Seeing in the dark and more: Facts and FAQs about thermal imaging

first_imgArticle published by Sanjiv Fernando In this first of a new Wildtech series on “What is that technology?” we explore thermal imaging and its applications for wildlife.Thermography, or thermal imaging, detects infrared radiation to help see objects in the dark.Thermal cameras distinguish the relative temperature of objects around us to help us see warmer objects – like people and animals – against cooler backdrops, even at night.Thermal imaging has multiple applications for wildlife conservation, including helping with anti-poaching efforts, wildlife veterinary diagnoses, studying animal behavior, and nighttime filming for wildlife documentaries. The novelty of seeing in the dark has captured our imagination for millennia, and people have employed fire, torches (flashlights), and, more recently, night vision goggles that amplify the tiniest traces of remaining light, to see in the dark. A relative newcomer in this search for night vision is the ‘thermal’ camera, but what exactly is a thermal camera?  How does it work? And what are its applications for wildlife?In the first of a series of articles on how things work, Mongabay-Wildtech answers some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about thermal imaging and its uses in wildlife management and conservation.What is thermal imaging?Thermal imaging, also known as infrared thermography, is a way to improve the visibility of objects in a dark environment. Thermal cameras detect heat given off by a person or other object and can capture the variation in temperature of objects around us. They create images of that radiation called thermograms, which display the relative temperatures of different objects with different shades or colors. In a thermogram, warm objects—such as people, animals, or cars—stand out in contrast to often cooler backgrounds. A thermal camera can’t “see” through a window because the window itself radiates some amount of heat, which is what the thermal sensor will detect.This technology has been widely used to detect humans during military or surveillance operations at night. Additionally, firefighters and other search and rescue responders with thermal sensors can search for people trapped behind rubble or smoke. On a finer scale, thermal imaging is a safe and non-invasive method for sensing temperature distribution patterns on the surface of the body (Cilulko et al., 2013), making it an effective tool to monitor physiological changes in humans and warm-blooded animals.Thermal image of a snake coiled around a human hand. Here, the warmer human hand stands out against the cooler background and the snake. This image also shows why thermal imaging is ineffective on cold-blooded animals, like this snake, since their body temperatures change to the temperature of their environment. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.How does it work?Thermographic cameras (also known as thermal cameras) detect radiation in the long-wave infrared (IR) range of the electromagnetic spectrum (with wavelengths of 8– 14 micrometers). This contrasts with regular film and digital cameras that can detect light only in the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye, known as the visible spectrum (0.40 – 0.75 micrometers).Thermal cameras can visualize objects both with and without visible light, since all objects with a temperature above absolute zero (0 Kelvin = -459 ° Fahrenheit = -273 ° Celsius) emit infrared radiation.  Most thermal cameras can only see objects warmer than -122 °F (-50 °C).A breakdown of the infrared and visible spectrums, with their relative positions on the electromagnetic spectrum. Thermal imaging uses long-wave infrared radiation (LWIR), which has wavelengths ranging from 8-14 micrometers. (1 micrometer = 0.0001 cm = 0.000001 meters). Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.Are thermal imaging and night vision the same thing?No. Thermal imaging and night vision share the common purpose of increasing visibility in low light conditions, but the science behind the technologies is different. Night vision works by collecting and amplifying all available light (which includes some short-wavelength infrared radiation), while thermal imaging captures longer wavelengths of IR. In addition to any remaining visible light, night vision uses near-infrared (NIR) radiation (0.75 – 1.40 micrometers), while most thermal imaging is based on long- wavelength (8–14 micrometers) infrared radiation. In order to detect long-wave IR, thermal imaging devices require more acute sensors, consequently making them more expensive than night vision devices.While night vision technology improves visibility in low light conditions by magnifying the amount of light in the image, thermal imaging provides the added advantage of high contrast imagery, which makes it easier to identify a target against the background. The video below elaborates on this added capability and further explains the differences between night vision and thermal imaging.Do thermal cameras only work at night?No. Although thermal imaging cameras are most commonly used for nighttime vision, they can also be useful in daylight. The detection of heat radiation and the high contrast of thermal imaging cameras allow users to see the outlines of (warm-blooded) animals that camouflage well in their environments. It can also help distinguish animals (or people) in foggy or smoky conditions. This technology has proven helpful at reducing the negative impacts of agricultural operations on wildlife that inhabit crop fields, such as ground-nesting birds, hares, and fawns. In 2012, researchers at Denmark’s Aarhus University developed a tractor-mounted system that combines thermography and image processing software to automatically identify animals during mowing and other farming operations. If it is used by the military, can it also be used to catch poachers?Yes, there are many applications of thermal imaging for anti-poaching. The majority of poaching operations happen under the cover of night, as poachers use the darkness to avoid detection by wildlife officials and park rangers. Poaching of elephants and rhinos and the subsequent illicit trade in ivory and rhino horn has been linked to financing terror organizations: as poaching becomes highly militarized, conservationists and wildlife managers are looking to thermal imaging to improve their wildlife protection success. Last year, the Maasai Mara conservancies in Kenya used a host of thermal imaging devices to beef up anti-poaching efforts, which included mounting thermal cameras on ranger vehicles, and using handheld IR viewfinders. This approach has helped rangers detect and intercept poachers, but localized success does not erase the challenge of monitoring Africa’s expansive parks. Park managers are now pairing drones and thermal cameras to test the aerial scanning capability of drone-based thermal imaging systems to increase anti-poaching surveillance capacity [see Mongabay-Wildtech’s article on drones for anti-poaching.How else is it used in relation to wildlife?Thermal imaging has multiple applications in ecology and zoology, including but not limited to, detecting animals in the field, studying animal behavior and thermoregulation, diagnosing diseases, and monitoring reproductive processes. The technology has also been used for nighttime filming for wildlife documentaries.Wildlife documentariesThermal cameras are commonly used to film nocturnal activity for wildlife documentaries. These technologies have enabled filmmakers to capture rare or never-before-seen footage of animal behavior, including a leopard hunting in urban Mumbai and the first nocturnal footage of leopards mating in Sri Lanka. Even in daylight, the thermal cameras also helped these film crews spot leopards and other small mammals that were well camouflaged behind shrub vegetation. A high definition thermal image from BBC’s Planet Earth II reveals a leopard at night on the outskirts of Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India. The eyes and ears radiate more heat than the animal’s back. Photo Credit: BBC America, from IndieWire.com. Veterinary medicineWildlife veterinarians have increasingly used thermal imaging in detecting changes in an animal’s physiological state by mapping its skin surface temperature in response to changes in blood flow. This has allowed clinicians to detect panda pregnancies, discover muscle problems, and diagnose conditions ranging from rabies in raccoons to arthritis in elephants.Animal behavior studiesAnimal behavior researchers use thermal imaging to study thermoregulation (regulation of body temperatures) in warm-blooded animals. It has helped researchers discover that Asian elephants cool down mainly through their trunks, rather than their ears, and that honey bees group together to form a hot defensive ball to kill predatory hornets. Thermal imaging has also been used to understand thermoregulation and animal behavior in cetaceans, such as bottlenose dolphins.IR thermal image of a bottlenose dolphin dorsal fin (Barbieri & McLellan, 2010). Researchers investigated the relationship between dorsal fin surface temperatures and ambient water temperatures. Dorsal fin temperature samples were taken from the distal tip and the cranial and caudal regions of the fin base (circled) in each thermal image.Does it only work on land? Can thermal imaging see at sea?Researchers have recently started testing the use of thermal imaging for studying marine life.  While we are unaware of any uses of thermal cameras underwater, they have been used to identify marine mammals from research vessels, and the technology could help study the surface behavior of whales, dolphins, and seals. Researchers recently tested the ability of thermal imaging to automatically detect cetaceans, combining a ship-mounted thermal camera with a detection algorithm to detect the thermal signature of whale blows. The number of whale observations sensed by thermal imaging was comparable to those identified by human marine mammal observers during the day. More importantly, the thermal camera can detect marine mammals at night, which people cannot. This technology could help reduce ship strikes on whales and inform vessels when to shut down their loud airguns, sonars, and other devices, to mitigate negative impacts of these noises on marine mammals.Do you have any other questions about thermal imaging and its applications for wildlife conservation? Please let us know in the comments below! Sensors, Technology, Thermal Imagery, Wildtech 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

Audio: Crystal Davis, director of Global Forest Watch, on conservation and Big Data

first_imgMongabay has partnered with Global Forest Watch (GFW) over the years, and GFW has even funded some of our coverage of global forest issues.Crystal Davis fills us in on how the GFW tool and dataset is being used to inform forest conservation initiatives right now, new features planned for the future, and her thoughts on the ways Big Data is changing how we approach conservation.We also speak with Francesca Cunninghame, the Mangrove Finch Project Leader for the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands, in our latest Field Notes segment. On today’s program we speak with Crystal Davis, the director of Global Forest Watch, a near-real-time forest monitoring system created by the World Resources Institute.Mongabay has partnered with Global Forest Watch (GFW) over the years, and GFW has even funded some of our coverage of global forest issues. Crystal Davis, who is set to speak at the Earth Optimism Summit soon fills us in on how the GFW tool and dataset is being used to inform forest conservation initiatives right now, new features planned for the future, and her thoughts on the ways Big Data is changing how we approach conservation.We also speak with Francesca Cunninghame, the Mangrove Finch Project Leader for the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. In this Field Notes segment, we’ll listen to the call of a mangrove finch, one of the rarest birds in the wild. There are only around 100 mangrove finch individuals left in the world due to threats from invasive species, and Cunninghame explains why the fact that researchers recently recorded a male finch singing in the wild in Madagascar is such exciting news.Here’s this episode’s top news:Climate change-induced bleaching decimating Great Barrier ReefBrazil slashes environment budget by 43%Land titling for indigenous communities leads to forest protection, peer-reviewed study findsSouth Africa makes it legal to sell rhino hornsEbo forest great apes threatened by stalled Cameroon national parkReptiles being sold openly and illegally in Moroccan marketsIf you’d like to request email alerts when we publish new stories at Mongabay.com on specific topics that you care about most, from forests and oceans to indigenous people’s rights and more, visit alerts.mongabay.com and sign up!And if you enjoy this podcast, please write a review of the Mongabay Newscast in the Apple Podcasts app, iTunes store, Stitcher page, or wherever you get your podcasts from! Your feedback will help us improve the show and find new listeners. Simply go to the show’s page on whichever platform you get it from and find the ‘review’ or ‘rate’ section: Stitcher, TuneIn, iTunes, Google Play, or RSS.A southern white rhinoceros in South Africa, where a court recently lifted the ban on domestic trade in rhino horn. The country is the last remaining stronghold of rhinoceroses, but is facing an unprecedented poaching crisis. Photo by Rhett Butler.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: 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. Acoustic, Animals, Apes, Archive, Bioacoustics, Bioacoustics and conservation, Climate Change, Conservation, Conservation Technology, Coral Bleaching, Coral Reefs, Environment, Ex-situ Conservation, Global Warming, Great Apes, Illegal Trade, Impact Of Climate Change, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Rights, Interviews, Land Rights, Mammals, Parks, Poaching, Podcast, Primates, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Reptiles, Rhinos, Satellite Imagery, Technology, Technology And Conservation, Tropical Forests, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Trade Article published by Mike Gaworeckicenter_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

An interactive map connects landowners and forest change in one of the world’s most biodiverse places

first_imgArticle published by Sue Palminteri Drivers Of Deforestation, Forests, Mapping, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforests, Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery, Technology, Timber, Wildtech 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 The Atlas of Deforestation and Industrial Plantations in Borneo documents the loss of rainforest over 40 years from oil palm and pulpwood plantations in one of Earth’s most biodiverse places.By connecting landowners and deforestation patterns publicly available, the atlas adds transparency to wood and oil palm supply chains.Allowing users to see how human impacts have reshaped Borneo is essential amid competing demands for cheap oil and conserved forest. Borneo– it is a name that evokes images of a faraway island, resplendent with tall trees, thick jungle, diverse cultural traditions, and many strange and wonderful animals, including proboscis monkeys, orangutans, and a host of flying critters, including squirrels, “lemurs,” lizards, frogs, and snakes.A flying ‘lemur’, which actually glides using skin on its front legs and is called a colugo, is one of many gliding animals that rely on Borneo’s forest canopy. Photo credit: Lip Kee Yap, CC 2.0This vision would be accurate, 40 years ago. In 1973, old-growth forests covered 56 million hectares (140 million acres), 76 percent of Borneo’s land area (Gaveau et al, 2016). They supported over 15,000 different plant species.Between 1973 and 2015, however, over one-third of these forests (19 million ha / 48 million acres) were cleared.The prime culprit for forest loss in Borneo has been the industrial-scale clearing of forest to create tree plantations, especially oil palm and timber for making wood pulp and paper. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s top two producers of palm oil, together producing 85 percent of the global harvest. Oil palm alone, in fact, covers some 8 million ha (20 million ac) of Borneo’s landscape. Fires, mines, and dams have destroyed additional thousands of hectares of Bornean forest.David Gaveau, a scientist at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), told Mongabay-Wildtech, “Borneo feeds the world with palm oil, a multi-billion-dollar business encompassing cosmetics, processed food and biofuels to drive our cars. It is also a major center for pulp and paper production. Borneo currently has the largest deforestation rates in the world.”An oil palm plantation replaces forest in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Photo credit: Rhett A. ButlerAn atlas of deforestationGaveau and colleagues at CIFOR have created an interactive Atlas of Deforestation and Industrial Plantations in Borneo that brings together 42 years of maps into one searchable map for anyone to learn about the island’s forests, wildlife, forest loss and the players involved. The atlas documents the impact of global wood pulp and palm oil consumption on Borneo’s pristine ancient (i.e. old-growth or primary) rainforests.Gaveau, who leads the project, explained that the atlas “reveals the extent to which the pristine and ancient rainforests of Borneo have been degraded by industrial logging and wildfires, or converted to industrial plantations of oil palm and pulpwood since 1973.”The Atlas compiles and displays data from satellite images, land ownership and soil maps to illustrate who controls the lands where deforestation occurs and where oil palm and pulpwood plantations expand. Landsat images show forest cover data at 30 m x 30 m resolution, meaning each pixel in each image is 30 meters on a side, a fine enough scale to detect deforestation patches smaller than one hectare (2.5 acres).Screenshots of the Borneo Atlas from its mobile app show the types of information a user can access: (1) Home screen of the Borneo Atlas; (2) Using the search tool (click on search icon), users can extract the deforestation footprint of 120 oil palm and pulpwood companies and view their concessions across the island; (3) Deforestation footprint of palm oil giant Wilmar; (4) Concessions in Borneo owned by Wilmar (in orange). Image credit: CIFORThe atlas took four years to create. Determining the expansion of small and medium-holder oil palm plantations across Borneo over a period of four decades required analyzing very high-resolution satellite imagery, which is not consistently available, as well as visual interpretation of these images by two experts to extract the land parcel boundaries. All of the maps in the atlas have been validated and peer-reviewed and are published here (Gaveau et al. 2014) and here (Gaveau et al. 2016).In developing the atlas, the CIFOR team found a surprising difference in the timing of industrial tree plantation establishment between Indonesian and Malaysian sections of Borneo. The oil palm industry has been the main driver of forest loss in Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak). Roughly 60 percent of all deforestation recorded over four decades was caused by commodities companies, and most of their planting was done on lands recently cleared of their forest, suggesting that oil palm and timber triggered the deforestation.  In Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), only 16 percent of the recorded deforestation was caused by companies. A large proportion of oil palm plantations in Kalimantan were developed on lands cleared before 1973 or where fires had already converted primary forest to scrublands. After 2005, however, the oil palm industry became the principal driver of deforestation in Kalimantan.Gaveau acknowledged that small plantations <500 ha (1,250 acres) cannot consistently be distinguished over time in the Landsat imagery. Smallholder plantations often lack the large, linear planting patterns of industrial plantations and may mix several kinds of trees in one plantation. These features make it difficult to visually separate a smallholder plantation in the images from an old clearing covered in young forest regrowth. These smaller-scale plantations represented roughly 11 percent of oil palm plantings in Indonesian Borneo in 2013, some of which likely replaced old-growth forest.A broad audience Anyone can rapidly access the Borneo atlas online from laptop, tablet or smartphone to view the extent of the forest area in 1973, before extractive industries began, and to track the loss of forest to logging, oil palm, and pulpwood plantation from 1973 through 2015. Users can also determine spatial extent over time of forest change in oil palm and pulpwood concessions that they would like to view, including:forest remaining;area cleared by companies for plantations;non-forest area developed as plantations (avoided deforestation); andtotal forest cleared since 1973.Data sets currently available in the Borneo deforestation atlas. Image credit: CIFOR“The tool,” said Gaveau, “is an open platform for researchers, advocacy groups, journalists and anyone interested in deforestation, wildlife habitats and corporate actions…. With a search tool, users can extract the deforestation footprint of individual concessions, of a group of concessions belonging to a conglomerate, of concessions that have similar biological attributes, for example, all concessions on peatlands.” Users can thus see how well companies follow their sustainability commitments, such as avoiding clearing natural forest or draining peatlands.Peat forest in Borneo. Photo credit: Rhett A. ButlerThe data are also free to download. Map developer Mohammad Agus Salim added, “Anyone can download the maps for their own use on a GIS. We coded this entire open-access interactive platform with JavaScript and ArcGIS cloud. This is transparency, [to] monitor the supply chain of palm oil.” More advanced users can apply the spatial analysis (GIS) scripts to their own data.How can the atlas help reduce forest loss?   The atlas is also meant to help governments and commodities producers work toward meeting their commitments to greener supply chains by allowing them to see results of their suppliers and land use practices on the ground. Salim explained in a in a CIFOR press release, “Large companies with sustainability commitments, such as zero deforestation pledges, may not have complete information at their disposal about their individual concessions. The baseline deforestation we present in this atlas allows them to track those pledges.”“No-one wants the food we are eating or paper we write on to be the reasons for old-growth forest disappearance,” said Gaveau.  “Companies are now aware that they cannot clear forests any longer, and many are now promising to clean up their supply chain. This atlas brings professionals and consumers the information and evidence they need to verify whether companies halt deforestation or keep clearing in Borneo. We hope with the transparency enabled by the tool, we can assist companies to work toward sustainability standards like RSPO, or its Indonesian and Malaysian equivalents.”Gaveau added, “If we visualize the damage caused over time by a supply chain like palm oil on the Bornean forested landscape, then many people along the supply chain, from producers to buyers, can participate in cleaning up that supply chain.”New oil palm plantation established on peatland outside Palangkaraya, capital of Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo credit: Rhett A. ButlerWhat’s next?The team is updating the data to track forest change in 2016 and 2017. It also plans to expand the tool to include other areas of threatened forests in Sumatra, Papua and peninsular Malaysia and to additional industries related to forest loss. The atlas currently focuses on corporate oil palm and pulpwood plantations and areas impacted by roads, fires and hydropower dams. Gaveau mentioned, “We will soon release data on open-pit mines, and their impact on forest cover, termed mining company-driven deforestation, using the same methods.”The aptly-named proboscis monkey is endemic to Borneo’s mangrove and riparian forests. Photo credit: Sue Palminteri“We plan to add the location [and ownership] of mills and refineries where palm oil bunches are brought from plantations to be processed,” explained Salim. Examining processing facilities together with forest loss allows companies and watchdogs to track the relationship between mills and concessions. “Our aim is to trace palm oil and pulpwood from production to consumption.”Gaveau said he hopes that governments, NGOs, and others in Southeast Asia and around the world, can use the information in this atlas to leverage companies for more sustainable practices. He said, “NGOs in Singapore already use this atlas to screen Singaporean palm oil companies. Company executives in charge of sustainable development at headquarters already use the atlas to monitor the deforestation on their lands, adjust their sustainable policies and actions accordingly, and verify corporate commitments to zero-deforestation.More broadly, he added, “The Borneo atlas gives everyone the opportunity to review the evidence for themselves and think about the impacts of their consumption habits on the rainforests of Southeast Asia. Half of Borneo remains forested today. Not all is lost. I hope that the Borneo Atlas will continue to be used to hold companies accountable, and work together with government, NGOs, business and communities to protect remaining forests.”See some of Borneo’s “flying” creatures (they actually glide) in action in this National Geographic video. They all depend on the intact forest canopy to reach their next destination.Banner image shows younger proboscis monkeys grooming. Photo credit: Sue PalminteriReferencesGaveau, D.L., Sloan, S., Molidena, E., Yaen, H., Sheil, D., Abram, N.K., Ancrenaz, M., Nasi, R., Quinones, M., Wielaard, N. and Meijaard, E. 2014. Four decades of forest persistence, clearance and logging on Borneo. PloS one, 9(7), p.e101654.Gaveau, D. L., Sheil, D., Husnayaen, M. A. S., Arjasakusuma, S., Ancrenaz, M., Pacheco, P., & Meijaard, E. 2016. Rapid conversions and avoided deforestation: examining four decades of industrial plantation expansion in Borneo. Scientific Reports, 6.last_img read more

Goddesses of the wind: How researchers saved Venezuela’s harpy eagles

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Venezuelan scientist Eduardo Álvarez Cordero is not only a man who knows harpy eagles: having started one of the biggest and oldest studies about the species, and taken part in the training of many of the world’s harpy specialists, he is a man to whom we owe a lot of what humankind knows about this fascinating animal.Currently a professor at the City College of Gainesville, Florida, Eduardo has monitored harpy eagles in Venezuela and Panama since the late 80s with a sense of urgency.Eduardo’s PhD work, begun in 1988, eventually led to the creation of the Harpy Eagle Conservation Program. It was also the beginning of another story of unthinkable bravery, in which an ecotourism program built a more prosperous scenario for harpies, locals, and the forests upon which they both rely. “They called him Pancho.”I listen attentively, not believing my ears as the Venezuelan scientist Eduardo Álvarez Cordero tells his story.“Pancho” didn’t know or care about his new name. He was a young harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), the amazing raptor also known as the royal-hawk. He had been born a few months before at Imataca Forest, Venezuela. Upon receiving his affectionate nickname, Pancho had just escaped a tragedy: the tree where his nest stood was accidentally torn down by a group of loggers who were opening way for a road.By the time the loggers saw the nest, it was already too late. Among the fragments of branches and leaves sat a small bird with curious eyes.“He was quite small,” Eduardo says. “So, they took him back to the camp, and we guided the process of feeding and caring for the animal, until he was back to the wild. But they did all the work, we just told them what to do.”That is the story of the first wild harpy eagle known to have been rehabilitated on the whole planet. A chick of the biggest eagle in the world, fed and protected by the loggers who destroyed its nest. An unthinkable and brave story, the kind of story Eduardo has experienced numerous times.Eduardo is not only a man who knows harpy eagles: having started one of the biggest and oldest studies about the species, and taken part in the training of many of the world’s harpy specialists, he is a man to whom we owe a lot of what humankind knows about this fascinating animal. Currently a professor at the City College of Gainesville, Florida, Eduardo has monitored harpy eagles in Venezuela and Panama since the late 80s with a sense of urgency.“There were only two scientific papers published about harpies in the whole world, we knew so little about them,” he says. “We didn’t know the location of a single nest in all Venezuela, they were really hard to find. And when the locals saw them, they tended to shoot the animals. I realized we were going to lose the eagles before losing the forests.”Tourist observing and filming a nest from a platform in Venezuela. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Álvarez Cordero and Alexander Blanco.Eduardo started his PhD in 1988 with the weight of this realization on his shoulders and a personal resolution to do something to change the facts. He says of the early days: “I found a professional climber who has also become a really good Friend. ‘Kike’ Arnal. He taught us how to climb to the nest. The very first harpy eagle that I trapped and banded, we trapped it from the ground. I invented a trap and a way to get it up on the tree. And the first time we got somebody up on the nest… Well, this is very crazy, but we used regular hemp-rope, the kind used for tying a big boat. I got the rope up with a bow and arrow and we tied this guy up on one side. We didn’t have climbing harnesses or anything, so we pulled him with a jeep. So we placed him in the nest where he would collect the bones which we needed, the prey items. Then we moved the jeep forward and got him down on the other side.”It was the beginning of what came to be the Harpy Eagle Conservation Program. It was also the beginning of another story of unthinkable bravery, in which an ecotourism program built a more prosperous scenario for harpies, locals, and the forests upon which they both rely.Bold ideasIt’s 2017, and in the country where once no single nest was known, we now know of more than a hundred. The first twenty-nine were found by Eduardo, who dedicated his career to “getting rid of the karma” of being a child with a hyperactive slingshot in the 50s. In an effort involving the help of some fieldworkers and an immense collaboration of the local community, Eduardo uncovered one nest after another, turning visible for the first time the harpy eagles, also known as “goddesses of the winds,” that no one could monitor. From then on, people started collaborating, sharing locations, contacts, and their own work in the field.The iconic case of Pancho, the harpy eagle raised by loggers, illustrates Eduardo’s idea that even the most unlikely people can become allies.“I was a friend of a logger called Eduardo, and he would bring chickens from home. One day I asked him about Pancho. He said: ‘Pancho is driving me crazy, because it doesn’t matter how many chickens I bring. If I don’t pluck them, he won’t come down to eat.’ This is what [Pancho’s] parents used to do, so Eduardo would take a chicken and pluck it, and they put it on top of a tractor. So the bird would come down from the rainforest, fly in and feed. And, if they moved the camp, he would follow them. And then the loggers left the site, because they changed focus to another area of the forest, and Pancho was abandoned.“When the loggers came back, he was older. They’d tell me: ‘We saw him attacking howler monkeys, but they kind of shunned him away.’ But finally they saw him carrying prey.”When it comes to biodiversity conservation, Eduardo is a man of bold ideas. If collaborating with loggers to rehabilitate a chick didn’t convince you of that, maybe other project allies will: “Many hunters that killed eagles before have become our strongest allies. A couple of them have invested much of their scant resources in fostering and hacking rescued eagles.”When I went to interview him, my goal was to discuss another bold idea related to his work. In his fantastic ((o))eco article, “The country in which feeding birds is a crime” (in Portuguese only), Fábio Olmos suggests that one of the possible ways of preserving endangered species relies on the human propensity to pay for unique and thrilling experiences involving wildlife. Olmos shows how responsible ecotourism has provided people with photographs and moments of wonder in exchange for money. This money, in turn, serves not only the conservation of animals and plants, but also the local economies, adding value — in the economic sense — to nature. In Olmos’ words: “At worst, the animals are preserved because they’re worth more living than dead. At best, there’s this civilizing leap in which they become fellow travelers in our journey on this planet, with the same rights to existence.”Eduardo wondered: would it be possible to save harpy eagles through ecotourism initiatives that integrate them into the economies and lives of people living nearby?Living with harpy eaglesIn Brazil, the harpy eagles are getting progressively scarcer and occurring in fewer and fewer places. Where they do still occur, they’re under threat from poaching and deforestation driven by economic sectors like agriculture and energy. To the people who live and work near harpy eagles, they’re not worth more living than dead. This is a common issue where predators and people coexist. Locals fear that the eagles could attack children and cause monetary losses by feeding on poultry and livestock, which leads to understandable conflicts — conflicts the eagles usually lose. Without a direct benefit from the eagles’ presence for local communities, this scenario is likely to proceed until the inevitable extirpation of the animals in all locations co-populated by people. As far as Eduardo tells me, Venezuela’s situation wasn’t that different. “A fellow worker I knew at the Guri Dam called me one morning, and he had shot a juvenile harpy just a few miles from the main powerhouse. When I asked him why he shot it, he told me he got scared when he saw that big bird perched at eye-level and really close. He thought he was going to be attacked.” In fact, it was just a juvenile bird, curiously exploring the environment close to its nest, which was near the construction site of the dam. Eduardo realized that this kind of thing was probably happening frequently. But there was another thing to be learned from this story: the eagles were tolerant to the presence of the tractors, machines, and dynamite explosions needed for the construction of the world’s largest dam at the time. So, if casualties like that could be avoided, there was a chance of saving the eagles.“The only way you can protect the eagle is identifying its nesting territory and getting the closest neighbors and people you know to be your partners. Partners in protecting their site and not letting people shoot the eagles or take down trees on the area. Second thing is that you have to educate people. They understand what you’re doing. When they see biologists climbing trees and putting in all this effort, they respect that and become your partners. And if you’re able to bring people that are just coming to see the eagles, get a good look and maybe take some pictures, and that brings money to the local economy, then you have something going that is really positive. Because you can only shoot an eagle once, and you can only eat a parrot once. But you can show them to people every week and bring money to the local economy.”And this, as the Venezuelan example shows, is a good way of saving the eagles and their forests.Watching nestsThere are many groups of people who are willing to pay for experiences involving wildlife. Without a doubt one of the most passionate of those groups is birdwatchers. Birders tend to value conservation efforts, and they also tend not to spare when it comes to traveling — especially when the birds to be seen are rare, endemic, or extremely charismatic. Harpy eagles fit all three criteria.According to a 2015 study published by CREST, birding-based tourism generates approximately $41 billion in revenue in the USA alone. In developing countries like Guatemala and Belize, it’s estimated that each tourist spends more than one hundred dollars a day. For the local communities, this means new possibilities in terms of jobs. And not only those directly related to field trips with tourists, but also to provide accommodations, feeding, souvenirs, traditional arts, and other elements of the local culture. And, step by step, live animals and plants start to get way more interesting.“We put the harpy eagle on the map,” Eduardo says. “There was no way of seeing a harpy eagle before. But once you see something, everybody can see it. So people could guarantee they could bring tourists to the nests.” With researchers like Eduardo beginning to monitor harpy eagles in various countries — a lot of them trained by Eduardo himself and his team — many nests had become known, opening the way to field trips which were moments of true delight for birdwatchers and wildlife photographers.Eduardo, aware of the value of such trips to the conservation of the eagles, didn’t object. “The experience I had in Brazil when I went there showed me there are a lot of researchers who are very territorial about their nests, and they think they can put some restrictions: You can only come this far, the eagles are very fragile, etc. This is not true. If the nest is already built and the courtship, breeding, and laying phases have already happened, the eagles won’t abandon their nest. And for the juvenile… Well, it’s a new bird, he doesn’t know there isn’t supposed to be ten tourists there, watching with binoculars. Of course if you’re getting up on the nest and messing with it, they’ll be stressed. They’re going to miss feeding times, and it will show up on their body. But we didn’t have this problem with the tourists.”The success of the program at Venezuela was intimately related to this openness to people. The way to go with this kind of scenario is exactly the joint work between (1) people doing research and conservation work with the eagles, (2) people who live close to the eagles, and (3) people who travel a long way to see the animals. Territoriality by any one of these three groups means harm to the animals.“Harpy eagles are tolerant, and they will survive if you protect the ecosystem. When I started the fieldwork, I did the opposite of what a typical researcher would do. By this I mean going to a National Park, where there’s nobody to mess with the eagles. This would get me the best possible data on them, but that was not my goal. My goal was to find the interface between human intervention and the eagles, and see how they were doing. If you don’t protect the frontier, then it goes deeper and deeper in the forest and we lose more eagles. So, I focused on logging concessions, and there was a lot of wrong things about how they did it, but the eagles survived. Alex expanded this work into places where entire areas were cut-down and turned into ranches. It is a very fragmented landscape, with a lot of people. That’s where you can start combining actual environmental education and conservation with actual research that you’re doing.”Alex is Dr. Alexander Blanco, Eduardo’s successor and current director of the National Harpy Eagle Conservation Program. A veterinarian with a great passion for preserving biodiversity, Alexander Blanco is one of today’s leading experts on the study and conservation of harpy eagles. Alexander, Eduardo assured me, would have a lot to say about the interaction between tourism and harpy eagle conservation. He’s been taking tourists to the nests for more than a decade now.The second half of this piece was published on May 18, 2017. In part two, Alexander and Eduardo continue to share stories and lessons they learned during their work to save Venezuela’s harpy eagles. Read it here.Adult harpy eagle perched on a branch and watching the observers below. Photo by Tom Ambrose.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. Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Birds Of Prey, Conservation, Deforestation, Ecotourism, Environment, Forests, Human-wildlife Conflict, Interviews, Poaching, Predators, Research, Top Predators, Tourism, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation 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

Charcoal and cattle ranching tearing apart the Gran Chaco

first_imgArticle published by John Cannon The year-long probe of Paraguay’s charcoal exports by the NGO Earthsight revealed that much of the product was coming from the Chaco, the world’s fastest-disappearing tropical forest.Suppliers appear to have reassured international supermarket chains that it was sustainable and that they had certification from international groups such as FSC and PEFC.But further digging by Earthsight revealed that the charcoal production methods used may not fit with the intent of certification.Several grocery store chains mentioned in the report have said they’ll take a closer look at their supply chains, and the certification body PEFC is reexamining how its own standards are applied. Trees from one of South America’s fastest-disappearing landscapes are ending up as charcoal on the shelves of European supermarkets, according to a report by the NGO Earthsight.The London-based watchdog group claims international grocery store chains in Spain and Germany – and ultimately, the restaurants and barbecue chefs who buy the charcoal – are connected to the unsustainable destruction of the dry tropical forests of the Gran Chaco in Paraguay.“The clearance of the Chaco forest is one of the largest and fastest losses of natural forest ever seen,” said Sam Lawson, who directs Earthsight, in a statement. “It is absolutely outrageous that major European supermarkets should have a hand in this.”A map using data from the University of Maryland and visualized on Global Forest Watch shows the extent of intact forest landscape and its loss on the IRASA lease location in the Gran Chaco from Sep 2011 to June 2016. Bricapar produces charcoal on the IRASA lease in Paraguay.In an investigation that spanned an entire year involving multiple forays into the Paraguayan Chaco, Earthsight reported on July 6 that, at current deforestation rates, 200,000 hectares could disappear from the Chaco’s forest this year – an area the size of Manhattan every two weeks. The cleared land will ultimately become cattle pasture, but in the meantime, charcoal “helps cover the up-front costs of clearing forest for cattle,” write the authors of the Earthsight report.They traced the charcoal from Bricapar, Paraguay’s largest seller, to Spain, where much of its charcoal is marketed by a company called Ibecosol. From there, they found that the supermarket chains Carrefour, with headquarters in France, and Lidl, based in Germany, were stocking their stores with bags of Ibecosol charcoal. Several other companies also serve as distributors for Bricapar’s charcoal in the EU, supplying such chains as Germany-based Aldi.Many of these companies claim that their supply chains are sustainable, often based on the certifications of their suppliers. On Ibecosol’s website, for example, the company points to its certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as evidence of its commitment to the environment. But in its report, Earthsight questions whether the source of the charcoal could really be sustainable.Over the past two decades, the bargain-basement price of land in the Chaco has lured ranchers from neighboring Brazil and Argentina and nearby Uruguay. It’s also helped make Paraguay the world’s seventh-largest beef exporter, even though it has a population of fewer than 6.8 million people, and at 406,752 square kilometers (157,048 square miles) it’s less than 5 percent the size of Brazil.Deforestation too has escalated in step with the rise of beef production as a lynchpin of the country’s economy. Paraguay ranks fifth in the amount of tropical forest it has lost. Only the much more forest-rich countries of Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have lost more.“[Paraguay’s] importance in terms of area of deforestation and the production of the commodities that are driving deforestation is out of all proportion to the size of the country,” Lawson said in an interview. “They’re like the kings of ‘bad ag’ as we call it.”A comparison of forest next to cleared land in the Gran Chaco. Photo courtesy of Earthsight.A company called IRASA holds a lease for 200,000 hectares (772 square miles) and has a contract with Bricapar allowing charcoal production, according to Earthsight’s research. IRASA’s land sits in what used to be an intact forest landscape, a designation that signifies the area’s importance for biodiversity, carbon storage and the cycling of water through the environment. According to an analysis of data from the University of Maryland visualized on Global Forest Watch, the intact forest where IRASA is situated was lost between 2000 and 2013.Deforestation behind the scenesAnd yet, the issue of deforestation in Paraguay, especially in the Chaco, isn’t widely known.“Paraguay’s deforestation has been hugely underreported compared to a lot of other countries,” Lawson said.That’s particularly true of the Gran Chaco, which might have something to do with the diversity of landscapes that the Chaco contains, said conservation biologist Anthony Giordano, the founder and director of the Society for the Protection of Endangered Carnivores and their International Ecological Study (SPECIES).Giordano has been working in the Chaco since 2005. He said that while it’s possible to explain what the Amazon rainforest looks like to someone who’s never been there, an adequate description of the Chaco is harder to pin down.“It is such a complex and rich ecoregion,” Giordano said. “At one extreme, you have this thick scrub and thorn forest, this seasonal dry forest. At the other extreme of the spectrum, you have a semi-open flooded palm savanna.”It comprises an area of 100 million hectares (386,102 square miles) and covers parts of Argentina and Bolivia, as well as 60 percent of Paraguay’s land.Giordano lauded Earthsight’s move to expose what’s happening in Paraguay, adding, “This report echoes what I’ve known for a while” about the speed and extent of land clearing and conversion to agriculture in the Chaco.And that’s creating problems for the long-time inhabitants of the Chaco. The area is home to the Ayoreo, a nomadic group that is one of the last to live in voluntary isolation from the outside world. Earthsight warned that their way of life could be in jeopardy as the Chaco recedes.The Chaco is also home to thousands of plant species and hundreds of different birds, mammals and reptiles, and its unique habitats house a bevy of unusual species.A taguá (Catagonus wagneri) photographed by a camera trap in 2013, Defensores del Chaco National Park, Paraguay. Photo by Silvia Saldívar and Anthony Giordano.“It has one of the highest levels of mammal endemism in the Neotropics,” Giordano said.Perhaps the largest mammal in terms of body size that’s found nowhere else but the Chaco is an IUCN-listed Endangered, pig-like peccary known as the taguá (Catagonus wagneri). The taguá has carved a singular existence out of the thorny forests of the Chaco, and it plays a critical role as an “ecosystem engineer” as it roots around in the dirt for their food and breaks up the packed earth with its hooves.But as taguá’s environs have been razed to accommodate cattle and agriculture and hunting has increased, numbers have dwindled to no more than a few thousand.“A lot of research has suggested that it is particularly sensitive to habitat disturbance,” Giordano said.The effect of the taguá’s disappearance from many parts of the region can ripple through the food chain. Jaguars are another important species in the Chaco. Removing one of their primary food sources and carving up its habitat combined with the incursion of herds of cattle is a recipe for conflict between animals and people, Giordano said.“Because they range over these large areas, it’s very easy to disturb and disrupt populations,” he added.Fragmented forestPart of the problem is the haphazard way in which humans are changing the landscape of the Chaco. Until recently, it’s been something of a no-go zone for most people, largely because its conditions are too harsh for most agriculture.Eastern Paraguay’s Atlantic Forest was much more hospitable to soybean farming and ranching. But by the early 2000s, nearly all of the Atlantic Forest had been cleared, so the government passed a law in 2004 to protect the remaining 5 to 10 percent. One of the unintended consequences of the law was a rise in deforestation in the western part of Paraguay where the Chaco lies, Lawson said.“All it did was shift everything to the west,” he said. Ranchers could find new pastures in the Chaco.Another law in Paraguay stipulates that landowners must protect 25 percent of their property. But, Giordano explained, “There is no real law about how to do that [or] what the configuration can be.”Jaguars (Panthera onca) also inhabit the Chaco and are particularly susceptible to fragmentation because of their large home ranges. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.As a result, the swift deforestation of the Chaco in the past 20 years has left “these isolated patches,” Giordano explained.“There’s no coordination across properties among landowners for the sake of connectivity,” he added. “Nobody’s really thinking like that.”Finding a way to hold landowners accountable is a major issue, he said.“There’s no effective mechanism for enforcement,” Giordano said. “Penalties, if they come, might take a really long time to arrive, and they might be small in proportion to the profits being earned.”Beef production is big business in Paraguay, providing 10 percent of the country’s exports, Earthsight found. And it’s not uncommon for the interests of the industry to bleed into politics, he said.“It’s not unusual to have high-ranking politicians that have some sort of tie to cattle ranching … if they’re not involved in it themselves,” Giordano added.Lawson and his colleagues unearthed an unusually close relationship between Bricapar and Ramón Jiménez Gaona, Paraguay’s Minister of Public Works. Based on records obtained by Earthsight, Gaona holds a 25-percent stake in the company, and though he stepped down from his position as a board member, his brother is the chairman.More broadly, charcoal is a valuable income stream for the country. Some 21 million euros ($24 million) worth of Paraguayan product ended up in the EU in 2016. Between January and March of 2017, imports from Paraguay totaled 7 million euros ($8.1 million).Better oversight within Paraguay alone won’t stop the trade of such a valuable commodity, and that’s led Lawson to advocate for better adherence to environmental best practices by the companies and countries sourcing their charcoal from the Gran Chaco.The dry Chaco, pictured here in Argentina. Photo by Valerie Pillar (Flickr) CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.Chaco charcoal on supermarket shelvesEarthsight found that Aldi, Lidl, and Carrefour were selling charcoal from Bricapar. All three are multinational companies with storefronts around Europe and in other parts of the world.When Earthsight confronted these corporations, they received a range of responses. The Spanish arm of Lidl said that “it demands ‘strict sustainability standards in all areas of our business activity,’” according to the Earthsight report.Aldi Sud, which covers parts of Germany, said that “the clearance is only done partially.”Carrefour said that it stopped buying charcoal from Ibecosol for the time being pending its own investigation into the source of the charcoal.Only Aldi Nord in Germany responded substantively to Mongabay’s requests for comment.“The conditions Earthsight describes of the sourcing of timber for charcoal products are of course not at all compliant with our understanding of socially and ecologically responsible forestry,” said Matthias Kräling, an Aldi-Nord spokesperson, in an email.Kräling said that, until recently, Aldi has purchased its charcoal from a company called Boomex, which in turn subcontracts with Bricapar. Boomex told Aldi that Bricapar was in compliance with Paraguayan law. Nevertheless, the last shipment that Aldi received from Boomex was in 2016.He added, “we are not going to be receiving any charcoal products from the Boomex company in 2017.”A satellite image of the Bricapar charcoal facility in Paraguay. Photo courtesy of Earthsight.What does certification mean?Aldi Nord also told Mongabay, “We … accept the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC).”Similarly, Aldi Sud and Lidl both pointed to Ibecosol’s PEFC certification, and Earthsight found that Ibecosol and Bricapar hold “chain of custody” certifications.“That’s what had given them the reassurance,” Lawson said.But Earthsight contends that the PEFC certificates don’t cover the range of charcoal products.“That whole excuse only applies to the briquettes,” he said. The briquettes are made from the dust and small pieces left over after the wood is turned into lumpwood charcoal in the ovens, which is sold in Lidl’s stores in Spain.A supplier’s certification by PEFC is “meaningless in terms of that particular product,” Lawson added.Additionally, briquettes can be classified as recycled material under current PEFC standards since they’re regarded as waste. This distinction obviates the need for certified suppliers – in this case, Bricapar and Ibecosol – to provide information about where the charcoal came from.PEFC’s CEO remarked on that point in a press release on July 11. “I consider this to be against the spirit of the standard,” Ben Gunneberg said. “Earthsight is absolutely correct in pointing out that we consider the conversion of forest to other vegetation type (sic) as a ‘controversial source’ and as exactly the kind of thing which certification is supposed to exclude.”One possible solution for enhanced sustainability would be to add charcoal to the list of wood products that must come from legal harvests under what’s known as the EU Timber Regulation.“If charcoal was included in the EU Timber Regulation, which it is not at present,” Lawson said, “then I think companies sourcing from Paraguay would take more care about where their products come from.”Currently, regulators are considering just such an inclusion for charcoal, he said.The problem with charcoal isn’t limited to charcoal coming from Paraguay, he added. Earthsight noted a WWF report from 2008 that found as much as 20 percent of charcoal entering the EU was coming from illegal sources, often in countries that face sustainability and enforcement hurdles similar Paraguay.In fact, the effects of the EUTR may extend beyond just the legal questions surrounding the products they’re buying, Lawson said.“It forces companies to explore their supply chains,” he added. “Once they do, they may make decisions that have nothing to do with illegality,” which could translate into better protection of places like Paraguay’s Gran Chaco.CITATIONSGuyra Paraguay. “Gran Chaco deforestation.” Accessed through Global Forest Watch on July 13, 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgGreenpeace, University of Maryland, World Resources Institute and Transparent World. “Intact Forest Landscapes. 2000/2013” Accessed through Global Forest Watch on July 13, 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgThe World Factbook. 2013-14. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2013. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.htmlBanner image of a jaguar (Panthera onca), pictured in Colombia, by Rhett A. Butler.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.Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article misstated the requirements of the EUTR. It requires only that timber and timber products come from legal sources, not necessarily sustainable ones. The previous version also neglected to mention the issue regarding the classification of charcoal briquettes as recycled under PEFC standards. agribusiness, Agriculture, Animals, Atlantic Forest, Beef, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Camera Trapping, Carnivores, Cats, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Certification, charcoal, Conflict, Conservation, Corporate Environmental Transgressors, Corporate Role In Conservation, Corporations, Corruption, Deforestation, Degraded Lands, Drivers Of Deforestation, Dry Forests, Ecological Beauty, Ecology, Endangered Species, Environment, forest degradation, Forest Fragmentation, Forests, Fragmentation, Fuelwood, Gfrn, Global Forest Reporting Network, Global Forest Watch, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Human-wildlife Conflict, Hunting, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Jaguars, Megafauna, Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery, Soy, Sustainability, Trees, Tropical Forests, Tropics, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation 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

Greater collaboration between companies and governments necessary to enhance climate action, report finds

first_imgA new report released by the NGOs Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Forest Trends (FT) last week consists of case studies on how companies are working with the governments of Brazil and Indonesia, which together accounted for nearly 40 percent of total tropical deforestation in 2014, to achieve their shared goals around forests and the climate.The authors of the report write that greater collaboration between corporations, governments, and other stakeholders is crucial to actually meeting climate change mitigation goals: “Considering the common goals of companies, governments, and multi-stakeholder initiatives, it is imperative to identify opportunities for collaboration to harness synergies between initiatives and catalyze action.”In Brazil, for instance, several companies that have adopted Zero Deforestation Commitments are also collaborating with the government and NGOs in initiatives like Mato Grosso state’s Produce, Conserve, Include (PCI) program, which aims to decrease deforestation levels, boost reforestation efforts, and push for more sustainable agricultural and livestock production. A new report that looks at the collaborative efforts of private sector and government actors to halt deforestation in two key tropical forest nations could have lessons for countries around the world.The report, released by the NGOs Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Forest Trends (FT) last week, consists of case studies on how companies are working with the governments of Brazil and Indonesia, which together accounted for nearly 40 percent of total tropical deforestation in 2014.According to research released earlier this year by Forest Trends’ Supply Change initiative, as of March 2017 some 447 companies had made 760 commitments to root out the deforestation in their supply chains linked to four globally traded agricultural commodities that are responsible for the majority of tropical forest destruction: cattle, palm oil, soy, and wood products (including timber and pulp).At the same time, 80 percent of the nearly 200 countries that signed the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 committed themselves to reining in emissions from deforestation and other land use changes in order to help meet the targets in the action plans they submitted as part of the climate treaty negotiation process, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).While these commitments are seen as good indicators that the world is mobilizing to address widespread tropical deforestation and the climate risk that it poses, the clearing of rainforests for agricultural operations or other human activities is still responsible for at least 10 percent of global carbon emissions.The authors of the new EDF-FT report write that greater collaboration between corporations, governments, and other stakeholders is crucial to actually meeting climate change mitigation goals: “Considering the common goals of companies, governments, and multi-stakeholder initiatives, it is imperative to identify opportunities for collaboration to harness synergies between initiatives and catalyze action.”In a blog post, report author Breanna Lujan, a global climate policy analyst for EDF, explains why it’s absolutely essential that the private sector and government actors find ways to work collaboratively to halt deforestation: “[C]orporations need a regulatory and policy environment conducive to their reduced deforestation commitments—which governments can provide; and governments would benefit tremendously from the participation of key corporate actors in order to achieve the reduced deforestation and forest landscape restoration goals put forth in their NDCs.”Case studies of collaboration in Brazil and IndonesiaLujan and co-authors examine the synergies between the NDCs of Brazil and Indonesia and the sustainability commitments of companies operating in those countries, before making recommendations for how other countries can follow the example set by both countries.In Brazil, for instance, several companies that have adopted Zero Deforestation Commitments are also collaborating with the government and NGOs on initiatives like Mato Grosso state’s Produce, Conserve, Include (PCI) program, which aims to decrease deforestation levels, boost reforestation efforts, and push for more sustainable agricultural and livestock production.These goals align pretty neatly with those in Brazil’s NDC, which commit the country to reducing emissions below 2005 levels some 37 percent by 2025 and 43 percent by 2030. Reforms to the land-use and forestry sectors factor largely into how Brazil proposes to meet these targets: the country’s NDC also includes plans to eliminate illegal logging in the Amazon by 2030 and restore 12 million hectares of rainforest by 2030, among other measures.“Through interactions via the PCI and other partnerships, the private sector is supporting the government to accelerate the implementation of the country’s NDC goals, and revealing the ways in which these collaborations can be scaled-up and amplified throughout the country,” Lujan writes.Indonesia, meanwhile, adopted the goal of reducing emissions 29 percent by 2030 as compared to an estimate of the emissions that would result if the country were to continue with “business as usual” — and that target would scale up to 41 percent if the country receives sufficient international conservation financing through programs such as the UN’s program for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+), which was included as a standalone article in the Paris Agreement. The country has also enacted several policies focused on peatland and forest conservation and restoration.Indonesia’s forests and climate goals dovetail nicely with the No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) commitments made by many companies in the country, Lujan notes. “Many of these companies are collaborating with subnational governments in jurisdictional, multi-stakeholder initiatives aimed at achieving their shared goals of reducing deforestation,” she writes in her blog post.Lujan calls the Central Kalimantan Jurisdictional Commitment to Sustainable Palm Oil “one of the most advanced public-private collaborations to address deforestation and emissions in Indonesia.” The initiative fosters cooperation between indigenous peoples, local governments, NGOs, oil palm growers and buyers, and smallholder farmers around their shared goal of certifying all palm oil produced in the province of Kalimantan by 2019.Of course, national and sub-national level initiatives are not the only examples out there. As the authors of the report note, companies, civil society groups, and governments have come together to form a number of international partnerships in order to meet their mutual targets for reducing deforestation and global warming pollution, such as the UN’s New York Declaration on Forests and the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020.But research released late last year by UK-based think tank Global Canopy Programme (GCP) found that, despite the growing momentum to end tropical deforestation, the pledges made by these multi-stakeholder groups “lack the teeth” to make truly meaningful changes in the global agricultural commodities supply chain. GCP concluded that the deforestation targets for 2020 and 2030 committed to by the Consumer Goods Forum, a global network of over 400 consumer companies, and signatories to the  New York Declaration on Forests — which include 40 national governments, 20 sub-national governments, 57 multinational companies, 16 indigenous groups, and 57 civil society organizations — were unlikely to be met. Companies specifically cited forest country governments’ actions and policies, and in many cases the lack of governments’ actions and policies, as one of the main obstacles to cleaning up their supply chains.“Lessons from Brazil and Indonesia show that corporate zero deforestation commitments — when buttressed by strong government policies and enhanced by multi-stakeholder partnerships — can help countries reach their goals of reducing deforestation and enhancing forest landscape restoration,” Lujan writes. “This type of collaboration is of increasing importance and has come to the fore in countries such as the United States, where businesses and local and state governments are teaming up to uphold the spirit of the country’s Paris Agreement pledge, despite the US federal government’s announcement to leave the Agreement.”Aerial view of forest and land cleared for oil palm operations in Indonesia. Photo by Rhett Butler.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Mike Gaworecki Climate Change, Climate Change And Conservation, Climate Change And Forests, Climate Change Policy, Corporate Role In Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Rainforests, Research, Saving Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests, Zero Deforestation Commitments 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

Rethinking conservation funding models in Africa (commentary)

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 Rhett Butler Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, philanthropy center_img Conservation in sub-Saharan Africa faces monumental challenges.Ultimately, effective and durable conservation efforts require major investments in protecting large landscapes through government, community, and private institutions, and in improving governance at multiple levels.A key to meeting the challenges to effective conservation at scale is providing resources that enable creative and effective conservation organizations to deliver lasting results.This post is a commentary – the views expressed are those of the authors. Conservation in sub-Saharan Africa faces monumental challenges. Rapidly growing human populations and resource consumption are creating growing pressures on land, water and other natural systems. Weak governance coupled with market demands means that illegal use of natural resources- from fisheries, to timber, to elephant ivory- is a major driver of over-exploitation. Ultimately, effective and durable conservation efforts require major investments in protecting large landscapes through government, community, and private institutions, and in improving governance at multiple levels.A key to meeting the challenges to effective conservation at scale is providing resources that enable creative and effective conservation organizations to deliver lasting results. Much of the discussion in conservation focuses on the limited amounts of funding available-. However, an important, but less discussed, issue is how funding is delivered and accessed. Recently, we brought together funders and conservationists working in Africa, to discuss funding approaches that can achieve greater impact on the ground. Here we draw on this gathering to summarize both challenges with existing funding models and possibilities for addressing those. Pair of orphaned elephant calves at a rescue center in Kenya. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Existing ChallengesLasting and effective conservation work depends heavily on innovative and capable local organizations that can develop new solutions and take them to scale. African conservation organizations, like organizations working for social and environmental change anywhere in the world, require enough funding to be creative, invest in their teams, and grow, and funding designed to increase on-the-ground impact. That means funding that rewards outcomes, and enables them to invest in core functions and capacity, particularly the recruitment and retention of top talent, staff development, and their core infrastructure. Building a successful organization with the ability to deliver great results takes time and therefore requires long-term funding.This kind of funding is all too scarce in African conservation. The default funding model in conservation is through projects. Project funding is typically short-term, restricted, non-renewable, and generally rewards activities (what one does) rather than impact (what one achieves). Restricted project funding usually limits the organization’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances and incorporate new ideas and insights. Project funding also frequently limits the ability of an organization to invest in core capacity and resources- particularly people- through arbitrary limitations on overheads or staff salary costs. Because conservation outcomes are rarely measured, funders often practice due diligence by heavily managing how grants are spent. This limits grantees’ flexibility, creates heavy transaction costs, and almost always starves organizations of capital to invest in growth and resilience.Moreover, funding is often not only prescriptive, but limited. While small-scale project funding (e.g. in the $10,000-$20,000 range) may be valuable during the initial stages of new initiatives, there is a ‘missing middle’ in conservation funding between those relatively small grants and funding available through large-scale development aid and public funding agencies. While the latter has the advantage of providing multi-year, large-scale funding, the heavy transaction costs of securing and managing such funding- daunting proposal, reporting, and compliance requirements inherent to most international public funding sources- creates barriers for many local organizations.A related challenge is the accessibility of funding ‘markets’. For field-based and local groups in Africa, finding and connecting with funders is a major challenge. Conservation funding sources and markets are highly fragmented; there are few shared marketplaces or forums for funders and practitioners to meet and exchange information. This strongly favors large organizations that have already overcome the hurdles to developing sophisticated marketing and public relations operations.Because of these problems, conventional conservation funding models can inhibit, rather than promote, the development of thriving organizations that meet the immense and growing challenges of African conservation. First, because time spent finding and reporting to funders comes at the expense of time spent on actions that drive impact. Second, restrictions on how funding can be used limit an organizations ability to quickly adapt and to invest in its core functions, internal development and future growth.These challenges can play a significant factor in limiting conservation impact. They make it harder for newer entrepreneurial organizations to secure funding and become established, and to take promising models to scale.Common zebra (Equus quagga) in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Better Funding for Greater Impact Funders and local conservation groups in Africa need to collaborate to promote better ways of doing business. This will require a shift in funding approaches that aligns impact with investment, and channels more funding to the organizations that deliver the best results.One key measure is to focus on funding organizations, rather than projects. That means investing in an organization’s core strategic goals and outcomes, and providing flexible or ‘growth capital’ that an organization can invest in delivery of results and building its internal capacity. Some large private funders operating primarily outside the conservation space are increasingly calling for and adopting these approaches. For example, the Ford Foundation’s new BUILD program is investing $1 billion over five years to support core capabilities and development of 300 grantees.For their part, conservationists need to foster this kind of core investment by providing clear goals, priorities, and metrics in their strategies and plans. Funders and practitioners need to agree on key outcomes and metrics that are most appropriate for tracking and evaluating results.A second priority is to become bolder and more ambitious in the provision of long-term funding. Funders need to address the ‘missing middle’ in conservation funding by providing effective young organizations with the kind of capital they need to grow. This often means core and unrestricted funding on the order of $100,000 annually, significantly larger than the typical small grants available for much conservation work.Beyond that mezzanine-level funding, is the importance of making even larger ‘big bets’ in organizations that have a strong track record and are positioned for greater impact. An example of this is a grant announced earlier this year by the Wyss Foundation, of $65M to African Parks- perhaps the largest private grant ever made in African conservation- for them to expand their successful protected area management model across Africa.The growth of new financing models, such as trust funds, across the conservation field also provides a range of opportunities. These new long-term funds can potentially be directed at effective local organizations as a source of long-term support. This is part of the thinking behind a new Community Conservation Fund being developed by WWF and other local partners in Namibia. These kinds of long-term mechanisms for conservation funding stand in contrast to the relatively reactive, crisis-driven nature of much of African conservation funding.Dune 45 in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert in Namibia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.African conservation funders and practitioners need to work together to develop a shared vision, reporting metrics, and partnership models that will enable both to achieve greater impact. To overcome communication barriers and reduce transaction costs, funders and practitioners need new virtual and physical spaces to come together and overcome existing barriers to communication and market fragmentation. An example of bringing funders and local conservationists from Africa and elsewhere together in new ways is the Wildlife Conservation Network’s annual Exposition events held in a number of US cities.Ultimately meeting African conservation challenges requires funding directed towards effective local organizations. New conversations and communications mechanisms – a better conservation marketplace – can more efficiently connect conservation funders and practitioners on the ground and result in better conservation outcomes. Funders and practitioners need to work together to build a conservation field in Africa that delivers greater impact, attracts more funding, and can tackle a world of growing threats.Fred Nelson is Executive Director of Maliasili Initiatives.Leela Hazzah is co-founder and Executive Director of Lion Guardians.John Kasaona is Executive Director of Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation in Namibia.Scott O’Connell works with the Acacia Conservation Fund, a philanthropic initiative supporting conservation organizations around the world.Peter Riger is Vice President of Conservation and Conservation Educa­tion at the Houston Zoo.Bernie Tershy is Adjunct Professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an advisor to the Mulago Foundation.last_img read more

Extensive illegal cattle ranching destroys core area of Nicaragua’s Indio Maíz Biological Reserve

first_imgThe next story in this series will be an overview of the livestock problem in Nicaragua. Mongabay has requested an interview with the Ministry of the Environment. This story was reported by Mongabay’s Latin America (Latam) team and was first published in Spanish on our Latam site on July 14, 2017. Article published by Romina Castagnino Agriculture, Animals, Cattle Ranching, Deforestation, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Reserves, Protected Areas, Rainforest Destruction One “haciendita” farm owned by rancher José Solis Durón has cleared about 244 hectares of forest in the reserve’s core area for raising cattle.The Indio Maíz Biological Reserve is one of the most important tropical rainforests in Central America, yet it is continually deforested for agricultural uses. (This article is a collaboration between Mongabay-Latam and Onda Local in Nicaragua)Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua – The howl of a spider monkey that swayed from branch to branch alerted a group of green macaws to our presence and eventually took flight and disappeared into the forest. From one moment to another, the gentle wind that refreshed us turned into an intimidating gale rocking millennial trees back and forth —some trees are taller than one hundred meters— and forced us to walk hastily until we arrived at the Chontaleño River. There we noticed fresh jaguar footprints which put us on alert. All this is part of the daily life and charm of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve.Seventy percent of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve is the indigenous territory of Rama and Afro-descendant Kriol people. The reserve is located between the municipalities of Bluefields, New Guinea, San Juan de Nicaragua and El Castillo, in the southeastern region of Nicaragua.Forest in the core area of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalThe Indio Maíz Biological Reserve comprises about 2,639 km², slightly larger than Luxembourg. It is one of the most important tropical rainforests in Central America because it is home to a variety of endangered and threatened species. There are tapirs, jaguars, peccaries, manatees, and a great variety of birds, such as macaws, toucans, quetzals, bare-throated tiger heron, among others.The humid tropical climate of the reserve generates diverse ecosystems and it filters the water from the San Juan River basin, one of the most important rivers of Nicaragua. Moreover, its trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which helps in the fight against climate change.The reserve is a protected area; however, there are increasing complaints from people who watch people entering the forest with the intention of invading the land. These people have cleared forests and opened paths with chainsaws and machetes with the aim of claiming the land as their own. Some of them invade the forest to cultivate crops claiming to be in poverty and need. Others hoard land to feed cattle and increase their wealth. Both activities are illegal.Indio Maíz invadersThe trade of cheese, bananas, corn, beans and especially livestock is a common activity in the local markets inside the buffer zone of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve, an accessible place where farmers sell their agricultural products. One of the three “baqueanos” (local guides) that accompanied us said that it is a paradox that almost all goods, sellers and buyers, come from the same mountain.Our trip to the interior of the reserve revealed the operating system of those who violate the way of life in Indio Maíz, and proved that its central ‘core’ is being deforested by various actors, such as the “La Haciendita” farm, as reported by the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government.Deforestation around “La Haciendita.” Photo by Onda LocalOur trip began in Boca de Sábalos, a small town located in the municipality of El Castillo, Río San Juan, about 350 kilometers from Managua. We boarded a taxi van and half an hour later, the vehicle stopped in front of a wooden gate in the El Padilla community, at the end of the buffer area and one of the entrances to the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve’s core area.When we entered the territory of Indio Maíz, the panorama was not as we imagined it. The area that once had tall trees and a great diversity of animals now only has vast extensions of pastures to feed cattle.Our companions advised us to follow the “abra” (narrow path), which gives evidence of the frequent traffic of people and animals towards the core area of the Reserve. In the distance, one can see Cerro El Diablo and Llanto de la Culebra, near the Chontaleño River, our destination.The trip from Boca Sábalos to the farm. Map courtesy Onda LocalAfter eleven hours of walking, we saw an extensive area full of logs, although the Chontaleño River was not visible. We suspected it was the 2,000-hectare farm which people talk about. We had three reasons for suspecting that: the branding marks and earrings of livestock, photographs of an iron with the initials “JSD” engraved and a denunciation letter of the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government. Upon reaching the mouth of the river, we saw various cut trees and smoke, which indicated recent burning and deforestation in the area.Fatigue forced us to rest on the trunk of a fallen tree. While resting, we could hear the voices of children and the neighing of a horse nearby; it was a family. They asked us: “Where are you going?” “We are going to the Chontaleño River,” we replied. They then said: “We are also going in that direction and I see that you are tired… If you want to, you can stay in my house that is nearby.” We accepted their offer.We walked to La Haciendita, a farm that has been “controversial and denounced” in the past, according to the farm’s caretaker, who at first was uncomfortable and suspicious of us. He asked if we were officials from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) and then showed us a notification letter from the leaders of Rama-Kriol Territorial Government of February 27, 2017, informing them that this territory is a protected area and that they should leave.The caretaker reviews the notification letter sent by the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government on February 27, 2017. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalOn March 2, 2017, a group of rangers from the Rama-Kriol territory that patrol and organize trips to mark the boundaries of the indigenous territory, discovered more than 270 deforested hectares near the Bocana del Río Chontaleño, in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve.“La Haciendita.” Photo by Rangers of the Rama-Kriol Territorial GovernmentMargarito McCrea of the Rama de Indian River community says they found cattle grazing. “Those are the most improved pastures that exist in Nicaragua. That man is not poor, he is rich I imagine,” said the ranger referring to the possible owner of the property.The haciendita looks like a simple house from a rural village; however, to own one in the middle of the jungle is considered a luxury. That is where the caretaker lives with his family: a brother, his companions and his children.When we arrived at his house, the caretaker looked more relaxed. He said that he was suspicious of our presence but clarified that he felt calmer after our conversation. He then prepared to sleep on the floor and invited us to do the same. A metallic iron—with initials “JSD” engraved—used to mark cattle with, hangs right at the top of where we tied the hammocks. It is the same iron that appeared in the photographs.Reporters found a metallic iron with the initials JSD engraved. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalThe farm has an area of 1,397 hectares on the banks of the Chontaleño River. This haciendita is dedicated to fattening cattle. More than 244 hectares of forest have been demolished to give rise to improved pasture of bombaza, toledo and marandú. In the corral we counted thirty steers, less than two years old. They assure us that at the moment they take care of 70 cattle; requiring 3.4 hectares per head of cattle. That exemplifies the country’s extensive cattle ranching model where large areas of land are dedicated to a small number of cattle, causing erosion and low productivity.The hesitance that people have when referring to the owner of the farm is remarkable. “People are afraid of reprisal,” said a villager, who asked us to omit his name. “It is the strongest person right now… from Guinea. His last name is Solís. To be honest, I don’t know his name, nor have I been to his farm. He sends peons out of Guinea on his own… the Army has been on that land. But since they are millionaires, who knows what illegal business they have with the lieutenants… we know nothing of that. But there are some illegal things happening because there are chainsaws,” he added.Corral of steers in the haciendita located within the core area of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalElías Martínez from Boca de Escaleras mentioned that within the reserve the majority of people are poor and are engaged in agriculture and livestock ranching to survive. However, he recognizes the existence of powerful ranchers who destroy the forest in an accelerated way.-“At least some Solises have good farms and good cattle too. Do people know them?” -“Yes… how would people not know them if they are wealthy and very recognized.”The caretaker lets the horse and the two mules of the haciendita refresh in the river. “(Solís) could not find anyone to take care of that farm. It was abandoned for two years until I came here… I moved from Puerto (Cabezas) not knowing what it was like.”The caretaker said that he has a three-year contract to work in the haciendita and that he gains three thousand córdobas (one hundred dollars) a month. He claimed to have exchanged his 14-hectare farm in the community of Sangni Laya (between Waspam and Puerto Cabezas) in exchange for 70 hectares in Indio Maíz, which Solís promised him at the end of the period.The caretaker stopped watering the animals and paused the conversation to focus his attention on a group of four men who advanced timidly along the riverbank. They said nothing, abandoned the course of the river and followed the narrow path into the mountain.A minute later, a lanky dog—one of the dogs they use to hunt—walked in front of twelve men, with shotguns and machetes. Three horses carried sacks of food. “How is it going?” one asked. “Very well,” we said and they replied, “Goodbye.” That was all they said.The caretaker said he knows three of them. They are land traffickers, said one of our companions; they go to the reserve to mark land and sell it afterward. “I have to go tomorrow because these men can even try and get inside our land… they seem to come from the side of El Rama…” said the caretaker. He said that his boss also grows pasture on a 696-acres farm in Danta and that his patron asked him to clear the path to take livestock from the two farms: “We [cleared the path] in a week with three chainsaws.” Now, that path also serves as the entrance to new invaders.The road that was cleared for cattle. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalSome go, others comeOn our way back, we stopped at La Maravilla local market. There are different versions of those who see people entering and leaving the reserve. Francisco Guido, better known as “Chico Frito” —dedicated to identifying seeds and animals—witnessed the passing of incoming groups.Good land at any costVirgilio Jiron Maliaños, from El Padilla, was weighing cattle on the scale in La Maravilla when we found him. To sell his cattle, he needs to feed them well, which is complicated inside the buffer zone of the reserve. “[The ground] is acidic; it makes the cattle want to eat scrap metal. Some animals eat flip flops, plastic, bags, and rubbish.”Livestock on the scale of La Maravilla. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalFor Virgilio the good land is inside the Reserve. “There are thousands and thousands of hectares already delimited in paddocks with bombaza, toledo and marandú, which are very good pastures…if you feed a [200 kilo} calf properly, in three months you will be able to sell it at 400 kilos.” With a humid climate and frequent rain, it is guaranteed that the grass will grow with the necessary nutrients to feed the cattle.The bossThe Supreme Electoral Council in Nicaragua indicates that there is only one person named José Antonio Solís Durón, from Colonia San José, in the municipality of Nueva Guinea. Thanks to the clues provided by the interviewees, we were able to find him.José Antonio Solís Durón is a young and wealthy man. They say that he is well-connected with judges and some members of the Nicaraguan Army. He is the son of Sofía Durón and Agustín Solís, although he says that he only has a mother since his father has already died.An article from the newspaper La Prensa, 2001, indicates that Agustín Solís killed one of his partners, and he took refuge in “the mountain” until justice stopped pursuing him. In San José, it is still said that he paid a judge from San Carlos. Later, Solís was killed by his ex-partner’s brother, recounts the article.Rain started in New Guinea. We hired a taxi to go to the community of San José—three hours from the village— to interview Solís Durón. On the way they told us that he was not at home; instead, he was in “La Hacienda” bar, on the outskirts of New Guinea.A red double-cab Toyota Hilux was parked outside of the bar. The truck looked new, with luxury accessories and the plate M 195-942. The truck coincided with the description given by those who had seen Solís Durón selling cattle at La Maravilla. We found him drinking beer in the company of a man and a woman.Short and white skinned but burned by the sun, Solís Durón had a pair of large gold rings on his right hand and a bright yellow watch on the left. Somewhat intrigued, he agreed to talk with the team of Mongabay and Onda Local.Solís Durón acknowledged that his family owns a 700-hectare farm in the community of San José in Nueva Guinea.He bought lands—140 hectares—on his own in the municipality of Siuna, in the North Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and La Maravilla. In Siuna, he has cleared 13.9 hectares for cattle.He stated that he also has a 349-hectare farm four hours from La Maravilla, but only referred to the one that he has in the sector of Danta and not the 1,397-hectares farm in the sector of the Chontaleño river, the one that we saw during our trip.Livestock in the Danta sector. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalHe denied having invaded the core area of Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. “No, the Reserve is a long distance from there. It’s about six hours from where I am. Look at that area where we are, it’s a buffer zone which used to be cared for when there was a liberal government; and now, everyone lives there. The reserve is respected,” he said.The rancher tried to justify his presence in the area, claiming that it was already deforested. “Wherever I go it is already deforested,” he said.Livestock in the haciendita within the core area of the Indio Maíz Reserve. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalLike the farm’s caretaker, Solís said he has often been accused of invading the reserve. He recalled the time a policeman dared to question him about it: “He began to investigate… ‘And where is that farm?’. ‘There in Danta,’ I said. You know, that is our everyday fight and if the government takes us out, they will have to take us all out…”Solís Durón claimed to have bought the land about three years ago from friends that lived there for years. He bought it with the profits of the sowing of quequisque (a tuber). In 2016 that crop gave him a million córdobas (about $33,333). At that time, he obtained land at 5,000 córdobas ($166.66) per block. “What happens here is that people only delimit the mountains but have never worked them. It seems that if there is no money, they cannot work the land… people are poor…”Map showing the location of the farm the haciendita by José Solís DurónWhy new lands?Solís’ 698-hectare farm in the community of San José was no longer enough. It is not enough for the fattening of the animals, according to its owner. That is the reason why he had to look for more lands.We asked him why did it occur to him to put a farm in such a distant place? Solís replied: “In here (Nueva Guinea) the land is very expensive. Forty thousand, fifty thousand pesos in the area; and we work hard. How will [we] buy that very expensive land? It is more favorable in the other area; we need to fight and see what happens.”Solís insisted on justifying his presence in the area. He claimed that Hurricane Otto, as it passed through Nicaragua in November last year, “broke up the mountain. It destroyed everything, there are no more big trees there, there is no reserve,” he reiterated in a louder voice.His position of denying he had invaded the reserve did not last very long. While showing off the efficiency of his workers, who work in a remote place under difficult conditions, he revealed that their farm is located near the El Chontaleño River. “It is by the Chontaleño…the thing is that the Chontaleño is long, passes through, and surely goes into the reserve…” The GPS references confirmed that the river is within the core area of Indio Maíz.Río Chontaleño within the core area of the reserve. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalEven though Indio Maíz is a protected area, it does not prevent Solís Durón from entering with his cattle. Solís insisted that his lands are not in the protected area. He supported his claim with the possession of titles of property. We asked him if he has them and he answered: “Sincerely, there are no titles there […] As far as I know, everything that belongs to Bluefields (South Caribbean) does not give you a title. And in Siuna? No one has a title.”Solís Durón has tried to legalize the haciendita. He has sought advice from lawyers, but said, “They get scared working on that case.”Location and approximate area of the haciendita. Map courtesy of Onda LocalIn addition, he said he felt threatened by the demand for the reorganization of the territory, which for years has been the flag of the Rama-Kriol Government.However, sanitation is the last stage established by Law 445, Law of Communal Property Regime of the Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities of the Autonomous Regions of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua and of the Rivers Bocay, Coco, Indio and Maíz, which in Article 59 establishes that each community, having obtained its title, may initiate the reorganization of its lands, in relation to third parties (settlers).Solís has the idea that the Rama and the Kriol want to free themselves from Nicaragua, create their own state, and collect taxes, not knowing that the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government has the role of managing its territory according to the Law of Autonomy; and one of José Solís farms is located within the territory administered by the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government.Lose or win“Anyone who gets in there is at risk of losing [the land] or winning it if the government says it will get us out of there, no one is going to go against the state. Then there is a risk, if the government wants to let us work there, it will. When you get there, you’re at risk…in order to take us off the land, they will also take out the people of Samaria and Danta,” said Solís.José Solís Durón reported that during the visits of the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government last February, he was told that their intentions were not to remove anyone from the territory, but to encourage them to continue working there, only without deforesting the rivers because indigenous people live off fishing and animals.However, on Tuesday, July 11, the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government publicly denounced the damages to the Reserve and demanded—together with the cattle guilds (FAGANIC and UPANIC)—that the law is complied with, and that the state intervenes immediately.Press conference of the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government held on Tuesday, 11 July. Photo courtesy of Onda LocalRama-Kriol Government leaders have emphasized that the demand of the indigenous Ramas and Afro-descendants is not that livestock activity disappears, but that they withdraw from protected areas. At the end of the day, their home will be the one that would disappear: the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. 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

WildSpeak conservation photography event set for Washington, D.C.

first_imgPhoto by Karine Aigner, all rights reserved. Aigner and Lucas Bustamante will be presenting “Kids Conservation Photography: Notes from the Field.” White Rhino capture and dehorning to prevent poaching, Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Photo by Peter Chadwick, all rights reserved. Chadwick will be presenting “Protecting the Protectors: Supporting Africa’s Conservation Ranger Force.” Mongabay: What are you looking forward to at WildSpeak 2017?Susan Norton: We are so happy that the WildSpeak 2017 program will be showcasing the work of fellows from around the world – Australia, Russia, France, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Canada and the U.S. These fellows will be presenting on their important conservation photography and film projects. We have two special panels that we feel are particularly timely and important; these feature photographers, filmmakers, writers and publishers. The themes of the panels are “Empathy with Nature” and “Public Lands.”Conservation International is bringing two virtual reality pieces that they have created, working with ILCP Fellows, “Valen’s Reef” and “Under the Canopy.” We know these will be a great experience for our attendees. Nikon, our lead sponsor, will once again be offering free camera cleaning services.While photographers will certainly find the programming informative and interesting, the wide range of topics being covered by the presenters at WildSpeak will appeal to anyone interested in conservation, photography, environmental issues and the heath of our planet and all its inhabitants. Denis Palanque will be presenting “Back to the Mountains: Reintroducing the Ibex in the French Alps” at Wildspeak 2017. Photo by Denis Palanque, all rights reserved. Photo by Igor Shpilenok, all rights reserved. Shpilenok will be presenting “Nature Reserves and National Parks of Russia.” Photo by Krista Schlyer, all rights reserved. Schlyer will present “Borderlands.” 12345678 read more

Scientists call for cheetahs to be listed as Endangered

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta Animals, Biodiversity, Cheetahs, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Green, Mammals, Research, Wildlife Only about 3,577 adult cheetahs remain in southern Africa, a new study has found.More than 50 percent of these animals live on unprotected lands, where they are sometimes persecuted due to conflict with local farmers.Revising the status of the cheetah from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List could help conservationists create more awareness about the species and “open more avenues to fund conservation and population monitoring efforts,” researchers say. A year ago, scientists reported that cheetahs had disappeared from across 91 percent of their historic range. The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), the researchers recommended in their study, should be up-listed from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Doing this could afford the imperiled species greater attention and support, they said.The cheetah, however, remains officially listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.Now, in a new study, scientists have called for up-listing the species to Endangered yet again.By analyzing millions of cheetah observations, a team of researchers have concluded that only about 3,577 adult cheetahs remain in southern Africa–within an area of 789,800 square kilometers across Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. More than 55 percent of these cheetahs live in Namibia alone, the researchers reported in the study published in the journal PeerJ.“This is the area with the largest population of free-ranging cheetahs left on Earth,” lead author of the study Varsha Vijay of Duke University said in a statement. “Knowing how many cheetahs there are and where they occur is crucial for developing suitable conservation management plans for the species.”Cheetahs have disappeared from across 91 percent of their range. Photo by Udayan Dasgupta/Mongabay.The researchers also estimate that there could be an additional 3,250 cheetahs living in potential habitat areas, or places where cheetahs can possibly live but where they have not been observed recently. But the team has lower confidence in this estimate. “We know about three and a half thousand cheetahs. There could be twice as many, but we can’t prove it,” Florian Weise of the U.S.-based conservation group Claws Conservancy, also a lead author of the study, told National Geographic news.Of the 3,577 known cheetahs, less than 50 percent live inside some form of protected area, such as Kruger National Park in South Africa, the study estimates. The rest live on unprotected lands, mostly allocated for livestock or game production. Many farmers who share their land with cheetahs, consider the animals to be a source of conflict, the researchers found. While only a few resort to actually killing or trapping the animals, the researchers say that persecution by even a few farmers can cause cheetah populations to decline.“The future of the cheetah relies heavily on working with farmers who host these big cats on their lands, bearing the heaviest cost of coexistence,” said Weise.Given that the study’s population estimate for the cheetah is 11 percent lower than the IUCN’s current assessment for the same region, the authors write that the species should be urgently up-listed from Vulnerable to Endangered status. This revision of status could help conservationists create more awareness about the species and “open more avenues to fund conservation and population monitoring efforts,” they say in the statement. This study was supported by the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative.Cheetah. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Cheetah. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Citation:Weise FJ, Vijay V, Jacobson AP, Schoonover RF, Groom RJ, Horgan J, Keeping D, Klein R, Marnewick K, Maude G, Melzheimer J, Mills G, van der Merwe V, van der Meer E, van Vuuren RJ, Wachter B, Pimm SL. (2017) The distribution and numbers of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in southern Africa. PeerJ 5:e4096 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4096Correction (12/12/2017): A previous version of this article incorrectly mentioned Dr. Varsha Vijay as a co-author of the study. She is one of the lead authors, and we have updated the story to reflect this.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