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News articles on happy-upbeat environmental
Mongabay.com news articles on happy-upbeat environmental in blog format. Updated regularly.
(12/09/2007) Norway will commit NOK 3 billion ($560m) to rainforest conservation efforts in an effort to slow climate change, reports Aftenposten, a Norwegian newspaper.
Aceh, Papua, Amazonas governors sign carbon-for-forests pact
(12/08/2007) Three governors have signed the Forests Now Declaration to protect tropical forests for their carbon value. The Governors, Irwandi Yusuf (Aceh, Indonesia), Barnabas Suebu (Papua, Indonesia), and Eduardo Braga (Amazonas, Brazil), agreed to the declaration's action plan which calls for compensation for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and protection of standing forests. Deforestation and forest degradation account for roughly 20 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, but steps to reduce forest loss will help mitigate climate change. The UK government's 2005 Stern Review said that forest protection could be one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change.
Amazon deforestation rates drop 20% in 2007
(12/08/2007) Deforestation rates in Brazil's Amazon rainforest dropped 20 percent since last year, reported the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE).
REDD will fail if needs of forest communities aren't addressed
(12/07/2007) Initiatives to reduce emissions by reducing tropical deforestation (REDD) will fail unless policymakers adequately address the underlying drivers of forest degradation and destruction, argues a new report published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Rainforest logging moratorium established in Indonesian provinces, Amazonas state
(12/07/2007) Governors from the Brazilian state of Amazonas and the Indonesian provinces of Aceh, Papua and West Papua signed a historic agreement to protect threatened rainforests.
Merrill Lynch announces carbon credits-for-forest conservation partnership
(12/06/2007) Merrill Lynch is working with Carbon conservation, an ecosystem services firms, to explore opportunities in avoided deforestation and integrated sustainable land management. The partnership was announced Thursday in Bali, Indonesia, where more than 10,000 policymakers, scientists, and activists are meeting to discuss a post-Kyoto framework on limiting climate change.
Pictures of new species discovered in West Africa
(12/06/2007) Scientists have discovered significant populations of new, rare and threatened species in one of the largest remaining blocks of tropical forest in West Africa, reports conservation International (CI). The findings underscore the need to conserve the area's high biological richness.
Amazon deforestation could be eliminated with carbon priced at $3
(12/04/2007) The Amazon rainforest could play a major part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that result from deforestation, reports a new study published by scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia, and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. At a carbon price of $3 per ton, protecting the Amazon for its carbon value could outweigh the opportunity costs of forgoing logging, cattle ranching, and soy expansion in the region. 2008 certified emission-reduction credits for carbon currently trade at more than $90 per ton ($25 per ton of CO2).
Returns from carbon offsets could beat palm oil in Congo DRC
(12/04/2007) A proposal to pay the Democratic of Congo (DRC) for reducing deforestation could add 15-50 percent to the amount of international aid given to the warn-torn country, reports a new study published by scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC). The funds would help alleviate rural poverty while cutting emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting threatened biodiversity.
Deal reached on U.S. fuel-economy standards
(11/30/2007) U.S. lawmakers reached an agreement to boost fuel-economy standards of the nation's cars and light-duty trucks for the first time in more than 30 years.
Coral reefs with seasonal temperatures may survive climate change
(11/29/2007) Scientists have revealed an important discovery that raises doubts concerning the viability of plans to fertilize the ocean to solve global warming, a projected $100 billion venture.
European Union forests expanding, absorbing carbon rapidly
(11/29/2007) European Union countries likely require an old ally -- Mother Nature and her forests -- to meet an ambitious post-Kyoto goal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020, according to new research.
Google aims to make renewable energy sources cheaper than coal
(11/28/2007) Tuesday Google announced an initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal.
U.S. wildlife refuges generate 4x return on investment
(11/28/2007) National wildlife refuges generate about $4 in economic activity for every $1 the government spends, according to a study released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday.
Dutch bank arranges carbon-conservation deal in the Amazon rainforest
(11/27/2007) Dutch bank Rabobank will launch the first-ever carbon credits project in the Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon, reports The Financial Times.
Ground-breaking Amazon rainforest imagery will help monitor deforestation
(11/27/2007) Scientists have developed a ground-breaking high resolution snapshot of 400,000 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest. The work will help researchers remotely monitor deforestation, according to the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC).
Guyana's forests offered as massive carbon offset
(11/26/2007) Guyana has offered up the entirity of its remaining forest cover as a giant carbon offset, reports The Independent.
Palm oil industry announces "eco" standards for production
(11/26/2007) Palm oil producers -- under fire from environmentalists who say the industry is driving the wholesale destruction of biodiverse rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia -- last week announced a new certification process to ensure greener environmental standards for palm oil, reports Reuters.
Amazon rainforest children to get medicinal plant training from shamans
(11/21/2007) The Amazon conservation Team (ACT) -- a group using innovative approaches to preserving culture and improving health among Amazonian rainforest tribes -- has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Nature's Path, an organic cereal manufacturer. The funds will allow ACT to address one of the most pressing social concerns for Amazon forest dwellers by expanding its educational and cultural "Shamans and Apprentice" program for indigenous children in the region.
Subway sandwiches launches first fast-food recycling program
(11/21/2007) Sandwich chain Subway is implementing a recycling program, switching from conventional napkins, cutlery and plastic cups, and reducing gasoline use in an effort to minimize its impact on the environment, according to a report published in The Wall Street Journal.
Rainforest Reserve Established in DR Congo to save bonobo
(11/19/2007) The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has announced the creation of a 11,803-square mile rainforest reserve to protect the habitat of the endangered bonobo, the so-called "peaceful chimp". The reserve is located in the Sankuru region, an area that experienced extensive fighting during the long-running civil war in the Congo.
conservationist Schaller named to Time's 'Hero of the Planet'
(11/13/2007) Renowned conservationist Dr. George Schaller of the Wildlife conservation Society was recently named by Time Magazine as one of 60 'Heroes of the Planet.' He joins an elite group of environmental champions, including former Vice President Al Gore and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.
New peccary species discovered by embattled Amazon scientist
(11/04/2007) A new species of peccary has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest by a scientist recently charged with biopiracy by the Brazilian government.
Threatened Amur tiger shows signs of recovery
(10/31/2007) In a world where many animals are under siege, the Amur tiger -- popularly known in the West as the Siberian tiger -- offers an encouraging message: the population of the huge cat is showing signs of recovery.
IBM finds recycling can cut solar cell manufacturing costs
(10/30/2007) IBM today announced a silicon wafer recycling system that could help ease the refined silicon shortage that has driven up production costs of solar energy panels.
Iguanas listen to birds to avoid predators
(10/29/2007) As the world's only sea-feeding lizard, Galapagos Marine Iguanas have long held a unique place in the animal kingdom. While most of their life is spent on land, these lizards forage the seas for their staple food: algae. Now, new research has provided this species with another distinction: although the Galapagos Marine Iguana is mute, it recognizes and utilizes the alarm call of the Galapagos Mockingbird. This is the first instance of a non-vocal species eavesdropping on another species' calls. Both the iguana and mockingbird fall prey to the Galapagos hawk, so by recognizing the mockingbird's warning the iguanas gain important information on avoiding predation.
Madagascar fires mapped with Google Earth in real-time
(10/29/2007) Every year as much as one-third of Madagascar, one of the planet's most biodiverse islands, goes up in flames. Now a new tool gives scientists the ability to monitor and track Madagascar's fires in real-time through the Internet.
Uncontacted Amazon tribe spotted by plane in Peru
(10/21/2007) A group of uncontacted indigenous tribesmen were spotted by plane in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon last month, according to Survival International. The region is threatened by illegal mahogany loggers.
Uganda cancels controversial rainforest logging plan
(10/18/2007) Uganda's government abandoned a controversial plan to grant protected rainforest land to a sugar company, reports Reuters.
Costa Rica gets $26M debt-for-nature swap
(10/18/2007) Under an agreement signed Wednesday by the governments of the United States and environmental groups, $26 million of Costa Rican debt will be forgiven in exchange for tropical forest conservation. The debt-for-nature swap comes under the Tropical Forest conservation Act of 1998, legislation intended to allow eligible developing countries to forego paying back debt owed to the U.S. in exchange for supporting local tropical forest conservation activities.
Black jellyfish, strange marine species discovered in deep ocean
(10/17/2007) An expedition to an unexplored deep ocean basin south of the Philippine Islands has turned up a trove of previous undiscovered species including a black jellyfish, a transparent sea cucumber, and a tentacled worm that resembles a squid.
Photo: baby flamingo at the Bronx Zoo
(10/16/2007) For these Bronx Zoo flamingos, the mantra "you are what you eat" really rings true.
Photo: brown and white pelicans at the Bronx Zoo
(10/16/2007) Colorful autumn leaves are starting to fall but they don't dampen the sunny disposition of these brown and white pelicans at the Bronx Zoo.
World Bank offers $300M for forest conservation, emissions reductions
(10/15/2007) Tropical forest countries will be eligible for payments for preventing deforestation under a program unveiled last week by the World Bank.
First photos of a wild South China Tiger in 34 years
(10/14/2007) While there has been proof that the South China Tiger still lives in the Shaanxi province--sightings by locals, findings of footprints, hair, and teeth--there has been no photographic evidence of this species since 1964. But on October 3rd a local farmer, Zhou Zhenglong, took a total of 71 pictures of a South China Tiger in the wild. For his efforts the farmer received a payment of 20,000 yuan.
Rainforest tribe establishes massive sustainable-use reserve
(10/04/2007) An indigenous group in Guyana has established one of the world's largest sustainable forest reserves, reports conservation International.
Forests reduce flooding
(10/04/2007) While conventional wisdom holds that forests help buffer against catastrophic flooding, there has been little evidence to support such notions. A 2005 report by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) cited this lack of evidence and argued that flood mitigation efforts though forest preservation could not be justified on economic grounds. Now, a new study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, suggests that forests do impact the occurrence and severity of destructive flooding. A prominent researcher is already calling the new work a "landmark study" in support of forest conservation.
11 new species discovered in Vietnam's Green Corridor
(09/29/2007) On September 26th, scientists from World Wildlife Fund announced the discovery of eleven new species: one snake, two butterflies, five orchids, and three other plants in Vietnam's biologically rich Green Corridor. The discoveries were made between 2005 and 2006.
Successful relocation of villagers from wildlife sanctuary
(09/29/2007) The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is located in India's Western Ghats mountain range. The sanctuary contains some of India's most celebrated and endangered wildlife, including the Bengal Tiger and Asian Elephant. Other mammals include the Guar, Sambar, Slender Loris, Chital, and Leopard. The sanctuary is also rich in bird species (nearly 300 have been recorded) and butterflies. As well, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is one of twenty-seven reserves that are apart of Project Tiger: a program to save's India's last tigers and their habitats. In addition to containing some of India's richest biodiversity (recently India has applied for the Western Ghats to gain World Heritage status), the sanctuary was at one time home to thirteen villages that increasingly affected, and were affected by, their protected surroundings. In 2002 eleven of these thirteen villages were relocated to two towns outside of the sanctuary.
Environmentalists and palm oil producers should work together
(09/25/2007) Environmentalists and palm-oil producers are increasingly at odds. Greens groups say palm oil is driving the conversion of tens of thousands of hectares of peatlands and lowland forest in Indonesia, putting wildlife at risk, increasing the vulnerability of forests to fires, and triggering large emissions of greenhouse gases.
Carbon for forests will help Aceh recover from war, tsunami
(09/18/2007) Carbon credits through forest conservation will play an important role in Aceh's recovery from decades of civil war and the devastating 2004 tsunami, which left more than 167,000 people dead and 500,000 homeless in the Indonesia province, said Aceh governor Irwandi Jusuf in meeting in San Francisco.
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.
Brazil's threatened Atlantic forest may be more resilient than thought
(09/06/2007) The Atlantic forest of Brazil, one of the world's most threatened biodiversity hotspots, may have served as a critical refuge for biodiversity during the ice ages. The findings suggest that despite being reduced to just 8 percent of its original extent due to agriculture and urban expansion, the Atlantic forest may be capable of recovery. In other words, the Atlantic forest may be more resilient to change than previously believed.
Tree resprouting offers hope in former pastures of Brazil's cerrado
(09/06/2007) Deforested landscapes in the Brazilian cerrado show hopeful signs of recovery even after long periods of intensive use, reports a study published in the journal Biotropica. Analyzing the natural reestablishment of native trees in former pastureland located in the dry woodlands of the Brazilian cerrado, a team of researchers found that while species richness was lower in older pasture, density and composition of regenerating trees did not change with pasture age.
Can remittances and globalization help the environment?
(09/05/2007) Globalization and other economic trends appear to be helping the degraded forests of El Salvador recover, reports new research that evaluated the impact of global trade, land policy changes, and remittances on forest cover. The study, by Susanna B. Hecht of University of California at Los Angeles and Sassan S. Saatchi of the California Institute of Technology, used socioeconomic data, land-use surveys, and satellite imagery to document significant increases in the area of El Salvador covered by both light woodlands and forest since peace accords were signed in the warn-torn country in 1992.
Guidelines to ensure biofuels production won't hurt the environment
(08/30/2007) Environmentalists have long seen biofuels as a means to improve the sustainability of transportation and energy use since they are a renewable source of energy that can be replenished on an ongoing basis. Further, because biofuels are generally derived from plants, which absorb carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, biofuel production offers the potential to help offset carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate climate change. Nonetheless, in recent years, there has been considerable backlash against biofuels, which are increasingly viewed as a threat to the environment. Green groups now point to large-scale land conversion for energy crops, higher food prices, and a spate to studies that suggest net emissions from corn ethanol are little better than those from fossil fuels, to caution that biofuels can cause more problems than they address.
Saving beautiful - and ugly - species from extinction
(08/30/2007) Allow me to wax poetic about the world's newest wildlife organization, EDGE. I must admit I'm a little in love. This singular organization was founded in January as a part of the London Zoological Society. Its basic tenants remain similar to other endangered species programs: survey populations, set up conservation programs, work with local governments and communities to ensure protection. However, what is unique about EDGE is not their approach to saving species, but rather the species they choose to focus their efforts on. This year they have selected ten mammalian species: the Yangztee River Dolphin, Attenborough's Long-Beaked Echidna, Hispaniolan Solenodon, Bactarian Camel, Pygmy Hippopotamus, Slender Loris, Hirola, Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew, Bumblebee Bat, and the Long-eared Jerboa.
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.
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.
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