Kategori: Naturvård Internationell Sida 1 av 138

Shea trees are falling fast across Africa, victims of new pressures (commentary) | Mongabay Nyheter

Across the African savanna belt from Senegal to Ethiopia, threats to shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxa) — the source of shea butter — have become a regional environmental concern.  At the local level, land struggles disrupt social ties that have historically determined access to natural resources like shea trees, forests, and arable land.  Poor farmers urgently in need of cash are cutting shea trees and reducing the fallow fields where shea regenerates.  With the proliferation of shea butter products on beauty aisles globally, the growing threat to shea trees remains little known. Cooking oil, skin moistener, hair conditioner, soap, medicine, and edible fruit are among the many uses of shea (also called karité) in the savanna belt.  Rural women collect its nuts and process them to make shea butter, a significant source of income where there are few other options. The shea tree shares field space with staple food crops, providing ecosystem services of erosion control, groundwater recharge, and leaf mulch. Standing over a recently cut shea tree in a village west of Bamako, Mali, Musa Jara responds to my questioning look by saying that in cutting the shea he is asserting his right to the land on which it grows. Cutting (or planting) a tree is a statement of secure land tenure.  Yes—It’s against the traditional values and his wives are not happy with the fallen tree. His action, though, is in response to an opportunity to help his family with a one-time sale of land. The scene represents one…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

New checklist aims to tackle racism in conservation science at academy level | Mongabay Nyheter

Nearing the end of her undergraduate studies in ecology, Drea Darby sat frustrated at her desk, searching for jobs in conservation. She had envisioned a career out in the field, but the positions didn’t pay well, if at all. Many jobs were in remote locations, jogging her memory about her own fieldwork experiences. People frequently interrupted her out in the field, questioning why she was there. But they never asked her white colleagues the same questions. The barriers Darby faced caused her to reimagine her career trajectory. Today, she’s a graduate student at Cornell University, working in a lab setting. Many ecology, evolution and conservation biology (EECB) departments are starting to think and talk about anti-racism, but some don’t know what to do or where to start, leading to inaction. A new perspective piece in Nature Ecology and Evolution outlines the history of colonial attitudes, racism and white supremacy in EECB, and gives a checklist to help dismantle white supremacy in classrooms, research labs and departments. Drea Darby, a graduate student at Cornell University, checks out flies in the lab for her research. She studies the microbes found in the gut of Drosophila melanogaster. Image courtesy of Kathy Denning. “Ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation have problematic histories with race, racism, colonialism, eugenics … weaved into the history of the discipline, and that’s really important to acknowledge,” says Melissa Cronin, lead author and graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “You know these manifest today in many ways.” Representation…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

When a tree falls in the forest, you can still hear the birdsong | Mongabay Nyheter

On a cold and humid morning in March, two bird surveyors stood in the dim forests of Kenaboi State Park in Malaysia, straining their ears for birdsong. From where they stood, they saw towering rainforest trees and thick undergrowth beside abandoned logging trails. The park, which had been selectively logged almost four decades ago, had had most of its matured trees taken out. Biodiversity had suffered then. But when the surveyors spotted the warm flash of the orange-bellied flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma), and heard the nasal songs of the little spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra), and otherwise recorded more than 1,000 individual birds in their two-month study, they knew the forest was recovering. The Rufous-backed Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ceyx rufidorsa). Image courtesy of Muhammad Syafiq Yahya. Finsch’s Bulbul (Alophoixus finschii). Image courtesy of Muhammad Syafiq Yahya. Such disturbed rainforests are common across Malaysia, where under state law, stretches of once-pristine forest can be marked for timber production, selectively logged, and allowed to recover again. But this approach, though more sustainable than clear-cutting in theory, has seen problems in practice. Once selective logging takes place, production forests are classified as degraded rather than virgin forests, which also makes it more legally permissible for companies to clear and convert their land for other uses. Recovering forests have been cut down to make way for oil palm plantations, agricultural land and commercial tree plantations. Kenaboi State Park, once a production forest but now under protection, is an anomaly, but also a glimpse of the biodiversity Malaysia’s disturbed forests…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

Countering Bolsonaro’s UN speech, Greenpeace releases Amazon deforestation photos | Mongabay Nyheter

Hours after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro painted a rosy picture of his administration’s environmental record during a United Nations speech, Greenpeace and other environmental groups released a set of photos showing continued deforestation and fires in Earth’s largest rainforest. Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro cited a 32 percent reduction in deforestation in the month of August relative to a year ago, the country’s near decade-old Forest Code, and lands set aside as Indigenous territories — which he’s fought to undermine and dismantle — as evidence of Brazil’s contributions toward mitigating climate change. “Which other country in the world has a policy of environmental protection like ours?” asked Bolsonaro, during his 12-minute speech, where he also acknowledged the country was facing “great environmental challenges.” Aerial view of an area in the Amazon deforested for cattle ranching in Lábrea, Amazonas state on Sep 15, 2021. Photo © Victor Moriyama / Amazônia em Chamas (Amazon in Flames Alliance) Aerial view of an area in the Amazon deforested for cattle ranching in Lábrea, Amazonas state on Sep 15, 2021. Photo © Victor Moriyama / Amazônia em Chamas (Amazon in Flames Alliance) Aerial view of an area in the Amazon deforested for cattle ranching in Lábrea, Amazonas state on Sep 15, 2021. Photo © Victor Moriyama / Amazônia em Chamas (Amazon in Flames Alliance) But activists pushed back on Bolsonaro’s statement, noting rising deforestation in the Amazon and his administration’s rollback of environmental laws and…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

Fires in the Amazon have already impacted 90% of plant and animal species | Mongabay Nyheter

Since 2019, deforestation and fires have caused the Brazilian Amazon to lose about 10,000 square kilometers of forest cover per year – a high and alarming increase over the previous decade, when the annual reduction in forest area was close to 6,500 square kilometers, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). However, until very recently, experts had measured only the vegetation in areas destroyed; never had the biodiversity loss caused by fires been assessed. A new scientific study published in Nature – “How deregulation, drought and increasing fire impact Amazonian biodiversity” – translates this impact into numbers: to a greater or lesser extent, 93 to 95% of 14,000 species of plants and animals have already suffered some kind of consequence of the Amazon’s fires. The study, which involved researchers from universities and institutions in the U.S., Brazil and the Netherlands, analyzed data on the distribution of fires in the Amazon between 2001 and 2019, when the region saw record rates of major fires, despite high rainfall. “At the time, the fires attracted a lot of international media attention, and we were interested in better understanding their consequences, where they had happened, and which areas were occupied by fauna and flora,” says biologist Mathias Pires, a professor and researcher at the Department of Animal Biology at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp). Using satellite images, the researchers compared the areas affected by fires – from 103,079 to 189,755 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest – with habitats…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

Thanks to the Yurok Tribe, condors will return to the Pacific Northwest | Mongabay Nyheter

Next spring, California condors will soar in northern California for the first time in a century. Four young condors will be released in Redwood National and State Parks, reintroducing this critically endangered species to what was once only the middle of a vast range that stretched from Baja California all the way up to British Columbia. But if it weren’t for the Yurok Tribe, who have fought for the return of this culturally and ecologically important bird for the past 13 years, the condor’s Pacific Northwest homecoming might never have happened at all. The story of the California condor’s (Gymnogyps californianus) return to the Pacific Northwest is one of endurance, said Thomas Gates, who worked as the director of the tribe’s Office of Self-Governance at the time tribal elders decided to prioritize condor reintroduction. When the tribe first stated their desire to bring the condor back to northern California, “people thought we were crazy,” Gates said. It took years of research, relationship building, and careful planning to get the official go-ahead from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to establish a new population of condors that might fly as far north as Oregon. The USFWS backed the project in March of this year. “I’m really excited to be a tribal member helping to lead this tribal endeavor, because honestly tribes don’t get to do this sort of thing as often as I’d like,” said Tiana Williams-Claussen, who is the director of the Yurok Tribe Wildlife Department and has played…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

Cloudy and cool: climate prospects from mid-latitude tree planting, study | Mongabay Nyheter

Planting trees seems to be a simple solution to the climate crisis. As trees photosynthesize, they capture carbon dioxide and lower the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, cooling the planet. But in some places, planting trees darkens the Earth’s surface and could bring unintended warming. “When you wear a black T-shirt rather than a white T-shirt … that actually has a warming effect, right?” Sara Cerasoli, a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, told Mongabay. When viewed from above, forests are darker than many other landscapes such as grasslands, savannas, and areas covered in snow. In these places, planting trees can decrease what’s known as albedo — the amount of sunlight or radiation reflected from the Earth’s surface. With less sunlight reflected away and more absorbed, the surface and the atmosphere above it warm up. In wet tropical regions, reflecting the sun is not an issue, Cerasoli said, because the forests sequester a lot of carbon and the scales balance. But the opposite is true at high latitudes such as in the boreal regions. There, the reflection of the sun’s radiation from brighter surfaces has a significant cooling effect, and adding trees could increase climate change rather than mitigate it. But what effect do forests have on the places in between, in the mid-latitude regions such as the temperate forests of the eastern United States or southeast China? To answer this question, Cerasoli and colleagues used data from satellites and models of the atmosphere to examine the effects of…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

The cat is back: Wild Amur tigers rebound in China, thanks to govt policies | Mongabay Nyheter

There was a time when tiger expert Dale Miquelle wasn’t sure if there’d ever be a substantial population of Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in China again. In the 1990s, Miquelle and his colleagues estimated there to only be about eight of these big cats, also commonly referred to as Siberian tigers, left in northeastern China. But in the last eight years, change has come in leaps and bounds: recent camera trap footage reveals there are at least 55 Amur tigers living in forests in northeastern China. “Persistent efforts to protect tigers have paid off,” Miquelle, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Russia, told Mongabay in an email. “Change has not come quickly, but there has been slow, steady progress, and we see there are great opportunities for even more recovery.” According to a recent study in Biological Conservation, of which Miquelle is a co-author, camera trap footage taken between 2013 and 2018 identified 55 Amur tigers in four forested landscapes in northeastern China: Laoyeling, Zhang-Guangcailing, Wandashan, and the Lesser Khinghan Mountains. The scientists also genetically analyzed tiger scat, urine and hair to identify 30 tigers in the region. However, only Laoyeling is believed to support a breeding population, the paper suggests. The reason for the tigers’ sudden appearance in northeast China is due, in a large part, to a Chinese national policy called the Natural Forest Protection Project (NFPP), Miquelle said. “By stopping [the] harvest[ing] of trees in many parts of China, they essentially made whole villages whose…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

Extinction of indigenous languages leads to loss of exclusive knowledge about medicinal plants | Mongabay Nyheter

“Every time a language disappears, a speaking voice also disappears, a way to make sense of reality disappears, a way to interact with nature disappears, a way to describe and name animals and plants disappears,” says Jordi Bascompte, researcher in the Department of Evolutional Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich. The project Ethnologue concluded that 42% of the world’s more than 7,000 existing languages are endangered. Of the 1,000 indigenous languages spoken in Brazil prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500, only about 160 are still alive, according to language research non-profit SIL International. In a recent study, Bascompte and biodiversity specialist Rodrigo Cámara-Leret warn that the extinction of indigenous languages equates to a loss of traditional knowledge about medicinal plants, which could reduce chances for the discovery of future medicines. Many of today’s mass-market medications are derived from medicinal plants. They range from acetylsalicylic acid—commonly known as aspirin, whose active ingredient is extracted from white willow (Salix alba L.)—to morphine, which is extracted from poppies (Papaver somniferum). As indigenous groups traditionally rely on the spoken word for intergenerational knowledge transfer, the disappearance of these languages will take with it a universe of information. Ritual of the Yawalapiti people, whose language is the original of the Upper Xingu, currently spoken by only three people. Jean Marconi/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Double the challenge The study’s scientists analyzed 3,597 vegetal species with 12,495 medicinal uses and linked this data with 236 indigenous languages from three biologically and culturally diverse regions—the northwestern Amazon,…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

Small cats should be a conservation priority, says Panthera’s new board chair Jonathan Ayers | Mongabay Nyheter

Most people are familiar with the world’s “big cats”: Lions, tigers, leopards, jaguar, puma, and cheetah. But far fewer people know about the much larger number of small cat species, which range from the ancestors of domesticated house cats to the flat-headed cat to the ocelot. Yet, like big cats, these small cats play important roles in the ecosystems they inhabit. Small cats’ lack of visibility has meant that haven’t received big cats’ level of conservation funding — collectively they get only a small fraction of the dollars that go toward lions, tigers and jaguars, for example. But small cat conservation efforts may have just gotten a significant boost with Panthera — the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to wild cat conservation — announcing Jonathan Ayers as its new Chair of its Board of Directors. Tiger in Nepal. Big cats have received the lion’s share of conservation funding that goes to wild cats. Photo credit: DNPWC/NTNC/Panthera/WWF/ZSL Ayers — the former Chairman, President and CEO of IDEXX Laboratories, a publicly-traded company that develops veterinary products and technologies — in March pledged $20 million to Panthera. A significant portion of that commitment is for small cat conservation. Ayers pledged the funds after a cycling accident in June 2019 left him a quadriplegic. Ayers says the experience, which prompted him to step down as CEO of IDEXX, gave him a new sense of purpose: saving wild cats through conservation efforts, including creating opportunities for communities that live in and around their habitats. “I…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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