Editor’s Note: David Emmett is currently part of a team searching for new species on the little-studied island of Atauro in the Southeast Asian country of Timor-Leste. Read previous blogs from this expedition.
One of the unusual features of the island of Atauro is the lack of fresh water. There are no lakes, ponds, rivers or large streams. The water supply is literally a trickle during the dry season, usually coming directly out of the limestone rock beneath the forest. It’s a permanent trickle though, which is enough for people to be able to live here.
This direct connection between nature and human survival is the basis of the local conservation ethic; people understand that protecting nature is non-negotiable. This is such a contrast with big cities, where we have lost that direct connection and most people take their water supply for granted, without knowing where it even comes from. Continue reading →
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of dispatches from David Emmett, senior vice president for CI’s Asia Pacific field division, as he sets out to the island of Atauro, Timor-Leste, in search of undiscovered species. Read other posts in this series.
We wake early to catch the boat to Atauro, the island north of mainland Timor-Leste. Our goal? To conduct a species survey aimed at encouraging the Timorese government to designate the area as a ridge-to-reef protected area.Continue reading →
Over the past 15 years, the environmental community has made incredible strides in understanding and promoting the critical role of ecosystem services — the benefits nature provides, from fresh water to climate regulation to recreation — for human well-being, the global economy and the future of life on our planet.
Where we have lagged behind is figuring out how species fit into the equation.
She has chosen CI’s Hawai‘i program as her charity of choice for the show. Learn why in our Q&A with her below — and don’t forget to tune in to the Food Network Tuesday, May 19th at 10 p.m. EST to see Lee Anne in action!
Q: What led you to choose Conservation International as your charity for Chopped All-Stars?
A: I recently worked with Conservation International Hawai‘i on the Big Island to help promote both sustainable seafood from local fishing villages and the integration of modern technology that will aid in the marketing, traceability and commerce for these small community-based programs. Now that I reside in Hawai‘i, the idea of sustainability takes on a whole new meaning. Our ocean’s health and its role as a resource — especially in coastal areas — is crucial to the future of Hawai‘i. Continue reading →
This week, a group of CI communications staff are meeting in Bali to gather stories from our field projects in Indonesia and across the Asia-Pacific region. Follow their journey on CI’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
A light haze hangs in the early morning air at the docks in Sanur, a small beach district of Denpasar city on the east coast of Bali. There, I gather with nearly 20 of my colleagues from across Asia, the Pacific and the U.S in excited anticipation of the long day of manta ray tagging ahead of us.
The trip to Nusa Penida, an island just east of Sanur, would be relatively short were it not for the rough chop of the open ocean reminding us who is in charge. After more than a half-hour cruising through the rolling waves from the Indian Ocean, we arrive at Manta Point, a dive site flanked by cliffs about 200 feet [61 meters] high. Below us await corals, reef fish and (hopefully) manta rays.Continue reading →
In recent years, drones have leapt out of science fiction into the modern world. They’re now lauded as a potential tool for everything from national security to dry-cleaning delivery.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (as they’re officially known) haven’t been met with open arms by everyone; people around the world have voiced security and privacy concerns. Yet when it comes to conservation, drones may be one of the most important technological innovations in decades — one that could revolutionize how effective we are at protecting Earth’s most valuable resources.
This is my fourth post in “Making the Links,” a monthly blog series in which I attempt to connect the dots between nature and people in some recent news stories. (To learn more about the goal of the series, read the first post.)
This CNN Money article reports that consumer spending in the U.S. had a small rebound in March after three months of declining retail sales. Among other things, the month saw an increase in American spending on cars, building materials and eating out.
The link: This story understandably views economic health through the lens of our current global economic system, which values the continuous purchase of new goods and services. What it doesn’t take into account is the ultimate price of overconsumption: the degradation of the lands and waters that provide these materials and other benefits for all of humanity.
In his 2011 TED Talk, environmental economist and CI board member Pavan Sukhdev called this disconnection the “economic invisibility of nature” — and urged that the value of ecosystems be incorporated into economic measurements to ensure long-term sustainability. Continue reading →
The phrase “collecting data” may conjure images of white-coated lab technicians examining test tubes and jotting down notes in a windowless room. But when your data is camera-trap images from some of the world’s most pristine tropical forests, things get much more exciting.
For TEAM researchers in 15 countries from Malaysia to Madagascar, setting up camera traps isn’t always an easy feat. Just reaching the desired site may require days of travel and facing sudden rainstorms, biting insects, landslides and car or boat trouble along the way. When the researchers make their way back to the site 30 days later to collect the memory cards from the cameras, they sometimes find the cameras have stopped working due to extreme weather events or damage by humans or animals. (Learn more by following TEAM scientist Badru Mugerwa through the Ugandan forest in the short film below.)
Luckily, all this hard work has a great reward: remarkable photos that often capture rare animals seldom seen by human eyes.
TEAM recently held a photo contest among its 17 field sites spread out across the tropics in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Here are the winners in each of the four categories:Continue reading →
Ocelot caught on camera in Curare, Colombia, where CI and partners are kicking off a project using camera traps to monitor the density of large animals, many of which are important food sources for indigenous communities in the region. (Photo courtesy of CI Colombia/ASSETS)
At 17 sites across the world’s tropical forests, TEAM researchers use camera traps and other technology to gather ecological data that can be used for a variety of purposes, from discouraging poaching to managing threatened species in protected areas, and even helping to predict earthquakes.
Today’s blog from Jorge Ahumada shares another interesting way we’re using TEAM data to listen to nature in Colombia. (Jorge will be doing a Facebook chat about TEAM this Thursday, answering as many reader questions as possible. Check it out from 1-2 p.m. EST — and in the meantime, feel free to leave a question for Jorge in the blog comments.)
If nature were classical music, tropical forests would be Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Tropical forests are the most complex, diverse and grand natural systems on the planet. Globally, one in four people depend on them for their livelihoods. But the question still remains: How do all the services that these forests provide actually make life possible for the people who live there?Continue reading →