Saving rare orchids that are ‘confusingly difficult’ to grow in labs: Q&A with orchid expert Marc Freestone

first_imgLeek orchids are a group of small, native wildflowers found in bushlands across southern Australia. Of the 140-odd leek orchids known today, one-third are at risk of extinction, primarily from habitat loss.For some of the more threatened leek orchids with just a handful of plants known to exist, captive breeding and reintroduction to the wild might be the only way to save them, researchers say.But leek orchids are notoriously difficult to grow in labs, unlike many other orchids that can be easily artificially propagated.Mongabay spoke with orchid expert Marc Freestone who is trying to save leek orchids along with his colleagues at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Australia National University. Few plants capture the imagination quite like orchids. When orchid fever gripped England in the early 1800s, wealthy aristocrats sent out orchid hunters to forests around the world in search of these exotic flowering plants. Many died in the process. Even today, collectors seek out the rarest and the prettiest of orchids from the wild, and orchids are among the most widely traded plant groups in the world.But many species of orchids are now under severe threat of extinction. Several are threatened by illegal collections from the wild because many orchid species occur in just a few locations, and removing them leads to the extinction of the species. Other orchids, especially the ones that grow in grasslands, are losing out to agriculture, grazing and development.Leek orchids are a case in point. They’re a group of small, native wildflowers found in bushlands across southern Australia. Of the 140-odd leek orchids known today, one-third are at risk of extinction, primarily from habitat loss. Several species, such as the lilac leek orchid (Prasophyllum colemaniae), whose only known population was destroyed by the development of a railway line, are already extinct. Others, such as the Shelford leek orchid (P. fosteri), are down to a handful of plants.Leek orchids occur in bushlands across southern Australia, and are threatened by habitat loss. Image by Marc Freestone.Time is running out for the endangered leek orchids. In fact, for some of the more threatened species with just a few populations, captive breeding and reintroduction to the wild might be the only way to save them, researchers say.But there’s a problem: leek orchids are deceptively hard to grow in labs, unlike many other orchids that can be easily artificially propagated. “Growing leek orchids is confusingly difficult,” Marc Freestone, a doctoral student at Australian National University, working with the Orchid Conservation Program at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, told Mongabay.Freestone and his colleagues are, however, hopeful that they will soon be able to crack the code.Mongabay spoke with Freestone to find out more about leek orchids and what it takes to protect these tiny wildflowers.Marc Freestone. Image courtesy of Marc Freestone.Mongabay: What do you find most interesting about leek orchids?​Marc Freestone: It’s not so much about their looks (I like to think I’m a bit more discerning than that — although some are certainly very pretty!). I think I’m drawn to leek orchids because so many of them are at risk of extinction. And because some species can look a bit drab, they can slip away without most people ever knowing they existed. To me, they seem delicate and utterly defenseless against humans who have engulfed their world. Ironically, some species are now totally dependent of humans for their survival. I feel a great sense of responsibility to help them.How many species of leek orchids are at a risk of extinction, and what are the main causes of the species’ decline?​Officially we have 39 species listed as threatened under Australia’s national environmental law, making leek orchids the fifth-largest genus of plants listed under that law. That’s about a third of the approximately 140 leek orchid species Australia-wide. Only a couple of species occur outside Australia in New Zealand.Most of the threatened species grow in grasslands, woodlands or seasonal wetlands in the southeast of the country, areas with fertile soils and that were heavily cleared for agriculture in the first half of the last century. They cling on in narrow roadsides, beside rail lines or in rural cemeteries — tiny pockets of land that have never been plowed. For example, the lilac leek orchid (Prasophyllum colemaniae) grew beside a rail line in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne before works on the rail line destroyed the only known population in the ’70s. The only known population of the tan leek orchid (P. erythrocommum) north of Melbourne was destroyed when a firebreak was put through it during bushfires in 2009. Species that are on the very brink include the Shelford leek orchid (P. fosteri), which hasn’t been seen for a couple of years and the gaping leek orchid (P. correctum) which is probably down to fewer than 10 wild plants on a rail line east of Melbourne. Both species have a small amount of seed stored at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, but that seed is getting older, it’s viability is probably decreasing, and we don’t know how to get it to grow with any measure of confidence.In an earlier interview, you mentioned that despite efforts to manage these orchids, their populations are still declining. Could you tell us why?​Most of our really rare leek orchids have active management plans, but for many of them their populations are still declining. We don’t know why, but it’s probably a combination of sustained below-average rainfall in the past few decades, combined with the inevitable loss of genetic diversity encountered by species with small populations. Other threats, particularly weeds and inappropriate fire regimes, are also significant for some species.Green leek orchid, a vulnerable species. Image by Marc Freestone.Do you see captive breeding as the only way of saving the endangered species of leek orchids?For our most critical species that are known from few, small populations that are declining toward zero plants despite our attempts at managing them, there really doesn’t appear to be any other alternative to captive breeding. There are probably 10 to 20 species of leek orchids that fall into this category. Some other threatened leek orchids are not quite at that point yet, and for those, continued emphasis of land management practices is probably a better option for the time being.Why haven’t researchers figured out how to grow these orchids in labs? And are you close to any breakthrough?Growing leek orchids is confusingly difficult. The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria grows many other endangered Australian orchids by extracting the symbiotic fungi that live in the orchid’s roots, growing the fungi on petri dishes, and sprinkling on the orchid seed. The fungi are required to inoculate the seed to get it to germinate. But for some reason, leek orchid seed rarely germinates using this method, or any other method. My research project is testing a bunch of theories, ranging from seed viability, growing conditions, and the identity of the fungi that we find in the roots of the leek orchids. We don’t have any breakthroughs yet, although the results of chemical testing show that seed viability doesn’t appear to be a major issue. At the moment we have several large germination trials underway and a large DNA identification study for the symbiotic fungi — so we’re optimistic that the answers will lie somewhere in there.Could you tell us about the symbiotic fungi that leek orchids are associated with, and why they’re important?All wild orchids harbor symbiotic fungi that live in their roots and the surrounding soil. Due to the microscopic size of orchid seed, all orchids rely on these symbiotic fungi to inoculate their seed when it lands on the soil, prompting it to germinate (orchid seeds don’t have enough food reserves in them to germinate by themselves). Most species of Australian orchids appear to have very specific relationships, often each orchid has its own unique species of symbiotic fungus. However, some preliminary data that we have suggests that leek orchids can associate with multiple species of fungi, which begs the question: Which species of fungus is involved in the seed germination process? To answer that, we are burying small packets of seed around the wild leek orchid plants, hopefully some will germinate and we can then identify the species of fungus in the newly germinated seedling and compare it to the fungi we find in the roots of the adult plant at different times of year. We will then know if using the wrong fungus is the cause of the poor germination results in our laboratory trials.Seeds of leek orchids are incredibly hard to germinate and grow in the lab. Image by Marc Freestone.How is the Threatened Species Recovery Hub and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria involved in saving these orchids? What species are you working on currently?The Australian government’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub is providing funding for this project, along with the Hermon Slade Foundation, Australian National University (who are funding my Ph.D.) and the Victoria state government. The research is based at the Orchid Conservation Program at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. The Rural City of Wangaratta, Project Platypus and the Australasian Native Orchid Society are also providing field assistance with the project. It really is a team effort and the generosity of our project partners and funding agencies is heartening and inspiring.We are working mostly on four main study species that are relatively common, but closely related to critically endangered species to which we will hopefully be able to apply our research findings. We are also collecting seed from our most threatened species, so that we will be ready to go if we can make a breakthrough on how to grow them.What do you think would happen if Australia lost its leek orchids?The alpine parts of the southeast of the country are still relatively untouched and there are several species of leek orchid that are very common up there. To be up in those high plains in summer when the alpine leek orchid (P. tadgellianum) is in full flower, the air sweet with the scent of its nectar, its flowers crawling with insects, you can really get a feel for what the lowland grasslands would have been like once upon a time, when species like the gaping leek orchid would have numbered in the millions, its flowers playing an important role in the food chain. Now there are perhaps 10 plants left. If it goes extinct, Australia will have lost part of what makes it unique. A small part perhaps, but when added to all the other threatened species in this country, a significant part.Is there anything else that you would like to add?I don’t think I have anything left to add other than to say — fingers crossed — stay tuned over the next year or two for any breakthroughs!Coastal leek orchid is known from a few hundred plants near Portland, Victoria. Image by Marc Freestone. Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Biodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Grasslands, Green, Habitat, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Interviews, Interviews With Young Scientists, Orchids, Plants, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

UK supermarkets implicated in Amazon deforestation supply chain: report

first_imgDeforestation due to cattle ranching has increased in Brazil since 2014. With between 60 and 80 percent of deforested Amazon lands used for pasture, European retailers who source beef from Brazil risk amplifying Amazonian forest destruction unless international action is taken.A report from the UK organization Earthsight finds that UK supermarket chains — including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Lidl — are still importing corned beef from Brazil’s largest beef producer, JBS, despite the company being implicated in a long string of corruption and illegal deforestation scandals over the last decade.JBS, one of the largest food companies in the world, has faced multiple corruption charges leading to the arrest of two of its former CEOs and was fined $8 million in 2017 for illegal deforestation in the Amazon.Many hope the forthcoming EU Communication on Stepping Up Action to Halt Deforestation will propose legislation to ensure EU companies and suppliers are not contributing to deforestation and human rights abuses. However, experts say such an agreement will only work if corporate standards are mandatory not voluntary. Cattle in the Brazilian Amazon. Image © Henrique Manreza courtesy of The Nature ConservancyMay is not even half over, but it has already been a landmark month for environmental news: last week the United Nations IPBES issued its preliminary global assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, finding that humans in both the developed and developing world are now the biggest driver of biodiversity loss. This comes hot on the heels of the UK parliament declaring a “climate emergency,” along with increasing pressure applied on the EU to regulate commodities that cause deforestation.One major instigator of all these environmental emergencies: cows, lots of them, and meat producers.Cattle are a key driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America, responsible for between 60 to 80 percent of Amazon tree loss, which contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.A new report, also out in May, shines a spotlight on the UK and major European supermarkets that are potentially fueling illegal deforestation by doing business with Brazil’s cattle industry — particularly with beef producer, JBS. The retail chains continue to stock corned beef sourced from the firm which has been implicated in serious environmental and human rights abuses, according to UK investigative organization Earthsight.Buy beef from Brazil, and it’s difficult not to buy meat linked to JBS. The firm is one of the world’s largest food companies, and as a 2018 Chain Reaction Research report found, one of just three meatpacking companies (JBS, Minerva, and Marfrig) that control around 70 percent of the cattle slaughterhouse capacity in the Brazilian Amazon.Newgate brand sold by Lidl and allegedly sourced from JBS. Image ©EarthsightIn 2016, JBS was Brazil’s leading exporter of beef, according to Forest500. But for the last 10 years, the company has been dogged by serious corruption and deforestation charges, leading for example to the arrest of two of its former CEO’s Joesley and Wesley Batista — part of a JBS bribery scandal that went all the way to the top, to Brazilian President Michel Temer.Despite these issues, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain bought almost 90 percent of JBS’s European beef exports in 2018; with the UK alone importing 28,550 metric tons (31,500 US tons) of corned beef.Corned beef supplied by JBS was found on shelves at Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Lidl by Earthsight researchers. Morrisons and Lidl source JBS beef for their own house brands of corned beef, while Sainsbury’s and Asda stock Exeter and Princes corned beef, also supplied by JBS.When Mongabay reached out the retailers, none of them confirmed or denied the allegations in the report. Instead they referred to a statement from the British Retail Consortium that says “The BRC and our members regard any form of labor abuse and illegal deforestation as completely unacceptable. All suppliers are expected to be compliant with local laws and retailers’ own high standards. Retailers underpin this with codes of conduct agreed with suppliers, robust auditing, training for staff and collaborative schemes.”Critics question the continued support by these major UK retailers of the Brazilian firm. “JBS has proved that it can’t be trusted again and again. They made various promises to clean up their act,” but haven’t, says Earthsight Director Sam Lawson. “What we have understood is that governments need to act. Companies cannot do it themselves.”Livestock pens at a Brazilian slaughterhouse. Image by Marizilda Cruppe / EVE / GreenpeaceCattle and Amazon deforestationTo talk about deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon — where there are four cows for every one person — is to talk about cattle.Nearly half of the world’s deforestation currently occurs in the “arc of deforestation,” located along the southern border of the Amazon rainforest and within the Cerrado savanna biome of Brazil. Most of that deforestation is illegal, with human-induced wild fires used to clear native vegetation for new cattle pastures being the largest driver. A study by the Brazilian NGO Imazon found that JBS ranked number one among meat-packing firms that buy cattle in the Amazon for exposure to deforestation risk because of the location of the slaughterhouses which were near 1.7 million hectares of embargoed farms, 1.6 million hectares of area deforested from 2010-2015, and 1.2 million hectares of forest at risk for deforestation from 2016 to 2018. The same study also found that companies like JBS would benefit most from increased control and regulation.“Cattle ranching is what replaces most of the forest,” says Philip Fearnside, an ecologist at the National Institute for Research in Amazonia who has researched Amazon deforestation for two decades. “All the cattle that are raised in the Amazon, one way or another, have to go through slaughterhouses to get out [for exportation]. Certainly JBS is the biggest [producer doing business here] — so a lot of the beef winds up there.”According to the Brazilian non-profit research institution Imazon, pastures occupied 65 percent of the area deforested in the Brazilian Amazon in 2013-2014. Since 2014, the country’s deforestation rates have increased with decade-high levels of forest loss documented in 2018 — the same year that Brazil slaughtered nearly 32 million heads of cattle, the highest level since 2014.UK retailer Asda stocks Exeter and Princes corned beef, allegedly both supplied by JBS. Image ©EarthsightIn 2017, JBS was fined $8 million by Brazil for buying nearly 50,000 head of cattle from ranches guilty of illegal deforestation in the Amazon. More recently, an investigation by O Eco, a Brazilian environmental news agency and Mongabay co-publishing partner, alleged that JBS sourced cattle from at least four illegal ranches operating within the Jaci-Paraná Extractive Reserve in Rondônia state in December 2018.“The cattle procurement operations and the entire monitoring system of suppliers are audited annually and independently,” JBS wrote in a comment to Mongabay. According to the firm, the results of their audits reveal that more than 99.9 percent of JBS cattle purchases over the last three years complied with the company’s social and environmental criteria.According to the report however, this is not the case. The public prosecutor’s office in Pará state, which in 2016 commissioned its own audits of large meat producers, found that JBS was one of the worst performing meatpackers in the state during that year.“This is a company that can’t be trusted,” says Lawson. “Every time someone calls them out on illegal deforestation, the assumption is that JBS is a trustworthy corporate entity who has accidentally done something wrong and will change. If you look at the bigger picture it shows you the intention is different. The idea that you can trust them is insane.”Analysts say that a bookkeeping loophole built into Brazilian environmental law allows for the easy, large scale laundering of cattle: Brazilian cattle are often raised initially at ranches that cause major deforestation, with the animals moved later to ranches that have not caused tree loss, and the livestock then sold to slaughterhouses who only need to identify the most recent source of the animals. Thus, deforestation remains hidden.Clearing land for cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Widespread corruption The Earthsight report also sheds light on the sweeping corruption and bribery scandals that have plagued JBS in recent years.“As the report points out, JBS has been one key company in funding political campaigns legally and illegally,” says Imazon Senior Researcher Paulo Barreto. “They funded campaigns and bribed politicians to benefit from environmental deregulation, tax breaks and subsidized loans.”In May 2017, JBS was implicated by the federal Lava Jato investigation, Operation Car Wash, the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history. Independent litigators found that company executives had made illegal campaign donations to 1,829 candidates from 28 political parties over a period of more than ten years. J&F Investimentos, JBS’s controlling shareholder, agreed to pay a R$10.3 billion ($3.2 billion) fine for JBS’s role in the scandal. Under Brazilian law, when members of cartels or other corruption schemes expose other players in the scheme they are awarded a lesser fine, called a leniency fine. The fine paid by J&F Investimentos was the world’s largest leniency fine ever levied.According to a company statement, “JBS reaffirms its continuous commitment on Compliance and Corporate Governance, in a transparent and solid approach, aligned with the pillars and guidelines that guide the day-by-day management of the Company. In 2018, the Global Compliance Board celebrated the 99% brand of employees and 100% of the company’s leadership have been capacitated in ethics and governance across the world.”Former president Temer is thought to have received as much as R$38 million (US$12 million) in bribes from JBS. This year, a Brazilian court accepted criminal charges against Temer presented by a federal public prosecutor in connection with the case.The corruption charges don’t stop there. In 2017, as part of operation “Carne Fraca,” (Weak Flesh), Brazilian federal agents raided meatpacking plants and accused JBS and other producers of bribing government meat inspectors to ignore food safety regulations, leading to temporary bans on Brazilian meat around the globe. A Guardian investigation, also in 2017, found JBS products sold in Europe could contain meat linked to slave labor on a Brazilian farm, leading some European retailers, such as Waitrose, to pull their store brand corned beef, sourced with JBS, from shelves.A bookkeeping loophole built into Brazilian environmental law allows for the easy, large scale laundering of cattle that have been raised on recently deforested lands. Image by Marizilda Cruppe /EVE / GreenpeaceCattle agreement in limboBrazilian meat processing corruption cases have proven to be a major stumbling block to the voluntary Zero Deforestation Amazon Cattle Agreement, an historic accord signed in 2009 by the then four largest meatpackers in response to a report by Greenpeace, “Slaughtering the Amazon.” That report detailed the link between forest destruction, the expansion of cattle ranching in the Amazon, and meatpacking plants located in Pará state.The highly critical report led to suits by the Brazilian government against meatpackers like JBS for buying from ranches linked to illegal deforestation. The companies then agreed to Conduct Adjustment Terms (TAC), requiring them to exclude source farms involved in any deforestation, slave labor or invasions of indigenous lands and protected areas.While some progress has been made, many experts agree that too many loopholes remain.“The settlement agreements signed by the meatpackers have not been enough to curb deforestation,” says Baretto. “The fact that deforestation has increased after companies signed agreements is a clear indicator that they have to improve implementation.”In 2017, Greenpeace suspended its negotiations with JBS in large part due to the revelation of the involvement of the controlling partners of JBS in corruption.“The [Operation Car Wash] scandal was more highlighted in JBS, but the corruption was through the whole [meat processing] sector,” says Adriana Charoux, Amazon campaigner at Greenpeace Brasil who worked on the cattle agreement. “What we have learned is that if there is not support from the Brazilian government and the sectors that acknowledge zero-deforestation policies and enforce it for the producer, than it won’t work. More than ever now the international community has to demand criteria for responsible cattle production.”A single tree stands in a soy field near the BR 163 highway in Pará state. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon typically takes place in a multiple stage process: new roads provide access, then land speculation is followed by logging, cattle ranching, and eventually conversion to croplands, especially soy. Image by Daniel Beltrà / GreenpeaceImport-export regulation a way forwardEarthsight’s investigation is the most recent in a series of reports spotlighting the outsized role that the EU plays in contributing to deforestation, especially in tropical countries.But when Mongabay reached out to Lidl, Asda, Sainsbury’s and other’s listed in the report, they offered little in the way of solutions. A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) responded: “Whilst it is recognized that Brazil has significant challenges, the country has led efforts to tackle modern slavery through a mix of laws and enforcement. However, recent legislative developments may be putting that progress at risk and this example demonstrates how vital it is for effective laws and enforcement to protect people and the environment from exploitation. We urge the Brazilian government to take swift action to address this issue throughout the supply chains.”With the recent ascent of rightist President Jair Bolsonaro, and the application of his extreme policies favoring agribusiness at the expense of indigenous groups and the “unproductive Amazon,” many scientists, activists and NGOs both nationally and internationally are increasing pressure on the EU to regulate Brazilian commodities that cause deforestation and are linked to human rights abuses.Morrisons own brand corned beef allegedly sourced with JBS. Image ©Earthsight“The situation is getting worse [now that] the agribusiness lobby has pressured government to weaken environmental regulation.” Says Imazon’s Baretto. “They have gotten what they wanted, such as a pardon for illegal deforestation, reduction of protected areas and extension of the deadline to legalize grabbed public lands.”Many are hoping that the forthcoming EU Communication on Stepping Up Action to Halt Deforestation will propose legislation to ensure that EU companies and their suppliers are not contributing to deforestation and human rights abuses. But critics, including Sam Lawson, are worried that any resulting law will rely too heavily on voluntary deforestation commitments from corporations.“When all these zero deforestation things started popping up in 2011, there was a lot of self-congratulating in the forest policy world,” says Lawson. “What worried me most [then] was that the high-level people would get the sense that the deforestation problem was being solved [by the companies]. All these [voluntary] zero deforestation policies are distracting from what really needs to happen. There needs to be legislative action.”FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Amazon Soy, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corruption, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Illegal Logging, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation, Zero Deforestation Commitments last_img read more

Govt urged to examine sugar the same way it does oil

first_imgDear Editor,According to media reports, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has said that notwithstanding a refinery was not feasible, the Government would have to take a political decision, as many benefits expectedly will accrue to Guyana and Guyanese. The Minister’s statement follows the presentation made by the consultant who had examined the feasibility of establishing an oil refinery, and it is indeed appropriate. It is pleasing to note Trotman’s approach to oil, but at the same time I recognise that the Administration is not taking an even approach to all sectors and areas of national life. While the investment in a refinery is seen as possibly a worthwhile project despite the negative economic conclusions, we see that in the sugar industry a completely opposite approach is being taken. Sugar is recognised by all and sundry for the diverse role it plays, yet the Government, in spite of the compelling evidence and arguments, has — for whatever reason — chosen to shun the industry and promote plans for its miniaturization, which will surely have negative consequences for tens of thousands of people. I urge the minister and the Government to examine sugar in the same way it does oil. After all, sugar is already a tremendous economic advantage for the country. An objective and sincere examination of sugar will reveal its importance to the nation at this time, and the need for its support, and not its destruction.Yours sincerely,Patricia Persaudlast_img read more

It was a pleasure serving as Chief Parliamentary Counsel

first_imgDear Editor,A letter published in Guyana Times, dated Saturday, February 4, 2017, by former President Donald Ramotar, wrongly lists me as a victim, the import of which I believe, is that I was forced to resign from the post of Chief Parliamentary Counsel. This is a falsehood to which I cannot acquiesce.I was working on a contract of three and a half years but after just over a year, I decided that I should heed the advice of my doctors and cease active duties. So I tendered my resignation which took effect from January 1, 2017.I consider it a moral duty to society to correct the falsehood which time and its non-refutation could lead to the belief that it is true, and this would be most undesirable. It is wrong to cast blame on an individual where that individual’s action has been nothing but honourable and just. I was never victimised in my 50 years as a law officer.I owe gratitude to the present Attorney General for his kindness; he was considerate and appreciative of my effort and was a source of encouragement.I take this opportunity to thank every Administration that afforded me the opportunity to serve Guyana for 33 years as Chief Parliamentary Counsel to seven of the eight Attorneys General; all of whom approved of my work and to whom I am deeply indebted for the learning acquired from them.I thank the officers of the Ministries and Departments of Government, especially those of the Legal Affairs Ministry for their cooperation and assistance without which my goals as a draftsman could not have been achieved.It was a pleasure serving as Chief Parliamentary Counsel having learnt so much from so many for so long.Yours sincerely,Cecil Dhurjon, CCH,AA, SCAttorney-at-Lawlast_img read more

FEORE MAKES TEAM CANADA ROSTER

first_img For more information, scores and highlights on your favourite U of T athletes and teams, please visit www.varsityblues.ca. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook for the latest and greatest in Varsity Blues intercollegiate athletics. Print Friendly Version For the second consecutive season, University of Toronto Varsity Blues women’s volleyball veteran Anna Feore has been named a member of the Canadian senior women’s indoor national team. Feore, who enters her fifth season as a left side hitter for the Blues this fall, will be vying for a libero position on Team Canada for the four international competitions this season.  Each competition roster will be announced prior to each event. In 2017-18, Feore was named an OUA East first team all-star, her second career all-star nod after being named to the second team in 2016-17. She ranked second on the Blues, averaging 2.31 kills and 2.8 points per set, while leading the squad and ranking 11th in the OUA with 3.08 digs per set. She recorded a career-high 25 digs in two matches last season.Varsity Blues assistant coach Vincenzo Mallia also serves as an assistant coach for the Canadian senior women’s indoor team. center_img Story Links Team Canada kicks off their competition schedule with the Pan Am Cup, July 6-15, in Dominican Republic, before going on a European Tour from August 17-September 3. The squad will then head to Japan in late September to gear up for the world championships, September 27-October 30.  last_img read more

Sophia taxi driver charged with attempted murder, robbery

first_imgA Sophia taxi driver was charged with two counts of attempted murder, one count of robbery under arms and one count of attempted robbery when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan on Tuesday afternoon.It is alleged that Samuel Adams, in the company of another, on February 3, 2017, discharged a loaded firearm at Christopher Marks with intent to murder him.In addition, on the same day at Mandela Avenue, armed with a firearm, Adams attempted to rob Ramroop Ramnauth of his valuables.Finally, the accused on December 6, 2016, at Urquhart Street, Georgetown, in the vicinity of the Finance Ministry, with intent to commit murder, discharged a loaded firearm at Virtual Complainant (VC), John Bryan and robbed him of some $3 million.Adams’ lawyer, Dexter Todd, told the court that his client was held for 12 days in police custody post-arrest. He related that he was only aware of one charge against his client – the Urquhart Street armed robbery charge.Todd further stated that his client was not informed of any other charges against him, despite reporting regularly to an Assistant Superintendent of Police.Adams had reportedly loaned his car to another individual, who was arrested in connection with the December robbery. He continued that when Adams visited the Brickdam Police Station to enquire about his vehicle, he was also arrested.Todd said the Police sought to incite his client to act as a Police informant, but upon his refusal, he was allegedly assaulted by Police ranks and dealt several punches to various parts of his body. The Attorney claimed that the ranks even threatened to shoot his client.Meanwhile, Adams stood in the prisoner’s dock sobbing vigorously.The prosecution told the court no report was made of the alleged beating.Bail was objected to, based on the nature of the offences and penalties attached.The Magistrate denied bail for Adams, who would again face the courts on March 22.last_img read more

Homeboyz whip Impala to lift Enterprise Cup

first_img0Shares0000Homeboyz Stanley Isogol celebrates with Enterprise Cup. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYANAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – Homeboyz stormed to their first Enterprise Cup title after registering a 21-3 victory over Impala in a final staged at the RFUEA Grounds on Saturday.Homeboyz grounded two tries thanks to Polycarp Odhiambo who scored the first one that was successfully converted while William Diffu crossed over for the second though the conversion went wide. Homeboyz’s Johnstone Olindi starred, displaying man of the match performance after scoring two penalties and one conversion.Homeboyz’s Alvine Otieno breaks from Impala’s Xavier Bett. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYAThe Deejeys went ahead through the penalty when Olindi booted home before Impala’s Xavier Bett squandered his penalty kick that could have levelled matters.However, Mark Kwemoi scored three points for the Sarries that restored parity after booting in but it was Olindi who ensured Homeboyz reclaimed the lead after his penalty kick went in for a 6-3 half time lead.Polycarp Odhiambo landed the game’s first try and for Homeboyz for Olindi to convert, taking the scores at 13-3.Homeboyz Alvine Otieno celebrates with Cup. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYAEvin Asena extended the lead for the Deejeys to16 -3 off a penalty against the Sarries.Homeboyz sealed the win when they spread the ball wide for William Diffu to land the second try but Asena missed the conversion.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

KPL returns as Leopards, Tusker held

first_imgStima forced Leopards who have enjoyed a sizzling revival under new Dutch coach, to a barren stalemate as he got his first taste of the grind that the is the KPL while Ismail Dunga came from the bench to rescue Tusker 12 minutes from time in a 1-1 draw at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium.The Brewers missed the opportunity to slash the lead at the top to a single point from half term leaders and champions Gor Mahia FC on 30 although they have a game in hand three adrift. At Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium, Stima keeper, Stephen Odhiambo, did the best impression of USA hero, Tim Howard, the night before when he locked out the marauding Leopards with a commanding display between the sticks.Leopards, who started with their new signings midfielder Humphrey Mieno and forward Kenneth Wendo, were a better side in a game that they could have won by a mile save for the stand-out Odhiambo who was playing his first game of the season.The custodian stood tall to repel Mieno from earning a dream Ingwe debut alongside Jacob Keli, Musa Mudde, left back Abdallah Juma and winger Paul Were.The arrival of Mieno saw Mudde play on the flanks with the former Sofapaka midfielder leading Joseph Shikokoti and Charles Okwemba in the center as Wendo and Keli manned the forward line.In Nakuru, the hosts took the lead on the stroke of halftime through Peter Ng’ang’a who headed in a Teddy Siwa free-kick before Dunga rescued the 2011 and 12 champion’s blushes when he netted the equaliser 12 minutes from time.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – Resurgent AFC Leopards saw their momentum checked by Western Stima while Tusker FC escaped an upset at basement side Top Fry Nakuru as the second leg of the Kenyan Premier League resumed in a whimper on Wednesday.With all eyes fixed on the enthralling goal fest at the ongoing Brazil 2014 World Cup, the domestic top flight club competition reverted to type after a month long break with the two matches on the cards returning a paltry two goals.last_img read more

Arsene Wenger refuses to blame Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil for Arsenal form

first_img1 The Gunners sit 12 points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea For your chance to win £100K, sign up to play Dream Team Europe Fantasy FootballArsene Wenger has refused to lay the blame for Arsenal’s recent poor results at the feet of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.The Gunners host Hull on Saturday now 12 points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea after last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge.That followed a surprise home reverse against Watford with the two losses meaning Wenger’s side have slipped further off the pace and a first league title since 2004 looks unlikely.Wenger has come under fresh scrutiny from a minority of Arsenal fans who want to see the Frenchman’s 20-year tenure at the club come to an end when his contract expires at the end of the current season.But in the meantime, the 67-year-old admits his side faces a fight to maintain their run of finishing inside the Premier League top four in every season since 1996.Having lost just one league game in the opening 15 fixtures of the campaign, Arsenal have now been defeated in four of their previous nine.Sanchez and Ozil had also started the season in fine form but have drifted in and out of games lately as their futures at the Emirates Stadium remain in the balance as they reportedly demand parity with the league’s highest earners.But Wenger insists the club win together and lose together and does not believe a perceived drop in form from Sanchez and Ozil can be credited as the reason behind Arsenal’s stuttering results.“The team wins and the team loses,” he said when asked about Ozil and Sanchez.“When you win sometimes some players are singled out as they are treated like exceptional players but when you don’t do well sometimes just focus a little bit more on the team aspect and not try to blame each other.“The blame culture is part of the perception of people, but what is important is that we have a good opportunity to show that we are a united strong unit and that we bounce back.“When you don’t win you cannot as well say that all is well. You have to analyse that something is not right. It is our job to find where and to have a strong united response.”Although there is a suggestion some Arsenal fans will not attend Saturday’s game as a way of showing their dismay at the current situation, a home game against relegation-threatened Hull could be the perfect chance for the players to give a reaction.But the Tigers will travel to the Emirates Stadium full of confidence having drawn at Manchester United and beaten Liverpool at home in their previous two games as new manager Marco Silva makes his mark.The 39-year-old Portuguese has history with upsetting the apple cart at Arsenal after guiding his Olympiacos side to a Champions League win in north London last season.And Wenger has been suitably impressed by the new Hull boss since his arrival in January.“He is doing well,” he said of Silva.“There are many top managers in Europe. They all come to England. I believe as well that Hull played well with Mike Phelan but so many times they were not rewarded by results and they had injuries as well.“I felt they played well since the start of the season but they had not always the results. The Premier League is difficult for everybody – they were a bit unlucky sometimes so they are a tough opposition for us.”Wenger will watch from the stands as he serves the final match of a four-game touchline ban, while midfielder Granit Xhaka sits out through suspension.With Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla injured, the centre of midfield is looking light for Wenger at the moment and it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was drafted in alongside Francis Coquelin for the defeat at Chelsea.So it will be a welcome return to the squad for Mohamed Elneny, who has been away at the African Cup of Nations with Egypt.“He trained on Wednesday with the team,” Wenger said of the man who gave his country the lead in Sunday’s final before they were beaten by Cameroon.“He’s fully focused and as always, a fantastic player with a great mentality. He is of course disappointed that they lost in the final but we had a quality session yesterday.”Hector Bellerin also has a chance to be involved despite taking a nasty hit to the face courtesy of Marcos Alonso’s forearm as the Chelsea man opened the scoring for Chelsea last time out.Despite being forced off with what appeared to be concussion, it is understood Bellerin has progressed well and could even start against Hull, with Gabriel on hand to deputise if needed.last_img read more

Gossip: Luiz could swap Chelsea for Real Madrid, Palace in £15m striker swoop?

first_imgHere are the top transfer-related stories in Wednesday’s newspapers…Real Madrid are weighing up a January move for Chelsea defender David Luiz. The Brazil international has dropped down the pecking order under Antonio Conte after falling out with the Italian following Chelsea’s 3-0 Champions League defeat by Roma in October. (Daily Mail)Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson wants to sign out-of-favour Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe for £15million in January. (The Sun)David Silva is on the brink of signing a new contract that will keep him at Manchester City until 2020. Spain playmaker Silva, who joined the Blues in 2010, will make it a decade in England by putting pen to paper on the new £160,000-a-week deal. (Daily Mirror)Leroy Sane is set to be rewarded for his stunning start to the season with a new Manchester City mega-deal. (The Sun)Liverpool and Leicester City are considering a move for West Bromwich Albion loanee Ahmed Hegazi. (ESPN)Watford have issued a firm hands-off warning to clubs interested in their Brazilian star Richarlison. The 20-year-old has been a revelation at Vicarage Road since his summer arrival from Fluminense and has caught the attention of Tottenham and Chelsea. (The Sun)Arsenal are among a clutch of Premier League clubs to have made checks on young Dutch forward Alessio Da Cruz. Da Cruz, 20, has been impressing since joining Serie B side Novara this season, scoring five times in 12 starts. The starlet, who started his career at FC Twente, has also been watched recently by Brighton, Southampton and Swansea. (Daily Mirror)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…?Ray Wilkins has told talkSPORT Rangers must appoint an Ibrox legend as manager – and has expressed his desire to take up a role with the clubAlan Stubbs insists Everton should forget all about the idea of appointing Paulo Fonseca as their new managerWayne Rooney must be restored to the Everton team, Tim Sherwood has told talkSPORTThere is just over a month to go until the transfer window opens, and Chelsea are certain to be busy throughout JanuaryMan United are said to be targeting some left footed players when considering their next batch of signingsNapoli and Manchester City target Sime Vrsaljko has asked to leave Atletico MadridBesiktas have told Newcastle United to forget about using Aleksandar Mitrovic as a makeweight in any deal for Cenk TosunAC Milan are hoping to appoint either Antonio Conte or Carlo Ancelotti as their manager next summer, claim reports in Italylast_img read more