tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/news Mongabay.com News 2015-07-03T18:31:39Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15083 2015-07-03T18:26:00Z 2015-07-03T18:31:39Z Researchers find 'hidden tapestry' of plant chemicals in Amazon forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0703-thumb-asner-cao-1-2.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Amazon rainforest might seem like a massive expanse of monotonous green. However, a recent study has found that within this monotony lies a kaleidoscope of chemicals unique to all the different plant species of the forest. Morgan Erickson-Davis -12.660575 -69.735143 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15082 2015-07-03T11:22:00Z 2015-07-03T14:18:17Z First Resources the latest palm oil giant to announce zero-deforestation commitment <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5455.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Palm oil giant First Resources has committed to eliminate deforestation and rights abuses from its supply chain, making it the first palm producer operating primarily at the grower level to do so. The policy is the latest in a wave of sustainability commitments from corporations that produce, trade and use palm oil. To realize its new commitment, First Resources will have to resolve numerous land disputes its operations are involved in with local communities in Indonesia. Philip Jacobson -0.626800 116.030366 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15081 2015-07-03T11:04:00Z 2015-07-03T14:01:36Z Wilmar, Musim Mas ex-supplier still destroying forest for oil palm in Indonesia's Leuser Ecosystem <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/indonesia/150/sumatra_0680.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A supplier of palm oil giants Wilmar and Musim Mas has continued to bulldoze valuable forest in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem despite its most prominent customers’ zero-deforestation commitments and repeated exposés of its activities, according to a NGO report. Both Wilmar and Musim Mas have suspended their dealings with the company, Mopoli Raya. Philip Jacobson 4.293876 97.423365 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15077 2015-07-03T00:06:00Z 2015-07-03T00:07:23Z How much is clean water worth? New report guides payments for ecosystem services <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/panama/150/pan01-0602.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The first-ever set of comprehensive guidelines for designing, implementing and managing mechanisms to facilitate payments for ecosystem services has been established by a group of experts and researchers. Morgan Erickson-Davis tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15076 2015-07-02T16:49:00Z 2015-07-02T17:00:19Z Can a wild fishery be bred? Indonesia's plan to restock its oceans <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0702-MKaye-restocking-3-thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Indonesian government is planning to restock depleted marine animals in its national oceans. But restocking schemes there and abroad have had mixed results, and the government has released few details about the plan, raising questions about its sustainability. Rebecca Kessler -8.348790 116.059979 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15075 2015-07-02T14:37:00Z 2015-07-02T14:39:18Z Happy July 4th weekend: new red, white, and blue species discovered An independent researcher has described a spectacular red, white, and blue crayfish just in time for the fourth of July. The new species, named Cherax pulcher, was first discovered in Japanese pet shops by Christian Lukhaup before he finally tracked down the animal to creeks in remote West Papua, Indonesia. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15074 2015-07-02T14:20:00Z 2015-07-02T14:26:40Z Damming Dissent: Community leaders behind bars in Guatemala after opposing hydro projects <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0702_Cufee_DammingDissent_Women_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Guatemalan government has granted concessions for several hydroelectric dams in the department of Huehuetenango without consulting the local Mayan population or obtaining their consent, activists charge. Communities resisting the dam projects have been experiencing a multi-pronged crackdown, including arrests and at least three murders. Rebecca Kessler 15.804662 -91.315763 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15070 2015-07-01T22:43:00Z 2015-07-01T22:48:06Z Brazilian police and scientists team up to crack down on illegal timber trade <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0701Police-Officer-at-Truck150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Seven years ago, Brazil’s São Paulo State Environmental Police set out to crack down on the illegal timber trade. In 2011, during one of their most ambitious inspection operations, officers inspected nearly 350 trucks and more than 60 lumberyards in just two days. Discovering an array of violations, they responded by delivering 50 violation notices and issuing BRL $2.2 million (USD $1.4 million) in fines. Rhett Butler -9.428283 -62.737487 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15069 2015-07-01T11:55:00Z 2015-07-01T11:59:46Z Scientists raise population estimate for world's most endangered sloth There may be more pygmy sloths than believed, according to a new paper in the Journal of Mammalogy. Scientists originally estimated a population of less than 500 pygmy sloths on Escudo de Veraguas Island off the coast of Panama, the only place in the world where these diminutive sloths survive. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15068 2015-07-01T11:49:00Z 2015-07-02T15:50:42Z Indonesian tycoon bears responsibility for devastating mud volcano, contends new research A mud volcano responsible for displacing more than 40,000 people in Indonesia's East Java province was caused by an oil and gas company owned by one of the country's richest tycoons, and not by an earthquake as company executives and some scientists have claimed, according to new research out of Austraila's Adelaide University that aspires to put to matter to rest. Philip Jacobson -7.452874 112.707734 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15063 2015-07-01T09:17:00Z 2015-07-01T10:21:01Z ‘Criminalization’ of local people in Indonesian province rife amid oil palm, coal booms <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/phhN8e5Va8SSQzQ5z1BpxJauUIyyoiWAXAuv0yS2BKM=w150-h98-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A coalition of local NGOs in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province is campaigning for an end to the criminalization of residents who oppose plantation and mining projects on their land. The issue was a theme in the government's recently concluded national inquiry into land conflicts affecting indigenous peoples, and last week President Joko Widodo promised to secure the release of indigenous citizens who had been criminalized. Philip Jacobson -0.491768 117.141259 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15062 2015-06-30T23:37:00Z 2015-07-01T05:55:12Z Dilma disappoints with weak rainforest target Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff disappointed environmentalists with what they call weak commitments on reducing deforestation and supporting renewable energy announced today during her visit to the White House. Rhett Butler -2.954589 -58.489989 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15061 2015-06-30T22:02:00Z 2015-06-30T22:11:42Z Using DNA evidence to pinpoint poaching zones <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/tanzania/150/tz_1437.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A study published last week in <em>Science</em> showed that most of the ivory being trafficked today comes from two areas in Africa: savanna elephant ivory from southeast Tanzania in East Africa and forest elephant ivory from the meeting point of Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Central African Republic. Rhett Butler 2.247879 16.167828 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15060 2015-06-30T21:03:00Z 2015-07-02T03:31:37Z Taking technology out in the cold: working to conserve snow leopards <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0630Snow_leopard-Uncia_uncia150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Conservation work is important not just in tropical rainforests, but also in snow-covered peaks and steep slopes, the home of snow leopards and a number of unusual ungulates, including blue sheep and Asiatic ibex. When these and other native prey are scarce, snow leopards may resort to eating more livestock, which turns herders against them. Rhett Butler 48.728329 88.058417 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15059 2015-06-30T19:49:00Z 2015-06-30T19:54:10Z Palm oil plantations used to 'reforest' parts of Brazil despite being wildlife deserts <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0630-thumb-Alexander%20C%20Lees_Red-breasted%20Blackbird_Sturnella%20militaris_typical%20of%20young%20plantations%20copy.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A recent study systematically documented bird biodiversity within oil palm plantations, finding they contain fewer species than secondary forest and even cattle pasture. As oil palm grows as a commodity in Brazil – and can legally even be used to "reforest" land – how can a country that has made big gains in reducing deforestation in recent years balance this powerhouse industry with environmental welfare? Morgan Erickson-Davis -3.021837 -53.239355 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15058 2015-06-30T17:32:00Z 2015-06-30T17:38:10Z Into the great unknown: The ability of global forests to store carbon is at risk <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/california/150/muir_woods_0102.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's tropical and subtropical forests absorb 1.1 trillion kg. of carbon from the atmosphere every year, storing it in soil and living and dead biomass. Amazonian forests alone store more carbon than any other ecosystem on earth. That's important because any carbon that is stored in biomass is carbon not being released to the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15057 2015-06-30T14:36:00Z 2015-06-30T14:39:07Z U.S. to remove extinct cougar from Endangered Species Act The U.S. government has declared the Eastern cougar extinct more than 80 years after its a believed a hunter in Maine wiped out the last individual. Scientists still dispute whether the Eastern cougar was a distinct subspecies, but either way officials believe the original population that roamed much of the Eastern U.S. and Canada is gone&#8212;and has been for decades. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15052 2015-06-30T09:27:00Z 2015-06-30T09:34:04Z 'Sea change' in clothing industry means more protections for forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_1169.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Sateri has become the latest major viscose producer to adopt a new wood- and pulp-sourcing policy aimed at removing deforestation from its supply chain. The company, the world's third-largest viscose producer, joins Aditya Birla and Lenzing, the two biggest, in making commitments to stop buying wood pulp from natural or endangered forests. Philip Jacobson 1.302414 114.332741 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15051 2015-06-29T18:42:00Z 2015-06-30T21:02:54Z Big reserve expansion gives tigers a boost in India <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/1029-thumb-morgan-tiger.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A hundred years ago, there were thirteen times as many tigers in the world as there are today, ranging from Turkey across the Eurasian continent to the eastern coast of Russia. The 13 countries that contain the world’s last tigers today - a mere, 2,500 mature individuals - are challenged with increasing protected tiger habitat to prevent crowding and inbreeding, while facing extreme funding and space constraints. One state in India, however, has found a cost-effective way to give tigers more room. Morgan Erickson-Davis 12.243857 75.764144 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15050 2015-06-29T18:39:00Z 2015-06-29T18:40:38Z Lions return to Rwanda After 15 years, the roar of lions will once again be heard in Rwanda. Today the NGO, African Parks, will begin moving seven lions from South Africa to Rwanda's Akagera National Park. It was here that Rwanda's last lions were poisoned by cattle herders after the Rwandan genocide left the park wholly unmanaged. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15049 2015-06-29T17:37:00Z 2015-06-29T17:52:59Z Corporations rush to make zero-deforestation commitments, but is it working? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/jlh/sabah/150/sabah_362.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Every year, more companies pledge to stop using ingredients whose production cause tropical deforestation. Retailers and brands making voluntary commitments – mostly involving palm oil – include Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Colgate and Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil trader. Among 2014 joiners were Cargill, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin's Donuts and Baskin' Robbins, with 2015 bringing the addition of McDonald's, Archer Daniels Midland and Yum! Brands (owner of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell). Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15048 2015-06-29T15:40:00Z 2015-06-29T15:57:57Z Chinese turtle heist sends rare Philippine species to brink of extinction, international rescue underway <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0626_gs_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On Friday, June 19, Philippine authorities raided a warehouse on the island of Palawan and confiscated more than 4,000 live, illegally harvested rare turtles, only days before they were to be shipped to foreign food and pet markets. The massive haul included over 3,800 critically endangered Philippine forest turtles – animals in very poor health and showing signs of severe neglect from long captivity. Tiffany Roufs 9.542699 118.496978 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15047 2015-06-29T11:29:00Z 2015-06-30T21:02:40Z After two decades, Indonesia publishes plan for tackling invasive species <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0753.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Twenty years after ratifying a legally binding UN convention which obligates parties to deal with invasive alien species, considered to be main direct drivers of biodiversity loss across the globe, Indonesia has drawn up a national strategic plan on the matter. The plan outlines steps to mitigate invasive species through policy, institution-building, information management, research and education, capacity-building and public awareness. Philip Jacobson -6.758784 105.353136 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15044 2015-06-29T09:21:00Z 2015-06-29T10:24:34Z NGOs, activists fret new role for Indonesia's spy agency <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/yUmphe_O91LIX0qsyw4NME7ikOsrH8rqaBwjzunkiqo=w150-h99-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A mysterious new partnership between Indonesia's spy agency and Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to boost foreign investment has civil society wary of deepening agrarian conflict in the post-authoritarian country. While little is known about the specifics of the new arrangement, activists point to Indonesia's long history of repression by state security forces to warn that intelligence reports on local sentiment could be manipulated to stymie community opposition to development projects. Philip Jacobson -6.254943 106.848187 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15042 2015-06-26T20:12:00Z 2015-06-30T14:53:30Z Satellite-based forest mapping platform hits its stride Global Forest Watch, a young online forest monitoring and alert system, provides free, near real-time data on deforestation and tree-cover loss around the world. It allows users to create customized interactive maps detailing forest change, concession areas for natural resource extraction and agricultural production, conservation areas, and community land boundaries. The system acts as a research platform, providing country profiles and rankings based on forest statistics, and allowing users to crowdsource forest data and stories. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15041 2015-06-26T19:54:00Z 2015-06-26T21:56:40Z New reserve in Peru will protect nearly a million acres of pristine forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0626-thumb-iquitos-forest.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A tract of Peruvian rainforest bigger than California's Yosemite National Park is officially more protected, with formal declaration of the Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area (RCA) made last week in Lima. Those involved with the reserve's formation hope it will safeguard the area's biodiversity as well as the ancestral homeland and way of life of local indigenous communities. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.704634, -73.182292 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15040 2015-06-26T12:24:00Z 2015-06-26T12:36:08Z Illegal forest clearing spotted in Aceh's biggest peat swamp <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/dU3UVu78Sudu-lHiiFUxEVBq9y-3Y-kU-yKWru_6KtQ=w150-h93-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Encroachers have been clearing forest at three locations in Aceh's biggest peat swamp since February, the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve, analysis of Landsat satellite imagery by environmental group Greenomics-Indonesia shows. The area is home to the densest population of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans in the Leuser Ecosystem. Philip Jacobson 2.312313 97.920790 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15038 2015-06-26T09:19:00Z 2015-06-29T03:06:13Z Indonesian president pledges to accelerate long-delayed indigenous rights law <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/wsV75uOoTVEVwtOQoP1pI7V9WM5LAydBVRmfVWAUduo=w150-h98-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesian President Joko Widodo reiterated his commitments yesterday to a number of indigenous rights issues at a meeting in Jakarta with the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN). He promised to make passing a long-delayed law on indigenous peoples rights a priority; acknowledged the importance of setting up a task force for indigenous issues; agreed to the release, in principle, of indigenous citizens who have been "criminalized," or unfairly prosecuted by the law; and pledged to encourage economic development based on indigenous models as a counterweight to big business. Philip Jacobson -6.170460 106.824204 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15037 2015-06-25T17:29:00Z 2015-06-25T17:52:57Z Do we need to move 'beyond certification' to save forests? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_1148.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Over the past two years dozens of companies have established 'zero-deforestation' or 'deforestation-free' policies for the commodities they source, trade, and produce. The pace of adoption has been staggeringly fast for a business that have been historically slow-moving relative to other industries. Some sectors, like the Indonesian palm oil industry and the Brazilian soy industry, even appear to be nearing a critical mass where the majority of international buyers and traders are now bound by such agreements. Rhett Butler 19.461253 104.367470 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15034 2015-06-25T14:46:00Z 2015-06-25T14:47:10Z Meager post-Ebola harvests worsen food insecurity in West Africa <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0625_LParshley_EbolaHarvest_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The chaos caused by the Ebola outbreak made it much more than a public health issue in affected West African nations. Farmers, who are central to West African economies, suffered, and the effects have hampered the region's efforts to recover from the disease. Rebecca Kessler 6.310754 -10.803254 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15033 2015-06-25T13:47:00Z 2015-06-25T13:49:45Z Video: camera traps highlight wildlife diversity of 'forgotten' park Things appeared to be on the upswing in Cambodia's vast Virachey National Park in the early 2000s. Conservation groups were surveying the area and the World Bank had committed $5 million in funds. But then the Cambodia government handed out a mining exploration permit covering 90 percent of the park. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15032 2015-06-25T10:28:00Z 2015-06-30T20:51:29Z Status change to come for Indonesia's partial logging moratorium? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5109.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesia's Environment and Forestry Ministry might upgrade the partial logging moratorium from a presidential instruction to a government regulation, or PP, later this year, a ministry official said this week. The change would take place after the ministry completes its semiannual revision of the moratorium map for the ninth time in November, according to The Jakarta Post. Philip Jacobson 1.223711 101.677374 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15031 2015-06-25T08:41:00Z 2015-06-25T08:48:14Z Filipino fishermen operating illegally in Indonesia's Sangihe Islands Indonesia’s crackdown on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has so far focused on foreign boats weighing more than 30 gross tons that enter Indonesian waters. But the Indonesian maritime affairs and fisheries minister recently expressed her dismay that in Sangihe, a group of islands directly adjacent to the Philippines, Filipino fishermen are allowed to operate with impunity. Philip Jacobson 3.607285 125.426849 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15030 2015-06-25T06:41:00Z 2015-06-25T07:09:29Z Indonesia's booming caged-bird trade is fueling trafficking and threatening extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/P_4Zai35Vkmvv7G9xhR3SLWzSSbRNl5eoLFpIC30g0g=w150-h100-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesia is a global hub for the wild bird trade, given its abundance of bird species and deep-seated tradition of bird-keeping. But while newspaper headlines regularly trumpet the most alarming examples of international smuggling, experts warn it’s the domestic pet trade that poses a bigger threat. Philip Jacobson -6.226289 106.877762 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15029 2015-06-24T17:50:00Z 2015-06-26T20:45:07Z Amazon tribe creates 500-page traditional medicine encyclopedia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0624.acate.Cesar-pic.THUMB.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In one of the great tragedies of our age, indigenous traditions, stories, cultures and knowledge are winking out across the world. Whole languages and mythologies are vanishing, and in some cases even entire indigenous groups are falling into extinction. This is what makes the news that a tribe in the Amazon have created a 500-page encyclopedia of their traditional medicine all the more remarkable. Jeremy Hance -7.785371 -73.891784 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15028 2015-06-24T16:10:00Z 2015-06-24T16:24:58Z Video: Vet describes emotional toll of responding to brutal rhino poaching <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0624_MSmith_FowldsRhinoVideo_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In March 2012 poachers struck a South African game reserve. They drugged three rhinos and hacked off their horns, inflicting massive facial trauma to the immobile but unanesthetized animals. Wildlife veterinarian Will Fowlds attended to the victims. Rebecca Kessler -33.573087 26.603058 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15025 2015-06-24T09:06:00Z 2015-06-24T09:13:26Z Indigenous Indonesians file land claim against IndoMet coal project <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/e-ot2RCcHl0Z53yln8bXFVRHtwi5LRozcDxFW3E_WTk=w150-h95-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A few months before BHP Billiton’s Haju mine is set to begin operations in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province, residents of nearby Maruwei village have filed a claim for 1,000 hectares of land in the area under a new land rights scheme for indigenous peoples. The scheme, called Dayak Misik and introduced by the provincial government last year, allocates 10 hectares to each village for communal use and five hectares to each household. Philip Jacobson 0.020991 114.687922 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15024 2015-06-23T23:56:00Z 2015-06-24T13:40:48Z On the fence about wildlife fencing: new paper outlines research needed to resolve debate <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0617-pereira-drylands-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Fencing is used to protect wildlife against poaching and human encroachment, and also to protect people and livestock from wildlife. As a conservation strategy, it has proponents as well as detractors. A recent paper by a team of 45 international researchers in the Journal of Applied Ecology questions the wisdom of erecting wildlife fencing in dryland ecosystems. It also seeks to ease decision-making on fencing initiatives by setting a research agenda to answer open questions that will help resolve the debate. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15023 2015-06-23T19:04:00Z 2015-06-23T19:10:12Z Bunge: if you clear peatlands, we won't buy your palm oil Palm oil growers who plan to convert peatlands and rainforests for new plantations have been warned: one of the world's largest agribusiness companies is not interested in your palm oil. Rhett Butler 3.1882077 113.0389871 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15022 2015-06-23T18:34:00Z 2015-06-26T17:10:31Z Social-media firestorm defends popular man-eating tiger in India, raising conservation questions <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0624_AJoshi_Ustad_Ustad1_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On May 8, 56-year-old forest guard Rampal Saini was attacked and killed by a tiger named Ustad with a bite to the neck. Ustad was hugely popular with tourists and had gained a massive online following. But Saini was Ustad's fourth victim in a span of five years, and his death unleashed a heated debate — especially online — about whether the ensuing decision to banish him to captivity was the right one. Rebecca Kessler 26.017578 76.502612 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15019 2015-06-23T14:50:00Z 2015-06-23T15:03:34Z Cat update: lion and African golden cat down, Iberian lynx up A new update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized the West African population of lions&#8212;which is considered genetically distinct and separate from East and Central African lions&#8212;as Critically Endangered. Based largely on a paper in 2014, the researchers estimate that there are only 121-375 mature lions in West Africa today. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15018 2015-06-23T11:09:00Z 2015-06-23T13:35:05Z Indonesia to revive controversial sugarcane plan in Aru? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/A7Esc688zLMTzyj8D5BWuXzQvxaAzdqde9Xqfgkz4Tc=w150-h99-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Indonesian agriculture minister's recent comments that the Aru archipelago in the country's eastern waters will be one of three sites for a major new sugarcane initiative has sparked an outcry among civil society groups, as a similar controversial plan was shelved only last year after activists waged a long battle against it. Philip Jacobson -6.153026 134.499430 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15017 2015-06-23T05:30:00Z 2015-06-24T20:01:03Z Controversy emerges over alleged deforestation policy breach by APRIL supplier <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0622gfw_ahl_satellite150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Less than three weeks after APRIL unveiled a sustainability policy that is supposed to protect natural forests, an environmental group is alleging that one of the Indonesian forestry giant's subsidiaries is already breaching the commitment. But APRIL refuted the claim and says it continues to stand by the policy. Rhett Butler 3.556065 117.073839 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15016 2015-06-23T04:34:00Z 2015-06-23T05:00:38Z Bengkulu governor orders review of mining permits <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/gWu0aVEV8dp8OI0l7UMPUxJqDuzawnjbBzMZzz2QkBY=w150-h96-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The governor of Indonesia's Bengkulu province reiterated his commitment to bringing mining in the province under control, as environmentalists urge his administration to crack down on rampant illegality in the sector and the threat it poses to protected areas. Philip Jacobson -3.097727 101.783284 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15015 2015-06-22T21:19:00Z 2015-06-23T19:11:02Z Bunge palm oil supplier plans to clear peatlands for plantations <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0622MIR10769_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>BLD Plantation Bhd, a Malaysian palm oil company, plans to clear some 14,000 hectares of peatlands in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo, potentially putting it in conflict with the deforestation-free sourcing policy established by American agribusiness giant Bunge, say campaigners who filed a grievance over the matter. Rhett Butler 3.1882078 113.0389869 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15014 2015-06-22T14:46:00Z 2015-06-22T15:06:13Z Turkish government bears down on rural resistance to mining and hydro projects <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0526_jh_150_2.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Over the past two decades, industry has encroached rapidly on Turkey's Black Sea region. Home to just 10 percent of Turkey's population of 75 million, it contains some of the country's most beautiful and biodiverse natural areas. As the threats to these places multiply, so too has the local resistance. Villagers face police force, legal hurdles, and more subtle means of suppression in their fight to protect the environment. Rebecca Kessler 41.106040 41.757093 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15013 2015-06-22T05:16:00Z 2015-06-22T05:28:15Z Norway, Colombia target partnership to save rainforests Norway and Colombia are in talks to establish a partnership to protect the South American country's rainforests. Rhett Butler -3.457667 -70.056032 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15012 2015-06-21T21:10:00Z 2015-06-22T03:44:52Z Study confirms what scientists have been saying for decades: the sixth mass extinction is real and caused by us <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/animals/150/animals_02560.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Humans are wiping species off the plant at a rate at least 100 times faster than historical levels, providing further evidence that we're in the midst of a sixth great extinction, concludes a new study based on 'extremely conservative' assumptions on past and current extinction rates. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15011 2015-06-21T16:11:00Z 2015-06-21T16:14:28Z Happy World Giraffe Day (Photos) Families across the United States are today celebrating Father's Day. But this Sunday is extra special because it is also World Giraffe Day. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15008 2015-06-19T22:48:00Z 2015-06-19T22:53:02Z Many tropical species surprisingly resilient, if not actively persecuted <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/papua/150/papua_5138.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Dr. Richard Corlett is the current Director of the Center for Integrative Conservation at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is also a former president of ATBC, and one of the keynote speakers for this year’s conference in Hawaii. Dr. Corlett recently spoke with Mongabay.com about some of the insights he’s gained from his research in tropical ecology and conservation. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15007 2015-06-19T21:32:00Z 2015-06-19T21:49:29Z Elephant poaching gets center stage in NYC ivory crush Public awareness of the global elephant ivory poaching crisis got a high profile boost today with the crush of 2,000 pounds (907 kg) of confiscated ivory in New York City's Times Square. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15006 2015-06-19T18:37:00Z 2015-06-19T18:46:10Z Pope calls for action on climate change, biodiversity loss In a letter being widely heralded by environmentalists, yesterday Pope Francis called on world leaders to address threats to the planet, including climate change and species extinction. Notably, the leader of the Catholic Church singled out "human activity" as the main driver of these threats. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15005 2015-06-19T18:34:00Z 2015-06-19T18:35:39Z Today: watch rainforest wildlife live #rainforestlive A number of conservation groups have partnered up to deliver a full day of rainforest wildlife viewing via social media. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15004 2015-06-19T17:57:00Z 2015-06-19T17:58:20Z UN resolves to negotiate treaty governing the high seas The high seas are often called the Wild West of the ocean. These vast oceanic tracts begin 200 miles from shore and fall under no nation's jurisdiction. And while there are various agreements governing human activities there, there is no comprehensive management framework coordinating them all. That is now likely to change. The United Nations General Assembly today resolved to begin negotiating an international treaty specifically focused on the conservation and sustainable use of marine life on the high seas. Rebecca Kessler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15003 2015-06-19T14:25:00Z 2015-06-19T14:32:13Z New solidarity in struggle to protect Turkey's 'life spaces' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0526_jh_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Emerging regional and national networks seek to build connections between local communities and provide support to their fights against dams, mines, and other environmental threats. Rebecca Kessler 41.203944 41.820140 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14997 2015-06-19T12:58:00Z 2015-06-19T14:13:55Z Can we save the Sumatran rhino? Indonesia holds out hope <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0619.THUMB.Andatu-DCandra-DSC_0221.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>'One percent of the world's population,' veterinarian Zulfi Arsan says as he nods towards Bina, a 714-kilogram, 30-year-old female Sumatran rhinoceros leisurely crunching branches whole. A gentle and easygoing rhino, pink-hued Bina doesn't seem to mind the two-legged hominids snapping pictures and awing at her every move at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. Jeremy Hance -5.016160 105.758490 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14999 2015-06-18T23:34:00Z 2015-06-19T03:34:59Z Palm oil giants to investigate company found razing Papuan rainforest Agribusiness giants Cargill and Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) are pledging to investigate a palm oil supplier after an Indonesian environmental group presented evidence of rainforest clearing in New Guinea. Rhett Butler 132.208966 -1.480129 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14998 2015-06-18T23:09:00Z 2015-07-01T05:36:17Z Has Amazon deforestation reached a 7-year high in Brazil? Analysis of satellite data suggests deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon may have reached a seven-year high. Rhett Butler -2.123224 -48.577349 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14996 2015-06-18T19:15:00Z 2015-06-18T19:19:03Z It can be done! – Building better dams in the Andean Amazon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0618_lk_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>More than 150 dams are currently planned for five of the six major Andean tributaries of the Amazon River. Damming those large, free-flowing streams would provide hydropower to half a dozen South American countries – meeting their energy needs for decades to come, but with unknown, potentially calamitous environmental and social impacts. Tiffany Roufs -1.392745 -78.423564 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14995 2015-06-18T17:15:00Z 2015-06-18T19:59:18Z Real-time monitoring: How timely location data can keep wildlife out of danger zones <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0618Collared-elephant_George-Wittemyer150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Do you know where your study animals are? How fast have they travelled over the past day or week? How far are they from a river, or from a highway? Previously, wildlife biologists had to estimate the locations of their study subjects, using either triangulation from two or more receiver locations or identifiable landscape features on aerial photos or hand-drawn maps. With the advent of GPS technology, they can pinpoint the location of their subject to within a few meters, at any given time. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14989 2015-06-17T19:52:00Z 2015-06-17T20:07:19Z Top canned tuna brands rank worst in destructive fishing practices <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/marine_0194-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Starkist, Bumblebee, and the kitchily named Chicken of the Sea are among the most familiar brands of canned tuna on grocery store shelves. They also rank the worst in terms of the sustainability and transparency of their fishing and labor practices, according to the environmental non-profit Greenpeace USA. The group's recently released Tuna Shopping Guide ranks 14 of the most popular tuna brands in the U.S., giving 8 failing grades. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14988 2015-06-17T18:17:00Z 2015-06-18T23:33:02Z Photos: periodic closure of fishing grounds boosts octopuses and helps coastal communities <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0617_Dasgupta_Octopus_Fishing6_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For communities that depend on fishing for their livelihoods, fishing bans as a way to conserve marine life are not always popular. But some villages in southwest Madagascar seem to have hit upon a strategy to reap economic gains from bans. Temporarily closing down portions of their octopus-fishing areas every year not only helps villages revive declining octopus populations, but also generates more income for fishermen and fisherwomen, according to a new study. Rebecca Kessler -22.003568 43.264511 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14987 2015-06-17T14:46:00Z 2015-06-17T14:46:35Z New campaign says 'tickling is torture' for slow lorises <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0617.slowloris.THUMB.sonya-tickles.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Have you seen a video where a slow loris&#8212;a small, cute, big-eyed primate from Asian rainforests&#8212;gets tickled? Here's the real story of how that slow loris got there. It was stolen from the wild by poachers, who probably took it from its mother&#8212;after killing her. Then its teeth were torn out with pliers and without anesthetic, a procedure many stolen slow lorises don't survive. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14986 2015-06-17T14:18:00Z 2015-06-19T16:20:00Z Lack of stock data and incentives to collect it stymie Indonesian tuna fisheries on path to sustainability <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0617_Kaye-Tuna-5-Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesia — the world's largest source of tuna — lands one-tenth of its tuna catch by means of small-scale, low impact fishing techniques. But little of it is sold under eco-labels, which earn sustainably harvested seafood a premium price in U.S. and European grocery stores. The reason is a lack of quality data on tuna stocks, which is a requirement of eco-labels. Rebecca Kessler -8.376 116.669 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14980 2015-06-16T23:58:00Z 2015-06-17T00:14:30Z Gold miners invade Amazonian indigenous reserve Illegal miners have invaded an indigenous reserve in the Peruvian Amazon, reveals new analysis of satellite imagery. Rhett Butler -12.892302 -70.631447 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14979 2015-06-16T22:58:00Z 2015-06-16T22:59:03Z Scientists find surprising climate change refuge for reef-building corals: beneath mangroves <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0616-mowbray-mangrove-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Coral reefs are the gardens of the ocean. Covering just a tiny fraction of the vast sea floor, they are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. However, global warming and ocean acidification increasingly threaten them. Now scientists have discovered that corals could potentially survive global warming by numbering among the Earth’s first climate change refugees. They could flee warming oceans to find a new home in the shade beneath coastal mangroves, says a recent study published in the journal Biogeosciences. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14978 2015-06-16T22:26:00Z 2015-06-16T22:55:09Z FDA bans artificial trans fats, paving way for more U.S. palm oil consumption <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0616MIR10138_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today ordered food manufacturers to stop using trans fats within three years, potentially paving the way for increased palm oil consumption in the United States. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14977 2015-06-16T19:24:00Z 2015-06-16T19:29:57Z What do China, Kenya and India have in common? Wildlife trafficking When it comes to trafficking rhino, elephant, and tiger parts the biggest players are China, Kenya, India, Vietnam, South Africa and Thailand, according to a new paper in PNAS. Examining news media reports aggregated by HealthMap: Wildlife Trade, researchers were able to pinpoint the most important countries for exporting, moving and importing illegal wildlife parts worldwide. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14976 2015-06-16T18:35:00Z 2015-06-17T15:54:16Z How solar thermal curbs pollution and improves health Modern environmental crises of global resources often threaten both human health as well as biodiversity. Many of these concerns have consistently escaped remediation by public health institutions and mainstream environmental organizations. The compounding severity of these threats requires solutions that are cheap, local, scalable, easily replicated and immediately beneficial to local populations and wildlife. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14974 2015-06-16T14:00:00Z 2015-06-17T00:44:09Z $4.5 Billion Spent On Voluntary Carbon Offsets Over Past Decade: Report <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0616_Gaworecki_CarbonMarket_WindFarm_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nearly one billion carbon offset credits were voluntarily purchased over the past decade, which netted conservation and clean energy projects almost $4.5 billion, according to a recent report by the Washington D.C.-based conservation group Forest Trends. Rebecca Kessler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14973 2015-06-16T13:50:00Z 2015-06-16T22:30:28Z Climate negotiators make key breakthrough on forest protection deal ahead of Paris talks <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0616_MGaworecki_REDD_Rainforest_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Negotiators at U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany, have produced a draft agreement on the technical provisions of a plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Known as REDD+, the forest conservation plan is now far more likely to be included in a climate deal to be negotiated in Paris this December. Rebecca Kessler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14968 2015-06-16T01:18:00Z 2015-06-16T01:22:11Z Bolivia opens protected areas to oil companies A new law has opened millions of hectares of protected areas in Bolivia to oil and gas extraction. Rhett Butler -12.996889 -68.809580 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14967 2015-06-16T00:19:00Z 2015-06-16T00:31:06Z Rainforest parks cut malaria transmission Strictly protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon are associated with lower rates of malaria transmission than extractive reserves, mining zones, and areas with roads, reports a paper published this week in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i>. The findings add to a growing body of data suggesting that conservation efforts contribute to human welfare. Rhett Butler -10.461996 -64.512468 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14966 2015-06-15T22:42:00Z 2015-06-18T01:01:42Z Consumers willing to pay sharp premium for wildlife-friendly palm oil, claims study Shoppers may be willing to pay a 15 to 56 percent premium for palm oil produced without the destruction endangered species' habitat, asserts a study published today in the <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i>. Rhett Butler -0.164061 101.455089 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14965 2015-06-15T22:11:00Z 2015-06-15T22:14:02Z Asiatic lion population rises by 27% in five years A new survey last month put the number of wild Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) at 523 individuals, a rise of 27% from the previous survey in 2010. Once roaming across much of Central and Western Asia, Asiatic lions today are found in only one place: Gir Forest National Park and surrounding environs in western India. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14964 2015-06-15T18:16:00Z 2015-06-15T18:18:06Z A toad's relationship with its prey endures in the face of deforestation for palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0611_dulaney_toads_toad_thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Biologists and conservationists have studied the effects of habitat degradation on individual species, but have rarely investigated how logging and conversion of rainforests to oil palm agriculture change interspecies relationships. A study of a toad and its ant prey found that while the toad dwindled in disturbed habitats, a shortage of food was not the reason. Rebecca Kessler 8.008197 116.118019 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14957 2015-06-15T06:45:00Z 2015-06-23T04:23:50Z 'Trying to follow the money': Opacity rules in Southeast Asia's land rush, finds study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/indonesia/150/kalimantan_0016.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As the rush for land in Southeast Asia continues at breakneck speed, often bringing with it social and environmental destruction, a new study by a major environmental research group explores how well investors really know where their money is going, and the possibilities and limits of existing data in achieving greater accountability. Philip Jacobson -1.949869 112.730140 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14956 2015-06-13T07:40:00Z 2015-06-23T13:51:14Z Forest governance index shows Indonesia has long way to go <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5250.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Weak spatial planning and law enforcement, land tenure problems and a lack of transparency in licensing are some of the issues highlighted in an annual report on forest governance the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry presented to the president last week. The Forest Governance Index 2014, as it was packaged, gave Indonesia score of 35.97 on a scale of one to 100. Philip Jacobson -6.587861 106.791205 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14955 2015-06-13T03:05:00Z 2015-06-13T03:07:51Z 90% of Amazon deforestation occurs outside protected areas Ten percent of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon between August 2012 and July 2014 occurred in protected areas, reports new research from Imazon. Rhett Butler -5.721587 -52.901145 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14954 2015-06-13T02:46:00Z 2015-06-13T02:54:56Z Rising seas, sinking peat to swamp Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0612_MIRI3691_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>With global sea levels going up at a rate of about 9 millimeters per year, the livelihoods of many coastal people in the world look increasingly threatened, especially in those parts of the world with limited financial or technical means to adapt. A rate of a thumb-width of water per year may not sound like much, but the half to one meter higher water levels mean that many coastal people will have to abandon their homes and fields before the end of the century. Rhett Butler 2.069753 101.229649 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14953 2015-06-13T02:19:00Z 2015-06-13T02:22:36Z The ivory trade and the war on wildlife (rangers) [commentary] <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/kenya/150/kenya_0258.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In this commentary, Fred Bercovitch, wildlife conservation biologist at Kyoto University, confronts the conservation community with an unconventional approach to stopping the ivory trade and illegal elephant killing. The views expressed are his own. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14952 2015-06-12T15:59:00Z 2015-06-12T20:19:23Z Inside The Toxic Tour: Not for prime-time Ecuador (PHOTOS) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0612_bh_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Ecuador spent $4 million to promote itself during the 2015 Super Bowl as an ecotourism destination. The ad was backed by the Beatles' booming anthem 'All You Need is Love.' The Toxic Tour offers a different perspective: taking visitors into the belly of the beast, the epicenter of Ecuador's petroleum exploitation grid, a trip best accompanied by REM's anti-anthem, 'It's the end of the World.' Tiffany Roufs -3.055813 -79.667354 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14948 2015-06-12T08:21:00Z 2015-06-23T14:00:59Z Palm oil giant announces deforestation freeze amid NGO campaign <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/DkCK_BtGk99TIsU460hGedzBVazA_gKOv-m5eRAGUQw=w150-h100-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Palm oil giant Astra Agro Lestari has announced an immediate moratorium on land clearing, less than a month after the launch of an environmental campaign targeting one of its sister companies, the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain. The prohibition applies to Astra Agro's own plantations as well as to those of its suppliers. Astra Agro characterized the freeze as a major step toward bringing its operations into line with the standards of the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge, a high-profile, joint sustainability commitment signed by palm giants Wilmar, Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources, Asian Agri and Musim Mas as well as the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. Philip Jacobson -6.208987 106.916552 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14947 2015-06-11T18:22:00Z 2015-06-17T00:45:35Z Catch a whiff? Device aims to reveal age, gender, and identity of endangered wolves from the scent of their poop <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0611-RKessler_WolfScat_4_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Wolves use their noses to track their quarry by its scent. Now a scientist is turning the tables, building a handheld device to study endangered Mexican gray wolves based on the odor of their scat. Rebecca Kessler 33.727675 -108.602355 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14946 2015-06-11T17:53:00Z 2015-06-11T18:50:42Z Tapajós and other Amazon dams not sustainable development say reports <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0611_mg_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Plans to build hydroelectric dams globally -- especially in the Amazon and other tropical locales -- are often touted as 'sustainable development.' However, according to a trio of new reports, these large infrastructure projects will do enormous harm to rainforest ecosystems and indigenous peoples, while also emitting far more greenhouse gases than the U.N. and other organizations officially estimate, with potentially disastrous results. Tiffany Roufs -3.304500 -55.265448 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14944 2015-06-11T17:03:00Z 2015-06-11T17:04:29Z Experts question White House claim that new free trade agreements have strong environmental protections <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0611-MGaworecki_TradeAgreements_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A report released by the Obama administration last month claims that new international trade deals now being negotiated have stronger environmental protections than past trade agreements, but many experts are not convinced. Rebecca Kessler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14941 2015-06-11T12:22:00Z 2015-06-23T14:03:36Z Oil palm company accused of violating RSPO, IPOP standards in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/indonesia/150/kalimantan_0065.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The reputation of oil palm business group Sawit Sumbermas Sarana, a holding of one of Indonesia's richest men, has in recent days taken hits on multiple fronts, with a pair of NGOs separately accusing the firm of violating various sustainability commitments it is party to. The criticism highlights holes in both the Indonesia Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP), a high-profile sustainability pact to which palm giants Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Asian Agri and Cargill are signatories, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Philip Jacobson -1.923790 111.204341 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14940 2015-06-10T17:03:00Z 2015-06-10T17:05:51Z 151 dams could be catastrophic to Amazon ecological connectivity <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0610_lk_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As South American countries begin to move beyond fossil fuels, many are looking to hydropower. The rivers flowing from the Andes Mountains down into the Amazon basin could provide a wealth of liquid potential to meet the energy demands of expanding populations, economies, and development. Tiffany Roufs -1.392745 -78.423564 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14938 2015-06-10T16:01:00Z 2015-06-10T16:13:05Z Satellite images provide new view of uncontacted Amazonian communities <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0610-freedberg-remote-sensing-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A laundry list of dangers threaten Amazonia’s few remaining uncontacted indigenous communities. Colonists and industry workers often grab tribal land for mining, logging, drug trafficking, or hydrocarbon extraction, which damage the groups’ environment and bring them into conflict with armed settlers. Careless encroachment by outsiders can also bring diseases to which uncontacted groups have no immunity. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14936 2015-06-10T15:10:00Z 2015-06-10T15:18:07Z Conservationists appeal to donors after mystery kills 134,252 saiga <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0610.saiga.dead.THUMB.IMGP7053.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The good news: conservationists believe that whatever killed off over a hundred thousand saiga in Kazakhstan in less than a month has abetted. The bad news: the final death tally is 134,252 saiga or around half the population of an animal already considered Critically Endangered. Given the dire situation, conservationists are now asking for emergency donations. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14933 2015-06-09T19:50:00Z 2015-06-16T22:30:09Z New fund helps groups buy land quickly to protect threatened wildlife <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0609_mgowarecki_biodiversityfund_jaguarlandscape_thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When an opportunity to acquire some crucial piece of habitat becomes available, conservationists don't always have the funds at their disposal to outbid other interested parties. Enter the Quick Response Biodiversity Fund, a new initiative whose goal is to rapidly respond to opportunities to purchase land in developing countries as a way to protect critical habitat for endangered and threatened species. Rebecca Kessler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14932 2015-06-09T18:11:00Z 2015-06-09T18:18:50Z Saving the greater sage grouse, the most hotly-debated bird since the spotted owl (PHOTOS) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0609_sg_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The greater sage grouse -- also known as the sage chicken, sage hen and sage cock -- is North America's largest grouse and an icon of both sagebrush country and the untamed West. But it is rapidly disappearing from the 11 Western U.S. states and two Canadian provinces it calls home. Tiffany Roufs 42.867874 -109.866109 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14931 2015-06-09T15:53:00Z 2015-06-09T15:54:00Z Happy tigers: Siberian population continues to grow <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0609.THUMB.Julie-Larsen-Maher_4358_Amur-Tiger-in-Snow_TM_BZ_01-06-15.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Siberian tiger population continues to rebound, according to the latest numbers from the subspecies' stronghold in Russia. Ten years ago, conservationists estimated 423-502 Amur tigers in Siberia. But last month, the Russian government and WWF said numbers had risen to 480-540 tigers, including an estimated 100 cubs. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14926 2015-06-08T20:43:00Z 2015-06-08T20:49:42Z Bolivia's aggressive agricultural development plans threaten forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0608_ae_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Bolivia's government, supported by some small and most large producers, pushes to expand agricultural lands at the expense of the nation's environment. In April 2015, small-scale Bolivian farmers gathered for a summit with stakeholders from a very different part of the agricultural sector: commercial farmers who oversee vast farms and watch international exchange markets just as closely as the weather. Tiffany Roufs -17.826292 -63.029487 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14925 2015-06-08T20:01:00Z 2015-06-09T12:50:59Z Passenger pigeon redo? Superabundant bird collapses across Eurasia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0608.THUMB.trapped-YBB_China_Nov2012_Huang-Qiusheng-(3).jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1914 the world's last passenger pigeon died. Nicknamed, Martha, she was not killed by hunters, but simply old age. With her passing, the passenger pigeon fell into extinction. A hundred years before Martha's death, however, the passenger pigeon may have been the most populous bird in the world with a population often estimated in the billions. Now, conservationists warn history may be repeating itself. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14924 2015-06-08T19:03:00Z 2015-06-08T19:11:24Z Well grounded: orangutans are more terrestrial than previously thought <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0204_orang_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For years scientists have believed that orangutans are primarily arboreal. Indeed, most photographs and videos of orangutans depict them up in the trees. But a recent study challenges that thinking with photographic evidence that orangutans spend a lot more time on the ground than previously thought. Rebecca Kessler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14920 2015-06-08T09:29:00Z 2015-06-17T23:03:07Z In Sumatra, an oasis in a sea of oil palm <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/YoDK2jfNhYCkCQxVIL7HEVLKuj68gUZlT4vMbLFDISM=w150-h100-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Sumatra is estimated to have lost 85 percent of its forests in the past half century, primarily due to widespread conversion for oil palm and pulp plantations. In the village of Tangkahan, however, residents have managed to preserve their forests and create one of Indonesia's ecotourism hotspots. Philip Jacobson 3.666803 98.002513 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14919 2015-06-05T15:33:00Z 2015-06-05T18:42:49Z Amid rhinoceros poaching frenzy, dark days for South African society <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0605_MSmith_Rhinos_Kruger_Rhett_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>South Africa is in the eye of a global rhino-poaching cyclone, with highly organized and elusive international syndicates running a brisk black-market trade in rhino horn. Public trust is faltering: 'Rhino money buys many people at all levels,' a senior antipoaching official said. Rebecca Kessler -23.732984 31.554077 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14916 2015-06-05T14:36:00Z 2015-06-17T16:08:10Z Population of Maui's dolphins slips below 50 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0605_BKessler_MauisDolphin_Jump_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Maui's dolphins are edging closer to extinction. Strikingly marked, with a dark, rounded dorsal fin that has been likened to a Mickey Mouse ear, the dolphins max out at just four and a half feet long. New papers show their population has reached a new low, with fewer than 47 individuals remaining alive. Rebecca Kessler -38.853694 175.688381 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14913 2015-06-05T13:45:00Z 2015-06-17T23:03:37Z Coordinated protests hit Socfin plantations in four countries <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_EUFQY3OgR8ypMVe1Sn4NN4MlKkVnJg3eiDExwfY3Tk=w150-h99-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>French NGO ReAct is coordinating protest actions against the plantation operations of Socfin, a Belgian company with origins in the Belgian Congo. Yesterday, protesters gathered in Paris outside the headquarters of Bolloré, another conglomerate which holds a 39 percent stake in Socfin. Other demonstrations have been staged in three African countries and Cambodia in recent weeks. Philip Jacobson 48.881709 2.235829