Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

Tag: Forests and Forestry

How Americans’ Appetite for Leather in Luxury SUVs Worsens Amazon Deforestation

Technology, World
JBS disagreed with the criteria used by the prosecutors and agreed to improve its monitoring system, block suppliers flagged by the research and donate $900,000 to the state in response to the audit.To get a sense of scale of the ranches operating in vulnerable areas across the Brazilian Amazon, The Times overlaid government maps of protected Amazon land, deforested areas and farm boundaries with the locations of ranches that JBS publicly listed as supplying its slaughterhouses in 2020. An analysis showed that, among the JBS suppliers, ranches covering an estimated 2,500 square miles significantly overlapped Indigenous land, a conservation zone or an area that was deforested after 2008, when laws regulating deforestation were put in place in Brazil.The methodology and results were examined...
Timber Poachers Set a Forest on Fire. Tree DNA Sent One to Prison.

Timber Poachers Set a Forest on Fire. Tree DNA Sent One to Prison.

Technology
In the spring and summer of 2018, a crew of poachers had been chopping down trees by night in the Olympic National Forest in Washington State, federal prosecutors said.On Aug. 3, they came upon the wasp’s nest.It was at the base of a bigleaf maple, a species of hardwood tree with a shimmering grain that is prized for its use in violins, guitars and other musical instruments. The crew was selling bigleaf maples to a mill in Tumwater, using forged permits, prosecutors said. Logging is banned in the forest, a vast wilderness encompassing nearly a million acres.The timber poachers sprayed insecticide and most likely gasoline on the nest, and burned it, the authorities said. But they were unable to douse the fire with water bottles, so they fled, prosecutors said.The fire spread out from the fo...
With Methane and Forest Deals, Climate Summit Offers Hope After Gloomy Start

With Methane and Forest Deals, Climate Summit Offers Hope After Gloomy Start

Technology, World
GLASGOW — The world leaders gathered at a crucial climate summit secured new agreements on Tuesday to end deforestation and reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane, building momentum as the conference prepared to shift to a more grueling two weeks of negotiations on how to avert the planet’s catastrophic warming.Capping off two days of speeches and meetings, President Biden on Tuesday said the United States pledged to be a “partner” with vulnerable countries confronting climate change, while expressing confidence that his own domestic climate agenda is on track to pass Congress despite the wobbling of a key Senate Democrat this week.Mr. Biden told reporters the meeting had re-established the United States as a leader on what he has called an existential threat to humanity, sa...

Global Leaders Pledge to End Deforestation by 2030

Technology, World
“What we’re doing here is trying to change the economics on the ground to make forests worth more alive than dead,” said Eron Bloomgarden, whose group, Emergent, helps match public and private investors with forested countries and provinces looking to receive payments for reducing deforestation.The participating governments promised “support for smallholders, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and have a key role in their stewardship.”Tuntiak Katan, the general coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and a member of the Shuar people in Amazonian Ecuador, praised the support for Indigenous and local communities but questioned throwing money at a system he sees as broken.“If this financing doesn’t work directly, and sho...
Biden Tours Wildfire Damage in California

Biden Tours Wildfire Damage in California

Technology, World
President Biden visited California on Monday to tout his efforts to better protect the state against the raging wildfires that have burned more than two million acres, displaced thousands and pushed responders to the brink of exhaustion.“These fires are blinking code red for our nation,” said Mr. Biden, who used the occasion to promote two bills pending in Congress that would fund forest management and more resilient infrastructure as well as combat global warming. The country couldn’t “ignore the reality that these wildfires are being supercharged by climate change,” he said.But experts say there are limits to what the federal government can do to reduce the scale and destructive power of the fires, at least in the short term. That’s because much of the authority needed relies on state an...
Richard Powers Speaks for the Trees

Richard Powers Speaks for the Trees

Technology, World
During a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts one weekend, he saw a 1914 photograph of farm boys in Germany, and started thinking about the birth of the machine age. Inspired by the figures in the photo, he quit his programming job and started writing his 1985 debut, “Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance.” It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, the first in a river of accolades, including a MacArthur “genius” grant and a National Book Award.For much of his career, Powers has used fiction to probe humanity’s relationship to technology, and how our creativity and ingenuity has come to define and ensnare us. He’s been labeled “our pre-eminent novelist of ideas,” “our greatest living novelist” and “the best novelist you’ve never heard of.” In his books “The Gold Bug Variations...
Searching for Bird Life in a Former ‘Ocean of Forest’

Searching for Bird Life in a Former ‘Ocean of Forest’

Technology
Andrea Morales Rozo, who teaches biology at the Universidad de los Llanos in central Colombia, guided the team at the nets, from which she skillfully extricated birds unharmed. Ms. Morales Rozo has been studying the blackpoll warbler, a species that migrates between the Amazon and Canada; she was part of a group that recently compared museum specimens and field-caught birds and learned that the warbler’s northward range had shifted by nearly 400 miles in 45 years.Dr. Cuervo, the expedition leader, offered calm, fatherly support to those at the processing table. It’s not always obvious how best to describe a bird’s colors, for example, and second opinions were often requested. Was a wing “verde café,” greenish brown? Or was it “verde olivazo,” olive green? Was a female bird’s brood patch, t...
On the Move With Mongolia’s Nomadic Reindeer Herders

On the Move With Mongolia’s Nomadic Reindeer Herders

Travel
A morning mist filled the valley near Hatgal, a small village at the southern tip of Lake Khovsgol in north central Mongolia. Glancing at the figures between the fragrant pines and larches, I could hardly distinguish the silhouettes of the reindeer from those of their herders.Darima Delger, 64, and her husband, Uwugdorj Delger, 66, gathered their belongings and dismantled a rusty stove. They tossed a coat over the shoulders of their grandchildren who were already sitting on the backs of their animals. The family’s herd stood as still as if in a Flemish painting. Everyone was waiting to depart.The sound of colliding tent poles — mixed with a swirl of commanding voices — left little doubt: The transhumance to the herders’ summer camp was underway.Darima and Uwugdorj’s family is part of a sma...
The Dixie Fire Continues to Burn. But Taylorsville Residents Are Staying.

The Dixie Fire Continues to Burn. But Taylorsville Residents Are Staying.

Technology, World
In Greenville, residents had also been reluctant to evacuate, certain the blaze would not reach their town.“I tried to defend it to the last second, and the fire just pushed me out,” said Jose Garcia, 34, who lost his home and his taco restaurant. He said that he had only seconds to escape. “We lost everything.”Others said that they had been reluctant to leave after evacuation orders were later lifted, and then reinstated.“We were probably some of the last people out of there,” said Teresa Clark, 49, who said she had evacuated the first time together with her mother, who uses a wheelchair, partner and pets, but that the cost and difficulty — and the fact that the fires had not initially reached Greenville — made her reluctant to leave a second time.Extreme WeatherUpdated Aug. 6, 2021,...
The Bootleg Fire Is Now Generating Its Own Weather

The Bootleg Fire Is Now Generating Its Own Weather

Technology, World
A towering cloud of hot air, smoke and moisture that reached airliner heights and spawned lightning. Wind-driven fronts of flame that have stampeded across the landscape, often leapfrogging firebreaks. Even, possibly, a rare fire tornado.The Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon, spurred by months of drought and last month’s blistering heat wave, is the largest wildfire so far this year in the United States, having already burned more than 340,000 acres, or 530 square miles, of forest and grasslands.And at a time when climate change is causing wildfires to be larger and more intense, it’s also one of the most extreme, so big and hot that it’s affecting winds and otherwise disrupting the atmosphere.“The fire is so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat that it’s changing the weather...