FILE – In this Sept. 23, 2016, file photo, Jason Day hits from the tee on the second hole during the second round of play at the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The world’s No. 1 player hasn’t been seen since he withdrew in the second round of the Tour Championship. He starts out a new year on Maui, and can only hope it’s a healthy one. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)Jason Day kicks off 2017 at the US PGA Tour tournament of champions on Thursday ranked number one in the world, and the Aussie is hoping his painstaking rehab of a back injury keeps him at the top.Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at Kapalua, Hawaii, where the elite tournament tees off on Thursday, Day said he was “cautiously optimistic” he could avoid a repeat of his injury-plagued 2016.ADVERTISEMENT View comments “Seven months, it really is a long time,” he said.Health issues weren’t the only thing that Day felt threw him off track last year, and he said that in 2017 he would stop worrying about being thought a slow player and return to the methodical ways that helped him put together a sparkling run of seven wins in 17 starts.That included three USPGA titles last year — but none after the Players Championship in May.Day admitted that he let concerns about his pace of play pull him out of his normal game plan.“I wasn’t as deliberate going into a golf shot. Gathering the information, I wasn’t as deliberate,” he said. “Obviously, everyone wants to speed up the game. Obviously, that’s a big subject in golf, to speed up the game.ADVERTISEMENT We are young MOST READ Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports EDITORS’ PICK Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia PLAY LIST 00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia03:08Total evacuation in full swing in Taal00:50Trending Articles01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Senators to proceed with review of VFA Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Nadal storms into Brisbane second round Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes “You don’t want to be classed as a slower guy, but thinking about it now, when I was playing and competing really well I forgot about that stuff,” he said.“I just have to make sure I am deliberate but still respect other players.”While the USPGA Tour’s 2016-17 season officially got under way in October, this week’s event marks a return to action for many top golfers.Jordan Spieth was coming off a stellar 2015 that lifted him to number one in the world when he won the trophy last year. The 23-year-old Texan returns this year ranked fifth in the world.World number three Dustin Johnson, who won the US Open on his way to USPGA Player of the Year honors, is a strong contender, having lifted the trophy at Kapalua in 2013.And sixth-ranked Japanese Hideki Matsuyama arrives in Hawaii on a hot streak that includes four victories in late 2016, including the Japan Open and World Golf Championships HSBC Champions in China in October, the Taiheiyo Masters in November and the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge in the first week of December.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ginebra teammates show love for Slaughter “I’m just trying to get stuck back into the process, trying to get better,” said Day, who said he spent the three months since back pain forced him out of the Tour Championship in September working to recover.“I feel better about my body, feel better about my game, feel better about my swing,” Day said. “I feel better mentally than I did the second half of last year, so I’m hoping for very good things this year.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad AliSPORTSWe are youngDay said he has worked on shortening his backswing in a bid to alleviate pressure on his back.He hopes the new approach will see him end a seven-month title drought. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town
Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Mike Gaworecki Birds, Commentary, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, Grasslands, Researcher Perspective Series, Wildlife Conservation Across India, grasslands are highly degraded and mismanaged ecosystems. Often considered wastelands, they face the constant threats of being turned into tree plantations by the Forest Department, devoured by urban expansion and industrial development, or converted for cultivation of agricultural crops.At the root of these practices are pre-independence colonial policies. Such policies have continued in post-independence times, severely impacting the habitat and consequently populations of birds like the lesser florican and the great Indian bustard.Phasepardi people face a fate similar to their habitat, the grasslands, and their co-inhabitants, the grassland birds. Together with Phasepardhi youth, non-profit organization Samvedana has initiated a process towards conservation of the lesser florican, re-generation of degraded grasslands, and strengthening livelihoods and dignity for the Phasepardhis.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Himmatrao Kanjra Pawar stood in the grassland and whistled different bird calls, starting with a female rain quail. Soon, we saw a male running towards Himmatrao.“How many bird calls can you make?”Himmatrao’s smile was answer enough to tell us that he could convincingly imitate numerous species. Then, looking toward the horizon and the setting sun, he said: “Kaustubh, take out your binoculars.”We looked in the direction that he was pointing and could see nothing, eyes blinded by the sun.“Yes… Yes, I think that is it!” said Kaustubh, looking through his binoculars.A rush of excitement went through our veins. We were visiting parts of Washim and Akola districts in Maharashtra to witness the much-celebrated mating display of the male lesser florican — a threatened grassland bird inhabiting a mosaic ecosystem of grasslands, farms, and scrub forests. We had heard of the rare sighting of the florican here in 1998 by India’s Forest Department with the help of the Phasepardhis. We had also heard about the role that the nomadic hunting community and their traditional knowledge had played in protecting and monitoring the bird together with Kaustubh Pandharipande. We were here to understand this relationship between the florican, the grasslands, and the Phasepardhis.Kaustubh Pandharipande, a Nagpur-based birdwatcher and conservationist, came to Washim in 1997, while working on a project to determine the status of the lesser florican in Vidarbha. Kaustubh and his team had found British records mentioning the abundance of the lesser florican and the great Indian bustard in this area and acknowledging Phasepardhis’ help in spotting these birds. This led Kaustubh to Himmatrao of Masa village in Akola. Through Himmatrao, Kaustubh was introduced to other members of the community. These interactions helped the young conservationist understand the deeply interlinked relationship between the social, political, and cultural issues of the Phasepardhis, the florican, and their habitat.Together with Phasepardhi youth, Kaustubh started a non-profit organization — Samvedana — and initiated a process towards conservation of the lesser florican, re-generation of degraded grasslands, and strengthening livelihoods and dignity for the Phasepardhis.Youth group of Wadala village with their harvest fodder from the conserved area. Photo Credit: Kuldip Rathod/Samvedana.Grasslands, an exploited ecosystemAcross India, grasslands are highly degraded and mismanaged ecosystems. Often considered to be wastelands, they face the constant threats of being turned into tree plantations by the Forest Department, devoured by urban expansion and industrial development, or converted for cultivation of agricultural crops. A similar fate has befallen dry land agriculture because of misjudged interventions like promoting chemically intensive farming practices and mono-cropping instead of the diverse and locally suited, traditionally grown dry land crops. Lack of meaningful support for farmers has led to distress land sales or shift to commercial crops like Bt cotton and soy beans.At the root of these practices are pre-independence colonial policies. The black soil of Western Vidharba was important for the British for growing cotton to be sent to Manchester’s cotton mills. Large swaths of pastureland were converted into cotton fields, which resulted in the destruction of livelihoods based on the interdependence of dry land agriculture, livestock, and grasslands. Such policies have continued in post-independence times, severely impacting the habitat and consequently populations of birds like the lesser florican and the great Indian bustard.Phasepardis, a socially, economically and politically marginalized peoplePhasepardi people face a fate similar to their habitat, the grasslands, and their co-inhabitants, the grassland birds. They have faced a long history of social discrimination, with the British labeling them a “criminal tribe.” Post-independence this designation was rescinded, but, as Kuldeep Rathod of Wadala village in Akola said, “That hasn’t changed the public perception.”Phasepardhi tribe member with his trained cow, which is used to hunt. Photo Credit: Kaustubh Pandharipande/Samvedana.A number of other factors have contributed to the continued marginalization of the Phaseardhis: the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which banned hunting without a license; their nomadic lifestyles, which are not recognized as a means of livelihood in government policies and practice; their lack of accumulated wealth, owing to their traditional way of being; and their lack of access or ownership rights over their lands and surrounding forests and grasslands. Due to the discrimination and criminalization they face because of social stigmas associated with nomadism and hunting, and the fact that they continue to “illegally” pursue the only means of living that they have ever known, bird hunting, the Phasepardhis spend much of their time escaping Forest Department authorities and the police.“Our work with Samvedana began with the need to change the narrative around us and gain social dignity,” said Kuldeep. “There have been so many misconceptions about us and our hunting practices. Being traditional hunters is not equivalent to being criminals! Unlike hunting in general, we have elaborate system of rules and taboos to be followed while hunting and Phasepardhis in our area still follow these systems and taboos.”Co-generation of knowledge towards a holistic transformationAs Kaustubh’s friendship with the Phasepardhis deepened, they collectively undertook a number of exploratory studies towards co-generation of knowledge between 2001 and 2005. The first among these was the preparation of a People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR). This included biodiversity surveys and documentation of local knowledge systems. The project provided a minor honorarium for some youth, which made it possible for them to participate. The research methodology included regular and intense discussions within the team based on the survey results — which they call the abhyas gats (study circles).The first of these discussions was about Phasepardhis’ relationship with the most hunted species of birds, those birds’ current population dynamics, and likely future scenarios. This was an important discussion, as it helped the youth to understand the sustainability of hunting-based livelihoods. Data and discussions revealed that bird populations were indeed dwindling, making the future of hunting for a living bleak. Reasons for this decline were largely external and beyond their control. The youth began to explore possibilities of diversifying livelihoods for themselves and future generations, while also attempting to restore the bird population. Over a period of time, these discussion also helped the youth understand and articulate their own local traditions and knowledge systems, including traditional systems of monitoring bird populations.Exposure visit of Forest Department staff during a regional workshop to Wadala community conserved grassland. Photo Credit: Sahebrao Rathod/Samvedana.The next discussion was aimed at understanding reasons for social discrimination against the Phasepardhis and weaknesses within their community. Initially, the Phasepardhis involved in the discussions identified lack of political representation as a reason for their weak economic and social status. Subsequent discussions concluded that politicians don’t work for people’s benefit and that effective community leadership and the role of women and youth in decision-making are important for self-empowerment.Phasepardhis have a traditional institution called the jati panchayat for conflict resolution. Jati panchayats rarely discuss issues of governance, natural resources, employment, or social discrimination. Constituted of a handful of village elders, there was no involvement of women and youth in their decisions. Over the years, leadership positions had become hereditary and leaders were often drunk, corrupt, and uninspiring. Women faced severe oppression and discrimination. Youth felt the need for a new social structure, keeping in mind the qualities which were traditionally considered important for community leadership: Being just and fair, being wise, being non-corruptible, being generous, and working for the benefit of othersBeginnings of transformationThese studies and discussions led to four important ongoing processes:Community monitoring and protection of the lesser floricanIn response to the severely declining populations of grassland birds and dwindling grasslands, youth from 13 Phasepardhi villages formed a network that was kept informed about all florican sightings. Floricans are difficult to sight except during male mating displays, which occur at the same site year after year. These sites are identified, mapped, protected, and monitored by the youth and Samvedana.Endangered Lesser florican sighted in Vidarbha grasslands. Photo Credit: Kaustubh Pandharipande/Samvedana.“Considering that 60% of the florican habitat is private farmlands owned by non-Pardhis it becomes difficult to ensure long-term security for this land, but we try,” said Kaustubh. Some Phasepardhi villages, like Wadala, have decided to stop hunting threatened birds completely.Community grassland restoration initiativesKanshiwani, Parabhavani, Pimpalgaon, and Wadala villages have also started regenerating and restoring their grassland and forest land. Of the 273 hectares (about 675 acres) of forest in Wadala, 100 hectares is completely protected and the rest is used for subsistence needs. The village has a number of rules and regulations for protection of this forest, such as employing a community livestock-herder to ensure that livestock do not stray into the protected zone, fines for violations, and preventing outsiders from stealing resources. Since this land legally belongs to the Forest Department, the Phasepardhis supported the village initiative under their Joint Forest Management (JFM) scheme. “It was possibly the first time in Maharashtra that a mutually respectful collaboration between the Forest Department and Phasepardhis was initiated,” said Kaustubh.This restoration initiative has resulted in increased grass cover, reduced soil degradation, and increased availability of firewood, wild fruits, and medicinal plants, as well as a significant increase in the availability of diverse and endemic species of fodder. “The Wadala grassland is currently protecting over 47 different varieties of grass, many of which are rare elsewhere and are important for grassland birds including the floricans,” said Kuldeep.Wadala youths and kids preparing herbarium for grass identification. Photo Credit: Kuldip Rathod/Samvedana.School and tribe kids learning to do grass production mapping during an environmental education workshop. Photo Credit: Sahebrao Rathod/Samvedana.With help from the Pani Foundation, soil and moisture conservation activities have also been taken up. Village children have started a nursery of around 20,000 plants of different wild fruits, endemic fodder species, and local medicinal plants. “We read in the newspapers that 13 crores [about $145 million] have been spent in Akola district for plantation activities by the Forest Department. Our plantations are carried out voluntarily without any financial support, yet they are more diverse and successful,” Kuldeep said as he walked us through the regenerating grassland. “Even though we are protecting and regenerating these grasslands, we don’t have any legal rights over them, making our future insecure. We will be filing a claim under the Forest Rights Act of 2006 soon,” he added.Towards socio-economic change“Hunting means social stigma, fear of being caught by the Forest Department or police, we do not want our children to continue hunting,” said Smita (name changed), who we met in the grassland. As an alternative, some have taken to nomadic trade (selling cheap plastic wares during the village markets), some go to cotton fields for picking cotton, some rear livestock, and others farm their small land holdings. “Farming is the least lucrative of all of these, small farmers don’t even recover the cost of labor,” explains Kuldeep. Cotton picking and nomadic trade do earn well, but not everyone has the skills for that.Samvedana and the youth have taken a few steps to supplement livelihoods, particularly for women and youth. Around 18 self-help groups have been formed that provide financial support for activities such as goat and chicken rearing, dairy, and fodder regeneration. Wadala village has supplemented its annual collective income by 200,000 rupees from the sale of regenerated grass and increased milk production.Towards Socio-political changeThrough the discussions within Samvedana, the youth realized that social change is not possible without changing decision-making institutions. Phasepardhis don’t have a traditional village assembly (or a gram sabha), and jati panchayats, as mentioned above, were increasingly corrupt and dysfunctional. The youth from the 13 villages decided to create a conflict resolution institution called tanda panchayat in their hamlet, the general body of which would include all adult members, including women and youth. Each tanda panchayat elects an 11-member executive committee, of which 50 percent are women. These members can be changed any time by the general body if their work is not satisfactory. The rules of the tanda panchayat are a mix of traditional and modern democratic values: “The tradition of oral rules continues, but compulsory participation of women and youth is new,” said Kuldeep.Tanda Panchayat meeting at Wadala. Photo Credit: Sahebrao Rathod/Samvedana.In 2000, youth from Titwa, Masa, Wadala, and Kanadi formed youth groups in their villages. These youth groups have since played a significant role in the studies, discussions, and activities mentioned above. Along with documenting their cultural practices, songs, and stories, they have also played a critical role in empowering the tanda panchayats and youth leadership, as well as addressing domestic violence and discrimination against women. This group is now attempting to connect with the youth from all other 68 Phasepardhi villages in the Vidharba region in order to work together towards mutual learning and empowerment.The efforts of Samvedana and Pardhi youth are slowly gaining recognition. In 2012, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Bombay Natural History Society recognized Phardi’s traditional knowledge and asked them and Samvedana to prepare a State Action Plan for Bustards’ Recovery Programme, which was submitted in 2014. At the 2012 conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, Wadala village was awarded a prize by the then-environment minister.For the Phasepardhis and the grassland birds, however, the struggle continues. “Grasslands everywhere are being built over, can these buildings feed us, sustain us? I wonder!” said Himmat when we asked him how he sees the future of grasslands and florican conservation. We do hope that the Pardhis are successful in claiming Community Forest Resource Rights under the Forest Rights Act over the forests and grasslands that they have traditionally used, some of which they now protect and restore, to ensure their long-term survival and that of the lesser florican.A male lesser florican in Rajasthan, India. Photo Credit: Angad Achappa, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.Neema Pathak Broome and Shrishtee Bajpai are members of Kalpavriksh, Pune, India.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.