Renowned biologist Edward O. Wilson calls for preserving half of Earth to save biodiversity

first_imgBiodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Books, Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, Researcher Perspectives Series, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by Mike Gaworecki In Half-Earth, Wilson argues that the situation facing humanity and biodiversity is so desperate that it requires a dramatic response: dedicating fully half of the planet’s surface area to nature and natural forces, an arrangement a New York Times interviewer calls “an improbable prescription for the environment.”Wilson’s proposal calls not for removing people living in and depending on the natural resources of wildlands around the world, but for managing these areas in a manner that would preserve their living legacies of biodiversity, something akin to how World Heritage Sites are managed.Through his nearly 90 years of exploration, inquiry and controversy, the visionary Wilson has taken positions and pointed toward destinations that ultimately have prevailed – that which was considered outside of accepted thinking or conventional wisdom has become mainstream.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay. Hear E.O. Wilson talk about his Half-Earth proposal in this January 2017 edition of Mongabay’s podcast.The current issue of Sierra, a magazine published by the Sierra Club, contains a bold — perhaps unrealistic — “manifesto” by the eminent Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson calling for preservation of half the planet in an undisturbed, natural condition in order to save beleaguered nonhuman life on Earth.The manifesto is based on Wilson’s impassioned book Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, published in early 2016. In Half-Earth, Wilson argues that the situation facing humanity and biodiversity is so desperate that it requires a dramatic response: dedicating fully half of the planet’s surface area to nature and natural forces, an arrangement a New York Times interviewer calls “an improbable prescription for the environment.”When asked by the Times in 2016 why he is making this urgent plea now, the 87-year-old, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for General Non-Fiction and University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard acknowledged that facing his own imminent mortality had something to do with it. But he added:[A] lifetime of research has magnified my perception that we are in a crisis with reference to the living part of the environment. We now have enough measurements of extinction rates and the likely rate in the future to know that it is approaching a thousand times the baseline of what existed before humanity came along.Edward O. Wilson. Photo by Jim Harrison – PLoS.[T]o save biodiversity, we need to set aside about half the earth’s surface as a natural reserve. I’m not suggesting we have one hemisphere for humans and the other for the rest of life. I’m talking about allocating up to one half of the surface of the land and the sea as a preserve for remaining flora and fauna.In Sierra, Wilson writes that:Only by committing half of the planet’s surface to nature can we hope to save the immensity of life-forms that compose it. Unless humanity learns a great deal more about global biodiversity and moves quickly to protect it, we will soon lose most of the species composing life on Earth. The Half-Earth proposal offers a first, emergency solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: By setting aside half the planet in reserve, we can save the living part of the environment and achieve the stabilization required for our own survival.Wilson’s proposal calls not for removing people living in and depending on the natural resources of wildlands around the world, but for managing these areas in a manner that would preserve their living legacies of biodiversity, something akin to how World Heritage Sites are managed. In his calculations, he also is including protected marine areas where no fishing is allowed.Oddly, for an entomologist and ethologist (animal behaviorist) whose happiest moments in life were spent exploring tropical rainforests and peering at amazing and bizarre insects, Wilson is no stranger to controversy. Perhaps because of his very integrity, it has stalked him like a wildcat for much of his career, reaching a zenith in the mid-1970s after he wrote the tome Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.This landmark book documented new research in evolutionary biology and psychology; it argued that both nature (instinct) and nurture (culture) determine human social behavior. The idea that any social behavior at all could be attributed to instinct and genetic inheritance — rather than to sexist and racist institutions and cultures — rocked progressive professors in the academic world, who were becoming the dominant force in humanities and liberal arts departments at universities around the country. Some of Wilson’s Harvard colleagues, including the well-known paleontologist and avowed left-winger Stephen Jay Gould, plotted to have Wilson stripped of his academic tenure and kicked out of Harvard.Yet, Wilson’s own views and his science have prevailed. Today there is widespread scientific consensus that much human behavior is indeed genetic, and the whole new field of evolutionary psychology has opened up.Wilson was one of the first scientists to be intrigued by the concept of the ecological footprint (EF) and analytical methods to calculate per capita biocapacity and EF (consumer demands for cropland, forest, grazing land, marine and inland waters, and built-up land), developed in the early 1990s at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and their potential to quantify and illustrate humanity’s aggregate loads on Planet Earth.Dr. Wilson put in a good word about EF to the most prestigious scientific body in the U.S., the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2002, he edited a scientific paper on EF by Mathis Wackernagel and co-authors entitled “Tracking the ecological overshoot of the human economy” for publication in the Academy’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In part thanks to Wilson’s interest and efforts, in less than a decade, EF emerged from ecotopian obscurity in the Pacific Northwest to being embraced by America’s scientific establishment, and later the world’s. At the same time, EF, and a derivative, the Carbon Footprint, began to be popularly accepted and widely applied by environmental advocacy groups, national governments, the UN, news media, and the public at large.Prof. Wilson has long been concerned about the impact of human overpopulation on other living beings. In a 2002 article for Scientific American, “The Bottleneck,” he wrote:The pattern of human population growth in the 20th century was more bacterial than primate. When Homo sapiens passed the six-billion mark we had already exceeded by perhaps as much as 100 times the biomass of any large animal species that ever existed on the land. We and the rest of life cannot afford another 100 years like that.Wilson was even dragged into the bitter, internecine struggle within the Sierra Club in 1998 over whether it should return to a national population policy that once again acknowledged that immigration should be curbed to stop U.S. population growth. In January 1998, he penned a letter to then-executive director Adam Werbach that said, in part:I have come to believe that population is so salient a factor in the future of the environment, and especially of biodiversity, that it should be faced squarely and openly whenever possible. And since the issue within the Sierra Club is to be decided democratically by ballot, with supporters and arguments on both sides, and since the initiative calls for ‘reduction in net immigration’ (no slamming of doors there), it is hard to see why the membership cannot be trusted to make a wise decision with the interests of the Sierra Club in mind.In spite of his deeply held concerns, Wilson insists that he is an optimist, that he believes human beings can rally in time to save what is left of our fellow creatures from oblivion.With the deepest respect and admiration for the man, I myself think he is a bit too sanguine. He told The New York Times that global population is stabilizing and that “high tech is producing new products and ways of living that are congenial to setting aside more space for the rest of life. Instrumentation is getting smaller, using less material and energy.”Actually, while many countries are at or near population stabilization, on a global scale, the human population is growing as fast and as fiercely as ever. And whether or not technological advances can keep pace with inexorable resource depletion is not at all certain.Conservationist Hector Pastor surveys illegal deforestation in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras, a World Heritage Site like those promoted by Professor E.O. Wilson to save Earth’s biodiversity. Photo courtesy of Leon Kolankiewicz.When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Central America, I worked on behalf of the conservation of one of the very World Heritage Sites Wilson is promoting, and I saw firsthand how little of a difference protected status declarations on paper meant to what actually occurred on the ground. There must be deeply rooted and widespread political and popular support to actually protect “protected areas.”I would like to put aside the doubts seeded from my own experience, believe in humanity’s capacity to change and take a more balanced place among all living things, and embrace the optimism Wilson feels. There is evidence for that path. Through his nearly 90 years of exploration, inquiry and controversy, the visionary Wilson has taken positions and pointed toward destinations that ultimately have prevailed – that which was considered outside of accepted thinking or conventional wisdom has become mainstream. Such indeed may be the case with Wilson’s bold Half-Earth idea, notwithstanding naysayers casting it as an “improbable prescription.”This great scientist and visionary has given us an audacious goal towards which to strive. We can only hope it inspires action by large enough numbers of people to drive the solution Wilson has envisioned to save what we’re so rapidly losing.The extinct golden toad (Incilius periglenes) formerly lived in a small area of cloud forest in Costa Rica. The last sighting was in May 1989, and it has since been officially classified as extinct. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.Leon Kolankiewicz is a wildlife biologist and environmental scientist and planner. He is the author of Where Salmon Come to Die: An Autumn on Alaska’s Raincoast, the essay “Overpopulation versus Biodiversity” in Environment and Society: A Reader and was a contributing writer to Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation. He also is an Advisory Board Member and Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization.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.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

‘Lost & Found’: Telling the stories of rediscovered species

first_imgThe project is the brainchild of Diogo Veríssimo, a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Veríssimo studies the ways human behavior and biodiversity conservation intersect, focusing in particular on conservation marketing.“Talking about nature has too often become about extinction, decline and loss,” Veríssimo says. “With Lost & Found we aim to make it about hope, determination and passion.”Mongabay spoke with Diogo Veríssimo about what first sparked his interest in rediscovered species, why it’s important to highlight the field researchers who track down lost species, and just what he hopes to ultimately achieve by telling these stories. For the better part of the 20th century, the wooly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus) was believed to have gone extinct.If that had been true, the world would have lost a truly remarkable species. The largest member of the squirrel family, wooly flying squirrels stand as much as two feet tall and sport bushy, two-foot tails. Despite their size, they are quite capable of using their gliding membranes to effectively move around their preferred habitat in high-elevation conifer forests, where they’re known to live in caves on steep, rocky slopes and other hard-to-reach places. The species’ call is believed by some local cultures to portend the death of a loved one, and its urine is considered an aphrodisiac.We would never have discovered most of what we know now about wooly flying squirrels’ behavior if they had in fact gone extinct — but the species was rediscovered in northern Pakistan in 1995, thrilling scientists and wildlife lovers alike.The wooly flying squirrel is one of the rediscovered species profiled by the Lost & Found project. Image courtesy of Diogo Veríssimo. Courtesy of Diogo Veríssimo.The wooly flying squirrel is not the only animal for which reports of its death were greatly exaggerated, of course. Species are rediscovered all the time — and the new Lost & Found project aims to tell their stories.The project is the brainchild of Diogo Veríssimo, a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Veríssimo studies the ways human behavior and biodiversity conservation intersect, focusing in particular on conservation marketing. He started Lost & Found to try and shift the way we talk about conservation.“Talking about nature has too often become about extinction, decline and loss,” Veríssimo says. “With Lost & Found we aim to make it about hope, determination and passion.”In addition to the written word, Veríssimo and team plan to tell the stories of Earth’s rediscovered species in comics and video, as well. The Lost & Found project will officially launch tomorrow at the Earth Optimism Summit organized by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.Mongabay spoke with Diogo Veríssimo about what first sparked his interest in rediscovered species, why it’s important to highlight the field researchers who track down lost species, and just what he hopes to ultimately achieve by telling these stories.Mongabay: What was the initial impetus for this project? Who came up with it, and when did you officially start working on it?Diogo Veríssimo: The idea for this project came to me as a result of my fascination with species rediscoveries and my research focus on conservation marketing. I have strong childhood memories of reading about species such as the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus), which to this day is hypothesized to still exist in some remote part of Australia, and thinking: how incredible would it be to find these species again? Those tales of loss and mystery conjured in me strong emotions that I hope to pass on through the stories in the Lost & Found project. Lastly, my professional focus on conservation marketing means that I am in the business of creating effective messages to promote biodiversity conservation. One aspect I was always surprised about, when it came to the messages that we as conservationists put out, is how predominantly negative they were. It’s time that we move towards more inspirational messaging, in order to avoid generating apathy in those we are trying to engage.In terms of the official kick-off date, I bounced the concept behind this project around for a couple of years before we received or first funding, from the British Ecological Society, in July 2014. I guess that was when the project officially started. Since then a lot has happened, and progress has been quite slow, partially due to the volunteer nature of our commitment to the project but also because we struggled to find further funding sources that could support this effort.Mongabay: Who’s funding this work? And who is creating all of the creative materials?Diogo Veríssimo: This work has been funded (so far) by the Society for Conservation Biology and the British Ecological Society. It is often difficult to find funding opportunities for outreach activities so I am very grateful to these two professional societies. That said, we are currently looking for funding to get our stories in a video format and to get our content translated into multiple languages, so if you want to help, please get in touch!In terms of the creative materials, this has been truly a team effort, and I have been lucky to have such a talented group of people gather around this idea. In the UK, we have Amy Gallagher, an illustrator and comic artist, who was responsible for the comics that illustrate each story. In Australia, we have Sam Needs, a creative writer who wrote most of our stories. In Portugal we have our web design team, Zé Martins and João Dábrio, who are responsible for our website. And finally in the USA, Laure Cugnière, who led the research work behind the selection of the species, and myself, leading the overall project.Bulmer’s fruit bat is one of the rediscovered species profiled by the Lost & Found project. Image courtesy of Diogo Veríssimo.Mongabay: How long did it take you to do the underlying research? How’d you go about finding all of the “lost and found” species you feature?Diogo Veríssimo: We used a mix of online sources, books, and, when possible, in-person interviews with those involved in the rediscovery to select those stories that were not only the most exciting but also that covered a diverse range of species and continents. The research part of this project is one of the most time-consuming stages, as many of these stories are poorly documented, and may even have contradictory versions presented in the popular press and scientific literature. This made us work extra hard and focus only on those stories where we could clearly outline what had happened.Mongabay: Do you focus on the researchers who re-discovered these species as much as you do the wildlife themselves? In other words, are you trying to tell the stories of the scientists working in the field to document and describe the world’s wildlife, or are you just telling the stories of the animals they re-discovered?Diogo Veríssimo: We made a very conscious effort to have a focus on the human side, as well as the species. That is why our tagline for example mentions “adventurers” and not species. We find this is key if we want to reach a broader audience outside of those that are already interested in nature and biodiversity. Not everyone will be interested in reading about a bat that was found in Papua New Guinea, and that is OK. I recognize that, no matter how much I love biodiversity, for some people there are other topics that are more attractive. Yet, as our celebrity culture is testament to, one thing that people from any walk of life are interested in is other people. The protagonists of these stories are examples of courage, determination, and passion, much like the protagonists in many other popular narratives of our time: soap operas, TV series, movies, etc… I believe that this focus will make our content more exciting for audience groups that commonly do not engage with content around nature but may be interested in simply reading a good story.Mongabay: Why do you think it’s important to highlight these stories of “lost and found” species and the researchers who found them?Diogo Veríssimo: Our goal when focusing on these human characters was to show them as the standard bearers of a more hopeful conservation movement that I expect will emerge from efforts such as the Ocean Optimism and Earth Optimism movements taking root around the world. With this more human focus, I hope to both showcase the hard work that conservationists around the world do globally, raising awareness of how difficult this job can be, and give my colleagues a repository of hope they can turn to when they want to remind themselves that despite the huge challenges we face, it’s not all decline, threat, and extinction.The Bermuda petrel is one of the rediscovered species profiled by the Lost & Found project. Image courtesy of Diogo Veríssimo.Mongabay: One of the most interesting aspects of the project is the way you’re using multiple media to tell these stories. Can you tell us a bit about how that works? Are you telling each story in narrative, comics, and video format so that people can enjoy it in whatever medium they prefer, or is it necessary to take in all three media in order to get the full story (i.e. the three formats are used in concert)?Diogo Veríssimo: The use of multiple media channels is a strategy designed to give our different target groups options when it comes to how they want to access the content. By giving people options we offer not only different experiences but also will hopefully make the content interesting to a wider range of audiences. Furthermore, people are increasingly using the internet on mobile devices and in a variety of contexts. By having different content formats we make our stories easier to access in a variety of situations, where you may have different bandwidth, time, screen size, or even attention span.Mongabay: What do you ultimately hope to achieve with the Lost & Found project?Diogo Veríssimo: We hope to change the conversation around conservation. Nature conservation does not have to be “doom and gloom,” it can be about hope, grit, and audacity. Only by making this narrative more positive can we hope to engage wider sectors of society and make the environment a wider societal priority. If Lost & Found can play a small part in that then I would consider we have achieved our goal.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Biodiversity, Environment, Extinction, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Interviews, Rediscovered Species, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

A global view from a mountain town: how conservation became ingrained in Monteverde

first_imgArticle published by Maria Salazar Beginning with Quakers arriving in the 1950s, Monteverde has become a distinct community in Central America.In 1972, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was established, securing a home for many rare species.Today, many locals take conservation as a way of life, from organic farming to scientific endeavors to mitigating the impacts of climate change. Sitting in a cloud forest on top of the Cordillera de Tilarán, the mountaintop town of Monteverde, Costa Rica seems isolated. But, its view stretches far beyond its boundaries. In today’s world, many believe that individual actions cannot make a difference. However, in Monteverde one community, made up of many individuals, has become the driving force behind conservation.Monteverde is an exceptional place. It is an epicenter for biodiversity, international communities and scientific discovery. It was in these fog-shrouded forests that upslope migration of species was first documented. Unfortunately, in the tropics, mountain ecosystems – like cloud forests – are like canaries in a coal mine: they show early warning signs of climate change.“Conservation is important in Monteverde because it happens because of grassroots efforts,” says Dr. Karen Masters a biologist, professor, and resident of Monteverde for over thirty years. “It happens because individuals feel empowered to do something.”Farmers, scientists, and conservationists work hard—and work together—to be models and to have a global reach.In a time of rising sea levels, changing climates, dwindling biodiversity, and shifting landscapes, “Costa Ricans on a mountaintop get it, they value it, they believe in it, they think critically about it, and they act on it,” says Masters. The conservationistLooking to live in a truly peaceful place, 41 Quakers relocated from Alabama in 1951 to settle in the Monteverde zone in Costa Rica – the country without an army. The Quakers divided the land between families, but set aside one third of this land to protect the watershed of the Río Guacimal.Eladio Cruz was the first person to sell their land for conservation in Monteverde in 1986. After working with a biologist in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, he had a new appreciation for nature. Photo Credit: Caitlin Looby.In 1974, the Quakers formed the Bosqueterno, a reserve and organization created to protect this watershed. The Bosqueterno decided to lease approximately 550 hectares of this land to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve established two years before. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was created by the Centro Científico Tropical, an organization based in San Jose created for conservation and research of tropical forests.From 1972 to 1982, Eladio Cruz worked in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve helping biologists conduct their research. The brightly-colored golden toad (Incilius periglenes) – now extinct – made scientists around the world flock to the mountain town to study the unique biodiversity found only in the cloud forest. Agriculture and deforestation threatened both sides of the mountain range. With a new appreciation for nature, Cruz sold his farm to the Centro Científico Tropical in Peñas Blancas for conservation in 1986. He was the first person to sell land for conservation in Monteverde.“I went back to Peñas Blancas, and my mentality was different. I wanted to preserve what was left and didn’t want to cut anymore,” Cruz said.The Monteverde Conservation League formed the same year that Eladio sold his land. The League focused on purchasing land for conservation and gaining long-term protection through education, reforestation, sustainable development and scientific research. Cruz remains a board member of the League to this day.To this day, Eladio Cruz works with conservation organizations—like the Monteverde Conservation League—to help protect more land and build biological corridors. Photo Credit: Caitlin LoobyCruz’s land was not only an important spark for conservation, it continues to provide a benefit. Situated in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, scientists can stay at his old farmhouse as they conduct fieldwork. Students studying abroad even stay there to learn and do research projects. Conservation is embedded in the culture here. And unlike many areas in the tropics, Monteverde is greener because of it.The farmerWalking through Hermida Porras’ seventy-hectare farm, there is a wide diversity of plants. Her farm is full of coffee, bananas, avocados, chayote, pumpkins, yuca, chilies and many other types of produce. Not only does Porras grow her own coffee, but she roasts it as well.Having a farm that is organic and environmentally friendly is not always the easiest choice, but Hermida Porras makes it her mission. She grows a wide diversity of produce, and sells it at the local farmer’s market. Photo Credit: Caitlin Looby.“I have visited farms where people use chemicals and I have noticed they don’t have many things, and you can see all the things that I have on my farm,” she said.Porras’ organic farm is over thirty years old, and she is a prominent supplier at the local farmer’s market. She explains that she does not use chemicals because “nature has everything that the farm needs: herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers.” Nothing goes to waste. She uses scraps from her coffee production as fertilizer. She also described another trick where she mixes ripe mango or guava with water to fertilize. Not only does Hermida Porras grow coffee on her organic farm, but she dries and roasts the beans as well. Photo Credit: Caitlin Looby.Giggling, Porras points to a citrus tree she just planted. Her neighbors just cut down a tree – and this was an act of defiance. Every time they cut down a tree, she grows something in its place on her land.Porras takes her environmentally philosophy outside of her farm. She is in the process of making reusable bags for the farmer’s market out of old clothes, and charges people for single-use plastic bags.Outside of Monteverde, she advocates for sustainable farming. She attends meetings and workshops, and is always trying to learn new techniques. Having an organic farm is a fight Porras explains, “although we produce less than other farmers we have to keep producing in the right way.”Every time her neighbor cuts down a tree, Hermida plants a new one to replace it. Here, she sits defiantly with her newly planted citrus tree. Photo Credit: Caitlin Looby.The scientistLooking for an adventure, Karen Masters came to the mountaintop town for the first time 33 years ago. That sense of adventure is still present as she spots a puma on her camera trap. She set up about a dozen traps in the forest near her house simply out of curiosity.A biologist, professor, and director of the Council for International Educational Exchange Sustainability and the Environment study abroad program it’s amazing that she has time for a scientific hobby. But, for Karen, conservation is a calling. Dr. Karen Masters first came to Monteverde over thirty years ago. She is a biologist, professor, and director of the Council for International Educational Exchange Sustainability and the Environment study abroad program in Monteverde. Photo Credit: Caitlin Looby.“The environment is really important to me because as a biologist, as a mother, as a teacher, as a human being, I have come to realize that the environment gives us everything that we need to live,” she explains.Karen not only conducts research in these forests, but she creates future conservation leaders through her study abroad program. Students learn about conservation and sustainability, and they see how it is done from the inside. Living in Monteverde for decades, she sees the effects of climate change.“Climate change is in Monteverde is not caused by activities in Monteverde… you can probably plant as many trees as you want and climate change will probably still proceed,” she said. But, people here are doing something very noteworthy to respond.Monteverde is now building biological corridors – in the context of climate change – to make these forests and the species that inhabit them more resilient. The corridors connect preserved land so that plants and animals can move up the mountain when lower elevations become too hot and dry due to global warming. They also use a lattice framework that stretch across elevation bands. This way, there is room for plants and animals that already live at a specific elevation; they will not be immediately forced up the mountain in response to the newcomers.Karen Masters checks her camera traps with Jessica Hoffmann. She deployed nearly a dozen traps in the forest near her house to see what types of mammals were roaming through the area. Photo Credit: Caitlin Looby.The power of one – and the potential of manyOver 200,000 ecotourists – and potential cloud forest ambassadors – visit Monteverde every year. Even though hundreds of thousands of people come to this area each year, the community and their grassroot efforts still shine through. In a world that is quickly changing, it is hard to know what will make a difference. “It is really disorienting,” Karen explains. “And then you look at Monteverde, and everything that has been done here. It started with an idea that one person had, and it got communicated to someone else.”Small actions changed everything because decades ago “people thought there would be no land to work in the future, but now the mentality has changed because people in Monteverde live for nature,” says Cruz. Citations: Nadkarni, N.M, Wheelwright, N.T. (2000) Monteverde: Ecology and Conservation of a Tropical Cloud Forest. Oxford University Press: New York.Townsend, P. A., Masters, K.L. (2015) Lattice-work corridors for climate change: a conceptual framework for biodiversity conservation and social-ecological resilience in a tropical elevational gradient. Ecology and Society, 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07324-200201 Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Conservation, Deforestation, Ecosystems, Environment, Forests, Interns, Protected Areas, Research, Tropical Forests center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Helmeted hornbill, on verge of extinction, finds respite in new zone outside of known range

first_imgArticle published by Basten Gokkon A recent survey has found a high concentration of near-extinct helmeted hornbills in a conservation area in western Borneo.This “hornbill paradise” is currently not included in the IUCN range map for this particular species.Conservationists have called for the map to be updated, for more research in the area, and for stronger law enforcement to protect the distinctive bird. A conservation area in western Borneo holds an unexpectedly rich population of the helmeted hornbill, a bird driven close to extinction by poaching for its distinctive casqued beak, a field survey has found.A research team from the conservation group Planet Indonesia recorded over 50 visual and audio detections of the hornbill during its yearlong survey in the protected area in northwestern Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo.The discovery indicated a large concentration of the helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), said Adam Miller, executive director of the NGO, in a statement.A helmeted hornbill is sighted by the Planet Indonesia research team at a protected site in western Borneo. Photo courtesy of Planet Indonesia.While Borneo in general is known to be a habitat of the species, Miller pointed out that his team’s findings were the first to detect the bird’s presence in the protected region.“When we found the helmeted hornbill … we could not believe it,” Miller wrote in a separate email. “We had not expected this rainforest to be so rich with hornbills.”Stretching across 1,800 square kilometers (695 square miles) of forested area, the remote landscape covers three administrative districts and connects to a national park in Malaysia’s Sarawak state.Other than the helmeted hornbill, Miller said, the region contains seven other hornbill species: the oriental pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris), the bushy-crested hornbill (Anorrhinus galeritus), the wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus), the black hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus), the white-crowned hornbill (Berenicornis comatus), the rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) and the wrinkled hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus).“This landscape is indeed a hornbill paradise,” Miller said.Conservation biologist Yokyok Hadiprakarsa, executive director of the Indonesian Hornbill Conservation Society (IHCS) and a leading expert on hornbill trafficking, welcomed the new finding on the species, whose population in the wild remains unknown.“The landscape is not yet included in the IUCN’s range map of the helmeted hornbill species,” Hadiprakarsa wrote in an email. “It’s probably because the area is still underresearched. However, my 2014 analysis indicated that the landscape is a suitable habitat for the helmeted hornbill.”The hornbill species, known for its distinctive casque – a protuberance above its beak that can account for up to 13 percent of its body weight – eats almost exclusively figs, but occasionally feeds on insects and other small invertebrates.Despite records of the bird’s occurrence in the region, both Miller and Hadiprakarsa said more time and research were needed to estimate the helmeted hornbill population there.“Estimating helmeted hornbill population size is quite difficult as visual detections are preferred, but this species is extremely sensitive,” Miller said. “It will take at least one to two more years before we can estimate the size.”“The existence of the helmeted hornbill fluctuates depending on food availability,” Hadiprakarsa said.The helmeted hornbill is one of Southeast Asia’s most unique birds, with a large casque that is used by males in head-to-head aerial combat. The solid “red ivory” casques are highly valued for use as ornamental carvings, primarily in China. Photo courtesy of Yokyok Hadiprakarsa/IHCS.The helmeted hornbill is one of the most threatened bird species on the planet, driven out of its habitat by forest-clearing and hunted close to extinction for its casque, which is prized for use as ornamental carvings, primarily in China. As recently as 2012 the species was listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, but by 2015 the intense demand for the birds’ “red ivory” pushed the species three categories down to Critically Endangered – just a step away from extinction.A 2013 investigation supported by the Chester Zoo Conservation Award revealed that in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province, 6,000 helmeted hornbills were killed for their casques in a single year. Mongabay has chosen not to reveal the specific location of the newly discovered hornbill population, but Planet Indonesia’s Miller said it was already facing similar threats as other hornbill habitats. More than 55 square kilometers of forest in the area have been degraded in the past 10 years, according to Global Forest Watch data cited by the conservation group.The group’s field survey also showed that this area was one of the last strongholds of the Critically Endangered Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and the Endangered Abbott’s gray gibbon (Hylobates muelleri abbotti).“It is imperative that immediate efforts are made to preserve this landscape, or some of the last habitat of the critically endangered helmeted hornbill and Bornean orangutan will be lost forever,” Miller said.One of the first steps, he suggested, is for the IUCN to update its range map of the helmeted hornbill to include the conservation landscape.Hadiprakarsa called for more research on the hornbill species and for stronger enforcement of existing laws to protect the birds’ shrinking habitat.“A lot is still unknown about this species, like whether local extinction is already happening or whether Indonesia, as the world’s largest habitat of this species, has enough trees for them to breed,” he said.“We must not be fixated on protecting the wildlife only,” Hadiprakarsa added. “Wildlife conservation is truly tied with habitat management, instead of prioritizing captive management.”Editor’s note: To avoid tipping off poachers, Mongabay has left out details of the location of the discovery. Contact Adam Miller (adam.miller@planetindonesia.org) for his team’s full report.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. Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Forests, Habitat, Happy-upbeat Environmental, New Discovery, Poaching, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, 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

A new species of orangutan from Indonesia (analysis)

first_imgScientists have described a third species of orangutan.The Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) is found in the Tapanuli region of Indonesia’s North Sumatra province.The species is already considered at risk of extinction.This guest post is an analysis by researchers, including authors of the paper that describes the new primate species. Researchers from Indonesia and several other countries today (including authors of this piece) published in the journal Current Biology one of the most exciting new species descriptions in this century – a new species of orangutan from Sumatra. Although we have seen the discovery and description of 88 species of primates new to science since 2000, this new orangutan is the first full species of great ape since the Bonobo from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1929. The new species, named the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) is found in the Tapanuli region of North Sumatra Province and is named after the region in which is occurs.As one of the two most megadiverse countries in the world (together with Brazil), Indonesia already has a remarkably rich fauna and flora, including such globally renowned flagship species as the Sumatran and Javan rhinos, the Sumatran tiger, the Asian elephant, the babirusa, the anoa, the Komodo dragon, and many species of bird-of-paradise. Its primate fauna is truly exceptional. Indeed, with the new orangutan, it now has 61 species and 79 taxa of primates, numbers that are exceeded only by Brazil and Madagascar (see table), and fully 59 of these (75%) are endemic. Sumatra alone is home to 18 species and 19 taxa, of 11 of which are endemic and found nowhere else.With this new great ape, Indonesia’s 79 taxa rank it among the top two countries on Earth for great ape diversity along with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Indonesia now has three species and five taxa of great apes, whereas the DRC has four species and six taxa.The newly described Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) in Indonesia. Photo by Maxime Aliaga.TOTAL GLOBAL PRIMATE DIVERSITY79 GENERA, 510 SPECIES, 702 TAXA (SPECIES AND SUBSPECIES)THE TOP 10 COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD FOR PRIMATE DIVERSITY AND ENDEMISM INDONESIAN PRIMATE DIVERSITYTOTAL11 GENERA, 61 SPECIES, 79 TAXA, 59 TAXA ENDEMIC7 species and 7 taxa of slow lorises.10 species and 13 taxa of tarsiers (Cephalopachus and Tarsius. All Tarsius (11 species) are endemic to Sulawesi32 species and 44 taxa of monkeys – Cercopitheciidae10 species and 15 taxa of macaques. 13 taxa endemic.22 species and 29 taxa of langurs. 20 taxa endemic. (Colobinae).9 species and 9 taxa of gibbons (Hylobates and Symphalangus). 5 of the endemic (Hylobatidae)3 species and 5 taxa of orangutans (with Tapanuli) 3 of them endemic.An international team of scientists described the species in a paper published today, November 2. The researchers demonstrate that the Tapanuli orangutan is genetically and morphologically distinct from the Sumatran orangutan, and is therefore a separate species. According to the paper, the Tapanuli orangutan is in fact more closely related to the Bornean orangutan than it is to the Sumatran orangutans that live to its north, north of Lake Toba. The three orangutans—Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli—evolved from a common ancestor about 3.4 million years ago.The Tapanuli orangutan is similar to the Sumatran orangutan in its linear body build and a more cinnamon pelage than that of the more hunched Bornean orangutan. Its hair texture is frizzier, however, contrasting with the long loose hair typical of the Sumatran. It has a prominent mustache and the dominant males have flat cheek-flanges covered in downy hair. The flanges displayed by older dominant males are more like those of the Bornean orangutan, but unlike the Bornean orangutan, the females have beards.Baby Tapanuli orangutan in Indonesia. Photo by Maxime Aliaga.Unfortunately, as is so often the case with new species discoveries, the Tapanuli orangutan is in trouble, and has provisionally been classified as Critically Endangered by experts from the Section on Great Apes of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. The animal lives only in a few forest patches in the Central, North and South districts of Tapanuli in the province of North Sumatra, in an area called the Batang Toru Ecosystem, south of Lake Toba. Forest loss data indicates that key orangutan forest habitat in Sumatra was reduced by 60 percent between 1985 and 2007, which, in addition to illegal hunting, has led to a significant population reduction of orangutans in recent years. Today the severely diminished population of the Tapanuli orangutans extends over only about 1,000 square kilometers and the total remaining population is estimated at less than 800 individuals. Logging, mining concessions, agricultural plantations and a proposed hydroelectric dam all continue to threaten its survival.This discovery also shows that despite almost 50 years of orangutan research on Sumatra, there is still so much to learn about these apes and that maintaining them throughout their entire distribution is crucial to maintaining the diversity of orangutans across their range. Indeed, “Most in the conservation community would agree that birds and mammals are among the best studied taxonomic groups, and, among mammals, primates stand out. The fact that a new species of great ape has been discovered underscores the challenge ahead for increasing our knowledge of all species, especially those less known, and tailoring our conservation efforts to the actions that are most likely to have a positive impact,” highlighted Jon Paul Rodríguez, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.The Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) in Sumatra. Photo by Maxime Aliaga.Citations:Nater et al., Morphometric, Behavioral, and Genomic Evidence for a New Orangutan Species, Current Biology (2017), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.047AUTHORSRussell A. Mittermeier is Chair, IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and incoming Chief Conservation Officer of Global Wildlife Conservation; he served as Conservation International’s President from 1989 to 2014, and has been that organization’s Executive Vice-Chair since 2014.Serge Wich is Co-Vice Chair of the Section on Great Apes of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Professor of Primate Biology at Liverpool John Moores University; and an Honorary Professor for the Conservation of Great Apes at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a coauthor of the paper describing the new orangutan species.Gabriella Fredriksson is Programme Coordinator for the PanEco/Sumatran orangutan Conservation Programme in Tapanuli, which has focused on protection of the Batang Toru Ecosystem since 2005. She is also a coauthor of the paper describing the new orangutan species.Anthony B. Rylands is a Deputy-Chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist and incoming Primate Conservation Program Director at Global Wildlife Conservation; he has been a Senior Research Scientist at Conservation International for 17 years. 1Brazil150128198567 3Indonesia7961115939 2Madagascar11110715111107 7Tanzania43261294 4DR Congo6647192010 5Peru57501499 Country Taxa  Species Genus Endemic taxa  Endemic species center_img 8Cameroon36311900 10Kenya332011102 9Malaysia3425992 Analysis, Animals, Apes, Biodiversity, Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Endangered Species, Great Apes, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Mammals, New Species, Orangutans, Primates, Species Discovery, Wildlife Article published by Rhett Butler 6Colombia4640141412 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

Grange has big plans for Trelawny Stadium

first_img SPORTS TOURISM Sport minister Olivia Grange has said that the Government has “big plans” for the upgrading of the Trelawny Stadium. Grange made the announcement while speaking at the Jamaica Tallawahs’ official team brunch at the Melbourne Cricket Club on Thursday, and said the work will be treated as one of Jamaica’s 55th Independence anniversary legacy projects. One upgrade completed so far is on the venue’s irrigation system. “We do not have to depend on the National Water Commission anymore for water. We have our own water,” Grange said. The Government plans to meet with the Planning Institute of Jamaica next week to discuss sources of funding for a cricket academy, which is planned to be the first phase of expansion to be carried out on the stadium. But the minister said that the stadium can be used in its current state. “Sri Lanka, when they come later this year, will use the Trelawny Stadium for warm-up matches,” she said. “So the facility is in a good enough condition that we can use it as we speak.” The Government is looking to invest in the stadium as a means of improving sport tourism in western Jamaica. Grange said that she is also seeking more sponsors for the project and Tallawahs owner Jay Madhu immediately raised his hand to show his interest. “I want to encourage the owners of the Tallawahs to put some packages together,” Grange said. “We have enough rooms near the Trelawny Stadium. So you can utilise the facility. One complaint that has been raised about the facility is that there is not enough business activity taking place in the community surrounding the stadium. However, Grange said that the location is not as isolated as many think. “I can’t speak to the other plans at this time, but it’s just a matter of how we utilise the facility and how we make it attractive because it’s the Jamaica Cricket Association’s base,” she said. “We have people who are into running and health – the whole health programme – that use the facility. I know there are plans for the development of villas and other such facilities in and around the area. So the potential is great, and it’s really going to be a major development and will have tremendous impact on the communities around.” The Trelawny Stadium cost around US$30 million to build and was opened in 2007 to host the commencement ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup. It has since been used occasionally for warm-up games for both the men’s and women’s West Indies cricket teams, football matches, and entertainment events such as the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. However, public opinion is that the venue is fairly underused.last_img read more

All-star benefit concert for Henry Rodney tomorrow evening at Theatre Guild

first_imgThe big guns in the theatrical business will take to the stage on Saturday evening at the Theatre Guild Play House, Kingston for anotherChow-PowMichael IgnatiusJumbie JonesjUMOKwasi ACEReactorsbenefit concert in aid of popular actor and comedian Henry Rodney.Already an event was hosted at the National Cultural Centre to raise funds to offset the medical expenses of the actor who is seriously ill. At that event, $1 million was raised.Come Saturday evening, several artistes as well as comedians will perform with one common goal, that is raise funds for a colleague and a friend.Those slated to perform are Juke Ross, Kwasi “Ace” Edmondson, Lyndon Jumbie Jones, Michael Ignatius, The Reactors, Siesta, Roschelle Christie, Sweet Sax, Kerese Harinandan, Michael Smith, Chow Pow, Tamara Henry, Jumo, Alabama, Kreative Arts and many others.Tickets for the event cost $1500 and are available at NCC, National School of Theatre Arts and Drama and from any cast members, or contact 681-3008. The concert is promoted by the National Drama Company and Theatre Guild.last_img read more

Sinoe Rep. Seeks 3rd Term

first_imgAmidst reports of an increasing number of aspirants for the Sinoe County District #1 Representative Seat in 2017 presidential and legislative elections, Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh believes that he will be reelected for the third term.Rep. Kanmoh said he is confident of his re-election for another six years, having positively served his people for the last 11 years.“Besides my constitutional responsibility, I have immensely impacted the youth, by awarding them 500 scholarships and I have accrued over US$5m to the county through national budgetary allocation,” Rep. Kanmoh said. Rep. Kanmoh said he is also convinced of re-election in 2017 after he ran unopposed and was elected for his third term to the ECOWAS Parliament.He pointed out that he has secured the district election but did not state whether he has aspirations for the Senate.“I have a sense of balance,” he said. “I have six children, three boys and three girls and I was re-elected for my 3rd term for the ECOWAS Parliament, so it will be in the ensuring 2017 elections,” he added.Rep. Kanmoh, 51, is Liberia’s longest serving representative in the ECOWAS Parliament and Sinoe County’s longest serving representative in the Legislature.He was elected in 2005, and upon his election, he was then elected to represent Liberia in the ECOWAS Parliament. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Liberia, and served as student activist with the UL and the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU).It may be recalled that amongst several contenders in the Sinoe County’s District #1 Representative seat, Sinoe County Superintendent Thomas Romeo Quioh and the County’s Representative to the Mano River Union Youth Parliament (also Speaker), Melvin Sarh, are both eyeing the District #1 Representative Seat in 2017 presidential and legislative elections.Supt. Quioh told the Daily Observer that though he has not “finally concluded whether to contest the District # 1 Representative slot in 2017, it is possible that he might.”Mr. Quioh, who is also a Liberty Party (LP) executive member, boasted that if he considers running for District # 1 Representative seat, he would be a formidable force.Sarh, who is also the Youth Representative to the MRU Youth Parliament, said the youth, which comprises of 65 percent of the county’s population, have resolved to elect a “youthful representative” to seek and promote their welfare.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Cuyuni contretemps

first_imgAt the end of last month, officials of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), travelling in a boat in the Cuyuni River, Eteringbang area, reported that Venezuelan soldiers from their “bank” of the river, fired shots at them which luckily or deliberately missed. Guyana immediately lodged a protest to which the Venezuelans responded three days ago, rejecting the charge.“It is important to note that the investigations carried out by the Venezuelan military authorities have not reported of any incident in the above mentioned area and our military units confirm not having carried out any military exercise in that location,” the statement from the Venezuelan Embassy asserted.This incident is only the latest in a series of confrontational moves by Venezuela towards Guyana during the past year and Guyanese need to keep focused on the pertinent issues so that the interests of our country and nation are safeguarded. The bottom line for us is Venezuela unilaterally created a controversy in February 1962 when at the UN they disputed the “full and final” Arbitral Award made in 1899 that settled the border between Venezuela and Guyana.As a prerequisite to granting independence to Guyana in 1966, Britain as the colonial power participated in a three-way conference in 1965 that produced the “Geneva Agreement” outlining the procedures that must be mutually agreed to for the Good Office of the UN Secretary General to address the Venezuelan controversy.After following two approved methods for the last half century, Guyana has proposed that the controversy be placed before the World Court for a full and final juridical decision. As part of the Geneva Agreement both parties were instructed not to enlarge their claims.In March 2015, after the US oil giant ExxonMobil had been requested to begin drilling for oil in the Stabroek Block off the Essequibo Coast, Venezuela wrote the company objecting to the move. Guyana protested this interference in its internal affairs. Back in October 2013, the Guyanese Government had hired the oil drilling company Anadarko to conduct studies for future oil concessions in the Roraima Block off Essequibo’s coast, where it was concentrating on petroleum exploration. The Venezuelan Navy intercepted the ship and forced it into a port at Venezuela’s Margarita Island. The captain, a Ukrainian national, was charged with violating Venezuela’s Exclusive Economic Zone while the rest of the crew were released.In the subsequent effort to deal with the matter, the Foreign Ministers of Guyana and Venezuela met on October 2013 in Trinidad and hashed out an agreement that a technical team would meet within four months, “to explore mechanisms within the context of international law to address the issue of maritime delimitation”.As Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett noted at the time, both sides restated that their individual and contradictory claims were valid, but in an evident coup for Guyana, the maritime demarcation was delinked from the fallacious claim Venezuela had been making for Essequibo.However almost immediately after the ExxonMobil rig struck oil in May 2015, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro issued a presidential decree, No 1787, and published in their Ordinary Official Gazette No 40,669, dated May 27. The map claimed Venezuela’s sovereignty of all waters within the 200 miles range hence blocking Guyana’s access to resources in that area of the Atlantic Ocean. Guyana and Caricom protested this decree when it was uncovered in July 2015 and Venezuela withdrew it and replaced it with one that did not mention coordinates.The point to be made is while Venezuela has complained that the US is behind the heightening of present tensions, the Maduro administration has taken initiatives to raise its border controversy independent of that country and its obvious strategic concerns over the Venezuelan oil reserves.While there is a dispute over facts in the latest skirmish at Cuyuni, the border controversy must be settled through a judicial settlement.We are heartened the government has hired two high-level legal experts in this area.last_img read more

“Something’s fishy” – Irfaan Ali

first_img0M to rectify turnkey homesFormer Housing MinisterIrfaan AliFormer Housing Minister Irfaan Ali has taken to task Chairman of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Hamilton Green who declared recently that some $100 million is to be spent on rectifying defects on Turnkey Homes built under Ali’s watch at Providence and Perseverance, East Bank Demerara. Green told a news conference Thursday that the CH&PA board visited the two communities and were taken aback by the magnitude of defective houses handed over to persons. “Two Saturdays ago we met allottees of Perseverance here and there was a series of tears and stories of trials and tribulations. Bad roofs, leaking roofs, doors that don’t function as doors, paint peeling, sanitary facilities which don’t provide the basics, septic tanks which were porous and ineffective, floors that were doing a special dance,” recounted Green. He described the housing programme initiated under the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration as ill-conceived. “Members of staff who we questioned about this unhappy situation said to us openly and privately that they were instructed by the previous administration to build houses. The impression I get is that there was no planning, no technical input and a lack of professionalism which resulted in the horror stories.” However, Ali the Minister behind the massive housing boom in Guyana, described Green’s statement as “shocking”.In a post on his facebook page, the former housing minister also questioned the $100 million Green said will be spent on fixing the ‘defective’ homes, noting that CH&PA had previously stated that corrective works on the Turnkey Homes would have cost about $20 million.CH&PA Chairman Hamilton Green“How is this now estimated at $100 million plus?” Ali asked.Ali explained that new works in the 1000 Homes Project was projected at just over $50 million, which included the completion of more than 200 homes that were delayed for a substantial time by the current administration which was in opposition at the time. “Something fishy seems to be afoot with these numbers. The CHPA chairman should immediately release full details of this purported $100 million spending. Let them release full details. We should work with facts,” the former housing head urged. Ali further contended that some of the homes were completed almost three to four years now, while each of the homes had a defect liability period of one year in which the beneficiary can report any faults.“The contract then provides for the contractor to take corrective work,” he stated. He further lamented that the Turnkey Homes and the 1000 Homes Project are two completely different projects.“The 1000 Homes were still under construction when I left office. After the elections massive vandalism took place by invaders who even went in and occupied the homes. 200 homes under the 1000 Homes were still under construction,” he stated.St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves visited one of the turnkey housing developments during his visit to Guyana in September 2013Guyana’s housing programme was on several occasions hailed by many including regional leaders as the most revolutionary in the Caribbean.During a visit to Guyana in September 2013, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves lauded the local housing programme as extraordinary and expressed hope that the private sector would assist with the investment programme for housing in his country. Ali, as minister had taken Gonsalves on a tour of the East Bank Housing Development.“I don’t know of any programme of this magnitude anywhere else in the Caribbean… in the Eastern Caribbean certainly in the OECS, we in St Vincent and the Grenadines are reputed to have the best housing programmes, but this one, the scale of it because of the vacant land is just extraordinary and the prices are very good… the people of Guyana I don’t know if they fully appreciate what they have here,” Gonsalves had said.last_img read more