Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Brazil dismantles ‘biggest destroyer’ of Amazon rainforest

The group is accused of logging and burning large areas of public land in the Amazon

The authorities in Brazil say they have dismantled a criminal organisation they believe was the “biggest destroyer” of the Amazon rainforest.

The gang is accused of invading, logging and burning large areas of public land and selling these illegally for farming and grazing.

In a statement, Brazilian Federal Police said the group committed crimes worth more than $220m (£134m).

A federal judge has issued 14 arrest warrants for alleged gang members.

Twenty-two search warrants were also issued and four suspects are being called in for questioning.

The police operation covers four Brazilian states, including Sao Paulo.

Five men and a woman have already been arrested in Para state in the north of the country, Globo news reported.

‘Impunity’

The BBC’s Wyre Davies in Rio de Janeiro says details are still sketchy, partly because the police operation is focused on one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of the Amazon region.

Political and police corruption is still rife in Brazil’s interior, our correspondent adds.

That problem coupled with alleged ineptitude on the part of the federal government means that loggers and illegal miners are able to operate with impunity, he says.

The Amazon rainforest is home to half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests

The police announced the operation in a statement: “The Federal Police carried out today Operation Chestnut Tree designed to dismantle a criminal organisation specialising in land grabbing and environmental crimes in the city of Novo Progresso, in the south-western region of Para.

“Those involved in these criminal actions are considered the greatest destroyers of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.”

‘Fifty years’

The group members face charges of invading public land, theft, environmental crimes, forgery, conspiracy, tax evasion and money laundering.

They could be sentenced to up to 50 years in jail, although the maximum length that can be served by law in a Brazilian prison is 30 years.

Last year, the Brazilian government said the rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased by 28% between August 2012 and July 2013, after years of decline.

It made a commitment in 2009 to reduce Amazon deforestation by 80% by the year 2020.

Brazil is home to the biggest area of Amazon rainforest, a vast region where one in 10 known species on Earth and half of the planet’s remaining tropical forests are found, according to the leading conservation organisation WWF.

Source: BBCNews

Nature Ramble

Looking at a strange turtle from Brazil.

This one talks…

Scientists study ‘talking’ turtles in Brazilian Amazon

This is an adult Giant South American river turtle. The turtle is the largest member of the side-necked turtle family and grows up to nearly three feet in length. Credit: Photo credit: C. Ferrara/Wildlife Conservation Society Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-scientists-turtles-brazilian-amazon.html#jCp

“Turtles are well known for their longevity and protective shells, but it turns out these reptiles use sound to stick together and care for young, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations.

“Scientists working in the Brazilian Amazon have found that Giant South American river turtles actually use several different kinds of vocal communication to coordinate their social behaviors, including one used by female turtles to call to their newly hatched offspring in what is the first instance of recorded parental care in turtles.

“The study appears in a recent edition of the journal Herpetologica. The authors are: Camila Ferrara of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Richard C. Vogt of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazônia, and the Associação de Ictiólogos e Herpetólogos da Amazônia; Renata S Sousa-Lima of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Bruno M.R. Tardio of the Instituto Chico Mendez; and Virginia Campos Diniz Bernardes of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazônia, and the Associação de Ictiólogos e Herpetólogos da Amazônia.

“These distinctive sounds made by turtles give us unique insights into their behavior, although we don’t know what the sounds mean,” said Dr. Camila Ferrara, Aquatic Turtle Specialist for the WCS Brazil Program. “The social behaviors of these reptiles are much more complex than previously thought.”

My source: Gary Roger Nature Check the link there for more story

Nature Ramble

Study offers snapshot of rare Ecuador Amazon parrot

Researchers came back with “more questions than answers” about the Ecuador Amazon parrot

UK researchers that headed to South America to learn more about one of the world’s rarest parrots have returned with “more questions than answers”.

A team from Chester Zoo spent three weeks studying Ecuador Amazon parrots.

The parrot was only reclassified as a species in its own right in December, before which it was deemed to be a subspecies of a common group of birds.

Only 600 individuals are estimated to remain in the wild, prompting the new species to be listed as Endangered.

“The truth is that we came back with far more questions than answers,” explained expedition leader Mark Pilgrim, director general of Chester Zoo.

“Suddenly, there are a whole number of things that we didn’t expect and we now have questions about.”

One example was how the birds chose their roosting sites amid the mangroves of Cerro Blanco, located along the coast of western Ecuador.

“We knew from literature from our previous visit that the parrots roosted in the mangroves and flew to the dry forests to feed,” Dr Pilgrim told BBC News.

“The assumption was that they did that to protect themselves from predators that were not found on the mangrove islands, but they fly very far out into the mangroves.

“Shrimp farms use bird scaring devices, which are designed to frighten the herons and shore birds and stop them eating the farms’ stock.

“So is this affecting [the parrots’] behaviour? We don’t know.”

Lovesick parrots?

The study also raised questions about the birds’ breeding behaviour.

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Nature Ramble

This week we’re going to look at South America again, Brazil, in fact.

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1tumucumaque

Tumucumaque is a national park established ten years ago in the state of Amapa in the northeast of Brazil.

I had never heard of it before last night when Globo Reporter excelled itself and produced a phenomenal programme, which is a rarity for Brazilian TV.

One of the amazing inhabitants

An amazing place, parts have never seen the footprints of man. During the reportage, just a few days, one biologist identified 70 new species of spider.

“The importance is in fact that all this together make the Guiana Shield one of the best protected and largest ecological corridor of tropical rainforests in the world. It is an uninhabited region and is of high ecological value: most of its animal species, mainly fish and aquatic birds, are not found in any other place in the world.”Wikipedia

Tretioscincus agilis

Tretioscincus agilis – image ebah

Perhaps a new species of frog from the Dendrobates family – image: MongaBay

New species of grasshopper – image: Cantinho da Francicleide

Just a few samples of the fauna. This area is so rarely visited, that there are not many examples of images to be found.

Let’s keep it this way.

 

Make you Fink Good this Friday

If you buy your beef from big corporate supermarkets like Tesco, the chances are you helping to destroy the Amazon rainforest.

Tesco supplier accused of contributing to Amazon rainforest destruction

Greenpeace says meat products supplied by Brazilian firm JBS come from ranches in illegally deforested lands

Cattle at an illegal settlement in northern Brazil: such ranches are the leading source of rainforest destruction in the Amazon. Photograph: Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images

British consumers are unwittingly contributing to the devastation of the Amazon rainforest by buying meat products from Tesco, according to Greenpeace.

The environmental group says in a report that canned beef from the supermarket chain has been found to contain meat from ranches that have been carved out of the lands of indigenous peoples, and farms the Brazilian government believes have been sited in illegally deforested lands.

The allegations stem from an 18-month investigation carried out by Greenpeace into the practices of JBS, a big Brazilian supplier of meat and cattle byproducts. The campaigning group claims it unearthed evidence of serious violations of the company’s own ethical code, and those of companies it supplies, including Tesco.

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This has been known since this June 2009 article:

Supermarket suppliers ‘helping destroy Amazon rainforest’

• Meat companies sued over Amazon deforestation
• Accused firms supplying Tesco, Asda and M&S

Brazilian authorities investigating illegal deforestation have accused the suppliers of several UK supermarkets of selling meat linked to massive destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Brazilian firms that supply Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer are among dozens of companies named by prosecutors, who are seeking hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation.

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So it’s not new news.

This week in Brazil steps were taken by the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets to help rectify the domestic use of such meat…

Brazil supermarkets ‘to avoid Amazon meat’

Farmers use fire to clear land for cattle, destroying huge swathes of rainforest in the Amazon region.

The main group representing supermarkets in Brazil says it will no longer sell meat from cattle raised in the rainforest.

The Brazilian Association of Supermarkets, which has 2,800 members, hopes the deal will cut down on the illegal use of rainforest for pasture.

Deforestation in the Amazon has slowed over the past years but invasion of public land continues to be a problem.

Huge swathes have been turned into land for pasture and soy plantations.

The Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (Abras) signed the agreement with the Federal Public Prosecutor’s office in the capital, Brasilia.

‘More transparent’

Public Prosecutor Daniel Cesar Azeredo Avelino said consumers would benefit from the deal.

“The agreement foresees a series of specific actions to inform the consumer about the origin of the meat both through the internet and at the supermarkets,” he said.

Mr Avelino said a more transparent labelling system would also make it easier for consumers to avoid buying meat from the Amazon and make it harder for shops to sell items from producers who flouted the law.

He said he would now work towards reaching a similar deal with smaller shops.

Under the deal, supermarkets have promised to reject meat from areas of the Amazon where illegal activities take place, such as illegal logging and invasion of public land, Mr Avelino said.

There is currently no deadline for the implementation of the measures, but Mr Avelino said they would be adopted “soon”.

According to the pressure group Greenpeace, expansion of the cattle industry in the Amazon is the single biggest cause of deforestation in the region.

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If Brazilians can take appropriate measures, the big corporate supermarkets across the globe can do the same.

And, you, the consumer, can also play your part and demand to know the origin of your beef.

Do this, and you will be doing your part.

 

 

Brazil President Rousseff vetoes parts of forest law

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the vetoes would protect the environment

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has vetoed parts of a controversial bill which regulates how much land farmers must preserve as forest.

Among the 12 articles which President Rousseff rejected is an amnesty for illegal loggers.

Brazil’s farmers’ lobby had argued that an easing of environmental restrictions would promote food production.

Environmentalists oppose the law, which the say will lead to further destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The bill was approved by the Brazilian Congress a month ago. Environmentalists had urged President Rousseff to veto the entire bill.

President Rousseff rejected 12 articles from the bill and made 32 modifications to the text.

The exact details of the revised document have not yet been made public, but Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the government wanted to avoid diminishing protected areas of the Amazon and other sensitive ecosystems.

The version of the bill passed by the Brazilian Congress last month would have allowed for huge areas of the country, which had been illegally logged before July 2008, to be opened up to farming.

It would also have allowed farming closer to riverbanks, which are especially vulnerable to erosion if trees are chopped down.

Officials said Ms Rousseff had rejected the article dealing with the riverbanks, ensuring their continued protection.

At a news conference, the ministers for the environment, agriculture and development said the president had struck a balance between preservation and sustainable development.

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

Dilma Rousseff has shown a presence of mind over this matter. The proposed legislation was indeed dangerous, totally flawed, totally unreasonable. There were many direct threats contained it that endangered the Amazon. The destroyers must be held accountable.

Hopefully, the revised law will be accepted by the government.

The battle is not over yet.

Make you Fink on Friday

It would appear to be an environmentalist’s dream come true.

Fungi Discovered In The Amazon Will Eat Your Plastic

Mushrooms (not Pestalotiopsis microspora)

Polyurethane seemed like it couldn’t interact with the earth’s normal processes of breaking down and recycling material. That’s just because it hadn’t met the right mushroom yet.

The Amazon is home to more species than almost anywhere else on earth. One of them, carried home recently by a group from Yale University, appears to be quite happy eating plastic in airless landfills.

The group of students, part of Yale’s annual Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory with molecular biochemistry professor Scott Strobel, ventured to the jungles of Ecuador. The mission was to allow “students to experience the scientific inquiry process in a comprehensive and creative way.” The group searched for plants, and then cultured the microorganisms within the plant tissue. As it turns out, they brought back a fungus new to science with a voracious appetite for a global waste problem: polyurethane.

The common plastic is used for everything from garden hoses to shoes and truck seats. Once it gets into the trash stream, it persists for generations. Anyone alive today is assured that their old garden hoses and other polyurethane trash will still be here to greet his or her great, great grandchildren. Unless something eats it.

Source: co.Exist Read more

Opinion:

Now I ask myself, if millions of tons of plastic can be eaten by mushrooms, we will have millions of tons of mushrooms, what good are the mushrooms?

Monster Mushrooms

There is no indication that they are edible, maybe they can be composted, maybe they will mutate and we’ll have monster mushrooms invading the planet.

At least, I guess they are compostable

Will Monsanto try to GM them? That’s a scary thought.

Pestalotiopsis microspora

This is the actual fungi involved.

I’m not the expert, and don’t understand how this relates to a mushroom, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering about the results of our meddling.

Wondering what happens when we change the diet of these mushrooms to pure plastic. What happens to the cellular structure. If they prove edible, are the mutant changes going to be passed on to the eaters?

What by-products, residue or effluent are left after the mushrooms have devoured the plastic? Are they going to produce some equally hazardous gas/es like methane and turn our planet into a warmer version of Neptune which, I believe, has a frozen methane atmosphere?

Irradescent Mushrooms

Or, maybe they’ll just glow in the dark and we’ll have pretty blue mushrooms everywhere.

So many questions.

Let’s face it, we have jumped the gun before on many issues, only to find them eventually detrimental.

It all sounds wonderful, too good to be true, but I am left with nagging doubts.

How about you?

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