Newsletter 2020-05-28



In the Ecuadoran Andes, protectors of the páramos guard their water source by Sandra Weiss [05/27/2020]

– Climate change and human intervention, including mining, are a big threat to water security in the region.
– Through its water fund, Fonag, Ecuador is facing these challenges in an innovative way.
– The secret to the fund’s success is that it is inclusive, engaging a wide spectrum of stakeholders to ensure the continued protection of the páramos.

Contentious Guatemala nickel mine ‘ignores coronavirus lockdown’ by Anna-Catherine Brigida [05/27/2020]

– A nickel mine in Guatemala is at the center of fresh allegations of misconduct after it was alleged to have endangered local residents by operating throughout the coronavirus pandemic, despite a government order to close and its license being suspended last year.
– The mine’s operator, Switzerland-based Solway Investment Group, has denied it is breaking the rules, saying it has been given special permission by ministers to continue operations.
– The Fenix mine has sparked numerous social conflicts in El Estor going back to the 1960s. Dozens of locals have been arbitrarily detained and at least three killed since 2004.
– Several legal cases against activists are currently in the courts, as well as complaints against the company lodged by supporters. But the Covid-19 outbreak has also impacted Guatemala’s justice system, meaning a resolution to the cases may be further delayed.

A new sanctuary for the Sumatran rhino is delayed amid COVID-19 measures by Junaidi Hanafiah [05/27/2020]

– Indonesia has been working on a new sanctuary for the captive breeding of Sumatran rhinos in the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia’s Aceh province.
– But measures imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed down the progress of the facility, which had been slated for completion next year.
– Aceh’s Leuser Ecosystem is touted by experts as the most promising habitat for wild rhinos because it’s believed to hold the largest population of the species, at about 12 individuals.
– Indonesia is now the last refuge for the world’s Sumatran rhino population, which numbers between 30 and 80 individuals.

For the western chimpanzee, sanctuaries are more than just a last resort by Mark Hillsdon [05/26/2020]

– West Africa’s chimpanzee population has dropped dramatically since the 1960s, falling from an estimated 1 million to fewer than 300,000 today.
– Across West Africa, a network of sanctuaries is working to provide shelter for chimpanzees rescued from traffickers.
– Members of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance say their work goes beyond simply caring for individual apes, extending to protecting wild chimpanzee populations and supporting the people who share their habitats.

Slow and steady: Sea turtles mount a long-term recovery by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [05/22/2020]

– In many locations around the world, various sea turtle species are building more nests, which could result in more eggs and hatchlings.
– Lockdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic could provide some short-term benefits to nesting turtles and hatchlings by keeping people off the beaches, but experts don’t expect there to be any long-term effects.
– Experts believe that increased turtle nesting is mainly due to conservation efforts, better fishery management practices, and laws and regulations that forbid the hunting and trade of sea turtles and their eggs.
– Data show that the endangered green turtle is rebounding, but the leatherback turtle is continuing to decline.

Coronavirus puts Brazil’s quilombos at risk; will assistance come? by Thais Borges and Sue Branford [05/21/2020]

– The Boa Vista Quilombo in Oriximiná, Pará state, is like many Brazilian quilombola communities. Quilombolas are Afro-Brazilian runaway slave descendants, and point to centuries of inequality and neglect by the government. Quilombos often lack running water, basic sanitation and health services.
– In the 1970s, Mineração Rio do Norte (MRN) annexed much of Boa Vista’s land and established the world’s fourth largest bauxite mine, along with a company town, Porto Trombetas, built on the former quilombo property; MRN also polluted local fisheries and provided mostly badly paid menial jobs to residents.
– Now, the pandemic is exacerbating fundamental governmental and corporate inequalities, say residents. MRN, for example, asked Boa Vista residents to clean a quarantine facility used by new arrivals. The residents refused. Meanwhile, the mine is fully operational, with planes and ships coming and going regularly.
– MRN says it has implemented strong preventative measures against the virus. But residents point out that the company’s hospital has just six intensive care beds; they fear, in keeping with past inequities, these beds would be reserved for MRN employees, leaving infected quilombolas without care.



In the Amazon, a farmer practices the future of sustainable cattle ranching by Maria Fernanda Ribeiro [Thu, 28 May 2020]
– A cattle farmer in Tefé, Brazil, has turned his ranch into a new standard for ranching in the forest — one that’s more profitable and more productive, while using less land.
– This type of farming eliminates the need for clearing new areas of forest for new pasture, a practice that has made cattle ranching one of the major drivers of deforestation in Brazil.
– Under the rational grazing system, cattle are grazed in a fenced-off plot of pasture, then rotated to another plot to allow the soil and vegetation in the previous plot to recover.
– Using land that has already been degraded and abandoned is one solution recommended for raising cattle in the Amazon region; there are an estimated 50 million hectares (125 million acres) of such land in Brazil that could be used for this purposed.

Taylor and Tate: Canine-human teams rescue Australia’s fire-ravaged koalas by Laurel Neme [Thu, 28 May 2020]
– Specially-trained koala detection dogs joined rescue teams during and after the catastrophic Australian bushfires to help find the injured marsupials quickly and increase their chance of survival.
– Koalas had a hard time escaping the fires. Because they are slow moving and their first instinct is to climb into the canopy, curl into a ball, and wait, they were often killed or injured by the incredibly intense bushfires.
– Koalas numbers had already dropped significantly in New South Wales due to habitat loss, climate change, drought and disease. The fires exacerbated what was already a precarious situation.
– Eventually, surviving koalas will be released back into the wild, but it will take great care due to their specialized diets, need for social cohorts, and time required to recover from their burns.

Investigation exposes European firms exploiting loophole to import Myanmar teak by [Thu, 28 May 2020]
– A new investigation has uncovered a scheme exploiting a loophole in the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) that campaigners allege allows European companies to buy Myanmar teak without conducting due diligence.
– The scheme was run out of Croatia and allowed companies in other European countries to purchase teak from Myanmar via Croatian firm Viator Pula.
– Under the EUTR, only the initial recipient of the timber, Viator Pula, was responsible for monitoring the chain of custody from initial felling to import.

Faced with a health crisis, a plea for trees and agroforestry (commentary) by Emmanuel Torquebiau et al [Thu, 28 May 2020]
– While we do not yet know where COVID-19 came from, the number of epidemics is increasing in recent years, and biodiversity is part of the problem.
– Reintroducing trees into one of humanity’s largest land uses — agriculture — can restore lost biodiversity, protect existing biodiversity, and increase the resilience of agriculture to climate change.
– “Agroforestry” as it’s known can also revitalize land and increase its capacity to store water, regenerate the soil and enrich it with organic matter, as does the forest, its benchmark.
– This letter is a commentary, and originally appeared in Le Monde, in French. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay.

Green alert: How indigenous people are experiencing climate change in the Amazon by Jenny Gonzales [Wed, 27 May 2020]
– Late rainfall, intense drought, dry riverbeds, more forest fires, less food available — indigenous communities across the Brazilian Amazon suffer social transformations due to climate change.
– Indigenous people believe that climate change has even affected their physical health: previously controlled diseases like measles and yellow fever, they say, have inexplicably reappeared in the rainforest, and even indigenous women’s menstrual cycles are beginning at an earlier age.
– Indigenous people have found many ways to take action and lessen the harm. These approaches include selecting and growing seeds that are more resistant to drought and heat, investing in frontline firefighters and even a smartphone app that offers information about climatic variations.

Audio: Listening to elephants to protect Central Africa’s tropical forests by Mike Gaworecki [Wed, 27 May 2020]
– On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast we take a look at a project that aims to preserve the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Central Africa and the biodiversity found in those forests by focusing on elephants and their calls.
– As a research analyst with the Elephant Listening Project, Ana Verahrami has completed two field seasons in the Central African Republic, where she helped collect the behavioral and acoustic data vital to the project. She joins the Mongabay Newscast to explain why forest elephants’ role as keystone species makes their survival crucial to the wellbeing of tropical forests and their other inhabitants, and to play some of the recordings informing the project’s work.
– One of the two existing African elephant species, forest elephants are native to the humid forests of West Africa and the Congo Basin. The forest habitat they rely on has also suffered steep declines in recent years, with one 2018 study concluding that at current rates of deforestation, all of the primary forest in the Congo Basin could be cleared by the end of the century. As Mongabay’s contributing editor for Africa, Terna Gyuse, tells us, the chief threats to the Congo Basin’s rainforests are human activities.

Loggers attack Brazilian environmental official in Amazon; Bolsonaro silent by Thais Borges and Sue Branford [Wed, 27 May 2020]
– In April an official from IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency was violently assaulted by loggers and needed hospital treatment in Pará state. The incident was caught on video.
– The IBAMA operation was targeting illegal deforestation carried out by land grabbers, wishing to convert large areas of forest into ranches within the Cachoeira Seca Indigenous Reserve. Out of all Brazil’s indigenous territories it ranked third for worst deforestation from August 2018 to July 2019.
– As permitted by Brazilian law, the IBAMA officials had burnt tractors and trucks used by the criminals, angering the loggers. The loggers are selling the illegally extracted timber to fund the further deforestation of large areas.
– The Association of IBAMA employees believe that President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-indigenous and anti-environmental rhetoric is fuelling the attacks on environmental agency workers.

Spiny lobsters raise an undersea racket that can be heard miles away by Liz Kimbrough [Wed, 27 May 2020]
– European spiny lobsters can create a sound that might, under the right conditions, be detectable up to 3 kilometers, nearly 2 miles, away.
– Researchers used underwater microphones to determine how loud lobsters are, and found that the larger the lobster, the louder the sound.
– Spiny lobsters were overharvested in the 1970s, and though populations have rebounded, there is still a need to monitor population levels.
– The study suggests that lobsters may be a candidate for acoustic monitoring.

Indonesia drops panned plan to scrap legality license for wood exports by Hans Nicholas Jong [Wed, 27 May 2020]
– The Indonesian government has backtracked on a decision to end timber legality checks for the export of wood products, amid widespread criticism and the prospect of being shut out of the lucrative European market.
– In February, the trade ministry issued a regulation that would free wood product exporters from having to obtain licenses certifying that the wood comes from legal sources, known as v-legal (“verified legal”) and required for wood products entering the EU market.
– The policy was supposed to take effect on May 27, but on May 11 the ministry revoked the regulation, citing a request from the environment ministry, which had not been consulted on the initial move.
– Environmental activists and businesses have welcomed the revocation of the regulation, but a trade group representing wood furniture exporters says the U-turn is disappointing.

Campaigners in Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region oppose $21m conservation project by Daniel Quinlan [Wed, 27 May 2020]
– Campaigners in the Tanintharyi region of southern Myanmar have urged international donors to support community conservation efforts, rather than what they see as a top-down approach that excludes indigenous groups.
– In a report released on Friday, CAT documents resistance in local communities to the imposition of a $21m project backed by major conservation groups and the UN.
– The proposed Ridge to Reef project would cover about 35% of the Tanintharyi region and aims to protect some of the best preserved lowland evergreen forests in Southeast Asia. The 3.5 million acre conservation area would cover 225 villages and radically transform the lives of the indigenous people that live in them.

Brazil minister advises using COVID-19 to distract from Amazon deregulation by Jenny Gonzales [Tue, 26 May 2020]
– In a Brazilian cabinet meeting Environment Minister Ricardo Salles was caught on video declaring that the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed more than 23,000 of his fellow citizens offers a distraction during which the government can “run the cattle herd” through the Amazon, “changing all the rules and simplifying standards.”
– The Brazilian and international response was critical and swift, with one European Union parliamentarian recommending that the largest trade treaty every negotiated, between the South American nations of Mercusor and the EU, not be signed as punishment for Brazil’s radical anti-environmental policies.
– Salles statements were “the inconceivably blatant confirmation that the Bolsonaro government is dismantling, step-by-step, the protection regulations of the Amazon, while the world fights the Coronavirus,” the member of the EU Parliament said.
– The government’s environmental deregulation policies are yielding results. Today the MapBiomas Alert project released its first Annual Deforestation Report on all Brazilian biomes. It found that 99% of all deforestation in Brazil in 2019 was illegal — a total of 12,187 square kilometers (4,705 square miles) of native vegetation lost.

Brazilian taxpayers subsidizing Amazon-clearing cattle ranches, study shows by Naira Hofmeister [Tue, 26 May 2020]
– A new study shows taxpayer money is helping to prop up the beef industry in Brazil, one of the primary drivers of deforestation in the country.
– For every dollar of tax revenue collected from the industry, only 20 cents effectively goes to society — the rest goes back to producers in the form of incentives, easy credit, and even debt forgiveness.
– The carbon footprint of beef production in Brazil’s nine Amazonian states is six times higher on average than other states in the nation when accounting for the impact of deforestation to clear land for pasture.
– The study also highlights integrated crop farming-cattle raising systems, where the land is used alternately for cropping and for pasture, as resulting in negative carbon emissions — but notes that only 4% of pastureland in the Amazon uses this integrated method.

‘Don’t let your cat outside’: Q&A with author Peter Christie by John C. Cannon [Tue, 26 May 2020]
– Journalist Peter Christie has published a new book about the effects that pets have on wildlife and biodiversity.
– In addition to the billions of birds and small mammals killed by free-roaming pets each year, the wild pet trade, invasive pets, disease spread and the pet food industry are harming biodiversity and contributing to the global crisis.
– Christie calls the book “a call to action,” and he says he hopes that humans’ love for their pets might extend to wild species as well.

Brazil judge blocks appointment of missionary to indigenous agency by Sam Cowie [Tue, 26 May 2020]
– A Brazilian judge has blocked the highly controversial appointment of a former Christian Evangelical missionary to head FUNAI’s isolated and recently contacted indigenous tribes department. FUNAI is Brazil’s federal indigenous affairs agency.
– Ricardo Lopes Dias, an anthropologist and Evangelical pastor, was picked to head the department in February amid a barrage of criticism. He was a long-time missionary with New Tribes Mission (recently renamed Ethnos360), a fundamentalist Christians group notorious for past attempts to contact and convert isolated indigenous people.
– Indigenous groups and their advocates celebrated the court decision, with one leader saying: “It’s a really important victory, not just for indigenous [people] of the Javari Valley [Reserve in Amazonas state where most of Brazil’s isolated groups are located], but for all those who respect rule of law.”
– As COVID-19 continues spreading into the Brazilian Amazon, already infecting at least 500 indigenous people, FUNAI still hasn’t presented a contingency plan to deal with Coronavirus outbreaks in the region, or among isolated indigenous groups, another factor that weighed on the judge’s decision to block Dias’ appointment.

‘New’ footage released of the last Tasmanian tiger by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [Tue, 26 May 2020]
– The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) recently released a “new” clip of Benjamin, the thylacine that was displayed for five years at Beaumaris Zoo in Tasmania.
– The species, better known as the Tasmanian tiger, was officially declared extinct in 1982 by the IUCN, although the Australian government now considers it to have gone extinct in 1936, following Benjamin’s death.
– Despite the species’ extinction status, people continue to report sightings of the thylacine in the Tasmanian wilderness, although none of these sightings have been confirmed.

What is an Olive baboon? Candid Animal Cam heads to Africa by [Tue, 26 May 2020]
– Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.

For Sri Lankans reporting environmental crimes, there’s now an app for that by Malaka Rodrigo [Mon, 25 May 2020]
– A newly developed mobile app by a conservation group in Sri Lanka offers citizens a quick and easy platform to anonymously report environmental crimes relating to forests and wetlands.
– Authorities have welcomed the eJustice app by the Colombo-based Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), which follows from the NGO’s hotline to report forest crimes.
– The app was launched last October to prompt authorities to respond to incidents in a timely manner, including land encroachment, plundering of forests and filling of wetlands.

As lockdown ends, activists brace to resume fight over Manila Bay reclamation by Leilani ChavezSusan Claire Agbayani [Mon, 25 May 2020]
– Controversial land reclamation projects in Manila Bay look set to resume as the Philippines emerges out of the strict lockdown imposed in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
– President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously denounced any reclamation activity in Manila Bay due to the potential environmental impacts, has more recently given mixed messages on the issue as the administration looks for funds for its pandemic response.
– There are 25 reclamation projects in varying stages listed with the country’s reclamation authority, at least four of which have received the go-ahead from local government units.
– Activists say they anticipate construction — one of the activities permitted under the eased lockdown protocol set to go into force from June — to ramp up, particularly as Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is seen as key to jump-starting the Philippine economy post-lockdown.

Vietnam wildlife trade ban appears to flounder amid coronavirus success by Michael Tatarski [Mon, 25 May 2020]
– In March, responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested draft legislation banning the trade and consumption of wildlife in Vietnam by April 1.
– That date has come and gone, but no information on the requested ban has been made public since March.
– Conservationists are concerned that Vietnam’s thus far successful containment of the coronavirus outbreak means the government is no longer prioritizing wildlife regulations.
– NGOs are still working, both behind the scenes and in public, to press the issue.

Brazil’s ‘land-grabbers law’ threatens Amazonia (commentary) by Philip M. Fearnside [Mon, 25 May 2020]
– “Land grabbers” are large operators who illegally claim government land in Amazonia and usually later subdivide it for sale to ranchers. This is an important factor in Brazil’s rapid deforestation.
– Illegal invasion of government land by both small and large actors has been stimulated by two previous “land-grabbers’ laws.” Now a vote is imminent on a proposed third law that goes further, granting titles on the strength of mere “self-declarations.”
– The coronavirus pandemic is being used as cover to allow measures such as this to be put into effect without question. This is a strategy for gutting environmental controls that Bolsonaro’s environment minister put forth explicitly in a ministerial meeting, a recording of which was released by court order on 22 May.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

The unknown Cerrado and its colossal biological relevance (commentary) by Michael Becker [Fri, 22 May 2020]
– Following the International Day for Biological Diversity, a leader of the Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems draws attention to the environmental importance of the most biodiverse tropical savanna on the planet.
– In the Cerrado, cradle of Brazilian waters and habitat for 5% of the world’s biodiversity, the rate of deforestation is 2.5 times that of the Amazon.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

For Amazon indigenous facing COVID-19, distance to ICU beds poses dire threat by Liz Kimbrough [Fri, 22 May 2020]
– Remote indigenous communities deep in the Brazilian Amazon lack access to the ICU beds and pulmonary ventilators that have become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new mapping initiative shows.
– More than half of the 3,141 villages analyzed are more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) from an ICU bed, and 10% of these villages are more than 700 km (435 mi) away.
– A case in point: The Yanomami people of Maturacá village would need to travel three hours by plane to a health facility that has a ventilator; in some of the most distant villages, travel by river can take more than a week.
– Even when they reach a health facility, there are fewer than 5,000 ventilators across Brazil’s entire Amazon region, and more than half of municipalities — home to more than 8 million inhabitants, including 203,000 indigenous people — don’t have one at all.

Locals stage latest fight against PNG mine dumping waste into sea by Ian Morse [Fri, 22 May 2020]
– The world’s most productive battery nickel plant, Ramu NiCo, has been dumping millions of tons of mine waste into the waters of Papua New Guinea since 2012.
– After a series of tailings pipeline spills, evidence for environmental and health impacts is accumulating.
– In February, a coalition of more than 5,000 villagers and a provincial government sued the company, demanding its owners pay $5.2 billion in restitution, stop dumping mine waste into the ocean, and remediate the allegedly contaminated waters.
– The lawsuit appears to seek the highest environmental damages in the country’s history, and relies on some of the biggest studies on the ocean dumping of mine waste ever conducted.

Illegal logging ‘mafia’ stripping hornbill habitat in Northeast India by Sibi Arasu & Chintan Sheth [Fri, 22 May 2020]
– Illegal logging is driving the loss of forest that poses the biggest threat to rare hornbill species in the Eastern Himalayan forests of India’s Arunachal Pradesh state.
– Hunting of the hornbills for their casques and meat was previously a major threat, but has been largely defused through a conservation program that engages the indigenous Nyishi community.
– The Papum Reserve Forest in which the birds are found doesn’t have the same protections as India’s national parks, and suffers from logging activity that goes largely unchecked by authorities.
– Indigenous activists working to protect the forest and its wildlife have come under attack from illegal loggers.

Indonesian levee project serves industry over community, study says by Basten Gokkon [Fri, 22 May 2020]
– A new billion-dollar highway and levee project in Central Java has been touted as a solution to the tidal flooding that has submerged thousands of hectares of coastal land in the area.
– But a new study says the project threatens to exacerbate the problem, while communities in its path have been denied compensation by the government.
– The study says the project appears to be designed to cater to two industrial estates, and a third one being planned, to give them direct access to the main port in the province.
– Land subsidence is a major problem along the north coast of Java, due to a combination of overdevelopment, groundwater extraction, and rising sea levels.

Mining company pressing to enter Ecuador’s Los Cedros Protected Forest by Ana Cristina Basantes [Fri, 22 May 2020]
– Ecuador’s national mining company, ENAMI EP, has been given exploration rights to 68% of Los Cedros Protected Forest.
– The process was riddled with irregularities, similar to what has happened with other extractive projects, opponents of the mining exploration say.
– The autonomous government of the canton of Cotacachi, where the forest is located, filed a lawsuit to protect the forest.
– Although the Cotacachi government won in provincial court last year, the mining company has lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court, which remains pending.

Papuan farmer dies after alleged police assault at palm oil company by Hans Nicholas Jong [Fri, 22 May 2020]
– An indigenous Papuan farmer, Marius Betera, has died after allegedly being assaulted by a police officer when complaining about a palm oil company bulldozing his banana plot.
– Police at the district level have arrested the officer, but police at the provincial level deny he did anything wrong, claiming that Marius died of a heart attack and that an autopsy showed no signs of bruising.
– Activists have demanded an independent investigation into the case, noting that the alleged assailant, Melkianus Yowei, was last year transferred from his post after assaulting an elderly indigenous woman.
– The palm oil company, PT Tunas Sawa Erma (TSE), is a subsidiary of the Korindo Group, which has a track record of violating traditional and human rights in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and North Maluku.

Deaths, arrests and protests as Philippines re-emerges from lockdown by [Thu, 21 May 2020]
– Environmental defenders have come under sustained threats during the Philippines’ COVID-19 lockdown, which saw one activist shot and killed by unknown assailants and at least 10 environmental and land defenders arrested.
– The most recent arrest is that of six farmers who opposed coal power projects and land-grabbing cases, while the fatality recorded during this period is an environmental and political activist who was gunned down in his home on April 30.
– President Rodrigo Duterte’s two-month lockdown mobilized the country’s police forces to man checkpoints, where they arrested 120,000 people for violations of quarantine guidelines, human rights activists say.
– Groups have denounced Duterte’s “militaristic approach” as an excuse to crack down on activists, members of the opposition, and land and environmental defenders amid the pandemic.

Aided by weather, Sri Lanka’s lockdown leads to decline in air, sea pollution by Dennis Mombauer [Thu, 21 May 2020]
– Air pollution in Sri Lanka’s urban areas has decreased by up to 75% during the lockdown imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while plastic pollution and other forms of marine pollution have decreased by up to 40% along the island’s coastline, authorities say.
– Experts say meteorological conditions are also a factor, including the monsoonal change in wind direction and lack of rainfall in recent months.
– But the environmental respite is likely to be temporary, while the lockdown period threatens to see a surge in another type of waste — face masks — washing out to sea and on beaches if no proper waste management mechanisms are introduced.
– Experts say the tangible improvements in environmental indicators give a glimpse of how effective lifestyle and economic changes can lead to lasting pollution reduction in Sri Lanka.

Consider what’s below the canopy, too, when counting up forest areas (commentary) by Will Baldwin-Cantello [Thu, 21 May 2020]
– More and more of the world’s forests are becoming “empty” or “silent,” as wildlife populations decline.
– This has many ecological consequences, but notably hinders a forests’ ability to regenerate and hence its ability to absorb and store carbon. It has been a challenge, however, to put a global measure on this worsening trend for forest wildlife.
– WWF’s Will Baldwin-Cantello argues we need to measure forest biodiversity better to fix our imbalanced relationship with forests and nature, which has tipped ecosystems out of balance.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Tigers threatened by a vast network of planned roads across Asia by Liz Kimbrough [Thu, 21 May 2020]
– Tiger habitats are under threat from nearly 24,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) of new roads to be built by 2050.
– The explosion of new roads is driven in part by global development strategies such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
– Road construction contributes to three major threats to tigers: degradation of habitat, prey depletion, and poaching.
– Tigers are endangered, with fewer than 4,000 individuals still remaining in the wild.



North America’s looming salamander pandemic: Is the U.S. ready? by [05/20/2020]
Ecuador’s Kichwa implement innovative approach to rainforest conservation by Matthew Wilburn King [05/20/2020]
Indigenous COVID-19 cases top 500, danger mapped in Brazil agricultural hub by Sam Cowie [05/18/2020]
Gender-based violence shakes communities in the wake of forest loss by John C. Cannon [05/14/2020]