RSPO fails to deliver on environmental and social sustainability, study finds

first_imgArticle published by Hans Nicholas Jong Conservation, Deforestation, Palm Oil, Plantations, Protected Areas, Rainforest Conservation, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is widely considered the strongest certification scheme for the commodity, which is grown largely on plantations hacked out of tropical forests that are home to critically endangered species such as orangutans.A new study has found that RSPO-certified plantations perform no better than non-RSPO estates on a series of sustainability metrics, including species and habitat conservation, as well as social benefits to local communities.The researchers attributed the scheme’s shortcomings to a lack of clarity on its central objectives, as well as weak environmental safeguards.For its part, the RSPO has disputed the study’s findings, citing other reports that it says highlight a net positive impact to the environment and communities from certification. JAKARTA — Oil palm plantations that adhere to the world’s leading certification scheme for the crop show no difference in environmental, social and economic sustainability than non-certified estates, a new study has found.The study — carried out by researchers from the University of Queensland and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), both in Australia, and Borneo Futures — is one of the first to assess how effective the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is in achieving its sustainability goals by comparing certified and non-certified concessions.To do that, they created the most comprehensive map and dataset yet of RSPO-certified sites in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. They then used the map and dataset to assess how effectively these plantations delivered on six of the eight central pillars of the RSPO’s principles and criteria: conservation of biodiversity, responsible development of new plantings, responsible consideration of communities, consideration of social impacts, economic viability, and commitment to best practice.Not very well, as it turned out. “No significant difference was found between certified and non-certified plantations for any of the sustainability metrics investigated,” the researchers wrote. In fact, the only area where RSPO certification made a positive impact was in higher yields and share prices for certified companies.“[O]ur results suggest that low confidence in the [RSPO’s] mechanisms for improving overall industry sustainability appears warranted in all but very narrow and economically-oriented interpretations of sustainability,” the researchers concluded.Global demand for products like palm oil is responsible for depleting tropical forest cover, with often grave health consequences for local communities. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Benchmarking the benchmarkThe study’s findings are notable, given that the RSPO is widely regarded as having the strongest set of requirements among existing certification schemes for edible oils and biofuels.The standard was established in 2004 in response to a growing recognition that the expansion of oil palm plantations was fueling rainforest destruction and land grabs in countries like Indonesia, where legal protections for the environment and indigenous communities were seen as weak, and enforcement of the law even weaker.Since then, the RSPO has grown to become the leading certification scheme for palm oil, with 26,500 square kilometers (10,200 square miles) of plantations and 11.65 million tons of palm oil — representing a fifth of the global production of the commodity — falling under its scope.Before this recent study, however, few investigations had been undertaken to evaluate the RSPO’s effectiveness in achieving sustainability aims, leaving decision-makers without the evidence-based answers to whether investment in RSPO is an effective means of obtaining outcomes better than business as usual.A baby orangutan in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Along with habitat loss due to mining, orangutans in both Sumatra and Borneo are threatened by fires and deforestation for oil palm and pulp plantations. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.‘No evidence’ of orangutan protectionOne of the key sustainability measures where the study found the RSPO lacking was in helping conserve biodiversity, for which the researchers looked at the fate of the critically endangered Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).The survival of the species depends on whether it has enough viable habitat to survive. In Indonesian Borneo, where palm plantations are taking over the rainforests that constitute the orangutans’ habitat, their prospects look dim. Coupled with this loss of habitat is the routine killing of the great apes, which are viewed by plantation workers as vermin.The study found there was no evidence that RSPO-certified plantations provided better protection for orangutans. Their populations declined in both certified and non-certified concessions between 2009 and 2014, according to CEED researcher Courtney Morgans, the lead author of the study.“Despite aims to manage plantations in a way that ‘maintains and/or enhances’ high conservation value species, our study found little evidence that RSPO plantations are improving protection of the critically endangered orangutan,” Morgans, who is also affiliated with the University of Queensland, told Mongabay in an email.The study also found that RSPO plantations usually feature extensively deforested areas, leaving little viable habitat for the orangutan. Under RSPO regulations, new plantations cannot be developed from primary forest as of November 2005. Companies gunning for certification prior to that deadline would therefore have razed much of the forested parts of their concessions in order to maximize their available land.By contrast, many non-certified plantations still contain forest patches and viable orangutan habitat, since no clearing deadlines exist for them.In all, the researchers wrote, “No evidence was found to suggest that RSPO certified plantations were able to retain populations of orangutan better than non-certified concessions.”An oil palm plantation in Indonesia burns. Photo by Rhett A. Butler‘Only small benefits’Another environmental indicator that the researchers looked at was fire incidence. Again, the findings showed little benefit from RSPO certification.“The number of fire hotspots detected within palm oil concessions increased equally in both RSPO and non-RSPO concessions between 1999-2004 and 2011-2015 with no significant difference in the number of fire hotspots in certified and non-certified concessions,” the researchers wrote.The study also found that the RSPO failed to deliver on social impacts. “There also isn’t a clear signal that RSPO is improving levels of wealth or improving access to health infrastructure for villagers neighbouring the plantations,” Morgans said. “The only small benefits we could detect were marginally higher yields and share values for certified companies.”The study suggests that RSPO certification has failed to prevent deforestation and biodiversity loss because participants have differing interpretations of its primary objective, which is to “promote sustainable palm oil.” As a result, different RSPO stakeholder groups prioritize certain criteria over others.The RSPO’s own principles and criteria — the eight central pillars — also leave much of the scheme open to interpretation through vague wording such as “maintain populations” and “promote positive impacts,” Morgans said.She suggested that these terms be replaced with something more definitive that can be quantified.“The immediate adoption of specific and measurable targets will improve RSPO’s effectiveness,” she said.Another factor is that the RSPO’s environmental safeguards may simply not be strong enough, according to a recent report by the Changing Market Foundation. The report notes that the certification scheme still allows the conversion of secondary forests and the draining of peatlands, and does not require reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.“As this report exposes, RSPO has been at best a distraction and at worst a hindrance to efforts to improve the sustainability of palm oil,” Deborah Lapidus, campaign director for the environmental advocacy group Mighty Earth, wrote on the group’s Facebook page.Morgans said the RSPO’s failings could also be blamed on its focus on improving the sustainability of the palm oil industry at the plantation level, rather than addressing sustainability issues at a larger level. This, she said, limits its ability to deliver broad benefits.For example, the requirement to “maintain and enhance” high conservation value species ignores the biology and behavior of many species the scheme is trying to protect, such as the orangutan.“The Bornean Orangutan requires a large home range due to seasonal food availability,” Morgans said. “Effective conservation of the species, therefore, requires the conservation of large and connected forest patches, which can only be achieved with landscape level coordination.”Similarly, the aims of contributing to local sustainable development and improving the social impacts of plantation and mill operations require coordination between multiple stakeholders. As such, the study argues, the delivery of social benefits and infrastructure should be developed and implemented at a higher level rather than simply a per-concession basis.To address this weakness, the study’s authors called on the RSPO to adopt jurisdictional approaches aimed at certifying entire administration units rather than individual plantations.An oil-palm plantation with a few remaining rainforest trees in Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.RSPO respondsThe RSPO, for its part, has called into question the validity of the new findings.Stefano Savi, the RSPO’s global outreach and engagement manager, said there was ample evidence in recently published independent studies showing that RSPO-certified concessions had both reduced deforestation rates as well as the number of hotspots.One study he cited, coordinated by Borneo Futures in 2017, measured deforestation and orangutan population in 2,717 oil palm estates and concessions throughout Borneo. That study showed that RSPO-certified concessions lost 9 percent of intact and logged forest per total concession area, against 17.2 percent for non-RSPO concessions between 2000 and 2015. The authors of that study also reported that annual forest loss rates in certified concessions declined consistently after 2005, while those on non-RSPO concessions stayed consistently higher.The 2017 study also found that the rate of orangutan population decline was lower, in absolute terms, for RSPO-certified concessions as compared to non-RSPO concessions.“Overall, the data obtained from the study suggested that RSPO-certified concessions are better at working towards the protection of orangutans, as compared to non-certified concessions,” Savi told Mongabay in an email.Savi also questioned the accuracy of the modeling used by Morgans to determine the orangutan population, saying that by relying on nest counts, it might have failed to account for transient orangutans.Morgans, who was also involved in the 2017 study, noted that while RSPO-certified concessions had lost fewer orangutans than non-RSPO estates overall, the relative rate of loss was almost the same — 2.2 percent to 2.1 percent, respectively.Savi also cited another study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that RSPO certification reduced deforestation in Indonesian oil palm plantations by 33 percent from the business-as-usual scenario between 2001 and 2015.But that reduced deforestation mostly happened in older plantations, where much of the forest had already been cleared prior to, leaving little to deforest. As a result, the actual area of avoided deforestation was small: just 21 square kilometers (8.1 square miles).Savi said it was also not clear whether Morgans’s study had taken into account non-certified concessions that had been gazetted for oil palm plantation but were currently inactive.“Should there be such cases, it should be clearly indicated as it would not be accurate to compare active RSPO-certified areas to inactive non-certified areas,” he said.Oil palm nursery and processing facility in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Improving the schemeSavi said the RSPO management recognized there were still many areas for improvements. He said it had already commissioned studies to determine the actual performance of the certification scheme against its stated standards. Those studies indicated either a net positive impact or little negative impact for RSPO-certified sites, he said.“As part of our effort to address this issue, we have been working to strengthen our standards through a revision of the RSPO Principles & Criteria, which began last year and is currently underway,” Savi said. The RSPO’s principles and criteria are revised every five years.Savi said the RSPO would also be looking to conduct more research on the performance and impact of its strategies and interventions to identify potential gaps and help improve its standards.“Towards this end, we have published a Research Agenda, which details our priority research questions, on our website and have put aside budget to commission our own impact evaluation studies,” he said.Morgans welcomed the move. She said that despite its shortcomings, the RSPO was still an important mechanism for improving the sustainability of the palm oil industry.“Dismissing the scheme altogether does risk the advances made so far,” she said. “Instead, effort should be placed on evaluating the scheme, offering constructive criticism, and supporting stakeholders with the development, implementation and adaptive improvement of sustainable practices.”A previous version of this story incorrectly described the study as the first one to assess RSPO effectiveness by comparing certified and non-certified concessions.Banner image: Orangutans in Borneo have been seriously threatened by the oil palm industry. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.center_img 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 overSponsoredlast_img read more

Mapungubwe National Park

first_img23 December 2004Following months of preparations and construction, South African National Parks (SANParks) officially opened South Africa’s newest park to the public on Heritage Day, 24 September 2004.Previously known as Vhembe Dongola National Park, Mapungubwe National Park is situated in Musina, north-east of Polokwane, the capital of Limpopo. It is found at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers.The new park comprises the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site in an area covering well over 28 000 hectares. Tourist offerings at the park The park forms part of an ambitious project to develop a major transfrontier conservation area, the Limpopo/Shashe Transfrontier Park, which will cross the borders of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, linking the Mapungubwe National Park with Botswana’s Tuli Block and Zimbabwe’s Tuli Safari area.Blown away by MapungubweLucille Davie pays a visit to the “place of the stone of wisdom”, home to South Africa’s first kingdom – and finds herself unprepared for its historical potency and natural beauty.Speaking at Tourism Indaba 2004 in Durban in May, SANParks chief executive David Mabunda said the decision to develop Mapungubwe National Park was based on the rich biodiversity, scenic beauty and immense cultural and historical significance of the area.The archaeological treasures discovered at Mapungubwe “rank among the most important pieces of ancient art yet found in sub-Saharan Africa”, Mabunda said. “They also document the rise of the Zimbabwe culture.”Until its demise at the end of the 13th century AD, Mapungubwe – “place of the stone of wisdom” – was the most important inland settlement in the sub-continent, extending over an area of about 30 000 square kilometres on either side of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers.Declared a National Heritage Site in 2001, Mapungubwe was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2003, bringing to five the number of South African sites that have been awarded World Heritage status.SA’s World Heritage sites: see box down right.The findings of gold artefacts, beads, burial grounds and other remains indicate that Mapungubwe was one of the major centres of this culture, and bear testimony to the way of life of African people more than 1 000 years ago.The whole area around Mapungubwe National Park boasts a substantial amount of San Rock Art sites dating from 15 000 years back.“Together with its surrounding areas, Mapungubwe National Park has a potential to be a sanctuary for viable populations of some of the most threatened large mammals on earth, such as the black and white rhinoceros, wild dog, and the continent’s flagship species, the African elephant”, Mabunda said.SANParks believes the development of the park, due to its positioning on the international border of Botswana, South African and Zimbabwe, will also serve as a southern African growth point for tourism and conservation.Tourist offerings the parkMajor infrastructure development in the area in the last couple of months, with substantial funding from the department of environmental affairs and tourism, saw the establishment of a new road network allowing sedan vehicle access to all the sites mentioned below, the Leokwe Rest Camp, the Limpopo Forest Tented Camp, and the Vhembe Trails Camp.The entrance to Mapungubwe National Park is situated on the Musina-Pondrift Road. The park’s tourist facilities include:Leokwe Rest Camp. The park’s main rest camp is situated in a valley flanked by sandstone ridges. The camp’s theme is based on the rich history of the area, with the design derived from the typical Venda village. Facilities on offer include:A reception complex with swimming pool, kitchen and small convenience store.Fourteen two-bed cottages with open-plan kitchens.Two four-bed family cottages with open-plan kitchens.Two two-bed cottages with shower and toilet for physically disabled persons.Limpopo Forest Tented Camp. Situated within the riverine forest of the Limpopo River, this tented camp offers spacious rooms and outdoor areas catering for 16 people, with eight two-bed self-catering units. It also boasts seven semi-luxury forest tents each with a two-bed bedroom, kitchen, shower and toilet. Physically disabled people are catered for with one semi-luxury forest tent with two bed-bedroom, kitchen, shower and toilet.Tshugulu Lodge. This luxury lodge sleeps 14, with six bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a swimming pool and an exclusive eco-trail.Vhembe Trails Camp. Based on the successful wilderness trails offered in the Kruger National Park, the Vhembe Trails Camp is situated on the perimeter of the Mapungubwe Valley. Trailists will be able to explore the rich archaeology of the area on foot with a guide, and will visit the famous Mapungubwe mountain where the golden rhinoceros was found. Visitors will be based at the camp for the duration of the three-day trail. The camp can accommodate eight people – two people per unit, each with its own ablutions.Viewpoint, tree-top walks, bird hide. In addition to the above, the park boasts a viewpoint offering breathtaking views of the Limpopo-Shashe Rivers confluence, tree-top walks allowing access to the Limpopo River, and a bird hide at Manoutswa pan.Museum & interpretation centre. The archaeological site at Mapungubwe Mountain will soon have a museum detailing the rich culture of the people who once lived in a major African trading post pre-dating Great Zimbabwe. The museum will display artefacts showing how African people lived more than 1 000 years ago, and will form part of a cultural interpretation centre whose staff will narrate the history of Mapungubwe to reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Hannah Davis, Derek Jeter Delayed Halloween Celebration To Watch End Of Michigan Game

first_imgHannah Davis and Derek Jeter wearing Halloween costumes.hannah davis derek jeter michiganPerhaps former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter really is a true Michigan man. Saturday night, Jetes, who was raised in Kalamazoo, apparently delayed celebrating Halloween to catch the end of the Michigan vs. Minnesota game. His fiance, Hannah Davis, posted an Instagram photo of him anxiously watching a television while she was ready to go out. The photo, which shows Jeter dressed up as a devil, is amazing.Michigan won the game on a goal-line stand, so Jeter was probably in a good mood. Guy has a decent life.[The Big Lead]last_img read more

Transport Minister wants Jamaica Re-Elected to IMO Council

first_img He said the Government is keen on Jamaica retaining its status as the leading maritime state in the Caribbean, a standing that has been recognised not only by the IMO but also other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which are maritime countries with similar sustainable development challenges, and the UN’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, has signalled his intention to get Jamaica re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).Jamaica, through the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), is seeking to regain a seat in Category ‘C’ of the prestigious governing body of the IMO in December.In his remarks, read by his Senior Advisor, Bindley Sangster, at the MAJ’s recent 16th anniversary awards ceremony, the Minister pointed out that he had, on three prior occasions, successfully led the team to winning a seat on the Council between 2007 and 2011.He said the Government is keen on Jamaica retaining its status as the leading maritime state in the Caribbean, a standing that has been recognised not only by the IMO but also other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which are maritime countries with similar sustainable development challenges, and the UN’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs).The Minister pointed out that the SIDS and LDCs look to Jamaica for leadership and representation at the IMO and elsewhere.He said the Government is serious about the development aspects of the Authority’s role to facilitate critically important maritime investments, which are clearly outlined in the MAJ’s commissioned study.They will help to create jobs and make Jamaica an envied shipping centre in the Caribbean.The study also shows Jamaica’s potential for maritime investments, such as bunkering, crewing and dry-docking.In 2010, the MAJ commissioned a study called Development of a Framework for Positioning Jamaica as a Shipping Hub, with funding support from the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Minister commended the Authority for a stellar job as the regulatory face for Jamaica’s maritime good order and development over the past 16 years.“You represent Jamaica admirably in the regional and international space, bringing much credit and recognition to the country, and helping to build our profile as a credible maritime state,” he said. Story Highlightscenter_img Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, has signalled his intention to get Jamaica re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Jamaica, through the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), is seeking to regain a seat in Category ‘C’ of the prestigious governing body of the IMO in December.last_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment SNUB: Taylor SwiftSwift just set a record at the American Music Awards, and she has always been a Recording Academy favorite, having won a whopping 10 Grammys previously. But she was practically passed over entirely this year. Not only was her latest album, Reputation, not nominated for the Album of the Year award (which she has won twice, for Fearless and 1989), but also she only earned one nod overall, for Best Pop Vocal Album.SURPRISE: Brandi CarlileThe gifted singer-songwriter has been a critics’ darling for years, and her sixth studio album, By the Way, I Forgive You, is sure to land on many 2018 best-of lists. But few pundits predicted that Carlile would be one of this year’s leading Grammy artists with six nominations total (trailing Kendrick Lamar’s eight and Drake’s seven), including for Album, Record and Song of the Year.SNUB: Camila CabelloThe breakout pop star of 2018 wasn’t expected to be up for Best New Artist, due to her previous involvement with Fifth Harmony, but it was widely predicted that her full-length solo debut, Camila, would be up for Album of the Year. Like Grande, she instead scored just two nods in the marginalized Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album categories.SNUB: The CartersIf Beyoncé and Jay-Z were hoping to avenge their controversial respective Album of the Year losses to Adele and Bruno Mars, they’ll just have to wait. The power couple did pick up three nominations (for Best R&B Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video), but they were shut out of the major categories. On a related note, Bey and fellow Grammy favorite Ed Sheeran were also passed over for their hit duet, “Perfect.”SURPRISE: H.E.R.Up until recently, the true identity of this 21-year-old rising R&B singer/multi-instrumentalist — who, like Sia, tends to cover her face onstage and in photos — was a mystery. (Her real name is Gabi Wilson.) But the academy has certainly taken notice, giving H.E.R. five nominations, including two biggies: Album of the Year and Best New Artist.SNUB: Juice WrldThe SoundCloud-dominating rapper crossed over to pop radio this year with his massive hit “Lucid Dreams,” described by Yahoo Entertainment’s Grammy expert Paul Grein as “a very interesting record, a mix of pop, rap, and almost baroque elements.” Grein predictedJuice Wrld “would be the new talent that will break big as a result of the nominations” and said he was a lock for Best New Artist, but the hip-hop star was passed over entirely, even in the Rap categories.SNUB: Troye SivanThe openly gay pop star had a huge breakout year, even receiving a Golden Globe nomination this week for Best Song for his Boy Erased theme “Revelation,” and he was predicted to be up for a Best New Artist Grammy. Yet Sivan didn’t receive a single Grammy nomination this year, not even in the Pop categories.SNUB: Sam SmithSmith was the darling of the 2015 Grammys, when he won Best New Artist and Record and Song of the Year for “Stay With Me.” But this time around, he received no nominations — not even for “Pray,” which he actually performed at the Grammy Awards ceremony this past January. SURPRISE: Jorja SmithThe British R&B singer-songwriter edged out more obvious contenders like Juice Wrld and Troye Sivan in the Best New Artist race.SNUB: The Greatest ShowmanThis soundtrack dominated 2018, but failed to score an Album of the Year nod. (To put it in perspective, this soundtrack has sold more than Black Panther and A Star Is Born combined.) “It’s pretty rare for a soundtrack to be nominated for Album of the Year,” Grein notes. “Only two have been nominated in the last 25 years, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Waiting to Exhale, and both of those were overseen by individuals who were very well-known and respected in the music community — Babyface in the case of Waiting to Exhale, T Bone Burnett with O Brother.” By that logic, the academy instead went with Black Panther, which was overseen by Grammy darling Kendrick Lamar, who leads this year’s Grammy nominations.SURPRISE: Koryn HawthorneThe Voice catches a lot of flak for not creating stars, so more casual viewers may not realize that this former Team Pharrell hopeful has carved out quite an impressive career for herself, as a contemporary Christian music/gospel artist, since placing fourth on the reality competition in 2015. She’s already won a Dove Award for “Won’t He Do It,” and that track just picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance/Song.SNUB: Maroon 5Cardi B cleaned up as a solo artist, scoring nominations for Album and Record of the Year and Best Rap Album. But her duet with Maroon 5, “Girls Like You” — one of the biggest hits of the venerable pop/rock band’s career — only scored one nod, for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.SNUB: Justin TimberlakePerhaps Timberlake’s poor showing this time around isn’t really a surprise, considering the critical and commercial failure of his 2018 album, Man of the Woods. But the fact that the 10-time winner was recognized in only one category (Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, for his “Say Something” duet with Chris Stapleton) shows just how far he has fallen.SURPRISE: Tierra WhackThe relatively unknown rising rap star picked up a Best Music Video nomination for the freaky “Mumbo Jumbo” (which, as of this writing, hasn’t even cracked half a million views on YouTube), going up against heavy hitters like the Carters’ “Apes**t,” Janelle Monáe’s “PYNK” and Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.”SURPRISE: Mac MillerIt’s not necessarily surprising that Miller would be recognized. What is surprising is this is his very first nomination. The late rapper’s Swimming is up for Best Rap Album, but whether he wins or not, expect him to figure prominently in next year’s In Memoriam segment.The 61st Annual Grammy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 2019By Lyndsey Parker | Yahoo Entertainment Music fans offended by Recording Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow’s controversial remark earlier this year — that women need to “step up” in order to earn more Grammy nominations — will no doubt be pleased to see the just-announced list of contenders for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards packed with deserving names like Janelle Monáe, Brandi Carlile, Lady Gaga, Kacey Musgraves, Cardi B, H.E.R., Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Margo Price, Bebe Rexha, SZA and Jorja Smith. However, some major female artists (and some male ones, of course) were shockingly overlooked this year.Let’s deep-dive into the biggest snubs and surprises among the new nominees.SNUB: Ariana GrandeThe pop star just had the biggest year of her career (in fact, the night before the Grammy nominations announcement, Billboard named her Woman of the Year), and she was considered a shoo-in for Album, Record and Song of the Year. Yet she was inexplicably shut out of all of the “Big Three” categories. She’ll have to settle for a mere two nominations in the Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance categories instead. Shockingly, Grande has never won a Grammy, and it doesn’t look like this will be her year. Thank u, next, indeed. From left: Brandi Carlile, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and Camila Cabello are among this year’s surprising Grammy nominees — and surprising shutouts. (Photos: Getty Images) Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisementlast_img read more