In Forests News last week:
What the world can learn from West Africa’s unheard
In the forested parklands of Ghana and Burkina Faso lie diverse mosaics of cultivated fields mixed with trees, fallows, woodlands and forest reserves. Forests News meets with the diverse people living in this forest-farm interface in a six-part video series. Watch the first here.
24 hours for more sustainable todays and tomorrows: GLF Kyoto
From sustainable landscape restoration that mitigates climate change, to tenure security and innovative financing tools, to climate-smart lifestyle changes, the agenda is wide and deep for an upcoming Global Landscapes Forum event GLF Kyoto. Read
In the news:
One million living species face extinction because of humans. So how do we halt its losses?
One million animal and plant species are facing extinction because of human activity, according to a major report from the United Nations biodiversity body. After a week of meetings in Paris to discuss the first global assessment of the state of planet’s health, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has warned that the world is facing a crisis as big as climate change, according to BBC News. Meanwhile, The Economic Times focusses on IPBES’ Asia-Pacific report, citing warnings that rapid socio-economic transitions have come at high environmental costs, causing an accelerated and permanent loss and degradation of the region’s biodiversity. Many of the region’s forest, alpine, wetland, and coastal ecosystems are now degraded.
The U.K. becomes first country to declare ‘climate emergency’ after protests
After Forests News reported about the antics of 83 year-old sandwich eating protestor, Phil Kingston, last week, it seems his cause has achieved substantial gains. Following weeks of protests led by environmental group ‘Extinction Rebellion’, the United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to declare a national climate emergency, Australia’s ABC News reports. Although the declaration on its own doesn’t mandate action on climate, it was the first of the protester’s three demands, along with reducing emissions to net zero by 2025, and creating an assembly of citizens to lead the government on climate issues. What’s more, Extinction Rebellion received more UK media coverage in recent weeks than ‘climate change’ did during the momentous year of the Paris Agreement in 2015. “We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now,” said Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, after he tabled the declaration in Parliament.
Indigenous women break tradition and lead fight for land rights in Brazil
Brazil’s indigenous women are overturning tradition to step into the spotlight and lead an international push to defend their tribal land rights, which now face their ‘greatest threat in years’ under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, Reuters is reporting. According to the newswire, Bolsonaro has said the country’s 850,000 indigenous peoples live in poverty and therefore, he wants to assimilate them by allowing development of their vast lands, currently protected by law. Now, tribal leaders are fighting back. In many cases, these are being led by women, as they counter traditional culture that often excludes women from leadership roles that were played by male tribal chieftains.
Academic says his fears about climate change made him cross the line to activism
Fears about climate change have made academic James Dyke cross into environmental activism, he writes in The Conversation. Dyke, senior lecturer in global systems, University of Exeter, says he is afraid that despite the significant surge in interest and concern, most people are probably unaware of what climate change really means: that it’s not just about nudging our emissions a bit lower or taking incremental action generally. This is a challenge that is perhaps unprecedented in all of human history, says Dyke. “So I decided to make a documentary about climate change – about what drives it and what we can do individually, and together, to ensure a stable natural world for our children and future generations.”
How can coffee plantations be more bird-friendly?
A rare look at more than 57,000 birds in Costa Rica provides new insights into how coffee plantations affect tropical bird biodiversity. Sipping a collective 400 million cups a day, most USA coffee-lovers are likely unaware of how their cherished brew impacts tropical bird populations in some of the world’s most critical biodiversity hotspots, says National Geographic. Fortunately, University of Utah biologists and researchers are trying to change that. Their landmark 12-year study of 57,255 individually banded birds representing 265 species at 19 Costa Rican sites sheds new light on how tropical birds, a key indicator of ecosystem health, are faring across a patchwork of habitats in a changing agricultural countryside.
Oil giants say they will help protect African forests to offset carbon footprints
Two oil industry giants say they have plans to reduce their carbon footprints in Africa, Bloomberg is reporting. Italy’s Eni SpA says it will focus on working with African communities to prevent deforestation. And its European rival, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., says it will develop forestry projects through REDD+, a program to reduce emissions stemming from deforestation or forest degradation.
Buses with rooftop gardens to roll on Singapore’s roads
Buses with rooftop gardens will begin plying Singapore’s roads, as part of an initiative to study possible energy and cost savings for bus operators, reports Channel News Asia. The Garden on the Move initiative, which was launched May 5, will see 10 SBS Transit buses ply Singapore’s roads for at least three months.
Video of the week:
Leuser rainforest: Baby orangutans rescued from Indonesia’s pet trade
Baby orangutans on the island of Sumatra are being captured and sold as pets, but charities are working to rescue the animals and confront the owners, BBC is reporting as part of a series focusing on the wildlife of Indonesia’s Leuser rainforest and the people trying to save them. Leuser, in Sumatra, is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. It’s also the only place in the world where orangutans, rhinoceroses, elephants and tigers still live together. But the environment is under constant threat from palm oil developers, agriculture and infrastructure projects. Already, more than 110,000 hectares of rainforest has disappeared from the region.
Meanwhile, in a related example of efforts at peaceful coexistence between humans and animals, researchers and locals are working to help save endangered elephants while restoring peatlands in Sumatra. Watch and enjoy Forests News feature article, ‘Can Sumatran elephants and humans coexist?’ here.