Newly discovered Tanzanian frog already facing extinction

first_imgCitations: Barratt, C. D., Lawson, L. P., Bittencourt-Silva, G. B., Doggart, N., Morgan-Brown, T., Nagel, P., & Loader, S. P. (2017). A new, narrowly distributed, and critically endangered species of spiny-throated reed frog (Anura: Hyperoliidae) from a highly threatened coastal forest reserve in Tanzania. Herpetological Journal, 27, 13-24.Hansen, M. C., P. V. Potapov, R. Moore, M. Hancher, S. A. Turubanova, A. Tyukavina, D. Thau, S. V. Stehman, S. J. Goetz, T. R. Loveland, A. Kommareddy, A. Egorov, L. Chini, C. O. Justice, and J. R. G. Townshend. 2013. “High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change.” Science 342 (15 November): 850–53. Data available on-line from:http://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest. Accessed through Global Forest Watch on March 02, 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Agriculture, Amphibians, charcoal, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Forest Destruction, Forest Loss, Forests, Frogs, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, New Species, Rainforests, Research, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis The new frog was collected in 2001 from Ruvu South Forest Reserve in Tanzania, in habitat atypical for spiny reed frogs.The scientists who collected it couldn’t identify it in the field. Fourteen years later, they sequenced the frog’s DNA, which revealed that it was a species previously unknown to science.The new species is represented by just one museum specimen. Recent attempts to find more in Ruvu South Forest Reserve failed to turn up the sought-after frogs, leaving researchers worried the species is being wiped out by dramatic deforestation affecting the reserve and surrounding areas. You don’t have to travel far to discover a new species – just head to the natural history museum.At least that’s how Chris Barratt, a doctoral student at the University of Basel in Switzerland, discovered Hyperolius ruvuensis, the newest species to be named in the clad of so-called spiny-throated reed frogs. The species has been preserved in the Museum of Natural History in London for more than a decade, but was never properly examined and described, Barrett says. That is, until now.“It sat in the museum for 14 years before we took it out,” Barratt told Mongabay. “We were hoping it would still have DNA [needed for identification], and it did.”Barratt and his colleague had a hunch that the museum specimen of now-named H. ruvuensis – then listed as another species in the spiny-throated clad – was indeed a new frog. The unusual pattern of the frog’s spines was the first clue, which prompted Barratt to analyze specimen’s DNA and morphology. Published last month in the Herpetological Journal, his analysis revealed that the specimen is in fact a new species of spiny-throated reed frog, a clade of seven species named for what he describes as a “beard” of spines, which serve a purpose still unknown.The “new” species was collected more than 15 years ago in Ruvu South Forest Reserve, a small protected area just outside of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. At the time, David Emmett – then a wildlife biologist with the NGO The Society for Environmental Exploration – was surveying the reserve.The newly discovered Ruvu spiny reed frog (Hyperolius ruvuensis)from Ruvu South Forest Reserve has never been photographed in the wild and is only known from museum specimens collected in 2001. Photo by Chris Barret“One evening I could hear this reed frog calling,” he told Mongabay. “And I remember thinking: ‘Well, that’s strange. They shouldn’t be here’.”That’s because reed frogs hadn’t been known to inhabit lowland, coastal forests – the very landscape that typified Ruvu South Forest Reserve. This piqued Emmett’s interest, so he waded into the reeds, where he found several frogs that he’d never seen before.Like any wildlife biologist would do, he turned to field guides for answers, he said.“Every time you find anything, you look at the books,” Emmett said. “Normally, you can identify something straight away, but when you’ve gone through to the last page of the book and the frog is still not there, you start to get excited.”He reached the last page, but still couldn’t find a match. Sensing a possible species discovery, he collected a few of the frogs and sent them off to London, where they would later be identified.Ruvu South Forest Reserve is an unusual place to discover a new species, the authors say. Indeed, scientists typically find new species in unexplored, intact, and isolated habitats – and none of these terms describe the reserve. According to Barratt, that’s part of what makes this discovery especially exciting.“This discovery shows us that even a small forest reserve right next to a busy city that’s been surveyed quite a lot can yield new species,” he said. “For me, that’s really exciting.”But it’s alarming as well, the researchers write. That’s because H. ruvuensis is likely “microendemic” to the reserve, meaning it’s found nowhere else on the planet, according to the study. In other words: if habitat in the reserve is wiped out, the species will be, too.And habitat loss is already well underway. Tree cover data from the University of Maryland reveals that more than 3,000 hectares – or 13 percent – of the reserve’s forests were cleared between 2000 and 2014. Research by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), a local NGO, points to fire and illegal charcoal production as the primary drivers.Around 13 percent of the tree cover in Ruvu South Forest Reserve was lost between 2001 and 2014. Currently, forests remain in around 66 percent of the reserve.Hyperolius ruvuensis hasn’t been seen in the wild since it was first found by Emmett’s team in 2001, despite recent attempts to track it down.But that doesn’t mean the species is extinct, the researchers say – more research is needed to make that determination. For now, the authors recommend that H. ruvuensis be classified as Critically Endangered by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a category saved for species that are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, like the Sumatran orangutan.The future of H. ruvuensis – and other species in the reserve – relies on stronger enforcement of protected area laws, Barratt says. And it’s now or never, he adds.“There has to be something done in a way to mitigate people going into the forest and cutting a trees down,” he said. “It’s really at the stage now where it’s completely critical that they do something.”Emmett, now a Senior Vice President at Conservation International, agrees on the state of urgency.“To me this species being discovered and potentially disappearing is a rallying cry to the urgency of the need [for] better protected nature because we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone,” he said. 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

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What the geckos are telling us: new species point to conservation needs

first_imgBiodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Herps, Interns, New Species, Reptiles, Species Discovery, Wildlife Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Ishan Agarwal describes the Bangalore geckoella and the Rishi Valley geckoella.Discovery expands the C. collegalensis complex from 3 to 5 species.Geckos are found in small areas, including forest reserves which provide little protection. Within the seemingly boundless Mysore Plateau of southern India, the newly-discovered Bangalore geckoella (Cyrtodactylus srilekhae) and Rishi Valley geckoella (Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis) pace – centred, unhurried, and only prone to flurries of action when strictly needed.These two nocturnal, ground-dwelling geckos, described in Zootaxa by Dr. Ishan Agarwal, are members of the Cyrtodactylus collegalensis complex – a group of five species that inhabit seasonal forests across southern and western India. Members of this group are small, rarely measuring more than 60 millimetres (about two and a half inches) from snout to vent, and have smooth scales down their backs. The two new species, however, are unique in colour pattern, mitochondrial DNA and morphometric ratios (the ratios of one body measurement to another).The Forest Spotted Gecko/Kollegal Ground Gecko (Cyrtodactylus collegalensis), a member of the Cyrtodactylus collegalensis complex. Species in this complex rarely measure more than 60 millimetres from snout to vent. Photo credit: ISHAN AGARWAL.Agarwal, a biologist at Villanova University, Pennsylvania, first spotted the Bangalore geckoella in 2007. His mother, Srilekha Agarwal, was the inspiration behind its name.“[Her] influence on me ranged from reading me My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell and encouraging (allowing?) me to bring snails from the garden home, to holidays exploring wild places together,” he wrote in an email. “This definitely contributed to my becoming a biologist, and I wanted to honour her with something special.”Aptly, the Bangalore geckoella is found near his mother’s home.When he first spotted the gecko, Agarwal grew excited. But at the time the prevailing belief was that Cyrtodactylus collegalensis was a single widespread species distributed from Mumbai to Southern India, instead of five separate species.The Bangalore geckoella (Cyrtodactylus srilekhae), named after Agarwal’s mother. Her influence contributed greatly to his pursuit of biology. Photo credit: ISHAN AGARWAL.Agarwal also hadn’t begun studying geckos specifically. Many more years of work would follow.In 2010, Agarwal’s colleagues spotted the Rishi Valley geckoella during a weekend trip near Rishi Valley. The location eventually gave the new species its name. But the name is also an homage to Agarwal’s alma mater, Rishi Valley School.Agarwal remains mildly piqued he was not the one to spot the species first, having explored the Rishi Valley before.The process of collecting specimens is rarely a straightforward feat anywhere, and India is no exception. Here, scientists intending to collect specimens are first required to glean various permits from state Forest Departments. Agarwal and his team eventually managed to obtain permits from the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Forest Departments – perhaps reflecting the growing inclination of state governments to view scientific research as a key source to how the country manages and conserves its forests.India’s forests are broadly classified into three groups – biosphere reserves, wildlife sanctuaries or national parks, and reserve forests. The British first introduced the concept of reserve forests via the Indian Forest Act of 1878. A complicated process of reservation followed, involving the compensation of pre-existing rights over the proposed reserve forests. To this day, reserve forests are still accorded less protection than their counterparts.Considering that the two newly-discovered gecko species are endemic to extremely small areas – the Rishi Valley geckoella is known from only a single site in reserve forests, while the Bangalore gecko is known from private land and reserve forests – the conservation implications are stark. The discovery of these new gecko species indicates that peninsular India’s reserve forests may be harboring legions of other species endemic to small areas, a vast majority of which could be completely unknown to science.“If a single hill or patch of forest is destroyed by quarrying or development,” Agarwal warned, “we may lose a unique species, found nowhere else.”The Rishi Valley geckoella (Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis) is endemic to a single locality, signifying that there may be other undiscovered species, similarly endemic to very small areas in India, which could be wiped out by developmental activity. Photo credit: ISHAN AGARWAL.Citations:Agarwal, I. (2016). Two new species of ground-dwelling Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) from the Mysore Plateau, south India. Zootaxa, 4193(2), 228. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4193.2.2Macura, B., Zorondo-Rodríguez, F., Grau-Satorras, M., Demps, K., Laval, M., Garcia, C. A., & Reyes-García, V. (2011). Local Community Attitudes toward Forests Outside Protected Areas in India. Impact of Legal Awareness, Trust, and Participation. Ecology and Society, 16(3). doi:10.5751/es-04242-160310center_img Article published by Maria Salazarlast_img read more

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Greenpeace to take Indonesian forestry ministry to Supreme Court over environmental data

first_imgActivism, Conservation Technology, Environment, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Forestry, Forests, Freedom of Information, Governance, Mapping, Rainforests, Technology, Technology And Conservation, Transparency, Tropical Forests Article published by mongabayauthor 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 Greenpeace wants the ministry to release seven different geospatial maps of Indonesia in the shapefile format.The ministry is willing to publish PDF and JPEG versions of the maps, but it says shapefiles can’t be reliably authenticated and could therefore be altered by third parties.Greenpeace contends the shapefiles could quite simply be digitally signed. Greenpeace will appeal a Jakarta court’s ruling against its freedom of information request directed at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, setting up an encounter between the NGO and President Joko Widodo’s administration in the nation’s highest court.Greenpeace wants the ministry to release a range of data pertaining to the management of the country’s natural resources, especially in the forestry, agribusiness and mining sectors. Much of the data is already available as PDF and JPEG files, but Greenpeace is specifically seeking it in the shapefile (SHP) format. Shapefiles allow for much more sophisticated analysis and watchdogs say it is crucial that they have it if they are to play a monitoring role in the world’s third-largest democracy. Indonesia is less than two decades removed from a military dictatorship historians describe as one of the modern era’s most rapacious and corrupt.Last October, Greenpeace won round one in the case at the Central Information Commission. But the ministry appealed the commission’s decision to the Jakarta State Administrative Court, and the verdict last month went the other way.Oil palm plantations border a rainforest in Borneo, a giant island shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerAt the heart of the dispute is whether it is possible to reliably authenticate a shapefile. The ministry argues that because it cannot watermark a shapefile in ink as it would a JPEG or PDF, the data must remain confidential, lest some rogue actor pass off a doctored version as the real thing.Greenpeace counters it is quite simple to digitally sign a shapefile using the Kleopatra certificate manager. The ministry could certify and timestamp a document in such as way that any forgery could be easily debunked. “Even if someone fakes the signature, it can still be detected,” said Greenpeace information technologist Yudho, who demonstrated the process in court. “It’s really impossible to fake.”He pointed to the 2008 Information Law, which says, “Electronic Signatures have an equal position to manual signatures in general, with legal force and legal effect.”The ministry has meanwhile referred to the 2011 Geospatial Law, which stipulates that bureaucrats can only release officially legitimate geospatial information to prevent misuse or alteration.Agribusinesses and extractive companies generally resist disclosure of such data on the grounds that it would disadvantage them vis-a-vis their competitors.Banner image: Fires burn on a peat swamp planted with oil palm on Indonesia’s main western island of Sumatra during the 2015 Southeast Asian haze crisis. Plantation companies are legally obliged to prevent fires on their land, but observers often struggle to determine whose land is burning because of a lack of transparency in the way of licensing data and concession maps. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerA previous version of this article identified the Greenpeace information technologist by his nickname, Iyoet.last_img read more

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Displaced by Brazil’s giant Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, ‘river people’ reoccupy reservoir

first_imgArticle published by Genevieve Belmaker Amazon Rainforest, Dams, Energy, Forests, Hydropower, Indigenous Peoples, Rivers Thousands who once lived near the Xingu River have been mostly relocated and compensated, but some refuse to go and have taken back territory by reoccupying the Belo Monte Dam reservoir.Overall, tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the dam, which was finished in 2015.Locals known as ‘river people’ are in the process of resettling the area near the reservoir, with over 100 people currently living there. ALTAMIRA, Brazil – All is not quiet on Brazil’s western frontier. Families that were displaced from their homes on the Xingu River, which was blocked to make way for the controversial Belo Monte dam, are undertaking an audacious step to restore their way of life: They are reoccupying the riverbanks along the dam’s 200-square-mile reservoir. Belo Monte is the third largest hydroelectric project in the world.As of February 2017, there were over 100 people occupying the reservoir. They have publicly declared that they are in the process of resettling the area.The Xingu River is a 1,200-mile tributary of the Amazon River and is at the heart of the lives and homes of thousands of indigenous and various forest-dwelling communities.The reoccupation action started after a November 2016 meeting when hundreds of locals assembled in the northern Amazonian city of Altamira (news is often slow to travel outside of Brazil). Altamira served as a staging area during the dam’s construction. At the meeting, local fisherman known as “river people” (ribeirinhos) and indigenous communities condemned Norte Energia, the consortium behind the multibillion-dollar dam project for what they claim is an unsuccessful compensation scheme and a failure to listen to their concerns.Norte Energia has strenuously denied claims of a failed compensation scheme, as previously reported by Mongabay.The Belo Monte megadam, Pará state, northwestern Brazil. The dam cut off the Xingu River and reduced its flow by 80 per cent, December 2016. Photo by Maximo Anderson for MongabayCrews finished construction of the dam and filled the reservoir in 2015, though turbines are still being built. In total, the Belo Monte complex has displaced about 20,000 people, according to estimates by global nonprofits such as International Rivers. The Brazilian advocacy group Xingu Vivo has put the number much higher, at over 50,000.In the first two years of construction Altamira’s population surged to well over 100,000 and millions of dollars poured into the city, but the city now has seen a spike in joblessness and violence. A month after construction ended, 20,000 workers were laid off, and the economy in Altamira fell 52 percent, according to local reports on the news site Amazonia.More than 800 people attended the November public assembly, organized by the public prosecutor’s office of Altamira, which addressed the social and environmental impacts of the 11,000-megawatt dam.Representatives of Norte Energia and IBAMA were present. IBAMA is Brazil’s environmental authority and the licensing body of the project. It maintains a permanent channel of conversation with FUNAI (Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department) for any matters related to indigenous people.There were also organizations supporting communities adversely affected by the dam. They included the Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA), the local advocacy group Xingu Vivo, and the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC), among others. The ISA is a Brazilian nonprofit civil society organization that works on socially responsible solutions to environmental challenges.During the meeting, a group representing over 300 families of ribeirinhos (river people) displaced by Belo Monte announced that its members intended to resettle along the shores of the reservoir. They also announced the formation of a “river peoples’ committee” to fight against Norte Energia and lobby for adequate compensation.“Norte Energia will try and divide us, but we must resist,” said Gilmar Gomes, a representative of the ribeirinhos’ committee.Change in statureLocal ribeirinho families, some of which now occupy the Belo Monte reservoir, are known as “river people” because they live along the rivers and survive largely by fishing.They have a shared history going back more than 100 years when the rubber boom opened up Brazil’s Amazonian interior to settlers that included their parents and grandparents. Over time, they have developed their own unique customs and means of living. Until recently, being called a ribeirinho was a pejorative term, and it was used as a slur.The Ribeirinhos’ Committee selects its representatives at its first official meeting in the city of Altamira, December 2016. Photo by Maximo Anderson for MongabayCrucially, they are now recognized as a social group with a specific way of life. Before, they were simply seen as fishermen, explains Ana de Francisco, 34, an anthropologist contracted by ISA who researches ribeirinho communities.“[Now] that is just an economic term,” de Francisco said. She explained that reducing them to mere “fishermen” is a way to deny their history. “It says nothing about their way of life,” she added. Now, ribeirinhos are working to reclaim the term, as well as the river, rebuilding homes along the shores of the reservoir.Compensation claims and future plansThousands of families affected by the dam have been compensated and relocated. But many – including anthropologists, health experts and lawyers who have accompanied the process – argue that compensation was incomplete or non-existent.There have also issues at the federal level with the basic functions of the project. Since 2014, Belo Monte has had its operating license suspended several times by Brazil’s environmental authority, IBAMA, for failing to comply with its agreed-to compensation scheme.Norte Energia has been accused of using only 28 percent of the resources set aside to compensate those affected by the dam, according to the ISA.In response to a request for comment on the ribeirinho committee and resettlement process Norte Energia said it remains in contact with community leaders.“On a semi-annual basis, the company reports its activities in the socio-environmental area to IBAMA,” the company said in an emailed statement. However, Norte Energia did not comment specifically on the reoccupation or the ribeirinhos’ committee.For the ribeirinhos, returning to their old way of life will present huge challenges; since the river was dammed, fish stocks have plummeted.“This is going to take years, many years,” ISA’s de Francisco said. “It will take at least five years for the fish to come back … they are going back to a lake, to a totally new environment. So they will have to adapt. The question of how they will divide themselves on the land, how they will reconnect as neighbors and they will produce is a big question.”Hydropower’s impactHydropower makes up about 80 percent of Brazil’s energy production, according to the International Energy Agency. Though it is often touted as a green solution to energy concerns, the scientific community largely sees it as an environmentally and socially damaging way to generate energy. It can significantly impact natural habitats, land use and homes in the area of the dam. Though the number displaced by Belo Monte pales in comparison to the Three Gorges Dam in China, the world’s largest – which displaced over 1.2 million people – it has had a devastating impact on the local ecosystem of this remote jungle region and the people that depend on it.The construction of the dam has also come at a time when changing weather patterns appear to be impinging on the livelihoods of people in the region. Ribeirinhos report hotter and drier seasons, which affect the river’s fish populations they rely on.Brazil’s hydropower accounts for about 80 percent of its energy production. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2016Recent scientific research on the Xingu River points to climate change as a possible cause. Brazil-based biologist Cristian Costa Carneira confirmed the changes in a recent interview. Carneira, who researches aquatic fauna, is part of an ongoing study under the auspices of the Federal University of Pará that measures the effects of manmade climate change on the Xingu River in Pará.“We are seeing extremes in weather that are very abnormal,” said Carneira.Separately, Norte Energia is in the first year of a required six-year study to measure the environmental and social impacts of Belo Monte and to determine if indigenous and fishing communities can continue to live downriver from the dam. There isn’t any published research yet because it is an ongoing study.Lives forever changedAt the November ribeirinho meeting in Altamira, the scientific advocacy organization SBPC gave a 400-page report they produced on the dam’s social impact to the public prosecutor. Though the report is not available online, Mongabay has obtained a copy. Based on three months of field research, it claims that Norte Energia has effectively ended the ribeirinhos’ way of life and means of subsistence.The report states: “With the forced displacement of the ribeirinho communities, they lost their territory, access to the natural environment and resources that they relied on for their livelihood and income, which means that they were robbed of the conditions that guaranteed their social and cultural reproduction … When they were displaced they began to buy practically all foodstuffs, living in a situation (of) food insecurity.”The report also points out that the ribeirinhos were dealt a first blow when their homes were destroyed and then a second one with the chaotic implementation of its compensation scheme. The report called on the company to immediately change its course and implement a compensation scheme that follows the report’s guidelines.A flooded forest in the reservoir of the Belo Monte dam, December 2016. Photo by Maximo Anderson for MongabayA major issue stressed in the guidelines for the company to respect is the International Labour Organisation’s convention of “self-recognition” of traditional peoples, of which Brazil is a signatory.Norte Energia was accused of using a “divide and conquer” strategy to move them out of their homes before they were flooded. They were dealt with individually and given “all or nothing” ultimatums before being resettled to neighborhoods on the outskirts of Altamira or onto inadequate alternative land, according to the study. Others were moved onto their neighbors’ land, or next to mega-ranches, which could sow conflict in a region that is already beset with land-related violence and land theft. Land rights in Brazil’s interior have often been acquired through “grilhagem” – the falsification of land titles.Meanwhile others that were displaced did not have the necessary documentation to receive any compensation at all.The report also called on the company to provide the financial means for them to rebuild their homes in order to return to their way of life, while assuring they have access to essential public services.“This council should have been formed years ago, even before Belo Monte was built,” said Thais Santi of the public prosecutor’s office in Altamira, who is providing legal assistance for the case. One of the first steps necessary to move things forward, Santi explained, is for IBAMA to recognize the council.Banner image: The Belo Monte megadam, Pará state, northwestern Brazil. The dam cut off the Xingu River and reduced its flow by 80 per cent, December 2016. Photo by Maximo Anderson for MongabayMaximo Anderson is a freelance journalist and photographer currently based in Colombia. You can find him on Twitter at @MaximoLamarFEEDBACK: 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.Background:Fearnside, Philip M. (2017). Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam: Lessons of an Amazonian resource struggle. Die Erde. Geographical Society of Berlin.International Energy Outlook 2016. U.S. Energy Information Administration.End of Belo Monte works highlights unemployment in southwestern Pará, Amazonia, June 30, 2016Belo Monte becomes reality, but chaos in the city of the plant is forever, Folha de S.Paulo, March 20, 2016Juruna block Transamazon to collect projects for Belo Monte, Amazonia, June 30, 2016Documentary shows impacts of Belo Monte Hydroelectric plant for local population, Agência Brasil, October 10, 2016Murder of Brazil official marks new low in war on Amazon environmentalists, The Guardian, October 24, 2016center_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

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Investigation reveals slave labor conditions in Brazil’s timber industry

first_imgThe report was the culmination of an investigation into slave labor practices in the state of Pará’s timber industry led by the Integrated Action Network to Combat Slavery (RAICE).The investigation found several conditions used by Brazilian law to define slave labor were occurring at logging camps, including forced work, debt bondage, isolation, exhausting working hours and life-threatening activities.According to the report, workers at the camp often felt forced into illegal logging because of dire economic circumstances. This story is the first in a four-part series on slave labor practices at logging camps in Pará, Brazil, produced by Repórter Brasil; their Portuguese version of this story can be found here. Click the following links to access the second, third, and fourth parts in English on Mongabay. Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis The dictionary definition of a settler, “one who emigrates to populate and/or exploit a foreign land,” does not just apply to the Brazilian colonial period. Even in the 21st century, the term settler is alive and well for families that have migrated from the south and northeast to the Brazilian Amazon, in the state of Pará. Lured by the promise of a prosperous life in agriculture made by the government during a period of military dictatorship, settlers arrived in droves in the 1970s. Nearly fifty years later, many of the descendants of these settlers have become hostages to working conditions analogous to slave labor.This is one of the conclusions of the report “Underneath the Forest: Pará’s Amazon plundered by slave labor” produced by Brazil’s Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and the Carmen Bascarán Center for the Defense of Life and Human Rights. The culmination of an investigation into slave labor practices in Pará’s timber industry led by the Integrated Action Network to Combat Slavery (RAICE), the report’s findings show how the federal government played a role in pushing generations of workers into the trade of logging forests under conditions that align with slave labor practices as defined by Brazilian law.“The promise was as great as the abandonment,” says social scientist Maurício Torres, who took part in the research for the report.After being “abandoned” by the Brazilian government in a region surrounded by rainforest and lacking social support, these workers were thrown into a world without prospects, according to the investigation. Their only option was to accept the first offers that came in. In a place where the law at times goes unenforced, they became easy targets in the networks that exploit slave labor.“The law of silence rules here,” said Egidio Alves Sampaio, of the Pastoral Earth Commission. “The peasant knows about this situation [of slave labor practices], but is afraid of reporting it for fear of consequences.”According to testimony documented in the report, workers allege that logging camp bosses would hire gunmen to intimidate them into not demanding the payment they were owed.Life in a forest under destructionData on settlers that work cutting down trees in the Amazon is limited. What little is known comes from federal labor inspectors and non-governmental institutions. According to data from the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), Federal Public Ministry and Ministry of Labor, 931 workers recruited to cut down trees have been rescued in the state of Pará since 2003 – just a bit more than one-fifth of total Brazilian rescues in the sector. The majority were between 15 and 30 years old, according to the inspectors’ records, but the elderly and children were also found to be taking part in this activity.Lack of payment was a common element uncovered by investigations of sawmill sites. During one of the rescue operations conducted by the Ministry of Labor, inspectors asked the workers what they thought were the worst things that could happen to them while on the job. They expected to hear about fears of accidents or death, but most the workers replied they were most worried about not getting paid.Investigators found it was common for workers to go through months of arduous and dangerous labor without receiving any wage. If the wood was not sold at the rate expected by the employers, their loss in profits was often recouped by not paying workers. Since the business was operating illegally, there was no one to whom the workers could turn for help.In Pará, the mission of these timber operations is not to cut down large numbers of trees. Instead, their focus is on specific species that appeal to the international market – like ipê, or Brazilian walnut, a dark hardwood used for flooring, decks and veneers. When they no longer can support themselves from the land, the report found, settlers began to accept offers to make a living cutting down trees in protected areas. The work offers tended to come from neighbors, generally ex-employees of the loggers locally called “toreiros.”Without workers’ rights, the settlers-turned-loggers remained out of contact inside the forest for weeks to months on end, according to the investigation. The sun sets the workday. As long as it is light out, which is the case from 4:30 am to 6:30 pm, the chainsaws were running.The risks inside the forest were significant due to poor working conditions, the researchers found. Logging was done without any type of protection, such as safety glasses, utility uniforms, helmets, work boots or insect repellent. This equipment is regarded as essential for protection, not just from accidents, but from poisonous animals.“It happens a lot that any kind of jerky movement on the log or tractor can cut off the helper’s fingers or hand. Logs roll over and crush guys,” said one rescued worker quoted in the investigation’s report.The most shocking scene for workers, said researcher Torres, were the makeshift structures used for housing. Lacking walls and built from small logs, they covered the workers with only a tarp. The stove was often a campfire made in a paint can or old cooking pot. The meat, caught or brought by the employees themselves, rested unprotected on string clotheslines. Hammocks hung from the tree trunks – often fewer in number than the workers, so for some, there was only the ground. Water, often captured from rainfall, was stored in improvised containers without a lid or treatment. After getting a layer of sludge in the first few days, it was used for quenching thirst and cooking during the long months of work.Forced work, debt bondage, isolation, exhausting working hours and life-threatening conditions defined workers’ lives at many of the sawmill sites investigated by RAICE. These elements are included the Brazilian Penal Code and used by inspectors from the Ministry of Labor to define slave labor.The beginnings of colonizationIn the 1970s, families settled on tracts of land of up to 100 hectares, near recently constructed highways – the first ones in the region and by which the dreamed-of progress was to arrive. Over time, new migrants showed up, colonizing the forest yet remaining isolated within it.Aggravating the situation was a lack of unawareness of the environmental conditions of the Amazon, both on the part of the settlers and of the government that divided the land among them. The farming experience they brought with them from northeastern Brazil did not bear fruit in Pará. To make matters worse, according to the report, lots were drawn up from the map in equal, rectangular shapes that did not take into account soil quality.Without expansion of roads, schools, medical facilities, credit systems and technical assistance, the settlers became vulnerable, according to Larisa Bombardi of the São Paulo University Laboratory of Agrarian Geography. Bombardi said that in order to remain in the places they were living, the majority stripped themselves of dignity without noticing. It was under these circumstances that the logging companies showed up in the 1970s.The loggers built roads out to the settlers and offered others small favors – like money to take the bus, Torres said. Under what the investigation’s researchers describe as an exploitative relationship disguised as benevolence, settlers came to see the logging companies as friends. Since then the cycle has repeated itself.Today, the settlers live in small communities with little infrastructure, such as schools, access to health, basic sanitation and electricity.“What chances do they have for not starving if they do not rely on the loggers’ favors, which makes them slaves?” Torres said.This story was produced by Thais Lazzeri for Repórter Brasil, with translation by Benjamin Blocksom. Banner image of a jaguar by Rhett A. Butler, English video subtitle placement by Mike DiGirolamoFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Environment, Featured, Forced labor, Forest Destruction, Forests, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Illegal Logging, Illegal Timber Trade, Law, Law Enforcement, Logging, Modern-day slavery, Rainforests, Slavery, Timber, Trees, Tropical Forests last_img read more

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Cambodia’s Sambor Dam plans cause controversy as public left in the dark

first_imgA recent social media posting by a government spokesman indicates that the Sambor Dam is a priority project for the Cambodian government, to be completed by 2027 with an output of 1,800 megawatts.The developer that originally planned to build the dam, China Southern Power Grid, pulled out of the project after villagers protested the dam’s potential impact on fisheries. Studies indicate the dam could reduce yields of fish and aquatic animals by as much as 30 percent.China Southern Power Grid’s feasibility studies also indicated that 19,000 people would have to be relocated for the dam.In 2013, the Cambodian government hired the US-based National Heritage Institute to review options for the project. The report prepared by NHI has not been made public, which has drawn criticism from civil society groups. KRATIE PROVINCE, Cambodia — “If the dam is built, it will be like before, in the time of the Khmer Rouge when we all had to move,” said Plau Saret, 44, of Domrae Village on the Mekong River island of Koh Tnaot, right next to the proposed Sambor Dam site. In 2011, she and her husband built a new house. Then, a few years ago, she saw Chinese surveyors digging in the river.The Sambor Dam is one of Cambodia’s priority energy projects, according to the country’s “Master plan for the development of energy generation.” This plan was a well-kept secret until two pages from it appeared Feb. 17 in a snapshot posted on the Facebook page of Phay Siphan, a government spokesman.The plan posted by Siphan states the Sambor Dam will be completed in three stages from 2025-2027, with a total power output of 1,800 megawatts. Attempts by Mongabay to get government comments on the plan were not answered and few details are yet known about the proposed scheme.The dam, in Kratie province, is the biggest of Cambodia’s two proposed mainstream Mekong dams. It has been on the drawing board for over a decade, but final plans do not yet appear to be in place. Last month, the Cambodia Daily reported that in October 2016 the cabinet greenlighted feasibility studies for the Sambor and two other proposed dams, but as yet there has been no confirmation that the Ministry of Mines and Energy has signed on.It’s unclear who will undertake construction work, but Cambodian business tycoon Kith Meng, chairman of The Royal Group, was in February announced as the Cambodian partner. According to rights group Global Witness, Meng is, “known for involvement in land grabbing and illegal logging.” Global Witness also found that the Prime Minister’s daughter, Hun Mana “is a director and shareholder in Royal Group Investment Company.”last_img read more

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Plans to mine coal in South African protected area trigger conservation battle

first_imgFEEDBACK: 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. In 2016, Indian company Atha-Africa Ventures was given permission to mine coal within the Mabola Protected EnvironmentThe deal required signatures from South Africa’s mineral resources and environmental affairs ministers. News that both officials had granted their approval was only revealed last month after public information requests by activists.Mabola is classified as a Strategic Water Source Area, and conservationists fear underground mining there could pollute or dry up vital fresh water. A South African court ruling this month put the brakes on the approval of a coal station in the northern Limpopo province, marking a victory for environmental justice organization Earthlife Africa, who argued that the coal station had not undergone the required climate change impact assessments.It was South Africa’s first climate change court case and marked a victory for environmental advocacy groups in the country. However, it does not overshadow another anti-coal battle the country’s activists are currently engaged in.In 2016, officials signed off on plans to begin mining coal in the Mabola Protected Area, a critical water catchment area in Mpumalanga province in eastern South Africa.Coal mine in the Arbor community outside Delmas in Mpumalanga. South Africa is a leading coal exporter. Photo by James Oatway for CER.Public kept in the darkTwo signatures were required in order for mining to proceed inside the protected area: Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, who gave consent in August 2016, and Minister of Mineral Resources Mozebenzi Joseph Zwane who signed in November 2016. These signatures authorize Atha-Africa Ventures (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of the India-based Atha Group, to begin developing an underground mine in the Mabola area.Several trustees of Atha-Africa’s local partner Bashubile Trust are relatives or associates of President Jacob Zuma, triggering concern that this familial tie has smoothed over the ethical and legal creases caused by this mining application.Official approval of the project was not announced publicly; instead, news that both ministers had given consent came to light in February, after environmental coalitions made a formal request under South Africa’s Promotion of Access to Information Act.Environmental advocacy groups, including the WWF, released statements expressing their “deep concern” upon learning the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) signed off on the mine. This consent was granted less than three years after MPE was declared a national protected area, leaving the WWF describing the DEA’s decisions as “puzzling.”A blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus) chick, South Africa’s emblematic bird. Endemic to southern Africa, the species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and has nesting sites in the Mabola Protected Area. Photo by South African Tourism/Flickr CC-BY-2.0Mabola’s vital role in the country’s water supplyThe Mabola protected area spans 8,772 hectares (21,676 acres). The area is of importance for the region’s farmers and industries, but also for environmental protection and tourism. Its wetlands contain an abundance of bird and animal species as well as vital water sources that could be put at risk if the mining goes ahead.It is the source of three of South Africa’s major rivers (Vaal, the Pongola and the Tugela), and has been classified as a Strategic Water Source Area, part of the 8 percent of South Africa’s land that provides more than half of the country’s fresh water. Mabola is also a National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Area and an Aquatic Critical Biodiversity Area.Atha-Africa intends to mine 2.26 million tonnes of coal per year. This mine, warn activists and researchers, could dry up the water both above and beneath the wider wetland region. Acid mine drainage is also a concern, potentially threatening the health of the community as well as their farming livelihoods.A coalition of activists, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), has fought against the mine since 2008. Eight other core advocacy groups are involved, including Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and BirdLife South Africa.Despite the protests of this coalition, some locals believe the mine will bring much-needed employment. Atha-Africa claims it will create 500 direct and 2,000 indirect jobs, numbers CER says should be both questioned and interrogated.An aerial view of the Wakkerstroom wetland, which together with the Mabola Protected Environment is threatened by coal mining. Photo by James Oatway for CER.An official response On Feb. 23, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) released an official response to the numerous queries from activists and journalists. “It has become necessary to clarify the processes that led up to the abovementioned decision taken by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, in conjunction with the Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane, and to correct misinformation being disseminated in the public space,” the response reads.“No applications are granted without consideration of the said activity’s long-term impacts on water quality and water security,” the statement said. What unfolds, according to the statement, is the careful balance between environmental conservation and economic development, one the department feels they have achieved.The statement explains that Mabola is legally defined as a “protected environment,” rather than a biodiversity priority area — the latter category includes nature reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites. As such, mining operations in Mabola can be granted official permission.In response, the Centre for Environmental Rights argued that the DEA strategically ignored Category B of this guideline. This category speaks of prohibited mining areas on the basis of biodiversity importance, endangered ecosystems, and freshwater priority areas — all of which apply to the Mabola region.The DEA statement also counters criticism directed at the ministries for not consulting the public on this issue. Citing Section 48 of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003, they argue the Act is, “not explicit” about the need for a compulsory public participation and notification process.Additionally, the DEA believes that water contamination is highly avoidable and that an Environmental Management Committee (EMC) can be created to carry out audits of the wetland areas.In its response on behalf of the coalition, CER tackled many comments and claims made by the department. Activists’ requests for public consultation were, according to CER, repeatedly denied. The final decision by the department was only made public through a formal request under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, usually a last resort for journalists and civil society organizations seeking hard-to-access information that is in the public’s interest.CER also claimed (among other issues with the DEA’s statement) the 2014 Environmental Impact Report used by Minister Molewa in making her decision was rejected by the DEA in for its neglect of key areas of concern.Endangered grey crowned cranes (Balearica regulorum regulorum) have nesting sites in the Mabola Protected Area. Photo by Rudiger Stehn/Flickr CC-BY 2.0The battle continuesThe Centre for Environmental Rights is determined to continue fighting the scarring of the surrounding environment by coal mining and the associated risk for water resources, said Executive Director Melissa Fourie.Fourie emphasized that the environmental approvals Atha-Africa claim to have received are technically in flux. “Each and every authorization that Atha has secured for this mine is under appeal or being challenged in court. Two of these appeals have the effect of suspending the authorizations until the appeals have been decided,” she said.Additionally, Fourie argued that water pollution mitigation is impossible in this case. “The main recommended mitigation measure is to avoid all areas of Very High and High sensitivity. This would make the project a ‘No Go’ as almost the entire undermining area is rated as having a Very High or High sensitivity,” she said.In fact, the 2013 Biodiversity Impact Assessment (pdf) prepared for Atha-Africa itself stated that the mining should not go ahead as it was too much of an environmental risk.For now, the battle continues, with organizations such as CER fighting for Section 24 of the South African constitution to be actualized: the right to an environment not harmful to the health or wellbeing of its citizens, and one that will benefit both present and future generations through ecologically sustainable development, while promoting justifiable economic and social development. Activism, Coal, Conservation, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Energy, Environment, Governance, Grasslands, Mining, Protected Areas, Wetlands Article published by Isabel Esterman 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

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Military base-building destroys coral reefs in the South China Sea

first_imgBiodiversity, Conservation Technology, Coral Reefs, Dredging, Environment, Exclusive, Featured, Fish, Fishing, Islands, Oceans, Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery, Sharks 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 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536 read more

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Survey of previously inaccessible region of Myanmar reveals many endangered species

first_img17 of the 31 species are threatened, including tigers, Asian elephants, Phayre’s langurs, and dholes.The camera traps also detected images of the indochinese leopard across all survey sites, suggesting that Karen State could be supporting one of the most significant leopard populations remaining in South-east Asia.A major concern in the region is poaching of high value species like tiger and elephant for the international illegal wildlife trade, the researchers say. The first-ever surveys of forests in Karen state in southeast Myanmar — a region that was previously out-of-bounds for scientists due to security and political reasons — has yielded surprising results.Researchers have recorded at least 31 species of mammals in the region, more than half of which are categorized as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or Endangered on the IUCN Red List, according to a study published in Oryx. Some of these endangered mammals include tigers (Panthera tigris), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), Phayre’s langurs (Trachypithecus phayrei), and dholes (Cuon alpinus).“It is incredibly rare to find such rich and diverse wildlife anywhere in the world today but certainly in Southeast Asia,” said Clare Campbell, Director of Wildlife Asia, an Australian conservation NGO that coordinates the Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative (KWCI), in a statement. “Thanks to the long-standing conservation efforts of the Karen people this area is a refuge for the last tigers in the region, Asian elephants and so much more.”Asian elephant captured by a camera trap. Image copyright KWCI.Karen state (also known as Kayin state), is located in southeast Myanmar and borders Thailand. The state has had a turbulent past, suffering from decades-long conflict that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and allowed little room for development. The region has also been excluded from most previous scientific assessments.“Previously this area has been off limits due to the military conflict between the Karen military units and the Myanmar army, and as a result the entire region has been a blackspot of information with regard to wildlife and omitted from wildlife distribution maps, etcetera. For example, the ‘Myanmar tiger action plan’ did not feature this important tiger habitat,” said Ross McEwing, wildlife conservation lead for the KWCI.Between December 2014 to July 2015, the KWCI set up camera traps in four areas of Karen state, making these the first surveys of their kind. The cameras captured at least 31 species of mammals, including 17 species that are globally threatened, such as the tiger, Asian elephant and dhole.The researchers also detected images of the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) at nearly 60 percent of all camera trap stations and across all survey sites. This suggests that Karen state could be supporting one of the most significant leopard populations remaining in Southeast Asia, the authors write. Only 400 to 1,000 adult, breeding Indochinese leopards are estimated to survive in the wild today.The cameras also captured several records of gaur (Bos gaurus), barking deer or muntjak (Muntiacus spp.), Eurasian wild pig (Sus scrofa), and a few species of bears across the state.“This demonstrates a relatively intact and functioning ecosystem where local human hunting pressure is selective and sustainable and where top predators exist, and importantly reproduce, as a result of a high prey density (or food availability) — something now missing from much of the forests in Southeast Asia which limits the abundance and richness of top predators,” McEwing said. “In some of these areas we have tiger, leopard and dhole all sharing territories which is only possible if prey densities are high, otherwise tigers would exclude leopards or leopards would exclude dhole from these regions.”Indochinese leopard. Image copyright KWCI.Unfortunately, Karen state faces several threats, including poaching of high value species like tiger and elephant for the international illegal wildlife trade, the researchers say. In fact, with the ceasefire between the Myanmar Army and the Karen military units, incidences of poachers using snares along tiger trails has become more frequent, McEwing said. The researchers’ camera traps even photographed multiple groups of poachers.“Clearly the wildlife of this region has been appealing to poachers but the military activity which has caused so much human suffering has perversely been the factor that has ensured the persistence of high species richness in this region,” he added.The wildlife of Karen state is also threatened by increased hunting to support the large influx of people working in infrastructure projects, like construction of dams and roads, McEwing said. The state is also rich in minerals, and mining would not only destroy forests, but also poison river systems, he added.“Karen people have intricate knowledge of their forests and wildlife which is directly responsible for the abundant wildlife in this region,” said study lead author Saw Sha Bwe Moo, technical field expert for KWCI, in a statement. “However, as the peace process brings rapid economic development to Myanmar we are seeing increased habitat destruction and wildlife poaching that have decimated much of the wilderness in other parts of Southeast Asia. We must act now if we are to protect this last great wilderness.”KWCI has recently received a funding of $500,000 from the KfW IUCN Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Program to support their work on protecting tigers in this landscape.Tiger captured by a camera trap. Image copyright KWCI.Dholes. Image copyright KWCI.Clouded leopard. Image copyright KWCI.Citation:Moo, S.S.B., G.Z.L. Froese, and T.N.E. Gray. 2017. First structured camera-trap surveys in Karen State, Myanmar, reveal high diversity of globally threatened mammals. Oryx pp. 1–7. doi:10.1017/S0030605316001113.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Leopards, Mammals, Research, Tigers, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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In Tanzania, a surge in sesame farming poses threat to natural forest

first_imgAgriculture, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Farming, Forests 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 Genevieve Belmakercenter_img Trees in Tanzania’s southeast region are being burned down, sometimes illegally, to make way for sesame farms.In one small village with a thriving community-owned forest project, sesame cultivation has become the leading cause of deforestation.The particularly destructive cultivation of sesame often involves cultivators burning huge swaths of forests to create farmland that is only used for two or three seasons. NANJIRINJI A, Tanzania – Patches of scorched earth line the road on the 100-mile drive from the town of Kilwa Masoko to Nanjirinji A village in southeastern Tanzania. A few big tree trunks, some still smoldering, stick out from the ground here and there in what’s known as Lindi region – the only clues that the barren-looking land was once a thriving forest.The trees, some more than 50 years old, are being burned down by the hundreds to make way for sesame farms. Sesame is used for oil, toasted seeds, as well as meal and flour and pharmaceutical applications, and Africa contributes 70 percent of the globally traded volume according to ETG, one of the continent’s largest agricultural conglomerates.A farmer chops down trees and clears the natural forest to make way for a sesame farm near Nanjirinji A’s forest reserve. Sesame farmers have been encroaching on the reserve in recent years and burning down mpingo and other valuable trees. Photo by Willy Lowry for Mongabay.Tanzania is Africa’s largest producer of sesame seeds and one of the continent’s largest exporters, according to the latest available data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The crop is extremely important in particular to the coastal region of Lindi. According to the most recent research from 2010, 44,000 families grew sesame in Lindi and the neighboring region of Mtwara, about 12 percent of all agricultural households.Today, world demand for sesame seeds is on the rise and the market is growing in Tanzania.In 2016, there was a big push from domestic exporters to get more farmers to grow sesame. The acting director general of the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade), Edwin Rutageruka, told The Citizen newspaper in January 2016 that Tanzanians had been missing out on trade opportunities. He said that the Lindi and Mtwara regions alone could export 440,925 tons of sesame seeds annually. Currently, the regions produce around 41,888 tons, according to Rutageruka.Encroaching on the forestIn Nanjirinji A, a small village which benefits from a community-owned forest project, sesame cultivation is the leading cause of deforestation. A survey done by the Mpingo Conservation Development Initiative (MCDI) in 2012 estimated the rate of agricultural expansion at 5 percent annually in the district. The organization facilitates the community forest project in the village. In more recent years, an increasing number of outside farmers have been creeping into the village’s 61,274-hectare forest reserve (over 151,000 acres) in search of fresh land to farm.“These days there are many farmers coming from outside to farm sesame,” said Jafari Nyambate, chairman of Nanjirinji A.Sesame farming is a particularly destructive form of agriculture, according to Glory Massao, a manager with MCDI. Massao said cultivators burn huge swaths of forests to create their farms, which they only use for two or three seasons. According to research done by the group, farmers prefer virgin land because the soil is easier to work on and requires little maintenance. There is also a belief among local farmers that virgin land produces higher yields.As far as income goes, it’s profitable work. Sesame is the second most lucrative crop farmed in the region, after cashews, and farmers can make about $200-$400 per acre, according to MCDI. Prospecting for new growing space is booming.The main road passing through the Lindi region is lined by plots of scorched earth from sesame farming. Photo by Sophie Tremblay for Mongabay.“Because of the current high price for sesame, a lot of people have been looking for new areas which have lots of potential for growing sesame and one of these areas is the village land forest reserve,” Massao said.Chairman Nyambate added that there are significant concerns over how the crop is being grown. He said farmers hack down the forest recklessly, inadvertently taking down rare species of trees found in the coastal forests such as African blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon, locally known as mpingo), panga panga (Millettia stuhlmannii) and African teak (Pterocarpus angolensis). Mpingo timber is considered one of the most valuable hardwoods in the world. The wood is used to manufacture musical instruments like clarinets, oboes and bagpipes as well as to make furniture and jewelry.The Lindi region is not alone in its predicament. Sesame cultivation is on the rise across the country, according to Tumaini Elibariki Mkenge, a project manager at Farm Africa who focuses on sesame cultivation. He said over the last five years, a slight rise in prices and a growing market has pushed more farmers to turn to sesame farming.“When you grow an acre of sesame, the cost is very low compared to other crops in terms of input and the operations on the farm,” Mkenge said. “The price of sesame has been increasing so farmers have been very interested to get profit from sesame.”Mkenge also said that the traditional shifting cultivation method practiced by many sesame farmers is severely damaging the land. “When burning the land, the fertility of the soil decreases very rapidly compared to normal cultivation,” he said.Situation has become ‘awful’In January, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for the area, asked residents in a village neighboring Nanjirinji A to stop cutting down trees, according to a local newspaper report.He warned that if people don’t stop contributing to deforestation, their wetland forests will turn to a semi-arid zone.Farmers set fire to the forest and then clear the remaining trees for their plot. During a survey of farmers in the area, many responded they believed farming on virgin land produced higher yields, and crops grown on previously forested land required less maintenance. Photo by Sophie Tremblay for Mongabay.“Sesame farming has become awful; there is no water now due to cutting down of trees by the farmers,” Majaliwa said in the article. “For instance, Mbwemkuru River, which did not go dry throughout the year, has now turned into a seasonal water source.” The phenomenon is still too new for there to be available government data.The Nanjirinji A Village Natural Resource Committee has upped their patrols of the forest in response to encroaching sesame farmers, but the chairman said it is struggling to cover the vast area.“It’s a big challenge because the farmers come from outside the village, so we don’t know them or who they are,” Nyambate said. “We are patrolling the forest using rangers and motorbikes, but we need more resources.”Tensions between the village and sesame farmers have sometimes led to aggressions. Last year, Nyambate said that the farmers burned one of the village council’s motorcycles which was used in their patrols and bought with money made from forest profits.“The communities are losing a lot of money,” Massao said. She added that MCDI plans to work with the village to plant trees in order to restore areas that have been destroyed by sesame farmers.While MCDI does not have statistics assessing how much forest has been lost to sesame farming, a recent survey from 2015 by the Tanzania Forest Services Agency points to shifting agriculture as a primary driver of deforestation. Mkenge believes there is an urgent need across the country to educate farmers in conservation.“This is for the future of [our country], our farmers need to get knowledge on conservation agriculture which is more sustainable for the land itself and also to guarantee their farming future.”Banner image: The main road passing through the Lindi region is lined by plots of scorched earth from sesame farming. Photo by Sophie Tremblay for Mongabay.Sophie Tremblay and Willy Lowry are foreign correspondents based in Arusha, Tanzania. You can find them on Twitter at: @sophietremblay and @willy_lowryFEEDBACK: 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.Resources:Schulz, A. & Mbuvi, J. (2010) “Unlocking Sesame Farmers’ Potential for Fair Trade in Southern Tanzania.”The Citizen. “Tanzania Misses Sesame Export Chances”Miya M., Ball S. & Nelson F. (2012) “Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Kilwa District”Daily News. “Don’t cut trees, Ruangwa residents told”Tanzania Forest Service Agency. NAFORMA Report 2015.last_img read more

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