- Mongabay’s October videos show how the world’s consumption of products have multiple effects on the environment in various regions and on ecosystems, and what consequences road and railway projects have on forests and communities in Brazil and Mexico.
- Watch Afro-Brazilian communities practising their traditional agriculture that bring together production and conservation around Brazil’s Atlantic forests, and how authorities and communities are dealing with human-wildlife conflicts in India and Indonesia in their own ways.
- 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.
In October, Mongabay looked into the human consumption, or overconsumption, of two food industry products — chocolate and fish-feed. While cocoa, soy, dairy products and palm oil are sourced from tropical landscapes in Africa, South America and Asia to make chocolates, krill from the Antarctic are being used excessively in the fish-feed industry. Watch how the practices are affecting tropical and marine environments besides prompting ensuing effects on related concerns.
As our agricultural lands push the boundaries of natural landscapes, there are wide-ranging solutions for human-wildlife conflict coming up in different regions. In Sumatra’s Aceh province, Indonesia, where farmers sometimes poison elephants to deter them from destroying plantations, they still see the animals with respect and have hopes for peaceful coexistence. In Maharashtra, India, the forest department has turned to technology — they’re monitoring tigers and elephants using drones equipped with thermal cameras.
Road and railway projects in Brazil and Mexico alike have environmentalists and land defenders concerned. Highway BR-319 in Brazil cuts through ecologically sensitive areas in the Amazon, and paving work on the road, which can lead to illegal activities, has begun. The latest episode of Mongabay Explains shows what effects the Tren Maya railway project in Mexico will have on the country’s southeastern.
Mongabay also covered the story of traditional Afro-Brazilian communities in Brazil’s Ribeira Valley, who have for long been struggling to practice their traditional slash-and-burn farming system which brings together production and conservation in the Atlantic Forest.
In India, even as the government executes landscape restoration alongside comminities and organizations, like large-scale mangrove plantations in the Sundarbans, a study has spotlighted the missing discourse on climate change in the country’s parliament.
Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on Mongabay’s YouTube channel.
Fish-feed industry turns to krill, with unknown effects on the Antarctic ecosystem
The Antarctic krill fishing industry has been growing in the past two decades. The global growth of fish farming is driving the demand for Antarctic krill as an alternative to wild fish in fish feeds, amid the depletion of many wild fish stocks. Independent scientists say the krill fishery could have a detrimental effect on Antarctica’s predator populations, which are also suffering from the impacts of global warming. The krill industry is expanding its fleet and planning to significantly increase catches in the next few years.
CONSUMED — PRODUCT LIFECYCLES
What is the environmental impact of chocolate?
Chocolate in all its delicious forms is one of the world’s favorite treats. Per capita consumption in the U.S. alone averages around 9 kilograms (19.8 pounds) per year. The industry is worth more than $90 billion globally. But what are the environmental consequences of our chocolate obsession?
RESTORATION EFFORTS BY COMMUNITIES
In Brazil’s Ribeira Valley, traditional communities combine farming and conservation
The Traditional Quilombola Agricultural System (TQAS) of the Ribeira Valley was declared part of Brazil’s intangible cultural heritage in 2018. The slash-and-burn farming system practiced by the Afro-Brazilian communities in this area is based on land rotation, thus bringing together production and conservation in the largest contiguous remnant of the Atlantic Forest. The communities, or quilombos, here have a long history of struggling to practice their traditional agriculture, threatened by lack of proper land planning and the imposition of various restrictions by the authorities.
Homeless Giants: Habitat loss fuels human-elephant conflict in northern Sumatra
Human-wildlife conflict has intensified in Indonesia’s Aceh province, home to nearly half of all wild Sumatran elephants. As the animals’ forest homes are razed to make way for plantations and other developments, farmers struggle to protect their crops from hungry elephants, sometimes using poison to deter them. Some local residents, however, believe coexistence with these highly intelligent mammals is possible.
How are drones used to reduce human-animal conflicts?
The forest department in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, India, has introduced drones to monitor wildlife and reduce human-animal interactions. Drones equipped with thermal cameras allow forest guards to monitor animals during the night while they stay safe. The recent migration of elephants from neighboring Chattisgarh state and rising tiger numbers have caused tensions in the villages of Gadchiroli.
Is the Tren Maya project railroading rural communities and nature?
The Tren Maya, or Maya Train, is one of the signature projects of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The tourist railroad will run just over 1,500 kilometers, or about 930 miles, through five states in southeastern Mexico: Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. But its construction has environmental organizations, land defenders and scientists on high alert. Their main concern: What effects will the Tren Maya have on southeastern Mexico?
RESTORATION AND REWILDING PROJECTS
Mangrove plantations are big in Sundarbans. But how successful are they?
Mangrove plantations are a nature-based solution to curb coastal erosion and shield against cyclones and storm surges. In the Sundarbans region of West Bengal, India, mangrove plantations gained popularity after cyclone Aila in 2009. The state government alone claims to have planted 185 million mangrove saplings and associated species in Sundarbans between 2020 and 2022, having spent about Rs. 600 million for the same. NGOs claimed to have planted a few million more saplings.
LAND RIGHTS IN BRAZILIAN AMAZON
As Brazil starts repaving an Amazon highway, land grabbers get to work
Paving work has begun on a stretch of highway running through one of the remotest and best-preserved parts of the Brazilian Amazon — even as questions about the project’s permits abound. BR-319 was built in the 1970s to connect the Amazonian cities of Manaus and Porto Velho, but a 405-kilometer (250-mile) “Middle Stretch” fell into disrepair, making the road virtually impassable and killing the flow of traffic. Conservation experts have long warned against repaving the Middle Stretch, warning that improved access to this carbon-rich region will lead to a surge in deforestation, burning and land grabbing. With the repaving underway, this is already happening, raising concerns about unchecked forest loss that would have massive ramifications for the global climate.
ACTIONS AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
Parliamentary discussions related to climate change are largely missing in India
The engagement between legislators and scientists is largely driven by the amount of media coverage of scientific research. However, climate change is yet to make the cut as a top political agenda.