Indigenous group faces eviction for ‘New Bali’ tourism project in Sumatra
on October 25, 2021 at 12:04 pm
- The volcanic crater lake of Toba in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province is the site of what the government is touting as a new tourism hub.- The area has for generations been home to the Indigenous Pomparan Ompu Ondol Butarbutar, who now face eviction and have seen their farms razed to make way for the tourism resort.- The group is filing lawsuits to prevent its eviction from what it considers its ancestral land, but faces obstacles because its customary land rights aren’t recognized by the government.- The tourism project is one of several large ventures underway in this region; there are also power plant projects and a planned zinc mine near Lake Toba, some of them funded by Chinese investment.
On Nigeria-Cameroon border, joint patrols throw a lifeline to threatened apes
on October 25, 2021 at 4:00 am
- The rugged, isolated forests along the Nigeria-Cameroon border support a vast array of wildlife, including Cross River gorillas, Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, and forest elephants.- Historically, limited law enforcement in the border zone has left the ecosystem vulnerable to hunting and logging.- Since the early 1990s, though, NGOs have been working alongside both governments to enhance transboundary conservation efforts, including joint patrols by rangers from both countries.- This cross-border collaboration faces many obstacles today, including bureaucratic delays, treacherous terrain, armed poachers, and violent conflict in Cameroon, but participants remain optimistic about the potential for cooperation.
Half-Earth, conservation, and hope: An interview with E.O. Wilson, Paula Ehrlich and Sir Tim Smit
on October 20, 2021 at 8:02 pm
- E.O. Wilson is a scientist, naturalist, and author highly regarded for his theories of island biogeography and sociobiology, and for his writing that unites concepts in science and the humanities, winning him two Pulitzer Prizes in non-fiction, among other top recognitions.- Wilson champions the goal of protecting half of the Earth, both land and sea, and makes the case that doing so would save more than 80% of all biodiversity. Biodiversity, he says, is “fundamental in continued human existence.” - On Oct. 22, Wilson will give a plenary speech at the Half-Earth Day virtual event, which brings together thought leaders, decision-makers and influencers such as Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Razan Al Mubarak, and Sir David Attenborough to discuss conservation in the areas of education, science, and technology.- E.O. Wilson, Paula Ehrlich and Sir Tim Smit spoke with Mongabay staff writer Liz Kimbrough on Oct. 14, 2021 to discuss Half-Earth, hope and the need for a shift in consciousness.
Supporting more holistic approaches to conservation: an interview with Kai Carter
on October 20, 2021 at 4:28 pm
- For at least the past 20 years, there has been regular talk about the need to break down silos in conservation. But in practice, the conservation sector as a whole has been slow to bring the necessary voices and expertise into the conversation. That hesitancy, or inertia, can mean missed opportunities to connect conservation with other positive outcomes, from health to livelihoods.- Kai Carter understands this well: As a program officer at the Packard Foundation’s Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation (ALC) strategy, her work focuses on supporting organizations that work at the intersection of local communities, rights, health, and the environment.- “Local agriculture, economic development, and conservation are interwoven in people’s lives; they don’t view them as separate,” Carter told Mongabay. “We’ve been exploring how our grantmaking can be more effective by approaching environmental sustainability, livelihoods, community resilience, and health holistically and with the intention of centering the needs and aspirations of smallholder farming communities.”- Carter spoke about the Packard Foundation’s ALC strategy, equity and inclusion in conservation, and a range of other issues during a recent conversation with Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.
In Guinea, an illegal $6b gold ‘bonanza’ threatens endangered chimpanzees
on October 19, 2021 at 2:42 pm
- Earlier this year, Australia’s Predictive Discovery announced that it had found more than $6 billion in “bonanza”-grade gold deposits in eastern Guinea.- A Mongabay investigation has found that the company’s exploration is taking place inside the boundaries of Haut Niger National Park, in violation of the law establishing the park.- The park is home to an estimated 500 western chimpanzees, one of the highest concentrations of the critically endangered primate in West Africa.
Changes to global fisheries subsidies could level the playing field for traditional coastline communities
on October 18, 2021 at 9:27 am
- Community fishers struggle to hold their own against heavily-subsidized foreign fleets. Fisheries subsidies have long given wealthy nations an edge over Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Jamaica that are rich in fishing traditions and natural resources.- In places like the multigenerational fishing village of Manchioneal, Jamaica, artisanal fishers say they simply can’t compete with heavily-subsidized foreign fleets working in depleted waters.- But decisions made by the WTO this year on subsidies could lead to more sustainable and equitable fisheries around the world, in turn leading to better food security and more fish.- This story was produced with the support of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.
‘Kew Declaration’ unites experts on reforestation, aims at policymakers ahead of COP26
on October 13, 2021 at 6:24 am
- More than 2,600 experts and concerned citizens from 113 countries signed the Kew Declaration on Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods.- The declaration expresses the co-signatories’ concern over large-scale tree plantations of single species and/or non-native trees and proposes that forests be planted to reflect the diversity of natural ecosystems.- The declaration specifically calls upon “policymakers, financiers and practitioners in countries that have made reforestation pledges” to work with Indigenous and local people and respect their land tenure rights. It also calls for funding and positive financial incentives to be targeted toward reforestation.- Experts have noted that policies surrounding reforestation could be improved by increasing communication and involvement of people at all levels of projects, especially local communities, Indigenous people and landowners.
Conservation will only scale when non-conservationists see its value, says James Deutsch
on October 12, 2021 at 1:56 pm
- Last month, Rainforest Trust committed $500 million to a $5 billion pledge to conserve biodiversity.- The scale of Rainforest Trust’s commitment was surprising to some in the conservation world: just a decade ago, the Virginia-based group had an annual budget in the low single-digits millions. Now the organization is aiming to raise $50 million a year over the next ten years — an incredible rate of expansion.- Rainforest Trust is undertaking that ambitious target just 18 months after undergoing a major leadership transition: In April 2020, it appointed James Deutsch as CEO. Deutsch says the pledge will push Rainforest Trust to double down on its mission of creating and expanding protected and conserved areas through partnerships with other organizations. Rainforest Trust rallies the resources; partners lead the work on the ground.- Deutsch spoke about the pledge and a range of other topics during a recent interview with Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.
For some Indigenous, COVID presents possibility of cultural extinction, says Myrna Cunningham
on October 11, 2021 at 7:12 pm
- COVID-19 has devastated communities around the world, but for some Indigenous groups, the pandemic posed an existential threat.- Few people are better placed to speak to the impact COVID is having on Indigenous communities than Myrna Cunningham, a Miskitu physician from the Wangki river region of Nicaragua who has spent 50 years advocating for the rights of women and Indigenous peoples at local, regional, national, and international levels.- Cunningham’s many achievements and accolades include: First Miskito doctor in Nicaragua; first woman governor of the Waspam autonomous region; Chairperson of the PAWANKA Fund; President of the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC); Advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly during the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples; member of the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women; Deputy of the Autonomous Region of the North Atlantic Coast in Nicaragua’s National Assembly; president of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development; and the first Honoris Causa Doctorate granted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México to an indigenous woman, among others.- Cunningham spoke about a range of issues in a recent interview with Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.
Deep seabed mining is risky. If something goes wrong, who will pay for it?
on October 8, 2021 at 12:09 pm
- Citizens of countries that sponsor deep-sea mining firms have written to several governments and the International Seabed Authority expressing concern that their nations will struggle to control the companies and may be liable for damages to the ocean as a result.- Liability is a central issue in the embryonic and risky deep-sea mining industry, because the company that will likely be the first to mine the ocean floor — DeepGreen/The Metals Company — depends on sponsorships from small Pacific island states whose collective GDP is a third its valuation.- Mining will likely cause widespread damage, scientists say, but the legal definition of environmental damage when it comes to deep-sea mining has yet to be determined.