Category Archives: Land Degradation

The 3rd Farming by Satellite Prize decided on Monday 23rd January at International Green Week in Berlin 

BERLIN,  Germany, 2017-Jan-25 — /EPR ENVIRONMENT NEWS/ — The 3rd Farming by Satellite Prize, promoting the use of satellite technologies in agriculture, was decided on Monday 23rd January at International Green Week in Berlin. The overall winner of €5,000 was a team from ISA Lille in France with their idea for using satellite data to pair the issues of managing nitrogen levels together with solving soil compaction, and using cover crops to address this in an environmentally sensitive way. The €4,000 Special Africa Prize went to “Shamballite” a team from Kenya with their innovative and well-documented idea for a mobile and satellite-based Farming Information System.

They beat stiff competition from 76 other young people across 13 European and 8 African countries. Judges selected seven teams from Europe to take forward to the final ‘live’ judging round, and another three from Africa, who made their presentations by video-link. Portugal was successful in getting two teams through to the final round, and other finalists were from Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany and Italy. For the Special Africa prize, it was Kenya that was particularly successful – providing two out of the three finalists, with the third coming from Morocco.

The €3,000 Second Prize and €1,000 Third Prize went to Czech Republic and Italy respectively. Farming by Satellite Prize is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Environment Agency (EEA). It is sponsored by CLAAS, a leading manufacturer of agricultural engineering equipment, and crop protection experts Bayer CropScience.

Reviewing the winning entries this year, GSA judge Reinhard Blasi said: “The judges were particularly impressed with the high quality and professionalism that has evolved over time, especially for the African participants. It was this and the holistic approach focussing on a real challenge for Kenya´s farmers that helped “Shamballite to win first place. The idea sends simple mobile messages to support farmers with decision-making by closing specific information gaps.“

Commenting on the environmental aspect of entries, Hans Dufourmont of EEA added: “It has been remarkable to see how the Copernicus’ European Union open data policy becomes a real game changer that boosts the uptake of satellite imagery for improving the environmental aspects of farming practices: we have seen plenty of proposals taking advantage of the free access to Sentinel satellite data.

Said Christian Radons of CLAAS: “As agriculture becomes more knowledge intensive, our role extends beyond machinery design and manufacture to use science, innovation and technology to make a difference across the whole value chain. We really want to encourage tomorrow’s innovators to apply their talents to the agriculture sector, which is why we have supported the Farming by Satellite Prize since the first edition in 2012. With each edition of the Prize, we notice the submissions improving in quality and applicability. This is a great signal for the future of farming and food production.”

Commented Alex Melnitchouck of Bayer CropScience: “Today’s farmers have a lot of knowledge at their fingertips, helped by the spread of mobile communications. Combine this with the latest seed varieties, detailed weather data and crop analysis tools, and they have a better chance to increase production and cope with climate change. There is a real opportunity to help farmers with decision-making and use advanced technology in simple ways to manage their businesses better, and to lower costs. The Farming by Satellite Prize is a way of raising awareness of these opportunities and tapping into the talents of young people to make them happen.”

The last words go to the winners who said: “We are so excited to have been selected as winners; it has been a great experience, and we hope to see our idea become reality.”

Entrants must be under the age of 32 and can take part as individuals or as a team. They can submit case studies of trials, or new ideas and innovations, particularly those relying upon European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the forthcoming GALILEO system and COPERNICUS (the European Earth Observation Programme).

For more information visit: www.farmingbysatellite.eu or contact organiser Andrea King at andrea.king@askhelios.com.

SOURCE: EuropaWire

Environmentalists challenge the RSPO to rein in its members

A group of environmental non-profit groups including Save Wildlife Conservation Fund, Friends of Borneo, Jakarta Animal Aid Network and research scientists today filed a complaint to the RSPO over the destruction of a biodiversity hotspot in Borneo.

The group alleges that the actions of palm oil company PT Mekar Bumi Andalas (MBA) a subsidiary of Wilmar Group is in open violation of many of the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria including encroachments into areas that are considered High Conservation Value Forests. MBA and other RSPO members have been building crude palm oil bulking stations in Balikpapan Bay, East Kalimantan which has open access to sea shipping. According to Stan Lhota, a research scientist that has studied the area since 2005, Balikpapan Bay is home of one of the five largest known populations of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). It counts about 1400 animals, which may possibly be 5 % of the world’s population of the species. Proboscis monkeys occupy mangroves, but they are vitally dependent on food resources found on dry land forest. They are therefore critically dependent on the existence of corridors, and the activities of these RSPO members are threatening the integrity of these forest corridors. The activities from building the palm oil refineries and holding stations will have a devastating and permanent impact on the area according to Stan Lhota.

Besides the destruction of terrestrial habitats, there are unique coral reefs and sea grass beds near the estuary of Sungai Berenga, that have been affected by brackish and muddy waters created by the developments in the area. Huge amounts of soil have also been washed away from the construction site and corals are dying as they are being covered by several millimetres of thick sediments.

The area is home to Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaela brevirostris) with approximately 60 – 140 animals counted. Studies have determined that the area is crucial to their feeding and daily migration between the upper and lower sections of the Bay, in accordance with tides. One of the few remaining populations of dugongs (Dugong dugon) is found in Balikpapan Bay as well and their prime feeding grounds are in in sub-tidal sea grass beds. An early indicator of localized extinction can already be seen in the decreased sightings of Green turtles that once lived in the coral reefs and sea grass beds.

The complaint against PT MBA cites over a dozen violations of the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria and is demanding that the RSPO put a stop to all activities not only from PT MBA but also from all other RSPO members in the area until all environmental concerns have been addressed. This complaint is a new challenge to the RSPO whose Principles and Criteria do not apply to bulking mills or refineries but in the words of Lars Gorschlueter, Director of Save Wildlife Conservation Fund, “If RSPO standards are not mandatory to their members and forests of High Conservation Value can be torn down because it’s a refinery and not a plantation, then when does the RSPO standards apply and why should we trust its certification?”

The group further demanded that the stoppage be immediate to prevent an embarrassing repeat of the Muara Tae situation where a long drawn out discussion between RSPO member, First Resources Ltd of Singapore and complainants became meaningless as the forests in question were almost completely clear cut in the two years it took the RSPO to try and decide on the case.

Via EPR Network
More Environment press releases

Rebuilding the Amazon Rainforest One Tree at a Time

What is Amazing Forest?

Yes, the Amazon rainforest is being cut down as you read this. 17% is already gone. The world’s lungs – as it’s referred to – is decreasing in size. Yes, everyone knows this. But what can we really do about it? The Amazing Forest is a chance to do something right from where you are, sitting in your chair, a few clicks and USD 60 away.

Amazing Forest is the venue where people from all over the world are combining their efforts into one single strain to restore the Amazon rainforest to its original state.

We sell trees. Not trees to be delivered to your door, but to be planted on your behalf, in your name, in a designated specific area of the Amazon rainforest. The trees being planted are new trees. So, instead of preserving already existing areas of the rainforest, the Amazing Forest is actually reversing deforestation. We take so much from Earth everyday; this is a way to give something back to it.

It’s a common saying that, to eternalise your passage in this life, one must have children, write a book and plant a tree. Well, the four tree species that are currently being planted in the Amazing Forest (they are native species typical of the region: jatoba, copaiba, ipe rosa and louro freijo) live in average 200 years.

And what’s cool about it, people get their own tree, which will never be cut down and remain throughout its life individualised by a name tag, with the name they choose for it.

“We want to give people the opportunity to make a difference for the environment while leaving their own positive footprint in the planet”, says Rodrigo Nascimbeni, the founding partner of the company, “a footprint so tangible and concrete that people can come and see it, show to their children, to their great-grand-children, to their friends…” he goes on referring to the fact that customers can visit their tagged trees in situ while walking inside the real Amazon rainforest.

Amazing Forest goes much beyond simply selling trees online, it is each person’s way to contribute to a better world and to guarantee that future generations will share the same bliss to live here on our planet.

And, better yet, this noble act of planting a tree and committing to a better world can be renewed as often as wanted. Each tree is sold for USD 60.

Besides doing your share of good for a better planet, people can buy trees either as a present for a loved one, a memorial, a way to mark an important occasion or as a simple and convenient method of offsetting their carbon emissions.

Amazing Forest launched on Monday the 23rd of May 2011. The first piece of land to be replanted is situated approximately 34 miles outside the city of Boa Vista, Roraima State in North Brazil (if you go to Google Maps, we’re right where the green arrow points to at these coordinates 2 29 44.40 N 60 56 40.85 W).

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest. It is the home of the world’s richest area of plant and animal diversity and an enormous source of potential lifesaving medicines. Not only that, it is a massive carbon sink that acts as the lungs of the world. Sadly, it is believed that “at current [deforestation] rates, 55% of [the Amazon’s] rain forests could be gone by 2030 – a looming disaster not only for the region’s plants and animals, but for the world”. (Quote Source: http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/amazon/)

Who is behind Amazing Forest
Amazing Forest is the realisation of four guys. It all started when the Brazilian Rodrigo Nascimbeni and the New Zealander Ben Cook, two lifelong friends, decided to take on this journey.

“We don’t believe that the size of a task should limit your ambition,” says Ben Cook. “The sad fact is that over 17% of this forest which is so integral to the health of our planet has been devastated by deforestation. If we all wait for someone else to take on this problem then we might just be too late. Rodrigo and I believe we have the passion and the skills to make this project work as a viable business where we can have fun whilst using our respective abilities to actually do something positive for the world we live in.”

Before launching Amazing Forest, Rodrigo created something called a receivables investment fund, the first one in Brazil. He also started and managed a few companies in the financial sector – which means he probably just gave up a successful international career in Investment Banking to plant trees in the Amazon rainforest.

Ben, although he achieved an honours degree in Plant Science, is the co-founder of Shake Interactive, a digital marketing agency operating from South Africa and the UK.

The two met in 1993 when Ben took part in a Rotary youth exchange programme in the tiny town of Votuporanga in Brazil. What started as a mutual need to learn the others native tongue ended in a lifelong friendship. Both have always wanted to work together but their respective careers had taken them in opposite directions and to different hemispheres.

As Amazing Forest was boiling inside their minds, they met Manuel Haas and Florian Herzog, two German Forest Engineers – also lifelong friends – living in Brazil and widely experienced in rainforest management and regeneration. Manuel and Florian came on board at the founding stages and are now an integral part of the team.

Via EPR Network
More
Environment press releases

Welcome to EPR Environment News

EPR Environment News is a new blog, part of EPR Network, that is going to be focused on and will be covering the environment news and stories from press releases published on EPR Network.

EPR Network (EPR stands for express press release) is one of the nation’s largest press release distribution networks on Web. The EPR’s nationwide network includes 12 State based PR sites, one major PR forum and a number of industry specific PR blogs and what started as a hobby on Internet years ago turned out to be a rapidly growing business today. EPR Network is also known as one of the most trusted (human optimized, published, edited and monitored, spam/scam/low quality PR content free) PR sites on the web with more than 10,000 company and individual press releases distributed per month. EPR Network is putting your press releases on top of all major search engines’ results and is reaching thousands of individuals, companies, PR specialists, media professionals, bloggers and journalists every day.

EPR Network has thousands of clients around the world including global 500 corporations like Hilton Hotels, Barclays Bank, AXA Insurance, Tesco UK, eBay/Skype, Emirates, just to name a few. The network’s PR web sites are currently reaching from 150,000 to sometimes 500,000 unique visitors per month while our viral reach could possibly go to as much as 1M people per month through our presence across various social media sites. EPR Network was established in 2004 and as of May 2008 it had more than 800,000 press releases (pages) published on its network.

If you have a press release to be distributed, you can do it over here: press release distribution