tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/ecosystem%20services1 ecosystem services news from mongabay.com 2015-06-16T00:31:06Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14967 2015-06-16T00:19:00Z 2015-06-16T00:31:06Z Rainforest parks cut malaria transmission Strictly protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon are associated with lower rates of malaria transmission than extractive reserves, mining zones, and areas with roads, reports a paper published this week in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i>. The findings add to a growing body of data suggesting that conservation efforts contribute to human welfare. Rhett Butler -10.461996 -64.512468 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14920 2015-06-08T09:29:00Z 2015-06-17T23:03:07Z In Sumatra, an oasis in a sea of oil palm <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/YoDK2jfNhYCkCQxVIL7HEVLKuj68gUZlT4vMbLFDISM=w150-h100-no" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Sumatra is estimated to have lost 85 percent of its forests in the past half century, primarily due to widespread conversion for oil palm and pulp plantations. In the village of Tangkahan, however, residents have managed to preserve their forests and create one of Indonesia's ecotourism hotspots. Philip Jacobson 3.666803 98.002513 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14842 2015-05-22T00:15:00Z 2015-05-26T14:33:20Z Consumer choice: Shade-grown coffee and cocoa good for the birds, farmers, ecosystems <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0521-buelna-coffee-birds-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The next time you order that "wake up" cup of Joe or reach for a sweet treat, you may want to consider whether those coffee or cocoa beans were grown in the shade or open sun. Choosing the shade grown variety can offer huge benefits to tropical birds, their ecosystems and farmers says a new study by Cagan Şekercioğlu published in the Journal of Ornithology. Brittany Stewart 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/14684 2015-04-24T18:48:00Z 2015-04-27T01:00:39Z Ocean contributes $2.5 trillion to economy annually A new study attempts to place a value of goods and services afforded by the ocean, estimating that if the planet's seas were classified as a country, it would rank as the world's seventh largest economy. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14560 2015-03-30T23:13:00Z 2015-03-30T23:14:46Z Big surprise in the greenhouse: study finds economic costs of climate change hugely underestimated <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0330-egypt_1003.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Look at most climate change projection graphs and you will see a smoothly rising red line of increasing temperature, melting ice and other impacts. But climate does not work that way. Studies of the paleoclimate record indicate that when heat energy is rapidly added to the atmosphere -- as humans are doing today -- the climate can experience “tipping points,” with abrupt shifts and potentially disastrous results. Morgan Erickson-Davis -0.895595 33.345588 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14513 2015-03-19T19:16:00Z 2015-04-10T21:18:21Z Bottom trawling reduces size of commercially important flatfish <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0319_fish_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Oceans not only provide important ecosystem services, including climate regulation and nutrient cycling, but they also serve as a major contributor to food and jobs. Yet human actions in the oceans are having a major impact on species, sometimes in unexpected ways. Indeed, a recent study finds that bottom trawling may be making some fish skinner. Tiffany Roufs 54.389958 -3.678756 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/14425 2015-02-25T17:38:00Z 2015-02-25T21:54:30Z Protected areas receive 8 billion visits a year, but still underfunded <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/Yasuni_519.thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world loves its protected areas, according to a new study in the open access PLOS Biology. U.S. and UK researchers estimated that the world's protected areas received eight billion visits every year. Moreover, the research found that the world's 140,000 protected areas likely brought in at least $600 billion to national economies. Jeremy Hance 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/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/14357 2015-02-05T21:50:00Z 2015-02-20T15:10:59Z How termites hold back the desert <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0205.termites.thumb.86189_web.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Some termite species erect massive mounds that look like great temples springing up from the world's savannas and drylands. But aside from their aesthetic appeal&#8212;and incredible engineering&#8212;new research in Science finds that these structures do something remarkable for the ecosystem: they hold back the desert. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14348 2015-02-05T05:42:00Z 2015-02-05T05:53:28Z Ecosystem services pioneer wins $1M award <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_2344.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Forest Trends, a non-profit that is working to develop market-based tools and approaches to value ecosystems for the services they afford, has won a million dollar award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Forest Trends was selected for '[bringing] the value of forests into the modern economy.' Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14305 2015-01-26T19:01:00Z 2015-01-26T20:55:17Z Accounting for natural capital on financial exchanges <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_1308.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last month, Norway's stock exchange, the Oslo Børs, introduced a way for investors to use their money to promote sustainability. A new list by the stock exchange highlights green bonds, financial products issued by companies to raise capital for environmentally friendly projects. Notably, the list requires that issuing companies obtain and publicize outside opinions on the projects' environmental features. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14172 2014-12-18T17:36:00Z 2014-12-18T17:53:18Z Tropical deforestation could disrupt rainfall globally <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_1802.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Large-scale deforestation in the tropics could drive significant and widespread shifts in rainfall distribution and temperatures, potentially affecting agriculture both locally and far from where forest loss is occurring, concludes a study published today in <i>Nature Climate Change</i>. Rhett Butler -9.015302 -62.634773 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14161 2014-12-16T19:25:00Z 2014-12-22T19:14:23Z Forests could be a thrifty way to fight ozone pollution <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1216_smoggy-foggy-Houston150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Planting trees may be a cost-effective way to reduce ground-level ozone, a toxic component of smog that contributes to the deaths of about 152,000 people annually worldwide, according to new research. The study is the first to lay out a practical plan and examine the economic impacts of lowering ozone levels with trees. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14103 2014-12-09T16:53:00Z 2014-12-09T16:58:49Z Pollinators puzzle to find flowers amidst natural and human fumes <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1209-potter-pollinators-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>While unpleasant car exhaust makes us wrinkle our noses, such human-made fumes may pose serious problems to insects searching for nectar. Researchers recently revealed that background odors make finding flowers difficult for pollinators. The study, published in Science, measured how hawk moths (Manduca sexta) pick out the sacred datura flower scent (Datura wrightii) amidst all the other smells that waft through the environment. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14127 2014-12-07T23:23:00Z 2014-12-08T01:31:46Z Initiative to restore 50M acres of degraded Latin American ecosystems by 2020 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_siquirres_0578.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A coalition of governments and organizations today pledged to restore 20 million hectares (50 million acres) of degraded forests and ecosystems across Latin America by 2020 under an initiative that aims to curb boost rural incomes, fight climate change, and increase agricultural production. The effort is backed by $365 million from five impact investors. Rhett Butler -1.695767 -79.508271 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14106 2014-12-03T18:53:00Z 2014-12-30T22:26:16Z New survey finds surprisingly large population of endangered owl <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1202.Anjouan-Scops-owl---A.-Van-Norman.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Anjouan scops owl&#8212;an elusive owl found only on its tiny eponymous island&#8212;was once considered among the world's most endangered owls, and even the most threatened birds. However, the first in-depth survey of the owls on the island finds that, in fact, the population is far larger than initially estimated. Jeremy Hance -12.227030 44.417853 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13972 2014-11-03T04:27:00Z 2014-11-05T17:50:10Z Facing severe drought, 'war effort' needed to save the Amazon, says scientist <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/brazil/150/brazil_1823.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Severe droughts in southern Brazil may be linked to deforestation and degradation of Earth's largest rainforest, argues a new report published by a Brazilian scientist. Reviewing data from roughly 200 studies, Antonio Donato Nobre of Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) warns that reducing deforestation will not be enough to restore the ecological function of the Amazon rainforest, which acts as a giant water pump that delivers precipitation across much of South America. Rhett Butler -11.178401 -52.434086 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13961 2014-10-30T04:02:00Z 2014-10-31T01:04:58Z Amazon rainforest is getting drier, confirms another study Parts of the Amazon rainforest are getting considerably less rain, leading trees to absorb less carbon, finds a study published this week in the journal <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i>. Rhett Butler 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/13646 2014-08-11T17:14:00Z 2014-11-25T22:13:19Z Planting meadows in the ocean: technique may help restore disappearing seagrass beds <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0811-pearl-net-with-spathes-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Eelgrass is an important part of many ocean ecosystems, but is disappearing due to human impacts. However, a study published recently in found eelgrass beds could benefit from a restoration technique using seed-filled pearl nets. Morgan Erickson-Davis 37.785788 -122.368420 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/13458 2014-06-26T20:07:00Z 2014-06-30T15:55:16Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Playing games to understand what drives deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0626.garcia.innovations.IMGP0355.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Dr. Claude Garcia plays games, but you won’t find him betting his shirt at the casino. As leader of the Forest Management and Development Research Group at ETH Zürich, Garcia and his team use participatory modeling and role-playing games, merged with more traditional disciplinary sciences such as ecology, economics, and sociology to understand and manage complex landscape change in the tropics. Jeremy Hance 11.830113 75.908619 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13365 2014-06-10T13:44:00Z 2014-12-30T22:42:12Z Mountain forests store 40 percent more carbon than expected It's not easy to measure carbon in mountain forest ecosystems. But a new review study in Biogeosciences found that many estimates of carbon storage in montane tropical forests have been largely underestimated. Jeremy Hance 0.103256 -78.520036 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13353 2014-06-06T15:21:00Z 2014-06-06T19:03:09Z New study finds environmental damage globally may cost more than U.S. GDP <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0606-rainforest-rhett-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new study added up all the world’s ecosystem services – from carbon storage and crop pollination, to recreation and flood mitigation – and found, every year, nature provides $145 trillion in benefits. It also indicates that land use changes, most of which has been caused by humans, may be reducing these benefits by trillions of dollars every year. Morgan Erickson-Davis 42.065607 -70.598143 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13307 2014-05-29T12:47:00Z 2015-01-20T03:29:07Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Making community protection economically viable <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0528.tree.Other-Tanzania-411.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>After years of discovering new species and setting up protected areas, Neil Burgesses' career changed. Currently he is focused on community-driven conservation and on how to improve protected areas in Africa's Eastern Arc mountains region. Neil Burgess has worked in the conservation field for over twenty years, mainly in Tanzania where he also lived for five years. Jeremy Hance -6.067019 29.888210 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13016 2014-04-01T16:40:00Z 2014-04-01T17:01:01Z Chile turns to owls to combat fatal disease <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0401.800px-Owlets.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>This year the Hanta virus has already caused 15 deaths in Chile, according to reports in The Santiago Times. It isn't always fatal&#8212;the 15 deaths were of a total of 36 cases over six months&#8212;but the symptoms are severe. Those affected experience flu-like symptoms, as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and trouble breathing. But now Chile is using a novel method to fight the disease: owls. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12995 2014-03-27T21:41:00Z 2014-03-27T22:04:32Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Quantifying the cost of forest degradation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0327.Phil-w-stump-clipped.thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>How much is a forest really worth? And what is the cost of forest degradation? These values are difficult to estimate, but according to Dr. Phillip Fearnside, we need to do a better job. For nearly forty years, Fearnside has lived in Amazonia doing ecological research, looking at the value of forests in terms of environmental or ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water cycling, and biodiversity preservation. Fearnside then works to convert these services into a basis for sustainable development for rural populations. Jeremy Hance -3.094940 -59.989343 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12989 2014-03-26T21:50:00Z 2015-03-05T04:16:18Z Deforestation makes Indonesia hotter, reduces quality of life <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5113.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>One of the reasons I like living in the tropics is that they are perpetually warm. A pair of shorts and a light shirt will comfortably get you through the day and night in most parts of Indonesia. Still there are the occasional unpleasant extremes. Even the most cold-blooded creature will likely break into a sweat walking for more than a few minutes in the sun filtering through Jakarta’s polluted skies. We consider such heat a normal part of the tropics. But is it really? Rhett Butler -1.730084 110.346465 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12821 2014-02-25T00:53:00Z 2015-02-14T05:52:58Z Ecotourism pays: study finds lower poverty where nature-based tourism is prevalent <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_aerial_0375.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new study has quantified a point long advocated by advocates of setting aside protected areas: ecotourism pays. The research, published in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> (PNAS), finds that communities neighboring conservation areas in Costa Rica had lower rates of poverty relative to other areas. Rhett Butler 10.310697 -84.796779 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12660 2014-01-20T14:40:00Z 2014-01-27T10:36:00Z Handful of species key to ecosystem health, finds study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0115marsh3.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>While conducting field research in the humid salt marshes of Sapelo Island, scientists Marc Hensel and Brian Silliman made an astonishing discovery: species type, not just quantity, is vital for maintaining healthy ecosystems. For decades, scientists believed that preserving the largest number of species was critical for ecosystem function, regardless of their genetic makeup. Tiffany Roufs 31.477866 -81.243954 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12638 2014-01-15T18:42:00Z 2014-12-30T22:55:52Z Tree growth accelerates with age <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0115.LargeScotspine_Nature.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Old, large trees may be even more important ecologically than long-believed, according to a new study in <i>Nature</i>. Looking at over half a million individual trees from over 400 species (both tropical and temperate), scientists have determined that most trees actually grow faster in their dotage than in their youth. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12614 2014-01-09T19:01:00Z 2014-12-30T22:56:18Z Over 75 percent of large predators declining <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/ripple1HR.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's top carnivores are in big trouble: this is the take-away message from a new review paper published today in Science. Looking at 31 large-bodied carnivore species (i.e those over 15 kilograms or 33 pounds), the researchers found that 77 percent are in decline and more than half have seen their historical ranges decline by over 50 percent. In fact, the major study comes just days after new research found that the genetically-unique West African lion is down to just 250 breeding adults. Jeremy Hance 44.42906 -110.589648 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12604 2014-01-07T18:15:00Z 2015-06-16T00:34:59Z Environmental degradation leads to public health crises <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/india/150/india_0155.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A 'systematic and comprehensive' approach is needed to understand the impact of human behavior on the world's public health, according to a new report. Written by the Heal (Health & Ecosystems Analysis of Linkages) consortium, the study highlights multiple examples of the impact on human health from environmental degradation, including sickness, death and even childhood reductions in IQ. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12579 2013-12-26T23:48:00Z 2014-01-08T22:33:36Z Rainforest news review for 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_1827.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>2013 was full of major developments in efforts to understand and protect the world's tropical rainforests. The following is a review of some of the major tropical forest-related news stories for the year. As a review, this post will not cover everything that transpired during 2013 in the world of tropical forests. Please feel free to highlight anything this post missed via the comments section at the bottom. Also please note that this review focuses only on tropical forests. Rhett Butler -3.118576 -60.076675 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12550 2013-12-20T01:54:00Z 2013-12-20T02:00:08Z Natural sponges: forests help moderate floods, droughts A new study adds further evidence for the 'sponge effect' of forests. Rhett Butler 9.131927 -79.632393 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12376 2013-11-13T23:25:00Z 2013-11-15T07:30:26Z REDD+ carbon market stabilizes, but risk of supply glut looms <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1113-forest-carbon-market-by-yr150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The market for carbon credits generated under projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) showed signs of stabilizing in 2012 after a sharp drop in 2011, finds Forest Trends' new assessment of the global forest carbon market. The report shows that offsets representing 8.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were transacted in 2012, a 16 percent increase over 2011. But the average value of each credit dipped 8 percent from $8.50 to $7.80. Nonetheless the activity suggests the market of REDD+ credits may have stabilized after the volume fell 62 percent between 2010 and 2011. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12342 2013-11-08T20:34:00Z 2013-11-10T03:17:34Z Amazon deforestation could cause droughts in California <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1108-amazon-rainfall150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Complete deforestation of the Amazon rainforest could reduce rainfall in the Pacific Northwest by up to 20 percent and snowpack in the Sierra Nevada by up to 50 percent, suggests new research published in the <i>Journal of Climate</i>. The study is based on high resolution computer modeling that stripped the Amazon of its forest cover and assessed the potential impact on wind and precipitation patterns. While the scenario is implausible, it reveals the global nature of the ecological services afforded by the world's largest rainforest. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12314 2013-11-04T22:13:00Z 2013-11-04T22:31:50Z Deforestation may hurt U.S. agriculture, affect monsoon cycle <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1104-impacts-of-deforestation-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Unchecked deforestation will have far-reaching impacts on temperature, rainfall, and monsoon cycles in regions well outside the tropics, affecting agriculture and water availability, warns a new report published by Greenpeace International. The report is a synthesis of dozens of recent scientific papers that assess the effects of forest cover loss on weather patterns, local climate, and agricultural productivity. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12065 2013-09-11T22:54:00Z 2013-09-11T22:56:57Z Preserving forest, birds boosts coffee profit up to $300/ha by controlling pests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_aerial_0036.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Birds are providing a valuable ecosystem service on coffee plantations in Costa Rica, finds a new study that quantifies the pest control benefits of preserving tree cover in agricultural areas. The study, published in the journal <i>Ecology Letters</i>, looked at the impact of the coffee berry borer beetle (Hypothenemus hampeii) on coffee yields. The beetle is the only insect that directly consumes coffee berries, making it a major scourge for coffee farmers around the world, costing producers some $500 million a year. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11961 2013-08-26T16:41:00Z 2013-08-26T17:01:55Z Yasuni could still be spared oil drilling <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/jlh/ecuador/Yasuni.150/Yasuni_149.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When Ecuadorean President, Rafael Correa, announced on August 15th that he was abandoning an innovative program to spare three blocs of Yasuni National Park from oil drilling, it seemed like the world had tossed away its most biodiverse ecosystem. However, environmental groups and activists quickly responded that there may be another way to keep oil companies out of Yasuni's Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) blocs: a national referendum. Jeremy Hance -1.183693 -75.605621 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11803 2013-07-22T20:11:00Z 2015-02-11T23:12:30Z Losing just one pollinator species leads to big plant declines <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0722.Bumblebee-2009-04-19-01.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A shocking new study finds that losing just one pollinator species could lead to major declines in plant productivity, a finding that has broad implications for biodiversity conservation. Looking at ten bumblebee species in Colorado alpine meadows, two scientists found that removing a single bee species cut flower seed production by one-third. Pollinators worldwide are in major trouble as they are hit by habitat loss, pesticides, disease and other impacts. In fact, the EU has recently banned several pesticides that have been linked to the global bee decline. Jeremy Hance 38.871233 -106.978027 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11619 2013-06-19T17:18:00Z 2015-02-11T23:08:01Z Conserving top predators results in less CO2 in the air <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0619.carbon.predators.1_Spider.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>What does a wolf in Yellowstone National Park have in common with an ambush spider on a meadow in Connecticut? Both are predators and thus eat herbivores, such as elk (in the case of wolves) and grasshoppers (in the case of spiders). Elk and grasshoppers also have more in common than you probably imagine: they both consume large quantities of plant matter. While scientists have long-known that predators lead to carbon storage by reducing herbivore populations, a new study reveals a novel way in which top predators cause an ecosystem to store more carbon. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11436 2013-05-15T17:37:00Z 2013-05-18T04:38:43Z How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature - An interview with Mark Tercek <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0515tercek150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 2008, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) surprised the conservation world when it selected Mark Tercek, an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, as its new president and CEO. For people familiar with Tercek, however, the move made perfect sense: he was a leading figure in Goldman's efforts to pursue new environmental policies. While at the helm of TNC, Mark Tercek has continued his focus on ecosystem services or attributing economic value to nature. In his new book, Nature’s Fortune, Mark discusses the fruit of this work. Rhett Butler 38.882748 -77.112308 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11425 2013-05-13T19:16:00Z 2013-05-16T00:39:36Z Deforestation will undercut effectiveness of rainforest dams <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0513belo-monte150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Deforestation may significantly decrease the hydroelectric potential of tropical rainforest regions, warns a new study published in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Science</i>. The study, used climate, hydrological, and land use models to forecast the impact of potential forest loss on hydropower generation on the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon where the world's third largest dam &#8212; Belo Monte &#8212; is currently under construction. Rhett Butler -3.547688 -51.902161 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11398 2013-05-09T18:13:00Z 2015-02-09T22:57:13Z Scientists discover that marine animals disperse seagrass Lesser known than coral reefs, marine seagrass ecosystems are rich in biodiversity and are powerhouses when it comes to sequestering carbon dioxide. Yet, much remains unknown about the ecology of seagrass beds, including detailed information on how seagrass spread their seeds and colonize new area. Now a recent study in <i>Marine Ecology Progress Series</i> documents that several species of marine animal are key to dispersing seagrass, overturning the assumption that seagrass was largely dispersed by abiotic methods (such as wind and waves). Jeremy Hance 37.644685 -76.070252 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11316 2013-04-29T16:55:00Z 2013-04-29T17:08:18Z Europe bans pesticides linked to bee collapse The EU has banned three neonicotinoid pesticides (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam) linked to the decline of bees for two years. The ban will apply to all flowering crops, such as corn, rape seed, and sunflowers. The move follows a flood of recent studies, some high-profile, that have linked neonicotinoid pesticides, which employ nicotine-like chemicals, to the widespread decline of bees seen both in Europe and North America. Jeremy Hance 46.83765 3.799438 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11315 2013-04-29T15:39:00Z 2015-02-09T22:52:37Z What if companies actually had to compensate society for environmental destruction? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/kenya/150/kenya_0414.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The environment is a public good. We all share and depend on clean water, a stable atmosphere, and abundant biodiversity for survival, not to mention health and societal well-being. But under our current global economy, industries can often destroy and pollute the environment&#8212;degrading public health and communities&#8212;without paying adequate compensation to the public good. Economists call this process "externalizing costs," i.e. the cost of environmental degradation in many cases is borne by society, instead of the companies that cause it. A new report from TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity), conducted by Trucost, highlights the scale of the problem: unpriced natural capital (i.e. that which is not taken into account by the global market) was worth $7.3 trillion in 2009, equal to 13 percent of that year's global economic output. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11169 2013-04-04T19:41:00Z 2015-02-09T22:45:47Z Greener neighborhoods have less violent crime Turn your neighborhood green and it may prevent violent crime in the long run, according to a new study in <i>Landscape and Urban Planning</i>, which found that violent crimes (assaults, robberies, and burglaries) occurred less often in greener areas of Philadelphia. The connection between greener neighborhoods and less violent crime even stood up after researchers accounted for education, poverty, and population levels. Jeremy Hance 39.935013 -75.165939 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11164 2013-04-04T14:32:00Z 2015-02-09T22:45:28Z An insidious threat to tropical forests: over-hunting endangers tree species in Asia and Africa <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/sabah_3131.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A fruit falls to the floor in a rainforest. It waits. And waits. Inside the fruit is a seed, and like most seeds in tropical forests, this one needs an animal&#8212;a good-sized animal&#8212;to move it to a new place where it can germinate and grow. But it may be waiting in vain. Hunting and poaching has decimated many mammal and bird populations across the tropics, and according to two new studies the loss of these important seed-disperser are imperiling the very nature of rainforests. Jeremy Hance 4.199107 114.041848 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11155 2013-04-03T13:00:00Z 2015-02-09T22:45:08Z Domesticated bees do not replace declining wild insects as agricultural pollinators <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0403.Squash-bee-Peponapis-sp.-and-cucumber-beetles-in-cucumber-flower.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Sprinkled with pollen, buzzing bees fly from one blossom to another, collecting sweet nectar from brilliantly colored flowers. Bees tend to symbolize the pollination process, but there are many wild insects that carry out the same function. Unfortunately, wild insect populations are in decline, and, according to a recent study, adding more honey bees may not be a viable solution. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/11138 2013-03-29T13:15:00Z 2013-03-29T16:29:20Z Progress in incentive-based protection of forests and other watersheds There are two ways to look at Charting New Waters: State of Watershed Payments 2012 - the latest report released by Forest Trends on incentive-based water protection. One is that investments in watershed protection are fast approaching a tipping point - rising 25% from the previous year and with 25% of all recorded investments occurring within last two years. The other is that investments in watershed protection have a long ways to go before they are more than a scant drop in the bucket in terms of world GDP, prevalent outside of China, or independent of government/non-profit aid. The truth lies somewhere in between. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10983 2013-03-05T23:01:00Z 2015-02-09T22:38:37Z Warnings of global ecological tipping points may be overstated <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_2092.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There's little evidence that the Earth is nearing a global ecological tipping point, according to a new Trends in Ecology and Evolution paper that is bound to be controversial. The authors argue that despite numerous warnings that the Earth is headed toward an ecological tipping point due to environmental stressors, such as habitat loss or climate change, it's unlikely this will occur anytime soon&#8212;at least not on land. The paper comes with a number of caveats, including that a global tipping point could occur in marine ecosystems due to ocean acidification from burning fossil fuels. In addition, regional tipping points, such as the Arctic ice melt or the Amazon rainforest drying out, are still of great concern. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10811 2013-02-05T19:49:00Z 2013-02-05T20:03:30Z EU pushes ban on pesticides linked to bee downfall <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0205.800px-Bees_Collecting_Pollen_2004-08-14.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Following a flood of damning research on the longterm impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bee colonies, the EU is proposing a two year ban on the popular pesticides for crops that attract bees, such as corn, sunflower, oil seed rape, cotton. The proposal comes shortly after European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report that found neonicotinoid pesticides posed a "number of risks" to bees. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10790 2013-01-30T18:29:00Z 2013-01-30T18:46:42Z Featured video: the miracle of mangroves Mangroves are among the most important ecosystems in the world: they provide nurseries for fish, protect coastlines against dangerous tropical storms, mitigate marine erosion, store massive amounts of carbon, and harbor species found no-where else. However, they are vanishing at astonishing rates: experts say around 35 percent of the world's mangroves were lost in just twenty years (1990 to 2010). Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10789 2013-01-30T17:19:00Z 2015-02-09T22:27:38Z Controversial research outlines physics behind how forests may bring rain <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_1962.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It took over two-and-a-half-years for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics to finally accept a paper outlining a new meteorological hypothesis in which condensation, not temperature, drives winds. If proven correct, the hypothesis could have massive ramifications on global policy&#8212;not to mention meteorology&#8212;as essentially the hypothesis means that the world's forest play a major role in driving precipitation from the coast into a continent's interior. The theory, known as the biotic pump, was first developed in 2006 by two Russian scientists, Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva of the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics, but the two have faced major pushback and delays in their attempt to put the theory before the greater scientific community. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10773 2013-01-28T16:52:00Z 2013-01-28T17:22:34Z Over $8 billion invested in watersheds in 2011 Unlike cars, hamburgers, and computers, clean drinking water is a requirement for human survival. In a bid to safeguard this essential resource, more and more nations are moving toward protecting ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands, and streams. In fact, according to a new report by Forest Trends' Ecosystem Marketplace, nations spent $8.17 billion in 2011 to secure freshwater by conserving watersheds. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10761 2013-01-24T18:06:00Z 2013-01-24T18:16:50Z Forests in Kenya worth much more intact says government report <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/kenya/150/kenya_3984.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Kenya's forests provide greater services and wealth to the nation when they are left standing. A landmark report by The Kenyan Government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) addresses the importance of forests to the well-being of the nation, putting Kenya among a pioneering group of countries that aim to center development plans around nature-based assets. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10727 2013-01-21T14:53:00Z 2013-01-21T15:01:06Z The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Local and Regional Policy - a book review The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Local and Regional Policy, edited by Heidi Wittmar and Haripriya Gundimeda, provides thoughtful and actionable approaches to integrate nature’s benefits into decision-making frameworks for local and regional policy and public management institutions. Filled with numerous case studies, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Local and Regional Policy, delivers a compendium of concepts and ideas. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10683 2013-01-14T14:32:00Z 2015-02-09T22:21:46Z Scary caterpillar fungus could lead to new cancer drug <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0114.675px-Cordyceps_Sinensis.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Cordyceps sinensis, commonly known as caterpillar fungus, may be a groundbreaking new treatment for a number of life-threatening conditions including asthma, kidney failure and cancer according to a paper recently published by The RNA Society. If you’re a caterpillar of the Tibetan Plateau, the fungus Cordyceps is your worst nightmare. It hits you when you’re most vulnerable, during hibernation. You can try to stay awake, but on the Tibetan plateau, which reaches −40 degrees Celsius during the winter, you’ll have to hibernate sooner or later, and the fungus will be waiting for you. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10479 2012-11-29T14:26:00Z 2015-02-09T22:16:23Z World has lost half its wetlands <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/brazil/150/brazil_1314.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Half of the worlds wetlands have been destroyed in just the last 100 years, says a new report. Published by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), the report found that of the 25 million square kilometers of wetlands that existed in 1900 just 12.8 million square kilometers now remain. The rate of destruction varies geographically with notable loses in East Asia running at 1.6 per cent per year. In places where aquaculture, over-exploitation (e.g. unsustainable harvesting of fish) and storm damage have been severe, the rate of destruction can be as high as 80 percent. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10478 2012-11-29T13:47:00Z 2015-02-09T22:16:14Z Investors shouldn't ignore financial risk of environmental damage Environmental damage poses a long-ignored risk to sovereign bonds, according to a new report by the UNEP FI (The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative) and the Global Footprint Network. The report, <i>E-RISC Report, A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk</i>, finds that the overuse of natural resources and their degradation has put considerable, and largely unrecognized, risk against national economies. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10455 2012-11-27T16:47:00Z 2012-11-27T16:58:18Z Legislation leaves future of world's largest temperate rainforest up in the air <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/20110625RedBluff-4660.tongassinterview.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Although unlikely to pass anytime in the near term, recurring legislation that would hand over 80,000 acres of the Tongass Rainforest to a Native-owned logging corporation has put local communities on guard in Southeast Alaska. "The legislation privatizes a public resource. It takes land that belongs to all of us, and that all of us have a say in the use and management of, and it gives that land to a private for-profit corporation," Andrew Thoms, Executive Director of the Sitka Conservation Society, told mongabay.com in a recent interview. Jeremy Hance 59.481358 -139.296112 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10442 2012-11-20T20:47:00Z 2015-02-09T22:15:29Z Wolves, mole rats, and nyala: the struggle to conserve Ethiopia's highlands <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/GiantMoleRat_MartinHarvey.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There is a place in the world where wolves live almost entirely off mountain rodents, lions dwell in forests, and freshwater rolls downstream to 12 million people, but the place&#8212;Ethiopia's Bale Mountains National Park&#8212;remains imperiled by a lack of legal boundaries and encroachment by a growing human population. "Much of the land in Africa above 3,000 meters has been altered or degraded to the point where it isn’t able to perform most of the ecosystem functions that it is designed to do. Bale, although under threat and already impacted to a degree by anthropogenic activities, is still able to perform its most important ecosystem functions, and as such ranks among only a handful of representative alpine ecosystems in Africa." Jeremy Hance 6.913252 39.599059 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10318 2012-10-25T22:20:00Z 2012-10-25T22:39:41Z Future of the Tongass forest lies in salmon, not clear-cut logging <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/TongassStream(byIanMajszak).150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Parnell administration's Timber Task Force recently unveiled a proposal to carve out two million acres of the Tongass National Forest for clear-cut logging under a state-managed "logging trust." The stated goal is to revive Southeast Alaska’s timber industry that collapsed two decades ago amid changing market conditions, logging cutbacks and evolving public opinion about timber harvesting on national forests. Jeremy Hance 59.481358 -139.296112 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10279 2012-10-18T18:45:00Z 2012-10-18T19:06:10Z India pledges over $60 million for biodiversity, but experts say much more needed The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, pledged around $50 million (Rs. 264 crore) for domestic biodiversity protection, reports the Hindu. The pledge came this week at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Hyderabad, India. The CBD has set bold goals on stemming the rate of extinction worldwide, but these have suffered from a lack of funding. India also said it had set aside another $10 million (Rs. 50 crore) for biodiversity projects abroad. Still, such funds are far below what scientists say is necessary to stem ongoing extinctions. Jeremy Hance 17.384716 78.494453 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10265 2012-10-11T20:12:00Z 2015-02-09T22:05:24Z Saving the world's species from oblivion will cost around $80 billion a year, but still a good deal If the world is to conserve its wealth of life&#8212;species great and small, beautiful and terrible, beloved and unknown&#8212;it will cost from $3.41-4.76 billion annually in targeted conservation funds, according to a new study in Science. But that's not all, the cost of protecting and managing the world's conservation areas was estimated at an additional $76.1 billion a year. Jeremy Hance 17.375542 78.480034 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10231 2012-10-04T15:04:00Z 2012-10-04T15:30:16Z Forest destruction leads to more floods in temperate regions Keeping forests standing would lessen both the number and size of spring floods in temperate regions, according to a new study in Water Resources Research, by slowing seasonal snow melts. In deforested areas, snow melts faster due to a lack of shade causing at least twice as many, and potentially up to four times as many, flood events. The new research highlights a largely unknown ecosystem service provided by temperate forests: flood mitigation. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10172 2012-09-18T15:02:00Z 2015-02-08T23:22:48Z Learning to live with elephants in Malaysia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/ahimsa.Jerek-498.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Humans and elephants have a lot in common: both are highly intelligent, intensely social, and both are capable of having a massive impact on their local environments. Given their similarities, it might not be surprising that elephants and human have often run afoul of one another. Conflict between these two great species has probably been going on for thousands of years, but as human populations have grown dramatically, elephant populations have been crippled and forced into smaller-and-smaller pockets. No-where is this more true than in Southeast Asia. Jeremy Hance 4.757098 102.441788 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10147 2012-09-13T17:01:00Z 2013-02-05T15:18:56Z Bird diversity at risk if 'agroforests' replaced with farmland <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/Orange-billed-nightingale-thrush1.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Agroforests contain much higher levels of bird diversity than their open agricultural counterparts, according to new research from the University of Utah. If large forests and agroforests continue to be replaced by simple open farms, bird communities will become much less specialized and entire groups may become extinct. Important roles for birds, such as pollination, pest control or seed dispersal, may remain unfilled if ongoing trends toward open agriculture continues and biodiversity decreases. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10108 2012-09-07T17:41:00Z 2012-09-07T17:43:37Z Mangroves protect coastal areas against storm damage Mangroves reduce wave height by as much as 66 percent over 100 meters of forest providing a vital buffer against the impacts of storms, tsunamis, and hurricanes, according to a new report published by The Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10100 2012-09-06T00:13:00Z 2012-09-06T00:51:33Z Amazon deforestation could trigger drop in rainfall across South America <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/colombia/150/colombia_0727.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Deforestation could cause rainfall across the Amazon rainforest to drop precipitously, warns a new study published in the journal <i>Nature</i>. Using a computer model that accounts for forest cover and rainfall patterns, Dominick Spracklen of the University of Leeds and colleagues estimate that large-scale deforestation in the Amazon could reduce basin-wide rainfall 12 percent during the wet season and 21 percent in the dry season by 2050. Localized swings would be greater. Rhett Butler -3.946461 -53.718567 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10085 2012-09-04T17:31:00Z 2012-09-04T17:32:20Z Rainforest fungi, plants fuel rainfall Salt compounds released by fungi and plants in the Amazon rainforest have an important role in the formation of rain clouds, reports research published in the journal <i>Science</i>. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10069 2012-08-28T16:45:00Z 2015-02-08T23:19:33Z Private reserve safeguards newly discovered frogs in Ecuadorian cloud forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/12/N.-lasgralariasmb.lasgralarias.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Although it covers only 430 hectares (1,063 acres) of the little-known Chocó forest in Ecuador, the private reserve las Gralarias in Ecuador is home to an incredible explosion of life. Long known as a birder's paradise, the Reserva las Gralarias is now making a name for itself as a hotspot for new and endangered amphibians, as well as hundreds of stunning species of butterfly and moth. This is because the reserve is set in the perfect place for evolution to run wild: cloud forest spanning vast elevational shifts. "The pacific slope cloud forests [...] are among the most endangered habitats in the world," explains Reserva las Gralarias' founder, Jane Lyons, in a recent interview with mongabay.com. Jeremy Hance 0.00412 -78.788681 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/10052 2012-08-22T18:50:00Z 2012-08-22T19:11:49Z Human society surpasses 'nature's budget' today As of today, August 22nd, humanity has overshot the world's annual ecological budget, according to the Global Footprint Network, which tracks global consumption related to resource availability and sustainability. The organization looks at a variety of data including the world's fisheries, forests, agriculture, water, mining, and greenhouse gas emissions. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9956 2012-08-02T18:34:00Z 2012-08-02T19:41:53Z Mangroves should be part of solution to climate change Mangroves are under-appreciated assets in the effort to slow climate change, argues a new <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> paper which makes a argument for including the coastal ecosystems in carbon credit programs. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9935 2012-07-30T15:32:00Z 2012-08-16T14:06:19Z Guyana rainforests secure trust fund <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/129230anteater-XL.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The nation of Guyana sports some of South America's most intact and least-imperiled rainforests, and a new $8.5 million trust fund hopes to keep it that way. The Guyanese government has teamed up with Germany and Conservation International (CI) to create a long-term trust fund to manage the country's protected areas system (PAS). Jeremy Hance 6.79724 -58.147945 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9875 2012-07-23T11:27:00Z 2015-02-08T23:12:18Z Saving 'Avatar Grove': the battle to preserve old-growth forests in British Columbia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Ancient_Forest_Clearcut_Photo_TJ_Watt.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A picture is worth a thousand words: this common adage comes instantly to mind when viewing T.J. Watt's unforgettable photos of lost trees. For years, Watt has been photographing the beauty of Vancouver Island's ancient temperate rainforests, and documenting their loss to clearcut logging. The photographer and environmental activist recently helped co-found the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA), a group devoted to saving the island's and British Columbia's (BC) last old-growth while working with the logging industry to adopt sustainable practices. This February the organization succeeded in saving Avatar Grove&#8212;which was only discovered in 2009&#8212;from being clearcut. The grove, a rare stand of massive and ancient trees named after the popular eco science-fiction movie, has become a popular tourist destination, providing a new economic incentive for communities to protect rather than cut Canada's last great forests. Jeremy Hance 49.639177 -125.388794 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9867 2012-07-19T16:07:00Z 2015-02-08T23:09:26Z Experts: sustainable logging in rainforests impossible <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Guyana_303.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Industrial logging in primary tropical forests that is both sustainable and profitable is impossible, argues a new study in <i>Bioscience</i>, which finds that the ecology of tropical hardwoods makes logging with truly sustainable practices not only impractical, but completely unprofitable. Given this, the researchers recommend industrial logging subsidies be dropped from the UN's Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program. The study, which adds to the growing debate about the role of logging in tropical forests, counters recent research making the case that well-managed logging in old-growth rainforests could provide a "middle way" between conservation and outright conversion of forests to monocultures or pasture. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9803 2012-07-10T13:41:00Z 2012-07-10T14:07:38Z 2,600 scientists: climate change killing the world's coral reefs <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/maui/150/maui_0938.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In an unprecedented show of concern, 2,600 (and rising) of the world's top marine scientists have released a Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs that raises alarm bells about the state of the world's reefs as they are pummeled by rising temperatures and ocean acidification, both caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The statement was released at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9685 2012-06-20T15:42:00Z 2012-06-20T17:39:28Z Congolese experts needed to protect Congo Basin rainforests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Congo20112-058-lower-res.forest.river.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>This summer, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is expected to approve a new higher education strategy which the country has developed with the World Bank and other international donors. The shape of this educational reform initiative will be critical to Congo's future in many ways. It could finally offer Congo’s long-suffering people a route into the 21st century. It will also help determine the future of the DRC’s forests. Nearly half of the Congo Basin’s remaining rainforest is in the DRC&#8212;yet the critical role of Congolese experts in forestry, agricultural science, wildlife management and other rural sciences in protecting this forest is not widely recognized. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9697 2012-06-19T19:33:00Z 2012-06-19T22:21:24Z Rio+20 and economic perils in Europe: opportunity for linkage This month, momentous events will occur on the global scene that will set the tone for whether 2012 will be a hopeful year or one in which dislocations and disconnects are further exacerbated by political failings. The EU will decide on its fiscal and monetary union that hinges on Greece’s recent June election, which backed the political party that wants to stay in the Euro zone, but insists on adjustments to the earlier-negotiated economic rescue package. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9649 2012-06-11T17:35:00Z 2012-06-18T00:22:19Z Should we devote 2014 to wilderness? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/gabon/150/gabon_2845.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>American writer and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau once said, "In wilderness is the preservation of the world." Anyone who has spent time in vast untouched wild space likely understands Thoreau's comment. Yet wilderness everywhere&#8212;already vanishing&#8212;remains imperiled by a variety of threats. To draw attention to the importance of the keeping wilderness in the world, PAN Parks, an organization that works to protect wilderness in Europe, has proposed to make 2014 the International Year of Wilderness. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9646 2012-06-11T13:32:00Z 2015-02-08T22:52:52Z Forgotten Species: the wonder-inducing giant clam <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Ardea-Licuanan-IMG_0468.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The first time I ever saw a giant clam was at a ride in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. My family and I piled into the Nautilus submersible at the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage and descended into the playtime depths. While we saw sea turtles, sharks, lobsters, mermaids, and even a sea monster, the creature that lingered in my mind most was the giant clam, raising and closing its pearly shell in the weedy abyss. Of course, none of these aquatic wonders were real&#8212;they were animatronics&#8212;but to a child with a vivid imagination they stirred within me the deep mystery of the boundless ocean, and none more so than that monstrous clam with its gaping maw. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9644 2012-06-11T12:35:00Z 2012-06-18T00:23:06Z Ten African nations pledge to transform their economies to take nature into account Last month ten African nations, led by Botswana, pledged to incorporate "natural capital" into their economies. Natural capital, which seeks to measure the economic worth of the services provided by ecosystems and biodiversity&#8212;for example pollination, clean water, and carbon&#8212;is a nascent, but growing, method to curtail environmental damage and ensure more sustainable development. Dubbed the Gaborone Declaration, the pledge was signed by Botswana, Liberia, Namibia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania following a two day summit. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9635 2012-06-07T21:22:00Z 2013-07-20T05:33:12Z Scientists: if we don't act now we're screwed <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/peru_aerial_0166.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists warn that the Earth may be reaching a planetary tipping point due to a unsustainable human pressures, while the UN releases a new report that finds global society has made significant progress on only four environmental issues out of ninety in the last twenty years. Climate change, overpopulation, overconsumption, and ecosystem destruction could lead to a tipping point that causes planetary collapse, according to a new paper in Nature by 22 scientists. The collapse may lead to a new planetary state that scientists say will be far harsher for human well-being, let alone survival. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9631 2012-06-06T17:07:00Z 2012-06-18T00:23:47Z Scientists to Rio+20: save biodiversity to save ourselves <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0654.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>World leaders need to do much more to protect the Earth's millions of species for the services they provide, according to a new scientific consensus statement in Nature based on over 1,000 research papers. Written by 17 top ecologists, the statement points out that despite growing knowledge of the importance of biodiversity for human well-being and survival, species continue to vanish at alarming rates. The statement comes just weeks before the UN'S Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development, which is supposed to chart a path for a less impoverished and more equitable world including an emphasis on greater environmental protections, but which has been marred by a lack of ambition. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9625 2012-06-05T14:44:00Z 2015-02-05T01:22:15Z Highest priority conservation sites provide essential services for people too <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/Santa-Marta47-XL.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Preventing the extinction of the world's most imperiled species would also bring untold benefits to people according to new research in the open-access journal PLoS ONE. Looking at the world's nearly 600 Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) sites, the study found that preserving these ecosystems would benefit humans even beyond preserving biodiversity, including safeguarding freshwater, carbon storage, and protecting cultural diversity. AZE sites are identified as habitats containing one or more species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, in which the survival of the species is highly dependent on the conservation of the ecosystem in question. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9547 2012-05-22T17:52:00Z 2015-02-05T01:21:02Z Seagrass beds store 20 billion tons of carbon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/seagrass.meadows.mad.128232-L.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Just below the ocean's surface lies a carbon powerhouse: seagrass meadows. New research in Nature Geoscience estimates that the world's seagrass meadows conservatively store 19.9 billion metric tons of carbon, even though the threatened marine ecosystems make up only 0.2 percent of Earth's surface. The findings lend support to the idea that seagrass protection and restoration could play a major role in mitigating climate change. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9523 2012-05-15T21:00:00Z 2015-02-05T01:19:00Z Consumption, population, and declining Earth: wake-up call for Rio+20 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/new_mexico_061.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Currently, human society is consuming natural resources as if there were one-and-a-half Earths, and not just a single blue planet, according to the most recent Living Planet Report released today. If governments and societies continue with 'business-as-usual' practices, we could be consuming three years of natural resources in 12 months by 2050. Already, this ecological debt is decimating wildlife populations worldwide, disproportionately hurting the world's poor and most vulnerable, threatening imperative resources like food and water, heating up the atmosphere, and risking global well-being. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9518 2012-05-15T15:32:00Z 2015-02-05T01:18:51Z Wildlife in the tropics plummets by over 60 percent <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/animals_02478.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 48 years wildlife populations in the tropics, the region that holds the bulk of the world's biodiversity, have fallen by an alarming 61 percent, according to the most recent update to the Living Planet Index. Produced by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the index currently tracks almost 10,000 populations of 2,688 vertebrate species (including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish) in both the tropics and temperate regions. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9494 2012-05-10T20:35:00Z 2013-07-20T05:39:18Z Can loggers be conservationists? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0884.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last year researchers took the first ever publicly-released video of an African golden cat (Profelis aurata) in a Gabon rainforest. This beautiful, but elusive, feline was filmed sitting docilely for the camera and chasing a bat. The least-known of Africa's wild cat species, the African golden cat has been difficult to study because it makes its home deep in the Congo rainforest. However, researchers didn't capture the cat on video in an untrammeled, pristine forest, but in a well-managed logging concession by Precious Woods Inc., where scientist's cameras also photographed gorillas, elephants, leopards, and duikers. Jeremy Hance -1.040211 29.673386 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9467 2012-05-02T17:33:00Z 2015-02-05T01:18:18Z Biodiversity loss cripples plant growth <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0760.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For decades scientists have been warning that if global society continues with "business-as-usual" practices the result will be a mass extinction of the world's species, an extinction event some researchers say is already underway. However, the direct impacts of global biodiversity loss has been more difficult to compile. Now a new study in Nature finds that loss of plant biodiversity could cripple overall plant growth. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9431 2012-04-23T16:44:00Z 2015-02-05T01:15:22Z Doing good and staying sane amidst the global environmental crisis <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/wl_Sarah_PandaBase_5387(2).150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Several years ago while teaching a course in environmental science a student raised her hand during our discussion of the circumstances of modern ecological collapse and posed the question, "what happens when there is no more environment?" At the time I had no response and stumbled to formulate some sort of reply based on the typical aseptic, apathetic logic with which we are programmed through education in the scientific tradition: that there will always be some sort of environment, that life has prospered through the five previous mass extinctions and that something will survive. While this may be the case, the time has come for more of us to consider the broader spectrum of what global humanity is facing as the planet’s ecology is decimated. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9425 2012-04-22T14:46:00Z 2012-04-23T20:56:47Z Featured video: How to save the Amazon The past ten years have seen unprecedented progress in fighting deforestation in the Amazon. Indigenous rights, payments for ecosystem services, government enforcement, satellite imagery, and a spirit of cooperation amongst old foes has resulted in a decline of 80 percent in Brazil's deforestation rates. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9424 2012-04-22T01:16:00Z 2015-02-05T01:15:05Z For Earth Day, 17 celebrated scientists on how to make a better world <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/800px-MODIS_Map.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Seventeen top scientists and four acclaimed conservation organizations have called for radical action to create a better world for this and future generations. Compiled by 21 past winners of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize, a new paper recommends solutions for some of the world's most pressing problems including climate change, poverty, and mass extinction. The paper, entitled Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act, was recently presented at the UN Environment Program governing council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9384 2012-04-10T18:37:00Z 2012-04-10T19:00:16Z U.S. gobbling illegal wood from Peru's Amazon rainforest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/EIAreportPeru-20111027-02419.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The next time you buy wood, you may want to make sure it's not from Peru. According to an in-depth new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the illegal logging trade is booming in the Peruvian Amazon and much of the wood is being exported to the U.S. Following the labyrinthian trail of illegal logging from the devastated forests of the Peruvian Amazon to the warehouses of the U.S., the EIA identified over 112 shipments of illegally logged cedar and big-leaf mahogany between January 2008 and May 2010. In fact, the group found that over a third (35 percent) of all the shipments of cedar and mahogany from Peru to the U.S. were from illegal sources, a percentage that is likely conservative. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/9325 2012-03-29T18:00:00Z 2012-04-05T14:40:02Z Smoking gun for bee collapse? popular pesticides <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://photos.mongabay.com/j/frenchstudy.bees5HR.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Commonly used pesticides may be a primary driver of the collapsing bee populations, finds two new studies in <i>Science</i>. The studies, one focused on honeybees and the other on bumblebees, found that even small doses of these pesticides, which target insect's central nervous system, impact bee behavior and, ultimately, their survival. The studies may have far-reaching repercussions for the regulation of agricultural chemicals, known as neonicotinoid insecticides, that have been in use since the 1990s. Jeremy Hance