Category: Slash And Burn
Published on Mar 16, 2012
Every day, we use materials from the earth without thinking, for free. But what if we had to pay for their true value: would it make us more careful about what we use and what we waste? Think of Pavan Sukhdev as nature’s banker — assessing the value of the Earth’s assets. Eye-opening charts will make you think differently about the cost of air, water, trees. teebweb.org
TED Talk at TED Global 2011 – Filmed July 2011
Mother Earth supports all life not just human beings. We are all tied to her. Our responsibility is to keep her healthy and her creatures safe. Man has trashed her in the name of money. Will money bring back the animals that have been wiped off the face of Mother Earth? Will money reverse the damage done by greedy companies that have cared nothing for the animals or the earth in their avarice for riches? Our duty is to protect Mother Earth and her creatures for she is unique and cannot be replaced. Those who are destroying her in the name of money must understand that we will have no where to go once they have destroyed her. Their money will not bring her back , nor her precious creatures.
It is time Governments understood that we will not allow this to happen. The time of the greedy corporations trashing our Mother Earth is coming to an end. It must stop as we will all perish with her and money will not bring her back.
Where do they think they will go when the air is no longer fit to breathe and the water no longer fit to drink? Money cannot replace t he beauty and splendor that they are destroying and it MUST STOP NOW!
The local indigenous people have been resisting, but they are afraid that oil companies will break up the community with bribes. When they heard that people across the world might stand with them and make a stink to save their land, they were thrilled. The president of Ecuador claims to stand for indigenous rights and the environment, but he has just come up with a new plan to bring oil speculators in to 4 million hectares of jungle. If we can say ‘wait a minute, you’re supposed to be the green president who says no one can buy Ecuador’, we could expose him for turning his back on his commitments just as he is fighting for re-election.
He doesn’t want a PR nightmare right now. If we get a million of us to help this one community defend their ancestral land and challenge the president openly to keep to his word, we could start a media storm that would make him reconsider the whole plan. Sign the petition now and tell everyone — let’s help save this beautiful forest:
After Texaco and other oil companies polluted Ecuadorian waters and irreversibly devastated precious ecosystems, Correa led his country to be the world’s first nation to recognize the rights of “Mother Earth” in its constitution. He announced Ecuador was not for sale, and in Yasuni National Park promoted an innovative initiative where other governments pay Ecuador to keep oil in the ground to protect the rainforest rather than destroy it. But now he’s on the verge of selling out.
Shockingly, the Sani Isla Kichwa land is partly in Yasuni National Park. But even more shocking is Correa’s bigger plan — in days government officials begin a world tour to offer foreign investors the right to drill across 4 million hectares of forest (an area larger than the Netherlands!) Ecuador, as any country, may argue it has the right to profit from its natural resources, but the constitution itself says it must respect indigenous rights and its amazing forests, which bring millions in tourist dollars every year.
Right now, Correa is in a tough fight to be re-elected as president. It’s the perfect time to make him honour his environmental promises and make this green constitution come to life. Sign now to stand with the Kichwa people and save their forest:
Our community has fought year after year to protect the Amazon in Brazil and Bolivia, and won many victories standing in solidarity with indigenous communities. Now it’s Ecuador’s turn — let’s respond to this urgent call for action and save their forest.
With hope and determination,
Alex, Pedro, Alice, Laura, Marie, Ricken, Taylor, Morgan and all the Avaaz team
Ecuadorian tribe gets reprieve from oil intrusion (The Guardian)
How oil extraction impacts the rainforest (Amazon Watch)
Drilling for oil in Eden: initiative to save Amazon rainforest in Ecuador is uncertain (Scientific American)
Ecuador’s indigenous leaders oppose new oil exploration plans in Amazon region (Earth Island Journal)
- Support a good cause (learningfromdogs.com)
- January 25—–AVAAZ Ecuador Kichwa People Need Help—-Petition (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Pristine Amazon Threatened (gabrielconstans.wordpress.com)
- Oil Showdown in the Amazon (rainsoftottawa.wordpress.com)
- Oil Showdown in the Amazon (realitysandwich.com)
- Stop Selling Ecuador’s Rainforest to Oil Companies (forcechange.com)
- Ecuador treads fine line in preserving Amazon reserve (dw.de)
- Januaary 15—–Ecuadorian Tribe Vows to “Die Fighting” (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Ecuadorian tribe gets reprieve from oil intrusion (climate-connections.org)
- Ecuadorian Tribe Vows to ‘Die Fighting’ Oil Company (livescience.com)
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX)
Calculations suggest that on average, a single ocean iron fertilization will result in a net sequestration of just 10 tonnes of carbon per square kilometer sequestered for a century or more at a cost of almost US$500 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
One such technology involves dispersing large quantities of iron salts in the oceans to fertilize otherwise barren parts of the sea and trigger the growth of algal blooms and other photosynthesizing marine life.
Photosynthesis requires carbon dioxide as its feedstock and when the algae die they will sink to the bottom of the sea taking the locked in carbon with them.
Unfortunately, present plans for seeding the oceans with iron fail to take into account several factors that could scupper those plans, according to Daniel Harrison of the University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science, NSW.
Writing in the International Journal of Global Warming, Harrison has calculated the impact of iron seeding schemes in terms of the efficiency of spreading the iron, the impact it will most likely have on algal growth the tonnage of carbon dioxide per square kilometer of ocean surface that will be actually absorbed compared to the hypothetical figures suggested by advocates of the approach.
“If society wishes to limit the contribution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide to global warming then the need to find economical methods of carbon dioxide sequestration is now urgent,” Harrison’s new calculations take into account not only the carbon dioxide that will be certainly be sequestered permanently to the deep ocean but also subtracts the many losses due to ventilation, nutrient stealing, greenhouse gas production and the carbon dioxide emitted by the burning of fossil fuels to produce the iron salts and to power their transportation and distribution at sea.
His calculations suggest that on average, a single ocean iron fertilization will result in a net sequestration of just 10 tonnes of carbon per square kilometer sequestered for a century or more at a cost of almost US$500 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
- Iron fertilization (idea) (everything2.com)
- Ocean seeding a dead duck as carbon solution (go.theregister.com)
- Q & A: How Many Pounds of Carbon Dioxide Does Our Forest Absorb? (nytimes.com)
- Carbon dioxide could reduce crop yields (seeddaily.com)
- Greenhouse Gasses Hit Record High in 2011 Says UN (redorbit.com)
- Geo-engineering wins scant enthusiasm at U.N. climate talks (reuters.com)
- Carbon dioxide – our salvation from a future ice age: ” We are probably entering a new ice age right now. However, we’re not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide” (engineeringevil.com)
by Staff Writers
Pararawen, Indonesia (AFP)
The roar of chainsaws has replaced birdsong, the once-lush, green jungle scorched to a barren grey. The equivalent of six football pitches of forest is lost every minute in Indonesia.
The disappearance of the trees has pushed thousands of animals — from the birds they harbour and sustain to orangutans, gibbons and black panthers — out of their natural homes and habitats.
They have been replaced by plantations that are too nutrient-poor to support such wildlife, instead dedicated solely to producing fruit that is pulped to make oil used globally in products ranging from food to fuel.
A palm oil tree can yield useable fruit in three years and continue doing so for the next 25 years. But such wealth creation has meant environmental destruction.
“We don’t see too many orangutans any more”, said a worker with a weather-beaten face, taking a break in the shade of a hut built on a path gouged out of the forest floor.
Experts believe there are about 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 80 percent of them in Indonesia’s Borneo and the rest in Malaysia. Exact data on their decline is hard to come by, say primatologists.
“What we see now is a contest between orangutans and palm oil for a home,” said Sri Suci Utami Atmoko from National University in Jakarta.
“You can judge that the population is depleting from the loss of orangutan habitats.”
Gibbons, often recognisable by the rings of white fur that frame their faces, are among the hardest-hit species.
“There are 100,000 gibbons in Borneo. But in 15-20 years, there will be more viable populations,” said Aurelien Brule, a French national based in Borneo for 15 years who runs an animal sanctuary.
Gibbons rescued from the destruction of their forest homes cannot be returned alone into new wild habitats. “Other pairs protecting their own territory would kill them,” said Brule, adding that rampant deforestation has wiped out sites suitable for single animals.
There is also a human cost, with the permits for plantations resulting in the eviction of indigenous people.
Abdon Nababan, the secretary general of AMAN, an Indonesian indigenous peoples alliance, said there is no exact data but recorded cases of land conflict are in the hundreds, with thousands of people possibly affected.
- Fears over Indonesia’s thirst for palm oil (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Environmental hangover from Indonesia’s palm oil thirst (seeddaily.com)
- The Fate of Orangutans Is in Cargill’s Hands (understory.ran.org)
- Orangutan survives after being shot 100 times (abc.net.au)
- Demand Legal Action Be Taken Against Palm Oil Company (forcechange.com)
- Logging concessions offer sanctuary for orangutans (wildlifenews.co.uk)
- BREAKING: Police Arrest Orangutans in Minnesota (understory.ran.org)
- Borneo will likely lose half of its orangutans if current deforestation and forest conversion trends continue, warns a comprehensive new assessment by an international team of researchers. (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
Future hanging in balance? Borneo orang-utan. Photo by Rhett Butler.
The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, overlays orangutan distribution with land use regulations in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. Borneo has suffered high rates of deforestation, logging, and forest conversion for industrial plantations in recent decades, endangering the world’s largest surviving populations of orangutans.
The authors, led by orangutan specialist Sege Wich of Liverpool John Moores University, found that 78 percent of forest currently inhabited by orangutans in Borneo is unprotected. Of that 29 percent is under logging concessions, 25 percent is licensed for conversion to industrial oil palm and timber plantations, and 24 percent lies outside protected areas or concessions.
The researchers then modeled the impact of future land use on the distribution of orangutans. They estimate that under a business-as-usual scenario “at best only 51% of the current orang-utan distribution (in protected areas and logging concessions) would remain”. They warn that the reality however could be far worse due to hunting, which is a substantial cause of orangutan mortality in Indonesian Borneo but isn’t factored into the model. They also note further threats from industrial mining operations, which in Indonesia can be granted in nominally protected areas, and illegal encroachment into officially protected areas.
Conversion of logged forest to an oil palm plantation in Borneo. Photo by Rhett Butler.
But the researchers also ran a more optimistic scenario under which the Malaysian and Indonesian governments zone forests outside protected areas and current concessions for selective logging, which research suggests can maintain orangutan populations when done properly, rather than oil palm and timber plantations.
“There is now a large quantity of evidence indicating that selectively logged natural forests can play an important role in the conservation of orang-utan populations,” they write. “However, it is important to recognize that good management is crucial to the effectiveness of these concessions for orang-utan conservation. Concessions where timber is harvested at unsustainable rates tend to have far lower orang-utan densities, and other factors such as damage to residual stands and hunting control are also very important. Certification, for example through the principles and criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), could guarantee such sustainable management.”
“Selectively logged natural forest constitutes the highest percentage of the orang-utan distribution of any land-use type. Thus, the future of the species largely depends on the strength of the commitments by governments and companies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation rates in logging concessions and to maintain these forests for sustainable timber harvest over the long-term.”
Under this second scenario, “approximately 64% of the current orang-utan distribution would remain if all such forests, protected areas and logging concessions maintain orang-utans.”
Deramakot Forest Reserve, a Dipterocarp forest managed as an FSC-certified concession in Sabah, Malaysia. Deramakot is considered the “gold standard” for tropical forest management. Photo by Rhett Butler.
To avoid the worst outcome for orangutans, the paper argues for spatial planning that incorporates the best science and accounts for the value of ecosystem services afforded by healthy forests.
“To ensure long-term survival of orang-utans, a masterplan at the landscape level is needed that will consider all remaining viable populations as well as all the different land uses that are active within the orang-utan’s range. Such a master plan should clarify which possible land uses and managements are allowed in the landscape and provide new standardized strategic conservation policies (e.g., a policy for logging concession management in orang-utan areas),” they write.
“Such a process should make much better use of values of ecosystem services of forests such as water provision, flood control, carbon sequestration, and sources of livelihood for rural communities. Presently land use planning is more driven by vested interests and direct and immediate economic gains, rather than by approaches that take into consideration social equity and environmental sustainability. Both the Malaysian and Indonesian governments have committed to the long-term maintenance of natural capital, but this requires the use of scenarios that integrate the need for both economic growth and environmental and social sustainability when making land use decisions.”
CITATION: S.A. Wich et al. (2012) Understanding the Impacts of Land-Use Policies on a Threatened Species: Is There a Future for the Bornean Orang-utan? PLoS ONE 7(11): e49142. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049142
- Logging concessions offer sanctuary for orangutans (wildlifenews.co.uk)
- Saving the orang-utan (thetimes.co.uk)
- Of Orang Utans, Proboscis monkeys & other wildlife – Sepilok, Malaysia (travelpod.com)
- Orangutan shot 104 times with airgun rescued in Borneo (todayonline.com)
Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It
Environmental : Deforestation - Slash And Burn – Preservation
by Staff Writers
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has vetoed nine articles of a new forestry code approved by Congress that environmentalists said would lead to further deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the vetoes dealt with the most radical aspects of the measure introduced by the pro-agribusiness bloc in Congress, and were meant to prevent any incentive to more deforestation or an amnesty for those responsible for illegal logging.
“No to amnesty, no to encouragement of illegal logging,” she noted.
The final text of the law, including the vetoes, came into effect Thursday after it was published as a presidential decree in the Official Gazette late Wednesday.
It was the president’s last word on the disputed reform over which pro-farm lobby and environmentalists have locked horns for years.
“Farmers have obtained the legal security they needed to produce. This is the end of the environmentalist hegemony regarding environmental issues,” a happy Senator Katia Abreu, president of the National Agricultural Confederation and head of the pro-farm bloc in the Senate, told AFP.
She defended the new code, including the vetoes, and insisted that Brazil continues to have “one of the strictest laws in the world” on environmental protection.
But environmentalists saw the text as a step back.
“The presidential veto slightly improves the text approved by Congress, which was awful, but the result continues to be very bad,” said Paulo Adario, the Greenpeace expert on the Amazon.
He added that the new code is not tough enough with respect to recovery of deforested areas and it reduces forest protection, for example on river banks.
Andre Lima, an expert of the Amazon Environment Research Institute (IPAM) said the law “created several amnesties for small producers who will not be punished for having deforested and others will be able to do the same.”
“We can conclude that illegal loggers won and society lost,” said ex-presidential candidate and leading environmentalist Marina Silva earlier this week.
The previous code, which dates back to 1965 and which farmers said was not being respected, limits the use of land for farming and mandates that up to 80 percent of privately-owned land in the Amazon rainforest remains intact.
The new text allows landowners to cultivate riverbanks and hillsides that were previously exempt, and would provide an amnesty from fines for illegally clearing trees before July 2008.
In May, Rousseff had already removed 12 controversial articles and made 31 modifications to the text.
Authorities say key reasons for the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest are fires, the advance of agriculture and stockbreeding, and illegal trafficking in timber and minerals.
Deforestation has slowed since Brazil declared war on the practice in 2004, vowing to cut it by 80 percent by 2020.
Between 1996 and 2005, 19,500 square kilometers (7,530 square miles) of forest was cut down on average, peaking in 2004 when more than 27,000 square kilometers was lost.
Better law enforcement and the use of satellite imaging saw the lowest rate of deforestation in 2011 since records began three decades ago. Just over 6,200 square kilometers was cut, a 78 percent reduction on 2004.
- Brazil’s Rousseff enacts forest law in blow to farm lobby (reuters.com)
- Brazil’s President Signs New Controversial Forestry Law (sustainablebusiness.com)
- Brazil Bolsters Efforts Against Amazon Deforestation (theepochtimes.com)
- Brazil enacts forest law in blow to farm lobby (msnbc.msn.com)
- Brazilian President Vetoes 9 Articles of Land-Use Bill (hispanicallyspeakingnews.com)
- Brazil’s president line-vetoes new forest code (nzherald.co.nz)
- Brazilian president partially rejects new forest law (nzweek.com)
- Brazil sets up special security force to protect Amazon (mnn.com)
Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It
News Science Mag.org
Although nearly 40 years have passed since Brazil banned slash-and-burn practices in its Atlantic Forest, the destruction lingers. New research reveals that charred plant material is leaching out of the soil and into rivers, eventually making its way to the ocean. So much of this “black carbon” is entering the marine ecosystem that it could be hurting ocean life, although further tests will be needed to confirm this possibility.
People have used fire to shape Earth’s vegetation for millennia. In Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, Europeans began burning trees to make way for settlements and agriculture in the 16th century. What once blanketed 1.3 million square kilometers and ranked as one of the world’s largest tropical forests had shrunk to 8% of its former size by 1973, when protective laws were put in place.
But that’s not the end of the story, according to researchers led by Carlos Eduardo de Rezende, an aquatic biogeochemist at the State University of Norte Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro, and Thorsten Dittmar, a marine geochemist at the Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. The team discovered high levels of black carbon in the region’s soil and in the Paraiba do Sul River, the largest river that exclusively drains the area once occupied by the Atlantic Forest. Locals still burn sugarcane each year as a preharvest way of prepping the soil, but the researchers found that this could not account for the amount of black carbon they were seeing.
To figure out how much black carbon the burned forest originally released, Rezende and colleagues looked to the neighboring Amazon forest for clues. Other studies reported black carbon rates for burning tracts of virgin Amazon rainforest, so they extrapolated those figures to match the historical range of the slashed-and-burned Atlantic Forest, which once had similar woody tree species to the Amazon. They calculated that torching the Atlantic Forest released about 200 to 500 million tonnes of black carbon. Given the material’s half-life, they estimate that it will take between 630 and 2200 years for just half of the black carbon to leach out of the region’s soils.
Black carbon typically leaves the soil when rain water carries the material into nearby rivers. From there, the rivers deposit it in the ocean. To calculate just how much carbon this process may be adding to the sea, the researchers collected river samples once every 2 weeks from 1997 to 2008. They found that the dissolved black carbon continues to be exported from the soil at approximately the same levels each year during the rainy season. More than 2700 tonnes of the former forest’s dissolved black carbon enters the ocean each year from the Pariaba do Sul River alone, the team reports online today in Nature Geoscience. Scaling their findings up, Rezende and his colleagues estimate that former forest’s total cleared area sends between 50,000 to 70,000 tonnes of dissolved black carbon to the marine environment.
“This kind of long-term time series is really essential to understanding global environmental change,” says Carrie Masiello, an Earth systems scientist at Rice University in Houston, Texas, who was not involved in the study.
What becomes of this black carbon upon entering the ocean, however, is still unknown. One of the researchers’ previous studies found black carbon in the remote depths of the oceans surrounding Antarctica, and Dittmar suspects that much of the black carbon eventually winds up in deep ocean deposits around the globe. Only further investigation will reveal how much of it makes its way from the river transport to the deep ocean, however, and how it might affect marine life, especially microbial communities that live in and feed on small organic particles.
“What’s exciting about this paper is it shows that tropical deforestation is not a small scale process,” Masiello says. Because slash-and-burn is still rampant in tropical locales around the planet, she explains, deforestation may very well be changing the way carbon cycles through the world’s oceans.
- Years After Slash and Burn, Brazil Haunted by ‘Black Carbon’ (junkscience.com)
- Extinctions Rife in Tropical Forest Remnants (theepochtimes.com)
- Green Blog: In Fragmented Brazilian Forest, Few Species Survive (green.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Widespread local extinctions in tropical forest ‘remnants’ (eurekalert.org)