Gabon: Concern for the future of iboga, a psychotropic plant

A plant with psychotropic effects used in traditional rites in Gabon, iboga seems to be the victim of its growing popularity abroad and could disappear, worries environmentalists.

Absorbed in powder form Iboga, a shrub endemic to the equatorial forest of Central Africa, gives "visions" and allows one to "connect with one's ancestors", explains the Gabonese healer "Maman Dje Dje". 19659002] In Gabon, it is inseparable from the "bwiti" ceremonies, a traditional rite of initiation, but the plant has been out of its purely traditional use for about fifty years.

Patents have been filed because of medicinal properties of ibogaine, one of the active ingredients of iboga.

Ibogaine "could be used against diseases such as Parkinson's disease, or Alzheimer's," says Natacha Nssi Begone, director of valorization forest products at the Gabonese Ministry of Water and Forests

 A man photographed on February 25, 2018 during a traditional initiation ceremony based on iboga in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

A man photographed on February 25, 2018 during a traditional initiation ceremony based on iboga in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

But above all, this molecule of the alkaloid family has, according to several studies, therapeutic virtues to cure addictions, in particular to opiates whose hard drugs such as heroin.

, iboga has become over the years an attractive plant internationally and Gabon, like the Amazon with ayawaska, welcomes more and more Westerners who have come to "learn".

The plant begins to export and his business has become "ultra lucrative", said Yann Guignon, founder of the NGO "Blessings of the forest" ..

– Commerce forbidden –

 iboga fruits photographed February 17, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

Iboga fruits photographed on February 17, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

However, iboga can not be marketed or promoted in countries such as the United States, France, Belgium and Switzerland, where ibogaine is considered a "staggering".

And the lack of control is a danger because iboga can be mixed with other potentially very harmful substances, warns Mrs Nssi Begone

The illegal but juicy sale of iboga is done a lot via the " dark web ", the part of the Internet not indexed by the main search engines.

Yann Guignon has also identified" iboga specialists "more or less serious who flourish outside Gabon where they briefly came "To learn" before returning home

"Back in their countries, they appropriate some traditional codes and open their business.It takes at least ten years in Gabon to be master initiator. see Western initiating masters in two mo is shocking, "he rebels.

 A woman plays the drum during an initiation ceremony on February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

A woman plays the drum during an initiation ceremony on February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

"There are at least 150 people who say they treat with iboga abroad", according to Mr. Guignon who closely follows the opening of "clinics" specialized in iboga. On average, two health centers open every month in the world, according to him.

A draft decree is under way in Libreville to protect the plant, set the conditions and modalities of its use, but also frame its sale to "develop a Gabonese commercial sector".

Gabon similarly ratified in 2012 the "Nagoya Protocol" which provides for a "sustainable" trade in biodiversity resources.

 A man holds up a torch during a traditional initiation ceremony based on d'iboga, February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP - STEVE JORDAN)

A man holds up a torch during a traditional initiation ceremony based on iboga, February 25, 2018 in Libreville. (AFP – STEVE JORDAN)

In the absence of a precise count, no one can today measure the rarefaction of iboga, which is for the most part gathered without being replanted.

A census mission on the The whole of the Congo Basin is being discussed with the Kew Garden Botanical Garden in London.

Meanwhile, Yann Guignon is touring Gabon and is based on indicators such as the scarcity and degradation of the quality of the plant in the markets, or the "100 percent increase in plant prices in 25 years."

Iboga is fragile, he notes. The plant likes the undergrowth and needs a ferrallitic and clay soil as well as a certain moisture content. Beyond 37/40 degrees and below some hydrometry, iboga dies.

One million seeds saved in a plant Noah ark at Svalbard

In near-polar temperatures, more than 70,000 new samples of rice, wheat, maize, cowpea and sorghum seeds joined on Monday, February 26, 2018, the fortified lair located on this archipelago in the Arctic half path between mainland Norway and the North Pole. With this new arrival, the "Last Judgment Vault" (as it is also nicknamed), buried more than 120 meters inside a mountain, has received in 1,059,646 varieties of cultures preserved in boxes lined up on shelves.

A Reservoir Threatened by Warming

" I am very pleased to announce that more than a million seeds have gone through this door to be permanently safe ", Norway's Minister of Agriculture, Jon Georg Dale, welcomed the solemn deposit. This most diverse collection of seeds in the world is a safety net for the 1,700 or so gene banks around the world that face the risks of natural disasters, wars, climate change, men's diseases and disabilities. [19659004] The warehouse is the property of Norway but the seeds belong to the States and the depositary institutions, which can recover them at their convenience. The World Seed Reserve has so far been solicited by only one institution: the gene bank in the city of Aleppo was damaged by the Syrian conflict, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) requested recover seeds. As a result, the ark currently contains 967,216 seed varieties. It can accommodate about 4.5 million.

Designed to resist disasters, the attic of the planet was itself a victim of global warming: the increase in temperatures in the Arctic led a melting permafrost (soil supposed to be frozen permanently) and caused a water leak at the tunnel entrance in 2016, without any seed being damaged. Oslo announced Friday the release of 100 million crowns (about 10 million euros) in 2018 to carry out work, including the construction of a new access tunnel and the erection of a service building to away from heat sources.

Intrusion at the Cattenom nuclear power plant: Greenpeace judged on Tuesday

Eight activists and two officials of Greenpeace France are summoned Tuesday in the Thionville Criminal Court for an action carried out inside the site of the Cattenom nuclear power plant (Moselle) in October.

Pursued for "intrusion into meeting and with degradation in the enclosure of a civil installation sheltering nuclear materials ", the activists incurs five years of imprisonment and 75.000 euro of fine.

For the first time, the general director of the association, Jean-François Julliard, appears alongside the militants as a representative of Greenpeace France.

"It was necessary (for justice, ed) to have Greenpeace and not just natural persons", regretted with AFP the NGO lawyer Alexandre Faro, who fears "severe punishments and punitive damages"

 Photo of Yannick Rousselet, head of Greenpeace's nuclear campaign France, September 14, 2015 in Cherbourg-Octeville (Manche) (AFP / Archives - CHARLY TRIBALLEAU)

Photo archive of Yannick Rousselet, head of the nuclear campaign of Greenpeace France, September 14, 2015 in Cherbourg-Octeville ( Manche) (AFP / Archives – CHARLY TRIBALLEAU)

The head of the NGO's nuclear campaign, Yannick Rousselet, who had remained behind the gates of the plant on the day of the events, is also being prosecuted, for complicity. He was interviewed about ten days ago, said Mr. Faro.

On October 12, at dawn, eight Greenpeace activists were arrested after entering the plant to warn about the vulnerability of nuclear sites

They had broadcast on Greenpeace's Twitter account a video of a fireworks display they said they had fired near the building housing the fuel pool.

The Moselle prefecture and EDF had argued that the militants had not acceded to the nuclear zone

Contacted by AFP, EDF's lawyer did not wish to speak.

After the intrusion at Cattenom, the deputy director of EDF's nuclear fleet, Olivier Lamarre, called the militants "irresponsible (who) took risks" for "a communication operation".

"They go way too far (…) If they had been ill-intentioned or if there was doubt, things would have happened differently in a different time," he explained, suggesting that intervention Radical police force is provided for in case of serious threat.

According to Mr. Lamarre, Greenpeace "showed nothing, except that the security system worked perfectly."

– Parliamentary Inquiry – [19659002] Two days before the intrusion, the organization published an expert report questioning the resilience of the buildings housing the storage pools.

Being able to hold more fuel than the hearts of the reactors, these pools are not protected by reinforced enclosures, which exposes them more to the risk of external attacks, according to the NGO.

 Photo archive of the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power station (Ardèche) taken on October 10, 2017 (AFP / Archives - PHILIPPE DESMAZES)

Photo of the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power station (Ardèche) taken on October 10, 2017 (AFP / Archives – PHILIPPE DESMAZES)

A month and a half after the intrusion at Cattenom, 22 Greenpeace activists had entered the morning of November 28 in the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power plant (Ardèche).

A group had climbed a building "attached" to one of the reactors to "demonstrate its accessibility", according to the NGO. Four militants hung on a building and lit up smoke, according to videos broadcast by Greenpeace.

The Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) invited EDF and the authorities to learn from this new intrusion

"It is difficult in France to have a debate on security issues, there was no other way than to return to the site," said Mr. Faro.

LREM deputies tabled a resolution on 21 December to set up a commission of inquiry "on the safety and security" of nuclear installations.

"These incursions helped to demonstrate that it was necessary for the national representation to seize issues of nuclear safety and security, "said these deputies, saying that the presence in France of 19 plants" imposes unrelenting vigilance. "

The action of Greenpeace in Cattenom" is not the al pha and omega, but will at least have allowed to generate a parliamentary inquiry and to hold EDF accountable on the issues of security and swimming pools, "said the defense lawyer.

China Withdraws 60,000 Border Soldiers to Plant Trees in the Outback

The Chinese government commissioned 60,000 troops to plant trees. Planting is done in an effort to combat pollution and increase forest coverage in the country.

Quoted from The Independent on Wednesday (14/2/2018), a large regiment of the People's Liberation Army was withdrawn from the border to handle non-military duties in the interior.

The Asia Times reports, the majority of soldiers will be sent to Hebei Province that surrounds Beijing. Hebei is known as the area that often became the 'producer' of smoke that enveloped Beijing.

This action is part of China's authority plan to plant at least 84,000 square kilometers by the end of 2018. The area is roughly equivalent to the size of Ireland.

The China Daily Newspaper says the purpose of this planting is to increase the percentage of China's forest from 21 to 23 percent by 2030. By 2035 it is targeted to cover 26 percent of the country's total area.

"Companies, organizations and people specializing in reforestation are welcome to join in the massive reforestation campaign in the country," said China Forestry Administration Chief Zhang Jianlong.

(rna / ita)

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