Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
Haze is cloaking Indonesia and Southeast Asia. It’s our fault too
As fires in Indonesia intensify, schools have been closed and flights have been cancelled while a thick smoke haze is blanketing the country, due to burning forests.
A thick smoke haze is blanketing Indonesia, part of Malaysia, and Singapore, due to fires caused by farmers carrying out the slash and burn agriculture.
Schools have been closed and flights have been cancelled. On social networks, such as Twitter, people post images describing the situation in real time.
The Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared to the BBC that Indonesia had “gone to great lengths” to tackle it already, including sending 3,700 soldiers, nearly 8,000 police officers and four water-bombing planes to put out the fires. “You will see results soon and in three years we will have solved this,” he said.
Moreover, CNN reports that “Indonesian officials have begun evacuating infants and their mothers from Riau province in Indonesia as levels of air pollution from peat and forest fires on Sumatra remain hazardous across the region.”
Local populations burn large areas of rainforest, in order to clear the way for cultivable and grazing lands. Mostly in Indonesia, deforestation is regularly carried out to make room for the profitable oil palm.
However, these are not like most other fires, NASA explains through spectacular satellite images. These fires are extremely difficult to extinguish, since they are fuelled by the large quantity of peat in the soil.
Moreover, scientists confirm that this year the situation will be even more complicated due to the presence of El Nino. The dry season will be thus dragged on, leading to reduced rainfalls, which could have instead contributed to put out the fires.
According to the Ecologist, more than 100,000 hectares of peatland forests are destroyed each year to clear the way for plantations: they are drained, converted, and burned, and large quantities of stored carbon are released into the atmosphere. In fact, 85% of Indonesian greenhouse gas emissions come from land use activities.
This is also due to the fact that palm oil demand is relentlessly growing. If the market is not ruled, through certifying and monitoring the entire supply chain from plantations to local populations and final products – despite thousands of miles separate us –, this problem could be also blamed on us.
Cover photo by Oscar Siagian/Getty Images
A historic win for the Ashaninka of Brazil as they receive compensation for deforestation on their land
On top of a 2.4 million dollar compensation, the indigenous Ashaninka people will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands in the 1980s.
The tapir was reintroduced into Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, the country’s most at-risk ecosystem. The species can play a key role in the forest’s recovery.
Forests are home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. This year’s International Day of Forests highlights the urgent changes needed to save them.
After a legal battle that lasted two years, Indonesia’s Supreme Court has revoked the permit to mine for coal in the forests of South Kalimantan in Borneo.
The list of human and animal victims of the Australia wildfires keeps growing – one species might already have gone extinct – as the smoke even reaches South America.
Areas where the FARC guerrilla used to hold power in Colombia have faced record deforestation. Farmers cut down trees, burn land and plant grass for cows. Because, “what else can we do for a living here in the Colombian Amazon”? An intimate report from the heart of the felled forest in Caquetá.
Refusing the anthropocentric vision and respecting the laws of ecology is the only way to safeguard the future of our and all other species, Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson argues in this op-ed.
The 2019 edition of International Mountain Day is “Mountains matter for youth”, highlighting the need to bring young people back to highland areas to take care of their cultural and natural resources.