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News articles on asia
Mongabay.com news articles on asia in blog format. Updated regularly.
(09/12/2007) An 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia Wednesday at 6:10 pm local time. The epicenter was located 130 km (80 miles) southwest of Bengkulu, Sumatra and 620 km (385 miles) west-northwest of Jakarta at a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles). There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
7.8 earthquake strikes Indonesia hours after 8.4 quake
(09/12/2007) A second powerful earthquake struck Indonesia, just 12 hours after it was rocked by the strongest earthquake of 2007.
Flooding in India Leaves 3.5 million Homeless
(09/11/2007) The Indian military has been evacuating thousands of people from Assam, a state in northeastern India, after Monsoon rains flooded rivers. So far, 3.5 million people have been directly affected by the floods, in a state of 27 million. A total of 2,000 villages have been completely submerged by the floods, in some of the worst flooding in years.
Indonesia misses reforestation target for 2007
(09/09/2007) Indonesia has missed its forest rehabilitation target by a wide margin due to lack of funds, reports the Jakarta Post.
Australia puts $100M toward protecting forest in Borneo
(09/09/2007) Australian and Indonesian ministers signed a AU$100 million ($82M) deal to protect highly threatened forests on the island of Borneo, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Funds will go towards conservation and rehabilitation of degraded forests and peatlands.
Malaysia suffers big drop in shorebird populations
(09/05/2007) Malaysia suffered a big drop in shorebirds, reports a new study by Wetlands International. The environmental group attributes the 22 percent decline between 1983-1986 and 2004-2006 to destruction of habitat for aquaculture, agriculture, industry, housing and recreation.
Chinese demand takes toll on wildlife in Burma (Myanmar)
(09/04/2007) If the market of Mong La is anything to go by, the remaining wild elephants, tigers and bears in Myanmar's forests are being hunted down slowly and sold to China.
Investigation finds evidence of Borneo forest clearing for palm oil
(09/02/2007) An Associated Press investigation found evidence of workers opening up rainforest land for new oil palm plantations in the heart of Borneo.
Rare Chinese river dolphin sighting in doubt
(09/01/2007) A prominent researcher is skeptical of last week's reported sighting of the baiji, the Chinese river dolphin declared extinct earlier this year, according to the New York Times. The sighting near Tongling city in Anhui Province -- widely reported in Chinese and Western media -- was captured on video.
Pearl River Delta under Rising Water Threat
(08/30/2007) 1,153 square km (445 square miles) of land surrounding the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province, China may be engulfed by rising sea levels by 2050, reports Chinese state media. The cities worst affected will be Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, alongside Zhuhai and Foshan if nothing is done to combat the problem soon.
How private equity can profit from carbon offsets in Indonesia
(08/29/2007) The emerging carbon market for avoided deforestation presents unprecedented opportunities for private equity to make profitable investments that also help protect the environment. Indeed, for the first time, conservation may be associated with positive financial returns. Here's a brief look at how private equity and other investors can capitalize on this opportunity to earn attractive returns while fighting climate change, protecting ecosystem services, and safeguarding endangered species like orangutans.
"Extinct" baiji river dolphin spotted alive in China
(08/29/2007) An "extinct" baiji has been spotted alive in the Yangtze River, reports Chinese state media.
Environmental, safety concerns mount over China's Three Gorges Dam
(08/29/2007) Environmental problems are worse than anticipated at China's massive Three Gorges Dam, reports the The Wall Street Journal. A year after its completion, there are rising concerns of pollution, landslides, and flooding.
NGOs should use palm oil to drive conservation
(08/29/2007) Environmentalists view the expansion of oil palm plantations in southeast Asia as one of the greatest threats to the region's forests and biodiversity. Campaigners say oil palm is driving the conversion of tens of thousands of hectares of peatlands and lowland forest in Indonesia and Malaysia, putting wildlife at risk, increasing the vulnerability of the forests to fires, and triggering large emissions of greenhouse gases. Pressure from these groups have in recent months convinced European policymakers to reconsider sourcing energy crop production to the region.
Indonesia's peatlands may offer U.S. firms global warming offsets
(08/29/2007) The following is modified version of a letter I've used to pitch U.S. companies on the concept of carbon finance in Indonesia's peatlands. Discussions are slow and the critical December U.N. climate meeting is fast approaching, so I'm posting this as a tool to help you get American firms interested in avoided deforestation offsets. Please feel free to use, modify, and distribute this letter widely.
Indonesia to push carbon-credits for peatlands conservation
(08/27/2007) Indonesia plans to seek carbon credits for protecting its carbon-rich peatlands, a forestry official said on Monday.
Could peatlands conservation be more profitable than palm oil?
(08/22/2007) This past June, World Bank published a report warning that climate change presents serious risks to Indonesia, including the possibility of losing 2,000 islands as sea levels rise. While this scenario is dire, proposed mechanisms for addressing climate change, notably carbon credits through avoided deforestation, offer a unique opportunity for Indonesia to strengthen its economy while demonstrating worldwide innovative political and environmental leadership. In a July 29th editorial we argued that in some cases, preserving ecosystems for carbon credits could be more valuable than conversion for oil palm plantations, providing higher tax revenue for the Indonesian treasury while at the same time offering attractive economic returns for investors.
U.S. military attacks illegal wildlife trade in Afghanistan
(08/22/2007) The U.S. military has teamed with the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) to attack the illegal wildlife trade in Afghanistan, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.
Failing water supply destroyed lost city of Angkor Wat
(08/13/2007) The ancient city of Angkor in Cambodia was larger in extent than previously thought and fed by a single water system, according to a new map published by an international team of researchers. The study, published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, suggests that the urban settlement sustained an elaborate water management network extending over more than 1,0000 square kilometers.
Floods affect 500 million people per year, will worsen with warming
(08/10/2007) Floods affect 500 million people a year and cause billions of dollars in damage, said U.N. officials Thursday.
New shrew species, orchid discovered in the Philippines
(08/10/2007) An unknown shrew species has been discovered on Palawan, a large island in the Philippines, by a conservation International-led expedition.
Papua seeks funds for fighting global warming through forest conservation
(08/10/2007) In an article published today in The Wall Street Journal, Tom Wright profiles the nascent "avoided deforestation" carbon offset market in Indonesia's Papua province. Barnabas Suebu, governor of the province which makes up nearly half the island of New Guinea, has teamed with an Australian millionaire, Dorjee Sun, to develop a carbon offset plan that would see companies in developing countries pay for forest preservation in order to earn carbon credits. Compliance would be monitored via satellite.
7.4 magnitude earthquake hits Indonesia
(08/08/2007) A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia's West Java on Thursday, causing widespread panic according to Reuters. There are no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
Extinction of the Yangtze river dolphin is confirmed
(08/08/2007) After an extensive six-week search scientists have confirmed the probable extinction of the baiji or Yangtze river dolphin. The freshwater dolphin's extinction had been reported late last year.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Glaciers in western China shrank 20% in 40 years
(07/13/2007) Glaciers in Western China have melted at "alarming" rates over the past 40 years, according to Chinese state media.
Cosmetics retailer announces sustainable palm oil initiative
(07/12/2007) The Body Shop International today introduced a sustainable palm oil initiative, the first for the beauty industry. The company said the move was spurred by growing concerns over the impact of oil palm plantations on biodiversity.
China calls for sustainable logging by Chinese firms overseas
(07/11/2007) China unveiled a draft sustainable forestry handbook for Chinese companies operating overseas. The move comes as the country faces increasing criticism from environmentalists who say China's booming demand for timber and other materials is destroying the world's tropical forests.
Indonesia's peat swamps worth $39B/year
(07/11/2007) Indonesia's peat swamps are worth $39 billion in carbon credits per year, according to rough calculations by Bloomberg.
Poverty and corruption reduce effectiveness of rainforest parks
(07/09/2007) Poverty and corruption are linked to higher incidence of fire in tropical forest reserves, reports a new study published in the journal Ecological Applications. Poor, corrupt countries -- like Cambodia, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Sierra Leone -- have the least effective parks when measured in terms of the incidence of fire relative to surrounding "buffer" areas. The findings have significant implications for rainforest conservation efforts.
Environmentalists winning fight against illegal ramin timber trade
(07/08/2007) A global crackdown on the illegal ramin timber trade appears to be working, reports a Japanese environmental group.
Rare three-legged tiger photographed in Sumatra
(07/06/2007) A WWF camera trap has captured photos of a three-legged Sumatran tiger on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. WWF says the rare tiger likely escaped from a snare. The big cat seems otherwise healthy.
China will not commit to CO2 limits
(07/06/2007) China will not commit to binding greenhouse gas emissions cuts, reports the BBC. Lu Xuedu, deputy director-general of China's Office of Global Environmental Affairs, told British parliamentarians that China does not presently have the "capability to make those commitments."
760,000 Chinese a year die from pollution
(07/04/2007) 760,000 Chinese die prematurely each year from polluted air and water, according to estimates to be released by the World Bank.
Researchers find large population of extremely rare monkey
(07/02/2007) A team of scientists from WWF and conservation International (CI) has discovered the world's largest known population of grey-shanked doucs (Pygathrix cinerea), a monkey ranked as one of the world's 25 most endangered primates, in Vietnam. The discovery is fueling that the species can be saved from extinction -- less than 1,000 of the monkeys are thought to remain.
Rare and mysterious forests of Sulawesi 80% gone
(06/28/2007) Roughly 80 percent of Sulawesi's richest forests have been degraded and destroyed for agriculture, logging, and mining, reports a ground-breaking assessment of the Indonesian island's forests.
70% of Indonesia's mangrove forests damaged
(06/25/2007) 70 percent of Indonesia's remaining mangrove forests are damaged due to human activities, ANTARA News reported a local expert as saying.
Indonesia pledges to cut haze-causing fires by half
(06/22/2007) Indonesia say it aims to reduce forest fires by 40-50 percent this year, following nearly a decade of devastating seasonal fires that release large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, threaten critical orangutan habitat, and raise regional health risks.
NASA monitors China's Three Gorges Dam
(06/13/2007) Some call it the eighth wonder of world. Others say it's the next Great Wall of China. Upon completion in 2009, the Three Gorges Dam along China's Yangtze River will be the world's largest hydroelectric power generator and one of the few man-made structures so enormous that it's actually visible to the naked eye from space. NASA's Landsat satellites have provided detailed, vivid views of the dam since construction began in 1994.
Cuddly primate trade banned
(06/11/2007) CITES delegates agreed to a total ban on trade in the slow loris, a Southeast Asian primate commonly trafficked for the pet trade. Environmental groups welcomed the move.
98% of orangutan habitat gone in next 15 years
(06/11/2007) Indonesia is losing more than 2.1 million hectares (5.2 million acres) of forest a year to illegal loggers, states a new report from the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP). The report, which estimates the value of illicit timbering at $4 billion annually, warns that 98 percent of Indonesia's lowland forests will be gone by 2022, putting species like the orangutan at risk of extinction in the wild. The report, Last stand of the Orang-utan: State of Emergency, was released Monday at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in The Hague.
Chinese demand drives global deforestation
(06/10/2007) From outside, Cameroon's Ngambe-Tikar forest looks like a compact, tangled mass of healthy emerald green foliage. But tracks between the towering tropical hardwood trees open up into car park-sized clearings littered with logs as long as buses. Forestry officers say the reserve is under attack from unscrupulous commercial loggers who work outside authorized zones and do not respect size limits in their quest for maximum financial returns.
China Unveils Global Warming Initiative
(06/05/2007) Scientists documented 467 species, including 24 species believed new to science, during a rainforest survey in eastern Suriname, South America. The expedition, led by conservation International (CI), was sponsored by two mining companies, BHP-Billiton Maatschappij Suriname (BMS) and Suriname Aluminium Company LLC (Suralco), hoping to mine the area for bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum. conservation International said the Rapid Assessment Survey (RAP) will help "give miners guidance on protecting unique plants and animals during potential future development," according to a statement from the organization.
Rare kangaroos released into New Guinea rainforest
(06/05/2007) China, soon to be the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, unveiled its first climate change initiative Tuesday. According to state media, the National Climate Change Program plan calls for China to reduce energy use 20 percent by 2010, promote carbon sink technologies and other adaptive technologies, raise the efficiency of coal-fired power plants, and increase the amount of renewable energy it produces.
Indonesia: No more rainforest clearing for palm oil
(06/05/2007) Indonesian Minister for Environment Rachmat Witoelar said Indonesia will not allow palm oil producers to clear primary forests for establishing plantations, reports Bloomberg. Indonesia is expected to surpass Malaysia as the world largest producer of palm oil this year. The government hopes to add 7 million hectares of plantations by 2011.
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