Science community rallies support to save Madagascar’s natural riches

first_imgMadagascar is set to host the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation’s 56th annual meeting in July.The organizers have launched a petition to garner support for urgent actions that must be taken to preserve the island nation’s unique biodiversity.The petition will be presented to the country’s president, who has been invited to sign it and recognize it as the Declaration of Ivato, after the site where the meeting will take place.The document, available in four languages, can be accessed online until Aug. 2. As Madagascar prepares to host a major conservation summit next month, the organizer has launched a petition to call attention to the threats faced by the island nation’s unique biodiversity and its people.Delegates from more than 50 countries are expected to attend the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation’s (ATBC) 56th annual meeting that runs from July 31 to Aug. 3 at the Ivato International Convention Centre in the capital, Antananarivo. Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has been invited to sign the petition at the closing of the conference so that it can be instituted as the Declaration of Ivato.The petition is an attempt by the scientific community to shine a light on concerns that were laid out in a commentary published in Nature Sustainability in May and recommend actions for the government and key stakeholders. It highlights the unique place that Madagascar occupies as the oldest island in the world and home to unique species that are weird and wonderful — but also severely threatened.A Madagascar kingfisher (Alcedo vintsioides). Credit: Rhett A. ButlerMadagascar’s astonishing variety of plant and animal species, an estimated 90 percent of which are found nowhere else on Earth, is a result of its isolation for tens of millions of years. This allowed evolutionary forces to shape the biota unfettered. The country hosts more than a hundred species of enigmatic lemurs and lesser-known but equally remarkable reptile and amphibian species.Most of these species are endangered by unbridled forest loss, habitat degradation, fragmentation, and wildlife trafficking. In 2018, Madagascar lost 2 percent of its primary rainforests, the largest proportion of any country in the world. The remaining forests are severely fragmented, about half of them now located less than 100 meters (330 feet) from a forest boundary.The installation of a new government under Rajoelina this year raised hopes that a degree of political stability could help stem the environmental destruction. During Rajoelina’s previous stint as president, from 2009 to 2014, when he came to power on the back of a coup d’état, the country experienced a period of unchecked natural resource exploitation.The ATBC, in its petition, acknowledges the reality of conservation in a country that’s one of the poorest in Africa, with 75% people living below the poverty line in 2018, and suffers high rates of child malnutrition. “Conservation of biodiversity must therefore contribute to, not detract from, efforts of the country to develop economically,” it says.It emphasizes the need to safeguard Madagascar’s natural heritage and make it the basis for its economic recovery, a key challenge for the current president. “This will be a crucial opportunity to underline to the nation’s political and economic leaders the views of the national and international scientific and conservation communities, specifically the importance of the island’s natural patrimony at a global level and the need for new decisive actions,” the petition says.Kids from the Vezo community in Madagascar dancing atop a sand dune. Credit: Rhett A. ButlerIt lists five urgent actions to save the forests and biodiversity and secure the people’s future: tackling environmental crime, investing in Madagascar’s protected areas, ensuring that major infrastructure developments limit impacts on biodiversity, strengthening tenure rights for local people over natural resources, and addressing Madagascar’s growing fuelwood crisis.According to the World Bank, only about 20% of Malagasy households have access to electricity, and the percentage is even lower in rural areas forcing people to turn to forests for their energy needs. A majority of households rely on firewood or charcoal for cooking. As the population swells, between 2007 and 2017 the country’s population grew by over 6 million people, the pressure on forests will only intensify.The ATBC targets 2500 signatures* for the petition; as of June 24 more than 800 people had already signed it. The hope is to garner even more signatures and support from across the world to lean on the Malagasy government to act. The petition is available in English, French, Spanish and Malagasy, and will be live until Aug. 2.Banner Image: A female black lemur in Nosy Komba island in Madagascar, 2012. Credit: Rhett A. Butler[*Editor’s Note: The article has been updated to reflect a change in the target number of signatures for the petition.]Malavika Vyawahare is the Madagascar staff writer for Mongabay. Find her on Twitter: @MalavikaVyFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Energy, Environment, Forests, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by malavikavyawaharelast_img read more

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, July 5, 2019

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 Conservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content. Tropical forestsIllegal logging in Mozambique has exposed the country to potential devastation as a result of cyclones (The Epoch Times).As policy turns away from palm oil-based biofuels in the European Union, it’s still powering a lot of vehicles (Financial Times).A new law in Côte d’Ivoire aimed at stopping deforestation could lead to the eviction of as many as 2 million cocoa farmers (Africa Times).Paraguay is investing in silvopastoral systems to raise livestock, which proponents argue will help meet the global demand for food while protecting forest (Inter Press Service).Poachers intent on ivory are operating in Botswana, home to Africa’s largest population of elephants (The New York Times).A new dam could derail the UNESCO World Heritage Status of Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve (Devdiscourse).Other newsResearchers track an Arctic fox’s trek of more than 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) (The New York Times).The G20 is in near-unanimous agreement — with one notable dissenter in U.S. President Donald Trump — to address climate change (The Washington Post).Threatened salmon in California may benefit from access to flooded fields (Biographic).Rehabilitating confiscated pangolins takes a special touch (Biographic).A black rhino died on his way from the U.K. to the Serengeti (The Mirror, The Independent).Canada’s new fisheries act has promise, but some wonder if it’s coming too late (Hakai Magazine).Experts offer guidance on helping children understand climate change (The New York Times).The Netherlands is raising dairy cattle out at sea in a bid for increased sustainability (Hakai Magazine).European meteorologists peg June 2019 as the hottest June on record (The New York Times).Predators and the impacts they have on people present a tricky problem for conservation biologists (The Atlantic).Greenland’s melting ice sheet could have an unexpected benefit: freeing up sand to meet worldwide demand (The New York Times).Improving batteries could catalyze a shift to hybrid jets (The Economist).The 10 million people of Chennai no longer have enough water (NPR).Climate change could have a price tag of nearly $70 trillion by 2100, according to the consulting firm Moody’s Analytics (The Washington Post).A new species of fly shares its name with a Game of Thrones character (Fox News).Crews at a golf course owned by U.S. President Donald Trump in Scotland destroyed protected sand dunes — and then the government stripped the ecosystem’s protected status (E&E News).A perplexing surge in seaweed growth in the Caribbean is threatening marine life and fisheries (The Atlantic).Climate change is increasing conflicts over fisheries (Hakai Magazine).China could spearhead a conservation movement for the world’s oceans (World Economic Forum).Farmers are raising flies and beetles to be fodder for farmed fish (The Economist).Banner image of an Arctic fox by Rama via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0 fr). 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 Article published by John Cannonlast_img read more

Bolsonaro’s Brazil: 2019 brings death by 1,000 cuts to Amazon — part one

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 Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Conservation, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Illegal Logging, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Transparency, Tropical Deforestation While the media focused in 2019 on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s incendiary remarks, or on the Amazon fires, he has quietly instituted new policies likely to aid land grabbers and do great harm to Amazon forests, indigenous and traditional peoples. “Death by 1,000 Cuts” parts 1 and 2 reviews those policies.Executive decree MP 910 issued December 11 legalizes large-scale land grabbing. The large-owner loophole built into the new decree allows land speculators to register large swathes of public lands that they grabbed before December 2018, using the illegal deforestation they accomplished as proof of their “occupation.”MP 910 could transfer 40-60 million hectares of public land to private owners who would then be authorized to legally deforest a fifth of that land, about 10 million hectares, experts say. MP 910 is likely to trigger high rates of conflict and deforestation. Congress must approve MP 910 in 120 days to make it permanent.The agriculture ministry also chose to make secret part of its ranching database, thwarting Visipec, an NGO-designed tool for tracking cattle raised on calving ranches where major deforestation occurs. Other administrative measures benefit big agribusiness over small family farms, and muzzle civil society voices. Logging trucks lacking license plates remove trees illegally harvested from an indigenous reserve in Pará state, Brazil. Image by Sue Branford / Mongabay.Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is a man of incendiary words and big gestures. As such, he has attracted the attention of global media who cover his major outbursts and policy initiatives, as he pledges to open indigenous reserves to mining and agribusiness, and as he dismantles environmental and social agencies, firing those who oppose him.But over recent months Bolsonaro has quietly announced a flurry of measures that, while flying under the media radar, are making it easy for land grabbers to acquire large tracts of land in Amazonia — paving the way for the elite owners of garimpos (artisanal mines), and transnational mining companies to move into indigenous reserves and other protected areas.At the same time, the government has brought all agrarian reform to a standstill and halted altogether the previously snail-slow process of demarcating land occupied by indigenous and traditional populations — boundary marking guaranteed under the 1988 Constitution.These administrative changes, announced piecemeal, add up to a major shake-up regarding land tenure, and result in a drastic tipping of the never-level playing field, benefiting the wealthy and powerful. This restructuring is also emerging as potentially the most substantial anti-environmental policy shift since the military dictatorship, which ended in 1985 — making it the biggest threat to the Brazilian Amazon and its people.This is the first of two articles in which Mongabay surveys these measures representing a death by 1,000 cuts. This first piece concentrates mainly on the benefits to land speculators, while the second will largely cover mining.An IBAMA environmental agency agent looks out over devastated rainforest within Jamanxim National Forest in Pará state Brazil. Under Bolonsaro’s executive decree MP 910, this illegal deforestation could be used as proof of “occupation” by land grabbers to lay claim to the public lands which they invaded. Image courtesy of IBAMA.MP 910: Legalized land grabbingAfter months of rumor that a major land tenure measure was imminent, Bolsonaro finally issued executive decree MP 910 on December 11.The decree, which Bolsonaro pledges will end land chaos, especially in the Amazon, is cloaked in a promise to benefit the thousands of peasant families who have long occupied public land, some arriving in the 1970s with the encouragement of the military government. Finally, they will find it easy to register their small plots, Bolsonaro said, which means they’ll be able to obtain bank loans so as to increase agricultural production.The executive measure is already in force, but under Brazilian law must be approved by Congress within 120 days or cease to be valid. With the bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby dominant in the legislature, passage of MP 910 seems almost certain.The government estimates that the measure will lead to the registration of some 300,000 properties, 86% of them in Amazonia by the National Institute of Agrarian Reform and Colonization (INCRA).However, there’s more here than meets the eye, say analysts. Even though many small landholders may be beneficiaries, a closer look at the decree reveals a hidden agenda. Those smallholders, while large in number, only occupy a small portion of total claimed land. The real winners will be large-scale farmers, including many elite wealthy land grabbers. Although these ruralists make up only a small minority of beneficiaries, they’ll become legal owners of the largest amount of land by far.The large-owner loophole built into the new decree is, according to experts, an open invitation for land speculators to register large swathes of public lands that they illegally grabbed before December 2018. Building on land tenure decrees issued first by President Lula in 2009 and then by President Temer in 2017, MP 910 permits land grabbers to seize land, deforest it and then register it as theirs.Deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon. Image by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.At the heart of the loophole: a term known as “self-declaration.” Before the decree was published, Luiz Antônio Nabham Garcia, a leading ruralist and the powerful federal Secretary of Land Affairs, noted that the new land rule would be based on “self-declaration” or autodeclaração, a process that allows would-be landowners, based only on their say-so, to declare the size of their properties, without need for independent verification on the ground.The only way the government will check these claims is through satellite imaging, accepting as “proof of occupation” deforestation carried out before December 2018 — deforestation on public land which was completely illegal at the time. Put simply, MP 910 legitimizes the theft of public lands by asking land grabbers for proof of an illegal act they committed in the past as grounds for the legalization of a land claim today.Even before MP 910 was issued, “self-declaration” was extremely controversial. In October, Bolsonaro sacked INCRA head General João Carlos Jesus Corrêa, because he had become “a thorn in the side” of Nabham over the issue. Successor, Geraldo Melo Filho, is aligned with the ruralists.Corrêa wasn’t alone. The Federal Audit Court (TCU), a powerful government body that monitors the federal government’s accounts, expressed disquiet that the expedited procedure would invite abuse. The government responded by keeping the policy intact but banning the use of the term “autodeclaração.”These logs, illegally cut on conserved land, were seized in an IBAMA raid in 2017. Under Bolsonaro, such raids have been greatly reduced, giving land grabbers a largely free rein. Image courtesy of IBAMA.Environmentalists sound the alarmRaul Valle, Director of Socioenvironmental Justice at WWF-Brasil, says that the measure will not only reward land grabbers for past actions, but encourages further land grabbing, as it creates the expectation that it will be easy to register land stolen today. “It rewards the strongest, as they get the land title,” he said.According to some analysts, the decree will probably lead to the handing over of between 40-60 million hectares (145,000-232,000 square miles) of public land to private landowners. These new owners will then be authorized to legally deforest a fifth of that land, about 10 million hectares (39,000 square miles), though part of this area may already be cleared. The figure will probably be much higher, if illegal deforestation is included. MP 910 is likely to trigger extremely high rates of violence and deforestation, equivalent, critics say, to that caused by Amazon highway construction by Brazil’s military government in the 1970s.Writing in El País, the journalist, Eliane Brum, expects that land speculators will use force to seize land occupied by peasant families that land thieves covet. In fact, this is already happening, she says. In Anapu, the town in Pará state where American nun, Dorothy Stang, was murdered in 2005, two rural leaders were killed this month. Lax law enforcement in the Amazon under Bolsonaro is likely to exacerbate conflict, as will the president’s incendiary remarks critical of indigenous groups and traditional communities that critics say emboldens ruralists to commit violence.Brum warns: “If congress doesn’t stop this decree, Amazonia will become a forest of corpses. Not of trees, but of people.”Cattle ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon basin today. By making a portion of Brazil’s cattle tracking database secret, the federal government has effectively thwarted NGO efforts to track ranching linked to illegal deforestation. Image © Henrique Manreza courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.Promoting agribusinessBesides legitimizing large-scale land grabbing, the Bolsonaro government has taken other measures to encourage the expansion of agribusiness in the Amazon.It has revoked a decree that forbade the expansion of sugarcane into sensitive areas, like the Pantanal wetlands and Amazonia — a policy that environmentalists fear will drive deforestation.In another discreet move, the agriculture ministry decided that part of its database will no longer be publicly available because it contains “personal information” that “does not interest the general public.” This seemingly innocuous move will have significant consequences, preventing the tracking of cattle from calving ranches (where major deforestation occurs) to cattle laundering farms (where no tree loss occurs), before the adult animals are sold to slaughterhouses.The newly announced database secrecy will thwart Visipec, a recently developed system to track the movement of cattle from origin to meat processing plant, created by University of Wisconsin researchers working in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation.Though the tracking tool has the potential to reduce deforestation from the meat supply chain and the National Wildlife Federation has offered Visipec free to meatpackers, none, including the biggest, JBS, has accepted the offer. Now that Bolsonaro has shut down public access to cattle data, Visipec won’t work.As The New York Times pointed out, the tracking tool would have closed “what some experts suggest has been a convenient loophole for all parties in the Brazilian cattle industry.” Keeping the cattle deforestation loophole wide open makes life easier for meatpackers while foiling environmentalists.In another move, the government has made it harder to impose fines on buyers of illegal timber. Until Eduardo Bim, the president of IBAMA, altered regulations in November, buyers could be fined by IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency, if they bought timber illegally extracted from protected areas and indigenous units.Now fines can only be charged if IBAMA can prove intent, that the buyers knew that the documents claiming to show that the timber was legally felled were fraudulent. According to Márcio Astrini, from Greenpeace, the new norm creates “a kind of second-scale impunity in the commercial chain,” — intent is a very difficult legal claim to prove.A family farm that currently supplies food for public schools. A new government policy will allow states to decide which farms provide school meals, increasing the likelihood that large plantations will be favored over small farms. Image courtesy of FNDE.Reducing support for small producersThe government, while facilitating agribusiness, is also ending some of the long-standing programs that supported small family farms — important providers of staple foods to Brazilians.One key policy shift alters a long-established government program mandating that small farms be prioritized in the sale of food to municipal and state governments for the free lunch programs through which thousands of Brazilian public schools feed their pupils.Selling food to schools has been an important source of family farm income since 2009 when the Lula government decided that at least 30% of resources used by the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE) to fund school meals be used to purchase food directly from family farmers. The government made it clear then that it wanted to give “priority to agrarian reform settlements, indigenous communities and quilombolas,” communities made up of runaway slave descendants.Now, a bill in Congress, proposed by ultra-conservative senator Izalci Lucas (under investigation for financial fraud), would leave it to municipal and state governments to set the percentage of food purchased from family farms. Given that many of these governments are ruralist-controlled, it seems likely they would increase purchases from big, commercial farms, while cutting off small producers in agrarian reform settlements, indigenous communities and quilombolas.Indigenous people, like these Munduruku warriors, have battled for years to gain access to government to better protect land rights and the environment. Reorganization of administrative councils and other government bodies is being used to deny a voice to civil society and environmentalists, according to critics. Image by Mauricio Torres.Muting civil society voicesEven as it boosts land grabber rights and agribusiness opportunities, the Bolsonaro government is silencing civil society representatives who formerly provided a voice for those most likely to be harmed by Amazon deforestation and development. In particular, the administration has restructured government entities charged with combating deforestation and reducing Brazil’s climate change impacts.In April 2019, Bolosonaro closed down hundreds of government boards and bodies that included members of both civil society and government. In so doing, it assured that Brazil would arrive at the United Nations climate summit in December (COP25) with no delegates representing Brazilian environmental organizations — making it unlikely anyone would embarrass Bolsonaro by raising objections to Brazil’s rising deforestation rates and its abandonment of its commitment to meet its Paris Climate Agreement carbon cut pledges.At the end of November, just three days before COP25 began, the government announced five decrees recreating some of the abolished public organs. But the bodies’ composition has been changed by Environment Minister Ricardo Salles: they are smaller and without representatives of civil society, or with too few to influence public policy.One example: the Protected Areas of Amazonia Program (ARPA), considered the most ambitious program in the world for the preservation of tropical forests. The membership of its administrative council has been cut from 12 to seven members. The Environment Ministry, which used to have two members, now has none. Civil society, which once had two members, now has one, and private donors, once with three seats, now have only one.In similar fashion the government changed the composition of the Consultative Council of the National Fund for Forest Development (FNDF). Until mid-October 2019, FNDP had 14 members, three each from social movements, environmental organizations and traditional communities. Now the number of members has been reduced to seven, with all of those groups losing their members. FNDP promotes technological innovation and encourages collaborations with industry relating to forests.The government’s dismissive attitude toward international concern over Brazil’s rapidly rising deforestation rate and contribution to the climate crisis was perhaps best reflected in a Twitter post by Environment Minister Salles in Madrid as December’s COP25 was ending. “To compensate for our emissions at COP, a veggie meal,” he wrote, accompanying his words with a photo of a gigantic plate piled high with barbecued beef. Whatever else may be said, the Bolsonaro administration has made it clear who it supports, and who it doesn’t.Banner image caption: Under MP 910, illegally deforested public land, like that seen here inside the Kayapó indigenous territory in Pará state, can be legitimately claimed by the land grabber who cut down the trees, using the illegal deforestation as proof of “occupation.”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 Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more

Horford, Smart lift Celtics over Bucks for 3-2 lead

first_imgMilwaukee got within 87-84 after a layup by Eric Bledsoe, but the Celtics hit enough free throws the rest of the way to secure the win.The Bucks entered the game shooting an NBA playoff-best 54 percent from the field, but they hit just 37 percent for the game (32 of 87).Boston needed an energy boost after slow starts to Games 3 and 4, and Smart gave the Celtics exactly that.He checked in for the first time late in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, he deflected a pass and won a scramble on the floor for the loose ball.A few possessions later, he was helping protect the rim, getting his hand in to deny an alley-oop dunk attempt by Antetokounmpo.ADVERTISEMENT Bledsoe was assessed a flagrant foul and Rozier was issued a technical foul.It was the continuation of some off-court chiding between the pair.Rozier called Bledsoe “Drew Bledsoe” when asked about him after Game 1. Bledsoe has since responded by saying “Who?” whenever he’s asked about Rozier. Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident He was also active on the offensive end, helping drive the ball into the interior of Milwaukee’s defense, like when he tossed an alley-oop to Horford late in the third quarter .TIP-INSBucks: F John Henson missed his third straight game with back soreness. … Scored 15 points in first quarter. It was low for a quarter in the series, excluding the Game 1 overtime period (eight points).Celtics: Finished with 18 turnovers. … Outscored the Bucks 32-28 in the paint.DROUGHT AND A RUNThe Celtics went without a field goal from Rozier’s 3-pointer with 9:14 left in the third until Jaylen Brown hit from beyond the arc with 4:26 to go in the period.Boston’s only points during the shooting slump came on a pair of free throws by Tatum with 6:36 left.It allowed Milwaukee to go on a 12-2 run, trimming Boston’s lead to 58-52.STILL BEEFINGRozier and Eric Bledsoe got tangled up with 9:33 left in the third quarter. Rozier bumped Bledsoe near the baseline. Bledsoe responded with a hard shove. They then got face-to-face and had to be separated. P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Terry Rozier added 16 points and five assists for Boston. The home team has won all five games in the first-round series, and Game 6 is Thursday in Milwaukee.Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points, Jabari Parker added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a series-low 16 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownThe Celtics led by 16 before Milwaukee rallied to make it 74-70 with 7:33 left. Middleton scored later and was fouled to get Milwaukee within 84-79, but he failed to complete the three-point play.A few possessions later, Smart managed to squeeze out a pass to Horford with three Bucks draped over him, and Horford easily dropped in a layup to make it 86-79 with 28.1 seconds left. Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart looks to pass as he recovers a loose ball during the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series in Boston, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)BOSTON — Al Horford had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Marcus Smart made an impact in his first game since mid-March and the Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks 92-87 on Tuesday night for a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.Smart came off the bench and had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks in his first game since undergoing right thumb surgery. He played 25 minutes wearing a protective splint and had a key assist late from the bottom of a scrum beneath three Milwaukee players.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Believe it! 76ers roll with Meek Mill past Heat, into 2nd round Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player awardlast_img read more