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, October 8, 2013

Reforesting Program Bears Fruit, Wins Hearts

A look at villages in Central Sulawesi shows how a program to stop illegal logging has been embraced by the locals

Jakarta Globe, Dessy Sagita, October 8, 2013

A member of the community-based organization in Simoro, Central Sulawesi,
 harvest honeys — a sign that local residents prefer new farming methods that
conserve the environment. (JG Photo/Dessy Sagita)

Sigi, Central Sulawesi. Until a few years ago, Kalvin P. Boso was still known as the king of slash-and-burn in his village of Lonca, tucked away in Central Sulawesi’s Sigi district.

Lonca is located just eight kilometers from the district capital, Kulawi, but the road connecting the town to the village is narrow, muddy, with a deep ravine on one side and a rocky mountain on the other, all surrounded by protected forest.

Like most villagers in Lonca, Kalvin learned to cut trees and burn them down to clear the land as a child, unaware of the risks his actions created.

When trees are present, their roots help to prevent erosion by holding the soil together and absorbing water. With the roots gone, soil can slide around a lot more and water is able to build up on the surface, causing flooding and other natural disasters such as mudslides.

The practice also threatens the local water supply by damaging the soil’s ability to retain water.

“My parents were also farmers, and from when I was a student I was taught how to clear the land without understanding the consequences to the environment,” Kalvin, now 44, tells the Jakarta Globe.

Every year, Kalvin said, he cleared at least two square kilometers of forest to grow rice, corn or cassavas.

“Our villagers have been blamed for causing the floods in Palu every year,” says Amos Sumutju, the Lonca village chief referring, to the provincial capital.

Most villagers make it a habit to clear land and move on again the next year because they believed the soil is no longer fertile after a single season. This has placed their own lives in danger of disaster because of the growing expanse of critically degraded land.

Plan of action

The Forestry Ministry says more than 27 million hectares of Indonesia’s forests are now in critical condition due to illegal deforestation.

But land clearing by fire was stopped in Lonca village when the government introduced a program called Strengthening Community-Based Forest and Watershed Management to raise public awareness about illegal logging.

The program was established with the help of the United Nations Development Program, which, along with the Global Environment Facility, donated $7.5 million for the period 2009-2014 to revitalize watershed management in six locations in Indonesia by involving and empowering local inhabitants.

The six locations chosen for the project are in the provinces of North Sumatra, Lampung, Central Java, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and Central Sulawesi.

“We first started out by approaching the locals,” says Erus Rusyadirus, the regional facilitator for the program in Central Sulawesi.

“I stayed for at least three days in every village, talked and spent time with the villagers, trying to convince them that slashing and burning trees was bad for their present and future.”

Hearts and minds

“It was very hard at first. A farmer once told me ‘I don’t care if you or the government tell me to stop cutting trees, I will not stop. Who can guarantee my livelihood or if my family can still eat the next day?’” Erus said.

After intensive guidance, many of the farmers, including Kalvin, began to understand that their village was in danger.

“Kalvin, who used to be known as the king of slashing and burning, is now the head of the community-based organization,” Amos said, referring to a group set up under the program.

The CBO receives a small grant for the program, which it can use to fund its activities. Every CBO has different programs, but focuses mainly on empowering the locals to find a new source of livelihood so that the farmers do not have to go back to slashing and burning trees.

Kalvin, for one, says the program has changed his life for the better.

“After listening to Pak Erus’s explanation about how clearing the land with the old method has put many people’s lives in danger, I started to realize how much I loved the environment, and as the leader of the group I feel a deep sense of responsibility to conserve the forest,” he says.

Along with the other CBO members, Kalvin works to raise awareness in his village and urges locals to farm on a permanent plot of land rather than clear new land each year. Most people in Lonca now grow cocoa and vegetables.

The group, with 16 other CBOs in Sigi, has also planted 240,000 tree seedlings.

“If you came to our village a few years ago, you’d see the whole area was brown. But now as you can see, it’s all turning green,” Amos says proudly.

Community empowerment

Residents in Simoro, in Sigi’s Gumbasa subdistrict, have proudly embraced their new livelihood and work enthusiastically to develop various activities improve the economic status of their village.

“Everything started to change in 2004 when our village was flooded and we saw giant logs floating everywhere,” says Herry, the head of the Gumbasa CBO.

Gumbasa was severely affected by flash flooding that year, which swept away several homes.

“At that time, slash-and-burn clearing was still very common. People would clear the land and started farming anywhere they wanted to,” Herry says.

“We even cleared land inside the Lore Lindu National Park.”

Lore Lindu, east of Lonca, is a protected forest area that was designated as part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. It spans 2,180 square kilometers and is home to numerous rare species, including 77 birds endemic to Sulawesi.

CBO groups around it were taught to make the best of their environment by cultivating honeybees, cows and chicken. They also grow vegetables and fruit, as well as producing snacks from the produce to sell in Kulawi.

To be able to join their local CBO, each person has to plant at least 15 trees in a watershed area.

The village has planted nearly 70,000 seedlings along the riverbanks since 2011, and an evaluation shows that more than 60 percent are growing well.

Simoro village has also issued a regulation that farmers can still farm in Lore Lindu as long as they are committed to preserving the environment.

“If they want to use the land inside the national park, they have to plant at least 50 trees and they have to promise they will not cut a single tree inside the protected forest,” Herry says.

The CBO there has done so well that it was named the best CBO in Indonesia during an award ceremony in Bali recently.

Localization

Saeful Rachman, the national program manager of the SCBWFM, says the project was created after a report was published about critically degraded watershed areas in Indonesia.

“Some changes happened because of natural disasters like floods, climate change and landslides, but most were due to illegal logging,” he says.

Saeful says the Forestry Ministry has started replanting trees, but its program is not very successful due to rapid population growth and declining vegetation area.

“Most of the time the watershed areas are degraded because of land conversion,” he explains.

Therefore, he says, the UNDP and the Forestry Ministry proposed the program to increase awareness and empower communities so they can find another source of livelihood that is sustainable.

“Most farmers were very skeptical at first when we introduced the program, but when we asked them to be the main actors and the agents of change instead of the subjects, we saw significant progress,” Saeful says.

“Not only did they stop cutting down trees, but the villagers actively started working on regulations to punish illegal loggers. We are so proud of them.

“The locations were chosen because of their biophysical conditions and the local government’s readiness to implement the program,” he adds.

Persuading the locals to stop slashing and burning was a tall order.

In Omu village, also in Gumbasa, the program had to deal with an indigenous tribe that had been living inside a protected forest for generations.

Aris Pasasa, the leader of the local CBO, says that when the project first started there were 13 families from the indigenous tribe living inside the forest.

“They had been living inside the protected forest since the 1960s, and every year they moved to a new location and cleared land,” Aris says.

“Approaching them was a difficult thing to do, not only because they did not speak Indonesian, but also because they would hide every time they saw someone who was not from their tribe.”

With much effort and the help of a translator, the CBO finally managed to persuade the families to move out of the forest. Aris even lent his land to the families to build huts and got other residents to hire them to work on their land.

“Now we worry less about flash floods or polluted and damaged water sources,” Aris says.

Additional goals

Saeful says the main objective of the program is not only to improve the condition of the watershed area, but also to push for the government to give its support and encourage local officials to come up with regulations that help the environment.

Aside from community empowerment to stop people from cutting down trees, the program also asks the communities to restore the critically degraded areas to pristine condition.

“Every year we plant 450,000 to 600,000 seedlings provided by the government, but the really special thing is that sometimes the villagers themselves are even willing to spend their own money to buy the seedlings and plant them, and that’s a very good sign,” he says.

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