Conservation News: Central Kalimantan To Set Up Palm Oil Monitoring System In Bid To Cut Deforestation 80%

Peat forest clearing for oil palm in Central Kalimantan. Photo by Rhett A. Butler at Mongabay.com

Peat forest clearing for oil palm in Central Kalimantan. Photo by Rhett A. Butler at Mongabay.com

By Rhett Butler for Mongabay.com

The Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan is moving forward on an oil palm plantation monitoring system it hopes will help meet a commitment to reduce deforestation 80 percent by 2020.The online monitoring system will include “information on the performance of plantation concessions such as productivity, the number of smallholder farmers, deforestation and other land cover change, and fire occurrence,” according to Earth Innovation Institute which designed and is helping the provincial government implement the system.Four districts — Kotawaringin Barat, Kapuas, Pulang Pisau, and Gunung Mas — will pilot the system, which will offer governments and the public unprecedented insight into palm oil production at the local level.”This system will enable local governments to detect non-compliance and also to acknowledge voluntary initiatives of companies in meeting sustainability criteria,” said Earth Innovation Institute. “Through the system, the government will be able to identify degraded lands that can be allocated for future plantation licenses. The system can also trace where oil palm is planted, harvested, processed and sold.”

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Mongabay.com and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom

 

OC Jumps In To Help OuTrop With Fires Near Sabangau

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Community Patrol team on fire scene

The alert came in just this week from the dedicated team at the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project.  Fires had broken out near the OuTrop research site in Borneo, and Mark Harrison needed help to bolster the efforts of the Centre for the International Cooperation in Sustainable Management of Tropical Peatlands (CIMTROP) and the Community Patrol Team teams already in place to fight the growing flames.

Each year when the dry season arrives, so do the fires that can be deadly if they are not attacked from day one.   This season in Central Kalimantan looks to be especially precarious.

OuTrop contacted us seeking emergency funding to help with the situation, and the Orangutan Conservancy is jumping in right away to provide some much-needed assistance.

As the letter from OuTrop’s Managing Director, Mark Harrison read:

“We’ve been talking with CIMTROP and members of the Community Patrol Team on how we will tackle the fires: CIMTROP’s fire-fighting team is one of the few out there on a daily basis to patrol and fight the fires.  In Sabangau’s Natural Laboratory, where we have our main base, the patrol team has already extinguished two fires that were on the forest edge, there are reports of fires further south in the National Park, and in Kalampangan in the eastern Sabangau catchment the patrol team is now working 24 hours to stop a fire that has entered the forest there, an area about which we have just published research demonstrating the importance of this forest block for orangutan conservation. As well as supporting the fire-fighting teams, we need funds for a fire-watch tower and adding equipment. It has become very clear that 2014 is not just a brief fire season but could develop into a very serious one.”

If you’d like to join OC in our effort please visit our donate now page.

The firefighters face a wall of smoke from the flames nearby

The firefighters face a wall of smoke from the flames nearby

 

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation News: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Upgrades Palm Oil App To Help Save Wild Orangutans

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s sustainable palm oil phone app helps people make responsible decisions about the food and health/beauty products they purchase every day, and a recent upgrade to the app is helping consumers make even better decisions.

There’s now a green, yellow and orange rating system that recognizes companies that are doing well and encourages those that need improvement. The phone app is aimed at helping save the lives of orangutans, tigers, Asian elephants, sun bears, tropical birds and many other endangered and threatened animals in Indonesia and Malaysia where the palm oil crisis is endangering their habitats.

“When we originally launched the phone app, we wanted consumers to know what companies belonged to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) so they could support them and purchase their products,” Dina Bredahl, Animal Care Manager and Palm Oil Awareness Team Member, said. “But all companies listed in this app are in different places on their journey toward sustainable palm oil, and we wanted to acknowledge that with a rating system.”

This excerpt from a news release appeared in and is courtesy of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Fox 21News.com and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom

 

OC’s Dr. Anne Russon Featured in New Yorker Article

Photograph by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty

Photograph by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty

An Orangutan Learns to Fish

by  for The New Yorker

In 1990, while visiting a research camp in central Borneo, the primatologist Anne Russon saw an orangutan nicknamed Supinah attempt to make fire. Supinah sauntered toward an ashy fire pit, picked up a stick glowing with embers, and dipped it into a nearby cup full of liquid. Russon thought that the cup contained water, but it in fact held kerosene. Fortunately, that bath did little more than dampen the wood. Yet Supinah persisted: she got a second glowing stick, blew on it, fanned it with her hands, and rubbed it against other sticks. She never got the right steps in the right order to start a fire, but what foiled her was not her innate intelligence. She had a clear goal in mind and the right kind of brain to achieve it. She just needed a little more practice.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of The New Yorker.  To read the entire story please click here.

The Orangutan Conservancy's Dr. Anne Russon shown here at her current research effort - the Orangutan Kutai Project

The Orangutan Conservancy’s Dr. Anne Russon shown here at her current research effort – the Orangutan Kutai Project

 

 

posted by: Tom