Rivers are the world’s heritage. Time to treat them as such (commentary)

first_imgAmazon Dams, Commentary, Dams, Editorials, Environment, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Mekong Dams, Researcher Perspective Series, Rivers, UNESCO World Heritage Site, World Heritage Convention Article published by Mike Gaworecki This July represents a critical opportunity to protect rivers and the World Heritage sites that depend on them. Key government leaders will converge on Baku, Azerbaijan for the 43rd annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee this week.Established under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Committee is charged with protecting sites around the world deemed of the highest cultural and natural values. But oddly, no river has yet been directly protected by the Committee.Beyond protecting existing sites from harm, the World Heritage Committee needs to broaden its conception of what constitutes a natural site to recognize the intrinsic value of rivers, particularly free-flowing rivers, and the critical role they play in sustaining life.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. This July represents a critical opportunity to protect rivers and the World Heritage sites that depend on them.Key government leaders will converge on Baku, Azerbaijan for the 43rd annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee this week. Established under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Committee is charged with protecting sites around the world deemed of the highest cultural and natural values. From Machu Picchu to the Great Barrier Reef, these sites represent some of our most precious common treasures. But oddly, no river has yet been directly protected by the Committee.That said, a key underlying theme of the meeting is the growing threat that dams pose to some of the world’s irreplaceable sites. This is the subject of a new report, “Heritage Dammed,” prepared by the Rivers Without Boundaries coalition with contributions from International Rivers (where I work as policy director) and many others. The report finds that over one-quarter of all natural World Heritage sites, including the iconic Lake Baikal in Russia and Serengeti National Park, are being impacted or threatened by water infrastructure such as dams.In recognition of this worsening trend, the World Heritage Committee passed a resolution in 2016 calling for the prohibition on dams within the boundaries of World Heritage sites, as well as for any dams indirectly impacting these sites to be “rigorously assessed.” While a welcome step, this has not prevented key sites from the worst impacts: Last year, Kenya’s Lake Turkana was finally added to the official list of sites in danger only after Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam cut off flows into the lake, causing lake levels to drop precipitously and leading to extreme food insecurity for the hundreds of thousands of people subsisting off the lake.The sacred waterfalls on the Teles Pires River, Brazil. Photo by Christopher Borges, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.Against this backdrop, the issue of dams has come back into focus as a number of critical sites, profiled in the Heritage Dammed report, face renewed threats. These include:• The fate of the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania — a world class biodiversity hotspot for African wildlife, including endangered species — that is set to be inundated by the planned Rufiji Dam. The plans have provoked an international outcry, prompting one of the world’s largest dam builders, China Three Gorges, to state publicly that it would not pursue the project because it would be located within a World Heritage site.• The future of the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq, which sustain important freshwater fisheries and a vibrant local culture, after the government of Turkey announced the completion of the Ilisu Dam near the headwaters of the Tigris River. Opponents around the world have rallied to contest plans to begin filling the reservoir, which would submerge the town of Hasankeyf — renowned for being continuously inhabited for the past 12,000 years — in the process. Filling of the reservoir has been postponed as a result, but the threat remains.• The Sumatran Rainforest site in Indonesia, officially listed as “In Danger” since 2011 over the construction of dams and other developments. The site has again emerged as a flashpoint in light of the discovery of the newly identified species, the Tapanuli orangutan, with only 800 remaining and at risk of extinction with a dam proposed in the middle of its only habitat. Plans to build the 510-megawatt Batang Toru Dam have been cast into doubt, however, as the Bank of China announced it would reevaluate its plans to finance the dam in light of sustained protest.Selous Game Reserve World Heritage Site, Tanzania. Photo by Greg Armfield.To proactively address the growing threat of dams, the report makes specific recommendations for how the Committee can improve the protection of rivers, including the use of preemptive strategic environmental assessments, among other precautionary measures.But beyond protecting existing sites from harm, the World Heritage Committee needs to broaden its conception of what constitutes a natural site to recognize the intrinsic value of rivers, particularly free-flowing rivers, and the critical role they play in sustaining life. Free-flowing rivers form the bedrock for local cultures and communities and have huge ecological significance, serving as the world’s last bastion of dwindling freshwater biodiversity. Indeed, a recent study by WWF found that dams are the biggest culprit in the 83 percent decline in freshwater biodiversity experienced globally between 1970 and 2014. Yet of the world’s 177 largest rivers, only one-third are free flowing, and just 21 rivers longer than 1000 kilometers retain an unobstructed connection to the sea.Many free-flowing rivers sit adjacent to existing World Heritage sites, but their values are not recognized or protected. For example, the actual river ecosystems of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan heritage site in China are deliberately excluded from the protected area. They are now threatened again by the construction of mega-dams on all three rivers, including one of Asia’s last free-flowing rivers, the Nu-Salween, which originates in the Tibetan Plateau and flows through China and Myanmar. Still more of the world’s threatened rivers have no world heritage designation, from the mighty Congo River in Central Africa to the Karnali River, Nepal’s last, most pristine free-flowing river.While the world’s last free-flowing rivers are often subjected to reckless plans to harness them for their hydropower potential, the Baku meeting is also coming at a time of positive momentum as countries have begun to recognize the rights of rivers and river advocates lead campaigns to secure permanent legal protections for rivers. The World Heritage Committee should join this growing movement and take the lead in calling for free-flowing rivers to be protected and the nomination of iconic rivers as World Heritage sites.The Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River in the United States. Photo by Christian Mehlführer, licensed under CC BY 2.5.Josh Klemm is Policy Director for International Rivers.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.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Madagascar: What’s good for the forest is good for the native silk industry

first_imgLandibe: Madagascar’s landibe silkworms (Borocera cajani) often form cocoons under leaves or branches, top left, or down in the grass. The female is three times the size of the male, bottom left. The cocoons look different from the pure white cocoons of the more commonly known mulberry silkworms, both types at bottom right. (Click to enlarge.) Images by Edward Carver. Article published by Rebecca Kessler People in the highlands of central Madagascar have long buried their loved ones in shrouds of thick wild silk, typically from the endemic silkworm known as landibe (Borocera cajani).With support from NGOs, traditional silk workers have widened their offerings to include scarves made of wild silk for sale to tourists and the country’s elites.In recent years, the price of raw materials has shot up as the forests the landibe grows in succumb to fire and other threats, making it difficult for silk workers to continue their craft.However, where there are forest-management challenges, there is also opportunity: the silk business provides an incentive for local people to protect their trees. Some well-organized and well-supported community groups are cashing in on conservation, in spite of the broader silkworm recession. AMORON’I MANIA REGION, Madagascar — People in the highlands of central Madagascar have long buried their loved ones in shrouds of thick wild silk. After several years, they exhume the dead in a turning-of-the-bones ceremony and wrap them in an additional layer. Older people often have a shroud ready when they die, but these days not everyone can afford one. The price of raw materials has shot up as the forests they come from succumb to fire and other threats, making it difficult for weavers and other silk workers to continue their craft.“I’m still eager to work, but the cocoons are too expensive,” Ramaly Razafidrasoa, a 70-year-old weaver in the village of Anjoma, told Mongabay. She now works a roadside stand selling peanuts and other food.Since the early 2000s, her silk work has involved more than just making shrouds. Like many weavers across the highlands, she received technical and business training from a nonprofit group and began selling silk scarves to urban and overseas markets. But in the last few years, the supply of silk has declined, partly because the tapia woodlands where the silkworm moths grow keep getting ravaged by fires.Ramaly Razafidrasoa, a silk weaver in the village of Anjoma, shown spinning silk in 2011, left. She’s currently not doing any silk work because the raw materials have become too expensive due to a shortage of silkworm moth cocoons. She now sells peanuts and other foods at a roadside stand. Images by Edward Carver.“The problem is the doro tanety in Ambatofinandrahana,” Razafidrasoa said, referring to bandits who burn the woodlands in one of the districts where tapia trees and silkworms are most common.However, where there are forest-management challenges, there is also opportunity: the silk business provides an incentive for local people to protect their trees. Some well-organized and well-supported community groups are cashing in on conservation, in spite of the broader silkworm recession.A landibe silkworm (Borocera cajani) in the larval or caterpillar stage. Image by Tsiresy Razafimanantsoa.Malagasy silk vs. Asian silkMadagascar has several endemic silkworm species, most notably landibe (Borocera cajani). The species produces much thicker silk than that from Asia; U.S. customs officials have been known to misidentify landibe silk as cotton. In the West, it has a small following, and landibe scarves are a hip accessory among Madagascar’s urban elites.Ny Tanintsika, a local group affiliated with the U.K.-based nonprofit Feedback Madagascar, helped to commercialize Madagascar’s silk in the 2000s. In an effort to connect business and conservation outcomes, Ny Tanintsika (“our land” in Malagasy) helped start silk workers’ cooperatives and forest management groups. Some villages specialize in one or the other, as silk-making and weaving skills don’t necessarily occur in the same place as tapia trees (Uapaca bojeri).A young tapia tree (Uapaca bojeri) resprouts after burning. The leaves of the tree are the preferred food of Madagascar’s native silkworm moth, landibe (Borocera cajani). Image by Chris Birkinshaw/Missouri Botanical Garden.The village of Ambohimanjaka, surrounded by tapia-covered hills, is key to the local silk business even though it isn’t home to many weavers. Weaving, after all, is only the final stage in the long process of transforming an insect cocoon into a shroud or scarf. People in Ambohimanjaka collect cocoons from the local tapia woodlands and often do the initial work of turning it into thread, using spindles and basic wooden tools. Their forest management group has several hundred members and protects about 1,200 hectares (about 3,000 acres) of land.Healthy woodlands are the foundation of the silk business, said André Razafimahatratra, Ny Tanintsika’s technician in Ambohimanjaka. “Tapia is what the silkworms really want,” he told Mongabay. “They can eat other leaves but it’s not the same. It’s like the Malagasy people with rice. We can eat cassava or corn, but it’s not what we really want.”André Razafimahatratra, a silkworm technician with the nonprofit group Ny Tanintsika (“Our Land”), in front of a sign in his village of Ambohimanjaka. Miaro tapia means to “protect the tapia.” Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.When the silkworms eat tapia instead of other leaves, their reproductive cycle quickens and their cocoons grow bigger, said Tsiresy Razafimanantsoa, an animal biologist at the Superior Institute of Technology of Ambositra, who did her doctoral research on Madagascar’s silkworm moths. This ultimately helps strengthen the shrouds and scarves, which last for decades notwithstanding their delicate appearance.Despite its good qualities, landibe silk has competition in Madagascar. Domesticated mulberry silkworm moths (Bombyx mori), a species native to China that Malagasy silk workers raise in their homes, produce the thin, lustrous silk that most international consumers are familiar with. Some people in Madagascar consider it to be of a higher quality than their own native silk.If Madagascar’s native silkworms were domesticated, they would lose much of their power as an incentive to conserve the tapia woodlands. So it’s perhaps fortunate, from a conservation standpoint, that landibe worms are difficult to raise indoors. They require too much food and space for easy domestication. With great effort, it’s possible to raise them in boxes, but landibe do best in the woodlands, Razafimanantsoa said.Richard Randrianjatovo, the president of a silk-weaving cooperative in a village near Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. He made the white scarf from mulberry silkworm moths (Bombyx mori), which are common in Asia. In the past, mulberry silkworm cocoons cost more than cocoons from Madagascar’s endemic silkworm, landibe (Borocera cajani), but due to the increasing difficulty of sourcing landibe, the two types are now about the same price, Randrianjatovo said. This particular scarf would sell for about 80,000 ariary (roughly $20) in Antananarivo. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Conserving worm and treeLocal people say wild silkworms have become harder to find, and the limited scientific research that’s been done on the subject supports this conclusion. Landibe does not yet have a listing on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, but Razafimanantsoa and researchers at the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar called it “critically endangered” in a 2012 study in the journal Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society, and Environment.The decline in silkworm numbers has become more pronounced in recent years, but it may have started decades ago. Madagascar’s total silk cocoon harvest was estimated at more than 100 tons in 1902, but dropped to about 43 tons in 2009, according to information cited in Razafimanantsoa’s study. About 10,000 families worked in the industry as of 2009, but that number has likely dropped in the past decade, with obvious implications for local economies.An approximation of the location of tapia forests and woodlands in Madagascar, from Rakotondrasoa et al, 2012. (Click to enlarge.) Image courtesy of Olivia Lovanirina Rakotondrasoa.Nevertheless, silk still provides significant income not just in tapia-rich areas like Ambohimanjaka but also in villages with relatively strong silk-working cooperatives, such as Soatanana and Sandradahy, both near the town of Ambositra in the central highlands. A Sandradahy cooperative exhibited its silk at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in July. (The International Folk Art Alliance, which runs the market, previously made a documentary about the Sandradahy silk workers.) Another silk group from northeast Madagascar also participated in the Sante Fe event, selling non-traditional wares made from Malagasy silkworms other than landibe.The reasons for the decline in wild silkworm populations are complex. Habitat destruction is often cited, but scientists disagree as to whether tapia forests are receding or not. They do agree that bush fires have played a role in directly killing silkworms, but it’s not clear whether the fires have reduced tapia forest coverage.Tapia has a thick protective bark that confers fire resistance, which is how it has endured in Madagascar’s highlands for so long. “With the colonization of the highlands by people, the frequency of fire increased, so the vegetation we see now is dominated by species such as tapia that are resistant to fire,” Chris Birkinshaw, a technical adviser at Missouri Botanical Garden, a research and conservation group that has a large presence in Madagascar, told Mongabay.Irina Biason, a member of a local forest management group in the village of Ambohimanjaka, standing in front of the tapia woodlands he helps to protect. A local forest management group has hundreds of members and protects about 1,200 hectares (about 3,000 acres) of land. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.However, the fires do kill off tapia seedlings and saplings (less than 8 or 9 years old). They also kill off many of the other trees and surrounding brush, reducing the biodiversity of the woodlands.Lack of security is a major part of the problem: many of the fires are caused by bandits called dahalo or doro tanety. They raid villages to steal cattle or other high-value items and then retreat, burning the forest behind them to cover their tracks. Some also burn the forest before or after a raid in order to distract villagers. There are no fire departments in rural areas, so villagers are compelled to stop defending their possessions from bandits and instead focus on preventing the fire from reaching their houses.However, the alteration of tapia habitats and silkworm populations is not due to fires alone. People also simply cut trees down for firewood or charcoal. The Ambohimanjaka group has prosecuted several offenders, but needs more help from the local branch of the environment ministry in order to fight deforestation, said Eugenie Raharisoa, Ny Tanintsika’s national coordinator. The ministry did not respond to a request for comment for this article.Eugenie Raharisoa, Ny Tanintsika’s national coordinator, at the group’s office in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. The landibe items behind her include scarves and cushion covers from various highland villages.Moreover, in some woodlands, invasive pine and eucalyptus trees have begun outcompeting tapia for resources and caused changes in soil composition. Conservation groups have made efforts to stop the march of such invasive species. Missouri Botanical Garden has, for example, helped cut down some 2,000 pine trees in the tapia woodlands near Ibity, a village in the central highlands.The silkworms also face diseases and predators — not least human beings. The worms have likely been overharvested due to demand for silk and food. In their chrysalis stage, the worms are considered a delicacy and have value at food markets. People fry them up as a snack or mix them with chicken and rice at mealtime.Viviane Rasoarimanana, a member of a local forest management group in the village of Ambohimanjaka, learned the early stages of the silk-making process at trainings by the nonprofit group Ny Tanintsika. “I’m very happy to have these skills and contribute to the group,” she said. “Hopefully by the time I’m old, the group will be rich.” Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.A safer, silkier futureVillage groups with well-established markets for their cocoons or silk products continue to earn money from the silk business. But in other villages, such as Anjoma (often called Anjoman’Ankona, the name of the entire county), the scarcity and high price of landibe cocoons has caused most silk workers to close up shop. The prices vary depending on whether the silk is purchased as raw cocoons or at some intermediate thread stage, but many people in the business told Mongabay that they have tripled or quadrupled in the past five years.There is, however, some cause for optimism. Earlier this year, Madagascar’s government placed more army personnel in Ambatofinandrahana, the district that’s home to an abundance of tapia, where Anjoma’s silk workers usually get their cocoons. If security and forest management improves there, silk workers in Anjoma and across Madagascar’s highlands might have reason to celebrate.Ramaly Razafidrasoa would like this to happen while she’s still young enough to weave. She raised 14 children, 11 of whom are still alive, and has 98 total descendants. Many of them, thanks to her teaching, were once part of the silk trade. “I hope there will be enough silk left for us all to be buried in it,” she said.Photos: Landibe weaving, from silkworm to silk scarfTapia: Landibe silkworms eat the leaves of tapia (Uapaca bojeri), a tree found only in the highlands of Madagascar. Sometimes newly planted tapia is kept in cages to deter predators, including humans, from eating the silkworms. Like the worms themselves, the tapia fruit, bottom right, is a popular local food. (Click to enlarge.) Images by Edward Carver. Dyeing: Silk workers wash the silk thoroughly before and after the dyeing process. To obtain bright colors, they often use chemical dyes, but they still practice traditional dyeing as well. The dyeing process often involves cooking the silk for several hours. Mushrooms from a nearby forest, top middle, on the left, turn he silk a rich brown color. The bark of the local nonto tree, top middle, in the center, produces a crimson red; saffron, top middle, on the right, produces a yellow; eucalyptus leaves produce a light, yellowish green; and mud from the rice fields produces black. (Click to enlarge.) Images by Edward Carver. Second steps: The silk workers spin the fabric around a spindle into a single thin, uniform thread, top middle. If the thin string breaks the weavers carefully tie it back together with an imperceptible knot. After dyeing and a couple of other steps, they wrap the spool of silk thread into a figure 8 around two poles, creating the crisscross pattern needed to place the string on the loom for weaving, bottom right. (Click to enlarge.) Images by Edward Carver. First steps: Making landibe silk involves a lot of work before weaving can even begin. Silk workers start by turning several cocoons inside out atop a small wooden rod, sticking five or six together in a clump, top middle. The clumped cocoons are then boiled overnight in a pot of soapy water to bind them together and soften them. The silk workers then bury the softened cocoons in a pile of manure, bottom left, for one week to “ripen” the fibers so they will be easier to spin into a uniform thread. To rid the cocoons of the odor and dirt and ensure the silk will keep a pure color when dyed, they wash them against rocks in a creek. Thick piles of softened cocoons are set out to dry in the sun for about three days, bottom right. (Click to enlarge.) Images by Edward Carver. 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 Mulberry silkworms: Mulberry silkworm moths (Bombyx mori), originally from China, produce the fine silk familiar to most international consumers. Madagascar’s silk workers raise them in small spaces, feeding them mulberry leaves. The worms form a protective cocoon by emitting strands of silk — a process the silk workers effectively reverse by turning the cocoons back into thread. The chrysalises, bottom right, are commonly sold at food markets in Madagascar. Like landibe and other endemic Malagasy silkworms, the mulberry silkworms are popular to fry up as a snack or eat as part of a meal with chicken and rice. (Click to enlarge.) Images by Edward Carver. Banner image: Niry, a weaver in Soatanana, a village well known for its silk production, at work on a traditional loom. Image courtesy of Feedback Madagascar.Citations:Razafimanantsoa, T. M., Rajoelison, G., Ramamonjisoa, B., Raminosoa, N., Poncelet, M., Bogaert, J., … & Verheggen, F. J. (2012). Silk moths in Madagascar: A review of the biology, uses, and challenges related to Borocera cajani (Vinson, 1863)(Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae). Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Environ, 16(2), 269-276.Rakotondrasoa, O. L., Malaisse, F., Rajoelison, G. L., Razafimanantsoa, T. M., Rabearisoa, M. R., Ramamonjisoa, B. S., … & Bogaert, J. (2012). La forêt de tapia, écosystème endémique de Madagascar: écologie, fonctions, causes de dégradation et de transformation (synthèse bibliographique). Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Environ, 16(4), 541-552.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Weaving: After weeks of preparation, the weaving can begin. It’s a painstaking process that some weavers do by candlelight. (Click to enlarge.) Images by Edward Carver. Animals, Conservation, Conservation And Poverty, Development, Ecology, Environment, Farming, Featured, Forests, Governance, Insects, Poverty, Sustainable Development, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation last_img read more

A newborn dies amid Indonesia fire crisis, as parents fear for their kids’ health

first_imgA newborn child in Indonesia’s Riau province has become one of the latest fatalities of the haze blanketing large swaths of the region as a result of fires burning through Sumatra’s forests.Nearly 30,000 people in Riau alone have suffered from acute respiratory infections during this year’s fires, and nearly 310,000 have been affected by eye and skin irritation, dizziness and vomiting.Among those reporting worrying symptoms are pregnant women, one of whom said she’d miscarried five years earlier during a similar haze crisis.The fires burn nearly every year, emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases that have helped keep Indonesia among the top carbon polluters worldwide and spreading haze as far as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. PEKANBARU, Indonesia — September 16 was a happy day for Evan Zendrato and Lasma Yani Zega. The young couple gave birth to a boy weighing 2.8 kilograms (6.1 pounds). They spent the night at a midwife’s house in Pekanbaru, the capital of Indonesia’s Riau province.Two days later, they began to worry. Their baby became gravely ill, as thick smoke from wildfires burning across the region blanketed the city.On the morning of Sept. 18, their baby came down with a high fever, vomiting and hacking up phlegm, and crying like he was having difficulty breathing.The midwife, Kristina, came immediately to treat the baby with paracetamol and a wet towel. Some of the couple’s friends and family came by to pray for the child’s health. Slowly, his temperature began to fall. The fever began to subside.In the evening, things took a turn for the worse. The baby’s body turned blue. Evan threw his plate of rice at the wall in frustration. He and Lasma took the baby to hospital. Kristina, who went with them, could feel the baby’s halting breaths as they rushed there in a car.There wasn’t much the doctor could do. He said the baby had gotten sick from breathing the smoke, which had inflamed his upper and lower respiratory tracts. The baby died, three days after he was born.The next day, friends and family returned to Evan and Lasma’s house, this time for a funeral.Evan and Lasma with their newborn baby after he passed away. Image by Suryadi for Mongabay.Evan and Lasma’s baby is not the only casualty of the fires burning across Sumatra’s vast peat swamp zones, which have been widely drained and dried for oil palm and pulpwood operations, rendering the soil highly flammable. Fire is also commonly used as a cheap land-clearing tool, though the practice is generally illegal.In August, a 59-year-old man was found lifeless in his garden in Rimbo Panjang, a village outside Pekanbaru. His son, Shadik Helmi, who flew to the city from Jakarta when he heard the news, said he thought his father died from breathing in the smoke.In Sungai Lala, another haze-choked Riau village, a 5-month-old baby died of a high fever and shortness of breath on Sept. 19, the same day as Evan and Lasma’s baby.According to the Riau Health Office, 29,528 people in the province have suffered from acute respiratory infections during this year’s wildfires. A total of 309,883 people have been affected by eye and skin irritation, dizziness and vomiting.Indonesia’s Riau province. Image by TUBS/Wikimedia Commons.The smoke from the Indonesian fires has also spread into Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. In some parts of Indonesia, skies have turned an eerie red color from the haze.The fires burn nearly every year, emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases that have helped keep Indonesia among the top carbon polluters worldwide. While the precise health impacts of the fires have yet to be pinned down, scientists agree that smoke from the fires is a deadly threat whose victims number in the thousands.On Sept. 23, Riau Governor Syamsuar declared an air pollution emergency in the province. He instructed the Riau Health Office to open a health post and shelter for residents affected by the fires. The posts provide medicine and mattresses for people to sleep on.The post at Jiwa Tampan Hospital is treating dozens of people who have fallen ill from the haze, some of them staying overnight at the hospital.At a shelter set up at the provincial public works office, only a few people had come for a health check, complaining of bad coughs and shortness of breath. A clerk was available around the clock. On hand were some hospital staff and a doctor.Similar complaints have been received by the Health Training Center at the Riau Health Office. The facility was only operating until 9 p.m. It provided mats for haze victims to sleep on if needed.In July, the Supreme Court ordered that the government carry out measures to mitigate wildfires in the country, following a citizen lawsuit filed in the wake of the devastating 2015 fires. The health ministry and regional governments are required to open health posts for people as a result of the ruling in the lawsuit.Mukhlis, the father of a little girl who died in Riau during the 2015 fire and haze crisis, was among those who testified in the suit. During his testimony, he recalled how his daughter, Muhanum Anggriawat, had had to be treated with oxygen and then a defibrillator after a mild cough worsened to the point where she was hacking up a yellowish-black liquid.A picture of Mukhlis’ daughter playing the piano hangs on the wall of her family’s home. Image by Made Ali.According to the settlement, the Riau government must provide the necessary health facilities for victims of wildfires, including pulmonary service units at local hospitals. They also have to prepare evacuation instructions, set up an evacuation site if the air pollution index exceeds 400 (anything above 100 is considered unhealthy, and above 300 hazardous), and provide emergency health posts at seaports and oxygen supplies at people’s homes. The government has to waive medical expenses for haze victims.The opposition Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) opened a health post in Pekanbaru on Sept. 13, treating hundreds of people since then.Dozens of people have been hospitalized at the post, including 41 adults, 49 children and 27 infants. They are staying in sterile rooms with air purifiers and provided with food free of charge.The post has nurses, pharmacists, pulmonary specialists and six general practitioners. It’s staffed by volunteers 24 hours a day. “They are ready to be called at any time,” said Susilo, the commander of the post.Patients also receive counseling on how to clean their nose from the effects of breathing in smoke from the fires. Children are entertained with fairy tales by a troupe of storytellers.Based on data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the air quality in Riau has reached dangerous levels this month, with API readings surpassing 1,000.Nila, who is four months pregnant, visited the PKS health post this week with her husband and first child. She reported coughing and difficulty breathing, and said her stomach felt tense and cramped. The doctor said the baby was lacking oxygen.Another evacuee, Novi, has been staying at the post with her husband and children since it opened. She came in the middle of the night because her baby was experiencing shortness of breath. A doctor had previously checked the baby and diagnosed it with a respiratory tract infection.Rainfall that started on Sept. 23 has stifled the fires somewhat, but many are still burning.On Sept. 24, the Indonesia Move Coalition, a group of NGOs, said the fires had endangered the health of residents.“The haze that people inhaled in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan has eliminated the most basic right of human existence to breathe safely and comfortably,” the group said in a statement.The repeated incidents of haze over the years, they said, demonstrated the failure of the government to manage the country’s natural resources. “This stagnation in the handling of the haze also shows the failure of the government to anticipate repeated incidents of burning of forests and land, which should have been expected beforehand.”Haze blankets Pekanbaru on Sept. 20. Image courtesy of Riko Kurniawan/Walhi.Nila’s sister, Susi, is also pregnant, though at a more advanced stage. She arrived at the PKS post with her husband at 10 p.m. one night seeking treatment for the shortness of breath she had been experiencing at home for several days.Susi said she hadn’t felt her baby move since 3 a.m. that day.She was given oxygen for an hour, and the baby showed signs of being active again.“I’m traumatized,” she said. “Five years ago I also miscarried because of the haze.”This story was first reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and published here on our Indonesian site on Sept. 26, 2019.Banner: Smoke rises from an oil palm plantation on a peatland in Sumatra. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by mongabayauthor Agriculture, Crime, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Law, Environmental Politics, Featured, Fires, Forest Fires, Governance, Haze, Health, Law Enforcement, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Plantations, Southeast Asian Haze center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more