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Indigenous peoples key to saving threatened forests

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More than a third of the world’s vanishing pristine forests are managed by indigenous peoples under threat from development and deforestation, scientists said Tuesday, calling for greater protection.

As deadly bushfires ravage Australia’s east coast, a new assessment of how wild forests are maintained showed that indigenous people have tenure over 36 percent of Earth’s remaining intact forest landscapes.

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These are mosaics of forest and adjoining landscapes untouched by human development or habitat loss and form key protection against climate change and biodiversity loss.

Indigenous peoples play a vital role in maintaining ecosystems and use traditional methods to manage forests that have proven to be more effective in many cases than modern conservation techniques.

These peoples are currently under attack in several countries, led by Brazil where President Jair Bolsonaro’s government is taking steps to legalise mining on indigenous lands.

– ‘Important climate protection’ –

An international team of scientists conducted a geospatial analysis of 50 countries where pristine forests remain, overlaid with maps of indigenous people’s lands.

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They found that while untouched forest areas had declined 8.2 percent since 2000 on indigenous land, the number was higher — 10 percent this century — in areas outside their stewardship.

Intact forest landscapes “provide critical environmental services and important climate protection,” said John Fa, from Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Science and the Environment.

Official data released last month by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) showed that the pace of deforestation in the Amazon had more than doubled in a year since Bolsonaro took office.

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Authors of the paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, called on world governments to safeguard indigenous peoples’ rights and include them in the fight against climate change.

Fa said that the severity of fires currently destroying habitats across southeast Australia could be partly attributed to poor planning and resource management by successive governments.

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“Some Indigenous people in Australia are pointing out that the recent fires may not have been so catastrophic had there been what we think was traditional fire management of these forests,” he told AFP.

Climate change doubles the risk of the extreme heat and dryness Australia is currently experiencing, according to one peer-reviewed study from 2016, and extends the annual wildfire period.

Fa said that the government of Australia was “reaping what is sowed not only from resisting climate action internationally or nationally for decades but also from the colonial processes that robbed indigenous people of the land, and robbed the land of indigenous management.”

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Rick Santorum flattened by CNN’s Berman after calling Parnas bombshell revelations ‘extraneous’ to impeachment

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Rick Santorum and CNN's John Berman got into a frantic back-and-forth on Friday morning after the former Republican senator attempted to dismiss the revelations by former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas as something that should not be submitted as evidence in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

Discussing the Senate trial expected to start next week, Santorum said the only testimony and witnesses that should be allowed are ones that came up in the earlier House hearings.

"The House's responsibility to bring to us a case," Santorum stated. "They're the one who is said these are offenses that are worthy of the president being removed from office; here is the record, here are the charges. The Senate didn't impeach, the House did, so we are going to look at the record the House presented us. We're going to look at the witnesses and say are there are questions that we have for the people that brought this case forward and relied on these witnesses and look at their testimony."

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Fox & Friends floats impeachment conspiracy theory about GAO findings of Trump crimes against Ukraine

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"Fox & Friends" assured viewers they could ignore a federal watchdog agency's findings that President Donald Trump broke the law by withholding Ukraine aid.

The nonpartisan the Government Accountability Office found the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law by freezing $400 million in congressionally approved military aid, but the Fox News hosts suggested the agency was only trying to hurt the president.

"Do you think it's just a coincidence that that news would drop exactly the same day the (impeachment) trial started?" said co-host Steve Doocy.

Co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt agreed, and accepted administration denials at face value.

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GOP senators are questioning allegiance to Trump as impeachment becomes a reality: Morning Joe panel

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According to members of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel, Donald Trump may see more defections by previously supportive Republican senators now that the impeachment of the president has become a reality and their conduct will be scrutinized by voters back home.

Speaking with columnist David Ignatius, host Joe Scarborough noted that multiple Republican senators -- including several who are retiring -- are going soft on defending the president and may be inclined to allowing multiple witnesses who could damage the president.

"David Ignatius, you know, we've known Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both of us, for a long time. and as they coming to the end of their careers," Scarborough began. "I would think [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be concerned that these gentlemen would vote their conscience and not just blindly follow Donald Trump and would vote to have a fair, open hearing and trial and get this new evidence that's coming in, that's come in since the House impeached."

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