Newsletter 2021-05-20



An engaged society is key for the future of African conservation, says WWF Africa’s Alice Ruhweza by Rhett A. Butler [05/20/2021]

– Protecting Africa’s charismatic megafauna often come first to mind when Westerners think about conservation in Africa, but this is a narrow view that doesn’t capture the range of issues involved in conservation efforts across the continent.
– Alice Ruhweza, the regional director for Africa for WWF, says conservation in Africa is about about ecosystems and people: “As the home of humankind, Africa and its ecosystems have evolved together with people. When we talk about conservation in Africa we are really talking about people and nature.”
– Ruhweza says that growing recognition of this connection is driving “a shift to a more people-centered and rights-based conservation,” including within WWF.
– Ruhweza spoke about these issues and more during a recent interview with Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.

Brazil’s environment minister investigated for alleged illegal timber sales by [05/19/2021]

– A week after Brazil’s Lower House of Congress approved a bill that exempts environmental impact assessments and licensing for development projects, Brazil’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, has been named in a probe for alleged illegal exports of Amazon timber, following a Federal Supreme Court ruling on May 19.
– The ruling cites “extremely atypical financial transactions” totaling $2.7 million involving a law firm where Salles is one of the stakeholders.
– The federal police carried out raids in various ministry offices in the early hours of May 19, which led to the suspension of 10 high-ranking environmental officials, including Eduardo Bim, the head of the IBAMA, the country’s environmental agency.
– Salles denied any wrongdoing and called the operation “exaggerated” and “unnecessary” in a press conference on May 19.

As the rest of world tackles plastics disposal, the U.S. resists by Charles Pekow [05/17/2021]

– In an expansion of the U.N.’s 1989 Basel Convention, amendments to the international protocol on the shipment of hazardous waste were revised to include plastics in 2021, with nations currently figuring out how to implement the agreement.
– The United States is the only major nation not to have fully implemented the treaty, despite strong support for it among both the Republican and Democratic parties. The Biden administration could soon change that.
– The U.S. remains a major dumper of hazardous waste globally, including large amounts of plastics, despite the attempted limitations imposed by the Basel Convention. The potential impacts of plastics and other “novel entities” on human health and ecosystems are largely unknown.
– Even if the Basel Convention is successful in its mission, it will only solve part of the plastics problem, as it doesn’t address the manufacture of plastics or their domestic disposal. Plastics and a wide variety of human-made materials are included in the “novel entities” planetary boundary — one of nine major threats to life on Earth.

How to pick a tree-planting project? Mongabay launches transparency tool to help supporters decide by Liz Kimbrough [05/17/2021]

– Mongabay has put together a database to show whether tree-planting and reforestation projects publicly disclose the criteria that experts say are keys to success.
– Our directory is built on a three-month research effort to record publicly available information on more than 350 tree-planting projects in 80 countries.
– Rather than make an assessment (and perceived endorsement) of the quality of the projects, Mongabay’s review is based on how much information is publicly disclosed by an organization.
– Here, we present some key questions to ask and criteria to consider when evaluating the legitimacy and effectiveness of a tree-planting project.

After gold miners shoot Yanomani people, Brazil cuts environmental regulation further by [05/17/2021]

– With 300 votes in favor and 122 against, Brazil’s Lower House passed the draft of a bill on May 12 that withdraws environmental impact assessments and licensing for development projects, ranging from construction of roads to agriculture.
– The measure, which was submitted to the Senate for its appraisal, is backed by President Jair Bolsonaro and the powerful conservative agribusiness lobby — the ‘ruralistas’ — who champion it as a way of slashing red tape on environmental licensing, to facilitate “self-licensing” infrastructure projects.
– Congressmen, experts and activists opposed to it are convinced the new legal framework will inevitably fast-track approval of high-risk projects, leading to deforestation and the escalation of violence against traditional communities.
– As the Lower House moved to approve it, Yanomami people were under attack by illegal gold miners with automatic weapons for the third time this week in northern Roraima state. “They [illegal miners] are not shooting to try and scare us. They want us dead,” a Yanomami leader told Mongabay.




Graham Sibley leads new podcast celebrating endangered species by Rhett A. Butler [20 May 2021]
– On Endangered Species Day, May 21st, a group of award-winning actors, the Los Angeles Zoo, the University of Montana, and Mongabay will release a new podcast, “Endangered: Short Tales for The Nearly Forgotten.” Endangered, a podcast anthology that celebrates species that are on the verge of extinction, was created, written, directed and produced by Emmy-nominee Graham Sibley, the actor who starred in Dark Web and Sully, among many other projects.
– The podcast includes a diverse set of guests, each of whom donated their time to represent a little-known endangered species. They include Nik Dodani, Ana Claudia Talancon, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Emmy-nominee Scott Turner Schofield, Sydney Vienglaung, Noah Watts and Tuli Amakali. Emmy-Award winning sound designer and mixer Kyle O’Neal is designing and producing the series.
– Species featured in the first seven episodes include the fairy possum, the black-footed ferret, the saola, the African white-backed vulture, the axolotl, the humphead wrasse, and the golden dart frog.
– In an interview with Mongabay, Sibley said his inspiration for starting the podcast was raising his kids amid the pandemic.

Satellites keep watch over global reef health in a world first by [20 May 2021]
– Scientists working with the Allen Coral Atlas just launched the world’s first global, satellite-based reef-monitoring system.
– This tool can track global coral bleaching events in near-real-time and provide an overall view of trends and changes in coral reef health that can be used to inform conservation efforts and policy.
– A beta version of the system that was piloted in Hawai‘i during the 2019 Pacific heat wave, and helped identify bleaching hotspots as well as resilient corals that could be used for reef restoration.

Podcast: Reforestation is booming, but deforestation rose last year by Mike Gaworecki [20 May 2021]
– On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we discuss newly released data that shows deforestation rose last year, even while tree planting initiatives took root across the globe.
– Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler joins us to discuss the 2020 deforestation data, how that data fits into broader trends affecting the world’s forests, and what good news there is to take out of last year’s deforestation numbers.
– We also welcome Mongabay staff writer Dr. Liz Kimbrough to the program to discuss the newly launched Reforestation Directory, a database of hundreds of reforestation projects from around the world that aims to help donors find the most effective tree-planting initiatives to fund.

Protected areas now cover nearly 17% of Earth’s surface: U.N. report by John C. Cannon [20 May 2021]
– A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Union for Conservation of Nature reveals that countries are closing in on the target set in 2010 of protecting or conserving 17% of the Earth’s surface.
– Since 2010, the area of the marine environment that’s under protection has more than tripled, although global coverage is less than 8%, falling short of the 10% goal set in Aichi Target 11.
– While there has been some success, international leaders agree there should be more focus on quality as well as quantity in designating protected and conservation areas.
– As the U.N. Biodiversity Conference scheduled for October 2021 in Kunming, China, approaches, the report calls for a stronger emphasis on the contributions of Indigenous and local communities, while also ensuring that the world’s poorest don’t shoulder an outsize burden from these efforts.

In Colombia, a successful jaguar conservation program has a whiff of coffee by Antonio José Paz Cardona [20 May 2021]
– In the first such initiative in Colombia, and one of the first in South America, just over 93,500 hectares (231,000 acres) have been prioritized for jaguar conservation through a zoning plan.
– Following a rise in conflicts between humans and the big cats in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in 2013, a management plan was put in place and priority areas for jaguar conservation were recognized by local authorities.
– Coffee growers, whose farms overlap onto jaguar habitat, were also engaged in conservation through a certification scheme.
– Under the Jaguar Friendly label, for which they can sell their coffee at a premium, the farmers allocate a hectare of protected forest as jaguar corridor for every hectare of coffee they cultivate.

Indonesian president slammed for ‘wait-and-see’ approach on climate action by Hans Nicholas Jong [20 May 2021]
– During last month’s climate summit of world leaders, top emitters announced more ambitious climate targets in a bid to combat climate change.
– Missing from that list was Indonesia, whose president, Joko Widodo, instead called on industrialized countries to set an example for other nations to follow.
– Climate and policy experts in Indonesia say his failure to announce a bold target for achieving net-zero emissions is a missed opportunity for Indonesia to show global leadership based on its success in reducing deforestation.
– They also criticized a government proposal, not yet officially endorsed by the president, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2070 — 20 years later than most other major emitters.

‘Amazônia must live on’: Photographer Sebastião Salgado returns home with his new book by Peter Speetjens [20 May 2021]
– Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado traveled the Amazon for six years to capture nature and the people of the world’s largest rainforest, now depicted in his new book, Amazônia.
– Salgado, one of the most respected documentary photographers in the world, returned to the region four decades after gaining fame shooting the Serra Pelada gold mine and its thousands of mud-covered diggers.
– The book is also a cry for preservation of what remains of the Amazon: “My wish … is that in 50 years’ time this book will not resemble a record of a lost world,” he says.

Amazon palm oil has not lived up to its promise of sustainability (commentary) by Rhett A. Butler [20 May 2021]
– In this commentary, Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler says a new investigation by Mongabay-Brasil casts doubt on the Brazilian palm oil industry’s promise to usher in a new era of sustainable palm oil in the Amazon.
– “In the late 2000s and the early 2010s, the Brazilian palm oil industry told us that oil palm plantation expansion would take a different path than in Southeast Asia,” he writes. “We were told that by limiting oil palm plantations to low-yielding cattle pasture that was long ago carved out of the region’s forests, palm oil could increase carbon storage, create more economic activity and employment, and help restore ecosystem services — all without deforestation.”
– The investigation, led by Mongabay-Brasil’s Karla Mendes, found that the palm oil industry in the Brazilian Amazon has been using agrochemicals in concentrations that are considered unhealthy in other parts of the world, exacerbating land disputes, and engaging in deforestation. The sector has also been dogged by allegations of land-grabbing by local communities and even private landowners.
– This post is a commentary, the views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Settlers invading, deforesting Colombian national parks ‘at an unstoppable speed’ by Antonio José Paz Cardona [19 May 2021]
– Colombia’s Tinigua National Natural Park is experiencing one of the highest levels of deforestation of any such protected area in the country, and has lost more than a quarter of its primary forest since 2002.
– Sources say this deforestation is happening due to settlers who are illegally invading and establishing roads, settlements and farms in protected forest – and clearing it in the process.
– Other national parks and Indigenous territories in the Colombian Amazon are also experiencing incursions.
– Sources say they are happening at such a scale that the government has been unable to effectively stop it.

The Pope, a prince and a judge walk into a bar…to argue for nature’s rights (commentary) by Mari Margil [19 May 2021]
– It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but Pope Francis, Prince Charles, and judges around the world are now supporting the rights of nature.
– The belief that nature was something to be both feared and conquered provided legitimacy for the enactment of laws that authorized the domination and destruction of nature by the Western world.
– Today, the growing movement for the rights of nature is in its nascent stages but the outcome could help humanity onto a much more sustainable path.
– This post is a commentary, the views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

For Atlantic sea turtles, Sargasso Sea is home during the ‘lost years’ by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [19 May 2021]
– In a new study, researchers tracked the movements of young green turtles and found that they navigated toward the Sargasso Sea, rather than drifting passively along the currents in the North Atlantic Ocean.
– While there have been theories and anecdotal evidence that turtle hatchlings travel to the Sargasso Sea and spend their “lost years” in the region, this is the first study that uses satellite tracking to confirm that green turtles are indeed going there.
– A previous study by the same group of researchers also tracked the movements of loggerhead turtles into the Sargasso Sea, although their journeys were found to be more nuanced.
– Experts say the study draws attention to the importance of protecting the Sargasso Sea and tackling issues such as plastic pollution.

Chile’s marine protected areas aren’t safe from its salmon farms by Michelle Carrere, Vanessa Romo [19 May 2021]
– Mongabay has mapped out the salmon-farming concessions off Chile’s coast and how they overlap with its patchwork of marine protected areas.
– In Chile’s four southernmost regions, five protected areas have salmon-farming concessions within them, with one having more than 300. This threatens the unique ecosystems of Patagonia.
– The 416 concessions that lie inside marine protected areas belong to 32 companies, the top three of which control more than a third of the concessions.
– In 2012, the Comau Fjord witnessed a massive coral die-off that researchers linked to a combination of natural volcanic activity and water oxygen depletion caused by salmon farming.

Did you know that spix’s night monkeys only weigh around 1 kg? by Romina Castagnino [19 May 2021]
– Every two weeks, 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.

Click here to plant a tree: Q&A with Ecosia’s Pieter van Midwood by Liz Kimbrough [18 May 2021]
– Ecosia is a search engine that uses its advertising revenue to fund tree-planting projects; since its launch in 2009, the company has financed the planting of more than 124 million trees.
– In March 2021 alone, the Berlin-based company made nearly 2 million euros ($2.4 million), more than 40% of which went directly to tree planting in 14 countries across five continents, according to their financial reports,
– Mongabay spoke with Ecosia’s chief tree-planting officer, Pieter van Midwood, to learn more about Ecosia’s business model, its approach to tree planting, and the reforestation sector.

In Sri Lanka, here be dragonflies and damselflies like nowhere else (Commentary) by Amila Prasanna Sumanapala [18 May 2021]
– Nearly half of the 130 known species of dragonflies and damselflies in Sri Lanka are found nowhere else on Earth.
– The highest endemic species density is found in the island’s central highlands, attributed to the variations in the geography and climatic conditions as different mountain ranges have different ecological characteristics providing unique evolutionary pressures for speciation.
– But for long, knowledge of these odonates had been confined to scientific names and basic descriptions and locational information, until a new surge of interest drove the country’s odonates research to new heights.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Study: Brazil govt undercounts Indigenous deaths from COVID-19 by half by Maurício Angelo [18 May 2021]
– A new study shows that official records underreported COVID-19 deaths among Indigenous people in Brazil by half, and also substantially underreported total numbers of infections.
– A key factor in the problem is that the official records only consider Indigenous people living within officially recognized Indigenous territories, effectively effacing the 36% of Brazil’s Indigenous who live in urban areas.
– The study authors say that by failing to acknowledge the full extent of the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous populations, the government can’t allocate adequately funding and other resources to address it.
– stTo date, COVID-19 has killed more than 1,000 Indigenous people across Brazil, with more than 52,000 confirmed infections across people from 163 ethnic groups.

Wealth inequality fuels flow of wildlife from poor countries to rich: Study by Malavika Vyawahare [18 May 2021]
– Wealthier countries are the biggest importers of wildlife, which, more often than not, originates from poorer countries, a new analysis of legal trade data from a global wildlife treaty found.
– The U.S., France, and Italy are the largest importers, while Indonesia, Jamaica and Honduras are the biggest wildlife exporters.
– More than 4 million wild-caught individuals from 12 animal groups were legally traded across international borders between 1998 and 2018.
– The current system places greater responsibility on exporting nations to ensure the legal trade is sustainable, the study authors say, arguing that importing countries should share this burden and also contribute more toward reducing the trade.

To save chocolate’s future, ‘start now and go big’ on agroforestry (commentary) by Cathy Watson [17 May 2021]
– Cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire began in the 1950s in forests bordering Ghana, and progressively shifted west as trees were removed and soil exhausted. Côte d’Ivoire lost 217,866 hectares of protected forest from 2001 to 2014 to monocultures of it.
– Now, the region where cocoa can be grown is shrinking due to climate and rainfall patterns: agroforestry is the sole way ensure that it can continue as the mainstay crop of the economies of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, so it’s time to ‘go big’ on implementing it widely.
– Agroforestry cools the microclimates on farms and increases climate resiliency, but is complex, time consuming and varies by region. Careful selection of tree species and spacing are critical to maximize yields.
– This week an international conference tackles these issues and can be joined online. This post is a commentary, the views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

FSC-certified Indonesian logger may have cleared orangutan habitat: Report by Hans Nicholas Jong [17 May 2021]
– A secretive Indonesian company group, Alas Kusuma, has allegedly cleared orangutan habitat in Indonesian Borneo, according to a new report by the NGO Aidenvironment.
– The company is the second-largest deforester in Indonesia’s pulp and paper sector, according to the report, which links it to the clearing of 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres) of forest from 2016 to 2021.
– Little is known about the company, but it has business links to Japanese companies and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

DiCaprio, conservationists launch $43M effort to restore Galápagos Islands by [17 May 2021]
– A coalition of groups, including a newly formed organization backed by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, have mobilized $40 million for efforts to restore degraded habitats in the Galápagos Islands, an archipelago renowned for its endemic species and central role in scientists’ understanding of ecology and evolution.
– The initiative involves more than 40 partners, ranging from local NGOs to governments to international organizations, leveraging decades of collective experience working across the archipelago. One of the groups leading the effort is Re:wild, an organization that was just formed between Global Wildlife Conservation and Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a founding board member of the new entity.
– The Galápagos initiative is Re:wild’s first project under its new brand, but the group plans to scale up its existing global work, putting renewed emphasis on the concept of rewilding, or restoring species and ecosystems to previous levels of abundance and health.

Mongabay’s most popular stories in April 2021 by [17 May 2021]
– Despite challenges from the worsening pandemic in several countries where we operate, Mongabay published nearly 400 stories during the month of April.
– Overall, Mongabay had nearly 10 million pageviews during the month.
– Below is a look at the ten most read stories published on Mongabay Global English news site.

How settlers, scientists, and a women-led industry saved Brazil’s rarest primate by Liz Kimbrough [14 May 2021]
– A conservation project to improve forest connectivity for critically endangered black lion tamarin monkeys in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest has been hailed as a rare landscape restoration success story.
– The Institute for Ecological Research (IPÊ) prioritized the needs of rural communities (those who moved to the area as part of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement as well as local farmers) engaging with them to reforest parts of their farms to create a network of forest corridors.
– The initiative has planted more than 2.7 million seedlings covering 6,000 hectares (14,000 acres) in three decades, fueling a thriving business for tree seedlings — managed largely by women and providing extra income and jobs for the community.
– The result has been an upgrading of the black lion tamarin’s conservation status to endangered, and acknowledgment that projects are more likely to succeed when the input and needs of local communities are centered.

Outrage as Cambodian court convicts activists for inciting ‘social chaos’ by Gerald Flynn [14 May 2021]
– On May 5, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted and sentenced five activists from the environmental group Mother Nature Cambodia: Long Kunthea, Phuon Keoraksmey, Thun Ratha, Chea Kunthin and Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson.
– The activists have been convicted of intending to cause “social chaos” by planning a protest of the government-sanctioned destruction of Phnom Penh’s lakes, which are being filled in for development. The planned one-person march never actually took place.
– Kunthea and Keoraksmey were sentenced to 18 months in prison and Ratha received a 20-month sentence while Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson and Chea Kunthin were sentenced in absentia; each activist was also fined $1,000.
– Observers are crying foul at the convictions and incarceration of the activists and say that the health and lives of Kunthea, Keoraksmey and Ratha – who have been incarcerated since their arrest in September – are at risk due to Cambodia’s crowded prisons and a recent surge in COVID-19 infection rates.

To keep tabs on ecosystem health in Borneo, follow these birds: Study by Basten Gokkon [14 May 2021]
– A recently published study has suggested looking at the wild populations of a key bird species as a gauge for ecosystem health in Borneo.
– The researchers found six Bornean bird species are strong indicators of intact forests, three species indicated the state of a depleted forest, one for mixed gardens, and none for oil palm plantations.
– The results endorse the general trend found across the tropics of a significant reduction in bird species richness, from complex natural and old secondary forest structures to simplified monoculture habitats.
– Borneo is considered a significant biodiversity evolutionary hotspot, but logging, mining and conversion to monoculture agriculture have drastically impacted its rainforests, and modified landscape structure through fragmentation and habitat loss.

Rallying the public to save Bolivia’s forests: Q&A with Gina Méndez by Rhett A. Butler [14 May 2021]
– After Brazil, the South American country that lost the greatest area of primary forest over the past twenty years is Bolivia. The past few years, the land-locked nation has experienced vast forest fires that have affected millions of hectares.
– In response to this trend, in 2017 a group of citizens led by Gina Méndez, established an NGO called the El Llamado del Bosque and launched a campaign on behalf of Bolivia’s forests, wildlife, and forest-dependent communities
– Méndez, who previously served as mayor of Bolivia’s largest city, a member of the national congress, and the country’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, says she was moved to start the movement by the “heartbreaking” loss of forests.
– Méndez spoke about her work, the challenges facing grassroots conservation in Bolivia, and more during a recent interview with Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.

Study confirms sightings of endangered blue whale in Philippine waters by Mavic Conde [14 May 2021]
– For years, a group of scientists have been tracking a mysterious whale that they initially labeled as belonging to another blue whale subspecies.
– Their decade-long efforts resulted in a new study that confirms the species as an endangered pygmy blue whale — an animal last recorded in Philippine waters in the 19th century.
– Researchers call the pygmy blue whale “Bughaw,” a Filipino word for the color blue.
– They say Bughaw’s presence could help establish Philippine waters as part of the extended migration path of the Indo-Australian population of pygmy blue whales.

Keeping animals wild vs ‘safe’ should be prioritized, lion biologists argue (commentary) by Pride Lion Conservation Alliance [14 May 2021]
– Despite growing media and public pressure to ‘sanitize’ the wild, the priority for conservation should always be keeping populations and areas wild above keeping individual animals safe, six leading lion conservationists argue.
– The power and beauty of a wild lion comes in part from immense struggle, as they battle for food and supremacy: many lions are badly injured or killed in fights with their prey and with one another.
– The urge to intervene and treat injured lions, perhaps even to scoop up their cubs to keep them safe at rescue centers, is of course deeply human. But when we do that, their lives are often degraded and endangered, anyhow, as we go against all we hold dear: the essence of wilderness embodied in these animals.
– Public-pressured, sanitized, and media-friendly management of animal populations will ultimately be crippling for real conservation efforts. This article is a commentary, and the views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay.

An owl not seen in over a century makes a brief return — then vanishes again by Romina Castagnino [13 May 2021]
– Researchers have confirmed the first sighting of a rare owl last seen in Borneo nearly 130 years ago.
– The rediscovery of the Bornean Rajah scops-owl (Otus brookii brookii) came during a chance encounter on May 4, 2016, seven years into a long-term research project on Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia.
– The researchers say the history of speciation in the region could justify naming the Bornean Rajah scops-owl as its own species, distinct from the Sumatran subspecies, O. b. solokensis.
– The Bornean bird is under pressure from deforestation and climate change, which threaten to shrink its habitat and drive it further upslope.

Is planting trees as good for the Earth as everyone says? by Mike Gaworecki [13 May 2021]
– As the world searches for solutions to global climate change, tree planting has become increasingly popular, with ambitious campaigns aiming to plant billions or trillions of trees.
– These projects often have other environmental goals, too, like regulating water cycles, halting soil erosion and restoring wildlife habitat. They also often have socioeconomic goals, like alleviating poverty.
– But how effective is planting trees at accomplishing all this, and how strong is the evidence for this effectiveness? To find out, Mongabay engaged a team of researchers who conducted a non-exhaustive review of relevant scientific literature.
– We detail the results below, as part of Mongabay’s special “Conservation Effectiveness” series. Research by Zuzana Burivalova, Rodrigo Mendes and Sharif Mukul.

New Australian marine parks protect area twice Great Barrier Reef’s size by [13 May 2021]
– The Australian government has moved to create two new marine protected areas that cover an expanse of ocean twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
– The two parks will be established around Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean to the northwest of continental Australia.
– The new parks, which cover to 740,000 square kilometers (286,000 square miles) of ocean, raise the protected share of Australia’s oceans from 37% to 45%.
– The decision was immediately welcomed by conservation groups.

In the Honduran Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, an illegal road for cattle and drugs by Ashoka Mukpo [13 May 2021]
– Multiple sources, backed by satellite data, say an illegal road is being cut through the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
– Sources say the road will facilitate land invasions into the biosphere and is likely to be used as a drug-trafficking route.
– The road has created divisions between Indigenous groups, with the Bakinasta Miskito denouncing its presence and demanding the government step in to halt it.
– Despite knowing about the road for more than a year, the Honduran government has not taken definitive action to enforce the law.



Is planting trees as good for the Earth as everyone says? by Mike Gaworecki [05/13/2021]
In the Honduran Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, an illegal road for cattle and drugs by Ashoka Mukpo [05/13/2021]
Behind the scenes video unveils water contamination by ‘sustainable’ Amazon palm oil by Karla Mendes [05/12/2021]
‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees by Shreya Dasgupta [05/12/2021]
Indigenous in Salvador: A struggle for identity in Brazil’s first capital by Alexandre Lyrio [05/11/2021]
Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems by Saul Elbein [05/10/2021]