Conservation newsFounded in 1999, Mongabay is a leading provider of environmental science and conservation news.
Primatologist freed but questions remain for Brazil after "attack on science"
(08/08/2007) While primatologist Dr. Marc van Roosmalen has been freed from prison pending appeal, prominent scientists had stinging criticism for the Brazilian government over its increasingly "hostile" treatment of researchers. Before Roosmalen was released Tuesday, some scientists even threatened "civil disobedience," according to a report in the journal Nature.
100 years ago: oil shortages spur need for alternative fuels
(08/08/2007) The fuels committee of the Motor Union of Great Britain and Ireland has issued a valuable report on motor-car fuels... a famine in petrol appears to be inevitable in the near future, owing to the fact that demand is increasing at a rate much greater than the rate of increase of the supply. In 1904 the consumption of petrol in the United Kingdom was 12,000,000 gallons; in 1907 it had risen to 27,000,000 gallons... the committee discusses in the report other possible fuels. The supply is divided into two parts. The first includes all fuels limited in quantity...The second group contains one item only - alcohol - and it is evident from the whole tone of the report that the committee expects to find in denatured vegetable spirits the fuel of the future.
Economics of next generation biofuels
(08/08/2007) 'Second generation' biorefineries -- those making biofuel from lignocellulosic feedstocks like straw, grasses and wood -- have long been touted as the successor to today's grain ethanol plants, but until now the technology has been considered too expensive to compete. However, recent increases in grain prices mean that production costs are now similar for grain ethanol and second generation biofuels, according to a paper published in the first edition of Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining.
Rare pygmy elephants endangered by logging in Borneo
(08/08/2007) Pygmy elephants are increasingly threatened by logging and forest conversion for agriculture in their native Borneo, reports a new satellite tracking study by WWF.
Afghanistan's recovery effort drives poaching of rare wildlife
(08/07/2007) Few people associate Afghanistan with wildlife and it would come as a surprise to many that the war-torn, but fledging democracy is home to snow leopards, Persian leopards, five species of bush dog, Marco Polo Sheep, Asiatic Black Bear, Brown Bears, Striped Hyenas, and numerous bird of prey species. While much of this biodiversity has survived despite years of civil strife, Afghanistan's wildlife faces new pressures from the very people who are charged with rebuilding the country: contractors and the development community are driving the trade in rare and endangered wildlife. This development, coupled with lack of laws regulating resource management and growing instability, complicate efforts to protect the country's wildlife. Working to address these challenges is Dr. Alex Dehgan, Afghanistan Country Director for the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS). WCS is working to implement the Afghanistan Biodiversity conservation Program, a three-year project funded by the US Agency for International Development to promote wildlife and resource conservation in the country.
U.S. court blocks sonar testing to protect whales
(08/07/2007) A U.S. federal court blocked the Navy from using a type of sonar that environmentalists say pose a threat to whales off the coast of California. The judge noted that the Navy's own analyses concluded that the Southern California exercises "will cause widespread harm to nearly thirty species of marine mammals, including five species of endangered whales, and may cause permanent injury and death" and characterized the Navy's proposed mitigation measures as "woefully inadequate and ineffectual."
New species discovered in "lost" African forest
(08/07/2007) Scientists have discovered several unknown species during an expedition to a forest that has been off-limits to researcher for nearly 50 years due to civil strife.
Overfishing takes toll on Bluefin tuna
(08/06/2007) Overfishing has caused dramatic shifts in bluefin tuna populations that have pushed the species closer towards extinction in some areas, reports a series of studies by the Census of Marine Life (CoML) and other researchers.
Wild parrots tracked by satellite for the first time
(08/06/2007) Researchers are now tracking wild parrots from space.
Sunspot activity linked to rainfall in Africa
(08/06/2007) A new study reveals correlations between plentiful sunspots and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. Intense rainfall in the region often leads to flooding and disease outbreaks.
Nectar feeding bats are powered by pure sugar
(08/06/2007) Nectar-feeding bats are particularly vulnerable to environmental change due to their high-energy dietary requirements, reports a new study published in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology.
2007 hurricane season downgraded, questions over climate role remain
(08/06/2007) Hurricane researcher William Gray from Colorado State University cut his 2007 hurricane season outlook, saying there will likely be fewer storms than previously projected due to weak La Niña conditions and more atmospheric dust from Africa.
New device allows biologists to track seals under sea ice
(08/06/2007) Biologists have devised a new device for tracking how environmental change affects the physiology, behvaior, and populations of Southern elephant seals, according to a paper published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Asians played larger role in colonization of Europe than Africans
(08/06/2007) Humans with Asian origins played a larger role than those from Africa in colonizing Europe millions of years ago, reports a paper published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Jet stream drives summer temperature, plankton growth in Oregon
(08/06/2007) Short-term shifts in the jet stream off the Oregon coast drive changes in ocean temperature and plankton growth during summer months, reports a new study published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings are significant because they could help improve weather prediction and bolster understanding of ocean food chains along the northwestern United States. Plankton are the base of the food chain for important ocean fisheries in the region.
Frog killing diseases worse than thought in California
(08/06/2007) The deadly fungal disease that is killing amphibians worldwide can likely be spread by sexual reproduction reports a new study published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings suggest that protecting frogs and other amphibians from the pathogen will be more complicated than previously believed.
Scientists demand release of renowned monkey discoverer in Brazil
(08/06/2007) A prominent group of scientists have issued a petition to free world-renowned primatologist Marc van Roosmalen from Brazilian prison after he was charged with illegally keeping monkeys without a permit and other crimes. The scientists have called his imprisonment an "attack on the practice and profession of biological science in Brazil."
Jumbo squid invade California waters, affecting fish populations
(07/25/2007) Jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) are invading California waters, putting commercial fish populations at risk, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Virgin" rain forests of Costa Rica a misnomer
(07/25/2007) Radiocarbon dating of montane forest soils in Costa Rica uncovered evidence of charcoal that shows its otherwise "virgin" tropical forests are less than 200 years old. The findings, published in the journal Biotropica, have implications for the re-establishment of rain forests after clearing.
Coal mining threatens the "Heart of Borneo"
(07/25/2007) Coal mining in Borneo imperils the island's fast-disappearing forests and threatens to undermine the effectiveness of an monumental conservation initiative, according to a report from the The Sunday Times and Parliamentary testimony.
Las Vegas has gotten hotter
(07/25/2007) Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada has heated up over the past 30 years, but it's not the entertainment industry that is responsible. A new study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reports that, as a state, Nevada has seen one of the largest increases in average temperature over the last three decades.
20 coal projects canceled as global warming fears mount
(07/25/2007) Coal-fired power plants are fast being shelved as environmental concerns mount, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Rare jungle deer photographed for the first time
(07/24/2007) A camera trap has captured the first ever pictures of an elusive forest deer in its natural habitat, reports the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS).
Fish cultivate gardens of algae
(07/24/2007) Damselfish cultivate "gardens" of algae, according to a study published last October in the journal Biology Letters.
Wal-Mart demand drives "greener" shrimp farms
(07/24/2007) Wal-Mart's demand for sustainably-produced products is driving "greener" production of shrimp in Thailand, reports the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
In Alaska, fishing industry drives marine conservation
(07/24/2007) Alaska's fisheries are some of the richest in the world, with fishermen harvesting hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of salmon, crab, herring, halibut, pollock, and groundfish every year. However, such bounty has not always been the case. Over-exploitation and poor fisheries management in the 1940s and 1950s took a heavy toll on the industry. Born of this difficult origin, today Alaska sets the bar in fisheries management. Unusually for natural resource management, industry is leading the way, relying on dialog with scientists to determine catch levels and where to designate "no-fishing zones", while pushing for certification standards for sustainable seafood products. These efforts are coordinated by the Marine conservation Alliance (MCA), an industry-backed nonprofit based in Juneau, Alaska. In July 2007, David Benton, executive director of the Marine conservation Alliance, spoke with mongabay.com about MCA's work in Alaska.
2007 hurricane season to be weaker than expected says forecaster
(07/24/2007) WSI Corp, a private forecaster, cut its 2007 hurricane season outlook, saying there will likely be fewer storms than previously projected, reports Reuters.
Rare gorillas slaughtered in mass killing
(07/24/2007) At least four critically endangered gorillas have been killed in Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park. National Geographic News reports they were shot "execution-style". Illegal charcoal harvesters are leading suspects in the slaying. Two other gorillas are missing and feared dead.
Laptop for poor children set for mass production
(07/23/2007) The "$100 laptop" is set to go into mass production after it received orders for 3 million machines, the requisite number to make the project viable.
Human-induced climate change causes shifts in rainfall
(07/23/2007) Human-induced climate change has caused changes in rainfall patterns around the world over the past century, claims a new study published in Nature.
Australia funds first global deforestation monitoring system
(07/23/2007) At a High Level Meeting on Forests and Climate being held in Sydney, Australia today announced a series of measures to slow deforestation and fight global warming.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will cut pollution, emissions, oil use
(07/20/2007) Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality significantly by 2050, reports a new study by The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Gecko + mussels = biomimetic underwater adhesive
(07/19/2007) Scientists have developed a new adhesive material based on the properties of mussels and gecko lizard. The researchers say the biomimetic design could produce more durable and longer-lasting bandages, patches, and surgical materials.
Dinosaurs' rise to dominance was a gradual
(07/19/2007) Dinosaurs' rise to dominance was a gradual rather than sudden, suggests new research published in Science.
Melting glaciers and ice cap will drive sea level rise
(07/19/2007) Melting glaciers and ice caps will contribute more to global sea level rise this century than the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, reports a study published in the current issue of Science.
Foreign fishing fleets deplete African fish stocks
(07/18/2007) Heavily subsidized foreign fishing fleets are depleting coastal fish stocks of poor Africa countries, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Corn ethanol is not the solution to energy independence
(07/18/2007) A new report claims that corn ethanol will not significantly offset U.S. fossil fuel consumption without "unacceptable" environmental and economic consequences.
Fines on bycatch could help make conservation groups, industry accountable
(07/18/2007) Assessing fines on illegal bycatch could help clean up the fishing industry, reports a new study published in the August issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
Pound of beef produces 36 pounds of CO2 emissions
(07/18/2007) The production of a kilogram of beef is results in more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving a car for 3 hours while leaving all the lights at home, concludes a new study led by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan. The research is detailed in this week's issue of New Scientist Magazine.
Blue macaw population stages remarkable recovery in Brazil
(07/18/2007) One of the world's rarest parrots has made a remarkable recovery due to conservation efforts, reports the American Bird Conservancy.
Hurricanes can help coral reefs
(07/17/2007) A close call with a hurricane can be beneficial to a stressed coral reef, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
"Living fossil" fish captured in Zanzibar
(07/16/2007) Fishermen in Zanzibar have caught a coelacanth, reports Reuters.
African Flamingo population gravely threatened by industrial development
(07/16/2007) Tata Chemicals, a division of the biggest multinational industrial conglomerate in India, is planning to build a huge soda ash plant at Lake Natron, one of the most important lakes for waterbirds in Africa. The scale of the planned development is very likely to destroy the ecosystem of the lake and drive away the breeding flamingos.
China's wetlands shrinking due to global warming
(07/16/2007) Wetlands on China's Qinghai-Tibet plateau have shrunk by more than 10 percent over the past 40 years, posing a threat to agriculture and river flows, according to scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Wetlands at the Yangtze's origin contracted 29 percent over the same period.
Is peat swamp worth more than palm oil plantations?
(07/16/2007) Could peat swamp be worth more intact for their carbon value than palm oil plantations for their oil? Quick analysis suggests yes, though binding limits on emissions will be needed to trigger the largest ever flow of money from the industrialized world to developing countries. At stake: the bulk of the world's biodiversity.
China's paper recycling industry can help shield forests from destruction
(07/15/2007) China's massive paper recycling capacity is helping shield global forests worldwide from destruction by supporting an international market for wastepaper as an alternative to pulpwood, says a new report released by Forest Trends, an international forestry organization. Nevertheless, wastepaper alone is not enough to meet demand from China's growing paper industry.
Wildlife tourism can be detrimental to monkeys
(07/15/2007) Tourism is causing changes in primate behvaior and may be increasing infant mortality and the transmission of disease, reports a study published in the October edition of the International Journal of Primatology.
Florida to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050
(07/15/2007) Florida plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 according to Charlie Crist, Florida's Republican state governor. Due to its low elevation and hurricane risk, global warming may pose the biggest risk to Florida of any U.S. state.
NASA images show expansion of logging in Congo rainforest
(07/15/2007) New high resolution images of logging roads in the Congo region of Africa are helping researchers understand the expansion of industrial logging in Central Africa.
Toll road could raise money for Amazon conservation
(07/15/2007) Southeastern Peru is arguably the most biodiverse place on the planet. A new highway project, already under construction, poses a great threat to this biological richness as well as indigenous groups that live in the region. While its too late to stop the road, called the Carretera Transoceanica or Interoceanic Highway, there are ways to reduce its impact on the forest ecosystem and its inhabitants.
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