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)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Forest groups say Indonesia should look to Chinese model

Deutsche Welle, 15 Aug 2011  

The Indonesian government has ordered
a moratorium on new logging permits
Greenpeace says 1.8 million hectares of Indonesian forest is disappearing each year. China and India have launched successful reforestation initiatives in the past 20 years - might Indonesia follow their lead?

Indonesia has one of the world's highest deforestation rates and is the worst emitter of greenhouse gases when it comes to slash-and-burn land clearances.


Reforestation statistics don't account
for  how much timber a nation
imports from abroad
The government has taken note. This year President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono tried to put the brakes on these troubling trends by announcing a moratorium on new logging permits.

But as Indonesian forests continue to vanish, some experts say a moratorium won't be enough and that a major reforestation effort is in order.

Several Asian countries, including China and India, have successfully launched similar programs, according to a recent study by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

RRI is a global coalition that pushes for policy reforms in forest land use.

The organization's study examined and compared five countries: China, South Korea, Vietnam, India and Chile.

RRI coordinator Andy White said countries that granted more land use rights to local communities and indigenous peoples were better able to see through their reforestation goals, compared to countries that didn't.

Land use reforms

Out of the five nations surveyed, China rehabilitated the most forest land, the study said. Beijing said it replanted 50 million hectares of land between 1990 and 2010.

Palm oil plantations absorb far less
CO2 than forest land
Li Ping, a land rights specialist with NGO Landesa, said that breakthrough was due to land use reforms implemented at the turn of the century.

The Chinese government awarded about 90 percent of public forest land to farmers. In turn, they were permitted to use the parcel of land for two generations, up to 70 years, Li Ping added.

The policy created an incentive for farmers to care for the forest land, particularly as any improvements would benefit future generations. Li Ping said they were also allowed to keep any yields from the land.

The farmers were free to choose which trees they planted, but there were some limitations: The forest land could not be transformed into farming plots, and trees could only be chopped down with an official permit.

Greenhouse gas reservoirs

Meanwhile, critics say the statistics don't tell the whole story. For example, plantations are classified as woodland, though they absorb far less carbon dioxide than trees in a forest.

RRI coordinator Andy White said the controversy surrounding the definition of forest land is both political and technical in nature. From a climate standpoint, emissions capacity is a key concern.

A natural rainforest is able to store about 306 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare, whereas the amount absorbed by a palm oil plantation is just 63 tons.

"But it's also true that an oil palm plantation holds more carbon than a parking lot or a mine," White told Deutsche Welle. "So these are different land-use options - and why it's better to keep existing forests standing as much as possible."

In addition, reforestation figures don't take into account how much wood a country imports from other nations - meaning though China might be able to maintain its own forests, it does so by getting its supply elsewhere.

Dominic Elson, the author of RRI's report, said countries like China have been able to secure their raw materials supply in this way.

"While they've been buying all the cheap timber from Indonesia, they have been able to build their own plantation business and do it properly," he said.


Slash-and-burn methods have devastated forests in Indonesia

White stressed that other countries shouldn't follow that strategy, though he said the political will shown by China and Vietnam to stop deforestation at home was worthy of praise.

Elson also underscored the importance of giving local populations a say in the matter, since ignoring community stakeholders can easily lead to conflict.

Indian forest rights activist Madhu Sarin said India's own efforts at replanting drew the ire of those living near designated reforestation areas. 

"One reason the Indian government is claiming that they've increased forest cover...is because their forest department is forcibly banging trees into people's cultivated lands," she said.

Ambitious plans

Indonesia has not been spared conflicts over such matters, but the country also has the chance to take new, more positive approaches to working with local populations.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of Indonesia's REDD-plus taskforce, said Indonesia still had time to push through such measures.

The government has promised to cut emissions related to slash-and-burn tactics by 41 percent through 2020.

But that hinges on support from donor nations like Norway, which has pledged $1 billion to aid forest protection efforts in Indonesia. Without international funding, Indonesia has set more modest goals of 26-percent cuts.

"That's something we would do on our own if we involve local populations," Mangkusobroto said.

Author: Ziphora Robina (arp)
Editor: Nathan Witkop

Monday, August 15, 2011

Indigenous Indonesians fear forest sell-off

Deutsche Welle, 15 Aug 2011  

Villagers protest against visitors
to their forest
The Indonesian government needs the support of its indigenous peoples to reforest its devastated woods. But they have become suspicious of visitors examining trees. They fear a sell-off to foreign investors.

Angry villagers shout, clench their fists and wave banners at a group of international visitors who have come to see the Mejet Forest on the northern part of the Indonesian island of Lombok.

This isn't the reception that the visitors were expecting. The international collection of forestry officials and NGO experts came with good intentions – to take part in a conference aimed at forest conservation. 

They want to visit a successful project, but the villagers are disgruntled and suspicious. They believe the tour is aimed at stirring interest among potential foreign investors, looking to buy land.

This has often been the case in the past.

After much to and fro, the forest tour is cancelled. Instead, visitors and villagers meet with the local regent.

A life-long affinity

This is where disputes are traditionally settled, and the villagers become calm.

They hear about the visitors' true motives - to learn. It's something the villagers are happy to address: They fear for their livelihood and many have invested a lot to make use of the forest.

The villagers want to protect the
forest for their children
Using the forest is something the villagers take for granted, but it is considered a big problem for the Indonesian government.

The Indonesian forest ministry estimates that there are about 33,000 villages located on or nearby forested areas owned by the state.

According to the law, they are using the forest illegally, even though they have been living there for many generations.

In order to solve the problem, the Indonesian government has offered to lease the forest to the indigenous population.

The local villagers get the right to use a particular woodland in return for committing to take care of it. 

But what happens if the forest used is also part of a wildlife sanctuary or a traditional site?

Protecting the forest from within

At the foot of Rinjai, the second highest vulcano in Indonesia, lies the village Santong and the Santong Forest.

A trail leads deeper into the forest. It is bordered by tall trees rising to the sky. They serve as a protective shield for coffee, banana and vanilla plants.

The locals grow coffee and vanilla
in the Santong Forest
To boost reforestation, the population here uses agroforestry, a combination of agricultural and forestry techniques, since 1996. The forest covers about 221 hectares, but the indigenous people are allowed to use just 140 hectares, as the remainder is protected landscape. About 260 families live on the forest's yield.

Everything appears to be in harmony. But there are areas of conflict, according to Masidep, a representative of the local Lombok tribe Sasak.

"Most of them think about profit only," Masidep says. But for the indigenous people, the forest's protection is of much higher value. "We need to conserve the forest and also water resources, because water is giving life. Everyone needs to respect that," he says.

Traditional custodians

The Sasak tribe is an ethnic group that makes up 85 percent of the inhabitants on the Indonesian island Lombok.

Masidep is proud to announce that he can track his line of ancestry back to the 17th Century. In this area, the Sasak clans have been guarding the forest for centuries. Traditionally, the Rangga family is responsible for protecting the forest, says Rangga Topan Yamanullah.

The Sasaks can prove that they have been living in Lombok for a very long time. "There are traditions about old rituals: If you enter the forest, you have to clean yourself first. There are certain days and times, when it is favorable to go. It was different from today," Rangga Topan Yamanullah says.

"Today, it is only considered important what individuals are earning. We on the other hand are here to conserve the balance of the world." 

This river is a sacred site
for the Sasak
The Sasaks feel that preserving the forest is part of their life-task. But of all the people using Santong Forest, only a third are Sasak. Most are migrants from elsewhere in Indonesia. The Sasaks hope that the Indonesian government will provide them with the same rights to use the forest as the rest of the population.

But they also expect the government to protect their sacred sites and prevent the forests from being turned into just another source of production for the economy.  

A race against time

The Santong Forest example shows that a lot of problems remain unresolved. Who owns the right to use the forest, where are the borders that separate one forest from another, and how can the local population help promote conservation without suffering economic loss?

The Indonesian government has yet to answer these questions.

And time is running out: Indonesia loses a million hectare of forest per year, despite introducing a two-year moratorium on cutting down trees.

International surveys show that the best stewards are those people who have been living within the forest for generations. So it makes sense for the Indonesian government to team up with the indigenous community.

Erna Rosdiana from the Directorate of Social Forestry Development says the forest ministry is working on solutions. The visit to Lombok has opened her eyes to many of the problems. She says she plans to return with something to show, and hopes for a warmer reception next time around. 

Author: Ziphora Robina /sst
Editor: Nathan Witkop

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