Researchers discover right whales singing for the first time ever

first_imgRight whales — three species of large baleen whales in the genus Eubalaena — have never been known to sing. As far as scientists knew, right whale vocalizations consisted entirely of individual calls, as opposed to the repeated, patterned phrases of true whale songs.But according to a study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America this month, the extremely rare eastern North Pacific right whale appears to use its gunshot calls in a repeating pattern — the first instance ever recorded of a right whale population breaking into song.A research team with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) analyzed 17-years’-worth of data from autonomous recorders deployed in the Bering Sea and documented four distinct right whale song types at five different locations between the years 2009 and 2017. Whales like humpbacks are famous for their mellifluous calls, typically referred to as whale songs. But right whales — three species of large baleen whales in the genus Eubalaena — have never been known to sing. As far as scientists knew, right whale vocalizations consisted entirely of individual calls, as opposed to the repeated, patterned phrases of true whale songs.Gunshot calls — loud, concussive bursts of noise — are already known to be part of the North Pacific right whale’s vocal repertoire, as well as what are known as screams, upcalls, and warbles. But according to a study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America this month, the extremely rare eastern North Pacific right whale appears to use its gunshot calls in a repeating pattern — the first instance ever recorded of a right whale population breaking into song.Jessica Crance, a marine biologist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the lead author of the study, said that she and her colleagues first detected “a weird pattern of sounds” while doing a summer field survey in the southeastern Bering Sea in 2010.“We thought it might be a right whale, but we didn’t get visual confirmation,” Crance said in a statement. “So we started going back through our long-term data from moored acoustic recorders and saw these repeating patterns of gunshot calls. I thought these patterns look like song. We found them again and again, over multiple years and locations, and they have remained remarkably consistent over eight years.”An eastern North Pacific right whale. Photo Credit: NOAA.Two summers ago, Crance and team were again working in the Bering Sea when they were able to visually confirm that the repeated patterns of gunshot calls were indeed coming from eastern North Pacific right whales.“We heard these same songs during a summer survey in 2017, and were able to localize the songs to male right whales” in real-time using sonobuoys that can record audio underwater, Crance said. “We can now definitively say these are right whales, which is so exciting because this hasn’t been heard yet in any other right whale population.”There are two groups of North Pacific right whales: in addition to the sub-population in the eastern North Pacific/Bering Sea, there is also a larger western population of 100 to 200 individuals in the Sea of Okhotsk. The roughly 400 North Atlantic right whales that still survive live mostly in the western North Atlantic Ocean, while the more abundant Southern right whale can be found mostly in the Southern Ocean.All of the singing North Pacific right whales whose sex could be determined were male, according to the study. Crance and team analyzed 17-years’-worth of data from autonomous recorders deployed in the Bering Sea and documented four distinct song types at five different locations between the years 2009 and 2017.You can listen to a couple of the recordings Crance and team made below, thanks to Gizmodo’s Earther: Article published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Bioacoustics, Environment, Mammals, Marine Animals, Marine Mammals, Oceans, Research, Whales, Wildlife “Each song type consists of a hierarchical structure of 1–3 different repeating phrases comprised predominantly of gunshot sounds; three of the four songs contained additional sound types (downsweep, moan, and low-frequency pulsive call),” Crance and the NOAA team write in the study. “Songs were detected annually (July–January); all song types remained consistent over eight years. Two different songs often occurred simultaneously, produced by different individuals; the same song was never detected simultaneously at the same location. The same song type was detected on the same day and time at two distant locations, indicating multiple individuals can produce the same song.”NOAA Fisheries scientist Jessica Crance deploys a sonobuoy to acoustically monitor for North Pacific right whale calls. Photo Credit: NOAA.These findings raise a number of new questions, Crance said: “Why is this population of right whales singing? Do the other populations also sing, and it just hasn’t been documented yet, or is this unique to our population?”Working in the vast, remote expanses of the Bering Sea will make getting answers to those questions difficult, Crance noted, especially given that there are believed to be fewer than 30 whales left in the eastern sub-population of North Pacific right whales. The subspecies is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List as a whole, but the eastern sub-population has been assessed independently and listed as Critically Endangered.We have very little data on the vocalizations of female right whales, Crance said, but lone male right whales have been found to make gunshot calls more frequently than females. Now that we have direct evidence that male right whales turn their gunshot calls into a song, Crance and team suspect that this behavior may be solely exhibited by males as a sort of reproductive display.“With only 30 animals, finding a mate must be difficult,” Crance said. “Perhaps the 2:1 male ratio in the North Pacific has led to our males singing to attract females. But we may never be able to test that or know for sure.”The NOAA team says that their next step is to look at the evolution of the newly discovered whale songs over time and to determine whether or not they’re seasonal and if certain songs are produced at specific times. “We also want to find out whether these songs contain individual-specific information,” Crance said. “There is so much I would love to know.”An eastern North Pacific right whale, the world’s most endangered great whale. The V-shaped exhale is unique to right whales. Photo Credit: NOAA.CITATIONS• Crance, J. L., Berchok, C. L., & Keating, J. L. (2017). Gunshot call production by the North Pacific right whale Eubalaena japonica in the southeastern Bering Sea. Endangered Species Research, 34, 251-267. doi:10.3354/esr00848• Crance, J. L., Berchok, C. L., Wright, D. L., Brewer, A. M., & Woodrich, D. F. (2019). Song production by the North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 145(6), 3467-3479. doi:10.1121/1.5111338FEEDBACK: 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 overSponsoredlast_img read more

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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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Conservation tech prize with invasive species focus announces finalists

first_imgAcoustic, Agriculture, algae, Artificial Intelligence, cameras, Conservation Technology, Drones, early warning, Frogs, Insects, Invasive Species, Monitoring, Oceans, Sensors, surveys, Technology, Turtles And Tortoises, Wildtech The Con X Tech Prize announced its second round will fund 20 finalists, selected from 150 applications, each with $3,500 to create their first prototypes of designs that use technology to address a conservation challenge.Seven of the 20 teams focused their designs on reducing impacts from invasive species, while the others addressed a range of conservation issues, from wildlife trafficking to acoustic monitoring to capturing freshwater plastic waste in locally-built bamboo traps.Conservation X Labs (CXL), which offers the prize, says the process provides winners with very early-stage funding, a rare commodity, and recognition of external approval, each of which has potential to motivate finalists and translate into further funding.Finalists can also compete for a grand prize of $20,000 and product support from CXL. The Con X Tech Prize just announced its second round will be funding 20 finalists each with $3,500 to create their first prototypes. Some 150 teams submitted ideas that use technology to address a conservation challenge. The 20 winners of this first stage of the competition will also compete for a grand prize of $20,000, plus support from CXL on product development and attracting investment.The prize accepts ideas for any conservation problem, with a particular focus on addressing threats from a specific theme. This second round of the prize focused on reducing impacts from invasive species to native species and ecosystems. The first round, sponsored in 2018, focused on ocean conservation.Biotech Steve Orwig removes an invasive Mexican weeping pine (Pinus patula) from the crater of Hawai’i’s Haleakalā National Park. Pines like these grow rapidly, are spread by wind from nearby forest plantings, and disrupt native ecosystems by shading out native shrubs and taking up water and nutrients. Image courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.“We have a range of hardware and software solutions we are funding, including tools in aquatic invasive species, camera traps, ag-tech, human-wildlife conflict, marine acoustics, and many more,” said Tom Quigley, who manages the digital makerspace community at Conservation X Labs, which offers the prize. “It’s a really exciting cohort.”Seven of the 20 finalists focused specifically on designs to address invasive species, while the remaining 13 teams sought to address a range of conservation issues, from wildlife trafficking to acoustic monitoring to capturing freshwater plastic waste in locally-built bamboo traps.The projects specifically addressing invasive species proposed a wide range of ideas to address an equally wide range of associated problems. They include:1. Pig-finding drone-based thermal cameras to conserve critically endangered giant tortoises on Santa Cruz island in the Galápagos by finding feral pigs that dig up tortoise nests and eat their eggs, which has prevented hatching of new generations of tortoises. The camera, equipped with machine learning algorithms, would also detect tortoise nests to help Galápagos National Park rangers find and protect them on the ground.Santa Cruz giant tortoise (Chelonoidis porteri) in Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos National Park, Ecuador. Invasive pigs and dogs destroy nests of giant tortoises, hindering recovery of tortoise populations from prior hunting and habitat loss. Image by Bernard Gagnon via Wikimedia Commons, CC 4.0.2. A mobile machine unit to remove invasive plants that have taken over grasslands in India’s protected areas, facilitated by local wood harvest, leaving elephants in parks without food and thus more likely to approach adjacent human crop fields, causing conflict. The repurposed commercially available charcoal producer would pick invasive plants, crush them into sawdust, and form usable charcoal briquettes from the dust to reduce the demand for fuelwood.3. Helping reduce the lionfish population off the Florida coast by connecting divers with fish processors through an online platform to facilitate processing of the small volumes of this highly invasive predatory fish caught by divers. Demand for the fish beyond Florida exceeds production, so the platform would also encourage more local processors.4. Remote amphibian refuges in Guatemala to attract frogs, using call playbacks, to a small tube-shaped container with a tiny pool and an Arduino computing unit inside. The unit has sensors that notify nearby researchers they’ve caught a frog, so they can identify it and determine if it carries invasive chytrid fungus.A Guatemalan spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla guatemalensis). Finding frogs at night when they are active is difficult, so researchers are seeking to attract them to tiny refuges where they can be identified and checked for invasive chytrid fungus. Image by Josiah H. Townsend, http://calphotos.berkeley.edu, CC 3.0.5. Find that plant, a machine-learning algorithm to detect individual invasive plants from drone-based images and produce geographic coordinates of the locations of plants identified as invasives to inform management decisions.6. Early insect pest detection system integrates low-cost sensors that record images, sounds, and environmental conditions, pheromone and light lures, and species identification algorithms to monitor invasive insect pests of agriculture and forests.7. Floating robots detect invasive marine algae species using image classification algorithms that identify the species and record its location while navigating. The automated identification from images would facilitate monitoring and help researchers detect and eradicate invasive plants before they become well-established.Why focus on invasive species?Humans transport non-native plants and animals from their homes on one continent to new places that often lack the predators or other mechanisms keeping populations of the species under control. Some of these non-native species become invasive, meaning they spread and outcompete or harm native plants and animals or destroy native habitat.The caterpillar of the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), which has invaded Africa and Asia from the Americas, destroying maize, sorghum, millet, rice, and other crops. Image by Frank Peairs, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org, CC 3.0.The accelerated spread of invasive species over the past few decades has led to severe reductions, and even extinctions, of some native species, especially on islands.“Over 30 percent of the IUCN Red List species extinctions were caused or impacted by invasives,” Quigley said. “As the world’s population grows and globalization increases, the risk of invasive species introductions increases dramatically. Innovation and new technology solutions are needed to prevent the spread of invasive species and novel emerging pathogens.”Role of tech prizes in conservationQuigley told Mongabay that the early funding and recognition that they have received a prize have been “transformative” for some first-round finalists.“The process provides winners with very early-stage funding, a rare commodity, and recognition of external approval,” Quigley said, “each of which has potential to motivate finalists and translate into further funding.”He added that the opportunity to compete for the prize with a submission deadline can motivate groups who’ve perhaps been considering an idea or design to address a conservation problem to actually develop it into a prototype.A common lionfish (Pterois miles) from the Red Sea. These carnivorous fish native to the western Indo-Pacific region and the related P. volitans invaded the western Atlantic in the 1980s. There, their populations have exploded as they reproduce rapidly, consume more than 50 native fish species, and have no predators in their new home. Image by Magnus Kjaergaard via Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0.Quigley identified three features that he thought help teams advance their prototype development most effectively:  keeping a strong focus on a discrete problem; partnering with a group that actually faces the problem; and including team members from different disciplines, such as an oceanographer partnering with a camera tech expert and a fundraiser or an engineer with a web developer and a project manager.The Con X Prize strives to bring people from a variety of disciplines to apply their skills to solving conservation challenges and broadening the conservation community.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. Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_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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Venezuelan crisis: Caring for priceless botanical treasures in a failed state

first_imgBotany, Conservation, data collection, Drought, Earth Science, Economics, Environmental Economics, Global Environmental Crisis, Orchids, Plants, Rainforest Conservation, Research, Science, Trees, Tropical Conservation Science, Tropical Forests Article published by Glenn Scherer Venezuela’s Botanical Garden of Caracas was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Its 70-hectare (173-acre) garden, National Herbarium and Henri Pittier Library are considered a national, and international treasure, and a vital repository of Latin American and global natural history utilized frequently by researchers.But a devastating drought that started two years ago, plus massive thefts of equipment (ranging from air conditioners to computers, plumbing and even electrical wiring), plus a failed electrical and public water supply, have all combined to threaten the Garden’s priceless collections.The annual botanical garden budget has been slashed to a mere $500 per year, which has forced staff to rely on innovative conservation solutions which include crowd funding to pay for rainwater cisterns, as well as volunteer programs in which participants contribute not only labor, but irrigation water they bring from home.As Venezuela’s government grows increasingly corrupt and incompetent, and as the national economy spirals out of control with hyperinflation topping 1.7 million percent in 2018, the botanical garden’s curators have no ready answers as to how to go about preserving the rare plants they tend on into the future. The Botanical Garden of Caracas, past and present: Seen in the glowing-green banner image at the top of this webpage as it once appeared, and above dry and desiccated as it looks today, is a portion of the Palmetum collection, formerly renowned for its 4,000 specimens and 250 species of palm and orchid, mostly from Latin America. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres. Banner image by Alejandro Matheus CC BY-SA 3.0.Without water, life itself is impossible: the staff of the Botanical Garden of Caracas has labored against this natural edict for more than two years, as the UNESCO World Heritage Site struggles to keep its precious international plant collection alive against severe drought, a failed city electrical and water supply, and amidst one of the worst humanitarian emergencies ever endured by a Latin American nation.The Garden, in Spanish known as the Jardín Botánico de Caracas, is part of the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Central University of Venezuela, campus, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. At its height, the Garden conserved more than 2,500 species corresponding to roughly 200 botanical families, of which 50 percent were endemic to Venezuela, with the rest coming from Central America, Africa, India and other parts of Asia and South America. Its Palmetum was renowned for having one of the finest collections of palms in Latin America, housing some 4,000 specimens of about 250 species.But year-by-year, day-by-day, this natural treasure house has become increasingly impoverished, with many exotic plants, dozens of native and endemic species such as orchids and palms dead or dying due to a lack of irrigation, or overrun by grasses.The gardens’ largest lake, constructed in the shape of Venezuela and covered in immense flowering water lilies, was half emptied by July of 2018, according to Reuters. Dead is one of the lake’s most prized and celebrated species, the giant 2.4-meter (8 feet) wide, Santa Cruz water lily (Victoria amazonica), so big and buoyant it can support a child’s weight.Thousands of liters of water are regularly transported, typically by hand, to keep lagoon plants alive, though many have died. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.A portion of the Venezuela Lagoon as it appeared before the nation’s economic crisis, and before the Jardín Botanico de la Caracas fell on hard times. Image by Warairarepano & Guaicaipuro CC0.A long, grinding crisisThe garden’s decline began well before the current Venezuelan economic crisis. The El Niño drought of 2010 and the invasion of the giant African snail seriously impacted this urban oasis, located near the center of the city of Caracas beside the Francisco Fajardo Highway. But those crises were a mere prequel to the current dysfunctionality now suffered by the facility according to its director, Jan Tillett, a Venezuelan agronomist who has worked at the Garden for 16 years.Founded in 1945 and opened to the public in 1958, the Botanical Garden of Caracas occupies 70 hectares (173 acres), with its value greatly enhanced by the Henri Pittier Library with its 6,000 volumes, and by the National Herbarium — all of these holdings are administered by the National Botanical Institute of Venezuela Foundation.These day, the staff of all three entities are crammed into common spaces because their office complexes lack basic services. As the Venezuelan economic crisis deepened in 2017, a wave of robberies deprived the Garden’s facilities of their air conditioners, water pumps, refrigerators, computers and other important tools, leaving the institution’s infrastructure in a precarious condition. That year the Venezuelan National Guard was ordered to withdraw its protection from the Garden and many surrounding Caracas neighborhoods in order to face the massive citizen protests against the controversial and notoriously corrupt government of Nicolás Maduro who was elected president in 2013.At the time, Garden officials made 21 formal complaints to authorities and pleaded for help, to no avail. “Everything was stolen,” Tillett laments. “Bilge pumps, clippers, hoses, a power plant, and even the ceilings, but the police did nothing.” Petty thefts have continued to occur daily.There is virtually no money available with which to replace the losses. The Garden received an operating budget for 2019 totaling 3 million bolivars, the equivalent of 500 dollars. Meanwhile, bureaucratic breakdowns have become so severe that the elapsed time between the approval of building permits and the execution of maintenance can be so long that Venezuela’s hyperinflation (1.7 million percent during 2018), can consume all the money before a hand is raised to accomplish a task.Then there are the issues surrounding water. “The last time water entered the [facilities’] pipelines was between January 14 and 16 this year,” laments Tillett.That drastic lack spawned a social media campaign to raise funds to pay for 200 water cisterns to supply vital water to aquatic plant lagoons and to perform manual irrigation. A volunteer program was also created and is coordinated by the garden’s chief researcher, Yaroslavi Espinoza. Volunteers not only do maintenance, they bring water from home in bottles to irrigate plants.As trees have died due to water scarcity, the Garden’s staff have chopped them down, leaving stumps. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.The lush Jardin Botanico Caracas grounds as they once appeared before being ravaged by drought and the deepening Venezuelan economic crisis. Image by ruurmo CC BY-SA 2.0.Lack of water takes its tollDespite these heroic efforts, a visit to the once magnificent Garden is cause for gloom. Near its entrance a large lagoon now sits dry and empty. Nearby, numerous stumps are a reminder of tropical tees felled at death. Other water-stressed trees stand with bare branches, or festooned with dying leaves, surrounded by yellowing grass.The ethnobotanical garden area, which should exhibit plants with medicinal and gastronomic uses, looks like an abandoned farm with dead fruit trees, a common sight these days in the Venezuelan countryside. One small lagoon has been filled up from cisterns and boasts a few aquatic species, but several others stand empty, damaged by recent earth tremors in Caracas. “The scientist in charge of these species has reproduced some of them and taken them to other places so that they do not get lost,” explains the Gardens’ director.But such efforts continue to be undermined. “We lost all the seedlings that were in the main nursery outside the exhibition area, where [thieves] stole the roof, so having their [water] tank full was worthless,” says Tillett. The plants died under a baking tropical sun. The staff tried to reactivate a fifty-year-old deep well, but could raise no water, probably due to the long drought and the theft of electrical wiring that operated water pumps. Since the wave of countrywide blackouts in March of this year, many city pumping stations have stopped working, making water supply problems even more intractable.Still, all is not lost. Tillett’s team has been able to conserve several species of palms of the genus Cicadas, and pines in the so-called Paleozoic Garden and the Arboretum, where trees tens of meters tall have stayed green thanks to the moist microclimate they themselves generate. Despite everything, the Garden still attracts visitors and lots of birds. “There are parrots, macaws, guacharacas (Ortallis genus) and white herons,” the director says.Daily work in the National Herbarium is ongoing as its curators strive to preserve invaluable botanical samples. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.Twenty years of samples waiting to be prepared and filed within the Caracas Botanical Garden herbarium. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.Plagued herbarium The National Herbarium has its own unique problems. Its immense botanical collection is being devoured by ladybugs. The lack of a cooling system has imperiled the samples of 450,000 plant species once well protected within the herbarium. As a result, a pest, the cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricona) now infests almost all the samples of Venezuela’s lichens, fungi, algae and other vegetal biodiversity.The theft of nine air conditioners, dehumidifiers, furniture, shelves and computers forced Dr. Neida Avendaño, Herbarium director since 2017, to get creative. In order to protect samples from infestation, he ordered the storage of each in a plastic bag. At first, paradichlorobenzene mothballs were added to each container, but cheaper naphthalene was later substituted. Unfortunately for the plants, tropical heat and drought evaporate the mothballs quickly, forcing Avendaño and researcher Dr. Omaira Hokche to check and replenish the bags often, in a tedious and frustrating daily routine.Avendaño underscores the critical importance of protecting the museum research collection’s 750 typus and paratypus (a specimen of an organism that helps define the scientific name of a species and other taxon characteristics), along with 520 historical samples, some from the 17th century.The collection “has historical, genetic and scientific importance,” says Avendaño. “I worked here twenty years ago in research. Botanists, doctors and chefs come [to the herbarium] to request samples to investigate.” But even with the help of a private donation from a German researcher, there are still 20 years-worth of stacked samples awaiting protection.In the failed state of Venezuela, getting outside help for one of the world’s great botanical collections has been complicated and slowed by the nation’s cumbersome bureaucratic processes. Avendaño waits patiently in hope of assistance from the international scientific community, but she worries that help will not come. “I think they really do not believe that we work without water, without electricity, without toilets, building a database [working from home] with our [own personal] computers,” she concludes.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.Neida Avendaño, director of the National Herbarium, checks precious botanical samples every day. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.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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What’s in a name? For Sri Lanka’s newest geckos, a political firestorm

first_imgBiodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Herps, Lizards, New Species, Research, Species Discovery Article published by dilrukshi 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 Researchers recently described six new species of geckos, but the discovery has been overshadowed by controversy over their naming.Nationalist figures accuse the researchers of dishonoring historical heroes by naming the geckos after them, with one group even filing a complaint with the police.The scientific community has risen in support of the researchers, pointing out that naming a new species after an individual is universally considered a badge of honor.For their part, the researchers say the focus should be on the new species, which are so rare and their range so restricted that they should be considered critically endangered. COLOMBO — In 2017, herpetologist Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna and his team of researchers undertook a detailed study of lizards in more than 100 locations across Sri Lanka to record the distribution of different species and study their conservation status.What they didn’t bargain for was an ugly spat over the naming of six new species of geckos discovered as part of the study.The issue has become so politically contentious that an ultra-nationalist politician has challenged the naming exercise in parliament, while a group of Buddhist monks is demanding police action be taken against Karunarathna, who is now the target of an online hate campaign. In the process, little attention is being paid to the discovery of the new species or the threats they face.Cnemaspis gotaimbarai is named after another of in honor of another of Dutugamunu’s loyal warriors, Gotaimbara. The species was discovered from the forested hills of Kokagala in Ampara district, a region of immense archaeological and historical significance. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.The new research paper, published in the journal Vertebrate Zoology, records the discovery of six new endemic geckos of the genus Cnemaspis from little-known areas in Sri Lanka. It was expected to be welcome news as Sri Lanka petitions for the protection of its endemic lizards at a global wildlife trade summit taking place in Geneva. But instead of celebrating the latest additions to the island’s remarkable list of unique reptiles, the researchers are now dealing with massive hostility.Two of the new geckos, Cnemaspis nandimithrai and C. gotaimbarai, are named after Nandimithra and Gotaimbara, two legendary fighters from the Ten Giant Warriors who served the ancient Sinhala king Dutugamunu, the island’s ruler from 161 to 137 B.C.E.Cnemaspis nandimithrai is named in honor of Nandimithra, a warrior who served King Dutugamunu more than 2,000 years ago. Legend has it that he moved boulders to build a monastery for Buddhist monks. Image courtesy of Nimantha Abeyrathne.The four other geckos are named in honor of lesser-known heroes from the Uwa-Wellassa Rebellion of 1817-1818, when Sri Lankans rose up against the British colonial power: C. kohukumburai (after Kohukumbure Walawwe Rate Rala), C. hitihami (Meegahapitiye Walawwe Hitihami Mudiyanselage Rate Rala), C. butewai (Butewe Rate Rala), and C. kivulegedarai (Kivulegedara Mohottala).“The paper sought to highlight Sri Lanka as a top global hotspot for herpetofauna diversity and a local center of high endemism,” Karunarathna said. “The six additions we have made seek to underpin the fact that ours is an island of reptilian diversity and high endemism.”But some in the country’s political establishment have sought to seize on the issue to burnish their nationalist credentials ahead of elections later this year, by accusing Karunarathna and his team of dishonoring the historical heroes by naming geckos after them. Wimal Weerawansa, a member of parliament, called the naming decision disgraceful, while an ultra-conservative religious group has complained to the police chief in writing.Cnemaspis kohukumburai was discovered in a forest patch in Kadugannawa, in the central district of Kandy. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.Show of supportSri Lanka’s scientific community has rallied behind the researchers, pointing out that naming a new species after someone is a common practice meant to honor the latter. In the case of the six new gecko species, they say, naming them after national heroes is an attempt to perpetuate the memory of the latter and educate the public, and not an effort to undermine their legacy.“It is a well-established practice and there is nothing new in naming species after national heroes,” Mendis Wickramasinghe, a herpetologist who has helped describe more than a hundred new species, told Mongabay. “I have named a snake, Aspidura ravanai, to honor King Ravana and a shrub frog, Pseudophilautus puranappu, in the memory of a national hero, Veera Puran Appu. There is no question of attempting to insult their memory.”An isolated hill forest with scattered granite caves in Maragala, in Monaragala district, is the habitat of Cnemaspis hitihami. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.Environment lawyer and naturalist Jagath Gunawardane called the naming of a species after an individual the ultimate honor. In 2013, a shrub frog was named in his honor, Pseudophilautus jagathgunawardanai.In an attempt to quell the controversy, Anusha Gokula Fernando, the director of the department of cultural affairs, issued a statement reiterating that the practice of naming new species in honor of prominent personalities is established tradition.Karunarathna had previously named another species of gecko, Cnemaspis godagedarai, after Godagedara Rate Adikaram, a hero of the Uwa-Wellassa Rebellion. In all, he has described eight new gecko and four lizard species, and is in the process of describing a dozen more.The lush, cool and canopied forest of Bambarabotuwa in Ratnapura district is home to Cnemaspis butewei. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.Considered critically endangeredThe new Cnesmaspis species — all “point endemic,” or restricted to a very small geographic range — were recorded from cool, wet, spacious granite caves found within rock outcrops in forests largely undisturbed by human activity. These habitats are scattered in geographically isolated forested hills in the historical Uwa-Wellassa region and the central districts of Kandy and Ratnapura.The geckos, small or medium in size, aren’t just restricted in range but also have limited dispersal capabilities and niche specialization, Karunarathna told Mongabay. These factors, along with the relatively low abundance of the species, should qualify them for a conservation status of critically endangered, the researchers say. They also call for further study of Sri Lanka’s isolated forests, especially in the dry and intermediate zones, for both conservation and in-depth research to inform specific management activities.Kivulegedara Rate Rala played a significant role in the Uwa-Wellassa Rebellion of 1817-1818, for which the researchers chose to honor him by naming Cnemaspis kivulegedarai after him. Image courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.The new discoveries bring Sri Lanka’s Cnemaspis species, known as day geckos because they’re active in the daytime, to 32. The total number of known gecko species in the tropical island is 54, 44 of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Most are restricted to the wet zone; 20 species are considered critically endangered, nine endangered, five vulnerable and four are data deficient.Proposals for protection In April, a study highlighted how rare lizards found only in Sri Lanka are winding up in Europe as part of the illegal trade in exotic wildlife. The publication of the study by the wildlife trade monitoring NGO TRAFFIC came ahead of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Sri Lanka has put forward a proposal at the summit, currently underway in Geneva, to protect several endemic lizard species from international trade, although they don’t include any day geckos.At home, day geckos face growing pressure on their habitats. Sri Lanka’s forests are shrinking fast, whittled away by human encroachment, primarily for tea and crop farms, and settlements, Karunarathna said.“Other stresses include unplanned infrastructure development and granite mining, forest fires and logging that increase habitat degradation,” he said. “It’s best to fight against these causes than the nomenclature of geckos.”Herpetologist Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna has found himself at the center of a political firestorm after naming six new gecko species after historical figures. Fellow scientists say it’s the ultimate honor to name a species to perpetuate the memory of an individual. Image courtesy of Madhava Botejue.Citation Karunarathna, S. S., Poyarkov, N. A., De Silva, A., Madawala, M., Botejue, M., Gorin, V. A., & Bauer, A. M. (2019). Integrative taxonomy reveals six new species of day geckos of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from geographically-isolated hill forests in Sri Lanka. Vertebrate Zoology, 69(3), 247-298. doi:10.26049/VZ69-3-2019-02Image of the isolated rocky forest area of Kudumbigala in Ampara district, where Cnemaspis nandimithrai, one of the six new species of day gecko, was recently discovered. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.last_img read more

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New report reveals northern Ecuadorian region has lost 61 percent of forests

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 The Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve maintains only 61 percent of its original plant cover. The area’s ecological significance is partly due to its sitting in a transition zone between humid tropical forests and seasonally dry forests.In Cotacachi-Cayapas Park, a high level of conservation success represents a source of hope. Now the challenge is to connect the park to private reserves to guarantee protection of the most-threatened lowland forests. Spanning nearly 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) along the coast, Ecuador’s Chocó region is known as a biodiversity hotspot with high levels of endemism, among the richest region for plants in the western hemisphere. However, this ecosystem is also one of the most threatened in the world. In Ecuador, it has been one of the most affected by deforestation in recent decades.A recent analysis by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), an initiative of the organization Conservación Amazónica (ACCA), reveals just how much forest has been lost. Overall, 61 percent (1.8 million hectares, or 4.4 million acres) of the Ecuadoran Chocó has been deforested; one-fifth of that loss (365,000 hectares, or 902,000 acres) occurred between 2000 and 2018.The threats are many. According to Carmen Josse, scientific director of Fundación EcoCiencia, in Ecuador, these include industrial oil palm plantations as well as legal and illegal logging and mining. “In the highland areas, on the border of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve, above 1,000 meters [3,300 feet], we are talking about very large mining concessions that have caused controversy among the local population, one of them in the Intag region, very close to the border of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve. A few weeks ago, it was announced that abundant reserves of various high-quality minerals existed in this area.”Endangered forests and the Mache-Chindul ReserveEcuadoran Chocó lowland forest experienced the lion’s share of deforestation, losing 68 percent (1.2 million hectares, or 3 million acres) of its forest cover by 2018. Middle- and high-elevation forests together were reduced by 50 percent (611,000 hectares, or 1.5 million acres), according to MAAP. Its analysis used data from Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment for years before 2017, and the University of Maryland for 2017 and 2018.Comparison of the original forest and the state of the forest in 2018, using data from MAE, Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA.The analysis found 4,600 hectares (11,400 acres) of Ecuadoran Chocó forest were deforested in 2017 and 2018, mostly in low-elevation forest.According to MAAP’s analysis, only 39 percent of Ecuadoran Chocó forest (1.17 million hectares, or 2.89 million acres) remains. For lowland forest, located mainly in the province of Esmeraldas, only 32 percent  (569,000 hectares, or 1.4 million acres) remains.“This is dramatic because although it is a world biodiversity hotspot, it is one of the least appreciated,” Martin Schaefer, executive director of Fundación Jocotoco, told Mongabay Latam.MAAP’s analysis reveals protected areas haven’t been immune, finding only 61 percent of Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve retains its original forest.Josse attributed this, to a certain extent, to there already being settlements inside this area from the time of its declaration in 1996. These include, on the one hand, indigenous Chachi communities, and on the other, migrants who moved there to work in agriculture.“The declaration was complex, but it made sense, because it is an area that, although located in areas of low elevation near the coast, has a very rugged topography (consisting of a small coastal mountain range) that should not be used for agricultural activities. On the other hand, it also has high levels of endemism, because it is a transition zone between very humid forests, characteristic of the Chocó, and seasonally dry forests,” Josse said.Deforestation at different elevations, using data from MAAP, MAE, Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA.Josse said deforestation in the reserve has increased with the construction of nearby roads, among other things. “According to the evaluation of forest cover carried out by EcoCiencia in 2017, there are only 76,053 hectares [187,931 acres] of native forest left among the 200,000 [494,210 acres] in the area comprised of the district of Muisne and the Mache-Chindul Reserve,” notes the report “Oportunidades y desafíos en el manejo de los bosques y sus servicios ambientales en el cantón Muisne, Esmeraldas” (Opportunities and challenges in the management of forests and their environmental services in the district of Muisne, Esmeraldas), published by EcoCiencia last year. “If current rates of deforestation continue, in just 25 to 30 years the last remaining forests that exist in the area will be lost.”In its report, MAAP highlights two areas significantly affected by deforestation. The first is a location close to the border with Colombia that lost 380 hectares (939 acres) between 2016 and 2018 “directly to the north of an oil palm plantation, possibly for an expansion.”The analysis also reveals the Chachi Indigenous Reserve lost around 50 hectares (124 acres) of its forest cover between 2016 and 2018.Hope in Cotacachi-CayapasDespite the loss of forest in many areas of the Ecuadoran Chocó, MAAP’s report offers optimism and hope in the high level of conservation of the recently named Cotacachi-Cayapas National Park, first declared protected in 1968 as an ecological reserve. MAAP’s data and images show that 99 percent of the park’s forests were in good condition as of 2018.Schaefer from Fundación Jocotoco said Cotacachi-Cayapas remains important because it still has extensive forest coverage. However, he noted that the majority of land in the reserve is above 500 meters (1,640 feet), while the most threatened habitat in the Ecuadoran Chocó is the lowland forest, at elevations of less than 300 meters (980 feet).The patch outlined in red shows the deforestation of 380 hectares just north of an oil palm plantation, using data from Planet, ESA, MAAPThe patches outlined in red show the deforestation of 50 hectares inside the Chachi Indigenous Reserve, using data from Planet, MAAP.“Our intention is to protect this habitat (of lowland forests) and then connect it to Cotacachi-Cayapas, because there is evidence that the species in the western area are moving their range of altitude upwards as a result of increasing temperatures, due to climate change. In order to facilitate this change in altitude we need this connectivity,” Schaefer said, adding that this is why Fundación Jocotoco is interested in expanding its Canandé reserve to connect it to the national park.The aim is to move quickly, since the land in areas of low elevation is increasingly affected by road projects and “very suited to palm oil plantations,” Schaefer said. He added it is important to work with local communities and businesses that have sustainable models of production and that maintain a certain level of vegetation on their land, also providing a home for threatened species. “We want to demonstrate that there are alternatives for working in the forest without destroying its natural resources.”Conservationists say the protection of the Ecuadoran Chocó has become a necessity due to the increasing pressures it faces.“The area has also been affected by selective logging financed by large timber companies, and so these forests, those from which high-quality wood has been extracted, have gradually become degraded and have been converted to other land uses,” Josse said, adding that this is currently still happening.If this loss of forest continues, Schaefer said, it will destroy a place of enormous biodiversity where “we are losing species, often before even discovering them.”Banner image of forests in the highland areas of the Ecuadoran Chocó by Sebastián Crespo/CONDESAN.es.mongabay.com Article published by Genevieve Belmakercenter_img Agriculture, Conservation, data, data collection, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Land Use Change, Mapping, Rainforests, satellite data, Saving Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests last_img read more

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Will a massive marine protected area safeguard Cook Islands’ ocean?

first_imgIn 2017, the Cook Islands government passed the Marae Moana Act, which designated the country’s entire exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as a multiple-use marine protected area (MPA).Spanning almost 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) — an area roughly the size of Mexico — the MPA is the biggest of its kind in the world.Now, as bureaucrats, NGOs and traditional leaders get to grips with implementing Marae Moana, many stakeholders are wondering what the act will mean in practice and whether it can meaningfully change the way the ocean is managed. This story is part of a series on Marae Moana, the massive, recently enacted multiple-use marine protected area covering the Cook Islands’ entire exclusive economic zone. Other stories in the series:Building the world’s biggest MPA: Q&A with Goldman winner Jacqueline EvansParadise, polluted: Cook Islands tries to clean up its tourism sectorGive it back to the gods: Reviving Māori tradition to protect marine lifeCook Islands MPA leader fired after supporting seabed mining freezeRAROTONGA, Cook Islands — At certain times of the year, Puna Rakanui’s grandfather used to travel to a favorite fishing spot and return with his canoe full of decapitated tuna. “He would tell us kids, ‘When you take fish out of the ocean, you must give something back,’” Rakanui said. “So he would chop the head off the tuna, tie a rock to it and sink it. To feed the fish. ‘That’s for tomorrow,’ he’d say.”In the decades since, that conservative attitude waned among residents of the Cook Islands, and alongside it the health and abundance of the archipelago’s marine habitats. Commercial fishing vessels exploited the deep ocean, while many of the islands’ lagoons were overfished and polluted by locals and tourists alike. Then, in 2017, something changed. The Cook Islands government passed the Marae Moana Act, which designated the country’s entire exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as a multiple-use marine protected area (MPA). Spanning almost 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) — an area roughly the size of Mexico — it’s the biggest of its kind in the world. The intent was essentially to shift marine governance back into alignment with the attitude of Rakanui’s grandfather.But what does “multiple-use” actually mean? Two years on, communities still come to heads with the government over indiscriminate commercial fishing practices, and there is growing international interest in the minerals on the ocean floor. Bureaucrats, NGOs, traditional leaders and community members are currently debating a marine spatial plan to designate which activities will be allowed where within the MPA, a process they aim to complete by 2020. Now that the details are being hashed out, the questions on many stakeholders’ lips are: what will the act mean in practice? Can it actually change the way the ocean is managed, or is it simply a tourist-friendly title for business as usual?Map shows the location of the Cook Islands, with the international date line running past on a ragged course through the Pacific Ocean. Image courtesy of Google Maps.Old paradigm, new systemThe Pacific Ocean and its islands are often left off the edges of world maps, seen perhaps by cartographers as a convenient blank space through which to slice the globe and produce the flat maps we’re familiar with, with the continents in the middle. But for those born and raised in the Cook Islands, the ocean is anything but empty space.“It’s a highway, a line of communication, and a food basket for us,” said Rakanui, the spokesman for the House of Ariki, a parliamentary body of Cook Islands paramount chiefs. “And it was a place where [our ancestors] strengthened their ties with the supernatural powers … There’s nothing to hold onto out there except your canoe; and your faith in the water, taking you to where you’re supposed to be.”From the 16th century on, Europeans jumped on that highway, too: explorers, missionaries, whalers, slave traders and, eventually, colonizers. The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888, and a territory of New Zealand in 1901. In 1965, the archipelago gained independence, but retained much of the colonial mindset on ownership and management of the land and sea. “When you look at our traditions … both the land and the ocean were recognized astapu [sacred],” Rakanui said. “But when we had the transition to the Western form of government, there was little focus on the ocean.“Because the land is so limited, everyone was fighting for it and setting boundaries around it,” he said. “They didn’t put any boundary on the ocean. But that’s not to say that they didn’t place any value on it.”Commercial fishing debris washed up on the shore of Rarotonga. Image by Monica Evans for Mongabay.In recent years, it’s become clear to the islanders that the ocean’s bounty is limited, too. For decades, the Cook Islands government has bolstered its economy by selling fishing licenses to foreign companies to exploit its waters. As technologies like fishfinders and sonar-emitting fish-aggregating devices (FADS) make it easier to find and attract a catch, the zone is increasingly at risk of being overfished.What’s more, abandoned nets and FADS are trapping threatened species like sea turtles, and washing up in huge volume on the Cooks’ 15 islands and atolls. Last year, members of the local environmental NGO Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) visited uninhabited Suwarrow, a coral atoll almost 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away from the largest and most developed island of Rarotonga. They were appalled at the amount of fishing rubbish — particularly FADS — that they found there.For Polynesians, the ocean is both a god and a relative, and maintaining the mana(prestige, dignity, spiritual power) of one’s family is of overriding importance. So in 2010, when rugby league star Kevin Iro approached the House of Ariki saying he felt sorry for the ocean and asking for help to revive its mana, the chiefs came quickly on board.That was the beginning of a seven-year process of advocacy and consultation that culminated in the passing of Marae Moana, a title that means “sacred ocean” in Cook Islands Māori.Under the act, the country’s entire EEZ is marked out as a marine protected area, and the spatial plan that’s currently being developed will designate pockets for different activities such as commercial fishing or tourism. These activities must comply with Marae Moana’s overarching purpose: to protect and conserve the ecological, biodiversity, and heritage values of the Cook Islands marine environment.“We really wanted to express that out to the rest of the world, that we view the ocean not just as small bits and pieces but as a whole,” Iro said. “So rather than setting protection targets of 10 percent by 2020 or whatever, we said ‘Let’s flip that on its head and just say 100 percent is protected and work backwards from there.’”last_img read more

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Biodiversity boosts crop pollinators and pest controllers, study finds

first_imgA new study looks at the reliance on biodiversity of ecosystem services provided by pollinating and pest-controlling insects.Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the “landscape simplification” that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects.The scientists found that the reduction in ecosystem services provided by these insects tended to lead to lower crop yields. Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the “landscape simplification” that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.“Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production,” Matteo Dainese, the study’s lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.A hoverfly pollinating a rapeseed flower. Image by Matthias Tschumi/Agroscope.It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn’t been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.Extensive landscape where crops alternate with hedges, flowering strips and other seminatural habitats. Image by Matthias Tschumi/Agroscope.In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called “evenness.” In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn’t end up affecting pest control).A lacewing larvae predating on aphids on a potato plant. Image by Matthias Tschumi/Agroscope.“Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations,” Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study’s authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.“Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important,” Steffan-Dewenter said.Pictured is an Argynnis paphia female on vegetation. Image by Julia M. Schmack/University of Auckland.Banner image of a ladybird predating on aphids on potato plant by Matthias Tschumi/Agroscope. John Cannon is a staff writer at Mongabay. Find him on Twitter: @johnccannonCitation:Dainese, M., Martin, E. A., Aizen, M. A., Albrecht, M., Bartomeus, I., Bommarco, R., … Steffan-Dewenter, I. (2019). A global synthesis reveals biodiversity-mediated benefits for crop production. Science Advances, 5(10), eaax0121. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax0121FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by John Cannon Agriculture, Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Climate Change, Climate Change And Biodiversity, Climate Change And Food, Conservation, Ecology, Environment, Food, Impact Of Climate Change, Insects, Invertebrates, Research 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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Can camera traps diagnose the severity of a mystery giraffe skin disease?

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Diseases, Endangered Species, Environment, Giraffes, Green, Infectious Wildlife Disease, Mammals, Protected Areas, Research, Technology, Wildlife center_img Giraffe skin disease, a mystery condition that inflicts crusty lesions on the world’s tallest animal, has been recorded in 13 giraffe populations in seven African countries. It is particularly widespread in Tanzania.Researchers used camera trap images to quantify how severe the disease was among giraffe populations in Tanzania’s Serengeti and Ruaha national parks.They found that most cases of the infections that the camera traps detected were “mild” or “moderate” according to a scale they devised, suggesting that the disease, although widespread, is likely not life-threatening at the moment.The researchers have, however, observed that giraffes with more severe infections tend to move with difficulty, which could make them more vulnerable to lion predation — a hypothesis they are now investigating with data from Ruaha National Park. Giraffes have many problems to deal with. There’s habitat loss and poaching. Then there’s a mysterious skin disease that’s been recorded in 13 giraffe populations in seven African countries.The condition, termed simply the giraffe skin disease, starts off as small nodules on the animal’s skin. The nodules can develop into dry, scaly patches, which then turn into large crusty, grayish-brown lesions filled with blood or pus. Researchers are only beginning to wrap their heads around the little-understood disease. Arthur Muneza, a doctoral student at Michigan State University and East Africa coordinator of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, is one of them.Giraffe skin disease can start off as small nodules on the skin that turn into large crusty lesions. Images by Michael Brown, courtesy of Arthur Muneza.Muneza has been studying the disease in Tanzania, where it’s widespread, affecting the giraffe’s long limbs. About a quarter of the giraffes in Serengeti National Park show signs of the disease. In Tarangire National Park, some 63 percent of giraffes suffer from it, while in Ruaha National Park, around 86 percent of the giraffe population sport the characteristic skin lesions.“To go to an area and see almost all the animals with signs of this disease is quite surprising,” Muneza told Mongabay.The high prevalence of the disease in Tanzania sparked a question in Muneza’s mind. How severe is the infection among Tanzania’s giraffes?A few studies have tried to answer this question in the past, but their classifications of giraffe skin disease severity were very subjective, Muneza said. “There is no standard way of defining what a mild giraffe skin disease is, what moderate giraffe skin disease is, and what constitutes severe giraffe skin disease.”To develop a classification that’s less arbitrary, Muneza and his colleagues turned to camera traps in a new study published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.The researchers selected all giraffe photos that had been captured during extensive camera trap surveys in Ruaha and Serengeti, then whittled down the list to those that showed the full extent of all four legs of the giraffes, from shoulder joints to hooves.The team then used photogrammetry techniques on the final 405 photos to quantify giraffe skin disease in the animals. They measured the vertical length of both the lesions and the legs visible in the photos, determined the proportion of the leg that was affected by the lesions, then statistically grouped these numbers to get three different categories of lesion severity.Giraffes with less than 16 percent of their legs covered by lesions were classified as having mild giraffe skin disease, those with 16 to 25 percent of the legs covered had a moderate form of the disease, and individuals with more than a quarter of their leg covered by lesions had severe skin disease, according to the study.“At the moment, we know very little about the disease, so our assumption is that the external and physical manifestation of the disease is the indicator we can use to categorise the severity of the disease,” Muneza told Mongabay.While the cameras usually captured photos of giraffe limbs, it’s the animals’ upper bodies that have unique coat patterns. This meant that the researchers couldn’t identify individual animals from the camera trap photos alone. This could potentially bring in bias if the disease severity classifications had been estimated from multiple photos of just a few giraffes. To see if this was the case, the researchers compared the severity rates estimated by the camera trap images with those obtained from another technique: photographs of 305 individually recognized giraffes that the researchers had taken using digital cameras during vehicle-based surveys in both parks. Both techniques produced similar results.Giraffe with skin disease in Ruaha National Park. Image courtesy of Arthur Muneza.The photos revealed that lesions of giraffe skin disease were, in general, more common on the front legs of the animals than the back legs. Moreover, most cases of the disease that the camera traps in Ruaha and Serengeti detected were considered “mild,” followed by “moderate” forms.“What this means is that there’s no need to overreact at the moment, and that the disease is not as severe as we would like to think,” Muneza said. “Externally it looks uncomfortable, it looks bad. But it’s still the mild and moderate forms of the disease.”Previously, researchers relied on close observations of the animals to describe the severity of giraffe skin disease. But such a technique is not only laborious, it also limits the spatial extent one can cover, Muneza and his colleagues write in the paper. Camera traps, on the other hand, are “noninvasive, can be rapidly deployable, and are applicable to a variety of species,” they add.Miranda Sadar, an assistant professor at Colorado State University, who’s been investigating the cause of giraffe skin disease and was not involved in the study, said that photogrammetry is indeed becoming a more widely used tool “to monitor the size of injuries in animals in a non-invasive way.”Not everyone is convinced, however.“This was a laudable attempt to use camera trap images to quantify giraffe skin disease, but the method is significantly less useful than active observations,” Monica Bond, a wildlife biologist at the U.S.-based Wild Nature Institute who studies giraffes in Tanzania and was not involved in the study, told Mongabay.Observing giraffes directly is easy, she said, because the animals are calm and vehicles can drive up close to them, allowing easy examination using binoculars. This way, researchers can also identify giraffes individually, and inspect the animals’ bodies from multiple angles to understand how and where the disease has spread, Bond added. The camera trap images at the moment don’t allow for both individual identification and a thorough whole-body examination of the giraffes, she said.Muneza agreed that camera trap images have some challenges. For example, the data set would be more useful had the cameras been placed higher. “We could have used the camera trap data to identify individual giraffes, and that could have given us a more robust dataset to quantify the categories of giraffe skin disease,” he said. “We were able to use only use photos of the legs.”The lesions also don’t always appear on the legs. In Uganda, for example, giraffes more commonly get infections on their neck and shoulders.In Uganda, giraffe skin disease lesions more commonly appear on neck and shoulder, while in Tanzania, the disease mostly affects the animals’ legs. Image courtesy of Arthur Muneza.Muneza’s study, however, adds to the growing evidence that giraffe skin disease is probably not life-threatening for the animals in the studied parks — at least for now. Bond, too, in a study published in 2016, found that giraffes with lesions in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park had similar survival rates as those without lesions.That doesn’t mean that researchers should stop studying the disease, Muneza said.His team has observed, for instance, that giraffes with more severe infections tend to move with difficulty, which could make them more vulnerable to lion predation. The researchers are now investigating this hypothesis with data from Ruaha National Park.Muneza’s team is also working with Tanzanian authorities to figure out what exactly causes giraffe skin disease. Some preliminary studies suggest that a filarial worm could be transmitting the disease, with secondary fungal infections worsening it. But researchers are yet to pin down the actual causative agent and how the disease spreads.“One of the biggest concerns is that if it is a filarial worm, then we need to see if it crosses over to cattle,” Muneza said. “Given that you have communities that live near parks, and some of them graze their cattle near and around the giraffe areas, there is potential for the disease to cross over to livestock. And if it does, that will then affect the perceptions that people have towards sharing landscapes with wildlife, which is a big challenge in East Africa.”Citation:Muneza, A. B., Ortiz-Calo, W., Packer, C., Cusack, J. J., Jones, T., Palmer, M. S., … Montgomery, R. A. (2019). Quantifying the severity of giraffe skin disease via photogrammetry analysis of camera trap data. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 55(4), 770-781. doi:10.7589/2018-06-149last_img read more

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Amazon deforestation rises to 11 year high in Brazil

first_imgOfficial data published today by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute INPE shows deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon between August 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019 amounted to 9,762 square kilometers, an increase of 30 percent over last year.The increase in deforestation was expected given global attention to large-scale fires that blackened the skies above Brazil’s largest city this past August. Deforestation tracking systems had been showing increased forest clearing throughout 2019.Deforestation in 2019 was the highest since 2008 and represents a doubling in forest loss over 2012.Environmentalists fear that deforestation could continue to accelerate given Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s push to open the Amazon to more logging, large-scale mining, and industrial agriculture. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon surged more than 30 percent over the past year according to official data published today by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute, INPE. The data, which confirms the trend detected by multiple deforestation alert systems in recent months, shows that forest clearing in Earth’s largest rainforest stands at the highest level since 2008.INPE’s data, which is preliminary, estimates some 9,762 square kilometers (3,769 square miles) — an area larger than Yellowstone National Park — were cut down between August 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019. That’s over 2,200 square kilometers (849 square miles) more than was cleared the prior year. A final assessment for this year will be released in 2020.Official PRODES data showing annual deforestation (Aug 1-Jul 31 year) in the Brazilian Amazon since 1988.Short-term and long-term deforestation data in the Brazilian Amazon, according to INPE. The short-term data comes from INPE’s DETER deforestation detection system, while the long-term data comes from INPE’s PRODES system.As has been the case every year since 2005, Pará led all states in the Brazilian Amazon at 3,862 square kilometers deforested in 2019. It was followed by Mato Grosso (1,685 square kilometers), Amazonas (1,421 square kilometers), and Rondônia (1,245 square kilometers). Roraima experienced the biggest one-year increase in deforestation, with forest clearance rising 217 percent to 617 square kilometers.Pará has now lost more than 62,000 square kilometers of Amazon forest since 2004, an area the size the nation of Georgia or the U.S. state of West Virginia. The majority of forest clearing in the Amazon is for cattle pasture.The new figures generally exclude areas of forest recently lost to fire, which is potentially significant given the extent and severity of fires in August and September 2019. These fires made global headlines when smoke blackened the skies of Sao Paulo, spurring widespread outcry and calls to boycott Brazilian agricultural products.When fires were at their peak, scientists, conservationists, indigenous rights groups, and environmental activists blamed roll-backs of environmental protections and anti-environmental rhetoric by the Jair Bolsonaro administration for worsening the situation.After initially denying this year’s fires were a problem, and then shifting blame for the blazes to NGOs, Bolsonaro sent in the military to fight fires. But critics say the administration still hasn’t reversed course on its push to cut environmental regulations and encourage conversion of vast swathes of the Amazon for industrial agriculture, mining, and logging. Those complaints suggest that the underlying issues driving the increase in deforestation haven’t been addressed.Aerial view of a large burned area in the city of Candeiras do Jamari in the state of Rondônia. Image by Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace.Scientists have warned that should deforestation continue on its current trajectory, Brazil is unlikely to meet its climate commitments. While deforestation in 2019 only amounted to about 0.3 percent of the forest remaining in the Brazilian Amazon, Brazil’s climate targets are predicated on reducing deforestation. But deforestation has now more than doubled since its low of 4,571 square kilometers (1,765 square miles) in 2012.Researchers are also alarmed that ongoing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon could have long-term implications for the health of the biome and the wider functioning of critical ecosystem function in the region. Some models suggest the Amazon may be near a tipping point where the combination of deforestation and rising temperatures could trigger a rapid shift in rainfall patterns across vast parts of the Amazon Basin. Such a shift could lead to a die-off scenario where large areas of rainforest could be replaced by a drier woodland savanna akin to the Cerrado ecosystem south and east of the Amazon. Reduced rainfall would affect water availability in southern South America, including the continent’s agricultural heartland and largest cities from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires.Natural forest covering in the Brazilian Amazon according to data aggregated by MapBiomas. The Brazilian Amazon accounts for nearly two-thirds of the Amazon rainforest. The entirety of this vast biome is shared between eight countries.Header image: Aerial view of a large burned area within the rural portion of Candeiras do Jamari municipality in Rondônia state. Image by Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace. Article published by Rhett Butler Amazon Rainforest, Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Green, Monitoring, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Remote Sensing, satellite data, Threats To Rainforests, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Forests 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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