Indonesia’s forest and peatland fires have flared up again this season, sending smoke and haze from the island of Sumatra north across the Malacca Strait to Malaysia. The fires are now an annual consequence of the mismanagement of Indonesia’s forests. With the removal of a single word from the country’s constitution, however, that may change for the better.
On May 16, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court deleted the word “state” from this clause: “Customary forests are state forests located in the areas of custom-based communities.” That one adjustment denied the government ownership of forests on the lands of the nation’s indigenous people. By returning the forests to their traditional stewards, the court’s ruling could come close to turning off Indonesia’s greenhouse-gas spigot.… Seguir leyendo »
Parece que les ha llegado la hora de la privatización a los montes, a la naturaleza en suma. La Comunidad de Castilla-La Mancha parece dispuesta a emprender la venta de los montes de utilidad pública (MUP) que en principio son inalienables, imprescriptibles e inembargables, como establece la Constitución (artículo 132) y la ley de montes vigente. Y además el Estado, a través de su Administración forestal, ha invertido mucho esfuerzo en hacer los catálogos que los incluyen y los protegen.
La desamortización propiamente dicha fue un proceso que duró más de un siglo, de 1821 a 1925. Fue la ley general de desamortización de 1855, conocida como ley Madoz, la que más afectó a los montes, porque por primera vez incluía los bienes de propios y comunes de los pueblos, que se tenían que vender aun contra la voluntad de estos.… Seguir leyendo »
¿Cuál será el costo de salvar los bosques del mundo y aumentar las perspectivas de vida de sus siete mil millones de habitantes? En pocos días, la India será la anfitriona de la reunión del Convenio de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Diversidad Biológica en Hyderabad. Los países reunidos estudiarán la manera de obtener los recursos necesarios para alcanzar las ambiciosas Metas de Biodiversidad de Aichi, aprobadas hace dos años en la última reunión de este tipo que se celebró en Japón.
Las metas de Aichi exigen que hasta el año 2020 se reduzca a la mitad la tasa de pérdida de hábitats naturales del planeta, incluyéndose entre ellos a los bosques.… Seguir leyendo »
Siento de nuevo la necesidad de escribir un artículo de Opinión, aunque sinceramente no pensé que tocaría hacerlo tan temprano.
Mi generación creció durante muchos años viendo aquellos reportajes de Félix Rodriguez de la Fuente, y conservo el recuerdo imborrable de aquellos gritos que un pastor lanzaba al aire desesperado anunciando que venía el lobo. La misma sensación tengo cada vez que los incendios aparecen, los periodistas y los políticos se rasgan las vestiduras y durante el período de incendios la opinión pública llora la desgracia colectiva.
Nuestros montes van creciendo y conquistando una nueva superficie que en el pasado les fue arrebatada por la agricultura y la ganadería.… Seguir leyendo »
Never before has the survival of so much rainforest depended on one person. But that is where President Rousseff of Brazil finds herself. The Brazilian congress just passed a forest code that puts the Amazon and other forests in jeopardy.
Dilma Rousseff’s imminent decision on whether to pass or veto the bill will have huge ramifications. If approved, it would give loggers and farmers free rein to chop down 190m acres of forest. A territory the size of France and Britain combined will be at risk. It would open forests and rivers up for grabs, putting 70% of Brazil’s river basins at risk.… Seguir leyendo »
Trees are on the front lines of our changing climate. And when the oldest trees in the world suddenly start dying, it’s time to pay attention.
North America’s ancient alpine bristlecone forests are falling victim to a voracious beetle and an Asian fungus. In Texas, a prolonged drought killed more than five million urban shade trees last year and an additional half-billion trees in parks and forests. In the Amazon, two severe droughts have killed billions more.
The common factor has been hotter, drier weather.
We have underestimated the importance of trees. They are not merely pleasant sources of shade but a potentially major answer to some of our most pressing environmental problems.… Seguir leyendo »
This article was written by Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai in September, shortly before her death. It addresses some of the main issues she and the Green Belt Movement were intending to raise at the UN climate summit, which starts in Durban, South Africa, on Monday
In 2011 the worst drought in 60 years engulfed the east of Africa, forcing millions into a desperate struggle to survive. Poor governance intensified the consequences: a drought, not unusual for this part of Africa, became a famine, in which untold human suffering was guaranteed.
Governments could have planned for the drought (after all, some regions haven’t seen good rains for four years) and helped their people adapt to the realities of global warming.… Seguir leyendo »
In 1888, Brazil became the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery — a profound moral stain for a nation that prides itself today on being a multiracial democracy.
During the long 19th-century struggle against slavery, at a time when abolitionists in Britain were protesting the forced transfer of millions of Africans from their homelands, Brazilian leaders denounced the global abolitionist movement for interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
More than a century later, the same right to noninterference in internal affairs is again being invoked, this time by the agribusiness interests defending Brazil’s right to strip and burn what remains of the planet’s tropical rainforests.… Seguir leyendo »
The biggest story in Russia today is the battle to tame a national outbreak of wildfires. The flames have consumed nearly 2 million acres of forests, farms and villages in their path. More than 4,000 people have lost their homes. A dense blanket of smoke and pollution has settled over Moscow; hundreds are pouring into hospitals because of illnesses triggered by the suffocating smog.
Russian media are focusing on government efforts to extinguish the fires, showcasing President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s promises to hold local officials accountable for not preventing the devastation. What the media are not reporting is the Kremlin’s insistence, even as these fires rage, that a centuries-old oak forest on the outskirts of Moscow be cut down.… Seguir leyendo »
Cette semaine, le monde espère que des progrès seront réalisés au sommet de Copenhague. Le processus international dans lequel il s’inscrit constitue, je crois, l’une des démarches les plus importantes de notre époque, car faute de limiter notre impact sur l’atmosphère de la planète, il faut s’attendre aux conséquences les plus terribles. Le défi à relever n’est pas simplement politique et technologique. Il s’adresse tout autant à notre volonté de coopérer et à notre aptitude à penser différemment.
A ce propos, j’ai été très impressionné par l’initiative prise il y a quelques mois par le président Sarkozy, lorsqu’il a créé la commission sur la mesure des performances économiques et du progrès social.… Seguir leyendo »
My colleagues in the Amazon office of Greenpeace like to characterise deforestation as a lion, oscillating between periods of slumber and bouts of frenetic and violent activity. New figures released by Brazil’s government yesterday suggest that over the past year the lion has slept a little more soundly than usual. This is very good news, but we must not take our eyes off him.
The reported fall in the rate of Amazon deforestation should be kept in perspective. Over the past year «just» 7,000 square kilometres of rainforest was destroyed – which means that an area just a little smaller than Puerto Rico was razed to the ground.… Seguir leyendo »
As the world commemorated the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, conservation biologists were scouring a dense area of rainforests in a mountainous part of eastern Papua province on the west side of New Guinea in Indonesia. They made discoveries that reminded us of the somewhat incomplete knowledge we have of the Earth. Their findings generated many headlines this week, with top billing given to the discovery of a new species of giant rat.
This is not the first time this area of rainforests has been in the news. In 2005 a group of scientists visited the same area.… Seguir leyendo »
Faced with a global credit crunch, the governments of the world are coming together to act with urgency. But faced with a far more serious climate crunch, we have yet to show our mettle.
If we are to prevent dangerous and unpredictable climate change, global greenhouse emissions must have peaked by 2015 and be cut by 50-80 per cent from 2000 levels by 2050. So how, in only seven years, can we reverse the gathering emissions momentum? A key part of the answer lies in the rainforests – and the Prince of Wales’s Rainforest Project.
Rainforests are critical because their destruction deals a double blow to our defence against climate change.… Seguir leyendo »
By James Cameron, vice-chairman of Climate Change Capital (THE TIMES, 06/12/07):
How do you make a tree worth more alive than dead? This question will certainly not be put so simply but it is one of the main ones occupying the minds of those gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali this week for the UN conference on climate change.
It is a question of vast importance to the world and if an answer is found then we will have gone a considerable way to combating climate change.
Bali is an apt venue. When you include emissions from deforestation, Indonesia ranks third in the world league table of carbon emitters (the US claims the top spot and China is second) and the cause of most of its pollution is the burning of rainforests, responsible for 85 per cent of that country’s emissions.… Seguir leyendo »
By Jonathan Rendall (THE TIMES, 28/08/07):
The first fires of the present Greek catastrophe were started on Mount Penteli, a towering slope of forest 30 kilometres north of Athens. I grew up there in my teenage years. At the turn of the 1980s it was an idyllic place to be.
The country tracks were not tarmac. You could walk up through the forest paths to the shepherds’ huts, and wander through the glades. If I’d been able to paint I’d have taken my water colours out, or at least a guitar to serenade the landscape that Byron said was too melancholy to write in.… Seguir leyendo »
By William Powers, the author, most recently, of “Whispering in the Giant’s Ear” and Glenn Hurowitz, working on a book about the importance of courage in Democratic Party politics (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 16/06/07):
DEEP within Madagascar, more than 1,300 square miles of rainforest continue to breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen every day, helping to keep the planet cool. That may not seem like a big achievement for a bunch of trees, but elsewhere around the world tropical forests like this one are being felled to make way for timber and mining operations, cattle ranches and, increasingly, sugar and palm oil plantations to fuel the world’s growing thirst for ethanol.… Seguir leyendo »
By Birute Mary Galdikas, president and co-founder of Orangutan Foundation International in Los Angeles and a professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 06/01/07):
Once again, I am driving, under the blazing equatorial sun, down an uncomfortable, rutty relic of a road into the interior of central Borneo. With me are two uniformed police men, one armed with a machine gun. The landscape is bleak, no trees, no shade as far as the eye can see. Our mission is to confiscate orangutan orphans whose mothers have been killed as a result of the sweeping forest clearance taking place throughout Borneo.… Seguir leyendo »
By Scott Weindesaul, the author, most recently, of «Return to Wild America» (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 30/05/06):
I sat on my farmhouse’s back step in the low light of dawn, watching two blackpoll warblers — slim, streaky and hyperkinetic — flit through the new leaves of the maples, which the sun turned into tiny lenses of green.
My trees were a way station for these birds, moving between their winter home in South America and their destination to the north — the boreal forest, the vast shield of spruce and aspen, of muskeg and marsh, that stretches from Newfoundland to western Alaska.… Seguir leyendo »
By Don Melnick and Mary Pearl, a professor of conservation biology at Columbia University and the president of Wildlife Trust, respectively (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20/04/06):
Our forests are the heart of our environmental support system. And yet, in the 36 years that have passed since the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, we have lost more than one billion acres of forest, with no end in sight.
The people most vulnerable to the disappearance of forests are the poor: nearly three-quarters of the 1.2 billion people defined as extremely poor live in rural areas, where they rely most directly on forests for food, fuel, fiber and building materials.… Seguir leyendo »