In Forests News last week:
Tension and transformation in the patriarchy
When managing the forests and rivers in Kenya’s Rift Valley, traditional roles for women are challenged as gender gets placed at the centre of governance. Read more.
Turning on the lights in Indonesia
Jaya Wahono is owner of Indonesia’s first bamboo bioenergy plant. In his opinion piece, he lays out how equality and environmental goals can be achieved throughout the archipelago. Read more.
Millions of forest dwellers face eviction in India
India’s Supreme Court has ordered the eviction of over one million forest dwelling households. According to Al Jazeera, the move comes with the national enforcement of the Forests Rights Act, which gives indigenous land access to those who can prove their ancestral link to the land. However, without the proof, evictions will ensue. The ruling came in response to a petition submitted by wildlife and conservation groups, who questioned an existing act that recognises forest dwellers’ rights. According to the groups, people are instead encroaching into protected land, The Telegraph reports. Social groups have rebuked these claims, saying that indigenous people are best placed to protect the forests and keep mining and industrial developments at bay. Stephen Corry, head of Environment International warns of triggering an ‘urgent humanitarian crisis.’
UN warns global food supply threatened by species extinction
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has released a report warning that the loss of biodiversity is threatening the planet’s capacity to produce food, CNN reports. Over-exploitation of the soil and seas, a heavy use of damaging pesticides, land-use changes where forests make way for farmland and meadows for cities- make up some of the top reasons global biodiversity is in steep decline. According to the FAO, the dwindling numbers of pollinators from bird to bee are threatening the very foundations of the global food system. In the last two decades, 20 percent of the earth’s vegetated surface has become less productive. Thanks to efficient mono-cropping techniques, two thirds of the world’s crop production can now be attributed to just nine species (sugar cane, maize, rice, wheat, potatoes, soybeans, oil-palm fruit, sugar beet and cassava).
Agroecology can feed Europe, protect its diversity and reduce emissions
Think-tank IDDR have released a report claiming that Europe could feed its population using environmentally friendly, including organic, approaches. According to The Guardian, the report demonstrates how the adoption of agroecology – where farming considers local ecosystems and the planting of crops that benefit the whole farming system – can dramatically decrease greenhouse gases and phase out the use of pesticides, whilst sustaining a growing and healthy population.
The reorientation of diets away from grain-fed white meat and towards plant-based proteins and pasture-fed livestock are recommended, to end the current food-feed competition. Currently more than half of the EUs cereals and oil seed crops are for animal feed.
At the start of this month Forests News included the world’s first global comparative study on insect populations in its headlines piece, as exclusively reported by The Guardian. For an interesting counter argument, read ‘Insectageddon is a great story. But what are the facts?’ as featured on the blog, Ecology is not a dirty word.
World’s largest bee rediscovered in Indonesia
The world’s largest bee, which hasn’t been seen for nearly three decades, has been found in a termite’s nest on Indonesia’s North Molucca’s island group, NBC reports. Megachile pluto, or ‘Wallace’s giant bee’ is named after its founder, Alfred Russel Wallace, and is four times larger than the European honeybee. The find left the expedition crew from University of Sydney elated, who were on the final day of their trip specifically to look for the species. “Amid such a well-documented global decline in insect diversity, it’s wonderful to discover that this iconic species is still hanging on,” said team member and honorary professor at the university, Simon Robson.
Conservation in Africa gives hope for the future
As the world faces its sixth species extinction, the New York Times reports good news from some of Africa’s national parks. Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique has in particular reversed its fortune. At the end of a brutal civil war, Gorongosa had lost 95 percent of its mammal population. A recent study has now shown a 700% increase from just a decade ago, thanks to tens of millions of dollars in philanthropic funding that has paid for the upkeep of the park and a newly established buffer zone. According to the article, it is efforts such as these that are needed across the continent, as income from trophy hunters has spurious benefits, and expecting taxes from struggling economies is not suffice. Especially when there is global interest in protecting the parks. Gorongosa has championed a holistic social inclusion program in its upkeep to ensure its long-term sustainability. Of its $15 million budget spent in 2018, $5 million went to conservation activities, while the rest went to development programs in the local areas- including healthcare, sustainable agriculture and girls in school.
Norway starts payments to Indonesia for cutting forest emissions
The decline of deforestation in Indonesia in 2017 has prompted the first payment of a total $1 billion pay-out by Norway. The deal, drawn up to incentivise the protection of Indonesia’s forests, was put in place after the country imposed a moratorium on forest clearance as part of the 2010 climate deal, Reuters reports.
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