Rare Kenyan bird in danger

Clarke's weaver, moulting male

Dakatcha Woodland in Kenya, one of only two sites in the world with the globally endangered Clarke’s weaver, could be completely destroyed by a biofuel project of an Italian multinational corporation: here. And here.

The Dakatcha Woodland in Kenya – home to several globally threatened bird species – would have been destroyed if proposals for a plantation of the biofuel crop jatropha were given the green light. However after a long battle the Kenyan government has formally recognised the environmental damage that would be caused by this European project: here.

NatureKenya (BirdLife Partner) is looking for funds to help save the Kinangop grassland. This habitat is vital for the Endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei. It is endemic to Kenya and can only survive in this rapidly diminishing habitat, which is being destroyed to make way for agriculture and urban development: here.

March 2011. The recently completed Ol Pejeta Conservancy annual wildlife aerial census shows a steady increase of wildlife throughout the Conservancy: here.

Scale up work on poverty reduction and biodiversity policy making pays off in Dakatcha woodlands in Kenya: here.

4 thoughts on “Rare Kenyan bird in danger

  1. This Dutch firm is cheating on biofuel (1)

    By Finnigan wa Simbeye, 18th November 2010 @ 16:00,

    IN Kilwa district a Dutch biofuel company requested the district council to acquire 81,000 hectares of land to cultivate jatropha in 2006.It got 34,000ha only which is less than a half of what Bio-Shape Tanzania Limited, a subsidiary of BioShape Holdings BV of the Netherlands, asked for.

    But by 2008, the company only managed to cultivate 400ha of the allocated land on which jatropha was planted but chopped down hardwood over a much bigger area.

    Experts estimate that Bio-Shape might have processed over 10,000 cubic meters of hardwood between 2008/9 before work at its Mavuji plantation was suspended last November due to financial problems blamed on global recession.

    “It looks like the primary objective was logging other than jatropha cultivation,” said Peter Sumbi, Programme Officer with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Dar es Salaam. Environmental experts and conservation activists have all along opposed the project because of the area where it is located.

    To tally with Mr Sumbi and other environmental experts concerns that the company’s fundamental interest was logging other than jatropha for biodiesel cultivation, BioShape shareholders led by Cor Vaes established Kilwa Woodshape Tanzania Limited in December 2007.

    According to records from Business Registration and Licensing Authority, Kilwa Woodshape which was registered on December 19, 2007, the same year that BioShape started work at Mavuji, had timber processing as its pri¬mary activity.

    An area which was once fertile virgin land covered by coastal forests has been turned into an eyesore as young jatropha trees compete with grass and thorn scrubs for sunlight and soil nutrients to survive. In 2007 Kilwa District Council leased this land for 99 years to the com-pany which paid over 405m/- as compensation to villagers in Liwiti, Mavuji, Nainokwe and Migiregire, hoping for the best.

    The Dutch company and its local partners seem to have violated a number of domestic and international regulations in instituting this project, which is on the verge of collapse although its owners argue otherwise.

    Tanzania Investment Centre which was supposed to be the real custodian of BioShape’s acquired land in Kilwa, was sidelined in the process by Ministry for Lands and Human Settlement Development officials. “Some smart guys at the ministry processed the lease agreement without involving my office,” said Emmanuel Ole Naiko, the TIC Executive Director.

    The 1999 Villlage Land Act does not allow large scale commercial investment until it is converted into general land by the president which is then transferred to TIC for allocation to investors. Apart from the flaws, villagers from Liwiti, Mavuji, Nainokwe and Migiregire received only 40 per cent of the compensation sum while the district council pocketed the bulk of the com¬pensation.

    A report commissioned by WWF Tanzania and Swe¬den in 2008 found a number of irregularities in the Bio-Shape project ranging from low compensation of the villagers, faulty Environmental and Social Impact Assess¬ment report, impersonation of experts, violation of National Biofuel Guidelines and European Union Energy Directive regulations.

    BioShape which jointly owned the Kilwa project with Netherland based Eneco Energie BV and Bank Kempen & Co, is targeting to sell biodiesel to the European Union market. The EU adopted a Renewable Energy Directive last year that sets a 10 per cent binding target for use of renewable energy in transport sector by 2020.

    The move has sparked widespread criticism from activists who warned that it would cause food insecurity, land grabbing and environmental degradation by multinationals like BioShape which are partly funded by EU subsidy money.

    In a report christened ‘Meals per Gallon’ published earlier this year, ActionAid International criticized the EU policy and warned that it will lead to competition for agricultural land, spur a sharp rise in food prices and cause widespread environmental degradation.

    “The scale of the current land grab is astonishing. In just five African countries, 1.1 million hectares have been given over to industrial bio-fuels, an area the size of Belgium, EU companies have already acquired or requested at least five million hectares of land for industrial bio-fuels in developing countries an area greater than the size of Denmark,” the ActionAid International report noted.

    The report argues that cropland expansion (17.5 million hectares will be needed in developing countries to meet the EU’s 10 per cent target) will come at the expense of tropical forests and peatlands, worsening climate change.
    “This is exactly what is happening in the country,” said ActionAid International Tanzania Country Director, Aida Kiangi.

    “EU companies are acquiring land in developing countries at an alarming rate in anticipation of dramatically increased EU bio-fuel consumption by 2020 and the generous subsidies available to the bio-fuel industry,” Ms Kiangi argued recently.

    The ActionAid International Tanzania Country Director said contrary to the National Bio-fuels Guidelines which clearly state that cultivation of bio-fuel crops should be done on marginal land, it’s happening on fertile prime land or conservation areas.

    But both Minister for Lands and Human Settlement Development, John Chiligati and European Commission Head of Delegation offices in Dar es Salaam dismissed the ActionAid International report despite realities on the ground.

    Mr Chiligati said there has been no land grabbing in the country because companies have been following regulations as per investment requirements. In a statement to counter ActionAid International’s Meals per Gallon report, the EC Head of Delegation in Dar es Salaam, said: “The directive sets a binding target of 10 per cent for re-newable energy, not bio-fuels. This means that member states can achieve this target by using different forms of renewable energy, including wind and solar energy and others.

    The EC also argued that it has plenty of abandoned land in Eastern Europe which is suitable for bio-fuel crops cultivation and that it has strict regulations against cultivation of such crops on prime agricultural land or conservation area.

    “Bio-fuels imported to the EU (and also those produced in EU) and counting for the 10 per cent objective have to meet certain sustainability criteria: Primary forests, grassland or national parks cannot be converted into land used for bio-fuels.

    Continues on Monday



  2. Pingback: Good African wildlife news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Good Kenyan bird news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Conservation helps against poverty in Kenya | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.