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West Nile virus lingers longer in birds exposed to light pollution

first_imgAnimals, Birds, Cities, Conservation, Diseases, Environment, Green, Infectious Wildlife Disease, Pollution, Urbanization, Wildlife, Zoonotic Diseases House sparrows exposed to light at night had higher levels of West Nile virus in their blood for two days longer than sparrows that were exposed to darkness, according to a new study.The research sought to mimic the effects of light pollution common to urban environments on virus levels in a known reservoir of West Nile virus, which can cause a flu-like fever in humans.The team’s research suggests that an outbreak could be 41 percent more likely to happen as a result of the persistence of the virus in this host. Light pollution could lead to more infections with West Nile virus by increasing the amount of time that small songbirds hold on to the virus, according to a new study.“The findings may be the first indication that light pollution can affect the spread of zoonotic diseases,” Meredith Kernbach, a doctoral student in global health at the University of South Florida and lead author of the study, said in a statement. Kernbach and her colleagues published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences on July 24.Scientists already know that exposure to artificial light can affect animal biology, including our own, interfering with immune system functioning, metabolism and behavior.City lights in the United States. Image courtesy of NASA’s Earth Observatory.“Many hosts and vectors use light cues to coordinate daily and seasonal rhythms,” Kernbach said. “[D]isruption of these rhythms by light exposure at night could affect immune responses, generating the effects we see here.”She and her colleagues wondered whether artificial light might influence the way the birds’ bodies react to the virus that causes West Nile fever. Symptoms, when they do appear, are typically similar to those of the flu in humans, and in rare cases can be fatal.Research has shown that songbirds like house sparrows (Passer domesticus) carry West Nile virus, along with other diseases. They’re also frequent visitors to towns and cities, where light pollution abounds and where there are dense human populations to which they can hand off the virus through successive bites by the same mosquito.One of the house sparrows used in the study. Image courtesy of the University of South Florida.To test their hypothesis, the team kept two groups of wild house sparrows under different lighting conditions. The control group experienced 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day for up to three weeks. The second group of birds was kept in an area with 12 hours of light as well, but then the researchers exposed them to 12 hours of dim light meant to mimic the nighttime street and building lights of an urban environment. In the midst of the light exposure experiments, Kernbach and her colleagues inoculated the birds with West Nile virus.Beginning two days after exposure to the virus, the team measured the amount of the virus in the blood of each bird. They all had comparable levels of the virus after four days, but six days in, the birds being exposed to the nighttime lights had significantly higher levels of West Nile virus in their blood than the control group.The researchers also created a statistical model demonstrating that the lingering viral load in light-pollution-exposed sparrows could increase the chances of an outbreak of West Nile fever by 41 percent.A mosquito (Culex pipiens pipiens) known to transmit West Nile virus. Image by Fabrizio Montarsi via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0).Earlier research had shown that higher levels of the stress hormone corticosterone made another species of birds more enticing to hungry mosquitos, and the scientists did notice a slight bump in this compound in the birds exposed to the dim night lights. But that alone didn’t explain the persistence of West Nile virus in the animals’ blood samples, pointing to the need for more research. The stress that light induces could have other effects, for example, on the secretion of the hormone melatonin, that could affect bird behavior, the authors write.In the meantime, the team suggests that motion-sensitive lights might diminish exposure to light pollution and that lights could be turned off at night when the transmission of West Nile virus is particularly high.Banner image of a house sparrow courtesy of the University of South Florida. Citation:Kernbach, M. E., Newhouse, D. J., Miller, J. M., Hall, R. J., Gibbons, J., Oberstaller, J., … Martin, L. B. (2019). Light pollution increases West Nile virus competence of a ubiquitous passerine reservoir species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1907), 20191051. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.1051FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by John Cannoncenter_img 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

Climate adaptation begins with how we manage water (commentary)

first_imgSome 70 percent of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture, but cities and other sectors have growing demands on the same water resources. To adapt to climate change without undermining food security and farmers’ livelihoods, we will have to fundamentally rethink agricultural water usage, our food systems, and our diets.A major new report from the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) makes this case loud and clear. The report urges us to face the fact that climate change will require ‘massive’ adaptation. It urges us to meet this challenge with urgency and resolve.The GCA report paints a sobering picture of our water and food security futures. We can and must adapt more quickly and effectively. Adaptive water management is an important place to start.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. The world is in a slow-moving, persistent water crisis. Rapidly rising water usage, increasingly uncertain rainfall, and widespread water pollution push more of our world into water stress and intensify competition for water — a competition that tends to be lost by the poor and by our ecosystems. Meanwhile, sea level rise, floods, droughts, and storms continue attacking cities, communities, and crops.Climate change is expected to exacerbate all of these challenges. Our changing climate means we will face more frequent and more severe extreme weather events. Higher temperatures mean thirstier crops, quenched with less predictable rains.Some 70 percent of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture, but cities and other sectors have growing demands on the same water resources. To adapt to climate change without undermining food security and farmers’ livelihoods, we will have to fundamentally rethink agricultural water usage, our food systems, and our diets.A major new report from the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) makes this case loud and clear. The report urges us to face the fact that climate change will require ‘massive’ adaptation. It urges us to meet this challenge with urgency and resolve.A contributor to the GCA report, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), where I am Director General, is already developing many practical solutions that can be scaled up to adapt to the immense water challenges posed by climate change.Firstly, adaptation efforts must focus on the needs of smallholder farmers, who will be hardest hit and are least equipped to cope. They will be the front lines in the battle of adaptation. And in fact, the report calls for doubling the scale of agricultural research through the network of which we are a part, CGIAR.Smallholders farmers (with less than 10 hectares) manage up to 80 percent of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. They are fundamental to food security in the developing world and they are extremely vulnerable to the climate. Building the resilience of these farmers is an urgent climate adaptation priority.Pyawt Ywar Pump Irrigation Project in Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone. Creating an institutional framework to connect farmers to irrigation scheme managers and boost equitable access to water. Photo Credit: Madeline Dahm / IWMI.Solar-powered irrigation technology, for instance, allows farmers to irrigate their crops on-demand, which provides resilience against untimely rainfall. In many places, solar pumps are replacing diesel pumps and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In India, farmer collectives are also earning additional income by selling excess energy back to the grid. This diversifies farmers’ incomes, helps ‘green’ the energy mix, and discourages the overexploitation of agricultural groundwater. This innovative model is now set to scale out across the country.Elsewhere, pastoralists in the drylands of Ethiopia contending with increasingly intense floods have worked to build resilience through the construction of small dams. These dams can slow and capture floodwaters, then distribute it to grazing and crop lands, in turn boosting productivity.Secondly, research must support the vital role that water plays in preserving our natural environment.Wetlands are a prime example. They perform vital services for people and the environment. They provide air and water purification, water flow regulation, carbon sequestration, and flood and drought mitigation.Preserving and restoring wetlands around the world is also essential for resilience. Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo was recently accredited as a Ramsar Wetland City. The city’s multipurpose wetlands provide a sustainable habitat for birds and aquatic life and are an excellent example of an integrated ‘green and grey’ (natural and man-made) flood management system — using nature to enhance ecosystem and urban resilience.Thirdly, investing in preventing water-related hazards from turning into food supply disasters is essential.Floods, for example, can cause huge losses to life, crops, and property. But using early warning systems can help farmers and governments prepare in advance and minimize the impacts of heavy flood seasons. Where harm cannot be avoided, flood insurance can be developed that meets the needs of small farmers.The GCA report paints a sobering picture of our water and food security futures. We can and must adapt more quickly and effectively. Adaptive water management is an important place to start.Pyawt Ywar Pump Irrigation Project in Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone. Photo Credit: Madeline Dahm / IWMI.Claudia Sadoff is Director General of the International Water Management Institute. Adaptation To Climate Change, Agriculture, Climate Change, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Commentary, Drinking Water, Drought, Editorials, Environment, Extreme Weather, Farming, Flooding, Food Crisis, food security, Global Warming, Researcher Perspective Series, Water, Water Crisis, Water Pollution, Water Scarcity Article published by Mike Gaworeckicenter_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

Into the abyss with deep sea biologist Diva Amon

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 Biodiversity, Deep Sea, Deep Sea Mining, Featured, Interviews, Oceans, Research Article published by Erik Hoffnercenter_img Dr. Diva Amon was raised on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and has become an expert on what lies deep below its surface, where light refuses to go.“We can’t effectively manage what we don’t understand or protect what we don’t know,” she tells Mongabay in a new interview.The promise and peril of deep sea mining is just one of the reasons she and her colleagues are working hard to understand the biodiversity of the oceans’ greatest depths.Dr. Amon is speaking at the upcoming Jackson Wild Summit in Wyoming later this month. Deep sea biologist Diva Amon is a Trinidadian who was raised by the shore of the Caribbean Sea, but has become well known not for the sea’s edge, but rather for what lies deep beneath it. She co-founded SpeSeas, a non-profit NGO focused on increasing marine science, education and advocacy in Trinidad and Tobago, and is currently a Research Fellow at the National History Museum, London.She will be part of the deep sea session of the upcoming Jackson Wild Summit in Jackson, WY, September 21-27, which will have a focus on ‘Living Oceans’ (more information and registration for the event is here).Prior to heading for Wyoming, Dr. Amon took a break to answer a few questions.Diva Amon in a research submersible. Photo courtesy of Novus Select.Mongabay: Hydrothermal vents and the communities that thrive on them have been a regular source of  discovery in recent years, can you describe your new study‘s assessment of their biodiversity?Dr. Diva Amon: Cruise reports, initial observations and assessments from research cruises are an overlooked source of biological information. This recently published study has used all available cruise reports from cruises that went to hydrothermal vents to show that global research effort has been skewed geographically. We know much more about vents in the Northern Hemisphere, in places like the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, while regions such as the Southern and Indian Oceans are practically unexplored. Under business as usual scenarios, this would propel us scientists to increase our work in understudied areas, but with mining of hydrothermal vents looming, it is an alarm bell.We must make it a priority to gather more data so that accurate environmental assessments of the impact of mining can be made, especially vent sites [that] are unique, and many more vent sites are threatened by deep-sea mining in the Southern Hemisphere. As it currently stands, as Andrew, the lead author says, “we’re drawing on data from very different ecosystems. It’s like trying to understand the impacts of logging in a tropical rainforest, but only using forestry data from the Pacific Northwest.” We desperately need to correct this if mining at deep-sea hydrothermal vents is to move forward responsibly.What gaps are there in our knowledge of these communities? Our assessment also reminded us that despite hydrothermal vents being some of the most well-explored deep-sea habitats, when compared with terrestrial ones, we know next to nothing about them. Globally, many sites are only inferred from chemical signals and have never been visited [and] others we don’t even know exist. For those where scientists have been working, a big gap is the natural variability of these habitats and the communities there.Hydrothermal vents were only discovered in 1977, with new sites being discovered nearly every year. Many of these sites have only been visited once, or a handful of times, so that temporal aspect is missing. We also are only now grasping how communities are connected with – and travel between – vent sites, not just on local scales, but also regionally and globally. And what about the big roles that vents are playing for the rest of the deep sea, our oceans and our planet?One of Dr. Amon’s favorite animals to see on a dive, the dumbo octopus. Image via Smithsonian Institution.Collaboration is a key way to gather those missing pieces! Firstly, between scientists from around the world, especially from countries that have not previously had the financial or technological capability to conduct studies, even within their own waters themselves. Secondly, with industry. Industry may have access to resources and data that science may not, and vice versa. Thirdly, with the regulators, so that  regulations can be adopted, as well as enforced, effectively. We must continue to explore the deep ocean in order to understand it better.What inspired you to study these nearly impossible to reach depths?I’m Trinidadian and grew up in the Caribbean, which meant spending a lot of time by the sea. I knew I loved the ocean but I never gave the deep ocean any thought. It wasn’t until my first deep-sea biology course, I was struck hearing that less than 1% of our deep ocean had ever been explored. That is a staggering figure! Everyone has some inner desire to explore, to see things no one has ever seen, to answer questions that have never been answered, to have experiences that few have ever had. Deep-sea science was my gateway to that excitement of never knowing what you’re going to see in an unexplored and ever-changing ocean.You are a leader of the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI)’s minerals working group: what is that group doing to safeguard the deep ocean and inform sustainable use of things like deep-sea minerals? DOSI is an expert group that seeks to integrate science, technology, policy, law and economics to advise on ecosystem-based management of resources in the deep ocean and strategies to maintain the integrity of deep-ocean ecosystems. We work across a range of issues, from deep-sea fishing to oil and gas extraction, deep-sea mining, and even the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations at the UN. Many of us assist in collecting mandatory and crucial deep-sea data and then we take that science, as well as from other colleagues, and translate it so that it can be used to guide policy through conversations with stakeholders.A submersible inspects a newly discovered hydrothermal vent. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas.What are the chief challenges to meaningful deep sea stewardship? Lack of data and understanding! Less than 1% of the deep sea has ever been imaged or seen, so it’s currently very difficult to make stewardship decisions. Not only do the deep ocean, its inhabitants, and their functions amaze and inspire us, but they also have the potential to provide solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges, but we just don’t know yet. We can’t effectively manage what we don’t understand or protect what we don’t know.What creature has given you the greatest joy of seeing in the deep so far during one of your expeditions?Dumbo octopus get me every time! They are just so cute! Also headless chicken monsters (Enypniastes eximia), which are a type of sea cucumber capable of swimming. Their movement is just hypnotic, like a lava lamp. We see these often but there is great video from a cruise to the Gulf of Mexico in 2017.What do you yearn to see?Has to be giant tubeworms from the Pacific vents (Riftia pachyptila). They are one of the most iconic deep-sea species, and would be like seeing a big cat during a safari. It’s on my bucket list!Photo of one of the largest concentrations of Riftia pachyptila ever observed, with anemones and mussels colonizing in close proximity. Image courtesy of the 2011 NOAA Galapagos Rift Expedition.Dr. Amon will be part of the deep sea session of the Jackson Wild Summit in Jackson, WY, September 21-27, which will have a focus on ocean health. More information and registration for the event is here.last_img read more

$750,000 prize seeks solutions to challenges from small-scale mining

first_imgWhile the devices we carry around in our pockets everyday provide us with unprecedented convenience and levels of access to information, the materials they contain are often linked to the destruction of some of the planet’s richest ecosystems.Yet small-scale mining is an important source of income more than 40 million people worldwide, generating livelihoods and, in some cases, creating paths to escape poverty.For these reasons, last week a broad coalition launched a $750,000 global competition to identify ways to make small-scale and artisanal mining less damaging to communities and the environment.The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge is hosted by Conservation X Labs, a Washington, DC- and Seattle-based non-profit that has organized other prize-based competitions around difficult environmental problems. While the devices we carry around in our pockets everyday provide us with unprecedented convenience and levels of access to information, the materials they contain are often linked to the destruction of some of the planet’s richest ecosystems. Extracting metals and minerals like gold from the Amazon, coltan from the Congo, and nickel from Indonesia can take a heavy on local peoples, wildlife, rivers, and forests. Gold mining is a major threat to the forests and biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon, including protected areas. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.One of the most complicated aspects of addressing the issue is the disparate nature of small-scale and artisanal mining, which accounts for a significant share of production of some of the most critical materials that go into mobile phones, tablets, and laptops as well as jewelry: 15-20 percent of diamonds, 15-20 percent of gold, 20 percent of cobalt, and 70-80 percent of colored gemstones. Much of this mining is informal, unregulated, or even illegal, putting it beyond the reach of authorities. And some of the companies that sell products to consumers may have very little knowledge of what raw materials ultimately end up in their supply chains.Yet small-scale mining is an important source of income more than 40 million people worldwide, generating livelihoods and, in some cases, creating paths to escape poverty. So outright crackdowns on the activity can have a downside.Gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon. The launch event for the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge featured a talk by Dr. Luis E. Fernandez of Wake Forest University Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation (CINCIA), who discussed the impacts of artisanal mining in Madre de Dios in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.For these reasons, last week a broad coalition launched a $750,000 global competition to identify ways to make small-scale and artisanal mining less damaging to communities and the environment. The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge is hosted by Conservation X Labs, a Washington, DC- and Seattle-based non-profit that has organized other prize-based competitions around difficult environmental problems.“This is a wicked problem,” said Alex Dehgan, Co-founder and CEO of Conservation X Labs. “All of the partners involved are doing this because we like to run to hard problems, rather than run away from them.”“Our problems are scaling exponentially and our solutions have been linear. We seek to work as part of a coalition because none of us can solve it alone,” Dehgan continued. “Our only competitor should be extinction.”A view of the Soarano wetland, cleared of forest by illegal gold miners, near Ranomafana, Madagascar. Image by Daniel Burgas.The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge is structured into three categories: preventing and remediating damage at mine sites; addressing social and environmental costs in mining supply chains beyond mine sites; and developing information solutions that measure the environmental and social impacts of mining. On top of those categories, Microsoft’s AI for Earth Initiative is awarding $100,000 “for solutions that utilize or deploy artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning,” to the issue.The challenge is open to anyone offering solutions. Paul Bunje, Co-founder and CSO/COO of Conservation X Labs, expects a wide range of entities — from NGOs to companies to entrepreneurs — to get involved.“We can now use a crowd-based innovation competition, not just to incentivize new solutions and accelerate innovation – which is critical – but also use this as an opportunity to capture huge value,” Bunje said. “It’s the opportunity for all of us to be a part of something huge.”Forest cleared for gold mining in Indonesian Borneo. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerThe Artisanal Mining Grand ChallengeCorrection October 9, 2019: Conservation X Labs is based in both Washington, DC and Seattle, not only Virginia as originally stated in this post.Disclosure: Mongabay is participating in The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge through a special reporting project on small-scale and artisanal mining worldwide. The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge does not have any editorial influence on the stories Mongabay produces. 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 Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Gold Mining, Green, Mining, Prizes, Water Pollution center_img Article published by Rhett Butlerlast_img read more

DRC’s Okapi Wildlife Reserve gets new management partner in WCS

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Green, Mammals, Rainforests, Wildlife The Okapi Wildlife Reserve in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will now be run under a new management partnership agreement between the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the DRC government’s Nature Conservation Agency (ICCN).Through the new management partnership agreement, WCS and ICCN hope to restore stability in the reserve and surrounding forests, improve the welfare and operations of its rangers, and enhance the social well-being of its resident communities.The local communities are not part of the official agreement structure, but they will be consulted as management details become clearer, John Lukas of the Okapi Conservation Project said. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), created to protect the secretive okapi (Okapia johnstoni), will now be run under a new management partnership agreement between the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the DRC government’s Nature Conservation Agency (ICCN), according to a press release by WCS.“ICCN does not have the funds or expertise to effectively manage their protected areas and are entering into Private Public Partnerships for most of their protected areas,” John Lukas, co-founder of the Okapi Conservation Project, managed by the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Global, told Mongabay. “The co-management structure for the Okapi Wildlife Reserve should bring in much needed financial resources and greater efficiencies in operation and attract leadership with expertise in law enforcement.”The reserve, spread across some 13,700 square kilometers (5,290 square miles) of the Ituri rainforest, is home to not only the okapi, the closest living relative of the giraffe, but more than 100 mammal species, including large populations of forest elephants and chimpanzees, and nearly 400 species of recorded birds. The reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well, and inhabited by the Efe and Mbuti peoples.The Ituri River in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Image by Emma Stokes/WCS.But the reserve has also been hit by illegal hunting, logging and mining, and encroached upon by settlers and bands of armed rebel groups. In 2012, for example, a brutal attack by armed groups at the headquarters of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve killed six people and 14 captive okapis kept there as the species’ ambassadors to the local community. In the last 25 years, okapi numbers are thought to have declined by nearly 50 percent, earning the species a listing of endangered on the IUCN Red List.Through the new management partnership agreement, WCS and ICCN and their partners hope to restore the reserve to its “former world class status,” WCS said in its statement. They plan to bring greater stability to the reserve and surrounding forests, improve the welfare and operations of its rangers, and enhance the social well-being of resident communities.The Okapi Conservation Project (OCP) will continue to support WCS and ICCN, Lukas said, and the organization has entered into agreements with both ICCN and WCS to collaborate.“We will be responsible for conservation education, community relations and assistance, women’s groups, agroforestry, okapi management and camera trapping to foster interest in the wildlife of the OWR,” he said. “We have been supporting the rangers and their patrol efforts to date and will be transitioning that responsible to WCS as funds become available.”The local communities are not part of the official agreement structure, Lukas said, but they will be consulted as management details become clearer. “Our educators are based around the Reserve and interact with the communities regularly and will represent their concerns to the Reserve Management Unit,” he added.Threats to the reserve have multiplied over the recent years, but one of the immediate threats the management teams hope to tackle is illegal gold mining.“Mines draw in desperate people, depend on bush meat to feed the miners and are subject to extortion by rogue militias and the military,” Lukas said. “Secondly, clearing of forest by immigrants is an increasing threat along with logging in certain areas. Elephant poaching is declining but still a threat because the poachers are armed. Training of the rangers which is going on now is needed to properly deal with the threats.”The road ahead, however, is extremely challenging. The teams are currently dealing with an Ebola outbreak in Mambasa, 70 kilometers (44 miles) from Epulu, where the reserve’s headquarters is stationed. This has made it difficult for the staff to move around the region, Lukas said.Despite the challenges, conserving the Okapi Wildlife Reserve is crucial, conservationists say.“The OWR still contains a remarkable level of biological diversity which supports a viable population of okapi. Protecting the forest and rallying communities to value okapi is the goal of our brave staff which is supported by our donors from around the world,” Lukas said. “We are celebrating World Okapi Day on Oct. 18th in 5 villages around the Reserve and hope to reach about 20,000 people living in and around the Reserve with a conservation message to protect okapi ‘the Pride of DRC.’”Okapi. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Banner image of a wild okapi caught on a camera trap in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve by the Okapi Conservation Project. 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 Shreya Dasguptalast_img read more

Mischaracterizing the conservation benefits of trade (commentary)

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 Article published by Rhett Butler BBC NewsThe Economisthttps://news.mongabay.com/Scheffers, B.R., Oliveira, B.F., Lamb, I. and Edwards, D.P., 2019. Global wildlife trade across the tree of life. Science, 366, 71-76.Swaisgood, R., Wang, D. & Wei, F. 2016. Ailuropoda melanoleuca (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T712A121745669. Downloaded on 05 November 2019.Collar, N.J. 2004. Species limits in some Indonesian thrushes.Forktail20, 71-87.BirdLife International 2017. Kittacincla malabarica (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T103894856A111179027. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T103894856A111179027.en. Downloaded on 05 November 2019.Eskew, E.A., White, A.M., Ross, N., Smith, K.M., Smith, K.F., Rodríguez, J.P., Zambrana-Torrelio, C., Karesh, W.B. and Daszak, P., 2019. United States wildlife and wildlife product imports from 2000-2014. BioRxiv, p.780197.Forshaw, J. and Knight, F., 2017. Vanished and vanishing parrots: Profiling extinct and endangered species. CSIRO PUBLISHING.CITES CoP17. 2015. Status of conservation, use, management of and trade in the species of the genus Abronia. Report AC28 Doc. 22.4. https://cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/com/ac/28/E-AC28-22-04.pdfIUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Atelopus peruensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T54539A89196220. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T54539A89196220.en. Downloaded on 22 October 2019.BirdLife International 2018. Rhinoplax vigil. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22682464A134206677. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22682464A134206677.en. Downloaded on 22 October 2019.Symes, William S., David P. Edwards, Jukka Miettinen, Frank E. Rheindt, and L. Roman Carrasco. 2018. Combined impacts of deforestation and wildlife trade on tropical biodiversity are severely underestimated.” Nature communications 9, 4052.Clements, G.R., Lynam, A.J., Gaveau, D., Yap, W.L., Lhota, S., Goosem, M., Laurance, S. and Laurance, W.F., 2014. Where and how are roads endangering mammals in Southeast Asia’s forests?. PLoS One, 9, p.e115376.Suarez, E., Morales, M., Cueva, R., Bucheli, V.U., Zapata‐Ríos, G., Toral, E., Torres, J., Prado, W. and Olalla, J.V., 2009. Oil industry, wild meat trade and roads: indirect effects of oil extraction activities in a protected area in north‐eastern Ecuador. Animal Conservation, 12, 364-373.Robinson, J.E., Griffiths, R.A., Fraser, I.M., Raharimalala, J., Roberts, D.L. and St John, F.A., 2018. Supplying the wildlife trade as a livelihood strategy in a biodiversity hotspot. Ecology and Society, 23, 13.Beastall, C., Shepherd, C.R., Hadiprakarsa, Y. and Martyr, D., 2016. Trade in the Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil: the ‘ivory hornbill’.Bird conservation international,26,137-146.Collar, N. J. (2015). Helmeted Hornbills Rhinoplax vigil and the ivory trade: the crisis that came out of nowhere.BirdingASIA,24, 12-17.Nijman, V., & Nekaris, K. A. I. (2017). The Harry Potter effect: The rise in trade of owls as pets in Java and Bali, Indonesia.Global ecology and conservation,11, 84-94. The authors of a Science paper on global wildlife trade respond to an editorial published on Mongabay that criticized their methodology.Brett R. Scheffers of the University of Florida/IFAS; Brunno F. Oliveira of the University of Florida/IFAS and Auburn University at Montgomery; and Leuan Lamb and David P. Edwards of the University of Sheffield say their paper ‘uses a rigorously assembled database to make the first global assessment of traded species—both legal and illegal, and from national to international scales—and to identify the global hotspots of trade diversity.’This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay. In May of 2015, ten people were arrested and three charged in Yunnan, China.  They had killed a Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and were selling its meat. The panda’s paws sold for US$750. Elsewhere, pandas are rented by China to zoos outside its borders for up to US$1 million per year, commercializing the conservation of the species, but at worse representing a pawn in international economic planning.Yet, in a recent opinion piece written by Jonathan Kolby in Mongabay, the author’s opinion claims that we misused our data in characterizing Giant Panda, one of the 32,000 species we assessed, as traded in our study because CITES states their use is strictly for zoological or conservation purposes. Following a minimal level of investigative journalism, we found recent evidence showing Giant Panda as traded on the illegal market. Furthermore, Giant Panda is scored in the IUCN Redlist database as being traded under the categories of hunting, pets, and food, which is one of the sources of data used in our study of the global wildlife trade.Our study Global wildlife trade across the tree of life uses a rigorously assembled database to make the first global assessment of traded species—both legal and illegal, and from national to international scales—and to identify the global hotspots of trade diversity. We show that approximately one in five species are traded, and hotspots of trade diversity are concentrated in the biologically rich tropics.Whether an animal is part of the wildlife trade depends on its set of desirable traits, which served as the second focus of our study. Physical traits are determined by evolution, and tend to show up in clusters of related species. With this in mind, we used a novel analysis to show that people are targeting specific groups of species that are similar in traits. Based on these traits and evolutionary relationships, we then determined which non-traded species are at risk of being traded in the future. Our approach is justified—researchers commonly see this trend in the trade of specific groups of animals (e.g., pangolins)—when one traded species is exhausted, trade switches to the next most similar species. Importantly, our study shows this pattern applies more broadly across the tree of life and our method has the potential to reshape the way we prioritize and think about conservation of species by proactively considering trade-risk for all species, regardless of current trade volume.White-rumped shama (Kittacincla malabarica) for sale in a bird market in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia. Although only of Least Concern according to IUCN Redlist, this species is so heavily exploited for the cage-bird trade that it has declined to near-extinction in some countries within its range. Photo credit: Gabby SalazarIn his opinion piece, Kolby raised three areas of concern about our study:First, Kolby argued that we included IUCN-identified species used for subsistence and CITES-listed ‘look-alikes’ of traded species. Each IUCN species account was read to confirm trade, not subsistence use. Of the 5,579 species identified as traded, only 413 (7%) were included as CITES look-alikes. Their inclusion is justified because: (1) 197 (48%) of these species were identified as traded by a newly usable trade database (N=45) and the IUCN’s Red List ‘check-box’ of use and trade (N=181)—information not available via our method of API download (correction pending in Science); (2) the trade in some species has been overlooked by IUCN/CITES (e.g., the parrot Amazonas kwaralli and several Abronia lizard species); and (3) projecting trade for species already under CITES conservation action is pointless.Kolby ignores a fundamental goal of our study, which is to identify whether humans are non-randomly choosing species in the trade. Instead Kolby focuses on trade legalities (legal vs illegal) and the time frame of trade, neither of which are relevant in this context. Precautionary reanalysis after removing the 413 look-alikes from the 5,579 traded species presented in our original article (correction pending) confirms that trade remains phylogenetically clustered, indicating that humans are targeting specific groups of species (Table 1).Table 1. Phylogenetic signal in wildlife trade after removing CITES ‘look-alikes”. The D-statistic is the sum of state changes along the edges of a phylogeny. Observed D values were contrasted against simulated values obtained from two null models: Random and Brownian motion. All groups showed a phylogenetic signal stronger than expected by random, whereas mammals and birds show a signal as strong as expected under a Brownian motion model of evolution indicating high levels of phylogenetic clustering.Second, Kolby argues that trade does not necessarily equate to enhanced extinction risk, and that sustainable trade can improve the conservation of traded species and mitigate other threats. This does not contradict our findings of the vast diversity of traded species, nor that many species have recently been (e.g. Peru stubfoot toad Atelopus peruensis) or are presently being (e.g., helmeted hornbill Rhinoplax vigil) driven towards extinction by trade. For example, the IUCN Redlist has assessed 86% (N=4680) of the approximately 5,420 mammals species on Earth. Of traded mammal species, 51% (N=595) are threatened according to the Redlist whereas 20% (N=641) are least concern; while trade is a bigger driver of population loss than deforestation for 58 of 77 forest bird species in South-east Asia. Thus, trade is demonstrably and unequivocally a major driver of extinction risk for many species.Importantly, Kolby provides no scientific reference in support of his opinion that trade can improve species conservation status. We are unaware of rigorous assessments showing widespread population benefits of trade across the hyper-diversity of species we assessed, nor that trade can mitigate other conservation threats to biodiversity. Indeed, trade in combination with habitat loss, road building, and other disturbances such as disease synergistically accelerates extinction risk. Moreover, some research suggests that wildlife trade provides little incentive for enhanced stewardship of traded species and their habitats. The wider conservation benefits of trade remain unclear and we encourage researchers to test this hypothesis with rigorous data-based assessments.Finally, Kolby suggests trade volume of a species should be used as a qualifier for the inclusion of species as traded. We disagree, because this would set a dangerous precedent. Often species are flagged for conservation action only after a severe decline is documented.As mentioned in our study, if cultural preferences change, wildlife trade can rapidly drive a species toward extinction. For instance, the emergence of widespread demand in East Asia for the ivory-like casque of the helmeted hornbill resulted in tens of thousands of birds traded annually since around 2012. This species is now Critically Endangered. Moreover, we also mentioned in our study that trade tracks cultural [e.g., the Harry Potter–inspired trade of owls in Asia] and economic vogue, which again suggests that abundant species may not be safe.  We did not identify hotspots of trade volume across the diversity of traded species, which remains a critical knowledge gap at global scale.Our study provides an account of the sheer diversity of species in trade and serves as a barometer of the scope of trade. Rather than relying upon unsubstantiated hypotheses and personal opinions, future progress will be made through using advanced analytical methods combining phylogenetic and large-scale data interrogation to inform deeper understanding of the impacts and sustainable management of trade. Our article represents a key step in this direction.Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa, for sale in a bird market, Java, Indonesia. photo credit: Gabby SalazarCover image: Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa, for sale in a bird market, Java, Indonesia. photo credit: Gabby SalazarReferences Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Endangered Species, Environment, Pandas, Pet Trade, Researcher Perspectives Series, Wildlife, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking last_img read more

Nearly three months after Brazil oil spill, origins remain uncertain

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 Controversial, Diseases, Environment, Governance, Government, Green, Ocean Crisis, Oceans, Oil, Oil Spills, Pollution, Regulations, Water Pollution Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Oil was first sighted on Brazil’s northeastern coast on August 30, with more than 4,000 tons washing up since. Authorities claim the oil didn’t come from Brazil, but rather had come from a tanker loaded with crude from Venezuela — a failed state.The trending theory is that the dumping was done by a “dark ship” with its location transponders intentionally turned off so as to dodge U.S. sanctions against the transport of Venezuelan oil. While “bilge dumping” could be the cause, analysts say the practice isn’t likely to have resulted in Brazil’s mass spill.The government initially identified one tanker as the likely perpetrator and then expanded to five possible culprits. But a new analysis of satellite data by Federal University of Alagoas researchers may have pinpointed the responsible tanker; those findings are to be presented to the Brazilian Senate on November 21.The Bolsonaro government has been faulted for its disaster response. It seemed unaware of Brazil’s 2013 National Contingency Plan for dealing with spills, and didn’t enact the plan until October 11. Also, the executive committee charged with implementing the plan was disbanded by the administration early in 2019. While the Brazilian government’s oil spill reaction was viewed by critics as lackluster, the response by local volunteers was exceptional as they worked to clean up contaminated beaches. Image by Clemente Coelho / State University of Pernambuco.On August 30th, what appeared to be crude oil began washing up on the beaches of Northeastern Brazil. Authorities didn’t know where it was coming from. Now, more than two months since the initial contamination, over 4,000 tons of oil have sullied the region’s beaches and mangrove swamps — devastating tourism and the environment.The crude’s origins still remain uncertain, with the Jair Bolsonaro government criticized for its slow response and for the secrecy that may be hampering the investigation. However, the disaster has shed light on the challenges of policing ocean dumping, and the phenomenon of “dark ships.”Dark ships are cargo vessels that turn off their location transponders so as to navigate without sending a signal indicating their position, allowing them to travel the world’s oceans undetected except by satellite — a violation of international maritime law.Satellite images analyzed by LAPIS, the Satellite Image Processing Laboratory at the Federal University of Alagoas now suggest that the oil tanker originally fingered by investigators is likely the wrong one. Moreover, it appears that the culprit was traveling with its location transponder turned off. That is, it was a “dark ship.”Further, LAPIS researchers have informed the Brazilian publication Exame that the tanker in question left an Asian nation on July 1, but that it’s next transponder signal only registered near the coast of Guyana on July 28. While the ship was crossing the Atlantic, it didn’t make any port stops and it made a “strange maneuver,” indicating a change in course, according to the report.Boots on the ground: volunteers fought the spill with shovels, scooping up oil and isolating it as best they could on plastic sheeting. Image by Clemente Coelho / State University of Pernambuco.Dark ships aren’t uncommon off the South American coast — or in other oceans, for that matter. Kpler, a data intelligence firm offering transparency solutions in commodity markets, provided Mongabay with a list of 14 ships that had turned off their transponders after leaving the Venezuelan port of San José between late May and mid-October. Thirteen of those ships were carrying a kind of crude oil known as Merey 16.In October, Brazilian authorities accused the Greek-flagged ship, Bouboulina, of the spill, later adding four more Greek ships to the list of suspects. Like the other “dark ships,” the Bouboulina was carrying Merey 16. Brazilian authorities have not said whether this is the kind of oil hitting the country’s beaches. Delta Tankers, the Boubolina’s owner, said it would cooperate with the investigation. However, the new information from LAPIS would seem to exonerate the Bouboulina. The details about the new suspect tanker will be shared with Brazil’s Senate this coming Thursday, November 21.“This is a safety issue as these AIS signals help vessels avoid collisions and other maritime accidents,” Emmanuel Belostrino, a crude oil market analyst with Kpler explained. “Ship captains will not normally stop broadcasting these signals, unless they are actively trying to hide their positions, like the case of vessels carrying Iranian and Venezuelan crude.”Oil-rich Venezuela has been grappling with the challenges brought by U.S. sanctions invoked by the Trump administration. “Prior to January of this year, there were some sanctions on dealing with PDVSA [Venezuela’s state oil company], but they weren’t general prohibitions,” explained Jonathan Epstein, a maritime trade attorney with the firm Holland & Knight. The target of the sanctions then, Epstein said, were tankers carrying Venezuelan oil to Cuba. Subsequently, the U.S. issued new guidance implying that foreign shipping firms could be subject to the sanctions if they carried Venezuelan oil, regardless of destination. This, Epstein said, “scared away most of the trade because there is a fear, and a legitimate fear, that [the firms] could be sanctioned or that a vessel could be sanctioned for carrying oil.”These sanctions complicate the monitoring of oil shipments off the coast of Brazil and could be intensifying illegal behavior in shipping lanes there. Reuters reported in October that Chinese firm COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) had turned off transponders aboard roughly a third of the company’s fleet. This, after the US sanctioned the firm in September for allegedly transporting Iranian oil.Communities all along the contaminated sections of the Brazilian coast responded to the call to action. Image by Clemente Coelho / State University of Pernambuco.Pinpointing the spill’s origin hasn’t only been hampered by dark ships. Brazilian authorities have yet to release a chemical analysis of the oil, which could indicate its source. Experts interviewed by Mongabay criticized this decision, saying the silence prevents organizations outside Brazil from helping solve the mystery.The Bolsonaro administration has also come under fire for its lax disaster response. Although the Navy reacted to the crisis early on, the administration seemed unaware of Brazil’s National Contingency Plan created in 2013 to deal with oil spills. In fact, at the start of the year, the President disbanded the executive committee charged with implementing that plan as part of sweeping administrative changes. Minister of Environment Ricard Salles only enacted the contingency plan on October 11, more than a month after the first oil sightings.The spill has also highlighted how the practice of “bilge dumping” goes largely unregulated off the shores of developing countries. The “bilge” is the lowest compartment of a ship, which often collects water and residual oil. Bilge dumping is the practice of pumping this contaminated wastewater out of a ship and into the open sea.John Amos of the environmental monitoring group SkyTruth notes that his organization has identified similar bilge dumps off the Brazilian coast over the past several months, including one in July near the northeastern city of João Pessoa. Sky Truth has also identified bilge dumps in Southeast Asia and off the coast of Africa, showing it to be common practice globally.However, Amos and oil spill expert Gerald Graham both agreed on an important detail, telling Mongabay that they don´t believe a bilge dump was the source of Brazil´s present oil troubles because of the large amount of oil involved.A fish killed by the spill. There has yet to be an assessment of the ecological harm done. Image by Clemente Coelho / State University of Pernambuco.Speaking specifically of the Bouboulina, Amos raised a question that could equally apply to any oil-laden tanker leaving Venezuela: “They clearly were [there] picking up a load of crude oil. Why would you do that and then intentionally dump that crude oil into the ocean?”Graham concurred, underscoring the commercial value of oil. “I fail to see how anybody could think this was from a bilge spill. You don’t have high viscosity, very thick crude oil coming from bilge tanks, which is basically wastewater, sewage, essentially.”Marcus Silva, an oceanographer at the Federal University of Pernambuco, told Mongabay that he and a team of researchers are preparing an ocean expedition aboard a Brazilian Navy ship at the end of November. The scientists will collect water and sediment samples to determine the extent and intensity of contamination.“We have to be careful with the sediment,” Silva said. “Historically, around the world, the big impact from oil spills comes from the sediment near the bottom. This has consequences for the entire food chain, and it’s slow-acting,” he said.Silva uses mathematical models to predict the flow of oil and other materials in water. To assist with the spill investigation, Silva provided his models to Brazil’s Federal Police who swore him to secrecy regarding the results. He was, however, able to tell Mongabay that “various aspects of my models correspond to what is being presented,” but not all of them.“My simulations are not yet conclusive,” Silva clarified. He noted that after sharing his original results with the Federal Police, he was supposed to receive data back from them that he could feed back into his analysis. In spite of his follow-up requests, that data hasn’t been forthcoming.The Federal Police told Mongabay they do not comment on ongoing investigations.“What I know, and what I can say, is that I use tools used by the European Community for [spill] forecasts in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic,” Silva said. These tools include currents and models for predicting oil spill dispersion. Silva described this modeling program as “the best in the world” pointing out that the U.S. uses the same system to track hurricanes.In contrast, Silva said Brazilian federal authorities are using a different data set to feed the model. This set, he said, is not as robust as the one used for hurricane forecasting. This, Silva said, could lead to what modelers call “garbage in, garbage out.”Neither Brazil’s environmental agency, IBAMA, nor the Navy, replied to emailed questions concerning the spill investigation.Banner Image caption: An oil tanker at sea. Photo credit: tfadam on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND.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.An oil polluted Brazilian beach. Illegal dumping by dark ships is a major environmental problem around the globe. Image by Clemente Coelho / State University of Pernambuco.last_img read more

Rare fish-eating crocodile confirmed nesting in southwest Nepal after 37 years

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Protected Areas, Reptiles, Wildlife Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored In Nepal, fewer than 100 mature adult gharials are estimated to remain, with only one population in the Narayani and Rapti Rivers of Chitwan National Park known to be breeding until recently.Now, researchers have recorded nesting sites and more than 100 gharial babies in yet another site, in Bardia National Park in southwest Nepal.The last time gharials were recorded breeding in Bardia was in 1982. There may be a glimmer of hope for the critically endangered gharial, a unique crocodile known for its long, narrow snout that ends in a bulbous growth resembling a cooking pot called a ghara.The fish-eating crocodile was once widespread across the rivers of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. But now the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is on the brink of extinction, thanks to the loss and degradation of its riverine habitat, depletion of fish stocks in rivers, and accidental drowning in fishing nets.In Nepal, the situation is grave. Fewer than 100 mature adult gharials are estimated to remain in the country, with only one population, in Chitwan National Park, known to be breeding until recently. Now, researchers have recorded more than 100 gharial babies in yet another site, in Bardia National Park in southwest Nepal.Adult male gharial in India. Image by Charles J. Sharp via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).The last time gharials were recorded breeding in Bardia was in 1982, when gharial eggs were collected from the Babai River and taken to a captive facility, researchers say. Since then, both adult male and female gharials have been recorded in the Karnali and Babai rivers in Bardia, but never a nest with hatchlings.This year, researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Biodiversity Conservancy Nepal confirmed three gharial nests on a sandbank in Babai and counted around 100 gharial hatchlings, together with three adult females and one adult male.“Hatchlings were basking on the sand bank at the water’s edge when first encountered and female Gharials appeared to be guarding them by staying half submerged near the water’s edge,” they write in a report published in a newsletter by the IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group. “When we approached closer (maintaining a safe distance), all hatchling quickly jumped into the river and started to swim.”Gharial hatchlings swimming in the Babai River in Bardia National Park. Image by Ashish Bashyal/ZSL.Figuring out where the gharials breed is the first step to protecting them, the researchers say. And protecting them is critical since Nepal’s gharial population has declined dramatically because of dams and barrages modifying river flows; sand mining, agriculture and pollution degrading and destroying their habitats; and declining fish numbers in the rivers.“Understanding whether gharials were breeding in Bardia National Park was considered to be a top priority for the species, as upcoming plans to divert nearby river systems — which would likely have an impact on the habitat and quality of the river for gharial, are currently underway,” Rikki Gumbs, a doctoral researcher with ZSL, said in a statement. “Given the species is limited to around five populations across its entire range, this is such a positive discovery, and a critical step for the long-term recovery of the species in Nepal.”Spotting hatchlings doesn’t necessarily translate to a better future for the gharials, though. The animals continue to be threatened across their range in Nepal, but conservationists have been trying to work with local communities living around the protected areas to help protect the animals.“People generally have a great affinity for gharials, they don’t attack humans as they generally feed on fish — and their snout is much too fragile,” said Ashish Bashyal, a conservation biologist with the Biodiversity Conservancy Nepal. “We want to try and harness that love for the animal into local community conservation action in order to help monitor how the hatchlings [fare].”Adult gharial with hatchlings. Image courtesy of ZSL.Banner image of gharial hatchling by Rikki Gumbs/ZSL.center_img Article published by Shreya Dasguptalast_img read more

Indonesian officials charged in $1.6m bribes-for-permits scheme

first_imgTwo land agency officials have been charged with taking $1.6 million in bribes in exchange for granting oil palm plantation concessions spanning an area of 200 hectares (500 acres) in Indonesian Borneo.Investigators from the KPK, Indonesia’s anti-graft commission, are also investigating the businesspeople allegedly involved in the deal.KPK deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif says the case highlights the dangers of the government’s continued refusal to allow greater transparency in the permit-issuance process.A watchdog group warns that corruption in the palm oil industry could get worse if the KPK is weakened under the purview of a controversial new law. JAKARTA — Anti-corruption investigators in Indonesia have charged two government officials for allegedly taking $1.6 million in bribes to grant permits for oil palm plantations spanning just over half the size of New York’s Central Park.The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) announced the charges on Nov. 29 against Gusmin Tuarita, an official at the National Land Agency (BPN), and Siswidodo, from the West Kalimantan provincial land agency.The pair stand accused of taking 22.23 billion rupiah in bribes in exchange for granting plantation concessions spanning an area of 200 hectares (500 acres) in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.The KPK did not identify the parties that allegedly paid the bribes, but spokesman Febri Diansyah told local media that a number of individuals were being investigated. “There are some businesspeople in the palm oil industry whom we have questioned,” he said as quoted by Beritasatu.The case marks the latest anti-graft bust by the KPK, which has recently focused more of its attention to corruption in Indonesia’s natural resources sector. In 2016, a KPK audit found that the country lacked a credible and accountable system to prevent violations and corruption in the palm oil industry. The commission identified the permit-issuance process for plantations as being particularly rife with corruption.KPK deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif said this was because of the lack of transparency in the process, which often results in permits being issued that overlap with existing land claims or onto forest areas that are off-limits to plantations.The BPN has insisted on keeping the plantation permit data, which include maps and boundaries, out of the public’s reach, in defiance of a 2017 order by the Supreme Court for the agency to make the data publicly available.Sofyan Djalil, the head of the BPN, has refused to follow the order, arguing that the documents are the property of private companies, and that publishing them could reveal confidential financial information.The government has doubled down on that stance, instructing member companies of the country’s powerful palm oil lobby to not share their plantation data with other parties, including external consultants, NGOs, and multilateral and foreign agencies.Some palm oil companies have publicly said they have no problem with publishing their concession maps, though others in the industry have expressed the view that local thugs could use the maps to extort them.The country’s palm oil lobby, known by its Indonesian acronym GAPKI, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that opening up the HGU data would hurt the palm oil industry as the data could be scrutinized by the public, rocking the boat.NGOs say that’s exactly why they need the maps, to monitor companies’ activities and hold them accountable.University students heading towards the Indonesian parliament’s building in Jakarta to protest against several controversial bills, including the recently passed KPK law. Image by Hans Nicholas Jong/Mongabay.‘Naughty’ agenciesThe move away from transparency and toward greater opacity has drawn intense criticism, not only from civil society groups but also from other government agencies.Both the country’s ombudsman and the KPK have recommended the BPN make the plantation permit data available to the public. The agency’s refusal to do so in the interests of preventing corruption prompted Laode to label the BPN one of four “naughty” government agencies. The other three are also involved in regulating the natural resources sector: the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.“To be honest, we’re complaining,” Laode told lawmakers during a parliamentary hearing on Nov. 27. “These four agencies have lots of budget but they have the worst management because they’re always closed off to the KPK.”He cited the West Kalimantan bribery case as an example of the urgency for making the licensing process more transparent.“Specifically for the BPN, we are hoping that the [plantation permit] data is made transparent, [as] the Supreme Court has already ruled that it should be,” Laode said. “Why is there a need to make it transparent? So that there’s no overlapping [permits]. There are even plantations inside forest areas.”Khalisah Khalid, the head of politics at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the country’s biggest green NGO, said making the permit data publicly available would compel the government to be more stringent about regulating the palm oil industry.“It’s important because the public can scrutinize the data, which will make the government more accountable,” she told Mongabay.A worker takes a chainsaw to an oil palm on an illegal plantation in Tenggulun. Image by Junaidi Hanafiah for Mongabay.Weakening the watchdogKhalisah also stressed the importance of allowing the KPK to retain its far-reaching investigative powers, given the reticence of other government agencies to go after corruption in the natural resources sector.“That’s why we’re worried about the efforts to weaken the KPK,” she said. “Because other than the mining and coal sectors, the KPK also targets the forestry and plantation sectors.”Parliament passed a hugely controversial bill in September that severely curtails the KPK’s ability to carry out investigations. Under the bill, which is being challenged at the country’s Constitutional Court, the KPK is no longer an independent state institution. Instead, it becomes a government agency, staffed by the very civil servants it was originally tasked with monitoring, and overseen by a council handpicked by the president and parliament — a body of legislators who have often been the target of anti-corruption investigations.It has also been stripped of its authority to carry out independent wiretaps of suspects — one of the key weapons in its war on graft that has helped it achieve a near 100 percent conviction rate.The passage of the bill prompted massive protests by university students in Jakarta and other cities across Indonesia, who called on President Joko Widodo to issue an executive order that would quash the new law. But despite having built his career on a reformist image and making the fight against corruption one of his priority agendas during his campaign, Widodo has made it clear that he will not issue the executive order.Laode said these developments contradicted the president’s promise to strengthen the KPK.“We’re still hoping for the president to issue the executive order,” he said. “We’re still very much hoping for that.”Khalisah warned of corruption thriving in the plantation industry if the KPK was weakened.“As an institution committed [to fighting corruption], the KPK mustn’t be weakened,” she said. “A strong KPK is needed to monitor the industry.” Corruption, Environment, Environmental Law, Forests, Law, Law Enforcement, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforests, Transparency 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 Banner image: Oil palm plantation in Rawa Singking Wildlife Reserve. Image by Junaidi Hanafiah/Mongabay-Indonesia.center_img Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong 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

Communities in Ecuador fight back against palm oil

first_imgFifteen years ago, Martha Valencia relied on the nearby river for water and for food. But then oil palm crops arrived in the area and polluted the river, say Martha and her neighbors. The community took the oil palm grower to court, which ultimately resulted in a ruling in their favor.“It is determined that there had been serious environmental effects in the territory of the communities … which should have been prevented by the Ecuadorian government,” the ruling read, and a judge ordered compensation for those affected.That was two years ago. And Martha and her neighbors say they are still waiting for things to change.No clean waterThe river and the community, both named La Chiquita, are located within the municipality of San Lorenzo in the Esmeraldas province of Ecuador. Logging and oil palm plantations, in addition to its proximity to the Colombian border where drug trafficking and armed conflict is rife, contribute to the area’s dubious honor of having the highest levels of poverty and violence in the country.Every eight to 15 days, the municipality sends a water truck to La Chiquita. The tank fills a 1,500-liter blue plastic tank “but not even that water is clean. We were told by the Municipality to put chlorine before drinking it,” says Olga, another community member.Residents of La Chiquita say they don’t have adequate access to safe drinking water. Photo by David Silva.When a new truck does not arrive in town before their tank runs dry, residents say they can buy 20-liter water canisters in San Lorenzo, which last three or four days. However, this option often proves too expensive for community members who must subsist off meager profits from small farms. They say that in that case, they are forced to walk great distances to other rivers.There’s little in the way of alternatives for people living in the area. According to the National Statistical System and the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC), 16% of San Lorenzo residents are illiterate, which is more than double the national rate of 6.8%.  Almost half of its population is engaged in agriculture and fishing due to a lack of industrial development in the area.Two years have passed since the Jan. 2017 ruling of Esmeraldas’ Provincial Court of Justice, and those affected in La Chiquita are still waiting for the judge to order the provision of drinking water, among other compensations. The ruling also requires the construction of a health center and a school.La Chiquita lies in the the Chocó-Darién, an ecosystem that extends from Panama to northwest Ecuador and is known for its unique forests and vast biological wealth – both of which are disappearing at a fast clip due to agribusiness and other human pressures.Oil palm companies are required to have a buffer zone between planted fields and water sources. They must remove any crops that are located less than ten meters (33 feet) from community water sources and replace them with endemic species such as guadua bamboo. According to former environment ministers, a fine is applied “for obvious negligence in the performance of their duties.”“It is a historic ruling, although it has objections and inaccuracies that must be corrected in its execution,” says Manolo Morales, a lawyer and representative of the Corporation of Management and Environmental Law (Ecolex) that sponsored the lawsuit.Oil palm cultivation is one of the primary drivers of deforestation in the province of Esmeraldas. Photo by Eduardo Rebolledo.The ruling also calls for the Ministry of Environment, together with affected communities, to reforest 500 hectares of degraded land with native species. However, La Chiquita resident Isaha Ezequiel says this is absurd. “Companies are the ones that have polluted and killed the forest but they want us to reforest,” he told Mongabay.Violence is common in the region. The murder rate in San Lorenzo in 2018 was 96 per 100,000 inhabitants – almost ten times the national rate. The area gained further notoriety that year when a reporting team from the El Comercio newspaper was kidnapped and then killed by FARC dissident groups. The incident occurred in Mataje, a border town near Guadalito, Colombia.Although four companies were referenced during the trial, two were included in the ruling: Palmera de los Andes and Palmar de los Esteros (Palesema). Only Palmera de los Andes agreed to comment for this story.Never-ending battleOil palm plantations in Ecuador cover about 250,000 hectares (617,763 acres) and are distributed among several provinces. Due to its suitable growing conditions, Esmeraldas has the lion’s share.Palm oil companies arrived in San Lorenzo in the late 1990s and early 2000s, settling in an area of ​​around 30,000 hectares (74,131 acres) that was later expanded to 50,000 (123,552 acres). The inhabitants of La Chiquita, who are mostly the descendants of enslaved people of African ancestry, say local children began to develop stomach diseases and that they noticed oil and pesticide residue in a river that was their primary water source.When La Chiquita residents went into the forest to investigate the cause of this pollution, they discovered that one of the oil palm growers had installed a palm oil mill less than three kilometers upriver that was dumping liquid waste into the water. The same thing was reported by members of the Awá Guadalito indigenous community, who also joined the demand for change and reparations.Aerial view of a young oil palm plantation in Esmeraldas. Photo: Eduardo RebolledoHowever, a representative of Palmera de los Andes contends claims of pollution.“We have 11 processing pools with strict environmental controls,” said Fabián Miño, a lawyer and director of the company’s legal department. “It is false that we are the cause of any contamination.” He explained that, after the palm oil refinement process, wastewater is treated in each pool until it is decontaminated. “To confirm that the liquid comes out clean from our building, in the last two pools we have fish and seaweed,” he said.Miño says communities have been manipulated by NGOs with ulterior motives. He claims Ecolex is an environmental organization that receives funds from abroad, and that the organization attacks oil palm growers to justify its activities and budget regardless of the employment and development opportunities plantations create.Manolo Morales, of Ecolex, says Miño’s accusations are absurd. He says the organization has worked in the area since 1998 helping local communities gain legal rights to their ancestral territories. He claims that in the intervening years the government promoted and encouraged the cultivation of oil palm and that many inhabitants were persuaded to sell their territories to agroindustry companies. He said he made the decision to advise La Chiquita and Guadalito when he learned of the problems they face.In 2005, a water quality study by the Al Tropic environmental foundation detected the presence of endosulfan and terbufos in the tributaries that provide water for these two communities. Commonly used as pesticides, these compounds can cause severe illness and death in humans, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies both as Category 1 toxins – a designation reserved for the most dangerous substances. This information was included in a report from the Ministry of Environment (MAE) in 2009 and served as the basis for initiating the trial. However, subsequent water studies were not decisive enough to directly hold oil palm companies accountable. Therefore, the judge only partially accepted the claim, ordering the government to fulfill some of the requested reparations to affected communities.Ecolex reported that oil palm grower companies were alerted by government authorities before officials went to take water samples looking for the presence of toxins. Meanwhile, Fabián Miño, from Palmera de los Andes, claims that the organization was trying to obtain samples of stagnant water.“They went out of their way to find pollution,” Miño said. “We have all the environmental certifications, national and international.”Satellite image of oil palm plantations in San Lorenzo. Image courtesy of Rodrigo Sierra.Isaha Ezequiel and his neighbors say two years have passed and they have seen no progress towards court-mandated reparations. According to Nathalia Bonilla, an environmental engineer and coordinator with the NGO Ecological Action in Ecuador, this is because the judge did not report the verdict to the ministries responsible for carrying them out.Because there is a mountain between the towns of Guadalito and La Chiquita, the judge ordered the building of a school in each. However, Bonilla says the Ministry of Education was also not made aware of this ruling.Palmera de los Andes reports that it has already begun fulfilling the reparations required by the ruling. However, company representatives say it is doing so because such activities are within its environmental responsibilities and protocols, not because it considers the ruling to be right.“We are reforesting as required by the ruling,” says lawyer Fabián Miño. He adds that the company has a 1200-hectare (2,965-acre) forest reserve, which was not requested in the reparations, and that the company has an environmental license and provides upwards of 700 jobs to local residents. “They should applaud us and not judge us,” he said.A refuge for many speciesDeforestation in northern Esmeraldas began well before oil palm moved in. In the 1960s, the government implemented its Northwest Forestry Development project that established 14 forest concessions. According to project data, more than 400,000 hectares (988,421 acres) of dense forest was cleared between 1966 and 1975. Five more concessions were subsequently created.“This is how the primary forests of Esmeraldas were cut down,” says Walter Palacios, a forest engineer and associate researcher at the National Institute of Biodiversity (Inabio). He explains that the primary forests of northwestern Ecuador are home to around 4,000 species of plants, and says many may have disappeared due to habitat loss without biologists ever knowing them.Oil palm plantations in San Lorenzo, Ecuador. Photo by Eduardo Rebolledo.The region’s protected areas preserve what has been lost to agriculture elsewhere: reserves, rich in orchids and giant ferns, extend to the paramos of the Ecuadorian highlands, providing vital habitat for a multitude of species including jaguars and ocelots. A microcosm of the biodiversity of the Chocó-Darién can be seen in just one of its massive trees. A Sande tree, for example, can be covered by as many as 60 species of ferns, orchids and other plants, its fruit important food for birds and insects.According to Walter Palacios, when the palm plantations first appeared in the area, the secondary forests that had regenerated after the mass clearing of the 1960s were cleared once again.“A secondary forest no longer has the same species density, it has less wildlife,” Palacios said. “However, it is better to preserve them than to turn them into monocultures.”Of the region’s remaining primary forest, Palacios says he hopes that the government spares these areas from the expansion of the agricultural frontier.Oil palm crops near the town of San Lorenzo. Photo by Eduardo Rebolledo.Residents say conversion of forest to plantations has affected their lives.“I used to make with my mother wicker baskets out of Piquigua – an endemic plant,” Martha Valencia said. “We used the baskets to transport fish, or the meat of guanta, deer and other animals that we hunted. The forest and the river gave us everything, now we have to go to San Lorenzo to buy the food that was taken from us.”Residents like Valencia say they know everything they had before will not return in their lifetimes, but that they should still be able to expect clean water. “That is why we need the reparations promised by the ruling,” says Wilberto Valencia, another community member.The current Minister of Environment in Ecuador is Raúl Ledesma, who assumed the position four months ago. In an appearance before the National Assembly, together with the affected community members, Ledesma offered to further investigate the situation in La Chiquita to verify the damage that Wilberto Valencia and others say is affecting their ability to live. At that same meeting, Ledesma said he was aware that Energy Palma is breaking environmental standards.Inhabitants of La Chiquita are fighting against the pollution of their water sources. Photo by David Silva.What does the future hold?Large-scale plantations aren’t the only places where oil palm is grown in Ecuador, and advocates of the crop say stricter regulations on its cultivation could hurt small farmers.“If there are infractions, justice must act,” says Wilfredo Acosta, executive director of the National Association of Palm Oil Growers (Ancupa). “But 89% are small producers and for us, it is an agricultural activity, like any other, that encourages the development of the country.”In recent years oil palm crops have been beset with “bud rot.” As of October 2019, the fungal disease had wiped out 15,000 hectares (37,065 acres) of plantations, according to Acosta. His proposed solution: support farmers with credits and provide, through the Ministry of Agriculture, new seeds that are resistant to this disease.Assemblyman Lenin Plaza, a native of Esmeraldas and president of the Committee on Food Sovereignty, together with Ancupa, is promoting a bill in the National Assembly, which has already passed the first debate. One of its objectives is to double palm oil yields for biofuel production, but Plaza says that does not necessarily mean expanding the agricultural frontier with new plantations. “This will depend on the country’s demand,” Plasa said. “The important thing now is to help the producers.”Assemblyman Lenin Plaza has proposed a law to increase palm oil production. He says it is necessary to help small producers. Photo by Cecilia Puebla.Acosta says oil palm expansion could take advantage of underutilized land once used for agriculture but which has since been abandoned.“It’s not necessary to expand, it’s about optimizing crops,” Acosta said. “With that, we take the pressure off the forests.”However, even if the majority of producers may be small, environmental organizations say large companies control around 80% of land used for oil palm cultivation.“The big companies are the ones that benefit,” said Nathalia Bonilla of Ecological Action. “What they say about small producers is just a story. [Oil] palm is an activity that uses chemicals that seep into the earth [and] needs large areas, and working conditions are precarious.” Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis This story was first reported by Mongabay’s Latam team and published here on our Latam site on October 7, 2019.Banner image: Residents of La Chiquita say their river is polluted. Phot by: David Silva. Agriculture, Animals, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Green, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Industrial Agriculture, Oil Palm, Old Growth Forests, Palm Oil, Plantations, Primary Forests, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife 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 overSponsored Residents of the communities of La Chiquita and Awá Guadalito say their drinking water has been contaminated by pollution from oil palm plantations.A court ruling ordered two oil palm companies and the state to pay reparations for social and environmental impacts caused by the oil palm cultivation.However, in the two years since the ruling was issued, two communities in San Lorenzo say they have yet to see any changes. This story is a journalistic collaboration between Revista Vistazo and Mongabay Latam.last_img read more