Proposed Colombia dam threatens to wipe out endangered plants, disrupt river

first_imgA proposed $800 million dam in northwestern Colombia would provide 352 megawatts of electricity annually.The dam is sited in the Samaná Norte River, which scientists are just starting to survey after being barred due to conflict. A recently discovered, critically endangered species of palm, Aiphanes argos, is highly threatened by the dam. Its discoverer says that flooding caused by dam construction could put the palm at high risk of extinction.Other critics say the dam may also displace local communities and reduce populations of a fish species important to the local economy. A dam expert says reduced water flow from damming the Samaná Norte could release more methane into the atmosphere.A representative from the company charged with construction of the dam says precautions will be taken to mitigate environmental damage. PUERTO GARZA, Colombia – A Colombian conglomerate is moving ahead to build a nearly 400-foot-tall hydroelectric dam along the Samaná Norte River in northwestern Colombia, which threatens to extinguish critically endangered plant species found only in the canyon, and block the path of migrating fish.Shrouded in violent conflict between guerrilla, paramilitaries and the state that displaced local farmers from their land for decades, the Samaná Norte River had been protected from development up until ten years ago, when the violence began to subside.Local ecologists, taking advantage of recent peace in the area, are now exploring the canyon in in search of any rare, native species that may be hidden beside the emerald green waters and within the tropical forests hanging off the canyon’s steep walls.The Samaná Norte River. Photo by Taran Volckhausen for Mongabay.The $800 million dam would provide 352 megawatts of electricity each year, representing 3 percent of Colombia’s annual electricity use.While the environmental license for hydroelectric project Porvenir II has already been approved by the National Authority of Environmental Licenses (ANLA) and construction is expected to begin at the end of this year, environmental and social leaders continue to fight the dam project, which they say will cause irreparable environmental and social harm.The opponents say endangered plant species that are endemic to this peculiar canyon ecosystem along the Samaná Norte River, situated between Medellin and Bogota, may disappear forever if the dam is built as planned.Endangered palmExpert local botanist Rodrigo Bernal, who is renowned for his work studying palms, has explored Rio Samaná Norte several times, accessing the area from the river to collect plant specimens along the river’s shores.According to Bernal, the Samana Norte River canyon is home to a one-of-a-kind ecosystem that provides habitat for various endemic species.“The canyon is very deep with very steep sides that has favored the development of a exclusive flora,” Bernal said. “It’s difficult for a seed to leave this canyon and start growing anywhere else.”Furthermore, Bernal explained that the canyon is composed of marble with calcium carbonate deposits that dissolves in water, forming a karst environment along the rocky shores full of caves, pools and distinctive-looking cracks.Bernal’s focus is on finding new rheophyte species, which are specialized plants adapted to growing along rocky shores and in rock cracks near fast-moving bodies of water.These plants evolved “to resist the pounding water, holding onto the smallest cracks with their wide roots systems,” Bernal said. “To survive, their leaves are narrow and hydrodynamic.”Last year, Bernal and his team discovered a new endangered species of rheophytic palm, which has only been found in the canyon. The team officially named the new palm Aiphanes argos after the investor group that will ultimately profit from the dam Porvenir II.Fruit and leaves of the endangered A. argos palm. Photo by Saul Hoyos.Aiphanes argos is one of the few rheophytic members of the palm family, and is endemic to a small area in the Samaná Norte River. Bernal said that the A. argos is included on the IUCN Red List as a Critically Endangered species because its population is highly threatened by the damming of the river for the hydroelectric plant. According to A. argos’ IUCN assessment, which Bernal coauthored, the planned dam “puts this species at extreme risk of extinction within a very short period of time.”Mauricio Meza Porvenir II project leader at Celsia, who will be building the dam project, told Mongabay that the company is “obligated to relocate” A. argos and any other endangered plant species found in the canyon.Meza also contends that A. argos is found elsewhere, which he said was “great news…we will be able to relocate them to other areas nearby.”However, Bernal said that of the estimated 600 A. argos individuals identified along the river and surrounding tributaries, 80 to 85 percent would be submerged in the event that the dam is built. That would mean that potentially fewer than 100 A. argos palms would be left in their native habitat following the flooding of the canyon.“If the majority of the plant’s population is destroyed, the species’ survival becomes extremely difficult,” Bernal said. “Any little change or disease would have the potential to extinguish the [Aiphanes argos palm] forever.”Flower of the C. fluviatilis another rheophyte first discovered on the Norte Samana in 2009. Photo by Saul Hoyos.This past month, Bernal returned to the Semaná River, to conduct a more comprehensive survey of rheophytic species.The expedition team, which is called Extreme Botany due to the adrenaline-pumping way it conducts surveys via river rafts, collected 40 different rheophytic specimens. The researchers said they expect 9 or 10 to be new species — although they are still waiting for confirmation from experts in the different plant groups.Bernal explains that these rheophytic species are adapted to grow in “extreme situations” of the Samana Norte River, such as heavy flash flooding, and that reproducing them at different altitudes and in new habitat conditions would not be an easy task.“If the canyon is flooded, there is little guarantee that [the rheophytes] could survive in another ecosystem,” Bernal said. ‘What we do know, however, is that these plants will be the first to drown when the dam is built.”Changing an ecosystem and a way of lifeIn addition to concerns for the endangered plants, critics say the dam would bring significant changes to the ways of life of the many people who live around it.Communities along the shores depend on fishing in the Norte Samana. While there are many species such as catfish and freshwater herring, the bocachico is one of the most prized catches for locals.The bocachico (Prochilodus magdalenae) is endemic to Colombia. Each year they migrate upstream from the Magdalena lowland swamps to fast moving tributary waters high in the Andes Mountains.Many families in the village of Puerto Garza depend on the bocachico. In January, residents celebrate this intrepid fish and its contribution to the local ecosystem and economy with the Fiesta del Bocachico.Bocachico (Prochilodus magdalenae). Photo by Zuluaga-Gómez A. via Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0).Alfonso Giraldo, a member of the Puerto Garza community who gave a television interview to Teleantioquia, said that the Puerto Garza residents are afraid that the large dam Porvenir II would stop the bocachico from migrating upstream and deprive them of an invaluable means of sustenance.“The fear is that with the dam and the reservoir, the fish will disappear,” Giraldo said. “For many people here, we see it as bad, something irreversible.”Celsia’s Meza said that as part of the environmental license they were granted, the company must monitor the river for wildlife passing through for the first year of construction. Once the dam is built, the company would stock the river above the dam.Dams: clean renewable electricity?Celsia argues that Colombia needs to build Porvenir II in order to meet the country’s growing demand for electricity, which the U.S. Department of Commerce projects will continue to rise at a 4.3 percent annual growth rate over the next 12 years.According to U.S. Department of Commerce, large hydroelectric accounts for 66 percent of Colombia’s electricity generation, while gas and coal plants make up another 29 percent. The remaining 4-5 percent is comprised of small hydro and biomass plants.Meza said that the dam offers an “efficient way to take advantage of natural geography,” and that Colombia’s other forms of electricity generation such as coal and gas “could be more contaminating.”Proposed site of the 400-foot Porvenir II dam on the Norte Samana River. Photo by Taran Volckhausen for MongabayLimnologist and biogeochemist researcher at University of Quebec at Montreal Tonya DelSontro studies the dynamics of the methane in freshwater. DelSontro explained that while it’s true hydroelectric plants are more efficient than coal or gas, they “can’t be placed with wind or solar” as a fully climate-friendly source of electricity generation.DelSontro explained that when a large dam is built and the river is widened into a reservoir, the flow of sediments and carbon downstream is stopped, creating “methane bubbling hotspots.”Methane is a highly potent form of greenhouse gas, which causes the climate to heat up at a much faster rate than its better-known climate change accomplice, carbon dioxide. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane will be 86 times more efficient than CO2 at trapping heat over the next 20 years.While all bodies of water leave a limited amount of methane in the atmosphere, DelSontro said “there is a particular fear that large dams in the tropics will be big emitters of methane.”Colombia may already be experiencing the effects of climate change. Earlier this year when torrential rainfall killed at least 328 people and wiped out entire neighborhoods in the southern city of Mocoa, Environment Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo told Reuters that the country “is very vulnerable to phenomena of extreme climate variability and climate change.”The family of San Luis municipality councilman Arnulfo Berrio has lived near the Samana river for at least two generations, with both his father and grandfather supporting the family with fish catch from the river.Berrio said that Porvenir II was not worth the cost of damaging the river and its surrounding ecosystem when there is so much potential for solar or wind generation in other parts of the country. Berrio is also concerned about displacement of families that lived in near the dam site and are just now returning to their land after fleeing civil conflict in the 1980s and 1990s.Instead of a dam, Berrio would like to see the country take a more community-friendly approach by helping to develop ecotourism along the banks of the “beautiful natural jewel” found within the Norte Samana river canyon.“[Celsia] says this project won’t displace people from the their land, but it will,” Berrio said. “The hydroelectric dam isn’t development for the community I represent, but rather a degradation of our natural resources.”FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. 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 Morgan Erickson-Daviscenter_img Climate Change, Dams, Energy, Environment, Fish, Forests, Global Warming, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Indigenous Communities, Methane, New Species, Plants, Rainforests, Renewable Energy, Research, Species Discovery, Tropical Forests, Wildlife last_img read more

Read More

Estonia’s trees: Valued resource or squandered second chance?

first_imgSoviet rule in the early 20th century led to the regrowth of many of the country’s forests. Today, Estonia is Europe’s fourth-most forested country.As private land ownership and industry expand in the country, however, so are the pressures to log.Estonia’s Ministry of Environment claims that Estonia’s forests are currently expanding in size, but conservation scientists say the opposite is true. Satellite data indicate the country gained 90,000 hectares of tree cover while losing 285,000.Local conservation organizations are pressing the government to adopt more sustainable practices, including a ban on logging during part of the year and the cessation of a new logging amendment that would lower the felling age of spruce trees. When the last of the Russian troops pulled out of Estonia in 1994, for many their departure was bittersweet. While most Estonians were eager to join the Western world and reestablish cultural ties with Finland and other Nordic countries, the country’s transition from communism to capitalism was hindered by poverty, cultural barriers, and dilapidated infrastructure. Today, however, Estonia appears to be coming into its own. The country has joined the EU, ranks 30th in the world on the Human Development Index, and has one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe.Estonia now has the autonomy to decide how it is going to allocate its resources, and how it wants to shape its identity on the international stage. Central to this decision is one notable parting gift left by the country’s Soviet occupiers: trees.A protected old-growth forest in Estonia. According to Global Forest Watch, 3 percent of the country’s forests are primary forests like this one. Photo by Asko Lõhmus.Trees are “one of the few positive things inherited from the age of Soviet domination,” said Linda-Mari Väli, founder of Helping Estonia’s Forests, a conservation-oriented citizens’ initiative. While Estonia is historically a tree-dense country, by the early 20th century much of its forestland had been converted to farms. Under Soviet rule, however, private landownership, and private farms, were abandoned for large collectives. By the time Estonia gained independence, the forest had reclaimed much of its former territory.The country now has over 50 percent tree cover, according to satellite data from the University of Maryland analyzed through Global Forest Watch. Of its forests, assessments by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) pegs 90 percent as “naturally regenerated” and 3 percent old-growth. It is the fourth most forested country in Europe, and ranks eighth on the 2016 Environmental Performance Index.Satellite data from the University of Maryland indicate Estonia lost around 285,000 hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2015. 2011 saw the most loss of any year during that period, with 2015 close behind.As private land ownership and industry expand in the country, however, so do the pressures to log. Estonia’s choices now appear poised affect the future of the country’s forests. Can a country that reforested largely through neglect now use this accidental opportunity to build a purposeful, forward-looking sustainable forest management model? Or will it follow in the footsteps of other post-Soviet countries currently systematically destroying their forests for short-term economic gain?Mongabay spoke to local scientists and representatives from local organizations and government agencies, finding a country still battling some communist cultural hangovers but eager to look forward and embrace the concept of sustainability. While everyone with an interest in Estonia’s forests appears to embrace the word, opinions differ as to what it means, and what goals Estonia should ultimately be striving for.Environmental activism has played an important role in Estonia’s political history. The Estonian Green Movement, established in 1988 to protest Soviet phosphorite mining, was one of the strongest opposition forces against the country’s occupiers. Its ultimate, highly ambitious goal went far beyond that single environmental issue – the Movement called for independence from the Soviet Union and establishment of the Green Republic of Estonia, a non-hierarchal country that promoted environmentally sound technology and lifestyles, preservation of wild places, and reasonable resource usage.This vision was lost once Estonia did gain independence, as the country struggled through the hardship of reintegrating with the Western world. Protest of any kind, in fact, disappeared during the 90s and early 2000s. In a 2002 survey, over half of Estonians said they would not take part in a collective protest, and over 40 percent said they had no interest in volunteering. Fear of the government—a holdover from the communist era—lingered, and advocacy waned.Last year, Linda-Mari Väli founded Helping Estonia’s Forests. Since then, the little initiative has made a name for itself as one of the more successful activist group since the country’s independence. Helping Estonia’s Forests hopes to bring the idea of a country built on sustainable values back into the public consciousness.Although a young initiative in a country where any form of public protest is unusual, its efforts have been met with growing support. While one protest—against a military building expanding its border into a future conservation area—was carried out by a grand total of four people, there are signs that the idea of public protest is gaining momentum. In the middle of a harsh Estonian winter last December, hundreds turned out with Helping Estonia’s Forests to protest a logging amendment that would lower the felling age of spruce trees.Martin Luiga, a member of Helping Estonia’s Forests, said that their success is built on reclaiming the idea of public protest. “The whole concept of civil disobedience is rather new to Estonia,” he said in an email. Protest, and picketing, is still considered a “Western-style tactic.”Thus far, the movement’s primary achievement has been momentum, but some concrete actions have come out of its protests. They helped pressure the government to sign a flying squirrel defense program, and won full protection for an additional 1 percent of state forests. Their primary objective now is a decline in national deforestation rates and the establishment of green corridors to link protected areas. According to founder Väli, the ultimate goal of the initiative is to achieve representation for uses of the country’s forests in addition to logging (such as tourism, berry-picking, and wildlife conservation) “without discrimination.”A protest held on December 16, 2016 against an amendment lowering the legal felling age of spruce trees. Photo by Lea Tammik.Rural residents protested, concerned about clear-cutting occurring near their homes. Photo by Lea Tammik. Asko Lõhmus, lead research fellow of conservation biology at the University of Tartu, explained that Estonia is in many ways managing its forests better than other nearby countries. According to Lõhmus, Estonia allows more natural regeneration after clear cutting, leaves more dead wood, and has a good network of protected forest. However, he said that because of the chance it was given upon gaining independence, the country has—or had—the opportunity to do much more.“I think there was an excellent opportunity in the 1990s for Estonia to become a global innovator of sustainable forest management. Despite many people having worked toward it, I am afraid we are losing this hope now … recent trends are drifting us away from the sustainable and multi-purpose forestry course,” Lõhmus said.Satellite data from the University of Maryland backs up this statement: Estonia lost more trees in 2015 than it had in the previous 15 years, with the exception of 2011. In total, the country lost around 285,000 hectares of tree cover cover between 2001 and 2015 while gaining 90,000 hectares.Estonia’s Ministry of Environment and Private Landowner’s Association, however, both appear to think that current forest policy is fully in line with the idea of sustainable management.“The main objective of our National Forest Programme 2020 is to ensure the viability and productivity as well as diverse and efficient use of forests,” said Marku Lamp, Deputy Secretary General for Wildlife in Estonia’s Ministry of Environment. He described current forest usage as “well balanced,” with 12 percent of Estonia’s forests under strict protection and about 75 percent managed for commercial purposes. Lamp and Lõhmus both cited retention trees (mature trees required by law to be left in clear-cut areas to facilitate healthy re-growth) as an example of a good management practice in Estonia.However, while the Ministry of Environment claims that Estonia’s forests are currently expanding in size, Lõhmus said his research indicates that Estonia is losing forest—a conclusion more in line with Global Forest Watch satellite data.An example of a clear-cut forest with “retention trees.” The largest trees are kept standing to facilitate regeneration. All clear-cut areas are required by law to be replanted within two years. Photo by Asko Lõhmus.  Trees are an integral part of the country’s economic and cultural exchange with its northern neighbors. Both Luiga and Lõhmus believe that Estonia would benefit from better, more transparent data on the state of its forests.“The competitiveness of the timber industry is extremely important for the Estonian economy,” Lamp said. He then, however, went on to highlight how Estonia abides by the “Nordic principle of free access to nature,” allowing berry-picking and the gathering of mushrooms and medicinal plants. Access to, and exploitation of, Estonia’s forests are both part of its modern ethos, but one requires the careful monitoring of the other. But only half of Estonia’s forests are under government control; the other half are privately owned.To this end, Mikk Link, the chairman of the board for the Estonian Private Forest Union, said that his organization’s primary objective is “to ensure our members [a] good environment for sustainable forest management.” Link cited “not exceeding the annual growth of the forests with the logging” and “avoiding forestland being transformed to other types of land use” as criteria for good sustainable management.Luiga from Helping Estonia’s Forests also noted that the Estonian Private Forest Union recently pressured the government not to pass a seasonal ban on logging, designed to protect nesting birds. While scientists, activists, private landowners, and the government all use similar language to describe their goals, the actions of the latter two indicate short-term monetary gain ultimately takes priority—at least right now.The fate of Estonia’s forests, then, appears to rest on its willingness to taking the long view. But for a newly capitalist country, the short-term benefits of intensive logging could prove too alluring to resist.“For almost a year, there has been an unprecedented societal discussion on the state and future of forests in Estonia,” Lõhmus said. “It is unclear how that will end.”Correction (11/09/2017): A previous version of this article incorrectly paraphrased a quote from Mikk Link. We have removed the errant sentence.Citations:Raudsepp, Maaris, Mati Heidmets, and Juri Kruusvall. “Environmental justice and sustainability in post-Soviet Estonia.” Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union. MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts (2009): 215-237.Rausing, Sigrid. Everything is Wonderful: Memories of a Collective Farm in Estonia. Grove Press: New York, New York (2014). FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Morgan Erickson-Daviscenter_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 Agriculture, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Forests, Law, Logging, Old Growth Forests, Primary Forests, Protected Areas, Secondary Forests, Timber Laws, Trees last_img read more

Read More

A reflection on COP23: Incremental progress but no industrialized country’s top priority (commentary)

first_imgCOP23 was not without incremental accomplishments. There were many, most boldly a coalition of US cities, states, and businesses pledging to do for climate mitigation what the Trump administration won’t.But where was the incitement to reduce carbon emissions beyond the modest Paris pledges, an absolute necessity if we are to contain temperature rise to 1.5 degree C by 2100, the Paris goal? Where are the billions in promised funding to help the victims of climate impacts adapt and recover their losses and damages?If I’ve learned anything from covering four consecutive climate summits, it’s that Paris was something of an anomaly. Most COPs, like COP23, produce progress around the edges of climate mitigation and promises to talk again next year. Always next year.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. I remember well the vibrancy that December evening in 2015 when word spread on the last day of the 21st UN climate summit that there would be an agreement — the Paris Agreement.After two decades of staring at a known and worsening global crisis of epic proportions, leaders of 196 nations, pushed mercilessly by UN, French, and US negotiators, finally decided to not allow the earth to burn up by 2100. The Eiffel Tower glowed with triumphant messages against a starry Paris sky.For the first time, nations voluntarily agreed to reduce their carbon emissions and slow the rate of deforestation. That moment in Paris felt historic, hopeful, perhaps the most significant agreement among world leaders for the greater good of this earth since World War II.Just two years later, as I stayed late on the last night of the 23rd UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany, I felt no such vibrancy and certainly no such history-making optimism. There was little. COP23 wasn’t designed for major breakthroughs. Everyone conceded that.But why not?COP23, while held in Bonn, Germany, was hosted for the first time by a Pacific island nation, Fiji. Developing and vulnerable nations wanted the logo to be true. The response they received? Maybe next year. Photo by Justin Catanoso.Bad and getting worseOnce again, 2017 promises to be another of the hottest years in the historical record. After three years of stable global greenhouse gas emissions, 2017 will see a spike in emissions to record highs.How many hurricanes the ferocity of Harvey, Irma, and Maria must be experienced in the US alone to stoke a greater sense of urgency? How many climate refugees need to be pushed from sub-Saharan Africa and Syria because of unrelenting drought? How much more Arctic ice needs to melt? How much sea-level rise can be tolerated in low-lying island nations — and Miami Beach, for goodness sake — before COP participants stop delaying greater ambitions prior to 2020, when a stronger Paris Agreement is to take effect?Despite Trump’s climate denial, the U.S. military labels the destabilizing impact of global climate change as the most serious national security threat facing the nation. Not immigration. Not terrorism. Not economic calamity. Climate change.So where’s the incitement, now, to reduce carbon emissions beyond the modest Paris pledges, an absolute necessity if we are to contain temperature rise to 1.5 degree C by 2100, the Paris goal? Where are the billions in promised funding to help the victims of climate impacts adapt and recover their losses and damages?Nowhere yet in sight.COP23 was not without incremental accomplishments. There were many, most boldly a coalition of US cities, states, and businesses pledging to do for climate mitigation what the Trump administration won’t. Would a Hillary Clinton administration have done more? Hard to say. Trump’s low-level State Department staffers pressed the common US goal of greater transparency and accountability in reporting climate action. Mostly, they provided cover for other developed nations to block progress on defining pathways to billions in financing adaptation and loss-and-damage funds.Under Obama, the wealthiest nation on earth committed just $3 billion to global climate-related funds and paid only $1 billion before Trump’s election. Last month, the U.S. House approved $36.5 billion in recovery funds to Florida and Texas alone, far less than half of what’s needed. So it’s not likely that Clinton negotiators would have been more forthcoming on finance in Bonn.The world gathers again next December for COP24 in Katowice, Poland. Hard deadlines for the Paris rulebook, increased carbon-reduction pledges and clearer paths to adaptation and loss-and-damage financing are expected. Photo by Justin Catanoso.No one’s top priorityIt doesn’t help that the de facto leader of the free world, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, can’t form the coalition government she needs to lead her country and the EU. She told delegates at COP23 that Germany — despite its massive investment in wind energy — would not phase out coal by 2030 as promised, nor would it meet its carbon-reduction goals in the Paris agreement.Meanwhile, China is building more solar panels than the rest of the world combined. But it is paying billions in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to level carbon-sequestering rainforests for ranching and natural-resource extraction to help feed its population and manufacture the world’s products.Nineteen nations agreed to phase out coal by 2030, including Canada and the UK. But most were already close to doing so, and besides, they represent just three percent of the global coal burned for energy. Meanwhile, 1,600 coal-fired plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries.When I interviewed Anote Tong, the former president of Kiribati, a Pacific island country threatened by sea-level rise, his comment, “How can I tell my grandchildren that they may not have a country in 25 years,” nearly brought me to tears. Tong is at the mercy of G-20 leaders. He pleaded with them to act morally and humanely, not just geopolitically. Is that even possible?If I’ve learned anything from covering four consecutive climate summits, it’s that Paris was something of an anomaly. Most COPs, like COP23, produce progress around the edges of climate mitigation and promises to talk again next year. Always next year.Nearly everyone in Bonn believes that climate change represents an existential threat to human life on earth. But it’s clear that, for political reasons both complex and expedient, taking broad, immediate climate action is not a top priority for any of the world’s largest polluters — China, the US, India, the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia. Not even close.Until it is, another year passes as nature responds ever-more furiously to the lack of progress.Maybe next year, at COP24 in Poland, things will be different. Expectations are certainly different. The rulebook to govern the Paris Agreement must be completed. Nations must report how much more they will reduce carbon emissions. Billions in finance are expected to materialize or at least be identified.Scientists say the window for climate action to curb global warming is still open. Let’s hope so. We are rapidly running out of next years.COP23 flags flying in a stiff breeze on the last day of the 23rd UN Climate Summit in Bon, Germany. Incremental progress was made by the 196 nations in attendance at the two-week conference, which was defined by a decided lack of urgency for bolder action by industrialized countries. Photo by Justin Catanoso.Justin Catanoso is a regular contributor to Mongabay and a professor of journalism at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA. Follow him on twitter @jcatanoso. Adaptation To Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Climate Change Negotiations, Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Politics, Commentary, Editorials, Environment, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Mike Gaworeckilast_img read more

Read More

How Chromosomes Pack Without Exploding

first_imgWhen preparing to divide, a cell has to copy all its DNA accurately and pack it into chromosomes.  A professor at U Chicago told Science Daily this is “like compacting your entire wardrobe into a shoebox.”  The cell has another difficulty in this compaction process, though: DNA, being negatively charged, resists packing.    Eukaryotes overcome the resistance by neutralizing the negative charge with histones.  DNA wraps around the histones, forming nucleosomes, which then coil and supercoil into the familiar chromosomes.  One class of marine algae, the dinoflagellates, uses a different method: it neutralizes the negatively-charged DNA with positively-charged ions of calcium and magnesium.    The U Chicago team was puzzled at this exception to the rule.  They wondered if “this may have been the first and very efficient step toward the goal of neutralizing DNA, long before histones came into play.”  The statement was only a suggestion, however.  It also does not explain why dinoflagellates have much more nuclear DNA than human beings.    One observation, though, was dynamic.  When the scientists removed the positively-charged ions from the dinoflagellate DNA, the chromosomes exploded.Did they find a sequence from positive-ion neutralization to histone neutralization?  No; their evolutionary belief dictates that they use imagination and speculation to invent stories to link different organisms with common ancestry.  There are puzzles to solve here, for sure.  Why would a marine alga have so much more DNA than a human?  Why would it use a different method of neutralizing the DNA?  Don’t let these puzzles overshadow the major question: how genetic information arose that could be systematically and accurately copied, then condensed by orders of magnitude into a tiny space.  If you ever figure out how to compact your wardrobe into a shoebox, one thing is certain: you will not have done it by an evolutionary process.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Read More

Low-Budget Solutions for Shooting Nighttime Car Scenes

first_imgKnow of any other quick and easy ways to shoot a nighttime interior scene? Let us know in the comments below! Avoid production hassles — and save some time and money — with these techniques for shooting nighttime car scenes.Top image via Janus FilmsShooting nighttime car scenes can be tricky when working with a micro-budget. Fortunately, there are a few key techniques that can help you pull it off without even having to leave the garage.Blood Simplify ItOn the audio commentary for their first feature, Blood Simple, the Coen Brothers explained how the low-budget reality of the project forced them to get creative with their shots. They detailed a certain burial scene where the leg in the shot belonged to Joel Coen, who was burying the dirt-covered Ethan. For dialogue between the two characters that takes place while driving a car at night, they had to make due with shooting in their garage.A possible solution would be to keep your depth of field shallow — keep focus on the actors while having the background (out the front window) out of focus. By doing this, it allows you to keep a level of vagueness to whats really going on behind-the-scenes.Those headlights are two inkies on a dolly that the grip is dollying past them inside the garage and then they would turn the light off and they would dolly back to the beginning and then they would do it again and again. – Barry Sonnenfeld, DP of Blood Simple.To further blur out the unwanted backdrop of your garage or driveway, you can mask it by having a friend point a hose towards the windshield to create “rain.” For Blood Simple, a grip laid down on top of the car, pointing a hose down at the windshield, simulating rain. I know this might seem like scraping the bottom of the barrel but if the shot is tight and the angle of view doesn’t move much, this will give you the intended effect.Using Green ScreenFilm Riot’s got a helpful tutorial on both day and nighttime shooting for your car scene. Both extremely helpful and practical cheap ways a “shreditor” like yourself can get the job done.Purchasing some cheap individual accent lights from Home Depot and placing them inside the car will eliminate the need to set up a complicated lighting rig around the exterior (a rig that might actually show reflections). They also explain the importance of having a grip or production assistant sitting in the back of the car, moving one of the small lights up and down on the actor’s side to give the appearance of streetlights passing by.For other tips and tricks for shooting car scenes, check out:How To Shoot a Car Conversation SceneCar Crashes and Comedy: Actionable Tips from The Nice GuysThe Basic Fundamentals of Lighting a Green Screenlast_img read more

Read More

Interview: Tips for Blending Documentary and Narrative in “The Drug Runner”

first_imgFilmmaker Charlotte Regan shares some insights into blending documentary and narrative in her Vimeo staff-picked short film.The difference between documentary and narrative filmmaking has long been a blurred line. It’s true that narrative films borrow strongly from real life, while documentaries are often guilty of scripting themselves to fit a story — whether directly or indirectly. However, for the filmmakers who choose to actively blend both, an entirely new filmmaking world opens up.In Charlotte Regan’s “The Drug Runner” we get a glimpse into the real-life story of a youth on a wrong path. The docu-drama blends actual interview soundbites with voiceovers and narrative filmmaking. We chatted with the film’s director about how she combined the two styles.Find an Interesting SubjectIt was just something that came kinda naturally over time I suppose. The person it’s based on is a friend and I always just felt like it was a story that was never told, the reasons behind people getting involved in things like drug dealing without making the character a villain, because he was just a normal everyday kid.When diving into a documentary-narrative hybrid project, finding an interesting subject is your first concern. For Regan, it was something personal, but for others it might take a deeper search. However, sometimes the best stories are the ones right in front of you.Do Preliminary InterviewsI interviewed him about three times, and those interviews were more like general chats that went on for about an hour or two each time. Just recording them on my phone. He knew the intention was never to use his voice so he was happy to chat openly. From that I had to then make a decision on what sections to use, so whilst it is a ‘doc’ it’s of course like all things heavily edited but unfortunately didn’t quite have the budget for a 6+ hour film haha!Once Regan had her subject, she had to begin developing the story. These preliminary interviews would be the closest to a “pure” documentary approach for her project. It’s also a good example of why it’s helpful to record preliminary interviews for all types of documentary and film projects, as these early iterations are where your narrative really begins to form.Bring in Professional TalentThe VO actor Alfie and the visual actor Mitchell were both sent the transcribed script/interview responses beforehand and they are both incredibly natural actors who put their own spin on things. They were both perfect for this as they know how to be subtle yet impactful, they never over do it. For “The Drug Runner,” Regan and her team decided to bring in professional talent for the voiceover rendition of the subject’s interview, as well as an actor for the screen. This was an interesting choice; it was necessary to protect the subject’s identity. It also gave each actor a chance — when working with the director — to define a narrative character based on the documentary interview material they received.Set Your Light and ColorThe intention was always to make it a very colourful piece, especially initially when he’s falling into that world and loving it all. The guy it was based on always spoke about his housing estate as if it was a big community, and that is something I wanted to replicate. I think it’s something lots of people who come from and grow up in those backgrounds feel. We always see the desaturated gloomy council estates when the truth is if you have lived in one from young they are filled with fun and your mates and people you know. Now this is where “The Drug Runner” really stands out — and how turning a documentary into a narrative can really make your project shine. The team shot on an ARRI Alexa Mini (with a Blackmagic for pickups) to get some truly outstanding light and color. The cinematography is very strategic and beautiful. It’s much more refined than you’d usually get to see on a run-and-gun doc.Storyboard Your EditAs we are being guided by his words and I had always wanted this to blend doc and fiction with like a literal visual essay style. I wanted it to start off quite matter of fact, giving people clear insight into his position. After that it was just about knowing when to let things breathe and when to cut quickly, which just comes with many re-edits and a great team giving you honest feedback.Finally, one of the biggest challenges in any documentary film production is managing the post-production workflow. Documentaries are notorious for their long edit times because there’s so much footage to process, review, organize, and ultimately either use or toss. However, when combining styles, shooting documentary-esque footage but for a normal narrative storyboarded workflow is a tremendous time-saver.It also opens the door for a tighter edit and more effort for color and effects.Cover image via The Drug Runner.For more information on Regan and “The Drug Runner” you can check out the film at the Bold Content Video production website.For more documentary and narrative filmmaking tips and advice, check out some of these articles.Interview Tips Every Documentary Filmmaker Should Know7 Reasons You Should Consider Adding Voice Narration to Your FilmRoundup: Genre Filmmaking Tips and Tricks from the Filmmakers of Fantastic FestDocumentary Editing Tips for Working with Lots of Footage7 Run-and-Gun Production Tips for Documentary Filmmakerslast_img read more

Read More

Renovation of Temghar dam to take two years

first_imgPune: The repair work on the Temghar dam, one of the potable water lifelines of Pune, is finally underway, however, renovation of the biggest cracks may not be complete until June. The Maharashtra government has sanctioned ₹98 crore for the repair and renovation of the dam wall. Although authorities have asserted that the basic wall structure is intact, despite the cracks.The 87-meter high dam has a capacity of holding water up to four tmcft. It was built between 1997 and 2001, making it the newest among the city’s four major drinking lifelines — the others being Khadakwasla, Varasgaon and Panshet dams. The repair work was initially due to commence in December last year, but was delayed owing to the municipal, the zilla parishad (ZP) and the panchayat samiti elections.To face delay in monsoonAccording to sources in the State Irrigation Department, the work order was issued last month, with the installation of machinery and the labour in place. The process of final repairs is expected to stretch over a period of nearly two years. The work, however, may face further delay this monsoon.An Irrigation Department official said, “Priority has been given to repair the points where the cracks in the wall-face are the deepest before June, in a bid to ensure that the water, which will get stored during this monsoon, does not seep out.”The water storage has been reduced to facilitate repair work, with a plan being mooted to release the water into the Khadakwasla dam.FIR against 34 peopleLast year, in August, Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan had acknowledged that the construction of the Temghar dam was indeed faulty and had directed action against the persons responsible.Following this, the Pune Rural Police had lodged a first information report (FIR) against 34 persons for allegedly using inferior quality material during the construction of the dam. The complaint included names of government officials, and directors and board members of two south India-based construction firms, Srinivas Construction and Progressive Construction, who were responsible for the construction of the dam. Both the firms were blacklisted later.City-based Right to Information (RTI) activist Vijay Kumbhar had pegged the water leakage from Temghar to be in excess of 5 crore litres, despite irrigation authorities claiming that not all seepage went waste as water flowed into the Khadakwasla reservoir.last_img read more

Read More

Fishermen rescued after boat capzises

first_imgTwo fishermen from Quepem in south Goa who fell in choppy waters after their boat capzised were rescued by lifeguards on Friday. The men ventured into the sea in a small fishing boat from Mobor river in Cavelossim. This is the third instance of lifeguards saving the lives in the past four weeks, said a spokesperson of Drishti Lifesaving.Meanwhile, the Goa Captain of Ports has suspended permissions given to hold watersport events for tourists.The permissions will be renewed after September 15, said Captain of Ports James Braganza.last_img read more

Read More