Conservation newsFounded in 1999, Mongabay is a leading provider of environmental science and conservation news.
DR Congo has great potential for biofuels says U.N. official
(01/09/2008) A UN economist is touting the potential of DR Congo for industrial biofuels production, reports Reuters. In a telephone interview, Dr Schmidhuber said the worn-torn country could devote millions of acres for oil palm, soy, and other biofuel feedstocks.
Stanford University, Monterey Bay Aquarium launch center to save oceans
(01/09/2008) Stanford University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have teamed up to establish the Center for Ocean Solutions, a new collaboration that will bring together international experts in marine science and policy to find innovative ways to protect and restore the world's oceans.
Is tropical deforestation really occurring?
(01/08/2008) New assessment suggests global deforestation data from the U.N. is deeply flawed and without better monitoring it is impossible to know whether net forest cover in the tropics is expanding or declining.
Human activity is killing coral reefs in the Caribbean
(01/08/2008) A wide and thorough study of the Caribbean's coral reefs--including 322 sites in 13 countries--has shown that the main indicator of coral destruction in the Caribbean is the proximity of human populations: the larger the population the greater the deterioration of the reefs. Contributing factors are numerous, but the study showed that coastal development causes the most damage to coral reefs and fish populations, because of increased sewage and fishing pressure; while proximity to agriculture results in macroalgae due to runoff of agricultural chemicals.
Male lion licking a female's head
(01/08/2008) Bronx Zoo's newest lions, male M'wasi and female Sukari, have recently been introduced on the Zoo's Africa Plains. A typical lion greeting is quick, lasting less than a minute, and includes touching heads.
New York City ends use of Amazon rainforest hardwoods in parks
(01/08/2008) In a meeting with representatives of environmental groups Rainforest Relief and New York Climate Action Group, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe unveiled a plan to phase out the use of hardwoods logged from the rainforests of the Amazon, which the agency uses for benches, boardwalks and the decking of bridges in the thousands of parks and areas overseen by the department. Celia Peterson, director of the Specification Office of NYC Parks, stated that as of last month, Parks will no longer specify tropical hardwoods for benches.
Photos: Hippos threatened in Africa
(01/07/2008) As the sun sets on the Luangwa River in Zambia, a male hippo throws its mouth open in a yawn as wide as a canyon. Night is falling as the hippo herds break to the banks to follow their regular paths to their feeding grounds. Their huge, round hooves made muddy imprints during the rainy season, and have dried to concrete craters along a trail the hippos follow to graze in grassy glades.
Transportation accounts for 15% of global emissions
(01/07/2008) The transport sector accounts for 15 percent of carbon dioxide emissions and 31 percent of ozone released into the atmosphere by humankind, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Switchgrass a better biofuel source than corn
(01/07/2008) Switchgrass yields more than 540 percent more energy than the energy needed to produce and convert it to ethanol, making the grassy weed a far superior source for biofuels than corn ethanol, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Scientists propose conservation areas for the unique island of Sulawesi
(01/06/2008) Little-known Sulawesi may be the world's most strangely shaped island: with four large peninsulas jutting outward, the island could either resemble a mangled lower-case 'k' or an upside-down emaciated mermaid—depending on one's perspective. However when Dr. Charles Cannon states that the island is "one of the most unique spots on Earth", he is not referring to Sulawesi's shape but its ecology.
Three salamander species discovered in Costa Rica
(01/06/2008) Scientists from the Natural History Museum of London have discovered three new species of salamander in south-eastern Costa Rica. This brings the nation's total to forty-three species, meaning that this small tropical nation contains approximately nine percent of the world's salamanders.
Nature tourism taking a toll in the Galapagos
(01/05/2008) A booming "ecotourism" industry is bringing new threats to the Galapagos, reports a feature in the Wall Street Journal.
Carbon uptake by temperate forests declining due to global warming
(01/03/2008) North American forests are storing less carbon due to warmer autumns, reports a study published in the journal Nature by an international team of researchers.
Madagascar increases fines for forest burning
(01/03/2008) Madagascar will increase penalties for people caught setting land-clearing fires on the biodiverse island, according to a report from Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Leading biofuels wreak environmental havoc
(01/03/2008) Biofuels made from world's dominant energy crops -- including corn, soy, and oil palm -- may have worse environment impacts than conventional fossil fuels, reports a study published in the journal Science.
Butterfly tricks ants into caring for its young
(01/03/2008) A species of butterfly in Denmark foolds ants into raising their larvae, reports research published in the journal Science.
Rainforest chief killed in Borneo for his opposition to logging
(01/03/2008) Keleasu Naan, a Penan chieftain and longtime activist against logging, disappeared in October while checking animal traps. His tribes' worst fears were confirmed when they found what they believed to be Naan's remains last month. According to the Associated Press, the chieftain's nephew, Michael Ipa, has stated that the body had several broken bones, leading Ipa to believe that "he has been killed by people involved in logging".
Can China Go Green?
(01/03/2008) China's booming economic growth over the past generation has come at the expense of the environment, putting its economic health at risk, argues a policy piece published in the journal Science.
North Atlantic warming is natural, not due to climate change
(01/03/2008) While overall temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean has risen over the past fifty years, it has not been consistent across all areas with subpolar regions cooling as subtropical and tropical waters warmed, reports a new study published in the journal Science.
Rising CO2 levels tied to increasing human mortality
(01/03/2008) Rising carbon dioxide levels have been tied to increases in human mortality, reports a study to be published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Intel drops support for the "$100 laptop"
(01/03/2008) Intel said it no longer will support the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project and resigned from the board over the group's demand that the chipmaker stop selling its Classmate laptop in developing countries.
Photo: Pygmy marmoset twins born at the Bronx Zoo
(01/03/2008) Twin pygmy marmosets born to three-year-old mom, Squirt, and seven-year-old dad, King at the Bronx Zoo on November 11 are doing well, according to zoo officials.
Peru to replant 10 million hectares of forest
(01/02/2008) Peru plans to reforest more than 10 million hectares of logged and degraded forest over the next 10 years according to the country's National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA). The government hopes the moves will reduce pressure on native forests and bolster the plantation forest industry.
Orangutan should become symbol of palm-oil opposition
(01/02/2008) In a letter published today in Nature, Oscar Venter, Erik Meijaard and Kerrie Wilson argue that proposals for conservation groups to purchase and run oil palm plantations for the purpose of generating funds for forest protection are unlikely to be successful. The concept was originally put forth by Lian Pin Koh and David S. Wilcove in a 2007 Nature article.
As amphibians leap toward extinction, alliance pushes "The Year of the Frog"
(12/31/2007) With amphibians experiencing dramatic die-offs in pristine habitats worldwide, an alliance of zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums has launched a desperate public appeal to raise funds for emergency conservation measures. Scientists say that without quick action, one-third to one-half the world's frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians could disappear.
Lack of A-bomb signatures suggest 50 years of shrinking Tibetan glaciers
(12/30/2007) Ice cores drilled last year from the summit of a Himalayan ice field lack the distinctive radioactive signals that mark virtually every other ice core retrieved worldwide. That missing radioactivity, originating as fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests during the 1950s and 1960s, routinely provides researchers with a benchmark against which they can gauge how much new ice has accumulated on a glacier or ice field.
Global food prices rise 40% in 2007 to new record
(12/27/2007) As world food prices continue to surge, 37 countries are facing critical food crises due to conflict and disasters, according to a report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO's global food price index rose 40 percent this year to the highest level on record.
Demise of deep-sea species could lead to collapse of ocean ecosystems
(12/27/2007) Declining populations of deep-sea species pose a significant threat to the health of world oceans, warns a study published in the January 8th issue of Current Biology.
Brazil bans illegal soy and cattle production in the Amazon rainforest
(12/24/2007) The Brazilian government launched a new initiative to slow deforestation in the Amazon, setting the stage for the country to potentially earn billions from carbon trading schemes set in motion two weeks ago at the U.N. climate meeting in Bali.
Japan cancels plan to kill 50 humpback whales
(12/21/2007) Japan has canceled highly controversial plans to kill 50 humpback whales for purported "scietific purposes" (the meat is sold in fish markets) after widespread condemnation from environmentalists and governments. .
Uganda renews plans to log rainforest reserve for sugar cane
(12/21/2007) Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Friday revived a controversial plan to grant a forest reserve to commercial sugar cane interests.
6 species of giraffe "discovered"
(12/21/2007) Genetic analysis that the world's tallest animal--the giraffe--may actually be several species, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Biology. Existing taxonomy recognizes only one species of giraffe.
New process turns chicken fat into biodiesel
(12/20/2007) Chemical engineers at the University of Arkansas have devised a way to convert chicken fat into biodiesel fuel. The process advances efforts to "develop commercially viable fuel out of plentiful, accessible and low-cost feedstocks and other agricultural by-products," according to the researchers.
Squirrels use snake skin to disguise themselves from predators
(12/20/2007) California ground squirrels and rock squirrels chew up rattlesnake skin and smear it on their fur to mask their scent from predators, according to a new study by researchers at UC Davis. Barbara Clucas, a graduate student in animal behvaior at UC Davis, observed ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) and rock squirrels (Spermophilus variegates) applying snake scent to themselves by picking up pieces of shed snakeskin, chewing it and then licking their fur.
Could carbon credits-for-forest conservation (REDD) reduce terrorism and global warming?
(12/20/2007) Schemes to offer carbon credits for reducing deforestation rates in developing countries could improve American security by providing stable income to disaffected rural groups, argues a new Council on Foreign Relations report on the impact of climate change on U.S. national security.
Thailand's forests could support 2,000 tigers
(12/19/2007) Thailand's network of parks could support 2,000 tigers, reports a new study by Thailand's Department of National Park, Wildlife, and Plant conservation and the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society.
Migrating frogs fare poorly when habitat altered
(12/19/2007) Habitat loss and fragmentation are putting amphibians already threatened by climate change, pesticides, alien invasive species, and the outbreak of a deadly fungal infection at greater risk of extinction, reported a study published in Science last week.
Evolution of whales challenged
(12/19/2007) Modern whales appear to have evolved from a raccoon-sized creature with the body of a small deer, according to scientists writing in the journal Nature. The results challenge the theory that cetaceans are descended from even-toed ungulates (artiodactyls) like hippos, as previous molecular analysis has suggested.
Did U.S. negotiators go against the Bush administration in Bali?
(12/18/2007) Insiders in Washington are speculating that the US delegation to the U.N. climate talks in Bali went against the wishes of the Bush Administration as negotiations drew to a close last weekend, according to SPIEGEL ONLINE.
Will carbon credits-for-forests scheme be undermined by carbon negative bioenergy?
(12/18/2007) The Indonesian government has signed an agreement with energy giant Total E&P Indonesia on a carbon capture and storage scheme that could eventually lead to the development of carbon negative bioenergy production in the southeast Asian country, reports Biopact. The deal raises fears that feedstock for production could lead to large-scale deforestation of the country's remaining forests and undermine efforts to push forest conservation-for-carbon credits (or REDD) initiatives.
Study shows that sea turtles can recover
(12/18/2007) conservation of sea turtle nesting sites is paying off for the endangered reptiles, reports a new study published this week in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography. A team of researchers led researchers from IUCN and conservation International found that green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting on four beaches in the Pacific and two beaches in the Atlantic have increased by an four to fourteen percent annually over the past two to three decades as a result of beach protection efforts.
Rainforest destruction increasingly driven by corporate interests, not poverty
(12/18/2007) Tropical deforestation is increasingly enterprise-driven rather than the result of subsistence agriculture, a trend that has critical implications for the future of the world's forests, says Dr. Thomas Rudel, a researcher from Rutgers University. As urbanization and government-sponsored development programs dwindle in the tropics, industrial logging and conversion for large-scale agriculture -- including oil palm plantations, soy farms, and cattle ranches -- are ever more important causes of forest destruction.
Palm oil is a net source of CO2 emissions when produced on peatlands
(12/17/2007) Researchers have confirmed that converting peat forests for oil palm plantations results in a large net release of carbon dioxide, indicating industry claims that palm oil helps fight climate change are unfounded, at least when plantations are established in peatlands.
Photos: Two unknown mammal species discovered in "lost world"
(12/16/2007) Two mammal species -- a tiny possum and a giant rat — discovered on a recent expedition to Indonesia's remote Foja Mountains in New Guinea are likely new to science, report researchers from conservation International (CI) and Indonesia Institute of Science (LIPI). The area won international fame after a December 2005 survey turned up dozens of new species and gave urgency to conservation efforts in a region where logging and forest clearing for agriculture are a serious concern.
Bali delegates agree to support forests-for-climate (REDD) plan
(12/16/2007) Delegates meeting at the U.N. climate conference in Bali agreed to include forest conservation in future discussions on a new global warming treaty, reports the Associated Press. The move could lead to the transfer of billions of dollars -- in the form of carbon credits -- from industrialized countries to tropical nations for the purpose of slowing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation rates. Deforestation presently accounts for roughly 20 percent of anthropogenic emissions worldwide.
Photo: African wild dog pup gets a health check up
(12/14/2007) African wild dogs are among the most threatened canines on the planet.
Scientists: cut emissions now to avoid climate tipping point
(12/14/2007) Countries need to act soon to cut carbon dioxide emissions if the worst impacts of global warming are to be avoided, warned a panel of scientists speaking Thursday at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Christmas shopping habits help drive global warming
(12/14/2007) Just as the conference in Bali on global warming wraps up with a middling agreement, consumers in the US and Europe are rushing to holiday stores, mostly unaware of how their Christmas consumerism affects global warming. The British independent think-tank, Nef (new economics foundation) has released a report highlighting the environmental cost of holiday shopping.
70% of rainforest island to be cleared for palm oil
(12/13/2007) Mongabay.com received information this week that the Malaysian company Vitroplant has been granted the permit it needs to begin developing 70% of Woodlark Island into palm oil plantations. In an e-mail received by one of the opposition leaders to Vitroplant, Dr. Simon Piyuwes said that "the government granted the permit to the oil palm company despite a widespread campaign and pressure from NGOs". In an earlier article Dr. Piyuwes stated that "we [the islanders] do not have money to fight the giant. We only hope for the support from the NGOs, and the mercy of the government to withdraw the project." It seems the government has refused Dr. Piyuwes what he hoped for.
Fish farms are killing wild salmon in British Columbia
(12/13/2007) Parasitic sea lice infestations caused by salmon farms are driving nearby populations of wild salmon toward extinction, reports a study published in the December 14 issue of the journal Science.
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