tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/biodiversity1 biodiversity news from mongabay.com 2015-07-06T19:45:53Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15091 2015-07-06T18:14:00Z 2015-07-06T19:45:53Z Invasion of Poisonous Asian toad in Madagascar is a greater threat to biodiversity than previously thought <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0703-pereira-asian-toad-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Invasive species are among the greatest threats to the world’s biodiversity, and amphibians rank among the most devastating vertebrate invaders. That’s why the discovery of the Asian toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) in Madagascar’s second largest city and main port of Toamasina in March 2014 so alarmed conservationists. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15090 2015-07-06T15:59:00Z 2015-07-06T16:04:14Z 'Land sparing' vs. 'land sharing': scientists weigh in on how to improve biodiversity on farms <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0706_PRothrock_Ag_CornfieldIowa_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>To protect natural ecosystems, some conservationists advocate 'land sparing,' in which farmers intensify agricultural practices to boost yields, theoretically enabling them to forgo expansion into natural areas. Others advocate 'land sharing,' in which farmers take over more land but use more environmentally friendly practices. Researchers studied the relative effects of the two approaches on biodiversity. Rebecca Kessler 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/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/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/14884 2015-06-01T21:35:00Z 2015-06-01T21:35:27Z How many tree species are found in the world's rainforests? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0601_NUMBER_OF_TREE_SPECIES150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's tropical rainforests are likely home to 40,000 to 53,000 tree species, argues a paper published this week in PNAS. Analyzing abundance data spanning 657,000 individual tress across 11,371 species, Ferry Slik and 140 other researchers developed estimates for each of the world's three major tropical regions. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14886 2015-05-31T11:38:00Z 2015-05-31T11:48:15Z Scientists pick 2014's top 10 new species (photos) A group of taxonomists has released their annual list of the top 10 'new' species. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14879 2015-05-29T17:45:00Z 2015-05-29T17:46:04Z Butterflies stand out as useful bioindicators in Malaysia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0529_Buelna_Butterfly_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In choosing sites to target for protection, conservationists often turn to what they call bioindicators: species, or small groups of species, that when present suggest that a place has high biodiversity. A recent study tested several potential bioindicators in Malaysia, and found that butterflies came out on top. Rebecca Kessler 3.692161 101.867238 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14857 2015-05-26T23:43:00Z 2015-05-27T16:50:55Z Up to 11 stunningly colorful chameleon species discovered in Madagascar <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/madagascar/150/madagascar_0289.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The panther chameleon, a lizard prized in the pet trade for its remarkable color changing abilities, may actually represent 11 different species, report researchers writing in the journal <i>Molecular Ecology</i>. Analyzing the genetics of more than 300 individual panther chameleons, Swiss and Malagasy researchers make a case that different color morphs of <i>Furcifer pardalis</i> may be distinct species. Rhett Butler -13.404695 48.319352 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14802 2015-05-14T07:30:00Z 2015-06-17T23:44:01Z Geckos, moths and spider-scorpions: Six new species on Mount Tambora, say Indonesian researchers <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="//lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7BgvVFkBdX8/VVRSxj6C6aI/AAAAAAAABmQ/AbQR6N_0GYE/w150-h100-no/Caldera_Mt_Tambora_Sumbawa_Indonesia.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesian researchers believe they have identified six new animal species in the newly declared Mount Tambora National Park on the island of Sumbawa. Their haul includes two bent-toed geckoes, two moths and and two amblypygids, a type of arachnid that resembles a scorpion crossed with a spider. Philip Jacobson -8.182026 117.963512 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14789 2015-05-12T18:21:00Z 2015-05-12T20:09:03Z Scientists reconstruct what was in the Harapan Rainforest of Sumatra <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0326_v_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new study published in mongabay.com’s open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science describes how the Harapan Rainforest was prior to extensive logging and compares it to its current condition. The authors call for the Harapan's conservation because it is still very rich in species and holds rare habitats and many endemic plants. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14778 2015-05-11T13:17:00Z 2015-06-23T15:14:26Z Twitter campaign prompts Indonesians to free captive cockatoos in droves <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="//lh3.googleusercontent.com/AXJ05cEb7TJUDsYhO-JqdWZiFBpgStFDLxdM-jPKH3E=w150-h101-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Days after police at a port in Indonesia’s second-largest city arrested a passenger with 24 rare birds stuffed in plastic water bottles, a public outcry has prompted the government to set up shelters to accommodate people who wish to return more of the creatures, which have up to now been highly sought after by collectors and breeders. Philip Jacobson tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14770 2015-05-08T15:13:00Z 2015-05-08T15:28:09Z Energy Sprawl: Comparing biodiversity impacts of oil, gas and wind production <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0508-farber-energy-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Energy has become a contentious and politicized topic, spurring activism, whether it be the fossil fuel divestment campaign, Keystone pipeline protests, or concern over wind turbine harm to birds. But whatever energy future we choose, two things are clear: an expanding human population will need more energy, and no matter what energy source we pick, it will have landscape-scale impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14744 2015-05-05T16:55:00Z 2015-05-06T14:58:36Z Scientists identify frog through DNA without leaving forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0505.sequencing.genes.unnamed.thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Yesterday, a team of Italian scientists caught a frog in a montane forest in Tanzania. And then they made history: using a small blood sample the team were able to extract, purify, and amplify the amphibian's DNA&#8212;all in the forest&#8212;through a new, battery-powered device called the Expedition Genomics Lab. Jeremy Hance -9.121768 33.633140 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14712 2015-04-29T16:48:00Z 2015-05-22T16:20:25Z Featured video: the Uncharted Amazon trailer <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0430.Silky.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The up-coming documentary, Uncharted Amazon, promises to highlight both the little-seen wildlife and the people of the Las Piedras River system in the Peruvian Amazon, one of the most remote wildernesses on the planet. Jeremy Hance -11.902431 -70.133875 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14673 2015-04-22T16:38:00Z 2015-04-22T17:34:56Z Can shade-grown cocoa help conserve sloths? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0422.thumb.780px-Choloepus_hoffmanni_(Puerto_Viejo,_CR)_crop.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Tropical forests support the greatest diversity of species in the world, yet we are rapidly destroying them. Most deforestation in the tropics is due to agricultural development and livestock production, the two greatest causes of declines in terrestrial biodiversity. However, one strategy that has been gaining attention for its potential to preserve biodiversity is shade-grown agriculture. Jeremy Hance 10.651773 -83.855896 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14653 2015-04-17T20:09:00Z 2015-04-19T00:39:53Z Your name here: auctioning the naming rights to new species to fund conservation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0417-cactopinus-rhettbutleri150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Meg Lowman is on a mission to save northern Ethiopia's church forests, one at a time. Numbering around 3,500, these small "sacred" patches of forest surrounding churches are isolated natural oases in Ethiopia's otherwise mostly agricultural terrain, and they are losing ground to human activity at an alarming rate. Church forests are considered critical conservation areas. They are home to hundreds of species found nowhere else in the world, with new discoveries still being made. Brittany Stewart 16.799834 -96.176380 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14630 2015-04-13T19:43:00Z 2015-04-13T19:54:13Z Conservation and carbon storage goals collide in Brazil's Cerrado <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0413_bb_IMG_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists are raising the alarm about the disparity between biodiversity goals and carbon goals in Brazil's Cerrado. New research is beginning to challenge the idea that the Cerrado is irrelevant to the battle to reduce atmospheric carbon. Tiffany Roufs -24.086285 -49.948627 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14598 2015-04-06T23:23:00Z 2015-04-07T01:31:30Z Where the wild things aren’t: study says U.S. protected lands aren’t where most biodiversity is found <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0406-thumb-salamander.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The United States has one of the oldest, best-established park systems in the world. But what if those public lands -- mostly created to preserve scenic natural wonders -- are in the wrong place to conserve the lion’s share of the nation’s unique biodiversity? Morgan Erickson-Davis 38.867612 -79.159060 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14537 2015-03-26T08:05:00Z 2015-06-23T04:19:57Z Indonesia's biodiversity-protected areas no match for encroachers, finds study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/indonesia/150/sumatra_9166.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesia's biodiversity-focused protected areas are failing to slow deforestation, while other categories have achieved mixed results, finds a new study. The coupling of poor law enforcement with the presence of high-value timber seems to be the main culprit. Philip Jacobson tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14530 2015-03-24T21:11:00Z 2015-03-25T01:04:20Z Photos: expedition to Amazon’s white sands may have found new primate <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0324.thumbnail.photo-8A.by-giussepe-gagliardi-urrutia.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Most people think of the Amazon rainforest as one massive, homogenous ecosystem&#8212;a giant castle of green. However, within the Amazon rainforest lie a myriad of distinct ecosystems, sporting unique characteristics and harboring endemic species. One of the rarer ecosystems in the Amazon is the white sands forest. Jeremy Hance -6.343298 -74.026909 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14524 2015-03-24T01:52:00Z 2015-03-24T01:57:58Z World's fragmented forests are deteriorating <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0323sinop150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's forests are fragmented and deteriorating, states a new paper published in Science Advances. After analyzing satellite imagery and compiling data from long-term fragmentation studies, the authors conclude that 70 percent of remaining forest land exists within 1 km of an edge, which negatively impacts their fauna, flora, and ecosystem services. Rhett Butler -11.286796 -56.144168 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14507 2015-03-18T16:15:00Z 2015-03-19T16:59:30Z Discovery of 'Lost City' spurs conservation pledge <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/colombia/150/co06-1366.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Earlier this month, National Geographic made big news: the discovery of what it called a 'lost city' below the thick jungles of Honduras. While the coverage has led to scientists crying sensationalism, it also resulted this week in a commitment of protection by the Honduras President, Juan Orlando Hernández, for a long-neglected portion of the country. Jeremy Hance 15.744008 -84.675660 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14504 2015-03-17T19:07:00Z 2015-06-16T00:34:35Z New report connects human health to biodiversity protection <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0220.madagascar_0066.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>During February, the 14th World Congress on Public Health in Kolkata, India, revealed a new "ground-breaking" report entitled, Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health, which demonstrates human health benefits yielded from protecting Earth's biodiversity. It's designed to be the new "flagship publication," acting as a primary source of information that supports the upcoming 2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14486 2015-03-12T16:31:00Z 2015-03-17T16:38:06Z Conservationists announce program to protect East Africa's largest elephant population <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0223_elephants_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Tanzanian government have launched an ambitious new initiative to protect East Africa's largest population of elephants (<i>Loxodonta Africana</i>). With funds from USAID, the plan aims to reduce poaching and protect biodiversity - including the area's 25,000 elephants- across an 115,000 square kilometer ecosystem. Tiffany Roufs -6.897289 31.171173 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14485 2015-03-12T15:16:00Z 2015-03-12T15:24:19Z Meet Biomuseo: the world’s first biodiversity museum <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0302_biomuseo_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Biomuseo, designed by internationally renowned architect, Frank Gehry, is the first museum in the world dedicated to biodiversity. Opened in October 2014, the museum is located at the end of the Amador Causeway in Panama City, facing the Pacific Ocean at the entrance of the Panama Canal. Tiffany Roufs 8.932658 -79.545043 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14450 2015-03-03T20:22:00Z 2015-03-30T22:38:33Z Researchers, locals work together to save Ethiopia's 'church forests' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0303-thumb-wall-builders.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Presenting a workshop on ecosystem services to a roomful of priests in Ethiopia may seem like an unlikely scenario for a conservation biologist to end up in, but for Meg Lowman, it’s an essential part of spreading her passion for bottom-up conservation. “Canopy Meg,” as she’s fondly referred to by her colleagues, believes in the power of local communities to be part of the solution, often in ways that are more effective than researchers can make alone. Morgan Erickson-Davis 11.795124 37.676432 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14449 2015-03-03T17:23:00Z 2015-05-16T19:55:47Z Colombia proposes protected corridor across South America <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/animals/150/herps_cnh_0307.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has announced plans to create the world’s largest protected area, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andes Mountains. Santos plans to propose the protected environmental corridor during the UN climate talks in Paris later this year as a means to combat global warming. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.069027 -71.417806 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14426 2015-02-25T19:16:00Z 2015-02-26T22:59:20Z Study finds Peru's protected areas aren't where they should be <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/animals/150/herps_cnh_0271.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Many of the world's protected areas may not be located in the areas that need them the most, according to a recently published study in the journal PLoS ONE. The study examined the effectiveness of Peru’s existing protected area system in holistically preserving the biodiversity in this megadiverse country, finding it inadequately protecting many of the country's species. Morgan Erickson-Davis -5.425510 -80.219909 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14423 2015-02-25T15:38:00Z 2015-02-26T16:57:05Z $7 million could save lemurs from extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/madagascar_0591.thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last year, scientists released an emergency three-year plan that they argued could, quite literally, save the world's lemurs from mass extinction. Costing just $7.6 million, the plan focused on setting up better protections in 30 lemur hotspots. However, there was one sticking point: donating to small programs in one of the world's poorest countries was not exactly user friendly. Jeremy Hance -13.846412 48.910876 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14404 2015-02-20T18:39:00Z 2015-02-20T18:41:00Z Scientists sound the alarm on African palm oil investment <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/uganda/150/ug3-3760.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Africa’s people, forests and wildlife are in trouble if the mostly unbridled expansion of oil palm in West and Central Africa is allowed to continue unchecked, says an organization of African scientists. Morgan Erickson-Davis 4.846424 12.366558 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14398 2015-02-19T15:52:00Z 2015-02-19T16:01:32Z Biodiversity may reduce the threat of disease <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0204_victor_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Biodiversity level changes can have consequences for species and habitats around the world. A new study published in the <i>Proceedings of the Royal Society B</i>, reaffirms previous findings that higher diversity in ecological communities may lead to reduced disease threat. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14396 2015-02-18T23:52:00Z 2015-02-23T20:05:52Z Selective logging causes long-term changes to forest structure <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/gabon/150/gabon_2813.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Selective logging is causing long-term changes to tropical forests in Africa by facilitating the growth of weeds and vines, which reduces plant diversity and diminishes carbon storage, reports a new paper published in the journal <i>Ecological Research</i>. The paper is based on field data from more than 500 plots in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon and Gabon. Rhett Butler 7.341270 -11.236710 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14395 2015-02-18T22:52:00Z 2015-02-20T16:22:32Z Scientists uncover new seadragon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/rubyseadragon.thumb.16376292497_040e68a10a_z.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For 150 years, scientists have known of just two so-called seadragons: the leafy seadragon and the weedy seadragon. But a new paper in the Royal Society Open Science has announced the discovery of a third, dubbed the ruby seadragon for its incredible bright-red coloring. Found only off the southern Australian coastline, seadragons belong to the same family as the more familiar seahorses: the Syngnathidae. Jeremy Hance -32.030312 115.702296 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14362 2015-02-09T14:50:00Z 2015-02-09T14:53:09Z Pollinator collapse could lead to a rise in malnutrition Saving the world's pollinators may be a public health issue, according to recent research. Scientists have long believed that pollinators are important for human nutrition, but this is first time they have tested the hypothesis. What they found is disturbing: pollinator collapse could increase nutrient deficiency across local populations by a up to 56 percent in four developing counties. Jeremy Hance -15.831249 23.960145 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14360 2015-02-06T17:54:00Z 2015-02-06T17:57:39Z Madagascar establishes a sanctuary for sharks <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0206ZebraShark-(JurgBrand)150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The government of Madagascar has established the Indian Ocean island's first shark sanctuary in an area famous for its marine biodiversity, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Rhett Butler -15.719525 49.829292 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14359 2015-02-06T17:07:00Z 2015-02-06T17:13:13Z Economic models for forests often neglect value of biodiversity <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/wayquecha-andes_0518.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Tropical forests provide countless goods and services that help sustain human life. Given the rapid conversion of forests to agricultural lands, scientists say it is critical that we prioritize conservation of forest ecosystems. While economists have attempted to quantify the economic value of tropical forests, these estimates may overlook the intricacies of the landscape. According to a recent study in <i>Biological Conservation</i>, economic analyses of forests tend to neglect areas containing high biodiversity. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14350 2015-02-05T13:58:00Z 2015-02-05T14:25:16Z World Parks Congress talks the talk, but future depends on action <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/manu_0177.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last year, more than 6,000 people gathered for the World Parks Congress 2014, an event held around every ten years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The World Parks Congress discusses myriad issues related to protected areas, which recent research has shown are in rough shape. Jeremy Hance -33.905271 151.144906 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14341 2015-02-04T17:50:00Z 2015-02-06T15:10:31Z The Amazon's oil boom: concessions cover a Chile-sized bloc of rainforest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/jlh/ecuador/Yasuni.150/Yasuni_303.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Hungry for oil revenue, governments and fossil fuel companies are moving even further into one of the world's last great wildernesses, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The total area set aside for oil and gas in the Western Amazon has grown by 150,000 square kilometers since 2008, now totaling more than 730,000 square kilometers&#8212;an area the size of Chile. Jeremy Hance -14.057138 -68.658039 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14310 2015-01-27T03:13:00Z 2015-01-27T03:14:37Z Myanmar's bird species count jumps to 1114 Myanmar is home to at least 1,114 bird species after researchers identified 20 previously undocumented species during recent surveys. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14301 2015-01-23T15:41:00Z 2015-01-24T15:28:51Z Conservationists ask, 'Is nuclear the way to go?' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0123_nuclear_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nuclear power at times faces antagonism from the environmental community, with opponents arguing that it produces harmful radioactive waste, leads to the proliferation of nuclear arms, and brings forth lethal disasters. Scientists from Australia say it's time to get past myths about nuclear; they suggest that implementing nuclear power at a larger scale is a positive compromise for fulfilling both energy supply and conservation needs. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14287 2015-01-21T17:33:00Z 2015-01-30T16:17:23Z Video: clouded leopards and elephants grace drowned forest in Thailand Camera trap video from Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary in southern Thailand has revealed an impressive array of wildlife, including scent-marking clouded leopards and a whole herd of Asian elephant. The camera traps were set by HabitatID, an organization devoted to using remote camera traps to prove to government officials that wildlife still flourishes in forgotten places. Jeremy Hance 8.972407 98.790539 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14267 2015-01-15T22:32:00Z 2015-01-16T18:33:46Z Ocean's 15: meet the species that have vanished forever from our seas <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/15/0115.Steller's-sea-cow-Labeled-Peter-Schouten.600.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In the last 500 years, the oceans have suffered far fewer extinctions than on land&#8212;at least that we know of. According to a recent study in Science, 15 animals are known to have vanished forever from the oceans while terrestrial ecosystems have seen 514 extinctions. The researchers, however, warn that the number of marine extinctions could rise rapidly as the oceans are industrialized. Jeremy Hance 34.889942 -154.673320 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14265 2015-01-15T19:01:00Z 2015-01-16T18:35:14Z Empty seas? Scientists warn of an industrialized ocean <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/15/pink-skunk-anemonefish-(Amphiprion-perideraion)---Malin-Pinsky-300.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>This is obvious, but still important: humans are not a marine species. Even as we have colonized most of our planet's terrestrial landscapes, we have not yet colonized the oceans. And for most of our history, we have impacted them only on the periphery. A new review in Science finds that this has saved marine species and ecosystems from large-scale damage&#8212;that is, until the last couple centuries. Jeremy Hance 32.139061 -78.793072 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14259 2015-01-14T15:34:00Z 2015-01-14T16:09:09Z Road building spree hurts Amazon birds <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/1214_stewart_roads_biodiversity3_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A city-dwelling crow in Japan strategically drops a nut near a crosswalk into moving traffic. The bird then waits patiently for the light to turn before dropping down to the road and collecting the cracked nut in safety. While this type of animal behavior is fascinating, such adaptation to the human world is not possible for most bird species. Brittany Stewart -5.530500 -52.613134 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14190 2014-12-23T17:22:00Z 2014-12-23T17:34:53Z How a frog with a strange name is helping improve conservation in Brazil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1223_frog_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Protecting the biodiversity of the Amazon basin is an immense undertaking, and to its credit the Brazilian government has a set procedure for doing so. However, there are gaps in the process that may prevent the authorities from fully protecting the species that call this place home. To investigate this, a recent study uses as an example the brilliant-thighed frog, a species that is found across the Amazon Basin—including the area surrounding the soon-to-be dammed Xingu River. Tiffany Roufs -2.764184 -55.485174 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14179 2014-12-22T17:19:00Z 2014-12-22T18:52:07Z The biggest new species discoveries in 2014 (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1222topnewsp150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Biologists describe upwards of 15,000 previously undocumented species every year. Some of these species are complete surprises, sometimes representing new genera. Others may be identified after genetic analysis distinguishes them from closely-related species. Some &#8212; especially conspicuous birds and mammals &#8212; are already known to local populations, but hadn't been formally described by scientists. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14180 2014-12-22T14:35:00Z 2014-12-23T15:38:52Z Edited Reality: What I Learned from Filming Eaten Alive <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/2332.pr.eatenalive.4.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On November 3, 2014, I woke up to check my flight status from Bangalore to New York. What I found when I opened my laptop was a mindboggling amount of emails, hate mail, death threats, and interview requests. The numbers were staggering. The night before, the Discovery Channel had aired the first trailers for the show they decided to call Eaten Alive. Jeremy Hance -12.546168 -69.339244 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14178 2014-12-20T02:23:00Z 2014-12-22T20:08:19Z Pictures: the top new animal discoveries of 2014 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1220-top-new-species-2014_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Seemingly every year scientists set a new record with the number of species they describe. 2014 will be no exception. Below are some of the 'new species' highlights from the past year. The list includes species whose descriptions were first published in 2014. Some of the 'discoveries' occurred in years prior. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14148 2014-12-12T17:55:00Z 2014-12-12T19:33:02Z Boosting the conservation value of 4M sq km of rainforest logging concessions <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_0691.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Short of buying back logging concessions, switching from conventional logging approaches to reduced impact logging techniques across existing forestry concessions may be the best way boost biodiversity in areas earmarked for timber extraction, argues paper. Rhett Butler 4.539806 101.380621 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14146 2014-12-11T22:20:00Z 2014-12-12T17:55:53Z An app to save 400 million animals <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1211cougar150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Brazilian biologist Alex Bager has been leading a crusade to raise awareness of a major but neglected threat to biodiversity in his country. Every year over 475 million animals die in Brazil as victims of roadkill, according to an estimate by Centro Brasileiro de Ecologia de Estradas, an initiative funded and coordinated by Bager. This means 15 animals are run down every second on Brazilian roads and highways. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14139 2014-12-10T19:30:00Z 2015-04-20T15:38:34Z To collect or not to collect? Experts debate the need for specimens <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/800px-Berlin_Naturkundemuseum_tote_Voegel.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1912, a group of intrepid explorers led by Rollo and Ida Beck, widely acknowledged to be the foremost marine bird collectors of their time, embarked on a most remarkable effort to catalogue South America's oceanic birds. Museums of the day held opportunistically collected specimens from scattered sources, but rarely did these include ocean-bound birds that spent little time near the coast. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14113 2014-12-04T17:53:00Z 2015-02-06T15:11:40Z New endangered bird species discovered in Brazil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1204-thumb-S.gonzagai-Albano.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Bahian mouse-colored tapaculo (Scytalopus gonzagai) has only just been discovered by scientists in the heavily logged Atlantic Forest of southeast Brazil -- and it’s already believed to be endangered. Morgan Erickson-Davis -14.480660 -40.475594 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14110 2014-12-04T16:11:00Z 2014-12-11T16:37:27Z Is the Gran Canal really a 'big Christmas present' for Nicaraguans? <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 big Christmas present"&#8212;that is how Paul Oquist, an advisor to Nicaraguan president, Daniel Ortega, described the country's plan to build a mega-canal across the nation. Preliminary construction on the canal is set to begin December 24th, despite major concerns over environmental destruction, forced removal of thousands of people, and a lack of transparency. Jeremy Hance 11.973290 -83.883255 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14092 2014-12-01T14:01:00Z 2014-12-01T14:18:24Z Egyptian art helps chart past extinctions of big mammals <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1129.image-2.egypt.extinction.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Life in modern Egypt clings to the Nile River. This crowded green strip within the desert supports more than 2,300 people per square kilometer (6,000 per square mile). But 6,000 years ago, all of Egypt was green and vibrant, teeming with life much like the current Serengeti. Over time, this rich ecosystem fell apart. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14070 2014-11-25T19:33:00Z 2014-12-30T22:26:27Z 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/14066 2014-11-24T20:24:00Z 2014-12-30T22:26:38Z Chameleon crisis: extinction threatens 36% of world's chameleons <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1124.Kinyongia-tenuis-158-copy.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Chameleons are an unmistakable family of wonderfully bizarre reptiles. They sport long, shooting tongues; oddly-shaped horns or crests; and a prehensile tail like a monkey's. But, chameleons are most known for their astonishing ability to change the color of their skin. Now, a update of the IUCN Red List finds that this unique group is facing a crisis that could send dozens of chameleons, if not more, to extinction. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14050 2014-11-19T23:29:00Z 2015-02-05T18:38:28Z Jane Goodall: 5 reasons to have hope for the planet <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1119jane-freud150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Jane Goodall is not only arguably the most famous conservationist who ever lived, but also the most well-known and respected female scientist on the planet today. Her path to reach that stature is an unlikely as it is inspiring. Told to 'never give up' by her mother, Goodall set out in her 20s to pursue her childhood dream: to live with animals in Africa. By the time she was 26 she doing just this. Rhett Butler -4.701242 29.616242 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14026 2014-11-16T23:19:00Z 2014-11-16T23:24:16Z New gecko described in Madagascar Researchers have described a previously undocumented species of gecko in Madagascar. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14015 2014-11-13T17:52:00Z 2014-11-13T17:59:07Z Leaf bacteria are important to tree health, may help forests adapt to climate change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/brazil-bonito/150/bonito_0695.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Leaves are vital trees organs that support many important functions. A recent study published in PNAS found that each tree species in tropical rainforests possesses distinctive bacterial communities – called microbiomes – on their leaves. Understanding how leaf microbiomes vary among species may in the future be applied for maintaining healthy forests and predicting how forests will react to climate change. Tiffany Roufs 9.152721 -79.848716 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14009 2014-11-12T16:50:00Z 2014-12-30T22:27:27Z 'Guns kill trees too': overhunting raises extinction threat for trees <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1112.moonbear.BEAR2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new paper confirms what ecologists have long feared: hunting birds and mammals drastically raises the risk of extinction for tropical trees. Following the long-lifespan of a single canopy tree, Miliusa horsfieldii, researchers discovered that overhunting of animals could increase the chances of extinction for the species fourteen times over a century, from 0.5 percent to seven percent. Jeremy Hance 15.396805 99.164255 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13997 2014-11-10T20:24:00Z 2014-11-10T20:48:20Z Citizen scientist site hits one million observations of life on Earth On Friday, Jonathan Hiew from Singapore took a photo of several insects and uploaded them on the citizen scientist site, iNaturalist. Little did he know that one of the photos, of a butterfly, would prove a record breaker: it was the millionth observation recorded on iNaturalist. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13985 2014-11-06T16:32:00Z 2014-12-30T22:27:49Z Is the world moving backwards on protected areas? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1106.2-Julie-Larsen-Maher-6451-American-Bison-in-wild_bulls-grazing-by-river-YELL-05-06-06---reduced-size---no-sky---Copy.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Protected areas are undoubtedly the world's most important conservation success story. But, despite this, progress on protected areas is stalling and in some cases even falling behind. According to a sobering new paper, only 20-50 percent of the world's land and marine protected areas are meeting their goals, while the rest are hampered by lack of funding, poor management, and government ambivalence. Jeremy Hance 2.146985, 31.811975 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13964 2014-10-30T19:23:00Z 2014-12-30T22:30:10Z Pet trade likely responsible for killer salamander fungus <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1029.martel5HR.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As if amphibians weren't facing enough&#8212;a killer fungal disease, habitat destruction, pollution, and global warming&#8212;now scientists say that a second fungal disease could spell disaster for dozens, perhaps hundreds, of species. A new paper finds that this disease has the potential to wipe out salamanders and newts across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Americas. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13963 2014-10-30T15:16:00Z 2014-10-30T16:16:40Z The Search for Lost Frogs: one of conservation's most exciting expeditions comes to life in new book <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/_MG_0205.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>One of the most exciting conservation initiatives in recent years was the Search for Lost Frogs in 2010. The brainchild of scientist, photographer, and frog-lover, Robin Moore, the initiative brought a sense of hope&#8212;and excitement&#8212;to a whole group of animals often ignored by the global public&#8212;and media outlets. Now, Moore has written a fascinating account of the expedition: In Search of Lost Frogs. Jeremy Hance 9.559564 76.929016 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/13921 2014-10-17T23:18:00Z 2014-10-17T23:22:55Z Behind on biodiversity targets, govts pledge to increase funding for conservation On the heels of a report showing that the world is far behind on targets to halve habitat loss, cut pollution, and reduce overfishing, delegates meeting at a United Nations conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea have agreed to increase step up efforts to conserve biodiversity in developing nations. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13912 2014-10-15T16:28:00Z 2014-10-15T16:36:11Z Scientists find temperate bat in the hot tropics of the Western Ghats (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1002-bats150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Western Ghats is one of the world’s eight richest biodiversity hotspots. A UNESCO World Heritage site, and also known as the Great Escarpment of India, the Ghats run parallel to India’s west coast. This great ecosystem is home to over 139 mammal species, nearly 50 of which are bats. And now scientists can add a new bat to this list: one that until now had only been documented from temperate regions. Tiffany Roufs 12.937706 75.579230 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13896 2014-10-09T19:12:00Z 2014-11-06T17:54:19Z 'A remarkable conservation achievement': Ecuador reserve expands as forest disappears <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1009-cephalopterus-penduliger-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A strip of rainforest running along the northwestern Ecuadorian coast and up through Colombia is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Yet, less than 10 percent of Ecuador’s portion remains intact, with more forest lost every year to human development. But a little more has been saved for now, with 500 hectares added to an area reserve. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.635037 -79.096360 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13839 2014-09-26T03:15:00Z 2014-09-27T12:37:06Z Hitchhiking Caribbean lizard upends island biogeography theory <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_4418.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The biggest factor determining species diversity and distribution on islands is not size and isolation, as traditional island biogeography theory states, but economics. Simply put, the more trade an island is engaged in, the more boats visit it, and with more boats comes more hitchhikers. Rhett Butler 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/13782 2014-09-15T12:54:00Z 2014-12-30T22:33:13Z Protected areas do work, concludes study Protected areas are working. That's the conclusion of a new analysis of over 80 different studies on the efficacy of parks and nature reserves in safeguarding wildlife. Published in the open access journal, PLOS ONE, the new study finds that in general protected areas house higher abundances of wildlife as well as greater biodiversity than adjacent areas. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13770 2014-09-11T15:26:00Z 2014-09-12T13:44:14Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Harness the power of marketing <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0911.Diogo-Veri%CC%81ssimo--%C2%A9Laure-Cugnie%CC%80re.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As a whole, conservationists have been slow to adapt the strategies of marketing or to market conservation at all. Dr. Diogo Veríssimo, a researcher who works at the interface between social and natural sciences, with a focus on behavior change and evidence-based conservation, thinks this needs to change. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13743 2014-09-05T02:12:00Z 2014-09-05T11:28:23Z A path to becoming a conservation scientist <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0824-ysi-zuzana-burivalova-04_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The path to finding a career often involves twists and turns. Serendipity is important &#8212; one rarely anticipates what small events, chance occurrences, and seeds of inspiration will spur decisions that lead to pursuing one job or another. For Zuzana Burivalova, a PhD candidate based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), the road to becoming a tropical forest ecologist began as a child in a small Czech Republic village with a foldout children's book about rainforests. Rhett Butler 15.742693 50.043311 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13726 2014-08-28T19:19:00Z 2014-12-30T22:34:26Z 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/13717 2014-08-26T20:18:00Z 2014-12-30T22:34:37Z 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/13711 2014-08-25T01:32:00Z 2014-08-25T20:58:49Z Scientists honor missing activist by naming a spider after him Swiss researchers have honored the memory of a missing indigenous peoples activist by naming an undescribed species of spider after him, reports the Bruno Manser Fund, the group he founded. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13710 2014-08-24T17:33:00Z 2014-12-20T01:31:17Z Scientists name new endangered species after the company that will decide its fate <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0824.Quarry-at-Gn.-Kanthan,-Perak---Ong-Poh-Teck.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists have discovered a new snail species near a cement quarry in Malaysia, which as far as they know lives nowhere else in the world. It lives on a limestone hill called Kanthan given as a concession to an international company Lafarge. The cement producer quarries the hill for raw materials. As a result, the scientists have named the species after the company that will decide if it goes extinct. Jeremy Hance 4.599012 101.093388 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13695 2014-08-21T05:03:00Z 2014-08-21T13:12:34Z Selective logging hurts rainforest frogs <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0821Raorchestes-bobingeri_Bob-Inger's-Bush-Frog_Seshadri150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Selective logging in India's Western Ghats forests continues to affect frogs decades after harvesting ended, finds a new study published in <i>Biotropica</i>. The research assessed frog communities in logged and unlogged forests in Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and found that unlogged forests had twice the density of frogs as areas logged in the 1970s. Rhett Butler 8.688112 77.309221 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13688 2014-08-19T21:58:00Z 2014-12-30T22:35:16Z Why conservationists need a little hope: saving themselves from becoming the most depressing scientists on the planet <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/Panda-wearing-GPS-collar-CREDIT-China-Academy-of-Sciences.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Here's a challenge: take a conservationist out for a drink and ask them about their work. Nine times out of ten&#8212;or possibly more&#8212;you'll walk away feeling frustrated, despondent, and utterly hopeless. Yet a few conservation scientist are not just trying to save species from extinction, but also working to save their field&#8212;their life's work&#8212;from slipping into total despair. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13653 2014-08-12T16:13:00Z 2015-01-20T03:28:55Z An untapped resource: new study finds local people may trump scientists at biodiversity surveys <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0812-harpy-thumb.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Figuring out what species live in a given area is important to the determination of its conservation importance. Traditionally, these biodiversity assessments have been done directly by scientists via surveys, which can be very time-intensive and expensive. However, a new study found that interviewing people in local communities who are familiar with the species of their regions could be just as effective – and much cheaper. Morgan Erickson-Davis 14.141315 -85.023882 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13622 2014-08-04T18:36:00Z 2014-12-30T22:37:11Z Scientists catalog the world's 10,000th reptile <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/costa_rica_la_selva_0252.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As of this year, scientists have named and described over 10,000 reptiles, marking a new milestone in cataloging one of the most diverse vertebrate groups. Last week, the Reptile Database, an online catalog of all the world's living reptiles, announced it had passed 10,000 species. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13617 2014-07-31T16:03:00Z 2014-08-01T23:06:00Z Ecologists are underestimating the impacts of rainforest logging <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0731frog150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Ecologists may be underestimating the impact of logging in old-growth tropical forests by failing to account for subtleties in how different animal groups respond to the intensity of timber extraction, argues a paper published today in the journal <i>Current Biology</i>. The study, led by Zuzana Burivalova of ETH Zurich, is based on a meta-analysis of 48 studies that evaluated the impact of selective logging on mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates in tropical forests. Rhett Butler 15.736084 50.025458 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13602 2014-07-29T20:30:00Z 2014-07-29T20:40:13Z 87 new bird species considered threatened with extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0729.Lilacine-Amazon-(Amazona-lilacina)-Endangered_copyright-Steve-Wilson.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists have added 361 new bird species to the IUCN Red List following a major taxonomic review of non-passerine birds, i.e. non-perching or non-songbirds. Worryingly, 87 of these new birds are threatened with extinction, a percentage nearly double the overall threatened percentage for all birds, which currently sits at 13 percent. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13599 2014-07-29T18:34:00Z 2014-11-06T17:43:09Z Deforestation ramping up in Yasuni as Ecuador sets to open up national park to drilling <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0729-yasuniroad-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Yasuni National park has been in the conservation spotlight in recent years, with oil drilling threatening the forests and wildlife of this biodiversity hotspot. Recently, disturbance in the park may have ramped up, with satellite data showing a significant increase in deforestation alerts within Yasuni National Park since 2011. Morgan Erickson-Davis -1.100887 -75.807128 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13585 2014-07-24T20:50:00Z 2014-12-30T22:37:45Z It's not just extinction: meet defaunation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_1520.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Get ready to learn a new word: defaunation. Fauna is the total collection of animals&#8212;both in terms of species diversity and abundance&#8212;in a given area. So, defaunation, much like deforestation, means the loss of animals in all its myriad forms, including extinction, extirpation, or population declines. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13564 2014-07-21T17:08:00Z 2014-11-25T22:28:21Z Surprising habitat: camera traps reveal high mammal diversity in forest patches within oil palm plantations <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0721-orang-camtrap-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>After more than four and a half years of camera trap footage, the results are encouraging: 36 mammal species, of which more than half are legally protected, are prospering in this most surprising of spots: an oil palm plantation in the province of East Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo. Morgan Erickson-Davis 1.946881 116.458530 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13535 2014-07-14T17:04:00Z 2014-11-25T23:22:31Z Too much of a good thing: fertilizer 'one of the three major drivers of biodiversity loss this century' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0714-prairiedog-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world’s grasslands are being destabilized by fertilization, according to a paper recently published in the journal <i>Nature</i>. In a study of 41 grassland communities on five continents, researchers found that the presence of fertilizer weakened grassland species diversity. Morgan Erickson-Davis 42.941384 -103.590145 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13533 2014-07-14T16:07:00Z 2014-12-30T22:38:15Z 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/13526 2014-07-11T18:15:00Z 2014-11-25T23:19:15Z Downturn in shade-grown coffee putting forests, wildlife, people at risk <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0711-coffee-kids.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Growing coffee in the shade of forests allows native vegetation to persist, thereby reducing the impact of agriculture on the natural landscape. While production of shade-grown coffee surged in recent decades, it is now experiencing a decline. A recent study analyzed the situation, finding that the growth of consumer demand and changes in coffee agronomy has caused coffee production and management to change drastically. Morgan Erickson-Davis 12.313004 108.168753 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13500 2014-07-07T19:50:00Z 2014-12-30T22:39:34Z 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/13462 2014-06-27T17:16:00Z 2014-06-27T23:31:57Z Is REDD+ bad for wildlife? New study says lowland forest protection bias unfair, urges change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0627-andes-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A study published this week found tree cover does not necessarily correlate with habitat importance. It suggests that using such a metric may be leading to false assumptions of habitat importance, and that REDD+ and other carbon-centric conservation programs may actually be propelling some species towards extinction. Morgan Erickson-Davis 7.249391 -76.037375 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13440 2014-06-24T18:42:00Z 2014-11-25T23:17:34Z Study finds tiny cloud forests have big biodiversity <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0624-cloud-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Tropical cloud forests are situated in mountains and are characterized by the frequent presence of low-level clouds. Scientists have always regarded them as having high biodiversity, but a recent study adds a new dimension: it found cloud forests contain a significant and surprising array of tree and bromeliad species, even when they are relatively small. Morgan Erickson-Davis 18.582276 -95.588844 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13423 2014-06-23T13:33:00Z 2014-12-30T22:43:04Z 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/13416 2014-06-19T18:42:00Z 2014-06-26T17:29:13Z Scientists discover carnivorous water rat in Indonesia, good example of convergent evolution <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0619-water-rat-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Researchers have discovered a new carnivorous water rat on the island of Sulawesi that's so unique it represents an entirely new genus. They believe many more new rodent species await discovery in this relatively undisturbed part of Indonesia, but mining and other types of development may threaten vital habitat before it’s even surveyed. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.712609 119.355464 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13408 2014-06-18T18:07:00Z 2014-11-25T23:17:47Z Fly and wasp biodiversity in Peru linked to strange defense strategy <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0618-fly-condon-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Entomologists working in Peru have revealed new and unprecedented layers of diversity amongst wasps and flies. The paper, published in the journal Science, also describes a unique phenomenon in which flies actually fight back and kill predatory parasitic wasps. Morgan Erickson-Davis -12.409314 -70.470600 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13374 2014-06-12T19:19:00Z 2014-11-25T22:25:49Z More is better: high bee biodiversity boosts crop yields <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0612-wildbees-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists have discovered that blueberry plants visited by more diverse bee species increased their seed number, berry size and fruit set, and quickened their ripening time. They hope their findings encourage farmers to help support local wild bee communities. Morgan Erickson-Davis 35.084309 -79.133211 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13370 2014-06-11T16:54:00Z 2014-06-11T17:02:23Z Oil overthrow: Soco to suspend operations in Virunga National Park after sustained campaign by WWF <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0611.Rugendo_in_bukima.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a surprise announcement, British oil company Soco International has said it will suspend exploratory operations in Virunga National Park, home to half the world's Critically Endangered mountain gorillas as well as thousands of other species. The announcement follows several years of campaigning from conservation groups led by WWF. Jeremy Hance -0.176648 29.550871 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/13321 2014-06-02T13:27:00Z 2014-06-03T14:18:01Z Of jaguars and loggers: new film to showcase one of the least-known regions in the deep Amazon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0529.tristan.movie.light-trees.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In August, three young filmmakers will go on the expedition of a lifetime. They plan to spend six months filming in one of the most remote, most spectacular, and most endangered ecosystems on the planet: the Las Piedras River system. This unprotected swathe of Amazon jungle contains massive anacondas, prowling jaguars, and even uncontacted indigenous people. Jeremy Hance -12.184542 -69.374536