Madagascar mine ignites protests, community division

first_imgAn Australian mining company, Base Resources, plans to break ground soon on a mineral sands mining project in southwestern Madagascar.Base Resources says the project represents a development opportunity for the region. It has the support of most government officials and local mayors.But local opposition groups have called for an end to the project, citing the negative environmental impact it could have and insisting that it’s been made possible only through corrupt land deals.The battle over the project has played out in the Malagasy media for several years and is reaching a fever pitch as the project nears fruition. In the latest development, a Madagascar court released nine community members held for six weeks on accusations of participating in the destruction of Base Resources’ exploration campsite. FIANARANTSOA, Madagascar — Last month, a Madagascar court ended a six-week saga for people in the southwestern village of Benetse, near the city of Toliara. Nine members of the community had been detained without trial for several weeks following an act of civil disobedience against an Australian mining company, Base Resources, that plans to break ground soon on a mineral sands project in the area.Their friends and family in Benetse went to great lengths, literally, to support the nine after they were detained. In late May, more than a dozen villagers traveled for the first time to Fianarantsoa, a city hundreds of miles away on the country’s high plateau. But they weren’t able to enjoy the red gullied landscape of the highlands, so unlike the spiny forests and baobob trees back home in the dry, flat southwest. They were in Fianarantsoa to see their loved ones — small-scale farmers who had lately become known as the “Toliara 9” — stand trial.Emma Vazonandrasana and others in a bush taxi on the way home to the village of Benetse. They’d gone to Fianarantsoa, a city in the country’s central highlands, to support nine friends and family members who’d been detained for their alleged role in the destruction of Base Resources’s property. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.The nine men were apparently part of a group of around 40 community members that burned and vandalized Base Resources’ exploration campsite in April. In early May, authorities arrested the nine, charged them with arson, destruction of property, and forming a mob, and transferred them to prison in Fianarantsoa. They were scheduled to go before a judge on May 24, but at the last moment the trial was postponed for two weeks.“We are disappointed,” Emma Vazonandrasana, who was among those who made the 12-hour taxi-bus trip to Fianarantsoa, and whose brother and father were among the nine, told Mongabay the next day. “We spent so much time and money to be there. We are tired, tired of worrying, tired of the travel. We thought they would be released today.”However, Vazonandrasana’s side received welcome news on June 13, when the nine men were released. They were convicted of unarmed gathering without permission and given six-month prison sentences, but the sentences were suspended. The court gave the nine the benefit of the doubt with regard to arson and destruction of property.Civil society groups in Madagascar rejoiced at the verdict, even if they deemed the conviction and suspended sentence unfair. “It’s nice to see that this system works from time to time!” Ketakandriana Rafitoson, executive director of Transparency International Initiative Madagascar, wrote in response to an emailed communiqué from civil society groups that Mongabay received.The battle over the mineral sands project has played out in the Malagasy media for several years and is reaching a fever pitch as the project nears fruition. Base Resources plans to start construction this year and says the project represents a development opportunity for the region. It has the support of most government officials and local mayors. The company calls its deposit near Toliara “world class” and has indicated, in a televised interview, that it will have the highest profit margins of any mineral sands project in the world. But opposition groups based in Toliara, Benetse and nearby villages have called for an end to the project, citing the negative environmental impact it could have and insisting that it’s been made possible only through corrupt land deals.The prison in Fianarantsoa where the “Toliara 9” were held from early May until June 13. The prosecutor denied Mongabay access to the nine men while they were detained, saying that such visits weren’t allowed before the trial. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Demand for whitenessThe ultimate cause of the controversy is consumer demand for whiteness. Ilmenite, the main mineral in the deposit, yields titanium dioxide, which helps make paint, toothpaste and sunscreen white. The deposit also contains exploitable levels of rutile and zircon, which have similar uses as pigments. Another large mineral sands project, run by a subsidiary of London-based mining giant Rio Tinto, has been operating in Madagascar for about a decade, and has also faced opposition and scrutiny from local groups.Though mineral sands deposits exist in coastal areas the world over, they are most often exploited in the developing world, where environmental regulations are lax or difficult to enforce, Steven Emerman, a Utah-based geophysicist and consultant who has studied Rio Tinto’s Madagascar project, told Mongabay. (Australia, where mineral sands projects are better regulated, might be considered an exception.)One of the risks of mineral sands mining is exposure of both workers and the public to uranium and thorium, both radioactive metals. Uranium and thorium can get into local water supplies or be inhaled as dust. Thorium levels are especially high at the proposed mining site near Toliara, and “serious radioprotection measures” will be required to make the project safe, a 2014 study by chemists at the University of Antananarivo found. The zircon at the Toliara deposit is so high in uranium and thorium that Base Resources will not be able to sell it in the United States, Japan or the European Union, which will treat it as radioactive waste.“Who are they planning on selling this radioactive zircon to?” Emerman asked.Base Resources declined to share its environmental and social impact assessment with Mongabay. “The ESIA summary is currently very extensive and we do not currently have a shortened version for distribution,” Jean Bruno Ramahefarivo, the  company’s general manager for external affairs in Madagascar, said in a written statement to Mongabay. The statement was part of a long email exchange with company representatives, who did not respond to requests for clarification as to why the length of the impact assessment prevented it from being shared publicly.Base Resources is a small company compared to the likes of Rio Tinto. It made its name developing the Kwale mineral sands project in southern Kenya over the last decade. Looking for a second project, the company acquired Base Toliara, as its local subsidiary is now known, in January 2018. The company expects to create more than 850 permanent jobs, almost all for Malagasy nationals, and to pay the Madagascar government about $28 million in taxes and royalties each year from 2022 to 2054. There would also be knock-on employment and tax benefits as local suppliers did business with Base Toliara.The village of Tsianisiha, west of the proposed mining site. The population is divided about the project. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Base Toliara plans to use a “dry mining” technique. After removing the vegetation and stripping the topsoil, the company will excavate the sand to 20 meters (66 feet) below the surface. Bulldozers will push sand into “dozer mining units” that mix it with water, forming a slurry that will then be pumped to a plant where heavy mineral concentrate — the useful bit, making up about 6 percent of the original sand — is pulled out. This concentrate will be piped to a second plant and separated into ilmenite, rutile and zircon. The minerals will then be trucked via a private road to a small shipping terminal in Toliara.Plans for the road and terminal are particularly controversial. The road, exclusively for use by company vehicles, would cut through pastoral land and divide some farmers from the land they work, although the communities are being consulted on where crossing points can be built. The terminal would be built on Andaboy Beach, which many local people consider sacred. The site of spiritual rites, it is sometimes littered with coins, and there are taboos about eating pork before going there. Large crowds gather around Andaboy on holidays such as Easter, and local fishers use it as a base of operations.A group called Zanadriake (meaning “Children of the sea”) has opposed the terminal construction plans for many years. A middle-aged member named Gano told Mongabay that he was proud to have earned his living as a Vezo — an ethnic identification associated with living off the sea. He has been a fisher and sea-cucumber diver for 37 years, earning enough to send his children to school. Like others in the group, he said he regards any agreement to lease the land at Andaboy to a foreign company as a betrayal of Vezo tradition, and one that will only benefit white-collar workers.“If Base Toliara occupies it for its mineral sands project, where will we earn our living from?” Gano asked. “Are we not human beings? They at Base Toliara have skills, so they are human beings. But we that do not have skills, we are not [treated like] human beings.”Base Toliara told Mongabay that its terminal will take up only 2 hectares (5 acres) of a large beach area, and that the jetty will be high enough for pirogues to sail under, between the pillars. The company plans to build an artificial reef to increase the catch for local fishers.Gano (in red cap), a member of Zanadriake, an organization of fishers and divers that opposes Base Resources’s plan to build a small port at the beach near Toliara, looks on as his friend Gentsy shows a video of the beach during a crowded holiday. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Fears of displacementDemonstrations against the project have become commonplace in recent years. The leading faces of the opposition are Théo Rakotovao, a well-known Malagasy musician who comes from the region and has sung about the mining controversy, and Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, a member of parliament from a neighboring area who has given rousing speeches about the mine. They have led protests at the beach and in the streets over the past two years. Representatives of community opposition groups have also traveled to the capital Antananarivo to register their discontent with the central government.In addition to concerns over environmental impact, the protests are about land rights, including cultural and economic displacement. The first thing many local people point out is that there are tombs on the land (91 of them, according to Base Toliara). The company says the families have agreed to have the tombs moved and will be given three zebu cattle as compensation, in line with Malagasy tradition.Twenty households live on the deposit itself, some of whose members work for the company and have agreed to move. However, the project will impact the livelihoods of many more people who farm and raise animals on that land. The company acknowledges this “resource utilization” and says it will compensate them for the loss, probably by the end of July, in accordance with Madagascar law and International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 5, which deals with involuntary resettlement.As a foreign-owned company, Base Toliara can’t own land; it must lease it from the national government. The government is currently in the process of buying or otherwise taking possession of the necessary land. This creates conflict because many local people don’t have formal deeds to the land they live on, let alone the land they farm or graze their animals on. Even without deeds, they have land rights under Madagascar law, but in practice these are not always honored.Even if a company such as Base Toliara does everything above board, the lack of transparent governance in Madagascar can open the door for unscrupulous mayors and regional officials to abuse their power. They decide who owns untitled land — land that has suddenly become very valuable — and this can create a great deal of resentment among community members.Manantsoa Ratsimaro, a Mazoto supporter and 61-year-old farmer in the village of Tsianisiha, stands outside his house next to campaign material for President Andry Rajoelina. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.A people divided The mayors of the five affected communes, each containing many villages, support Base Toliara. Jean Manantena Mahatokisa, the mayor of Tsianisiha, told Mongabay the mining project will bring jobs and progress as he fixed the ink cartridge on an old typewriter in his office. Although he was mildly critical of the company’s communication strategy, he said he’d seen no corruption, and he claimed that 95 percent of his constituents supported the project.The mayor’s math seemed well off the mark. Many residents of Tsianisiha and the other communes adamantly oppose the mining project. Most people stopped at random by Mongabay proudly declared their affiliation with the main opposition group, Mazoto (meaning “motivated” or “eager”).Manantsoa Ratsimaro, a Mazoto supporter and 61-year-old farmer in Tsianisiha, called the mayors of the five communes “traitors.” Standing near his thatch-roofed house, he pointed out the plums, cassavas and twining plants growing in his yard. “I’ll never agree to let Base Toliara exploit my land because my descendants need to live off of it,” he told Mongabay. “Without the land, they will suffer. They did not finish school. I will not accept the project even in exchange for a billion ariary [around $275,000]. I would spend that money quickly and it wouldn’t have any effect on my descendants. However, things that we eat here are abundant and will last even after I’m gone. [My descendants] can grow old with them.”Manantsoa Ratsimaro sits outside his house with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “I’ll never agree to let Base Toliara exploit my land because my descendants need to live off it,” he said. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.However, there is debate about what people such as Ratsimaro can legitimately call their land, and there is a current of local support for the mining project. Some people, especially those with more schooling, are excited by the job opportunities it presents. “Young people will work for them [Base Toliara]. Older people will work for them,” Alexis, a resident of Ranobe, a village near the proposed mining site and the father of several children, told Mongabay. “This will put an end to crime because criminals will find jobs. Robberies result from hunger and poverty. If Base Toliara comes to life, robbery and poverty will be no more, and the area will develop.”Some villagers told Mongabay that they think of Base Toliara in the same way they think of charities that have worked in the area. The company has already spent $400,000 on social projects, such as the construction of three deep wells. If exploitation commences, Base Toliara will be required by Madagascar law to spend $500,000 annually on social projects; the company says it plans to go beyond that and spend at least $1 million to $2 million.Alexis, a resident of Ranobe, one of the villages closest to the proposed mining site, supports the project, mainly for the jobs it will create and the security this will provide. “Robberies result from hunger and poverty. If Base Toliara comes to life, robbery and poverty will be no more, and the area will develop.” Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Madagascar’s mining minister visited the Base Toliara concession area in March and said he would report on the issue to President Andry Rajoelina, who has remained silent on the project but tends to support the extractive industries. The president’s communications team declined to comment for this article. Madagascar’s mining ministry did not respond to requests for comment.Base Toliara’s exploitation permit is of questionable validity. The Madagascar government that issued the 40-year permit in 2012 may not have had the authority to do so. It was a “transition” government led by Rajoelina, who had come to power following a 2009 coup d’état. Rajoelina is now the country’s legitimate president, having won the 2018 election, but his earlier administration had, under international pressure, agreed not to make such far-reaching deals. “The Transitional Government shall be responsible for administering the day-to-day affairs of the country…It will refrain from making new long-term commitments,” reads the Roadmap for Ending the Crisis in Madagascar signed by Rajoelina in September 2011, which became Malagasy law later that year. (It was Rajoelina’s signing of this agreement that allowed him to receive some official recognition by the United Nations, which had previously shunned him.) When Mongabay questioned Base Resources about this issue in an email, Ramahefarivo replied: “The exploitation permit was acquired by the previous owners and is considered valid.”Base Toliara has exploration rights — but not exploitation permits — at three other large concessions in southwest Madagascar. Few people in the region seem to know about these. Base Resources representatives told Mongabay that it has done no research in those three areas and does not know if Malagasy people live there. However, an anthropologist who works in the region told Mongabay that the sites are “absolutely” inhabited; that there are a number of villages and hamlets in and around the concessions, including many that are visible on maps; that the concession areas are important for rice production; and that it was puzzling that Base Resources would deny knowing that.Gano (in red cap) and other members of Zanadriake look at a map of Base Resources’s concessions in the region. One man points at the blue dot that represents Toliara, the city where many of the group’s members live, and where the company is planning to build a small port that they object to. The company plans to begin construction on the concession nearest to Toliara this year. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Banditry or protest?Ramahefarivo referred to the people who burned the company’s campsite as “bandits” in an email to Mongabay, and he told a Malagasy journalist that the idea that the Toliara 9 were defending their rights was a “pure lie”. However, the event was orchestrated in the manner of civil disobedience. About 40 protesters took action together, both men and women, in the light of day. They did not injure anyone; they invited television crews, who recorded the event; and they vandalized property, including samples of ilmenite and zircon, directly in front of gendarmes, who were also filming.The people of Benetse did not feel anyone should be imprisoned for the action. “They are innocent people who protected the tanindraza [the land of the ancestors]” Emma Vazonandrasana, the young woman who tried to see the trial in Fianarantsoa, said of the nine who were arrested, using the Malagasy word for one’s family or community land.Children in a coastal village west of Base Resource’s main mining concession stand near a campaign poster for Théo Rakotovao, a musician who opposes the mining project. Rakotovao ran unsuccessfully for parliament in May. “I entered into politics in order to protect people,” he said. Image by Edward Carver for Mongabay.Even with the Toliara 9 now free, the controversy surrounding the project is likely to continue. The company hopes to ship the first ilmenite in 2021. Opposition groups such as Mazoto have no clear-cut plan to stop the project and seem to be running out of time, but are hoping that their determination will somehow pay off.“If the people don’t agree, the mining company should go home,” said Rakotovao, the musician and opposition leader. “They can exploit mineral sands in Australia.”last_img read more

‘Like spaghetti’: Worm-slurping, hopping rats discovered in the Philippines

first_imgRickart, E. A., Balete, D. S., Timm, R. M., Alviola, P. A., Esselstyn, J. A., & Heaney, L. R. (2019). Two new species of shrew-rats (Rhynchomys: Muridae: Rodentia) from Luzon Island, Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy, 100(4), 1112-1129, doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyz066Heaney, L. R., Balete, D. S., & Rickart, E. A. (2016). The Mammals of Luzon Island: Biogeography and Natural History of a Philippine Fauna. Baltimore, MD: JHU Press. The highly biodiverse island of Luzon in the Philippines has yielded up two species of rats new to science.Both are found high up on Luzon’s mountains, where they’ve evolved to feed on the earthworms that abound in the lush, wet habitat.Researchers say they hope the new discoveries, the latest of dozens made here since 2000, will help shine a spotlight on the importance of conserving Luzon’s unique habitats and wildlife. As you explore the high altitudes of Luzon Island in the Philippines, you’ll encounter plenty of earthworms. There’s an abundance of them. So the ecosystem did exactly what nature does to bring balance: it evolved predators. And the most common earthworm predators here are rats. Two of them, in fact, are new to science, having only just been described in a paper published in July.“They’re quite bizarre,” says lead author Eric Rickart, a curator at the Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah. “They hop around on their sturdy hind legs and large hind feet, almost like little kangaroos. They have long, delicate snouts, and almost no chewing teeth.”The scientists caught one of these new “tweezer-beaked hopping rats” when they set traps with a regularly employed bait: peanut butter. The first capture, however, happened quite by chance as the rat wasn’t interested in the peanut butter. However, it did slurp up an earthworm when the scientists offered it one as an experiment. Subsequently, when the team, led by the late Danilo Balete of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, set traps with live, wriggling earthworms as bait, they came across the two new earthworm-loving rat species.Drawings of Rhynchomys mingan and Rhynchomys labo by Velizar Simeonovski. Images © Field Museum of Natural History.Scientists named the new species Rhynchomys mingan and Rhynchomys labo after the mountains they’re respectively found on, Mount Mingan and Mount Labo. Their genus name comes from the ancient Greek rhyncos for “snout,” due to the rats’ long pointed noses, and mys for “mouse.”The rats catch earthworms by quietly hop-stalking little trails they make among the mud and humus of the forest. Once they detect an earthworm, they quickly pounce. They then brush the dirt off and swallow the worm whole, “like a long spaghetti,” according to the scientists.“One of the things that’s striking to see was their reflexes — they’re lightning quick,” says Lawrence Heaney, a curator at the Field Museum and co-author of the study. “It later became obvious why they’re that fast. They’re trying to catch a nimble earthworm that’s partly in a hole.”The research team and porters at the beginning of the hike to Mount Labo, where one of the two new species was discovered. Heaney, Balete and Alviola are in the front, center. Image by TKTK.Island evolutionLuzon is the largest Philippine island and, at 27 million years old, one of the oldest oceanic islands in the world with never any direct dry-land connection to continental Asia. With volcanoes and mountain ranges, life in Luzon has rich resources and undisturbed geographical diversity to evolve uniquely. Today, all native animals and plants of Luzon are descendants of ancient species that colonized the island by crossing formidable water barriers. The tweezer-beaked hopping rats of the Rhynchomys genus evolved from a single ancient colonization event 7 million to 9 million years ago. They are found nowhere else on Earth.These “earthworm rats” had to adapt to the prey available: earthworms. They quietly hop trails, dig deep in the soil, work through leaf litter, or go up the trees among orchids and other epiphytes, all in search of the best sustenance available. The worms are common in Luzon’s high, wet altitudes, with a forest floor covered in fallen plant material that takes a long time to decompose.An example of the mossy forest habitat where species of Rhynchomys live in northern Luzon. Image by L.R. Heaney.Scientists find Luzon particularly fascinating because it’s a natural laboratory for studying evolution.“These interwoven processes occur everywhere, but they can be studied most readily on islands because of the effects of isolation,” Rickart says. As for the rats, they have adapted uniquely to take advantage of the rainforest’s abundance in earthworms and provide a great example of how evolution works as generations of a species are isolated in confined pockets.Scientists have described 30 new species of mammals in Luzon since 2000 and expect to find more. In that same period, just one new mammal species was discovered in all of Europe, a land mass 92 times larger than Luzon. Rickart and his team say they believe Luzon has the world’s greatest concentration of endemic mammals on the planet.“There are sky islands within the big island [of Luzon],” Heaney adds.Conservation of the rats and biodiversity in LuzonOnly 6 percent of the tropical old-growth forests that blanketed the Philippines 500 years ago survive today. The country is losing its rainforests to oil palm plantations and other agricultural interests.But the two new species are lucky; they live in high-elevation forests — wet, cold and steep — and are not currently threatened by agriculture or logging. Still, experts say geothermal energy development and mining could pose threats down the road. And it may not take much to endanger the new species.“As far as we know, the two species are geographically restricted to small areas on isolated mountains, so any broad-scale disturbance to their habitat could be a great threat,” Rickart says.The good news is that scientists have seen a steady rise in the growth of secondary forests, albeit a slow one, over the last 25 years. The earthworm rats don’t necessarily require old-growth forests but do need high-altitude habitats at elevations above 1,500 meters (about 5,000 feet).“What we see is that as the forest regenerates, the native mammals move back in,” Heaney says.Cloud field atop Mount Mingan. Cloud forests are believed to contain the maximum mammalian diversity. Image by L.R. Heaney/Field Museum of Natural History.Locals understand the importance of the forests, especially old-growth ones, against the pummeling of typhoons, according to the researchers. Without forests in higher lands, and the absorbent, mulch-carpeted mossy floors that act as intact watersheds, typhoons can cause extensive damage, including loss of life, due to erosion, landslides, mudslides and floods.“The local populations and governments want to protect the land on which they depend for water and indirect resources,” Heaney says, adding that the researchers got a lot of support from the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources.The scientists say they hope the discovery of the tweezer-beaked hopping rats, and of all the other creatures here in recent decades, will put additional focus on conservation in Luzon. When a new species is discovered, it provides publicity and spark, Heaney says: “It often helps a lot to promote the establishment of new protected areas and national parks.” The docile earthworm-slurping rats, it turns out, may inadvertently promote conservation in their home range.Map of the Philippine archipelago, showing the locations of modern islands in green, Late Pleistocene (ice-age) islands in light blue, and deep seas in dark blue. From “The Mammals of Luzon Island: Biogeography and Natural History of a Philippine Fauna,” Johns Hopkins University Press. Image © Heaney, Balete and Rickart (2016).CITATIONS: Article published by Maria Salazar Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Animals, Biodiversity, Habitat, Interns, New Species, Research, Wildilfe last_img read more

Humans have been transforming Earth for thousands of years, study says

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta Agriculture, Archeology, Climate Change, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Green, Land Use Change, Livestock, Research 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 Some 3,000 years ago, our human ancestors were already substantially transforming Earth’s surface by farming and grazing livestock, according to a new study that crowdsourced the expert knowledge of more than 250 archaeologists from the around the world.This massive collaboration, termed the ArchaeGLOBE project, has helped build the first ever global picture of how human activities were altering the planet’s surface from 10,000 years ago right up to 1850.These estimates of the spread of agriculture and pastoralism suggest that humans were significantly transforming the planet earlier than what some recent studies and databases show, the researchers say.The ArchaeoGLOBE project dataset, however, has several data gaps and presents only part of our planet’s history. Look around, and you’ll see examples of how we’ve modified our planet’s land surface: roads, buildings, farms, plantations. But is the widespread human impact on Earth a modern occurrence? No, according to a new study published in Science.Some 3,000 years ago, our ancestors were already stripping away forests and substantially transforming Earth’s surface through farming and grazing livestock, researchers have found by crowdsourcing the expert knowledge of more than 250 archaeologists from the around the world.Archaeologists typically focus on a particular region and time period. But this massive collaboration, termed the ArchaeGLOBE project, has helped build the first ever global picture of how human activities were altering the planet’s surface from 10,000 years ago, long before there were written records to keep track of the same, right up to 1850, or after the industrial revolution.“Our open access dataset provides the first globally consistent dataset on land use over the past 10,000 years that is based on the expert knowledge of archaeologists,” Erle Ellis, a co-author of the study and professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, told Mongabay. “It describes both the global patterns of this knowledge over time, and the timing of the emergence of agriculture, pastoralism and urbanism, and the decline of hunter-gatherer land use.”To piece together humankind’s history of land use, the researchers divided Earth’s surface into 146 analytical regions spanning all continents except Antarctica. Then they sent out questionnaires to more than 1,300 archaeologists, asking them to contribute their understanding of how ancient peoples used the land in those regions at 10 different time points between 10,000 years ago up to 1850.They received responses from 255 of the archaeologists, whose local knowledge helped the researchers map some broad global historical patterns.Ten thousand years ago, for example, foragers and hunter-gatherers were widespread, while agriculture and pastoralism, or the practice of raising livestock, had been established in just a few regions around Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean.By 8,000 years ago, pastoralism had spread out to arid areas such as North Africa and Eurasia, and by 4,000 years ago it had become common and widespread across the planet. Some form of agriculture, too, had spread to nearly half of the studied regions and become widespread by 3,000 years ago. Over that same period, foraging, hunting and gathering declined.“One of the key questions remaining is to what degree hunter-gatherers modified landscapes around the world through burning, propagation of favored species, and other niche-constructing practices,” Ellis said. “Though our work confirms that hunter-gatherer use of land was widespread in most of the world by 10,000 years ago, the degree of their landscape modification and its local and global consequences demands further study.”Time-lapse map showing the spread of intensive agriculture across the globe over the past 10,000 years, based on ArchaeoGLOBE Project results. Image by Nicolas Gauthier.Time-lapse map showing the spread of pastoralism across the globe over the past 10,000 years, based on ArchaeoGLOBE Project results. Image by Nicolas Gauthier.These estimates of the spread of agriculture and pastoralism suggest that humans were significantly transforming the planet earlier than what some recent studies and data show, the researchers say. This includes the History Database of the Global Environment (HYDE) model, a popular database of past land-use change that scientists frequently use to predict future environmental changes.“We weren’t entirely surprised by the main findings because archaeologists have long been critical of the existing historical reconstructions of global land use based on models,” Ellis said. “However, we were impressed by the fact that archaeological experts confirmed that intensive agriculture emerged earlier, by centuries to thousands of years in many regions, than in the land use history model most used by Earth scientists.”K. Anupama, a researcher at the Laboratory of Palynology & Paleoecology, French Institute of Pondicherry, India, also said the results weren’t unexpected.“Traditionally, Earth and Ecological Sciences have been developed with a very clear distinction of ‘nature’ and ‘natural systems’ as something apart from all things ‘human’ or ‘human-made and/or human impacted,’” Anupama, who was not involved in the study, said in an email. “For long, this has been reflected in the assumptions underlying climate and earth system models too.“Archeologists, historians and the humanities in general have known better — even if their studies are bracketed as ‘qualitative,’” she added. “This paper, though the methodology is not robust, can be commended especially for its efforts to build transdisciplinary bridges that could eventually help obtain the ‘quantitative’ land use data that is key to modeling efforts that use past data to help predict futures in our planet Earth.”The ArchaeoGLOBE project dataset presents only part of our planet’s story. There are geographical gaps in archaeological evidence, for example. Many areas in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, in particular, have not been studied much with regard to ancient land use.“Many interrelated factors are responsible for the history of research in these areas, including resources and training available to archaeologists who study these areas, and the legacy of archaeological focus on ‘big monumental’ sites that draw tourists,” Lucas Stephens, who led the study while he was a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, told Mongabay.It was also a challenge to connect with archaeologists outside the English-speaking world, Ellis said.“There were also regions where archaeologists had different assessments on land use histories, making consensus more difficult,” he added. “Nevertheless, we were delighted overall by the very positive responses of the more than 250 archaeologists that spent the time to contribute to our project.”Evidence of past land use is hard to come by, especially at the global scale. So, despite the data gaps and biases, the ArchaeoGLOBE project presents the “first approximation of the global history of land use,” Stephens said.“The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] just recently released its report on land use, food production, and climate change, reinforcing the idea that these are critical issues for the future of the Earth,” Stephens added. “But there is also a deep history of anthropogenic changes to the planet that has yet to be meaningfully incorporated in these discussions. That needs to change, and the ArchaeoGLOBE Project is a big step forward in doing so.”Banner image of Val de Navarrés, País Valenciano, Spain, by Michael Barton.Citation:Stephens, L., Fuller, D., Boivin, N., Rick, T., Gauthier, N., Kay, A., … Ellis, E. (2019). Archaeological assessment reveals Earth’s early transformation through land use. Science, 365(6456), 897-902. doi:10.1126/science.aax1192last_img read more

Diego Simeone names club he could leave Atletico Madrid to manage

first_img Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid manager 1 Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has revealed his desire to one day manage Inter Milan.The 45-year-old has long been linked with a move to a Premier League club after impressing in Spain.Simeone was one of the favourites to get the Chelsea job before they plumped for Antonio Conte and he has been touted as a successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.But the Argentine has now revealed that he in fact one day seems himself managing Inter Milan, where he spent two years as a player.“Throughout my career there are certain posts I expect to go to,” Simeone told Premium Sport.“So I hope to return to Milan in the future. Not now, because I’m fine at Atletico, but it’s a situation I envisage, just as I envisaged being back here in Madrid.”last_img read more