CITES Fails On Elephant Conservation

Nations Fail To Give Elephants Maximum Legal Protections

Africa has lost more than a third of its wild elephants to poachers in the past decade. The next decade might be their last without global interventions.

Unfortunately, a bid to give the highest level of international legal protection to all African elephants was defeated on Monday at the CITES wildlife summit. The EU played a pivotal role in blocking the proposal, which was fought over by rival groups of African nations.

elephant conservation Africa

But the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), meeting this week in Johannesburg, passed other new measures for elephants that conservationists say will add vital protection.

All 182 nations agreed for the first time that legal ivory markets within nations must be closed. Separately, a process that could allow one-off sales of ivory stockpiles was killed and tougher measures to deal with nations failing to control poached ivory were agreed.

More than 140,000 of Africa’s savannah elephants were killed for their ivory between 2007 and 2014, wiping out almost a third of their population, and one elephant is still being killed by poachers every 15 minutes on average. The price of ivory has soared threefold since 2009, leading conservationists to fear the survival of the species is at risk.

The debate over elephant poaching has split African countries. Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, which host about a third of all remaining elephants, have stable or increasing populations. They argue passionately that elephant numbers are also suffering from loss of habitat and killings by farmers and that they can only be protected by making money from ivory sales and trophy hunting.

elephant conservation Africa

However, a group of 29 African nations, which host about 40 percent of all elephants and are led by Kenya and Benin, have smaller and plummeting populations and countered that poaching and the illegal trade in ivory is the greatest threat.

Most African elephants already have the highest level of international legal protection – a Cites “appendix 1” listing – which bans all trade. But the elephants in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, are listed on “appendix 2”, a lower level of protection. On Monday a proposal to add the elephants in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana to appendix 1 was defeated.

Tshekedi Khama, Botswana’s minister of environment, said: “There is concerning evidence that elephant poaching is moving south. The criminal networks that facilitate much of this trade are highly organized and fluid, operating over several regions in the continent. Therefore no population should be considered secure. Put simply, a threat to elephants anywhere is a threat to elephants everywhere.”

The Cote D’Ivoire delegate said it was absurd to have some elephants on appendix 1 and some on appendix 2: “An elephant that crosses a border may have protection on one side and not on the other. Elephants do not have passports.”

Lee White, the British-born director of Gabon’s national parks and Cites delegate, said poachers were now shooting on sight at his rangers. The upgrading of all elephants to the highest protection would have sent “a signal that we will come down as hard on poaching as we do on the trafficking of drugs, arms and people”.

ivory traffickers Tanzania

However, Namibia’s delegate threatened to withdraw entirely from Cites protections for elephants if the all populations were upgraded the highest levels. “It is completely fallacious that legal ivory trade covers illegal trade,” he said, a statement flatly rejected by other nations.

South Africa’s environment minister, Edna Molewa, said rural communities must benefit from elephants if they are to tolerate the damage caused to crops and the lives sometimes lost. “We dare not ignore their voices,” she said. “Trophy hunting is the best return on investment [in elephant protection] with the least impact.”

The EU, which with 28 votes is a powerful force at Cites, also opposed the upgrade to appendix 1. It said that Cites rules meant the highest level protection is reserved for populations that are in steep decline, and that this did not apply to the elephants in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Some scientific and conservation groups agreed with this, including WWF, Traffic and the Zoological Society of London, arguing the integrity of the Cites was at risk.

The issue was forced to a vote and was defeated, leaving the southern African elephants on appendix 2. Earlier on Monday, Namibia and Zimbabwe had attempted to legalize the trade in ivory from those countries.

Namibia said its elephant population had doubled to 20,000 in the last 15 years. Charles Jonga, from the Campfire Program, a rural development group in Zimbabwe, told the Cites summit: “The people in my community say: ‘These elephants they eat our crops, they damage our houses, what benefit do we get?’ If they get benefits, they will protect and not poach.”

But Patrick Omondi, Kenya’s delegate, said: “Poaching levels and trafficking in ivory are at their highest peak. History has shown the ivory trade cannot be controlled. We are reaching a tipping point and need to give elephants time to recover.”

Both Namibia’s and Zimbabwe’s proposals, supported by Japan but opposed by the EU and US, were soundly defeated. Observers believe Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa did not expect to unpick the ban on the ivory trade at this summit, but wanted to keep the debate open, in the hope of future success. Another proposal, from Swaziland, to legalize the trade in its rhino horn was heavily defeated.

Africa wildlife conservation

Many conservation groups wanted all elephants to get the highest protection, but Tom Milliken, an elephant expert from wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic, said: “Where elephants fall on the Cites appendices is inconsequential to their survival. All the paper protection in the world is not going to compensate for poor law enforcement, rampant corruption and ineffective management.”

He said the real success of the summit were measures to crack down on countries failing to halt illegal trade.

But Kelvin Alie, at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said the failure to put all elephants on appendix one was a disaster: “This is a tragedy for elephants. At a time when we are seeing such a dramatic increase in the slaughter of elephants for ivory, now was the time for the global community to step up and say no more.”

Elephant Conservation Update via https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/03/bid-for-stronger-protection-for-all-african-elephants-defeated-at-wildlife-summit

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Deforestation A Crime Against Humanity

Deforestation Kills More Than Trees

By Arleen Richards, Epoch Times

Ensuring deforestation is given a proper place in global climate change discussions is an ongoing goal of the New York Declaration of Forests which was formalized at last year’s U.N. Climate Summit.

The Declaration—which codifies the willingness of 180 governments, companies, indigenous community networks and civil society organizations to halve natural forest loss by 2020 and end it by 2030—was a major accomplishment in 2014 and will be on the agenda again at this year’s U.N. Sustainable Development Summit on Sept. 25.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

A panel discussion was held on Sept. 23 in preparation for those talks, to review the accomplishments over the last year towards achieving the goal of ending deforestation for commercial agriculture and developing more sustainable practices for the businesses that rely on land. The companies that signed on agreed to reduce the environmental and high carbon impact of several key commercial agricultural products such as palm oil, timber, cattle, and soy beans.

Deforestation is the second leading contributor to carbon emissions after the burning of fossil fuels, according to the Nature Conservancy, a conservation organization committed to land and water. Forests protect soil from erosion, produce oxygen, store carbon dioxide, and help control climate. When trees are cut down, the carbon dioxide is released into the air.

Referring to this week’s Development Summit, which has a broader focus than just climate issues, Eduardo Goncalves, International Communications Director for The Climate Group, talked about the importance of keeping forests on the agenda.

deforestation and climate change

“Climate really seems to be at the heart of the discussion and it’s absolutely right that forestry is a key element of that debate as well,” he said in opening remarks to kick off the panel.

More than 60 million hectares (about 232,000 square miles) of tropical forest have been converted to agriculture since 2000, according to Supply Change, which is tracking progress on the Declaration.

Panelists discussed the tremendous effort that has gone into getting the issue of deforestation on the climate agenda and the importance for the private sector to buy-in to the ambitions of the Declaration.

Stephen Donofrio, with Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, in giving a progress report noted that just under 20 percent of the company endorsers are based in Southeast Asia; manufacturers and retailers who are receiving the most consumer scrutiny are mainly in North America; and food product sector makes up one-third of endorser companies.

Donofrio said that if a company is really committed to signing on it needs to incorporate that into its own corporate documentation, and in 92 percent of the companies they tracked, they are doing just that.

In order for the vision of the Declaration to work, Dominic Waughray, member of the executive committee of the World Economic Forum, praised the efforts of all participants, but noted that this is “a governmental issue” because as he said, they are the “stewards in the resource space.”

wildlife conservation and deforestation

He said governments have to change the way they think about forests. “The forest is a endowment which isn’t just an economic resource that can be turned into a product and sold somewhere else to make the economy work.” He urged governments to take a more long term approach and manage the natural resources in a sustainable way that would attract more and more investment and be very profitable for the poorest countries.

He sees the joint efforts of the declaration commitments as creating a leadership role for those countries that have a forest endowment to deliver on sustainable goals to their economies and create jobs for the people

“That’s the journey we’re going down with this. That’s the road to Paris,” he said referring to the World Climate Summit in December.

Climate Change and Deforestation News via http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1767288-deforestation-should-be-at-heart-of-climate-discussion-says-ngo-panel/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Biodiversity Strategy Approved

Fund Will Defend Biodiversity

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has welcomed the Global Environment Facility (GEF-6) biodiversity strategy approved at the on-going fifth GEF assembly in Mexico, a statement said on Friday. The statement said the GEF-6 Biodiversity Strategy would be implemented under the sixth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund.

palm oil plantation deforestation

“The strategy encompasses four objectives and is composed of 10 programs. The second objective of the GEF-6 Biodiversity strategy (BD2) is to reduce threats to globally significant biodiversity.

“Programme three, under this objective, is aimed at preventing the extinction of known threatened species. This programme recognizes that illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts is an emerging driver of biodiversity loss’’ and “that poaching at the current scale undermines the rule of law and economy generally”.

The statement quoted CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon as saying: “This GEF-6 biodiversity strategy responds to the immediate threat posed by poaching and smuggling to the survival of known threatened species in the wild.

“Poaching and smuggling of the survival of known threatened species which is being increasingly carried out at an industrial scale by organized transnational criminal gangs.

“Access to additional financing to help reverse these trends is essential and CITES applauds the GEF for its timely and innovative response to this crisis which poses a threat to wildlife, people, economies and security,” he added.

deforestation and climate change

The statement said that the programme would support strengthening decision making.

“GEF will strengthen the decision making process, including legislation and its implementation, strategic planning and capacity of national agencies in Africa engaged in reducing poaching and illegal trade of tusks, horns and associated by-products.

“GEF will also complement anti-poaching work in Africa through a similar array of interventions at source sites for rhino and elephants and other wildlife in Asia,” it said.

According to the statement, the CITES Secretariat is in discussions with GEF implementing agencies on how to further assist parties.

The Global Environment Facility is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. The GEF serves as financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It also works closely with the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances.

lion conservation Africa

Since 1991, the GEF has provided $12.5 billion in grants and leveraged $58 billion in co-financing for 3,690 projects in 165 developing countries. For 23 years, developed and developing countries alike have provided these funds to support activities related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, and chemicals and waste in the context of development projects and programs.  Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP) the GEF has made more than 20,000 grants to civil society and community based organizations for a total of $1 billion.

Among the major results of these investments, the GEF has set up protected areas around the world equal roughly to the area of Brazil; reduced carbon emissions by 2.3 billion tons; eliminated the use of ozone depleting substances in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia; transformed the management of 33 major river basins and one-third of the world’s large marine ecosystems; slowed the advance of desertification in Africa by improving agricultural practices—and all this while contributing to better the livelihood and food security of millions of people.

Source: http://www.thegef.org/gef/climate_change

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Woodlands Will Help Some Wildlife Survive Climate Change

Forest Conservation, Reforestation Critical

Guest blog from Simon Duffield, Natural England’s Senior Specialist for Climate Change Adaptation

Climate change is already changing the distribution of many species. In general species are moving further north, and higher up as a warming climate means they can exploit previously inhospitable environments. This can be positive in that some species will increase their ranges, however for as many species that will benefit, others, those primarily adapted to colder climates may suffer. But it’s not all about gradual warming. Climate change is also projected to bring an increased incidence of extreme weather, whether it be cold winters, drought or heat waves, and these can have severe impacts on populations.

reforestation and carbon capture

So the question is how can we help species adapt to these climate driven changes?  One action often suggested is to reduce the fragmentation of habitats to enable species to move more easily through the landscape. Another frequent suggestion is that we should focus on ensuring that existing patches are of optimum quality and maximum size. Both these approaches are based on sound ecological theory, but in practice until recently there was little evidence to support their role in adaptation.

However a recent paper published by a group from BTO, CEH and Natural England presents some evidence to support the role of both reducing isolation and increasing patch size in increasing the resilience of some woodland bird species to climate change.

The group found that populations of woodland ‘generalist’ birds were most sensitive to extreme weather, in this case colder winters, if they were located within fragmented landscapes with large distances between patches.

reforestation and forest conservation

 

Along with this, woodland ‘specialist’ birds recovered more rapidly following cold winters on large woodland sites. These findings suggest that both the size and amount of woodland in the landscape can affect the resilience of woodland bird species to climate change. So we need to find ways to have bigger patches of good quality woodland, closer together in the countryside.  A strategic, partnership approach – who’s interested?

Source: http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/climatechange/archive/2014/05/01/bigger-more-connected-woodlands-help-wildlife-cope-with-climate-extremes.aspx

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Why You Should Care About Wildlife Conservation

Tribute To World Wildlife Day

Without action to protect biodiversity at a time of disappearing habitats and increased poaching, Black Rhinos, Sumatran Tigers, Western Lowland Gorillas and thousands of other animals are on the verge of extinction.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

The loss of iconic species is a tragedy with broad and deep impact. Animal, plant and marine biodiversity keeps ecosystems functional. Healthy ecosystems allow us to survive, get enough food to eat and make a living. When species disappear or fall in number, ecosystems and people—especially the world’s poorest—suffer.

Biodiversity is critical to ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity

Biodiversity is especially important to the poor—75% of whom live in rural areas and depend on nature for their food and livelihoods. The World Bank Group is committed to protecting biodiversity around the world. A leading financier of biodiversity conservation, the Bank has over US$ 1 billion actively invested in protecting nature and wildlife. The Bank is also the largest provider of development assistance to fight environment and natural resources crime, with US$ 300 million invested in forestry, fisheries and wildlife law enforcement.

Just how important is biodiversity to those who live in extreme poverty?

Take the case of Sierra Leone, where overfishing and pollution dramatically lowered the volume and diversity of fish stocks.  The Bank worked with communities to bring the marine ecosystem back to life by improving surveillance and prosecution of illegal fishing, and providing training on sustainable fishing practices. Nutrition and livelihoods have improved for local villagers as a result.  “Without the fish, it would be very, very bad,” says Addie, a young woman from Freetown, Sierra Leone. “For most, fish is the only protein available. Without the fish, we would get thin and weak—we would die.”

palm oil plantation deforestation

The World Bank works with governments and partners around the world to protect oceans, forests, mountains, pasturelands and other ecosystems that are important for people’s livelihoods. Bank support has helped protect 480,000 hectares of coastal zone in Guinea-Bissau for its resident marine life and an emerging tourism industry. By giving residents in Brazil’s Acre State resources to manage their forest resources sustainably, the Bank helped push deforestation rates down by 70% and raise real GDP by over 44%

The Bank engages communities in biodiversity conservation through incentives for nurturing the environment. In Kenya, a World Bank-supported project around Nairobi National Park paid 338 households to remove fences from their fields and allow wildlife to use an additional 22,000 hectares of adjacent land. Wildlife populations increased and families used income from this arrangement for school and medical fees, as well as livestock. The Bank also helped introduce participatory forest and pasture management in 251 communes covering 307,665 hectares in Albania. This led to sustainable management of community resources, reforestation of 1,634 hectares, and an 8% increase in incomes for participating communities.

deforestation and climate change

Investments in biodiversity can create jobs and raise incomes. The Bank’s US$ 5.5 million investment in South Africa’s Greater Addo Elephant National Park spurred millions in private sector investment, and created 614 jobs for people living in the surrounding areas. A project that supported conservation and sustainable management of forests and rural areas in Honduras increased community incomes by over 300% and created over 8,000 jobs.

Everything is connected. World Bank-supported reforestation in the hills of Rio, Brazil has been good for wildlife and people. “I’ve seen so many canaries, bluebirds, toucans and monkeys lately,” said community leader Nilza Roza. Healthy wildlife populations signal that the water table, which provides reliable water for the city, is working. Reforestation has also made communities safer from landslides, restored trees that absorb carbon dioxide and earned revenue-generating carbon credits for the city.

When we protect animals and plants, we also protect the ecosystems that underlie our economies and well-being.

Source: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/03/03/why-you-should-care-about-wildlife

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Reforestation Can Help Save Kilimanjaro Ecosystem

Colorado Company Helping Reforest East Africa

Just as Colorado is reeling from the most devastating flood in state history, a Denver-based company is finalizing plans to combat climate change from a location around the globe.

Deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of the rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Therefore, reforestation is a critical part of the solution to many of our most pressing sustainability challenges. Sacred Seedlings, a division of Earth Tones, Inc. has formed a partnership with the Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania to plant millions of trees over the next four years in the Kilimanjaro District. Two plots of land have been donated to the cause by the local forest district.

deforestation Tanzania and Kenya

“The Foundation approached us and asked if we could help save the country’s vanishing wildlife,” said Gary Chandler, co-founder of Sacred Seedlings. “We asked if they could support a reforestation program to generate jobs, save wildlife habitat and help combat climate change.”

The Foundation seized upon the idea and started developing the scope of work. Once funded, locals will build three nurseries and greenhouses to maximize the production time for the seedlings. After about four months, the seedlings will be planted permanently in a variety of settings, including the forest and urban settings alike.

Tanzania is ground zero in the war on wildlife. More than 10,000 elephants were slaughtered there for ivory just last year. Only about 70,000 elephants remain today. Without a variety of interventions, extinction of the African elephant, rhinoceros, lions and other endangered species is probable within just a few years. Economic development with clean and green jobs is one way to help take the pressure off of these animals, while helping the local people earn a living. Of course, trees absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide–one of the leading greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change and extreme weather.

wildlife conservation and deforestation

“We’re tracking down sponsors, grants and donors to help make this program possible,” Chandler said. “This will be the first of several reforestation programs around the world. Hopefully, we can launch several across Colorado and the America’s very soon.”

“The project will incorporate several species of trees that are indigenous to the area,” said Tumaini Mosha, project director for Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania. “Crop-bearing trees such as coffee, cocoa and palm also will be grown and planted in urban areas to block buildings from the weather and to grow food. That way people won’t cut them down for firewood.”

lion conservation Africa

Sacred Seedlings is looking for new forest conservation and reforestation projects around the world. It also seeks volunteers, donors, sponsors and grant opportunities.

reforestation and climate change

For more information, visit http://sacredseedlings.com/reforestation-climate-change-solution/

reforestation and climate change solution

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com