Norway Pays to Protect Liberia’s Forests

Deforestation is killing the planet and has been linked to the current ebola outbreak. Still, many places (Canada included) cut down hectares of land as if it’s nothing. Norway is apparently sick of tho attitude and has made a deal with Liberia to protect their woodlands.

“We have funded efforts in Indonesia and Brazil, but I think this is the first time we have entered a deal on a country level.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Norway will help Liberia to initially build up the capacity to monitor and police the forests.

Liberia will refrain from issuing any new logging concessions until all existing ones have been reviewed by an independent body.

The country agrees to place 30% or more of its forest estate under protected area status by 2020. It will also pilot direct payments to communities for protecting the forest.

Read more.

Help Save the Redwoods with Modern Tech

Organizations that care about protecting the environment are always looking for ways to get more people helping them out and in some cases consumer technologies are the solution. Save the Redwoods is an organization in California that is asking people to use their iPhones to identify where every redwood tree is in the state. The information will then be mapped out on Google Earth – a great way of showing people the current state of the redwood forests.

Find a redwood tree in a park, in your own backyard, or in a botanical garden anywhere in the world. Then use the free Redwood Watch iPhone application powered by iNaturalist or your own camera to take a photo of the tree and submit it online.

“Citizen-science efforts like iNaturalist are rapidly emerging as rich sources of biogeographic information for alerting scientists where plants and animals are disappearing and where they persist,” said Scott R. Loarie, co-director of iNaturalist.org and a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science. “These technologies are a real win-win for conservation because, in addition to generating urgently needed data, they get people outdoors and help them become more aware of the natural world.”

In collaboration with Google Earth Outreach, Redwood Watch also will include a tour and new 3D online model of the ancient forest to help people better understand, appreciate and connect with the wonder of the redwoods. A 2½-minute video, Finding the Redwood Forests of Tomorrow, tells the story of an ancient forest. The video was narrated by Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall. Save the Redwoods League partnered with Google Earth Outreach to produce the new 3D Trees model ofJedediah Smith Redwoods State Park on Google Earth. Jedediah Smith Redwoods was selected for this project because it is one of the most pristine old-growth coast redwood forests in California. The 3D model allows Google Earth users to virtually walk and fly through an ancient redwood forest anytime anywhere.

Find out more at the Save the Redwoods website

India’s Tiger Population on the Rise

For the first time in many years India’s tiger population is increasing! This is great news for conservationists and people who champion the environment, and of course, it’s grrrreat news for tigers!

The tiger census found 1,706 of the animals in India last year, compared with 1,411 in 2006, officials in New Delhi announced — though they said much of the increase was due to more thorough counting.

“We have expanded the survey to cover the entirety of India now and our estimate is now more accurate,” said Rajesh Gopal of Project Tiger, the government’s tiger conservation body.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh welcomed the figures as “a very encouraging sign.”

Read the rest of the news here.

Sea Shepherd Helps Whales Survive

Japan’s notorious killing spree of whales has been challenged by Sea Shepherd for years and this past year Sea Shepherd literally saved whales.

Japan’s whaling ships have returned from the Southern Ocean with their smallest catch in years, prompting the fleet’s leader to blame harassment by the Sea Shepherd marine conservation group for the shortfall.

The Nisshin Maru, the fleet’s mother ship, returned to Tokyo harbour yesterday with just 507 whales, a little over half the target catch of 935, according to the fisheries agency. The haul of minke whales and a single finback was well down on last year’s catch of 680.

The fleet said Sea Shepherd’s attempts to sabotage the hunt had deprived it of 31 days’ whaling.

The annual confrontation between the two groups reached its height in January with the sinking of Sea Shepherd’s high-tech powerboat, the Ady Gil, after a collision with the Shonan Maru 2 harpoon boat.

Read more at The Guardian.

Iceland and Norway also participate in annual whale killing.

Let us not forget that Bluefin Tuna is endangered and we need to protect them too.

One Amazing Fence

Fences can build good neighbours and fences can save the environment. One fence has done
wonders for protecting rhinos and water.

Colin Church, the chair of the Kenya-based Rhino Ark conservation group and a leading expert on African leading wildlife, said the fence, which took 21 years for local communities to complete, had failed to save the rhino in the uplands it surrounds.

However, it had succeeded in protecting a large forest area and the sources of four of seven of Kenya’s largest rivers, all of which rise in the Aberdares and provide electricity and water to major cities including Nairobi.

“In the early days, the motivation was to protect the black rhino, but then we all woke up to the fact that the farmers [who lived near the fence] were celebrating, and the reality is that this forested mountain area was the lifeblood for millions of people. We realised the whole ecosystem was at stake,” he said.

“Our thinking had to change.The Aberdares are now the most secure mountain ecosystem in the whole of Kenya and maybe Africa.”

Keep reading at The Guardian.

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