Science community rallies support to save Madagascar’s natural riches

first_imgMadagascar is set to host the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation’s 56th annual meeting in July.The organizers have launched a petition to garner support for urgent actions that must be taken to preserve the island nation’s unique biodiversity.The petition will be presented to the country’s president, who has been invited to sign it and recognize it as the Declaration of Ivato, after the site where the meeting will take place.The document, available in four languages, can be accessed online until Aug. 2. As Madagascar prepares to host a major conservation summit next month, the organizer has launched a petition to call attention to the threats faced by the island nation’s unique biodiversity and its people.Delegates from more than 50 countries are expected to attend the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation’s (ATBC) 56th annual meeting that runs from July 31 to Aug. 3 at the Ivato International Convention Centre in the capital, Antananarivo. Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has been invited to sign the petition at the closing of the conference so that it can be instituted as the Declaration of Ivato.The petition is an attempt by the scientific community to shine a light on concerns that were laid out in a commentary published in Nature Sustainability in May and recommend actions for the government and key stakeholders. It highlights the unique place that Madagascar occupies as the oldest island in the world and home to unique species that are weird and wonderful — but also severely threatened.A Madagascar kingfisher (Alcedo vintsioides). Credit: Rhett A. ButlerMadagascar’s astonishing variety of plant and animal species, an estimated 90 percent of which are found nowhere else on Earth, is a result of its isolation for tens of millions of years. This allowed evolutionary forces to shape the biota unfettered. The country hosts more than a hundred species of enigmatic lemurs and lesser-known but equally remarkable reptile and amphibian species.Most of these species are endangered by unbridled forest loss, habitat degradation, fragmentation, and wildlife trafficking. In 2018, Madagascar lost 2 percent of its primary rainforests, the largest proportion of any country in the world. The remaining forests are severely fragmented, about half of them now located less than 100 meters (330 feet) from a forest boundary.The installation of a new government under Rajoelina this year raised hopes that a degree of political stability could help stem the environmental destruction. During Rajoelina’s previous stint as president, from 2009 to 2014, when he came to power on the back of a coup d’état, the country experienced a period of unchecked natural resource exploitation.The ATBC, in its petition, acknowledges the reality of conservation in a country that’s one of the poorest in Africa, with 75% people living below the poverty line in 2018, and suffers high rates of child malnutrition. “Conservation of biodiversity must therefore contribute to, not detract from, efforts of the country to develop economically,” it says.It emphasizes the need to safeguard Madagascar’s natural heritage and make it the basis for its economic recovery, a key challenge for the current president. “This will be a crucial opportunity to underline to the nation’s political and economic leaders the views of the national and international scientific and conservation communities, specifically the importance of the island’s natural patrimony at a global level and the need for new decisive actions,” the petition says.Kids from the Vezo community in Madagascar dancing atop a sand dune. Credit: Rhett A. ButlerIt lists five urgent actions to save the forests and biodiversity and secure the people’s future: tackling environmental crime, investing in Madagascar’s protected areas, ensuring that major infrastructure developments limit impacts on biodiversity, strengthening tenure rights for local people over natural resources, and addressing Madagascar’s growing fuelwood crisis.According to the World Bank, only about 20% of Malagasy households have access to electricity, and the percentage is even lower in rural areas forcing people to turn to forests for their energy needs. A majority of households rely on firewood or charcoal for cooking. As the population swells, between 2007 and 2017 the country’s population grew by over 6 million people, the pressure on forests will only intensify.The ATBC targets 2500 signatures* for the petition; as of June 24 more than 800 people had already signed it. The hope is to garner even more signatures and support from across the world to lean on the Malagasy government to act. The petition is available in English, French, Spanish and Malagasy, and will be live until Aug. 2.Banner Image: A female black lemur in Nosy Komba island in Madagascar, 2012. Credit: Rhett A. Butler[*Editor’s Note: The article has been updated to reflect a change in the target number of signatures for the petition.]Malavika Vyawahare is the Madagascar staff writer for Mongabay. Find her on Twitter: @MalavikaVyFEEDBACK: 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. Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Energy, Environment, Forests, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade 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 malavikavyawaharelast_img read more

Amazon REDD+ scheme side-steps land rights to reward small forest producers

first_imgArticle published by hayat To safeguard the almost 90 percent of its land still covered with forest, the small Brazilian state of Acre implemented a carbon credit scheme that assigns monetary value to stored carbon in the standing trees and rewards local “ecosystem service providers” for their role protecting it.Acre’s System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA) rewards sustainable harvesting of rubber, nuts and other commodities from the forests. Crucially, it doesn’t make land tenure a prerequisite to qualify for incentives such as subsidies and agricultural supplies.But a new study criticizes the program for giving state officials the power to determine what counts as “green labor.” The program already promotes intensive agricultural practices and artificial fishponds, and experts warn more damaging practices may be permitted under the control of new state officials.There’s also no definitive evidence that the program works to conserve forests, with the rate of deforestation in Acre holding relatively steady since SISA came into effect. A state-run carbon credit scheme that aims to reduce deforestation also generates financial and social benefits for some poor rural communities by side-stepping the red tape of land tenure rights often required by such schemes, according a recent anthropological study published in The Journal of Peasant Studies.Despite widespread deforestation in the Amazon, the small state of Acre in western Brazil is still close to 90 percent forested. To protect the remaining 164,000 square kilometers (63,300 square miles) of standing forest, the state’s System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA) offers rewards to local communities to pursue livelihoods that don’t degrade the forest, financed by monetizing the carbon stored within it.Maron Greenleaf, an anthropologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, interviewed residents, government officials and local stakeholders such as the Indigenous Missionary Council Missionary Council (CIMI), the Federal University of Acre, and the agroforestry group PESACRE, to find out how SISA is working on the ground. She describes how poorer rural people are not excluded from the carbon credit scheme because of their lack of formal land rights, but warns there are also risks to the approach, which gives state officials power to define what activities are incentivized.Evidence of mechanized logging in Feijó, Acre. Image by Maron Greenleaf.Monetizing carbon captureFirst approved by state legislature in 2010, SISA is part of REDD+, a voluntary program negotiated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) that aims to generate market incentives for protecting carbon-rich forests in developing nations while having a positive socioeconomic effect on surrounding communities.Often, “the only way that people can earn money from the forest is by felling it for timber and/or clearing it to create space for agriculture, cattle, or other land uses,” Greenleaf said. REDD+ programs attempt to redress this imbalance, by “seek[ing] to give monetary value to forests’ carbon sequestering ‘service,’ so that the standing forest too has value that reflects — to some extent and in monetary terms — its climatic value,” she said.The German development bank KFW has purchased 25 million euros ($28 million) of carbon credits, valuing Acre’s forests by their absorbed carbon dioxide, in exchange for a 16.5 percent reduction in the state’s forestry-related greenhouse gas emissions between 2011 and 2015.SISA differs from more traditional carbon-offsetting models, where land ownership forms the basis for distributing the financial benefits of forest protection. Instead, it rewards those individuals who have directly worked on the land in a way that is classed as beneficial. SISA describes rural producers of sustainable crops and forest products (such as legumes, Brazil nuts or rubber), and who avoid harmful activities like controlled burning, as “ecosystem service providers” and offers incentives such as free services, agricultural supplies, and subsidies for their continued labor. The program promotes activities such as sustainable cattle ranching and fish farming on previously cleared land.Cattle gathered outside a school in Feijó, Acre. Cattle ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in the state and across Brazil. Image by Maron Greenleaf.A similar state-run REDD+ scheme in neighboring Amazonas state, called Bolsa Floresta (PBF), has been running since 2007. However, SISA was the first scheme to be applied at the state level, rather than to a limited number of specified conservation units. PBF offers a small payment to residents who produce sustainable forest commodities such as cacao, açaí berries and arapaima fish, or practice agroforestry or lake management, in exchange for a commitment to zero deforestation and participation in environmental educational programs.Greenleaf credits what she calls SISA’s “green labor” approach for side-stepping complex land rights issues that are common in rural Brazil and other countries with carbon-rich forests, and sharing some of the value of tropical forests’ stored carbon with some of the rural people who live in and around them, rather than wealthy landowners and foreign investors.By giving market value to the carbon sequestered by standing forests, carbon-offsetting schemes run the risk of promoting violent land grabbing over forested land, sustaining inequality, and rewarding only the wealthiest. For instance, a 2018 study found that REDD+ schemes in Brazil have tended to increase residents’ insecurity over land tenure. But implemented in the right way, offsetting schemes can also act as a form of state welfare, redistributing wealth based on environmental goals, Greenleaf says.Among her interviewees were 30 rural acreanos — small-scale farmers, ranchers, hunters, and forest collectors of mixed heritage. This is a group that has historically often been unable to obtain formal land rights, but many of them said they have been able to benefit from the SISA scheme through their contribution of green labor.A Brazil nut tree left standing in an otherwise mostly deforested field in Feijó, Acre. Image by Maron Greenleaf.Land rights complexities“REDD+ and related carbon-trading based schemes have the potential to be major game-changers with regards to halting global deforestation,” said Tom Martin, a terrestrial biodiversity and carbon specialist at the international conservation research organization Operation Wallacea. And yet globally, “REDD+ schemes … haven’t taken off nearly as quickly as people hoped,” he said, citing disorganized governments, unstable carbon markets, and complex land tenure systems.In many heavily forested tropical countries, where carbon-offsetting schemes have the most potential benefit, land rights in rural areas are unclear, overlapping or fiercely contested, interwoven with complex indigenous rights issues. Such complexities can create uncertainty over how a proposed REDD+ project might be successfully implemented, making potential investors nervous and stalling carbon-credit schemes before they even get started, Martin said.Bypassing land tenure as a means to allocate the rewards of carbon credit schemes has clear benefits, but it has also been criticized because it avoids the difficult process of securing land rights for rural and indigenous people who would benefit from land tenure in other ways. However, efforts to formalize rural land tenure have historically tended to favor the wealthy elites. For example, Terra Legal a national program to grant land titles to smallholder families in Amazonas state has issued fewer titles than planned and tended to favor existing landowners and agribusiness. Any attempt to redistribute land in a more equitable way would be a long and uphill battle. Instead, initiatives like SISA could act as a stepping stone, Greenleaf suggests: “SISA benefits might be enlisted in that struggle as evidence of government recognition of rural people’s rights to land.”While the scheme is having clear benefits for local communities, the effect of SISA’s incentives on deforestation is more difficult to make out. The rate of deforestation in Acre remained relatively constant from 2010 to 2015 — the period during which SISA’s credit scheme came into effect — at between 220 and 310 square kilometers (85 and 120 square miles) per year, according to data from the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research’s (INPE) PRODES monitoring program. However Maron points out that many of the policies financed by SISA predated the program, making its true impact on deforestation hard to discern.SISA has also been criticized for giving state officials greater power in determining what counts as green labor, leaving rural communities at the mercy of political whims. SISA has already made a few controversial decisions, such as categorizing intensive agricultural practices and artificial fishponds as ecosystem services. Martin said this is a common problem. “While REDD+ schemes are inherently supposed to yield social and biodiversity benefits as well as carbon sequestration,” he said, the primary focus on carbon stocks means that “the benefits to biodiversity can sometimes lag behind in project managers’ hierarchies of concern.”The sun sets over a forest in Feijó, Acre. Image by Maron Greenleaf.Greenleaf warns that the shifting political mood in Brazil is already affecting people’s behavior. The estimated rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased by 50 percent between August and October last year as the presidential elections approached and victory for pro-agribusiness candidate Jair Bolsonaro became more likely. Since Bolsonaro’s win, deforestation across the Amazon has begun to rise alarmingly, and Acre has been no exception. The state saw an increase in the rate of tree loss in 2018.New state officials were brought in with the new government at the start of this year, which could spell change for the administration of the SISA program. For example, SISA already supports agricultural intensification as a means to spare the remaining forest, which could be stretched to include industrialized agribusiness.As a state-run program, the importance of SISA payments to rural communities is likely to increase. “These schemes are … poised to become more important with state protection in Brazil likely to be heavily withdrawn due to the new right-wing Bolsonaro administration,” Martin said.Just as other environmental initiatives are under threat of funding cuts, SISA may be on course to receive a huge boost to funding. If California state administrators vote in favor of admitting REDD+ carbon credits, a 2010 memorandum of understanding, combined with high international regard for the program, puts Acre in line as the most likely supplier of those credits.With inclusion criteria that could change at the whim of state officials, SISA may not offer the security to rural producers that it promises. However, “SISA … could also show Bolsonaro and other like-minded officials that it is not just cleared forest that has monetary value,” Greenleaf said.Banner image of Planet satellite imagery showing a mosaic of deforestation and rainforest in São Judas Tadeu, Xapuri, in the state of Acre, Brazil, in August 2018, courtesy of Planet.Citations:Greenleaf, M. (2019). The value of the untenured forest: Land rights, green labor, and forest carbon in the Brazilian Amazon. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 1-20. doi:10.1080/03066150.2019.1579197Sunderlin, W. D., Sassi, C. D., Sills, E. O., Duchelle, A. E., Larson, A. M., Resosudarmo, I. A., . . . Huynh, T. B. (2018). Creating an appropriate tenure foundation for REDD+: The record to date and prospects for the future. World Development, 106, 376-392. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.01.010 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 Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Amazon Rainforest, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change And Conservation, Community-based Conservation, Conservation Finance, Conservation Solutions, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forest Carbon, Forests, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Innovation In Tropical Forest Conservation, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Redd, Redd And Communities, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation last_img read more