Report: Vermont losing 1,500 acres of forest every year

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,Development claims 24,000 acres of forestland a year in New England, according to data from 1990 to 2010. By 2060, that could mean another 1.2 million acres lost, according to a new report co-authored by UVM scientists. (Photo: David Foster)Vermont Business Magazine Forests and conservation funding is in decline across New England. The region has been losing forestland to development at a rate of 65 acres per day—and Vermont is losing 1,500 acres of forest every year—according to a new report released today by the Harvard Forest and a team of authors from across the region including two scientists at the University of Vermont.Public funding for land protection has also been steadily declining in all six New England states and is now half what it was at its 2008 peak. Land conservation trends have followed suit.“Over the last decade, Vermont lost about one percent of its forest cover due mostly to suburban and rural residential sprawl, reversing a 150-year trend of forest recovery and expansion,” says co-author Bill Keeton(link is external), professor of forestry & forest ecology and Gund Fellow(link is external) at the University of Vermont.Conversion to development is the biggest near-term threat to forests, bigger even than climate change, the scientists report.“If our goal is to make sure our forests in Vermont are resilient and able to adapt to the changes that climate change and invasive species pose, then the first critical step is to keep those areas forested,” says co-author Tony D’Amato(link is external), an associate professor and director of UVM’s Forestry Program. “That is often lost in our discussion of how to manage and conserve in the face of such future uncertainty.”Fading forestsThe new report, Wildlands and Woodlands, Farmlands and Communities(link is external), documents that public funding for land conservation in New England dropped fifty percent between 2008 and 2014 to $62 million per year, slightly lower than 2004 levels. The pace of regional land conservation has also slowed substantially from an average of 333,000 acres per year in the early 2000s to about 50,000 acres per year since 2010.“The incremental chipping away of forest and farmland by scattered development is hard to see day-to-day but it adds up over time and represents a significant threat to the region,” said David Foster, director of the Harvard Forest. “If we stay on the current path, we’ll lose another 1.2 million acres of open land by 2060.”OpportunitiesDespite these trends, the authors assert that the targets outlined in their bold vision for the future of the New England landscape are still attainable and they identify opportunities for gaining ground.“Vermont has led other New England states in terms of forest protection efforts, with combined federal and state spending for land conservation here at a per capita rate 4.6 times that of neighboring New Hampshire, for example,” says UVM’s Bill Keeton. “With this report we present a clear vision of strong and continued community-level engagement in farm and forestland conservation to compensate for rapidly declining federal and state funding across New England as a whole.”In Vermont, twenty-three percent of the state’s land area is currently conserved as forest and farmland. The state ranks first in New England in per capita state funding for land conservation at an average of $6.70 per person per year for 2004 to 2014.  Nevertheless, annual land conservation rates in Vermont have generally fallen back to early 1990s levels after a period of elevated conservation in the late 1990s, even as groups report that private landowners’ interest in conserving their land remains high.Report seriesThis is the third in a series of Wildlands and Woodlands publications led by Foster, Keeton, D’Amato and a team of colleagues. Previous reports defined a regional vision that calls for conserving thirty million acres of forest—seventy percent of the region’s land area—and all remaining farmland. The vision proposes that most of the conserved forestland should be managed for wood products and other benefits, with ten percent managed as wildlands.“Bill and I were also co-authors on the original vision for the New England landscape published a few years back and I also served as a coauthor on the original Wildland and Woodlands vision that was developed for Massachusetts before we explored a more regional approach,” notes UVM’s Tony D’Amato—who has one eye on the next generation of forestry scientists and professionals. “The message from this report is very consistent with what we teach and research in the UVM Forestry Program(link is external),” in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.(link is external)Triple the pace“When we look specifically at forests in New England, it is clear that the impacts of land use will be far greater than those of climate change over the next 50 years,” said Harvard Forest ecologist Jonathan Thompson. “This may seem counter-intuitive given the major threat that climate change poses to all sectors of society. But climate change slowly alters the health and types of trees that grow whereas conversion eliminates forests altogether.”The report’s authors say it is still possible to attain the Wildlands and Woodland vision by tripling the pace of conservation, reversing trends in public funding, putting more land to work for sustainable farming and forestry, and integrating land conservation with the planning of cities, suburbs, and rural communities to reduce forest loss and promote more efficient use of land for economic development.”We need to do everything we can—a lot more than what we’re doing now,” says UVM’s Bill Keeton, “to keep our forests, and to keep them resilient.”Source: UVM 9.19.2017last_img read more

DAPD appeals for financial rescue

first_imgLocalNews DAPD appeals for financial rescue by: – November 13, 2013 Tweet DAPD’s Vice President, Michael MurphyThe movement charged with the responsibility of advocating for the rights of persons living with disabilities, has appealed for greater financial assistance from the private sector to help sustain it. Vice president of the Dominica Association of Persons living with Disabilities (DAPD) Michael Murphy said the Association continues to grapple with a major financial constraint. The movement, which depends solely on grants for its survival, has not been able to meet salary obligations for its staff for over seven months.“The survival of any non-governmental organization particularly one like the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities, where our main consumers are persons with disabilities depends on its ability to procure or obtain the necessary funding either from external resources or local resources”.According to Mr. Murphy, resources from all areas have been dwindling, and they are now dependent on capable citizens for survival. “In recent times this both areas have been dwindling, as a matter of fact external resources have been almost cut off completely so we depend to a very large extent on the population of Dominica for our survival.” Although government makes a yearly subvention to the Association, Murphy said it is not sufficient to cover all their operational costs and obligations. “We conduct the operations of the organizations for a year, I think that can only pay the staff for about two months and we are left with a deficit throughout the year, we have had to carry forward a deficit at the end of each year for the past few years,” Murphy said.He indicated that several of its planned projects had to be cut back due to lack of funds to implement them.“The financial meltdown has affected us here; I think it has affected not only our organization but all other organizations including the government”.Although the continue resources received from the government “is not very much”, he said, the Association “use it very wisely”.Mr. Murphy is hoping that there will be improvements to its operations during the next year as they are this year celebrating 30 years of existence. “I’m hoping that some persons in the private sector will come to our rescue at some point but I don’t think that sufficient corporate citizens are assisting in that direction,” he noted. Meanwhile, he said fund raising activities are continuing this month with a Barbeque scheduled for 29th of November and a talent show with a difference on November 30th at the Arawak House of Culture.Tickets for the talent show with a difference costs $20.00 before and $25.00 as the gate. Murphy is hopeful that these events will help defray some of the Association’s expenses.On Monday, November 11, the Association was part of nine charitable organizations which received EC$14, 750.00 each from the President’s Charities Foundation at the Public Service Training Centre in Roseau.Dominica Vibes News Share Sharing is caring!center_img 15 Views   no discussions Share Sharelast_img read more

Oral Tracey | Creativity, oh creativity, where art thou?

first_imgWhile doing some preseason analysis for the upcoming English Premier League season with my co-host on the morning sports discussion show ‘Sports Explosion’ on Hitz 92 FM this past week, in looking at the chances for my EPL team Liverpool, I expressed the opinion that the most urgent need for Liverpool is a creative midfielder. One who will offer the spontaneous skills needed to unlock organised and stingy defensive teams, a view that is obviously not shared by manager Jurgen Klopp, who apparently trusts his system of play as executed by his current band of hard workers over the potential volatility of more creativity. I have long been a consistent and unofficial champion for the creative element in the game of football. I remember vividly former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho taking his then creative genius Eden Hazard to task for not doing enough defending for the team, a move which sparked the beginning of the end for the now unemployed Jose. There have been several discussions and debates with numerous local football coaches and officials, at my prompting, about the undervaluing of creative players in Jamaican football. As far back as Jamaica’s historic Word Cup qualification for the World Cup Finals in 1998, there was a running conflict between ‘skill merchant’ and crowd favourite Walter ‘Blacka Pearl’ Boyd and the Brazilian coach Rene Simoes. The generation following Boyd was coloured by the case of Jermaine ‘Maestro’ Hue, arguably the best passer and midfield visionary of this generation, who, despite his unique and exquisite game-changing qualities, was always on the fringes of the Jamaican national team. The conversations on this issue with current Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore have been countless. Tinged with the irony that Whitmore himself was one of the major creative forces in that 1998 team, ‘Tappa’ is yet to bite the bait, that it is the lack of creative players in the current team why the Boyz seem incapable of doing something as basic, as keep possession of the ball, and even more fundamentally, were struggling to create quality chances. Tappa’s consistent response was from the playbook – most of the local creative players that the Jamaican public is clamoring for are unfit, unprofessional, and lazy. They do not do enough off the ball, and often end up as liabilities rather than assets for the team. The fact of the matter is that with creativity and adventure, comes a higher level of risk of turnovers and defensive lapses, and most coaches are under pressure to get results and keep their jobs, and thus prefer to go for the all-round utility player, who will work their socks off for the team without taking too many risks. Balancing act It is indeed a balancing act between attacking enterprise and conservative pragmatism. General conservatism seems to be winning out, which is effectively marginalising and destroying the players with a creative propensity. Getting lost in this approach is the simple but fundamental fact that a goal saved or denied, is no more valuable than a goal created or scored. Ideally, every coach and every team would love to have the full package in creative players, who also put in the dirty work at both ends of the pitch. The fact is, though, that very few individual players come in that total package. The innate nature of creativity and flair leave these players vulnerable to mistakes. They have thus become a high-risk component and easy scapegoats, a reality that puts creative players under clear and present danger. Ironically and instructively, the man widely regarded as the best football coach in world football today, Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, has built and continues to build his success with teams dominated by armies of creative and attacking players.last_img read more

Calls for boycott of Oscars grow over diversity of nominees

first_img In a Thursday, June 25, 2015 file photo, Jada Pinkett-Smith arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Magic Mike XXL” at the TCL Chinese Theatre. Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Oscars’ second straight year of mostly white nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday, Jan. 17, 2016, that they will not attend this year’s ceremony. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File) FILE – In a Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Spike Lee attends the premiere of “Chi-Raq” at the Ziegfeld Theatre, in New York. Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Oscars’ second straight year of mostly white nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday, Jan. 17, 2016, that they will not attend this year’s ceremony. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File) NEW YORK | Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Oscars’ second straight year of all-white acting nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday that they will not attend this year’s ceremony.In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he “cannot support” the “lily white” Oscars. Noting that he was writing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lee — who in November was given an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards — said he was fed up: “Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all,” he wrote. “We can’t act?!”In a video message on Facebook, Pinkett Smith also said she wouldn’t attend or watch the Oscars in February. Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith wasn’t nominated for his performance in the NFL head trauma drama “Concussion,” said it was time for people of color to disregard the Academy Awards.center_img “Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power,” she said. “And we are a dignified people and we are powerful.”She added: “Let’s let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us differently.” The video had amassed 4.5 million by mid-Monday afternoon.Last year’s all-white acting nominees also drew calls for a boycott, though not from such prominent individuals as Lee and Pinkett Smith. Whether it had any impact or not, the audience for the broadcast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, was down 16 percent from the year prior, a six-year low.This year, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has made a point of presenting a more inclusive show. The Feb. 28 broadcast will be hosted by Chris Rock and produced by “Django Unchained” producer Reginald Hudlin and David Hill. On Saturday, Rock, unveiling a new promotion for the broadcast, called the ceremony “The White BET Awards.”The academy didn’t respond to messages left Monday.When Oscar nominations were announced Thursday, Isaacs acknowledged she was “disappointed” that all 20 acting nominees were again white. Isaacs has worked to diversify membership for the academy, which a 2012 study by the Los Angeles Times found is overwhelming white and male.Many awards handicappers expected nominations for Idris Elba of “Beasts of No Nation” and Benicio Del Toro for “Sicario.” The N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” also failed to earn a best picture nomination, despite some predictions it would. Ryan Coogler’s acclaimed Rocky sequel “Creed” scored only a nomination only for Sylvester Stallone. (Lee’s own movie, the Chicago gang violence hip-hop musical “Chi-Raq” — celebrated by some and scorned by others — also went unnoticed.)The hashtag “OscarsSoWhite,” created last year, was quickly resurrected online following the nominations. Rev. Al Sharpton — who last year met with former Sony head Amy Pascal following leaked emails that some viewed as racist — on Friday lambasted the academy.“Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscar,” said Sharpton.In his post, Lee made it clear the Academy Awards is only part of the problem in an industry with deep-rooted diversity issues. In his Governors Awards speech, Lee said “It’s easier to be the president of the United States as a black person than be the head of a studio.”“The Academy Awards is not where the ‘real’ battle is,” wrote Lee on Tuesday. “It’s in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to ‘turnaround’ or scrap heap. This is what’s important. The gate keepers. Those with ‘the green light’ vote.”Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: read more