Videos detail corruption in massive illegal Peruvian timber case

first_imgAmazon, Amazon Logging, Forests, Illegal Logging, Tropical Forests Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Genevieve Belmakercenter_img New video shows Peruvian timber executives knew they might be trafficking illegal timber out of the country aboard one of the largest captured shipments of illegal timber in Peru’s history, the Yacu Kallpa.The video, released by NGO Global Witness, shows that despite public claims, exporters often know that documents do not guarantee legal origin of timber.The videos include representatives from three of the exporting companies involved in the Yacu Kallpa case: Corporación Industrial Forestal, Inversiones WCA, and Sico Maderas. New information from undercover video sheds some light on one of the biggest global timber scandals in recent history, the Yacu Kallpa. The 15 video clips, released by NGO Global Witness, show Peruvian timber executives describing how they’ve been willfully complicit in buying and selling illegally-sourced timber, particularly in the Yacu Kallpa case. Much of the timber they describe was obtained in the Peruvian Amazon.The Yacu Kallpa was a massive container ship that moved the largest load of captured illegal timber in the history of Peru. It was over 1,312 cubic meters of illegal wood, according to Peru’s customs and tax enforcer, Sunat. Much of the stolen wood came from indigenous communities, from families of farmers and even from the lands of the Peruvian state itself, and was transported in three trips during 2015. It was enough to the freight capacity of 60 semi-trailers, according to one assessment by Peruvian investigative media outlet OjoPúblico.The timber was sent out in three shipments bound for the US, and was detained and then released in late 2016 despite proof it was illegal, reported OjoPúblico. According to the report, Mexican authorities caved to pressure from the Mexican and Peruvian timber sectors on the third shipment. All of the timber ultimately ended up in Mexico, the United States and the Dominican Republic.Video released by Global Witness shows that some executives involved with the timber on the Yacu Kallpa were aware of the questionable origin of the wood. The NGO notes that it demonstrates that despite public claims, exporters know that documents do not guarantee legal origin of timber.Many of the 15 video clips are of Dante Zevallos, from exporting company Sico Maderas. Zevallos describes the process to illegally launder timber through the sale and purchase of transport permits. Forest owners who are legally allowed to harvest and sell timber from their forests instead sell their permit papers to those logging illegally. “If I go to this same forest and say ‘I am going to get some papers for this timber so I can extract it,’ this tree miraculously becomes legal timber, just because of a piece of paper,” Zevallos said in one video clip. Zevallos was president of the association of Loreto timber operators at the time the videos were made. He said he was scared because he knew he was buying illegal timber. “At any moment they can raid us…I knew!” he said in one video. In another video, William Castro, from Inversiones WCA, describes an agreement he claims to have struck with regional governor Fernando Meléndez, which Castro calls ‘part of the corruption.’ According to Castro, the idea was that he would process some timber for Meléndez and, in exchange, the governor would help release Castro’s timber detained in Mexico. Castro admits that his timber on the Yacu Kallpa in November 2015 was “illegal,” but blames the regional government.Knowingly transporting or exporting the timber in question by any of those who knew the origin was illegal could land offenders in jail for up to seven years, according to Peruvian law.Much of the dialogue in the videos pertains to frustration with permitting processes, land demarcations, corruption, and bureaucracy. The videos were released by Global Witness as part of an undercover investigation alongside their report, Buyers in Good Faith: How Timber Exporters are Complicit in Plundering Peru’s Amazon. All videos (Spanish with English subtitles) can be found here.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

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: [email protected]: 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

Bolsonaro expresses ‘love’ for Amazon as it burns, offers no policy shift

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer The number of fires in the Amazon biome topped 41,858 in 2019 as of August 24 (up from 22,000 this time last year). Scientists are especially concerned about wildfires raging inside protected areas, such as Jamanxim National Forest in Pará state and Mato Grosso’s Serra de Ricardo Franco Park.While the Bolsonaro government blames hot weather for the Amazon blazes, others disagree. They point to the link between fires and their use to illegally clear rainforest by land speculators, who — emboldened by Bolsonaro’s lax enforcement policies —sell cleared land for 100-200 times more money than it would sell for with trees covering it.Preliminary data shows deforestation rising under Bolsonaro. The rate in June 2019 was 88 percent higher than in June 2018; deforestation soared by 278 percent in July 2019 as compared with July 2018. The rise, analysts say, is due in part to the dismantling of IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency.Bolsonaro has pledged to bring in the army to fight the Amazon blazes and deployed the first units over the weekend, while on Monday the G7 nations promised an emergency $20 million in aid to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest. Aerial view of burning Amazon rainforest, near the city of Porto Velho, Rondônia state. Image by Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace.On Friday night, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro appeared on national television, expressing his “profound love” for Amazônia and saying that his government had “zero tolerance” for environmental crimes. He also pledged to send in the armed forces to end illegal burning of the Amazon rainforest.Bolsonaro, who, unusually for him, read from a prepared text, timed his address to influence world leaders, gathering at that moment in the French resort of Biarritz ahead of the G7 summit. Some, including French President Emmanuel Macron, called for an international response to force Brazil into decisive action to protect the rainforest. The Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said on Friday that the EU should rethink whether to ratify the huge trade deal just concluded with the South American free trade area, Mercosur, saying that Bolsonaro’s attempt to blame the fires on NGOs and environmental groups was “Orwellian.”The possibility that the trade deal, which took 20-years to negotiate, will be wrecked and that Brazil could also face a trade boycott, has greatly alarmed some in the Brazilian agribusiness sector, including former agriculture minister, Blairo Maggi, who has called for the government to change policies, warning that Brazil’s agricultural exports are “replaceable” on the world market.Bolsonaro said that “forest fires, unfortunately, happen each year” and that the number of fires was “within the average of the last 15 years,” a figure provided by NASA. But, as analysts pointed out, this figure, though true, is misleading. In 2004 and 2005 — years when Amazon deforestation was peaking — there was also an alarming rise in annual fires, which topped 70,000. After that, thanks to impressive efforts by authorities, the number of fires generally fell, to 24,000 in 2017 and under 16,000 in 2018.What is alarming observers is the resurgence this year: 41,858 Amazon fires by August 24, according to INPE (the National Institute of Space Research), which uses NASA images. The the neighboring Cerrado savanna has seen 23,000 fires (up from 20,000 last year).Fire map showing active fires for the week starting Aug. 13, 2019, in the Brazilian Amazon using VIIRS and MODIS satellite data. Image courtesy of Global Forest Watch (GFW).These fires sent “rivers of smoke” to Brazil’s urban south last week, causing the skies of São Paulo, the country’s largest city, situated 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Amazon, to become unusually dark. It was only then that this year’s Amazon’s fires became a big news story for the Brazilian press, and for the rest of the world.But by that time, all the Amazon states, except Amapá in the north, had been feeling the  effects of the infernos for several weeks; some since July. “The consequences for the [local] population are immense. The air pollution makes people ill and the economic impact can be high,” said Paulo Moutinho, senior researcher for IPAM (the Amazon Environmental Research Institute), a non-profit organization.Those impacts flow far beyond Brazil’s borders, as the thousands of fires spew large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, intensifying the global climate crisis.As of Saturday, the first Brazilian troops were reportedly being hastily deployed to fight the Amazon blazes, while on Monday, the G7 nations pledged $20 million in emergency aid to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and to launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest. Bolsonaro has not yet accepted the assistance.2019 fires burning within a protected area in Amazonas state, Brazil. Image courtesy of the MAAP Project, data courtesy of ESA.Fires burning inside protected areasOne of the worst affected Amazon states is Rondônia in the western part of the basin. On August 16, a wall of smoke forced a plane approaching Porto Velho, the state capital, to reroute to Manaus. One Rondônia fire has raged unchecked for three weeks inside the Margarida Alves Environmental Reserve in Nova União. About 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) have burnt. “It’s hard to breathe,” said journalist Evans Fitz. “Rondônia is dying, suffocated.”The neighboring state of Acre saw 366 fires in July. Because of the high level of airborne carbon monoxide, way above those considered safe by the World Health Organization, the state health secretariat issued an August 9 epidemiological alert.But it is Mato Grosso that has registered more fires than any other state; 12,990 from  January 1 to August 15. Even the municipality of Colniza in the state’s northwest, which had managed to preserve much of its biodiversity and its forests, has been seriously affected; 1,049 fires have been detected there since July 15. Mato Grosso is located along the so-called “Arc of Deforestation,” the line differentiating rainforest from encroaching agribusiness.Mato Grosso’s Serra de Ricardo Franco Park, on the border with Bolivia, is also burning. It has exceptional biodiversity, because it is located transitionally between three biomes — Amazonia, the Cerrado and Pantanal. The Bolivian section of the park is so valued it has been declared a Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO.In Amazonas state, the municipality of Apuí, in the southern region has registered 673 fires. Importantly, eight of them are inside conservation areas protected by the federal government. Amazonas declared a state of emergency back on August 9, well before the rest of the world awoke to the Amazon crisis.A 2019 fire that appears to be being utilized to expand an existing plantation into neighboring forest in Amazonas state, Brazil. Image courtesy of the MAAP Project, data courtesy of Planet.Fire, the biggest tool in the illegal deforestation toolbox In his speech, Bolsonaro attributed the spike in fires to unusually hot weather. But this is not how scientists see it, especially since 2019 has not seen severe drought. “There is no such thing as a natural fire in Amazonia,” said Ane Alencar, IPAM’s director of science. “What happens is that people cut down the vegetation and burn it.” This has been the traditional way of clearing land in the Amazon and, when practiced on a small scale or done on existing farmlands to prepare for new crops, does little harm.But over the last few months, deforestation — and the fires used to accomplish it – has run at an alarmingly high rate. The deforestation rate in June 2019 was 88 percent higher than during the corresponding month in 2018, reported INPE. Deforestation soared to more than 278 percent in July as compared with the same month a year ago, according to IPAM.Much of this burning, especially on federal lands, say analysts, is likely driven by land grabbers who frequently use fire as a means of clearing forest in preparation for land sales to ranchers and farmers. They recognize that the Bolsonaro administration has largely disarmed the government’s environmental agencies, that no longer have budgets with which to fight fires, nor possess the authority to arrest perpetrators.Scientists are especially concerned by fire-driven deforestation this year, as the blazes are spreading into várzea and igapó, areas flooded during the rainy season but within which can be found islands of unflooded forest. Normally, deforesters don’t venture into these protected areas, but Carlos Durigan, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society Brasil (WCS), told Amazônia Real that this changed in 2019, with distressing results. “This situation has caused irreparable damage to aquatic biodiversity, since areas of unflooded forest, which serve as a refuge and feeding areas for many species when the river is in flood, don’t exist anymore,” he explained.According to environmentalists, deforestation had been held in check under previous governments by a coalition of forces — including federal and state agencies, NGO partners, indigenous and traditional communities, academics and scientists. That coalition has now collapsed. The implosion of the Amazon Fund earlier this month, which had curbed deforestation and backed sustainability in Amazon communities for more than a decade is an example of the systemic administrative failure underway.“The position of the current government is to confront the efforts that for decades have been trying to construct a positive socio-environmental agenda for Amazonia,” said Durigan. “These efforts have stemmed from the mobilization of civil society, government agencies, universities and the private sector.” Durigan is now extremely worried that the situation “can deteriorate at a fast rate.”Alejandro Fonseca Duarte, a Federal University of Acre professor, agrees: “Public policies have clearly changed [since Bolsonaro took over]. The government’s discourse and its policies now favor the lifting of protection over indigenous land, the promotion of mining, the extension of soy farming from Mato Grosso to Acre, the discrediting of the indicators of deforestation and the weakening of international support for the protection of the Amazon. This is the reality we are living. And we are beginning to see what it leads to.”Six of the nine state governors in Amazonia are Bolsonaro backers, and have endorsed his policies; some have rejected the rule of law regarding the environment. In late May, Gladson Cameli, Acre’s governor, openly encouraged ruralists not to pay fines resulting from environmental crimes for which they’d been found guilty. “If IMAC [the Institute of the Environment in Acre] fines someone, tell me,” he said “And don’t pay any fine, because I’m in charge now.”Cameli was elected last year after the left-leaning Workers’ Party which had governed Acre for 20 years, was voted out. When asked why he was encouraging ruralists to break the law, he replied: “Before, our farmers were traumatized by the excessively tough [environmental] measures taken by previous governments. They went further than they were required to by law.” Cameli is now promoting the spread of soy plantations across Acre.A blurred photo used by the Folha do Progresso newspaper to report on the “Day of Fire,” an event the ruralist-supported newspaper itself promoted. Image by Folha do Progresso.Ruralists declare “A Day of Fire”INPE data shows that, of all the deforestation occurring across Amazônia between August 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019, an estimated 59 percent took place in Brazil’s Pará state. Importantly, most of that (71 percent) occurred on federal lands. Pará is an epicenter of the struggle between Amazon conservationists and ruralists who strongly support agribusiness expansion.It also appears that Bolsonaro is working to tip the balance in favor of deforesters in Pará. Although the president has been in office for nearly eight months, IBAMA, the federal environmental agency, has yet to appoint a superintendent for the state. In response to questions about the federal government’s failure to combat environmental crime, Mauro de Almeida, Pará’s environmental secretary, said on August 16 that the lack of an IBAMA chain of command is harming state efforts to battle deforestation.Not surprisingly, Pará land grabbers now act as if they are above the law. Some proof of that came on August 5 in Novo Progresso, a town on the BR-163 highway dominated by ruralists. On that day they announced in A Folha de Novo Progresso, the local newspaper which they control, that they would be holding a “Day of Fire” on August 10. They called on all those who had cut forest in 2019, to set fire to it simultaneously. The cry was also taken up in Altamira, the largest municipal district in Brazil.On August 10, more than 120 fires were registered in Novo Progresso, the highest number this year. But that record didn’t stand: the following day there were even more – 203 fires. No one was arrested or fined. Altamira recorded 194 fires, a 743 percent increase over the previous day, which then jumped to 237 the following day. According to the Queimadas Program, run by INPE, Novo Progresso and Altamira were national champions for forest fires over that weekend.The residents said they felt “supported by the words of Jair Bolsonaro,” and were keen, as they told the local newspaper, “to show the President that we want to work.”  They have little reason to fear reprisals. Normally, during the dry season, IBAMA opens a base in Novo Progresso to curb environmental crimes. But this year Helder Barbalho, the governor of Pará state, refused to authorize Military Police participation in IBAMA’s operations. Without the help of the Military Police, or the National Force (a law enforcement agency run by the Justice Ministry), IBAMA’s team would have found itself unprotected from violent reprisals, so cancelled its 2019 Novo Progresso operation.A firefighter combats an Amazon fire in a past year. In 2019, under Bolsonaro, IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency, has been largely stripped of money and authority to fight forest fires. Photo courtesy of IBAMA.Now, with no more IBAMA environmental monitoring money coming from Norway through the Amazon Fund, the chance of the agency’s deforestation enforcement activities restarting is increasingly remote.The agribusiness frontier continues advancing rapidly in southwest Pará, and that advance occurs by fairly predictable steps. First, loggers extract the most valuable timber, then land speculators send in local workers, commonly held in slave-like conditions, to cut down and burn the remaining forest. The deforesters, who in many cases are wealthy land speculators, do not farm the land themselves, but sell the cleared forest land to cattle ranchers at high prices. In the bizarre economy of the Amazon frontier, speculators generally get 100, or even 200 times, more money for an acre of cleared land — denuded of its exuberant native vegetation and vibrant wildlife — than they would get for that same acre if forested. Finally, when cattle have grazed the land even further, it is resold for conversion to soy or other cash crops for export.One of the areas that loggers and speculators are targeting most aggressively near Novo Progresso is the Jamanxim National Forest. Of all Brazil’s protected areas, it is the one most heavily devastated this year. The preserve lost 3 percent of its forest cover — 44,800 hectares (110,700 acres) — in May alone. Now loggers have paid for an illegal bridge to be built over the Jamanxim River, which will make it far easier to transport timber to the port of Itaituba on the Tapajós river. When the bridge is finished, probably by October, a threefold increase in traffic is expected. At the moment logging trucks have to be barged across the river. If Bolsonaro is sincere about his pledge to send in large numbers of troops to save the Amazon, this might be a place to start.Bridge under construction by illegal loggers over the Jamanxim River. The Bolsonaro administration has so far done nothing to stop its building. Image by Jeso Carneiro.After a group of independent public litigators from Pará state’s federal public ministry (MPF) travelled to Novo Progresso to investigate the “day of fire,” they published a statement expressing alarm at IBAMA’s inability to carry out its legal function there. “Confronting illegal deforestation is a state policy,” imposed under the Brazilian Constitution, the MPF said. “Public Power does not have the right to decide whether or not it implements this policy. It is its duty!”Most Brazilian seem to agree with the public prosecutors. A recent poll showed that 96 percent of the population, including many Bolsonaro supporters, partially or completely backed the statement that “President Bolsonaro and the Federal government should increase monitoring to prevent illegal deforestation in Amazônia.”Going by last Friday’s speech and the army’s deployment, the president seemed to be listening. But for many people living in the Amazon, a better measure of Bolsonaro’s commitment would be the rebuilding of dismantled regulatory bodies, particularly IBAMA, as a means of protecting their homes and forest livelihoods from growing lawlessness, conflict and violence.Meanwhile, Brazil’s dry season is ongoing and the Amazon continues burning.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 and above image: Forest fire burning out of control in the municipality of Colniza, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. Image by Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace. Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Corruption, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Illegal Logging, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, 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? 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

Ghana’s government faces pushback in bid to mine biodiversity haven for bauxite

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 Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Governance, Insects, Mammals, Mining, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Article published by terna gyusecenter_img Ghana’s Atewa Forest Reserve is home to dozens of endangered species — as well as a substantial bauxite deposit.Environmental impact assessments have not been completed, and conservationists and local communities reject the plan as a threat to the reserve, which is a noted biodiversity hotspot.The government claims it can mine the forest with minimal damage, yielding 150 million metric tons of bauxite that it will use to pay for a national infrastructure program. ACCRA — “Beginning now, the full-scale exploitation of Ghanaian bauxite resources will commence,” Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said last June. “I am satisfied by what I have been told and what has been demonstrated to me that it is possible for us to get that red matter out without disturbing the wildlife that there is in the Atewa mountains.” The president may be satisfied, but environmentalists and concerned residents in and around Atewa are not.On Jan. 13, Ghanaian environmental NGO A Rocha Ghana went to court in a bid to stop the mining project. Supported by 20 other civil society organizations, A Rocha’s suit claims that mining bauxite in Atewa will violate Ghanaians’ rights to a clean and healthy environment and the protection of the environment for future generations.Chocolate-backed Kingfisher: one of 155 bird species found in the Atewa Forest Reserver. Image by Nik Borrow via Flickr (CC BY-NC-2.0)A treasure of biodiversityThe Atewa forest, 95 kilometers (59 miles) northeast of the capital, Accra, spans 725 square kilometers (280 square miles). Ranging in elevation from 230 to 845 meters (750 to 2,700 feet), the reserve supports a variety of different habitats, including more than 650 species of plants and a rare upland forest ecosystem. The forest is also the source for the Birim, Densu and Ayensu rivers, which provide water for some 5 million people, including residents of the capital.Though Atewa is designated a production forest and has been logged in the past, it is home to many vulnerable and endangered species. The white-naped mangabey (Cercocebus lunulatus) is found here, and what may be the last viable population of the critically endangered Togo slippery frog (Conraua derooi). Among 155 bird species recorded in the reserve are the brown-cheeked hornbill (Bycanistes cylindricus) and the Nimba flycatcher (Melaenornis annamarulae). The reserve also hosts 17 species of rare butterflies, half of which are found nowhere else in Ghana, including the African giant swallowtail (Papilio antimachus), with a wingspan of up to 23 centimeters (9 inches). New species continue to be found here, such as the endemic Atewa dotted border (Mylothris atewa), a butterfly recorded nowhere else, and a new species of hooded spider, Ricinoides atewa.There are about 30 communities — around 50,000 people — in the area. Most residents grow cacao alongside food crops. They also enter the forest in search of bushmeat, snails, honey, mushrooms, and wild fruit.This is where the state-owned Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) is determined to develop a bauxite mine as part of a massive $2 billion infrastructure deal.Hollow promises of protectionIn July 2018, Ghana’s parliament approved an agreement with China’s Sinohydro Corporation Limited to build infrastructure projects including roads, hospitals, landfill sites, and industrial parks. The Master Project Support Agreement will also see the electricity grid extended to more rural communities. Ghana is to pay for these with $2 billion worth of refined bauxite.Thirty-five kilometers of roads have already been constructed in Atewa, linking 53 test drill sites. Map courtesy Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape.In June 2019, GIADEC started clearing access roads to the summit of the Atewa forest to allow test drilling for bauxite deposits it believes amounts to 150 million to 180 million metric tons.The plan to mine in Atewa has been strenuously opposed by environmentalists and local communities. In 2018, NGOs and faith groups walked the 95 km from the forest to the capital to protest the mining plans. More recently, a group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape organized a shorter march. Carrying placards reading “Save Atewa Forest Now” and “Atewa is our heritage,” the protesters marched 9.5 km (6 mi) from the forest to the local municipal seat in Kyebi on Jan. 21.“GIADEC had entered the forest to explore and had drilled 53 points where the mining will take place, with the claim that the mining would take place in the northern part of the forest which will not affect the southern part,” Oteng Adjei, the leader of the group, told journalists. “Interestingly, the water table at the specific place being referred to is such that when you dig 3 meters [10 feet] deep, you will meet water. The bauxite is 6 meters deep [20 feet] and beyond, so the obvious conclusion is that the water will be reached before the bauxite is extracted.”The company insists it will mine the bauxite in such a way that the forest will not be damaged.At a press conference in Accra on Dec. 4 last year, GIADEC’s chief executive officer, Michael Ansah, said a “strip mining approach” would help to reduce noise, dust and the mining footprint.“There are examples of industry best practices where forest reserves have been mined and successfully rehabilitated and GIADEC will draw upon these examples to ensure minimal impact to the environment and the local communities,” he said. “One example where the bauxite mining has been done in a sustainable manner is the jarrah forest in Western Australia.”He said GIADEC would restrict mining near water bodies in the Atewa forest, as well as carefully remove and preserve topsoil for the preservation of the flora and fauna for later rehabilitation of the mining site.Asked about an environmental and social impact assessment for the proposed mine, Ansah told Mongabay that companies that would be awarded the contract to mine the bauxite would be engaging with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ghana Water Resources Commission to do the impact assessment — a key requirement before mining can begin. He confirmed that test drilling has been done and that he expects the companies that will be contracted to mine the forest to be selected before the end of March 2020.“So, who gave GIADEC the permission to enter the Atewa forest and conduct the test drilling?” said Francis Emmanuel Awotwi, a lecturer at the University College of Agricultural and Environmental studies at Bunso, also in the Atewa enclave. Under Ghanaian law, one has to submit a work plan, site and concession plan before a prospecting permit can be granted.Awotwi said he was also unconvinced by GIADEC’s claim that strip mining will protect ecosystems in Atewa.He said the same approach is currently being used at Awaso, in western Ghana, and the outcome has been devastating. There, Awotwi said, the Awa River has been destroyed by the bauxite operations in the area, and people there can’t harvest rainwater because of the dust, adding that many of them are also suffering from respiratory diseases.Regarding the reference to mining in Australia’s jarrah forest, protest leader Adjei pointed out that the rehabilitation model from Western Australia is irrelevant here. “There are hundreds of different type of tree species and animals in the Atewa forest which can only survive in a natural habitat and GIADEC hasn’t shown any effort or roadmap towards preserving them, while it prepares to start the mining operation,” he added.The state-owned aluminium company says it can mine Atewa with damaging it, but conservationists are unconvinced. Image courtesy A Rocha Ghana.Unnecessary sacrificeAwotwi says the estimated 700 million metric tons of bauxite deposits at the Nhyinahin forest reserve alone could produce the $2 billion needed for the Sinohydro deal, without touching the Atewa forest. “We have always known that there is bauxite at Atewa, but governments have come and gone and nobody has touched Atewa because it is a very sensitive area ecologically.”Nhyinahin is part of the Tano-Offin Forest Reserve, in the Ashanti Region. But here, too, there is resistance to bauxite mining. Traditional leaders in the district have petitioned President Akufo-Addo to halt the proposed mining operations, citing lack of consultation from GIADEC.Communities around Atewa have also rejected the assurances being given by GIADEC.“We don’t live in a dreamland anymore and we are not 17th-century Ghanaians,” said Emmanuel Tabi, a local assembly representative. “Where is the environmental impact assessment? What is the roadmap? Let them be serious so that we will take them serious. They can’t just throw anything at us.”Tabi said he fears the worst for people whose livelihoods depend on the forest. “The Atewa Forest Reserve defines our livelihood. So, if anything should happen to the forest, the rainfall pattern will change and our livelihood also change. It will affect everybody living along the line and it is therefore important that the forest is reserved,” he said.Tabi has called on the president, who also comes from the Atewa area, to cancel the proposed mining project and instead turn the forest into a national park.“Nobody is saying that bauxite mining is not good or it won’t give employment or it won’t give Ghana government money,” he said, “but we believe that whatever we will get out of bauxite mining as at today, we equally beg that if we do the alternative, we will get several times what we will get and that will help Ghana today and Ghana tomorrow.”Local assembly representative Emmanuel Tabi: ‘if anything should happen to the forest, the rainfall pattern will change and our livelihoods will also change.’ Image Awudu Salami for Mongabay.Banner image: Foothills of the Atewa forest range. Image by Ahtziri Gonzalez/CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 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.last_img read more

What we learned in the Warriors’ second preseason loss to the Lakers

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceThe Warriors lost their preseason game against the Lakers 104-98 Monday. Don’t worry, they’ll get two more opportunities this week to exact revenge. Yes, the preseason schedule is ridiculous.In a game where Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell and pretty much anyone making more than the minimum for the Lakers did not play, here’s what we learned, other than LeBron James isn’t interested in losing any of that money he …last_img read more

Yahoo Personals to Close: Free Dating May Have Spelled Its Demise

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… curt hopkins According to the Yahoo help site, Yahoo Personals will close permanently on July 21. Users may either quit the pay-to-date service or transfer their profiles to Match.com. Dating services have been online for quite a while – the debate over their efficacy beginning about eight seconds after the first personal appeared – and have grown in popularity since. But the shuttering of Yahoo Personals may owe as much to a change in revenue models as anything else. To give just two examples, advertising-based site Plenty of Fish is free and doing extremely well. Skout, a free location-based mobile dating app, recently hit 1 million users. It uses a combination of add-on fees and licensing to support its free mobile app. Of course, any fee-based dating site still has the grocery store, the book store (not the record store as often), a train, a bar, a cafe, school, work and various other nodes in the meatspace to contend with as well. With online dating to reach $1.4 billion by 2013, according to Juniper Research, it may be that only those companies really willing to make the commitment will survive. (Blech.) 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#business#web#Yahoo last_img read more

How to Be More Competitive in Sales Now

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now We don’t often speak to the fact that selling is a form of competition. In a contest measured by the value the salesperson creates, there is a winner and a loser. The victory often goes to the salesperson and sales organization who can solve the client’s problem, the best of whom solve the problem before it’s a problem. We give to little attention to the need to more competitive in sales now, with most people merely going through the motions, doing their job, hoping to win. This is how to be more competitive in sales now.Competition to DisplaceRight now, your competitors are calling on your existing clients. Some of these competitors pose a threat to the future of your relationship. Even if you delude yourself into believing your competitors are all terrible, their results likely prove different. Your competition intends to displace you, removing you from the relationship altogether, and taking the business for themselves and their company. Sometimes they achieve their goal, and you lose business.You know this is true because you are calling on companies that belong to your competition. You are trying to take your competitor’s clients from them, making you a threat to your competitor and their business. Both you and your competitor are both susceptible to being displaced when you are apathetic, complacent, or entitled. You also lose when you stop creating the value that won you the business in the first place.Win customers away from your competition. Check out Eat Their LunchBecause selling has moved in the direction of creating displacements, the strategies and tactics for doing so have improved to the point where more salespeople and sales organizations are capable of creating a displacement without having to wait for the client to be dissatisfied enough to change. Instead, the salesperson and their teams create the environment for displacement and compel change. Even though many sales organizations haven’t adopted these practices (we are slow to make difficult transitions), there tends to be some in every industry.Retention as CompetitionRetention is also a competition. It is difficult to grow sales while losing clients and customers. It is difficult to get out of a hole while you continue to dig. You are competing to keep your clients, and there are two ways to prevent being displaced: Execution and New Value.Execution: If you don’t execute well, you open the possibility of being displaced. If you can’t produce the outcome you sold, your client is going to have no choice but explore relationships with someone who can. Retention is one part execution.New Value: The best way to avoid being apathetic, complacent, and entitled is to create new value for your client. To create new value, you have to develop and win a new opportunity or create some change that improves the result you are producing—or forms an improvement in some other way.If you don’t execute and create new value, there are plenty of people who will.Competition for New EntrantsSometimes you compete for a client who is buying what you sell for the first time. These prospective clients have no existing relationship and are exploring their options. The competition here is in some ways easier because you don’t have to remove a person and company with a long history of working together. It is also in some ways more difficult because your prospective client often lacks an understanding of what you sell, the choices available to them, and the trade-offs and concessions they are making without really understanding them.There is one winner in these contests. In mature markets, there are not too many of these contests, and the winner can keep a client for years before their new client ever considers changing, making the stake high for all who compete.ConsequencesThere are rewards for winning and consequences for losing. Some believe it impolite to speak about the rewards and the consequences of winning and losing. They prefer not to think of selling in terms of contests or winning and losing. Some believe that the idea of competition breeds terrible behaviors, and maybe for the segment of the population already in possession of low moral intelligence, that could be true. However, in more cases, competition compels good sales behaviors, as far more salespeople have high moral intelligence and do not possess a “whatever it takes” attitude when that means giving up their integrity and reputation.The consequences of losing contests are many. When you are displaced, you lose the revenue, the profit, some part of the relationship, and the financial rewards you would have earned had you retained them. Your company also lost the financial rewards, but they might also have lost a strategic client, a reference for future acquisitions, reputation, and in some cases, market share.In business, some competitions create a disruptive in the market, displacing and harming a whole industry, as Uber and Lyft have done to the taxi industry in major cities (something that happens to industries over time, and a threat this is difficult to discern if you are not of the mindset to disrupt yourself before it happens to you).How to CompeteBelieve It Is a Contest: To win a contest, you have to believe you are competing. It isn’t enough to show up. You have to possess a strong desire to win. When a contest has consequences, you have to bring your very best effort to the competition. You are not served by showing up, and there is no benefit of just doing your job. You have to play to win.Focus on Creating Greater Value: There is no reason to focus on your competitor. You cannot do anything about them or their approach, even if they always win by lowering their price. The way that you compete in a contest for a client’s business is in large part is creating greater value than your competitor. You win by being more valuable to your client than your competitor. You tilt the playing field in your direction when your dream client perceives more value.Create a Preference to Work With You: We don’t spend nearly enough time on this concept. Clients decide that they want to work with someone more than they want to work with someone else. When you lose, they decided they want to work with your competitor. Your approach to selling is a differentiator. So is your bedside manner, what it’s like to work with you. Your business acumen and situational knowledge also help position you as the right partner, as your competency creates trust. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of intangibles.Make Every Interaction Count: If you believe you are making another sale call, you are not playing the game as well as you could. When you think you are engaged in a contest, a struggle where you win or lose, you treat each interaction as if it is critical to the outcome—because it is critical.Leverage Every Resource Available: It is a mistake not to engage with the people on your team who might help you win a deal. If you can, bring your leadership into the contest. If there are things you can do, like visiting their site and meeting with their teams to better understand their world, you do it. If you can invite them to your location for a whiteboard meeting to share ideas, make it worth their while to join you. Use every resource available to you to win.Sales is a competition, and you are a competitor. Even though we don’t talk enough about competing, winning means recognizing you are in a contest and playing to win.last_img read more

Google AdWords for Nonprofits: 10 Tips About Keywords

first_imgWith a content network that reaches over 75% of unique internet users in more than 20 languages and over 100 countries, Google AdWords can be a powerful marketing tool. Though the efficiency of the program continues to be debated, Google Grants could offer your nonprofit free ads and assistance setting up an account! It should be noted, however, that while Google Adwords is one potential source of advertising for nonprofits, the volume of response from its campaigns to date have been lackluster.Google provides the reach, but it is up to you to write an ad that pulls net surfers in. Just how exactly do you go about writing an ad with a low cost and high ROI? An article from SiteProNews, by Leighton James explains 10 costly mistakes to avoid when launching your AdWords campaign.We’ve taken this advice from SiteProNews and added a nonprofit twist. If you need more detail on what not to do, make sure to check out the article. Otherwise, read on for our modified list of the do’s and don’ts of writing an ad for Google AdWords.1. Create a short list of targeted keywords: Generic terms lead to high fees and low ROI. Instead of writing a long list, take time to identify your target group beforehand and think of terms that will appeal directly to them. Online strategist Riche Zamor highlights the importance of conducting keyword research prior to launching an ad. Though you can pay someone to do this for you, MSN and Google offer free tools to do your own research. Cross checking keywords with multiple search engines to see the number of results and types of ads that it generates is also a good idea. Another aspect to consider that may not come to mind is seasonality. Google Trends allows you to see how keywords fare over time and to pinpoint when during the year searches for the keyword are most popular.2. Identify what is unique about your nonprofit: Identify your marketing strategy and highlight what sets you apart in your ad. Conduct a competitive analysis of the organizations you will compete with using the selected keywords, and look into possible variations of your selected keywords until you find a combination that places you in the first several ads that appear. If you need ideas for related keywords, Google’s Keyword Tool allows you to search for synonyms and get new keyword ideas.3. Use keywords in your ad text: Good ads spell out exactly what they are promoting. Well-placed keywords in both the title and body of the ad ensure that when people click they know what they are getting.4. Direct users to the specific area of the site, not the home page: People want to find what they are looking for without hassle. Directing potential donors to your donation landing page makes it that much easier for them to give. Links to your home page can be helpful if you are working on brand name recognition, but otherwise direct people immediately to the relevant page that matches your ad.5. Separate ad groups: Split up your keyword buys into different categories. For example, you could have one ad group devoted to recruiting activists, and another for reaching out to recruit potential donors. This distinction allows you to better track the progress of each campaign.6. Take advantage of single ad groups: Keep everything organized by creating containers to hold related ad groups. Keyword buys that relate to each other can be grouped into logical categories that will help you organize, but more importantly that allow you to track the success of each keyword.7. Use various phrase keyword-match types: Selecting various keyword types allows you to either expand or refine when your ad appears.The negative keyword option lets you select keywords for which you don’t want your ad to appear.The phrase match option allows your ad to appear only when terms are searched in the order you have specified.Broad match is less specific and targeted, and can incorporate related or relevant keywords.8. Use the AdWords ad serving service: This provides a platform that displays ads with highest click-through rates more frequently than ads with lower rates in the same ad group.9. Track your results: Which keywords were successful and which didn’t get results? Take advantage of Google Analytics to get in-depth reports on various aspects of your campaign. Use it to assess and evaluate your performance. Was it successful? Did it meet or fall short of your goals? There are many ways to track success, some more sophisticated than others. Google’s Website Optimizer is a tool used to track your progress.10. Modify bids before entering the contact network: AdWords allows advertisers to set different bids on the content network then appear on the search network. By modifying bids you can potentially pay less per click while still getting the same amount of traffic.Source: Frogloop, Care2’s nonprofit communications and marketing blog: https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/B2046/IMG10635.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more

6 Steps to Better Email Outreach

first_imgHere are six great, easy steps to improving your email outreach that Anne Holland presented at Marketing Sherpa’s Email Summit:Opt-ins – Make it easy for people to sign up to hear from your nonprofit right on your home page. Don’t make them have to hunt long and hard to find how to sign up, or go to through many steps and pages to do it.Welcome messages – Only half of folks Marketing Sherpa surveyed welcomed new sign-ups within 72 hours. You can stand out just by saying hi and starting a conversation once people do opt-in to hear from you.Transactional emails – People open them at much higher rates than anything else. Of course – they want their receipt or to track their stuff if they’ve bought something. So when you receipt (and I hope, thank) donors, you might consider putting in a bit of nice additional content. I wouldn’t ask for more money right then because donors are tired of that, though.Reputation – from AOL to Earthlink to Yahoo!, providers are sorting spam by the reputation of the organization sending the mail. Even though you’re a nice nonprofit, you might get blocked if you’ve had too many bounces or unsubscribes from your emails. So think about slashing your list so it’s just made up of people who really want to hear from you, and consider being more careful about sharing it with people who might spam your supporters.Design and rendering – Did you know half of all folks 25-54 have images blocked on email by default? Wow. And a high number of folks read all their email in preview panes. MAKE SURE your emails appear right. It turns out when people get an email with a funky layout or blocked images, many think it’s spam. Second, make sure that if your images are blocked, there is something interesting to read so you don’t lose people. Third, put what’s interesting at the top and at the left so people can see it in preview.Landing pages – Sherpa says they give you the best bang for your buck. So don’t just write great emails. If people click through, make sure the place they go is very compelling.last_img read more

Synching your online & offline marketing

first_imgHere is today’s fundraising and marketing tip from Network for Good! You can sign up to receive them via email here.Online fundraising only makes up a portion of your overall marketing plan. It’s not a stand-alone initiative–it’s an integrated part of your communications strategy. Not only is your strategy multi-faceted, but your donors are too! Below, check out our tips for integrating your offline and online tactics to best reach your donors across all channels in your online plan: Offline Mailing Tips: •Ask your donors their preference. No, we’re not talking about pizza toppings or movie genres. Reach out to your donors and find out what communications and donation options they prefer. You may think the majority of your folks are strictly offline (or exclusively online). Don’t assume! Get to know them! •Send a cultivation mailer to your lapsed donors inviting them to visit your website. Direct them to a special page on your site that makes an appeal for why they should make another gift. Learn how to make this landing page compelling. •Use email to boost direct mail response. Remember: Your donors hang out in multiple channels, and you want to give them options. You can email your subscribers telling them to watch the mail, or wait for the call. You can also try following up a special appeal with an email, saying, “We hope you read our recent letter, just click here to make your donation online today. It’s convenient and saves us money.” The first renewal effort might be conducted by email, followed by the usual multi-letter series, and eventually a phone call. •Develop a program to gradually gather the e-mail addresses of direct-mail donors who want to add email to their communications with you. Test asks in the direct mail (P.S., buckslip, reply device, etc.) and track response to find the most effective and least expensive ways to gather e-mail addresses without depressing gift response. •Follow up with email. Email is the fastest and cheapest way to let your donors know what happened after they donated. If your donation appeal made the situation seem urgent, your donors will be left scratching their heads if they don’t hear anything else from you about it. •Create complementary content. Entice donors reading your printed communications to visit your website for “exclusive” content. Not sure what to offer? Maybe you have educational tips (“Download 10 tips for managing your diabetes!”) or other downloads of content people can’t get from a postcard or letter. Tips for Other Channels to Consider: •Events. Having a fundraising walk? Hosting an educational program? Create an email list sign-up sheet to capture in-person email opt-ins. •Marketing collateral. Craft your call to action on your brochures and handouts–and let that action have an online option! If you’re requesting donations, give potential donors the address/directions to donate online if they so choose. Remember: Include your website on everything you print/produce. •Business cards. In a previous article we advised building your email list in a variety of ways, including email opt-in information in your email signature. Next time you order business cards, why not include a small call to action? (Ex: Donate online at… Or, Visit our website to learn more…) •Phone calls. Did you just collect a donation over the phone? Does a donor want some follow up? Try this: After you finish a telemarketing call, tell the donor, “We’d like to send you a receipt to acknowledge your gift. The most efficient way is via e-mail – that way we don’t have to waste paper and postage.” (Thanks to the great Madeline Stanionis for this tip!)last_img read more