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.
Peru, the man who once cut down trees now protects them for love of hummingbirds
Dopo l’incontro con un raro colibrì, Norbil Becerra ha deciso di dedicare la sua vita alla salvaguardia di questi uccelli e della foresta.
Norbil Becerra once had only one way to make a living and support his family: cutting down trees for numerous illegal logging companies in the Peruvian Amazon. But one day, an encounter changed his life. He met a hummingbird, the marvellous spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis).
It was the very first time that the man saw one of these small and beautiful creatures, and he fell in love with it right away. This species, extremely rare and listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, is endemic to Peru and has a particularly delimited habitat, made of forests and shrubbery at an altitude of 2,000-2,900 metres in the Utcubamba valley, Northern Peru.
The males of marvellous spatuletail are characterised by blue crest feathers and emerald green gorget, but their most remarkable feature is their two long racquet-shaped outer tail feathers that end in large violet-blue “spatules”. Becerra said he was stroke by such encounter and decided to dedicate his life to the conservation of forest and hummingbirds.
He thus bought two hectares of forest in order to protect hummingbirds’ habitat and, thanks to the support of the UN programme REDD+, opened a hummingbird ecotourism centre in Aguas Verdes. The ex-logger, after the coordinator of the conservation agreement taught him how to create bird feeders and identify different species and flowers that attract them, has built with his own hands numerous wooden observation platforms that overlook a wide range of coloured flowers and plants.
“I know that my future and my family’s future depend on my conservation decisions,” Becerra said. For his environmental change, the backing of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) programme – supported by the UN, the FAO, UNEP, and UNDP – turned out to be fundamental. The programme aims to provide incentives to countries and community to keep forests intact, whilst showing them that standing trees are worth more than cut down.
Becerra’s family, along with 821 other families, committed to ending deforestation in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, in return for benefits like agricultural training, improved cookstoves, educational materials and medical supplies. In Becerra’s centre, for the equivalent of 7 dollars it is possible to admire and photograph 24 hummingbird species flying about flowers and birdfeeders. “I’m living the tangible benefits of conservation,” he said.
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.