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News articles on rainforests

Mongabay.com news articles on rainforests in blog format. Updated regularly.









HSBC to cut lending to questionable oil palm and logging companies

(12/02/2008) HSBC will cut lending to oil palm developers and logging companies in Malaysia and Indonesia due to environmental concerns, reports Reuters.


Brazil to cut Amazon deforestation by 70% to fight global warming

(12/01/2008) Brazil will aim to cut its deforestation rate by 70 percent by 2018 under its plan to reduce emissions from forest clearing, Environment Minister Carlos Minc.


Amazon deforestation rises slightly to 4,600 square miles in 2008

(11/28/2008) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased slightly for the August 2007-July 2008 period, reports the country's National Institute of Space Research (INPE). The rise is the first since 2004 when 27,379 square kilometers were destroyed.


Captive breeding of monster Amazon fish could feed people and save it from depletion

(11/26/2008) A new technique for sexing a giant Amazon fish may help create a sustainable source of protein in South America, report researchers writing in Fish Physiology and Biochemistry.


Guide to reducing emissions through forest conservation released

(11/26/2008) Ahead of next week's climate meeting in Poznań, Poland, the Global Canopy Programme — an alliance of 37 scientific institutions in 19 countries — has launched a layman's guide to a proposed mechanism for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation. Deforestation and land use change accounts for roughly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — a larger share than all the world's cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes combined.


Carbon market could pay poor farmers to adopt sustainable cultivation techniques

(11/26/2008) The emerging market for forest carbon could support agroforestry programs that alleviate rural poverty and promote sustainable development, states a new report issued by the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF).


Cameroon moves to protect rarest gorilla

(11/26/2008) The government of Cameroon has created a national park to help protect the world's most endangered great ape: the Cross River gorilla, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a group that provided scientific and technical support for the initiative.


Brazil moves to protect and restore endangered Atlantic rainforest

(11/22/2008) Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signed a decree to protect and restore critically endangered rainforest along the country's Atlantic coast, reports the Associated Press.


Malaysia's indigenous people to get land rights for first time

(11/19/2008) Malaysia's government will for the first time grant ownership rights of land farmed by indigenous people, reports the Associated Press, but some may see the legal change as a scheme to promote oil palm expansion.


Brazil to use body-heat sensing technology to find uncontacted Amazon tribes

(11/19/2008) Brazil will use a plane equipped with body-heat sensing technology to locate tribes in the Amazon rainforest, reports the Associated Press.


Last uncontacted tribe in Paraguay rapidly losing homeland

(11/19/2008) An indigenous rights' group has sounded the alarm over a new threat to an uncontacted tribe in Paraguay.


California joins effort to fight global warming by saving rainforests

(11/19/2008) California has joined the battle to fight global warming through rainforest conservation. In an agreement signed yesterday at a climate change conference in Beverly Hills, California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged financial assistance and technical support to help reduce deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia. The Memorandum of Understanding commits the California, Illinois and Wisconsin to work with the governors of six states and provinces within Indonesia and Brazil to help slow and stop tropical deforestation, a source of roughly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.


Photos of living gremlin discovered in Indonesia

(11/19/2008) Scientists have rediscovered a long-lost species of primate on a remote island in Indonesia. Conducting a survey of Mount Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park on the island of Sulawesi, a team led by Sharon Gursky-Doyen of Texas A&M University captured three pygmy tarsiers, a tiny species of primate that was last collected in 1921 and was assumed to be extinct until 2000 when two scientists studying rats accidentally trapped and killed an individual. Gursky-Doyen's team spent two months using 276 mist nets to capture the gremlin-like creatures so they could be fitted with radio collars and tracked. One other individual was spotted but eluded capture.


Illegal drug use destroys rainforests

(11/18/2008) Colombian officials have re-iterated their claim that cocaine use in rich countries is driving deforestation in Colombia, reports The Guardian.


New rules establish market for saving rainforests through carbon trading

(11/18/2008) A new carbon accounting standard will bolster efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation, thereby creating a financial incentive for saving rainforests, say backers of the initiative, known as the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).


Coordinated effort needed to cut deforestation via carbon markets

(11/18/2008) The Coalition for Rainforest Nations — a group of 40 tropical countries seeking compensation in the form of carbon credits for protecting their forest cover — will ask the United Nations at next month's climate conference in Poland to establish a single body to coordinate forest carbon trading, reports Reuters from a workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) meeting in Milan, Italy.


Conflict in PNG between govt and landowners over REDD carbon trading

(11/17/2008) The government of Papua New Guinea is facing criticism over its plan to seek compensation via the carbon market for protecting the country's rainforests, reports Australian Broadcasting Corporation News (ABC News).


Brazil OKs $4 billion dam in the Amazon rainforest

(11/13/2008) Brazil has given final go-ahead on a controversial dam on the Madeira river in the Amazon rainforest provided environmental conditions are met, reports the Associated Press.


Brazilian rancher claims he owns land American nun was killed defending in the Amazon

(11/12/2008) The rancher suspected or orchestrating the killing of an American nun in the Brazilian Amazon now claims he owns the land she died trying to defend, reports the Associated Press (AP).


Greenpeace activists block palm oil shipment from departing Indonesia for Europe

(11/11/2008) Greenpeace activists blocked a palm oil shipment from departing Dumai, Indonesia's main palm oil export port, for Europe to protest against the ongoing destruction of Indonesia's forests.


New species of flying lemurs discovered

(11/10/2008) A new study has found that colugos or flying lemurs are twice as diverse as previously believed.


Missing gorilla rangers return safely in Congo, one dies of cholera in camp

(11/06/2008) All of the missing rangers have now been accounted for after they fled Virunga Park Headquarters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The headquarters was seized by rebels led by Laurent Nkunda on October 26th.


Palm oil companies propose satellite monitoring of their plantations to ensure sustainability

(11/05/2008) The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is considering a proposal to use satellite imagery to enforce criteria that high value conservation areas are not converted to oil palm plantations, reports Ian Wood of the Telegraph. The move would boost RSPO's credibility at a time when the industry-lead sustainability initiative is under fire from environmentalists who say its performance to date suggests it is merely an exercise in greenwashing.


Brazil triples endangered species list

(11/05/2008) Brazil has nearly tripled the number of species on its endangered list due to development, overfishing, pollution, wildlife trafficking and deforestation, reports the Associated Press.


Forest certification system needs reform to ensure sustainability - report

(11/04/2008) Demand for wood products is ultimately one of the largest drivers of global deforestation through both direct clear-cutting and selective logging, which increases a forest's vulnerability to fire and subsequent clearing and disturbance by other actors, including hunters, subsistence farmers, land speculators, ranchers and agro-industrial firms. Reducing the detrimental environmental impacts of meeting wood demand is critical to protecting the world's forests as healthy, productive and resilient ecosystems.


Ugandan president continues to undermine national forest reserves

(11/04/2008) Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni — a leader who has repeatedly sought to hand forest areas over to industrial developers and undermine the sanctity of reserves — is now blaming the country's forestry agency for deforestation in Uganda.


Rainforest agriculture preserves bird biodiversity in India

(11/04/2008) Conservation of biodiversity and agriculture have long been considered conflicting interests. Numerous studies have shown that when agricultural replaces a forest, biodiversity greatly suffers. However a new study finds it doesn't have to be that way.


Rainforest fungus generates biodiesel, may drive energy of the future

(11/04/2008) A fungus recently discovered in the Patagonian rainforest has shocked biologists and environmentalists: the fungus produces gas almost identical to diesel. In a paper announcing the discovery in Microbiology, scientists state that they believe the fungus, called Gliocladium roseum, could become an incredibly efficient green energy source.


Endangered wildlife in Malaysia falls victim to rampant poaching due to 'outdated' laws

(11/04/2008) In the face of rampant poaching of endangered animals, conservationists are calling for Malaysia to reform its 36-year-old wildlife protection law.


Forests for Climate initiative launches in Indonesia

(11/04/2008) Greenpeace has officially launched its Forests for Climate initiative (FFC), a non-market avoided deforestation scheme that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by slowing forest destruction.


Brazil charges 81 with illegal Amazon deforestation

(11/02/2008) Brazil will file charges against 81 people accused of being the biggest destroyers of the Amazon rainforest, reports the Associated Press.


Oil palm expansion in Indonesian Borneo increased 400-fold from 1991-2007

(10/30/2008) Annual forest conversion to palm oil plantations increased 400-fold from 1,163 hectares in 1991 to 461,992 hectares in 2007 in Central Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, reports a new report published by Forest Watch Indonesia, a local NGO.


39 rangers missing in Virunga Park after headquarters overtaken by rebels

(10/30/2008) Five days after rebels occupied Virunga Park’s headquarters, thirty-nine wildlife rangers are still unaccounted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During the takeover, which included fighting between the Congolese army and the rebels, many of the rangers fled into the forest.


Researchers catch, then release, world's rarest big cat in Russia

(10/30/2008) The world’s rarest big cat is alive and well. At least one of them, that is, according to researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) who captured and released a female Far Eastern leopard in Russia last week. The capture was made in Primorsky Krai along the Russian-Chinese border by a team of scientists from WCS and the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biology and Soils (IBS). The team is evaluating the health and potential effects of inbreeding for this tiny population, which experts believe contains no more than 10-15 females.


Air travel may be powered by biofuels in 3-5 years

(10/27/2008) Boeing says biofuel-powered planes are only three-to-five years away from being a reality, reports The Guardian.


Forest elephants learn to avoid roads, behavior may lead to population decline

(10/27/2008) Forest elephants in the Congo Basin have developed a new behavior: they are avoiding roads at all costs. A study published in PLoS One concludes that the behavior, which includes an unwillingness to cross roads, is further endangering the rare animals which are already threatened by poaching, development, and habitat loss. By avoiding roads, the elephants are increasingly confining themselves to smaller areas lacking enough habitat and resources.


Costa Rica protects green macaw by banning logging of mountain almond tree

(10/27/2008) Costa Rica's high court has prohibited the cutting of a certain species of tree, in part because a highly endangered type of parrot uses the tree almost exclusively for nesting.


Shell, HSBC put $665,000 toward Borneo rainforest conservation project

(10/26/2008) Brunei Shell Petroleum (Shell Oil) and HSBC have donated 500,000 Brunei dollars ($333,000) each to conserve forests on the island of Borneo, reports the Borneo Bulletin.


Gorilla refuge falls into rebel hands in Congo; Park HQ seized

(10/26/2008) Rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo seized the headquarters of Virunga National Park — a refuge home to 200 of the world's 700 remaining endangered mountain gorillas — according to a statement by park officials. Some 50 rangers fled into the forests and abandoned the park station after intense fighting between the Congolese army and the rebels loyal to dissident General Laurent Nkunda.


Despite financial crunch, donors pledge $100M for rainforest conservation

(10/23/2008) Donors meeting this week in Washington D.C. pledged more than $100 million to the World Bank's new initiative for conserving tropical forests. In addition to the $100 million in donations, the World Bank announced that more than forty developing countries have asked to join the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility — the Bank's foray into the emerging market for forest carbon credits. 25 countries have so far been selected to participate in the initiative, which builds capacity for countries to earn compensation through the carbon markets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Experts say the mechanism could eventually lead to the transfer of billions of dollars per year to fund conservation and rural development in tropical countries, while at the same time helping fight climate change. Deforestation and land use change presently accounts for around a fifth of anthropogenic emissions.


Peru gets $25M in debt relief to fund rainforest conservation

(10/22/2008) The U.S. government has agreed to forgive $25 million of Peru's debt in exchange for protecting the country's tropical forests, according to a statement released Monday by the State Department.


Borneo logging road puts rainforest, indigenous communities at risk

(10/22/2008) A 186-mile (300-km) logging road to the top of the Bario highlands in northern Sarawak puts the state's increasingly rare natural forest at risk, warns the Borneo Resources Institute, a grassroots environmental group.


Peru's uncontacted Amazon tribes under attack

(10/22/2008) Illegal logging in the Peruvian Amazon is driving uncontacted tribes into Brazil where they are in conflict over food and resources with other uncontacted groups, according to a Reuters interview with a leading expert on indigenous tribes.


7 new species of frog discovered in Ecuador

(10/22/2008) Seven previously unknown species of frog discovered over the past two years by Ecuadorian researchers are already under threat from habitat loss, reports a newsletter from the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group.


Rainforest biodiversity results from habitat specialization rather than chance

(10/22/2008) The rich diversity of trees in tropical forests may be "the result of subtle strategies that allow each species to occupy its own ecological niche" rather than random dispersal, report researchers writing in the journal Science.


EU says emissions trading system may fund forest conservation

(10/17/2008) Europe's carbon trading scheme may be used to generate funds to fight deforestation, reports Reuters. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said he hoped the EU's emissions trading scheme could reduce gross tropical deforestation by half by 2020 and eliminate net forest loss by 2030.


Indonesia to audit all timber operations to cut illegal logging

(10/17/2008) The Indonesian Forestry Ministry has announced a policy that requires timber companies to have their wood stocks audited to ensure the wood is derived from sustainably managed forests, reports The Jakarta Post. The measure is expected to curtail illegal logging in a country where a large proportion of timber is of illicit origin.


Carbon conservation schemes will fail without forest people

(10/16/2008) Mechanisms that use forest conservation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are doomed to fail unless they are "based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and forest communities," warn environmentalists and indigenous rights groups meeting in Oslo this week. Indigenous groups fear they are being excluded from discussions on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), a proposed financial mechanism that would compensate tropical countries for reducing emissions caused by deforestation and land use. Such emissions account for a fifth of the global total, or more than the total emissions from transportation. In particular, indigenous groups and forest communities are concerned they will not see benefits from REDD. Worse, some believe the mechanism could trigger a new wave of land grabs and evictions by parties seeking to capitalize on carbon payments. Indigenous groups and forest communities have long struggled against development interests seeking to exploit their traditional lands and resources. But supporters of so-called "avoided deforestation" schemes say that properly-designed policy offers unprecedented opportunities to create sustainable livelihoods for forest people while safeguarding biodiversity and services provided by healthy forest ecosystems.


Breakthrough may enable reforestation using mahogany

(10/16/2008) Brazilian researchers are closer to developing a way to establish large-scale mahogany plantations, reports the ITTO in its bi-monthly update. Scientists at the Federal Rural University of Amazonia (UFRA) have found that planting a matrix of mahogany with cedar reduces the incidence of the Hypsipyla grandella caterpillar, a chief pest of mahogany that has doomed previous attempts to reforest with the valuable hardwood species.


Rainforest Action Network to review support for FSC certification

(10/16/2008) The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said it would review its support for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a forest products certification standard, over concerns regarding its certification of destructive logging operations. The announcement comes after a bitter campaign waged against RAN by Ecological Internet, a forest activist group.



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