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News articles on central america
Mongabay.com news articles on central america in blog format. Updated regularly.
(03/06/2007) The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that its 'Billion Tree Campaign' has so-far achieved commitments to plant 562,769,095 trees, following a pledge of 250 million trees by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico.
Panama Canal port projects threaten mangroves
(03/06/2007) Port development and land speculation in Panama is turning some of the Caribbean's most productive mangrove forests into landfill. The landfill would be used for container storage near the city of Colon, at the mouth of the Panama Canal. But local scientists say the transformation could have unintended environmental consequences.
Indigenous populations deforested New World rainforests before European contact
(02/28/2007) Indigenous populations used fire to clear large areas of tropical forest well before the arrival of Europeans reports a new study published in Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The research has important implications for understanding the impact of present forest development on biodiversity and forest regeneration in the tropics.
Bioprospecting links health and biodiversity conservation in Panama
(12/07/2006) The difference between bioprospecting and biopiracy as at times controversial, but a program run by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) suggests that training professionals in high-biodiversity regions can help bring benefits to local populations while promoting biodiversity conservation. The program, called the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG), is profiled in the December issue of the journal BioScience.
Rising seas may be killing Florida palms
(08/08/2006) Palm trees on Florida's west coast appear to be dying more rapidly than in previous years because of sea level rise tied to global warming. University of Florida scientists who began monitoring a large coastal study area in North Florida in 1992 reported widespread deaths of palms and other trees in low-lying coastal areas in the past. But the latest survey of the waterfront area along the Gulf of Mexico reveals new and unsettling numbers: Of 88 large, mature palms that died at the rural Levy County site between 1992 and 2005, 66 percent, or 58, have died since 2000.
Increased hantavirus risk in the US southwest
(07/13/2006) The Four Corners region of the United States will be at greater risk for hantavirus outbreak this year than in 2005, say scientists at Johns Hopkins University, the University of New Mexico, and other institutions.
Consumers want environmentally friendly computers
(06/26/2006) A study conducted earlier this year by Ipsos-MORI on behalf of Greenpeace found that consumers say they would be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly computer. The amounts ranged from $59 in Germany, $118 in UK, $199 in China and $229 in Mexico.
Central America agrees to jaguar corridor
(05/23/2006) A group of environment ministers representing the seven nations of Central America and Mexico have agreed to establish a network of protected areas and wildlife corridors to safeguard jaguar populations, according to the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society. The decision was made at the Second Mesoamerica Protected Area Congress held in Panama earlier this month.
Scientists endorse plan to save rainforests through emissions trading
(05/19/2006) The Association for Tropical Biology and conservation (ATBC), the world's largest scientific organization devoted to the study and wise use of tropical ecosystems, has formally endorsed a radical proposal to help save tropical forests through carbon trading. Under the initiative proposed by an alliance of fifteen developing countries led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, tropical nations that show permanent reductions in deforestation would be eligible to receive international carbon funds from industrial nations who could purchase carbon credits to help them meet their emissions targets international climate agreements like the Kyoto Protocol.
Global warming could dry Caribbean, Central America
(04/14/2006) Parts of the Caribbean and Central America are likely to experience drier summers by 2050 according to research presented by UCLA atmospheric scientists in the April 18 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Analyzing 10 global climate computer simulations from various agencies, the researchers found that the majority of the computer models predict a substantial decrease in tropical rainfall to occur by mid-century. By the end of this century, the models show that summer rainfall could decline by 20 percent or more in parts of the Caribbean and Central America.
Forest fires burn in Central America
(04/10/2006) Hundreds of fires are burning across Central America according to NASA satellite images and reports from the ground. Fires have been detected in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Red Tide Causes Sea Turtle Die-Off in El Salvador
(03/23/2006) A Red Tide event that occurred off the coast of El Salvador late last year directly caused the deaths of some 200 sea turtles, according to test results released today by the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations.
Caribbean reefs suffer severe coral bleaching event
(12/20/2005) The Caribbean experienced one of the most devastating coral bleaching events on record during September and October while hurricanes battered the Gulf of Mexico. In response, NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have sent a team to assess the situation.
Large Maya mural showing ancient mythology uncovered in Guatemala
(12/13/2005) Archaeologists at an ancient Maya ceremonial site in Guatemala have uncovered the final wall of a large Maya mural dating from 100 B.C. that shows the mythology surrounding the origin of kings and a highly developed hieroglyphic script. Before the excavation of the vividly painted mural, there was scant evidence of the existence of early Maya kings or of their use of elaborate art and writing to establish their right to rule.
Mexico addressing greenhouse gas emissions despite no Kyoto obligation
(12/07/2005) Mexico, a country that has no emission reduction obligatons under the Kyoto Protocol, is acting on its own to assist companies in managing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Archaeologists make ancient Maya discovery in Guatemala
(12/05/2005) Researchers working in Guatemala have unearthed a monument with the earliest-known depiction of a woman of authority in ancient Mayan culture, according to an archaeologist at the University of Calgary. Kathryn Reese-Taylor said the 2-meter high limestone monument has a portrait of a female who could be either a ruler or a mythical goddess and dates 4th Century A.D. The statue, called a stela, was found at Naachtun, a Mayan city 90 km (55 miles) north of Tikal.
Developing countries: pay us to save rainforests
(11/27/2005) At this week's United Nations summit on climate change in Montreal a coalition of tropical developing countries plans to propose that wealthy countries pay them to preserve their rainforests. The group of 10 countries, led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, will argue that they should be compensated for the services rainforests provide the rest of the world.
Logging threatens Mayan ruin, forest in Guatemala
(11/13/2005) In the tropical forests of Guatemala, poor rural farmers and loggers are battling environmentalists, archaeologists, and Mel Gibson over the establishment of a 525,000-acre Mayan national park.
Forests of Michoacan, Mexico disappearing
(11/07/2005) 90% of the tropical forest in Lazaro Cardenas, Aquila y Coahuayana -- municipalities in the state of Michoacan, Mexico -- has been destroyed according to an article in Cambio de Michoacan. Cattle ranching, mining, and the harvesting of precious wood are blamed as the principle causes behind the forest loss.
Illegal timber from Honduras reaching the United States
(11/04/2005) U.S. companies are unknowingly importing illegal Honduran wood, contributing to deforestation, corruption and poverty in the Latin American country, according to a yearlong undercover investigation by the Center for International Policy and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
Exotic pet trade controls needed to fight bird flu says Greenpeace
(10/31/2005) A thriving trade, both illegal and legal, in exotic birds like parrots is undermining Mexico's otherwise strict measures against bird flu, Greenpeace said on Thursday. Mexico prohibits imports of all birds and bird products from countries with confirmed outbreaks of the virus, but the environmental group wants a blanket ban, saying the nature of the trade makes it hard to know where birds come from.
Poor aid response to storm damage in Central America
(10/05/2005) Tropical storm Stan has killed more than 120 people across Central America, including more than 60 in El Salvador and 50 in Guatemala, but international aid has been slow to arrive in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
El Salvador's tropical storm damage worsened by deforestation
(10/04/2005) Heavy rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Stan have killed at least 30 people in El Salvador. Widespread deforestation has worsened in the impact of the storm by leaving barren hillsides vulnerable to mudslides and rivers susceptible to flooding.
Birds and Bats Responsible for Seed Dispersal in Tropical Forests
(09/27/2005) Restoring the rich diversity of trees that once characterized expansive tracts of tropical rainforest gets a helping hand from native birds and bats. Just how big a role these winged gardeners play is a question ecologists from the University of Illinois at Chicago and several Latin American universities are about to find out by setting up essentially a living laboratory in Mexico's gulf coast state of Veracruz.
European Space Agency analyzes Hurricane Rita
(09/23/2005) As Hurricane Rita entered the Gulf of Mexico, ESA's Envisat satellite's radar was able to pierce through swirling clouds to directly show how the storm churns the sea surface. This image has then been used to derive Rita's wind field speeds.
Tropical deforestation affects rainfall in North America
(09/20/2005) NASA research has found that deforestation in the tropics affects rainfall patterns in North America. Deforestation in the Amazon region of South America influences rainfall from Mexico to Texas and in the Gulf of Mexico. Similarly, deforesting lands in Central Africa affects precipitation in the upper and lower U.S Midwest, while deforestation in Southeast Asia was found to alter rainfall in China and the Balkan Peninsula.
Missing Gulfport dolphins rescued following Hurricane Katrina
(09/16/2005) Wildlife experts on Thursday began rescuing a group of eight bottlenose dolphins swept from their aquarium home into the Gulf of Mexico by Hurricane Katrina.
NOAA posts photos from inside Hurricane Katrina
(09/02/2005) NOAA hurricane hunter WP-3D Orion and Gulfstream IV aircraft conducted ten long flights into and around the eye of Hurricane Katrina. Lt. Mike Silah, a P-3 pilot, got to see Hurricane Katrina up close and personal, especially when she was an extremely dangerous Category Five storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The day before the powerful and destructive storm made landfall on the USA Gulf Coast, Silah snapped a series of images capturing the eyewall of Katrina.
Sex sells sea turtle conservation in Mexico
(08/19/2005) Mexican authorities announced they will use posters of scantily dressed young women to promote the protection of endangered sea turtles. The promotion comes just weeks after some 80 protected Olive Ridley sea turtles were found chopped to pieces on Escobilla beach in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Sea turtle massacre in Mexico
(08/11/2005) Using machetes, poachers killed some 80 protected Olive Ridley sea turtles on Escobilla beach in Oaxaca, Mexico last weekend. The poachers were believed to be after turtle eggs, thought to be an aphrodisiac among locals. The discovery of the massacre was accouned by Profepa, the government's environmental protection agency.
Sea turtles protected in Costa Rica are killed in Nicaragua
(07/26/2005) Sea turtles that receive the highest protection in Costa Rica and other neighboring countries are dying by the thousands at the hands of unregulated - and unsustainable - commercial fishing in Nicaragua, according to a study by the Bronx Zoo based Wildlife conservation Society.
Honduras wins aid pact tied to human rights, anti-corruption efforts
(07/10/2005) Last month Honduras became to second country to receive aid under the controlversial Millennium Challenge Account program when it signed a five-year $215 million funding deal. The Millennium Challenge Account gives grants to countries committed to respecting the rule of law and reducing corruption.
Honduran priest recognized as environmental hero with $125,000 award
(04/22/2005) On April 18th, 2005, Father José Andrés Tamayo Cortez was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to preserve and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives an award of $125,000, the largest of its kind.
The Next Costa Rica? Environmental activism takes root in Honduras
(04/18/2005) With its biodiversity, rich history, beautiful beaches, and stunning reefs, some believe Honduras could be the ecotourism hotspot in Central America. However, between growing gang violence linked to the drug trade in the United States and conflicts between developers and local communities, the country still faces many challenges in becoming the next Costa Rica. Special correspondent Tina Butler takes a look at changing attitudes about the environment in one of Central America's poorest countries.
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