Pressure over water in Brazil puts pulp industry in the spotlight

first_imgArticle published by Genevieve Belmaker Brazil is the world’s largest producer of eucalyptus-derived pulp and the state of Espírito Santo is one of its biggest production centers.More than a third of the state, which was once rich in Atlantic Forest, is at risk of becoming desert.The region faces one of the worst droughts in its history, which is causing billions in losses. CORREGO GRANDE RESERVE, Brazil – Brazil’s southeast coastal state of Espírito Santo is rapidly heading toward desertification. In just a few decades, the region has gone from being one of the last refuges for the seriously threatened Atlantic Forest, to having 36 percent of its territory officially considered susceptible to desertification, according to Brazil’s Ministry of Environment.The government has long been aware of the issue, but potential solutions are complex. A 2004 report by Brazil’s Ministry of Environment noted the desertification process in the northern part of Espírito Santo. The report pointed to the displacement of native forests by eucalyptus plantations for the pulp industry as a major driver. However, little has been done since then.“[Desertification] is a growing problem,” said Geraldo Fereguetti, president of the Society of Agronomist Engineers of Espírito Santo, by email. “But except for isolated actions by some producers and associations, nothing is being done to tackle it.”Of the 11 Brazilian states affected by desertification mentioned in the report, Espírito Santo is the only one that still hasn’t elaborated on a State Action Desertification Plan. The aim of these plans is to identify the specific problems of each region and articulate appropriate responses to tackle them.“The north of Espírito Santo was a land of plenty, rich in Atlantic Forest, full of trees and mighty rivers,” said Daniela Meirelles, a spokesperson for Brazilian non-profit FASE. Her organization works with local communities to tackle problems that come with the exploitation and use of natural resources.Meirelles believes that a large part of the problem stems from the growth of monoculture plantations.“Since the eucalyptus monocultures arrived, the rivers have dried and the region has become semi-arid,” Meirelles said. The plants were introduced to the region more than fifty years ago.Today, Brazil is the leading global producer of eucalyptus-derived cellulose, according to a January 2017 report by the Department of Research and Economic Studies of Brazil’s Bradesco Bank. The region’s climate and soil conditions, coupled with the use of selected eucalyptus clones, also makes Brazilian cellulose production one of the most competitive and efficient in the world.Eucalyptus monocultures in Espírito Santo. Photo by Ignacio Amigo for MongabayAccording to the report, the production of 1.5 million tons of pulp requires 720,000 hectares in Scandinavia and 300,000 hectares in China, but only 140,000 hectares in Brazil. In addition, the trees are suitable for harvest after only seven years, roughly half as long as in Europe.Because of these prime conditions, pulp operations are widespread in the region. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), today there are more than 280,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations in Espírito Santo – about 6 percent of the total area of the state. The proportion is generally much higher in the north of the state, where most plantations are located. The state’s municipality of Conceição da Barra, for example, had 38,037 hectares of eucalyptus plantations back in 2010, almost 32 percent of its territory.Water crisisWith the advancement of desertification, Espírito Santo faces extreme circumstances in regards to water. CESAN, the company that provides water to most of the cities of the state, described the situation in 2015 as “the worst water crisis in the history of Espírito Santo.”Only a handful of cities have recently experienced an “emergency state” due to lack of water according to local media reports, most of them in the northern region. Rain has been meager, and rivers are running dry, but the current rainy season has helped to ease the pressure. Locals said in recent interviews that in some places their tap water has become salty, possibly due to seawater flowing upstream into rivers because of low water levels.But regional expert Fereguetti says there is a difference between the lack of rain and the water crisis, even though the former might be compounding the latter.“The lack of rain is a cyclic phenomenon which has been observed since the [1930s], when the first measurements were performed,” Fereguetti said. “On the other hand, the water crisis is a consequence of a deficient management, both by the public authorities and the users.”Desertification has heavily impacted regional agriculture. Espírito Santo’s Department of Agriculture estimated in September 2016 that the accumulated economic losses in agriculture during the last two years reached more than $1 billion. Coffee, fruits and vegetables were the crops most heavily affected.Harvesting eucalyptus. Photo by Ignacio Amigo for MongabayCritics argue that the pulp industry is partially responsible for the lack of water that is helping to fuel the region’s desertification crisis.The largest pulp company in Brazil, Espírito Santo-based pulp mill Fibria, reportedly uses 56 million gallons of water per day, according to the company’s 2015 sustainability report. The amount of consumption has been described by some local media outlets as comparable to that of the whole metropolitan region of Vitória, the capital and largest city in the state. The company has also said publicly they are worried that the water shortage could compromise its long-term viability.“It’s this model of development, with monocultures, agro-business and oil and gas extraction, the one that produces the climate changes that in turn cause the water crisis,” Meirelles said.From deforestation to desertificationThe northern region of Espírito Santo has been heavily impacted by desertification. For miles, the landscape consists solely of large fields of eucalyptus monocultures, broken up by abandoned pastures with degraded soil. Many lakes have become dry hollows overtaken by weeds and plants. Farmers complain about poor harvests. Schools are often closed due to lack of water.­­­­­­­­­­­­­The problem goes back to the late 1960s, when the Brazilian government set in motion a program to stimulate the production of pulp. The program included fiscal incentives to reforest land with eucalyptus, as well as cheap loans to the pulp companies through the government’s National Development Bank.Today, eucalyptus plantations are ubiquitous in the region. In many places, the monocultures begin only a few feet from houses.However, less than a century ago, this was home to a vast extension of Atlantic Forest. According to Warren Dean, author of a classic book on the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, logging and the expansion of the coffee industry were the main historic drivers of deforestation in the area in the 1940s and 1950s. Later, after the wood supply was exhausted and coffee prices plunged, the region suffered from economic stagnation.To Fereguetti, the deforestation of the Atlantic Forest plays an important role in today’s situation.“The removal of the natural vegetation exposed the soil and impaired its capacity to infiltrate rainwater,” Fereguetti said. Soil infiltration facilitates rainwater to be accumulated in the water table and underground aquifers, making it available during dry seasons. “Today, without infiltration, the water flows directly into rivers and streams, causing massive floods followed by periods in which the rivers are completely dry.”To Fereguetti, this low availability of water from rivers is “certainly one of the causes of the current drought” – and he adds that is was furthered by government policies.“The previous forest codes completely ignored the issue [of desertification] and deforestation was bolstered by government policies that considered it a means of inducing development,” Fereguetti said. “They did not foresee the environmental consequences that today scare environmentalists, producers and government authorities.”When eucalyptus is planted in degraded lands, the presence of trees can help retain water and protect the soil. However, their capacity to tackle desertification is rather limited compared to that of a native forest, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.A field after eucalyptus has been harvested. Photo by Ignacio Amigo for MongabayBeing industrial plantations, the raison d’être of monocultures is economic. Accordingly, the eucalyptus strains used have been selected for their fast growth, not for their ability to restore the land. Thus, similar to other fast-growing species, they require large amounts of water. And after converting it to biomass, the trees are harvested after only seven years.Monocultures can also have a social impact.In Espírito Santo’s north, the expansion of the pulp industry has created unforeseen complications. As the pulp companies acquired land for their monocultures, thousands of people were displaced, including many traditional communities. The Guarani and Tupiniquim indigenous tribes fought a 30-year legal battle to regain nearly 20,000 hectares of their land from Fibria. The expansion also affected many quilombos (hinterland communities of former slaves). Some of them are literally engulfed in eucalyptus, and experts say they are left with almost no land to plant with food crops.“Most quilombos didn’t have the titles of their lands because until recently they lacked legal recognition,” FASE’s Meirelles said, explaining that the territories officially belonged to the government. “This made it easier for the companies to take their lands from them.”Many simply left. The Sapê do Norte Quilombola Commission estimates that 90 percent of the people who lived there migrated to the outskirts of cities, according to local media.Many of those who stayed still fight for land they believe is rightfully theirs. They had a small victory in 2013 when the Federal Ministry in São Mateus filed a civil suit against Fibria, accusing the company of illegally buying tracts of land through workers who later transferred them to the company. The prosecution is now demanding that the land be reverted to public ownership, and later titled to the quilombos once their traditional occupation is confirmed. The case still hasn’t been resolved.Fibria did not respond to numerous requests for comment.Despite the role of monocultures, Fereguetti does not believe eucalyptus plantations are solely to blame. Instead, he argues that the approximately 300,000 hectares of degraded pasture in the state should be the main target of “any program that aims at reducing the effects of the desertification process.”A 2012 report about degraded soils by a local agribusiness organization CEDAGRO states that there are almost 400,000 hectares of degraded soil in the state, of which 238,943 hectares are located in degraded pasture.Almost five years on, despite the problems experts are optimistic that the worst of the drought has passed. According to some forecasts, the current rainy season may provide enough rain to ease the situation. However, the potential for desertification and similar water crises will remain a concern for years to come.Banner image: Eucalyptus tree. Photo by Bidgee/Wikimedia CommonsIgnacio Amigo is a freelance journalist based in São Paulo, Brazil. You can find him on Twitter at @Sr_Tresillo. Citations:[1] “With Broadax and Firebrand”, by Warren Dean (https://www.amazon.com/Broadax-Firebrand-Destruction-Brazilian-Centennial/dp/0520208862)Transparent World. “Tree Plantations.” 2015. Accessed through Global Forest Watch on February 25, 2017. www.globalforestwatch.orgFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Deforestation, Desertification, Forests, Mata Atlantica, Monocultures, Rainforests, Water, Water Crisis, Water Scarcity last_img read more

Is Norwegian money funding Congo deforestation?

first_imgDeforestation, Environment, Featured, Forests, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Loss, Illegal Logging, Logging, Peatlands, Primary Forests, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforests, Redd, Research, Swamps, Tropical Forests Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis 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 A recent report by conservation NGO Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) is decrying what they say is Norwegian government complicity in funding a project they allege could result in the clearance of vast tracts of Congo rainforest and the release of billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.RFUK’s report spotlights a project funded through Norway’s Central Africa Forest Initiative (CAFI) that would increase the area comprised by logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by 20 million hectares. Its analysis found the concessions stand to include 10,000 square kilometers of peat swamp, and if actively logged, could release as much as 3.8 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere.Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment says the report is overblown and the situation more complicated than RFUK contends.Per F. I. Pharo, director of the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, said an amended project proposal is under review and will not be accepted unless various conditions are met: “Among the key recommendations Norway has made to the program document is the importance that the program document should not conclude on important policy choices that should be the product of a thorough and inclusive process at country level.” A recent report by conservation NGO Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) is decrying what they say is Norwegian government complicity in funding a project they allege could result in the clearance of vast tracts of Congo rainforest and the release of billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. But Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment says the report is overblown and the situation more complicated than RFUK contends.RFUK’s report spotlights a project funded through Norway’s Central Africa Forest Initiative (CAFI) that it says could increase the area comprised by logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by 20 million hectares. The project is part the French Development Agency (AFD)’s Sustainable Forest Management Programme.According to the report, the concessions stand to include more than 10,000 square kilometers of peat swamp. Peat is a kind of swampy soil made up of partially decayed organic matter that accumulates over hundreds, even thousands, of years. Often reaching more than four meters (13 feet) deep, areas of peat have been found as deep as 20 meters (65 feet).Naturally waterlogged, peat becomes highly combustible if it is drained and dries out. And if fire ignites on dried peatland, it can be extremely difficult to stop. Such was the case in Indonesia at the end of 2015 when the country and others nearby were racked with a haze crisis so severe that scientists estimate it contributed to the premature deaths of at least 100,000 people and released more CO2 than Germany does in a year. The haze was caused by smoke from out-of-control wildfires, primarily on peatlands that had been drained for agriculture, which burned an area the size of the U.S. state of Vermont. In response, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo banned clearing and conversion of the country’s remaining peatlands.Areas allotted for timber concessions in the DRC overlie parts of world’s largest known tropical peatland. Mapped for the first time earlier this year, this massive peat swamp comprises approximately 145,500 square kilometers (56,200 square miles) – an area equivalent to England in size. Researchers estimate it stores some 30 billion metric tons of carbon.Bonobos (Pan paniscus) are endangered and found only in the DRC. Photo by Pierre Fidenci via Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0).Logging on swamplands is prohibited in the DRC. But in its report, RFUK contends the legislation does not actually define what constitutes a swamp, thus potentially creating a loophole for exploitation.RFUK estimates about 2.8 billion metric tons of peatland carbon may be released if forest is destroyed in new concession areas. In total, the organization says 3.4 billion metric tons of carbon could be emitted if concessions become active.“Analysis carried out by the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) indicates that, as well as releasing ~0.6 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide from the direct impact of logging activities, the likely new logging areas would substantially overlap areas of high carbon peatlands, placing an additional 2.8 Gt of carbon – or roughly 10.4 Gt of carbon dioxide – at increased risk of release to the atmosphere if these critical ecosystems are degraded and destroyed,” RFUK writes in their report. “This is equivalent to nearly 200 years of Norway’s current national annual greenhouse gas emissions.”Further analysis by RFUK indicates illegal concessions currently comprise around five million hectares. The organization urges Norway to aim its attention at canceling and dismantling these concessions rather than funding the establishment of more.“By refusing to insist that Congo’s illegal concessions are shut down, it is encouraging impunity for law-breaking and bad forest governance,” RFUK director Simon Counsell said in a statement. “Norway should now state that its funding for DRC’s forestry projects will be halted until all illegal logging concessions have been cancelled.”A mysterious contractIndependent researcher Arnaud Labrousse commended the RFUK report as “excellent.” Labrousse specializes in Central Africa forestry issues, and brought up additional concerns about an alleged award of a 10 million euro ($11.7 million) REDD+ contract by DRC’s Kabila administration to French firm CERENE Services to map 1.5 million hectares of DRC forest.In brief, REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and is a program administered under the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) that aims to mitigate carbon emissions through improved forest management in tropical countries. Under REDD+, developed countries provide financial incentives to developing countries to help them pay for forest management enhancement projects.Norway’s CAFI is one of these projects – the largest-ever in Africa when it signed a letter of intent (LoI) for $200 million with DRC’s Minister of Finance in April 2016.CERENE was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2011, according to French investigative and opinion journal Mediapart. CERENE’s “innovation director” Gérard Royal is the brother of Ségolène Royal, who was France’s environment minister at the time the contract was awarded, leading Labrousse to question if the company benefited from a political “boost” during negotiations. The funding source of the contract has not been made publicly available, but Labrousse refers to it as an “enormous elephant in the room” for CAFI, which he says is “desperately trying to convince NGOs that the present government is a credible interlocutor.”Association between CAFI and CERENE was refuted by Per F. I. Pharo, director of the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative.“CAFI is not, and do not plan to be, involved in CERENE generally and this contract more specifically,” Pharo told Mongabay. “We are not familiar with the details of this contract, including how it will be financed.”Pharo said he and his colleagues are working to collect more information about the CERENE contract and allegations involving the company and “whether it will be appropriate for CAFI to take any action.”Mongabay reached out to CERENE and the DRC’s Ministry of Finance, but no responses were forthcoming.Norway reactsNorway did not respond lightly to RFUK’s report. In a statement released earlier this month, the Ministry of Climate and Environment took exception to the report’s claim that the country’s approach to protecting DRC forest is to “hand it over to the logging companies.”“These allegations have no basis in reality,” the statement reads.The statement goes on to explain that effective management of DRC forests is a “challenging task” due to weak governing capacity, structural deficiencies and continued instability from long periods of conflict.The statement points to CAFI successes such as the revocation of illegal logging concessions, as well as the rejection of an initial proposal.“Reform of DRC’s commercial logging sector is one component of this program (though receiving less than 2% of the overall CAFI funding to DRC). RFUK is well aware that their allegations towards Norway and CAFI all relate to a project proposal that has been rejected by the technical committee of DRC’s national REDD+ fund, in large measure due to concerns raised by Norway.”In emails to Mongabay, Pharo said a revised version of the proposal has been submitted by the AFD and will be reviewed again by a technical committee in the coming weeks.“Among the key recommendations Norway has made to the program document is the importance that the program document should not conclude on important policy choices that should be the product of a thorough and inclusive process at country level,” Pharo said. “Furthermore, we have insisted on the sequencing and quality of the activities related to the industrial sector, and made it clear that the logging moratorium can only be considered lifted, if and when the conditions set out in the LoI and the Congolese law have been met.”Okapis (Okapia johnstoni) were discovered by scientists in the early 1900s and are found only in the DRC. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / MongabayA governmental moratorium on new logging concessions has been in place in the DRC since 2002. According to the LoI, the conditions required for lifting it include the integration of REDD+ and sustainable development projects.“We also believe the program needs to strengthen the focus on the social aspects of the forest sector, strengthen the budgets to the independent forest monitoring and combatting illegal logging, build upon the lessons learned and already existing processes related to community forests,” Pharo said.He continued, explaining that risk management is key to the program’s success: “We know that the risks are high in the forest sector. Since the first proposal was drafted, the national REDD fund in DRC has organized a five days multi stakeholder risk management work shop in Kinshasa that has identified risk elements for the forest sector and possible mitigation actions. AFD has thus been asked to incorporate this work in the revised proposal.”Pharo said RFUK’s analysis wrongly assumed that old concessions phased out prior to 2005 will be reestablished in the future. This is not likely to happen, he said, because many overlie swamp areas where logging is prohibited, logging areas can only be extended once the LoI’s conditions have been met and, in the event these conditions are met, potential new logging areas will be defined via a “thorough consultative and targeted land use planning process.”“Provided that our comments are taken into account, we see this program as an opportunity to improve the forest management and governance in DRC,” Pharo said. “Unlike the picture RFUK is drawing in its communication, this is a broad program that will, among other things, support DRC to establish, through an inclusive process, a new forest policy, an action plan to combat illegal logging, strengthen the independent monitoring of the forest sector, strengthen the authorities’ capacity to enforce their laws, testing different forest management models and supporting more sustainable forest management.“In sum, the ambition is that the program will contribute to reduced emissions, not increased, as indicated by RFUK.”A challenging task Despite differences of opinion on how to best protect and manage the DRC’s forests, one commonality emerges: a hard road lies ahead. Both RFUK’s report and Norway’s statement highlight governance issues as major roadblocks to affecting successful conservation programs in the country, a sentiment shared by other institutions such as UK-based independent policy institute Chatham House.“The RF-UK briefing highlights some of the major challenges that are facing DRC’s forest sector – namely, the very weak governance in the country which means there is limited ability for the government to control its forest resources and to implement effective planning and management,” said Chatham House’s Alison Hoare. Hoare is a senior research fellow whose expertise includes forest governance, natural resource use and community forestry.To illustrate the scale of the challenge in the DRC, Hoare points to Chatham House research estimating that 90 percent of logging in the country was done illegally as of 2013. The study attributes most of this logging to small, informal operations that supply domestic and regional markets, and found the volume of harvesting had doubled over the previous six years as population and income levels increased.Satellite data from the University of Maryland show tree cover loss rates growing steadily over the past decade in the DRC, peaking at more than 1.3 million hectares (13,000 square kilometers) in 2014 before dipping back down to 928,000 hectares in 2015. Most of this loss occurred in and around primary forests.Hoare underlined the need for a sustainable forest sector in the DRC, one that will help alleviate poverty while meeting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. But she said that for this to be possible, the country’s governance must significantly improve. She lauded Norway and CAFI’s acknowledgment of this issue.“This has been clearly recognized by Norway, and the other CAFI partners, as reflected by the milestones set out in the LOI,” Hoare said via email. “It is also very positive that Norway has highlighted the importance of the sequencing and the quality of the activities that it supports.”But, Hoare cautioned, much work remains to be done if the DRC is going to meet the LoI’s milestones set for the end of 2018.“These include: adoption of a forest policy, based on a participatory process with all relevant stakeholders; implementation of local & community forest management models; application of the Forest Code to all existing Concessions; and elaboration of an ambitious plan to fight illegal logging,” she said. “Further, the milestones note the need to meet the legal conditions before the logging moratorium is lifted, and also to implement land-use planning.”Hoare said that succeeding in these milestones would be a “remarkable achievement” for the DRC and urged CAFI to target its support at activities that will help make such an achievement a reality.“Most importantly, this means establishing an effective legal and institutional framework for the sector, and ensuring much greater transparency and accountability,” Hoare said.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Conserving habitat not enough to help species cope with climate change

first_imgNew research finds that habitat-based conservation strategies don’t adequately compensate for the range that species in three groups stand to lose due to climate change.The team of scientists based in Austria looked at the effects of climate change on 51 species of grasshoppers, butterflies and vascular plants living in central Europe.Habitat-based conservation can provide a lifeline, but their model predicts that it won’t be enough to prevent some species from regional extinction. The changes wrought by climate change on the conditions that support life on Earth force some plants and animals into different ranges. To address this issue, certain conservation strategies aim to help these species by protecting and restoring the places where they’re most likely to move. But a new study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that these tactics might fall short and in the end fail to keep some species from going extinct.Grasshoppers benefited most from conservation measures in the study. Photo by John C. Cannon.“Habitat-based conservation measures help to keep populations at viable sizes for a longer period, but they are not able to eliminate the effects of climate change,” said ecologist Johannes Wessely of the University of Vienna in an email. “The applied conservation measures do not provide an adequate amount of high-quality habitats.”Wessely and his colleagues started out by looking at three groups of plants and animals living in central Europe: butterflies, grasshoppers and vascular plants, which include conifers and flowering plants through the lens of a changing climate over the next three-quarters of a century.“The major response of species to [climate change] is migration in order to adapt ranges,” Wessely said.Using recorded field observations of 51 species across these three groups, they then developed a model to simulate how these species’ ranges might change and how conservation strategies aimed at creating habitats for them could help.“[Habitat-based conservation] might enhance migration and gene-flow and hence increase the potential for adaptive responses of populations,” he said.The team found a “surprisingly uniform response” to these conservation approaches, he said: “They helped (to increase distribution ranges), but they did not help a lot.”That finding led Wessely and his colleagues to conclude that, while helping species cope with the effects climate change is “urgently needed,” so are efforts to stop climate change.The Mont Blanc Massif, part of Europe’s Alps. Photo by Gnomefilliere (Own work) GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.In the study, grasshoppers fared better than the butterflies and the vascular plants. That might be because grasshoppers can travel over large distances rather quickly, Wessely explained, or perhaps because their larvae aren’t as picky about what they eat.The researchers also found that certain strategies in their model were more effective than others. Managing protected areas such as parks and reserves and the creation of corridors to connect habitats did a better job of providing the species with suitable homes than did the piecemeal restoration of fragmented habitats, which they referred to as “matrix improvement.”“However, none of the conservation strategies evaluated could fully compensate the negative impact of climate change for vascular plants, butterflies or grasshoppers in central Europe,” the authors write.The study looked at the effects of climate change on 51 species butterflies, grasshoppers and vascular plants in central Europe. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.Alpine species — those living in mountain habitats — can face a particularly tough road to survival in the face of climate change, according to the research. In part that’s because few of them can survive in tree-heavy environments, the authors state, so in order to create viable habitats for them, we would have to take the counterintuitive — and carbon-releasing — step of getting rid of largely natural forests.Critically, habitat conservation didn’t prevent some lowland and alpine species from disappearing completely from the region.“For those species that went extinct, we observed a slight delay (due to an increase in their range compared to business-as-usual scenario) but no reversal of the deadly trend,” Wessely said. “One implication is that it is very important to identify species that are threatened to develop particular conservation strategies for them.”CITATIONWessely, J., Hulber, K., Gattringer, A., Kuttner, M., Moser, D., Rabitsch, W., … Essl, F. (2017). Habitat-based conservation strategies cannot compensate for climate-change-induced range loss. Nature Clim. Change, advance online publication. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3414Banner image of a butterfly by John C. Cannon.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.Follow John Cannon on Twitter: @johnccannon Article published by John Cannon Adaptation, Adaptation To Climate Change, Animals, Biodiversity, Butterflies, Climate Change, Climate Change And Biodiversity, Climate Change And Conservation, Climate Change And Extinction, Climate Change And Forests, Climate Science, Conservation, Corridors, Deforestation, Ecology, Environment, Extinction, Extinction And Climate Change, Forests, Insects, Invertebrates, Montane Forests, Mountains, Parks, Plants, Protected Areas, Research, Temperate Forests, Trees, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Can the Solomon Islands’ Gold Ridge Mine serve as a new model for resource extraction in the South Pacific?

first_imgConservation, Corporate Role In Conservation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment, Infrastructure, Land Rights, Mining, Social Justice Article published by Isabel Esterman 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 After 17 years of foreign ownership and a checkered environmental history, the Solomon Islands’ Gold Ridge mine is now being led by a local landowner-driven joint venture.The company saw its first major test in April 2016, when rainfall triggered a spillover from the mine’s tailing dam. However, independent tests found the water quality downstream remained safe.Though concerns still remain, the new ownership structure could be a model for mining operations elsewhere in the region. HONIARA, Solomon Islands – In April 2016, thousands of villagers living in the vicinity of the Gold Ridge Mine in the southwest Pacific nation of the Solomon Islands braced themselves for a major disaster as torrential rainfall triggered a spillover of thousands of cubic meters of untreated water from the mine’s tailings dam.The Ministry of Health issued instructions to people to cease using water from the nearby Kwara, Tinahula and Matepono rivers for drinking, washing or fishing, due to possible risk of chemical contamination.The gold mine is situated on the country’s main island of Guadalcanal, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital, Honiara.Stanley Holmes Vutiande, who lives in Navola village, located along the Gold Ridge Road leading to the mine and 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the dam, remembered when it happened.“We fled because there was water overflowing from the dam and we thought it might burst, so people just panicked and took off,” he recounted. “There was general information to look for safety, for higher ground, but no specific instructions as to what to do.”Joe Horokou, the environment and conservation director at the Ministry of Environment, said the incident “was bad because it took us by surprise,” even though the company had been given approval to discharge tailings from the dam. “The approval was given with conditions like before it is discharged the water has to be treated to acceptable standards.”Despite the dire warning, the expected disaster didn’t materialize. The dam held, and stakeholders, including Gold Ridge Mining and the ministries of environment and health, commissioned numerous independent tests of nearby rivers and streams.“Based on the findings of those analyses we were able to determine that, even if the water was discharged untreated at the time, it caused no immediate harm to the downstream communities … the water quality was safe within the dam,” Horokou said.Vutiande also said that, at the time, he noticed nothing of concern in the water quality of the Tinahula River near Navola.A palm oil plantation in the Solomon Islands. The land used to be grassland and bush. Photo by Lorette Dorreboom/Greenpeace.The incident was the first major test for the new landowner-led company, Gold Ridge Community Investment, which had taken ownership of the mine only the year before. After 17 years of foreign ownership and a checkered environmental history, the Gold Ridge mine is now being led by a local landowner-driven joint venture that is emerging as a potential new mine management model in the Pacific Islands region.In 2015, Gold Ridge was sold for 100 Australian dollars ($73.8 at the time) to Gold Ridge Community Investment (now Gold Ridge Mining), by its Australian owner, St. Barbara. The company decided to abandon the mine, which contains an estimated 3.18 million ounces of gold, in the wake of extensive damage caused by Cyclone Ita and flooding the previous year.The mine hasn’t been operational since, but following the signing of an agreement with Australia-based AXF Resources, which will provide the majority of investment, plans are now in place to resume extraction by the end of next year.Walton Naezon, chairman of the landowner-led Gold Ridge Mining, said he is now keen to both reduce any risk the tailings facility poses to the surrounding environment and communities, and to increase public transparency of the company’s environmental processes. The top priority, he said, is dewatering, or emptying out the dam to ease pressure on its wall and decrease the chance of any further overflows.Naezon spoke to Mongabay about implementing his vision of an extractive project where local communities are part of the corporate structure. About 3,000 to 5,000 people live in villages surrounding the mine, and traditional landowners own 30 percent of the company. They have already participated in making key decisions, such as the selection of an independent environmental consultant. They also observe operations at the tailings dam and take part in the company’s environmental testing and monitoring of nearby rivers and streams.Larger than life in a blue Pacific print shirt, Naezon is bullish in his drive and optimism about the enterprise when we meet in a Honiara hotel. But he also comes across as astute, widely informed about the industry and its issues, and attuned to the sensibility and needs of his own people. No doubt this is a product of his previous career in politics, as well as skills and grasp of the cultural context as a traditional leader. He was minister of mining and energy from 1997 to 2001, minister for state government until 2003, and minister for commerce for another two years.Naezon is visibly relaxed about the attention given the mining industry worldwide by what he refers to as the “greens” movement, commenting that it “makes the developer and company stronger.”The revived Gold Ridge venture, at this stage, comes across as more than ticking the right boxes in order to be assessed a responsible corporate citizen. There is evidence of an attitudinal shift, a genuine motivation to alter the structure of power, participation and accountability.The Gold Ridge Mine tailings dam in Guadalcanal Province, Solomon Islands. Photo by Catherine Wilson for Mongabay.Community InvolvementAs I stood in the water treatment plant at the edge of the vast blue expanse of the dam, reflecting the brilliant tropical sun, Gaheris Porowai, the supervisor, readily answered questions. He said that we were looking at 1 million to 2 million cubic meters (264 million to 528 million gallons) of water, with the water level currently 1.5 meters (5 feet) below the spillway. Treated water was being discharged, as permitted, at 500 cubic meters (132,086 gallons) per hour or 12,000 cubic meters (3.17 million gallons) per day, with water testing conducted twice weekly.This will be done persistently, Naezon said, until the dam is empty.“There should be no water there. In the next two years, no water, we don’t want to see water there,” Naezon said emphatically, adding that Golder Associates, the company responsible for the dam’s construction has also been reengaged to review its current state and potential future.Phil Fairweather, Gold Ridge’s general manager, said that he and many other people had been attracted to the venture by the vision of building an enterprise on greater transparency, community inclusion and social and environmental sustainability.“Any dewatering that is happening at the moment, for example, involves the communities,” Fairweather said. “It actually involves unqualified community people coming and observing the testing, coming and being involved in community awareness prior to any discharge and during.”Local village chiefs, landowners and students are all invited to visit the tailings dam to learn about the water treatment process and witness its discharge.“We want to see the mine open, but the health and safety and environmental responsibility is an utmost priority to us,” said Robert Rafaniello, the company’s deputy CEO. “And that is why as we lower the water, we will do more investigations into the stability of the dam, assess it. Does it need any strengthening to future-proof it for any other unknown event? Do we use the tailings dam in its current form, do we look at alternatives?”Tropical forest, Vella Lavella, Solomon Islands. Forests cover more than three quarters of the country’s land area, but illegal logging remains a serious problem. Photo by Lorette Dorreboom/Greenpeace.In hindsight, the lack of continuity in the mine’s foreign corporate ownership since the late 1990s — and intermittent periods of closure resulting in inconsistent environmental practices — can be seen as factors in the problems being experienced today.The start of mining in 1998, by the Australian company Ross Mining, coincided with the stirrings of civil unrest. The mine was forced to close a mere two years later when the violence escalated. While a peace agreement was achieved in 2003, Gold Ridge didn’t reopen until 2010 after acquisition by Allied Gold. The venture changed hands again in 2012, this time to St. Barbara. Then, in April 2014, calamity struck when a cyclone and torrential rain caused massive flooding that damaged mine infrastructure, raising concerns about the stability of the tailings dam and forcing a second shutdown. Losses and damages at the mine amounted to $27.7 million, 26 percent of the total economic impact of the disaster on the country.Soon after, St. Barbara decided to exit the country, selling the mine and its legal liability to Gold Ridge Community Investment the following year, while the Solomon Islands government declared the site a disaster zone.The coastline view near the capital, Honiara. Photo by Paul Hilton/Greenpeace.A model for the region?The Solomon Islands is not the only Pacific Island state to experience environmental problems in the mining industry.Natural and mineral resource extraction has, over decades, generated major revenues in a number of other countries in the region, such as Papua New Guinea and Nauru, while many more are now considering the lucrative potential of deep-sea mineral extraction. But in both island states the extractive industries have been plagued by environmental disasters. Both have failed to achieve environmental sustainability, and the economic windfalls have not led to substantial improvements in human development.Glaring examples include the Panguna copper mine in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, where the fallout from the destruction of land and waterways nearly 30 years ago remains unaddressed; as well as the OK Tedi copper and gold mine in the country’s Western Province, where massive discharge of mine waste into local river systems since the mid-1980s decimated fish and animal species and contaminated water sources and farmland. In the tiny state of Nauru, aggressive phosphate extraction has ravaged 80 percent of the country’s landscape.In the Solomon Islands, the government is looking to mining as the next big revenue earner as it faces the challenges of post-conflict economic recovery and the exhaustion of commercial forestry after decades of unsustainable logging. The country is known to have significant mineral resources, including gold, silver, nickel and lead.“The Gold Ridge mine reopening is very important for the government and Solomon Islands as it contributes significantly to the economy,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification told Mongabay.Nevertheless, the economic, social and environmental success of mining ventures over the next generation depends on not repeating the problems of the past.A 2013 UNDP symposium on managing extractive industries in Pacific Island states highlighted some of the steps needed to overcome the hurdles. These include conducting better consultations with stakeholders and communities, developing a more complex understanding of customary land tenure, improving the transparency of political processes and revenue management, and achieving greater commitment to environmental protection, over and above the basic requirement of developers producing environmental impact assessments.Expert observers have also expressed concerns about the influence of corruption and limited capacity of the government to manage the demands of regulating and overseeing mining activities.Logging road in a deforested area in Vangunu Island. Photo by Paul Hilton/Greenpeace.“Too close an identification of political leaders with resource extraction companies has not served Solomon Islands well,” Graham Baines of the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group has written (pdf). “The chance to build an economy based on sustainable timber production has been lost. And just as government institutions have been shown to be ineffective in controlling logging abuses, so, too, their role in guiding and controlling mining is weak and compromised.”Recently the government has tried to address some of these issues with the launch of a new National Minerals Policy (2017-2021). It aims to guide reformed financial practices, industry oversight, and procedures for tailings management, corporate environmental audits, biodiversity management and the mitigation of deforestation and soil erosion.“With the policy now launched, the ministry is working closely with the World Bank to begin implementing the policy, and this process is already under way, focusing mainly on the regulatory framework,” the Ministry of Mines spokesperson confirmed. This includes reviewing resource and manpower capacity and rolling out public outreach and awareness of the new policy.Progress in these areas is vital to turning around the suspension of the Solomon Islands by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which in March of this year sanctioned the country due to assessed deficiencies in areas including licensing procedures, monitoring and control of production, and revenue distribution.The revival of the Gold Ridge mine will bear witness to how much progress the government has been able to make in the short term.In May, the government and company began consultations with landowners about the mine’s proposed reopening next year, seeking to address issues such as royalties and environmental impact.There is evidence, though, that not everyone is satisfied and local environmental concerns persist.Vutiande said that in Navola, “the water system was always a long-term concern since the opening [of the mine] by the previous companies. The water issue is an ongoing issue. There were a few times when there were people who found things that have died in the river, such as fish and frogs.”Despite the company’s stated commitment to transparency, Gold Ridge Mining remains tight-lipped while it considers the range of options for dealing with mine waste. The decision as to whether the dam will continue to be used is still to be made, and the government is still awaiting the environmental management plan.The contents of these will be the first step in translating the new Gold Ridge vision into reality and establishing, or debunking, its standing as a model for the rest of the region.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Editor’s note: This story was modified Sept. 24, 2018 to correct the 2015 sale price of the Gold Ridge Mine.last_img read more

Major Force is ready to win

first_imgTOMORROW is St Leger Day at Caymanas Park, and SHE’S A MANEATER, this year’s outstanding three-year-old, is on the brink of history. The Wayne DaCosta-trained filly can become the 11th Triple Crown winner at the Park if she wins the St Leger, tomorrow’s 11th race on the 12-race card. It appears that nothing will stop her. The Winston Kong-owned-and-bred filly has dominated her rivals all season and should become the third filly to take the Triple Crown at Caymanas Park after Simply Magic (2002) and Alsafra (2008). As usual, we look at the Sunrise-6 on the Saturday race card. It begins with a 600 metres event, which should be a straight battle between the Anthony Nunes-trained second-time runner, APOLLO BAY, and Philip Feanny’s first-timer, EXHILARATE. The former has been training well and clocked 35.4 for second on his debut, but EXHILARATE looks the one to beat. The filly (by Blue Pepsi Lodge – Purejoy) is a half-sister to the progressive Fort Knox and has shown enough on the exercise track to make a winning debut. Race two looks tailored for MAJOR FORCE, who was beaten by Newton’s First Law over 1820 metres on June 24. The Anthony Ferguson-trained four-year-old was ahead of just under half of tomorrow’s field in that race and only has DUSSELDORF to fear. DUSSELDORF was the favourite in the June 24 event, but tailed off and ended third after being prominent for the 1400 metres. The third over 1820 metres for the $250-210,000 claiming group is a gift for LATE N DRAFTY, who is dropping from $450,000 claiming to contest her pet event. On June 17, LATE N DRAFTY whipped $350,000 claimers by four lengths over tomorrow’s distance and comes back with almost the identical weight at a lower level. She should not be beaten. Speedy DREAMLINER has come down from overnight allowance to contest the fourth. The four-year-old colt is definitely the fastest in the line-up and will have to be caught. SUNRISE-6 SELECTIONS Race five is a very knotty event for three-year-old maidens over 1200 metres. EDDIE’S PRINCESS, NUCLEOUS BUTCHER and SILVER ROCKET all have strong chances. The one I like best, however, is SILVER ROCKET, who was caught stealing home by Jolly D on July 1. The pace tomorrow will be milder and I expect the Steven Todd-trained gelding to go all the way. PIANO MAN is the one to beat in race six. The four-year-old gelding has been campaigning and doing well in far better company than he will face tomorrow and even with top weight 57kg will prove too good for a mostly out-of-form $180,000 claiming field. 1. EXHILARATE 2. MAJOR FORCE 3. LATE N DRAFTY 4. DREAMLINER 5. SILVER ROCKET 6. PIANO MAN GO ALL THE WAYlast_img read more

Woodcutter killed after tree tumbles on him in Pomeroon

first_imgA wood cutter from La Union, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), was killed after a tree crashed on him at Apiarco in the Upper Pomeroon River. Dead is Moses Gonsalves, 51, also known as “Squash”.Reports are that he left his Essequibo Coast home weeks ago venturing into the Pomeroon River to harvest wood. He was accompanied by a worker Rayan Lloyd.Dead: Moses GonsalvesThis newspaper was informed that on Thursday Gonsalves was left cutting wood while Lloyd went to fetch some materials from another location.According to the now dead man’s daughter, Sherena Gonsalves, the family received the tragic news Friday morning. The saddened daughter said Lloyd, who works as a handyman with her father, informed the family of the incident.“He told us that a tree fell on daddy and killed him. He said he heard the chain saw noise stop but he thought daddy was taking a rest (but) after some time he went and discovered him in a pool of blood.”She related that her father was then transported by Police to the Charity Oscar Joseph Hospital where doctors confirmed him dead.The chain saw operator’s body is at the Suddie Mortuary awaiting a post-mortem examination.Police have since taken statements from Lloyd.Gonsalves leaves to mourn his wife and three children.last_img read more

EPL clubs post pre-tax losses despite record revenues

first_img0Shares0000Increased wage costs, up by 12 percent to £2.3 billion, were the main factor in the combined losses of England’s 20 elite clubs © AFP/File / Glyn KIRKLODON, United Kingdom, Apr 20 – Premier League clubs’ revenues hit a new record of £3.6 billion in the 2015-16 season, but top-flight teams still recorded pre-tax losses of £110 million, according to sports finance experts Deloitte.The record revenues were nine percent higher than the previous top total of £3.4 billion posted in the 2014-15 campaign, with Manchester United and Manchester City responsible for more than half of the rise. United’s revenue grew to £515 million, which saw them top the Deloitte Football Money League for the first time since 2003-04 as the world’s highest revenue-generating clubIncreased wage costs, up by 12 percent to £2.3 billion, were the main factor in the combined losses of England’s 20 elite clubs.It is the first time Premier League teams have posted an aggregate pre-tax loss since the 2012-13 season.Dan Jones, partner and head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “The 2015-16 season saw Premier League clubs grow revenues by almost 10% to £3.6bn, with the two Manchester clubs alone responsible for more than 50% of the increase.“Manchester United’s participation in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League, coupled with continued strong commercial revenue growth, resulted in a 30% increase in revenue to £515m.“Our analysis reveals a return to pre-tax losses, following two consecutive years of pre-tax profits.“However, it is worth noting that this is due to a small number of one-off ‘exceptional’ costs, and we fully expect that the Premier League’s new three-year broadcast rights deal will see a return to record levels of profitability in the 2016-17 season.”Sky and BT paid a record £5.136 billion for the latest round of TV rights, a sum 71 per cent higher than the previous deal.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Casualty update

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! As of Saturday, at least 3,522 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 2,885 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers. The British military has reported 150 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 20; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia, three; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania, South Korea, one death each. – Associated Presslast_img

Operation Heatwave: The Interactive Map

first_imgPolice raided multiple locations across the Valley on Fri., Aug. 24, 2007. Twelve people were arrested for outstanding felony warrants, parole violations and weapon possession. Click on the markers for more details. Back to article. View Larger Map 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Two Valley schools get anti-violence grants

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“To be able to focus on learning, students need to feel safe at school,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said. “These grant funds will help our schools develop violence prevention programs so that students can get the most out of their education.” Canoga Park High and Columbus Middle School were among 33 schools awarded a total of $16.1 million in state grants to help protect students from violence, officials said Wednesday. The two Canoga Park campuses will receive nearly $500,000 each, as will Hoover and Crescenta Valley High schools in the Glendale Unified School District, Antelope Valley and Lancaster high schools; and Isbell Middle School in Santa Paula. “It’s prevention,” said Ron Martinez, assistant principal at 1,900-student Canoga Park High. “I think when you look at what’s going on around the city, it’s a lot easier to work with kids and teach them how to be respectful and how to behave than to wait until something happens.” The competitive grants were funded with money appropriated in 2004 by Assembly Bill 825, which consolidated six school safety programs. last_img read more