4, #4 Autumn
Rainforest Biodiversity Group
Protecting great green macaws to protect biodiversity
In this issue:
Saludos a todos (greetings to
sure you noticed that this month's newsletter is a bit behind schedule. Please
accept my apologies for this. At the last minute I was offered a chance to
travel to Japan in order to work with a traditional Native American medicine
woman to conduct workshops, which help people to connect with the earth and
appreciate nature. It was an incredible experience, and we spent over a month
in tiny villages in the mountains and countryside. Though the nation as a
whole has a poor environmental record on a global level, there are many
organizations and individuals working to change this history. Many people we
met had protested against the logging of Central and South American forests by
Japanese companies like Mitsubishi. I had a chance to do some more research on
Mitsubishi's record in Costa Rica, and it wasn't a pretty story. The logging
operations in Costa Rica which are controlled by Mitsubishi are numerous and
have an immense impact on the fragile forest ecosystems.
As many past newsletters may have informed you, deforestation is the leading cause in the decline of the population of Great Green Macaws in Costa Rica. That is why RBG has pursued conservation objectives, which focus on forest habitat protection for the Green Macaws and the many other species which depend on the same forest. Some of these species are endangered as well, such as the Jaguar, West-Indian Manatee, and Baird's Tapir. The deforestation that threatens the continued existence of these creatures is largely driven by international companies, like Mitsubishi. Often local landowners will sell their trees to logging companies out of sheer desperation, in order to send their children to school. These landowners receive only a minute fraction of the value of the processed timber on the global market, and the logging companies gain huge profits. The local people suffer the environmental effects of a depleted forest, such as increased soil loss, reduced water quality, reduced flood control, siltation of rivers and streams, reduction in biodiversity and resources, and an overall lower quality of life. The logging companies don't have to stay around to live with these impacts, and the local people are not benefiting economically from the situation in the long-run because the harvesting levels are not sustainable.
is something that we can all do to change this situation. Even if it feels
like a small thing, many drops of water will fill a bucket. We can use our
economic power to make a difference and vote with our dollars. We can make a
choice to not support companies like Mitsubishi and Dole by refusing to
purchase their products, and by sending letters encouraging them to increase
their environmental responsibility. Already the Chiquita fruit company is
responding to pressures from the European market to produce their bananas in
an ecologically and socially responsible manner. Chiquita is developing
organic, sustainable and fair trade banana farms in Costa Rica, which
incorporate forest reserves into their properties. We can also support the
many conservation efforts that continue daily, working to protect the forests
in Costa Rica. RBG’s Adopt-a-Nest program directly and immediately
protects the limited number of nesting trees for Green Macaws, so that we can
be sure they will have a place to nest and reproduce each year. We also need
to protect more habitat for the macaws' use throughout the rest of the year,
and our Bird Route project can be an effective way to protect habitat
while supporting local landowners. This approach will ensure lasting
conservation and a better quality of life for all residents of the Sarapiqui
Region, human and non-human alike.
still need the funding to get the Bird Route active, to adopt more nests, and
to hire a full-time coordinator for the projects in Costa Rica. Hopefully some
grants and some generous hearts will come through soon, and together with all
our colleagues working to protect the forests of Costa Rica and Central
America we can see the regeneration of the macaw population.
convictions and support can make a difference. Thank you for your
Harmony Christine Patricio
Rainforest Biodiversity Group
By Andrew Rothman:
November 9th and 10th I was able to participate in the
Bird Conservation Alliance Pan-American Round Table Meetings at the Nature
Conservancy World Headquarters in Washington D.C. The meetings gave me an opportunity to network with
organizations and projects from throughout the Western Hemisphere, and hear
about projects and legislation that are affecting our neo-tropical migrants
(those birds that travel from WI and the US to tropical locations for the
ranged from Avian Flu to Bird Route development in Ecuador, and included
getting the low down on the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker! Below is a summary of the
two topics I think may be most interesting to you our members.
now everyone has heard of the “new” Avian Flu, and the media has us scared
to death (please excuse the pun). I
was able to both good news and bad news for those of you wondering about the
real situation. The good news is that there is not any type of Pandemic yet,
and Avian or “Bird” Flu has not reached the US.
A Pandemic would only occur if the current viral strain H5N1 were to
get into a human who had the common influenza
(flu) virus, and the two viruses essentially hybridized creating a new
human passed Bird Flu. As far as
Science knows this has not yet happened and the only people who have been
infected are those who have been in close contact with infected bird fluids
such as excrement. The bad news
is that this H5N1 viral strain is unusually lethal.
Of the 100 plus people to be infected, 61 people have died.
The other bad news is that there is potential for the disease to be
moved via wild birds; obviously this includes migratory birds.
control of the disease needs to come from focusing on the domestic poultry
industry, limiting the contact between domestic and wild birds and increasing
global monitoring programs. Strains
of animal related infectious diseases have been with us forever.
These diseases however have been on the increases, and include
everything from Lyme’s Disease, to Monkey Pox, to West Nile.
We as humans are ultimately responsible for these new diseases as we as
a society continue to encroach on Mother Nature we create the systems
necessary for these diseases to mutate into diseases that effect our own
health. Habitat loss,
Biodiversity loss, Habitat fragmentation, global toxification, climate change,
increased human travel, and exponential human population all greatly
contribute to development of these types of diseases.
MEMBER ACTION REQUESTED!!
a member or interested patron of Rainforest Biodiversity Group, we would like
to ask you two questions.
Would you like to receive information via our newsletter on issues
related to bird / wildlife conservation in general such as presented in the
Would you like to see RBG become a member of the Bird Conservation
Alliance? Joining Bird
Conservation Alliance would give us access to materials and information that
we could pass on to you, would give us a vote on BCA issues, give us the
chance to sign on to BCA sponsored letters or petitions, and give us access to
BCA events and job postings.
send your comments to [email protected]
or to the address below:
Thanks for your help!!!
Triverton Pike Drive Madison,
Triverton Pike Drive
Madison, WI 53711