Conservation news

Environmental science and conservation news

How the son of a tailor rose to power in Indonesia’s palm oil heartland
By The Gecko Project and Mongabay [March 22, 2018, 1:42 am]
In the leadup to the release of the second installment of Indonesia for Sale, our series examining the corruption behind Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis, we are republishing the first article in the series, “The Palm Oil Fiefdom.” This is the second part of that article. The first part described a secret deal between the son […]

Brazilian lawmakers funded by donors guilty of environmental crimes: report
By Anna Sophie Gross [March 21, 2018, 3:37 pm]
Nearly 50 percent of Brazil’s lower house of congress received political donations from companies and individuals who committed environmental crimes, raising questions about influence peddling.

Cities need forests too: A call for forests amid our concrete jungles (commentary)
By Alistair Monument [March 21, 2018, 11:32 am]
Human beings evolved among trees. Even today, hundreds of millions of people live in and around forests, and depend upon them directly for their food, fuel, and livelihoods. Many of us, however, now live in concrete jungles instead. More than half the world’s population lives in cities, and that’s set to rise to two-thirds — […]

Leopards could reduce rabies by controlling stray dog numbers in India, study finds
By [March 21, 2018, 3:59 am]
Leopards are among the most widespread of all big cats, with a historical range covering large parts of Africa and Asia. Though humans have whittled away about 80 percent of that area, the big cats still overlap with some of the world’s largest concentrations of people. That convergence can be a recipe for conflict, but […]

‘A real surprise’: Study reveals low phosphorus doesn’t hinder rainforest growth
By Morgan Erickson-Davis [March 20, 2018, 5:24 pm]
Scientists have long believed the lack of nutrients in tropical forests soils meant that they weren’t very productive when it came to plant growth. But at the same time, trees didn’t seem to grow any taller when fertilizer was added to increase soil nutrient levels. A group of researchers sought to resolve this apparent paradox […]

Pearl Jam invests in Amazonian reforestation to offset emissions from current Brazil tour
By [March 20, 2018, 2:29 pm]
Rock band Pearl Jam is voluntarily offsetting the carbon emissions of its current tour in Brazil. The band has partnered with Conservation International (CI) in purchasing carbon offsets for the estimated 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions that will be generated by its Brazilian tour dates taking place this month. The offsets were purchased through […]

Audio: Exploring humanity’s deep connection to water, plus the sounds of the Sandhill crane migration
By Mike Gaworecki [March 20, 2018, 12:09 pm]
On today’s episode, we discuss humanity’s deep connection to water and hear sounds of one of the most ancient animal migrations on Earth, that of the Sandhill crane. Listen here: Our first guest today is marine biologist and conservationist Wallace J. Nichols, the author of Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, […]

How one of Indonesia’s biggest companies cut a secret deal to plant oil palm in Borneo
By The Gecko Project and Mongabay [March 20, 2018, 9:50 am]
In the leadup to the release of the second installment of Indonesia for Sale, our series examining the corruption behind Indonesia’s deforestation and land-rights crisis, we are republishing the first article in the series, “The Palm Oil Fiefdom.” This is the first part of that article, which can be read in full here. (Baca juga dalam Bahasa […]

Keeping carbon in the ground can cut emissions and boost food security, study finds
By Jim Tan [March 20, 2018, 7:19 am]
A new study in Environmental Research Letters shows that applying a theoretic carbon tax — one aimed at stimulating changes to farming and land-use practices that minimize emissions —could have a major impact on food security, resulting in as many as 300 million more people suffering food deprivation. But add soil carbon-friendly farming into the […]

UN’s Tauli-Corpuz, accused of terrorism in her native Philippines, plans to keep investigating ‘atrocities’ against indigenous peoples at home
By Philip Jacobson [March 20, 2018, 7:06 am]
After Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous rights, was included on a list of some 600 people the government of her native Philippines wants declared as terrorists, her colleagues described the move as “retaliation” for her speaking out against recent attacks on indigenous Lumad communities on the country’s main southern island of […]

The world’s last male northern white rhino has died
By [March 20, 2018, 4:55 am]
The fate of the northern white rhinoceros now hangs by an extremely thin thread. Forty-five-year-old Sudan, believed to be the world’s last surviving male northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19. Sudan fell gravely ill earlier this month following a series of infections and age-related health issues that […]

Sarawak’s Penan now have detailed maps of their ancestral homeland
By John C. Cannon [March 20, 2018, 4:20 am]
LONG LAMAI, Malaysia — The tallest tajem trees have slash marks clear up to the canopy. Each diagonal cut released some of the tree’s heart-stopping sap to tip someone’s darts, making him a more lethal hunter in the forests of Sarawak. The people of the Penan village of Long Lamai talk about the tajem trees […]

Cerrado: Agribusiness may be killing Brazil’s ‘birthplace of waters’
By Alicia Prager and Flávia Milhorance [March 19, 2018, 2:22 pm]
The vast Cerrado savannah feeds many Brazilian watersheds and aquifers. But irrigation by expanding agribusiness is reducing supply, leading to conflicts with traditional farming communities.

Belize creates one of Central America’s largest biological corridors
By Shreya Dasgupta [March 19, 2018, 1:48 pm]
Belize is set to establish one of the biggest biological corridors in Central America, connecting two nature reserves that are home to jaguars and pumas, among other wildlife. The Belize northeastern biological corridor, approved by the government on Feb. 13, will span some 110 square kilometers (42 square miles) of forest, according to a press release […]

Ecuador: Sarayaku leader Patricia Gualinga defends territory despite threats
By Isabel Riofrio [March 19, 2018, 1:41 pm]
The struggle to protect the land and the environment in Latin America often costs lives. In 2017 alone, 116 environmental defenders were killed in the region, most of them for protecting their territories from activities such as industrial agriculture, mining, poaching and logging, according to the latest report by Global Witness. So when threats were made […]

Indonesia launches bid to restore national park that’s home to tigers, elephants
By Hans Nicholas Jong [March 19, 2018, 11:22 am]
JAKARTA — The Indonesian government has unveiled an ambitious plan to restore a heavily degraded national park that is one of the last remaining habitats on Earth for the critically endangered Sumatran tiger. The restoration of Teso Nilo National Park in Riau province, on the island of Sumatra, has been two years in the planning, […]

Radar returns to remote sensing through free, near-real-time global imagery
By Sue Palminteri [March 19, 2018, 8:10 am]
Intact palm swamp along a rainforest lake in southeastern Peru. Miners seek gold in the sediments, cutting trees and inputting harmful mercury into waters to identify the tiny gold pieces in the soil.Satellite imagery has transformed how we assess changes in forest cover. The standard optical sensors carried by Earth-orbiting satellites capture the energy from sunlight reflected off objects on the Earth’s surface. These sensors recognize levels of brightness and color in the reflectance, which enables users to distinguish between greener and browner vegetation, or row crops […]

FSC-certified timber importer failed to check legality of shipment from Cameroon
By John C. Cannon [March 19, 2018, 3:39 am]
A British government office has prosecuted a wood importer certified by the Forest Stewardship Council after it was found to have failed to ensure the legality of a shipment of timber from Cameroon. The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, is an international organization dedicated to ensuring companies harvest and source timber according to a set […]

Oil palm plantations’ dearth of biodiversity rubs off on nearby forests, study shows
By [March 19, 2018, 1:57 am]
Frogs can survive in oil palm plantations, but at the cost of diversity of species — and the impact can radiate out deep into neighboring forest ecosystems, according to a new study. The report, published Feb. 8 in the journal Biological Conservation, found that oil palm plantations along the Kinabatangan River in Malaysia’s Sabah state […]

Madagascar: Conservation official arrested for killing 11 endangered lemurs
By Riana Raymonde Randrianarisoa [March 16, 2018, 12:48 pm]
A critically endangered indri lemur (Indri indri). Ten indris were killed in the recent poaching incident. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. A critically endangered indri lemur (Indri indri). Ten indris were killed in the recent poaching incident. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — Two weeks ago, the bodies of 11 critically endangered lemurs were discovered in Iaroka forest inside the Zahamena Ankeniheny Corridor protected area in eastern Madagascar. The lemurs were allegedly killed by one of the local officials charged with protecting them, to the dismay of conservation leaders. The protected forest is managed jointly […]