Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Plantation Companies Rush Abroad To Secure Land

Dow Jones News - 2007-01-09 11:43

January 9, 2007 (Dow Jones News) - Despite swelling coffers thanks to soaring commodity prices, Asian plantation companies can't find enough of the one asset they need most - land. Shortage of land at home is fundamentally changing the way these companies plan future expansion, in the process benefiting countries which still have arable land in plenty.

"The Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Thais, the Malaysians are all interested in planting (rubber) in other countries, because land is not available in their own countries," says Hidde Smit, secretary general of the International Rubber Study Group.

China's Hainan State Farms, for example, has established a rubber nursery in Myanmar as a first step and plans to develop 300,000 hectares of rubber plantations in Laos and Myanmar in less than ten years, with a total rubber output estimated around 500,000 tons.

In November, the state-owned Vietnam Rubber Group said it would lease 50,000 hectares of land in Cambodia to grow rubber, starting 2007. That area could be doubled in four years.

This follows upon another investment in Cambodia in April by Hainan State Farms, which leased 62,659 hectares of land, at a cost of CNY1 billion ($12 7 million), to grow rubber.

In the Philippines, two provincial governments from China plan to develop 200,000 hectares of land for rice and corn cultivation and another 40,000 hectares for a bio-fuel crop such as cassava or sugar cane. And in Indonesia, Malaysia's Sime Darby, now in the process of merging with two other state-owned palm oil giants, is working to double its land bank to 200,000 hectares by 2008.

"The biggest reason Malaysian companies come to Indonesia is land," said Witjaksana Darmosarokoro, director of the Indonesian Palm Oil Research Institute.

What began as a trickle is now a steady flow, expected to continue for years given the rising demand for these commodities.

While observers say it is difficult to foresee the scope and speed of this outward investment, none doubt the growth of foreign-owned plantations will boost output in general while shifting a significant proportion of production to lower-cost countries.

Strong Demand, High Prices Spark The Scramble

The rush to get trees into the ground as quick as possible began a few years ago but is accelerating now as commodity prices are at levels unseen in years or even decades in some cases.

With oil prices hovering above $60 a barrel, palm oil's potential as a biofuel, for example, has greatly expanded the scope for its use. Natural rubber supply, meanwhile, is expected to see a deficit in the next 6-10 years.

Demand for other commodities, such as sugar cane and corn which are linked to biofuels, has also risen with the run-up in oil prices.

Palm oil prices are currently around MYR2,000 a metric ton, the highest level since 1998 when prices averaged MYR2,377.

Natural rubber futures, meanwhile, rallied to a 26-year high in July during a supply crunch. While some of those gains have been surrendered since then, a widely expected supply deficit for the next 6-10 years will keep its prospects buoyant, analysts say.

To capitalize on these favorable trends, plantation companies need to find and develop land quickly, but this is becoming increasingly difficult at home.

Land suitable to grow rubber and oil palm, for example, is either saturated, as in China, coveted by real estate developers, or fragmented into small holdings, as in Malaysia, making consolidation into economic holdings difficult.

That has forced investors to look at countries so far considered risky investment destinations.

"The big problem is that the belt in which rubber grows is politically unstable," said industry veteran George Sulkowsky, managing director of Centrotrade, a rubber dealer with offices in Europe, the US and Southeast Asia.

Decades of isolation brought about by wars in Cambodia and Africa, autarchy in Myanmar and political upheavals in Indonesia and the Philippines have until recently kept most investors away from the plantation sector in these countries.

But that has also left these countries with "a lot of land ripe for outside investors," said Steven Schipani, a consultant to the Asian Development Bank.

New Investments To Ease Supply Shortages

The explosion of new investments by Asian plantation companies in neighbouring countries could help ease future shortages of palm oil and rubber, and by doing so, keep prices at levels that don't force consumers such as tire makers and energy users to seek substitutes.

According to IRSG's Smit, the new investments in rubber plantations might increase output by 1 million tons in the next 10 years, from around 9 million tons expected to be produced this year.

Similarly, palm oil's use as a biofuel has begun putting a strain on edible oil supplies, and Indonesia's vast potential to expand production offers some relief, said Dorab E. Mistry, director of Godrej International Ltd., part of India's Godrej Group.

While oilseeds have to compete for land with other crops in most parts of the world, "the one area where production does not face such competition is Indonesia," said Mistry.

But the prospect is not without risks.

Overproduction is the greatest danger presented by this new expansion, analysts said.

Consider as well that these investments may be converting rainforest into monoculture plantations, or transforming farmers into laborers.

There is also the issue of immigrant labor.

Following Chinese and Vietnamese investment to Laos, Cambodia and perhaps Myanmar will likely be immigrant farmers. NGOs in Laos say northern Laos is already under significant Chinese influence and that process will intensify once newly planted rubber trees are ready to be tapped in about six years from now.

"The government of Laos, lacking any sort of tools to analyze the rubber phenomena, has not even thought about this issue, said David Bluhm, an agro-forestry consultant, who co-authored a study on Laos' rubber industry for the German non-governmental organization GTZ. "(At) some point I think the government will have to ask itself some tough questions about rubber and social demographics."

(Allan Sun in Beijing, Reuben Carder in Jakarta and Benjamin Low in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this article.)

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