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Mongabay’s What-To-Watch list for April 2022

Shouf Biosphere Reserve restoration project, Lebanon

Shouf Biosphere Reserve restoration project, Lebanon

  • In March, Mongabay covered landscape restoration projects in different countries, injustice to Brazil’s Indigenous communities regarding land rights, human-elephant conflict in India due to oil palm plantations, and other issues worldwide.
  • Three YouTube series — Mongabay Explains, Problem Solved, and Candid Animal Cam — released new episodes featuring coral reefs, aerosol issues, technology-critical elements, and the gray brocket deer, respectively.
  • Get a peek into the various segments of the environment across the globe. Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on YouTube.

Mongabay looked into three inspiring landscape restoration efforts in three different countries. In Lebanon, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, residents have taken things into their own hands and have started restoration projects. Lebanon’s Shouf Biosphere Reserve, Indonesia’s Womangrove Collective, and Kinandu village in DRC are experiments and projects where local communities are working together against many odds.

In March, Mongabay released two new episodes to its YouTube series, Mongabay Explains. The explainer series broke down the complex subject of technology-critical element supply chain and explored the possibility of its being sustainable. Another episode examined whether aerosols can help us against climate change.

Even with major advances in the marine sciences in many countries, we’ve only just scratched the surface and begun to understand what’s happening in the oceans. Mongabay series Problem Solved explored the impacts human actions have on coral reefs and the interventions now needed to save them. Meanwhile, Indian researchers are set to start studying sharks and rays from a conservation angle.

From Mongabay-India’s videos from March, we saw how a village in south India is working on turning itself carbon neutral, while in some other villages in central India people have serious health issues due to contaminated water. The webinar explored the participation and inclusivity of women in India’s clean energy sector.

In Brazil, injustice against the Indigenous communities regarding land rights continue. While the Ka’apor are strategizing to keep away invaders and save their land, about 400 evicted Indigenous residents are fighting to reclaim the Monte Horebe settlement in Manaus.

Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on Mongabay’s YouTube channel.

India needs more conservation-relevant research on sharks and rays

Past research on sharks and rays in India lacks relevance to their conservation and management and were biased towards charismatic species. Experts recommend future studies on regional species stock assessments, critical habitats and socioeconomic drivers of fisheries.

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Read more: India needs more conservation-relevant research on sharks and rays

Fluoride contamination haunts villages of central India

People in some central Indian villages are developing discolouration of teeth and bone deformities caused by excessive ingestion of fluoride. In many tribal villages, contaminated groundwater is not only a health problem but also has social impacts. Experts claim that a lack of technological interventions, and newly contaminated villages not being monitored are making the problem worse.

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Read more: Continued fluoride contamination of groundwater is a glaring public health issue in central India


Could aerosols be a good thing against climate change?

Aerosols come in many shapes and sizes. They can drift in the atmosphere as spores of pollen, or as sand blown off arid land, or as black carbon — and in many other forms. Despite remaining aloft only for a few days or weeks until they fall to earth, aerosols can have complex and far-reaching consequences for weather, climate, and health. As the amount of human-caused aerosols soars dramatically, we try to understand how they’re changing our world.

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Can the technology-critical element supply chain become sustainable?

Green energy technology growth (especially wind, solar and hydropower, along with electric vehicles) is crucial if the world is to meet Paris climate agreement goals. But these green solutions rely on technology-critical elements (TCEs), whose production and disposal can be environmentally harmful. Mining and processing of TCEs requires huge amounts of energy. Mines use gigantic quantities of fresh water; can drive large-scale land-use change; and pollute air, soil and water — threatening biodiversity. TCEs may also become pollutants themselves when they are disposed of as waste.

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Read more: Climate-positive, high-tech metals are polluting Earth, but solutions await


Can we save coral reefs?

Coral reefs only cover about 0.2% of the ocean floor but support 25% of marine life. Roughly a billion people worldwide depend on them for food and income. They are also the bedrock of many important drug research developments and breakthroughs. However, climate change, overfishing, and land-based pollution are causing these reefs to perish at a swift pace. This episode uncovers our impacts on coral reef ecosystems and interventions needed now to save them.

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Why coral reefs are so important?

There’s a reason why coral reefs are often referred to as the “rainforests of the ocean.” Check out this short video to learn all about coral reefs.

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Expansion of oil palm plantations raises concerns of human-elephant conflict

Expansion of oil palm in Assam Goalpara district is rasing concerns of increase in elephant and human conflict. Assam’s Goalpara is simmering with human-elephant conflicts. It is the worst affected state district with around 20 people killed in negative encounters with elephants last year.

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The Ka’apor’s strategy to contain invaders and save their land in the Amazon’s fringes

Since 2013, the Ka’apor expelled the Federal Brazilian Indigenous Agency from their territory in northern Maranhão, creating a new government council, adopting their own education system and establishing permanent settlements along their borders to contain the illegal advance of loggers, land grabbers and miners.

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Read more: In Brazil, Indigenous Ka’apor take their territory’s defense into their own hands

Evicted Indigenous residents fight to reclaim the Monte Horebe settlement in Manaus, Brazil

A group of about 400 Indigenous people were displaced from an informal settlement on the outskirts of Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon in February, reportedly in connection with drug trafficking issues in the area, despite previous promises to regularize their occupation.

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Read more: Evicted indigenous people in Manaus struggle to stay safe amid COVID-19 crisis


Meet South America’s gray brocket deer

Come join your host, Romi Castagnino, and learn all about the gray brocket deer. You’ll also get to see some awesome footage of this wild animal caught on camera trap.

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How a biosphere reserve is fighting wildfires in Lebanon

The Shouf Biosphere Reserve is a living laboratory in Lebanon that experiments with ecosystem recovery and the well-being of the human communities living there. Today, the reserve builds local skills and creates jobs in a bid to help the local community through Lebanon’s severe economic crisis. Managers are also employing adaptive techniques to build resilience in this climate change-hit landscape.

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Read more: From land mines to lifelines, Lebanon’s Shouf is a rare restoration success story

A women’s collective is restoring the last mangroves of Tanakeke, Indonesia

The Womangrove Collective in Indonesia’s Tanakeke Islands has restored dozens of hectares of mangroves since its founding six years ago. The collective focuses on replanting abandoned shrimp and fish farms that were originally established in cleared mangrove areas, and have to date planted more than 110,000 seedlings.

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Read more: Indonesia’s Womangrove collective reclaims the coast from shrimp farms

Forest management project attempts to address expropriation of communities in DRC

Kinandu village residents in southern Democratic Republic of Congo are taking part in a reforestation initiative in the miombo woodlands while land grabs are simultaneously on the rise. The fear of losing the land on which they were born and raised, coupled with an awareness of the environmental degradation, is inspiring residents to own forest concessions and restore the land. Restoration, however, largely depends on whether residents and stakeholders will change the way they produce essential goods, such as maize and charcoal.

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Read more: Can a reforestation project stop land grabs? Villagers in the DRC give it a try


Kerala village on a quest to become carbon-neutral

Meenangadi gram panchayat in the state of Kerala has started the process of turning itself carbon neutral. The local self governance body has launched processes to attain carbon neutrality. The aim is to balance the greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration within a quick time span. The local governance body is working with state government, citizens’ groups and an NGO to develop innovative climate actions.

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Clean Energy Talks: Is India’s clean energy transition inclusive of women?

The participation of women in India’s energy sector, especially mining, has always been under the scanner, with changes that it are not very inclusive. Energy sector experts and reports from think tanks highlight that women face inequality in pay and work rights. India has an ambitious clean energy transition plan (500 GW by 2030) but there are fears that the country’s energy transition may not translate into more opportunities for women. The webinar aimed to explore the challenges and possible solutions to advance opportunities for women in the clean energy sector.

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Voices from a Gujarat village with India’s first solar park

The Gujarat Solar Park, India’s first utility-scale solar park, sets an example of how renewable energy development, if not done right, can lead to more environmental harm than good. Ten years after the project came up, the villagers of Charanka, the project site, are still waiting for clean drinking water, free electricity, and irrigation.

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Read more: A decade on, India’s first solar park has many promises left to fulfil

Banner image: Lebanon’s Shouf Biosphere Reserve restoration project. Image by Elizabeth Fitt for Mongabay.

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