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WASHINGTON – A soccer field every 6 seconds. That’s the rate at which the world lost mature tropical forests last year, according to new data from the Global Forest Watch monitoring program. Satellite data shows nearly 4 million hectares of tree cover disappeared, an increase from last year and the third-largest loss this century. Some experts find hopeful notes among the bad news, however. While Brazil’s forest losses have increased under right-wing President Jair Bolosonaro, policies to curb deforestation appear to be working in Indonesia, Colombia and West Africa.
The destruction of mature tropical forests is a massive hit to biodiversity and is responsible for about 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the World Resources Institute, the research and advocacy group that oversees Global Forest Watch. Since forests are massive sponges of carbon dioxide, reversing their loss would play an outsize role in fighting climate change. The United Nations set a goal of ending deforestation by 2020, “but we seem to be going in the wrong direction,” WRI Distinguished Senior Fellow Frances Seymour said.
According to satellite imagery analyzed by the University of Maryland and WRI, Brazil alone lost 1.4 million hectares of mature forest in 2019, more than one-third of the world total and nearly three times more than the country with the next-largest loss, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Not counting record-breaking forest fires in 2016 and 2017, it’s the largest loss since 2006.
Brazil had been a source of optimism until recently. Conservation policies under former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva curbed deforestation rates from 2004 to 2015. It was “one of the great conservation successes of this millennium,” said Robert Heilmayr, a University of California, Santa Barbara environmental economics assistant professor, who was not involved with the WRI research.
“I think that gave rise to this hope that if we can harness the policies that worked in one place and just deploy them around the world, we’re going to see an end to deforestation globally,” Heilmayr said. But the latest data shows “we still have a long ways to go,” he said. President Bolsonaro has encouraged development in the Amazon rainforest and loosened enforcement of environmental laws. His administration is backing a law that would increase access to protected indigenous lands for mining and supports legislation that environmental groups say would legalize land grabs.
“You’re starting to see the enforcement of the laws that are on the books back off,” Heilmayr said, “and I think that’s creating an opening for more aggressive deforestation.”
On the other hand, the loss of mature forests in Indonesia declined in 2019 for the third straight year. “I’m continuing to be pleasantly surprised that there’s a decrease” in Indonesia, said Greg Asner, director of the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University, who was not involved with the research.
While Indonesia lost the third-largest area of mature forest after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s the smallest loss since the early 2000s. The country has made permanent a 2011 moratorium on logging and land-clearing for oil palm plantations, which had been a major driver of deforestation. The government has stepped up fire prevention and enforcement of existing forest laws.
Colombia also saw a steep drop in the loss of primary forest last year, after two years of increases. Deforestation had spiked after a peace agreement ended decades of civil war and freed up land previously occupied by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The country has set deforestation and reforestation goals and has sent the police and military to fight deforestation in its national parks. It’s not clear if the trend will hold. Global Forest Watch’s early-warning system has logged an increase in alerts this year.
Chocolate cuts its losses
More tentative good news comes from West Africa. Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, the two countries with the largest increase in mature forest loss in 2018, both cut those losses in half last year. The chocolate industry has pledged to reduce deforestation for cocoa cultivation, a major crop in West Africa, and the governments have signed forest carbon deals with the World Bank.
These programs may be responsible, but WRI says it’s too soon to tell if the impact will last. The cooperation of palm oil companies has been a big part of Indonesia’s decline in deforestation, UCSB’s Heilmayr said.
“When we see those two components, government and the international markets that provide the strongest incentive for deforestation, working together and in harmony with each other to disincentivize further deforestation, that’s where we generally see the biggest success,” he noted.
“The 2019 data corroborates what we already know,” WRI’s Seymour added. “If governments put into place good policies and enforce the law, forest loss goes down. But if governments relax restrictions … forest loss goes up.” Seymour is concerned that fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic could push global forest losses up this year.
“We do have historical precedents,” WRI’s Seymour said. Poverty and a lack of enforcement drove up deforestation after the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, she noted. And with attention turned elsewhere, Heilmayr said, “I worry that this is a moment where the governments that want to enable additional land grabbing, that want to enable agricultural expansion, may turn away from enforcing the laws that already exist.” (VOA)
By- Digital Hub
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Require a Wig
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In today's society, the wearing of a hair wig has become more common. A hair wig is an easy method to alter your appearance at any time you wish quickly. Women are more drawn to these wigs since they can change their hairstyle with ease. Wigs are usually worn by those who have shed their hair or those who wish to alter their hairstyle to be fashionable.
Human hair wigs on display at a store Image source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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The prestigious British-based, Booker Prize, is one of the most prestigious and acclaimed awards given annually to the best work of fiction. This award is given to a work of fiction which is primarily written in English language and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland by the writers of any nationality.
This year, six authors were nominated for their work of fiction, and the winner will be announced on the 3rd of November.
The books which were shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize 2021 are:
1. The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
British-Somali writer, Nadifa Mohamed's novel, 'The Fortune Men', is a chilling reimagining of Mahmood Mattan's story. Mattan, who is the main character in the book, was a Somali seaman who was wrongfully imprisoned and executed for a murder in Wales.
2. Bewilderment by Richard Powers
Pulitzer-winner, Richard Powers' book is a story of a young astrobiologist, who is in search of finding life on other planets, and his troubled son, Robin. The book is a mixture of sci-fi and family romance. Interestingly, this is Powers' first book after winning the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2019.
3. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
This book is about the lives of pilot Marian Graves and Hadley Baxter, who was a troubled Hollywood actress. In the 1950s, Marian embarked on a journey to travel the world but then disappeared without a trace. Fifty years later, Hadley is drawn to play Marian's character, which indirectly leads her to probe the mysteries of the latter's life.
4. No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockdwood
This is the first book by the American poet and memoirist. " 'No One Is Talking About This' is like a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature," reads the book's blurb. This book was also one of the finalists for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction.
5. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
The Sri Lankan author's book tells the story of a young man who travels to Sri Lanka's war-torn North. The story deals with the themes of loss, longing, the legacy of war, and how it affects everyone. The author had earlier won the DSC Prize for his debut book "The Story of a Brief Marriage".
6. The Promise by Damon Galgut
Damon Galgut is a South African author. In this book, the author pens down the story about a white South African family living around in Pretoria, and the crisis they face during the last few years because of apartheid.
Today, 17 September,marks the 133rd birth anniversary of Michiyo Tsujimura, who was a Japanese scientist, and worked extensively on decoding the nutritional value of green tea.
Tsujimura spent her early career as a science teacher. And, in 1920, she chased her dream of becoming a scientific researcher at the Hokkaido Imperial University, where she began to analyse the nutritional properties of Japanese silkworms, in which she was very much interested.
After a few years, Tsujimura transferred to the Tokyo Imperial University, and began researching the biochemistry of green tea alongside Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, who is well known for his discovery of vitamin B1.
In their joint research in this area, it was revealed that green tea contained significant amount of vitamin C, which is the first of many, yet unknown molecular compounds in green tea.
Later on, in 1929, Tsujimura isolated catechin, which is bitter ingredient of tea. Then, the next year, she isolated tannin, which is an even more bitter compound. All these findings formed the foundation for her doctoral thesis– "On the Chemical Components of Green Tea", and through all this hard work, she graduated as Japan's first woman doctor of agriculture in the year 1932.
Moreover, Tsujimura also made history as an educator when she became the first ever Dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at the Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School in the year 1950.
Even today, a stone memorial in honor of Dr. Michiyo Tsujimura’s achievements can be found in her birthplace of Okegawa City.