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Forest week in review: African wildlife collapse, greenwashing, and a big dam

A review of stories this week on

In a featured interview, biologist Ian Craigie discussed the 59 percent drop in big mammal populations in Africa’s parks. The bad news: the overall decline of African mammals is likely to be worse than even the study portrays for two reasons: mammal populations have almost certainly suffered worse outside of parks than inside.

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), a controversial Indonesian forest products brand that has distinguished itself by an extensive greenwashing campaign, announced it is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build an eco-village in Java. APP did not say where it would be sourcing the timber to build the village. Environmentalists questioned the due diligence process used by Habitat for Humanity to select its partner.

Meanwhile Elfian Effendi, Director of Greenomics, an Indonesian activist group, castigated APP for its philanthropic claims, arguing that APP has been the beneficiary of at least $1.5 billion worth of subsidized timber. “For APP, Indonesian forests have acted as philanthropists for many years, subsidizing its raw materials by providing it with free timber from the country’s natural forests,” Effendi wrote. APP was offered a chance to respond with an editorial—it did not respond.

We posted an extensive summary of the issues with oil palm expansion in natural forest areas. The title, “Greening the world with palm oil”, is a play on a marketing slogan used by Malaysian palm oil producers.

Nike and Kimberly-Clark scored well on the latest Forest Footprint Disclosure report, which asks international companies to reveal their impact on forests around the world.

President Obama talked up innovation and clean energy in his State of the Union address, but largely ignored climate change.

Genetic research revealed the Egyptian jackal is actually not a jackal at all but a member of the wolf family.

With its environmental chief out of the way (he resigned earlier this month), Brazil moved ahead on the massive Belo Monte dam, which will flood nearly 200 square miles (500 square kilometers) of rainforest and displace thousands of people.

In a guest blog post, Survival International’s Miriam Ross recounted the story of Pisang, a Penan hunter, who has fought to stop logging and palm oil companies from destroying his rainforest home in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.

Mongabay released a version of its children’s site in Romanian.

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