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    Category: Land Clearing

    The world’s great rainforests – - June 22, 2020 by admin

    Tropical rainforests have an outsized role in the world. Of the Earths ecosystems, rainforests support the largest variety of plants and animal species, house the majority of indigenous groups still living in isolation from the rest of humanity, and power the mightiest rivers. Rainforests lock up vast amounts of carbon, moderate local temperature, and influence rainfall and weather patterns at regional and planetary scales.

    Despite their importance however, deforestation in the worlds tropical forests has remained persistently high since the 1980s due to rising human demand for food, fiber, and fuel and the failure to recognize the value of forests as healthy and productive ecosystems. Since 2002, an average of 3.2 million hectares of primary tropical foreststhe most biodiverse and carbon-dense type of foresthave been destroyed per year. An even larger area of secondary forest is cleared or degraded.

    In recognition of World Rainforest Day 2020, which was launched in 2017 by Rainforest Partnership, below is a brief look at the state of the worlds largest remaining tropical rainforests.

    Note: All figures below are based on 2020 data from the University of Maryland (UMD) and World Resources Institute (WRI) using a 30% canopy cover threshold. Tree cover loss does not account for regrowth, reforestation, or afforestation.

    The Amazon is the worlds largest and best known tropical rainforest. As measured by primary forest extent, the Amazon rainforest is more than three times larger than that of the Congo Basin, the worlds second largest rainforest. The Amazon rainforest accounts for just over a third of tree cover across the tropics.

    The Amazon River, which drains an area nearly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States, is the worlds biggest river. It carries more than five times the volume of the Congo or twelve times that of the Mississippi. By one estimate, 70% of South Americas GDP is produced in areas that receive rainfall generated by the Amazon rainforest. This includes South Americas agricultural breadbasket and some of its largest cities.

    Due to its size, the Amazon leads all tropical forest areas in terms of its annual area of forest loss. Between 2002 and 2019, more than 30 million hectares of primary forest was cleared in the region, or about half the worlds total tropical primary forest loss during that period.

    The Amazon is thought to house more than half the worlds uncontacted tribes living in voluntary isolation from the rest of humanity. However the vast majority of indigenous peoples in the Amazon live in cities, towns, and villages.

    Extent: 628 million hectares of tree cover, including 526 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: About 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest lies within the borders of Brazil; the balance is found in parts of Peru (13%), Colombia (8%), Venezuela (6%), Bolivia (6%), Guyana (3%), Ecuador (2%), and Suriname (2%), as well as French Guiana (1%), a department of France.

    Most famous species: Jaguar; tapir; capybara; river dolphins; various monkeys and parrots. Bulk numbers: more than 40,000 plant species, including 16,000 tree species; 3,000 fish; 1,300 birds, 1,000 amphibians; 430 mammals, and 400 reptiles.

    Deforestation trend: Rising in most countries, led by Brazil. The Amazon lost over 30 million hectares of primary forest (5.5% of the 2001 extent) and 44.5 million hectares of tree cover (6.6%) between 2002 and 2019.

    The second largest block of tropical rainforest is found in the Congo Basin, which drains an area of 3.7 million square kilometers. The majority of the Congo rainforest lies within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which accounts for 60 percent of Central Africas lowland primary forest. Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea account for nearly all the rest of the Congo Basin rainforest.

    Until the early 2010s, deforestation in the Congo Basin was relatively low. War and chronic political instability, poor infrastructure, and lack of large-scale industrial agriculture help limit forest loss in the region. Most deforestation was driven by subsistence activities, though degradation due to logging was substantial. The situation is changing however: deforestation has been trending sharply upward in recent years.

    Extent: 288 million hectares of tree cover, including 168 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (60% of the Congos primary forest), Gabon (13%), Republic of the Congo (12%), Cameroon (10%), Central African Republic (3%), and Equatorial Guinea (1%).

    Most famous species: Forest elephants; okapi; great apes including gorillas, bonobos, and chimps.

    Deforestation trend: Deforestation is rising rapidly though it remains lower on a percentage basis than other major forest regions. The Congo lost over 6 million hectares of primary forest (3.5% of the 2001 extent) and 13.5 million hectares of tree cover (4.5%) between 2002 and 2019.

    The Australiasian rainforest includes tropical forests on the island of New Guinea and northeastern Australia as well as scattered islands that were connected when sea levels dropped during that last ice age. As a consequence of this linkage, both land masses have common assemblages of plants and animals, while conspicuously lacking groups found on islands further west. For example, cats, monkeys, and civets are absent from New Guinea and Australia, but both have an unusually high diversity of marsupials like kangaroos, wallabies, cuscuses, and opossums.

    Virtually all this regions primary tropical rainforest is on the island of New Guinea, which is roughly split between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

    New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse island on the planet with some 800 languages. There are believed to be a few uncontacted groups in remote parts of New Guinea.

    Among major forest areas, Australiasia had the second lowest rate of primary forest loss since 2001, but deforestation is trending upward due to logging and conversion for plantations.

    Extent: 89 million hectares of tree cover, including 64 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua (51% of the regions primary forest), Papua New Guinea (49%), and Australia (under 1%).

    Most famous species: Tree kangaroos; cassowaries; giant ground pigeons; saltwater crocodiles.

    Deforestation trend: Deforestation is rising rapidly due to plantation agriculture, especially oil palm. The Indonesian part of New Guinea lost 605,000 hectares of primary forest since 2002 (1.8% of its 2001 cover), while PNG lost 732,000 hectares (2.2%). New Guinea is seen as the last frontier for large-scale agroindustrial expansion in Indonesia.

    Sundaland includes the islands of Borneo, Sumatra, and Java, among others as well as Peninsular Malaysia. Most of the regions remaining forest is on the island of Borneo, which is divided politically between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

    Sundaland lost the worlds largest share of primary forest cover between 2002 and 2019. Borneo lost 15% of such forests, while Sumatra lost 25%. Deforestation for oil palm and timber plantations, as well as fires set for land-clearing, are the biggest drivers of deforestation. However deforestation has been slowing since the mid-2010s.

    Extent: 103 million hectares of tree cover, including 51 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Indonesia (73% of the regions primary forest cover) and Malaysia (26%). Brunei and Singapore have less than 1% of the regions forests.

    Most famous species: Elephants; orangutans; two species of rhino; tigers; various hornbill and monkey species.

    Deforestation trend: Deforestation is the highest of any major forest region, but trending downward. Between 2002 and 2019, Borneo lost 5.8 million hectares of primary forest (15% of 2001 cover), Sumatra 3.8 million hectares (25%), and Peninsular Malaysia 726,000 hectares (14%). Indonesia accounted for 75% of primary forest loss in the region, compared with 25% for Malaysia.

    The Indo-Burma region includes a mix of tropical forest types, from mangroves to lowland rainforests to seasonal forests. Historical large-scale forest loss due to human population pressure means that surviving forests in this region are more fragmented than other regions mentioned so far. Most of the regions tree cover consists of plantations, crops, and secondary forests.

    The largest extent of primary forests in this region are in Myanmar, which has about one-third of the total area.

    Indo-Burma lost about 8% of its primary forests and 12% of its tree cover since 2001. Cambodia accounted for more than a third of the regions primary forest loss during this period.

    Extent: 139 million hectares of tree cover, including 40 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Myanmar (34% of the regions primary forest cover), Laos (19%), Vietnam (15%), Thailand (14%), Cambodia (8%), far eastern India (6%), and parts of southern China (4%).

    Most famous species: Elephants; two species of rhino; tigers; gibbons; leopards.

    Deforestation trend: The rate of primary forest loss was roughly flat over the past 20 years, while tree cover loss is accelerating. Cambodia accounted for 34% of primary forest loss, followed by Laos (21%), Vietnam (18%), and Myanmar (16%). Cambodia lost over 28% of its 2001 primary forest cover over the period as natural forests were increasingly converted to plantations and industrial projects.

    Mesoamerican rainforests extend from southern Mexico to southern Panama. Costa Ricas rainforests are arguably the best known in the region thanks to its world-famous ecotourism industry, but the country ranks fifth in terms of primary forest cover.

    Extent: 51 million hectares of tree cover, including 16 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Mexico (39% of Mesoamericas primary forest cover), Guatemala (13%), Honduras (11%), Panama (11%), Nicaragua (10%), and Costa Rica (9%).

    Most famous species: Jaguar; puma; tapir; peccary.

    Deforestation trend: The rate of primary forest loss and tree cover loss accelerated toward the end of the 2010s driven by increasing incidence of fire, coupled with conversion of forests for cattle pasture, plantations, and smallholder agriculture. Mexico (534,000 hectares of primary forest loss), Guatemala (480,000), and Nicaragua (460,000) lost the greatest area of primary forest between 2002 and 2019. Costa Rica lost less than 2% of its primary forest during the period. In contrast, Nicaragua lost nearly 30%.

    Wallacea represents a biogeographic oddity. When sea levels fell during the last ice age, islands to the west of this area joined continental Asia, while islands to the east got connected to land mass formed from Australia and New Guinea. As a result, Wallacea today has an unusual mix of species, drawing plant and animal groups from both regions, but also having high levels of endemism.

    Extent: 24.4 million hectares of tree cover, including 14.6 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Indonesia. More than 60% of Wallaceas primary forest cover is on the island of Sulawesi. The Maluku islands account for 34%.

    Most famous species: Babirusa; tarsiers and various monkeys; hornbills; cuscuses.

    Deforestation trend: The rate of primary forest loss and tree cover loss jumped in 2015 and 2016 following a particularly bad fire season. Deforestation for industrial plantations, including oil palm and coconut, increased in the 2010s.

    The Guinean Forests of West Africa consists of the lowland tropical forests that extend from Liberia and Sierra Leone to the Nigeria-Cameroon border. These forests have been greatly diminished by agriculture, including subsistence farming by small-holders and commercial cacao, timber, and oil palm plantations.

    Extent: 42 million hectares of tree cover, including 10.2 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Liberia (41% of the regions primary forest cover), Cameroon (17%), Nigeria (17%), Cte dIvoire (10%), and Ghana (10%).

    Most famous species: Gorillas and chimps; pygmy hippo; various monkey species.

    Deforestation trend: The rate of primary forest loss has been rising since the mid 2000s. Tree cover loss sharply accelerated in the 2010s. While Cte dIvoire accounted for only an eighth of the regions primary forest cover in 2001, it had nearly 40% of total primary forest loss between 2002 and 2019. The country lost about a third of its total primary forests in less than 20 years.

    The Atlantic Forest once extended from northeastern Brazil into the hinterlands of Argentina and Paraguay. Today it has been greatly reduced by agriculture and urbanization. Most of the tree cover in this region is crops, plantations, or secondary forests.

    Extent: 89 million hectares of tree cover, including 9.3 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Brazil (86% of the regions primary forest cover), Argentina (9.5%), and Paraguay (4%).

    Most famous species: Jaguar; Puma; Golden Lion Tamarin; Howler monkeys.

    Deforestation trend: The rate of primary forest loss in the Atlantic Forestknown as the Mata Atlntica in Brazilhas slowed since the 20th century, with annual deforestation remaining relatively flat.

    The Choc rainforest extends from southern Panama and along the Pacific Coast of South America through Colombia and Ecuador. It is the worlds wettest rainforest and has the lowest deforestation rate of any of the regions covered in this post. The Choc is home to both Amerindian tribes and Afroindigenous or maroon communities.

    Extent: 15.6 million hectares of tree cover, including 8.4 million hectares of primary forest, in 2020.

    Major countries: Colombia (79% of the regions primary forest cover), Panama (13%), and Ecuador (8%).

    Most famous species: Jaguar; Puma; various monkeys.

    Deforestation trend: Primary forest loss in the Choc amounted to 1.4% of its 2001 extent between 2002 and 2019. Ecuador and Panama accounted for a disproportionately large share of this loss.

    This list is limited to the ten largest rainforests. Missing the cut are the forests of the Eastern Himalayas; East Melanesian Islands; the Philippines; Indian Ocean islands, including Madagascar; Eastern Afromontane; the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka; the Caribbean; and Polynesia-Micronesia.

    The learn more about rainforests, please see the rainforests section of Mongabay, Mongabay-Kids, our rainforests news feed, or our Rainforests decade in review.

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    The world's great rainforests -

    Protect More Land After Fires or Face Mass Extinction in NSW – Mirage News - June 22, 2020 by admin

    Australian Greens

    The NSW Environment Minister must act upon alarming new evidence by WWF that estimates that 90 percent of some native species were wiped out by bushfires by immediately protecting more threatened species habitat, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment.

    The report by Eco-Logical consultants, prepared for WWF Australia, comprises the results of extensive fauna surveys of Gibraltar Range and Torrington State Conservation Area in North-East NSW.

    Even before the bushfires, NSW was in the grips of an extinction crisis, but the massive loss of native animals over the summer has pushed our wildlife to the brink, says Ms Faehrmann.

    Despite this the Government continues to allow logging of native forests and clearing of threatened species habitat for development, while land clearing on farmland continues virtually unchecked.

    The numbers in this report are clear: unless destruction of unburnt threatened species habitat stops, the Premier and Environment Minister are signing death warrants for our precious native animals like the koala.

    The Government needs to introduce watertight protections for threatened species habitat now including expanding the national park estate and increasing protection for native vegetation on private land.

    We also need to see a massive government stimulus package to restore habitat and create thousands of jobs by employing people to plant trees, restore forests and rehabilitate the land.

    The only way to stop some of our most precious native animals becoming extinct is by taking strong action now. Sitting on your hands doing nothing to save our wildlife and their remaining habitat after the bushfires is as good as giving a green light to their extinction, said Ms Faehrmann.

    Excerpt from:
    Protect More Land After Fires or Face Mass Extinction in NSW - Mirage News

    Tribune Editorial: Make DACA the law of the land – Salt Lake Tribune - June 22, 2020 by admin

    Our system, most specifically members of Congress, have been handed an opportunity to finally get this right. All of us should insist that they do just that, and with all deliberate speed.

    Dreamers, by the policy definition of President Obamas Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, are people who were brought illegally to the United States from another nation, mostly in Central and South America, when they were children.

    They are, by definition, innocent bystanders in our nations bitter and often cruel immigration policy disputes. In general, they are as American as any of us, in many cases speaking only English, fully steeped in American culture. They are students at, or graduates of, our schools and universities, members or veterans of our armed forces, and have no memory of or connections with the land of their birth.

    The sitting president has, at times, exhibited sympathy for the plight of the Dreamers and, at other times, shown brutal disdain for their hopes and humanity. His Department of Homeland Security issued a policy order aimed overturning DACA and clearing the way for deporting hundreds of thousands of them to nations where they would be lost and alone.

    In its 5-4 ruling Thursday, the court made a point of saying that it was offering no opinion on whether DACA or its reversal was the better policy. The opinion from Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the four members of the courts liberal wing, was based on the letter of a law requiring such decisions to hew to a set of procedural requirements which, the chief found, the administration failed to do.

    The administration did not even consider the fact that many thousands of people living in the United States had made serious life plans -- going to college, launching businesses, starting families -- based on the promise of DACA. Many of them are the essential workers who have powered us through the COVID-19 pandemic, and suffered a disproportionate share of its damage.

    Taking away that lifeboat without at least going through the required steps made the removal of DACA, in lawyer-speak, arbitrary and capricious, and therefore void.

    The bad news is that the court has provided the administration with a road map to cancel DACA again, and this time make it stick, by laying out the whys and wherefores of its move in a way that will be no less cruel but much better able to stand up to judicial review.

    Unless Congress moves quickly to pass a bill making DACA, or policy very much like it, not just an executive pronouncement but the law of the land. Such a bill passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 237-187, but has yet to be taken up by the Senate.

    Rep. Ben McAdams, the lone Democrat in the Utah delegation, rightly voted for that measure. Rep. John Curtis joined the two other Republican House members from Utah in opposing it, yet he spoke Thursday of an opportunity to finally resolve the issue.

    Utahs senators, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, have offered little that is hopeful on the matter. Romney has yet to walk back any of his remarks about being more of an immigration hard-liner even than the president. And Lee, as is his wont, is droning on about Obamas executive overreach.

    But offering DACA protection, and adding a legal path to citizenship, is an idea supported by the public, by long-time champions of immigration reform such as Utahs former Sen. Orrin Hatch, as well as politicians at all levels and of all ideological stripes and business interests that include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and top management at Apple and Microsoft.

    It could be said that the Supreme Court punted on this issue, kicking it back to the democratic process where it belongs. Good.

    Now, let us show the wisdom and humanity that democracy is capable of, and welcome the Dreamers, once and for all time.

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    Tribune Editorial: Make DACA the law of the land - Salt Lake Tribune

    From the Press Box: The Bautista bat-flip game – Newsday - June 22, 2020 by admin

    In 11-plus years covering the Yankees, Ive been lucky to chronicle my share of incredible performances, memorable games for reasons good and bad and, yes, the bizarre involving baseballs winningest franchise.

    But one entry immediately comes to mind when it comes to craziest of all, and the Yankees were not a part of it.

    Instead, we go north of the border for the Jose Bautista bat-flip game, a wild free-for-all of a playoff series-deciding game between the Blue Jays and Rangers at Torontos cacophonous Rogers Centre.

    It included a near-riot by the hometown fans, a game protest by the home-team manager, three consecutive errors by the visiting team and a pair of bench-clearing incidents and all of the above occurred in a 53-minute seventh inning that remains difficult to fully or adequately describe.

    In October 2015, with the Yankees having been eliminated in the AL wild-card game by Dallas Keuchel and the Astros, I was assigned the ALDS between the AL East-winning Blue Jays and the AL West-winning Rangers.

    It was a series for the most part contested in anonymity at least as far as New York was concerned. Appropriately so, as the Mets were about to embark on an impressive postseason run that would land them in the World Series for the first time since 2000.

    Rangers-Blue Jays already had a bit of everything before Game 5, including the road team winning each of the first four games.

    Torontos reputation as a friendly city is well-earned, but its no secret among visiting teams that all that pleasantness does not extend inside Rogers Centre.

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    Certainly not on this Wednesday afternoon, with most of the sellout crowd of 49,742 already in their seats well before the 4:07 p.m. first pitch and creating a din.

    The Rangers were not intimidated, and the score was tied at 2 entering the top of the seventh.

    Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez relieved former Patchogue-Medford High School star Marcus Stroman, who allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, and the Rangers Rougned Odor led off with a single before reaching third with two outs.

    With Shin-Soo Choo at bat, Sanchezs 1-and-2 pitch was a ball.

    Then, chaos.

    Catcher Russell Martins return throw to the mound clipped Choos bat and skipped away. Odor sprinted home and initially was sent back by plate umpire and crew chief Dale Scott.

    Rangers manager Jeff Banister, a former minor-league catcher, calmly argued that the ball was live, and, according to little-known Rule 6.03 (a) (3), indeed it was. Scott correctly changed the call and the Rangers led 3-2, prompting an 18-minute on-field argument, accompanied by a torrent of garbage, including water bottles and beer cans, raining down.

    Blue Jays manager John Gibbons protested the game. More debris from above.

    Perhaps impacted by the palpable hostility of the crowd in real time, one couldnt help but wonder just how ugly it might end up being if the Blue Jays lost by that 3-2 score the Rangers shockingly committed three straight errors to load the bases to start the bottom of the seventh.

    Toronto pushed the tying run across and righty Sam Dyson came on to face Bautista, who obliterated a 97-mph fastball to leftfield to give the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead. Bautista accentuated the blow with what still is considered the gold standard of bat flips. Rogers Centre resembled the inside of a jet engine, and another hailstorm of refuse, this time in celebration, came from the upper levels.

    Dyson and the next batter, Edwin Encarnacion, began jawing, causing a bench-clearing incident. Another followed when, after fouling out to end the inning, Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Chris Gimenez startedyelling at each other.

    Somehow, the final two innings were without incident and Toronto was in the ALCS.

    Insane was just one of the words used in the victorsclubhouse afterward.

    Absolutely crazy, Tulowitzki said.

    The craziest.

    Erik Boland started in Newsday's sports department in 2002. He covered high school and college sports, then shifted to the Jets beat. He has covered the Yankees since 2009.

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    From the Press Box: The Bautista bat-flip game - Newsday

    Volunteers called to help plant 50,000 seedlings in fight to conserve Ludlow Tuart Forest – The West Australian - June 22, 2020 by admin

    Between Busselton and Bunbury stands Ludlow Tuart Forest, the largest remaining forest of its kind in the world with trees soaring more than 33m into the sky.

    But while tall and mighty, the tuarts are facing a conservation crisis, last year listed as critically endangered following decades of land clearing, the timber industry, farming and urban sprawl restricting the population to ever smaller pockets.

    Despite the pouring rain last week, volunteers from across the region came out in droves to plant some 50,000 seedlings to restore stands of the iconic South West species.

    Organised by the passionate volunteers behind the Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group who last year planted 17,000 seedlings with the help of 400 school children and 100 community members they hope one day the forest will return to its former glory.

    Its very significant that this section is protected, president Evelyn Taylor said.

    Its the only tuart forest in the world and were down to 3,000ha it was 110,000ha originally so weve used 97 per cent of this forest.

    But due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions, Mrs said they were unable to use school groups and were calling on the community to donate their time over the next couple of weeks to help out.

    Vice president Des Donnelly who first came to Ludlow in 1972 as the district forester has been a driving force behind the project and hoped within 10-15 years, tuarts would dominate once more and the weeds that had invaded over the years would take a back seat.

    Its going to take 100 years but if we dont start we wont get there.

    If we can get the tuarts established all of the other plants that go along with the tuart forest will start to come back. Theres a lot of native plants still here, they just need space to grow and some cover.

    Anyone wanting to get involved can contact the Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group on Facebook.

    Read more from the original source:
    Volunteers called to help plant 50,000 seedlings in fight to conserve Ludlow Tuart Forest - The West Australian

    Why is no-one talking about the Duke of Sutherland’s statue? – The National - June 22, 2020 by admin

    THE discussion whether to remove certain statues and/or change certain street names that celebrate those people who were involved in the slave trade is taking place throughout the UK. It has taken the loss of life and reassessing historical fact to get to this stage.

    Money and power for the wealthy came from those who bought and sold black human beings to work on their plantations. In return they ploughed some of their profits into bricks and mortar in their home cities. All this at the expense of indigenous people they slaughtered. Yet we glorify the British Empire and those who brought it about by raising statues and street names to people who have shamed Scotland and indeed humanity.

    The indigenous population of the Highlands were not immune to suffering at the hands of such people looking to acquire even more wealth. Here in the Highlands we have a massive statue of the Duke of Sutherland on the top of Beinn aBhragaidh in memory to such a man.

    READ MORE:Operation Legacy: How Britain is dealing with its dark past

    In early 1996 the local Council Planning Committee refused an application to dismantle the Duke of Sutherlands statue. During discussion of the issue, it became apparent that a number of the local residents of Golspie were of the view that the statue should remain in place. If the people who were cleared from the Sutherland estate had been black and that planning application was being considered today it would have been approved and that statue would rightly be removed.

    The first Duke of Sutherland held more titles than Alex Ferguson has won football silverware. He was the second Marquis of Stafford, an MP and one of the richest men in England. His family originated from Yorkshire and married into a wealthy Stafford family of French descent. In due course, the second Marquis married the Ban mhorair Chataibh, the great lady of Sutherland, who was five feet tall and 27 years of age. Her heart was as cold as the sandstone on top of Beinn aBhragaidh.

    It is interesting to note that after Culloden the Duke of Cumberland and the Duke of Newcastle gave serious consideration to clearing and removing the inhabitants of the Highland glens to the colonies, but this was thought to be unmanageable and unrealistic and the easier option burning their homes, destroying their crops and driving away or killing their cattle was taken. The genocide of the Highlanders was government policy.

    READ MORE:Education Secretary John Swinney spells out the Government's schools strategy

    In other words what the Duke of Cumberland could not achieve, the first Duke of Sutherland achieved in the areas he controlled. He was not the first or last Highland laird to clear his people but he was certainly the most successful.

    When he died, his wife decided to erect two statues in England and one on top of Beinn aBhragaidh to honour the achievements of this man who had made a desert of the land which he had acquired through marriage and by betraying the people whose families had lived on that land for centuries.

    The statue was raised in honour of a fiend who betrayed and cleared the people from the land simply for profit and that is why it should come down. At the time of the Clearances Golspie was inhabited mainly by incomers from the south who witnessed at first hand the desperate state of some of the Highlanders who were called to Golspie to hear their fate. While many people in Golspie wished to help, they too were at the mercy of the Duke, unlike the churchmen who chose to betray their flocks again for profit.

    The statue is an affront to the memory of not only the Sutherland Highlanders who were cleared but to all Highlanders who suffered the same fate. Winifred Ewing MEP attended a debate in Golspie in 1995. At that debate the majority of local people did not want the statue removed. Winnie is on record stating that in her view it was like having a statue of Hitler outside Auschwitz.

    Bill ClarkBanavie

    Continued here:
    Why is no-one talking about the Duke of Sutherland's statue? - The National

    Scaled Back Gardens Development, at 453 Homes, Expected to Clear Regulatory Hurdle – - June 22, 2020 by admin

    The Gardens, at one point a 3,966-home and apartment development planned for the two sides of John Anderson Highway in Flagler County, is again seeking regulatory approval from county planners Wednesday, but as a development a fraction of its former size: 453 homes, or within the limit the county had approved for that land, when it was owned by a different developer, in 2005.

    The latest plan also calls for 231,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, and multi-family, or apartment, use, and 1,200 acres for public services and preservation, with the very first phase of the development consisting of 350 single family homes.

    The remaining areas in the Residential/Golf area is noted as future development which could include the golf course and other amenities, the 100,000 square feet of private commercial, the remaining residential homes, or some combination of all, Michael Chiumento, the developers attorney, wrote the county attorney on June 5. His memo also noted that a traffic study concludes that there are no traffic issues associated with this first phase of development.

    The Gardens representatives and county officials have been working for months and through various delays, the latest caused by the coronavirus emergency, to arrive at a so-called Planned Unit Development proposal that could win the countys approval at the first official regulatory stepthe Technical Review Committeeand move on to the planning board, then to the county commission.

    The TRC meets at 9 Wednesday. After previous rejections of The Gardens plans, the TRC this time is expected to approve the PUD (if not the developments preliminary plat for 350 units), clearing the way for the application to go before the planning board in August and the county commission in early SEptember, and leaving room for another appearance before the TRC in July, if necessary. Thats a possibility, if The Gardens representatives decide on Wednesday to split their application over two meetings, with the PUD part getting heard Wednesday and the preliminary plat application getting heard next month.

    Either way, the prospects for the development this time appear brighter than they have in the past, but with one key question unresolved: will Flagler Breach provide utilities to the development? They are attempting to clarify their role, Adam Mengle, the countys planning director, said of Flagler Beach. Under contingency rules, the city must provide utilities to the development if the county is ultimately to approve it. Otherwise, approval will be withheld.

    A letter to The Gardens from the Flagler Beach administrator had previously suggested, in language just short of explicit, that the city would provide utilities on an as-available basis. The city has since been prevaricating over that letter, while the city commission has faced repeated opposition to The Gardens from residents, who fear that extending utilities to John Anderson Highway would be tantamount to inheriting a new neighborhood, changing the complexion of the city and affecting utility costs for years to come.

    Gardens officials, for their part, have been arguing that in exchange for utilities, the development would pay for some of the citys critically needed upgrades and would help the city meet a 2030 deadline, by which time it will be barred from dumping millions of gallons of treated effluent into the Intracoastal, as it now dows. The Gardens, in other words, is positioning itself as a bridge to a more environmentally responsible city. (Ken Belshe, the lead applicant for The Gardens, is a director with SunBelt Land Management, which developed Palm Coast Plantation along Colbert Lane.)

    We know a new plan will require great attention to detail and planning and we intend to develop it slowly, over 25 to 30 years, Belshe had written in these pages exactly a year ago, when the proposal was still for nearly 4,000 units, in other words, over a generation or more with input from our local governments and others and in accordance with multiple regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels whose jobs are to regulate land development and protect endangered species and wetlands. No developer in todays regulatory environment can develop any property without strict oversight by these agencies, with severe penalties for violations.

    Scaling back the project has not necessarily satisfied the opposition, which centers around a group called Preserve Flagler Beach and Bulow Creek. Its members include former County Commissioner Barbara Revels and current Flagler Beach City Commission member Ken Bryan. (who faces a defamation lawsuit from SunBelt over statements B ryan made at a community meeting on the development.)

    The developer insists the new plans for the 825 acres are consistent with what was approved in 2005 for the previous owner and all the entitlements belong with the land, the opposition group said in a June 3 statement. The activists support the county attorneys opinion that the spirit of the 2005 plan has not been kept and a new approval process needs to be filed. It added: Another Master Plan issue is the placement of 353 residential homes on the east side of John Anderson Highway and 118 homes on the west side for a total of 453 homes on 211.7 acres rather than the approved lower density of 453 homes placed on 1,305 acres of the original plan. See the groups complete comments on the proposal here.

    Nevertheless, the tone and substance of the groups opposition is not as adamant as it was when the project was flirting with 4,000 units.

    The Technical Review Committee Meeting will be streamed via ZOOM:

    Or iPhone one-tap : US: +13126266799, 89798424272# or +19292056099, 89798424272#

    Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782

    Comments may be submitted prior to the meeting by email to: [emailprotected]

    While the Technical Review Committee is open to the public, it is not a public hearing: public comment will not be heard.

    Read the original post:
    Scaled Back Gardens Development, at 453 Homes, Expected to Clear Regulatory Hurdle -

    Residents urged to report fly-tipping after two ‘shocking’ incidents in Angus in one weekend – Evening Telegraph - June 22, 2020 by admin

    People are being urged to report fly-tipping after two shocking incidents enraged Auchterhouse residents at the weekend.

    Dumped commercial waste completely blocked a quiet road between Auchterhouse and Newtyle yesterday just a day after rubbish from a picnic and a gazebo was found dumped in nearby Dronley Woods.

    Councillor Beth Whiteside, who represents the Monifieth and Sidlaw area on Angus Council, said some of the sources of the waste can be identified in among the rubbish, and she hopes that means someone can be prosecuted.

    She told the Tele: It is shocking. This is clearly not someone getting rid of just a few bits and pieces this is business waste that has been transported and dumped, which is really worrying.

    Someone has taken the trouble to come from Dundee out to a quiet road like this and thinks it is acceptable to discard a whole load of waste, even though recycling centres have reopened.

    It is obviously someone wanting to avoid the costs associated with dumping it properly and that is unfair on local residents.

    Ms Whiteside added: I have contacted the council to have it uplifted. Some of the sources of the rubbish are identifiable, so hopefully whoever has dumped it can be pursued and prosecuted because this is unacceptable.

    This happens here quite a lot and on this occasion the council will clear it up because it is on a road but it often happens on farmers private land and they are left to clear it up themselves.

    Ms Whiteside urged residents to report all incidents of fly-tipping even on private land so authorities have a clear picture of how big the problem is in the area.

    Her call comes after Dronley Woods which is owned by a community group was littered with rubbish and a gazebo at the weekend.

    Ms Whiteside said: Why would people do this? It is ridiculous.

    Again, the council has been informed and is dealing with it but people need to realise this is not acceptable.

    A number of local residents took to social media to express their anger and said the area has been blighted by fly-tipping previously.

    Steve Scott said: Rubble was dumped on Lundie Road and there was also another incident of dumping at the old railway car park and an illegal party in Dronley Woods last night.

    The amount of rubbish and human faeces left was horrendous.

    Helen Gewar said: The fines need to be a lot bigger.

    Councils should also weigh up the cost of clearing illegally dumped waste against the income they get from charging to drop waste at recycling centres.

    It might help to stop this by lifting charges at centres and might help to save our countryside.

    Follow this link:
    Residents urged to report fly-tipping after two 'shocking' incidents in Angus in one weekend - Evening Telegraph

    Goats play important role in fire prevention on the Palos Verdes Peninsula – Palos Verdes Peninsula News - June 22, 2020 by admin

    Around 600 goats in two separate herds are currently grazing their way through parts of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in an effort to reduce fire risk and remove non-native plants.

    About 300 goats are hard at work in Lunada Canyon, part of the 1,600 acres the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy has preserved. And another 300 are in a canyon near Grandview Park, in Rancho Palos Verdes.

    Goats, officials with the conservancy said, efficiently get rid of weeds while being friendly to the environment as opposed to using machines.

    Goats are a really phenomenal way to get into steep areas that often (are) very dangerous for humans to go with machinery, said Adrienne Mohan, the conservancys executive director.

    The goats will eat up multiple types of greenery, including the mustard plant and acacia weeds, both of which are not native to the area and are highly invasive. Once a year, the mustard plant flowers and its seeds go wild, said Cris Sarabia, PVPLCs conservation director. The seeds dry up and become a fire risk. So the conservancy tries to remove the mustard plant, as well as other non-native plants, before its seeds are dropped.

    The goats will eat up multiple types of greenery, including the mustard plant and acacia weeds, both of which are not native to the area and are highly invasive. Once a year, the mustard plant flowers and its seeds go wild, said Cris Sarabia, PVPLCs conservation director. The seeds dry up and become a fire risk. So the conservancy tries to remove the mustard plant, as well as other non-native plants, before its seeds are dropped.

    The conservancy contracts with Fire Grazers Inc. to be the goatherd.

    That company also has a contract with Rancho Palos Verdes to provide another 300 goats, which are grazing at a canyon near Grandview Park.

    When you got a dense forest of bush or mustard and you cant even begin to walk through it, you say, All right, lets throw 300 goats at it. said Fire Grazers CEO Michael Choi. So you throw the 300 and they clear it out to a point where you can go in and really assess what your plans are going to be moving forward in the future. Its a great first attack against wild brush.

    While the goats work at Lunada Canyon focuses on reducing fire hazards and removing non-native species, the conservancy is also preparing for habitat restoration for various at-risk species, including the El Segundo blue butterfly, the Palos Verdes blue butterfly, and several bird species, such as the coastal California gnatcatcher, Sarabia said.

    As opposed to just clearing for fuel modification or fire clearance, Sarabia said, we double up on that and make sure that were actually working towards creating more habitat.

    Community contributions and individual donors, Mohan said, have helped keep the goats grazing year after year.

    We are so thankful for community support and for donors who can enable us to do this habitat restoration work, Mohan said, for not only post-fire fuel abatement, but for the benefit of some endangered species were working to protect.

    Choi, for his part, said the goats work is never done. The goats started on the Peninsula the second week of April, Choi said, adding that he expects the work to continue until September. There is also upcoming work in Torrance and Rolling Hills.

    Were working all year around, Choi said, because goats never stop eating.

    Read the rest here:
    Goats play important role in fire prevention on the Palos Verdes Peninsula - Palos Verdes Peninsula News

    Australia needs to have a minister with commitment – The Age - June 22, 2020 by admin

    Is this the best we can do?

    Colin Smith, Mount Waverley

    Mike Foley's excellent article makes it clear that the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is good legislation and that what is needed is the political will to use the legislation.

    Instead what we seem to have is the political will to water it down.

    Ray Peck, Hawthorn

    The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act failed to prevent the loss of over one-third of threatened species and ecosystems. The main causes included a lack of political will, land clearing and exemptions and neither consideration nor prevention of climate change. We now await Graeme Samuel's imminent review of the act, and Environment Minister Sussan Ley's response ("Running out of time", The Sunday Age, 14/6).

    Obviously we must do better. We must accept that the natural environment is the fundamental basis of all life. We ignore or over-exploit it at our peril. Hence, ideally now, we should start again and urgently create a new, compulsory national environment act, a national environment commission, and an Environment Protection Authority as a watchdog with very big teeth.

    Barbara Fraser, Burwood

    Despite being a wealthy, developed nation, Australia's environmental track record is among the world's worst. We lead the world in mammal extinctions, have the highest rate of biodiversity loss bar Indonesia, and we are the WWF's only "developed" land-clearing and deforestation official "hot spot".

    Nevertheless, in The Sunday Age we read that Sussan Ley's main issue with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is "unnecessary delays" in approvals.

    Is it a coincidence that the readers of our nation have put Nineteen Eighty-Four, the 70-year-old dystopian novel that introduced the idea of "doublethink", (holding "simultaneously two opinions which cancel out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them"), back in the M's bestseller lists?

    Lesley Walker, Northcote

    Shane Wright's article "Billions wiped off Boomers' nest eggs" (The Sunday Age, 14/6) contained a few surprises.

    There is no doubt that many self- and part-funded retirees are finding things a bit tough. But surely asking the government for significant relief will be against many of their principles.

    Many of these people have their assets courtesy of being born at the right time and have become asset rich because of rising wages, inflation and asset values over the past 30 or so years. Many were the same ones who campaigned so vigorously against the proposal to stop franking credits being returned as cash (ie because they actually paid no tax).

    While the government should assist in a few ways (the deeming rate adjustment, for example), asset-rich retirees should be down the pecking order for assistance. Many people are struggling to keep a roof over their head or to get the next meal on the table.

    Australia will have a significant debt once we come out the other side and it will have to be repaid by the younger generations. These retirees should be prepared to pay their share and complain a little less.

    Shaun Quinn, Yarrawonga

    Jacqueline Maley ("The PM's blind spot", The Sunday Age, 14/6) is succinct as ever. But why would we be surprised at the hypocrisy of Scott Morrison.

    Let us consider for example, the incarcerating of people rightly seeking asylum, yet Morrison and others in the government brandish their Christian values.

    It is not hard to be cynical when it comes to Morrison's outrage at racism targeting Chinese people, it is an economic response, not a moral response. It seems that many present and past members (Alexander Downer, for example) of the government need to go back to school ... Captain Cook did not discover Australia.

    Education Minister Dan Tehan's talk to the National Press Club motivating our young to study STEM subjects was revealing. While criticism would follow is it an acknowledgment by government at last that science is important?

    Will we now get action on climate change? Science has been at the core of our success in combating COVID-19 and climate science will ensure survival of the planet. Here's hoping.

    Howard Brownscombe, Brighton

    I have earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics, a bachelor's degree in business and accounting, a master's degree in finance and a doctoral degree blending accounting and organisational learning.

    In all of that study, the subject that most educated me, as opposed to trained me, was first year English literature in my maths degree. I learnt from the ancient Greeks, Scottish poets, Shakespeare, Russian masters and 20th century authors. I learnt about human behaviour and frailty. About the best of humans and the worst of humans.

    The study of humanities is essential to our society, not something to be discouraged.

    Louise Kloot, Doncaster

    Michelle de Kretser and Richard Flanagan are right to condemn proposed changes to funding of the humanities at Australian universities. ("'Aren't we supposed to be the clever country?"', 20/6).

    If we are to avoid becoming a nation of barbarians, we must acknowledge the importance ofstudying in depth the great movements of history, which are the foundation of our modern civilisation.

    If arts degrees are to continue to "be the 'bedrock' of culture and democracy" then they must be recognised for what they are and not have the almighty dollar sign attached to them.

    Helen Scheller, Benalla

    Yet again we are seeing politicians misusing public money. Pauline Hanson, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Chris Bowen and three cabinet ministers are reported to have lodged a string of questionable travel claims further confirming our lack of trust in politicians.

    The Museum of Australian Democracy says if current trends continue, fewer than 10 per cent of Australians will trust their politicians by 2025 resulting in ineffective and illegitimate government and declining social and economic wellbeing. Perversely, the most trusted organisation in Australia, the ABC, is the very one that the current government is emasculating.

    Australia desperately needs a genuine bipartisan corruption watchdog as in other democracies around the world. When we see the unrelenting hypocrisy of our politicians it breeds cynicism, which eats away at the very core of community.

    Surveys show that increasing numbers of Australians are seeing politics as irrelevant, and a look around the world where authoritarian-populist forms of government are gaining momentum should awaken Australia to that which ultimately threaten the institution of democracy itself. The stakes could not be higher.

    Bryan Long, Balwyn

    The Australian Home Heating Association is quoted in The Sunday Age ("GPs support removal of home wood heaters", 14/6) as estimating the nationwide industry to be worth well over $400 million and a significant provider of jobs. Once again we have the jobs argument used to attempt to justify pollution and environmentally destructive activities.

    The $400 million claim must be viewed alongside the $8 billion the Victorian Environment Protection Authority claims air pollution will cost the state by 2027.

    Municipal councils do not enforce their nuisance laws against wood heater pollution and the best the EPA can do is say that they preferred people not to use wood heating and issue a suggestion for owners to clean their flues.

    As these instrumentalities are useless in enforcing existing laws there is no sensible alternative to banning wood heaters in residential areas.

    Robin Stewart, Romsey

    I recall there was a sustained and robust battle over the volume of water that needed to be returned to the Murray-Darling to keep it healthy and viable. Finally a figure of 3200 gigalitres was settled on, much lower than what many experts were aiming for.

    Now Victoria and NSW, four years out from the agreed deadline of 2024, are saying they cannot meet the deadline (The Age, 20/6), meaning that something less than 3200 gigalitres is their target.

    We've all seen the photos; Our politicians and bureaucrats and authorities have a lot to answer for. They are not standing guard over our critical resource as they are supposed to.

    Brendan O'Farrell, Brunswick

    In 1933, Nazi Germany outlawed the Jewish practice of kosher animal slaughter. Kosher was deliberately misrepresented. The propaganda claimed Jews partook of perverse ritual killings of humans for their blood as well as animals.

    The notion that Halal food is somehow cruel and "foreign" has become very popular within the right-wing anti-Muslim narrative in Australia and around the world.

    As was kosher, as is halal, Chinese wet markets are now in a fuzzy cultural focus. The Western hysteria about wet markets runs concurrently and as subtext to the cultural contestation.

    Criticism of Chinese cultural food practice has a long history. Historically the threat of Chinese political culture and people brought with it the threat of rice and noodle domination. From the Victorian gold rush to COVID-19, attitudes to China have been carefully curated.

    The dissemination of information is now as it's never been before. New platforms for news broadcasting, new technology, new viruses bring new narratives rich in perspective but ridden with echo chambers.

    Food narrative and culture are inseparable. A good diet should be balanced.

    Political polemic on food is more than just a culinary perspective.

    Denzil Hunter, East Melbourne

    Your editorial ("Scandal shows need for watchdogs with teeth", 17/6) rightly queries the Morrison government using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse fornot releasing its exposure draft on its proposed integrity commission.

    What's more disturbing is that a National Integrity Commission Bill approved by the Senate last September has been languishing in the lower house since then because the Morrison government has gagged a vote on it.

    Prime Minister, what is so hard or time consuming about putting this bill on the agenda for a vote. We need an effective integrity commission now. You say you are on our side; it's time to walk the talk.

    Carlo Ursida, Kensington


    Australia needs to have a minister with commitment - The Age

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