Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Update: March, 11/2018 – 13:00

Viet Nam News 
GIA LAI — A fire that broke out in the Ia Grai protection forest in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai was brought under control on Sunday morning.
However, more than 40ha of a forest, comprising pine trees planted in 2015, was destroyed.
Lê Tiến Hiệp, head of the forest’s management board, said that the fire occurred on Friday afternoon.
More than 200 people from the management board, provincial Border Guards and local residents from Ia Chía and Ia O communes were called to extinguish the fire.
The team managed to temporarily halt the fire on Friday night. However, due to dry conditions and strong winds, the flames reappeared. Ia Grai District authorities called for more firemen from Đức Cơ District to stamp out it.
Ia Grai District authorities kept a close watch on the scene to prevent the fire from re-occurring.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. — VNS

Read more: http://vietnamnews.vn/society/424149/fire-destroys-40ha-of-forest-in-gia-lai.html#Ta8Ig5jgRUbozGrX.97

Cambodia’s military crackdown recalls bloody ‘Kratie insurrection’

Cambodia’s military crackdown recalls bloody ‘Kratie insurrection’ By: Paul Millar and Leng Len – Photography by…

Fire at 40 points in forest near Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar; sabotage suspected

Fire at 40 points in forest near Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar; sabotage suspected

Study reshapes the floral relationships between the world’s tropical forests

Study reshapes the floral relationships between the world’s tropical forests

Hannah Halusker, College of Science

March 8, 2018

CLEMSON, South Carolina – Research from more than 100 scientists across the world, including that of Clemson professor of biological sciences Saara DeWalt, has recently combined to show that the world’s tropical forests are more similar than scientists previously thought.

In 1994, DeWalt had just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown University. Fully funded by a Fulbright Scholarship, DeWalt was able to conduct an ethnobotanical study in the lowland tropical forest of Bolivia. There, she assessed how an indigenous people called the Tacana made use of different tree and vine species in their everyday lives. To conduct the study, DeWalt led a forest inventory of trees near two Tacana communities.

More than two decades later, DeWalt’s documentation is part of a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that indicates that tropical forests can be grouped into two major regions based on the similarity of their flora: American and African tropical forests versus Indo-Pacific forests.

In addition to helping scientists reclassify the world’s tropical forests, the discovery supports what geologists know about the breakup of West Gondwana, an ancient supercontinent that contained what has since become Africa and South America.

In prior studies, researchers have attempted to understand how closely related forests in different parts of the world are by comparing how many tree species they share.

“For example, if two sites were compared, each with 100 individuals, and they shared 20 species, then we’d say the similarity of the two sites is 20 percent,” said Ferry Slik, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam Herbarium in Brunei, Borneo.

Read more: newsstand.clemson.edu/mediarelations/study-reshapes-the-floral-relationships-between-the-worlds-tropical-forests/

Policemen, protesters hurt in Cambodian land dispute

Policemen, protesters hurt in Cambodian land dispute

At least seven policemen and two protesters were hurt Thursday in a clash after villagers in northeastern Cambodia blocked a national highway to protest being forced off land they have occupied for at least two years.

Officials and NGO workers said about 200 villagers in Kratie province who have been living on land that was given to a concessionaire to develop into a rubber plantation blocked the road for two hours.

Land disputes became a critical issue in Cambodia in the early part of last decade, as great blocs of land were granted as concessions for logging, rubber, and other economic development projects. Violent and sometimes fatal conflicts between villagers, who rarely held formal land titles, and the authorities, acting on behalf of the concession holders, became common to the point that they were considered to be a threat to political stability.

In 2012, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive suspending new land concessions to private companies and ordering a review of existing ones, though it is not clear the order was effectively implemented.

Penang’s commitment to safeguard its forests

Penang’s commitment to safeguard its forests

Published on  |  Modified on

LETTER | The recent news of continued logging in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve, Kedah has troubled nearby residents and the rest of Malaysia.

Small logging concessions and illegal logging activities hidden from public eyes have punctured the heart of the pristine forest and affected both water source and water quality. Such activities have also snatched away homes and feeding grounds for elephants, hornbills, leopards and other protected wildlife species.

The rampant logging activity upstream of Sungai Muda consequently affects the livelihood of over four million people from three states: Kedah, Perlis, and Penang.

To be more specific, 80 percent of Penang water supply comes from Sungai Muda, 96 percent for Kedah, and 50 percent for Perlis.

Even though the Kedah Forestry Department issued a claim that there is no environmental impact from the logging activities, and water quality is not affected, this short-sighted and dubious claim fails to look at the long-term water supply issue.

These impacts of logging on human lives mean only one thing: gazette the forest reserve as water catchment area or risk our livelihood. All logging activities need to stop immediately. Delayed action will only cause more cascading effects.

The tragic fate of forests in Malaysia continues to be aggravated after the degazettement of 4,515 ha forest reserve in Terengganu earlier in January. The state government granted the land to TDM Berhad, which plans to turn the area into oil palm plantation. This move angered most environmentalists.

Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/414558

When bogs burn, the environment takes a hit

When bogs burn, the environment takes a hit

The peat sequestered in the wet ground keeps much of Earth’s carbon out of the atmosphere

BY LAUREL HAMERS 12:00 PM MARCH 6, 2018

In 2015, massive wildfires burned through Indonesia, sending thick smoke and haze as far as Thailand.

These fires were “the worst environmental disaster in modern history,” says Thomas Smith, a wildfire expert at King’s College London. Smith estimates that the fires and smoke killed 100,000 people in Indonesia and neighboring countries and caused billions of dollars in damage. The fires were costly for the rest of the planet, too: At their peak, the blazes belched more climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each day than did all U.S. economic activity.

Two years later and 13,000 kilometers away, a fire smoldered on the fringes of a barren, northern landscape. The remote blaze could have gone unnoticed. But Jessica McCarty and other fire researchers actively monitor satellite imagery of Earth the way some people check Facebook. One Sunday in August, McCarty, of Miami University in Ohio, was surprised to see massive plumes of what appeared to be white smoke over a swath of Greenland. The giant landmass had not been on her fire radar. It’s mostly ice and the parts that don’t have sparse vegetation.

The settings of these two blazes couldn’t have been more different, but scientists suspect the two had something important in common: plenty of decaying organic matter known as peat.

Peatlands — which include bogs, other swampy wetlands and, yes, Greenland’s icy soil — are ecosystems rich in the decayed organic matter.

In their healthy, soggy state, peatlands are quite fire resistant. So when it comes to fire risk, peat-heavy landscapes haven’t historically gotten the same attention as, say, the dry pine forests of the western United States. But with those devastating peat fires in Indonesia, the spotlight has turned to the planet’s other peatlands, too.

Worldwide, peatlands store massive amounts of carbon in thick blankets of wet organic matter accumulated in the ground over centuries. And though they cover just 3 to 5 percent of Earth’s land surface, peatlands store a quarter of all soil carbon. That adds up to more carbon than all of the world’s forests combined.

But changes in land use — draining the water to plant acres of crops that demand drier soil, a common practice in tropical regions, or building a road through an area — can dry out the peat. And then, a single carelessly tossed cigarette or an errant lightning strike can ignite a fire that will smoke and smolder for months, releasing thousands of years of stored carbon as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Or fires set to clear land for agriculture can get out of hand like they’ve done in Indonesia: Over the last few decades, the country has drained many of its peatlands to grow oil palms and other crops. Now, the country is seeing the worst-case scenario of what can happen when peatlands are disrupted and desiccated. In northern latitudes, meanwhile, thawing permafrost exposes peat that has been buried for years, which can fuel fires like those seen in Greenland last summer.

In the short term, peat fires clog the air with deadly smoke and smog. In densely populated areas such as Indonesia, blazes can devour homes and businesses and claim lives. But the fires’ impact lingers long after the flames die down. Peat fires reshape entire ecosystems. Once the peat burns away, it can take thousands of years to build up again. And all of the carbon that was once neatly stored away is instead floating around in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change much like burning coal does.

Now, scientists are trying to get a better handle on peatlands and the effects of agriculture, development and a climate that’s shifting toward warmer and drier. Recent discoveries of hidden peatlands in Africa and South America expand the extent of peat around the world, and up the stakes for protecting those carbon stores. New research is making it increasingly clear that, without a shift in approach, humans might strip away healthy peatlands and get, in return, a lot of climate-warming carbon dioxide.

Read more: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bogs-peatlands-fire-climate-change

Cambodia tops region for fires detected from space

Cambodia tops region for fires detected from space

Rescued skier offers thanks

Rescued skier offers thanks

Staff Reports

A rescued skier thanked members of Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue for coming to his aid.

“The incredible and selfless work that you do, making a real difference, is something I won’t forget until the end of my days,” he said, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Last week two skiers were reported lost near Mott Canyon, and the search and rescue team was toned out to assist. Searchers located the two skiers around 8 p.m.

Due to weather conditions, they were not able to be evacuated and SAR remained with the two subjects overnight, where low temperatures were in the teens.

“It was a challenging event,” Sgt. Bernadette Smith said. “The rescue was a complete success with no injuries to the skiers.”

Members of Douglas County, El Dorado, and Washoe rescue personnel were involved.

Read more: https://www.recordcourier.com/news/local/rescued-skier-offers-thanks/

Myanmar delegation visits Tahoe

Myanmar delegation visits Tahoe

Staff Reports

Seven delegates visiting from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in southeast Asia at least got to see snow at Lake Tahoe last week.

The delegates spent two days in Reno and visited Lake Tahoe to learn about the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s role in natural resource management in the Tahoe Basin.

The delegation’s visit was made possible through the International Visitor Leadership Program and was coordinated by the University of Nevada Reno’s Northern Nevada International Center.

Tahoe Fuels Battalion Chief Kyle Jacobson and Timber Management Officer Robert Guebard facilitated a field visit for the delegation to a recent forest thinning project near Pope Beach and the Emerald Fire area.

The delegation learned about forest health and the benefits that forest thinning projects provide to the forest and surrounding communities and the importance of removing excess vegetation that can feed wildland fires.

Launched in 1940, the Leadership Program supports U.S. engagement with countries around the world in order to cultivate lasting relationships by connecting current and emerging leaders with their American counterparts.

Read more: https://www.recordcourier.com/news/local/myanmar-delegation-visits-tahoe/

To learn more, visit https://eca.state.gov/ivlp/about-ivlp and https://www.unr.edu/nnic.