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Sanguila also stresses the importance of conserving what is left of Mindanao’s forests, especially now that we know what a special place it is. Although much of the original forest cover in the lowlands have been lost, she believes it is critical to establish new protected areas to halt the environmentally destructive harvest of natural resources, to promote societal environmental awareness, and to allow habitats to regenerate over several decades.
Siler hopes this paper is only the beginning of a bright future for biodiversity research in the area. He plans to continue working with the University of Kansas, graduate students from the program – many of whom have started their own programs in the United States – as well as their Philippine collaborators.
|Myanmar Army: The national armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw.|
|Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA): A multilateral agreement that calls for political dialogue between the Myanmar army and the country’s ethnic armed organizations. Signed on Oct. 15, 2015 by the Tatmadaw and eight armed groups.|
|Border Guard Forces (BGFs): Created by the Tatmadaw in 2009 and 2010. They were formed by integrating Tatmadaw soldiers with those from units originally with either ethnic armed organizations or militia groups. The BGFs have served as proxy forces for the Tatmadaw to exercise influence in areas not under their direct control.|
|Karen National Union (KNU): Formed in the late 1947, the KNU is Myanmar’s oldest ethnic armed opposition group. The KNU initially called for independence, but since 1976 has instead been seeking a federal system. Signed a bilateral ceasefire with the government in 2012 and is part of the NCA.
|Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA): Formal armed wing of the KNU. It was founded in 1949.
“When you do survey work on Mindanao, two main issues need to be addressed; security-related and local (within site) politics,” Sanguila said. Culturally, Mindanao is incredibly complex and diverse. The island is home to some two dozen ethnolinguistic groups speaking roughly 70 languages, who often have conflicting interests over how to use the island’s rich agricultural and natural resources. Proper precautions had to be taken before researchers could go into the field, including meeting with local authorities, tribal leaders, hunters, police and military for advice.
All that hard work is now paying off. “Having [Sanguila] down there and being one of the more active biodiversity researchers in the southern Philippines is a fantastic position to develop new conservation initiatives and awareness about biodiversity,” Siler said. In 2013, Sanguila came to the University of Oklahoma on a Fulbright scholarship to study genetic sampling techniques as well as the ins and outs of building and caring for a natural history collection. It was there, in collaboration with Siler, that the ambitious project to survey the reptiles and amphibians of Mindanao was born.
Another major goal of the research was to update outdated IUCN conservation status assessments by sorting out unresolved taxonomic questions. That work, the researchers say, has just begun. Many more long-term species surveys are needed to truly understand the diversity and conservation status of the reptiles and amphibians of Mindanao. That will require using modern genetic sampling techniques as well as input from more traditional taxonomists who perform the detailed work of teasing apart species relationships. According to Sanguila, 20 percent of the species recorded require “immediate systematic revisions” before informed decisions can be made regarding their conservation status.
- Whitetip sharks declared critically endangered, but gain no protections in PacificPosted by Rebecca Kessler on December 13, 2019 at 2:13 pm
This week, the oceanic whitetip shark was reclassified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), citing “steep population declines” in all oceans. That represents two big steps toward extinction from the shark’s previous classification as “vulnerable,” which it had held since 2006. However, that wasn’t enough to convince countries that […]
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A company attending the COP25 climate summit says its dam will reduce Indonesia’s carbon emissions, but current science says tropical dams are greenhouse gas emitters. […]
- Encoded in the genes: Scientists devise a ‘lifespan clock’ for vertebratesPosted by malavikavyawahare on December 12, 2019 at 11:10 am
There’s some uncertainty about his exact age at death, but it’s now been confirmed that “Nandy,” who suffered a crushing blow to his head as a youth, lived to a ripe old age: somewhere between 35 and 45 years old. A Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) like Nandy, new research shows, could only hope to last 37.8 […]
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- Conservation biologist and wildtech journalist Sue Palminteri, 1965-2019Posted by Rhett Butler on December 11, 2019 at 5:54 pm
Whether it was radio-collaring elephants across the savannas of South Africa, competing internationally alongside the Israeli national team in tennis, tracking saki monkeys through the rainforest in the sweltering mid-day heat of the Peruvian Amazon, or evaluating the practicalities of implementing technological solutions to conservation challenges, Sue Palminteri fully embraced all she pursued with rare […]
- Vanishing sea ice in the Arctic could shake up seabird migrationsPosted by John Cannon on December 11, 2019 at 10:30 am
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- Our fires weren’t as bad as in the Amazon, Indonesian officials claimPosted by Hans Nicholas Jong on December 11, 2019 at 8:12 am
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- The Sri Lankan legume: Extinct, rediscovered, and now at risk again (commentary)Posted by dilrukshi on December 11, 2019 at 1:00 am
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- Amazon deforestation paces ahead of recent historical normPosted by Rhett Butler on December 10, 2019 at 11:39 pm
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is continuing to pace ahead of recent historical norms despite global outcry over ongoing destruction of Earth’s largest rainforest, reveals data released by Brazil’s national space research agency INPE. INPE’s satellite-based short-term deforestation detection system has recorded 8,683 square kilometers of forest clearing since January 1, the highest on record […]
- It’s time for Climate Bonds Initiative to scrap its hydro certification scheme (commentary)Posted by Mike Gaworecki on December 10, 2019 at 2:43 pm
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- Orca grandmothers help improve survival odds of their grandkids, study findsPosted by Shreya Dasgupta on December 10, 2019 at 11:20 am
Most animals die after they’re done reproducing. But a handful of species, including humans and some whales, go through menopause, continuing to live long past their reproductive period. Female orcas, for instance, stop reproducing in their late 30s and early 40s, but can live for decades. In humans, one popular idea suggests that grandmothers who […]
- COP25: Laura Vargas inspires with power of faith in defense of forestsPosted by Glenn Scherer on December 10, 2019 at 10:41 am
Even as delegates to COP25, the Madrid climate summit, sidestep the environmental and human rights goals of the Paris Agreement, a godly 71-year-old woman steps up. […]
- Indonesia to capture 3 wild Sumatran rhinos to add to breeding populationPosted by Basten Gokkon on December 10, 2019 at 9:55 am
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- Revealed: Government officials say permits for mega-plantation in Papua were falsifiedPosted by mongabayauthor on December 10, 2019 at 8:00 am
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