Lawyer: Evidence shows coaches knew of NCAA family payouts

first_imgFormer amateur basketball league director Merl Code arrives at federal court, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in New York. Code and two co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges that they committed fraud by plying families of college basketball prospects with cash so the prospects would attend colleges sponsored by Adidas. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for a longtime Adidas employee urged jurors Thursday to use common sense and evidence to conclude college basketball coaches like Bill Self at Kansas and Rick Pitino at Louisville knew shoe companies were paying money to families of elite athletes to steer them to their schools.Attorney Michael Schachter, representing Adidas sports marketing manager James “Jim” Gatto, cited testimony and evidence that emerged during the fraud conspiracy trial of Gatto, aspiring sports agent Christopher Dawkins and Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant.“Ladies and gentlemen, what help do you think a coach thought Jim Gatto was going to provide in persuading a kid to go to their college?” he asked. “Jim works for a shoe company. He is not a guidance counselor. Kids don’t turn to him for assistance in where they should go to college.”Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Diskant, who has portrayed the schools and sometimes their coaches as victims of the defendants, said in a closing statement that coaches were not “running rampant.”“Nothing can be further from the truth,” the prosecutor said, highlighting protocols in place at schools to ensure compliance with NCAA rules.He said the defendants hid payments from coaches, knowing they would be fired if they facilitated payouts to players’ families.“Does that mean that some of the coaches didn’t break the rules? No, it’s possible they did,” Diskant said.The prosecutor noted that there was no mention of money in two voice messages Gatto left for Pitino. He also cited evidence that Dawkins, speaking of a financial payout, told the Bowen family: “I would never tell Rick anything like this because I don’t want to put him in jeopardy.”Schachter told jurors that the government’s star witness — former Adidas consultant Thomas “T.J.” Gassnola — lied when he testified that he was concealing from universities the fact that cash was being paid to the families of top recruits.He cited Gassnola’s testimony about a North Carolina State assistant coach. Gassnola, who pleaded guilty to criminal charges and cooperated with prosecutors, told jurors that he delivered cash in 2015 to Coach Orlando Early, who planned to give it to a personal trainer for highly touted point guard Dennis Smith Jr. so it could be relayed to the athlete’s family.Schachter said evidence shows that Self “knew of and asked for a payment to be made to Silvio De Sousa’s handler.”The lawyer added: “More than that, Coach Self requested just that kind of help that Mr. Gassnola arranged as a condition for Coach Self to permit Adidas to continue their sponsorship agreement with the University of Kansas.”Schachter also cited a conversation his client had in late May 2017 with Pitino, saying it occurred just after Code told Gatto that he needed money for the family of Louisville recruit Brian Bowen Jr. because the University of Oregon, a Nike school, had made an “astronomical offer” to recruit him.Schachter said Gatto wanted to be sure Pitino wanted Bowen before he spent his employer’s money.“Why, precisely, would Louisville’s head coach think that a shoe company representative wants to speak with him about a player?” Schachter asked. “Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you that the only explanation that makes any sense is that Coach Pitino knows exactly why Jim is calling to discuss a player.”Bowen committed to Louisville on June 1, 2017, though he never played for the school. He now plays professionally in Australia. Pitino, a legendary coach, was never accused of a crime but was fired amid the investigation’s fallout.North Carolina State announced last year that Early and the school’s head coach were leaving the program months before the corruption case became public.Smith played one year at NC State. He now plays for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.De Sousa is a sophomore at Kansas.The jury is likely to start deliberations Monday.___Associated Press Writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.last_img read more

Nadal and Federer, in Cape Town for a historic match

first_imgFederer was very enthusiastic about this particular recreation. “This ‘Match in Africa’ is a dream come true. I’ll play in my mom’s dwelling nation towards my hardest opponent and on the similar time nice good friend Rafa Nadal. We don’t share solely the love for tennis, but in addition the actual fact of serving to kids have a higher begin in schooling and in their lives. ” Nadal additionally positively valued what he expects from this match. “Roger and I share nice moments on and off the observe. Touring with him to Cape Town and taking part in to assist kids is one thing that excites me. Will probably be my first time in the realm and I’ll have Roger as a information. Will probably be enjoyable”.Federer arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday after visiting Namibia, the place he met with the president of the nation, Hage Geingob, and visited the varsity that his basis has in the nation, in addition to speaking with the youngsters, witnessing the courses and speaking with the middle workers, and this Thursday he shared raquetazos with the captain of the Springboks, Siya Kolisi as warm-up to the large recreation that each Federer and Nadal will convey us this Friday for a good trigger. The tennis world this Friday has an appointment with the historical past in Cape Town in the exhibition match ‘The Match in Africa’ Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer will dispute to lift funds for the tasks that the Roger Federer Basis carries out in the African continent. It’s anticipated that the match, which shall be performed at Cape Town Stadium, exceeds the world report for attending a tennis match with greater than 50,000 individuals.The exhibition will begin with a doubles match in which Federer will companion with Invoice Gates (the couple has already been baptized as Gateserer) and shall be measured to the duo shaped by Rafa Nadal and South African comic Trevor Noah, one of many nice stars of tv in the USA. After this present, and after the performances of Zip Zap Circus and Ndlovu, it can happen the spotlight of the occasion, the person match between Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, which will be adopted stay in Spain by Gol.last_img read more

Kaziranga: the frontline of India’s rhino wars

first_imgKaziranga National Park in India’s Assam State is home to around 2,400 one-horned rhinos, as well as elephants, tigers and hundreds of other mammal and bird species.India’s rhinos were hunted nearly to extinction by the early 20th century, but have rebounded since the park was established. However, rhino horn is highly sought in the black market and poaching remains a constant threat.Rangers in Kaziranga rely on antiquated weaponry to face off against poachers, whose links with international crime syndicates mean they are often better armed and better financed than forest guards.The park’s approach to conservation has drawn criticism from indigenous rights group Survival International, a critique that gained prominence in a recent BBC documentary. In the dead of night on February 15, gunshots blasted the guards into action in India’s Kaziranga National Park. Rangers stationed in a nearby camp quickly spread out, searching for the shooters under the light of a nearly full moon — to no avail.By morning, they’d located the victim, the park’s first poaching casualty of 2017: a female Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). They inspected her 3,500-pound body, which was riddled with bullet holes and collected 11 spent cartridges from an AK-47 assault rifle. The gouged wound on her nose marked the spot where her horn had been hacked off.Welcome to the rhino wars.last_img read more

Audio: Activists determined to protect newly discovered Amazon Reef from oil drilling

first_imgJohn talks about the discovery of the reef, what it’s like to be one of a few people on Earth who have ever seen it with their own eyes, and what the opposition to plans to drill for oil near the reef will look like should the plans move forward.We also welcome two staffers from Mongabay Latin America to the show: MariaIsabel Torres and Romi Castagnino.Mongabay LatAm just celebrated its one-year anniversary recently, so we wanted to take the chance to speak with MariaIsabel and Romi about what it’s like covering the environment in Latin America, what some of the site’s biggest successes are to date, and what we can expect from Mongabay LatAm in the future. On this episode, we welcome marine biologist and director of Greenpeace USA’s oceans campaigns John Hocevar. When the Greenpeace ship Esperanza embarked on an expedition earlier this year to document the newly discovered Amazon Reef, John piloted one of the submersibles that took the first-ever underwater photos of the reef system, which lies in an area targeted for oil exploration.John talks about the discovery of the reef, what it’s like to be one of a few people on Earth who have ever seen it with their own eyes, and what the opposition to plans to drill for oil near the reef will look like should the plans move forward.We also welcome two staffers from Mongabay Latin America to the show: MariaIsabel Torres and Romi Castagnino. Mongabay LatAm just celebrated its one-year anniversary recently, so we wanted to take the opportunity to speak with MariaIsabel and Romi about what it’s like covering the environment in Latin America, what some of the site’s biggest successes are to date, and what we can expect from Mongabay LatAm in the future.Here’s this episode’s top news:Trump withdraws U.S. from Paris Climate Accord; scientists respondDeforestation in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest increased almost 60 percent in the last yearCheetahs return to Malawi after decadesAs Arctic sea ice shows record decline, scientists prepare to go blindIs the snow leopard actually 3 distinct subspecies?Thylacine survey: Are we going to rediscover the ‘moonlight tiger’?You can stand with Mongabay to support climate science, independent journalism, and nature by purchasing Mongabay’s limited-edition t-shirt, which is only available until June 17th. Go to represent.com/mongabay to see the design and order yours today, they can be shipped anywhere, to any country. That’s represent.com/mongabay by June 17 to get your t-shirt and say yes to a brighter future.You can find all of our podcast episodes on Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or RSS.Images of the Amazon Reef taken from a submarine launched from the Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza. The ship was in the region of the Amazon river mouth, in Brazil’s Amapá State, for the “Defend the Amazon Reef” campaign earlier this year. A team of experts were onboard, including the scientist from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Fabiano Thompson, who led the group of scientists who discovered the coral reef at the mouth of the Amazon River. Photo © Greenpeace.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change And Coral Reefs, Climate Change Denial, Climate Change Policy, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Impact Of Climate Change, Mammals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Ecosystems, Podcast, Research, Sea Ice, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

On the front lines of conservation: How do rural women feel?

first_imgResearchers interviewed women living inside a national park in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau about how the park affects their daily lives.The women felt the park was the cause of malnutrition because chimpanzees and baboons in particular damaged their crops and they did not receive compensation.Although reluctant to participate in conservation, they hoped the researchers could help provide compensation and improve their lives. A new study published in Conservation and Society explores the views toward conservation held by women living inside Cantanhez Forest National Park in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau.Overall, the women expressed negative views of the park, which they see as a threat to their livelihood. All of them were concerned about the damage to their rice and fruit crops by wildlife from the park and felt that the animals were the cause of malnutrition. Without compensation, the women were reluctant to participate in conservation programs.“Women living inside the park feel helpless and stuck,” Susana Costa, a social researcher at the University of Lisbon in Portugal and the lead author of the study, told Mongabay. “They know that they cannot keep certain economic activities (slash-and-burn, hunting) to preserve the park’s flora and fauna, though the lack of alternatives and a compensation plan make their lives harder than they were before the protected area establishment.”Successful conservation programs depend on the support of local communities. Often unheard and downplayed, the voices and concerns of women are important to address for effective biodiversity conservation because they engage in farming, feed their families, and gather non-timber forest products such as charcoal and plants for medicine. Costa and her colleagues wanted to find out if women inside the park were willing to participate in conservation programs.From 2007 to 2008, Costa and her team interviewed a total of 47 women from five villages living inside Cantanhez Forest National Park. Situated in the Tombali region in the southern part of the country, the park comprises a combination of rainforest and mangrove. Known for its high population of chimpanzees, the park’s habitats are among the Global 200 eco-regions selected by the WWF for their distinct biodiversity. This study is part of a project aimed at conserving the western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), an endangered species under threat mainly from habitat destruction and poaching. Their population dropped 80 percent from 1990 to 2014, according to research released earlier this month, emphasizing the need for greater commitment by national governments towards saving this species.Prior to the establishment of the park in 2007, hunting, bushmeat, and slash-and-burn cultivation was common because the villagers are reliant on forest resources to survive. Hunting was a major source of income for men. When the park was formed, slash-and-burn cultivation and hunting was forbidden. However, it still occurred at a small scale for all primate species except for chimpanzees, which the villagers consider inedible.Houses in Caiquene village (Cantanhez Forest National Park, Tombali, Guinea-Bissau). Photo by Susana Costa.The women belonged to two ethnic groups: Nalú, representing 10 percent of the population in the area, and Balanta, representing almost a third of the population. Both ethnic groups rely on subsistence farming. The Nalú are considered owners of the land and used to grow fruit trees such as oranges and bananas; later they started harvesting palm oil. The Balanta came to this area from the north in the 1920s for rice farming.Interviews consisted of five half-an-hour-long focus group discussions where 10 to 12 women were guided by the researchers using the help of a local translator fluent in Portuguese and Creole who raised broad questions such as: “What does the park mean to you;” and “Tell us about any problems you experience in your daily life.”Initially, women were interviewed individually, but the “men were always trying to interfere with their answers,” revealed Costa. As a result, women-only focus groups were chosen so that women felt more comfortable speaking out.Still, the women were also interviewed individually so that each had a chance to express their views without hesitation. The topics covered in the interviews were centered on their views on the village, the forest and the animals, sources of income, hunting and diets, and their expectations towards conservation.The researchers analyzed the interviews on two levels: textual and conceptual. On the textual level, the most repeated words and ideas that emerged in the discussions in relation to a theme were quantified. Conceptually, these words were linked to each other based on whether they are associations, contradictions, or have the same meaning.Hard labor, lack of food, and inflation of rice pricesThe women engaged in subsistence rice farming, which they described as physically demanding. Despite the strenuous work involved in farming, they felt it did not provide sufficient food value or translate into profits, and as a result they were cash-strapped.Harvested rice was not enough to feed a family for a year so Nalú women produced palm oil — which is highly valued in Guinean cuisine — and used it as currency to buy rice from Balanta farmers (men), especially during the rainy season when food is scarce. Rice is a central part of Guinean cuisine. “If the villagers don’t have rice they will immediately perceive this as famine,” explains Costa. “As such, Balanta people use this to inflate the prices.” Rice price speculation was seen as a cause of malnutrition, which the women referred to as famine.“The thing is that they want to raise the prices. We go to the [shop] and they say to us that the rice is finished. But this is just to raise the prices. You take the palm oil with you, but it is the rice’s owner that decides the price,” declared one woman.Chimpanzees “worst animals”Another major cause of famine, according to the women, was crop losses due to wildlife in the park, especially chimpanzees and other primates encroaching on their land and destroying crops. Perceived as a major threat, “crop damage” was mentioned 19 times during the discussions. After the park was established, the prevalence of monkeys, chimpanzees, and baboons in their fields increased. The women stated that the animals have no food inside the park, and hence “invade” their villages and cropland.Crop failure was a key concern because the absence of rice means they have to resort to eating less palatable staples like cassava. “Our problem is getting food for us and for our children,” one woman revealed. “It’s a big sacrifice. Right now we have a big problem: there is no rice in Iemberém and we are having cassava. We cannot stand cassava anymore.”The women resented chimpanzees and regarded them as dangerous pests. They claimed that the chimpanzees knew that the men could no longer shoot them and so they could easily steal food. Hostile interactions between primates and humans have increased and the women considered working in the fields as physically risky.“We planted peanuts, but the baboons ruined everything in the bush, and the chimpanzees took everything we used to harvest: oranges… This year we do not have any oranges to sell. Last year we did not harvest one single orange to sell,” complained one woman. “This is what we sell to buy food to feed our children. If everything is ruined, what are we supposed to do? This year we made up our minds, even me that I am a woman; I also know how to use a gun. I am a female, but I will get a gun and shoot them all!”Chimpanzee network according to the women’s perceptions. The signs in the arrows represent: == is associated with; [] is part of; => is cause of; <> contradicts. First number in the {} represent the number of links with other thematic codes; the second value represents the number of times the theme was referred in the meetings. Labels in grey represent the themes most mentioned in the meetings. Credit: Costa et al. (2017). doi:10.4103/cs.cs_14_91Compensation and alternative livelihoodsThe women have yet to receive promised compensation for damage to their crops. In the past, several other research teams and NGOs worked with the women, but no positive changes were seen in their lives as a result of those projects, the women claimed. Still, they were hopeful that Costa and her team would convey their needs to the government and that they could help provide compensation and improve their lives.Despite their hostility towards primates from the park, the women were willing to co-exist with them if the authorities would provide compensation for their losses and explain why the areas are protected; they were hopeful of a brighter future.Transforming hostility into coexistence will require creating alternative sources of income such as small-scale tourism to reduce their dependence on farming, according to the researchers.“These women need empowerment, security, and reliable institutions. Food security does not exist. Climatic changes, crop-raiding and less sustainable farming methods have been contributing to malnutrition,” explains Costa. “Financial compensation depends on external funding and it will not last forever. That is why microcredit — which does not exist in this area — would be so important as well.”Microcredit schemes funded by various international conservation organizations have empowered women to start their own businesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, women work together with the organizations to conserve primates, by planting trees to provide food for wild chimpanzees, for instance.Empowerment, according to Costa, also comes from education and health care. “An educated woman will have a lower number of pregnancies, will get better chances to be financially independent and, consequently, less vulnerable to poverty. Once less vulnerable to poverty, they will be eager to give up on unsustainable practices and keener to actively collaborate with researchers and conservationists.”Most importantly, “decision-makers need to go more often to the field to talk to real women… to assess how poor they are and how much they struggle to survive to find solutions that are suitable for these specific social contexts.”Some of the women from Madina who participated in the focus group discussions (Cantanhez Forests National Park, Tombali, Guinea-Bissau). Photo by Susana Costa.CITATIONS Costa, S., Casanova, C., & Lee, P. (2017). What Does Conservation Mean for Women? the Case of the Cantanhez Forest National Park. Conservation and Society, 15(2), 168. doi:10.4103/cs.cs_14_91Kühl, H. S., Sop, T., Williamson, E. A., Mundry, R., Brugière, D., Campbell, G., … & Jones, S. (2017). The Critically Endangered western chimpanzee declines by 80%. American Journal of Primatology. doi:10.1002/ajp.22681 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 Gaworeckicenter_img Animals, Apes, Conservation, Environment, Great Apes, Mammals, National Parks, Primates, Protected Areas, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation 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.last_img read more

Fishing mortality of mako sharks ten times higher than fisheries’ estimates

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Conservation, Environment, Fisheries, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Overfishing, Research, Sharks, Wildlife For the first time, researchers used satellite tags attached to the fins of 40 juvenile shortfin mako sharks to directly quantify fishing mortality in the Northern Atlantic.Over the course of three years, 12 (30 percent) of the sharks were harvested, mostly by longline fisheries from five countries.Fishing mortality was ten times higher than estimates based on catch data reported by the fisheries, and 15 to 18 times higher than the rate associated with maximum sustainable yield, suggesting substantial overfishing. It’s no secret that widespread overfishing is driving many shark species to extinction. Many of these apex predators are ensnared incidentally as bycatch in longline fisheries targeting tuna or swordfish. Shortfin mako sharks — the fastest sharks in the ocean — are among the shark species that are frequently kept even when caught as bycatch because of the high market value of their meat.Still, we may have been underestimating how many sharks are being snared by longlines, which can stretch dozens of miles and have thousands of baited hooks at regular intervals. Now, direct satellite tracking of juvenile shortfin mako sharks reveals the mortality rate from fishing is 10 times higher than estimates calculated using catch data reported by fishers, raising concerns about overfishing in the western North Atlantic and the sustainability of current fishing practices.“This was way above our expectations. We were quite shocked actually,” Mike Byrne, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri and lead author of a study published this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B that used satellite tracking to estimate mako shark mortality rates, told Mongabay. (Byrne was a postdoctoral fellow at Nova Southeastern University during the study.)“The shortfin mako is among the most vulnerable and valuable shark taken in high seas fisheries,” Sonja Fordham, founder and president of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation, and Deputy Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, told Mongabay. Fordham, who was not involved in the present research, warns that this study “represents the first of a few alarm bells now sounding for North Atlantic mako sharks.”Byrne explains: “Heavy fishing mortality on the young sharks limits the number that eventually make it into the breeding population, and given how long it takes this species to mature (females take around 19 years to reach maturity) and how slowly they reproduce (a triannual reproductive cycle with an average of 8 to 10 pups per litter), this can limit the ability of the population to recover.”Nick Dulvy, co-chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Canada Research Chair in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Simon Fraser University, told Mongabay that, “Prior to this study we thought fisheries for this species were sustainable, now we have to question that. It appears that the new estimate of fishing mortality means the fishery is unsustainable and the population is at risk of decline.” Dulvy was not part of the study.Overfishing has already been blamed for threatening more than half of the native shark species in the Mediterranean with extinction, according to a 2016 regional assessment. Shortfin mako sharks are globally categorized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, but in the Mediterranean Sea, they are Critically Endangered.Fisheries’ reported catches versus real-time trackingWhile studying the movement ecology and habitat use of shortfin makos, Byrne noticed that many of his tagged sharks were caught by fisherman as bycatch. “It was pretty hard to ignore,” he claimed. Mako sharks’ habitat overlaps with that of commercially important species such as tuna. Even if they are released after being caught by longliners, mako sharks, like many other shark species, fare poorly — almost a third of healthy satellite-tagged makos died even after being released, according to recent research.“Deaths are hard to see in the ocean, often we estimate death rates indirectly,” Dulvy said. Currently, fishing mortality calculated from stock assessments is based on indirect data — that is, catches reported by fisheries — which is inaccurate due to underreporting.As a result, Byrne and his team directly tracked the fate of 40 mako sharks — mostly juveniles — in the North Atlantic from 2013 to 2016 by attaching satellite-linked radio tags to their dorsal fins. This technique, known as satellite telemetry, allows the tag to communicate with satellites and transmit the sharks’ locations to the researchers whenever the sharks swim at the surface, exposing their fins in the air. Byrne and team’s study represents the first time satellite telemetry has been used to quantify fishing mortality in mako sharks, an open ocean pelagic species. Harvests were detected if a tag consistently reported from the same location on land or when a tag was constantly heading towards a coastal port, implying that the shark may have been onboard a vessel.Over the course of three years, 12 of the sharks were harvested (30 percent of the total sharks tracked for the study). Using statistical models, Byrne and his colleagues estimated that mako sharks have a 72 percent chance of surviving a year without being harvested, which translates to a 28 percent chance of makos being killed by fishing every year — a frighteningly high estimate, according to Byrne. Using the survival estimate, the researchers calculated the instantaneous fishing mortality representing the fraction of the mako population taken by fishing, and compared this with the rate obtained using the most recent available stock assessment (from 2012) based on fisheries’ data.The instantaneous mortality rate derived from tagging the sharks was ten times higher. Even the lowest mortality estimate was higher than the fisheries’ highest estimate. And the authors believe that this may still be an underestimate, as some fishers may have destroyed the tags at sea upon capture without reporting the shark’s death.The tracks of some of the sharks tagged in this study, along with other makos tagged this year, are available at almost real-time from the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Nova Southeastern University.The study revealed substantial overfishing for this mako population, with a 15-to-18-times higher mortality rate than that associated with the maximum sustainable yield—the maximum catch that can be taken from a fish population without depleting the population. When fishing mortality is above this threshold, explains Byrne, “the population cannot replace itself and crashes.”During the study, the sharks entered waters under the sovereignty of 19 different countries and were harvested mostly by longline fisheries from five countries, the top three being Canada, Mexico, and the United States. In six of the harvests, the researchers were able to contact the fishermen from the vessel in which the sharks were caught to confirm the vessel type.The study demonstrates that satellite telemetry can directly measure the survival and mortality of individuals, including the location of capture, eliminating the dependence on inaccurate catch data reported by fishermen. Byrne said this “could go a long way towards helping fisheries’ managers assess and manage these populations.”In conventional mark-recapture studies used to quantify species survival, where non-electronic tags are attached to individuals who are released and re-captured in the future, researchers can’t know the fate of sharks they don’t see again, Byrne said. “Did they live a long healthy life and just avoid being recaptured? Did they die before they could be recaptured? Maybe the animal was recaptured but the fisher never reported it.”Because these studies take many years to get a sample size large enough to perform analyses and require voluntary reporting by fishers, they are not used in stock assessments by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), an inter-governmental fishery organization that consists of 50 countries as well as the European Union.Using satellite telemetry, studies can also be completed in a shorter time period with smaller sample sizes. “You could potentially wrap up a study in a year… then repeat the study in other years to get snapshots of how fishing mortality changes through time,” Byrne added.Setting catch limitsIn the Atlantic, there are currently no annual catch limits for mako sharks, Byrne noted. He believes that we should start to “consider implementing annual total allowable catch limits for mako sharks, just as there are for other commercially valuable species such as swordfish and tuna.” Dulvy also stresses the importance of establishing precautionary catch limits based on scientific studies to ensure that fishing of this species is sustainable.“It’s now urgent that officials from mako shark fishing countries — particularly top producers like Spain, Morocco, Portugal, and Japan — muster the political will to agree international limits that immediately and dramatically cut mako fishing pressure and reverse these troubling trends,” Shark Advocates International’s Fordham said. The next ICCAT meeting will be held in Morocco in November, where she expects “to see proposals to establish the first international limits on mako fishing.”Future studies should include different geographical regions as well as different sizes of sharks, Byrne said, in order to get a more complete picture of the extent of fishing mortality in the North Atlantic. He also recommends that shark studies using satellite telemetry consider addressing survival and mortality to guide management and conservation efforts. And since sharks are highly migratory, swimming long distances and traversing the waters of many countries, this opens the door for coordinated international partnerships to conduct research and conserve shared shark populations.A satellite-tagged shortfin mako shark. Photo Credit: George Schellenger.CITATIONSByrne, M.E., Cortés E., Vaudo, J.J., Harvey, G.C. McN., Sampson, M., Wetherbee, M.B., & Shivji, M. (2017). Satellite telemetry reveals higher fishing mortality rates than previously estimated, suggesting overfishing of an apex marine predator. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2017; 284 (1860): 20170658. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0658Cailliet, G.M., Cavanagh, R.D., Kulka, D.W., Stevens, J.D., Soldo, A., Clo, S., Macias, D., Baum, J., Kohin, S., Duarte, A., Holtzhausen, J.A., Acuña, E., Amorim, A. & Domingo, A. 2009. Isurus oxyrinchus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T39341A10207466. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T39341A10207466.en. Downloaded on 05 September 2017.Campana, S.E., Joyce, W., Fowler, M., & Showell, M. (2016). Discards, hooking, and post-release mortality of porbeagle (Lamna nasus), shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), and blue shark (Prionace glauca) in the Canadian pelagic longline fishery. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 73(2), 520-528. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsv234center_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

As Indonesia pushes flagship land reform program, farmers remain wary

first_imgAgriculture, Environment, Farming, Illegal Logging, Indigenous Communities, Indonesia, Land Reform, Land Rights, Mapping, Poaching, Sustainable Forest Management Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Under a flagship agrarian reform program, the Indonesian government aims to give indigenous and other rural communities greater control over 127,000 square kilometers of land.President Joko Widodo earlier this month handed out 35-year land leases to farmers across Java as part of the social forestry program.The farmers, however, are concerned about the sustainability of the program, citing worries about getting bank loans, as well as a lack of maps and planning. JAKARTA – Marsudi has mixed feelings about the visit earlier this month by Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to his small village of Nganduk in East Java province.On the one hand, it was cause for celebration as Jokowi handed out permits to the 58 members of Marsudi’s farmers’ association that would allow them to manage and protect a swath of nearby forest — part of the president’s flagship land reform program.But on the other hand, the permits were only the first in a series of hurdles to overcome before the plan can become reality.“Truthfully, I felt pessimistic right after the president’s visit,” Marsudi says. “Because usually when there’s a festive ceremony [like the visit], the impact only lasts for two or three months.”Marsudi was among dozens of farmers from across Java who spoke at an event at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in early November in honor of the permits they received as part of Jokowi’s “social forestry” program. Under the program, indigenous and other rural communities will gain greater control over 127,000 square kilometers (49,034 square miles) of land, nearly 15 percent of Indonesia’s total land area.Marsudi and his fellow farmers received 35-year leases to manage idle or degraded forest land owned by state plantation company Perhutani, which controls 24,000 square kilometers (9,266 square miles) of plantations throughout Java.During the first week of November, Jokowi handed out permits to 5,915 farmers from 22 farmers’ associations in Java to manage a combined 95.5 square kilometers (36.9 square miles) of Perhutani’s land. Under the program, the government plans to distribute management rights to 5,700 square kilometers (2,200 square miles) of idle land to farmers in Java.A group of farmers on a rice field in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of LWYang/Flickr.Farmers’ woesSome farmers have raised doubts about the program’s sustainability, using the event at the ministry to air their concerns.Among the biggest worries: difficulty in obtaining bank loans; a lack of detailed maps of how the land will be distributed; and unclear boundaries between land that can be managed by the farmers and land that is off-limits.Sujoko, a farmer from Brani Wetan village in East Java, said bank loans were what his farmers’ association needed most to develop their land as timber plantations. He said he was worried that state-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), appointed to distribute loans to the East Java farmers, would not approve the funding they needed, given that some of the farmers already had loans from other banks, and there was no guarantee that BNI would approve of how they had mapped out their area.Mongabay has tried to get a response from BNI but they haven’t answered by press time.Other farmers haven’t drawn up the detailed maps needed to apply for a bank loan, given the lack of clarity over the boundaries.“We are confused about the border between the social forestry land and the Perhutani land,” said Rahmat, from the Rimba Agro Abadi farmers’ association in Pemalang, Central Java.Yet others have not received permits under the social forestry program. Only 403 of the more than 670 corn farmers from the Wono Lestari association in Boyolali, Central Java, have received permits from Jokowi, said group member Jundy Wasonohadi.“What about our friends who are left behind and not yet been verified?” he said.Marsudi, the farmer from Nganduk, said he was worried that illegal activities by some in the community might threaten the sustainability of the program. He said his farmers’ association had been fighting illegal logging, firewood collection, burning and poaching on the part of villagers, and had photographs purporting to show these illicit activities, including one of an old woman carrying firewood.“We’re pessimistic that we can minimize these illegal activities because they’re related to people’s livelihoods,” Marsudi said. “When it comes to livelihoods, who can prevent them [from doing it]?”A woman walks across a paddy field in Banten, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of Budi Nusyirwan/Flickr.Government’s responseEnvironment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said she was well aware that problems would arise in the implementation of the social forestry program because of complexities on the ground.“We’re not dealing with vacant land, but with complex areas,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the event.She added her office would address the farmers’ concerns in the coming weeks by helping them with mapmaking and planning.Bambang Supriyanto, the ministry’s director-general for social forestry and environmental partnerships, said his team would immediately map out the farmers’ areas and validate existing maps using GPS.These maps will then be distributed to each farmers’ associations, “so the farmers will be the ones who determine how much land each farmer will get,” Bambang said during the event. “This is important to get bank loans.”The maps will also be used to make agricultural plans, such as what kind of crops the farmers will cultivate.“After these plans are made, we’d like for the program to be sustainable,” Bambang said. “We’d like to empower the farmers’ groups with the hope that they can be independent.”Noer Fauzi Rachman from the office of the president’s chief of staff, which is tasked with monitoring ministries and their coordination, said he hoped the social forestry program would lead to a change in mind-set regarding the use and exploitation of forest resources.He cited the case of the old woman photographed carrying firewood, noting the stigma attached to low-income people who depend on natural resources.“Those who take firewood are often branded as criminals because they’re taking advantage of wood from Perhutani’s land,” Noer said. “I don’t want these people to be criminalized. These people are the ones who should manage social forestry.”He said the program should be inclusive, by allowing villagers to participate in the initiative or join a farmers’ association.Marsudi agreed that more villagers should be included in the program. “I have a plan to recruit those who collect firewood to become members of my group,” he said. “I’ll invite them to plant corn and cassava.” Banner image: A group of farmers going into a rice field in Central Java. Photo courtesy of Dika Soul Seva/Flickr. 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

Norway freezes support for Amazon Fund; EU/Brazil trade deal at risk?

first_imgAgriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Forests, Green, Industrial Agriculture, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation On Thursday, Norway announced a freeze on US$33.2 million, Amazon Fund donations slated for projects aimed at curbing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The REDD+ Amazon Fund was launched in 2008, and was expected to continue indefinitely.However, the anti-environmental policies of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro have put the Fund’s future in grave doubt. Norway’s freeze came as the direct result of the Bolsonaro administration’s unilateral action to drastically alter the rules for administering the fund, even as monthly deforestation rates shot up in Brazil.Bolsonaro seems not to care about the loss of funding. However, some analysts warn that Norway’s decision could lead to a refusal by the European Union to ratify the recently concluded EU/Mercosur Latin American trading bloc agreement. Brazil’s troubled economy badly needs the pact to be activated.Other Bolsonaro critics have raised the prospect that the Amazon Fund freeze could be a first step toward a global consumer boycott of Brazilian commodities. Meanwhile, state governments in Brazil are scrambling to step up and accept deforestation reduction funding from international donors. Trucks loaded with trees illegally harvested within an indigenous reserve. The rhetoric and policies of the Bolsonaro administration are increasingly viewed as putting thriving Amazon ecosystems at risk from agribusiness and mining expansion. Photo by Sue Branford / Mongabay.Ola Elvestrun, Norway’s environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring 300 million Norwegian Krone (US$33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated: “Given the present circumstances, Norway does not have either the legal or the technical basis for making its annual contribution to the Amazon Fund.”Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro reacted with sarcasm to Norway’s decision, which had been widely expected. After an official event, he commented: “Isn’t Norway the country that kills whales at the North Pole? Doesn’t it also produce oil? It has no basis for telling us what to do. It should give the money to Angela Merkel [the German Chancellor] to reforest Germany.”According to its website, the Amazon Fund is a “REDD+ mechanism created to raise donations for non-reimbursable investments in efforts to prevent, monitor and combat deforestation, as well as to promote the preservation and sustainable use in the Brazilian Amazon.” The bulk of funding comes from Norway and Germany.The annual transfer of funds from developed world donors to the Amazon Fund depends on a report from the Fund’s technical committee. This committee meets after INPE (the National Institute of Space Research), which gathers official Amazon deforestation data, publishes its annual report with the definitive figures for deforestation in the previous year.But this year the Amazon Fund’s technical committee, along with its steering committee, COFA, were abolished by the Bolsonaro government on 11 April as part of a sweeping move to dissolve some 600 bodies, most of which had NGO involvement. The Bolsonaro government views NGO work in Brazil as a conspiracy to undermine Brazil’s sovereignty.The Brazilian government then demanded far-reaching changes in the way the Fund is managed, as documented in a previous article. As a result, the Amazon Fund’s technical committee has been unable to meet; Norway says it therefore cannot continue making donations without a favorable report from the committee.Archer Daniels Midland soy silos in Mato Grosso along the BR-163 highway, where Amazon rainforest has largely been replaced by soy destined for the EU, UK, China and other international markets. Photo by Thaís Borges.An uncertain futureThe Amazon Fund was announced during the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, during a period when environmentalists were alarmed at the rocketing rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. It was created as a way of encouraging Brazil to continue bringing down the rate of forest conversion to pastures and croplands.Government agencies, such as IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency, and NGOs shared Amazon Fund donations. IBAMA used the money primarily to enforce deforestation laws, while the NGOs oversaw projects to support sustainable communities and livelihoods in the Amazon.There has been some controversy as to whether the Fund has actually achieved its goals:  in the three years before the deal, the rate of deforestation fell dramatically but, after money from the Fund started pouring into the Amazon, the rate remained fairly stationary until 2014, when it began to rise once again. But, in general, the international donors have been pleased with the Fund’s performance, and until the Bolsonaro government came to office, the program was expected to continue indefinitely.Norway has been the main donor (94 percent) to the Amazon Fund, followed by Germany (5 percent), and Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobrás (1 percent). Over the past 11 years, the Norwegians have made, by far, the biggest contribution: R$ 3.2 billion (US$ 855 million) out of the total of R$ 3.4 billion (US$ 903 million).Up till now the Fund has approved 103 projects, with the dispersal of R$1.8 billion (US$ 478 million). These projects will not be affected by Norway’s funding freeze because the donors have already provided the funding and Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, is contractually obliged to disburse the money until the end of the projects. But there are another 54 projects, currently being analysed, whose future is far less secure.One of the projects left stranded by the dissolution of the Fund’s committees is Projeto Frutificar, which should be a three-year project, with a budget of R$29 million (US$7.3 million), for the production of açai and cacao by 1,000 small-scale farmers in the states of Amapá and Pará. The project was drawn up by the Brazilian NGO IPAM (Institute of Environmental research in Amazonia).Paulo Moutinho, an IPAM researcher, told Globo newspaper: “Our program was ready to go when the [Brazilian] government asked for changes in the Fund. It’s now stuck in the BNDES. Without funding from Norway, we don’t know what will happen to it.”Norway is not the only European nation to be reconsidering the way it funds environmental projects in Brazil. Germany has many environmental projects in the Latin American country, apart from its small contribution to the Amazon Fund, and is deeply concerned about the way the rate of deforestation has been soaring this year.The German environment ministry told Mongabay that its minister, Svenja Schulze, had decided to put financial support for forest and biodiversity projects in Brazil on hold, with 35 million euros (US$39 million) for various projects now frozen.The ministry explained why: “The Brazilian government’s policy in the Amazon raises doubts whether a consistent reduction in deforestation rates is still being pursued. Only when clarity is restored, can project collaboration be continued.”Bauxite mines in Paragominas, Brazil. The Bolsonaro administration is urging new laws that would allow large-scale mining within Brazil’s indigenous reserves. Photo by Hydro/Halvor Molland found on flickr.Alternative Amazon fundingAlthough there will certainly be disruption in the short-term as a result of the paralysis in the Amazon Fund, the governors of Brazil’s Amazon states, which rely on international funding for their environmental projects, are already scrambling to create alternative channels.In a press release issued yesterday Helder Barbalho, the governor of Pará, the state with the highest number of projects financed by the Fund, said that he will do all he can to maintain and increase his state partnership with Norway.Barbalho had announced earlier that his state would be receiving 12.5 million euros (US$11.1 million) to run deforestation monitoring centers in five regions of Pará. Barbalho said: “The state governments’ monitoring systems are recording a high level of deforestation in Pará, as in the other Amazon states. The money will be made available to those who want to help [the Pará government reduce deforestation] without this being seen as international intervention.”Amazonas state has funding partnerships with Germany and is negotiating deals with France. “I am talking with countries, mainly European, that are interested in investing in projects in the Amazon,” said Amazonas governor Wilson Miranda Lima. “It is important to look at Amazônia, not only from the point of view of conservation, but also — and this is even more important — from the point of view of its citizens. It’s impossible to preserve Amazônia if its inhabitants are poor.”Signing of the EU/Mercusor Latin American trading agreement earlier this year. The pact still needs to be ratified. Image courtesy of the Council of Hemispheric Affairs.Looming international difficultiesThe Bolsonaro government’s perceived reluctance to take effective measures to curb deforestation may in the longer-term lead to a far more serious problem than the paralysis of the Amazon Fund.In June, the European Union and Mercosur, the South American trade bloc, reached an agreement to create the largest trading bloc in the world. If all goes ahead as planned, the pact would account for a quarter of the world’s economy, involving 780 million people, and remove import tariffs on 90 percent of the goods traded between the two blocs. The Brazilian government has predicted that the deal will lead to an increase of almost US$100 billion in Brazilian exports, particularly agricultural products, by 2035.But the huge surge this year in Amazon deforestation is leading some European countries to think twice about ratifying the deal. In an interview with Mongabay, the German environment ministry made it very clear that Germany is very worried about events in the Amazon: “We are deeply concerned given the pace of destruction in Brazil … The Amazon Forest is vital for the atmospheric circulation and considered as one of the tipping points of the climate system.”The ministry stated that, for the trade deal to go ahead, Brazil must carry out its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent below the 2005 level by 2030. The German environment ministry said: If the trade deal is to go ahead, “It is necessary that Brazil is effectively implementing its climate change objectives adopted under the [Paris] Agreement. It is precisely this commitment that is expressly confirmed in the text of the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement.”Blairo Maggi, Brazil agriculture minister under the Temer administration, and a major shareholder in Amaggi, the largest Brazilian-owned commodities trading company, has said very little in public since Bolsonaro came to power; he’s been “in a voluntary retreat,” as he puts it. But Maggi is so concerned about the damage Bolsonaro’s off the cuff remarks and policies are doing to international relationships he decided to speak out earlier this week.Former Brazil Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi, who has broken a self-imposed silence to criticize the Bolsonaro government, saying that its rhetoric and policies could threaten Brazil’s international commodities trade. Photo credit: Senado Federal via Visualhunt / CC BY.Maggi, a ruralista who strongly supports agribusiness, told  the newspaper, Valor Econômico, that, even if the European Union doesn’t get to the point of tearing up a deal that has taken 20 years to negotiate, there could be long delays. “These environmental confusions could create a situation in which the EU says that Brazil isn’t sticking to the rules.” Maggi speculated. “France doesn’t want the deal and perhaps it is taking advantage of the situation to tear it up. Or the deal could take much longer to ratify — three, five years.”Such a delay could have severe repercussions for Brazil’s struggling economy which relies heavily on its commodities trade with the EU. Analysists say that Bolsonaro’s fears over such an outcome could be one reason for his recently announced October meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, another key trading partner.Maggi is worried about another, even more alarming, potential consequence of Bolsonaro’s failure to stem illegal deforestation — Brazil could be hit by a boycott by its foreign customers. “I don’t buy this idea that the world needs Brazil … We are only a player and, worse still, replaceable.” Maggi warns, “As an exporter, I’m telling you: things are getting very difficult. Brazil has been saying for years that it is possible to produce and preserve, but with this [Bolsonaro administration] rhetoric, we are going back to square one … We could find markets closed to 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. 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 Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more

Study finds massive reorganization of life across Earth’s ecosystems

first_imgArticle published by John Cannon A new study pulls together data from 239 studies that looked at more than 50,000 biodiversity time series.The research reveals that almost 30 percent of all species are being swapped out for other species every 10 years.The scientists found that the reorganization and loss of species are happening much more quickly in some environments than in others, a finding that could help inform future conservation. Life is reshuffling itself at an unsettling clip across Earth’s surface and in its oceans, a new study has found.The research, published Oct. 18 in the journal Science, drills into data from 239 studies that looked at changes in biodiversity over time. It reveals that almost 30 percent of all species are being swapped out for other species every 10 years.Fish swim near a coral reef. Image by Maria Dornelas.The sweeping hemorrhage of species across the planet continues to rattle scientists and conservationists. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services revealed that a million species or more could go extinct.But squaring that global trend with what’s happening at local levels has been difficult. At this level, research shows that the sheer number of species in many spots are holding steady or even going up. That’s led some scientists to believe that species richness, an oft-used measure of biodiversity that tabulates the number of species living in a given area, provides an incomplete understanding of how life on Earth is changing.“It is increasingly recognized that species richness alone cannot fully describe how biodiversity is changing,” Shane Blowes, the paper’s co-lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research in Halle-Jena-Leipzig, said in an email. “Species richness will continue to play an important role in our understanding of taxonomic diversity, but a more complete, nuanced picture of biodiversity change emerges when it is combined with other metrics.”The researchers found that 28 percent of species are being replaced each decade. Image by Maria Dornelas.Blowes teamed up with ecologist Maria Dornelas and more than 20 other scientists from around the world to map changes in species richness as well as the composition of those local species groups across Earth’s surface and oceans with an open-source database called BioTIME. Developed by Dornelas and her colleagues at the U.K.’s University of St. Andrews, the BioTIME database gave the team access to more than 50,000 sets of data collected over time, known as time series, in nearly all of the world’s ecosystems.In 2014, Dornelas led a study revealing that the relative constancy of species numbers at local levels masked furtive changes in the identities of those species, which they referred to as reorganization. In the current research, the team found that this reorganization happens as species from elsewhere move in and replace the original inhabitants. As a result, the absolute number of species — captured as species richness — remains relatively constant, or might even go up.“Their study thus highlights that the global biodiversity crisis, at least for now, is not primarily about decline but, rather, about large-scale reorganization,” Britas Klemens Eriksson and Helmut Hillebrand wrote in a related commentary also in Science. Eriksson is an associate professor of marine ecology at the Netherlands’ University of Groningen, and Hillebrand is a biologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany.Tropical marine ecosystems had the highest rates of reorganization in the study. Image by Maria Dornelas.Blowes, Dornelas and their colleagues also showed that reorganization isn’t uniform. Indeed, it’s happening much faster in certain “hotspots” around the globe, like tropical marine ecosystems. In the most volatile spots, turnover in species is happening twice as fast as it is on land. Blowes said that marine species are more sensitive to swings in temperature and they live in a relatively continuous ocean environment with few hurdles to their movement, which could explain the quicker turnover. But, he added, they needed more data to know why for sure.On one hand, the variability of reorganization provides a measure of hope, at least in parts of the world.“Our study shows biodiversity is changing everywhere, but we are not losing biodiversity everywhere,” Dornelas said in a statement. “Some places are recovering and adapting.”However, the maps also show where the most worrying trends in species replacement are occurring.The study found that species turnover in some marine environments was twice as high as turnover in terrestrial environments. Image by Maria Dornelas.“High rates of species losses are particularly concerning for tropical latitudes, because in the context of climate change there are likely fewer species capable of replacing species lost,” Blowes said, “as tropical zones entering even warmer-temperature regimes have no current day equivalents.”Clarifying the differences in current biodiversity change across Earth’s ecosystems could prove invaluable in conservation planning, the authors write.“Mapping biodiversity change allowed us to identify regions of the world where rates of either species richness or compositional change are highest,” Blowes said. “And our results should help refine hypotheses of where different drivers of biodiversity change might be most important.”Banner image of a coral reef by Maria Dornelas.John Cannon is a staff writer at Mongabay. Find him on Twitter: @johnccannonCitations:Blowes, S. A., Supp, S. R., Antão, L. H., Bates, A., Bruelheide, H., Chase, J. M., … Dornelas, M. (2019). The geography of biodiversity change in marine and terrestrial assemblages. Science, 366(6463), 339 LP – 345. doi:10.1126/science.aaw1620Dornelas, M., Antão Laura, H., Moyes, F., Bates Amanda, E., Magurran Anne, E., Adam, D., … Zettler Michael, L. (2018). BioTIME: A database of biodiversity time series for the Anthropocene. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 27(7), 760-786. doi:10.1111/geb.12729Dornelas, M., Gotelli, N. J., McGill, B., Shimadzu, H., Moyes, F., Sievers, C., & Magurran, A. E. (2014). Assemblage Time Series Reveal Biodiversity Change but Not Systematic Loss. Science, 344(6181), 296 LP – 299. doi:10.1126/science.1248484Eriksson, B. K., & Hillebrand, H. (2019). Rapid reorganization of global biodiversity. Science, 366(6463), 308 LP – 309. doi:10.1126/science.aaz4520FEEDBACK: 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. Adaptation To Climate Change, Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Hotspots, Biogeography, Climate Change, Climate Change And Biodiversity, Conservation, Coral Reefs, Ecology, Ecosystem Services, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Green, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Ecosystems, Marine Protected Areas, Oceans, Oceans And Climate Change, Protected Areas, Rainforest Biodiversity, Research, Species, Tropics, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Analysis: Floating solar power along the dammed-up Mekong River

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored This year, the first floating solar power generating system in Southeast Asia was deployed on a reservoir in Vietnam.Floating solar power systems are being written into the energy master plans of Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines as well as Vietnam, and into the calculations of investment banks.The technology presents an alternative to additional hydroelectric power projects. For two decades or more, alarms have been sounding for the Mekong Delta. It’s being hammered by climate change, by a proliferation of upstream dams, by unsustainable and inappropriate farming practices, by greed and political expediency. The punishment the delta’s taking has been well reported, first in scholarly papers, then in specialized publications and appeals by NGOs.Now there’s a consensus: an environmental disaster is inexorably unfolding over 75,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) of famously fertile lowlands in Vietnam and Cambodia, home to some 35 million farmers and fishermen. Major media are publishing melancholy obituaries for the Mekong that once was.And yet, in the autumn of a year when the Mekong flood pulse came later than ever, there’s reason to believe that disruptive technology and market forces will spare the Mekong Delta more irreversible disturbance to its hydrology and ecosystems. It boils down to this: low-cost, easily scalable solar power generating technologies have destroyed the economic case for additional hydroelectric power projects.Gaining groundA floating solar power generating system, the first in Southeast Asia, was deployed this year on a reservoir in south-central Vietnam. The 47.5 megawatt Da Mi project was financed by an Asian Development Bank loan. Its builder and operator is a subsidiary of Vietnam’s national power company, EVN.Da Mi is not a heavily subsidized demonstration project, but instead a very sensible response to market incentives. To jump-start a shift toward solar power generation, Vietnam’s government had instructed EVN to pay 9.35 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 20 years to any project brought online by June 30, 2019. For the operators of the Da Mi hydroelectric power plant, the economics of integrating a solar system with the existing dam were compelling. The 50-hectare (124-acre) array of solar panels, each tilted to a precisely calculated angle to maximize solar gain, began supplying power to Vietnam’s national grid in May.Because the cost of solar photovoltaic panels has fallen so sharply in the last decade, and because utility-scale installations can be completed in a matter of months, these projects are now competitive with coal, gas, hydro or nuclear. Panel fabrication and battery storage costs are widely expected to fall much further. Floating solar power arrays constructed on the reservoirs of existing hydropower dams are particularly cost-effective; there are no site acquisition costs, they are simple to scale up as demand increases, transmission infrastructure is already in place, and power generation can be optimized by relying chiefly on photovoltaic power during daylight hours and on hydropower at night.Floating solar power systems are being written into the energy master plans of Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines as well as Vietnam, and into the calculations of investment banks.Floating solar power on a larger scale, 400 megawatt peak (MWp) power, also figures as an alternative to plans to build a massive dam and power plant on the Mekong in eastern Cambodia. By 2014, growing concern over the proposed Sambor Dam’s ecological impact persuaded the Cambodian government to commission a study of alternative designs. The study, delivered three years later by the California-based Natural Heritage Institute (NHI), declared the project an ecological disaster that no set of environmental mitigation features could overcome. Remarkably, the NHI found that an entirely different alternative, floating solar photovoltaic arrays on the nearby Lower Se San 2 reservoir, could deliver electricity to the Cambodian grid at lower life-cycle cost than any permutation of the Sambor scheme, and without significant environmental impacts.Purely on economic and financial grounds, the Sambor hydro plan ought to be dead. However, Cambodia is a country in the early stages of industrialization; its power needs are growing by 15 to 20 percent annually. The country is also a de facto ally of China, on which it counts to deter efforts by Vietnam or Thailand to push it around. Official corruption is rife. Complaints from citizens don’t seem to impress the Phnom Penh authorities. If Chinese state banks remain willing to lend Chinese companies the cash needed to build Sambor and another controversial dam further upstream at Stung Treng, will Phnom Penh have the sense to refuse it?Laos still dreams of getting rich from power exports. Although it, too, is considering an NHI floating solar proposal, neither the ever more dismal economics of hydropower nor accumulating debts to Sinohydro and other Chinese contractors have yet dimmed Vientiane’s enthusiasm to host about 200 power-producing dams. Nor have its neighbors yet backed away from promises to import large amounts of power from Laos. Thailand has reportedly committed to raise its import of power from Laos to 9,000 megawatts (MW) by 2025 from the present 4,000 MW or so; Vietnam, meanwhile, has plans to take 5,000 MW by 2030; and Cambodia has just promised to take 2,400 MW beginning in 2024 from coal-fired power plants now under construction in Laos.In Vietnam, which has left hardly a river within its own borders undammed, expert opinion has now turned sharply against hydroelectric projects on the Mekong and its tributaries. As often reported in the Vietnamese vernacular press, dams in China, on tributaries of the Mekong in Vietnam’s highlands, and on river after river in Laos have throttled the annual flow of nutrient-laden silt to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces and depleted fishing stocks there. Ironically, an engineering and construction firm with close government ties, PetroVietnam Power, has announced that it will begin construction of a $2 billion, 1,400 MWp dam and power plant on the Mekong just above Luang Prabang in 2020; a Thai firm, Chart Karnchang, is expected to be a major subcontractor.Cambodia and its upstream neighbor, Laos, are willing to take foreign aid aimed at greening up their power grids, but neither feels much obligation to reduce an admittedly tiny carbon footprint. In short, though generating power from coal or damming rivers is fast becoming uneconomical, the old ways still have considerable momentum.The Mekong River in Laos, site of the Xayaburi Dam. Photo by International Rivers CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 (Flickr)A bold visionNetting out these crosscurrents, it’s by no means certain that good technology will drive out bad, particularly at a scale that meets mainland Southeast Asia’s fast-growing power demand.Still, environmentalists can dream.One of them is Vietnamese-American engineer Long Pham. Since 1995, Long’s Viet Ecology Foundation has fostered dialogue between experts in the Vietnamese refugee diaspora and counterparts in Vietnam. Now he is urging policymakers in Cambodia to consider his vision of a 28,500 MWp floating solar energy plant on Southeast Asia’s largest lake, the Tonle Sap.Long’s “Sun on the Lake” project is bold in its scope: he proposes a floating installation that is scaled up year after year in step with Cambodia’s growing power needs until it is 590 times the size of the Da Mi solar generating plant in Vietnam mentioned earlier, 70 times larger than the solar plant proposed by the NHI on Cambodia’s Lower Se San 2 reservoir as a partial alternative to the Sambor hydro project, and the equivalent of 47 average-sized coal-powered generating plants.The Tonle Sap is an ideal location for a floating solar power array: it’s one of the sunniest places in Southeast Asia. Panels tilted south at a 14 degree angle will receive, on average, 2,034 kWh of irradiation per square meter per year.Long foresees that a floating solar power system on the Tonle Sap can be built out in 34-square-kilometer (13-square-mile) annual increments to keep pace with Cambodia’s thirst for power. He assumes that the cost of solar panels, currently about $800/kWh, will decline 2 percent per year and battery storage costs will also decline. Adding operational and maintenance costs and the cost of connection to Cambodia’s national grid, Long calculates that the floating solar array could meet all of Cambodia’s energy demand from 2020 to 2045, and likely beyond, for a levelized cost of 7.73 cents per kWh. That’s comparable to the cost of building more dams on the Mekong mainstream, and less than half what Cambodian consumers now pay for electricity.A floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. Upstream dams are impacting the Mekong River, and with it, the lives of those who live downstream. Image by Jialiang Gao GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 (Wikimedia).When avoided losses — the preservation of inland fisheries and agricultural land, and the creation of jobs for Cambodia’s riparian population — are considered, the levelized cost of power from the Sun on the Lake project falls by Long’s calculation to only 4.93 cents per kWh.Long does not suggest who’s going to provide the $31 billion he estimates will be needed to build the 330-square-kilometer (127-square-mile) Tonle Sap project. Will Chinese banks be as keen to fund a huge floating solar array as they have been to lend to hydroelectricity projects? That’s entirely conceivable; China’s factories produce more than 60 percent of the global supply of solar panels and its engineers have plenty of experience building solar farms. “It would be a high-profile opportunity for the Chinese to show their neighbors that they are good big brothers,” Long says.Choices aheadIf not China, perhaps Western development banks and contractors can be persuaded to step up to this unique opportunity to avert ecological catastrophe and profit from doing so. In the near term, however, they’ll more likely focus on the floating solar concept proposed by the NHI in July 2018, which would leverage existing hydropower plants and their reservoirs — five in Cambodia and nine in Laos — to produce an additional 5,000 MW of power.Co-locating floating solar with existing hydropower plants, explains NHI CEO Greg Thomas, roughly doubles power output and reduces its variability. This is because the two modes of power generation are complementary. During the day, the hydropower turbines can be ramped down except when needed to balance dips in solar output induced by passing clouds. At night, taking advantage of the water added to the reservoirs during the day, the turbines can be run at higher speed.Solar retrofit of existing dams, Thomas adds, would enable Laos to meet its ambitious power export targets by building fewer dams and bringing additional power online far faster and at substantially lower cost.An image from National Geographic’s May 2015 feature on Mekong Dams shows the Miaowei dam under construction in 2012. Image courtesy of manhhai/Flickr.Will the decision-makers in Vientiane and Phnom Penh forgo the hydropower projects that they endorsed many years ago, before environmental impacts were properly understood and when wind and solar power alternatives were hardly conceivable?In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen and a few trusted aides monopolize decision-making. The national power development plan, about to be updated, will likely be once again a grab bag of possibilities. Chronic power shortages are a brake on Cambodia’s economic growth, and conventional wisdom has it that what gets built will be whatever somebody is willing to finance at power prices set by the national power company, EDC. The urgency of getting more power onto the grid should favor solar, especially floating solar, but for that to become a big part of the solution, EDC will have to improve its grid stabilization capability.As utility-scale power generation from wind and solar (floating or not) gains traction in Thailand and Vietnam, the Lao government will face difficult choices. It must face up to the very real possibility that the fast-falling cost of generating power within their own borders will induce both Thailand and Vietnam to walk away from commitments to purchase power produced by the erstwhile “Battery of Southeast Asia.” In that case, further hydropower development on the Mekong and its tributaries will no longer be financeable.David Brown, a retired American diplomat, is now a frequent writer on contemporary Vietnam and its neighborhood. In 2016 he produced an in-depth, four-part series for Mongabay exploring threats facing the Mekong Delta and how they might be addressed. Banner: A fisherman on the Mekong River in Laos. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Analysis, Coal, Dams, Economics, Energy Politics, Environment, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Environmental Politics, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Infrastructure, Mekong Dams, Renewable Energy, Rivers, Solar Power, Water center_img Article published by mongabayauthorlast_img read more