‘I’m really sorry for that’, says Chris Gayle

first_imgMELBOURNE, Australia (CMC):Under-fire Chris Gayle has apologised for comments made to a female reporter during a live television interview in Australia.Gayle has described his comments to Network Ten’s Mel McLaughlin as “a simple joke”, saying his intention was not to disrespect her.The flamboyant West Indies cricketer, who plays for Melbourne Renegades in Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL), has been fined AUS$10,000 (US$7,200) by the franchise.”If she felt that way, I’m really sorry for that. There wasn’t any harm meant in that particular way, to harm any particular person in any particular way like that,” Gayle told reporters at Melbourne Airport after touching down with his teammates.”It was a simple joke … . I don’t know how it reached this far, to be honest. It is one of those things.”During the interview with McLaughlin after his explosive 41, Gayle said: “Hopefully, we can win and go for a drink after. Don’t blush, baby.”His comments have been heavily criticised, with the BBL blasting them as “disrespectful and simply inappropriate”.Gayle said he has been unsuccessful in his efforts to contact McLaughlin to apologise to her.”It seemed to be blown out of proportion. There wasn’t anything at all meant to be disrespectful to Mel. It was a simple comment, a simple joke,” he insisted.”No, I didn’t get a chance to. I tried to reach out to her last night, but it didn’t happen.”last_img read more

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Flying Miracle to rebound

first_imgWith the fancied horses having held their own at Caymanas Park last Saturday, both the Pick-9 and Super-6s start anew with guaranteed minimums of $1 million and $750,000 respectively.The Pick-9 will embrace all nine races on the card, the first Super-6 from race two to seven, the late Super-6 from race four to nine.We look at the first Super-6 which gets under way with a maiden special weight over 1500 metres for native-bred three-year-olds which should see PIANO MAN, PROUD PRESIDENT and MCCALLAN in serious contention at the end. The latter caught the eye when finishing a close second (running on) to VISION OF GOLD over 1200 metres on his debut last Saturday and will be better for the experience.Preference, however, is for the Philip Feanny-trained colt PIANO MAN, who was all the rage (4-5) on his debut in October, but dissipated his chances by rearing badly at the start, finishing 16 lengths fifth to the impressive fast-time winner DREAMING THE CODE over 1100 metres. Having impressed at exercise coming into this race, PIANO MAN should recoup losses with Orlando Foster now called up for the ride.DREALINLER, one of the top two-year-olds last season by virtue of winning the $2.95 million Cash Pot Only One For Me Trophy at 1200 metres on October 19, gets the nod over the speedy pair of BUBBLING KITTEN and ZUGULU in the next race for three-year-olds and up over 1100 metres.ABOVE THE RADAR and PERFECT FLYER, both runaway winners over 1820 metres in recent weeks, should fight out the finish of the fourth race over the same distance for $250,000 claimers.With ABOVE THE RADAR having achieved his win on a $325,000 claiming tag, the seven-year-old gelding (Walker up) from the stables of Lawrence Freemantle gets the nod over PERFECT FLYER and WATER WAVE.STrong runFLYING MIRACLE, who ran on very strongly to win over 1400 metres on Boxing Day, this on a $450,000 claiming tag, should resume winning ways with the improving apprentice Dane Dawkins aboard in the fifth race (fourth in Super-6) over 1500 metres for $350,000- $300,000 claimers.Trained by Victor Williams, the six-year-old gelding wasn’t disgraced in better company when finishing third to out of class BOLD AVIATOR over a mile on a $450,000 claiming tag on New Year’s Day and should rebound in this easier spot ahead of BRAVE PROSPECT and DOC HOLIDAY.FIRST SUPER-6 FANCIES(2) PIANO MAN/MACALLAN(3) DREAMLINER/BUBBLING KITTEN(4) ABOVE THE RADAR/PERFECT FLYER(5) FLYING MIRACLE(6) SPEEDY PROCESS/GENUINE FRIEND(7) STERRI’S CHOICE/ROSY PARKSlast_img read more

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Bloomfield, Shaw head provisional Carifta team

first_imgFOLLOWING last weekend’s Carifta trials, the JAAA has provisionally named 73 athletes to represent the country at the Carifta Games in St Georges, Grenada between March 26 to 28. Defending Under-20 400- metre champion, Akeem Bloomfield of Kingston College , heads the 19 athletes named in this category, while also included here are Jauavney James of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), impressive winner of the 400 metres hurdles at the Trials, long jumper O’Brien Wasome of Jamaica College and thrower Warren Barrett of Calabar High. Closing off the list are Sean Bailey, Timor Barrett, Nathan Brown, Raheem Chambers, Rohan Cole, Kristoff Darby, Romario Douglas, Nigel Ellis, Garfield Gordon, Sanjae Lawrence, Andel Miller, Kevin Nedrick, Shevon Parkes, Jordan Scott and Lushane Wilson. STETHS’ Junelle Bromfield, an impressive winner in the 800 metres, will lead the girls in the Under 20 category. Joining her are Devia Brown, Rushelle Burton, Nicolee Foster, Janell Fullerton, Monifa Green, Semoy Hemmings, Tissanna Hickling, Kimone Hines, Tiffany James, Shannon Kallawan, Britny Kerr, Shanice Love, Sidney Marshall, Patrice Moody, Jessica Noble, Shanice Reid, Ashanni Robb and Sahjay Stevens. Impressive 100 metres winner, Jhevaughn Matherson, is at the top of Under 18 boys’ list. Others are Phillip Barnett, Zico Campbell, Shakwon Coke, Jon Marc Davis, Rasheeda Downer, Dashinelle Dyer, Nicholas Elliot, Keenon Lawrence, Leonardo Ledgister, Joel Morgan, Dashawn Morris, Kobe Jordan Rhooms, Dejour Russell, Michael Stephens, Roje Stone, Damion Thomas and Javantaye Williams. Seventeen girl’s have been selected for the Under-18 category, led St Jago High sprinter Kimone Shaw, the 100-metre winner at the Trials. Others are Annakay Allen, Brittany Anderson, Annia Ashley, Lamara Distin, Britnie Dixon, Cemore Donald, Shaniel English, Daszay Freeman, Michae Harriott, Aiko Jones, Chrisanni May, Myesha Nott, Shiann Salmon, Sanique Walker and Stacey Ann Williams. Following the conclusion of this week ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships, seven more athletes will be added to the team, including the top girl for the heptathlon and the top boy for the octathlon. The management team is: (chef de mission) Albert Corcho, Principal of Calabar High, (manager) Keith Wellington, Principal of STETHS, (assistant manager) Olive Forrester, Vere Technical, (head coach) Reynaldo Walcott, STETHS, (coaches) Andre Headley, KC, Mark Prince, St Andrew High, Shanieke Osbourne, Papine High and Lorna Vernon, Alpha Academy.last_img read more

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Study: Vast swaths of lost tropical forest can still be brought back to life

first_imgArticle published by Hans Nicholas Jong Agriculture, Amazon, Amazon Rainforest, Biodiversity, carbon, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change, Conservation, Deforestation, Ecological Restoration, Ecosystem Restoration, Environment, Forest Carbon, Forestry, Forests, Landscape Restoration, Plantations, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Reforestation, Restoration, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests A new study has once again emphasized the importance of restoring degraded tropical forests in the fight against climate change.Using high-resolution satellite imagery, the study identifies more than a million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) of lost tropical rainforest across the Americas, Africa and Southeast Asia as having high potential for restoration.The researchers say there’s no time to waste on reforestation efforts, but caution that the type of reforestation undertaken must be carefully considered.Countries such as China have increased their forest cover through the extensive planting of a single tree species, but studies have shown that monoculture tree plantations are inferior to natural forests when it comes to capturing carbon, hosting wildlife, and providing other ecosystem services. JAKARTA — The loss of tropical rainforests the world over is a major contributor to the global climate crisis. But that loss isn’t irreversible, according to a new study that has identified deforested areas spanning more than twice the size of California that can be brought back to life.The paper, published July 3 in the journal Science Advances, estimates there are more than a million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) of lost tropical rainforest across the Americas, Africa and Southeast Asia with high potential for restoration.“Restoring tropical forests is fundamental to the planet’s health, now and for generations to come,” said lead author Pedro Brancalion, from the University of São Paulo. “For the first time, our study helps governments, investors and others seeking to restore global tropical moist forests to determine precise locations where restoring forests is most viable, enduring and beneficial. Restoring forests is a must do — and it’s doable.”Reforesting these “restoration hotspots” would have the least cost and risk and at the same time bring the most benefits, such as carbon storage and biodiversity conservation, according to the researchers.“We were surprised at the large area of hotspots found across global rainforests, a total of 101 million hectares,” study co-author Robin Chazdon, from the University of Connecticut, told Mongabay. “This area is larger than the combined area of Sweden and Spain. And these areas are found in all continents and across dozens of countries.”The researchers used high-resolution satellite imagery and the latest peer-reviewed studies on four forest benefits — biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and water security — and three aspects of restoration effort — cost, investment risk, and the likelihood of restored forests surviving into the future — to assess and “score” all tropical lands worldwide in 1-square-kilometer (0.4-square-mile) blocks that retained less than 90 percent of their forest cover.The researchers found that the top six countries with the highest mean score were all in Africa: Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Togo, South Sudan and Madagascar. That gives these countries the highest potential for feasibly achieving multiple restoration benefits.Chazdon said they scored highly because while most of them had lost tropical moist forests, they had high potential to recover biodiversity, carbon, and water resources through forest restoration efforts.“We were surprised to find such a concentration of highly ranked countries in a single continent,” she said. “The study really highlights the high potential for successful rainforest restoration outcomes in these African countries.”The five countries with the largest restoration hotspot by area are Brazil, Indonesia, India, Madagascar and Colombia.Another encouraging finding is that the majority of the restoration hotspots — 73 percent — were identified in countries that had committed to restore their rainforests by participating in the Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011 that calls for 1.5 million square kilometers (579,000 square miles) of the world’s deforested and degraded land to be restored by 2020, and 3.5 million square kilometers (1.35 million square miles) by 2030.To date, 59 national governments, private associations and companies have made Bonn Challenge commitments to restore 1.7 million square kilometers (658,000 square miles) of forest.“It’s encouraging that so many hotspots are located in countries where restoring forests and landscapes is already a priority,” Brancalion said.Small-scale deforestation in the Colombian Amazon. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.No time to wasteChazdon said these hotspot countries should act quickly to restore their rainforests, given that more than half of the world’s tropical forests have already been lost or seriously damaged, and much of the remaining forest cover is under threat.“We need forests to protect watersheds, to mitigate climate change, and to conserve biodiversity,” she said. “As a result of forest loss and damage we are losing species that need forests, diminishing our water supplies, losing soil and productive land, reducing rainfall, and emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.”Despite various commitments to halt deforestation made by governments and businesses, forest loss remains a widespread problem in tropical countries. The tropics lost around 120,000 square kilometers (46,300 square miles) of tree cover last year, an area the size of Belgium, according to data from the University of Maryland.While this number is down from the previous two years, it’s still well above the 18-year average since data collection began in 2001. The tropics lost around 170,000 square kilometers (65,600 square miles) of forest cover in 2016, and 160,000 square kilometers (61,800 square miles) in 2017.Last year, deforestation in Earth’s biggest rainforest, the Brazilian Amazon, reached the highest level in a decade, spanning an area 134 times the size of Manhattan’s land mass.Things are only expected to get worse under the country’s new president, President Jair Bolsonaro. Since taking office at the start of 2019, the Bolsonaro administration has dismantled environmental protections and institutions by firing or not replacing top environment officials, loosening controls on economic exploitation of the Amazon, and halting the demarcation of indigenous lands.Environmentalists have expressed concern that Bolsonaro’s policies will clear the path for unchecked deforestation, with the rising deforestation rate primed to mark 2019 as one of the worst years for forest loss in recent memory.Thousands of animals call the Congo Basin home, including the critically endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei), which lives only in high-altitude rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Photo by John C. Cannon.Monoculture plantations vs. natural forests“If we don’t act now it will be too late, as climate change is already affecting forest functions and the opportunities for restoring and protecting forests will decrease dramatically,” Chazdon said.However, she added that restoration “involves far more than simply planting trees.”“One challenge is to define what reforestation can and should achieve, as it is not always focused on restoring ecosystems, enhancing rural livelihoods, or providing a broad range of ecosystem services,” she said.A broader approach of landscape-scale restoration has multiple benefits, such as reducing species extinctions, mitigating climate change effects, and promoting sustainable livelihoods.On the other hand, reforestation efforts that rely on establishing monoculture tree plantations — one species of tree planted across a wide area — have been shown to provide only limited benefits, and don’t last long enough to make a significant impact.China, for instance, managed to increase its tree cover by 32 percent by 2015 through its ambitious reforestation policies aimed to mitigate floods. But most of these reforestation efforts relied on simply planting one tree species. Critics say this approach doesn’t qualify as restoration, since monoculture plantations are often poor replacements for natural habitat and provide fewer ecological benefits.According to a 2010 study, agroforestry and tree plantations support 35 percent fewer species than primary forests, with many wildlife species only found in mature tropical forests.And even though monoculture tree plantations can be grown quickly, they tend not to survive for long. The longevity of timber plantations, for instance, is heavily dependent on shifting market demand for wood. These plantations can be abandoned if they’re seen as a bad investment and replaced with crops with higher economic value once they’re harvested.“Carbon is being stored in these systems, but many of these trees will not live for very long,” Chazdon said.And even if they do survive for a long time, their climate benefits are still paltry compared to natural forests, which studies have found to be 40 times more effective than plantations for storing carbon.Charlotte Wheeler, a forest researcher at the University of Edinburgh, said monoculture tree plantations couldn’t replace natural forests in mitigating climate change. She called natural forests “the only option that can realistically help mitigate climate change.”One of the major reasons plantations aren’t ideal for carbon storage is that regular harvest and clearing tends to release carbon dioxide every 10 to 20 years. However, natural forests, when left undisturbed, will continue to store the carbon in perpetuity.That said, monoculture tree plantations still have a role to play in reforestation efforts, according to Chazdon. In some places, establishing monoculture tree plantations may be the best option, such as in areas with poor conditions for natural regeneration, she said.“One of the feasibility layers in our study is a measure of the variability associated with biodiversity recovery through natural regeneration,” Chazdon said. “In areas with high variability (high uncertainty), plantations are a better investment and in areas where uncertainty is low, natural regeneration is a lower-cost approach.”Monoculture plantations, like timber plantations, can also contribute to forest conservation by sparing remaining natural forests from being logged or cleared for farming.“To maximize long-term success in reforestation, a variety of approaches are needed and it is important to consider the impact on rural people and involve them in the process,” Chazdon said. “There is a place for monoculture plantations, but they should not replace native ecosystems or be grown in areas that have a high potential for natural regeneration.”Brancalion said the new study could help inform policymakers and advanced forest restoration agendas, from setting targets on the size of restored areas to prioritizing where and how to restore.“With the tools we have developed, countries, companies and other actors who have pledged to restore forests have the precise information they need to roll up their sleeves and dive into the difficult work of bringing our forests back,” he said.“There are no shortcuts when it comes to forest restoration, but there is low-hanging fruit that we need to seize now, before it’s too late.” 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 Banner image: Drained, cleared, and burned peat forest in Indonesian Borneo. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

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An Indonesian forest community grapples with the arrival of the outside world

first_imgSiberut Island, part of the Mentawai archipelago in western Indonesia, is recognized as a U.N. Biosphere Reserve due to its outstanding cultural and ecological value.The traditions of the indigenous Mentawai people, including agroforestry and customary land tenure, have allowed the people of the island live off the forest without depleting it.Roughly half of the island is protected as a national park. The rest, however, has been parceled out for timber and biomass plantations, road building, and the development of a special economic zone including a yacht marina and luxury resort. DOROGOT, Indonesia — Toikot rises as the golden light of dawn begins to shine on the heavy mist that cloaks the rainforest canopy outside his home in Indonesia’s Siberut Island. The pigs leave their sleeping place under his traditional uma clan house and set out to forage in the forest. Later they will return to the farmstead to eat sago.An elderly indigenous Mentawai traditional healer, or sekerei, Toikot’s first task of the day is to gather “something beautiful from nature” with which to adorn himself. Today he plucks two red flowers and places one behind each ear. A loincloth, elaborate tattoos and headdress complete the distinctive customary dress for which the sekerei are known.Toikot’s home, the farming community of Dorogot, is a cluster of forest farmsteads on the eastern side of Siberut, around three hours’ walk from the nearest village, mostly through arduous lowland swamp forest.Siberut is the largest island in the Mentawai archipelago, which lies 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The rainforest-swathed island has been isolated from the rest of Indonesia for half a million years, leading to an unusually high level of endemism. Two-thirds of the animals here are thought to be unique to the island.This unique biological and cultural diversity was recognized in 1981 when UNESCO designated the island a Biosphere Reserve. This was consolidated in 1993 when Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry established Siberut National Park, spanning 1,905 square kilometers (736 square miles) and covering most of the island’s western half.Now, though, both Siberut’s traditional lifestyles and its biodiversity are under pressure from a spate of development projects. While the western half of the island is largely protected, the northeast is already home to a sizable timber concession and a biomass forestry concession. The central government also has big plans to develop a special economic zone in the south, and a highway linking it to the forest concessions in the north. The local government and a private company also plan to bring electricity to villages via a biomass project.last_img read more

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On a Philippine island, indigenous groups take the fight to big palm oil

first_imgAgriculture, Environment, Featured, Forests, Green, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations Banner image: Larry Arcuyo, Chairman of the Aramaywan Farmer’s multi-purpose cooperative, holds up a handful of palm oil kernel. Photo by Rod Harbinson for Mongabay. Please contact the author if you’re interested in republishing any images in this story: rod.harbinson@yahoo.comFeedback: 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. Many Palawan indigenous communities say they have suffered unfair land acquisition or lease arrangements for oil palm plantations. The situation hit a peak around 2007, when palm oil company Agumil Philippines promoted palm oil around the island as a miracle get-rich-quick crop.Many tribal landowners leased or sold parcels of land to Agumil. Those who leased said they were provided loans from the government-run Land Bank of the Philippines, negotiated by Agumil, to clear the land and plant oil palm saplings. Title deeds to the leased land were lodged with the bank as collateral against the loans, where they remain.Today the plantations are producing plentiful bunches of oil palm fruit. Still, landowners say they have yet to see any financial returns on their leased land. The problem all cite is that the loans came with crippling 14 percent annual interest rates, which left the original loan amounts inflating out of control. The terms of the lease contracts also stipulate that ongoing operational and managements costs be subtracted from the loan and harvest income.Now tribal groups are fighting back on multiple fronts. A tribal representative in the municipality of Rizal recently won a mayoral election. The re-elected mayor of neighboring Brooke’s Point has also pledged a halt to more oil palm plantations. Three of the seven municipalities in southern Palawan have now placed limitations on oil palm cultivation. The sandy path from the village of bamboo houses winds down through the coconut palms, which gives way to mangroves growing along the muddy shoreline. The seven elders inspect their fishing boats. Hand-built using timber from their communal forest, the small craft have bamboo outriggers to keep them stable in the open sea.The Sarong community on the island of Palawan in the Philippines has for generations been living a similar way of life from the forest, cultivated fields, stands of coconut and fishing. But a few years ago, in 2012, their lives were turned upside down when they noticed that their communal forest was being logged and cleared without any consultation, let alone their permission.“A contractor coming from another barangay [village] was clearing the land,” says Romeo L. Japson, who grew up in the community.Community members say the company responsible then went on to plant oil palm saplings on 200 hectares (500 acres) of their ancestral land. They add that now, every time they pass by the plantation, they’re reminded of how their community forest was razed. To this day they are bitter that the situation persists and they have no redress.Sarong community members chatting on the porch of a village house, in Southern Palawan. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.They are not alone, as many other Palawan indigenous communities have also suffered what they see as unfair land acquisition or lease arrangements for oil palm plantations. The situation hit a peak around 2007, when palm oil company Agumil Philippines promoted palm oil around the island as a miracle get-rich-quick crop. Twenty-five percent Filipino- and 75 percent Malaysian-owned, Agumil is a subsidiary of Agusan Plantations (API) and operates the only palm oil processing plant on Palawan.Now tribal groups are fighting back on multiple fronts. A tribal representative in the municipality of Rizal recently won a mayoral election. The re-elected mayor of neighboring Brooke’s Point has also pledged a halt to more oil palm plantations. Three of the seven municipalities in southern Palawan have now placed limitations on oil palm cultivation.Meanwhile, a growing number of communities are responding to threats to their ancestral domains by pursuing legal recognition of their community land and water resources. Two communities celebrated success in 2018, and at least 12 more claims are in process.Tribal land appropriationMany tribal landowners leased or sold parcels of land to Agumil. Those who leased said they were provided loans from the government-run Land Bank of the Philippines, negotiated by Agumil, to clear the land and plant oil palm saplings. Title deeds to the leased land were lodged with the bank as collateral against the loans, where they remain.“Until now I am riding only in my thongs,” said Mily Saya, landowner and member of the village cooperative in the barangay of Aramaywan. He explains how early company promises of a car and stone house failed to materialize. He says he “has no idea how to get back the land title” for his 4.7 hectares (11.6 acres) from the Land Bank.“I don’t know how big the loan is from the Land Bank,” he says, explaining how the company planted oil palm seedlings on 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of his land but abandoned the rest with no explanation.Mily Saya Landowner and member of the Aramaywan cooperative, leased most of his land to Agumil but has yet to realize any return. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.In time, the saplings matured and today the plantations are producing plentiful bunches of oil palm fruit. Still, members of the landowner cooperatives say they have yet to see any financial returns on their leased land. The problem all cite is that the loans came with crippling 14 percent annual interest rates, which left the original loan amounts inflating out of control. The terms of the lease contracts also stipulate that ongoing operational and managements costs be subtracted from the loan and harvest income.“You will become a rich man,” Larry Arcuyo says he and other landowners were promised, “before entering into contracts” with Agumil. Arcuyo chairs the Aramaywan farmers’ cooperative, one of 14 such growers’ cooperatives on the island. He says Aramaywan has 26 members who have leased land to Agumil. “There are rich men in Palawan — rich of debt,” he says. “We are praying that someone helps us to resolve that problem.“From the start almost 11 years [ago], the landowners have never seen any money even through the harvesting started eight years ago … Some landowners already died in the meantime,” Arcuyo says. He adds that the price per kilo of palm fruit set by Agumil “is already very low.” Even then, he says, this payment never reaches the farmers who have leased their land to the company; instead, “it is given to the Land Bank for settling the debt,” including for preparation of the land and the initial seedlings. “All decisions regarding finances are controlled by the company,” Arcuyo says.Palm oil fruit harvested from a plantation in Aramaywan community awaits transport to the Agumil processing plant. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.According to the Coalition against Land Grabbing (CALG), a local indigenous organization campaigning for indigenous people’s rights, 9,000 hectares (22,200 acres) in Palawan have been cleared for oil palm plantations, and the government is inviting foreign investors to develop more. Agumil spokesman Eric Ang told Mongabay, “We intend to expand our business in the oil palm industry but for now we are consolidating in Palawan.”CALG says that if rules and regulations had been implemented properly, Agumil would never have been able to develop its plantations in the first place. It claims the Philippines’ Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA Law) has been ignored, and that the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) has failed to implement its Strategic Environmental Plan as required under a 1992 act. The group also says that environmental compliance certificates should never have been issued to palm oil companies by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The department did not respond to an email request to comment from Mongabay.Arbitration between tribes and companyThe Palawan Palm Oil Industry Development Council (PPOIDC), a multi-stakeholder industry body, is seeking a solution to the ongoing disagreements. However, four meetings “resulted in deadlock,” according to the minutes of the most recent meeting, held last November, and an agreement has still not been reached.According to lease agreements obtained by Mongabay, Agumil offered a land rental rate of 17,000 pesos ($333) per hectare for a 10-year period, amounting to 1,000 to 2,000 pesos ($20 to $40) per hectare per year to each landowner. In addition, it offered 200 pesos ($4) per ton for harvested palm fruit.The price of processed palm oil has been dropping in recent months, and on May 31 stood at $563 per metric ton, the sixth-lowest monthly valuation in the past five years.Palm oil from the Agumil processing plant at Maasin is trucked to the port at Brookes Point from where it is shipped to other parts of the Philippines and abroad. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.It was noted at the PPOIDC meeting that the estimated tonnage of palm oil per hectare was well below that promised to farmers by Agumil at the project initiation. In contrast, the palm oil cooperatives demanded a signing bonus of 20,000 pesos ($400), production sharing of 400 pesos ($8) per metric ton, and land lease rental of 10,000 pesos ($200) per hectare per year.The meeting recommended that Agumil reconsider its offer to the cooperatives and if still no agreement could be reached, the committee should “render a report to the committee on Cooperatives, House of Representatives, and recommend/request Congress to provide legal assistance to the Palm Oil Cooperatives for the filing of appropriate case, a class suit against Agumil.”It also recommended that the “Top management of the Landbank of the Philippines conduct a thorough investigation on the various accounts of the Oil Palm Cooperatives and possibly cooperate with the Oil Palm Cooperatives in filing appropriate legal charges against Agumil.”Back in 2015, only one co-op had already repaid its loan and four were up-to-date with payments and on course for full repayment by 2023. Seven, however, needed loan restructuring and two had defaulted on their repayments. Restructuring in previous meetings had involved interest rate reductions from 14 percent to 7 percent, and the management fee charged by Agumil reduced from 10 percent to between 2.5 and 5 percent.Summing up, board member B.M. Rama said that, “with what had happened to this industry, somebody must be [held] responsible and liable to this problem and that this case should be brought to the proper forum which is the court.”Workers load bunches of palm oil fruit onto a truck bound for the Agumil processing plant at Brookes Point, Palawan. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.Asked by Mongabay whether Agumil would be improving terms to co-ops in future, Ang said: “There is no change in the terms and conditions of the Lease Agreement entered between the Coops and the Company.” He maintained that the coops are still liable for a start-up 20 percent equity advance, a matter hotly disputed in the meeting. “We are agreeable to an independent audit of the 20 percent equity advance,” Ang said, adding that none of the co-ops had yet initiated the auditing process.The idea that the capital debt of the co-ops be assumed by another entity was recommended by a study commissioned by the government’s Cooperative Development Authority. Ang says this “was explored by the Land Bank of Philippines (LBP) and Agumil.” Such a restructuring scheme has yet to be implemented, and according to Ang, would entail a new company assuming the capital debt and a further loan from the Land Bank along with a “processing agreement with Agumil.”Moratoria stop palm oil plantationsThese days, the tribes are getting organized and pursuing ways to seek justice for their lost earnings. Mobilizing to stem the spread of oil palm plantations in Palawan, groups such as CALG have networked with Palawan’s tribal groups to explain the risks of leasing their land. According to CALG chairman Kemil Motalib, the lessons have been learned and nobody is leasing land to Agumil any longer, though some are selling plots in areas where cultivation is still permitted.There’s another cause for celebration among Palawan’s indigenous communities: the planting of oil palm has been banned in two other provinces in the Philippines, a trend others may follow in the coming months.“No to expansion of palm oil planting in Rizal for five years,” says Kemil, explaining the substance of the moratorium declared by the Rizal municipal government in October 2018. Kemil, who is from the Tagbanwa tribe, said that a year of painstaking lobbying that included frequent meetings with government officials by CALG members and local indigenous people had finally paid off: “After one year the moratorium was signed by the Municipal Mayor of Rizal,” he says. “Agumil cannot question it because that is ordinance. That is the law made by the municipal government.”This sense of victory was reinforced by the election of Rizal’s first indigenous mayor. Otol Odi, a member of the Palaw’an tribe, was won the May 13 election, polling nearly twice his nearest rival. Odi, now in his seventies, attracted widespread support among Rizal’s population of 50,000 with his platform of defending the area’s natural resources from big business.The municipality of Quezon was the first in the Philippines to declare a moratorium on oil palm cultivation, back in 2014. After recent victories, CALG is now pressing for similar moves in the municipalities of Española and Bataraza. When asked by Mongabay whether Agumil would respect the moratoria, Ang said, “We will abide by any rules and regulations imposed by the Government.”Youth and children from Brookes Point hang out on a shipping buoy at the edge of the harbor where palm oil is exported. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.A further challenge to palm oil companies came from the May 16 re-election of Mary Jean Feliciano as mayor of Brooke’s Point. Despite Agumil being headquartered at Maasin near Brooke’s Point, where its processing plant is located, and using the town’s port facilities for exporting palm oil, Mayor Feliciano has pledged no new oil palm plantations in her region. (She says the two existing plantations can stay for now.) When asked what impact this would have on Agumil’s business, Ang said the company was “not aware of Mayor Feliciano’s pledge.”Recognizing ancestral domain landIn an August 2018 ceremony, ancestral domain titles were awarded to the Tagbanwa tribes in the barangays of Berong and Aramaywan. In all, the titles awarded by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) covered 31,000 hectares (76,600 acres) of territory, comprising 23,000 hectares (56,800 acres) of land and 8,000 hectares (19,800 acres) of ancestral waters.“The forest land is inside the ancestral domain because the forest provides many things, such as honey, rattan, and almaciga [Agathis philippinensis] tree resin,” says Sarong resident Romeo Japson. “They are hunting grounds and provide clean water to drink. There are also natural medicines in the forest that can prevent and cure many illnesses.”A tribal elder from Sarong community in Southern Palawan. Photo by Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.After an application has been filed, it is assessed by the NCIP at the national office in Manila. Here the order is issued for a survey of the area to determine parcel size and boundaries.“Ancestral domain land is the common land of the indigenous peoples. So the indigenous people are claiming their land, no limits to the thousands of hectares that they claimed. They can own that but only communally, not in the name of one person,” Japson says. He adds that marine and mangrove areas can also be applied for under ancestral domain.However, there are hurdles. According to Kemil, it takes at least five years to process an application, with the domains granted to Berong and Aramaywan the result of “12 years hard work.” Part of this is due to the average cost per application of around 1 million pesos ($19,500), which can take a while to amass. Then there’s the issue of capacity.“The NCIP is very stretched as there is only one office in the whole of Palawan and only a few staff,” Kemil says.An indigenous community member from Aramaywan village, Palawan. Photo by Rod Harbinson/RodHarbinson.com.Despite the obstacles, the number of ancestral domain applications has grown, with 12 currently in the pipeline. CALG has an ambitious program in the works that intends to support three barangays each in the municipalities of Batarazza and Matarazza and six in Quezon, according to Kemil.After years of struggling against the odds for the rights to their land, the indigenous peoples of Palawan appear to be making progress.“Ancestral domain is the only way the Katutubo [indigenous peoples] can protect their rights, their land,” Japson says. “It will decide whether they live freely and whether they maintain their own traditions and culture.“Indigenous people believe if there is a forest, there is food, there is medicine, there is everything else.” Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis 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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Heart of Ecuador’s Yasuni, home to uncontacted tribes, opens for oil drilling

first_imgEcuador’s environment ministry has approved the environmental assessment plans to drill for oil in Ishpingo, the last field of the controversial ITT (Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini) project in Yasuni National Park.Saving Yasuni from oil extraction has long been a priority for conservationists, since former president Rafael Correa launched the ITT initiative in 2007, asking for international donations in return for keeping oil in the ground. The initiative failed in 2013.Ishpingo is the most controversial of the three ITT fields as it overlaps with the Intangible Zone, home to two uncontacted indigenous communities, the Tagaeri and Taromenane; the government claims it will not expand into this area.The Ecuadoran government also signed a new decree that now allows oil platforms to be constructed within the Intangible Zone’s buffer area, which was previously forbidden. QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park sits in a unique position on the equator, between the Andes mountain range and the Amazon rainforest, which has allowed a rich and distinct biodiversity to flourish. The region is surrounded by towering ceibo and mahogany trees, emblematic of the area, as well as hundreds of endemic birds, mammals and amphibians. Traveling down the Yasuni River at the far east of the park, it’s hard to really fathom this diversity that surrounds you, as lush green jungle extends for miles on either side.Yet conservationists are worried. Earlier this year, the Ecuadoran government approved two new controversial plans to drill for oil farther into Yasuni National Park, which will also encroach on the Intangible Zone (known by its Spanish acronym ZITT), a special area within the park created to protect the two uncontacted indigenous nations that live there, the Tagaeri and Taromenane.In April, the Ministry of Environment approved plans to open two platforms of the Ishpingo oil field, the third phase of the controversial Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) project. Ishpingo is the most contentious field in the ITT project as it is the largest and overlaps with the ZITT and its buffer zone, an area 10 kilometers (6 miles) wide that surrounds the ZITT.Then in May, President Lenín Moreno signed a new decree that allows oil platforms to be constructed within the Intangible Zone’s buffer area, which was previously forbidden.Yasuni National Park has long been controversial for being an area rich in biodiversity that also has some of Ecuador’s largest oil reserves, in a country that is highly dependent on oil revenue. Activists say these recent decisions will have major environmental repercussions in a region that was once a beacon of hope for global conservation, and on the two indigenous nations that live in voluntary isolation there.last_img read more

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In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, July 19, 2019

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content. Tropical forestsSmall oil palm farmers in Peru are supplying huge companies like Nestlé with their product (Swissinfo.ch).More than three-quarters of commodity suppliers haven’t made deforestation commitments (Supply Chain Dive).Fewer forest elephants means more carbon in the atmosphere, research shows (ZME Science, Gizmodo).The Catholic Church is involved in conservation efforts in the Congo Basin (Crux Now).Poaching and habitat loss have cut the numbers of the Masai subspecies of giraffe by 50 percent, and they’re now considered endangered (National Geographic).Authorities arrested Hawaiian elders protesting the construction of a telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea (The New York Times).Bornean orangutans are holding steady in protected areas in northern Borneo, but aren’t faring as well in areas with oil palm plantations (PLOS ONE/EurekAlert).Other newsA U.S. climate scientist talks about her faith as an evangelical Christian (The Washington Post).U.S. officials say that several Asian countries are to blame for plastic in the world’s oceans, without acknowledging the United States’ own contributions to the problem (Pacific Standard).Iron particles released by human activity could be changing the ocean’s geochemistry (Scientific American).Images of an orphaned dugong in Thailand have gone viral, drawing conservation attention to the species (Smithsonian).China is working to get a handle on “rogue” CFC emissions (Nature).Loggerhead sea turtles are laying eggs at a record pace in the southern U.S. (Associated Press).Climate change has increased the size of California’s wildfires by 500 percent (The Atlantic).Natural disasters unleash a slurry of harmful chemicals (The New York Times).Not all bioplastics are biodegradable (Ensia).A tanker has spilled thousands of tons of bauxite into a bay in the Solomon Islands, just months after an oil spill hit the same area (The Guardian).The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency won’t outlaw the use of a pesticide that may cause problems for children, questioning the “significance” of the data (The Washington Post).Banner image of a loggerhead sea turtle by ukanda via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0 ).FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by John Cannoncenter_img Conservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update last_img read more

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Gabonese timber linked to illegal logging seized in Antwerp

first_imgCorruption, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Law, Forest Loss, Forests, Governance, Government, Habitat Loss, Illegal Logging, Illegal Timber Trade, Logging, Rainforests, Timber, Timber Laws, timber trade, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests, Tropical hardwoods In 2016 and 2017, EIA investigators posed as timber merchants and met with WCTS’s deputy general manager, Chen Wixing. They secretly filmed a series of meetings with Chen and other WCTS employees.“His business model is essentially structural over-harvesting, tax evasion, money laundering and, covering all that, corruption,” Handy said.According to Handy, WCTS was extracting between two and three times its legal quota. When the EIA spoke to Chen in 2016, Handy says WCTS was already cutting down forest in areas it was not supposed to have reached until 2030.In the videos, published by the EIA in May this year, Chen also describes evading tax through transfer pricing and channeling his exports through smaller companies to avoid the attention of the authorities in Gabon.Following the EIA’s exposé, WCTS is now under investigation in Gabon.As part of its commitment to reduce illegal logging, the European Union introduced the EUTR in 2013, making it an offense to import illegally logged timber into the bloc. A key part of the regulation is a requirement that European companies importing timber must conduct thorough due diligence on their timber sources.Guidance documents produced by the European Commission in 2016 to assist timber traders in interpreting the EUTR state, “In cases where the risk of corruption is not negligible, even official documents issued by authorities cannot be considered reliable.” It is on this basis that Greenpeace believes Compagnie de Bois Anvers failed to conduct due diligence.In a statement responding to inquiries from Mongabay, Compagnie du Bois Anvers said, “We were of course shocked to see the set of movies that was released by EIA on 22/5/2019. We have immediately suspended our relationship with WCTS until the outcome of further investigations.”It declined to comment further until the Belgian investigation is complete.Allegations of illegal activities by WCTS have been aired publicly since 2017. WCTS was fined by the Gabonese authorities in 2017 following an investigation. It is also the subject of a civil complaint by Conservation and Justice, a Gabonese NGO. Verbelen said he believes the availability of this information means that Compaigne du Bois Anvers had clearly failed in its due diligence obligation.“There are more than enough indications if you are a timber trader in Belgium that there is a high risk of dealing with illegal timber when you’re buying from this company,” he said. “[Compagnie du Bois Anvers] needs to be investigated and, in our opinion, sanctioned.”Compagnie du Bois Anvers and Greenpeace are now awaiting the outcome of the Belgian government’s investigation.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.Banner image: Timber exported by Wan Chuan Timber SARL currently blocked at the port of Antwerp, Belgium. Image courtesy of Philippe Verbelen/Greenpeace Belgian authorities have blocked a shipment of tropical timber from Gabon after a tip-off by Greenpeace.Under the EU Timber Regulation, European companies have an obligation to conduct proper due diligence on the source of the timber they import.Greenpeace says this due diligence requirement was not met in this case, as the wood was exported by a Chinese logging firm with previous allegations of illegal logging. On July 8, Greenpeace forest campaigner Philippe Verbelen was conducting routine monitoring at the Belgian port of Antwerp when he noticed a familiar name attached to a timber shipment: Wan Chuan Timber SARL (WCTS), a company that has been exposed and fined for a series of grave offenses in Gabon.Verbelen alerted customs officials at the port, who moved quickly moved to block the shipment of padoek, a tropical timber. The Belgian government is now investigating the company receiving the shipment, Antwerp-based Compagnie de Bois Anvers, for a possible breach of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR).The shipment in question came from Gabon, a country that currently still has 85 percent coverage of incredibly biodiverse rainforest. In May this year, Pierre Moussavou, Gabon’s then-vice president and minister of state for forests and the environment, was fired in connection with a timber scandal.“[Gabon] is a country with a high level of corruption linked to the forestry sector,” Verbelen said. “European timber companies clearly need to identify companies active in Gabon as a high risk for doing business.”WCTS, which exported the timber, is a Chinese logging company operating in Gabon. Verbelen recognized its name from an undercover probe by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an NGO based in Washington, D.C. The EIA came across WCTS in 2016 while investigating illegal logging activity in Gabon.“We were asking who the really bad guys were, who were the people or the companies that were just breaking all the rules with no respect,” said Lisa Handy, the EIA’s director of forest campaigns, “and several times everybody was referring back to WCTS.” 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 terna gyuselast_img read more

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As Amazon deforestation in Brazil rises, Bolsonaro administration attacks the messenger (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Rhett Butler Officials in the Bolsonaro administration have attacked the credibility of the National Institute for Space Research’s system for tracking deforestation.But an analysis indicates their criticism of INPE is flawed.Nonetheless, the Bolsonaro administration is taking measures against the agency, including firing INPE’s director Ricardo Galvão on Friday.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. On July 31, Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles tried to explain the data showing a huge deforestation outbreak detected in June this year, but his success was essentially zero. The following day, on August 1, he held a press conference with President Jair Bolsonaro, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Ernesto Araújo), and the head of the Institutional Security Office (General Augusto Heleno). Minister Salles made a presentation questioning the data produced by INPE (National Institute for Space Research) from its DETER (Deforestation Detection in Real Time) system. These data pointed to an 88% increase in the deforestation detected in June 2019, compared to the same month in 2018. The minister alleged that INPE’s data contained two flaws that supposedly rendered the numbers “untrue”:Deforestation carried out in previous monthsThe first criticism was that some of the 3250 polygons (the outlines on satellite imagery around deforestation areas) that were detected in June contained deforestation that had “started” in the months prior to June without being registered by the DETER system. He highlighted some of these polygons where deforestation had begun before January 1, 2019, when Jair Bolsonaro took office as president. Some polygons contained deforestation that had occurred between August and December 2018 and one polygon had started in 2017. The minister argued that the area of these polygons should be subtracted from the 978 km2 clearcut that had been reported in June 2019, which would reduce the percentage increase from June 2018.The monthly data produced by DETER do not record deforestation performed in the nominal month (as Minister Salles assumed), but rather deforestation that was detected in that month. Of course, polygons detected on the first day of the month will be entirely composed of deforestation done in previous months, while those detected on the last day of the month will have a larger proportion cleared within the nominal month itself. Even if the deforestation that had occurred before the Bolsonaro presidency were subtracted, it is unlikely that the result for June 2019 would be anything other than a large increase. The basic fact is that deforestation erupted explosively in the Bolsonaro presidential administration, and the data confirm this. It is also good to remember that the deforestation detected in June 2019 that was carried out in 2018 had an important contribution from the effect of Bolsonaro as a candidate and later as president-elect. Between June and September 2018, which were the last months of the election campaign when it was evident that candidate Bolsonaro was going to win, deforestation increased by 36% over the same months in 2017, which is believed to be a result of the presumption of impunity generated by the candidate’s rhetoric.The way DETER works is a necessity because each clearing needs to reach a relatively large size before it is detected, making it only natural for each clearing to take some time to grow to the minimum detection size. This does not mean that deforestation prior to the month of polygon detection should be discarded, much less that the entire polygon should be discarded as suggested by the minister. The same methodology that DETER applied in June 2019 was used to generate estimates for June 2018, and the 2018 number should contain a similar percentage of detected deforestation that began in previous months, as would be the case for all monthly data. Minister Salles only spoke of subtracting the polygons where deforestation began in previous months in the case of June 2019. However, to have a valid comparison the same would have to be done for the polygons detected in June 2018. With the June values for both years lowered by a similar percentage, the increase from the new value for June 2018 to the new value for June 2019 would be similar to the 88% shown by the current data.Google Earth image showing deforestation around Parakanã in the state of Pará in the Brazilian Amazon.OverlapThe second alleged failure pointed out by Salles was that there were some partial overlaps between polygons detected in June 2019 and polygons that had already been detected and accounted for and in previous months, according to high-definition images being sold by Planet. Minister Salles wants to hire this company (or a potential competitor) to monitor deforestation for the Ministry of the Environment, a move that has been interpreted as having the purpose of removing INPE’s autonomy with regard to deforestation studies. Polygon overlays on the Planet imagery indicate that there was double counting of the overlapping parts. The inaccuracy of the locations in the DETER system that this reflects should, in fact, lead to some (small) overestimation of the deforested area. However, this does not invalidate the estimated 88% increase in deforestation that DETER detected in June 2019 compared with June 2018 — the increase percentage would have no systematic bias because a similar overlap percentage should also exist in the 2018 data. Of course, as with any estimate, there is a range of uncertainty both below and above the calculated value, but this does not mean that the estimate is invalid. In the case of DETER, the sum of the areas detected from August of one year to July of the next year is almost always smaller than the deforestation recorded every year for this same interval by INPE’s most precise monitoring system: PRODES (Monitoring Program for Deforestation in the Amazon). This means that the net effect of bias in DETER is downward, not upward.President Bolsonaro commented that he believes the high number for deforestation detected in June is the result of “bad faith” on the part of someone inside INPE, and implied that such a person must be producing false data to undermine Brazil’s image abroad. The president has been attacking INPE for several weeks because of bad news about deforestation. At the August 1 news conference, the president said there would be “summary dismissal” of the person or persons if bad faith were confirmed. However, nothing that was presented indicates any kind of bad faith.General Heleno commented that letting data into the public domain indicating a large increase in deforestation indicates a lack of “love for the fatherland,” and that even if the numbers were true, the numbers should be “treated internally”. Unfortunately, what the data indicate is that there really is a big deforestation surge in the first dry season of the Bolsonaro government. The following day, on August 2, the director of INPE was informed of his removal from office.Banner Image: Google Earth image of the Brazilian Amazon overlaid with Global Forest Watch GLAD alert data for January-July 2019 and INPE monthly deforestation data. 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. Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Green, Industrial Agriculture, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation 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? 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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. 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