tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/Rainforest%20deforestation1 Rainforest deforestation news from mongabay.com 2014-11-25T23:34:06Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14070 2014-11-25T19:33:00Z 2014-11-25T23:34:06Z Meet the world's rarest chameleon: Chapman's pygmy <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1124.Rhampholeon-chapmanorum-Female---Colin-Tilbury.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In just two forest patches may dwell a tiny, little-known chameleon that researchers have dubbed the world's most endangered. Chapman's pygmy chameleon from Malawi hasn't been seen in 16 years. In that time, its habitat has been whittled down to an area about the size of just 100 American football fields. Jeremy Hance -16.904995 35.196914 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14041 2014-11-18T22:39:00Z 2014-11-25T23:31:38Z A tale of 2 Perus: Climate Summit host, 57 murdered environmentalists <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1118.800px-Asha%CC%81ninka.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On September 1st, indigenous activist, Edwin Chota, and three other indigenous leaders were gunned down and their bodies thrown into rivers. Chota, an internationally-known leader of the Asháninka in Peru, had warned several times that his life was on the line for his vocal stance against the destruction of his peoples' forests, yet the Peruvian government did nothing to protect him&#8212;or others. Jeremy Hance -14.153426 -69.134704 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14035 2014-11-17T21:57:00Z 2014-11-18T18:56:20Z Ending deforestation won't stop carbon emissions from land use change Even if the world stopped cutting down forests, carbon dioxide emissions from land use change would still pose a major challenge, according to a new paper in Nature Climate Change. The research finds that eliminating deforestation would mean agriculture would be pushed into non-forest ecosystems and still release significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13944 2014-10-27T12:46:00Z 2014-10-27T12:55:10Z Scientific association calls on Nicaragua to scrap its Gran Canal ATBC&#8212;the world's largest association of tropical biologists and conservationists&#8212;has advised Nicaragua to halt its ambitious plan to build a massive canal across the country. The ATBC warns that the Chinese-backed canal, also known as the Gran Canal, will have devastating impacts on Nicaragua's water security, its forests and wildlife, and local people. Jeremy Hance 11.456933 -85.501372 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13941 2014-10-23T20:23:00Z 2014-10-23T21:35:02Z Beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products from 8 countries responsible for 1/3 of forest destruction Four commodities produced in just eight countries are responsible for a third of the world's forest loss, according to a new report. Those familiar with the long-standing effort to stop deforestation won't be surprised by the commodities named: beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products (including timber and paper). Nor will they be very surprised by most of the countries: Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Jeremy Hance 5.505705 101.755097 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13928 2014-10-21T17:05:00Z 2014-11-06T17:55:34Z Top scientists raise concerns over commercial logging on Woodlark Island <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0428.woodlark.beach.IMG_0163.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A number of the world's top conservation scientists have raised concerns about plans for commercial logging on Woodlark Island, a hugely biodiverse rainforest island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The scientists, with the Alliance of Leading Environmental Scientists and Thinkers (ALERT), warn that commercial logging on the island could imperil the island's stunning local species and its indigenous people. Jeremy Hance -9.1579 152.779 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13927 2014-10-21T14:47:00Z 2014-10-22T20:42:18Z Saving Asia's other endangered cats (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/LC_Ronglarp_HKK.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It's no secret that when it comes to the wild cats of Asia&#8212;and, really, cats in general&#8212;tigers get all the press. In fact, tigers&#8212;down to an estimated 3,200 individuals&#8212;arguably dominate conservation across Asia. But as magnificent, grand, and endangered as the tigers are, there are a number of other felines in the region that are much less studied&#8212;and may be just as imperiled. Jeremy Hance 5.395824 117.268519 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13922 2014-10-20T14:08:00Z 2014-10-21T15:05:26Z Walking the walk: zoo kicks off campaign for orangutans and sustainable palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/kalteng_0897.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>If you see people wearing orange this October, it might not be for Halloween, but for orangutans. Chester Zoo’s conservation campaign, Go Orange for Orangutans, kicks off this month for its second year. The campaign aims to raise money, and awareness, for orangutans in Borneo, which have become hugely impacted by deforestation often linked to palm oil plantations. Jeremy Hance 53.224664 -2.884033 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13906 2014-10-14T15:06:00Z 2014-10-15T00:54:51Z 'River wolves' recover in Peruvian park, but still remain threatened inside and out (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1014.L183_Capitulo2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Lobo de río, or river wolf, is the very evocative Spanish name for one of the Amazon's most spectacular mammals: the giant river otter. This highly intelligent, deeply social, and simply charming freshwater predator almost vanished entirely due to a relentless fur trade in the 20th Century. But decades after the trade in giant river otter pelts was outlawed, the species is making a comeback. Jeremy Hance -11.890522 -71.402772 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13893 2014-10-09T13:13:00Z 2014-10-23T17:18:30Z Forest fragmentation's carbon bomb: 736 million tonnes C02 annually Scientists have long known that forest fragments are not the same ecologically as intact forest landscapes. When forests are slashed into fragments, winds dry out the edges leading to dying trees and rising temperatures. Biodiversity often drops, while local extinctions rise and big animals vanish. Now, a new study finds another worrisome impact of forest fragmentation: carbon emissions. Jeremy Hance -2.918691 -44.748354 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13832 2014-09-24T20:56:00Z 2014-11-06T17:52:52Z Turning point for Peru's forests? Norway and Germany put muscle and money behind ambitious agreement <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/manu_0728.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>From the Andes to the Amazon, Peru houses some of the world's most spectacular forests. Proud and culturally-diverse indigenous tribes inhabit the interiors of the Peruvian Amazon, including some that have chosen little contact with the outside world. And even as scientists have identified tens-of-thousands of species that make their homes from the leaf litter to the canopy. Jeremy Hance -13.256860 -68.993973 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13811 2014-09-22T13:36:00Z 2014-09-23T00:10:27Z Extinction island? Plans to log half an island could endanger over 40 species <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/plullulaeopti.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Woodlark Island is a rare place on the planet today. This small island off the coast Papua New Guinea is still covered in rich tropical forest, an ecosystem shared for thousands of years between tribal peoples and a plethora of species, including at least 42 found no-where else. Yet, like many such wildernesses, Woodlark Island is now facing major changes: not the least of them is a plan to log half of the island. Jeremy Hance -9.038617 152.610839 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13793 2014-09-17T19:46:00Z 2014-09-17T19:53:51Z 'The green Amazon is red with indigenous blood': authorities pull bodies from river that may have belonged to slain leaders Peruvian authorities have pulled more human remains from a remote river in the Amazon, which may belong to one of the four murdered Ashaninka natives killed on September 1st. It is believed the four Ashaninka men, including renowned leader Edwin Chota Valera, were assassinated for speaking up against illegal logging on their traditional lands. Jeremy Hance -10.433375 -71.573146 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13726 2014-08-28T19:19:00Z 2014-09-02T01:27:19Z Saving the Atlantic Forest would cost less than 'Titanic' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0828.atlantic.S._flavius_SP_Zoo.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Want to save the world's most imperiled biodiversity hotspot? You just need a down payment of $198 million. While that may sound like a lot, it's actually less than it cost to make the film, Titanic. A new study published today in Science finds that paying private landowners to protect the Atlantic Forest would cost Brazil just 6.5 percent of what it currently spends ever year on agricultural subsidies. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13719 2014-08-27T18:52:00Z 2014-11-06T17:48:27Z The Gran Canal: will Nicaragua's big bet create prosperity or environmental ruin? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0827.800px-Volcanic_Island.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A hundred years ago, the Panama Canal reshaped global geography. Now a new project, spearheaded by a media-shy Chinese millionaire, wants to build a 278-kilometer canal through Nicaragua. While the government argues the mega-project will change the country's dire economic outlook overnight, critics contend it will cause undue environmental damage, upend numerous communities, and do little to help local people. Jeremy Hance 11.392321 -85.465667 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13717 2014-08-26T20:18:00Z 2014-08-27T16:58:24Z How do we save the world's vanishing old-growth forests? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/sabah_1454.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There's nothing in the world like a primary forest, which has never been industrially logged or cleared by humans. They are often described as cathedral-like, due to pillar-like trees and carpet-like undergrowth. Yet, the world's primary forests&#8212;also known as old-growth forests&#8212;are falling every year, and policy-makers are not doing enough to stop it. Jeremy Hance 5.159093 116.924597 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13699 2014-08-21T21:51:00Z 2014-11-06T17:47:49Z Have scientists discovered a new primate in the Philippines? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/Tarsier.from.Dinagat.Isl.photo.Andrew-Cunningham.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Despite some media reports, scientists have not yet discovered a new species of big-eyed, nocturnal primate&#8212;known as tarsiers&#8212;in the Philippines. Instead what they have discovered is an intriguing population that is genetically-distinct even from nearby relatives, according to a new open-access paper in PLOS ONE. Jeremy Hance 10.168583 125.594253 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13696 2014-08-21T14:56:00Z 2014-08-21T15:17:04Z Next big idea in forest conservation? DNA fingerprinting trees to stem illegal logging <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0821.cannon.DSC_0527.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As a professor at Texas Tech, Dr. Chuck Cannon has been, among other things, working to create a system of DNA fingerprinting for tropical trees to undercut the global illegal logging trade. 'If we just enforced existing laws and management policies, things would be pretty good, but unfortunately, that is where things fall apart in many tropical countries,' Cannon said. Jeremy Hance 15.038075 106.306014 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13658 2014-08-13T12:22:00Z 2014-08-13T12:36:35Z Forgotten species: the exotic squirrel with a super tail <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0813.Central-Kalimantan,-Erik-Meijaard.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>With among the world's largest tails compared to body-size, the tufted ground squirrel just might be the most exotic squirrel species on the planet. Found only on the island of Borneo, this threatened species is also surrounded by wild tales, including the tenacity to take down a deer for dinner. New research explores the squirrel's monster tail and whether other tales about it may be true. Jeremy Hance 1.187729 114.549402 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13645 2014-08-11T14:30:00Z 2014-08-12T13:18:37Z Indonesia's children see ravaged environment in their future <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0811.children.4-Future.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A generation ago, Borneo was one of the wildest places on the planet. But decades of logging and oil palm plantations has changed the landscape of Borneo forever: in fact a recent study found that the island has lost 30 percent of its total forest cover since 1973. In the face of this large-scale environmental destruction, a new study finds that Indonesian Borneo's children have a pessimistic view of their future. Jeremy Hance -0.910536 114.307703 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13576 2014-07-23T19:14:00Z 2014-07-29T19:41:54Z Peru slashes environmental protections to attract more mining and fossil fuel investment <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/peru_aerial_0166.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In an effort to kickstart investment in mining and fossil fuels, Peru has passed a controversial law that overturns many of its environmental protections and essentially defangs its Ministry of Environment. The new law has environmentalists not only concerned about its impact on the country but also that the measures will undermine progress at the up-coming UN Climate Summit in December. Jeremy Hance -13.018651 -70.498686 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13571 2014-07-22T19:21:00Z 2014-07-29T19:42:17Z Rare bird paradise protected in war-torn Colombian mountain range (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0722.Lachrymose-Mountain-tanager---Rainforest-Trust.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A coalition of conservation groups have established a new protected area in one of Latin America's most neglected ecosystems: the Colombian-side of the Serranía de Perijá mountain range. Following decades of bloody conflict and rampant deforestation, experts say only five percent of rainforest is left on the Colombian side of this embattled mountain range. Jeremy Hance 10.687218 -72.792140 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13533 2014-07-14T16:07:00Z 2014-07-17T16:00:14Z Only 15 percent of world's biodiversity hotspots left intact <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0714.Atlantic-Rainforest-Intervales.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's 35 biodiversity hotspots&#8212;which harbor 75 percent of the planet's endangered land vertebrates&#8212;are in more trouble than expected, according to a sobering new analysis of remaining primary vegetation. In all less than 15 percent of natural intact vegetation is left in the these hotspots, which include well-known jewels such as Madagascar, the tropical Andes, and Sundaland. Jeremy Hance -24.263585 -48.415697 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13523 2014-07-10T15:08:00Z 2014-07-10T15:26:56Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Rewards for reforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0710.louis.Dr.-Ed-Louis.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Susie McGuire and Dr. Edward Louis Jr. are the powerhouse team behind the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP), an NGO that involves local residents&#8212;both human and primate&#8212;in reforestation efforts in Madagascar. A conservation geneticist and veterinarian by training, Ed Louis has discovered 21 lemur species and successfully reintroduced two species of locally extinct lemurs back into the wild. Jeremy Hance -21.380746 47.867042 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13521 2014-07-09T21:23:00Z 2014-07-15T16:35:27Z A garden or a wilderness? One-fifth of the Amazon may have been savannah before the arrival of Europeans <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/jlh/ecuador/Yasuni.150/Yasuni_128.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Amazon is the largest tropical forest on the planet, covering about 6.5 million square kilometers, although much has been lost in recent decades.Yet new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) finds that quite recently&#8212;just 500 years ago&#8212;a significant portion of the southern Amazon was not the tall-canopied forest it is today, but savannah. Jeremy Hance -12.770027 -64.469834 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13507 2014-07-08T19:21:00Z 2014-07-08T19:35:38Z Pope Francis: 'this is our sin: we exploit the earth' In Southern Italy over the weekend, Pope Francis reiterated his view that environmental destruction constituted a sin. Visiting the largely agricultural region of Molise, the Pope responded to an address by a local farmer attending university. Jeremy Hance 41.559516 14.661415 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13500 2014-07-07T19:50:00Z 2014-07-08T15:34:21Z Booming populations, rising economies, threatened biodiversity: the tropics will never be the same <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_1059.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For those living either north or south of the tropics, images of this green ring around the Earth's equator often include verdant rainforests, exotic animals, and unchanging weather; but they may also be of entrenched poverty, unstable governments, and appalling environmental destruction. A massive new report, The State of the Tropics, however, finds that the truth is far more complicated. Jeremy Hance 1.231376 14.923358 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13489 2014-07-03T16:52:00Z 2014-07-06T16:19:33Z Next big idea in forest conservation? The 'double-edged sword' of democracy <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0703.sheil.gorilla.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Dr. Douglas Sheil considers himself an ecologist, but his research includes both conservation and management of tropical forests. Currently teaching at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) Sheil has authored and co-authored over 200 publications including scholarly articles, books, and popular articles on the subject. Jeremy Hance -0.987945 29.672290 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13458 2014-06-26T20:07:00Z 2014-06-30T15:55:16Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Playing games to understand what drives deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0626.garcia.innovations.IMGP0355.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Dr. Claude Garcia plays games, but you won’t find him betting his shirt at the casino. As leader of the Forest Management and Development Research Group at ETH Zürich, Garcia and his team use participatory modeling and role-playing games, merged with more traditional disciplinary sciences such as ecology, economics, and sociology to understand and manage complex landscape change in the tropics. Jeremy Hance 11.830113 75.908619 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13454 2014-06-25T23:04:00Z 2014-11-06T17:06:52Z Is Cameroon becoming the new Indonesia? Palm oil plantations accelerating deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0625-cameroon-elephants-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The potential for new laws governing the use of forest resources this year in Cameroon promises an opportunity to stem the rapid loss of forest in the biologically diverse country. But the changes may ultimately not be what’s needed to save Cameroon’s forests. Morgan Erickson-Davis 3.750898 9.993512 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13423 2014-06-23T13:33:00Z 2014-06-23T16:54:02Z Broken promises no more? Signs Sabah may finally uphold commitment on wildlife corridors <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/HUTAN-Marc-Ancrenaz6.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Five years ago an unlikely meeting was held in the Malaysian state of Sabah to discuss how to save wildlife amid worsening forest fragmentation. Although the meeting brought together longtime adversaries&#8212;conservationists and the palm oil industry&#8212;it appeared at the time to build new relationships and even point toward a way forward for Sabah's embattled forests. Jeremy Hance 5.531846 118.292569 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13373 2014-06-12T16:51:00Z 2014-06-13T22:06:16Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Learning from innovations to make REDD+ work <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/062.duchelle.innovations.boy.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Brazil, Dr. Amy Duchelle coordinates research on the effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and co-benefits of REDD+ initiatives at the sub-national level in Latin America as part of CIFOR's Gloal Comparative Study on REDD+. Jeremy Hance -5.481673 -59.772298 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13368 2014-06-11T13:58:00Z 2014-06-12T23:44:10Z PhD students 'thrilled' to rediscover mammal missing for 124 years <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0611.newguineabigearedbat.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1890 Lamberto Loria collected 45 specimens&#8212;all female&#8212;of a small bat from the wilds of Papua New Guinea. Nearly 25 years later, in 1914, the species was finally described and named by British zoologist Oldfield Thomas, who dubbed it the New Guinea big-eared bat (Pharotis imogene) after its massive ears. But no one ever saw the bat again. Jeremy Hance -10.127639 148.861417 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13365 2014-06-10T13:44:00Z 2014-06-10T13:50:09Z Mountain forests store 40 percent more carbon than expected It's not easy to measure carbon in mountain forest ecosystems. But a new review study in Biogeosciences found that many estimates of carbon storage in montane tropical forests have been largely underestimated. Jeremy Hance 0.103256 -78.520036 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13361 2014-06-09T14:02:00Z 2014-06-09T21:19:36Z Bears, cats, and mystery mammals: camera traps in 'paper park' prove its worth protecting <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0609.habitatid.Sun-bear.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Can a single photograph change the fate of a park? A new conservation group, HabitatID, believes so, and is putting this belief into action. Setting up camera traps in Cambodia's Virachey National Park, the group hopes that photos of charismatic and endangered species will help reinvigorate protection for a park that has been abandoned by conservation groups and underfunded by the government. Jeremy Hance 14.297357 107.049167 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13347 2014-06-05T20:16:00Z 2014-06-05T21:55:57Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Work locally, relentlessly, and, if necessary, ignore the government <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0605.fredriksson.Gabriella_bear-skull.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1997, Gabriella Fredriksson, then a young PhD student, was studying sun bears in East Kalamantan, Indonesia, when massive forest fires broke out in the park. 'It quickly became clear that there was no government agency, NGO, or private company in the area interested in assisting putting out these fires, which were threatening to burn down the entire reserve,' Fredriksson told mongabay.com. Jeremy Hance 1.459166 117.013715 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13345 2014-06-05T13:04:00Z 2014-06-08T22:34:58Z Oil company breaks agreement, builds big roads in Yasuni rainforest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1112-5_Karla.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When the Ecuadorian government approved permits for an oil company to drill deep in Yasuni National Park, it was on the condition that the company undertake a roadless design with helicopters doing most of the leg-work. However, a new report based on high-resolution satellite imagery has uncovered that the company, Petroamazonas, has flouted the agreement's conditions, building a massive access road. Jeremy Hance -0.942388 -75.716907 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13326 2014-06-02T16:40:00Z 2014-06-02T16:54:29Z After throwing out referendum, Ecuador approves oil drilling in Yasuni's embattled heart By 2016, oil drilling will begin in what scientists believe is the most biodiverse place on the planet: remote Yasuni National Park. Late last month, Ecuador announced it had approved permits for oil drilling in Yasuni's Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputinin (ITT) block, an untouched swathe of primary rainforest covering around 100,000 hectares or about 10 percent of the park. Jeremy Hance -1.088304 -75.487242 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13299 2014-05-28T15:22:00Z 2014-05-28T15:51:00Z Greenpeace accuses controversial palm oil company and Cameroon government of illegal logging <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0528.bulldozers.herakles.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Greenpeace has just accused one of the world's most controversial oil palm companies, Herakles Farms, of colluding with top government officials to sell off illegally logged timber to China. According to a new report, an agreement between Cameroon's Minister of Forestry and Herkales Farms&#8212;through a shell company&#8212;could torpedo the country's agreement with the EU for better timber management. Jeremy Hance 5.063568 9.285140 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13271 2014-05-22T15:42:00Z 2014-06-25T15:48:50Z Zero-deforestation commitments pose acute challenges for commercial giants in the palm oil industry <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_4062.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The path to zero-deforestation appears to be paved with good intentions, but how successful are these companies in staying on that path? A controversial proposal to construct a refinery in the wildlife-rich Balikpapan Bay in Indonesian Borneo highlights the challenges faced by both palm oil companies and conservationists in the face of zero-deforestation commitments. Jeremy Hance -1.127826 116.779421 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13212 2014-05-12T17:19:00Z 2014-05-12T17:41:21Z Chinese luxury furniture linked to murder, near extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0512.eia.rosewood.table.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Intricately carved, meticulously designed, and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars: this is "hongmu," or Chinese luxury furniture reflecting the elite styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties. But while the red-colored furniture may be aesthetically beautiful, it comes with a blood price. Jeremy Hance 14.241349 102.996604 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13189 2014-05-06T19:49:00Z 2014-05-06T20:03:57Z Almost 90 percent of Republic of the Congo's lowland forests open to logging <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0506.brnxz_482.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Although the Republic of the Congo has opened up nearly 90 percent of its lowland forests to logging, the majority of the logging occurring in the country is still illegal, according to a new report from the Chatham House. In fact the UK policy institute finds that illegal logging in the Republic of the Congo may make up as much as 70-75 percent of the industry. Jeremy Hance 2.169665 17.210078 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13150 2014-04-29T15:58:00Z 2014-04-29T19:01:13Z Papua New Guinea pledges to cancel massive land grabs by timber companies Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, released a statement last week saying that hugely controversial land leases under the country's Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) will be cancelled if they are found to be run for extracting timber. Jeremy Hance -4.076401 141.427226 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13145 2014-04-28T18:39:00Z 2014-09-25T18:57:30Z Loggers plan to clear 20 percent of tropical island paradise <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0428.woodlark.tree.Forest.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Seven years ago, a palm oil company set its eyes on Woodlark Island&#8212;a small rainforest island nearly 200 miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea&#8212;but was rebuked by the local populace. But locals and conservationists who spoke to mongabay.com at the time felt that wouldn't be the end of it: they were right. Recently, a company, Karridale Limited, has landed machinery on the island. Jeremy Hance -9.145404 152.812027 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13132 2014-04-25T13:45:00Z 2014-04-25T19:42:46Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Crowdsourced forest monitoring <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0423.brazil_0395.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In the Brazilian Amazon, deforestation alerts are being submitted via smartphones. On the ground technicians send alerts to a database stored in 'the cloud.' This information is added to maps, which, along with satellite imagery, are used to inform law enforcement. And the speed of this process is getting real results. Jeremy Hance -11.091665 -57.459438 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13116 2014-04-22T15:30:00Z 2014-04-22T15:40:30Z Illegal logging makes up 70 percent of Papua New Guinea's timber industry <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/papua/150/west-papua_5011.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Corruption, weak governance, and powerful timber barons are illegally stripping the forests of Papua New Guinea, according to a new report from the Chatham House. The policy institute finds that 70 percent of logging in Papua New Guinea is currently illegal, despite the fact that 99 percent of land is owned by local indigenous communities. Jeremy Hance -6.843058 145.777812 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13098 2014-04-18T14:04:00Z 2014-04-18T14:18:22Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Maps for the masses <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/colombia/150/colombia_3985.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Mark Mulligan makes maps for the masses. In his work on tropical forests, Mulligan uses GIS, modeling, remote sensing, and lab experiments to turn research into datasets and policy support systems, which are available online for use in development, decision-making, and education. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13095 2014-04-17T15:37:00Z 2014-04-17T15:45:19Z Okapi-killing warlord shot dead in the Democratic Republic of the Congo <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/deadokapi.okapi.unesco.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The head of an informal militia and poaching group, Paul Sadala a.k.a. 'Morgan,' was killed on Monday after surrendering himself to the army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A well-known elephant poacher and terrorist, Morgan became most famous for leading an attack on the Okapi Wildlife Reserve station in 2012. Jeremy Hance 1.402597 28.573283 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13082 2014-04-15T14:33:00Z 2014-04-15T16:36:29Z Malaysia imperils forest reserves and sea turtle nesting ground for industrial site (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0414.tanjung.panorama.5.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Plans for an industrial site threaten one of Malaysia's only marine turtle nesting beaches and a forest home to rare trees and mammals, according to local activists. Recently, the state government of Perak approved two industrial project inside Tanjung Hantu Permanent Forest Reserve. But activists say these will not only cut into the reserve, but also scare away nesting turtles from Pasir Panjang. Jeremy Hance 4.315341 100.562672 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13068 2014-04-10T21:53:00Z 2014-04-10T22:14:00Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Empowering everyone to watch over forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0410.NigelSizer_image.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nigel Sizer has worked on the forefront of global forest issues for decades. Currently, he is the Global Director of the World Resource Institute's (WRI) Forests Program, whose projects include the Global Forest Watch, the Forest Legality Alliance, and the Global Restoration Initiative. These programs work with governments, businesses, and civil society with the aim of sustaining forests for generations to come. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13059 2014-04-08T19:48:00Z 2014-04-08T20:25:55Z Featured video: Showtime releases first episode of major new climate change series online <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/ford.orangutan.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Although Showtime's landmark new climate change series doesn't premiere until Sunday, the network has released an edited version of the first episode of Years of Living Dangerously to the public (see below). The nine-part documentary series is being billed as a "groundbreaking" exploration into the many ways that climate change is already wreaking havoc on the lives of people around the world. Jeremy Hance 0.010477 101.530569 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13057 2014-04-08T15:48:00Z 2014-04-09T13:29:11Z Nearly 90 percent of logging in the DRC is illegal <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0408.754px-Congo_maluku.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The forestry sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is completely out of control, according to a new eye-opening report. Put together by the Chatham House, the report estimates that at least 87 percent of logging in the DRC was illegal in 2011, making the DRC possibly the most high-risk country in the world for purchasing legal wood products. Jeremy Hance -1.809386 21.981180 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13031 2014-04-03T21:11:00Z 2014-04-05T04:17:32Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Connecting deforestation to disease <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0403.gillespie.portait.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Thomas Gillespie is concerned with the connections between conservation and disease, with a particular emphasis on primates. Much of his research examines the places where humans and animals are at a high risk of exchanging pathogens, and how human-caused disturbances, such as deforestation, can change disease dynamics and impacts. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12990 2014-03-26T22:41:00Z 2014-03-26T23:18:02Z Just how bad is the logging crisis in Myanmar? 72 percent of exports illegal <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0326.EIA.logging.myanmar.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Just days before Myanmar, also known as Burma, implements a ban on exporting raw logs, the Environmental Investigative Agency (EIA) has released a new report that captures the sheer scale of the country's illegal logging crisis. According to the EIA, new data shows that 72 percent of logs exported from Myanmar between 2000-2013 were illegally harvested. Jeremy Hance 26.304355 97.194069 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12958 2014-03-21T00:45:00Z 2014-03-27T22:01:55Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Offer health care for forest protection <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0320.health.Danzer_027545.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Dr. Kinari Webb has a superpower: the ability to provide high-quality health care in a remote and rural landscape. And she uses her power not only to save lives, but also to protect the remaining Bornean rainforests. Twenty-one years ago, Kinari Webb traveled to Borneo to work with orangutans. She witnessed the faltering health of both the people and the environment and saw that the two issues were inseparable. When families must choose between the health of their children and the health of the forest that supports them, everyone loses. But in the region of Gunung Palung National Park &#8212; where an estimated 10 percent of the world's orangutans live &#8212; illegal logging and slash and burn farming methods paid the bills and locals saw few alternatives. Kinari vowed to study medicine and return with more to offer. Jeremy Hance -0.961310 109.975687 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12957 2014-03-20T15:06:00Z 2014-03-20T15:20:59Z Panda lemur making a comeback <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0311.Andriantantely-greater-bamboo-lemur-%C2%A9-Hery-Randriahaingo.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>One of the world's biggest populations of greater bamboo lemurs (<i>Prolemur simus</i>)&#8212;sometimes known as the panda lemur&#8212;has doubled in just three years, giving conservationists new hope that the species can be kept from extinction. With the recent arrival of twenty babies, a community conservation project run by the Aspinall Foundation has boosted the local population to over 100 individuals in Andriantantely, one of Madagascar's only surviving lowland rainforests. Greater bamboo lemurs are currently categorized as Critically Endangered, though they were once believed extinct until hidden populations were uncovered in the 1980s. Jeremy Hance -18.700073 48.801227 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12950 2014-03-19T17:28:00Z 2014-03-19T17:31:10Z Featured video: indigenous tribe faces loggers, ranchers, and murder in bid to save their forests A new short film, entitled <i>La Trocha</i>, highlights the plight of the Wounaan people in Panama, who are fighting for legal rights to their forests even as loggers and ranchers carve it up. The conflict turned violent in 2012 when local chief, Aquilo Puchicama, was shot dead by loggers. Jeremy Hance 8.041062 -81.577309 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12917 2014-03-12T16:24:00Z 2014-03-12T18:28:23Z New web tool aims to help indigenous groups protect forests and navigate REDD+ A new online tool, dubbed ForestDefender, aims to help indigenous people understand and implement their rights in regard to forests. The database, developed by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), brings together vast amounts of legal information&#8212;both national and international&#8212;on over 50 countries. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12909 2014-03-11T13:42:00Z 2014-03-11T13:55:23Z Cocaine: the new face of deforestation in Central America <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/thumb.cut.roatan_forest_burning_0.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 2006, Mexico intensified its security strategy, forming an inhospitable environment for drug trafficking organizations (also known as DTOs) within the nation. The drug cartels responded by creating new trade routes along the border of Guatemala and Honduras. Soon shipments of cocaine from South America began to flow through the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC). This multi-national swathe of forest, encompassing several national parks and protected areas, was originally created to protect endangered species, such as Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and jaguar (Panthera onca), as well as the world's second largest coral reef. Today, its future hinges on the world's drug producers and consumers. Jeremy Hance 15.667404 -86.826363 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12899 2014-03-10T14:38:00Z 2014-03-10T14:58:29Z Does haze from burning forests affect marine life? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0449.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Two scientists are calling on researchers, NGOs, and governments to begin studying the impact of burning forests and peatlands in Indonesia on the already-threatened marine ecosystems of Southeast Asia. Every year, Indonesian farmers set forests, vegetation, and peatlands alight to clear them for agriculture, often palm oil, and pulp and paper plantations. Not only do these practices destroy hugely-diverse tropical forests, but the resulting haze spreads to many parts of Southeast Asia, threatening regional health and impacting economies. Now, a new paper argues that the sinister impacts of Indonesia's burning may extend as far as the oceans. Jeremy Hance 0.597093 131.501257 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12891 2014-03-07T14:06:00Z 2014-03-08T07:51:29Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Privatizing conservation management <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0307.Sabah-2013-(6).150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Is it possible to equitably divide the planet’s resources between human and non-human societies? Can we ensure prosperity and rights both to people and to the ecosystems on which they rely? In the island archipelago of Indonesia, these questions become more pressing as the unique ecosystems of this global biodiversity hotspot continue to rapidly vanish in the wake of land conversion (mostly due to palm oil, poor forest management and corruption. For 22 years, Dr. Erik Meijaard has worked in Indonesia. Now, from his home office in the capitol city, Jakarta, he runs the terrestrial branch of an independent conservation consultancy, People and Nature Consulting International (PNCI). Jeremy Hance -0.785983 112.680982 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12881 2014-03-06T14:11:00Z 2014-03-06T14:26:18Z Dietary diversity: key to defending tropical ecosystems A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) points to the homogenization of global diets over the past fifty years. It shows that worldwide production of traditional staples such as millet, rye, sorghum, yams and cassava have been in decline. Instead, the world's population increasingly relies on a relatively small number of 'megacrops' like wheat, corn and soy, raising serious concerns for global food security, human nutrition, and the genetic diversity of crops. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12872 2014-03-04T15:10:00Z 2014-03-04T15:28:57Z Europe not doing enough to stop illegal logging imports says Greenpeace Europe is failing to fully enforce its one-year-old EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), alleges Greenpeace, with illegally-logged wood still slipping into the continent, especially from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Jeremy Hance -6.970049 23.732758 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12793 2014-02-20T19:14:00Z 2014-02-20T19:57:27Z The lemur end-game: scientists propose ambitious plan to save the world's most imperiled mammal family <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0220.madagascar_0066.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Due to the wonderful idiosyncrasies of evolution, there is one country on Earth that houses 20 percent of the world's primates. More astounding still, every single one of these primates&#8212;an entire distinct family in fact&#8212;are found no-where else. The country is, of course, Madagascar and the primates in question are, of course, lemurs. But the far-flung island of Madagascar, once a safe haven for wild evolutionary experiments, has become an ecological nightmare. Overpopulation, deep poverty, political instability, slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging for lucrative woods, and a booming bushmeat trade has placed 94 percent of the world's lemurs under threat of extinction, making this the most imperiled mammal group on the planet. But, in order to stem a rapid march toward extinction, conservationists today publicized an emergency three year plan to safeguard 30 important lemur forests in the journal <i>Science</i>. Jeremy Hance -18.659257 48.441009 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12788 2014-02-19T15:42:00Z 2014-02-20T19:09:19Z The making of Amazon Gold: once more unto the breach <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0219.amazongold.Image-4.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When Sarah duPont first visited the Peruvian Amazon rainforest in the summer of 1999, it was a different place than it is today. Oceans of green, tranquil forest, met the eye at every turn. At dawn, her brain struggled to comprehend the onslaught of morning calls and duets of the nearly 600 species of birds resounding under the canopy. Today, the director of the new award-winning film, Amazon Gold, reports that "roads have been built and people have arrived. It has become a new wild west, a place without law. People driven by poverty and the desire for a better life have come, exploiting the sacred ground." Jeremy Hance -11.867351 -70.764771 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12786 2014-02-18T14:02:00Z 2014-02-18T14:09:28Z Conservation groups launch new whistleblower site for wildlife and forest crimes Welcome to Wildleaks: a new website that aims to give the global public a secure and anonymous platform to report wildlife trafficking and illegal deforestation. The illegal wildlife trade has become one of the world's largest criminal activities in recent years, decimating elephants, rhinos, tigers, primates, and thousands of lesser known species. Meanwhile, illegal logging is rampant in many parts of the world, imperiling biodiversity, undercutting locals, and robbing governments of revenue. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12718 2014-02-04T12:57:00Z 2014-02-20T19:10:42Z Gas company to drill in Manu National Park buffer zone, imperiling indigenous people The Peruvian government has approved plans for gas company Pluspetrol to move deeper into a supposedly protected reserve for indigenous peoples and the buffer zone of the Manu National Park in the Amazon rainforest. The approval follows the government rescinding a highly critical report on the potential impacts of the operations by the Culture Ministry (MINCU), the resignation of the Culture Minister and other Ministry personnel, and repeated criticism from Peruvian and international civil society. Jeremy Hance -11.813588 -72.499695 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12712 2014-01-31T16:28:00Z 2014-01-31T16:34:30Z L'Oreal pledges to wipe out forest destruction from its products by 2020 French cosmetics giant, L'Oreal, has pledged to stop using palm oil linked to deforestation for its products by 2020. Palm oil, which is found in both cosmetics and many food items, has been linked to widespread deforestation in places like Indonesia and Malaysia, decimating biodiversity and contributing to global warming. The crop, which is both high-yield and lucrative, is now becoming increasingly popular in Africa and Latin America as well. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12596 2014-01-06T13:35:00Z 2014-02-20T19:13:53Z Brazil begins evicting illegal settlers from hugely-imperiled indigenous reserve Months after closing sawmills on the fringes of an indigenous reserve for the hugely-imperiled Awá people, the Brazil government has now moved into the reserve itself to evict illegal settlers in the eastern Amazon. According to the NGO Survival International, Brazil has sent in the military and other government agents to deal with massive illegal settlements on Awá land for logging or cattle. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12540 2013-12-19T15:01:00Z 2013-12-27T03:54:13Z Top 10 HAPPY environmental stories of 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1101olinguito.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>China begins to tackle pollution, carbon emissions: As China's environmental crisis worsens, the government has begun to unveil a series of new initiatives to curb record pollution and cut greenhouse emissions. The world's largest consumer of coal, China's growth in emissions is finally slowing and some experts believe the nation's emissions could peak within the decade. If China's emissions begin to fall, so too could the world's. Jeremy Hance 39.906576 116.413665 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12524 2013-12-17T17:30:00Z 2014-02-22T23:19:39Z New Guinea animals losing vital tree cavities to logging, hunting practices <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1216.382px-Petaurus_breviceps_2_Gould.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Across New Guinea, deforestation is occurring at increasing levels. Whether it be industrial logging, monoculture plantations, hunters felling trees in pursuit of arboreal wildlife, or other forms of forest conversion, deforestation is depleting not only forest carbon stocks and understory environments, but habitats for species who call tree cavities "home." A new study in mongabay.com's open-access journal, Tropical Conservation Science, evaluated whether a variety of man-made nest boxes could function as suitable substitutes for tree cavities. Jeremy Hance -5.967034 147.190397 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12528 2013-12-16T22:30:00Z 2014-11-14T13:49:41Z Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century: a new tapir <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1216.newtapir.SUNP0052.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In what will likely be considered one of the biggest (literally) zoological discoveries of the Twenty-First Century, scientists today announced they have discovered a new species of tapir in Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent, although it's still the smallest living tapir. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for 'tapir' in the local Paumari language: Arabo kabomani. Jeremy Hance -4.609278 -69.810333 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12521 2013-12-16T19:55:00Z 2013-12-16T20:31:07Z Scientists: well-managed forest restoration benefits both biodiversity and people In November this year, the world was greeted by the dismaying news that deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon jumped 28% in the past year. The year 2013 also holds the dubious distinction of being the first time since humans appeared on the planet, that carbon concentrations in the atmosphere rose to 400 parts per million. A map by Google revealed that Russia, Brazil, the United States, Canada and Indonesia all displayed over 10 million hectares of gross forest loss from 2000-2012, with the highest deforestation rate occurring in Malaysia. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12496 2013-12-10T14:09:00Z 2013-12-27T03:35:31Z Top 10 Environmental Stories of 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/south-africa/150/south_africa_kruger_1126.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>1. Carbon concentrations hit 400ppm while the IPCC sets global carbon budget: For the first time since our appearance on Earth, carbon concentrations in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million. The last time concentrations were this high for a sustained period was 4-5 million years ago when temperatures were 10 degrees Celsius higher. Meanwhile, in the slow-moving effort to curb carbon emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crafted a global carbon budget showing that most of the world's fossil fuel reserves must be left untouched if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12480 2013-12-04T16:39:00Z 2014-02-20T19:18:12Z Sky islands: exploring East Africa's last frontier <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1204.Taveta-two-horned-chameleon-(Kinyongia-tavetana),-South-Pare-Mts.-Tanzania.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The montane rainforests of East Africa are little-known to the global public. The Amazon and Congo loom much larger in our minds, while the savannas of East Africa remain the iconic ecosystems for the region. However these ancient, biodiverse forests&#8212;sitting on the tops of mountains rising from the African savanna&#8212;are home to some remarkable species, many found only in a single forest. A team of international scientists&#8212;Michele Menegon, Fabio Pupin, and Simon Loader&#8212;have made it their mission to document the little-known reptiles and amphibians in these so-called sky islands, many of which are highly imperiled. Jeremy Hance -12.077428 37.631686 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12474 2013-12-02T21:09:00Z 2014-02-20T19:18:25Z Plantations used as cover for destruction of old-growth forests in Myanmar As Wild Burma: Nature's Lost Kingdom airs on the BBC, the forests documented in the series are increasingly being cut down, according to a new report by U.S. NGO Forest Trends. The report alleges that wide swathes of forest are being cleared in ethnic minority areas of Myanmar (also known as Burma), ostensibly for palm oil and rubber plantations. However after the lucrative timber is extracted, the report finds little evidence that the companies involved are serious about establishing plantations. Jeremy Hance 16.841348 96.178207 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12430 2013-11-21T20:26:00Z 2014-02-22T01:54:01Z Asia's most precious wood is soaked in blood <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1121.%C2%A9FREELAND-Foundation---Rosewood-Poachers-Photographed-by-Cameratrap-2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Deep in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia grows a rare and beautiful tree whose wood is so highly prized that men will kill to possess it. Wild rosewood, famous since antiquity in China and Japan for its unique, blood-hued luster and intricate grain, was once only used for the finest religious statues and princely ornaments. Now, China's nouveau riche lust for decorative baubles and furniture made of rosewood as a sign of status leading to a massive surge in demand for this precious timber that shows no signs of abating. In just a few short years the price has skyrocketed from just a hundred dollars a cubic meter to over $50,000 today. Jeremy Hance 14.268376 102.060013 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12428 2013-11-21T16:38:00Z 2013-11-21T21:34:42Z Canopy crusade: world's highest network of camera traps keeps an eye on animals impacted by gas project <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1114interview150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Oil, gas, timber, gold: the Amazon rainforest is rich in resources, and their exploitation is booming. As resource extraction increases, so does the development of access roads and pipelines. These carve their way through previously intact forest, thereby interrupting the myriad pathways of the species that live there. For species that depend on the rainforest canopy, this can be particularly problematic. Tiffany Roufs -4.915833 -74.274903 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12353 2013-11-11T21:49:00Z 2013-11-11T22:00:56Z Redeeming REDD: a conversation with Michael Brown <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_2601.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In Redeeming REDD: Policies, Incentives and Social Feasibility for Avoided Deforestation, anthropologist Michael Brown relays a constructive critique of the contemporary aims, standards and modalities for mitigating climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Brown advocates for REDD as a viable mechanism for the long-term pro-poor conservation and restoration of tropical forests as well&#8212;but only if local forest dwellers and Indigenous. Peoples can join the negotiating table and act as forest stewards. Local people must first be empowered to make 'socially feasible' decisions that are necessary for their livelihoods and well-being. In other words, there can be no environmentalism without credible local leadership, which requires investment in capacity building at the local level for sustainable institutions. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12324 2013-11-07T15:54:00Z 2014-02-22T01:56:15Z Could camera trap videos galvanize the world to protect Yasuni from oil drilling? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1107.Mosquera-Jaguar.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Even ten years ago it would have been impossible to imagine: clear-as-day footage of a jaguar plodding through the impenetrable Amazon, or a bicolored-spined porcupine balancing on a branch, or a troop of spider monkeys feeding at a clay lick, or a band of little coatis racing one-by-one from the dense foliage. These are things that even researchers who have spent a lifetime in the Amazon may never see. Now anyone can: scientists at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador's Yasuní National Park have recently begun using camera trap videos to take movies of animals few will ever view in their lifetimes. The videos&#8212;following years of photo camera trapping&#8212;provide an intimate view of a world increasingly threatened by the oil industry. Jeremy Hance -0.638117 -76.149784 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12305 2013-11-04T22:23:00Z 2013-11-05T15:28:35Z World's most cryptic feline photographed in logging concession <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1104baycat150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The bay cat is arguably the world's least-known member of the cat family (Felidae). Although first described by scientists in 1874, no photo existed of a living specimen until 1998 and a wild cat in its rainforest habitat wasn't photographed until five years later. Given this, scientists with Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Imperial College London were taken aback when their remote camera traps captured numerous photos of these elusive cats hanging out in a commercial logging concession in Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12194 2013-10-14T14:34:00Z 2014-11-26T19:32:52Z Meeting the mammal that survived the dinosaurs <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/Hispaniolan_Solenodon_crop.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>So, here I am, running in a forest at night over 2,000 miles from home. This forest&#8212;dry, stout, and thorny enough to draw blood&#8212;lies just a few miles north of a rural town in the western edge of the Dominican Republic on the border with Haiti. I'm following&#8212;or trying to keep pace with&#8212;a local hunter and guide as we search for one of the world's most bizarre mammals. It's an animal few people have heard of, let alone actually seen; even most Dominicans don't readily recognize its name or picture. But I've been obsessed with it for six years: it's called a "solenodon," more accurately the Hispaniolan solenodon or its (quite appropriate) scientific name, Solenodon paradoxus. Jeremy Hance 18.052704 -71.726671 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12182 2013-10-10T13:19:00Z 2014-02-22T02:04:15Z Tapirs, drug-trafficking, and eco-police: practicing conservation amidst chaos in Nicaragua <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/jordan.PICT0021.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nicaragua is a nation still suffering from deep poverty, a free-flowing drug trade, and festering war-wounds after decades of internecine fighting. However, like any country that has been largely defined by its conflicts, Nicaragua possesses surprises that overturn conventional wisdom. Not the least of which is that the Central American country is still home to big, stunning species, including jaguars, giant anteaters, pumas, and the nation's heaviest animal, the Baird's tapir (<i>Tapirus bairdii</i>). Still, not surprisingly given the nation's instability, most conservationists have avoided Nicaragua. But tapir-expert Christopher Jordan, who has worked in the country for over four years, says he wouldn't have it any other way. Jeremy Hance 13.982629 -83.465123 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12159 2013-10-03T15:13:00Z 2014-02-22T01:57:19Z Over 100 scientists warn Ecuadorian Congress against oil development in Yasuni <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/jlh/ecuador/Yasuni.150/Yasuni_22.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Over 100 scientists have issued a statement to the Ecuadorian Congress warning that proposed oil development and accompanying roads in Yasuni National Park will degrade its "extraordinary biodiversity." The statement by a group dubbed the Scientists Concerned for Yasuni outlines in detail how the park is not only likely the most biodiverse ecosystems in the western hemisphere, but in the entire world. Despite this, the Ecuadorian government has recently given the go-ahead to plans to drill for oil in Yasuni's Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) blocs, one of most remote areas in the Amazon rainforest. Jeremy Hance -0.668091 -76.026192 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12145 2013-09-30T17:12:00Z 2014-02-22T02:07:18Z Has Brazil turned against its progressive environmental policies? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/brazil/150/brazil_0507.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last year, Brazil rolled back crucial parts of its landmark Forestry Code, potentially opening vast tracts of forest for destruction; it is also moving ahead on a number of Amazon dams, including the infamous Belo Monte, despite international condemnation and conflict with indigenous people. Meanwhile, a new law under consideration proposes allowing large-scale mining in protected areas. Given this a new paper in mongabay.com's open access journal Tropical Conservation Science argues that Brazil has thrown off its once admired mantle of environmental legislation, imperiling hundreds of thousands of species in the most biodiverse country on Earth. Jeremy Hance -15.80001 -47.864525 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11906 2013-08-13T18:17:00Z 2013-08-13T18:35:44Z Forest fragmentation leading to higher extinction rates <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/costa_rica/150/costa-rica-d_0183.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's species are in worse trouble than widely-assumed, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which reevaluates how scientists estimate extinction rates. The new model takes into account the impact of forest fragmentation on extinction rates for the first time, filling in a gap in past estimates. Much of the world's tropical forests, which house the bulk of the world's species, have been whittled down to fragments: small forest islands that no longer connect to larger habitat. According to the paper, species confined to fragments have a higher likelihood of vanishing. Jeremy Hance -22.346682 -43.357739 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11900 2013-08-12T12:16:00Z 2014-02-22T02:05:56Z Little NGO takes on goliath task: conserving the vanishing ecosystems of Paraguay <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0812.Forest-Guards-in-Cerrado-%C2%A9Rolex-Awards_Kirsten-Holst.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Landlocked in the navel of South America, the forests, wetlands and savannahs of Paraguay boast rich biodiversity and endemic species, yet the unique landscapes of Paraguay also face increasing threats, primarily from agricultural expansion. Controlled burns and clear cutting have become common practice as wildlands are converted for soy and cattle production. In some areas this land conversion is rapid: the Paraguayan Chaco, for instance, is being lost at a rate of 10% per year. One organization is working to reverse this trend. Para La Tierra (PLT) is a small NGO dedicated to the conservation of threatened habitats in Paraguay. Located on the Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca, in-between two of South America's most threatened habitats: the Atlantic Forest and the vast topical savannah known as the cerrado, PLT is in a unique position to champion conservation. Jeremy Hance -23.809729 -56.283653 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11898 2013-08-08T18:02:00Z 2013-08-08T21:26:39Z Endangered chimps and forest elephants found in rainforest to be logged for palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0808.GP0MDS.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A biological survey of forests slated for destruction for a palm oil project in Cameroon has uncovered 23 species of large mammals, including the world's most endangered chimpanzee subspecies, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti). The project in question, operated by U.S.-based company Herakles Farms, has come under stiff criticism both locally and abroad for threatening one of Africa's most biologically rich forest lands and arguably undercutting local peoples' access to traditional lands. Jeremy Hance 5.101887 9.118423 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11879 2013-08-05T13:57:00Z 2013-08-05T14:20:14Z Featured video: Sumatra's last elephants versus palm oil A new video by The Ecologist documents the illegal destruction of the Leuser protected area in Sumatra for palm oil production, a vegetable oil which has become ubiquitous in many mass-produced foods and cosmetics. The destruction of the forest has pushed elephants and people together, leading to inevitable conflict with casualties on both sides. Elephants are increasingly viewed as agricultural pests for crop-raiding while locals&#8212;some of them squatting in protected land&#8212;lack the means and resources to keep elephants at bay. Meanwhile, palm oil plantations often see elephants as a threat to the palms. Jeremy Hance 4.707828 96.293335 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11694 2013-07-01T17:47:00Z 2013-07-07T16:45:29Z Amazonian students help monitor threatened frog populations <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0627.frogeyes.DSC_0074.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, amphibians are the most threatened group of animals on Earth: currently around 30 percent of the world's amphibians are listed as threatened with extinction. However this percentage doesn't include those species about which too little is known to evaluate (26 percent). Amphibians face many threats but two of the largest are habitat loss and the lethal chytrid fungus, which has rapidly spread worldwide and is likely responsible for numerous extinctions. But conservationists are coming up with innovative and creative ways to keep amphibians from disappearing, including a program from the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) that is working with students in the Peruvian Amazon to monitor frog populations. Jeremy Hance -2.065154 -74.370089 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11621 2013-06-20T16:50:00Z 2013-06-20T17:06:55Z Building a new generation of local conservationists: how improving education in Uganda may save one of the world's great forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/kibale.IMG_3752.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Conservation work is often focused on the short-term: protecting a forest from an immediate threat, saving a species from pending extinction, or a restoring an ecosystem following degradation. While short-term responses are often borne of necessity, one could argue that long-term thinking in conservation and environmental work (as in all human endeavors) is woefully neglected, especially in the tropics. This is why programs like the Kasiisi Project are so important: by vastly improving education for primary kids near a threatened park in Uganda, the project hopes to create a "generation of committed rural conservationists," according to founder and director, Elizabeth Ross. Jeremy Hance 0.443569 30.417652 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11590 2013-06-12T18:19:00Z 2013-06-12T18:27:04Z Tigers, orangutans, rhinos: Sumatra's big mammals on the edge of extinction Karman Lubis's body was found near where he had been working on a Sumatran rubber plantation. His head was found several days later a mile away and they still haven't found his right hand. He had been mauled by a Sumatran tiger that has been living in Batang Gadis National Park and he was one of five people killed there by tigers in the last five years. Jeremy Hance 0.269164 101.551208 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11558 2013-06-12T17:44:00Z 2013-06-12T18:03:36Z Bird extravaganza: scientists discover 15 new species of birds in the Amazon From 2000-2009, scientists described on average seven new bird species worldwide every year. Discovering a new bird is one of the least common of any species group, given that birds are highly visible, mobile, and have been scrutinized for centuries by passionate ornithologists and birders. But descriptions this year already blows away the record year over the last decade (in 2001 when nine new birds were described): scientists working in the southern Amazon have recorded an incredible 15 new species of birds according to the Portuguese publication <i>Capa Aves</i>. In fact, this is the largest group of new birds uncovered in the Brazilian in the Amazon in 140 years. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11574 2013-06-11T13:45:00Z 2013-06-19T23:53:33Z Conserving the long-neglected freshwater fish of Borneo <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_2472.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Borneo is a vast tropical island known for orangutans, rhinos, elephants, sun bears, proboscis monkeys, hornbills, and ubiquitous leeches. Conservationists have championed all of these species (aside from the leeches) in one way or another, but like many tropical regions Borneo's freshwater species have long been neglected, despite their rich biodiversity and importance to local people. But a new organization, the Kinabatangan River Spirit Initiative, is working to change that. Jeremy Hance 5.624186 118.367844 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11557 2013-06-06T21:07:00Z 2013-06-19T23:55:18Z Saving one of Africa's most stunning parks through biomass briquettes and fuel-efficient stoves <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0606.newnature.investigatingkuchumbricks.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When Rebecca Goldstone and Michael Stern first arrived in Uganda's Kibale National Park in 2000 to study monkeys, little did they know then that they would stay on to kick-start an innovative organization, The New Nature Foundation, connecting locals to the park through videos and visits. Nor did they know they would soon tackle the biggest threat to Kibale: deforestation for cooking fuel wood. Since 2006, the couple's organization has implemented a hugely-successful program that provides biomass briquettes for environmentally-friendly fuel for locals, cutting down on the need for forest destruction. Jeremy Hance 0.465541 30.402231 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11542 2013-06-03T15:17:00Z 2014-02-22T23:20:09Z Scientists describe over 100 new beetles from New Guinea <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0603.54356_web.weevils.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a single paper, a team of researchers have succinctly described 101 new species of weevils from New Guinea, more than doubling the known species in the beetle genus, <i>Trigonopterus</i>. Since describing new species is hugely laborious and time-intensive, the researchers turned to a new method of species description known as 'turbo-taxonomy,' which employs a mix of DNA-sequencing and taxonomic expertise to describe species more rapidly. Jeremy Hance -6.8828 145.583495 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11528 2013-05-30T16:29:00Z 2013-05-30T16:38:50Z Saving Gorongosa: E.O. Wilson on protecting a biodiversity hotspot in Mozambique <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0530.gorgongosa.wilson.2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>If you fly over the Great African Rift Valley from its northernmost point in Ethiopia, over the great national parks of Kenya and Tanzania, and follow it south to the very end, you will arrive at Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique. Plateaus on the eastern and western sides of the park flank the lush valley in the center. Dramatic limestone cliffs, unexplored caves, wetlands, vast grasslands, rivers, lakes, and a patchwork of savanna and forest contribute to the incredible diversity of this park. What makes this place truly unique, however, is Mount Gorongosa&#8212;a towering massif that overlooks the valley below. Jeremy Hance -18.890695 34.573059 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11443 2013-05-16T14:08:00Z 2013-05-19T03:58:31Z NGO: conflict of interests behind Peruvian highway proposal in the Amazon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0516.map.highway.peru.globalwitness.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As Peru's legislature debates the merits of building the Purús highway through the Amazon rainforest, a new report by Global Witness alleges that the project has been aggressively pushed by those with a financial stake in opening up the remote area to logging and mining. Roads built in the Amazon lead to spikes in deforestation, mining, poaching and other extractive activities as remote areas become suddenly accessible. The road in question would cut through parts of the Peruvian Amazon rich in biodiversity and home to indigenous tribes who have chosen to live in "voluntary isolation." Jeremy Hance -9.688752 -70.695877 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11378 2013-05-06T16:26:00Z 2013-05-06T16:37:59Z Central America's largest forest under siege by colonists In the last four years, invading land speculators and peasants have destroyed 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres) of rainforest in Nicaragua's Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, according to the Mayangna and Miskito indigenous peoples who call this forest home. Although Nicaragua recognized the land rights of the indigenous people in 2007, the tribes say the government has not done near-enough to keep illegal settlers out despite recent eviction efforts. Jeremy Hance 14.227113 -84.994583 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11275 2013-04-22T11:37:00Z 2013-07-04T13:58:49Z A new tool against illegal logging: tree DNA technology goes mainstream <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/malaysia/150/borneo_2908.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Modern DNA technology offers a unique opportunity: you could pinpoint the origin of your table at home and track down if the trees it was made from were illegally obtained. Each wooden piece of furniture comes with a hidden natural barcode that can tell its story from a sapling in a forest all the way to your living room. Jeremy Hance