tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/climate%20change%20and%20forests1 climate change and forests news from mongabay.com 2014-09-22T21:50:02Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13812 2014-09-22T08:39:00Z 2014-09-22T21:50:02Z Scientists rebut NYTimes op-ed 'To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_0226.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The following is a response from a group of scientists' -- including 6 members of the National Academy, 3 IPCC Lead Authors, and 1 IPCC Co-Chair -- to Dr. Nadine Unger’s September 21, New York Times Op-Ed, "To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees" Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13508 2014-07-08T19:38:00Z 2014-07-08T19:40:48Z Climate-linked drought cutting forests' carbon-storing ability Climate extremes are dramatically cutting the ability of trees to sequester carbon, threatening to convert some forests from carbon sinks into carbon sources, finds a study published this month in <i>Environmental Research Letters</i>. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13336 2014-06-04T02:15:00Z 2014-06-04T17:39:57Z Intact Amazon forests show possible signs of global warming impact <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0604-amazon-fragmentation150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Climate change may be taking a hidden toll on intact rainforests in the heart of the Amazon, finds a new study based on 35 years of observations. The research, published in the journal <i>Ecology</i>, focused on the ecological impacts of fragmentation but unexpectedly found changes in the control forests. Rhett Butler -2.500055 -60.000128 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/12960 2014-03-20T19:44:00Z 2014-03-21T16:51:09Z Indigenous people witness climate change in the Congo Rainforest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0320Acongo150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indigenous communities in the Republic of Congo are observing climate change even though they have no knowledge of the science, according to a unique collaboration between the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and local communities. The environmental changes witnessed by the locals in the Congo rainforest include increased temperature, less rainfall and alterations to the seasons, much as expected under global climate change. Tiffany Roufs 1.653836 18.849670 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12736 2014-02-06T12:02:00Z 2014-02-20T19:10:29Z Drought, fire reducing ability of Amazon rainforest to store carbon New research published in <i>Nature</i> adds further evidence to the argument that drought and fire are reducing the Amazon's ability to store carbon, raising concerns that Earth's largest rainforest could tip from a carbon sink to a carbon source. Rhett Butler -2.28455 -59.866334 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12451 2013-11-26T16:51:00Z 2013-11-26T16:59:52Z Not all mangroves are created equal: new map reveals carbon storage hot-spots <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/jlh/dominican-republic/150/DR-jlh-335.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Mangrove forests are one of the most important weapons in the fight against climate change. Not only do they directly store huge amounts of carbon, but they actively capture additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it in their soils. When mangroves are destroyed, huge quantities of carbon are released into the atmosphere, significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12441 2013-11-25T16:05:00Z 2013-11-25T16:14:17Z Microhabitats could buffer some rainforest animals against climate change As temperatures increase worldwide due to anthropogenic climate change, scientists are scrambling to figure out if species will be able to survive rapidly warming ecosystems. A new study in Global Change Biology offers a little hope. Studying reptiles and amphibians in the Philippines, scientists say some of these species may be able to seek refuge in cooler microhabitats, such as tree holes or under the soil, in order to stay alive during intensifying heatwaves. But, the scientists' stress, the shelter from microhabitats can only protect so far. Jeremy Hance 16.730907 121.001587 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12435 2013-11-22T17:27:00Z 2013-11-25T15:20:50Z Satellites reveal browning mountain forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/manu_1078.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a dramatic response to global warming, tropical forests in the high elevation areas of five continents have been "browning" since the 1990s. They have been steadily losing foliage, and showing less photosynthetic activity. Scientists analyzed the forest cover by using satellites to measure sunlight bouncing off the surface of the earth, then determining the different surface types via reflection patterns. Tiffany Roufs 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/12219 2013-10-21T17:51:00Z 2013-10-21T19:39:59Z Global warming could shift tropical rainfall Ongoing burning of fossil fuels could flip which portion of the tropics receive more rainfall: the southern hemisphere or the northern. Currently, the northern hemisphere tropics is the wetter of the two, but why this is has long baffled scientists. Now, new research in <i>Nature Geoscience</i> has discovered that rainfall in the tropics is in part driven by massive ocean currents that travel back-and-forth between the Arctic and Antarctic, a process known as ocean overturning circulation. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12137 2013-09-27T16:57:00Z 2013-09-30T19:17:02Z Climate change pushing tropical trees upslope 'exactly as predicted' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_la_selva_0483.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Tropical tree communities are moving up mountainsides to cooler habitats as temperatures rise, a new study in Global Change Biology has found. By examining the tree species present in ten one-hectare plots at various intervals over a decade, researchers found that the proportion of lowland species increased in the plots at higher elevations. The study, which was undertaken in Volcan Barva, Costa Rica, adds to a growing body of evidence that climate change is having an impact on species range distributions. Tiffany Roufs 10.135172 -84.099855 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12092 2013-09-18T16:44:00Z 2013-09-18T17:01:47Z Climate change could kill off Andean cloud forests, home to thousands of species found nowhere else <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0918.7063224263_2b4fec9cdc_c.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>One of the richest ecosystems on the planet may not survive a hotter climate without human help, according to a sobering new paper in the open source journal PLoS ONE. Although little-studied compared to lowland rainforests, the cloud forests of the Andes are known to harbor explosions of life, including thousands of species found nowhere else. Many of these species&#8212;from airy ferns to beautiful orchids to tiny frogs&#8212;thrive in small ranges that are temperature-dependent. But what happens when the climate heats up? Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12081 2013-09-16T22:48:00Z 2013-09-16T22:56:19Z Which ecosystems are most vulnerable to climate change? New research highlights the world's most (and least) vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, is the first to combine anticipated climatic impacts with how degraded the ecosystem is due to human impacts, creating what scientists hope is a more accurate list of vulnerable regions. The most endangered regions include southern and southeast Asia, western and central Europe, eastern South America, and southern Australia. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12066 2013-09-12T00:13:00Z 2014-02-20T19:25:11Z Global warming may ‘flatten’ rainforests Climate change may push canopy-dwelling plants and animals out of the tree-tops due to rising temperatures and drier conditions, argues a new study published in <i>Proceedings of the Royal Society B</i>. The development may be akin to 'flattening' the tiered vegetation structure that characterizes the rainforest ecosystem. Rhett Butler 11.679135 125.20483 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12020 2013-09-04T21:24:00Z 2013-09-15T15:20:58Z Tools against climate change: carbon tax and cap-and-trade Climate-conscious folk agree that atmospheric carbon concentration is a key greenhouse gas and a large factor in global climate change. However, there are discrepancies in the methods chosen to address the problem. Some say that carbon emissions should be banned. Some say fossil fuels should be priced. Others say that there are nuances within each. Which tools can we realistically use to mitigate climate change and the drastic effects it will have on our world? Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11951 2013-08-22T19:25:00Z 2013-08-22T19:28:53Z Are 'novel' tropical forests nature’s response to global change? We now live in a world dominated by humans (the Anthropocene), whose activities on Earth are resulting in new habitats and new environmental conditions including climate change. To many, the Anthropocene is an era of environmental doom that unless reversed, will result in catastrophic reductions in biodiversity. An alternate view is that the biota will adjust to the new environmental conditions and through processes of species mixing and self-organization will form sustainable novel communities of organisms. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11807 2013-07-23T00:27:00Z 2013-07-23T02:14:11Z Hunting, logging could threaten long-term health of Congo forests by wiping out key animals <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/gabon/150/gabon-23070.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Unsustainable hunting of forest elephants, gorillas, forest antelopes, and other seed-dispersers could have long-term impacts on the health and resilience of Congo Basin rainforests, warns a study published today in a special issue of the journal <i>Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B</i>. Conducting a review of more than 160 papers and reports on trends in wildlife populations, hunting, and land use in the Congo Basin, an international team of researchers conclude that unless effective management plans are put into place, hunting pressure in the region is likely to increase, with knock-on ecological effects. Rhett Butler 3.636777 11.95703 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11798 2013-07-22T19:04:00Z 2013-07-22T19:14:25Z Yukon Flats experiencing more wildfires now than in the last 10,000 years The Yukon Flats area of Alaska is today burning more frequently and severely than it has in the last 10,000 years, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Looking at charcoal fragments from 14 deep lakes in the region, scientists were able to reconstruct the fire history of this particular forest, which covers around 2,000 square kilometers. Scientists have long warned that as the temperature worldwide continue to rise from climate change, wildfires are likely to become more common. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11800 2013-07-22T05:47:00Z 2013-07-23T05:31:08Z Deforestation rate falls in Congo Basin countries <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0722-africa-rainforest-map-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Deforestation has fallen in Congo Basin countries over the past decade despite a sharp increase in the rate of forest clearing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to a new study published in the <i>Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B</i> as part of a set of 18 papers</a> on the region's tropical forests. The special issue, which was put together by Oxford University's Yadvinder Malhi, covers a range of issues relating to the rainforests of the Congo Basin, including deforestation, the impacts of global change, the history and key characteristics of the region's forests, and resource extraction, among others. Rhett Butler -4.171115 20.823212 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11762 2013-07-11T16:50:00Z 2013-07-12T03:15:30Z Forests may be using less water as CO2 rises Forests may be becoming more efficient in their use of water as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, reports a new study in <i>Nature</i>. Rhett Butler 42.529872 -72.185633 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11754 2013-07-09T21:27:00Z 2013-07-12T03:19:38Z Rising temperatures are triggering rainforest trees to produce more flowers Slight rises in temperatures are triggering rainforest trees to produce more flowers, reports a new study published in the journal <i>Nature Climate Change</i>. Rhett Butler 9.161247 -79.83663 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11540 2013-06-02T23:28:00Z 2013-06-03T18:03:59Z Rainforests will survive extreme global warming, argues study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/peru_aerial_1854.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Rainforests in South America have endured three previous extreme global warming events in the past, suggesting they will survive a projected 2-6 degree rise in temperatures over the coming century, reports a study published in the <i>Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science</i>. The research, published by Carlos Jaramillo and Andrés Cárdenas of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, reviewed some 3,800 published estimates of temperature over the past 120 million years and compared them to the existence of tropical plants in the fossil record. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11401 2013-05-09T22:51:00Z 2013-05-10T06:00:06Z Continued deforestation in the Amazon may kill Brazil's agricultural growth Continuing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest could undermine agricultural productivity in the region by reducing rainfall and boosting temperatures, warns a new study published in the journal <i>Environmental Research Letters</i>. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11195 2013-04-09T14:50:00Z 2013-04-09T14:59:36Z Featured video: stemming human-caused fires in the Amazon A new series of 5 films highlights how people use fire in the Amazon rainforest and how such practices can be mitigated. Collectively dubbed "Slash & Burn" each film explores a different aspect of fire-use in the Amazon. In recent years the Amazon has faced unprecedented droughts, possibly linked to climate change and vast deforestation, making the issue of human-started fires even more important. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11148 2013-04-01T19:44:00Z 2013-04-03T13:23:52Z By 2050 much of the Arctic could be green <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0401.ArcticTreeline.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Warming about twice as fast as the rest of the world, the Arctic is already undergoing massive upheavals from climate change: summer sea ice is thinning and vanishing, land based ice sheets are melting, and sea levels are rising. Now a new study in <i>Nature Climate Change</i> predicts that vegetation cover in the Arctic could expand by over 50 percent by 2050. Although increased vegetation would sequester additional carbon, this would be more-than-offset by the loss of the albedo effect, whereby sunlight bounces off white (snow and ice covered) parts of the Earth. Jeremy Hance 75.973553 102.553709 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11020 2013-03-11T01:41:00Z 2013-03-11T04:21:41Z Rainforests may be more resilient to global warming - in isolation - than previously forecast Tropical forests may be less sensitive to global warming than previously thought, argues a new study published in <i>Nature Geoscience</i>. Rhett Butler 5.333695 117.415009& tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10879 2013-02-14T16:58:00Z 2013-02-23T23:54:59Z Will Amazon species lose the climate change race? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/manu_0545.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Deforestation could increase the risk of biodiversity loss in the Amazon by forcing species to migrate further in order to remain at equilibrium with changing climates, says new research. "As migration models are made more realistic through the inclusion of multiple climatic, biotic, abiotic and human factors, the predicted distances between current and future climate analogues invariably increases," Kenneth Feeley, lead author of the paper published in Global Change Biology, told mongabay.com. Jeremy Hance -12.044693 -71.674805 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10634 2013-01-02T21:45:00Z 2013-01-02T21:52:35Z Mountain pine beetle threatening high-altitude, endangered trees In the western U.S., few trees generally grow in higher altitudes than the whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis). Providing shelter and food for bears, squirrels and birds, the whitebark pine ecosystems also help regulate water flow from snowmelt. But, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), climate change has produced a novel threat for these high-altitude forests : mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae). Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10545 2012-12-09T20:23:00Z 2012-12-09T20:32:08Z Climate Summit in Doha characterized by lack of ambition <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/Grand_Junction_Trip_92007_098.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Ahead of the 18th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar a variety of reports warned that the world was running out of time to avoid dangerous climate change, and that there was a widening gap between what nations have pledged to do and what the science demanded. A landmark report by the World Bank painted an almost apocalyptic picture of a world in which global temperatures have risen 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, including unprecedented heatwaves and droughts, rising sea levels, global agriculture crises, and a stunning loss of species. In addition, scientific studies released near the two week conference found that sea levels were rising 60 percent faster than predicted, forests around the world were imperiled by increasing drought, marine snails were dissolving in the Southern Ocean due to ocean acidification, and ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica was on the rise. Jeremy Hance 25.280092 51.534948 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10377 2012-11-12T15:51:00Z 2013-02-05T15:09:44Z Gaining from rain: precipitation is an indicator of tropical forest biodiversity Policymakers seeking to conserve forests in southern India should focus on those receiving the highest levels of rainfall, according to new research. Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) found rainfall to be the most important environmental determinant of species richness in the Anamalai region of the southern Western Ghats. Jeremy Hance 10.299846 77.000093 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10276 2012-10-17T21:17:00Z 2012-12-02T22:36:50Z Will we need to pull carbon out of the atmosphere to save ourselves? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/colombia/150/colombia_3765.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>This year saw the Arctic sea ice extent fall to a new and shocking low, while the U.S. experienced it warmest month ever on record (July), beating even Dust Bowl temperatures. Meanwhile, a flood of new research has convincingly connected a rise in extreme weather events, especially droughts and heatwaves, to global climate change, and a recent report by the DARA Group and Climate Vulnerability Forum finds that climate change contributes to around 400,000 deaths a year and costs the world 1.6 percent of its GDP, or $1.2 trillion. All this and global temperatures have only risen about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) since the early Twentieth Century. Scientists predict that temperatures could rise between 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) to a staggering 6.4 degrees Celsius (11.5 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10244 2012-10-08T14:23:00Z 2012-10-08T14:32:17Z 90 percent of oil palm plantations came at expense of forest in Kalimantan <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/indonesia/150/kalimantan_0034.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>From 1990 to 2010 almost all palm oil expansion in Kalimantan came at the expense of forest cover, according to the most detailed look yet at the oil palm industry in the Indonesian state, published in Nature: Climate Change. Palm oil plantations now cover 31,640 square kilometers of the state, having expanded nearly 300 percent since 2000. The forest loss led to the emission of 0.41 gigatons of carbon, more than Indonesia's total industrial emissions produced in a year. Furthermore the scientists warn that if all current leases were converted by 2020, over a third of Kalimantan's lowland forests outside of protected areas would become plantations and nearly quadruple emissions. Jeremy Hance -1.579085 114.045868 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10114 2012-09-09T23:39:00Z 2012-09-10T02:09:16Z Climate change causing forest die-off globally <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_1899.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Already facing an onslaught of threats from logging and conversion for agriculture, forests worldwide are increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change, including drought, heightened fire risk, and disease, putting the ecological services they afford in jeopardy, warns a new paper published in the journal <i>Nature Climate Change</i>. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9893 2012-07-24T03:51:00Z 2012-08-18T19:03:40Z Past climate change reduced lemur population in Madagascar Climate change that took place 4,000-10,000 years ago may have contributed to the endangered status of one of Madagascar's rarest lemurs by reducing the extent of its habitat, argues a new study published in the journal <i>Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences</i>. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9860 2012-07-18T14:50:00Z 2012-07-18T15:11:10Z First snow leopards collared in Afghanistan as species faces rising threat from climate change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Anthony-Simms-WCS-SL-Afghan-Photo.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists have captured and collared two snow leopards (Panthera uncia), arguably one of the world's most elusive predators, in Afghanistan for the first time. Undertaken by researchers with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Afghani vets, the successful operation was conducted as a new study finds that snow leopard habitat could shrink by nearly one-third due to anthropogenic climate change in the Himalayas. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9773 2012-07-03T23:10:00Z 2012-07-03T23:21:50Z Pre-industrial deforestation still warming atmosphere Fossil fuels were not burned in massive quantities prior to the Industrial Revolution, but humans were still pumping carbon into the atmosphere due to land use change, especially deforestation. In fact, a new study in <i>Environmental Research Letters</i> finds that deforestation prior to 1850 is still heating up our atmosphere today. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9763 2012-07-02T14:09:00Z 2012-07-07T10:29:31Z Scientist: 'no doubt' that climate change is playing a role in U.S. fires <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/uswest_omp_2012178.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A noted climate scientist says there is 'no doubt' that climate change is 'playing a role' in this year's series of record fires in the western U.S. A massive wildfire in Colorado has forced the evacuation of 36,000 people, destroyed over 300 homes, and killed two people. The devastation wrought by the Waldo Canyon Fire even prompted a visit form U.S. President Barack Obama. But this is not the only epic fire in the U.S. this year: less than a month before the Colorado disaster, New Mexico experienced its largest fire on record in Gila Nation Forest; the conflagration burned up 247,000 acres (100,000 hectares). Other major wildfires have occurred in Utah and Wyoming, as well as other parts of New Mexico and Colorado. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9633 2012-06-06T19:52:00Z 2012-06-06T20:24:52Z Climate change creating "novel ecosystem" in Arctic If melting sea ice and glaciers weren't enough, now climate change is producing what researchers call a "structurally novel ecosystem" in the northwestern Eurasian tundra. Warmer weather and precipitation changes in the region, which covers western Russia into Finland, has allowed shrubs of willow and alder to grow into sparse forests within just forty years, according to a new study in Nature Climate Change. The new ecosystem could have global implications as researchers say it is likely to worsen global warming due to a decline in the region's albedo, i.e. the sunlight reflected back into the atmosphere due to snow cover. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9305 2012-03-26T13:10:00Z 2012-03-26T13:33:26Z Cloud forests may be particularly vulnerable to climate change Mexico could lose nearly 70 percent of its cloud forests due to climate change by 2080, according to new research published in Nature Climate Change, that has implications for cloud forests worldwide. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9248 2012-03-13T17:04:00Z 2012-03-13T17:48:13Z Climate change could increase fires, logging, and hunting in rainforests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/peru_aerial_1325.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The combined impacts of deforestation and climate change will bring a host of new troubles for the world's tropical rainforests argues a new study in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Drying rainforests due to climate change could lead to previously inaccessible forests falling to loggers, burning in unprecedented fires, or being overexploited by hunters. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9134 2012-02-21T19:15:00Z 2012-02-21T19:15:47Z Birders beware: climate change could push 600 tropical birds into extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/quetzal.40778_web.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There may be less birds for birders to see in the world as the planet warms. Climate change, in combination with deforestation, could send between 100 and 2,500 tropical birds to extinction before the end of century, according to new research published in <i>Biological Conservation</i>. The wide range depends on the extent of climate and how much habitat is lost, but researchers say the most likely range of extinctions is between 600 and 900 species, meaning about 10-14 percent of tropical birds, excluding migratory species. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9082 2012-02-09T19:18:00Z 2012-02-10T16:16:11Z Humans drove rainforest into savannah in ancient Africa <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/gabon/150/gabon-26730.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Three thousand years ago (around 1000 BCE) several large sections of the Congo rainforest in central Africa suddenly vanished and became savannah. Scientists have long believed the loss of the forest was due to changes in the climate, however a new study in Science implicates an additional culprit: humans. The study argues that a migration of farmers into the region led to rapid land-use changes from agriculture and iron smelting, eventually causing the collapse of rainforest in places and a rise of grasslands. The study has implications for today as scientists warn that the potent combination of deforestation and climate change could flip parts of the Amazon rainforest as well into savannah. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9021 2012-01-26T23:01:00Z 2013-02-24T02:20:16Z Big trees, like the old-growth forests they inhabit, are declining globally <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/panama/150/panama_0200.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Already on the decline worldwide, big trees face a dire future due to habitat fragmentation, selective harvesting by loggers, exotic invaders, and the effects of climate change, warns an article published this week in <i>New Scientist</i> magazine. Reviewing research from forests around the world, William F. Laurance, an ecologist at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, provides evidence of decline among the world's 'biggest and most magnificent' trees and details the range of threats they face. He says their demise will have substantial impacts on biodiversity and forest ecology, while worsening climate change. Rhett Butler 37.897005 -122.57678 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8961 2012-01-17T14:24:00Z 2013-02-24T02:20:56Z Rainforests need massive finance, but REDD must be well-designed to succeed <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/12/0117roman150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A proposed mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting tropical forests has evolved considerably since it started to gain momentum during the 2005 climate talks in Montreal. Known then as 'avoided deforestation', the concept was simple: pay tropical forest countries to keep their forests standing. Since then, the concept has broadened to include activities beyond strict forest conservation, including reducing logging and fire, protecting carbon-dense peatlands, encouraging better forest management practices in existing forest concessions, and promoting reforestation and afforestation. A prominent voice in the discussion around REDD since its inception is the environmental activist group Greenpeace. Mongabay recently caught up with Roman Czebiniak, Greenpeace International's Political Advisor on Climate Change and Forests, for an update on the organization's position on REDD as well as recent developments in the forest carbon policy arena. Rhett Butler -3.601142 -59.878235 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8282 2011-08-15T17:04:00Z 2012-12-02T22:32:49Z Lessons from the world's longest study of rainforest fragments <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/BDFFP-aerial-view3.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For over 30 years, hundreds of scientists have scoured eleven forest fragments in the Amazon seeking answers to big questions: how do forest fragments' species and microclimate differ from their intact relatives? Will rainforest fragments provide a safe haven for imperiled species or are they last stand for the living dead? Should conservation focus on saving forest fragments or is it more important to focus the fight on big tropical landscapes? Are forest fragments capable of regrowth and expansion? Can a forest&#8212;once cut-off&#8212;heal itself? Such questions are increasingly important as forest fragments&#8212;patches of forest that are separated from larger forest landscapes due to expanding agriculture, pasture, or fire&#8212;increase worldwide along with the human footprint. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8203 2011-07-25T19:11:00Z 2011-07-25T19:40:04Z Yellowstone burning: big fires to hit world's first national park annually by 2050 An icon of conservation and wilderness worldwide, Yellowstone National Park could see its ecosystem flip due to increased big fires from climate change warn experts in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). A sudden increase in large fires&#8212;defined as over 200 hectares (500 acres)&#8212;by mid-century could shift the Yellowstone ecosystem from largely mature conifer forests to younger forests with open shrub and grasslands. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/8036 2011-06-19T17:59:00Z 2011-06-23T23:32:47Z Ahead of meeting, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) loses another supporter The forest organization, FERN, has pulled its support from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), reports FSC-Watch. FERN has quit the increasingly troubled organization due to FSC pursuing carbon credits through forestry. The FSC loses FERN just weeks before its 6th General Assembly, in which FSC partners—including private corporations and some environmental groups—will meet to debate current practices. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7932 2011-05-27T17:28:00Z 2011-05-27T21:00:09Z Congressman Rohrabacher believes chopping down rainforests will solve global warming Republican House Representative Dana Rohrabacher shocked scientists on Wednesday when he asserted clear-cutting the world's rainforests would be a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reports Politico. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7921 2011-05-24T20:24:00Z 2011-05-24T20:55:24Z iPhone app uses Google Earth to track climate change impact on redwoods The Save the Redwoods League is partnering with Google Earth Outreach and iNaturalist.org to connect citizens and scientists in an effort to track the effects of climate change on redwood trees and forests. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7820 2011-05-03T00:43:00Z 2011-09-06T13:41:37Z Community Forest Monitoring for the Carbon Market: Opportunities Under REDD With over 200 million forested hectares in 60 countries transferred to community forest management over the past 20 years, this much needed book edited by Margaret Skutsch funded through the Kyoto: Think Global Act Local program (K:TGAL), provides not only various insights into how local communities and indigenous stakeholders can be engaged in community forest carbon project development and monitoring, it furthermore provides a valuable framework and models from which to discuss and analyze successful implementation of community forest carbon projects. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7776 2011-04-22T03:26:00Z 2011-05-01T18:42:13Z What does Nature give us? A special Earth Day article <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/sumatra_0556.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There is no question that Earth has been a giving planet. Everything humans have needed to survive, and thrive, was provided by the natural world around us: food, water, medicine, materials for shelter, and even natural cycles such as climate and nutrients. Scientists have come to term such gifts 'ecosystem services', however the recognition of such services goes back thousands of years, and perhaps even farther if one accepts the caves paintings at Lascaux as evidence. Yet we have so disconnected ourselves from the natural world that it is easy—and often convenient—to forget that nature remains as giving as ever, even as it vanishes bit-by-bit. The rise of technology and industry may have distanced us superficially from nature, but it has not changed our reliance on the natural world: most of what we use and consume on a daily basis remains the product of multitudes of interactions within nature, and many of those interactions are imperiled. Beyond such physical goods, the natural world provides less tangible, but just as important, gifts in terms of beauty, art, and spirituality. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7699 2011-04-05T17:31:00Z 2011-04-05T18:04:59Z Vanishing mangroves are carbon sequestration powerhouses Mangroves may be the world's most carbon rich forests, according to a new study in <i>Nature Geoscience</i>. Measuring the carbon stored in 25 mangrove forests in the Indo-Pacific region, researchers found that mangroves forests stored up to four times as much carbon as other tropical forests, including rainforests. "Mangroves have long been known as extremely productive ecosystems that cycle carbon quickly, but until now there had been no estimate of how much carbon resides in these systems. That's essential information because when land-use change occurs, much of that standing carbon stock can be released to the atmosphere," explains co-author Daniel Donato, a postdoctoral research ecologist at the Pacific Southwest Research Station in Hilo, Hawaii. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7658 2011-03-29T19:10:00Z 2011-03-29T19:37:28Z Last year's drought hit Amazon hard: nearly a million square miles impacted <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/2010drought.maps.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new study on its way to being published shows that the Amazon rainforest suffered greatly from last year's drought. Employing satellite data and supercomputing technology, researchers have found that the Amazon was likely hit harder by last year's drought than a recent severe drought from 2005. The droughts have supported predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) that climate change, among other impacts, could push portions of the Amazon to grasslands, devastating the world's greatest rainforest. "The greenness levels of Amazonian vegetation—a measure of its health—decreased dramatically over an area more than three and one-half times the size of Texas and did not recover to normal levels, even after the drought ended in late October 2010," explains the study's lead author Liang Xu of Boston University. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7443 2011-02-14T20:49:00Z 2011-02-15T15:04:29Z Not enough data on world's tropical plants to predict impact of warming world <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/sabah_364.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>How many tropical plant species are threatened by climate change? Which plants have big enough ranges to survive a warming world, not to mention deforestation? How likely is it that the tropics are undergoing a current mass extinction? These questions may appear straight forward, but a new study in <i>Global Change Biology</i> finds that researchers lack the hard data necessary to come to any confident conclusions. According to the study, nine out of ten tropical plants from Africa, Asia, and South America lack the minimum number of collections needed (at least 20) to determine the species' range, and therefore predict the impact of climate change. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7393 2011-02-03T18:53:00Z 2011-02-03T19:10:45Z Two massive droughts evidence that climate change is 'playing Russian roulette' with Amazon In 2005 the Amazon rainforest underwent a massive drought that was labeled a one-in-100 year event. The subsequent die-off of trees from the drought released 5 billion tons of CO2. Just five years later another major drought struck. The 2010 drought, which desiccated entire rivers, may have been even worse according to a new study in <i>Science</i>, adding on-the-ground evidence to fears that climate change may inevitably transform the world's greatest rainforest. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7320 2011-01-20T21:50:00Z 2011-01-26T00:46:28Z How Genghis Khan cooled the planet <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/genghis_kahn.150.JPG " align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1206 AD Genghis Khan began the Mongol invasion: a horse-crazed bow-wielding military force that swept through much of modern-day Asia into the Middle East and Eastern Europe. But aside from creating the world's largest empire, the Mongol invasion had another global impact that has remained hidden in history according to new research by Julia Pongratz of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology. Genghis Khan and his empire, which lasted nearly two centuries, actually cooled the Earth. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7184 2010-12-17T05:04:00Z 2010-12-17T06:53:08Z California approves cap-and-trade under global warming law The California Air Resources Board voted 9-1 to adopt cap and trade regulations for AB32, California's 2006 climate law. The move, which establishes the first compliance carbon trading system in the United States, opens the door for carbon offsets generated via forest conservation projects. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7123 2010-11-30T16:54:00Z 2010-11-30T16:59:27Z Consumer goods industry announces goal of zero deforestation in Cancun While governments continue to stall on action to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, global corporations are promising big changes to tackle their responsibilities. The Board of Consumer Goods Forum (BCGF) has approved a resolution to achieve net zero deforestation by 2020 in products such as palm oil, soy, beef, and paper. Announced yesterday at the UN Climate Summit in Cancun, the BCGF has stated the goal will be met both by individual actions within companies and collective action, including partnerships with NGOs, development banks, and governments. With such giants as Walmart, Unilever, Carrefour, and General Mills, BCGF is made up of four hundred global consumer goods manufacturers and retailers totaling over $2.8 trillion in revenue. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7091 2010-11-22T19:28:00Z 2010-11-22T19:28:42Z 2009 carbon emissions higher than expected Despite a global economic recession and ongoing concerns about the impacts of climate change, last year's global carbon emissions were the second highest on record, according to the Global Carbon Project (GCP). Emissions in 2009 were just below the record emissions of 2008. In addition, 2009 emissions were higher than predicted, falling by only 1.3% from 2008 to 2009, instead of the predicted 2.8%. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/7042 2010-11-11T18:47:00Z 2010-11-11T21:43:48Z Rainforests thrived in warmer conditions in the past, yet study requires "caution" <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Tambopata_1026_3660.150.jpg " align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new study in <i>Science</i> is likely to reopen the contentious debate about the impact of climate change on tropical rainforests. Scientific modeling of future climate conditions in tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon, has shown that climate change—combined with deforestation and fire—could create a tipping point whereby a significant portion of the Amazon could turnover to savannah, pushing untold species to extinction and undercutting the many ecosystem services provided by tropical rainforests. Yet, a new study headed by Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), has found a tropical forest ecosystem thriving in much warmer conditions than today. Jeremy Hance