Amazon infrastructure puts 68% of indigenous lands / protected areas at risk: report

first_img68 percent of the indigenous lands and protected natural areas in the nine nations encompassing the Amazon region are under pressure from roads, mining, dams, oil drilling, forest fires and deforestation, according to a new report by RAISG, the Amazonian Geo-referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network.Of the 6,345 indigenous territories located within the nine Amazonian countries surveyed, 2,042 (32 percent) are threatened or pressured by two types of infrastructure activities, while 2,584 (41 percent) are threatened or pressured by at least one. Only 8 percent of the total are not threatened or pressured at all.In the case of the 692 protected natural areas in the Amazon region, 193 (28 percent) suffer three kinds of threat or pressure, and 188 (27 percent) suffer threats or pressure from two activities.“These are alarming numbers: 43 percent of the protected natural areas and 19 percent of the indigenous lands are under three or more types of pressure or threat,” said Júlia Jacomini, a researcher with the ISA, Instituto Socioambiental, an NGO and RAISG partner. Already completed and proposed infrastructure projects, along with infrastructure investment plans, either directly threaten or put pressure on 68 percent of the indigenous lands and protected natural areas in the Amazon region, according to a newly published report prepared by the Amazonian Geo-referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (RAISG), a group of specialists from NGOs and other organizations within six Amazon region countries.The data sets are presented in the form of six maps, each corresponding to an infrastructure-related activity or practice present in the Amazon, including transport (ie. roads), energy (ie. hydroelectric dams), mining, oil, deforestation and fires. The 2019 edition takes account of development in the headwaters of Amazonian rivers, information not included in past reports. The nine nations evaluated are Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Guiana, Suriname and French Guiana.RAISG reveals that, of the 6,345 indigenous territories located within the nine Amazonian countries surveyed, that 2,042 (32 percent) are threatened or pressured by two types of infrastructure activities, while 2,584 (41 percent) are threatened or pressured by at least one. Only 8 percent of the total are not threatened or pressured at all.In the case of the 692 protected natural areas in the region, 193 (28 percent) suffer three kinds of threat or pressure, and 188 (27 percent) suffer threats or pressure from two activities.“These are alarming numbers: 43 percent of the protected natural areas and 19 percent of the indigenous lands are under three or more types of pressure or threat. The data demonstrate that the implementation of infrastructure works in the region clash with the way of life of the people in those areas, as well as [with] the preservation of both,” said Júlia Jacomini, a researcher with the ISA, Instituto Socioambiental, an NGO and RAISG partner.last_img read more

Two ferns presumed extinct found on remote Australian mountaintops

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 Environment, Forests, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, New Species, Plants, Research, Species Discovery Researchers have rediscovered two species of ferns on the mountaintops of Queensland, Australia, that were last seen more than 50 years ago and presumed extinct.The ferns, Hymenophyllum whitei and Oreogrammitis leonardii, were found on Thornton Peak and Mount Finnigan respectively during an expedition in August 2017.Researchers recommend listing both species as endangered in Queensland because they occur over a very limited area. On the remote mountaintops of Queensland, Australia, researchers have rediscovered two species of ferns last seen more than 50 years ago.One of the ferns, Hymenophyllum whitei, was first recorded by botanist Cyril Tenison White in 1937 on Thornton Peak, one of Queensland’s highest points, located in the Daintree rainforest. Since then, despite repeated searches, researchers didn’t find the fern — that is, until a group of botanists set out on yet another plant survey in August 2017.During this expedition, on the way to Thornton Peak, the researchers from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney finally spotted H. whitei peeking out from a boulder on the side of the track, according to a new study.“At first we struggled to convince ourselves that ‘this was it,’ but upon closer examination, we knew it couldn’t be anything else, so we allowed ourselves to get completely ecstatic about it,” Matt Renner, a co-author of the study and one of the botanists on the expedition, said in a statement.The expedition team on Thornton Peak in northern Queensland’s Daintree rainforest. Image by Matt Renner/Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.In dry weather, the small fern completely desiccates and shrivels up, retracting into the surrounding flora like mosses, the researchers write, until it’s nearly undetectable. When moisture is available again, the fern re-expands. “This may in part explain the long period between collections of this species,” the researchers add.Renner and his colleagues say that because H. whitei occurs in a very limited area and is found only within Daintree National Park, the species should be listed as endangered in Queensland.Hymenophyllum whitei fern. Image by Matt Renner/Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.Like H. whitei, the fern Oreogrammitis leonardii was previously known from a single collection by Australian-American naturalist Leonard John Brass in 1948, from a yet another remote summit, Mount Finnigan in northeastern Queensland.Nearly 70 years later, during the 2017 survey, Renner and his colleagues found the fern again, growing on a tree trunk close to the ground, surrounded by the leafy liverwort Acroscyphella phoenicorhiza.“We made some collections of ferns from a tree trunk that fit the description, but it wasn’t until we were back in Cairns that Dr. Barbara Parris, who described the species, confirmed we had rediscovered Oreogrammitis leonardii,” Renner said.For O. leonardii, too, the researchers recommended a conservation status of endangered, “because of its limited distribution and the small area of potential high-elevation forested habitat around the summit complex of Mount Finnigan.”Oreogrammitis leonardii fern. Image by Matt Renner/Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.Citation:Field, A. R., & Renner, M. A. (2019). Rediscovered or reconsidered: the presumed extinct ferns and lycophytes of tropical Queensland, Australia. Australian Systematic Botany, 32(3), 111-122. doi:10.1071/sb18024center_img Article published by Shreya Dasguptalast_img read more

Mysterious plants that thrive in darkness, steal food: Q&A with botanist Kenji Suetsugu

first_imgEnvironment, Forests, Green, Interviews, Orchids, Parasites, Plants, Research On Japan’s forest floors, there are plants that stay hidden and have given up on photosynthesis. These mycoheterotrophic plants are instead parasitic, drawing nutrition from the network of fungi running under the forest floor.For the past 10 years, Kenji Suetsugu, a botanist and associate professor at Japan’s Kobe University, has been on a mission to identify and document mycoheterotrophic plants across the country’s. His surveys have uncovered 10 previously undescribed species of these elusive plants.In a brief chat, Mongabay spoke with Suetsugu about the strange world of mycoheterotrophic plants, why it fascinates him, and why it’s an important indicator of ecosystem health. When Kenji Suetsugu is out looking for plants in Japan’s forests, he’s not looking for the usual green ones. Instead, on dark forest floors, where little light penetrates, Suetsugu painstakingly searches for tiny flowering plants that have more or less given up on photosynthesis and lack chlorophyll, the characteristic green pigment that helps plants make their own food from sunlight.He’s drawn in particular to plants that are mycoheterotrophic: parasitic plants that take their quota of nutrition from networks of fungi under the forest floor, without giving anything back to the fungi.The problem, however, is that these plants are incredibly hard to find. They tend to stay hidden underground and show up above ground only to flower or fruit, barely peeking through the leaf litter. This means that pinpointing them requires top-notch plant identification skills, special forest-floor sleuthing abilities, the support of past experiences, and some chance encounters.For the past 10 years, Suetsugu, a botanist and associate professor at Japan’s Kobe University, has been on a mission to identify and document mycoheterotrophic plants across Japan’s forests. In his surveys he’s uncovered 10 previously undescribed species of these elusive plants. A few of these species are especially unique, Suetsugu says, such as the orchids that never bloom.Gastrodia amamiana is one such orchid species that Mongabay wrote about recently. The plant, known from the islands of Amami-Oshima and Tokunoshima, not only relies completely on fungi for nutrition, it produces flowers that never seem to open up. Flowers typically need to bloom for a plant to be pollinated by wind or insects and other animals. Yet despite this apparent lack of pollination by other agents, this orchid species still produces fruits.Gastrodia amamiana, a recently described mycoheterotrophic plant from Japan that bears fruit without opening its flowers. Image courtesy of Kenji Suetsugu.Suetsugu says that while mycoheterotrophic plants tend to stay hidden, their presence is a strong indicator of a forest’s health. These plants need fungi to survive, and the fungi in turn are nourished and supported by the network of trees in the forest that they’re in a symbiotic relationship with. Disturbances to forests can upset these networks, causing the mycoheterotrophic plants to disappear. In fact, many species are now rare and threatened with extinction, Suetsugu says.In one of the forests where G. amamiana was discovered, for example, Suetsugu has seen evidence of tree thinning. The dry soil resulting from this disturbance could dry out the fungi that the orchid depends on, he said recently in a statement.In a brief chat, Mongabay spoke with Suetsugu about the strange world of mycoheterotrophic plants, and why it fascinates him.Mongabay: What got you interested in plants?Kenji Suetsugu: I was born in Nara City, Nara Prefecture and grew up near Nara Park, which has a rich and unique biota. My early childhood experiences of this habitat stimulated my interest in biological interactions and the natural history of intriguing organisms in terrestrial ecosystems.Kenji Suetsugu is a botanist and associate professor at Japan’s Kobe University. Image courtesy of Kenji Suetsugu.When and why did you start studying mycoheterotrophic plants? What fascinates you the most about them?The color green is a defining feature of the plant kingdom, and plants are generally assumed to have an autotrophic lifestyle [capable of making their own food]. However, several lineages of land plants have evolved dependence on other organisms for their nutrition and can consequently be categorized as heterotrophs. Their bizarre morphology and ecology fascinates me.In fact, most terrestrial plants, from bryophytes to angiosperms, form mutualistic relationships with fungi, whereby the plant provides carbon source [or sugars that they make] in exchange for essential mineral nutrients. Mutualisms, including mycorrhizal mutualisms, are often characterized as a balanced, reciprocal arrangement for the exchange of resources between two distantly related organisms. Such relationships also provide a window for exploitation by parasitic species that can acquire a resource without providing anything in return. Mycoheterotrophs are dependent on their fungal hosts for the essential supply of carbon resources in which the normal polarity of sugar movement from plant to fungus is reversed.Therefore, mycoheterotrophs are an interesting example of cheaters. Unraveling the ecological and evolutionary processes that govern the transition of autotrophic plants to heterotrophic plants will provide the deeper understanding of the dynamics of the mutualism and parasitism. I have wanted to elucidate how and why plants have lost their photosynthetic capacity and have been studying them for more than 10 years.Could you tell us about your project to document mycoheterotrophs in Japan?The distribution and diversity of mycohetrotrophs remains underestimated because plants are easily overlooked in the field due to their short flowering seasons and small size. Therefore, we are investigating mycoheterotrophic flora to enable us to study further.Monotropastrum humile, a mycoheterophic plant, lacks chlorophyll and steals nutrition from fungi. Image courtesy of Kenji Suetsugu.How do you find a mycoheterotrophic plant?Since mycoheterotrophic plants are very difficult to find unless they are flowering when botanical surveys are conducted; trained skills are required to identify the species characters. Actually, discovery of these taxa requires rich experiences and knowledge. It’s difficult to convey this in a detailed way. No special tools [are needed to study them], but a species-rich and old forest can be an indicator of mycoheterotrophic plants.How many new species of mycoheterotophic plants have you described from Japan so far?10 species.Some of these species you’ve described have flowers that never open. Could you tell us about how these plants survive without sunlight and pollination by other agents?Actually, some species such as Gastrodia amamiana were particularly special discoveries because it is both completely mycoheterophic, deriving its nutrition not from photosynthesis but from host fungi, and completely cleistogamous, producing flowers that never bloom. Cleistogamy, literally meaning ‘a closed marriage,’ refers to plants that produce flowers in which self-fertilization occurs within closed buds. However, this is a somewhat risky strategy as the selfing progeny are also less able to adapt to changes in spatially and temporally heterogeneous habitats. The evolution of complete cleistogamy is somewhat of a mystery, since outcrossing should overcome the negative effects such as the accumulation of deleterious mutations and a slowdown in the rate of adaptation. The discovery of species with flowers that never open provides a useful opportunity to further investigate the ecological significance, evolutionary history, and genetic mechanisms underlying the mysterious evolution.What’s your favorite mycoheretrophic plant from Japan, and why?Gastrodia takeshimensis. This is the first species I discovered and described.The description of a new flowering plant species in Japan is itself a very rare event as the flora of this region have been thoroughly investigated. Gastrodia takeshimensis was a particularly special discovery because it is both completely mycoheterotrophic and completely cleistogamous. It was really a happy moment.What are some challenges of studying this group of plants?The rarity and ephemeral status of the plants are challenging.What do you think about the conservation status of the mycoheterophic plants you’re documenting? Are some of them rare and in need of protection?Given that mycoheterotrophic plants are highly dependent on the activities of both the fungi and the trees that sustain them, they are particularly sensitive to environmental destruction. Therefore, many of them are endangered and in need of protection The genus Oxygyne, which includes species like O. yamashitae, for example, has one of the rarest plants in the world.In fact, it has been suggested that the species richness of these mycoheterotrophs provides a useful indicator of the overall floral diversity of forest habitats. A detailed record of the distribution of these vulnerable plants thus provides crucial data for the conservation of forests.Suetsugu described Sciaphila sugimotoi from Ishigaki Island in a study in 2017. Image courtesy of Kenji Suetsugu.Banner image of Thismia abei by Kenji Suetsugu. Article published by Shreya Dasguptacenter_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

Indonesia plans IVF for recently captured Sumatran rhino

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 Basten Gokkon Animals, Biodiversity, Captive Breeding, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Happy-upbeat Environmental, In-situ Conservation, Mammals, Megafauna, Rainforest Animals, Rhinos, Saving Species From Extinction, Sumatran Rhino, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img In a bid to save the nearly extinct Sumatran rhino, Indonesia will attempt to harvest and fertilize an egg cell from a lone female at a captive-breeding center in Borneo.The sperm for the in vitro fertilization attempt will come from a male at a captive-breeding center in Sumatra; combining the Sumatran and Bornean lineages is expected to help boost the gene pool for an animal whose global population may be as low as 40.Conservationists anticipate obstacles, however: Pahu, the female, is quite old at about 25, and is possibly too small to be able to carry a regular-sized offspring to term.The planned attempt by Indonesia comes after conservationists in Malaysia tried and failed to carry out an IVF treatment there, with both the age of the female rhino and lack of access to quality sperm cited for the failure. EAST LAMPUNG, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities will make their first attempt at in vitro fertilization of a Sumatran rhino, aiming to boost the critically endangered species’ gene pool in the process.The egg for the IVF attempt will come from Pahu, a solitary female Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) being held at the Kelian Lestari Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in West Kutai district, in the Bornean province of East Kalimantan. Indra Exploitasia, the director of biodiversity conservation at the environment ministry, told Mongabay that the plan was to fertilize egg cells harvested from Pahu with sperm collected from one of the males living at the Way Kambas SRS in Lampung province, on the island of Sumatra.Pahu was captured from the wild in November 2018 as part of a captive-breeding program for the species. For a year she has been held alone in the facility leading some to question what Indonesian authorities plan for her future.Pahu is believed to be quite old as rhinos go, about 25 years old, but experts say they’ve found no obvious reproductive problems with her.However, she weighs only around 360 kilograms (790 pounds), less than half the weight of a typical adult Sumatran rhino, and experts suspect she might be suffering from dwarfism. And because Sumatran rhino mating is rough and at times violent, Pahu’s small size has raised fears that she could be injured, or even killed, if conservationists attempt to mate her naturally with a much-larger male. Her small stature has also prompted doubts that she would be able to bring a regular-sized baby to term.Pahu’s isolation at the Kelian Lestari SRS is another potential obstacle. Previous research has indicated that female Sumatran rhinos do not ovulate naturally when males are not present. However, Dedi Candra, a veterinarian working for Indonesia’s environment ministry, says some egg cells do develop without males present, albeit at a slower pace, and that researchers have had some success artificially inducing ovulation. Widodo Ramono, executive director of the Indonesia Rhino Foundation (YABI), says that male rhino urine alone may be enough to stimulate ovulation. Conservationists in Indonesia have already made use urine from captive males, flying a liter to Kalimantan to help lure Pahu into the pit trap where she was captured.“We are currently monitoring Pahu’s reproductive health,” Indra told reporters in Way Kambas on Oct. 30. “We must know first when she ovulates, so the egg cells can be retrieved and then fertilized in a test tube.”Pahu is the sole captive rhino at the Kelian Lestari Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Indonesian Borneo. Image courtesy of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry/Sumatran Rhino Rescue Team Kalimantan.If the plan goes through, it will be the first IVF attempt on captive Sumatran rhinos by Indonesia, says Widodo. Scientists here previously attempted artificial insemination — injecting sperm into the uterine cavity —with Bina, one of the captive female rhinos at Way Kambas, but it was unsuccessful. For that attempt, they used semen collected from Andalas, a rhino born in captivity at Cincinnati Zoo and now a resident at Way Kambas, where he has sired two offspring, both through natural mating.Last month, experts in Malaysia attempted to use IVF to fertilize an egg harvested from an older female rhino using sperm collected from a now-deceased male. But that attempt was also unsuccessful, with Malaysian experts citing the low quality of the sperm, taken when the male was very old. The Malaysian conservationists have long requested a transfer of sperm from the Indonesian captive rhinos, but Indonesian authorities have repeatedly declined, citing the need to sort out a long list of paperwork.If the IVF attempt with Pahu’s egg and sperm from Andalas or his younger brother, Harapan, is successful — or Malaysia sends egg cells retrieved from its last rhino to Indonesia and the treatment works — the new offspring would represent a new hope for the species. The populations in Sumatra, D. s. sumatrensis, and Borneo, D. s. harrissoni, are subspecies that have been genetically separated for hundreds of thousands of years. Mixing the two would give a much-needed boost to the gene pool of a species so diminished — as few as 40 are believed to remain on Earth — that inbreeding is a real risk.An offspring born of Borneo’s Pahu and a male in Sumatra would provide a much-needed boost to the species’ gene pool. Image by Ridho Hafizh Zainur Ridha/WWF-Indonesia.The idea of mixing the Sumatran and Bornean bloodlines initially met with disapproval from conservationists. But in recent years there’s been a growing sense of urgency among researchers that the situation is so dire that it’s better to focus on preserving the species at all costs rather than trying to maintain two separate subspecies.Indra said the planned IVF attempt would most likely use sperm from Andalas, who is a proven breeder. “Harapan has never had a chance to mate naturally,” Indra said. “So we don’t know yet the quality of his sperm, and we haven’t tried to collect samples from him.”Meanwhile, the surrogate mother could be any captive female Sumatran rhino as long as she’s not going under a natural breeding program, Indra added.A previous global effort to breed captive Sumatran rhinos, launched in the 1980s, fell through a decade later after more than half of the animals died without any calves being produced. But a string of successful captive births at Cincinnati Zoo, and later Way Kambas, and a growing consensus that the species will go extinct without intervention, have laid the groundwork for the latest captive-breeding effort.The species was brought to the edge of extinction by habitat loss, with Sumatra and Borneo losing vast swaths of forest to oil palm plantations and coal mines, as well as poaching. Now, conservationists believe a low birthrate is the primary threat to Sumatran rhinos’ survival. The network of SRS breeding centers (the Indonesian government plans to open a third in Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra) holds a combined eight rhinos — seven at Way Kambas and one at Kelian Lestari, including two calves born in captivity. Malaysia has one in captivity, an aging and ailing female named Iman, but otherwise the species is believed to be functionally extinct there.This story was updated to add additional details from Widodo Ramono about the potential use of male rhino urine.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

Engen adds to list of drought relief

first_imgThe donation was made in response to a call for help from the agricultural company Senwes. (Image: Engen)South Africa has been experiencing severe drought across large regions of the country, but corporates and ordinary people have been pitching in with mass drought relief efforts.In the latest move, Engen Petroleum, a leading South African producer and marketer of fuels, lubricants and oil-based products, handed over a cheque for R1-million to Agri SA, a non-profit organisation that works to build a stable, profitable agricultural environment, for drought relief.“We understand the negative impact exerted by the current drought on agriculture and we hope that our donation will help to make a small contribution in assisting farmers,” said Mike Stead, Engen’s manager: commercial fuels.Johannes Möller, the president of Agri SA, said the donation would make a big difference. “For every R1.00 we receive towards the Drought Relief Fund, the value we give back is R5.00, which goes towards farmers, throughput, feeding pellets and similar products.”Agri SA, a federation of agricultural organisations, was established in 1904 as the South African Agricultural Union. It consists of nine provincial and 24 commodity organisations. Essentially Agri SA, through its affiliated membership, represents a diverse grouping of individual farmers regardless of gender, colour or creed.MONEY FOR ALL FARMERSHowever, Möller stressed that the Drought Relief Fund was not only used for Agri SA members. “The money is also used to support all farmers, whether commercial or emerging farmers. Assistance is also offered to the community.”Engen has a historical agricultural focus, with one in every two South African farmers depending on the company’s products, local expertise and global technical excellence.“Engen’s contribution represents another step in our commitment towards supporting those in dire straits in a sector whose value we really understand,” said Stead.Joe Mahlo, Engen’s general manager of sales and marketing, concurred. “Over the past 40 years we have demonstrated to farmers that ‘with us you are number one’. This has resulted in excellent integrated relationships and working methodologies.“After all, when it comes to the future, nothing less than a vibrant and brilliantly supported agricultural sector will meet the needs of the economy and all of our people.”OTHER DROUGHT ASSISTANCEShoprite and Checkers customers also helped to raise R200 000 for drought-stricken communities across South Africa over two months since March through the retailers’ Act for Change initiative.Operation Hydrate, the NGO that has been donating water in drought stricken areas of South Africa, has distributed more than six million litres of water so far. The group aims to collect R95-million worth of water by Nelson Mandela Day this year.PLAY YOUR PARTPlay Your Part urges you to share your story. If you or anyone you know has gone out of their way to brighten up the day for someone else, we want to know.If you have a story to tell, be it your own or that of an organisation or initiative dear to you, submit your story or video to our website and tell us how South Africa is playing a part to build a better life for all.last_img read more

One Man’s Quest for Energy Independence — Part 3

first_imgThis is the third in a series of blogs by Paul Kuenn describing energy-efficiency improvements to his home in Appleton, Wisconsin. To read the first blog in the series, click here. BLOGS BY PAUL KUENN One Man’s Quest for Energy Independence — Part 1One Man’s Quest for Energy Independence — Part 2One Man’s Quest for Energy Independence — Part 4 Time for a new roofIf this wasn’t already enough, we decided to replace the roofing on both the house and garage. Many strong hailstorms had damaged the 10-year-old asphalt shingles. Ordinarily, this would mean removing all the original hot water panels on the house as well as the PV array on the garage. I had a different idea.Using old climbing ropes and anchors, I built a floating frame that I could slide up and down the roof pitch so that roofing work could be done above and below as a one-man operation. I was able to slide each array onto this horizontal frame without sacrificing security in the face of an oncoming storm. Using newer quick-mount hardware rather than the old L brackets made replacing the array easy and certainly made the attachment point more waterproof.Recycled rubber and plastic slate tiles were ideal and would give us clean runoff for garden water storage. The garden pump would be powered by the old 12-volt portable PV system.The house had to wait until everything was in place for the new roofing. The only knowledgeable roofing contractor was busy due to recent storms and associated insurance claims, so we were pushed off until November. Leftover EcoStar slate from a church project helped reduce the cost of the roofing job.Once again I found my favorite season, winter, approaching too quickly. The PV modules had sat since spring waiting to see the sun. Because of limited space I had to make some of my own PV racks, using a mix of national brands. I still wanted to tilt the garage-mounted PV array seasonally while the house array would remain at a fixed tilt, and I wanted to avoid any shading.Another setback took place when I removed the AirTap heat pump from the 80-gallon tank (where it couldn’t keep up with demand). I accidentally broke the copper heating tube. The manufacturer replaced it, but in the meantime I hooked up the 240-volt element in the DHW tank. This seemed to work fine as we overproduced on the electrical side and wouldn’t really see an increase in the bill.Once the heat pump was fixed, we planned to use it to heat water in the third tank for domestic hot water, powering it with the PV battery system. There was always excess power during the day when nothing but the fridge is running. I consider the floor pump as having negligible energy use (13 watts at 1-2 gallons per minute — enough to keep the floors warm).By November 2011, the fourth matching thermal collector was found by Heliodyne and shipped to me without charge, making up for the year’s delay. The fourth installment of Paul Kuenn’s blog series is here: One Man’s Quest for Energy Independence — Part 4. Rob Ryf of Solar Heating Services added a separate heat exchanger with a pump and plumbed it between the floor heating tanks. When the water temperature in the larger (#1) tank dropped below that of the smaller (#2) tank, sensors would start the 12-volt pump and exchange the heat in #2 to the water just before it entered a new Thermolec electric mini-boiler. The Thermolec would replace our on-demand gas-fired Rinnai water heater.In the end the system looked like this: Four solar collectors on the roof send a water/glycol solution through all three tanks — the 50-gallon domestic hot water tank first, then the 80-gallon tank for radiant heating, and finally the 50-gallon tank also used for radiant heating. Water from the floor tanks passes through the Thermolec mini-boiler before passing through the floor circulating pump. (A diagram of the hot-water system is shown in Image #4, below). Enjoying warm floorsWe had our last two cold showers when a couple of events caused problems. (I accidentally disconnected some wiring, and soon afterward the heating element in the DHW tank was turned off due to a faulty overheat sensor.) But soon thereafter, the new AirTap heat pump arrived and there was no need for the DHW tank-heating element.It was a warm and sunny spring just before a cloudy plunge in temperature. The early quarter of 2012 was very mild as winters go in Wisconsin and bills were next to nothing, with more checks in the mail that were double those of the previous five years ($15 to $35 checks each month from February to November). Our bills in December and January were only in the $5 to $10 range.In the spring of 2012, I used the remaining slate tiles to re-roof the garage. I was able to lift each section of both PV arrays to lay underlayment (leftover Ice & Water Shield) and nail down the tiles without removing any electrical wiring or the PV modules. I also buried a used 750-gallon water tank from a fire truck in the front yard and a used 500-gallon farm tank in the back yard for rainwater collection.The AirTap works great for the 50-gallon domestic hot water tank. It’s rarely used as it only takes a few hours in winter to heat this tank to 125°F with the solar collectors.My mitten and ski boot dryer works great. Using the differential sensor’s “pump on” switch for tanks #2 and #3, I can run hot water from the flooring manifold. The differential control will turn the heat dump on when tank #2 reaches 155°F and off when it falls below the temperature of tank #3. In summer, the sensors measure when water in the tanks is too hot and run water through the boot/glove dryer as a heat dump and into a baseboard heating unit to cool the water down. It also keeps the basement at 72°F and has minimized the need for a dehumidifier (which used to run 24/7). The basement still feels cool when it’s hot and humid outside.Yes, it was a costly change to the home. No, we would never turn back. Just on the original 2006 PV array we had saved the earth from I don’t know how many pounds of carbon. Actually, we do: the Fronius PV grid-tied inverter display reads 9,010 tons saved as of December 2012. With additional PV modules and solar thermal collectors, we have more cash on hand and now enjoy warm feet, no dust bunnies, and no drafts. After riding the bike home from work in the winter and cross-country skiing, I love to stretch and just lie on the floor. It feels great!In my next blog installment, I’ll discuss another (and I hope last) round of insulation updates.center_img RELATED ARTICLES Retrofits versus ReductionsAn Introduction to Photovoltaic SystemsSolar Hot WaterSolar Hot Water System Maintenance Costs Pulling the plug on fossil fuelI chose the very efficient Thermolec boiler because it has multiple heating elements. If the incoming water from the solar storage tanks is at the desired floor heating temperature of at least 110°F, the elements are not active. It can read water temperatures and activate one to three elements as needed.Having the Thermolec enabled me to make my final fossil fuel-free call to We Energies and ask them to remove the gas line and meter. There was no cost to do this but they certainly questioned me. By this time, I was getting a yearly call from We asking me whether I’d changed anything on my solar contract. I’d simply say no, and they wouldn’t call back until the following year.But now, the improvements we had made in the system were going to allow us to take a big step. On more than one previous occasion, I had watched the temperature in tank #1 drop from 140° to 85° with 120° in tank #2. With the exchanger between tanks 1 and 2, the water could be boosted to 110° to minimize use of the boiler.We celebrated by disconnecting the gas line from the house. By the spring of 2011, I was hot to finish this long project. Even with another damaged solar thermal collector shipped to us, I was sure we would succeed.Planning for a fourth hot water collector, I had spent most of the previous hot and humid summer adding support to the roof of the house and garage. The new collector would add more thermal storage by increasing the incoming water/glycol temperature.I realized that having three separate tanks — two for floor heating and one for domestic hot water — would be the most efficient approach. Any overheating during the summer would be diminished by a dump-load radiator in our cool and damp basement. In other words, during the warm season, hot water from the two floor-heating tanks would be cycled through a wall radiator and a homemade copper dryer for gloves and shoes, thereby cooling both tanks down.At the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I found a used 5-year-old 50-gallon hot water tank identical to my first tank. This third tank would become the domestic hot water (DHW) tank and receive the first heat-exchanged fluid from the collectors, then pass it on to two floor heating tanks. Paul Kuenn lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. He is a past owner of a climbing school and guide service who has studied environmentally sound building practices, along with plumbing and electrical. He’s a graduate of solar thermal and photovoltaic installation programs at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. In the last eight years Paul also has worked as a third-party inspector for fire and rescue apparatus. In his spare time, he helps homeowners use the least amount of fossil fuel energy possible.last_img read more