National geographic neighbors in space,faraday cage your home 3d,solar empire beneath the stars - Step 2

Bangladeshis sleep on the roof of a moving train as they rush home to their respective villages to be with their families, in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Here’s a view of a storm moving through the Horsehoe Bend, which neighbors the Grand Canyon by just a few miles. The sun sets on the forest in Novy Urengoy, a city in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug section of Russia. Stingray City in the Grand Cayman, where a newlywed couple embarks on their new adventure through the area’s crystal clear water.
A man climbs to dizzying heights, up a large bin that is soon to be filled with grain in New Raymer, Colorado. A climber descends into the Hayden Glacier, which is often used as a route to get to Middle Sister, the shortest of three volcanic peaks in the Oregon Cascades. Matterhorn is one of the most famous mountains in the world and arguably Switzerland’s most recognized symbol. The “Dialogue of Civilizations” conference in Guatemala brought together archaeologists studying five ancient cultures to discuss their similarities and differences and what they can tell us about human society as a whole.
After a day and a half of presentations on four ancient civilizations from the Old World, the crowd of more than 700 people gathered in Guatemala for the Dialogue of Civilizations last week was more than ready to dig in to the archaeology of the Maya. The white tops of the temples of Tikal rise above the canopy of the national park that protects the site for miles in every direction.
The best-known cities of Classic Maya civilization, like Tikal with the tops of its white temples still soaring above the canopy of a jaguar-filled jungle, are mostly from the “lowlands” of Guatemala – the region between the heel and the toes of the boot of Mexico. Along the entire Pacific Coast of North and South America, the deep oceanic plate slides under the continental plate, rippling the continental edge into mountain ranges, and melting as it is pushed below the thin cooled crust of Earth’s surface, only to percolate up into volcanoes that keep this landscape ever changing.
While such activity brings plenty of instability and danger, it also brings precious metals and minerals to the surface, and provides a trap to catch the clouds rolling in from above the ocean, pushing them up, cooling them down, and causing them to release their water as rains that feed lush plant life and erode the mountains into rich soils. The resulting wetlands and combination of resources are what really distinguish the highlands and coast from the flat northern inland lowlands, Arroyo said.
Along the coast by 3500 BC, local people were cutting and burning forest to plant maize (a general agricultural practice that continues at a disastrous scale today). This map shows the cultural dispersal among early villages and cities in the earliest days of Maya civilization. While these were all developments at villages, not cities, the material and social culture were clearly getting more complex, with well-made goods used for prestige, celebrations, and the pleasure of kings. By 1300 BC, the Olmec site of San Lorenzo near the Gulf of Mexico had developed into the first real city in the region. Connecting the stories of past and present, Arroyo then described the major highland Maya site of Kaminaljuyu (kamin-all-hoo-yoo), the ruins of which were right under our feet in Guatemala City. Archaeologists excavate through the A-24 platform to reach the foundations, dated to about 1,000 B.C. While some regions in the ancient (and modern) world have a very specific style, Kaminaljuyu was more cosmopolitan. In summary, Arroyo compared the civilizations of the Mesoamerican highlands and coast with the other civilizations studied at the Dialogue.
What made Barbara Arroyo’s presentation captivating was the way it opened up the story of the less-often-discussed coastal and highland Maya. Tomas Barrientos from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala leads excavations at the site of La Corona knew his audience.
While the coastal Maya had the reliably fertile soil and many rivers mentioned above, in the lowlands, they had rainforest.
Once in harmony with the surrounding jungle, the city of Tikal now emerges from the trees only where modern humans have cleared the ground. They managed the land so that they “became part of the forest.” The mistakes that have been made in development in Guatemala over the past 50 years he said are due to the fact that we have not worked with the same mindset.
As had been said earlier in the week about ancient Egypt, core cultural concepts were early paired with an artistic style that then fed each other and kept each other alive for millennia. The different terrain also meant that to get precious stones and metals to feed their desire for precious items, the lowland Maya needed to visit or trade with other communities in the mountains where these resources were directly attainable. Bound war captives show varying levels of resistance and acceptance to their fate, in this detail from a stela from Piedras Negras, now at the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Guatemala City. After building enormous ceremonial complexes in huge cities like Tikal in the 5-700s AD, the culture and civilization had shifted to groups of small kingdoms by the 1200s, and this is what the Spanish found.
In the town of Chichicastenango, the church of Santo Tomas stands atop the remnants of a Maya temple, a visual manifestation of the spiritual blending that has kept ancient beliefs and values alive in a new cultural landscape. National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices. Society Field Inspection 2016: Gulf of CaliforniaDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work. Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi.
With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa.
In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave.
Gulls, gannets, and penguins are neighbors on Mercury Island, near the Diamond Coast of Namibia. Fishermen, conservation authorities, and tourism interests agreed to protect the reefs on one side of Vamizi Island in northern Mozambique and allow fishing on the other. Wide-ranging pelagic species such as tuna (shot by a spearfisher near Aliwal Shoal) derive little value from small coastal protected areas and would benefit from offshore MPAs large enough to protect important spawning or gathering areas. Surfers at Muizenberg, at the western edge of Cape Town’s MPA, made an attempt in 2012 to capture the world record for the number of surfers riding a single wave. A prototype electromagnetic shark-deterring surfboard gets a test run at Aliwal Shoal MPA, near Durban.
African penguins forage near their rookeries on islands such as Mercury when raising chicks. Namibia’s Mercury Island is the most important refuge for endangered bank cormorants, whose numbers have dwindled to a few thousand.
At Ponta do Ouro marine reserve, in Mozambique, healthy reefs ensure the annual return of migratory baitfish, which attract predators such as the venomous lionfish. Fur seals and jellyfish share the shallow inshore waters of Table Mountain, established in 2004 to protect 85 miles of Cape Town’s rugged coastline, including the iconic Cape of Good Hope. Go behind-the-scenes with our storytellers and join conversations about photography, art, and journalism. Two students hold the steel chain link of the new Living Wall to the Commiphora africana while one of the boma’s residents hammers in the nails. Education is the foundation for positive change, and every year the National Geographic Student Expeditions takes groups of high school students from around the world to beautiful places on quests for both knowledge and skills.
Africa is the land of diversity, hosting a vast amount of biological and cultural variance within each of its 53 countries.
National Geographic Student Expedition participants use their newly honed camera skills to capture the wildlife on the road from the Noloholo Environmental Center on the edge of Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park.
Three Maasai children herd their sheep and goats around their boma as a group of volunteers and National Geographic students collaborate to build a Living Wall. Each group spent a day in the communities surrounding our Noloholo Environmental Centre building the protective enclosures for local homesteads (‘bomas’) we call Living Walls. In an area where lions and other big cats roam among the herds of Maasai cows, Living Walls reduce attacks on livestock and consequent retaliation on lions. We'll look for answers and post them here, along with regular updates about the science and conservation status of felids. National Geographic supports scientific research of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, and other big cats with a view to finding viable ways to protect them in their natural habitat. Death is always near, and teamwork is essential on the Serengeti—even for a magnificent, dark-maned male known as C-Boy. Go behind the scenes of recent National Geographic coverage of some of the world's top predators. For World Lion Day, more than 27,000 people from 82 countries gave a virtual high five for big cats to raise funds for on-the-ground conservation projects. The TOMS Big Cats Collection, a special-edition line of footwear, sunglasses, and a backpack inspired by the Big Cats Initiative, draws attention to the critical need to protect these majestic creatures for generations to come.
Educators, join the Big Cats Initiative Sister School program, an interactive, community service learning opportunity under the theme of big cats. Warriors of the Samburu tribe play a vital role in protecting their livestock, families, and big cats in Kenya. Sweden has always been ahead of its neighbors when it comes to reducing its environmental impact.
When I heard about the growth of this technology, I immediately thought of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the growing island of the world’s trash kept in constant swirl about 1,000 miles north of Hawaii.
Still, even if large countries can’t embrace incineration-to-power technology as impressively as Sweden, the technology continues to grow. Here in Sweden we still have problems with waste, heavy metals wich exits in the ash is still a problem, and no one wants their back yard to be a designated storage area for all that waste ash.
When you burn anything, you release CO2, so this doesn’t really solve any sort of climate problems. Interesting concept to deal with a number of problems, you’re looking at reduction of waste, ash being more compact, and energy generation saving on oil and gas. Everyone who is freaking out about how incinerating trash is killing the environment needs to do some research on biomass energy and closed carbon loops.
European Union is working to prevent CO2 emissions and material destruction since the nineties and you wrote a thing like this in 2013? The only people left supporting incineration are companies building this kind of plants and, of course, local politicians who get paid. For a good insight and understanding of how we handle waste in Sweden please read the link below.
We can stop sending ours to the Green Gated China and send ours here, since we can’t figure out how to dispose of it safely here. I am sure this post has touched all the internet users, its really really pleasant article on building up new weblog. I realise this article is quite old now, but its only just come to my attention, and I felt the need to offer another perspective on the matter.
I live in a small town in the southwest of England, 20 miles away from where an EfW incinerator has been given permission by the local council. There is also the matter of the waste product from the incineration – the bottom ash.
In the interest of full disclosure, MVV applied for planning permission to build their IBA waste storage facility here in the town where I live. Mercedes, the stuff they are burning is non-recyclable refuse, they recycle anything that is able to be recycled.
Sweden is actually contemplating buying garbage from EU countries with worst waste management systems to help them manage their waste while exporting knowhow about efficient waste management. I fail to see how vaporizing used products to gain a fraction of the energy that went into producing them, makes any sense at all. To get a more informed and better idea of the GPGP take a look at the short video series that Vice did on it. Well, it all boils down to economics… My Norwegian friends here are correct that it would be better if Norway burnt their own trash and benefited from it themselves.
Since we in Sweden are recycling in such a high frequency there is not enough trash to get the incinerators burning att 100%, meaning the power companies have to rely on more expensive alternatives for electricity and heat. The best economical solution for them is then to by trash and burn it since that is the cheapest way of producing the electricity. I doubt they really put much thought into environmental issues, or rather I think they put the stock price ahead of any environmental concerns… Difference here is that the economical and environmental benefits happen to be the same (which of course is very good). I’m in question of the emissions produced from the transport of the trash from one place to another. Really i could find a new method for solving the world energy from water via immersed turbine with formula of( P+1at). The article describes the utilization of Norwegian waste in Swedish high-power incinerators as a win-win situation; as if Norway avoids landfilling by exporting our waste. In fact, Norway has a landfill-ban on biodegradeable waste since 2009, and the only thing avoided is full capacity use of Norwegian plants producing renewable heat and power.
In 1993, Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Boston University administrators asked me to suggest possible sites for a new biological field station somewhere in Ecuador’s eastern rainforests.
Immediately, a rush of all the unique scientific and educational opportunities inundated my brain. Certainly in the beginning, if you truly expect to attract visitors of any kind, the place must provide great opportunities to view animals. Nature lovers everywhere will tell you that these two characteristics are in their very essence, mutually exclusive. Aerial view of northern Yasuni along the Tiputini River just west of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the lowlands of eastern Ecuador. To put it simply, we wanted to be able to study and teach about nature itself, not human impacts on nature.
Entrance point to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, run by the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
Another huge concern: oil deposits are scattered all over eastern Ecuador – and since the 1970s, the country’s economy has depended heavily upon the extraction of Amazon crude.
On one of the first days, I’ll never forget taking the dugout a short distance up a right-bank tributary, the Tivacuno, where we were soon delighted by the appearance of a giant otter family.
Seeing any or several of these following species in the wild should be considered a stunning success: jaguar, tapir, giant otter, giant anteater, ocelot, capybara, spider monkey, woolly monkey, anaconda, harpy eagle, curassow, pink river dolphin, scarlet macaw, sloth, giant armadillo, roseate spoonbill, boa constrictor, fer-de-lance, vampire bat, white-lipped peccary, toucans, bushmaster, and the Amazon’s equivalents of the unicorn, the bush dog, short-eared dog, black jaguar, and silky anteater.
I’ll go on into the realm of the aquatic with the black caiman, electric eel, and ocellated stingray, piranhas, peacock bass, tiger-striped flathead catfish, the arapaima, and finally a real oddity showing up from inside the forest about nightfall, skimming the water’s surface to gaff small fish, bulldog bats.
Face of the harlequin beetle, Acrocinus longimanus, one of the invertebrate prize sightings. Being situated very near the Equator and blessed with abundant rainfall (annually receiving right around 10 feet of precipitation) in ecologically-stable western Amazonia, near the Andean foothills has provided the conditions that produced all this biodiversity.
The difference is that outsiders, in their lust for oil dollars, ran roughshod over that region while they were terrified to venture south of the Napo.
Currently, a wave of acculturation is quickly converting these guardians into their own worst enemies in relation to the traditional resource base.
A traditional Waorani warrior, Ona Tega, demonstrating his skill with the blowgun, a sophisticated piece of ancient Amazonian technology, used primarily to hunt canopy specialists, ranging from birds to monkeys. Because there are so many kinds of life in this exuberant ecosystem, seeing any particular one tends to be a challenge.
From my hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, I made my way to Amazonia for the first time in 1979; I’ve lived permanently in Ecuador since 1990 and chose the land for the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in 1994.
But they’re out there, and knowing that is extremely exciting – there’s always a chance. A few months ago, while seeking photographs for a book we just published (Yasuni, Tiputini and the Web of Life), Pete Oxford spent an hour and a half within 8 or 10 yards of a magnificent black jaguar right out on the riverbank, less than half a mile upstream from our camp.
Of course, we treasure those experiences and recognize that these stories say something important about the quality and condition of the Yasuni in general, but we’re not here just to rack up trophy sightings of charismatic megafauna and other rare beasties.
Well, if you sincerely intend to attain that ultimate goal, it becomes quite necessary to have a list and a number so that your success or failure can be measured in a realistic way. A huge leap in our knowledge of Yasuni flora occurred back in the mid-1990s due to some extraordinary vision on the part of botanists in Ecuador and at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
As scientists, we must recognize that access for oil extraction in this case, although typically considered a death knell for wilderness, also provided unique access for inventory; some destruction occurred but we learned a ton as a result. A member of the passion flower family, a group that includes many already utilized species.
As development pushes farther into remote areas, it is very likely that potential source plants are disappearing forever.


Ana de Ompure of the Waorani nation leads a fairly traditional lifestyle despite the fact that she lives near an oil road.
For insects, through the efforts of many specialists, we’ve learned that this is where the real diversity of Yasuni, and the world, lies. Another thing we noticed was how many insects were drawn in and met their deaths each night.
As it turns out, all those insects, drawn in from miles around “like moths to a candle,” actually have roles in this ecosystem. Logically, the loss of all that functioning biomass has repercussions on anything that could have interacted with those organisms as living forms. Consequently, among vertebrate zoologists, herpetologists are the ones finding more new species than anyone else. Most of them are coming from the treetops through labor-intensive searches by driven scientists like Shawn McCracken of Texas State University. Shawn has been able to go several huge steps further by actually quantifying the decline with varying levels of impact.
An understory anole, Anolisnitens, finishes dining on a leaf litter grasshopper, using a spiny leg as a toothpick. In the deep shade of the forest interior, a female fasciated antshrike takes advantage of the chaos created by raiding army ant swarms to capture fleeing insects. Now, with the encroachment of oil operations, the backdrop for all this has been altered; all of a sudden, industrial sounds introduced into the system disrupt communication frequencies and some species are confused because the intended messages simply don’t get through. And now, we can forget about being able to record natural sounds without interference of industrial noise pollution. Some rainforest species are particularly wary and avoid us; this makes learning about them quite a challenge.
Primarily through the efforts of Diego Mosquera, Jaime Guerra, and John Blake, we’ve managed to collect enough information in association with 45,000 photos to draw many conclusions about several species that were previously poorly known. Captured by our 24-hour eyes in the forest, this is only one of dozens of ocelots on Station lands; heat- and motion-sensitive equipment informs us about fauna that is especially difficult to observe directly. A team of primatologists led by Tony Di Fiore of the University of Texas, has been studying monkeys in Yasuni for nearly 20 years.
As it turns out, the Yasuni coincides almost exactly with the natural range of the golden-mantled tamarin, a brightly-colored, two-pound primate. The golden-mantled tamarin, Saguinus tripartitus, can only be seen in Yasuni; here an adult relishes what appears to be a most delectable find. Our research in the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve for almost two decades has shown that this region is without doubt, deserving of its United Nations World Heritage recognition; this is certainly one of the world’s most amazing natural heritage sites. Saying we are concerned for the future of the ecosystem’s integrity is a tremendous understatement.
The country of Ecuador has already lost native ecosystems across more than half its hyper-diverse territory but its Oriente, especially in the Amazonian range south of the Napo River, represents a last big stronghold of wilderness and wonderment, at once both a fantastic opportunity and a daunting responsibility.
It must be emphasized that historically oil has been, without any doubt, responsible in this part of the world, and many others, for opening the door to a series of changes that result in widespread habitat degradation and species loss. These two aerial images, from 1975 and 2001, of the same section of oil road were captured by Ecuador’s Instituto Geografico Militar and made public years ago.
If humanity cannot make a conscious decision to protect the world’s most biodiverse place, will we indeed be able to save anything of nature? Kelly Swing, PhD is the director of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador for the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and a professor of tropical ecology for Boston University. Kelly, you did a beautiful job highlighting the tenuous situation in the Amazon in a very readable, comprehensive way.
Congradulations Kelly on a truly lovely and highly readable article on a very precious piece of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The photographer will receive $10,000 and a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar.
You can still be a part of the conversation, commenting on this post or tweeting using #5Civilizations. Barbara Arroyo, coordinator of excavations at the site of Kaminaljuyu in Guatemala City took the stage first and did not disappoint, opening everyone’s eyes to the fascinating early history of this renowned culture. Because the Classic Maya period took place in the centuries after the fall of Rome, it’s easy to focus on it as generally more recent than the other ancient civilizations discussed. Arroyo was focused on the rest – the highlands and the lush strip along the Pacific Coast, and their origins, thousands of years before Tikal was built. They then developed the first pottery in region, with designs based on the shapes of gourds found on trees, between 1800 and 1600 BC. Here we see the kind of permanent architecture, population density, and social complexity that signal the beginnings of “civilization” proper. Huge naturally forming basalt columns were used to construct some kind of presumably ritualistic building of significance to people in much less developed villages throughout the area. At other sites in the area though, Arroyo sees too many differences too early in their development.
This was a great site, she said, but it was “doomed to disappear because of geology.” Given the well-known modern stories of sinkholes in the region, that was not hard to believe.
The next presentation caught everyone’s attention because of the light it shed on the rise of the better known lowland Maya, represented in sites like Tikal and the well known art seen in museums and jewelry shops.
A major example of this is the way temples were called “mountains” and seen as “sacred hills that conducted to the underworld.” Indeed, deep within their supporting pyramids are cave-like chambers of a man-made underworld where rest the rulers’ remains. The resulting long-distance trade networks were useful for developing a rich culture, but it also raised opportunities for excessive competition.
Could it be, since the Cradle of humanity is in that region, that they traveled to Central America? Humans appear to have arrived in the Americas sometime before 12000 BC, walking or boating from far northeastern Asia.
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To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016. The country’s first MPA aims to reduce human disturbance and increase natural abundance around Mercury and ten other islands along 250 miles of coastline. In the fished area, the size and number of parrotfish, triggerfish, and other species are increasing. Their numbers are declining, partly due to dwindling fish stocks, but a new 18-mile-wide MPA may help boost prey and improve breeding in this endangered species. The trips also serve as a way to help various developing communities, and this year two groups of students made a big impact on the Maasai Steppe. Biologists and David Attenborough fans all over the world know it for its unique, charismatic species: The roaring, the stampeding, and the larger-than-life. Most tourists bypass our little corner of the country beside Tarangire National Park, but this year we benefitted from two National Geographic Student Expeditions that came from all over the world to add a little bit of big-cat- conflict education to their photo and wildlife safari. The Living Wall, an idea conceived by the Maasai people, works to reduce human-wildlife conflict by effectively protecting the Maasai livestock from predators while also protecting these predators from being attacked in retaliation by the inhabitants of the boma.
Nothing brings people together like hard labor (except perhaps Tammy), which has a way of completely leveling social stratification.
The Maasai people share their home in the savannah of Northern Tanzania with predatory animals including lions, leopards, and hyenas, which pose threats to their livestock and therefore the heart of their economy.
Often, cultural differences have had negative outcomes like social and economic inequality, which has many times led to violence and suffering.
The walls mark the union of two unique pools of knowledge, and during the wall building, those two bomas on the Maasai Steppe marked the union of many different cultures. There are 38 species of felids, ranging from the seven-pound tabby in your lap to 500-pound Siberian tigers—with cheetahs, leopards, ocelots, and other striped and spotted cats in between. We'll also share National Geographic articles, videos, and behind-the-scenes features and keep you up to date on our Big Cats Initiative work to help big cats hang on in the wild. Bloggers and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules and other terms of service. Combining the resources of National Geographic and the Cincinnati Zoo, and drawing on the skills of an incredible crew, we documented these amazing cats in a way that’s never been done before.
This is particularly true in rural Africa, where herders face daily challenges to protect livestock from lions and other predators. While these young men represent one of the most neglected groups in conservation decision-making in northern Kenya, they’ve become ambassadors to keep lions safe. This is especially true for large predators that require vast areas, such as Africa’s fastest cat, the charismatic cheetah. To make power, the country does something unique: it turns trash into power on a national scale using high-power incinerators. Back in 2009, a group of environmentalists and waste managers began trying to tackle the global trash heap, which has turned vast swaths of the Northern Pacific into an ecological dead zone.
Especially not in the geographically inconvenient North Pacific, where even a solid day’s work incinerating trash is quickly eclipsed by exponentially more trash that joins the heap. Pls Mr Stone do your homework, studie the trash problem and you will find that Swedens way i completley wrong direction. Though a transfer plant and incinerator were built in the Willamette Valley and another built in Eastern Oregon, they were rabidly opposed by environmentalists who supposed the plants would emit lethal amounts of cancer-causing dioxins into the air and every one on the west coast would die of lung disease and cancer, and birth defects would be the only result of human reproductive process.
As for the smog these incinerators put out …they could invest in heavy duty carbon filters also known as charcoal filters.
This is not a scheme I am in support of on principle – the amount of energy being generated is only going to helpl power the nearby military docklands, and provide nothing to the local economy. Not only is this waste material potentially hazardous (there is no way to state this definitively one way or the other, since the composition of the incinerated waste cannot be standardised). The site they wish to use is less than 100 metres from the nearest residence, as well as within 500 metres of the local park and school. When you talked about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch you made it sound like an actual island or trash that is visible to the eye. Most of the people of the Vice crew had the same misconceptions about the garbage patch that were washed away with something much worse when they actually got out there to film it. The maffia has dominated and wrecked the waste management industry so to cope they are paying Sweden big bucks to get rid of the waste. Also to avoid the transportation between Norway and Sweden would of course be beneficial to the environment. Also Norwegian companies are making more money selling the trash to Sweden than burning it themselves.
The swedish import of norwegian waste is making a lot of problem for environement in the nordic area.
Instantly, I was fantasizing about all the wondrous things that we could do and see at such facilities, if the location were chosen wisely.
In my opinion, for this endeavor to be worthwhile, we simply had to be far from population centers, developmental and agricultural frontiers, hunting activities and timber harvest. Some pragmatic scientists are quick to point out that this is the real fantasy; science should in fact be studying impacts to provide solutions to real problems as opposed to dwelling on a situation that barely exists any longer and has even less likelihood to exist in the future. I ended up choosing a site that’s a challenge but you can get there from the capital city of Quito in 8 hours – on the north bank of the Tiputini River, along the north central border of the Yasuni National Park. While completely enthralled by these chatterboxes 10 feet ahead of the canoe, from the back of the boat, our cook said, “Wouldn’t you rather see something big?” pointing over her shoulder at a 500-pound tapir curiously swimming toward us! Among the invertebrate world, trophy sightings include electric blue Morpho butterflies, bird-eating tarantulas, giant earthworms, peanut-headed bugs (or any of their bizarre wax-bug relatives), giant leaf mantis, army ants, leaf-cutter ants, bullet ants, camou katydids, bearded weevil, elephant beetle, rhinoceros beetle, Hercules beetle, giant stick insects, harlequin beetle, and the white witch (a huge moth). Yasuni is the traditional territory of the Waorani,“the fiercest tribe in all Amazonia,” according to their own completely justified description, a nation of warriors that repelled all intruders with deadly barrages of serrated palm-wood spears, until quite recently.
Bush meat markets have turned their hunting skills into money makers and in some parts, they are now depleting the abundant game of their forefathers faster than it can be replenished through natural cycles. There’s a phrase that sounds just plain stupid when you first hear it, but it’s absolutely applicable. After all that time, I still can’t go for more than a few minutes at TBS without seeing something I’ve never seen before – and knowing that in most cases, I’ll never see again. A couple of primatologists, Sara Alvarez and Laura Abondano, tell the tale of their study subjects knocking something loose from the canopy (as often happens when spider monkeys hurl their 20-pound bodies from tree to tree) and having fall literally at their feet, the diminutive silky anteater, a fluffy straw-colored ball of fur complete with a baby on its back! With the founding of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station were established three pillars of our raison d’etre: scientific research, environmental education, and ecosystem conservation. They integrated a plan to collect as many specimens as possible during the opening of an oil access road from the Napo River south into the heart of the National Park.
Admittedly, oil has financed some other research and covers the cost of its localized environmental monitoring, all of which has produced new data and resulted in other discoveries as well. Once again, we don’t know precisely because there’s too much out there for us to handle without a whole lot of help from the next generation of scientists so desperately needed to fill the gap. It is likewise probable that the old shaman that knew which one served what purpose has just died without passing on that information.
During a great proportion of his career, Terry Erwin, of the Smithsonian, has been collecting insects from the top of the forestall over Latin America using a strategy called canopy fogging. Once again we can say that access has been important to the advancement of science but we must also point out some real concerns. Their scorched carcasses accumulated enmasse below the gargantuan torches, piling up so deep, they had to be loaded with tractors into dump trucks to be hauled away. Some are pollinators, some are food for frogs, lizards, or birds, some are predators of smaller insects like mosquitoes, and some fall into several of these categories simultaneously. Loss of specialized pollinators will mean decreased reproduction for the plants they should have visited and consequently 50 or 200 years from now, there will be fewer of certain trees we’d like to harvest and sell for profit. Direct impacts on local fauna have led to the development of alternative management strategies; these towering infernos are fortunately being phased out in many operations. He’s not just finding new species; he’s trying to understand their lives and distributions. If a large portion of the trees in an area is removed, the remaining treetops become virtual deserts and frogs can’t even occupy the ones left standing because the microclimates have been altered so radically.
Through research in various places, we now recognize that typical forest interior inhabitants simply cannot tolerate edge conditions. Specialized ornithologists like Bob Ridgely, Francisco Sornoza, and Chris Canaday have developed skills over decades that allow them to survey the bird fauna of an area rapidly, based on the fact that each species has a specific vocalization as unique as our fingerprints. You guys can think about trying to flirt with a beautiful girl on a speed boat while she’s sitting right by the engine. In the last decades, we’ve noticed that elephants and some whales transmit courtship and territorial signals across tens or hundreds of miles. Since 2004, we’ve been using camera traps to get an idea about the secretive denizens of the forest that we rarely see for ourselves. The big take-home message coming out of this project is that fauna is far more abundant in this region that we ever might have imagined; our numbers represent densities that are greater than any previously reported in scientific literature.
All the large species that are considered worth going after, especially spider and woolly monkeys, are unable to withstand ongoing hunting pressure.
Due to the fact that these arboreal mammals receive no hunting pressure at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, they don’t instantly flee at the sight of humans and that fact has allowed intensive study of our primate community.
This small endemic understory specialist depends completely upon the lower third of the forest interior for its food, shelter, everything. Most of Yasuni can still be saved in spite of an image tarnished by industrial extraction in parts of its expanse.
The felling of forests to build access roads provides the ignition for these changes to occur. They illustrate all too clearly the historical outcome of oil extraction and colonization along access roads in the northeastern part of the country.
He has often served as a consultant in the evaluation of environmental impacts of the oil industry in Ecuador. Yasuni is the most important site for the biodiversity in the Earth, Sadly the goverment of Ecuador don’t understand this fact.
We see such things at the site of Paso de la Amada, and from there they spread both north and east. In particular there are the giant stone heads that made the Olmec culture famous when discovered a hundred years ago.


Much like Augusta McMahon said about ancient Mesopotamia, the rulers were responsible for keeping the water infrastructure in good shape. They came for political purposes like royal visits, and for practical reasons like access to markets. We can still learn much from a civilization that was self-supporting for a much higher population than exists in the region now for 3,000+ years, that would have continued far longer but for invaders bent on its total destruction. While there’s always the possibility of unknown small scale epic voyages from other places, as well as the passing of information between distant groups through the grapevine, the rise of Maya civilization shows every indication of having been completely separate from the civilizations of Europe, Africa, and Asia, developing gradually over a very long period with a style and world view all its own. They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society.
Not only did they construct fences that would save livestock, lions, and livelihoods, but the teamwork and compassion displayed on those hot afternoons lit a spark that gives hope to a brighter future. Anthropologists and Human Planet fans know it for its lion hunters, its hunter-gatherers, and its fascinating traditions that have been remarkably preserved through time. These fences have proven to be cost-effective and environmentally friendly because they are constructed from local Commiphora trees, material much easier to collect than wooden or metal poles found in distant Arusha. In the warm afternoon sun the same beads of sweat were glistening on the skin of the students, leaders, boma residents, office staff, field officers, and even our executive directors. The Living Wall project has been successful in many Maasai bomas in the region, shielding livestock from predators and allowing the people and wildlife to live in peace. On those two sizzling afternoons in Northern Tanzania, the same red earth dusted the faces and coated the multicolored hands of many regions, hands that were working together towards one goal. It may have been just me, but I think I caught a glimpse of the ideal world, and it looks pretty beautiful. Tribal mixture and migration in Tanzania: an evaluation and analysis of census tribal data. At first glance, it solves two problems: getting rid of trash before it piles up and generating electricity without burning dirty fossil fuels. Norway gets rid of trash it doesn’t have space to bury more cheaply than exporting trash elsewhere (it gets the ashes back after incineration, but those take up much less space). The Ocean Voyages Institute in Sausalito, California, tried testing ways to clean it up, including incinerating the trash to create energy or even oil. And later this year, the city of Pontotoc, Mississippi, is planning to start turning local waste into liquid fuel.
The plants need to be Combined Heat and Power, providing hot water for district heating or for Process water.
In addition, the local councils who are pledged to use the incinerator are also bound to provide a certain level of waste in order that the incinerator can run, and are liable to be fined if they breach their contract with MVV and fail to provide enough waste.
The additional noise pollution from the lorries coming to the site, as well as the physical presence of the vehicles themselves, will change the local landscape completely, and will have untold consequences on local health issues. The problem here is that Sweden has a large dependency on the waste incineration but only from an economical stand-point. Just imagine what would come along with a never-before-explored site in a truly intact piece of western Amazonian wilderness.
If you don’t have something to offer in this realm, most people simply won’t bother to come. But we certainly didn’t want to encroach upon any lands that rightfully belong to indigenous peoples. Historical fact #2: No matter where in the world, places that underwent oil extraction before widespread environmental awareness and the implementation of modern technologies have suffered indelible consequences. I tend to think that’s precisely why it’s so gratifying even when experiences are fleeting.
An area once equally as diverse, just to the north, has been converted horizon-to-horizon into a cut-over land of oil wells, dusty gravel roads, scattered bamboo huts, open pastures full of introduced elephant grass and practically devoid of its original copious dose of biota. Their own densities were always low so their impacts at the landscape level were minimal over thousands of years. At this point, I’ll admit that new sightings are mostly small creatures, primarily among the insects and spiders, but I have yet to see in the wild several mammals from the list in that earlier paragraph, including the giant armadillo, bush dog, melanistic jaguar, and silky anteater. In case you’re also a worrier, mother and child were fine; soon after the tumble, they were back up in a tree, the mother feasting on termites. We’d learn as much as possible, share the harvested information amply and try to have a lasting positive impact on the region’s nature as well as its people.
If we add in all the air plants (epiphytes) as well as the lianas and herbaceous species rooted in the ground, the species count goes up to over 1,500 plant types per hectare.
As thousands of trees were brought down for this construction project-turned scientific transect, flowers, fruits, and leaves were all made accessible to the waiting hands of excited and diligent plant collectors below. Whenever we talk about the potential value of plants to humankind, we turn inexorably toward the argument of traditional medicinal usage. We’re losing cultures and knowledge all in one go, because of a drive to get the one product that we see as a priority (oil in this case) without taking into account that other treasures may coincide with its geographical location. This specialized technique has given entomologists access to a world that was nearly as remote as the oceanic abyss until the last few decades. Of course, we know so little about them and their lives that we can’t possibly follow the ripple effects out across the entire ecosystem for the next century – and this lack of knowledge is typically interpreted as meaning that there is no documented impact.
Of course, some opportunistic species, such as the russet-backed oropendola, whose nests hang in the tree in the foreground, can be favored by their effects; here these birds take advantage of the artificially high density of insects attracted to such sites. Most frogs and lizards and snakes lie on the difficult side of these categories; frogs tend to be the smallest and most secretive. In the entire world, among all life forms, best estimates are 18,000 new species described each year; the tiniest minority represents the vertebrate phylum. One of his investigations has definitively linked the loss of canopy specialists with development. Even when the panorama along an oil road still looks rather like an intact forest, the adjacent open area provokes a warming and drying effect that diminishes frog densities greatly, implying that finding them becomes nearly impossible. Part of what they’ve been doing is trying to explain how so many species can fit into this part of the forest.
These bird songs, if you will, are key parts to communication within and between species; they are particularly integral to courtship and mating.
This allows us to have eyes in the forest 24 hours a day and to study in a non-invasive way, the large, ground-dwelling fauna in our area.
Some, like peccaries and deer, show up in thousands of images, implying truly surprising densities. In areas where indigenous people no longer hunt at the subsistence level, but instead sell monkey meat in order to acquire commodities like rice, cooking oil, sugar, and yes, beer, populations crash immediately.
Natural limitations on spider monkey reproduction make them especially vulnerable to harvest.
They are as vulnerable as interior birds to alterations; deforestation even in adjacent areas spells their demise. We have witnessed the nibbling away of the park around the edges and along penetration roads and we have watched accelerating erosion of traditional cultures. If history repeats itself, and it does have a nasty reputation for doing just that, we could be facing a near future when the Tiputini Biodiversity Station is converted into a tiny island of rainforest reserve that can’t possibly accommodate the entirety of Yasuni’s biodiversity, where we will be relegated to study impacts on nature rather than the wonders of nature. Modern oil extraction in and of itself, does not, by default, result in the horizon-to-horizon damage seen north of the Napo. In roads, the Amazon’s poor and disenfranchised see irresistible opportunities and this situation provides the fuel for quick and lasting destruction. Can we learn from the powerful lessons in northeastern Ecuador so we can save areas immediately to the south? Only one observation, in the spanish edition say the guaranis, but the guaranies live in Paraguay, in the Yasuni live the Waoranis, this is the correct name of this group of people.
Similar conclusions are supported by research announced today by National Geographic grantee Takeshi Inomata from the site of Ceibal, which shows Maya style platforms as early as 1000 BC, more recent than San Lorenzo but predating La Venta by 150 years. In Kaminaljuyu, as long as they kept the canals working, “rulers were able to control population,” Arroyo said.
As a single country, by certain measures Tanzania contains more distinct peoples and languages than there are countries in the world (see Hirst, 1972). As holes were dug, Commiphora poles were planted, and fencing was nailed around the enclosure, students and local community members bonded — with smiles and kind gestures when no one was available for translation. The smoke stack of the Keizer plant still stands above what became a garbage transfer station. The companies running the incinerator claim that this is only a temporary situation, until the ash can be used as aggregate in building projects: however, there is no proven market for this aggregate in the UK, nor have the few projects that have used such an aggregate proven that it is a suitable alternative to more traditional materials. In addition, the site is host to the largest colony of Greater Horseshoe Bats in Europe, and the industrial activity in the site would wreak havoc on their livelihood as well. The cheapest way to produce electricity and heat for community heat-plants are by burning waste! Being a bit of a worrier, a moment later, the initial fantasy was elbowed aside by preoccupations. If people, any people, have access, they have impacts; the greater the access, the greater the impacts. Above all, we wanted to be good neighbors to everyone in the region – without actually having neighbors. And besides, I think we should have a legitimate zero point with which to compare our impacts as well. Thanks to the Waorani for having kept most outsiders out for so long, and for giving us one last chance to document life at its pinnacle of diversity.
And naturally,while I wasn’t around, an individual visited our camp every night for a week while I was tending to chores in other parts of the country – and lots of good-hearted students have since made special efforts to show me their pictures posing within feet of this behemoth, and with their cabins in the background. Our purpose, albeit admittedly presumptuous given the scope that would come to be clearer over time, would be to find out everything possible about the most complex ecosystem anywhere.
But this has to be a best guess, as he himself would admit, because we haven’t actually catalogued all the species of any place on Earth, much less the Tropics. Along the 90-mile route, they amassed tens of thousands of scientific samples that could be shared with specialists around the world, and discovered dozens of new species of plants for global botanical rosters, and made even more additions to the records of what exists within the country of Ecuador. Yasuni is the planet of Pandora, and the Waorani are the Omaticaya of James Cameron’s animated film Avatar.
Some modern operations have now incorporated enclosed flares that avoid this scenario almost altogether. Of course, anybody would guess that frogs that are specialized to live in trees suffer serious losses when you cut down the trees. Bottom line: opening new roads decreases the potential for the discovery of certain new species, and generally decreases everything nearby that occupies the forest interior. In general, we’re talking about extremely fine partitioning of the resources and habitat space on a per-species level.
These auditory signals evolved in relation to one another and with the forest setting, and have been polished through millions of years of trial and error at the genetic level. Some species are more vulnerable to this kind of complication precisely because their voices coincide with the pitch of some sounds that waft in from drill sites or pumping stations miles away.
David Romo, TBS’s Co-Director, developed a program years ago to utilize their voices as a way to evaluate the overall health of amphibian communities based on species composition. If this turns out to be the case, the industrial hum of a generator in an oil camp could result in decreased population densities over large areas simply because potential mates are less efficient at finding one another in their expansive, cluttered environment. While humans can witness some of this wildlife by chance, such data accumulation is very slow.
Others that can easily be recognized as individuals due to their unique patterns, like jaguars and ocelots, can tell us something more.
The abundance occurs at all food chain levels; many pacas and wild pigs, many tapirs and deer should imply plentiful resources for, and explain high densities of jaguars and ocelots along with the presence of pumas, margay cats, and jaguarundis, as well as two species of wild dogs. They take several years to reach sexual maturity and then, adult females only have one baby every two or three years; replacement rates are very low. Even minor changes quickly translate into the loss of half of the ten species in our region. If countries like Ecuador can’t live without oil revenue, our plea is that they decide to extract their natural resources in the most environmentally sound ways possible, with visionary steadfastness, and without sacrificing one unexplored treasure of inestimable value and longevity (above-ground living ecosystems and genetic diversity) for another of known value (below-ground mineral riches) of limited duration. The earlier one shows the condition of the surrounding forest when the road had just been opened to provide access to this well site; the later one shows the results of a quarter century of human presence and uncontrolled activity. If more roads are built here, can we realistically expect anything other than devastation at the landscape scale, the same kind that has resulted from this scenario in the past? Clearly the Maya world was developing alongside the Olmec, and not as a direct descendent of it. It is a land rich in history, and draws thousands of tourists every year for a walk on the wild side. They also burn quite a bit of gas, because some batches do not otherwise reach a safe burning temperature. There are also unknown factors regarding leachate into the local water table, or the effect of the waste storage on other local flora and fauna, including otters in the nearby river (which flows last the site entrance). Read some swedish and norwegian papers or call Waste Manegement Norway or Waste Management Sweden to get info. That “IF” quickly grew exponentially into a list of many practical and logistical considerations. Once again, nothing gets your juices flowing like someone telling you something can’t be done. This even includes Sweden, the high-latitude, rather biotically depauperate home country of Linnaeus who started all this naming and counting of species back in the mid-1700s.
So many modern medicines derived from ancient knowledge of local weeds, so little scientific evaluation of so many leads. Possibly hard to believe, but science has already documented these kinds of changes in various species in many parts of the world.
In eight years, in the space of a couple of square miles (the area where we’ve had our cameras), we’ve been able to distinguish over 20 individual jaguars and 45 ocelots.
This tells us that when roads are opened and access is provided, this species is one of the first to disappear locally. Their absence has significant repercussions at the level of seed dispersal, forest dynamics, and plant species composition.
Only a minute proportion of the tens of thousands of species present in 1975 could possibly survive in the 2001 conditions, certainly none of the large ones. And then there’s the problem of ash, which can be more chemically potent than the raw trash. The local council turned down the planning permission, but MVV have chosen to appeal to a public enquiry, which took place last month. Most of the trash is broken down into tiny pieces of plastic almost invisible unless you look closely enough.
Swedish consultant ProFu have made documentation that shows oposite results than what Dane Stone describe. Now and again, one of our scientists happens upon these canines out in areas rarely tread by humans. This means, by default, that the vast majority of those 27,000 disappear without notice or news headlines.
For the 20% with names, we know very little beyond that, except for the fact that some are extreme specialists that appear to only live on one kind of plant or at one elevation above the forest floor.
Is the encroachment of development (opening of roads, industrial oil extraction, colonization, clear cutting, timber harvest, hunting, etc.) driving heavily hunted species (peccaries, deer, etc.) and their predators (primarily jaguars) out of adjacent areas, yielding an unusual concentration in our study area where they perceive some level of refuge?
Add on complications associated with acculturation and exportation of bush meat and their extirpation is guaranteed. During that enquiry, it became clear that the company has no interest in local health, wildlife, ecology, or anything other than their bottom line.
This is a difficult question to answer until we can make comparative assessments in other parts of Yasuni. How can we even know before we’ve blown right past some tipping point and it’s just too late?



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