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

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

first_imgArticle published by hayat To safeguard the almost 90 percent of its land still covered with forest, the small Brazilian state of Acre implemented a carbon credit scheme that assigns monetary value to stored carbon in the standing trees and rewards local “ecosystem service providers” for their role protecting it.Acre’s System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA) rewards sustainable harvesting of rubber, nuts and other commodities from the forests. Crucially, it doesn’t make land tenure a prerequisite to qualify for incentives such as subsidies and agricultural supplies.But a new study criticizes the program for giving state officials the power to determine what counts as “green labor.” The program already promotes intensive agricultural practices and artificial fishponds, and experts warn more damaging practices may be permitted under the control of new state officials.There’s also no definitive evidence that the program works to conserve forests, with the rate of deforestation in Acre holding relatively steady since SISA came into effect. A state-run carbon credit scheme that aims to reduce deforestation also generates financial and social benefits for some poor rural communities by side-stepping the red tape of land tenure rights often required by such schemes, according a recent anthropological study published in The Journal of Peasant Studies.Despite widespread deforestation in the Amazon, the small state of Acre in western Brazil is still close to 90 percent forested. To protect the remaining 164,000 square kilometers (63,300 square miles) of standing forest, the state’s System of Incentives for Environmental Services (SISA) offers rewards to local communities to pursue livelihoods that don’t degrade the forest, financed by monetizing the carbon stored within it.Maron Greenleaf, an anthropologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, interviewed residents, government officials and local stakeholders such as the Indigenous Missionary Council Missionary Council (CIMI), the Federal University of Acre, and the agroforestry group PESACRE, to find out how SISA is working on the ground. She describes how poorer rural people are not excluded from the carbon credit scheme because of their lack of formal land rights, but warns there are also risks to the approach, which gives state officials power to define what activities are incentivized.Evidence of mechanized logging in Feijó, Acre. Image by Maron Greenleaf.Monetizing carbon captureFirst approved by state legislature in 2010, SISA is part of REDD+, a voluntary program negotiated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) that aims to generate market incentives for protecting carbon-rich forests in developing nations while having a positive socioeconomic effect on surrounding communities.Often, “the only way that people can earn money from the forest is by felling it for timber and/or clearing it to create space for agriculture, cattle, or other land uses,” Greenleaf said. REDD+ programs attempt to redress this imbalance, by “seek[ing] to give monetary value to forests’ carbon sequestering ‘service,’ so that the standing forest too has value that reflects — to some extent and in monetary terms — its climatic value,” she said.The German development bank KFW has purchased 25 million euros ($28 million) of carbon credits, valuing Acre’s forests by their absorbed carbon dioxide, in exchange for a 16.5 percent reduction in the state’s forestry-related greenhouse gas emissions between 2011 and 2015.SISA differs from more traditional carbon-offsetting models, where land ownership forms the basis for distributing the financial benefits of forest protection. Instead, it rewards those individuals who have directly worked on the land in a way that is classed as beneficial. SISA describes rural producers of sustainable crops and forest products (such as legumes, Brazil nuts or rubber), and who avoid harmful activities like controlled burning, as “ecosystem service providers” and offers incentives such as free services, agricultural supplies, and subsidies for their continued labor. The program promotes activities such as sustainable cattle ranching and fish farming on previously cleared land.Cattle gathered outside a school in Feijó, Acre. Cattle ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in the state and across Brazil. Image by Maron Greenleaf.A similar state-run REDD+ scheme in neighboring Amazonas state, called Bolsa Floresta (PBF), has been running since 2007. However, SISA was the first scheme to be applied at the state level, rather than to a limited number of specified conservation units. PBF offers a small payment to residents who produce sustainable forest commodities such as cacao, açaí berries and arapaima fish, or practice agroforestry or lake management, in exchange for a commitment to zero deforestation and participation in environmental educational programs.Greenleaf credits what she calls SISA’s “green labor” approach for side-stepping complex land rights issues that are common in rural Brazil and other countries with carbon-rich forests, and sharing some of the value of tropical forests’ stored carbon with some of the rural people who live in and around them, rather than wealthy landowners and foreign investors.By giving market value to the carbon sequestered by standing forests, carbon-offsetting schemes run the risk of promoting violent land grabbing over forested land, sustaining inequality, and rewarding only the wealthiest. For instance, a 2018 study found that REDD+ schemes in Brazil have tended to increase residents’ insecurity over land tenure. But implemented in the right way, offsetting schemes can also act as a form of state welfare, redistributing wealth based on environmental goals, Greenleaf says.Among her interviewees were 30 rural acreanos — small-scale farmers, ranchers, hunters, and forest collectors of mixed heritage. This is a group that has historically often been unable to obtain formal land rights, but many of them said they have been able to benefit from the SISA scheme through their contribution of green labor.A Brazil nut tree left standing in an otherwise mostly deforested field in Feijó, Acre. Image by Maron Greenleaf.Land rights complexities“REDD+ and related carbon-trading based schemes have the potential to be major game-changers with regards to halting global deforestation,” said Tom Martin, a terrestrial biodiversity and carbon specialist at the international conservation research organization Operation Wallacea. And yet globally, “REDD+ schemes … haven’t taken off nearly as quickly as people hoped,” he said, citing disorganized governments, unstable carbon markets, and complex land tenure systems.In many heavily forested tropical countries, where carbon-offsetting schemes have the most potential benefit, land rights in rural areas are unclear, overlapping or fiercely contested, interwoven with complex indigenous rights issues. Such complexities can create uncertainty over how a proposed REDD+ project might be successfully implemented, making potential investors nervous and stalling carbon-credit schemes before they even get started, Martin said.Bypassing land tenure as a means to allocate the rewards of carbon credit schemes has clear benefits, but it has also been criticized because it avoids the difficult process of securing land rights for rural and indigenous people who would benefit from land tenure in other ways. However, efforts to formalize rural land tenure have historically tended to favor the wealthy elites. For example, Terra Legal a national program to grant land titles to smallholder families in Amazonas state has issued fewer titles than planned and tended to favor existing landowners and agribusiness. Any attempt to redistribute land in a more equitable way would be a long and uphill battle. Instead, initiatives like SISA could act as a stepping stone, Greenleaf suggests: “SISA benefits might be enlisted in that struggle as evidence of government recognition of rural people’s rights to land.”While the scheme is having clear benefits for local communities, the effect of SISA’s incentives on deforestation is more difficult to make out. The rate of deforestation in Acre remained relatively constant from 2010 to 2015 — the period during which SISA’s credit scheme came into effect — at between 220 and 310 square kilometers (85 and 120 square miles) per year, according to data from the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research’s (INPE) PRODES monitoring program. However Maron points out that many of the policies financed by SISA predated the program, making its true impact on deforestation hard to discern.SISA has also been criticized for giving state officials greater power in determining what counts as green labor, leaving rural communities at the mercy of political whims. SISA has already made a few controversial decisions, such as categorizing intensive agricultural practices and artificial fishponds as ecosystem services. Martin said this is a common problem. “While REDD+ schemes are inherently supposed to yield social and biodiversity benefits as well as carbon sequestration,” he said, the primary focus on carbon stocks means that “the benefits to biodiversity can sometimes lag behind in project managers’ hierarchies of concern.”The sun sets over a forest in Feijó, Acre. Image by Maron Greenleaf.Greenleaf warns that the shifting political mood in Brazil is already affecting people’s behavior. The estimated rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased by 50 percent between August and October last year as the presidential elections approached and victory for pro-agribusiness candidate Jair Bolsonaro became more likely. Since Bolsonaro’s win, deforestation across the Amazon has begun to rise alarmingly, and Acre has been no exception. The state saw an increase in the rate of tree loss in 2018.New state officials were brought in with the new government at the start of this year, which could spell change for the administration of the SISA program. For example, SISA already supports agricultural intensification as a means to spare the remaining forest, which could be stretched to include industrialized agribusiness.As a state-run program, the importance of SISA payments to rural communities is likely to increase. “These schemes are … poised to become more important with state protection in Brazil likely to be heavily withdrawn due to the new right-wing Bolsonaro administration,” Martin said.Just as other environmental initiatives are under threat of funding cuts, SISA may be on course to receive a huge boost to funding. If California state administrators vote in favor of admitting REDD+ carbon credits, a 2010 memorandum of understanding, combined with high international regard for the program, puts Acre in line as the most likely supplier of those credits.With inclusion criteria that could change at the whim of state officials, SISA may not offer the security to rural producers that it promises. However, “SISA … could also show Bolsonaro and other like-minded officials that it is not just cleared forest that has monetary value,” Greenleaf said.Banner image of Planet satellite imagery showing a mosaic of deforestation and rainforest in São Judas Tadeu, Xapuri, in the state of Acre, Brazil, in August 2018, courtesy of Planet.Citations:Greenleaf, M. (2019). The value of the untenured forest: Land rights, green labor, and forest carbon in the Brazilian Amazon. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 1-20. doi:10.1080/03066150.2019.1579197Sunderlin, W. D., Sassi, C. D., Sills, E. O., Duchelle, A. E., Larson, A. M., Resosudarmo, I. A., . . . Huynh, T. B. (2018). Creating an appropriate tenure foundation for REDD+: The record to date and prospects for the future. World Development, 106, 376-392. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.01.010 Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Amazon Rainforest, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change And Conservation, Community-based Conservation, Conservation Finance, Conservation Solutions, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forest Carbon, Forests, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Innovation In Tropical Forest Conservation, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Redd, Redd And Communities, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation last_img read more

From over 100,000 species assessments in IUCN update, zero improvements

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 Shreya Dasgupta The latest IUCN Red List update, which includes assessments of 105,732 species, lists more than 28,000 species as threatened with extinction.The declines of many of these species can be attributed to human overexploitation, according to the IUCN. The red-capped mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus), for example, has moved from vulnerable to endangered in 2019, largely because of threats from illegal hunting for bushmeat and conversion of much of the monkey’s Atlantic coast forest habitat in West Africa to agriculture.More than 5,000 trees from 180 countries, and 500 deep-sea bony fish species like the bioluminescent lanternfishes, were also added to the Red List this year.No species was assessed as having genuinely improved in status enough to earn it a place in a lower threat category, according to the IUCN. From rays to deep-sea snails, primates to rosewood trees, the latest IUCN Red List update paints a gloomy picture for our world’s species.The update, which includes assessments of 105,732 animal and plant species to date, lists more than 28,000 species as threatened with extinction, attributing much of the declines to human overexploitation.The red-capped mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus), for instance, a monkey previously listed as vulnerable, has now been moved to endangered, largely because of declining numbers driven by illegal hunting for bushmeat and conversion of much of its Atlantic coast forest habitat in West Africa to agriculture.In East Africa, the pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) is fighting a losing battle against the global pet trade. Thanks to overexploitation for this trade, along with destruction of its preferred rock habitats, the reptile has moved from being listed as vulnerable to critically endangered.More than 90 percent of all the rosewood and palissander (Dalbergia) tree species assessed on the Red List, too, are now threatened, mostly because of illegal trafficking and habitat loss. Freshwater fish seem to be struggling as well, with the loss of free-flowing rivers and increasing pollution driving more than half of Japan’s endemic freshwater fish and over a third of freshwater fish in Mexico toward extinction, according to a press release from the IUCN.No species was assessed as having “genuinely improved in status enough” to earn them a place in a lower threat category for this update, the IUCN said.“With more than 100,000 species now assessed for the IUCN Red List, this update clearly shows how much humans around the world are overexploiting wildlife,” Grethel Aguilar, acting director general of the IUCN, said in the statement. “States, businesses and civil society must urgently act to halt the overexploitation of nature, and must respect and support local communities and Indigenous Peoples in strengthening sustainable livelihoods.”Pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri). Image by Dick Culbert via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).According to the latest update, 873 species are now extinct, while 73 species are extinct in the wild. Some 6,127 species are at the edge of extinction, assessed as critically endangered. These include species of wedgefishes and giant guitarfishes, also referred to as rhino rays because of their elongated snouts, which are now among the most threatened marine fish families in the world. Fifteen of the 16 species assessed are critically endangered. Two species in particular, the clown wedgefish (Rhynchobatus cooki) of the Indo-Malay archipelago and the false shark ray (Rhynchorhina mauritaniensis) of Mauritania, are likely very close to extinction. Living in shallow ocean waters, these rays are caught frequently as bycatch, and overexploited by fisheries, with their meat sold locally and fins traded for shark-fin soup.“The alarm bell has been sounding again and again concerning the unravelling crisis in freshwater and marine wildlife around the world and it’s time we pay attention,” said Andrew Terry, director of conservation and policy at the Zoological Society of London.The latest Red List update lists 9,754 species as endangered, 12,457 as vulnerable and 6,435 species as near threatened. More than 15,000 species are listed as data deficient, which means there’s insufficient information to assess their conservation status.Giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis). Image by Peter Giger via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0).There are thousands of new entries in the IUCN Red List this year. These include a West African evergreen tree, Allophylus samoritourei, that grows up to 18 meters (59 feet) tall. It’s listed as endangered, with fewer than 250 mature individuals estimated throughout its range, including 180 mature trees in Guinea. The species is on the decline because of habitat loss from mining, agriculture and urban expansion.The Lake Oku puddle frog (Phrynobatrachus njiomock), a species known only from the Kilum-Ijim Forest in Cameroon, debuts on the list as critically endangered (possibly extinct). Once the most abundant frog at Lake Oku, it hasn’t been seen since 2010. Researchers say the frog population has likely declined or disappeared mainly because of chytridiomycosis, a deadly fungal disease caused by the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) that has devastated amphibian populations across the world.More than 5,000 trees from 180 countries have also been added to the Red List this year. The American elm (Ulmus americana), once found across Canada and the United States, for example, enters the Red List as endangered, its populations declining over decades due to Dutch elm disease, an invasive fungal pathogen.“The implications for people are that we lose valuable resources such as rosewoods and elms, and we also lose ecosystem resilience, undermining the essential ecosystem services that forests provide,” Paul Smith, secretary general of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, said in the statement.In addition to trees, several deep-sea species also make their appearance on the updated list, including 500 deep-sea bony fish species like the bioluminescent lanternfishes. A deep-sea hydrothermal vent mollusc, the scaly-foot snail (Chrysomallon squamiferum), debuts as endangered as well. The snail is known from only three locations on hydrothermal vents at depths of down to 2,900 meters (9,500 feet) in the Indian Ocean. With the prospect of future development of deep-sea mining in two of these areas, the snail’s habitat could be destroyed, the press release says. Some 20 percent of all the deep-sea assessments are, however, data-deficient, raising the need for studies on these species.“As many of the world’s deep sea species are being assessed for the first time, we are just starting to understand the impact of threats to this mostly unexplored and unmanaged frontier,” Beth Polidoro, a marine toxicologist at Arizona State University and co-chair of the Marine Fishes Red List Authority, said in the statement. “As such, the importance of the IUCN Red List process for deep sea species is increasingly evident, as it is one of the only indicators on the status of deep sea biodiversity across the globe.”The scaly-foot snail is known from just three locations in the deep sea. Image by Chong Chen.Banner image of red-capped mangabey by BeKay via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).center_img Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Forests, Green, Iucn, Plants, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife last_img read more

Indigenous-managed lands found to harbor more biodiversity than protected areas

first_imgAmphibians, Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Birds, Conservation, Environment, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Mammals, Protected Areas, Reptiles, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by Mike Gaworecki Researchers say they found that amphibian, bird, mammal, and reptile abundance in Australia, Brazil, and Canada is highest on lands managed or co-managed by indigenous communities — higher even than on protected areas like parks and wildlife reserves, which were found to have the second highest levels of biodiversity.Both indigenous-managed lands and protected areas harbored more biodiversity than unprotected areas included in the study that the researchers selected at random. The researchers also determined that the size and geographical location of any particular area had no effect on levels of species diversity, suggesting that it’s the land-management practices of indigenous communities that are conserving biodiversity.The researchers said their results demonstrate the importance of expanding the boundaries of traditional conservation strategies, which frequently rely on establishing protected areas to conserve critical habitat for biodiversity. New research bolsters the case for indigenous-led land management as a crucial conservation solution.The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Policy last month, focused on land and species data from more than 15,000 distinct geographical regions in Australia, Brazil, and Canada. After analyzing the data, the researchers behind the study say they found that amphibian, bird, mammal, and reptile abundance is highest on lands managed or co-managed by indigenous communities — higher even than on protected areas like parks and wildlife reserves, which were found to have the second highest levels of biodiversity.Both indigenous-managed lands and protected areas harbored more biodiversity than unprotected areas included in the study that the researchers selected at random. The researchers also determined that the size and geographical location of any particular area had no effect on levels of species diversity.“This suggests that it’s the land-management practices of many Indigenous communities that are keeping species numbers high,” Richard Schuster, who led the research while at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University in Canada, said in a statement. He added that a key takeaway of the study is that “Going forward, collaborating with Indigenous land stewards will likely be essential in ensuring that species survive and thrive.”Schuster and co-authors say that their study is the first to look at land management practices and their impact on biodiversity at such a large geographic scale. “We looked at three countries with very different climates and species, to see if the pattern held true across these different regions — and it did,” study co-author Ryan Germain, a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University in the US, said in a statement. “From frogs and songbirds right up to large mammals like grizzly bears, jaguars and kangaroos, biodiversity was richest in Indigenous-managed lands.”UBC forestry professor Peter Arcese, who served as senior author for the study, said that the results demonstrate the importance of expanding the boundaries of traditional conservation strategies, which frequently rely on establishing protected areas to conserve critical habitat for biodiversity.A 2018 study found that the amount of land afforded some sort of protected status has roughly doubled globally since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More than 202,000 protected areas now cover nearly 15 percent of the world’s terrestrial areas, according to the study, but one-third of those protected areas are facing “intense human pressure.” Given these findings, conservationists have argued that indigenous stewardship is vital to the success of the world’s protected areas, as well.Yet many protected areas established in the past intentionally excluded indigenous peoples from using the land they had relied on for generations. This was not only harmful to those local indigenous communities, it also meant that the protected areas frequently failed to achieve their conservation goals, Arcese and team noted.“Protected areas are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation globally, but current levels of protection will be insufficient to halt the planetary extinction crisis,” Arcese said. “We must manage a larger fraction of world’s area in ways that protect species and leads to positive outcomes for people and the species they’ve relied on for millennia.”Another study released last year determined that indigenous peoples have ownership and use or management rights over more than one-fourth of Earth’s land surface (close to 38 million square kilometers or about 14.6 million square miles) across 87 countries. The study, which mapped all of the terrestrial lands managed or owned by indigenous peoples across the globe, also found that about 40 percent of all terrestrial protected areas on Earth overlap with indigenous-controlled land — and that about two-thirds of indigenous lands are still essentially in their natural state, more than double the proportion of intactness found on other types of land.“Indigenous-managed lands represent an important repository of biodiversity in three of the largest countries on Earth, and Indigenous peoples currently manage or have tenure to roughly one-quarter of the planet’s land area,” Nick Reo, an associate professor at Dartmouth College in the US and co-author of the present study, said in a statement.“In light of this, collaborating with Indigenous governments, communities and organizations can help to conserve biodiversity as well as support Indigenous rights to land, sustainable resource use and well-being.”The Maasai people in Kenya pass down environmental knowledge through storytelling. Photo by Joan de la Malla.CITATIONS• Garnett, S. T. et al. (2018). A spatial overview of the global importance of Indigenous lands for conservation. Nature Sustainability. doi:10.1038/s41893-018-0100-6• Jones, K. R., Venter, O., Fuller, R. A., Allan, J. R., Maxwell, S. L., Negret, P. J., & Watson, J. E. (2018). One-third of global protected land is under intense human pressure. Science, 360(6390), 788-791. doi:10.1126/science.aap9565• Schuster, R., Germain, R. R., Bennett, J. R., Reo, N. J., & Arcese, P. (2019). Vertebrate biodiversity on indigenous-managed lands in Australia, Brazil, and Canada equals that in protected areas. Environmental Science & Policy, 101, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2019.07.002FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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

On World Rhino Day, looking back on an eventful year

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 Animals, Biodiversity, Black Rhino, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Javan Rhinos, Mammals, One-horned Rhinos, Rhinos, Sumatran Rhino, White Rhino, Wildlife September 22 marks World Rhino Day, a global event established to celebrate the world’s five rhinoceros species, and to reflect on the challenges facing them.The year that has elapsed since World Rhino Day 2018 has been a eventful one for rhino conservation.Here, we look back at Mongabay’s coverage of some of the biggest stories from both Africa and Asia. September 22 marks World Rhino Day, a global event established to celebrate the world’s five rhinoceros species, as well as to reflect on the challenges facing them.Of the five rhino species living in Africa and Asia, three are listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered: Javan Rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus), Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) and black rhinos (Diceros bicornis). Meanwhile, White rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) are considered near threatened, and greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) vulnerable to extinction.The year that has elapsed since World Rhino Day 2018 has been a momentous one for rhinos and for the people working to protect them. Regardless of its conservation status, each species faces dangers ranging from poaching to tsunamis to overcrowding in protected areas. But it’s not all bad news, with conservation efforts sparking an upturn in numbers for several species and subspecies. Even in the most seemingly desperate cases, small victories can be found, such as the relaunch of a captive breeding program in Sumatra.Here, we look back at Mongabay’s coverage of some of the biggest stories.A southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum) in South Africa. White rhinos have recovered from near extinction in the early 1900s to around 18,000 today, but are threatened by a poaching crisis. The northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), however, hovers on the brink of extinction with just two individual females known to survive. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.China rescinds, then reinstates, rhino horn banThe Chinese government announced on Oct. 29, 2018 that it had legalized the “controlled” use of rhino horn and tiger bone for medical use and cultural purposes in the country. Under the new regulations, rhino horn and tiger bone from farmed animals would be allowed to be used for medicinal purposes, overturning a ban put in place in 1993.Conservationists were alarmed. Even with a ban, black-market demand for rhino and tiger products remains high in China. Experts feared legalizing the trade would legitimize the use of such products and create an opportunity for illegally-procured animal parts to be laundered into the market. “With wild tiger and rhino populations at such low levels and facing numerous threats, legalized trade in their parts is simply too great a gamble for China to take,” the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said.On Nov. 12, the government backtracked, saying it would maintain the ban while further studies are conducted. Wildlife activists expressed relief, but remain watchful.A Sumatran rhino at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park. No more than 80 are believed to remain in the wild, with another nine currently living in captivity. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.New Sumatran rhino captive breeding effort gets underwayOn Sept. 20, 2018 — just ahead of World Rhino Day — a coalition of international conservation organizations announced the official launch of Sumatran Rhino Rescue, an effort to support the Indonesian government’s captive breeding program for the Critically Endangered species. In the year since, a number of significant steps have been taken. Key among these was the successful Nov. 25 capture of a female Sumatran Rhino in Indonesian Borneo. The rhino, named Pahu, is the first new rhino added the breeding program since its relaunch as Sumatran Rhino Rescue.Plans are also underway to build a network of sanctuaries where rhinos can be cared for and — researchers hope — breed,  in a setting closely resembling their natural habitat. In addition to the existing facility in Way Kambas National Park where seven rhinos live, and the new center in Kalimantan where Pahu is living, the government has announced plans to open a sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra.The May 2019 death of Tam, the last male rhino known to survive in Malaysia, added urgency to the call to intensify captive breeding efforts. Only nine Sumatran rhinos currently live captivity, and the wild population is believed to number no more than 80.A camera trap image of a passing female Javan rhino with her baby. The population of the species is currently estimated at 68 individuals, all confined to a single habitat. Image courtesy of Ujung Kulon National Park Agency.Tsunami hits Javan rhino habitatOn Dec. 22, 2018, a devastating tsunami hit Indonesia’s Java Island, killing more than 400 people. The tsunami generated waves up to 5 meters (16 feet) high, some of which crashed ashore in Ujung Kulon National Park, the sole remaining habitat of the Javan rhino. Two park employees were killed and guard posts damaged, but no rhinos are believed to have been harmed. Park officials credit the rhinos’ survival at least partly to the animals’ natural instinct to seek high ground.Conservationists have long warned that having the entire remaining Javan rhino population — currently estimated at 68 individuals — confined to a single habitat leaves the species highly vulnerable extinction due to natural disaster or disease.Despite these warnings, Indonesian officials announced in July that plans to establish a second habitat for the species have been put on hold. Instead, efforts will concentrate on expanding the available habitat in and around Ujung Kulon.Spread between India and Nepal, the population of greater one-horned rhinos is now around 3,500. Image by Udayan Dasgupta/Mongabay.Reckoning with success in NepalNepal has enjoyed extraordinary success at boosting the population of its greater one-horned rhinos. But this past year brought a reckoning. In March 2019, a Buzzfeed investigation revealed cases of alleged human rights violations around Chitwan National Park, highlighting how sweeping legal powers bestowed upon park rangers can negatively affect the lives of people living around protected areas.Meanwhile, another problem is becoming apparent in Chitwan, the country’s main rhino sanctuary. Although poaching has been virtually eliminated, rhinos have not stopped dying. Instead, out of a population of around 600 rhinos, more than 45 have been found dead due to unexplained or natural causes since July 2018. The spike in unexplained deaths has led some to speculate that Chitwan has reached its carrying capacity for the species.A female black rhinoceros. More than 5,000 members of the species remain, roughly double the number alive in the mid-1990s. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Black rhinos get new homesEfforts to reintroduce black rhinos to areas in which previous populations were wiped out by conflict or poaching have met with mixed success. In the wake of a botched 2018 translocation Kenya, where all 11 relocated animals died, Chad also faced a major setback. Six black rhinos were translocated from South Africa to Chad’s Zakouma National Park in May 2018. By November 2018, four had died.In Rwanda, however, five eastern black rhinos (D. b. michaeli) were reported in August to have successfully completed an initial acclimatization period after being relocated from European zoos to Akagera National Park. They join with a herd of 20 who in 2017 were brought to the park from South Africa. Conservation efforts helped bring black rhino numbers from below 2,500 in the 1990s to more than 5,000 today, and despite the challenges, efforts are ongoing to reintroduce the species across its former range.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 Isabel Estermanlast_img read more

Popular pesticide linked to weight loss and delayed migration in songbird

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta In a new study, wild white-crowned sparrows that were exposed to seeds treated with imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, suffered considerable weight loss and delayed the timing of their migration.The delayed migration could in turn be affecting the birds’ survival and reproduction, the researchers say.The findings suggest that neonicotinoids could have partly contributed to the decline of several farmland-dependent bird species in North America as seen in the past few decades, the researchers add. A popular group of pesticides linked to huge declines in bees around the globe could be adversely affecting migratory birds making pit stops on farmlands, according to new research.In the study, wild white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) exposed to seeds treated with imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, suffered considerable weight loss and delayed the timing of their migration. The delayed migration could in turn be affecting the birds’ survival and reproduction, the researchers say.For a long time, the toxic effects of neonicotinoids, which are often applied to seeds as a coating, were thought to be limited to insects. But there is growing evidence the chemicals may be affecting birds as well.Margaret Eng, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Saskatchewan, and colleagues had previously showed that exposing captive white-crowned sparrows to imidacloprid caused dramatic declines in their weight and fat stores and disoriented the birds. Now, for the first time, the researchers have demonstrated the effects of the pesticides in wild birds.In the spring of 2017, the team caught 36 white-crowned sparrows at a stopover site in Ontario, Canada, during the birds’ migration from the U.S. to Canada’s boreal region. The birds, temporarily held in cages before release, were randomly assigned to three treatment groups: one group of 12 birds was fed seeds with a low dose of imidacloprid, a second group of 12 birds was fed seeds with a slightly higher, but sub-lethal, dose of imidacloprid, and the third group of 12 birds was given untreated seeds with no pesticides at all. The researchers measured each bird’s weight and body composition before and after exposure, and attached a lightweight radio transmitter to the bird’s back to track them after releasing them into the wild.Margaret Eng in the field. Image by Amy Wilson.Birds that ate the insecticide-free seeds did not lose much weight when weighed six hours after they were fed. Those fed on seeds with lower dose of the pesticide, however, had lost around 3 percent of their body weight and 9 percent of body fat, while those that were exposed to the higher dosage lost 6 percent of their body weight and 17 percent of body fat on average.The effects of the pesticides seemed to linger after the birds were released. While the birds eventually recovered, those that had been exposed to higher doses of imidacloprid stayed about 3.5 days longer at the stopover site after release before continuing on their migratory path compared to birds that were given untreated seeds.“Both of these results seem to be associated with the appetite suppression effect of imidacloprid,” Eng, lead author of the study, said in a statement. “The dosed birds ate less food, and it’s likely that they delayed their flight because they needed more time to recover and regain their fuel stores. We saw these effects using doses well within the range of what a bird could realistically consume in the wild — equivalent to eating just a few treated seeds.”The researchers say that the findings suggest that neonicotinoids could have partly contributed to the decline of several bird species in North America that depend on agriculture fields. More than three-quarters of bird species that rely on farmlands have declined in North America since 1966.“Migration is a critical period for birds and timing matters,” study co-author Christy A. Morrissey, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Saskatchewan, said in the statement. “Any delays can seriously hinder their success in finding mates and nesting, so this may help explain, in part, why migrant and farmland bird species are declining so dramatically worldwide.”A white-crowned sparrow. Image by Wolfgang Wander via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).Citation:Eng, M. L., Stutchbury, B. J. M., & Morrissey, C. A. (2019). A neonicotinoid insecticide reduces fueling and delays migration in songbirds. Science, 365(6458), 1177-1180. doi:10.1126/science.aaw9419 Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation, Environment, Green, Migration, Pesticides, Research, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Indonesian court fines palm oil firm $18.5m over forest fires in 2015

first_imgFEEDBACK: 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. Banner image: Peat fire in Indonesia. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Note: Mongabay Indonesia reporter Lusia Arumingtyas contributed to this report. An Indonesian court has fined a palm oil company $18.5 million for fires that destroyed 970 hectares (2,400 acres) of forest on its concession in Borneo in 2015.The judgment is the latest in a growing number of cases where courts have taken a zero-tolerance approach that makes concession holders liable for any fires that occur on their land, regardless of whether or not they can be proven to have started the fires.Observers have welcomed the verdict, but say the challenge now will be to compel the company to pay up. Since 2015 the government has won $223 million in judgments in similar cases, but collected just $5.5 million.The company in the latest case, PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, is a supplier to Singapore-based Musim Mas Group, a major oil palm trader whose customers include consumer brands such Unilever. Musim Mas said it was seeking an explanation from PT Arjuna Utama Sawit. JAKARTA — A court in Indonesia has ordered palm oil company PT Arjuna Utama Sawit to pay the equivalent of $18.6 million in fines and damages for fires on its land in Borneo in 2015, in the latest instance of a zero-tolerance enforcement approach against concession holders.The fires razed 970 hectares (2,400 acres) of forest in Katingan district, Central Kalimantan province. The company, a supplier to Singapore-based Musim Mas Group — which has committed to a “no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation” (NDPE) policy to ensure the sustainability of its palm oil supplies — holds a concession to manage 16,600 hectares (41,000 acres) in the district.The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry sued PT Arjuna Utama Sawit at the court in Palangkaraya, the provincial capital. On Oct. 23, the court found the company violated environmental regulations and ordered it to pay 99.6 billion rupiah ($7.1 million) in fines to the ministry and 162 billion rupiah ($11.5 million) for the environmental damages incurred.Jasmin Ragil Utomo, the ministry’s director of civil litigation, welcomed the ruling, although the judgment awarded was less than the total $25.6 million in fines and damages that the ministry had sought. A lawyer for the company, meanwhile, told local media it would appeal the verdict.The judgment, while far from the largest won by the state, is notable because it marks the latest instance of a growing push by the government and courts to take a zero-tolerance stance against companies with fires on their concessions. Rasio Ridho Sani, the environment ministry’s director-general of law enforcement, praised the Palangkaraya court’s use of the concept of strict liability, under which concession holders are responsible for any fires that occur on their land, regardless of whether or not they can be proven to have started the fires. The concept has been employed successfully in a number of cases since 2015, when fires razed 2.6 million hectares (6.4 million acres) of land — an area larger than the U.S. state of Vermont.“The verdict shows that land and forest fire is an extraordinary crime,” Rasio said in a press statement. “Companies have to take responsibility for fires on their concessions.”With Indonesia experiencing another scorching fire season this year, Rasio said the verdict was an important reminder that companies couldn’t evade liability no matter how long ago the burning occurred.“Even if the land and forest fires happened a long time ago, they will still be prosecuted,” he said. “We can track traces [of fires] and evidence of past forest fires with the support of experts and technology.”More fires broke out on PT Arjuna Utama Sawit’s concession again earlier this year, prompting the environment ministry to seal off the affected area.Smoke rises from an oil palm plantation on a peatland in Sumatra. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Trouble collectingWinning a judgment is one thing; collecting the fines, though, could prove difficult. Prior to the PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, Indonesia had won judgments against nine companies in forest fire cases since 2015. Those companies were ordered to pay a combined 3.15 trillion rupiah ($223 million) in fines, but only one has paid its tab of 78 billion rupiah ($5.5 million).Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Arie Rompas said the government faced the same challenge this time around. He also called on the environment ministry to revoke the company’s permit immediately to prevent it carrying out any more activities, including burning, on the land.Arie said Musim Mas, one of the world’s biggest oil palm traders whose customers include major consumer brands such as Unilever, should also be held responsible for the burning, given that it sourced some of its palm oil from PT Arjuna Utama Sawit. He noted Singapore’s transboundary haze pollution act of 2014 that allows the country to take legal action against locally registered companies or citizens who commit fire violations in other countries that result in pollution in Singapore. The 2015 fires led to haze spreading beyond Indonesia to Singapore, Malaysia and even Thailand.Responding to the verdict, Musim Mas said it was carrying out an investigation in accordance with its grievance mechanism.“We have immediately reached out to Arjuna Utama Sawit for more information and are currently waiting for their response,” the company told Mongabay.Peatlands buring in Indonesia in 2014 to make way for oil palm. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.‘Risky acquisition’In its lawsuit against PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, the environment ministry had asked the court to prohibit the company from selling its assets or otherwise undergoing any kind of change in ownership. But the court rejected that request, leaving open the possibility that the company could be sold off without paying the fines.Singapore-listed crushed limestone producer GCCP Resources recently announced a plan to fully acquire PT Arjuna Utama Sawit in a reverse takeover deal worth S$220 million ($162 million) that would see the Indonesian company take over the former’s board listing.The acquisition is pending GCCP Resources’ due diligence on the financial, business and legal aspects of PT Arjuna Utama Sawit and approval from its shareholders.But the acquisition could allow the owners of the palm oil company to evade responsibility for paying the fines, said Reynaldo Sembiring, the deputy director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).“One of the methods of corporate crime is to shift responsibility,” he said. “It can be done in two ways: through a change in the board of directors, or through an acquisition.”If GCCP Resources proceeds with the takeover knowing that there’s a court judgment against PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, “then it’s a risky acquisition.”“[The assets] that it acquires could be seized by the state,” Reynaldo said. “And GCCP Resources will have no excuse for running away from its responsibility” to pay the fines after the takeover.Regardless of the change in ownership of PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, the ultimate owners of the company still have to pay up, Arie said.“The beneficial ownership has to be made clear so that they are legally responsible,” he said. “We have to target the owners, or the group, which must be held responsible.”Reynaldo said there was a concern that PT Arjuna Utama Sawit could quietly sell off assets such as equipment pending the appeal. To prevent unknowing buyers from shelling out money for assets that could later be seized by the state, he said the environment ministry should work closely with local prosecutors and financial regulators to ensure no assets change hands.He also called on the ministry to draw up plans for rehabilitating the burned areas. “The restoration plan will be the basis for how the fines will be utilized,” Reynaldo said. “As such it can be used to justify the monitoring of the company’s financial transactions and assets.”Fires in Samboja, East Kalimantan. Image by Yovanda for Mongabay.History of violationsThe 2015 fires aren’t the only troubles in which PT Arjuna Utama Sawit is embroiled. In 2013, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) accused the company of violating a number of regulations by operating on peatland despite a government moratorium banning such practices.Walhi also found out that the company hadn’t acquired a forest conversion permit, which is required to clear forests for oil palm plantations, or an environmental impact assessment. It also alleged the company’s operations had polluted a local lake.“Based on our monitoring, this company has had a lot of problems since the beginning, when it started operating even though it didn’t have the necessary permits,” said Greenpeace’s Arie, who previously worked at Walhi and authored the report. “Furthermore, the company operated on peatland and on moratorium area.”He added that fires on PT Arjuna Utama Sawit’s concession were a recurring event.“Our monitoring indeed shows that the company burns [its land] every year,” Arie said. “Fire spots keep being detected, and because the concession is on peatland, clearing keeps happening.”In 2017, a number of villagers reportedly confronted PT Arjuna Utama Sawit for allegedly seizing 300 hectares (740 acres) of their customary lands. The villagers also complained that the company hadn’t fulfilled a promise to allocate 20 percent of its concession for local farmers.In 2019, U.S.-based environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth lodged a grievance report against PT Arjuna Utama Sawit at Musim Mas. It accused PT Arjuna Utama Sawit of clearing 33 hectares (82 acres) of forest and preparing to raze another 94 hectares (232 acres) between November 2018 and February 2019.In April, Musim Mas engaged with PT Arjuna Utama Sawit to verify the allegations. PT Arjuna Utama Sawit told Musim Mas that the clearance area was outside of its concession.Arie said the company shouldn’t have been allowed to start operating in the first place, given its lack of necessary permits. “The main problem is that the regulations aren’t enforced consistently, especially the regulation on peatland moratorium,” he said. “The company clearly operated without following the procedures, but instead the forestry ministry in 2013 decided to issue it with a permit to convert the peatland.” Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Deforestation, Dry Forests, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Law, Fires, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Fires, Forests, Law, Law Enforcement, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests last_img read more

Beach clean-ups, community visits, and compensation to fishers build environmental awareness in Nigeria

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 FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Ogunye said she and her team of staff and volunteers were troubled to always find far more bottle caps than anything else — not even seashells — on the shoreline during beach clean-ups.This spurred them to launch an awareness-raising campaign known as “Kids4Clean Seas” to visit schools and coastal communities to promote proper waste management.The project staff and volunteers take turns to explain waste sorting and recycling using demonstrations. Local companies collaborating with the project often hire and pay dancers and actors to use dance and drama presentations to explain recycling and plastic pollution to the audience. Parents and community leaders also try to support this campaign, which uses a mix of the local Yoruba language as well as pidgin, which is widely spoken across West Africa.The project works with local companies to inject drama and dance during awareness campaigns. Image by Linus Unah for Mongabay.“I was very excited to listen to them when they visited our school because we didn’t know about these things before,” said Adegbuyi Emmanuel, a 17-year-old secondary school student on the outskirts of Lagos.Most residents of these communities are fishermen, and most women there sell fish. In the past, the fishermen and their families buried their waste or simply threw it into the ocean. As part of the Kids4Clean Seas project, residents in some coastal communities received trash bins and disposable bags and are taught how to separate waste. The project staff and volunteers often collect recyclables during awareness rounds, while the Lagos waste agency is now working in some of these communities to pick up bagged trash.So far, the “Kids4Clean Seas” has reached 80 public and private schools across Lagos, including 20 schools and five coastal communities in the city this year.Sea turtle protectionOgunye and her team are also protecting, conserving and rehabilitating sea turtles, which are highly susceptible during their nesting season.A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) rests on the sea floor near sea grass. Image by Alexander Vasenin via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.Of the five species of sea turtle commonly found in Nigeria’s waters, loggerhead, olive ridley and leatherback are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable, the green turtle as Endangered, and the hawksbill as Critically Endangered.Nigeria is signatory to several international treaties protecting these turtles and offers them additional protection under the Sea Fisheries Decree (No 17) of 1992.However, poachers collect eggs and kill the turtles for their meat, skin, and scutes to sell for food or medicine. Destruction of nesting beaches for development and accidental capture largely by artisanal fishermen, complemented by poor awareness about their conservation status and weak law enforcement, also threaten the turtles’ survival.Ogunye tells communities and students how the turtles might be entangled by marine debris or might mistake plastic waste for food, leading to harm or death. The litter and shrubs along the coastline could prevent hatchlings from reaching the ocean, she emphasizes to the students and community members.She and her team explain how killing sea turtles could result in a spike in jellyfish populations and how this could affect the fishing industry their communities rely on. Leatherback turtles, in particular, primarily feed on jellies, so their presence helps prevent a jellyfish boom that could lead jellies consuming larvae of more commercial fish.The goal is to make the message simple yet compelling enough to spur action.“Sometimes I tell a story of a pregnant woman that is about to deliver and then she gets kidnapped on her way and gets killed,” Ogunye told Mongabay. “When I tell that story, a lot of people are like ‘Oh! that’s really disheartening’ and I say ‘that’s exactly what you do to sea turtles because they come ashore to lay their eggs.’”Doyinsola Ogunye, founder of MEDIC, has been working to raise awareness about plastic pollution and recycling since 2009. Here, she tells students about plastic pollution and how to recycle plastics. Image by Linus Unah for Mongabay.The Kids’ Beach Garden usually buys new fishing nets for fishermen who report bycatch and agree to cut their net to let an accidentally captured turtle back into the sea. The project has rescued hatchlings and more than a dozen sea turtles about to be sold across Lagos.Working on landTo further improve beach conditions, Ogunye and her team of over 50 volunteers and twelve staff run a tree-planting project to restore coconut trees that have been removed due to development pressures and population expansion.Under its “Tree Adoption Sustainability Plan,” parents, businesses, schools, and even the kids can adopt and name a tree by funding its maintenance. Fees range from $42 to $196 (15,000 to 70,000 naira). Funds raised from this model have helped the team to hire four gardeners and build a borehole that now supplies water to nearby communities. Dozens of Lagosians and businesses have signed up for this project.Today, about 400 trees dot the shoreline. More than 30 trees have grown well above the colorful tires that surround and protect them from wind and livestock grazing around the area.Some of the coconut trees planted by project staff and volunteers have grown above the tires. Image by Linus Unah for Mongabay.Positive impactsGrowing awareness about recycling, plastic pollution and their threat to sea turtles has resulted in “huge behavioural change,” Ogunye said, adding that they receive phone calls from local communities and residents asking them to come and rescue sea turtles.In September, Lagos state authorities started a recycling and waste sorting initiative – the Blue Box Programme — and has worked with Kids’ Beach Garden to raise environmental awareness and distribute disposable bags for waste separation.Nigeria lacks both marine reserves and a nationwide sea turtle recovery plan, which makes Ogunye’s work an uphill task.Nonetheless, Ogunye says they are happy to work with children to spearhead the “revolution.”“I have learned a lot about our environment and aquatic animals like sea turtles,” said 14-year-old Joseph Nwachukwu, a member of Kids’ Beach Garden. “I am happy to be coming here always.”Schools in Lagos and from neighboring states often visit to learn about the group’s work. Ogunye also organizes paid summer camp programs for teenagers who want to spend some nights by the sea, while taking lessons from the volunteers.“It’s important to catch them young, to let them understand these things in their formative years when behavior is formed, changed or corrected,” Ogunye said.“It’s easy to be inspired by a child,” she added. “If you see a child recycling and championing environmental causes, you will be moved to act.” Article published by Sue Palminteri Community-based Conservation, Conservation Solutions, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Education, Fishing, Marine Animals, Oceans, Sea Turtles, Waste Trash collected by the Kids’ Beach Garden project, such as the plastic bottles on left and flip-flops on right, gets sorted before removal. Images by Linus Unah for Mongabay. Children visit the Kids’ Beach Garden in Lagos, Nigeria, every week to learn about aquatic creatures, oceans, plastic pollution, recycling, and the environment while they help clean the beach.The project staff and volunteers bring families to join the beach clean-ups; they also visit schools and communities and introduce these themes using demonstrations, activities, and dance and drama presentations.In addition, the team works with fishers to reduce sea turtle hunting and bycatch and build awareness of the importance of turtles to fish lifecycles and the local ecosystem. Around 400 people spread out across the coastline of a beach in the Lekki neighborhood of Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos. Hands in gloves and some faces partly covered by disposable nose masks, they burrow garden rakes into the sandy shores of the beach, unearthing plastic bottle caps, PET bottles, flip-flops, syringes, styrofoam containers, toys, lollipop sticks, earbuds, toothbrushes, discarded nets, and beer bottles.The roar of waves eclipses the chattering among the crowd of students, environmentalists, residents, government officials, and staff of local companies. The din of the crowd rises again once the wave dissolves into a cloud of tiny bubbles.In addition to weekly kid-focused beach cleanups, the Kids’ Beach Garden project organizes cleanup exercises for adults and families every last week of the month. Image by Linus Unah for Mongabay.It was the International Coastal Cleanup Day (September 21), and the crowd gathered at the behest of the Kids’ Beach Garden, an initiative of the Lagos-based Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC). MEDIC aims to rid Lagos beaches of marine debris, build a generation of young activists, and save vulnerable sea turtles.“Waste pollution is a very serious issue in Lagos,” said Millicent Adeyoju, communications manager for Green Hub Africa, an environmental sustainability and advocacy platform.  “It’s up to us to minimize the waste they generate.”But it is not only on special occasions that this sort of crowd comes to clean the beach.Doyinsola Ogunye, founder of MEDIC, has been working to raise awareness about plastic pollution and recycling since 2009. Her passion for the environment started after her family moved to Ajah neighborhood in 2002. She was astounded to find people living amid litter and cluttered waterways.“Nobody was paying attention; it was just like a norm in that area,” recalled Ogunye, who studied to become a lawyer.Building kids’ involvementThe desire to make a difference prompted her to start Kids’ Clean Club in November 2009 to build an impassioned group of children who would push for change by visiting churches, mosques, schools, and coastal communities to talk about waste management and how improper disposal harms marine life.The children and project staff and volunteers pose for a photo after one of their weekly cleanup exercises. Image by Linus Unah for Mongabay.At the same time, Ogunye, who often spends time around the coastline, felt they needed to gravitate towards littered beaches.She noticed that a portion of the shoreline in the Elegushi Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean, was abandoned. Garbage sprawled across the beach surface. Shrubs covered nearly the entire bank.She and her team of about a dozen volunteers sprang into action and began to clean the beach occasionally. But they realized that maintaining a clean, healthy shoreline required a broader solution.In 2015, Ogunye leased and named that strip of this sandy beach, an area that spans over 7.2 hectares on the seashore, the Kids’ Beach Garden. Here, some 30 children visit every week to learn about aquatic creatures, oceans, plastic pollution, recycling, and the environment.The Kids Beach Garden, surrounded by coconut tree saplings peeking out from the colorful tires. Image by Linus Unah for Mongabay.The project injects a lot of games and fun into its activities to keep the children animated as they learn and clean the beach. Sometimes they sing, jog and clap, make kites, or build sand castles. Often the children engage in the ‘Ultimate Plastic Search,’ a game in which they divide into small teams to scour for bottle caps. The team with the most bottle caps wins.Every last week of the month, the Kids’ Beach Garden invites Lagosians to join the children in cleaning the beach. Hundreds of residents often show up. On these days, the cleanup exercise is combined with other activities, such as aerobic exercise, volleyball, beachside photography, family sandcastle building, and picnics.At the end of the day, project staff and volunteers collect the waste and move it to the garden’s recycling and sorting hub for separation, counting, and weighing before it is collected by recycling firms who pay for the recyclables. They usually collect at least 40 bags of trash per cleanup exercise. The project also pays residents who bring recyclables to the hub.last_img read more

A Philippine tribe that defeated a dam prepares to fight its reincarnation

first_imgThe Dumagat-Remontado indigenous group has ancestral domain claims in an area where the Philippine government plans to build a dam to supply water to Metro Manila and nearby urban areas.The Kaliwa Dam is part of the New Centennial Water Source (NCWS), a project for which President Rodrigo Duterte has secured with a $235.9 million loan deal from China.The indigenous community defeated a previous iteration of this project, when a much larger dam was proposed in 2009, but the project has since been revised to call for nine smaller dams — an approach that observers say will undermine the resistance to the project.Five out of six community clusters voted to reject the Kaliwa Dam project, but the environment department still issued an environmental compliance certificate to the contractors; Duterte has also warned of the use of “extraordinary powers” to push the project through, raising the prospect of another show of mass resistance. This article is the last of a two-part series on the Kaliwa Dam project. Part One: Controversial dam gets greenlight to flood a Philippine protected areaGENERAL NAKAR, Philippines — On Nov. 5, 2009, Kapitan, a leader of the Dumagat-Remontado indigenous group, came down from his mountain village. “Dumagats don’t leave the mountains,” he told Mongabay. “When taga-patag [lowland] people come up, we go further up where we won’t be bothered. But we left the mountains to fight.”The fight that Kapitan joined that day 10 years ago was against a hydropower dam that threatened to inundate more than 28,000 hectares (70,000 acres) of forestland in the indigenous group’s ancestral domain and to displace 11,000 families. On that same day, around 200 community members offered up a native chicken sacrifice to Bobo Makedepit, their supreme deity, before marching 150 kilometers (92 miles) on foot, in their loincloths, on a journey that would last nine days.“I left my wife here because my children are still young,” Kapitan said, recalling how the sun scorched their bare backs and the asphalt burned their feet as rubber slippers disintegrated in the heat. “I broke two slippers but we didn’t care — we marched to Manila, rain or shine.”The Pimuhan community in the village of Lumutan, like all other Dumagat communities, is nestled in the verdant forest landscape of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Image by Leilani Chavez/MongabayThey relied on the goodwill of people in towns they passed, and sheltered in parks and churches. When they reached the capital, they trooped to the presidential palace in Malacañang before camping out at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, right across from the environment department. “We even appeared in Congress,” Kapitan remembered wistfully. “We wore our traditional clothes of course — and boy, it was cold. Our teeth chattered nonstop.” But when they spoke out at the plenary, their voice was strong and unwavering.The tribe’s opposition to the Laiban Dam project was part of growing public unease over controversies involving the government’s deal with the San Miguel Corporation, the biggest company by revenue in the Philippines, which had submitted an unsolicited proposal to build the dam. For one, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) was criticized for not publicizing the bidding, which led the government to pursue San Miguel’s sole proposal. Concessionaires and government officials also criticized the contract discussions for its alleged “take or pay” scheme, which would have obliged the water authority to pay for a specified supply volume from Laiban even if the water was unused — a scheme they warned could jack up water prices. San Miguel denied this, but the issue raged on, fed also by the tribe’s vocal resistance to the project.The tribe’s persistence paid off. San Miguel backed out after talks between the government and San Miguel broke off for undisclosed reasons. The tribe regarded it as a victory borne of the march, a story they passed down to their children.But the victory was short-lived; they had successfully blocked the massive Laiban Dam project, but the threat made a hydra-like return. In early 2019, repackaged as a “smaller” 113-hectare (279-acre) initiative under the New Centennial Water Source (NCWS) program, President Rodrigo Duterte secured a $283.2 million loan deal from China for the Kaliwa Dam and earmarked it as a flagship project of his administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.The Kaliwa Dam project is set to submerge the villages of Daraitan in Rizal province and Queborosa in Quezon province. Source: Pakisama advocacy mapsUnderplaying the scope of the project appears to have worked: some of the communities opposed to the bigger dam a decade ago now say they feel this new project will not have a direct impact on them. “Times have changed,” Kapitan whispered, his sullen expression partly lit up by the pale moonlight and partly veiled in a sea of cigarette smoke. “Because of China’s involvement … This time, I feel that this project will push through.”Fighting a ‘done deal’Kaliwa means “left” in Tagalog, and the river gets its name from its geography. Running along the eastern border of Quezon province, it meets the Kanan (right) River before uniting with the mighty Agos River that carves a labyrinthine path through farmlands and fishing grounds in the downstream municipality of Infanta before eventually emptying out into the Pacific. The riverine system is renowned for its untouched beauty, massive volume of water, and tremendous potential — factors that have made it a prime target for national development projects.The Laiban Dam was at the heart of the Manila Water Project III, conceived in 1979. But grave human rights abuses during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, coupled with civil unrest, halted its construction. It languished until 2007, when the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo won Chinese funding for it. But it was quickly shelved again, part of the fallout from a corruption scandal linked to Chinese funding for a separate infrastructure project. From 2013 to 2015, Macapagal-Arroyo’s successor, Benigno Aquino III, commissioned a feasibility study, and the Laiban project was reborn as the New Centennial Water Source, with the original plan for a single massive dam revised down to nine smaller ones, including Kaliwa.This Dumagat-Remontado tribe in the village of Lumutan is one of those fighting against the dam for forty years. Image by Leilani Chavez/MongabayCompared to Laiban, everything about Kaliwa is smaller in scale: its reservoir will flood 113 hectares of forestland as opposed to 28,000, and it will only directly affect eight villages and 1,465 families, rather than the 11,000 families that would have been impacted by Laiban. Duterte’s blueprint also ditches the hydropower initiative attached to Laiban and focuses on Kaliwa’s water potential, with the option of expanding its capacity by diverting water from future dam projects on the Kanan and Agos rivers that have yet to be awarded. But critics say these figures undercount the number of affected communities, as the stretch of the nine-dam project will affect a total of 11 villages and 39 indigenous communities.Do you know why they’re pushing for Kaliwa Dam?” Joan Jaime of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu), a coalition of indigenous groups, told Mongabay. “Because in that 2015 feasibility study, the communities in Kaliwa have the weakest opposition.” Kaliwa is the gateway, she said; the sharp end of the wedge with which to cut through resistance built up over the decades. “The government wants this project to appear small because … it becomes easier for the community to accept this. Kaliwa is crucial … if we allow Kaliwa, what’s stopping the government from building the rest?”Laiban itself isn’t exactly dead and buried. While the national government says the country’s National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board has “abandoned” the Laiban project for its massive relocation costs and only approved Kaliwa, Manila’s water authority has yet to confirm which among the proposed Laiban or Kanan dams would feed Kaliwa should its capacity be expanded under the deal with China Energy, Beijing’s state-owned energy conglomerate. (In both the 1979 and 2015 feasibility studies, only Laiban has an attached hydropower potential.) As it stands, Kaliwa will have the capacity to handle 2,400 million liters (634 million gallons) of water per day, “and is designed to accommodate additional raw water of 1,800 MLD [476 million gallons per day] coming from either Laiban Dam or Kanan Dam which is already included in the contract cost with China Energy,” the MWSS stated.Dumagat-Remontados are prolific upland farmers. Image by Leilani Chavez/MongabayBut there’s a key obstacle that stands in the path of all this: the site of the proposed Kaliwa Dam falls within an ancestral domain whose title is held by the Dumagat-Remontados. By law, the contractors are required to secure a certificate of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from the title holders before beginning construction. Local resistance, supported by a general mistrust of China’s burgeoning involvement in large-scale infrastructure projects, has delayed Kaliwa’s groundbreaking. But the government remains adamant. In March, MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco told Congress that the project had been awarded and that “it will push through.” He added: “We cannot delay this. The government already committed to this project. This is a done deal.” Velasco was fired from the water agency on the same month, the peak of Manila’s water crisis heralded by the coming summer season, and replaced by Ricardo Morales, another retired general, only to be reappointed back into the MWSS board by July and assume chairmanship by August.When Velasco was out of the water agency, the project had stalled for want of two important government-issued certificates: one acknowledging the contractors have obtained the FPIC of the affected indigenous communities, and an environmental compliance certificate. That was a relief for the Dumagat-Remontados, who had voted overwhelmingly against the project in September. But this changed in late October, when the environment department issued the environmental compliance certificate, setting up an even fiercer battle for the last remaining requirement: the consent of the indigenous peoples.last_img read more