NBA: Lakers’ Russell says there’s freedom without Kobe

first_imgBrad Pitt wins his first acting Oscar as awards get underway Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Despite his impressive performance on some games last year, the former Ohio Buck-eye was somehow playing on a leash. Former head coach Byron Scott did not pattern the team’s offense around his point guard’s patented pick-and-roll playmaking, while the team’s retiring legend Kobe Bryant dominated the ball and took the majority of shots on isolation plays.With new head coach Luke Walton endorsing a more flee-flowing type of offense this year, Rusell has already observed a sudden shift in the team’s priorities.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agent“We’re all about playing together now,” he was quoted as saying on an ESPN report. “It’s not about one guy anymore. It’s about sacrificing for the team.”With Bryant’s departure from the team, many pundits have noticed a much more mature and confident version of the up-and-coming youngster in summer league and pre-season play. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ginebra teammates show love for Slaughter Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 “Kobe deserved every bit of attention he got in his last year, but there’s freedom in Kobe not being around,” he explained. “There’s also a leadership vacuum that they plan to fill as a unit. There’s no one leader, no face of the Lakers.”He also cited the San Antonio Spurs as a barometer of success in the league, and said his team should use them as template.“When we traveled to San Antonio last season, I noticed that it’s about everybody–they had all those household names, but the 15th guy got the same amount of attention as Tim Duncan, who’s a legend,” he said.  “I feel like we’re all buying into that concept. We’re a team now. And that’s exciting.”Apart from the usual struggles of an NBA rookie, last year’s second overall pick had to endure tension with Scott who made him come of the bench for some games, while also dealing with wire-tap controversy with teammate Nick Young.The Lakers won their home opener against the Houston Rockets on Thursday, with the final score of 120-114.  Khristian IbarrolaADVERTISEMENT Team ‘Trabaho’ scores championship title at the last leg of Smart Siklab Saya Manila Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise View commentscenter_img Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas We are young Pelicans’ Davis scores 50 in season-opening loss to Nuggets MOST READ EDITORS’ PICK Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Lakers’ sophomore guard D’Angelo Russell.  AP PHOTOSecond-year point guard D’Angelo Russell showed glimpses of his potential superstardom during his rookie campaign last year.After garnering respectable averages of 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 28.2 minutes per game, the 20-year-old phenom is looking to ride that momentum and step up as the leader of the Los Angeles Lakers’ young core.ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchiselast_img read more

NBA: Retired five-time champion Rodman charged in hit and run

first_imgSmart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports If convicted on all charges, the five-time NBA champion and seven-time NBA rebound champion faces a maximum of two years in county jail.Rodman, 55, will be arraigned on January 20, 2017.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agentPolice say that in the early hours of Sunday morning, Rodman drove a sport utility vehicle north in the southbound carpool lane of Interstate 5 in Santa Ana and drove head-on toward a sedan, causing the driver of that vehicle to swerve into a dividing wall to avoid a collision with Rodman’s vehicle.Police say Rodman did not exchange information with the other driver and fled the scene before police arrived. Rodman became best known for his outrageous behavior and appearance — tattoos, body piercings and dyed hair among his trademarks — during an NBA career that lasted from 1986 to 2000, including titles with Detroit in 1989 and 1990 and alongside Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls from 1996-1998.Rodman was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and finished his NBA career with 6,683 points, 11,954 rebounds and 1,600 assists.After his NBA career, Rodman played in Mexico, Britain, Finland and the Philippines. He promoted gambling websites, vodka and backed US President-elect Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, having appeared with him on the television show Celebrity Apprentice.Rodman also made three notable visits to North Korea within 12 months in 2013 and early 2014, meeting leader Kim Jong-un and bringing a team of ex-NBA players for exhibition games against North Korea’s national team, one on Kim’s birthday. CBBADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Dennis Rodman speaks with fellow US basketball players during a team meeting at a Pyongyang, North Korea, hotel Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. APLOS ANGELES, United States — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman was charged with hit and run and property damage Monday for driving the wrong way on a freeway and causing a car crash, police said.Rodman was charged with misdemeanor counts of hit and run with property damage, driving a motor vehicle across a divide, giving false information to a police officer and driving without a valid license.ADVERTISEMENT Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND EDITORS’ PICK Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol towncenter_img We are young Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise F2 spells trouble for Army View commentslast_img read more

Barcelona’s reserves rout Hercules in Copa del Rey

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine “I’m happy that we finished the year this way,” Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said. “Despite the difference between the teams, we played with respect and gave everything we had.”Valencia ended the year giving its fans some reason to celebrate by beating Leganes for a 5-2 victory on aggregate.Striker Rodrigo scored a goal in each half for Valencia, which earned only its third win in 10 matches since former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli took over in October.The team is winless in seven games in the Spanish league and enters the break only one spot from the relegation zone.Eibar defeated Sporting Gijon to reach the next round 5-2 on aggregate, with striker Kike Garcia scoring his two goals in similar fashion — less than a minute into the first half and again less than a minute into the second. Adrian Gonzalez also found the net for Eibar, while Sporting got on the board near the end with substitute Ruben Sanchez Perez-Cejuela.Osasuna defeated Granada 2-0 to advance 2-1 on aggregate in a matchup between the bottom clubs in the first division of the Spanish league. Promoted Osasuna is last going into the winter break, with Granada just one spot ahead.In La Coruna, Deportivo went through with a 3-2 win on aggregate after beating Real Betis 3-1.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes EDITORS’ PICK Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND The defending champions got off to a slow start, but the game opened up after defender Lucas Digne got on the board with a shot from inside the area in the 37th minute.Midfielder Ivan Rakitic added to the lead by converting a penalty just before halftime, and Rafinha, Turan and Paco Alcacer scored in the second half. Alcacer’s goal was his first in a competitive match since joining Barcelona this season. He had netted in a friendly last week.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad Ali“We had to be patient,” Rakitic said. “After the first goal, everything was easier.”Despite the first-leg setback, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique stuck to the reserves and gave some extra time off to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Gerard Pique after they played in the team’s last league game of 2016 at the weekend. Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PHcenter_img We are young Senators to proceed with review of VFA MOST READ Kvitova to miss six months after knife attack, says doctor Turan, Rakitic, Rafinha and Javier Mascherano were the only seasoned players starting against Hercules, which marked the team’s final game of the year.The Copa del Rey will resume in the first week of January.On Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time), Atletico Madrid beat third-division club Guijuelo 10-1 on aggregate after a 4-1 win at Vicente Calderon Stadium, while Real Madrid had already reached the next round by eliminating third-division team Cultural Leonesa.With hat tricks by Luciano Vietto and Ben Yedder, Sevilla routed fourth-division club Formentera to advance 14-2 on aggregate.Brazilian playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso opened the scoring in Seville with his first goal since joining the club this season, and Pablo Sarabia netted twice in the one-sided match at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town FC Barcelona’s Ivan Krkic kicks the ball to scores a penalty during the Copa del Rey, Spain’s King’s Cup soccer match between FC Barcelona and Hercules at Camp Nou. APMADRID — Barcelona’s reserves got the job done at the second attempt, leading the Catalan club to the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey with a 7-0 rout of third-division Hercules on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time).After being held to a stunning 1-1 draw in the first leg, a hat trick from Arda Turan helped the second-stringers to a comfortable victory at Camp Nou.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

Progress on jaguar conservation in Suriname

first_imgAnimals, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Carnivores, Cats, China wildlife trade, China’s Demand For Resources, Conservation, Environment, Indigenous Cultures, Jaguars, Poachers, Researcher Perspectives Series, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking Article published by Rhett Butler Dr. Mark J. Plotkin is the Co‑Founder & President of the Amazon Conservation Team, which partners with indigenous peoples to conserve forests and wildlife in Suriname, Colombia, and Brazil.In this post, Plotkin writes about a recent meeting in Suriname to discuss an emerging threat to jaguars across Latin America: poaching for traditional Chinese medicine.He notes that representatives who attended the meeting are now deeply engaged in designing an action plan for jaguar conservation in Suriname. The largest carnivorous mammal of tropical America – the King of Beasts of the Amazon rainforest – is the jaguar. Found from the deserts of the American southwest as far south as Argentina, the jaguar is the world’s third largest feline, exceeded in size only by the lion and the tiger. The largest male jaguars can tip the scale at well over 300 pounds, appreciably more than an African lioness. Jaguars also are renowned for the extraordinary power of their bite: they can easily chomp through turtle shells and may kill large prey with a single bite to the back of the neck.Because of their power, strength, fearlessness and ability to roam the rainforest in the dead of night, jaguars serve as the symbol of the Amazonian shaman – indeed, it is not uncommon for these healers to claim that with the aid of powerful plants like ayahuasca, they can turn themselves into jaguars. Among the Amazon’s apex predators, only the jaguar typically plays a major cultural role in indigenous societies.Jaguar in Colombia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Jaguars have long been considered endangered in North and Central America, but have always been thought to enjoy a safe stronghold in South America, as the size and remoteness of much of Amazonia seemed to offer an inviolable refuge. However, that may no longer be the case. The rapid pace of roadbuilding in Amazonia is bringing the outside world ever further into the rainforest. The spread of cattle ranches – particularly in the Brazilian Amazon – attracts jaguars seeking an easy meal but who are then hunted down to eliminate predation. And a peculiar new market for jaguar body parts has arisen in South America. Though best documented in Bolivia and Suriname, it is suspected to have spread into other Amazonian countries as well.The Belt and Road Initiative is a multibillion-dollar development strategy designed and promulgated by the Chinese government. The Chinese have announced its purpose is to enhance regional and global connectivity; detractors see an attempt to dominate the world with a China-centered trading network. What is undeniable is that the Chinese have become both widespread and dominant economic players in Amazonia, a region where their presence was negligible just a few decades ago.Suriname has served as an entrepot for the recent Chinese influx. Chinese immigrants from Guangdong Province first settled in Suriname (then a colony of the Netherlands) in the mid-1800s to serve as migrant labor on sugar and rice plantations near the coast. When 21st century China looked to South America to determine where it could find a warm welcome, the combination of a Chinese-speaking population and a government hungry for foreign investment made Suriname an obvious choice. A massive influx of settlers from China over the course of the past two decades has resulted in establishments of new banks, casinos, companies, factories, restaurants, shops and supermarkets, at least some of which has driven locally-owned businesses into bankruptcy. Jaguar (Panthera onca). Photo by Rhett A. Butler / MongabayOne unanticipated aspect of the foreign Chinese presence in Suriname is the rise of demand for jaguar parts. Chinese medicine has long employed pieces of animals, from donkey-hide gelatin to pangolin scales to rhino horn to tiger penis. It is believed that the jaguar’s similarity to the tiger – as well as efforts by the Chinese government to reduce the trade in tiger parts –may have shifted the demand to the jaguar, which was never part of traditional Chinese medicine.Recent research by the World Animal Protection League revealed an appalling trade in Surinamese jaguar products. Chinese traders are paying local hunters (usually Maroons but also Amerindians) to slaughter jaguars for markets back in China. The teeth and claws are made into necklaces and other jewelry. A more bizarre practice entails boiling the entire cat for seven days to create a paste or a glue, said to cure everything from insomnia to rheumatism. As with the use of rhino horn as an aphrodisiac, the scientific consensus is that jaguar paste has no therapeutic benefits.In the face of growing public outcry, Surinamese civil society recently took a most extraordinary step forward in combatting this dreadful practice. John Goedschalk, Director of Conservation International – Suriname, helped organize a meeting of both religious and tribal leaders, enabling them to speak out with one voice against jaguar poaching. Conference poster. ‘Kibri mi’ means ‘Save me’ in Sranan Tongo, one of Suriname’s two national languages. ‘Ik ben de koning’ means ‘I am the king!’ in Dutch, Suriname’s other national language.The meeting was held on October 30 at the Islamic Cultural Center in Paramaribo (this being Suriname, the Center is located between the mosque and the synagogue!). With funding from Global Wildlife Conservation and Staatsolie (State Oil of Suriname), the meeting was officially initiated by the Surinamese Inter-Religious Council and the Committee of Christian Churches. Conservation International Suriname managed logistics with some assistance from the Amazon Conservation Team – Suriname and the World Wildlife Fund – Guianas.An exceptional aspect of the gathering was the diversity of representation: beyond Roman Catholic Bishop Choennie, leaders of the Muslim, Hindu, Baptist and Lutheran communities were also in attendance. No less important were leaders and representatives from all of Suriname’s Amerindian and Maroon groups as well. Further diversity included representatives of the Suriname government, the local university, the National Zoological Collection, the Dutch Embassy, the Paramaribo Zoo, and youth groups and theater associations. Leaders of the Surinamese business associations – including Surinamese Chinese members – also supported the effort. John Goedschalk said, “The slaughter of our magnificent jaguars for commercial gain is a shameful practice which must be ended. Fortunately, this has brought together many disparate elements of Surinamese society to combat this crime.”Said Kamainja Panashekung, shaman of the Trio tribe and an ACT field coordinator: “Jaguars are sacred animals who protect the forest. They must not be killed by and for greedy outsiders.”Rainforest in Suriname. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Representatives who attended the October 30 meeting are now deeply engaged in designing an action plan for jaguar conservation in Suriname. The outlines for actions necessary took place during the meeting: the need for baseline studies of jaguar populations, the need for park guard patrols and checkpoint monitoring, etc. The final document should serve as a powerful tool for protecting Suriname’s jaguars and other animals and plants while providing a blueprint for bringing different people together and uniting them in a common cause.In conclusion, the prevailing sentiment at the meeting was expressed first by the Bishop and essentially echoed by all other speakers:“Humans have a special responsibility for creation, because we are endowed with reason to respect the laws of nature and the delicate balance between all the beings with whom we share our world!”Jaguar in Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.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

A Malagasy community races the timber mafia to save its forest

first_imgArticle published by malavikavyawahare The Vohibola forest is one of the last remaining primary forests along Madagascar’s eastern coast, supporting a large variety of endemic species found nowhere else on Earth.Under a renewed contract finalized this week the responsibility for its management was delegated to Razan’ny Vohibola, an association of volunteers from four surrounding villages.The task of protecting the forest, which is rapidly disappearing because of illegal logging, pits the local protectors against not just the timber mafia but also officials whom the villagers allege are complicit.Members of Razan’ny Vohibola were arrested in April on charges of aiding the illegal logging allegedly at the behest of corrupt officials, but released after the central environment ministry intervened. Vohibola Forest is home to several species of microfauna: from tiny frogs that fit on a fingertip, to Lilliputian chameleons of all shades. It is also one of the last remaining primary forests along Madagascar’s eastern coast and it could disappear in a matter of years, conservationists fear. The forest has shrunk to less than half of its former size in 15 years. It now measures 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres), an area one-tenth the size of Disney World in Florida.“A long time ago I went to war in Algeria, fighting to protect a country that is not mine, so how can I not protect my own country?” Joël Talata, 84, said during an interaction with Madagascar’s environment minister that was captured on video. Talata is president of Razan’ny Vohibola, a local association formed by volunteers from four villages that surround the forest and charged with safeguarding the forest. “The time that I have left, I give it to God and protecting my forest,” the octogenarian said.This resolve will soon be put to the test. On May 9, Madagascar’s environment ministry renewed a contract with Razan’ny Vohibola for one year to assess the group’s ability to protect the forest, which is fast being depleted by illegal logging for precious wood and charcoal.Wedged between Madagascar’s eastern coast and the Pangalanes canal, a system of inter-connected waterways along the coast, Vohibola is a littoral forest. These types of forests are found close to the coastline in shallow sandy soils, with canopy height of 6 to 20 meters (20 to 66 feet) on average.“The littoral forests of  Vohibola are amongst the last remnants of primary vegetation in some of the most disturbed and anthropogenically influenced areas of Madagascar,” said Philip-Sebastian Gehring, a herpetologist at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. “This forest type harbors microendemic flora and fauna, which is found nowhere else on this planet.”A frog from the genus Stumpffia. Frogs of this genus are endemic to Madagascar. Image Courtesy: Alexandre PoussinIn 2012, nine forested areas along Madagascar’s southern coast were identified by the U.S.-based Missouri Botanical Garden as biodiversity hotspots with high levels of endemism. Eight of these forests no longer stand today, said Alexandre Poussin, a French filmmaker and adventurer who co-founded Razan’ny Vohibola in 2016.According to local media reports, 1.8 million trees have been chopped from Vohibola to feed the illegal trade. Recent years have brought an increase in the rate of deforestation here, Rivonala Razafison, a journalist based in the capital, Antananarivo, who has covered the area for years, told Mongabay.Between 2003 and 2016, the protected area network in Madagascar expanded dramatically from 1.7 million hectares to 7.1 million hectares (4.2 million acres to 17.5 million acres). Despite this, since 2012 the rate of tree cover loss, an indicator of deforestation, has increased in Madagascar, peaking in 2017. In 2018, Madagascar lost the highest proportion of primary tropical forest in the world, according to data from the University of Maryland, accessed through the Global Forest Watch platform.Forests like Vohibola are especially vulnerable because they do not enjoy the status of a protected area, which translates into a lack of resources and funding. The government retains no direct responsibility for managing the forest, having delegated that job to Razan’ny Vohibola in 2016 when Vohibola was designated a community forest to be managed by local people.The renewed contract between the government and Razan’ny Vohibola could be the first step toward the forest gaining recognition as a protected area. Even so, whether community protection can work remains an open question. The handing over of the forest to the community hasn’t stemmed the rate of forest loss, and conservationists like Poussin fear that by the time Vohibola is declared a protected area there will be nothing left to protect.The endemic species will be lost with the forests, Gehring said.The recently released summary of a U.N. report on biodiversity said that about three-fourths of the terrestrial environment worldwide and a third of the marine environment have been “significantly altered by human actions.” The summary went on to highlight that ecosystems in areas managed by indigenous peoples and local communities fare much better.However, as the history of Vohibola shows, in the absence of strong support from the government and adequate resources, communities are faced with an almost impossible task. In Madagascar, the rule of law is weak and respect for community rights is tenuous and fraught. Village associations like Razan’ny Vohibola don’t have the resources or the trained manpower to tackle the menacing timber mafia that operates here, according to Jonah Ratsimbazafy, a primatologist at the University of Antananarivo.The journalist Razafison visited the forest in March this year along with locals from Razan’ny Vohibola and three foreign journalists. He said their party was threatened by a group of illegal loggers who were camped in the forest. “Those people are all volunteers, they are not paid. They have nothing,” Razafison said of the local forest protectors. “That was why they were not able to face the loggers who invaded the forest.”The situation is complicated by accusations of corruption against local officials. Members of Razan’ny Vohibola say they face not just the threats from illegal loggers but also harassment from officials complicit in the illicit trade. They say this includes the mayor of the commune of Ambinaninony where Vohibola is situated, Cécilien Ranaivo.Members of the association Rann’zhiby Vohibola when they were taken into custody on charges of wood trafficking. Image Courtesy: Alexandre Poussin“The mayor is part of the wood trafficking,” Poussin said, adding that Ranaivo and Christian Ratsimbazafy (no relation to the primatologist), who directs the environment ministry’s Atsinanana division, orchestrated the arrest of several members of Razan’ny Vohibola in April on charges of illegal logging. Talata was among those arrested. Timber that had been confiscated from illegal loggers was presented as proof of the members’ involvement in the trade, Poussin said.The mayor and regional director did not respond to Mongabay’s requests for a comment.  Ranaivo told AFP that accusations of local officials facilitating the illegal trade through corruption were “politically motivated.”The villagers were released after two days in custody, after the environment ministry intervened. In a show of support, the environment minister, Alexandre Georget, visited Vohibola on April 27 and spoke to members of Razan’ny Vohibola. It was during this visit that the decision to renew the contract was first announced, and the contract was formalized this week.“They will not be alone,” Georget said in an interview during the visit. “Our doors will always be open to them … We will also continue to support them technically so they can be more effective. Technicians and forestry agents will also assist them in their work.”It remains to be seen if that will be enough to preserve Vohibola forest.Banner Image: Vohibola forest in February 2019. Image Courtesy: Alexandre PoussinMalavika Vyawahare is the Madagascar staff writer for Mongabay. Find her on Twitter: @MalavikaVyFEEDBACK: 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. Biodiversity, charcoal, Community Forests, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Forests, Governance, Illegal Logging, Protected Areas, Rainforests 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

‘You don’t find orchids; they find you’: Q&A with botanist Edicson Parra

first_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 overSponsored Article published by Maria Salazar Edicson Parra has not only discovered more than 20 new species of orchids in his home country of Colombia, but has also used his expertise in orchid diversity to help halt development, road and mining projects that would have otherwise threatened their forest habitats.But studying orchids can be a dangerous challenge in Colombia, due to drug traffickers and threats to environmentalists in the country.Parra says orchids could be “one of the most sensitive of all Earth’s taxa.” Orchids are particularly vulnerable and fragile to deforestation, including edge effects, making protecting large tracts of forests key to their survival. When a mining company came to exploit an old-growth cloud forest near Edicson Parra’s hometown of Fusagasuga in Colombia, he decided to take action. He rallied as many relatives and friends as he could and joined a street protest against the looming project.Photos of Parra and his family waving placards and sporting identical Colombian soccer jerseys ran in local newspapers. But Parra had one superpower nobody else at the protest possessed: he had spent 10 years learning how to identify orchids.On entering the tract of forest slated for demolition, Parra, who recently received his Ph.D. in conservation science from Imperial College London, did what any biologist worth their salt would do: he carried out a biological survey. Rooting through mossy treetops and rotten logs, Parra found 24 species of orchids living in the cloud forest. Three were endemic to Colombia. One of these, Epidendrum fusagasugüense, Parra had discovered and named after his hometown only the year before.He provided the information from his botanical survey to a legal team fighting the mining. A court eventually banned development in the ecosystem. A central factor in the ruling was the recognition of the forest as an orchid hotspot, along with the fact that this forest provides freshwater to over 1,000 households.But this wasn’t the first time Parra had used his orchid knowhow in defense of Colombia’s cloud forests. Already once before, his botanical surveys helped divert a road set to cut through a unique forest reserve in the Central Cordillera. And when a company planned to build a gated community of luxury chalets in a forest that Parra calls “the orchid Garden of Eden” – home to 126 orchid species, including 15 completely new to science — his targeted surveys once again came to the rescue.Mongabay caught up with Parra to chat about using orchids to save forests, the realities of working as a biologist in war-torn and post-conflict Colombia, and the threats and conservation opportunities for Colombia’s most enigmatic plant family.Edicson Parra searches for understory and canopy orchids in the cloud forests of the Colombian Andes. Images by Gianluca Cerullo.Mongabay: Where did your passion for orchids come from? Edicson Parra: My mum was into her flowers. When I was young, we used to hike up into the hills and look for orchids. I literally fell in love. I can’t think of another explanation apart from love. Whenever I get the chance to go into the forest now, I always bring that passion with me. I try to keep the link between being a scientist and a human. There’s this perception of scientists as heartless. But how can you be called heartless when you regularly say out loud that you are in love with a family of plants? It helps that orchids are so emblematic in Colombia and that we really are the global epicenter for orchid diversity — for sure, that keeps things interesting!Why are there so many orchid species in Colombia and do you think there are many more to still be discovered? My country has more than 4,000 species of orchids. Even though orchids are the most diverse plant family in the entire world, that’s still a hefty chunk of Earth’s orchids! The story of why Colombia is the most orchid-rich country on the globe is closely linked to the uplift of the Andes. As these mountains rose, it provided a huge altitudinal and spatial gradient, with lots of varied microhabitats that epiphytes [plants that grow on other plants], including orchids, were able to exploit. We also have this land gradient between the Amazon and the Andes in southwest Colombia which is incredibly diverse.The second reason for Colombia’s staggering orchid diversity lies in the very high diversification rate of some of its smaller orchids, especially the subtribe of orchids known as the Pleurothallidinae. These essentially settled in one place and then exploded in diversity like an orchid atomic bomb!There are definitely many more species to be discovered in Colombia. Previously conflicts with guerrillas made it difficult to access some areas for surveys, but in peacetime lots of new expeditions are on the hunt for new species. There’s huge potential for exciting discoveries, especially in the Chocó biogeographic region in the west of the country, which is pretty well preserved.Colombia is the most orchid-rich country in the world, with more than 4,000 species. Images by Edicson Parra.How do orchids respond to forest degradation? So far there has actually not been much research into how orchids respond to habitat degradation, but from what we do know, things look very worrying indeed. When you chop down or fragment a forest it creates these new edges that my research has shown can have devastating impacts on orchids.Working in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, I found that there are some drought-resilient orchid species that can survive in farms or colonize the drier edges of forests. But this is only a tiny fraction of hardy orchids. Most species, including those that are the most critical in providing pollen and other rewards to pollinators, are extremely sensitive and simply cannot survive in forest edges.Because orchid seeds don’t have a protective tissue, to grow, their seeds have to land in a sort of Goldilocks zone, where conditions such as moisture and mycorrhizal associations are just right. But these Goldilocks zones vanish as humans homogenize forests and as edge effects fritter away core forest area.In my research, I found that 85 percent of orchids need to be half a kilometer [0.3 miles], or even more, away from the forest edge to have the right sort of habitat to survive. That’s huge! To put that in perspective, that means that less than one-fifth of habitat remaining in the entire Brazilian Atlantic Forest biome, which has already been heavily fragmented and reduced by farming, could actually conceivably support forest-specialist orchids into the future. Orchids could very well be one of the most sensitive of all Earth’s taxa.You’ve discovered more than 20 species of orchid. Which were the most meaningful to you?You never forget your first love, and it’s like that with my first orchid discovery: Lepanthes foreroi, named after my botany professor at university. I remember working in Yotoco reserve with my friend when I stumbled across it. And then, during my master’s, I found a few species. The one I named after my son, Hapalorchis dominicii, is of course special to me. And then a few species, Epidendrum fusugasugüensis and Lepanthes dapäensis, came at a really good time for the conservation of community forests. Ah, it’s so hard to pick one!The one I’ve named after my partner is still in press, waiting to be published, so that will be a nice if it comes through!People in my field, especially non-academics, say that you don’t find orchids. Spend enough time in the forest, and it’s the orchids that find you. Like a human pollinator, you are pulled in by their fragrance and the complex, fragile reproductive systems that they have evolved. I have to admit that I do put some stock in that. Whenever I go in the forest, I just feel this lure toward orchids. It’s magnetic! Probably something is wrong with my brain.Parra’s discovery of Epidendrum fusagasugüense came at a very important time for the conservation of a community cloud forest imperilled by a looming mining project. Image by Edicson Parra.Orchids are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plants. This makes them very vulnerable to habitat change, as they require ideal conditions to survive. Images by Edicson Parra.What were some of the more harrowing experiences of working as a biologist in Colombia during the war? In 2o1o, I was working alone in Garrapatas, near the Páramo las Hermosas. This area was historically under the control of drug-trafficking groups. Once, I was stopped at a territorial checkpoint, stripped of my clothes and held at gunpoint for several hours. I was only an undergrad at the time and I had barely enough money even for transport, let alone to pay any bribes. But I’d committed the mistake of borrowing a GPS from my university. This raised a lot suspicion, as the guys thought I had been sent by the military to spy on their territory. There was a lot of shouting and arguing. In the end I think they got bored of my wimping and let me go. But that was scary.Another time I was carrying out orchid surveys in cloud forests near the Chalet de la Muerte. This place was the scene of a horrible atrocity, where a cartel wanting control over the area had slaughtered many community leaders. While I was exploring my forest plot sites, I collapsed through the forest floor and into a hole. Initially I thought I had fallen into an ancient indigenous tomb and was really excited. But I quickly realized I was walking on bones and that this was in fact the scene of a mass slaughter and grave. That still makes me really sad today because I know that the people murdered were innocents who only wanted to live their lives in peace.The most danger I have been in myself though was nothing to do with the conflict. I was 27 meters [89 feet] up a tree looking for canopy epiphytes and my rope was caught in a bromeliad at the fork of a branch. I went to untangle the rope and got bitten by a very venomous pit viper. It was probably hunting for frogs around the bromeliad. So I did what any macho man would do in that situation: I screamed out, cried a lot and shouted for help! I was silly enough to be in the forest on my own, so it was a long and dizzy way back down the tree, to camp, and then on to the hospital to get anti-venom. When I next went back to the field, I made sure that I had an assistant!Edicson Parra returns from a day hunting for orchids in mountaintop cloud forests. Image by Gianluca Cerullo.Why was the forest near your hometown under threat and how did you help to ensure its conservation? In short, this cloud forest reserve, which provides water to over 1,000 Colombian households and farmlands, was imperilled by a mining development project. After community members attended a workshop run by the mining company, they felt they had been unfairly tricked into accepting the project by its silver-tongued representatives. This fomented distrust. When a fire suspiciously broke out in the forest, locals fought to douse the flames and save some of the resident wildlife. This was when our community really came together and were galvanized to attempt to halt the mining through peaceful protest.I was having drinks with other protesters and I expressed my intention to help out in any way that I could. And the only thing I know how to do is sample orchids. Apart from that I’m pretty useless. So I went into the forest, carried out my surveys and found these rare orchids — one of which had never been recorded before in the Central Cordillera. It was pretty exciting for the community who weren’t aware how diverse the orchids in the forest were.I also did something else. Here in Colombia, whenever a company wants to carry out a small- or large-scale project, they have to hand in a report that quantifies which species are present in the area. But when I looked in public archives at the report submitted by the mining company, I found that it a was plagiarized copy of a completely different assessment carried out elsewhere. This report said that there were no orchids at all even present in the forest — which was in complete contradiction to my findings.Orchids are protected in Colombia by law. So if a company wants develop in an orchid area, they have to spend money on restoration or mitigation. And the last thing a mining company wants to do, at least from my own experience, is spend money on biodiversity.But if you lie in a public document, it means you are lying to the government and the state. Which is a crime. So I submitted my findings as documents in the trial. The judge validated my report, and thanks to that report — and especially to the hard work of the community, without whom the whole process wouldn’t have even been possible — the company was prevented from mining in the area.We celebrated with lots of beer and Tejo! [Tejo is a Colombian sport that involves throwing metal pucks at a clay target full of balls of gunpowder, which explode on impact.]After a suspicious fire broke out in community-owned cloud forest slated for mining, community members tried to rescue resident animals and douse the flames. This sloth died from its wounds days after. Images by Edicson Parra.Are there any other examples of how you have used your knowledge of orchids to save forests? I once carried out a knowledge-exchange project with my botanist friend Oscar Perez in a community reserve in Dapa, near Cali. It was in this 10-hectare [25-acre] forest fragment. We found around 126 species in this one fragment. It’s the most orchid-rich forest I’ve ever been in, like some kind of orchid Garden of Eden. Around 15 of the species we found were completely new to science!But that reserve was in the eyes of a construction developer. Dapa is in this really privileged spot that overlooks all of Cali, so this construction project wanted to build luxury chalets there. The community was against that. So they organized themselves and they were trying to find evidence that the forest had value — not just biological value, but also cultural value.Using our surveys in the fragment, as well as of orchids in the surrounding forests, the community was able to demonstrate the high biological value of the area. But we’d also trained some kids and community leaders on how to spot and cultivate orchids in the forest. And we’d made an orchid trail through the ecosystem so that community members could make a bit of money through ecotourism, from people coming from Cali to see orchids in the wild. This was further evidence that the fragment had cultural value to the community too.With proof of its importance, the community was able to apply pressure to halt construction in the fragment. It was a real group effort that in the end led to the local government negotiating with the project manager to even bring the fragment into a corridor of small protected forest reserves. That was a great achievement.I’ve also been involved in a locally organized and community-driven project to divert a road from being expanded through the only official forest reserve on the flank of the Valle del Cauca Cordillera. Again, with orchid surveys, and in close concert with local communities and the National University of Colombia, we were able to force the road developer to build tens of kilometers of extra road so that they circumvented cutting through this monkey-filled and orchid-bursting cloud forest.Is it dangerous for environmental activists to challenge extractive industries in Colombia? Since 2018, 317 social leaders, including environmental activists, have been killed in Colombia, with a further 4,000 considered to be under threat. The impact of this is huge, not just because of the life and expertise lost with each leader, but because of how the fear surrounding these murders stifles the emergence of new leaders in remote areas, where they are needed most. We’re tired of this sort of thing. We’ve already had 60 years of war.It’s hard to link these deaths to extractive industries directly. A lot of it is over territorial conflict, with splinter paramilitary and criminal groups using brutal tactics to take over previously FARC-dominated areas left in the post-conflict power vacuum.Currently, one of the frontiers for environmental activism in Colombia is related to mineral extraction in our high-altitude flagship páramo ecosystems. These strange areas studded with frailejon [a sunflower-like shrub] are like natural sponges that provide water to literally millions of people. But with strong political support, they are being carved up into gold and rare mineral concessions at the behest of transnational corporations. Just in the past days we’ve seen tens of thousands of people in Bucaramanga rise up to protest against the company Minesa, which is planning to mine for gold near the Santurban páramo.Colombia’s páramo ecosystems capture, regulate and provide water for millions of people, but are threatened by mining and poor government protection. Image by Gianluca Cerullo.What are some of the key threats that orchids face in Colombia? The conversion of land and expansion of the agricultural frontier is the main threat because of the high sensitivity of orchids. Harvesting and collection of orchids for the illegal trade is probably a big threat also, but there is very little reliable information on the magnitude or extent of this currently. Historically, the orchid trade was likely much higher than today. I’ve been told stories by local people in the Eastern Cordillera who used to see entire trucks filled with orchids drive past their houses several times a week 25 years ago.Climate change is set to hit high-altitude cloud forests especially hard, have you seen this impact of this already and are you concerned for orchids in a warmer world? What worries me most of all about climate change is how it’s going to worsen the already considerable problems caused by habitat degradation. Already, our forest fragments and edges have drier exteriors that don’t hold moisture well and have more intense light exposure. Water is such an important factor for the survival of orchids, and looking at how so many orchid species just go extinct at forests’ dry edges, what’s going to happen when warmer temperatures and changes to water cycles are added to the mix? It’s not just the orchids that are going to suffer, but the pollinators that rely on them.Orchids provide key resources to pollinators including bats, hummingbirds, bees and many other insects. Images by Edicson Parra.Colombia is undergoing huge political change. Do you think this will lead to a shift in how its forests are managed in the future?Yes. We are in a strategic moment. Currently, there is a lot of discussion about Colombia’s national plan and its planes de ordenamiento territorial, which dictates regional environmental policy over 12 years. Similar to what is happening in Brazil, with [President Jair] Bolsanaro strongly favoring expansion into the Amazon, our current government is very much in favor of pursuing unsustainable development, recently opening up new areas to fracking, mining and oil extraction, and also seeking to unravel protective legislation, particularly in páramos. It’s certainly a tense time for Colombia’s environment. We are at a tipping point.Ediscson Parra carries out biodiversity surveys in páramos degraded by fire and grazing. Image by Edicson Parra.If you could give one message to Colombian politicians or members of the public to help in orchid conservation, what would it be?For politicians, let’s look at the scientific evidence of the impacts of habitat destruction on people and the environment, instead of just viewing exploitation as a means for short-term economic gains. For communities, let’s be happy with the amazing diversity of Colombia and try to protect it. That’s our legacy and our heritage as citizens lucky enough to live in one of the most biologically rich countries on Earth!What advice would you give to young conservationists who want to use their research to act?For me, I got lucky. I fell in love with orchids, which are naturally a very charismatic and treasured family of plants. So when I go to talk to people about orchids, they take an immediate interest. From my orchids and experiences, I have learned that you should embrace the knowledge that you have and make it sound fun. That’s how you will get people to listen to you. Understand the scientific literature, and then think of ways to transform it into ways that will be easy to understand for politicians or community leaders. People are not stupid, but conservationists are not always the best at communicating. So be active in trying to engage people about science.center_img Cloud Forests, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Interns, Interviews, Orchids, Plants last_img read more