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.

Eye-popping bug photos

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)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Review: Devastating Floods, a Tsunami, Volcanic Eruptions

Jakarta Globe, Nivell Rayda | December 28, 2010

Straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia lays claim to 150 active volcanoes — more than any other country. But that distinction also means the country is particularly prone to a range of natural disasters running the gamut from volcanic eruptions to earthquakes, tsunamis and flash floods.

Pororogat village on South Pagai, one of the Mentawai Islands,
was devastated by the tsunami that struck on Oct. 25.
(EPA Photo)
At no other point was this vulnerability more apparent than in October, when a string of disasters struck across the country, underscoring the authorities’ lack of disaster preparedness and coordination of relief efforts.

On Oct. 4, flash floods and landslides in the West Papua town of Wasior killed at least 150 people, with hundreds more missing, and rendered thousands homeless.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan was quick to blame massive deforestation in the surrounding upstream areas for the disaster. Environmental groups agreed, saying the degradation had loosened the topsoil and affected the ground’s ability to absorb excess rainfall. However, Zulkifli was contradicted days later by the coordinating minister for people’s welfare, Agung Laksono, who said the disaster was caused by unusually heavy rainfall.

In any case, the response by rescue officials was slow, hampered by the remoteness of the town and the fact that international nongovernmental groups had long been barred from entering West Papua and Papua over security concerns.

The International Community of the Red Cross, among those barred from entering the region, complained that the government was sending much of the aid to Wasior, despite the fact that nearly all of the survivors had by then evacuated to camps in neighboring areas.

Even as the authorities dealt with that disaster in the country’s far east, another struck the westernmost island of Sumatra just weeks later.

On Oct. 25, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit the Mentawai Islands off West Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that claimed more than 500 lives.

The government had issued a tsunami warning shortly after the quake, only to lift it minutes later. Only after communication was restored with the affected islands the following morning did the government learn of the tsunami that had devastated the area.

The failure of the much-hyped billion-dollar tsunami early warning system drew sharp criticism. The system was established after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Relief efforts were hampered by rough seas and the remoteness of the villages affected. Access to the islands was through a 10-hour boat ride from Padang on the Sumatra mainland, or through a grueling 70-hour sea trek from Jakarta.

Some of the affected fishing communities only received aid two weeks after the catastrophe hit, while supplies and volunteers had to wait it out at the relief coordination center in Sikakap on North Pagai Island, the worst-hit in the chain.

Throughout the relief effort, it was unclear who was in charge of distributing the aid. The official death toll was compiled from mere estimates, as some of those previously presumed dead were found alive days later.

The tsunami that hit Mentawai highlighted the vulnerability of coastal communities to natural disasters and tested Indonesia’s emergency response system. It was a full week after the killer waves struck that the Indonesian Red Cross finally realized it would be easier to coordinate relief efforts from Muko Muko in Bengkulu province instead of Padang in West Sumatra.

However, the West Sumatra Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) refused to move its operations to the neighboring province despite it being closer to the affected area. The agency argued that Mentawai was an administrative region within West Sumatra and not Bengkulu.

Critics also challenged the definition of a “national disaster,” which is declared if a disaster affects more than one province.

By declaring an emergency a national disaster, all relief efforts are coordinated by the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), which acts more independently and has direct access and control over provincial administrations, other public institutions and the military.

Conversely, with local disasters, relief efforts are carried out independently by institutions and NGOs, whose work more often than not overlaps. The BPBD and the provincial administration’s operational command center only has an advisory or supervisory role.

Preparedness of the People

Less than 24 hours after the tsunami, Mount Merapi in Central Java began spewing hot ash and deadly superheated gas clouds. The eruptions peaked on Nov. 5. At least 320 people were killed and tens of thousands had to be evacuated to shelters outside the 20-kilometer exclusion zone.

What was once lush vegetation and farmland was blanketed in a thick layer of volcanic ash. The ash reportedly rained down as far away as West Java, and for days the city of Yogyakarta, just south of the volcano, was pitch black from the dust and all flights there were canceled.

Merapi’s marathon eruptions this year were the biggest in more than a century, but the death toll was far lower than in a 1930 eruption that killed thousands.

This was due partly to the efforts of a community of volunteers called the Merapi Circle Information Network (Jalin Merapi) that continuously updated information about the disaster on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

The group compiled the data from an observation post four kilometers from the mountain’s smoldering peak.

It started tweeting on Oct. 25, a day before the first eruption, sharing links from various sources and re-tweeting the information coming in from others about the imminent eruption.

But it was their updates on the pyroclastic flows and ash plumes, evacuation procedures and evacuees, aid, the number of injured and dead and search-and-rescue activities that saved thousands and contributed to an orderly evacuation and relief effort. It also prevented outbreaks of disease and other health problems.

As Merapi continued to belch deadly clouds of superheated gas, the debate arose over the Javanese spiritual approach to the Mountain of Fire, which is one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

For centuries the Yogyakarta sultanate had assigned a spiritual gatekeeper to quell its frequent rumblings. The most recent gatekeeper, Mbah Maridjan, was killed at his home the day Merapi began erupting.

His refusal to evacuate invoked praise for the strength of his convictions, as well as criticism for the superstitions centered on the mountain.

Maridjan’s refusal to budge was also blamed for the high number of residents who refused to evacuate and were subsequently killed in the disaster, despite the government having issued a warning about the increased volcanic activity.

Post-Disaster Management

Despite staying at government-run shelters during the nights, many villagers went back to their homes in daylight hours to tend to their crops and livestock and make sure their homes were not looted. Several people were killed during these trips.

This raised the issue of post-disaster reparations — compensating the victims for the homes, crops, livestock and livelihoods destroyed, as well as providing loans to help people start their lives anew.

A small but effective community-based program from Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara could provide the example needed in the aftermath of disasters like the Merapi eruptions.

Faced with the ever-present threat of floods and landslides each year, the people of Tanali village in Flores’s Ende district have set up a cooperative to serve as a savings and loan institution for times of natural disasters and other emergencies.

Despite the remoteness of the village, the people there are virtually self-sufficient should a disaster strike. Residents have also chipped in to establish a center to deal with post-disaster hazards such as disease and famine.

Disaster preparedness often seems like an afterthought in Indonesia. After Padang was hit by a massive earthquake that killed thousands last year, the government began mapping out evacuation routes and training residents to be ready for disasters.

The preparedness was tested when the earthquake triggering the October tsunami in the Mentawais hit. Hundreds of thousands of residents evacuated Padang in a matter of hours in anticipation that the tsunami would also affect the bustling city.

The government is now reconstructing Mentawai, establishing disaster centers as far from shore as possible and mapping out evacuation routes in remote villages prone to disasters.

The sad likelihood, however, is that it will probably take more natural catastrophes devastating Indonesia to prompt authorities to establish similar disaster centers elsewhere.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

7.3 Quake Triggers Pacific Tsunami on Disaster Anniversary

Jakarta Globe, December 26, 2010

Hawaii. A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the western Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Sunday, triggering a small tsunami exactly six years after giant waves killed 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean.

An aerial shot shows flattened houses near the sea coast of
Banda Aceh on Jan.5, 2005. The west coast of Aceh province was
devastated by the December 26, 2004 earthquake and subsequent
tsunami wave. (AP Photo)
The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the shallow quake generated a tsunami, but it cancelled a regional warning after the wave measured only 15 centimetres (six inches) higher than normal in Vanuatu.

"Sea level readings confirm that a tsunami was generated," the centre said in its bulletin.

"This tsunami may have been destructive along coastlines of the region near the earthquake epicentre," it said, but cancelled the warning when no destructive wave hit.

The quake struck at 12:16 am on Sunday (1316 GMT Saturday), and the initial tsunami warning covered Vanuatu, Fiji and the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia. There were no reports of damage or casualties.

Jackie Philip, a member of staff at the Melanesian Port Vila Hotel in the Vanuatu capital, said the hotel was busy with late-night Christmas revellers when the quake struck.

"Some of us, we ran outside and stood and watched the sea for a few minutes but nothing happened. There is no damage and no injuries," he said, adding that no tsunami warning had been given on local radio.

A receptionist at Port Vila's Grand Hotel called it a "small" earthquake, adding that calls to the meteorological office went unanswered. Staff at the nearby Island Magic Hotel also said there had been no local tsunami warning.

"We haven't had any notification of a tsunami," a worker told AFP. "We definitely felt the earthquake but we are notified if there's actually a tsunami."

Meteorological and disaster management officials were not available for comment when contacted by AFP.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was just 12.3 kilometres (7.6 miles) deep, and its epicentre was 145 kilometres (90 miles) west of Isangel, on the island of Tanna -- home to an active volcano -- in the Vanuatu archipelago.

The USGS revised its initial readings for the magnitude and distances involved, after first recording the quake at 7.6.

At least a dozen aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater hit the area in the hours after the main tremor, according to USGS.

Vanuatu, which lies between Fiji and Australia and north of New Zealand, is part of the "Pacific Ring of Fire" -- an ocean-wide area alive with seismic and volcanic activity caused by the grinding of enormous tectonic plates.

Sunday's quake came on the sixth anniversary of one of the worst natural disasters of modern times, when a huge tsunami triggered by an undersea quake off Indonesia killed more than 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean.

After the disaster, which came with little or no warning for millions of coastal residents, regional governments deployed a string of monitoring buoys in the Indian and Pacific Oceans to keep track of any abnormal waves.

In August, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake off Vanuatu generated a small tsunami and sent thousands of frightened people running for the hills.

In September last year, Samoa in the Pacific suffered its worst natural disaster when three rapid-fire quakes of up to 8.1 magnitude unleashed waves as high as 15 metres (50 feet) that flattened villages and tourist resorts.

The seismic catastrophe claimed 143 lives in Samoa, 34 in the US-administered territory of American Samoa and another nine in Tonga.

Vanuatu lies between Australia and Fiji and has a population of 220,000 scattered across several islands including Tanna, south of Port Vila, where the fiery Yasur volcano is a major tourist draw.

Agence-France Presse

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mt Anak Krakatau`s eruptions frighten residents

Antara News, Saturday, December 25, 2010

Anyer, Banten (ANTARA News) - A lot of residents of the Anyer tourist resort became scared by the sound of Mount Anak Krakatau`s eruptions on Friday night and early Saturday, a local resident said.

"The eruptions were heard since 10 PM on Friday. The eruptions were still going on until early Saturday," Eva Marbun who lived in Anyer tourist resort area, Serang district, said on Saturday.

Anyer is a popular tourist resort for domestic holiday makers about 42 kilometers from Mount Anak Krakatau.

The volcano erupted for five times from Friday night to early Saturday. Despite the nature of the volcano, its eruptions still frightened certain people, she said.

A senior geologist recently said that the current activity of Mount Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait would not trigger a tsunami.

"Mount Anak Krakatau is a young Stromboli island which will keep erupting but not strong enough to trigger a tsunami," M Suchyar, head of the energy and mineral resources ministry`s geological agency said.

He said the danger status of the mountain had been raised to a level above normal and the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center had recommended a ban on visits to the mountain.

He said the mountain located in the Sunda Strait would continue to be active as a young volcano.

"Anak Krakatau`s eruption is in the active crater 300 meters above sea level. It will not cause a tsunami. People must not be provoked by such baseless rumors," he said.

He said Anak Krakatau was a young volcano. It had risen from the sea to a height of 400 meters over the past 73 years, he said.

Despite a geologist`s explanation that Anak Krakatau`s eruptions would not trigger a tsunami, not all Anyer residents could be convinced.

A local resident named Meti was one of those who were feared tha t Mount Anak Krakatau may trigger a tsunami.

"I am already used to the volcano`s loud sounds, but I am only concerned with a tsunami that may strike at any time," Meti said.

The related authorities need to help the locals understand what to do in an emergency situation, because a tsunami which recently struck the Mentawai Isles, West Sumatra, had really scared them, he said.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

East Java Also Felt Yogyakarta Quake

Jakarta Globe | December 21, 2010

Jakarta. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Yogyakarta on Tuesday was also felt in East Java. This was because the epicenter was shallow, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, also known as BMKG.

“The epicenter was only 16 kilometers so the tremor could be felt in Pacitan [East Java] and Semarang [Central Java],” M. Riyadi, a BMKG official, was quoted as saying by news portal Detik.com.

The earthquake's epicenter was in Wonosari and was categorized as III to IV on the Mercalli intensity scale.

“It means that many people felt the tremor,” Riyadi said of the categorization.

The earthquake, which happened at 10:50 a.m., triggered panic at the Yogyakarta town hall where members of the House Commission IX for population, health, manpower and transmigration were visiting.

The lawmakers, including Ribka Tjiptaning and Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, immediately left the hall.

“When the quake hit, we were ordered to leave the room so we did. It's not because we were afraid,” commission member Nizar Shihab told SCTV.

Thirty minutes after the Yogyakarta quake, a 5.0 magnitude quake also hit Gorontalo in Sulawesi Island.

The epicenter was 143 kilometers deep and located 98 kilometers southwest of Gorontalo.

It did not trigger any tsunamis.

There were no reports of injuries or damages.

Related Article:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Endangered Lorises in Jakarta Market Highlight Need for Better Enforcement

Jakarta Globe, Fidelis E. Satriastanti | December 19, 2010       

Jakarta. Wildlife activists announced on Friday they had found 18 highly endangered Sunda slow lorises being sold openly in Jakarta, just a day after government officials and conservationists held a seminar on the threats facing the primate.

Slow lorises’ eyes are used in traditional medicine,
 which has lead to their near extinction. (Photo courtesy
 of Chris R. Shepherd)
  
Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said its staff had found the animals being displayed in cages in front of Jatinegara Market in East Jakarta on Dec. 10.

It also said one cage was seen holding six lorises, forest-dwelling primates who are hunted for their large eyes.

The find came after a Dec. 9 seminar organized by International Animal Rescue Indonesia, which identified the illegal trade in the animal as the main reason for the species’ decline in the wild and for the high rate of premature death in captivity.

Chris R. Shepherd, deputy regional director of Traffic Southeast Asia, said the problem was the lack of law enforcement against the practice.

“These animals exemplify the threats slow lorises and other protected species face in Indonesia — trade is carried out openly and dealers do not fear reprimand or penalties,” he said.

“Dealers are well aware of the illegality of their trade in these species. Only with successful prosecution and sustained efforts by authorities to close down this trade will the situation change. Anything less is meaningless.”

Karmele Llano Sanchez, the IAR’s veterinary director, agreed, saying “It is obvious that people do not take the Indonesian laws seriously.”

“Only a small percentage of traded lorises are rescued and even those can rarely be returned to the wild as traders remove their teeth prior to selling the animals,” she said.

Shepherd said another challenge was that only one of the three subspecies — the Javan slow loris — was protected under Indonesian law.

The Javan slow loris has been listed among the world’s 25 most endangered primates since 2008.

The country is also home to two other subspecies, the Malay and Borneo slow lorises.

Trade in all three is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which Indonesia has acceded to but not ratified.

Traffic staff also found other rare animals being traded at the market, including the crested serpent-eagle, crested hawk-eagle, black-winged kite and leopard cat.

All are fully protected under Indonesian laws and cannot be legally traded.

Ahmad Saeroji, acting head of the Jakarta Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said he would look in to the matter of animals being illegally traded in markets once be had formally taken up his new post.

“Once I start working, I’ll put these markets in order, just like in Surabaya,” said Ahmad, formerly with the East Java BKSDA.

Under the 1990 Law on the Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems, anyone caught trading in protected species can face up to five years in prison and fines of up to Rp 100 million ($11,000).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My mother was burnt alive

The Star online, By Amy Chew, Sunday December 19, 2010

The orang utan is our closest ‘relative’ yet we have taken more than our fair share of the land, destroying their habitat, driving them to certain death. Two foundations are racing against time to lease forest land to shelter them. They need our help.

THIS cuddly, adorable baby orang-utan is an orphan in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan. Thousands of them are also found in Sumatra island and Malaysia’s state of Sabah and Sarawak.

Under what circumstances his mother died, his carers at the Nyaru Menteng Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre do not know.

Helpless: This baby orang utan is an
orphan in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan
Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre
.
But what is certain she met with a cruel and violent end – hacked to pieces, burnt or shot to death – like so many others before her.

As forest land is cleared by legal and illegal logging, palm oil and other agricultural plantations, thousands of orang utans are losing their habitat and source of food.

Hungry and desperate for food, they sometimes wander into palm oil plantations and eat the shoots of young plants where plantation workers will kill them in the most inhumane way.

“Palm oil workers, often offered a bounty, will take out these orang utan by any means possible,” says Michelle Desilets, founder of the Orang Utan Land Trust (OLT).

“Our rescue teams have found orang utan beaten unconcious and buried alive, butchered with machetes, beaten to death with iron bars and wooden planks,” she says.

“There have been times when the workers douse the orang utan with petrol and then throw a lighted match, burning them alive,” Desilet adds.

Every year, an estimated 2,000-3,000 orang utan perish from the loss of their habitat, causing them to die of starvation or suffer cruel deaths.

Orang utan also die when forests fires break out, either set alight by the dry season, or deliberate burning by errant plantations or traditional farmers.

The orang utan, which means people of the forest, is our closest relative. It has a DNA which is almost 98% of that of a human being.

Only two percent separate us from these highly-intelligent creatures who have the capacity to feel the same emotions as a human being – pain, joy or sorrow.


Safe: A baby Orang Utan from the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre.

The female orang utan are amongst the most protective mammals in the animal kingdom, who will give up their lives to protect their young.

When poachers hunt for baby orang utan to be sold off at a princely sum to animal traffickers, they always have to kill the mother who will defend her young to her last breath.

It is estimated that only 45,000-55,000 orang utan are left in the wild. Of that, 11,000 are in Sabah and another 4,000 in Sarawak.

More than a century ago, some scientists estimate there could have been as many as a million of these creatures.

OLT and Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) are working together to secure land in Kalimantan to save the orang utans from extinction.

OLT, a registered charity in England and Wales, supports sustainable solutions for the long-term survival of the orang utan in the wild by securing safe forests for their continued existence.

“If we can secure forests BEFORE it is cleared, then fewer orang utans will face this fate ... so that orang utans do not face a lifetime in a cage in a rescue centre,” said Desilets.

BOS is an non-profit organisation with the vision to establish a Bornean orang utan conservation in its natural habitat. It’s financial reports are audited annually by reputable auditors.

BOS, with the support of OLT, is raising money to lease 300,000ha of tropical forest land spread across the vast expanse of Kalimantan to save the orang utan from certain death.

The 60-year-lease for the 300,000ha from the Indonesian government costs 45 billion rupiah (RM15.9 million).

“To date, BOS Foundation has raised 13 billion rupiah (RM4.56 million) to pay for the licence fee in East Kalimantan for an area of 86,450 hectares,” said BOS chairman Togu Manurung.

BOS still needs to raise the remaining sum of money to pay for licence fees for the remaining 213,550 hectares of land as well as to fund the costs of transporting the orang utan to leased forest land.

With 25ha of rainforest being destroyed every minute, time is running out.

Instead of another nice dress or shirt, why not give someone a meaningful Christmas gift by donating to give the orang utan a chance to live?

In doing so, we restore our own humanity, worthy to be called human.


sundaymetro@thestar.com.my

Related Article:

“Some species contain a more developed consciousness than others. Yet all behavior patterns stem from DNA and consciousness. Man has often thought of the elemental, plant, mineral and animal kingdoms as lower than himself. Yet all are part of creation and all contain consciousness. All forms of life in God's eyes are precious.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

VP to inaugurate seed center in Depok

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/15/2010

Vice President Boediono will inaugurate a seed center in Tapos, Depok, West Java, on Wednesday to support the one billion tree planting movement.

Boediono will plant several seeds along with Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Depok Mayor Nur Mahmudi, tempointeraktif.com reported.

The 1.8-hectare seed center, built by the Forestry Ministry and its partners, will produce 1 to 1.5 million seeds a year.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyo launched the 1 billion tree planting movement last month.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wild elephants ruin 44 houses in East Aceh

Antara News, Tuesday, December 14, 2010 18:05 WIB

Banda Aceh, Aceh province (ANTARA News) - At least 44 houses in Serbajadi subdistrict, East Aceh district, were ruined by wild elephants during the past one month, a local source said.

Bukhari Muslim, Ketibung Musara village chief, said on Tuesday the number of wild elephant attacks had increased since November 2010. He said the animals entered human settlements and ruined people`s houses and plantations several times.

Bukhari said local people had become concerned about the wild elephants` attacks
"Fortunately, there have been no casualties so far. But the whole village remains on alert in case the elephants come again," he said adding that several people whose houses were damaged by the elephants had to evacuate and had not yet returned.

Last week, three elephants were found dead in Ketibung Musara village, East Aceh. The elephants seemed to have been killed with poison.

Aceh Province has recorded a total of 99 cases of human-animal conflicts from 2007 to 2009 which have caused some of rare animals such as Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran elephants to perish.

"Due to the human-wildlife conflicts, the number of animals in Aceh has decreased, as wild animals such as elephants were hunted by people," Yakob Ishadamy, head of the Aceh Green Secretariat, said.

There were 33 cases of human-animal conflicts in 2007, 46 cases in 2008 and 30 cases in 2009, he said. People used to take a short-cut by hunting the wild animals, such as elephants and tigers.

In 1996, there were 600-700 elephants in Aceh Province, and the number was estimated to decrease to 350-450 elephants in 2007. The population of elephants in Aceh had depleted by almost 40 percent during 1996-2006. From 2007 to September 2008, 39 elephants were captured or killed, he said.

On Sumatra Island as a whole, the population of elephants was estimated to reach between 2,400 and 2,800 heads in 2007. Some of the elephants lived in small blocks of forests which could not support the survival of elephants in a long term, he said.

The decreasing acreage of forests as habitats for tigers and elephants is also a main factor that helps reduce the number of these rare animals.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finland to fund sustainable energy from forests in Indonesia

Reuters, By Chris White, JAKARTA | Fri Dec 10, 2010

An aerial view of deforestation at Indonesia's Sumatra island, August 5, 2010.
(
Credit: Reuters/Beawiharta)

(Reuters) - Finland is aiming to set up an scheme to produce renewable biomass energy from Indonesian forests next year, following in the footsteps of a lauded Norwegian agreement to tackle Indonesia's high deforestation.

Finland's scheme, with initial investment of four million euros, is small compared to the $1 billion pledged by Norway, but is a sign more countries may look to do bilateral deals if U.N. talks in Cancun fail to produce a global climate pact.

Australia said on Thursday it would increase its spending on climate change financing by giving Indonesia an additional $45 million for projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) and for climate change adaption.

Protecting forests is seen by some as the easiest and cheapest option in the fight against climate change. The Finnish project aims to support the forestry industry turn toward renewable energy production.

"The focus will be on the utilization of forest biomass and the residues of the wood processing industry as renewable energy sources," Päivi Alatalo, the deputy head of the Finnish embassy in Indonesia, told Reuters.

The projects are to be established in the regions of central Kalimantan on Borneo island and Riau province on Sumatra island, areas that have seen intense deforestation in recent years by timber and palm oil firms, both legally and illegally.

Indonesia has been pushing on the global stage for greater support in its efforts to reduce the costs of deforestation, though environment minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta rejected a proposal by Japan in Cancun this week that developing nations agree to legally binding targets to reduce emissions.

Indonesia has promised to slash its emissions by at least 26 percent from business as usual levels by 2020 but President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also vowed to boost economic growth to 7 percent or more by 2014, with development of resources from palm oil to coal helping drive the economy.

Other big developing nations have rejected binding targets for a climate deal that developed nations want before they sign up to a pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, in a rich-poor rift that has haunted the talks to agree a new global climate deal.

"Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which accounts for 18 per cent of global emissions and more than 60 percent of Indonesia's total emissions in 2005, is critical to achieving a global outcome on climate change," said Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd in a statement.

So far over $4 billion has been pledged to help Indonesia tackle deforestation from rich nations, including from the United States, Norway, Japan and now Finland.

However, the Indonesian government still faces numerous difficulties, such as lobbying by firms profiting from deforestation, competing vested interests within the forestry industry, weak governance and top-heavy bureaucracy, that is slowing the pace of action.

Norway's scheme, which proposes a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear natural forest, is meant to start in January but details of how it will work have still not been finalized.

"No projects have been finalized yet because we are still in the process of making a bilateral contract between Finland and Indonesia," said Finland's Alatalo. "But we are hoping that we will get this agreement finalized soon."

(Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Miral Fahmy)

Palembang Plants 80,000 Trees

Antara News, Friday, December 10, 2010

Palembang, South Sumatra (ANTARA News) - The Palembang city administration and the public at the same time planted 80,000 trees in 7,417 locations in the area, Palembang city administration`s assistant for economic and development affairs Apriadi S.Busri said here Friday.

He said that the planting drive was launched simultaneously under the city`s reforestation program.

"Today 80,000 trees including trembesi (Albizia saman) and mahogany had been planted," Apriadi noted.

According to him local administration officials planted the trees at the city administration office garden and at every office in Palembang city.

In addition, the tree 0planting was also carried out at orphanages, schools, state-owned enterprises and at other places in the city.

The drive was the local administration`s commitment to expand and increase participation in reforesting the country, Apriadi said.

He said the city administration has also set a target of turning Palembang into a clean and green city with clean air.

The simultaneous tree planting drive is expected to meet the target, and tree planting has become a routine program, Apriadi said.

Not only the government, but also the public are expected to play an active role in reforesting Palembang city, he said.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

WWF: RI should fight for comprehensive REDD+ agreement

Antara News, Saturday, December 4, 2010 15:33 WIB

Cancun-Mexico (ANTARA News) - World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Indonesia expects the Indonesian delegation at the climate change conference in Cancun to fight for a comprehensive agreement on reducing emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD+), a spokesman said.

"In the negotiations, Indonesia should push for a comprehensive agreement on REDD+, an agreement that doesn`t differentiate between the preparatory phase and implementation phase," said Nyoman Iswarayoga, WWF-Indonesia?s director of climate and energy program, in a statement to ANTARA on Friday (Dec 3)

The negotiations at Cancun are held within the scope of 16th Conference of the Parties (COP) in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that began on November 29 and will run until December 10, 2010.

Iswarayoga said that a comprehensive REDD+ agreement and its implementation were
decisive because they relate to the funding of the program as well as the parties interested in funding it. WWF-Indonesia expected the 16th COP will result in a concrete agreement on REDD+.

"The discussions on REDD+ ran well at the previous climate summit so that now at Cancun all we need to do is to call for more focused negotiations on REDD+," Iswarayoga said.

He said that during the discussion on mitigation in he Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), the REDD+ issue became the most progressive as there had been many compromises so that the remaining issues only concerned the wording.

The parties have agreed on several key issues, he said, including the "safeguarding," the structure of REDD+ , from its preparatory phase up to implementation phase and the potency on the implementation.

Despite the progress, there had also been difficult issues such as the sensitive aspects of REDD markets and the "offset" mechanism on which no agreement had been reached, Iswarayoga added.

REDD+ market issue relate to the voluntary market scheme where carbon credit produced by an executor of REDD+ program is purchased by the third parties, like states, regional governments or companies in voluntary manners.

Carbon credit purchased by a third party in the voluntary market scheme will not be used to offset the commitment of Annex-1 countries to reduce their green house gas emissions.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Indonesian Bamboo Proposed as Climate Change Solution

Jakarta Globe, December 02, 2010

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibit 'Big Bambu,' a bamboo structure in the museum's roof garden, by twin brothers Mike and Doug Starn, frames the New York skyline. World leaders pondering the conundrum of climate change should think of bamboo, a group promoting the versatile grass said at the United Nations talks in Cancun on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Mexico. World leaders pondering the conundrum of climate change should think of bamboo, a group promoting the versatile grass said at the United Nations talks in Cancun on Wednesday.

Cheap, fast-growing and immensely strong, bamboo provides an answer to surging carbon emissions, generates income for the rural poor and helps tackle housing shortages, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) said.

“Bamboo is a remarkable resource for driving economic development, and is readily available in many of the world’s poorest countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America,” said Coosje Hoogendoorn, INBAR’s director general.

“It helps support the livelihoods of more than 1.5 billion people, generates more than five billion dollars in annual trade and can grow up to one meter (3.25 feet) a day.”

“Bamboo housing has been around for centuries, but many people don’t understand its full potential and still see it as the poor man’s timber,” said Alvaro Cabrera, INBAR’s regional coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In fact, bamboo is stronger for its weight than steel, it’s cheaper than timber, uses far less energy in processing than concrete and can dance in earthquakes... Bamboo should be referred to as the wise man’s timber.”

INBAR, a 13-year-old organization based in China, is an inter-government organization, gathering 36 countries under a treaty, that also fosters fair-trade and development schemes involving bamboo and rattan.

It made its pitch on the sidelines of the November 29-December 10 UN talks in Cancun, where countries are wrestling for solutions to climate change.

In addition to providing livelihoods for people, bamboo forests would be an invaluable weapon against carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, through photosynthesis, INBAR said.

Some species of bamboo can suck up CO2 at least as fast as Chinese fir and eucalyptus, among the swiftest-growing commercial species of trees, according to a scientific report presented last month.

In addition, bamboo roots reduce soil erosion, preventing hillsides and riverbanks from washing away in floods and landslides.

Hoogendoorn told AFP that the group was working on a certification scheme whereby bamboo would be sold with a label proving that it came from a sustainable plantation and allowed other species to thrive.

Even so, certification “is complex and very difficult,” she admitted.

One of the biggest destroyers of biodiversity is monoculture crops grown on huge spaces on soil treated with pesticides and fertilizers.

Natural bamboo forests, as opposed to plantations, are a haven for many species of wildlife, including the giant panda.

World trade in bamboo and rattan is more than five billion dollars a year, with China, Indonesia and Vietnam the three biggest sources, INBAR said.

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Lady Yudhoyono dedicates prosperous village

Antara News, Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tangerang, Banten (ANTARA News) - First Lady Ani Yudhoyono dedicated prosperous village at Tangerang district in Banten province on Wednesday morning.

The prosperous village is developed by the United Indonesia Cabinet ministers` Wives Solidarity (SIKIB) at Tanjung Pasir sub-district in Tangerang, Banten province.

Ani Yudhoyono in the company of Vice President Boediono`s wife Herawati Boediono arrived at the venue at 8.25 on Wednesday morning to dedicate the prosperous village.

The first lady is scheduled to sign an inscription to mark the dedication of the prosperous village, developed by the SIKIB.

In addition, Madame Ani Yudhoyono will also launch Nusantara White-water Devotion by planting trees and spreading young fishes.

As part of the dedication, the first lady will also hold a dialog with the local elementary school students and to inspect health civic mission activity.

The dedication of the prosperous village is the peak event of the "Women Plant and Cultivate Trees Campaign 2010" which was launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Manggala Wanabakti auditorium in Jakarta on Tuesday, November 23, 2010.

The Women Plant Trees Campaign is a yearly activity which was started four years ago with different themes and formats of activity each year.

In 2010, the program was focused on the activity of planting trees such as Ketapang and mangroves in coastal areas. It is expected that the program will improve the people`s economy and boost their awareness to preserve forests in coastal area.

The Tuesday inauguration also featured an exhibition and conference themed "Protection of Coastal Forests and Improvement of the People`s Prosperity."

Earlier, the People`s Coalition for Fishery Justice has appealed to the government on the need to preserve and improve mangrove forests.

The mangrove preservation is necessary to prevent them from disappearance from the face of the earth because the forests provide ground for fishes, shrimp, and mollusks for spawning and growing.