Precision conservation: High tech to the rescue in the Peruvian Amazon

first_imgPeru’s Los Amigos Biological Station stands on a dividing line between the devastation caused by a gold rush centered on La Pampa, and a vast swath of conserved lands that includes Manú National Park — likely the most biologically important protected area in Latin America — plus its conserved buffers.Teaming up to defend these thriving forests and their biodiversity are conservationists and technologists — an innovative alliance that includes Conservación Amazónica (ACCA), Amazon Conservation (ACA), the Andes Amazon Fund, along with other organizations.Among the precision conservation tools they use to patrol against invading artisanal miners and illegal loggers are drones, acoustic monitoring, machine learning, lidar and thermal imaging — all applied to protecting one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth.Conservationists are hopeful not only that they’ll be able to protect Manú National Park and its buffers, but that they may be able to one day help remediate and restore the wrecked habitat of La Pampa. This integrative approach, they say, is vital to conserving the region’s biodiversity against the escalating climate crisis. This story was supported in part by Conservation X Labs’ Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge, a global competition for innovative solutions that address the environmental and social costs of and artisanal and small scale mining. Want to be a part of the solution? Learn more about the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge hereLOS AMIGOS BIOLOGICAL STATION, Peru — The mother capybara and her three babies chew on grasses along the Los Amigos River as we drift near. Around a bend, white caimans fortify each sandbar, mouths open, waiting. Kingfishers plunge into the water to retrieve a morning meal, as oropendolas fly overhead. Spider monkeys and red howlers balance in the treetops of the soaring canopy 30 to 60 meters (100 to 200 feet) high that lines both riverbanks.Much of this Amazon landscape in southern Peru could soon go missing — lost to the roaring suction pumps, scouring vacuum hoses and mercury poisoning that comes with artisanal gold mining, or the chainsaws that accompany illegal logging ­— but for the two men we ride with in our boat. They and others like them are implementing elements of precision conservation, a Silicon Valley approach and high-tech synthesis using drones, acoustic monitoring, machine learning, lidar and thermal imaging, applied to protecting the most biologically diverse region on Earth.Percy Avalos sits at the bow of the canoe, pointing to floating logs and other hazards, as Davis Vargas steers the peque-peque, a tiny motor adapted to negotiate the shallows of this meandering, lowland river that borders one side of the nearly 500-kilometer (300-mile) perimeter of a vast conservation concession.I departed in the fog at dawn to join Vargas and Avalos on their weekly river patrol, leaving from the shore of the tropical Los Amigos Biological Station and Concession that buffers the eastern side of Manú National Park, considered by many to be the single most biologically important protected area in Latin America.The park itself covers more than 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres), which connects to a complex web of 10.5 million hectares (26 million acres) of protected areas, including the adjacent 809,370-hectare (2 million acre) Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve that protects indigenous peoples.A map showing Manu National Park and surrounding conservation buffer areas. Image courtesy of Los Amigos Biological Station/ACCA.The Peruvian-based nonprofit Conservación Amazónica (ACCA) operates the biological station and forest preserve concession, with support from its U.S. counterpart, Amazon Conservation (ACA), and is working with the Andes Amazon Fund along with other partners to expand protection and build larger buffers for the long-term preservation of the national park.That won’t be an easy mission. While this strategically located patchwork of protected areas has been mostly successful in its conservation goals so far, deforestation and devastation within the rest of the Madre de Dios to Manú region is at an all-time high. In truth, the tropical lushness found along Los Amigos River — home to capybara babies, white caimans and red howlers — in some places lies within easy earshot of gold miners’ pumps and loggers’ chainsaws.last_img read more

Amazon fires trigger protests worldwide

first_imgTens of thousands of active fires are ravaging the Brazilian Amazon in recent weeks, sparking protests in cities across Brazil and around the world, urging effective action from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to contain fires in the world’s largest rainforest.On August 23, demonstrators blocked off roads, shouting slogans and holding placards reading: “Stop killing our Amazon” in cities that included São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, London, Geneva, Paris, Berlin and Toronto. Protesters also demanded Bolsonaro and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles to resign.An online petition in the UK asked the European Union to sanction Brazil for its increased deforestation. Within a day, it collected over 65,000 signatures. If it reaches the 100,000 signatures mark, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.French President Emmanuel Macron also have called for emergency talks at the G7 summit in Biarritz to discuss the record number of fires, calling the situation an international crisis and gaining the support of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. SÃO PAULO AND LONDON — Thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities across Brazil and around the world on August 23, urging effective action from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to contain tens of thousands of active fires ravaging the Brazilian Amazon in recent weeks.Planet images showing Nova Bandeirantes in Mato Grosso before, during and after a fire on Aug. 19-22, 2019. Images courtesy of Planet Labs Inc.Demonstrators blocked off roads, shouting slogans and holding placards reading: “Stop killing our Amazon” in cities that included São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, London, Geneva, Paris, Berlin and Toronto, part of a growing international outcry against the lack of action from the Bolsonaro administration to protect the world’s largest rainforest, where fires and deforestation have hit a record high this year.Protestors in São Paulo took over Avenida Paulista, the city’s main avenue, drumming, chanting and cheering, with signs and banners held high calling for the ouster of Bolsonaro and Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles, and declaring, “No forest, no water.”Protester carries a placard with a slogan reading: “Let’s take the Amazon from the rat before greed takes our lives.” Image by Jill Langlois for Mongabay.“This is the first time Brazilians have ever come out to defend the forest like this,” said biologist Erica Guimarães, as chants of, “The Amazon will stay, Bolsonaro will go” rose from the crowd. “We protest for better healthcare, better education, better treatment from politicians, but we forget about the forest. We can’t do that. The forest gives us life. It’s a part of our DNA,” she said.Amazon fires came into the spotlight this week, when São Paulo’s skies suddenly turned black with smoke on August 19, as experts pointed out the link between deforestation and the fires. The shocking Armageddon-like conditions in São Paulo prompted an outpouring of concern across social media worldwide under the #PrayforAmazonas hashtag, which reached more than 300,000 tweets in two days.The number of active fires hit 74,155 between January 1 and August 20, a spike of 85 percent compared to the same period in 2018, according to data from the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE). About half of fire occurrences this year were registered in the last 20 days, INPE data showed. Experts said the rising fire occurrences are directly connected to deforestation, given the lack of drought this year.Chart showing deforestation alerts in the Brazilian Amazon since 2010In London, the protest was organized by Extinction Rebellion (ER), a protest group renowned for recent climate change activism. Demonstrators held placards reading, “Our house is on fire” and “This is a crime against humanity,” and made the same call for the president’s resignation, shouting, “Hey, ho, Bolsonaro has to go!”Marilyn Taylor, a British teacher and member of ER said the demonstration is engaging many people in eco-activism because they acknowledge the importance of protecting the “lungs of the planet.”“Bolsonaro says the world should stay out of Brazil’s business, but the whole world relies on the Amazon. The world should help Brazil to protect it.”Protesters in front of the Brazilian Embassy in London. Image by Elisângela Mendonça for Mongabay.International crisisInternational retaliation against the Bolsonaro administration has escalated since early August, when Germany announced plans to withdraw some €35 million (US $39.5 million) in funding for Brazilian environmental projects, followed by a US$33.2 million-freeze from Norway to the Amazon Fund, due to the country’s lack of commitment to curbing deforestation in the Amazon.The moves followed the release of satellite alert data from national space research institute INPE showing that Brazil’s Amazon deforestation in June 2019 was 88 percent greater than for the same month in 2018, while deforestation in July 2019 was 278 percent higher than July 2018. Overall, deforestation in 2019 is up 57 percent relative to a year ago, according to INPE.Bolsonaro called the numbers “lies” but failed to substantiate his attack against an institution recognized nationally and internationally for its cutting-edge satellite-imaging and deforestation monitoring programs. Nonetheless he accused INPE director Ricardo Galvão of secretly working for an NGO and fired Galvão. That move sparked sharp blowback from the public and rebukes from the scientific community worldwide.After news of the fires — already raging across the Amazon for weeks — an online petition in the UK asked the European Union to sanction Brazil for its increased deforestation. Within a day, it collected over 65,000 signatures. If it reaches the 100,000 signatures mark, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.A protester paints a placard to defend the Amazon rainforest in front of the Brazilian Embassy in London. Image by Elisângela Mendonça for Mongabay.French President Emmanuel Macron also called on Thursday for emergency talks at the G7 summit in Biarritz to discuss the record number of fires, calling the situation an international crisis and gaining the support of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. France was also joined by Ireland in its threat to block the Mercosur free-trade agreement between the EU and South America if Bolsonaro didn’t get the fires under control.Bolsonaro reacted to Macron’s assertion by calling the French president’s position “a misplaced colonialist mindset.” He addressed the nation Friday night as protests were in full swing, announcing he had authorized the Armed Forces to help combat the fires still burning across the Amazon and saying his was a government that had “zero tolerance for crime, and environmental crimes are no different.”“The Amazon rainforest is an essential part of our history, of our territory and of everything that makes us feel Brazilian,” he said in the formal TV and radio address, an oddity for the president, who prefers to communicate on social media. “Because of my military background and my trajectory as a man in public service, I have profound love and respect for the Amazon.”Bolsonaro’s latest statements are in stark contrast to his longtime pro-agribusiness rhetoric, which he carried out in policy when, shortly after taking office earlier this year, he attempted to merge the ministries of agriculture and environment and made moves to open up conservation units and indigenous territories to mining, a move he has promised to make since he was a candidate for the presidency.Indigenous people protest against President Jair Bolsonaro in the city of São Paulo. On the left, Camilo Kayapó raises a placard reading: “Earth doesn’t belong to men. Men are who belong to Earth.” Image by Jill Langlois for Mongabay.For Camilo Kayapó, an indigenous protester in São Paulo, it’s this type of rhetoric that has emboldened those clear-cutting the Amazon, putting both the environment and the region’s residents at risk. “The president is endorsing deforestation,” he said. “He’s allowing them to take our land for mining, for logging, for agriculture. And we have to watch our family members die every day.”Despite having Bolsonaro’s support, Brazilian agribusiness is concerned with an international boycott of Brazilian agricultural products. According to Marcello Brito, president of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association, it’s just “a matter of time.”“It will cost Brazil dearly to regain the confidence of some international markets,” he told financial newspaper Valor Econômico.For Annaís Berlin, a Brazilian activist who protested in London, it is essential to draw other countries’ attention to stop Bolsonaro.“Other governments… have the power, [they] need to do something. Boycott Brazil, stop the Mercosur and European Union trade deal. Stop talking to this ‘guy’ [Bolsonaro],” Berlin said.Banner image caption: Protesters against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in front of the Brazilian Embassy in London. Image by Elisângela Mendonça for Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Karla Mendes Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Amazon Destruction, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Green, Protests, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests last_img read more

‘We have cut them all’: Ghana struggles to protect its last old-growth forests

first_imgArticle published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Deforestation of Ghana’s primary forests jumped 60 percent between 2017 and 2018 – the biggest jump of any tropical country. Most of this occurred in the country’s protected areas, including its forest reserves.A Mongabay investigation revealed that illegal logging in forest reserves is commonplace, with sources claiming officers from Ghana’s Forestry Commission often turn a blind eye and even participate in the activity.The technical director of forestry at Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources said attempts at intervention have met with limited success, and are often thwarted by loggers who know how to game the system.A representative of a conservation NGO operating in the country says a community-based monitoring project has helped curtail illegal logging in some reserves, but additional buy-in from other communities is needed to scale up its results. Meanwhile, the Ghanaian government is reportedly starting its own public outreach program, as well as coordinating with the EU on an agreement that would allow only legal wood from Ghana to enter the EU market. KUMASI, Ghana — The West African country of Ghana is known for having rich natural resources including vast tracts of rainforest. But its primary forest has all but vanished, with what remains generally relegated to reserves scattered throughout the country’s southern third.These reserves are under official protection. However, that hasn’t stopped logging and other illegal activities from deforesting them.An analysis of satellite data published earlier this year by U.S.-based World Resource Institute (WRI), found Ghana experienced the biggest relative increase in primary forest loss of all tropical countries last year. According to the report, the loss of Ghana’s primary forest cover jumped 60 percent from 2017 to 2018 – almost entirely from its protected areas.Most of Ghana’s primary forests are gone and, like puzzle pieces of dark green scattered across the landscape, the fragmented remainder are shielded in protected areas. However, those protections appear to be failing, with satellite data indicating 2019 may be continuing 2018’s record-breaking deforestation trend. Source: GLAD/UMD, accessed through Global Forest Watch.WRI found that while mining and logging were partly to blame for Ghana’s deforestation, the expansion of cocoa farms was the main culprit.In response to WRI’s report, the Ghanaian government issued a statement through its Forestry Commission denying the findings. In its statement, the Forestry Commission said the WRI report was based on a faulty methodology as well as a misunderstanding of current controlled agricultural practices in Ghana. It refuted the 60 percent figure, saying instead that Ghana’s primary forest loss had increased by 31 percent between 2017 and 2018.A publication by data analytics company Satelligence, however, affirmed WRI’s findings that Ghana deforestation did indeed experience a 60 percent jump. However, Satelligence’s report differs in one significant aspect from WRI’s: it says cocoa is not the main driver of deforestation in Ghana, instead laying blame on logging, mining, fire, and industrial agricultural expansion for other kinds of crops.Forest reserves under attackGhana’s last remaining tracts of primary forest can only be found within areas granted official protection. However, even these are no longer immune to the advance of deforestation, with many hit hard by a surge of forest loss that began in April.Stretching more than 20 kilometers (12 miles) along a bank of hills in the Ashanti region of southern Ghana, Tano-Offin Forest Reserve has lost more than 16 percent of its old-growth forest since 2001, according to satellite data from the University of Maryland. Several areas of the reserve are completely devoid of large trees, while the roar of chainsaws is ever-present, operated with impunity.A clearcut area 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) wide was carved from Tano-Offin earlier this year. Imagery from Planet Labs, accessed via Global Forest Watch.Sources on the ground say that illegal logging done at the hands of Ghanaian nationals as well as foreigners, especially Chinese nationals, appears to be the main cause of deforestation in the reserve.“If you have come to look for trees in this forest then forget it because we have cut them all,” said a chainsaw operator who was illegally felling trees in the reserve to sell to a local buyer. The buyer showed up with a truck to haul off the logs.Anane Frempong, the political head, or “assemblyman,” in Ghanaian parlance, of the Kyekyewere electoral area that comprises Tano-Offin, told Mongabay that his outfit seized some 6,000 pieces of timber last year that were harvested illegally in the reserve. These were handed over to officials from the Forestry Commission, which has established a task force to prevent illegal logging.A truck transports recently felled timber near Tano-Offin Forest Reserve. Image by Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda for Mongabay.However, efforts to protect forests are often stymied. The chainsaw operator told Mongabay that loggers routinely bribed members of the task force to look the other way. This has seemingly created a situation of impunity, with trucks carrying timber in broad daylight from the reserve to the city of Kumasi a common sight, even though the Forestry Commission has set up checkpoints along the route. See PicturesFire, farms and minesIllegal timber harvesting isn’t the only activity driving deforestation in Tano-Offin. Bush fires, set to clear land and aided by the dry harmattan season from November to March, have consumed large swaths of forest.Human settlement in Tano-Offin has also contributed to the destruction of its forest. Half a dozen communities are situated deep inside the reserve, of which Kyekyewere is the largest. With a population of more than 1,000, Kyekyewere has some trappings of a modern town, including a school that provides education from the kindergarten level to junior high. However, there is no medical facility or electricity, and most community members depend on farming to survive.The town of Kyekyewere lies within Tano-Offin. Image by Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda for Mongabay.Frempong, the Kyekyewere assemblyman, told Mongabay that the community had existed in the forest for more than 200 years, and that its residents had no other place to go. He said forest guards intimidated and harassed them whenever they farmed in the forest, alleging that last year they forced a resident of the community to swallow a dry plantain leaf, which Frempong says led to the man’s death a few days later.“To mitigate this conflict, I will humbly appeal to the government of Ghana through the Forestry Commission to demarcate an area for farmland in the reserve to enable members of the community to have food to eat, as we have nowhere to call our town apart from the Kyekyewere community,” Frempong said.Part of Tano-Offin is also rich in bauxite, which has prompted the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Corporation to begin establishing mining operations in the reserve. While mining has not yet started, infrastructure development is underway, with roads to prospective mining sites currently under construction.Residents have expressed concern about the impacts mining might have on the forest, among them Nana Oppong Dinkyine. He told Mongabay that deforestation is already affecting water resources.“The continuous depletion of the forest is seriously having a negative effect on our livelihood as our water bodies are being dried up and with the amount of rainfall dropping every year in this community, we are likely to face acute water shortage in the near future,” Dinkyine said. “That is why we are going to resist the mining operation in the forest — to protect our rivers.”Bia Tano Forest Reserve is located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of Tano-Offin. Here, illegal logging is also underway. But sources say that Forestry Commission officials aren’t just allowing logging here — they’re actively participating in it.African bush elephants (Loxodonta africana) can still be found in Bia Tano Forest Reserve. They’re listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Mongabay observed loggers transporting timber from Bia Tano through a checkpoint immediately west of the reserve. When confronted by the forest guard manning the checkpoint, one of the loggers said a forestry officer from Goaso district had allowed them to cut down trees in the reserve.Upon hearing that the loggers had official permission, the guard allowed them to proceed.“This is the challenge confronting us here,” said the guard, who asked not to be named. “Public officials are deeply involved in the illegal activities.”Mongabay reached out to Ghana’s Forestry Commission, but requests for comment were not answered by the time this story was published.Another forest guard who also spoke to Mongabay on condition of anonymity said that state officials were also giving out concessions in the reserve to their cronies.Trees cut down in Bia Tano Forest Reserve lie on the recently denuded ground. Image by Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda for Mongabay.Timber is often transported from Bia Tano via modified motorbikes. Image by Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda for Mongabay.At the Bediakokrom community just east of Bia Tano, dozens of sawmills can be seen just outside the reserve. The second forest guard told Mongabay that most of the owners of the sawmills had no permit to work in the reserve, but continued to log its forests.Community leader Agya Bomba blamed the now-defunct Ayum Timber Company for the increase in illegal logging in Bia Tano. He said that a concession once leased by the company had since been invaded by illegal loggers, including former company staff.Fighting backIllegal logging in Ghana’s forest reserves was confirmed by Musah Abu-Juam, technical director in charge of forestry at Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, who said the practice was ongoing both inside and outside protected areas.“Because of the low number of the officials of the Forestry Commission, we still have high incidence of chainsawing both outside and inside the forest reserves,” he said.Abu-Juam said the government was doing its best to fight back against illegal deforestation. He referred to one incident in which the Forestry Commission stopped buses loaded with illegal timber from a forest reserve and arrested the perpetrators.However, Abu-Juam said that although the government of Ghana was making an effort to improve the monitoring mechanisms in the reserves, those involved in the illegal activity often find ways to outwit these measures. He cited a case in which illegal operators tried fooling forest guards by entering a reserve during the night, cutting down trees, and making them into semi-finished doors in the forest before transporting them out before daybreak.Milled planks being transported outside of Bia Tano Forest Reserve. Image by Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda for Mongabay.He also mentioned a recent arrest made when Forestry Commission officials discovered loggers were transporting illegal wood from a reserve by hiding it in coffins.Abu-Juam said the government had introduced a program rewarding people who report illegal logging. However, he said the program suffered a setback as illegal operators impersonated whistle-blowers to send forestry officials on a wild goose chase in one area while they logged in another.He also blamed deforestation on forest-dependent communities, saying “their continuous expansion is destructive to the reserves in which they live.”However, some say these communities could also be a key to saving Ghana’s forest reserves. Friends of the Earth (FoE) Ghana, an NGO, has initiated a program called “community-based real-time monitoring” to try and clamp down on the country’s rampant illegal logging.Dennis Acquah, project coordinator for FoE-Ghana, said the program has helped build capacity in communities living within forests to detect and report illegal activities as they’re happening by using a mobile phone app.“With the project, FoE-Ghana selected some members of the forest fringe communities, trained them to be conversant with forest laws and mobile systems applications … to collect and transmit quality data, which can be in a form of video, audio or picture, and transmit the data onto [a] centralized database,” Acquah said. “FoE then collaborate[s] with the Forestry Commission for verification of the alerts and then take action.”Acquah said the project had yielded positive results, including driving many illegal loggers from reserves and the confiscation of illegal timber. He said this success could be scaled up and urged the involvement of all forest communities.The race is on to protect Ghana’s remaining old-growth forests. Image by Awudu Salami Sulemana Yoda for Mongabay.According to Abu-Juam, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is also engaging members of the public, particularly those living around the reserves, to fight illegal logging. He added that a special court had been established, with trained local forestry officials acting as prosecutors to deal with cases involving illegal operators in the reserves.Ghana is also tapping into international support to combat illegal logging. Abu-Juam said the governments of Ghana and the European Union had entered into an agreement that would allow only legal wood to enter the EU market, and had established the Legality Assurance System, which tracks each piece of timber from where it is cut to where it is sold.“The government of Ghana has reached very far with the EU to make the agreement work and it will soon issue the forest law enforcement, governance and trade license for the agreement to take [effect],” Abu-Juam told Mongabay. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Animals, Apes, Chimpanzees, Deforestation, Elephants, Environment, Featured, Forests, Green, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Illegal Logging, Logging, Mining, Old Growth Forests, Primary Forests, Primates, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Banner image: Young common chimpanzees ponder their future. Image by Delphine Bruyere via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)Disclaimer: Mongabay has a funding partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI), which administers Global Forest Watch. However, WRI has no editorial influence over Mongabay content.Editor’s note: This story was powered by Places to Watch, a Global Forest Watch (GFW) initiative designed to quickly identify concerning forest loss around the world and catalyze further investigation of these areas. Places to Watch draws on a combination of near-real-time satellite data, automated algorithms and field intelligence to identify new areas on a monthly basis. In partnership with Mongabay, GFW is supporting data-driven journalism by providing data and maps generated by Places to Watch. Mongabay maintains complete editorial independence over the stories reported using this data.Feedback: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

COP25: Wood pellet CEO claims biomass carbon neutrality, despite science

first_imgAdaptation To Climate Change, Alternative Energy, carbon, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Negative Bioenergy, Carbon Sequestration, Clean Energy, Climate, Climate Change, Climate Change Politics, climate policy, Climate Politics, Climate Science, Controversial, Emission Reduction, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Politics, Environment, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Environmental Politics, Forest Carbon, Forests, Global Environmental Crisis, Global Warming, Global Warming Mitigation, Globalization, Green, Green Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Impact Of Climate Change, International Trade, Law, Monitoring, Plantations, Pollution, Renewable Energy, Research, Sustainability, Trade Article published by Glenn Scherer 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 Research has conclusively shown that burning biomass for energy is not carbon neutral. However, a biomass carbon accounting loophole currently enforced by the UN and the Paris Agreement says that burning trees in the form of wood pellets produces zero emissions, and so is classified with solar and wind power.Mongabay gained an exclusive interview with Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax, the United Kingdom’s largest biomass energy plant. He dismisses the science and asserts that his firm and $7.6 billion industry are meeting “a responsibility to our community, our shareholders and our colleagues to be a part of the escalating climate crisis.”Bill Moomaw — an international researcher on biomass-for-energy, and author of forest reports for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — counters Gardiner’s arguments: “It’s all about the money. The wood pellet industry is a monster out of control,” he said when interviewed at COP25.Despite repeated pleas from scientists, COP25 climate summit negotiators in Madrid failed to address the biomass carbon accounting loophole, as they did at COP24 — a lapse that, if allowed to persist, could help push emissions above a 2 degree Celsius planetwide average increase that the UN says could bring climate catastrophe. Will Gardiner CEO of Drax, the United Kingdom’s largest biomass plant speaking at COP25. Image by Justin Catanoso.MADRID, Spain – Burning wood pellets to generate electricity instead of coal is not only better for the environment but also better for forests, the chief executive of Drax, the United Kingdom’s largest biomass plant, told Mongabay at the United Nations climate summit this week.“I have a very, very clear view of this,” Will Gardiner said in an interview following a presentation at the UK’s pavilion sponsored by a group called Powering Past Coal. “It is absolutely better to use biomass than coal. The wood pellets we use come from forest ecosystems that are regrown.”Gardiner, who was Drax’s chief financial officer before taking the top job in January 2018, then offered his view on forest ecology: “Fundamentally, we are part of a system that is helping forests to grow and prosper. A mature forest ends up bouncing off and doesn’t capture more carbon. A managed forest that keeps growing continues to capture more carbon.”When told later of the CEO’s explanation of forest growth, Bill Moomaw — a top international researcher on biomass-for-energy, and author of forest reports for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — scoffed.“Mature trees do not stop absorbing carbon,” he said. “It’s just the opposite. Carbon sequestration actually accelerates as a tree grows older. ‘Managed forests’ is usually code for trees farms full of longleaf pine that are cut [down] frequently and absorb a lot less carbon than mature forests.”He added: “From an emissions standpoint, the UK would be better off burning coal and leaving those trees standing as long as possible.”The UK’s Drax power stations, one of the largest users of woody biomass for energy production. The Drax biomass dome, seen here, once burned coal but now burns wood pellets and chips. Photo credit: DECCgovuk on VisualHunt / CC BY-ND.Carbon neutral?Drax, the former coal-fired power plant in Yorkshire, is at the heart of one of the biggest environmental controversies — many scientists would argue crises — in the world of renewable energy. The problem was born with the 1997 Kyoto agreement. Because trees can be regrown, Kyoto negotiators decided biomass (the burning of trees to produce energy), was counted as being carbon neutral and classified as renewable, on par with wind and solar energy. That designation continues under the Paris Agreement.As a result, countries that stopped burning coal and now burn wood in their power plants can zero out all emissions produced. Thus, the UK can claim that it is reducing its carbon emissions, when in fact the reduction is less than it reports — about 8% less at the current rate of wood-pellet usage, though a percentage that will grow in future.This underreporting looks good on paper, but not in the atmosphere, and it comes at a time when record global emissions have supercharged planetary climate disasters, bringing catastrophic extreme weather, escalating sea-level rise, worsening wildfires, fast melting permafrost — and just last week — warnings of rapidly increasing ocean deoxygenation.Worse still, studies and reports by Woods Hole Research Center, among others, have established that burning wood pellets actually generates more greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal. That’s because it takes more pellets to produce the same amount of energy as coal.This UN biomass carbon accounting loophole, as scientists call it, has propelled a brand new industry to prominence, with the wood pellet global market topping $7.6 billion in 2017. That market is estimated to double to $15.4 billion by 2025 as Japan and South Korea ramp up biomass plants, according to Grand View Research.Bill Moomaw being interviewed after appearing at a COP25 side event held with prominent climate scientists and climate activist Greta Thunberg. Image by Justin Catanoso.“All about the money”The target of those rising revenues? Thousands of acres of carbon-absorbing primary forests — hardwoods, bottomland and swampland trees, and pine lands – which are being converted into plantations, and pelletized mostly in the U.S. Southeast but also in old-growth forests in Estonia and Latvia in Eastern Europe. Environmentalists fear tropical forests, already stressed by rampant deforestation for mineral extraction and agribusiness, will soon become a biomass production market.“It’s all about the money,” Moomaw said. “The wood pellet industry is a monster out of control.”In the past, despite repeated pleas from researchers, the UN has resisted all attempts to close the biomass loophole. It’s been no different at COP25, where top negotiators ignored the issue altogether.Gardiner supports this status quo. During his presentation, he told the audience: “Our journey beyond coal began more than a decade ago when we realized we have a responsibility to our community, our shareholders and our colleagues to be a part of the escalating climate crisis.“At Drax, we did something that many believed wasn’t possible. We began to replace coal generation with renewable, sustainable biomass. Within a decade, we transformed [our power plant] into Europe’s largest decarbonization project.”Drax, and biomass-for-energy plants across the European Union, are supported by hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. The EU’s mandated Renewable Energy Directive calls biomass carbon neutral, thus giving the loophole the weight of law. Critics say this legal designation allows countries to use the on-paper-only emissions reductions to help meet their national Paris Agreement pledges, while not investing as much in wind and solar.Gardiner claims that Drax’s carbon emissions are immediately offset by trees replanted in the U.S., which he says is where the Kyoto Protocol requires trees be harvested. When told that the United States never ratified Kyoto, and environmentalists have shown that native forests clear cut for pellets are rarely replanted; though some are replaced by plantations, Gardiner responded:“You’re telling me I don’t believe what I’m saying. But I do believe what I’m saying, because it’s true. It’s absolutely true.”Thousands of trees stacked like cordwood wait to be turned into wood pellets for overseas shipment, mostly to the UK and EU, at one of three pellet-making plants in North Carolina. Photo courtesy of the Dogwood Alliance.Scientists speak outEarlier this year, in an open letter to the EU, nearly 800 scientists railed against the biomass carbon neutrality loophole: “Even if forests are allowed to regrow, using wood deliberately for burning will increase carbon in the atmosphere and [increase] warming for decades even centuries — as many studies have shown — even when wood replaces coal, oil or natural gas. The reasons are fundamental and occur regardless of whether forest management is ‘sustainable.’”That fundamental reason: the carbon from a tree burned today for energy is not absorbed immediately back into an ecosystem even if new trees are planted. Carbon neutrality happens, research shows, but it takes decades or centuries for those trees to sequester today’s emissions.As the Madrid summit concludes, state governments want to showcase their successes. Misleading carbon accounting rules make it possible to reduce national emissions on paper simply by switching from coal (where emissions must be reported) to imported biomass (reported as zero emissions). “Forest biomass for energy is being hailed as the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ that delivers a win-win-win for policymakers, foresters and energy companies, because current rules permit it to be indiscriminately subsidized as a renewable energy. But for the climate, it is like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire,” says Dr William Gillett, Energy Programme Director for the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC).Asked if he believes scientists are wrong, Gardiner said, “I acknowledge that there are people who don’t agree [with biomass carbon neutrality], but you have to acknowledge that there are people who do. There are world-renowned scientists who agree. Many if not more than those who don’t agree.”Moomaw just shook his head at those comments.“I would like to see a study by just one scientist that actually demonstrates that burning wood pellets is carbon neutral within the timeframes we are talking about,” he said. “The IPCC says it’s not in the Fifth Assessment Report [on Climate Change]. If he thinks he’s smarter than IPCC scientists, then god bless him.”Justin Catanoso, a professor of journalism at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, covers climate change and climate policy for Mongabay; this is his sixth UN climate summit. Follow him on Twitter @jcatanosoBanner image caption: The UK’s Drax biomass burning power plant. Photo credit: RyanTaylor1986 on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-NDFEEDBACK: 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.When the biomass industry hypes wood pellets, people often imagine the product as being consumed in small household wood burning pellet stoves. The reality is quite different and large-scale, with industrial burning of chips and pellets to make electricity, as seen here at the Drax biomass plant in Britain. Photo credit: nican45 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA.last_img read more

Indonesia’s push to become a tourism paradise sidelines land rights

first_imgIndonesia’s bid to develop new tourism hotspots beyond Bali has given rise to several conflicts with local communities over land rights.Communities in places such as Sumatra’s Lake Toba and the island getaways of Bali and Lombok have been forcibly displaced for tourism development projects in which they’ve had little or no say.The number of land conflicts in general and related criminal prosecutions of farmers, indigenous people and activists has risen sharply under President Joko Widodo compared to his predecessor.Activists warn the situation is likely to get worse as the government prioritizes investments and developments over the land rights of locals. JAKARTA — President Joko Widodo’s focus on building tourism hotspots has created an increasingly hostile environment for indigenous communities and land rights activists in Indonesia, a new report says.There were 83 recorded land conflicts triggered as a direct result of infrastructure projects across the country in 2019, according to the report from the NGO Consortium for Agrarian Reform, or KPA. That figure is more than five times the 16 land conflicts linked to infrastructure projects recorded in 2018.KPA secretary-general Dewi Kartika attributed this “drastic increase” to the government’s intensified push to build infrastructure as part of the Widodo administration’s wider economic development program.“We predicted this [increase] last year because there are a lot of nationally strategic projects that entered the land acquisition stage last year,” Dewi said at the Jan. 3 launch of the KPA report in Jakarta. “This process was the one that caused many agrarian conflicts to flare up.”A group of locals from Wawonii island protests demanding the cancellation of mining permits on the island, located in Indonesia’s Southeast Sulawesi province. Image by Kamarudin/Mongabay Indonesia.Tourism pushA major part of the infrastructure push is the government’s ambition to catch up with regional neighbors such as Thailand and Malaysia as a key tourist draw. Indonesia recorded 13.6 million foreign tourist arrivals from January to October 2019 — a far cry from the record 39 million that Thailand attracted throughout the year.The Widodo administration’s main strategy to compete has been to develop “10 new Balis,” a program to foster tourism hotspots across the country that can prove as popular as the resort island of Bali, by far Indonesia’s main tourism destination.Among these prospective sites is Lake Toba, located in the caldera of an active volcano in North Sumatra province. To draw tourists there, the government is building a slew of infrastructure including a new international terminal at the regional airport and a “glamping” site for upscale camping.The campsite will connect to a nearby village through a 1.9-kilometer (1.2-mile) road. But the planned road runs through the ancestral homes and graves of the indigenous Na Opat people, who have lived there for generations and whose identity is strongly tied to their land. The community was evicted, and in April 2019 its members were barred from attending the inauguration of the campsite. In September, they clashed with road construction crews driving excavators and backed by the police and the military. At least one person injured in the incident.The community has pleaded with the government for recognition of its land rights, sending letters to the president and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. But there has been no response to date.“The government has never acknowledged us,” Togi Butarbutar, a member of the Na Opat community, said as quoted by local media. “They disrupt our community and treat us like squatters. And that makes us even sadder. It’s cruel.”A group of female farmers tries to block a bulldozer from clearing their banana plantations in Selasih village, Bali, in November 2019. Image courtesy of Selasih Farmers Union (SPS).Stormy islandsAnother land conflict highlighted in the KPA report centers on the Mandalika coastal region on the island of Lombok, next to Bali. The government is building a 4.32-km (2.68-mi) circuit in Mandalika to host the MotoGP racing series from 2021. At least 145 households in two villages will be relocated to make way for the circuit.Some locals have opposed the project by erecting fences around some of the affected plots. They say they haven’t received compensation from the Indonesian tourism board and that they rely on the land to access the road network.“The locals feel disadvantaged because they’ve become victims of land acquisition for the construction of a circuit that’s integrated into the tourism area,” Dewi said.German motorsports media outlet Speedweek.com reported that at least one farmer still owns 0.6 hectare (1.5 acres) of land in the middle of the site. The farmer and several others are reportedly taking part in a sit-down because they’re worried the circuit developer will bulldoze the land before they’re getting paid.A similar conflict has erupted in Bali, where 50 families and a resort developer have squared off over a 144-ha (356-acre) site in one of the most fertile parts of the island. PT Ubud Resort Duta Development says it’s the rightful owner of the land, having obtained the necessary permit in 1997. But the families say they’ve cultivated the land for generations, and that the developer hasn’t done anything with the land since acquiring the permit.It was only in 2019 that the company announced it would begin developing the land. No concrete plans have been announced, although locals say they’ve heard a new golf course is in the pipeline. The conflict escalated in November, when workers backed by hundreds of police officers drove bulldozers in the village to clear the families’ farms. The families formed a human shield to block them, with the women staging a topless protest.A fish farm in Lake Toba, the world’s biggest volcanic lake. Photo by Axel Drainville/FlickrRising trendThese tourism development hotspots accounted for at least nine cases of land conflicts last year, Dewi said. A common factor in all these cases is the government’s failure to include local communities in the development planning, according to a study on four of the “10 new Balis” by the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM). ELSAM researcher Blandina Lintang Setianti said most locals didn’t know the details of the development plans in their areas, given that public discussions only involved local officials.“The right to information of many people [was] violated, as they are not even aware of the tourism master [plan] for their area,” Lintang said as quoted by local media.The government has acknowledged the importance of engaging local communities. Bambang Iriana Djajaatmadja, in charge of cooperation at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said tourism development shouldn’t come at the expense of the violation of the rights of local people, including their land rights.“What we must learn is that if we can’t meet the rights of the local people, then this can hamper the rights of our tourists as well,” he said.Even so, the general situation looks unlikely to improve soon, according to Dewi.“The escalation of agrarian conflicts in the first term of the Widodo administration increased significantly compared to the last five years of the [Susilo Bambang] Yudhoyono administration,” she said, referring to the previous president.The KPA recorded 2,047 land conflicts during Widodo’s first term, from 2015 to 2019 — an increase of 56% over the number of cases during Yudhoyono’s second term, from 2010 to 2014. The number of people facing criminal prosecution under Widodo also rose 13% to 1,298 — mostly farmers, indigenous people, and land rights activists. The conflicts under the current administration were also more intense, 757 injured compared to 590 under Yudhoyono, although more were shot and killed under the former president (72) than the current one (55).But during Widodo’s tenure, the use of force by the state against land rights activists and local communities has intensified year after year. In 2019, the KPA recorded 211 people injured, 24 shot and 14 killed, compared to 132 injured, six shot and 10 killed in 2018. The NGO identified the police as the most violent state actor, involved in 37 cases.“The brutality of the state apparatus was very dominant [in 2019],” Dewi said.The people in Pangkalan Kapas protest against the proposed coal mining project. Image by Suryadi/Mongabay Indonesia.‘Buckle up’Activists warn of worse to come as Widodo woos investment from abroad to boost Indonesia’s economy. The president has made no secret of his hostility toward regulations that he sees as hampering investors. In a speech last July, he threatened action against anyone found doing so, saying, “I will chase, I will control, I will check and I will beat [them] up if necessary!”The language used has raised concerns among environmental and indigenous rights activists, who say there are plenty of justifiable reasons to oppose or at least slow down development projects that involve the clearing of forests and customary lands.The police have said they will improve how they handle land conflicts, including reducing the use of force against protesters. Endar Priantoro, a senior officer in the police’s general crimes department, said the KPA report would serve as a reminder to the police force.“Basically all police officers are the same: they want to handle all problems without resorting to violence,” he said. “The policy of the current national police chief is to prioritize not using [criminal prosecution to resolve land conflicts].”However, Rukka Sombolongi, the chairwoman of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), said indigenous communities across the country still needed to brace for the likelihood of even more land conflicts and greater persecution as a result of the government’s increasingly pro-investor policies.“I’ve told indigenous communities to buckle up,” she said, “because we’re going to go through a storm of investments.” 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. 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 Hans Nicholas Jongcenter_img Banner image: A woman faces the police at one of the protests in Kendari, Indonesia. Image by Kamarudin for Mongabay. Activism, Conflict, Development, Environment, Human Rights, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Rights, Social Conflict, Tourism last_img read more

Ça chauffe sur fond d’accusation de racisme entre Mühlenbach et Rodange

first_imgAprès le match nul (1-1) vendredi soir entre les deux actuels montants de la Promotion d’honneur, Rodange et Mühlenbach, l’ailier de Mühlenbach, Rachid Boulahfari, a reçu un texto visiblement très limite émanant d’un des dirigeants du club rodangeois.Ce SMS indiquerait en des termes à l’extrême limite de la décence et du racisme ordinaire que Mühlenbach avait cherché… à acheter le gardien rodangeois.Mis au fait de ce message par le joueur lui-même, qui l’a reçu lundi matin, les dirigeants de Mühlenbach ont pris le problème à bras le corps. Se disant outrés des propos tenus dans ce message, ils ont saisi la FLF et envisagent même de porter l’affaire bien plus haut. LQ Partagerlast_img read more

When frustration begins to sink in

first_imgDear Editor,The present Coalition Government is in the news again where unethical and vulgar repetitions were used by one of its members. In this instance, lewd and vulgar outbursts were again uttered by a minister of Government. It seems that this coalition Government has come to notoriety with these public displays of vulgarity, and the occurrences are all too often and familiar when frustration has reached saturation point.The minister in question was being asked a simple question, to which he showed gross contempt and disrespect for the media worker, so when he was further prodded for a sensible answer, he arrogantly responded with the now infamous “haul your ass” response. This is low, undignified, street corner behaviour for a minister of Government. If he had nothing noteworthy to say, he could have simply ignored the question; but responding in the way he did truly reveals the mettle of the man.In retrospect, Ramjattan apologised for his action, but he has to accept the fact that the evil deed has been done, and there is no mitigation for his actions. The point is: this minister is frustrated because his ministry is in a quandary as to what is the best strategy that can be utilized to combat the multitude of issues, such as suicide, rape, joblessness, armed robberies and murder that have so engulfed his ministry. So the poor guy is in dire straits. These and the ever superabundance of scandals that have rocked his ministry weighs heavily on him, so, he did the thing, which is so characteristic of this administration; and that is, to lash out in contemptuous fury, “Haul your ass!”But lest we be too judgmental and hard on Ramjattan, we just have to step backwards a few months ago, when the present attorney general was caught in a similar situation. At that instance, he was cross-examining a witness on the stand, and in similar fashion, when he could not get his way, he also lashed out in threatening disgust at the judge. Not being able to elicit the desired response from a witness brought out the baseness in his thinking. What is of grave significance here is the fact that not only did he make a threat on the judge, but he vehemently refused to apologize. Interesting!Finally, one of the hallmarks of this administration is its members’ penchant for expletives and violent outbursts whenever they are cornered. They do so at will, however and whenever they see fit, no matter how stupid and dangerous it may be. There are no boundaries for their lawlessness, there is just that total disregard for law and order, or civilized behaviour.Guyana can be considered a forward thinking, educated and talented society, and as such, I do not see why we should be burdened with such decadence.Respectfully,Neil Adamslast_img read more

Garcia takes over Kenya Open reins

first_imgWith Nicholas Rokoine disqualified on Thursday, Kopan Timbe who also at level par for the day, was the next local on the leader board on one over for the tournament.At the summit, the Spaniard began the day three shots off the overnight lead held by HP Bacher at Karen Country Club but a flying start, with birdies at the second and third, proved a sign of things to come.A bogey at the seventh hole meant he reached the turn in two under but back to back birdies at the 11th and 12th was followed by a superb up and down for birdie at the 15th and while he dropped a shot at the 16th, he bounced straight back with a gained shot at 17 to move out in front on seven under.“I played really well today from the very start,” said Garcia Pinto. “After the early birdies I was very relaxed and just enjoyed the day.“I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, whereas yesterday I missed a lot of greens, so it was important to get those early birdies. “I was very calm and relaxed. I like this course a lot. My coach Joan Anglada played here about 25 years ago when he played on The European Tour and he said the course was perfect for me. It’s tricky but I like it.”David Law of Scotland was two shots further back in the clubhouse after adding a two under par second round 69 to his opening 68 to move to five under while José-Filipe Lima was a shot further back on four under for the tournament.-European Tour website0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, February 15- Spain’s Jordi Garcia Pinto fired seven birdies on the way to a five under par second round of 66 to take a two shot lead midway through the second day of the Barclays Kenya Open on Friday.Greg Snow lead the Kenyan challenge on three under for the tournament after firing level par following his 68 on the opening day.last_img read more

Woodfibre LNG announces new company president

first_imgSQUAMISH, B.C. – Woodfibre LNG Ltd. announced that David Keane has been appointed as the company’s new President.In a press release, Woodfibre LNG said that Keane, who has more than 36 years of international business experience in the energy sector, will lead the construction and operation of the Woodfibre LNG Project near Squamish.Keane began his career as a helicopter pilot with the US Army. Prior to accepting the new position with Woodfibre LNG, he previously worked with BG Group for 10 years as Vice President of Policy and Corporate Affairs. He also served as Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Dynegy Europe and spent several years in various roles with Apache Corp. and Conoco, Inc.- Advertisement -“Woodfibre LNG Limited’s goal is to build one of the cleanest liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in the world,” said Ratnesh Bedi, President of Pacific Oil & Gas Limited, the parent company of Woodfibre LNG Limited. “Mr. Keane’s unique understanding of what it takes to establish an LNG export industry in Canada, along with his international energy industry experience will help make this goal a reality.”“The Woodfibre LNG Project is on track to be one of the first LNG processing and export terminals in Canada,” said David Keane, incoming President of Woodfibre LNG Limited. “I welcome this opportunity to be directly involved in building an LNG facility, and to help create all of the jobs, training and other economic opportunities that come with this project.”Keane also currently serves as Vice Chairman of B.C.’s Workforce Development Advisory Committee, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia, and has been appointed by the Government of Canada to the Track II Energy Dialogue between Canada and China, which seeks to increase energy trade between the two countries.Advertisementlast_img read more

Barcelona midfielder joins West Ham on season-long loan

first_imgWest Ham have announced the signing of Barcelona midfielder Alex Song on a season-long loan deal.The 26-year-old Cameroon international has fallen down the pecking order under new Nou Camp boss Luis Enrique and was told by the former Barca star he was free to leave before Monday’s transfer deadline.A host of European sides registered their interest, with Inter and AC Milan, Manchester United and Liverpool all thought to be chasing a deal for the former Arsenal man, but it is the Hammers who won the race to land the defensive midfielder, who can also operate at centre-back.His exit adds to the mass exodus of stars from the Catalan club this summer, with the likes of Victor Valdes, Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez and Bojan Krkic all leaving the La Liga giants.Meanwhile, Song’s arrival could spark the swift exit of Mohamed Diame, who is wanted by London rivals Queens Park Rangers.West Ham secured the shock deal moments before Saturday’s meeting with Southampton at Upton Park, where he was paraded in front of the elated home support.The new Hammers man, who has taken the number 30 shirt, said: “I’m very happy to be here and very happy to see the team and the fans today and to start to do my job for West Ham United. “I think this is very important for me to be coming back to London to West Ham, which is a club with ambition to build a new stadium and become a big club. I am very excited to be part of this project.“When I spoke to the manager, he gave me very good advice. I had a very good chat with him and that’s why I am coming here. “I think the club has very good ambition and I hope we can maybe catch the European positions, because that would be very good for the club.“I want to be part of that and that’s why I came here. The manager knows what he wants and I know what he wants and that’s why I want to help the team. I want to be part of what the club wants to achieve this year.“I need some games to be ready and get my fitness back. When I am 100 per cent, I will bring the experience and I will make the fans happy, I am sure. I am lucky to be back in London, back in England and with West Ham. I am looking forward to showing everyone what I can do.”Song is Sam Allardyce’s eigth signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Mauro Zarate, Cheikhou Kouyate, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet. 1 New West Ham signing Alex Song last_img read more