What happens to an ecotourism town when the wildlife doesn’t show?

first_imgArticle published by Rebecca Kessler Animals, Biodiversity, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Ecotourism, Endangered Species, Environment, Fish, Fishing, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Migration, Oceans, Sharks, Sharks And Rays, Tagging, Tourism, Whale Sharks, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Since the mid-1990s, the town of Donsol in the Philippines has based its economy around tourists viewing whale sharks.Whale sharks are migratory fish. And while they showed up in reliable numbers during the first decade of Donsol’s venture into shark tourism, their numbers have become highly unpredictable in the past decade for reasons still unknown.Tourism has declined as well, with 2018 registering the fewest visitor arrivals since whale shark tourism started. The local economy, which it had buoyed, is now flagging, although 2019 seems off to a strong start for both whale sharks and tourists.Wildlife tourism, by nature, is susceptible to biodiversity loss and changes in animal behavior; it places host communities on a thin line between profit and loss. DONSOL, Philippines — Omar Nepomuceno is looking for the whale sharks, as he has for over 20 years. Ask him what the odds are of finding one, and he’ll answer with “Swertehan”: a Filipino word for “a game of luck.”On the boat, it doesn’t present as luck, but as labor. He uses one forearm to protect his eyes from the sun, the other to level his vision. He peers through the sliver of space in between like binoculars. The whites of his eyes have darkened over the years, likely from sun damage.As a butanding (whale shark) interaction officer with the local government, Nepomuceno’s job is to guide tourists and protect the sharks, so that they can swim together in Donsol, a coastal town on Luzon, the Philippines’ main island.Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are only observed here during certain months of the year. But “swertehan” is always Nepomuceno’s answer, even when the sightings in his hometown take steep falls, affecting his — and the entire community’s — income. According to records from the Philippine office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines), sightings in Donsol fell from 1,790 in 2017 to 589 in 2018, a 68 percent drop. Whale sharks are highly mobile, so sightings tend to be erratic, but the discrepancies year on year (sometimes even month on month) have gotten increasingly unpredictable for Donsol, a town that in 1998 had more shark sightings than they could care to count.Omar Nepomuceno, a butanding (whale shark) interaction officer employed by the Donsol government. Image by Nina Unlay.The sharks can be seen by eye in silhouette when they are within 3 meters (10 feet) of the water’s surface. At tourist sites with more developed infrastructure, like Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, technology alleviates the hard labor of searching for them: scouts in planes spot sharks from above. Here, though, the roof of the boat is the highest viewing point, where a second spotter has fashioned a T-shirt into a mask protecting his head from the heat and wind. Only his eyes remain uncovered.On this day, luck isn’t present. A single shark comes and goes within the span of 10 minutes. Nine other boats, all carrying tourists, come swarming from all directions. The shark dives deeper than the eye can see.Wildlife tourism can be a lucrative industry, when it works as expected. Whale sharks make up around one-third of the $300 million global shark-viewing industry, which is growing globally. Even so, luck remains its mistress. There are fewer than 10,000 whale sharks in the world, with a declining population trend, and entire communities like Donsol depend on them to show up.Unpredictable whale sharksWWF-Philippines reports that at least 653 known individual whale sharks have been documented off Donsol since 2007, the largest concentration of the endangered animal in Southeast Asia.The town’s decline in sightings from 2017 was steep, but not a unique occurrence. Whereas whale sharks showed up in reliable numbers during the first decade of Donsol’s venture into shark tourism, which started in the mid-1990s, numbers have proven highly unpredictable in the past decade.In 2013, there were only 53 sightings the entire year, an anomaly that has yet to be explained. That started a steep decline in tourist arrivals, impacting the community’s then-steady stream of revenue: an estimated $300,000 annually from whale shark interactions alone, at its peak.A spotter looks out for whale sharks aboard a tourist boat in Donsol, the Philippines. Image by Nina Unlay.As a coastal town, fishing is a primary source of income in Donsol. But a fisherman’s daily wage ranges anywhere from a few dollars to nothing at all. An interaction officer can make $10 on a single three-hour boat trip, plus tips.“We had the highest number of tourists in 2012,” Desiree Abetria, the town’s tourism officer, told Mongabay. “But that was also when the decline in sightings started. So, the following year, the tourist arrivals declined as well. 2018 was our lowest record for arrivals.”The impact is felt throughout the town.“So many things changed because of tourism. It uplifted this town. Before the tourists, we had no roads. We rode boats to get to the city center. Now, even the wives of the fishermen have jobs,” said Imelda Montaño, who has lived in Donsol all her life. She works as a cook in a backpacker’s hostel. “Things have changed again,” she added, referring to the town’s economy.Those who previously shifted to tourism as a sole source of income have started going back to old jobs; they take on part-time work as fishermen, construction workers or drivers.Fishing boats at rest on a Donsol beach. Image by Nina Unlay.The whale shark capital of the Philippines“I don’t need to be a scientist to know that things are not right,” Nepomuceno said, referring to more than the day at hand. He claimed the water is much colder now than it was when they started two decades ago; the tide, not right for sharks.There isn’t a lot of scientific data to prove or disprove his observations. Back in 1998, when Donsol’s tourism industry was just starting, the whale sharks’ status on the IUCN Red List was “data deficient.” No one had reason to keep tabs on the sharks; only the fishermen, who considered the big fish pests for breaking their nets and ramming into their boats.WWF-Philippines, the sole NGO that has an official partnership with the local government, only began monitoring sightings in 2007.But the counting had begun, unofficially, in 1998. Carina Escudero, a marine cinematographer based in the Philippines, was pursuing a book project about Philippine marine life and received the tip about the large population of whale sharks in Donsol. She started calling the office of the local government every day to ask for the number of sightings, and kept a log of what she heard. According to Escudero, the numbers back then could go up to 23 sightings in a single day.“During that point in history, a whale shark was a really rare thing,” she said. “No one [in Donsol] believed me at the time, but I knew what I was seeing was earth-shattering. To them, it was just normal.”Escudero is credited with pushing the development of the tourism industry in Donsol; many interaction officers still refer to her as their “mother.” “It’s a miracle that the sharks even survived,” she said. “People were offering 600,000 Philippine pesos [$11,700 at current rates] for three dead sharks in a place where people are earning less than 100 pesos [$2] a day.”A mural in Donsol, the Philippines, shows some of the benefits of whale shark tourism. Photo taken in 2012. Image by 533338 via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).In 1998, a national ban on whale shark hunting took effect almost simultaneously with the burst of tourism in Donsol. Unlike the sudden ban, the transition on the ground was slow.“No one was interested in tourism,” Nepomuceno said. “They didn’t understand what it was.”But in time, through a partnership with WWF-Philippines and with support from other organizations, the local government trained the community to believe whale sharks were worth more to them alive than dead. Rules and guidelines, such as how close tourist boats could get to whale sharks or how many tourists could swim near them, were established to ensure the influx of visitors didn’t harm the sharks, and the interaction officers were charged with upholding them.Luck, gambles and guaranteesThe recent scarcity of whale shark sightings has had a profound, almost existential, effect on the community, one with a learned pride in its sharks. Most of those who work in tourism (vendors, tour officers, boatmen, and the like) gather in the mornings to send tourists off, promising to keep their fingers crossed for sharks or, in some instances, keep them in their prayers.But, like Nepomuceno with his principle of answering with “swertehan,” they make no guarantees. It’s a well-integrated standard, as dictated by the ethics of responsible wildlife tourism.“We can’t give an advisory that declares sharks are present in our waters, until such time that there have been sightings for three days straight,” said Abetria, the tourism officer. “That’s when we inform the Department of Tourism that they can start ‘advertising’ that our season is open. We don’t want to give a ‘false’ tourism, we don’t guarantee. It’s a wild animal.”Tourism dominates Donsol’s economy. Image by Nina Unlay.It’s when times are hard that the principles become blurry: “The interaction officers feel a sense of ownership over the sharks because they are the ones in the water with them every day,” said Alessandro Ponzo, executive director of the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE). “It’s good, but it also means they regulate one another. And right now, the interaction officers are the ones pulling the tourists closer to see the shark.”Rules are broken more often when the sightings are scarce and the money thin. And not just by the interaction officers and boatmen; Sali Salahudin, 61, migrated with his son from a southern island to sell pearls to tourists. On average, he said, he makes roughly $14 a week, usually selling only one or two items. Salahudin said it’s not enough.He has started making guarantees, adapting to a system that no longer works for him, selling his intuition along with his wares. “Just make sure you go out the time I tell you to,” he said, “then there will be one.”Sali Salahudin, a migrant to Donsol, earns about $14 a week selling pearls to tourists. Image by Nina Unlay.These changes happened, not at once, but over time, in the face of a decline in income from tourism. But wildlife tourism, by nature, is susceptible to biodiversity loss and changes in animal behavior; it places host communities on a thin line between profit and loss. Though they make no guarantees, making apologies to tourists for these losses has become a part of their job.Donsol’s new normalNo one has figured out why the number of whale sharks in Donsol has been fluctuating so greatly of late. Researchers only have theories: the plankton they feed on may have been affected by changes in the water, luring them outside the designated interaction areas; they might also be lurking deeper underwater for some reason.The lapses in information are many, including where the sharks go when they’re not in Donsol. WWF uses a global archive of photos, Wildbook.org, to give the community some idea of where its sharks have been. Every time a shark is discovered or re-encountered, it’s registered. But the record is far from complete, because not all tourism sites participate. A shark can “disappear” for years if it migrates to an area where people aren’t looking; worse, to an area that still practices hunting.A whale shark in Mexico. Image by MarAlliance2018 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).“You can’t just protect whale sharks from your backyard,” Escudero said. “You have to protect the whole world.”In Donsol, at least, they continue to be looked for, beloved, even prayed for. There’s too much at stake.“This should be a good year because sightings started early, but we never know for certain,” Abetria said. She’s working on a plan to entice tourists to stay even if there are no sharks. At the moment, the only other attraction is firefly watching and diving in waters much farther out.Tourist arrivals have begun to increase: this year’s number has already surpassed last year’s.It is impossible to say for certain if this will last. For better or worse, though, Nepomuceno refuses to leave Donsol, despite the offers he receives for better-paying jobs abroad. “I am happy here. In the beginning, people thought we were crazy for believing in tourism. But now, I make good money. I make people happy,” he said.He remains hopeful, as always, for the next year. In 2019, already 104 new sharks have been registered in the archive. It’s a strong start, but still a gamble, a game of luck.Formerly the features editor for travel magazine GRID in the Philippines, Nina Unlay is currently based in London as a business reporter for IntraFish Media. She tweets at @ninabiscuit.Banner image: A tourist boat in Donsol joins several others in search of whale sharks. Image by Nina Unlay. A tour boat crew member, left, on the look out for whale sharks. Image by Nina Unlay.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.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

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Microplastic waste fouls up beaches on Sri Lanka’s southern tourism coast

first_imgMicroplastics Beaches along Sri Lanka’s southern coast, a tourism hotspot, are increasingly being contaminated with microplastic pollution, a survey has found.The study found that 60 percent of sand samples and 70 percent of surface water samples from 10 survey sites contained an abundance of microplastics up to 4.5 millimeters (0.18 inches) in size.The researchers have called for meticulous waste management initiatives, regulating the use of plastics, and further studies to ascertain the magnitude of the pollution caused by plastic waste. Sri Lanka’s southern coastline is dotted with popular resorts and beaches, but this once pristine landscape hasn’t been spared by the global plastic waste crisis, a study finds.The authors of the paper, published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, studied 10 locations along a 91-kilometer (57-mile) stretch of the Indian Ocean island’s southern coast to assess the magnitude of the problem.They found that 60 percent of the sand samples and 70 percent of the surface water samples they collected contained an abundance of microplastics, or MPs, compounding the environmental pressure on a coastline ravaged by the 2004 tsunami and constantly battling against coastal erosion.The problem is just the tip of the iceberg, says lead author J.  Bimali Koongolla, a marine scientist at the  University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka.“Microplastic waste is becoming a serious environmental problem in Sri Lanka, once considered an island state with unblemished pristine beaches,” she told Mongabay. “The seas are getting contaminated, and beyond environmental, this poses a severe health hazard as it impacts food chains.”She attributed the rising levels of microplastics in the seas and beaches to be poor waste management and an inability to break away from age-old littering practices.“The use of plastics is increasing non-biodegradable waste production. These plastics eventually get washed into the seas, polluting the very environment [local communities] depend on for sustenance,” Koongolla said.The sand sampling sites for the study on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Image by Earth View Maps.Recreational beaches under threatThe sites worst affected by plastic pollution were Dondra, Weligama and Ambalangoda, all in Southern province, due to significant recreational activity as well as fishing.While recreational beaches had high levels of MPs, more remote beaches and fishing ports also exhibited large amounts of microplastic pollution as well as plastic debris, the researchers found.The size of MPs in surface water and beaches ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 millimeters (0.06 to 0.1 inches) and 3 to 4.5 millimeters (0.12 to 0.18 inches), respectively. Most were identified as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), with some polystyrene (PS) foam being also being discovered at a few sites.Researchers found an overall higher abundance of MPs on the beaches than in the waters, while samples from the ports indicated higher levels of MP pollution in the surface water.When sediments were analyzed, the popular and congested recreational beaches appeared to have more microplastic litter. The busy public beach of Weligama was the most polluted by count (157 microplastic items per square meter) as well as weight (5.98 grams per square meter).Though busy recreational beaches like Weligama are cleaned routinely, the process only removes the larger debris and risks burying microplastics even deeper in the sand.The fishing ports in Dondra and Ambalangoda also showed high concentration of MPs by count and weight in the surface water. “This is due to high levels of gear handling and other activities,” Koongolla said.She added that at the three sites classified as remote beaches, there was little or no polystyrene found, and only one of them yielded high counts of MPs in the sand. “This is largely due to storm activity depositing water-borne and land-based debris via runoff,” Koongolla said.Researcher J. Bimali Koongolla conducts a beach survey near the Dondra Harbor. Image courtesy of Kasun Indika.Role of riversKoongolla said that while tourism had flourished in Sri Lanka’s south, good waste management practices have not been introduced.“South has traditionally had a high density of tourist activity, along its coast,” she said. “While we cannot confirm if any MP samples we collected originated in the sea from fisheries or commercial vessels or on land, we can confirm that these beaches are used heavily due to increased tourist activity and tend to leave a lot of visible plastic debris.”Researchers also say there is a dire need to identify the sources of microplastic pollution. This includes determining the role of rivers in transporting MPs into the ocean. “Once we narrow down the localities that are particularly polluting, it is easier to introduce waste management initiatives and to take other preventive action. These can vary from restriction of single-use plastics to having better recycling centers,” Koongolla said.The study came out just before findings from a 2018 survey — commissioned by the National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) and supported by Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and carried out on the Norwegian research vessel Fridtjof Nansen — were published in January.The survey, the first of its kind in 40 years, found that nearly four-fifths of small pieces of the plastic waste in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters arrived via rivers and canals, said Terney Pradeep Kumara, general manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA).“This means only about one fifth of waste is sea-originated microsplastic wastage, caused by fishermen dumping plastic in mid-sea and oil spills from ships,” said Kumara, also a co-author of the southern coastal study.Following the Nansen survey, Kumara called for collective and effective waste management mechanisms and stricter laws to prevent extensive marine pollution.The polluted Dondra Harbor, a place that converges communities and faiths, but now also microplastic waste. Image courtesy of J. Bimali Koongolla.Further studies neededThe team of researchers point to the absence of sufficient coastal studies as a key reason for selecting the south, a top tourist destination.So far, only two studies have looked at microplastic pollution in the island’s coastal regions. A 2018 study looked at three beaches in Western province, while a 2016 study focused on the north coast.Koongolla said this new study offers only a glimpse of the microplastic problem in Sri Lanka. Ideally, she said, research should be conducted over different seasons and across several years. Sampling volumes should also be much larger to improve the quality of the data, she said.Banner image of a harbor in southern Sri Lanka studded with microplastics, an emerging environmental problem in the Indian Ocean island, once known for its pristine beaches, courtesy of J. Bimali Koongolla.Citation:Koongolla, J. B., Andrady, A. L, Terney Pradeep Kumara, P. B., & Gangabadage, C. S. (2018). Evidence of microplastics pollution in coastal beaches and waters in southern Sri Lanka. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 137, 277-284. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.10.031 Article published by dilrukshicenter_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

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Amazon indigenous groups feel deserted by Brazil’s public health service

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 Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Controversial, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Health, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Public Health, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Until recently, hundreds of Cuban doctors staffed many remote indigenous health facilities in the Brazilian Amazon and around the nation, an initiative funded by the More Doctors program set up by President Dilma Rousseff in 2013.But far-right President Jair Bolsonaro radically restructured the program, and Cuba — calling Bolsonaro’s demands unreasonable — pulled its doctors out.That withdrawal heavily impacted indigenous groups. Of the 372 doctors working within indigenous communities, 301 were Cuban. The Ministry of Health says 354 vacancies have since been filled by Brazilian doctors, but indigenous communities say many new doctors are unwilling to stay long in the remote posts.Bolsonaro has hindered rural health care in other ways: 13,000 indigenous health workers have remained unpaid since February or April, depending on the region, after the Brazilian Minister of Health stopped providing resources to the 8 NGOs contracted to provide health services to 34 Special Sanitary Indigenous Districts. A deadly Amazon bushmaster (Lachesis muta) showing its fangs. Poisonous snakes present one of the greatest health hazards in the Brazilian Amazon, and yet some remote indigenous health centers lack the doctors and antivenom needed to treat snakebite. Image by Dick Culbert licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.Last February, a Mongabay reporting team travelled to the Brazilian Amazon, spending time with the remote Sateré-Mawé, documenting their culture and long-time conflict with mining companies and land grabbers. This series looks at new threats imposed on the Sateré and indigenous groups across Brazil as they’re threatened by the ruralist-friendly policies of President Jair Bolsonaro. The trip was funded by the Rainforest Journalism Fund in association with the Pulitzer Center and Mongabay. It was 10 o’clock in the morning when he felt the bite. Now, 20 minutes later, Raimundo, a Sateré indigenous man, lies ill at the foot of a copaiba tree and realizes the great danger he is in. Incapacitated within the vastness of the Amazon rainforest, medical help is many miles and hours away.“He saw [the snake] out of the corner of his eye, not long enough to see it properly, but thought it was a pit viper,” a deadly venomous snake, says his father-in-law.Raimundo lives in the indigenous village of Kuruatuba, within the Andirá-Marau indigenous reserve, on the banks of the Andirá River bordering Pará and Amazonas states. Most days Raimundo is up early, awaiting the first rays of sunlight before immersing himself in the forest, carrying on his back a jamanxim, a woven straw basket.He only returns home after filling the containers in his pack-basket with amapá milk and copaiba oil — fluids tapped from trees native to the Amazon basin, Copaifera and Brosimum, respectively. Copaiba oil is used by the perfume industry as a fixative, and in alternative medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Amapá milk is widely utilized regionally to treat gastritis and respiratory problems.But now Raimundo is in trouble, and could soon be dead.A boat used by an Amazon health care team. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Disappearing indigenous rural healthcareThe snakebite incident occurs deep in the forest, just as Raimundo is about to start work. The poison spreads rapidly throughout his body, making it difficult to walk. He realizes that, all alone in the forest, he may die. But, staggering down the path toward home, he is found by a relative. Together they get to the village by late afternoon.Kuruatuba is one of five villages possessing health centers along the upper reaches of the Andirá River. Cuban doctors used to staff these facilities, funded by the More Doctors program set up by the Dilma Rousseff government in 2013.But the program was radically restructured by President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January, and Cuba pulled its doctors out.Now the only facility staff are nurses and nursing assistants. The center is also short of drugs and doesn’t have snake antivenoms, as these have to be kept refrigerated, and the energy supplied by a diesel generator is intermittent. This is the reality, despite the fact that snakebite is one of the great risks of living in the remote Amazon.The nurses treat Raimundo as best they can. Then he sets off at dark with his father-in-law, a nursing assistant, and a pilot in a fast, motorized canoe on a 10-hour trip downriver to the nearest hospital at the port of Parintins on the Amazon River.He knows he could die on the way.Passengers aboard the ambulancha transporting Raimundo downriver were forced into the water to help move the boat past a fallen tree. Image by Matheus Manfredini.A dangerous journeyThe trip doesn’t go as planned. It’s dangerous to travel at night along Amazon rivers, something only done in emergencies.The boat hits a submerged obstacle, capsizes and sinks. The men struggle ashore. While the pilot and nursing assistant set out for help in Vila Nova, the nearest village, Raimundo and his father-in-law wait in the dark on the riverbank. They’re cold, bitten by mosquitoes and fearful of further encounters with poisonous snakes.“At this time of year, when the river is in flood, snakes generally stay on river banks at night,” explains the father-in-law. Raimundo feels his odds of survival sinking.Meanwhile, the pilot and nursing assistant make slow progress. There’s no path by the river, so they tread through the shallows, and swim when the water gets too deep. They spot another pit viper, this one in the water, but luckily escape without accident.They reach Vila Nova at 6am, then rush upstream by motorized canoe to rescue Raimundo. He’s still alive. They take him to another health center, where he’s transferred to a faster boat, an ambulancha, for transport to Parintins. But even then, the journey isn’t easy; passengers must at one point jump in the water and push the boat over a fallen tree.Finally, the ambulancha arrives at the hospital. It is mid-afternoon, almost 30 hours since Raimundo was bitten.Raimundo arrived at the hospital after a harrowing journey by boat through the Brazilian Amazon. It remains to be seen if the long delay before treatment will leave him permanently disabled. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Lack of healthcare can lead to disability — and self-sufficiencyRaimundo survives, but his chances of making a full recovery are remote. “In these cases, even when patients don’t die, they usually have to have a limb amputated or lose the use of a limb,” explains Daniel dos Santos, the pilot of the motorized canoe that took Raimundo on the first leg of his journey from Vila Nova to Parintins.This is what happened to Sônia Miquiles, who lives in Campo Branco, a small village on the banks of the Mariaquã River outside the boundaries of the Andirá-Marau indigenous reserve. While working away from her village at a subsistence farm plot, Sonia was bitten by a bushmaster, one of the Amazon’s deadliest snakes. She spent two months in hospital in Parintins. Against the odds, she survived, but her right hand was permanently paralysed.In the face of her daunting disability, Sonia taught herself ingenious methods for carrying out daily activities with one hand.Midwife Sonia Miquiles shows her hand, which was paralyzed due to a bushmaster snakebite. Image by Matheus Manfredini.It was with this hand that she personally birthed Christopher, the youngest of her children. As she worked the village’s plot early one morning, the infant’s time to be born arrived. When her contractions intensified, Sonia crouched down, and pulled the baby out of her own womb, cut the umbilical cord, then walked back to the village — her sixth child in her arms.Sonia’s mother had helped her when her first child was born, and she taught Sonia indigenous tricks for facilitating childbirth. Employing this ancient knowledge, Sonia was able to deliver her other children on her own.Her fame as a midwife grew and over the years she helped many other babies — the children of nieces, neighbors, daughters-in-law and others — to enter the world. Sonia explains a few techniques: sometimes she needs to invert the baby in the womb so that its head faces down, ready to arrive. She uses warm water to gently massage a pregnant woman’s belly, then it’s just a matter of waiting, she says. “Doctors don’t know any more how to turn a baby in the womb and they don’t like waiting.” This is why so many women must have C-sections, she maintains.Sonia doesn’t need doctors for childbirth, but she fears her children will die in a health emergency.“There is no health post here, no transport.… If someone gets seriously ill or has an accident, all that can save them is good luck,” she laments.Erasmo Batista de Oliveira, president of an indigenous health association active in the upper Andirá River basin. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Bolsonaro policies impacting indigenous medical careAccording to Erasmo Batista de Oliveira, president of an indigenous health association active in the upper Andirá River, the dire healthcare situation in rural areas isn’t much different in the five villages that possess heath centers. “With the withdrawal of the Cuban doctors, it’s become very difficult to help patients,” he says.The Cubans left the More Doctors program in November of last year when president-elect Bolsonaro proposed changes to the healthcare program that Cuba refused to accept. The ending of the program was widely expected, because Bolosnaro had frequently declared during his presidential campaign that he would “expel” the doctors, whom he denounced as “communist propaganda agents.” The Cuban health ministry says that, once in office, Bolsonaro questioned the qualifications of their doctors, demanding that they all acquire Brazilian diplomas and then be contracted individually — conditions that he must have known would be unacceptable to Havana.Indigenous villages felt the impact immediately. Of the 372 doctors working within indigenous communities, 301 were Cuban. According to the Ministry of Health, 354 vacancies have now been filled by Brazilians. But the Sateré-Mawé of the upper Andirá River say this isn’t their experience, as no doctors have filled their vacant health posts.Even when Brazilian doctors take up the jobs, they find it hard to adapt to the tough Amazonian way of life. As a result, many indigenous people say that the availability of care has declined. “The Brazilian doctors who replace the Cubans won’t stay here,” says Batista de Oliveira.“The Cubans came and spent 15 to 20 days here, without leaving,” explains Daniel dos Santos, who has provided transport for patients and health professionals for eight years. The Cubans “would go out of their way, at any time of day or night, to help a sick person. The Brazilian doctors who came to replace them spend two or three days here and became desperate to leave.”Daniel is one of 13,000 indigenous health workers who have remained unpaid since February or April, depending on the region, after the Brazilian Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mendetta, stopped providing resources to the eight civil society organizations contracted to provide health services to 34 Special Sanitary Indigenous Districts (DSEIs). For a few health workers, the budget freeze occurred back in October 2018.According to the health workers, along with their inability to pay their employees’ wages, some DSEIs don’t have the money for medication, fuel, medical tests, vaccinations and patient transport.The minister justified the drastic step of freezing resources by making vague unsubstantiated references to “corruption,” claiming that a great deal of money was spent on indigenous health, compared with the outlay on the rest of the Brazilian population, and that the system had to be restructured.As a result, it is alleged that at least three children died in the space of 11 days in April due to a lack of adequate care inside the Xingu Indigenous Park, located in Mato Grosso state, according to Repórter Brasil. In a press release, the Catholic Church’s Indigenous Council (CIMI) blamed Bolsonaro directly for the deaths, saying that it was unacceptable, in the name of policy reformulation, to allow more indigenous people to die — this being the minority group who, throughout the country’s history, had suffered most from the Brazilian state’s genocidal policies.On 1 August, the health ministry finally launched a new program to replace More Doctors; the ministry says it will be contracting 18,000 doctors,13,000 of whom will be sent to inaccessible municipal districts.Some analysts say the loss of the Cuban doctors and freezing of funds are part of a government plan to dismantle existing federal indigenous healthcare programs, and point to several pieces of evidence:Since taking office, minister Mandetta has pressed for the decentralization of indigenous healthcare. As part of that process, he initially planned to shut down SESAI (The Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health), forcing municipalities to take on the responsibility for indigenous healthcare in their areas.However, he withdrew this plan after more than 30 indigenous protests erupted in different parts of the country. But, to date, Mandetta has only partly fulfilled his promise to keep SESAI alive. Decree 9,795, issued by Bolsonaro in May, restructured the body, abolishing its democratic and participatory nature.Mandetta critics note that he is a ruralist, part of the lobbying group that has historically pushed for rural elites to take over indigenous lands in order to profit from expanded agribusiness and mining. Those critics point out that the loss of healthcare services weakens indigenous communities, potentially forcing them to rely on favors from companies and landowners for services that they should have as a right.“What we are seeing is a return to the policies of assimilation of the 1960s and 1970s, when the policy was to dismantle services, leaving these people in an extremely vulnerable situation, to make it easier to open up indigenous territory to mining,” says Roberto Liebgott, CIMI’s Southern Region coordinator.Dézio Barros operates a commercial boat service running between the town of Parintins and the Sateré-Mawé reserve. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Reshuffling healthcare agencies and prioritiesCurrently, Bolsonaro adiminstration officials are touting the “integration” of SESAI with the SUS, Brazil’s national health system. As part of this integration, the responsibilities of the federal indigenous health service would potentially be handed over to municipal governments, which, according to many analysts, would cause indigenous needs to be deprioritized over other populations.The Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib), one of Brazil’s leading indigenous rights organizations, believes that placing SESAI under SUS, is a government strategy for forcing municipalization of healthcare.As policy attacks by the president and minister against the indigenous health service continue, the quality of already precarious medical assistance provided to indigenous people appears to be worsening.Dézio Barros, who runs a commercial boat service from Parintins to the Sateré-Mawé reserve, is in daily contact with indigenous people. He says he has witnessed desperate situations in recent months: “Imagine what it means to remove doctors from areas like this one, where a patient has to travel in a tiny riverboat, sitting in the sun and rain for 15 hours, until he or she reaches us and then has to face a journey of at least another 15 hours to get to a city.”So it is that Raimundo’s ordeal — requiring nearly 30 hours to reach a hospital for critical care — is by no means exceptional. Instead it appears to be emblematic of unfolding Bolsonaro government policies.Health center in Vila Nova village. Remote medical facilities that serve indigenous communities were once staffed by Cuban doctors, but the far-right Bolsonaro administration was suspicious of their “Communist” influence and revamped the system causing Cuba to withdraw its physicians. Image by Matheus Manfredini.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. 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In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, September 6, 2019

first_imgArticle published by John Cannon Conservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update 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 There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content. Tropical forestsMore than two-thirds of the world’s forests are at risk, according to a U.N. report (Down to Earth).Research suggests that we might be expecting trees to carry more of the carbon load than they can handle (Undark).To save Mexican rosewood, China needs to act (Dialogo Chino).Ethiopia is embarking on a quest to boost the cultivation of bamboo (Ezega).Illegal loggers are going after a rare tree in the Democratic Republic of Congo that’s highly valued in China in what one local leader calls an “ecological disaster” (Phys.Org).Tackling deforestation in the Amazon is only part of the solution to climate change, one commentator argues (New Republic).The biggest trees in the forests are the most likely to be felled by drought, pests and lightning (Science Magazine).Other newsA baby Masai giraffe was born at a wild animal park in Ohio in a win for the endangered species (Richland Source).Calls for freshwater protection follow the discovery of eight new species of mussels in Myanmar (Fauna & Flora International).Scientists say they’ve found a new species of beaked whale off the coast of Japan (Science Daily, Gizmodo).The spawning rhythms of coral species in the Red Sea are out of step (The Atlantic).Observers in fish markets could make a difference in protecting sought-after species around the world (Hakai Magazine).Woolly mammoth ivory is filling the gap left by the subsidence of the outlawed elephant ivory trade (Undark).Banner image of a painting of woolly mammoths by Mauricio Antón via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.5).FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. 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As climate crisis deepens, wildlife adapts, maybe with lessons for us

first_imgAdaptation To Climate Change, Animal Behavior, Animals, Arctic Animals, Birds, Climate Change, Climate Change And Biodiversity, Mammals, Orangutans, Wildlife Shifts in the timing of lifecycle events, like reproduction or migration, are widely thought to be the most common response of wildlife to global warming.In recent years, pikas have been observed modifying their foraging habits in ways that may be behavioral adaptations to a changing climate.A long-term study in Kutai National Park on the island of Borneo in Indonesia has shown how extreme weather, brought by the intensifying El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, is affecting the behavior, habitat requirements, feeding ecology and birth intervals of orangutans.Researchers have discovered that African penguins, may be falling into a sort of “ecological trap,” one that humans created through overfishing and climate change. Recent studies of Twitter posts have shown that people can be quick to shrug off extreme weather as normal. However, researchers are also finding that some wildlife — maybe better attuned to changes in the natural world around them — are adapting successfully to climate change.As the United Nations prepares to convene for the 2019 Climate Action Summit on September 23 in New York City, and for Climate Week (Sept. 22-29), Mongabay has gathered here some of our reporting, showcasing how three animals: the American Pika, orangutan and penguin are shifting their behaviors to face the challenges of a rapidly altering world.The American Pika beats the heatIt may be a tiny tailless mammal, but the American pika could teach humans a thing or two about adapting to the impacts of global climate change.Shifts in the timing of lifecycle events, like reproduction or migration, are widely thought to be the most common response of wildlife to global warming, and according to research in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the scientific literature on the subject mostly bears that assertion out. Since behavioral responses were most noticeable in species with a lifespan of at least three years, the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) provides an apt example to explore.American pikas can alter their body temperature somewhat via posture, squeezing into a fluffy ball, a body posture with minimum surface area, to hold in heat during winter, or stretching out the surface area of their bodies to cool down in summer. In recent years, pikas have also been observed modifying their foraging habits in ways that may be behavioral adaptations to a changing climate. Photo Credit: J. Jacobson, from figure 4 of Beever et al (2017). doi:10.1002/fee.1502.Pikas don’t dig burrows and typically make their homes in alpine rockpiles at the base of cliffs, known as talus slopes, at high-elevations in western North America’s mountains. These relatives of rabbits and hares inhabit an expansive range as a species, but individuals don’t typically stray more than a kilometer from their stony habitats. And that has led to several distinct populations, which makes the pica an especially good species to study — population comparisons offer us a better understanding of localized responses to quick changing environmental conditions.For example, one population of more malleable pikas turned out not to be home bodies, but instead appear willing to seek out new cooler places to live as temperatures rise. They give up their old, hotter rockpiles and seek out new favorable and cooler microclimates nearby. This move allows the animals to remain more active during the daytime when ambient temperatures at their original talus habitat — frequently subjected to full sun — had turned much higher.Scientists think that pikas capable of adapting their behavior in this manner might have better chances of surviving as global warming advances.Another important area of adaptation that’s been observed in American pikas is thermoregulation. In the more northern parts of the species’ range, freezing temperatures in winter are severe. In response, pikas moderate their body temperature to some degree through posture — squeezing into a fluffy ball, a pose with minimum surface area, to hold in heat during winter; or stretching out their body surface area to cool down in summer.Read more at: The American pika: A case study in wildlife acclimating to climate changeOrangutans adjust their birth cyclesA long-term study in Kutai National Park on the island of Borneo in Indonesia has shown how extreme weather, brought by the intensifying El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, is affecting the behavior, habitat requirements, feeding ecology and birth intervals of orangutans.Kutai’s protected habitat is one of the driest regions on the island and also the driest, least productive rainforest where orangutans can be found — in fact, it is the least wet of all current orangutan research sites. In this part of Borneo, the ENSO cycle is marked by periods of drought, interspersed with periods of normal rainfall and unusually heavy rains.Researchers found that the ENSO cycle influences the lives of Kutai’s orangutans in a surprising way. Much like humans, orangutan females don’t ovulate when their bodies are malnourished, especially during an El Niño drought, so bear no young during such periods.Interestingly, El Niños occur every six years on average, and Kutai orangutans possess an average inter-birth interval of 6.1 years — roughly in sync with the ENSO cycles. In comparison, orangutans in Sumatra reproduce every 8.75 years, and every 7.7 years in wetter central Borneo, meaning that orangutan mothers are still caring for their previous infant when the next El Niño comes along. This phenomenon is known as infant stacking and is rarely recorded in orangutans.Female and infant orangutan in Kutai National Park. The morio orangutans of east Borneo are usually much darker than their Sumatran cousins. Image by Orangutan Project Kutai.Because the Kutai great apes live in the most challenging and variable conditions of any orangutans, these findings could help conservationists understand how orangutans are currently adapting to difficult climatic conditions — a potentially invaluable insight as the human-caused climate crisis escalates in future.Read more at: For orangutans affected by El Niño, change unfolds over timePenguin survival depends on following food and breeding cuesThe emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the largest of all living penguin species and the only one that breeds during the Antarctic winter. A recent study gives a sneak peek into how the penguins might respond to disappearing stable sea ice conditions brought by climate change — for good or ill.Female emperor penguins lay their single eggs early in the Antarctic winter, around May, then take turns with their partners incubating the eggs and subsequently raising the chicks through the extremely cold winter months. That’s to ensure chicks are ready to leave their nesting ground by the summer months of January or February.Emperor penguins are the only known bird to never breed on dry land, preferring to hatch and rear chicks on frozen sea. But in 2016, following abnormally stormy weather, the sea ice of the emperor penguin colony at Halley Bay on the Weddell Sea broke up in October, long before the chicks had fledged and were ready to go out to sea. In 2017 and 2018, too, the ice broke up early, leading to the likely death of all the chicks at Antarctica’s second-largest colony of emperor penguins.But it’s not all gloom. Between 2016 and 2018, satellite images picked up a massive increase in the numbers of emperor penguins at the nearby Dawson-Lambton Glacier colony, located 55 kilometers (34 miles) to the south of Halley Bay. While the estimated number of adult penguin pairs at Dawson-Lambton had steadily decreased from 3,690 in 2010, to 1,280 in 2015, those numbers jumped up to 5,315 pairs in 2016; 11,117 in 2017; and 14,612 pairs in 2018 — a surprise to scientists.“It appears that many of the birds from Halley Bay have relocated to Dawson-Lambton, with the rest remaining at Halley Bay, but not breeding successfully,” the authors explained.So it seems that some penguins are using migration successfully as a fundamental climate change strategy. But alter surroundings too much or too quickly, and suddenly such adaptations might point organisms in the wrong direction. For example, across the ocean from Antarctica, on the southern tip of Africa, researchers have discovered that African penguins (Spheniscus demersus), an Endangered species according to the IUCN, may be falling into a sort of “ecological trap,” one that humans created through overfishing and climate change.Emperor penguins need intact sea ice until the chicks are ready to leave their nesting grounds. Image by Christopher Michel via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).Penguin numbers in South Africa’s Western Cape have plummeted by around 80 percent in recent decades. Biologists chalked this decline up to the disappearance of their favorite prey species, anchovies and sardines, from the Western Cape, the penguins’ preferred feeding ground to the west of their nesting sites. Overfishing and water chemistry changes — knock-on climate change effects — pushed breeding shoals of these fish eastward or wiped them out entirely.In the past, penguins in search of their favorite foods adapted by picking up on cues, such as the chemicals that plankton release and water temperature, to tell them where to find food. But now, when they follow cues to formerly reliable feeding spots, they’re more likely to find jellyfish and low-calorie gobies, rather than energy-dense sardines and anchovies. Without the right cues, they go hungry.Researchers used satellite monitoring to follow the movements of young penguins as they left their breeding grounds in Namibia and South Africa and headed into the open ocean to feed. The data revealed that the fledgling penguins’ behavior wasn’t flexible enough to accommodate the change to their environment, and instead led them to a subpar food source.Again, there could be a lesson here for humanity: escalating climate change is complex, and it may take ongoing trial and error to find the right survival response — with some individuals making viable choices, and others not.Read more at:Large emperor penguin colony suffers ‘catastrophic’ breeding failureEcological trap ensnares endangered African penguinsBanner image caption: Emperor penguin colony. Image by IIP Photo Archive via FlickrThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 300 news outlets worldwide to strengthen coverage of the climate story. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Willie Shubertlast_img read more

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Call for scientists to engage in environmental movements strikes chord

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 Biodiversity, Carbon Emissions, Civil Disobedience, Climate Change, Climate Science, Conservation, Earth Science, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Global Warming, Global Warming Mitigation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Protests, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by John Cannoncenter_img Scientists have a “moral duty” to partake in environmental movements such as the Extinction Rebellion and the Global Climate Strike, a pair of ecologists argues.The engagement of scientists could spark a deeper interest in — and action to address — these issues, they write.The participation of scientists will also lend credibility to the urgency of such movements, the scientists say. Cataloging the growing number of declining species or tracking the relentless rise of temperatures around the world today can make for some dark days for scientists in these areas of study — scientists like ecologist Claire Wordley.“I was feeling very despairing about the situation, particularly climate change and what we were doing to the world,” Wordley, who has studied the influence of agriculture on bats in India and worked to promote evidence-based conservation policy at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., told Mongabay.One ray of hope, which sparked her own involvement in movements such as the Extinction Rebellion and the Global Climate Strike, has been the rising tide of activism taking aim at the set of ecological crises facing the world today.“To me, seeing that people were really willing to rise up against that was very uplifting,” Wordley said.Claire Wordley at a protest on Blackfriar’s Bridge in London. Image by Jane Carpenter.In fact, she said she thinks more scientists should get involved — and not just because it will make them feel better. Wordley and fellow conservation scientist Charlie Gardner, in a commentary published Sept. 2 in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, argue that scientists have a “moral duty” to join the movements focused on environmental issues like climate change and species extinction.The collaboration began on the heels of an opinion piece that Wordley wrote for Mongabay in December 2018 encouraging environmentalists to engage in the then-nascent Extinction Rebellion. Reading it prompted Gardner to get in touch, and the two researchers began working on the current commentary to get scientists more involved.Wordley and Gardner said they found the lack of representation from the scientific community surprising.“It just struck me as both a bit odd that the people who know most about the crises we face were not getting involved,” Gardner said in an interview. “I think we have a moral responsibility, given the urgency of the situations we face, to act on our knowledge.”A pink boat, named after murdered Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, in Oxford Circus, London, April 2019. Image by Louise Gardner.Scientists might worry that participating in protests or civil disobedience could cloud their objectivity. But as Wordley points out, the science in these fields isn’t “neutral.”“If you’re working as a conservation scientist, you’re already advocating. You’re already taking a position that we should be conserving these species,” she said. “I don’t think it’s going that much further to then go and support the people who agree with the positions that you’ve drawn out from your science.”“The science has been done,” Gardner added. “Now it’s about acting on that.”Similarly, researchers might worry about the erosion of the public’s trust when they’re seen carrying banners or blocking a road as a way of drawing attention to these problems. But the pair cites a study after the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D.C., demonstrating that scientists’ participation didn’t change public perceptions of their credibility.On the contrary, Gardner said he thinks that engagement by scientists could ignite deeper interest in — and action to address — these issues.“That makes people sit up and take notice and think, ‘Wow, this must really be serious,’” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, science is one tool that we have in our toolbox for addressing the environmental crisis, and I’m prepared to use whatever tools that we have.”Claire Wordley, right, joins Extinction Rebellion protesters blocking Blackfriar’s Bridge, London. Image by Jane Carpenter.By participating, the researchers write, they can help ensure that the people involved in the movements are armed with the most accurate information. Gardner said that a group of scientists are planning to attend the next round of Extinction Rebellion protests beginning Oct. 7 in the U.K., where they’ll wear white lab coats and carry signs inviting participants to ask them questions.Wordley said she’s sympathetic to concerns about what an arrest record might mean, especially for researchers working in foreign countries who might worry about losing their visas. But they can find other ways to support the movements, she said.“We can give talks, act as media spokespeople, write or speak publicly about why we have embraced civil disobedience, or support organisational tasks,” Wordley and Gardner write.There are signs that the scientific community is taking notice. On Sept. 19, more than 200 researchers in Australia signed a letter supporting the Extinction Rebellion. And a recent study in the journal Frontiers in Communication found that these events are triggering action on the part of the public.Wordley and Gardner said they’ve received emails and tweets expressing support for the ideas they laid out in the commentary. It’s also caught the eyes of readers online: Out of more than 180,000 papers published in the past three months, the commentary ranks 31st, according to Altmetric, which tracks the online activity of scientific publications.“What that says to me is that scientists were waiting for someone to say this,” Gardner said, adding that, given the stakes, just producing the science is not enough. “All of us as individuals have a choice, and if we choose inaction, we’re choosing climate breakdown.”This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 300 outlets worldwide to strengthen coverage of the climate story.This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 300 outlets worldwide to strengthen coverage of the climate story.Banner image of protesters on Blackfriar’s Bridge in London by Jane Carpenter.John Cannon is a staff writer at Mongabay. Find him on Twitter: @johnccannonClarification: Claire Wordley’s publication written for Mongabay in December 2019 was an opinion piece. The article has been updated to reflect this fact.Citations:Gardner, C. J., & Wordley, C. F. R. (2019). Scientists must act on our own warnings to humanity. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3(9), 1271–1272. doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0979-ySwim, J. K., Geiger, N., & Lengieza, M. L. (2019). Climate Change Marches as Motivators for Bystander Collective Action . Frontiers in Communication. doi:10.3389/fcomm.2019.00004FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

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These rare pigs can dig it. With a tool, that is. And moonwalk too

first_imgArticle published by leilani A viral video shows a family of Visayan warty pigs (Sus cebifrons) using a piece of tree bark or branch to build a nest at a zoo in Paris.Tool use has been widely reported among vertebrates, particularly primates, but this is the first published study and first recorded video of pigs using tools.The study suggests that using a stick is a socially learned behavior, and expands the possibility of tool use and social learning among pig species.There are limited studies on the Visayan warty pig, a critically endangered species in its native Philippines, due to its dwindling population in the wild. PARIS — Priscilla grabs a piece of tree bark and uses it to dig the dirt in front of her. It’s classic tool use, the kind of thing primates are known to do, and it wouldn’t be remarkable, except that Priscilla is a female Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), an endemic and critically endangered species in the Philippines famous for the Mohawk-like tuft of hair on its head and back. Now it’s got a new claim to fame: a penchant for using tools, according to a recent study.The study by Meredith Root-Bernstein, Trupthi Narayan, Lucile Cornier and Aude Bourgeois stems from a video they shot and that went viral of Priscilla and her family digging a nest with a tree branch, a behavior not commonly observed and recorded among pigs. The video was taken at the Ménagerie at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, which holds several types of endangered species.“What is so exciting about pigs using tools? Pigs have long been maligned in many cultures and used as symbols of dirt, sloth, and avarice,” Root-Bernstein wrote in an email to Mongabay. “Even animal behavior researchers are not too interested in pigs despite recognizing their intelligence.”The study, published in the journal Mammalian Biology last month, details how a family of Visayan warty pigs uses tools during the nest-building process, after Root-Bernstein “observed that the same piece of bark originally used as a digging tool remained visible [but] … the piece of bark was observed at different positions within the enclosure, always lying next to a recently created nest pit” in 2015.The researchers returned to the Ménagerie during nesting seasons in October 2016 and 2017 to observe the family of four warty pigs, which were seen digging, rooting and even “moonwalking” — a backward shuffle in which they drag their feet to pile dirt, leaves and mulch into a mound around their nest, and reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s popular dance move.Priscilla, the innovator of digging with a stick, isn’t the only one capable of manipulating a tool. Her mate, Billie, and their offspring, Beatrice and Antonia, mimicked her with varying results, the researchers observed. The female pigs used the sticks in a rowing motion while Billie attempted to use the stick but wasn’t as prolific. “When used by the females, it altered their digging affordance, and had a specific placement in the nest-building sequence,” the study says.Billie, however, was always the first to initiate moonwalking. Indeed, his hands-on involvement in the entire nesting process was unexpected. “Since it is reported that adult male Sus cebifrons do not normally participate in nest building despite living year-round with females it is surprising that the adult male Billie performed aspects of the tool use behavior as well as participating in leaf collection, layering of leaves in the nest, and moonwalking,” the study says.So how did the warty pigs learn to dig with tools? The study speculates the “excited head tossing” they perform when holding leaves or leafy branches at the beginning stages of nesting could be the origin of this behavior.“Research on this species will help improve their welfare and care,” said Bourgeois, the head veterinarian at the Ménagerie. “Such a major finding is of primordial importance for increasing knowledge about this little known species and to raise awareness about the threats that face Visayan warty pigs and their habitats.”Priscilla and Billie were born in captivity in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Their offspring, later named Antonia and Beatrice for the study, were born in 2012. The Ménagerie is part of a network of zoos under the European Endangered Species Program (EEP) that breeds Visayan warty pigs. There were 1,387 Visayan warty pigs across all EEP-associated zoos in 2015.The species is endemic to six islands in the Visayas group of islands in the Philippines. But hunting for both meat and skin has driven the species to extinction in four islands. Remaining wild populations are limited to the islands of Panay and Negros.Citation:Root-Bernstein, M., Narayan, T., Cornier, L., & Bourgeois, A. (2019). Context-specific tool use by Sus cebifrons. Mammalian Biology, 98, 102-110. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2019.08.003Banner image of a Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons) in Plackendael zoo in Belgium, a part of the European Endangered Species Program (EEP). Image by Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0] 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 overSponsoredcenter_img Animal Behavior, Animals, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Research, Video, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Network last_img read more

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New honeyeater species described from Indonesia’s Alor Island

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation, Deforestation, Dry Forests, Environment, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Land Use Change, New Discovery, New Species, Species Discovery, Tropical Deforestation, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation 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 Scientists have described a new bird species found only on the island of Alor in eastern Indonesia.The Alor myzomela is easily distinguished from other known members of the Myzomela genus of honeyeater birds thanks to its unique call and paler upper wings.A growing human population on the island is already fragmenting the species’ only known habitat, prompting the researchers to recommend it be considered endangered on the IUCN Red List.The bird’s scientific name, Myzomela prawiradilagae, is a tribute to prominent ornithologist Dewi Malia Prawiradilaga from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). JAKARTA — Scientists have described a new bird species found only on the Indonesian island of Alor, where a growing human population is already encroaching on the bird’s volcanic habitat.The description of Myzomela prawiradilagae — named after prominent ornithologist Dewi Malia Prawiradilaga from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) — is a culmination of field observations by different research groups between 2002 and 2016, according to a paper published in the Journal of Ornithology on Oct. 5.“The presence of an endemic species of Myzomela honeyeater on Alor is of great biogeographic significance,” the authors write.Google Earth images of Indonesia and, inset, Alor Island.The habitat of the Alor myzomela. Image courtesy of Philippe Verbelen.The Alor myzomela is known to inhabit only eucalyptus woodland at elevations above 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) on the island, showing more pronounced differences in ecological preferences and lifestyle than other honeyeaters in the genus. It’s closely related to the crimson-hooded myzomela (M. kuehni) from the nearby island of Wetar, down to the red head, but differs in other physical characteristics and in its calls. These include dusky brown upper wings that are much paler than the black upperwings of other Myzomela species, and a call that researchers have transcribed as “tssip” or “vick.”“The whole team was excited to have scientifically described the new bird species from Alor,” Mohammad Irham, a scientist with LIPI and the lead author of the paper, told Mongabay in an email.He said the team spotted about 20 individuals of the new species during a single observation, but getting a full population estimate for the Alor myzomela will require further research.The field visits were important in collecting a specimen, getting sound recordings and photographs, and characterizing their habitat use, the authors write. They used DNA sequencing to confirm the species is new to science.The Alor myzomela (Myzomela prawiradilagae). Image courtesy of Philippe Verbelen.A population estimate will be critical to assessing any threats to the species. The researchers note that its habitat is undergoing fragmentation by a growing human population on the island, which has prompted them to recommend it be considered endangered on the IUCN Red List.Frank Rheindt, a scientist with the National University of Singapore’s Department of Biological Sciences and co-author of the paper, said most tribes on Alor built their villages on hilltops, from where it was easier to cultivate the surrounding slopes.“The population of these hilltop villages has been steadily increasing with high modern reproduction rates following increasing development,” Rheindt told Mongabay in an email.“Burgeoning human populations will exert ever more pressure on the remaining woodlots in this area,” he added.While the locals have long known of the species, Rheindt said it was a generally small, inconspicuous member of the local birdlife that the villagers didn’t pay much attention to.“Awareness about its existence was a necessary first step to ensure it does not silently go extinct,” he said.In Indonesia, all species in the genus Myzomela are protected under the country’s 1990 Conservation Law and a 1999 government regulation on wildlife.The researchers said the description of the Alor myzomela as the latest species endemic to the island of Alor should elevate the island to the status of an “endemic bird area.”“This status can be a reference for the local government to highlight Alor as an important island for wildlife, especially birds,” Irham said.“The reference hopefully can be a foundation for conservation management there, considering that [species endemic to] small islands have a much higher risk of extinction than big islands, and also for other potential [initiatives] that support the economy, such ecotourism.”The Alor myzomela (Myzomela prawiradilagae). Image courtesy of Philippe Verbelen.Irham, M., Ashari, H., Suparno, Trainor, C. R., Verbelen, P., Wu, M. Y., & Rheindt, F. E. (2019). A new Myzomela honeyeater (Meliphagidae) from the highlands of Alor Island, Indonesia. Journal of Ornithology. doi:10.1007/s10336-019-01722-2FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by Basten Gokkonlast_img read more

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Madagascar regulator under scrutiny in breach at Rio Tinto-controlled mine

first_imgArticle published by malavikavyawahare A breach at an ilmenite mine in Madagascar that came to light earlier this year is drawing attention to possible lapses on the part of the country’s environmental regulator.A group of civil society organizations has asked the Malagasy government to intervene in the matter and to hold consultations to strengthen regulatory oversight of the extractive industries.In response, the Malagasy government said it will look into the actions of the National Office for the Environment (ONE), the agency responsible for overseeing the mine, which is owned by London-based mining giant Rio Tinto.However, two months on, the government has shared no updates about its inquiry with the civil society groups that requested its intervention. The government of Madagascar is looking into the actions of its top environmental regulator in the case of a buffer zone breach at a mineral sands mining operation in the southeast of the country.Five years ago, the QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) ilmenite mine breached its buffer zone around Lake Besaroy. In March, the mine’s owner, London-based mining giant Rio Tinto, sent a memo acknowledging the breach for the first time to the Andrew Lees Trust UK (ALT UK), a social and environmental advocacy group. Activists fear that radionuclide-enriched tailings, residue from the mine’s mineral extraction process, could contaminate the lake, which locals use for drinking water. They also say the breach highlights the problematic relationship between the mine’s regulator, the National Office for the Environment (ONE), and the companies it is supposed to oversee.Rio Tinto, which owns an 80 percent stake in QMM, has invested about $1 billion in the mine, which is the second-largest in Madagascar, spread across 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres). Ilmenite extracted from the sands here is rich in titanium dioxide, which is used to produce pigment that gives a white finish to paint, plastic, paper and dye.The government’s inquiry was prompted by a letter sent by Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Madagascar in August to the environment minister and the minister for mines. The letter, supported by several Malagasy and foreign civil society organizations, drew attention to a lack of transparency and possible regulatory lapses on the part of the ONE in the case of the QMM breach.“PWYP and ALT UK asked in writing and verbally on multiple occasions since last year for Rio Tinto/QMM to provide copies of the ONE reports on the assessment of the QMM buffer breach,” Herinarahinjaka Eryck Randrianandrasana, the national coordinator at PWYP Madagascar, said in an email. “In particular to provide evidence of how the claims made by Rio Tinto that the Malagasy regulator deemed the impact of the breach to be ‘negligible’ had been reached. Their repeated failure to do so promoted the PWYP action to write to the Malagasy Government.”In an August email to PWYP Madagascar, the minister of environment promised to investigate the matter.The ONE is responsible for ensuring that public and private investments do not pose environmental risks. It is tasked with implementing the Compatibility of Investments with the Environment (MECIE by its French acronym) that lays down rules about conducting environmental impact assessments (EIAs), holding public consultations, and penalties for violations. However, the ONE, like many other Malagasy regulatory agencies, is short-staffed and resource poor. For projects that require EIAs, which are done by the project promoters but must be signed off by ONE, the promoters pay annual fees to cover the costs of subsequent monitoring.In a statement Rio Tinto issued to Mongabay in response to emailed questions the company said that “QMM pays approximately US$35,000 – $40,000 per year in these statutory fees, depending on the specific activities planned and delivered during any given year.”The breach has highlighted what activists with PWYP and other organizations say are flaws in the regulatory mechanisms that govern extractive industries like mining. Activists raised concerns for several years about a possible breach at the Rio Tinto mine into the buffer zone around Lake Besaroy. But until sending its March memo, the company did not confirm the existence of a breach.“The incursion occurred between December 2014 and January 2015,” the Rio Tinto statement said, adding that “the issue was raised with ONE as the environmental regulator when it was confirmed in 2018, and ONE inspected the area in September that year.”The confirmation of the breach the statement referred to came from a 2018 study Rio Tinto commissioned an Australian consultancy called Ozius Spatial to carry out. According to Rio Tinto, the ONE did its own evaluation of the breach, deemed the impact “negligible” and did not take any regulatory action. In its March memo to ALT UK, Rio Tinto acknowledged that the mine had breached the buffer zone but said there was no evidence of significant damage, citing the ONE’s evaluation of the breach. The company continues to maintain that position.“The impact of the disturbance to the ground and to the invasive vegetation prevalent within the area, along with the benign composition of the sand, which is also typical of the area, would not be expected to result in immediate, widespread, or sustained pollution or sustained physical damage,” the Rio Tinto statement said.“That is a question for ONE. We are not aware of any formal inspection report,” it said in response to a request from Mongabay for the ONE report on which the company’s assessment is based. The ONE did not respond to requests for a copy of the report.What raised red flags, according to the civil society organizations’ petition, was that Rio Tinto’s outlay for supporting the ONE’s monitoring activities remained relatively unchanged for the 2017-2018 period compared with previous years. “The lack of an increase in Rio Tinto/QMM financial contributions to the ONE indicates that no additional studies were undertaken and no expert inputs were requested or contracted by the ONE for the buffer zone inspection in 2018,” the petition noted.A file photo of Tolagnaro also known as Fort Dauphin, the nearest city to the QMM mining operation, where the port from which ilmenite is exported is located. Image by Rhett A. ButlerThe breach has raised larger questions about the ability of regulators to provide oversight in cases where they are heavily dependent on the companies they are supposed to regulate. “Local people have a right to information that they cannot get at the moment, and the right to live in a safe environment, which cannot happen if the regulator is not actively protecting these rights,” said Yvonne Orengo, ALT UK’s director. Orengo owns one share in Rio Tinto and has consistently raised questions about the QMM mine’s social and environmental impact at the company’s annual general meetings.“The request of the letter is for a round table with Malagasy civil society in order to review and revise the Decret MECIE and mining code,” Randrianandrasana said. “In particular, to close gaps that allow extractive companies to pay the regulator, the ONE, to carry out evaluations of their activity but which does not then compel them legally to publish the results or to transparently share reports and findings.”The mining code is expected to be revised in 2020 and Malagasy civil society organizations are pushing for more transparent and inclusive consultations on it.Andrianasolo Mamialisoa, an ONE official, told Mongabay in an email that the environment ministry had transferred the civil society groups’ letter about the QMM case to the ONE in September and that the concerned ONE department had shared some responses with the ministry. The minister, in his email to PWYP Madagascar, said that the ONE would keep the NGO updated about developments in the inquiry. As of the second week of November, however, Randrianandrasana said PWYP Madagascar remains in the dark about the progress of the government’s inquiry.Madagascar’s ministries of environment and of mines and strategic resources did not respond to Mongabay’s requests for a comment at the time this article was published.Banner Image: Rio Tinto’s QIT Madagascar Minerals mine in southeastern Madagascar. Image courtesy of Google Earth.Malavika Vyawahare is the Madagascar staff writer for Mongabay. Find her on Twitter: @MalavikaVyFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Conservation, Corporate Role In Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Mining, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Regulations, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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Amazon trees may absorb far less carbon than previously thought: study

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer The capacity of the Amazon rainforest to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is predicted to increase with climate change, but now computer modelling suggests that these increases may be far smaller than expected.So far, global photosynthesis rates have risen in line with increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but whether this pattern will hold true for the Amazon, one of the oldest ecosystems on Earth, is still unclear.Depending on how key nutrient cycles are represented, researchers found that models predict the Amazon carbon sink could be 46 to 52 percent smaller than predicted based on current trends, a finding that has serious implications for carbon sequestration forecasts and future climate change.The researchers plan to test the model predictions against the results from proposed field experiments that will artificially elevate CO2 levels in real sections of the Amazon forest — a study for which the team is currently raising funds. The Amazon’s 30-million-year-old soils were never subjected to ice age glaciers, making most highly weathered and low in nutrients like phosphorus. Photo credit: CIFOR on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-NDThe capacity of the Amazon rainforest to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is predicted to increase with climate change, but a computer modelling study published in Nature Geoscience suggests that these increases may be far more modest than expected.Depending on how key nutrient cycles are represented in climate models, the Amazon carbon sink may be half the size predicted based on current trends, the study reports — a finding that has serious implications for the escalating climate crisis.One of the few apparent silver-linings of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels has been a predicted simultaneous boost to plant growth — carbon dioxide is one of the key ingredients that fuels photosynthesis, so adding more if it to the air allows plants to photosynthesize more, and produce increased energy for growth — a process known as “CO2 fertilization.”Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are also forecasted to help plants use water more efficiently by allowing them to keep the pores in their leaves, known as stomata, closed for longer — a potential help against climate change intensified drought.These effects have caused some scientists to anticipate dramatic increases in crop yield, as well as an expansion in the capacity of trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and to mitigate human emissions. But these predictions rely on the assumption that forest growth rates, while enhanced by increased carbon, are not limited by other factors, for example, lack of soil nutrient availability.The phosphorus limitIn fact, scientists have discovered a battle going on in Amazon soils. Phosphorus — an essential plant nutrient leached from rock — is in short supply there. But at the same time, this element is in high demand from plants and microbes, while soil minerals naturally bind with it and lock it away.Amazon soils are rich in clays, which contain iron and aluminium oxides that chemically bind and store phosphorus in the soil , putting it out of reach of living organisms that desperately need the element.“While higher CO2 stimulates forest growth by making it easier for [trees] to take in CO2 … that growth will be constrained, over both short and long time periods, by the availability of the nutrients needed for tree growth, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus,” explained Christopher Neill, an ecosystem ecologist at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, USA. This phosphorus-imposed growth constraint could have serious repercussions for current estimates of Amazon forest carbon sequestration.A Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiment in Wisconsin performed by the US Department of Agriculture, which has demonstrated that elevated carbon dioxide levels increase plant growth in a temperate aspen forest. However, scientists question whether a similar growth enhancement would occur in the tropics where soil nutrients are more limited. Image by Bruce Kimball / USDA.Field testing Amazon forest carbon storage modelsThe United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that natural processes, such as photosynthesis, currently absorb just under a third of all human GHG emissions. The Amazon rainforest is a major contributor to this ecosystem service and — although there have been hints that its capacity for absorbing carbon has been reduced by climate change and deforestation — a growing Amazon carbon sink is still a key component of models used to forecast warming and evaluate mitigation strategies.To date, global photosynthesis rates have risen in line with increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations — meaning more growth and more carbon storage — but whether this global pattern will continue to hold true for the tropics and particularly the Amazon, one of the oldest ecosystems on Earth, is unclear.“A lot of our climate and ecosystem models that are applied to [predict] what [will be] happening in the future have these assumptions built into them … but since [these carbon storage expectations have] never been tested, it’s really urgent that we have a large-scale experiment in the tropics and the Amazon” to ground truth our sequestration hypotheses, said Katrin Fleischer a post-doctoral researcher at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, who led the current modelling study.Fleischer is part of an international research team preparing to do this field work. They’re setting up a large-scale experiment to measure the actual response of Amazon forest patches to elevated atmospheric CO2 levels. The so-called AmazonFACE project will use free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) to artificially increase CO2 levels around groups of Amazon trees over a period of 15 years, and monitor above- and below-ground processes to get a full picture of how individual trees and whole ecological communities might respond to rising carbon dioxide levels.Prior to starting the experiment, the researchers collected baseline data on tree growth, plant nutrition, leaf development and root growth, as well as soil nutrient cycling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus at the AmazonFACE site near Manaus, in the Brazilian Amazon. They plugged this data into 14 different climate models that included different elements involved in the soil nutrient cycle, including nitrogen and phosphorus, and looked for varying levels of adaptability in plant responses to increased carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.All the models supported the hypothesis that atmospheric concentration increases of up to 200 parts per million above current levels would have a positive effect on plant growth, however the increases were, on average, smallest in the six models that took account of phosphorus limitations in the calculations. These models predicted that the Amazon would absorb between 46 and 52 percent less carbon compared to models that did not consider phosphorus limitation.“The [computer] study is slightly unusual [and innovative] in that it involved running a range of different ecosystem models in advance of a [field] experiment, to better inform which processes will be most important to measure [during] the [15-year AmazonFACE] experiment,” explained Lucas Cernusak, a plant physiologist at Australia’s James Cook University, who wasn’t part of the modeling study.Researchers measure forest canopy processes from a measurement tower at the AmazonFACE site near Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon. Researchers can collect data on tree growth, leaf development and root growth, as well as soil nutrient cycling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Image by Joao M. Rosa, AmazonFACE.The nutrient-limited AmazonThe Amazon rainforest is more than 30 million years old and was never subjected to ice age glaciers, so most of its soils are deep and highly weathered. As a result, phosphorus is severely depleted in most areas. However, phosphorus is required by plants for protein synthesis, cell division, and energy metabolism, making it essential for growth. In addition, many plants produce phosphorus-rich seeds, fruit or pollen, making reproduction another phosphorus-demanding activity.Even though Amazon soils are known to be nutrient poor, you wouldn’t know it to look at the thriving forest. That’s because plants there have evolved myriad compensatory strategies to win the phosphorus battle: growing larger more extensive root networks, releasing sugars that alter soil pH and free phosphorus from grasping clay, and producing enzymes that activate nutrient-cycling microbes or liberate the nutrient directly from the soil or leaf litter.“It’s a very productive forest, but it’s been adapted to really [efficiently] recycle those few nutrients that it has,” said Fleischer.However, these survival strategies have a cost: “Carbon is the currency that plants can use,” to succeed in multiple ways, Fleischer explains. In the Amazon’s case, plants must invest carbon to get sufficient phosphorus in return, but this trade off means that the plants “have less carbon to invest in [producing] wood,” she said.So, higher levels of atmospheric CO2 — a product of human-induced climate change — should theoretically offer plants sufficient carbon to extract phosphorus from the soil while also investing in more woody plant matter. But that’s only assuming there is enough phosphorus available in the soil to extract.In the computer study, models that allowed some flexibility in how plants balance this trade-off, demonstrated a moderate boost to plant growth under elevated atmospheric CO2 levels: The models generated a range of predictions for how much extra carbon would be stored in plant material under high-CO2 conditions, from an increase of just 5 grams per square meter per year all the way up to 140 grams.However, when compared to field records from the 2000s at the Manaus field site, the authors found that plant carbon sequestration increased by just 23 grams per square meter per year, suggesting that the more conservative models may be closest to the truth — at least for this particular patch of forest.Climbing carbon, fixed phosphorus: into the unknown“The key insight from this paper stems from the fact that the model results vary very widely,” said Neill, because each [computer] model approximates the cycling of phosphorous in different ways. This generates hypotheses that can be tested [on the ground] by the AmazonFACE experiment. “It’s a great use of models… to guide [field] experiments that lead to new insights.”“The crucial next step will be to conduct the FACE experiment, which will be the first stand level CO2 manipulation experiment in a hyper-diverse tropical forest, to see if the models are actually on track with reality,” agrees Cernusak. However, FACE experiments are expensive to set up, and AmazonFACE is currently seeking the remaining funding needed to begin the work.“We know so little about this place, how it works, how it evolved over millions of years, which species are where… how do they [interact] as a community? It’s so complex,” said Fleischer. Meanwhile, the historic Amazon forest is being rapidly altered by escalating climate change, along with other human disturbances. “We’re losing it in front of us without really having understood it,” she concluded.Citation:Fleischer, K., Rammig, A., De Kauwe, M. G., Walker, A. P., Domingues, T. F., Fuchslueger, L., … & Haverd, V. (2019). Amazon forest response to CO2 fertilization dependent on plant phosphorus acquisition. Nature Geoscience, 12(9), 736-741.Banner image caption: Scientists don’t know whether growth enhancements seen in temperate climates will also occur in the Amazon rainforest, where plant growth may be severely limited by low phosphorus availability in soils. Image by Ben Sutherland found on Flickr CC by 2.0d.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. Amazon Conservation, Conservation, Controversial, Environment, Forests, Green, Rainforests 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

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