Forests have been at the core of Mongabay’s coverage since our founding 20 years ago. So for the International Day of Forests 2019, below are the top 5 most read stories about forests published so far this year at our site, in no particular order.
In 2018, the DRC government approved a plan for communities to gain legal control over their local forests. The Rainforest Foundation UK and its partners in the DRC have been working with 10 participating villages to help community members understand their legal rights to manage local forests. RFUK and its partners maintain that, in addition to the benefits the communities may derive, local management of forests could help halt deforestation, keeping billions of tons of carbon locked away in the fight to slow global climate change. See the whole report here or just watch the video:
Police in Indonesia have charged the brother of a provincial deputy governor with clearing a protected forest to make way for an oil palm plantation. Musa Idishah was questioned by investigators, but released pending the investigation. His brother, North Sumatra Deputy Governor Musa Rajekshah, previously ran the company at the center of the investigation, and has also been linked to another corruption scandal. Oil palm plantations are a major driver of deforestation on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where they are often carved out of ostensibly protected forests. Read the full story here.
“Central African Forests Forever,” first published in 2017, takes readers to the heart of the continent, introducing them to the people and wildlife of this region. Its author, independent communications consultant Meindert Brouwer, says the book also functions as a tool for sharing information about efforts to address poverty and environmental issues in the region. Mongabay spoke with Brouwer to learn more about his motivations and the reception of his work in Central Africa. Read the conversation here.
A study by Indonesian and Australian researchers warns of a drastic reduction in forest habitat accessible to wildlife in Indonesian Borneo if a spate of road projects is completed as planned. Wildlife would be able to access just 55 percent of the remaining forests in the region under this scenario, from 89 percent today, the researchers write. The road-building spree is part of an economic development program that proponents say is desperately needed to improve livelihoods and welfare across Indonesian Borneo. While conservationists agree that infrastructure access is essential, they have called for greater oversight to mitigate or minimize impacts to forests and wildlife corridors. Read the full report here.
2018 wasn’t a great year for tropical rainforests, with major conservation setbacks in Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and the United States coming on top of back-to-back years of high forest cover loss. Brazil’s Bolsanaro, Democratic Republic of Congo election outcome, global economic health, Indonesia’s election, biofuel mandates, California forest carbon decision, forest monitoring technology, U.S. politics, and political momentum for biodiversity. Read about the 10 main storylines we’re watching in the world of rainforests in 2019 here.
Banner image of rainforest in Malaysian Borneo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.