Armed with smartphones, Cameroon forest defenders take on illegal loggers

GR: Around the world, legal and illegal resource use is destroying wildlife habitat, eroding soils, and polluting water. Earth has been no match for humans, either those believing they are practicing sustainable harvest, or those just wanting wealth.

“KADEY, Cameroon, In an innovative push to combat illegal logging and the corruption that enables it, community volunteers in Cameroon are being trained to use smartphones to take geo-tagged images of freshly cut stumps and relay the information to the authorities.

“Under a partnership between the government and environmental groups, young people are using satellite-linked phones to document tree-cutting in areas where logging is not allowed.

“They can then upload the photos and make toll-free calls to report the suspicious activity, not just to the police and forest ministry, but also to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said Bangya Dieudonne, a forestry and wildlife official in Kadey, in the country’s East Region.

“Getting these three institutions informed makes it difficult for forest exploitation criminals to bribe their way through,” he said.

“Training frontline forest defenders aims to reduce illegal deforestation, which is depriving the government of billions of CFA francs in income, hurting communities that make their living from the forest, and making the country more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, officials said.

“With corruption continuing to hamper forest management, new and stronger measures are needed, Dieudonne said.

“So far, more than 100 people have been trained as community “forest defenders” in the East Region and other areas where logging has been especially prevalent, officials said.” –The Local Africa News (More: Armed with smartphones, Cameroon forest defenders take on illegal loggers • The Local Africa News.)

Deforestation: $906B At Risk Via ‘Domino Effect’ On The Supply Chain

GR:  Awareness of the coming disaster is creeping up on the perpetrators. Forecasters predicted an economic decline long ago. It results from the careless treatment of the elements of natural ecosystems as commodities and from the short-sighted business imperative of “growth at all costs.”  Read more here.

“No wonder Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risk has lain hidden for so long. Now that businesses are regularly being encouraged to look closer at their supply chains and disclose it, the implications are alarming: for businesses, investors and the planet. A new study released today reveals that, on average nearly a quarter (24%) of global company revenues depends upon four commodities linked to deforestation: cattle products, palm oil, soy and timber products. That translates, it says, to $906 billion in annual turnover potentially at risk.

A view of recently land clearing for palm oil plantation of the peatland forest inside Singkil peat swamp Leuser ecosystem, habitat of Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) in Iemeudama village on November 13, 2016 in Trumon subdistrict, South Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia. The Orangutans in Indonesia have been known to be on the verge of extinction as a result of deforestation and poaching. Indonesia approved palm oil concessions on nearly 15 million acres of peatlands over the past years and thousands of square miles have been cleared for plantations, including the lowland areas that are the prime habitat for orangutans. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

“This $906 billion figure has been calculated by looking at the percentage of revenues publicly listed companies say is dependent on the commodities they reported on.

“The companies include big names, like Cargill, Kraft Heinz Company, Starbucks and Marks & Spencer, and global commodity traders Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge. CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, is an international, not-for-profit organization. Its new report Revenue at risk: why addressing deforestation is critical to business success analyzes data disclosed by 187 companies in 2016 – often for the first time – on their deforestation risk management strategies.

“Who is behind the report? Some 365 investors representing $22 trillion. Deforestation leads to some 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, points out in his foreword to the report. Addressing deforestation is therefore critical to delivering a sustainable post-2020 global economy.” –Dina Medland (Continue reading:  Deforestation: $906B At Risk Via ‘Domino Effect’ On The Supply Chain)

Deforestation spikes in Brazilian Amazon

GR:  Growing global inequity is fueling resentment and despair. As inequity and the human population grow, resources decline, poverty spreads, and criminal destruction and harvest of wild plants and animals may increase.

“In the Amazon, Illegal land clearing hits highest levels since 2008 as environmental policies come under attack.”

People burn parts of the Amazon to make way for farms or ranches.

“Illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has spiked since 2015, bringing the rate to its highest level in 8 years. The finding has raised fears that the country could lose a decade’s worth of progress in forest protection.

“In an analysis of satellite data released on 29 November, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in São José dos Campos estimates that 7,989 square kilometres of land — nearly the size of Puerto Rico — was cleared between August 2015 and July 2016. The total was 29% above the previous year and 75% above the 2012 level, when deforestation hit a historic low of 4,571 square kilometres (see ‘Going up’).

“The current trends illustrate a growing sense of impunity as well as betrayal among landowners who have yet to benefit from the sustainable-development agenda, says Daniel Nepstad, a tropical ecologist who heads the Earth Innovation Institute, an environmental organization in San Francisco, California. “There’s been a lot of talk about improving the lives and the bottom lines of farmers and ranchers if they stop clearing the forest,” Nepstad says, “and they are still waiting.” –Jeff Tollefson  (Continue reading:  Deforestation spikes in Brazilian Amazon : Nature News & Comment)

Global Forest Watch Interactive Map

GarryRogersThese interactive maps show carbon emissions associated with clearing of above ground live woody biomass across the tropics.  You can use the map layers to create custom maps of forest change, cover, and use.  This is a great resource!  Recommended.

rainforest-fire“GFW Climate provides interactive and high resolution (30 meter) maps of both the carbon stored in forests and the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere when forests are cleared. It also offers a customized user experience through the creation of on-the-fly maps and analysis, interactive country dashboards, customized reports and data downloads. The result is decision-relevant information that is transparent, easy to understand, and available to all who want to mitigate climate change through the implementation of better forest policies and programs. The entire GFW platform is free to use and follows an open data approach.

“At this time, GFW Climate focuses only on estimating emissions from tropical deforestation, and does not include emissions or removals from other land use activities such as forest degradation or carbon stock enhancements from forest gains. Methods and data for these activities are generally less developed than those for deforestation. Given the recent momentum behind global and regional restoration initiatives, future versions of GFW Climate may expand to include other activities as new data become available.

“GFW Climate is supported by a diverse partnership of organizations that contribute data, technology, funding, and expertise. The GFW partnership is convened by the World Resources Institute. See a full list of partners below.” Global Forest Watch.

 

Eye on the Ball– #ClimateChange, #Biodiversity, #NatureConservation, & #SarahPalin

Nature Conservation

GarryRogersThe excellent article introduced below is about nature conservation from the human viewpoint.  The argument is that the current mass extinction of wild plants and animals has harmful consequences for the future of the human species.  It most certainly has, but the author’s desire to inform his audience misses its target because it gives a biased view of the problem. The article does not consider the rights of other species. This “homocentric” view of nature assumes that disappearance of other creatures is only important if it endangers humans.

Aldo Leopold and other conservationists realized that this viewpoint is unsustainable. Unless we accept the equality of all Earth’s species, including our own, our conservation efforts will always fail.  With its runaway enthusiasm for untested proposals, our species will take chances with the lives of other species. Experiments aimed only at benefiting our species, experiments that do not respect the rights of other species, experiments that will sometimes have unforeseen consequences, will gradually nibble away at nature until our ecosystems collapse and wash into the sea (carrying us with it).

Unless we begin to respect the rights of all species, we will exert constant damage on the Earth and ourselves.

 

Our real Sarah Palin nightmare: We debate sideshows and phony problems — while this very real threat looms undiscussed

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“It’s an amazing fact that the contemporary world is marked by a growing number of problems that are genuinely global in scope. Some of these problems even have existential implications for the survival of human civilization — yet instead we spend too much time discussing smaller threats, including North Korea, ISIS, Oregon militias and even Sarah Palin. One such problem is anthropogenic climate change — a catastrophe whose effects are anticipated to be “severe,” “pervasive” and “irreversible.”

“But climate change isn’t the only problem of this sort. In fact, for many who spend their lives studying environmental issues, it can be frustrating to see climate change — a highly contentious issue among non-experts, despite a scientific consensus about its reality and causes — dominate the public discussion. The fact is that biodiversity loss constitutes an equally worrisome (albeit related) threat to the future of humanity.

“Consider some cold hard facts. According to the 3rd Global Biodiversity Report (GBO-3), the total population of vertebrates — a broad category that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, sharks, rays and amphibians — living within the tropics declined by a shocking 59% from 1970 to 2006. Take a moment to let this sink in. In only 36 years, more than half of the vertebrate population between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer disappeared.”— Read More: , Salon.

Links:

Population

Conservation

 

Alexander Archipelago Wolf Population Crashes On Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island…

Save the forest, the wolves, and much more.

Howling For Justice

romeo-the-black-wolf-of-alaska Nick Jans

Romeo  – Alexander Archipelago wolf

The population of Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince Wales Island/Tongass National Forest has declined 60% in 0ne year. The plan to log old growth forest on the island must be halted to save these wolves.

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Imperiled Wolf Population on Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island Crashes

From Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 5, 2015

SITKA, Alaska— State and federal authorities are reporting a “dramatic decline in the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island, Tongass National Forest.” A new report records a 60 percent drop in the number of Alexander Archipelago wolves in just one year, reinforcing conservationists’ arguments that plans to log old-growth forests on the island should be halted to protect the wolf and other wildlife.

An Alaska Department of Fish and Game draft report estimates a total of only 89 wolves in the area — including 60 on…

View original post 651 more words

Prevent Road Development from Harming Animals

Target: Prime Minister of Malaysia Perdana Menteri.
Goal: Implement regulations in Malaysia for road development to protect animals.
It is estimated that up to 48 percent of mammals native to Southeast Asia may be extinct in the next 85 years.

Source: forcechange.com

GR:  Roads play a major part in deforestation.  Prevent roads and preserve forests.  Please sign the petition.

Developers Attempt to Strip Tasmanian Forest Protection

GR:  Australian developers are interested in short-term profit, and they are willing to sacrifice ecosystems, wildlife, and their country’s future to get it.  Wait. . . did I say Australian?  How small of me–it’s developers everywhere. My neighbor Canada has caved in, let’s hope Australia can find the strength and pride to resist.

The following from the Guardian:

“Leading conservationist says Australia needs to understand the importance of leaving carbon-dense forests standing.

“The WWF analysis used 40 years of satellite imagery and land use mapping to find that nearly half of 5,815 Australian terrestrial ecosystems, covering an area of approximately 257m ha, would be listed as threatened under IUCN criteria because of land clearing and degradation.

“This vast number of threatened ecosystems, primarily due to the clearing of land for agriculture, dwarfs the 66 ecological communities officially listed as threatened by the Australian government.”  Source: www.theguardian.com

GR:  Thinking about the Tasmanian parrots endangered by deforestation, repeating this Guardian article seemed appropriate: “The WWF analysis used 40 years of satellite imagery and land use mapping to find that nearly half of 5,815 Australian terrestrial ecosystems, covering an area of approximately 257m ha, would be listed as threatened under IUCN criteria because of land clearing and degradation.”

Deforestation Changes Climate Via Albedo

Albedo Results show that tropical forests have a strong cooling effect throughout the year; temperate forests show moderate cooling in summer and moderate warming in winter with net cooling annually; and boreal forests have strong warming in winter and moderate cooling in summer with net warming annually. The spatiotemporal cooling or warming effects are mainly driven by the two competing biophysical effects, evapotranspiration and albedo, which in turn are strongly influenced by rainfall and snow. Implications of our satellite-based study could be useful for informing local forestry policies.  Source: www.reportingclimatescience.com

GR:  As stated in the article, “models cannot accurately reproduce local climate effects due to their coarse spatial resolution and uncertainties, and field observations are valuable but often insufficient due to their limited coverage.”  My advice is to make more field observations, many more.  Satellite imagery can tell us very few things.  Quantifying albedo changes due to deforestation is hardly valuable enough to justify the cost of the satellites.  Spend the money on the ground.  We need surveys of plant and animal species so we can judge their health and safety.  We can’t get these from space.

Find more climate news here.

Major study shows biodiversity losses can be reversed

biod-map-490_134280_2“The study is the first global analysis of human impacts on local biodiversity. It is a major collaboration between the Natural History Museum, United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and British universities.

“Scientists submitted data from more than 70 countries and considered 26,593 species, adding more than 1.1 million records to the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) survey database.

“The team’s figure of a 14 per cent drop in species in local ecosystems is a global average. So local biodiversity in some areas is still quite intact, but others – including Western Europe – have had losses of 20-30 per cent.” Source: www.nhm.ac.uk

GR:  Making projections requires assumptions about what we are going to do. Reviews of this research try to be optimistic by emphasizing positive projections. However, if we make the most likely assumption that we will do nothing substantive to stop global warming, deforestation, and human population growth, the red areas will spread.  As stated earlier, everyone that cares needs to begin making local efforts to preserve biodiversity.