Tag Archives: rainforest

Indonesian rainforest. Not my image.

Local People, Global Forests

Indonesian rainforest. Not my image.

Indonesian rainforest. Not my image.

According to Positive News, the forest dwelling indigenous people in Indonesia may soon have the legal rights to control those forests. This means they would be private property, and the government would cease to have control over them as a national resource. That means the Indonesian government couldn’t sell them to logging companies. It does mean the indigenous people could do so, but the idea is that they’d be much less likely to, seeing as the forests constitute their traditional and historic way of life.

Protection of the Indonesian rainforest is quite obviously an environmental win, but this law would also have a significant human rights side to it. Giving the indigenous people legal control over their forest homes – compared with the mere right to carry on living there – would give these people a greater respect and therefore a better quality of life.

The constitutional court actually already agreed to this on 16th May 2013, but the question is whether it’ll be properly implemented by local government. The logging industry will be fighting tooth and claw against this, as they’re making a tonne of money by chopping down the ancient forests – liquidating the natural capital. But as we know, trees are actually much more valuable while they’re alive. They turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, prevent soil erosion, stabilize the hydrological cycle, reduce the risk of floods and droughts and provide a habitat for millions of species. Luckily the Indonesian government – especially the forward thinking president¬†Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – seem to be realizing this at last.

I just hope they can get the logging industry to back off. It’s a dinosaur industry, really. It has no presence in a sustainable future. I mean we’ll certainly continue to cut and use timber, but not on the scale or with the brutal methods of today. True sustainable forestry is a million miles away from the quick cash clear cutting, like huge violent gashes on the landscape.

In Indonesia, their government have identified 365 distinct indigenous ethnic groups, adding up to millions of people. The forested lands they occupy must be quite a considerable amount of hectares, so this new law – if forcefully implemented – could be a big deal for the forests, the local people and the global community of life.

Resources:
http://positivenews.org.uk/2013/environment/13615/indonesian-forests-returned-indigenous-peoples/

http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_l205403604_text

The frog with the translucent tummy

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could see inside a tree frog’s body? Well, now you can. The existence of the beautiful Glass Frog was brought to my attention while reading www.ecorazzi.com yesterday, and I’ve fallen in love with the little fellla.

Isn’t it cute? Most Glass Frogs have a slightly translucent, lime green skin that lets them blend in with the leaves of the South American cloud forests they call home. But look, look at their tummies!

Completely transparent! You can see their living organs working. I think this is really interesting because of course, so much of our biological knowledge is gained from poking around with dead animals. And the body isn’t really working properly if it’s dead, is it?

Members of this frog family are actually quite widely dispersed, also living in the Amazon, Mexico and Argentina. They spend most of their time in the canopy, but come down to the riverside to breed. They lay their eggs on leaves above the water where they are slightly more safe from predators, and when they hatch the tadpoles drop into the river.

The Glass Frog is just one of the thousands of fantastic creatures we won’t have the pleasure of planet-sharing with if we continue to destroy the rainforests. Please think about what you can do for them.

Image credits: http://mudfooted.com/transparent-glass-frog/