional coordinator, a victim of massive draconian budget cuts occurring under the President Michel Temer. Oliveira’s position is still empty nearly a year after his departure. The regional office serves some 7,000 indigenous people in 120 different villages.“We had 20 people, and we lost seven to retirement,” Oliveira told Mongabay. None of these vacancies have been filled. “Since there isn’t anyone to handle situations, this has worsened [conditions] for indigenous communities. In reality, the indigenous villages where we work are suffering serious impacts.” The FUNAI office serving the populations affected by the Belo Monte mega-dam are likewise reportedly understaffed, with similar adverse impacts to the wellbeing of indigenous communities.IBAMA, whose duties include fighting Brazil’s forest fires, has had its budget slashed by 43 percent, from 977 to 446 million Reals (US$ 302.9 million to US$ 138.3 million). Photo courtesy of IBAMAAmazon wildfires seen from space. Photo courtesy of NASAThe Temer administration has been starving FUNAI’s budget. A May statement from the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies said that the agency had suffered a 50 percent reduction in its discretionary budget, dropping from 110.6 million Reals to 49.9 million Reals. The Ministry of the Environment, which houses Brazil’s environmental agency, IBAMA, saw cuts of 43 percent. IBAMA´s many duties include fighting the nation’s forest fires. IBAMA´s budget decreased from 977 to 446 million Reals (US$ 302.9 million to US$ 138.3 million). The cuts left the agency without funds to pay for transportation, electricity and Internet.Oliveira pointed to the Fundão mining tailings dam collapse in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s worst environmental disaster ever, as an indicator of what he says is happening across his nation: “You can see an overall lack of monitoring. And instead of adopting stricter legislation, you see the opposite happening. We see that the advance of [transnational and Brazilian] companies hasn’t just caused environmental impacts, but also [done] damage to relationships among indigenous people because they’ve contributed to internal conflicts.”FUNAI said that it did not have the capacity to respond to questions from Mongabay about its staffing levels or forest degradation on indigenous lands.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.Brazilian indigenous caciques, leaders of the Kayapó group, during a collective interview. Photo by Valter Campanato / Agência Brasillast_img read more

Is a plantation a forest? Indonesia says yes, as it touts a drop in deforestation

first_imgDeforestation, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Governance, Indonesia, Palm Oil, Plantations, Protected Areas, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Redd, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests Indonesia has reported a second straight year of declining deforestation, and credited more stringent land management policies for the trend.However, the government’s insistence on counting pulpwood plantations as reforested areas has once again sparked controversy over how the very concept of a forest should be defined.Researchers caution that the disparity between Indonesia’s methodology and the standard more commonly used elsewhere could make it difficult for the government to qualify for funding to mitigate carbon emissions from deforestation. JAKARTA — The Indonesian government has reported a second straight annual decline in the country’s deforestation rate, but continues to confound with its definition of what constitutes a forest.The Ministry of Environment and Forestry recorded 4,790 square kilometers (1,850 square miles) of deforestation in 2017. That’s down 24 percent from the 2016 figure, which in turn represented a 42 percent reduction from 2015, when record-breaking fires contributed to a total of 10,900 square kilometers (4,210 square miles) of deforestation across the archipelago.Of the total deforestation that occurred last year, 3,080 square kilometers (1,190 square miles) were recorded in forest areas, while the rest were in “other-use areas,” known as APL and which include oil palm plantations and infrastructure development sites.Intact forest cover was recorded at 936,000 square kilometers, or about 361,400 square miles — an area nearly the size of California’s land mass.An illegally logged tree in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Habitat loss played a critical role in reducing rhino populations, but most experts now believe the species’ low birth rate is a more pressing problem. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Plantations as forestsEnvironment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar credited the decline to “efforts from multiple policies” being put in place. In particular she pointed to so-called production forests, which are typically leased for pulpwood and timber plantations.“There has been a decline in deforestation in production forests, from 63 percent [of total deforestation] in 2014 to 44 percent in 2017,” she said.However, the role of production forests, and the industrial plantations they cover, in deforestation assessments has always been a contentious issue in Indonesia.Researchers and conservation think tanks, such as the World Resources Institute (WRI), define deforestation as the conversion of natural forest cover to other land-cover categories. That means the clearing of forest for the cultivation of industrial plantations — acacia and eucalyptus for pulpwood, for instance — automatically counts as deforestation.The Indonesian government, on the other hand, doesn’t take that view. It counts forest loss in primary forest, secondary forest and man-made plantations, including industrial plantations that are established to produce a high volume of timber in a short period of time.“In the ministry’s classification, there’s only one class of plantations, and that includes all man-made forests,” Belinda Margono, a researcher at the University of Maryland (UMD) and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said in an interview. “So trees in industrial plantations are included [in the calculation].”That means industrial plantations are not perceived as non-forested areas once the areas are replanted with acacia and eucalyptus trees, according to the ministry’s official in charge of gathering forest-cover data, Ruandha Agung Suhardiman.“Planting in industrial forest areas is considered reforestation,” he said.It’s a distinction heavy on semantics: the government defines deforestation as the “permanent alteration from forested area into a non-forested area as a result of human activities,” per a 2009 decree from the forestry minister. Industrial plantations, because of their cycles of planting and harvesting, are seen as not causing “permanent alteration” to the forest cover.An orangutan in a forest in North Sumatra. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Disparities in reportingThat difference in definitions has led to stark disparities in how deforestation is reported in Indonesia. A 2014 study led by researchers at UMD found that Indonesia’s deforestation rate had surpassed that of Brazil, giving the archipelago the dubious distinction of having the highest deforestation rate in the world.According to the study, Indonesia lost 8,400 square kilometers (3,240 square miles) of natural, or primary, forest in 2012, while Brazil’s deforestation rate at the time stood at 4,600 square kilometers (1,780 square miles).However, the official deforestation figure from Indonesia’s forestry ministry that year was significantly smaller, at 6,100 square kilometers (2,360 square miles).The WRI, whose Global Forest Watch is the first tool of its kind to monitor global forests on a monthly basis, says it’s important to address this difference.“As far as I know, industrial forest plantations are included in the [ministry’s] calculation,” said WRI Indonesia country director Tjokorda Nirarta Samadhi. “Meanwhile, internationally, at least [in the system] used by Global Forest Watch, industrial forest plantations aren’t counted. Instead, we see deforestation as loss of intact natural forests.”The WRI, a Washington-based think tank with an office in Indonesia, has cautioned that the disparity may hamper Indonesia’s bid to seek foreign funding to support its initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under a scheme called REDD+: without a universally agreed-on definition of deforestation, it might be difficult for Indonesia to cite its own data to claim funding.“Using your own definition isn’t wrong, and every country has the right to do that,” Nirarta said. “But is the definition agreed on by other global actors?”He cited the example of Norway, which has pledged $1 billion in REDD+ funding for Indonesia, and said that if Norway deemed industrial plantations as contributing to deforestation, “then it’s no use having your own definition.”Minister Siti, though, dismissed the controversy over the definition as part of a conspiracy to paint Indonesia’s forestry sector in a negative light.“The word ‘deforestation’ implies international ‘pressure’ in judging Indonesia for its performances related to sustainability,” she said. “And among other things, [the word can] be restrictive [for Indonesia].”She said deforestation did not always have to have a negative connotation, for instance when it leads to economic development.“Let’s say there are 60 villages in a forest, and they can’t be accessed because all they have are gravel roads,” she said. “We just have to pave the roads. Should we call that deforestation? We still need to clear the land, but in a controlled manner.”Siti added that the concept of “zero deforestation” should not apply to a developing country such as Indonesia.A graph showing Indonesia’s deforestation trend based on the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s data since 1996. Graphic courtesy of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.Palm oil expandingBeyond the disagreement over the definition, the latest data highlight a sustained decline in the rate of deforestation, which averaged more than 10,000 square kilometers (3,860 square miles) a year throughout the 1990s and 2000s. (The highest rates were recorded in 1996 and 2000, topping out at more than 35,000 square kilometers, or 13,500 square miles.)Siti acknowledged the decline in recent years, but cautioned that the trend “is not a given.” Indeed, deforestation in APL areas — driven largely by oil palm plantations — rose to nearly 36 percent of total deforestation, up from 24 percent in 2014.One of the consequences of this proliferation of oil palm plantations has been the destruction of forests that are home to critically endangered species such as orangutans. The problem came into gruesome focus earlier this year with the discovery in Central Kalimantan province of an orangutan that had been decapitated and shot multiple times, in an area bordered by five oil palm plantations.Siti said she was aware of the case and was particularly concerned, noting that more than 200 oil palm plantations were currently operating in orangutan habitat, accounting for a fifth of the 20,000 square kilometers (7,720 square miles) of palm plantation area in Central Kalimantan.Operators of oil palm plantations often consider orangutans a pest because they are known to eat the palm fruit. A 2005 study by the conservation NGO Friends of the Earth found that one such company in Central Kalimantan province would pay local people 150,000 rupiah (about $10) for every orangutan killed.Fire set for peatland clearing in Riau Province, Indonesia in July 2015. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerFires downAnother trend highlighted in the 2017 data is the increase in deforestation in protected and conservation areas, amounting to 20 percent of the total, up from 12 percent in 2014.For Siti, that’s a move “in the right direction,” because it means policies aimed at agrarian reform and empowerment are working. Those policies, under the government’s “social forestry” program, entail moving people out of production forests and into protected and conservation areas, where deforestation can be more stringently controlled.Another government program also yielded good results last year — namely, the packet of policies aimed at preventing forest and land fires, particularly in peat areas.The devastating fires of 2015 scorched 26,100 square kilometers (10,080 square miles) of land; blanketed vast swaths of the country in a haze that sickened half a million Indonesians; sparked a diplomatic row with Singapore and Malaysia; and, at its peak, generated daily carbon dioxide emissions that exceeded those from all U.S. economic activity.In 2016, a string of regulations to better protect peatlands was rolled out, and the incidence of fires decreased. In 2017, the area burned was down to 1,654 square kilometers (640 square miles).“What’s important is to keep mitigating fires and preventing fires on peatlands,” Siti said. Banner image: Buttress roots of a rainforest tree in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

In Jakarta, wildlife monitors find a hotspot for the illegal tortoise trade

first_imgIndonesia’s capital has seen an increase in the sale of non-native species of tortoises and freshwater turtles that are prohibited for international commercial trade, according to a report by the wildlife-monitoring group TRAFFIC.Growing demand for these species, coupled with Indonesia’s lax enforcement of customs regulation at international ports of entry and an outdated conservation act, have allowed the illicit international animal trade to grow, TRAFFIC said.The group has called on the Indonesian government to improve the country’s conservation laws and regulations, and urged more stringent monitoring of the markets, pet stores and expos in Jakarta and across the country to document and assess the extent of any illegal trade. JAKARTA — The sale of some of the most threatened tortoise and turtle species from around the world continues to flourish at stores and exhibitions across Jakarta, highlighting longstanding concerns about the illegal animal trade in the Indonesian capital.A four-month survey by the wildlife-monitoring group TRAFFIC in 2015 found that 4,985 individuals from 65 different tortoise and freshwater turtle species were on display for sale at pet stores, animal markets, tropical fish markets and reptile expos in Jakarta.Fifteen of the 65 species observed during the survey were native to Indonesia, only three of which were included in the country’s list of protected animals, according to the report published on March 26.Radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and African spurred tortoises (Centrochelys sulcata) for sale at an expo in a shopping center in North Jakarta. Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC.The rest of the surveyed species were identified as endemic to countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Madagascar, the report said.It added that nine species observed, only one of which was endemic to Indonesia, were currently listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), for which commercial international trade is prohibited.“[This means] at least eight of these species were likely to have been illegally imported,” John Morgan, from TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and lead author of the report, wrote.Two of these non-native species are the ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) and the radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), both native to Madagascar and listed by the IUCN as critically endangered, or a step away from being extinct in the wild.The study also identified an increase in the sale of non-native species of tortoise and freshwater turtles from previous surveys, in 2004 and 2010, which documented 26 and 35 non-native species, respectively.Growing demand for these species, coupled with Indonesia’s lax enforcement of customs regulations at international ports of entry and an outdated conservation act, have allowed the illicit international animal trade to grow, TRAFFIC said.The report also showed that non-native species were significantly more expensive overall than native species. Some of the non-native species were being offered at $1,535 a head, and the native species at $83 a head.An alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) from North America on sale at a reptile expo in Jakarta in 2015. A higher number of North American species were found on sale in 2015 compared to previous two surveys. Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC.In 2008, Indonesia began to require import permits for all CITES-listed freshwater turtles and tortoises entering the country. Countries of origin must also notify Indonesian authorities before issuing an export permit.However, existing national regulations — the 1990 Conservation Act and a 1999 government regulation on flora and fauna management — fail to prescribe any protections for non-native species. While Indonesia is a signatory to CITES, it has not ratified the convention by legislating it into law.“This legal loophole hampers any law enforcement to counter illegal trade in these non-native species,” Morgan wrote. “Furthermore, existing laws covering native protected species are seldom enforced effectively, and traders are rarely prosecuted to the full extent possible under the law: thus illegal trade continues largely uninhibited given the lack of regulation and deterrence.”Indonesia’s parliament and government are currently working on a revision to the existing national laws and regulations on conservation and animal protection.Morgan suggested the revision of the conservation law should include legal protections for non-native CITES-listed species, as well as for threatened native species that are not listed as protected by the government. Examples of the latter include the Sulawesi forest turtle (Leucocephalon yuwonoi), listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.The wildlife group also called for more stringent monitoring of the markets, pet stores and expos in Jakarta and across the country by the government, NGOs and researchers, in order to document and assess the extent of any illegal trade.“If this trade and the open markets that sell species illegally are not made a priority for law enforcement action, many of the currently threatened species will be pushed closer to extinction,” said Kanitha Krishnasamy, acting regional director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.Radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) on sale at an expo in North Jakarta. Signs prohibiting the taking of photos are visible. Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC.According to a 2008 report by TRAFFIC, the supply and demand of freshwater turtles and tortoises appears to be increasing throughout Southeast Asia.“Indonesian authorities should increase communication and co-operation with countries known to be source locations or transit points for smuggled animals entering the Indonesian market, such as Madagascar, the USA, Thailand, Malaysia and China to disrupt international trade chains and focus law enforcement efforts on key traders and species of concern,” Elizabeth John, senior communications officer at TRAFFIC, told Mongabay in an email.More than 50 percent of the world’s 356 known species of tortoises and turtles are currently threatened with extinction, or are nearly extinct, a new report warns. Loss and degradation of habitat; hunting for meat and eggs, or for traditional medicines; and the pet trade, both legal and illegal, are largely driving the decline of these reptiles.“There are many species at risk from trade, but tortoise and freshwater turtles are one group of species that do not receive the same attention as other more high-profile or iconic species,” John said. “Jakarta has been regularly shown to be a hotspot for trade in these species over the last decade.”Radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) and Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) with prices painted on their shells, at an exhibition in 2015 in Jakarta. Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Basten Gokkon Animal Cruelty, Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Endangered Species, Environment, Freshwater Animals, freshwater turtles, Illegal Trade, Pet Trade, Trade, Turtles, Turtles And Tortoises, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking 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

46% of Albertine Rift species may be threatened by 2080, study finds

first_imgArticle published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Agriculture, Animals, Apes, Climate Change, Climate Change And Extinction, Deforestation, Environment, Extinction, Forests, Montane Forests, Primates, Research, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored East Africa’s Albertine Rift region hosts many animal and plant species that evolved in isolation and are endemic – meaning they’re found nowhere else in the world.But a recent study estimates nearly half of the Albertine Rift’s endemic species may become threatened with extinction by 2080 as climate change shrinks their habitat.The study also finds certain species have already lost as much as 90 percent of their habitat to agriculture.The researchers say that their findings could be used to predict how the ranges of wildlife populations will shift in response to a changing climate so that conservation workers can focus their efforts on the areas most likely to retain important habitat. East Africa’s Albertine Rift extends nearly a thousand miles from the border between northwestern Uganda and northeastern DRC down through Rwanda and Burundi to Malawi. Dotted with mountains and pockmarked with lakes, the region is considered one of the most biodiverse places on the continent and is home to many animal and plant species that evolved in isolation and are endemic – meaning they’re found nowhere else in the world.But agriculture and climate change are putting many of these species at risk, according to a study published recently in Biological Conservation. Its findings indicate nearly half of the Albertine Rift’s endemic species may become threatened with extinction by 2080 if current climatic trends continue.The Albertine Rift region contains several isolated mountain ranges and lakes, and much of it is already contained within protected areas. (Itombwe and Kabobo reserves have since been established). Image courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society.The study was conducted by researchers with institutions in the U.S. and UK who synthesized data on 162 plant and animal species found only in the Albertine Rift region. They used computer modeling to figure out how much habitat has so far been lost to agriculture and estimate how much may be lost in the future due to climate change.They found that, on average, 38 percent of these species’ habitats have been lost to land conversion for agriculture. Some species have lost as much as 90 percent of their habitat, the researchers write in their study.And climate change stands to make things even worse for most of these species, they say. The study predicts that 75 percent of all suitable Albertine Rift habitat that currently remains will be gone by 2080. That number goes up to 90 percent for 34 endemic species.Overall, of the 162 species the researchers assessed, they estimate 46 percent of them will qualify for threatened status according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) standards.Montane forest in Kahuzi Biega National Park, DRC. Photo by A.J. Plumptre/WCSL’Hoest’s or mountain monkey (Cercopithecus lhoesti), a species mostly confined to the Albertine Rift. Photo by A.J. Plumptre/WCSA big part of the reason behind this expected decline that many of these species live in forests at or near the tops of mountains, which act as humid oases in a sea of relative aridity. As the regional climate warms and dries, scientists expect these forests will shrink as heat-adapted lowland vegetation increasingly replaces montane forests that require cooler, moister conditions.“Much of the Albertine Rift is mountainous terrain, and the species that inhabit these places have narrow ranges,” said Andrew Plumptre, a scientist at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and one of the authors of the study. “This makes many species especially vulnerable to climate change.”One positive note revealed by the study is that a large portion – 68 percent – of remaining habitat in the region will be located in protected areas that have already been established. These include the recently created and little-explored Kabobo Natural Reserve and Itombwe Nature Reserve, both in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Juvenile golden monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti) at play. Photo by A.J. Plumptre/WCSThe researchers say that their findings could be used to predict how the ranges of wildlife populations will shift in response to a changing climate so that conservation workers can focus their efforts on the areas most likely to retain important habitat.“We hope that this study and similar ones will help wildlife managers and government agencies to anticipate where conservation measures to protect the region’s unique primates, such as the mountain and Grauer’s gorillas, birds, reptiles, and other unique species will be most effective,” said lead author Sam Ayebare of WCS Uganda. Citation:Ayebare, S., Plumptre, A. J., Kujirakwinja, D., & Segan, D. (2018). Conservation of the endemic species of the Albertine Rift under future climate change. Biological Conservation, 220, 67-75.Banner image of a mountain gorilla by A.J. Plumptre/WCSFEEDBACK: 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.last_img read more

Certified weaknesses: The RSPO’s Liberian fiasco (commentary)

first_imgOn February 13, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the industry certification system for production of conflict-free palm oil, confirmed what many in Liberia’s rural Sinoe County have been saying all along: Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a palm oil company operating since 2010, did not properly receive the consent of local communities to acquire their traditional lands.The charges against GVL are not new. The first complaint filed against GVL with the RSPO came in 2012. Over the years, multiple civil society reports have documented GVL’s land grabbing, human rights violations, and environmental degradation. In 2015, a riot erupted on GVL’s plantation. Six years and various investigations by the RSPO later, the situation for these communities is largely the same.It’s striking that, given the resources and responsibilities of both the company and the certification body, neither GVL nor the RSPO had chosen to communicate with these communities about the remedies GVL was directed to pursue by the RSPO. This begs the question: What is the value of corporate commitments and industry standards if those messages never reach the people they intend to benefit, let alone are translated into tangible actions?This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Both the RSPO and GVL have responded to this commentary. Click here to jump to GVL’s response. Click here to jump to the RSPO’s response. Below these is a response from this commentary’s author.It’s late March and the latest news about the future of communities’ traditional lands has yet to reach the towns and villages in southeastern Liberia.On February 13, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the industry certification system for production of conflict-free palm oil, confirmed what many in rural Sinoe County have been saying all along: Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a palm oil company operating since 2010, did not properly receive the consent of local communities to acquire their traditional lands.A letter issued to GVL by the RSPO Complaints Panel says that the company coerced and intimidated community members into signing agreements ceding their lands, did not conduct adequate participatory mapping, destroyed communities’ sacred sites, and continues to develop disputed lands, all in violation of RSPO Principles and Criteria.The charges against GVL and its parent company, Golden Agri-Resources, are not new. The first complaint filed against GVL with the RSPO came in 2012. Over the years, multiple civil society reports have documented GVL’s land grabbing, human rights violations, and environmental degradation. In 2015, a riot erupted on GVL’s plantation. Six years and various investigations by the RSPO later, the situation for these communities is largely the same.A bulldozer lies in Golden Veroleum’s palm oil plantation. Photo by Gaurav Madan.Across Sinoe County, many villagers have long decried the impacts of GVL on their lives. They claim that despite the company’s promises, GVL has destroyed their sacred sites, polluted their drinking water, and curtailed their access to their forests and livelihoods.“When they came to operate on my land, they never asked me,” says Romeo Chea, a resident of Jacksonville. “They just jumped on my land and started working. When I asked them, ‘Who gave you this land?’ they said it was government land. So we were forced to leave the place. They disturbed my sacred sites. They destroyed everything. This is where they are building their mill. They won’t permit me to go there.”Among the recommendations in the February 13 Complaints Panel letter, the RSPO directed GVL to meet with specific communities to review and revise the terms of their agreement within one month. In late March, six weeks after the letter was issued, I visited plantation-affected communities in Sinoe County. Virtually every single community in Sinoe named in the decision was unaware of the news, let alone of the timelines put forward to address the issues. No one had bothered to inform the people directly impacted by the company’s operations of the proposed steps forward.Rows of palm in the Nimupoh section of Golden Veroleum’s plantation. GVL signed a 65-year concession agreement with the Government of Liberia for 350,000 hectares of land. Photo by Gaurav Madan.It is striking that given the resources and responsibilities of both the company and the certification body, that neither GVL nor the RSPO had chosen to communicate with these communities. This begs the question: What is the value of corporate commitments and industry standards if those messages never reach the people they intend to benefit, let alone are translated into tangible actions?“Even now if you try and go in the forest you must go to GVL security to ask for permission,” says Lee W. Sworh, a resident of Jacksonville. “National security has been hired into their plantation. On a regular basis, they beat people and incarcerate people without reason. These are the barriers we are facing. If you have your own forest, but you can’t go there, then where are we?”But it’s not just rural Liberian communities that are taking notice of the RSPO’s weaknesses in upholding its own standards. On March 12, less than a month after the RSPO Complaints Panel decision on GVL, 101 institutional investors representing over $3.2 trillion in assets wrote a letter to the RSPO calling on the body to be more transparent and responsive in addressing complaints. The investor letter specifically expresses concerns that the RSPO’s current process puts the institution’s credibility at stake.While the investor letter cites ongoing violations in Indonesia, it might as well have highlighted the Liberian palm oil experience. All four industrial palm oil companies active in Liberia have faced allegations of land grabbing, human rights violations, and environmental degradation, with RSPO complaints filed against three of the four companies. (The fourth company operating in Liberia is not an RSPO member.)A truck transports harvested palm nuts in Liberia. Photo by Gaurav Madan.Globally, the story has been the same. From Guatemala, where palm oil company REPSA was recently linked to corruption and appears to have been involved in the killing of an indigenous leader, to Indonesia, where palm oil companies’ burning of peatlands has caused fires responsible for thousands of respiratory illnesses and millions of tons of carbon released into the atmosphere, the industry has been mired in controversy.If investors are relying on industry certification standards like the RSPO to ensure they meet their own sustainability commitments, they may want to think again. If they don’t, they are susceptible to significant risks to their investment. Deforestation, along with violations of human rights, including land rights, are increasingly being recognized as posing material financial and reputational risks to investors. Furthermore, escalating land conflicts linked with palm oil operations pose significant risks to stability, which may cause operational delays leading to stranded assets.At the same time as investors are requesting greater accountability, civil society across Liberia is demanding the Liberian Legislature pass a 2014 draft of the Land Rights Act. The Act would secure communities’ rights to own, manage, and protect their customary lands, providing them with legal recognition when approached by companies and investors.Back in Sinoe County, frustrations are only growing. In the Nimupoh community, villagers shared stories of the day GVL came to sign a memorandum of understanding with them. The company was accompanied by pickup trucks of armed police. Yet many members say they still want investment on their traditional lands, as long as it is done fairly. Others are more skeptical. Once informed of the recent RSPO decision, communities welcomed the recommended steps to address their grievances. But they’re not holding their breath. Too much damage has been done over the past decade — and too few promises have been kept.As Sworh says, “In every part of the bush, GVL is felling down the major species of the forest. The area is no longer a forest. They have continued their operations since the RSPO decision. I worry whether the RSPO decision was to force GVL to change its operations or was it to reduce tensions between the community and the company?”Sunset in the town of Jacksonville, Sinoe County, Liberia. Many residents of Jacksonville claim that GVL desecrated their sacred sites and did not properly seek their consent to operate on their traditional lands. Photo by Gaurav Madan.Gaurav Madan is Senior Forests and Lands Campaigner at Friends of the Earth US.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.RESPONSE FROM GVLGVL has always been clear about the challenges faced in achieving responsible palm production in Liberia and therefore remains committed to supporting the country’s agricultural strategy which aims to use palm and other crops to diversify and strengthen the nation’s economy. GVL’s activities in Liberia are planned for the long-term and consequently being able to successfully work alongside communities is critical to the company’s future success.GVL believes that Friends of the Earth USA’s Gaurav Madan’s commentary in Mongabay does not accurately reflect the situation on the ground in Liberia.Contrary to what was reported, GVL has been working with communities and other stakeholders to address issues raised in past complaints. These have been reported to the RSPO on a quarterly basis since 2013. The reports are available in the RSPO website at https://www.rspo.org/members/complaints/status-of-complaints/view/24. In Butaw for example, remediation efforts and engagement with the community has led to a new Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2017 by a broad representation of the community and letters from the community withdrawing past complaints.Mr. Madan also quotes the RSPO Complaints Panel decision of February 2018 extensively and states that the company should have contacted communities affected by the decision. The decision is however under appeal and it is therefore important to respect due process at this time.GVL is in fact in frequent contact with communities and their representatives as part of our day-to-day operations and although there will continue to be critics of any enterprise the vast majority of our interactions are both positive and invested in the future success of palm oil.GVL remain committed to sustainable palm oil development in Liberia and acknowledges that there are areas for ongoing improvement in company operations. GVL will therefore implement relevant Directives made by the Complaints Panel whilst appealing the overall decision.RESPONSE FROM THE RSPODear Editor,We would like to respond to the Commentary by Gaurav Madan on 13 April 2018, “Certified weaknesses: The RSPO’s Liberian fiasco”.We acknowledge that the work of RSPO might be perceived as slow, or imperfect. This is because, often, the issues at hand are complex and protracted. Nonetheless, RSPO always strives to improve its assurance and complaints systems. This includes seeking inputs and having consultations with the various industry stakeholders to ensure that optimal recourse is available to communities who are undeniably often in a vulnerable situation when it comes to negotiating their rights.In this context, it is hoped that NGOs such as Friends of the Earth (FoE) would go beyond just sharing their frustrations and criticising the available redress systems, but also jointly contribute to finding a solution to the issues at hand, especially given their presence on the ground.Specifically, we wish to respond to Mr. Madan’s comment that there is a lack of communication with local communities in the affected areas in Liberia regarding the decision by the Complaints Panel on the GVL complaint. This is where the shared responsibility of all Parties to the Complaints come into action. The decision of the Complaints Panel was communicated directly to the NGOs, who had submitted the complaints on behalf of the affected communities and relatedly we trust that these same NGOs, who are representing the communities will communicate the decision directly to those affected. We appreciate the response received from several of the NGOs and community leaders who have communicated their next steps on the follow up to the decision. In particular, RSPO was informed by the Chairperson of the Blogbo-Teh, that the decision has been shared with their affected constituency and they will revert with their formal communication once they have had a meeting with the Blogbo people in Monrovia, Jacksonville, Wieh Town, and the surrounding communities.Furthermore, Mr. Madan says “If investors are relying on industry certification standards like the RSPO to ensure they meet their own sustainability commitments, they may want to think again. If they don’t, they are susceptible to significant risks to their investment.”Again, we seek more constructive contribution from the NGOs and other stakeholders in addressing the concerns related to development. It is a dangerous call to ask stakeholders to disengage as the problems will remain unsolved rather than supporting to improve a system that is available and accessible to all.The RSPO is a multi-stakeholder, consensus-based organisation that has managed to bring transparency and accountability forward within the palm oil industry, when previously there was none.Here is a dilemma for FoE. If the criticisms continue to fall solely on companies who have made a move towards transparency platforms won’t it mean that FoE is part of a perverse incentive to keep supply chains opaque? Won’t it mean that recalcitrant actors will NEVER leave the intransparency? Given the current trends, it makes business sense.Mr. Madan says “All four industrial palm oil companies active in Liberia have faced allegations of land grabbing, human rights violations, and environmental degradation, with RSPO complaints filed against three of the four companies. (The fourth company operating in Liberia is not an RSPO member.)” It would be good to hear from FoE on how the allegations directed at the 4th non-RSPO company were dealt with and if there are any learnings on how such disputes are resolved outside of the RSPO system.We invite FoE and other stakeholders to engage constructively to further enhance and strengthen RSPO standards and the complaints system. We remain committed to transparency and always welcome feedback aimed at achieving sustainability in the context of palm oil industry.– Datuk Darrel Webber, CEO of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)FOE-US RESPONDSResponse from FoE US to Datuk Darrell Webber, CEO, RSPO and GVL:We appreciate having meaningful dialogue on issues facing communities affected by industrial palm oil operations in Liberia. Given the serious nature of GVL’s violations, we see this as more than “sharing our frustrations.” Highlighting shortcomings and exposing violations reveals the specific and often systemic nature of the social and environmental problems facing communities. This is a valuable step toward achieving responsible investment and sustainable development.In his response RSPO CEO Mr. Webber says, “It is a dangerous call to ask stakeholders to disengage as the problems will remain unsolved rather than supporting to improve a system that is available and accessible to all.”However, the article does not call on investors to disengage. To the contrary, we believe that investors have a responsibility to engage with companies to ensure they follow responsible business practices, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The article echoes the call of 101 institutional investors representing $3.2 trillion in assets for greater transparency and responsiveness in RSPO redress processes. However, when companies fail to comply with best business practices that respect human rights and environmental norms, it is only reasonable to expect that their investors recognize the related material and reputational risks and withdraw their financing.In his response, Mr. Webber says, “Here is a dilemma for FoE. If the criticisms continue to fall solely on companies who have made a move towards transparency platforms won’t it mean that FoE is part of a perverse incentive to keep supply chains opaque? Won’t it mean that recalcitrant actors will NEVER leave the intransparency?”As civil society, we believe in informed criticism to hold companies, investors, and industries accountable to the commitments they have made in their own sustainability policies, as well as to the norms established by international law. Transparency is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve greater accountability and tangible change. While Mr. Webber notes that the RSPO communicated its decision to frontline NGOs supporting affected communities, we recognize the profound asymmetries in power, resources and capacity between rural communities and well-funded, international institutions.In the end, we believe that achieving transformative change and social justice comes when local communities and peoples’ movements are empowered to hold institutions accountable. This includes multinational corporations and industry bodies, as well as governments responsible for upholding the rights of their citizens.While GVL says that “the vast majority of our interactions are both positive and invested in the future success of palm oil,” the reality on the ground tells a starkly different story. In the various impacted communities I visited in Sinoe County, feelings of disaffection remain widespread and have persisted for the past six years. While many people may hold out high hopes for future success from palm oil, the past and present reality has put such a future in doubt.– Gaurav Madan, Senior Forests and Lands Campaigner, Friends of the Earth United States african palm oil, Certification, Commentary, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Role In Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Editorials, Environment, Human Rights, Land Conflict, Land Rights, Palm Oil, Researcher Perspective Series, Rspo Article published by Mike Gaworeckicenter_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

All set for today’s Reggae Marathon in Negril

first_imgWestern Bureau:A host of participants will descend on the resort town of Negril for the 15th staging of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K road races, which get underway early this morning.The races will begin at 5:15 a.m. at the customary location, the Long Bay Beach Park, and will end at approximately three hours later when there will be a victory beach party and awards presentation.It is expected that last year’s 1,800 entrants will be eclipsed this time around with male and female champions Rupert Green and Karlene Blagrove returning to defend their crowns.Green, who defeated a strong line-up last year in a smart two hours 34 minutes 35 seconds, may have to contend with 2013 winner Gregory McKenzie to retain his title.On the women’s side, Blagrove is yet again looking to be among the top-three finishers in the 26 miles long marathon race.Last year, Blagrove dominated the field to finish in front of Dana Martin-Kelly of Canada and Roberta Fontana from the Bahamas, who ended second and third, respectively.The Reggae Marathon also acts as a great opportunity for high school distance runners and this year it is anticipated that many, including the ever present St Jago High, Holmwood Technical and Bellefield High School will all compete.The event drew runners from more than 35 countries last year, surpassing the 2013 mark. This year, with registration going well, that number could also be eclipsed.last_img read more