Newsletter 2022-06-02


Opaque infrastructure project ‘a death sentence’ for Cambodia’s Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary by Gerald Flynn|Andy Ball|Vutha Srey [06/01/2022]

– In November 2021, the Cambodian government approved the development of 299 kilometers (186 miles) of 500-kilovolt power lines through Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary by Schneitec Northern to link Phnom Penh’s electrical grid to two coal-fired power plants in Laos, following a power purchase agreement signed in October 2019. The power lines are planned to transect the largest tract of lowland evergreen forest remaining in Southeast Asia, and critics say the project puts at risk at risk one of the country’s largest carbon stocks as well as poses a threat to Prey Lang’s Indigenous residents and two watersheds vital to Tonle Sap Lake, which sustains millions of Cambodians.
– Leaked documents from April 2021 show that the consulting firm that conducted the environmental impact assessment had suggested three possible routes for Schneitec’s power lines, with two alternative routes that skirted the already-deforested eastern and western edges of the protected area respectively. Industry experts have suggested that building power lines through forested terrain can cost between 1.5 and three times as much as through scrubland or flat terrain.
– The power line plans come as satellite data reveal 2021 was the worst year on record for deforestation in Prey Lang and international institutions condemn widespread illegal logging in the protected area.- This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network where Gerald Flynn is a fellow
-This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network where Gerald Flynn is a fellow

Rehabilitation research returns orphaned cheetahs to the wild by Sean Mowbray [06/01/2022]

– A long-running program in Namibia has shown how orphaned cheetahs can be successfully rewilded, presenting a rehabilitation template for wild-born, captive-bred individuals of other species.
– The program by the Cheetah Conservation Fund took in 86 young cheetahs orphaned due to human-wildlife conflict, and eventually released 36 of them between 2004 and 2018.
– Twenty-seven of the cheetahs eventually became independent in the wild, while one female went on to raise two cubs — the “pinnacle of success” for any wildlife reintroduction effort.
– The study authors and independent experts agree that having safe release sites — where the newly reintroduced animals won’t run the risk of conflict with humans or other predators — and rigorous post-release monitoring are key to rehabilitation success.

A look at violence and conflict over Indigenous lands in nine Latin American countries by Astrid Arellano, Yvette Sierra Praeli [05/31/2022]

– Indigenous people make up a third of the total number of environmental defenders killed across the globe, despite being a total of 4% of the world’s population, according to a report by Global Witness. The most critical situation is in Colombia, where 117 Indigenous people have been murdered between 2012 and 2020.
– Conflicts over extractive industries and territorial invasions are a major cause of violence against Indigenous communities. Between 2017 and 2021, there were 2,109 cases of communities affected by extractive industries and their associated activities in Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
– Mongabay Latam interviewed 12 Indigenous leaders from nine countries across Latin America and spoke to them about the threats they face and the murders occurring in the region.

Year of the Tiger: Illegal trade thrives amid efforts to save wild tigers by Sharon Guynup [05/31/2022]

– As the world celebrates the Year of the Tiger in 2022, humans continue to threaten the cat’s long-term survival in the wild: killing, buying and selling tigers and their prey, and encroaching into their last shreds of habitat. That’s why they are Earth’s most endangered big cat.
– Undercover video footage has revealed an enlarged tiger farm run by an organized criminal organization in Laos. It’s one of many captive-breeding facilities implicated in the black market trade — blatantly violating an international treaty on trade in endangered species.
– Under a 2007 CITES decision, tigers should be bred only for conservation purposes. Evidence shows that this decision is being disregarded by some Asian nations, including China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. But CITES has done little to enforce it, which could be done through sanctions, say critics.
– With the world’s second Global Tiger Summit and important international meetings on biodiversity and endangered species looming, it’s a crucial year for tigers. In the wild, some populations are increasing, some stable, and others shrinking: Bengal tigers in India are faring best, while Malayan tigers hover on extinction’s edge.

Chinese companies linked to illegal logging and mining in northern DRC by Gloria Pallares [05/31/2022]

– An investigation by EL PAÍS/Planeta Futuro finds evidence of illegal extraction of endangered tree species, precious minerals and strategic metals headed for global markets.
– The investigation reveals that Chinese-owned companies use ‘complaisance’ permits to log and export CITES II-listed Afrormosia, which international demand pushed to extinction in other African countries, and flags irregularities in the latest export quota. European countries will consider stricter measures on imports from the DRC.
– Military-protected concessionaires have been illegally mining gold, diamonds and rare metals with prospecting licenses for more than a year. They use mercury, a neurotoxic pollutant, in waters communities use to fish, bathe and drink.
– Mongabay has partnered with EL PAÍS/Planeta Futuro to publish this investigation in English. This story was produced with the support of the Rainforest Journalism Investigations Network (RIN) of the Pulitzer Center.

A hidden crisis in Indonesia’s palm oil sector: 6 takeaways from our investigation by Mongabay | The Gecko Project | BBC News [05/31/2022]

– Mongabay, BBC News and The Gecko Project recently released a joint investigation into a scheme that was intended to help lift millions of Indonesians out of poverty and cut them in on the spoils of the global palm oil boom, but has instead been plagued by allegations of exploitation and illegality.
– In our field reporting on the palm oil industry in recent years, we frequently came across allegations that companies had failed to meet both promises and legal obligations. But there had been no systematic attempt to find out how big this problem was, or what impact it was having on communities.
– Here are six takeaways from the investigation.

Large-scale logging in Cambodia’s Prey Lang linked to politically-connected mining operation by Gerald Flynn|Andy Ball|Vutha Srey [05/26/2022]

– Illegal logging appears to be taking place openly inside a swath of protected forest that authorities in Cambodia have only authorized for a feasibility study for limestone mining. Locals and conservationists say the wood leaves the concession awarded to KP Cement in the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary and is laundered through sawmills owned by Think Biotech.
– It’s not clear why the Cambodian authorities would award a concession in the middle of one of the last remaining swaths of primary forest left in the country, or why they would give it to a company linked to a tycoon with a long history of environmentally destructive activities.
– New data from Global Forest Watch show that 2021 was the worst year on record for deforestation in Prey Lang, with more than 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of primary forest lost in what appears to be a trend of increasing destruction.
– This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network where Gerald Flynn is a fellow.


Study casts doubt on sustainability of regulated blood python snakeskin trade By: Basten Gokkon [02 Jun 2022]
– There’s no evidence to show that the trade in blood pythons from Indonesia, coveted for their skins for making luxury fashion items, is sustainable, a new study shows.
– In fact, the evidence indicates that much of the trade, which involves slaughtering and skinning the snakes by the tens of thousands every year, may be illegal.
– The species isn’t considered threatened or protected in Indonesia, the main producer of blood python skins, and exports are governed by CITES, the convention on the international wildlife trade.
– The study’s author calls on the Indonesian government to enforce stricter monitoring and scrutiny of annual harvests, traders to abide by the regulations, and global buyers to shift away from exotic leather and use alternatives.

Sumatra palm plantations the usual suspects as unusual burning razes peatlands By: Hans Nicholas Jong [02 Jun 2022]
– Fires have swept through large swaths of peatland forest in the western part of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island since the start of the year, an area that usually sees much smaller, controlled fires.
– Environmental activists say they suspect the fires might be linked to palm oil companies with plantations in and around the burned areas.
– They warn the burning could get worse in the coming months, with the dry season in this part of Sumatra expected to peak only in August.

Legal and illegal cannabis: A cause for growing environmental concern By: Sean Mowbray [02 Jun 2022]
– Legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use is an expanding global trend in the U.S. and globally, while the illicit market continues to feed large swaths of demand.
– Both the legal and illegal markets are linked to environmental challenges such as freshwater use, land-use change, toxic and nutrient pollution, and climate change-contributing CO2 emissions.
– Emerging legal cannabis businesses in the U.S. are subject to strict regulation, but many operate in ways that can contribute to environmental harms.
– While the scope of damage from booming legal growing operations is now being better assessed, the impacts of illicit clandestine operations remain mostly undetermined.

How Colombia disenfranchised Indigenous Inga communities in favor of oil By: Cuestión Pública / Mongabay Latam [02 Jun 2022]
– In 2014, Colombia’s environmental licensing authority granted the local subsidiary of Canada’s Gran Tierra Energy a permit to prospect for oil in Villagarzón municipality, in the Amazonian department of Putumayo.
– The approval was granted in part on certification from the Ministry of the Interior that there were no Indigenous communities in the proposed project’s area of influence — despite the project site overlapping with seven reserves that are home to the Inga people.
– Since then, the ministry has revised its certification to recognize just one of those reserves, leaving the rest of the Inga communities bereft of their legal right to prior consultation on the proposed development on their territory.
– Following 10 years of protest in the country, the Inga people say they are now ready to escalate their case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

‘Why sharks matter’: Q&A with author and shark biologist David Shiffman By: John Cannon [02 Jun 2022]
– In a new book, conservation biologist David Shiffman explores the importance of sharks to the world’s marine ecosystems.
– An enthusiastic “deep dive” into the latest research, “Why Sharks Matter” also addresses the threats sharks face and what scientists, NGOs and the public can do to support shark conservation.
– Mongabay caught up with Shiffman just before the May 24 release of the book.

Podcast: Indigenous, ingenious and sustainable aquaculture from the distant past to today By: Mike Gaworecki [02 Jun 2022]
– On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast we look at Indigenous peoples’ long relationship with, and stewardship of, marine environments through two stories of aquaculture practice and research.
– Nicola MacDonald joins us to discuss Kōhanga Kūtai, a project in New Zealand that aims to replace the plastic ropes used by mussel farmers with more sustainable alternatives. MacDonald discusses the project’s blending of traditional Maori knowledge with Western science.
– We also speak with Dana Lepofsky, a professor in the archaeology department at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, who shares her research upon clam gardens along the Pacific coast of North America. Some of these clam gardens have been found to be at least 3,500 years old, and were such a reliable and sustainable source of food that there’s a movement afoot to rebuild them today.

How Brazil is working to save the rare lion tamarins of the Atlantic Forest By: Daniele Bragança and Duda Menegassi [01 Jun 2022]
– Small, lively and threatened, the golden lion tamarin is a primate species found only in the Atlantic Forest and which today is struggling for space and connectivity inside Brazil’s most deforested and fragmented biome.
– There are four species of lion tamarin (Leontopithecus spp.) in Brazil, but the golden lion tamarin (L. rosalia) was the first to be described and has enjoyed the most fame.
– Golden lion tamarin conservation efforts have been successful, growing the population from a one-time low of 200 animals to more than 2,000 today.
– The other three species — the black lion tamarin, golden-headed lion tamarin, and black-faced lion tamarin — live isolated in fragmented patches of the Atlantic Forest and face a growing risk of extinction.

Indigenous oyster fisheries were ‘fundamentally different’: Q&A with researcher Marco Hatch By: Spoorthy Raman [01 Jun 2022]
– About 85% of oyster reefs across the world have been lost since the 19th century due to overharvesting, pollution, introduction of invasive species and habitat loss.
– According to a new study, Indigenous communities in North America and Australia sustainably managed oyster fisheries for more than 5,000 years before Europeans and commercial fisheries arrived.
– The knowledge of these traditional practices can guide sustainable fisheries management today, say the authors of the study.
– Mongabay interviewed Dr. Marco Hatch, one of the authors of the study, about traditional oyster and clam farming practices, existing threats to oysters, and Indigenous-led restoration efforts.

In Jordan, the Middle East’s first Miyawaki-style ‘baby’ forests take root By: Lyse Mauvais [01 Jun 2022]
– Since 2018, a Jordanian architect and a Japanese environmentalist have planted three tiny forests in Amman, Jordan, the largest with a footprint of just 250 square meters (2,700 square feet).
– These are some of the first forests in the Middle East to be designed according to the Miyawaki method, a technique for growing mature forests in a matter of decades at virtually any scale.
– In a country with just 0.03% tree cover and where tree planting is increasingly popular but knowledge about native vegetation is scattered, the effort involved extensive research and experimentation to identify and propagate native plants.
– With more “baby forests” on the way, the goal is to sketch a path toward the restoration of Jordan’s disappearing forest ecosystems while reconnecting urban communities to nature.

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe pushes to be allowed to sell its ivory stockpile By: Farayi Machamire [01 Jun 2022]
– Zimbabwe is continuing to push for international support for selling off its stockpile of elephant ivory and rhino horn, saying the revenue is needed to fund conservation efforts.
– Funding for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority comes largely from tourism-related activity, which has virtually evaporated during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the authority with shortages of staff, equipment, and funds for communities living adjacent to wildlife.
– But critics say allowing the sale of the 136 metric tons of elephant ivory and rhino horn that Zimbabwe is holding (mostly from animals that died of natural causes) will only stoke demand and lead to a surge in poaching.
– They point to similar surges following other one-off sales in 1999 and 2008, but some observers say these were unusual circumstances (the latter sale coincided with the global recession), and that a poaching spike won’t necessarily follow this time around.

Community participation trumps penalties in protecting seascapes, study suggests By: Julia John [01 Jun 2022]
– Giving Indigenous peoples and local communities a say in the design and management of marine protected areas boosts conservation outcomes, a new study indicates.
– The study focused on the governance of four MPAs in Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape and found that fish biomass tended to be higher in areas where these communities are more involved in decision-making and had more local management rights.

Suspension of Chinese miner for pollution in DRC points to wider problem By: Immaculée Inamuco [01 Jun 2022]
– The Democratic Republic of Congo’s environment minister recently suspended the operations of a Chinese company for polluting a major tributary of the Congo River in Tshopo province.
– Xiang Jiang Mining is accused of polluting the Aruwimi River, mining for gold without first conducting an environmental impact assessment, and failing to secure work permits for its foreign employees.
– In nearby South Kivu province, six other mining companies were suspended for similar offenses last year, pointing to a worrying pattern of companies ignoring mining and environmental regulations.

How will climate change impact cold-water corals? Mostly through food loss, study says By: Elizabeth Claire Alberts [01 Jun 2022]
– A new study warns that cold-water corals, also known as deep-water corals, could be most impacted by a decrease in food supply as climate change shifts the dynamics of the planet’s oceans.
– The authors came to this conclusion by examining how cold-water corals survived the last major period of global warming that occurred at the end of the last glacial period and the start of the current interglacial period, which is somewhat analogous to how the Earth is projected to warm by the end of this century.
– However, experts point out that cold-water corals today are subjected to a number of additional stressors, including ocean acidification, destructive fishing practices, and pollution, and that the climate is changing far more rapidly than it did in the past.
– Cold-water corals are considered to be equally important — or perhaps even more important — than tropical corals, which makes understanding their chances of survival of the utmost importance, researchers say.

Drastic declines in Neotropical birds in a protected Panamanian forest By: Neha Jain [31 May 2022]
– A new study in a large, protected forest in central Panama finds widespread and severe declines of neotropical birds from 1977 to 2020.
– The researchers say the causes are unknown and detailed studies will be needed to determine the factors involved. But they believe the decline in a couple of species could be explained by a loss of connectivity to forests outside of the protected reserve, while climate change could be exerting indirect effects on food resources.
– Improving regional connectivity between forests by creating more forest corridors could help some bird species, says the lead researcher, and experts stress that climate change must be minimized.

Government inaction sees 98% of deforestation alerts go unpunished in Brazil By: Sarah Brown [31 May 2022]
– A new study has found that Brazil’s environmental enforcement agencies under President Jair Bolsonaro failed to take action in response to nearly all of the deforestation alerts issued for the Amazon region since 2019.
– Nearly 98% of Amazon deforestation alerts weren’t investigated during this period, while fines paid by violators also dropped, raising fears among activists that environmental crimes are being encouraged under the current administration.
– Environmental agencies at the state level did better, but in the case of Mato Grosso state, Brazil’s breadbasket, still failed to take action in response to more than half of the deforestation that occurred.
– In an unexpected move, Bolsonaro on May 24 issued a decree raising the value of fines for falsifying documents to cover up illegal logging and infractions affecting conservation units or their buffer zones, among other measures.

For 20 years, Comoros had only 1 national park. It’s now creating 5 more By: Malavika Vyawahare [31 May 2022]
– Comoros, an archipelagic nation in the western Indian Ocean, is dramatically expanding its network of protected areas (PAs) from one to six, including three new marine protected areas (MPAs).
– The idea is to replicate the co-management approach at Mohéli National Park, the country’s first and currently only national park, created in 2001 as an MPA.
– However, Comoros’s experience with Mohéli provided no clear blueprint for supporting communities whose traditional rights are curtailed because of the protected areas, or for sustainably funding for such a vast PA network.

Legal defeats pile up for palm oil companies stripped of permits in Papua By: Hans Nicholas Jong [31 May 2022]
– Two more palm oil companies in Indonesia that sued a local official for revoking their permits have had their lawsuits rejected.
– They join a growing list of palm oil firms being held to account for legal and administrative violations that were uncovered in a May 2021 audit of oil palm concessions across West Papua province.
– Four other lawsuits filed on similar grounds by other companies have also been thrown out since December 2021.
– Activists have welcomed the verdict, saying it’s an opportunity for the government to give the concessions back to the Indigenous communities who live on the land.

Amazon frog highlights appropriation of Indigenous knowledge for commercial gain By: Jennifer Ann Thomas [31 May 2022]
– Biological resources from plants and animals have long been used by Indigenous communities for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.
– Western science is quickly catching on, but in the process of developing drugs and other products from these resources, companies are locking that Indigenous-derived knowledge behind patent applications.
– A new study from Brazil makes the case that this system is inherently unfair to Indigenous communities, because it disregards their knowledge system as inferior to Western science, but then allows the appropriation of that very knowledge.
– Brazil, home to the biological resources on which many modern medicines are based, only last year set up a system to regulate access to this knowledge and ensure traditional communities benefit from sales of the products developed from it.

Yellowstone’s wolves defied extinction, but face new threats beyond park’s borders By: Grace Hansen [31 May 2022]
– Since their reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park in the Mountain West of the United States in the 1990s, the North American gray wolf has recovered, once again taking up the mantle of a keystone species in its environment.
– But the wolf’s resurgence has raised the ire of ranchers and hunters, and new laws allowing expanded wolf hunts have sprung up across the region.
– Biologists contend that wolves play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and data suggest that the threat to overall livestock numbers is exaggerated.
– Still, an entrenched fear, perhaps dating to humans’ earliest interactions with wolves, has helped to stir up a desire for vengeance against the species.

Fossil evidence confirms persistence of prehistoric forests in Brunei By: John Cannon [31 May 2022]
– A recent study published in the journal PeerJ reports the excavation of fossilized leaves from ancient forests at least 4 million years old in Brunei on the island of Borneo.
– More than 80% of the leaves the team found were from the Dipterocarpaceae family, trees that remain dominant today, confirming their long-standing role in anchoring Borneo’s species-rich ecosystems.
– The discovery adds to the urgency to protect these forests from logging or development for agriculture because once they’re gone, they will be difficult to get back, the authors say.

‘Water grab’: Big farm deals leave small farmers out to dry, study shows By: Caroline Chebet [30 May 2022]
– Large agricultural investment projects are often promoted as a way to increase food production and food security, but a recent analysis indicates that such projects often threaten water resources that local farmers and Indigenous populations depend on.
– While such investments can increase crop yields through the expansion of irrigation, the majority of the 160 projects studied were found to be likely to intensify water shortages through both the adoption of water-intensive crops and the expansion of irrigated cultivation.
– In effect, the researchers say, such deals can amount to “water grabs,” creating a crisis for local farmers who now find themselves competing with big investors for limited water resources.

‘What’s lacking is respect for Mayan culture’: Q&A with Pedro Uc Be on Mexico’s Tren Maya By: Thelma Gómez Durán [30 May 2022]
– The Múuch´ Xíinbal Assembly in Mexico has long led legal battles against attempts to impose a whole range of activities and projects on the Yucatán Peninsula, from genetically modified soybeans and pig farms, to wind farms and solar power plants.
– The start of their legal fight against the railway project known as the Tren Maya, in 2019, opened a new front in their legal proceedings. The Tren Maya is a multibillion-dollar tourist train line that will run 1,525 kilometers (948 miles) across the Yucatán Peninsula.
– As a result of the legal case they have brought against the project, a federal court ruled that a section of the project must be halted while deliberations are made. However, since March, that decision has since been reversed.
– In an interview with Mongabay, Pedro Uc Be, a member of the Múuch´ Xíinbal Assembly of Defenders of the Mayan Territory, explains how the community collective came together to fight against the Tren Maya railway project.

Satellite data brings new insights on what drives Amazon forest loss By: Maxwell Radwin [30 May 2022]
– Satellite imagery of the Amazon can now distinguish for the first time between different factors contributing to forest loss.
– The satellite readings show that approximately 1.1 million hectares (2.7 million acres) were deforested in the Brazilian Amazon last year, the highest since 2017.
– In the Amazonian regions of Peru and Colombia, there was significant deforestation, but these were down from previous years.

A helping hand for red-footed tortoises making a comeback in Argentina By: Elizabeth Claire Alberts [30 May 2022]
– Conservationists are releasing red-footed tortoises back into El Impenetrable National Park in Argentina’s Chaco province, in an effort to reintroduce the species to the region.
– The species is so rarely seen in the Gran Chaco region of Argentina that it’s believed to be locally extinct there.
– Red-footed tortoises are under threat due to the illegal pet trade, habitat destruction, and hunting for meat consumption.
– The species is the latest being reintroduced by Rewilding Argentina, which has already brought back species like jaguars and marsh deer to El Impenetrable.

As large areas of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest regenerate, the gains don’t last By: Elizabeth Oliveira [30 May 2022]
– A total of 4.47 million hectares (11.05 million acres) of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest has regenerated naturally since 1985, but nearly a third of this area has been cleared again.
– These “ephemeral” forest patches last less than eight years on average, a new study shows, raising concerns about the durability of efforts to recover deforested swaths of the Atlantic Forest.
– Most of the regenerated forests that get cleared lie inside private properties, raising questions about how landowners can be persuaded not to cut this vegetation.

Nepal’s key habitat could lose 39% of its tigers in 20 years, study says By: Abhaya Raj Joshi [30 May 2022]
– Nearly two-fifths of adult tigers in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park could be killed over the next 20 years as a result of vehicle strikes on the roads near the park, a new study says.
– The projection is based on tiger movement data going back to the 1970s, and shows that the addition of a proposed railway line would result in an additional 30 tiger deaths.
– Chitwan is home to 133 tigers, and the large number of projected losses would be devastating to the population, which is already increasingly cut off from its range in neighboring India as a result of human-made obstacles, including roads.
– The study authors say this worst-case scenario should be a wake-up call to authorities to plan infrastructure projects with wildlife mobility as a key concern.

Bangladesh ban on resource hunting in Sundarbans leaves communities facing hardship By: Abu Siddique [30 May 2022]
– The Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal, the world’s largest stretch of mangroves, is a rich ecosystem of hundreds of species of flora and fauna. It’s also rich with natural resources for the communities living nearby, but is considered an ecosystem under threat.
– In a first-of-its-kind conservation effort, the Bangladesh government is implementing a complete ban on entry into the forest for three months, from July to August, which it says is the breeding season for the local wildlife.
– The communities surrounding the mangroves, who depend on the forests for food and resources, say this ban will affect their livelihoods and push them into hardship.
– Conservationists have also labeled the ban “inappropriate,” expressing concern about its timing — given that not all species here share the same breeding season — and its target, saying that tourists, and not local communities, are responsible for much of the pollution and disruption to the ecosystem.

Indigenous community mounts legal challenge to Thai coal mine development By: Carolyn Cowan [27 May 2022]
– Villagers in northern Thailand have filed a lawsuit against authorities who approved an allegedly faulty environmental impact assessment for a coal mine project that they say would destroy farmland, divert watercourses, and affect long-term human health.
– The project has been in the planning pipeline for two decades, but only became public in 2019; the Indigenous Karen community in Kabeudin village has opposed the coal mining project ever since.
– The lawsuit alleges the 10-year-old EIA was conducted and approved with virtually no participation from potentially impacted communities and omitted crucial information about the environment and the natural resources on which the community depends.
– Observers say the case is an example of the rural population’s growing awareness of their rights and of legal processes that hold companies and government departments accountable to the law and to climate commitments.

Can we save the spiky yellow woodlouse, one of the most endangered isopods? (commentary) By: Nick D’Onofrio [27 May 2022]
– Saint Helena Island’s spiky yellow woodlouse is a striking, critically endangered isopod that lives on tree ferns and black cabbage trees, high up in the peaks of Saint Helena’s cloud forests.
– The flax industry destroyed and fragmented most of the forests that the woodlouse depends on. Invasive species and climate change continue to affect them.
– The population of spiky yellow woodlouse is estimated to be at 980 individuals, so the Saint Helena National Trust is working to restore the forests on the island by clearing away the flax plants that were left behind and replanting more native flora.
– This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

Riders of the lost waves: Surfing, and saving, Brazil’s pororocas By: Aldem Bourscheit [27 May 2022]
– Surfers and volunteers are mapping out tidal bores — spectacular waves that travel dozens of kilometers upriver from Brazil’s Atlantic coast — in an effort to preserve the phenomenon and build a tourism industry around it.
– The best-known pororocas in Brazil are in the states of Amapá, Maranhão and Pará, and once included the Araguari River, site of the 2006 world record for the longest distance surfed (nearly 12 kilometers, or 7.5 miles).
– But the Araguari pororoca disappeared in 2014 when the river’s mouth silted over, the result of development upriver that included livestock ranching and dam building.
– Enthusiasts of the phenomenon now want to develop a Pororoca Park that they say will boost tourism on the Amazon coast, providing income for the Indigenous and traditional communities where many of the remaining pororoca sites are found.

Study warns of risk from feline viruses to wild cats on the palm oil frontier By: Sean Mowbray [26 May 2022]
– A recently published study has found that wild felines are exposed to viruses common to domestic cats, such as feline coronavirus.
– Certain species that frequent oil palm plantations in Malaysian Borneo, such as the leopard cat and Malay civet, may act as carriers of viruses back into forest areas.
– These findings are of concern, conservationists say, due to the potential impact on threatened small cat species, such as the endangered flat-headed cat and the vulnerable Sunda clouded leopard.
– Integration of animal welfare into conservation action and oil palm management plans are potential solutions to mitigate the risks of transmission, the study authors say.

Saving medicinal plants a village cause in Indonesia By: Warief Djajanto BasorieYitno Suprapto [26 May 2022]
– Residents of the Sumatran village of Muara Jambi are working to preserve their ancient practice of cultivating and using medicinal plants.
– The village is also home to an ancient Buddhist temple complex that may be linked to the medicinal plant tradition, but some fear government plans to restore the site could threaten the plants growing there.
– Other threats come from oil palm plantations and coal mines operating nearby.


In Sierra Leone, local fishers and foreign trawlers battle for their catch by Ashoka Mukpo [05/24/2022]
For reef mantas, Indonesia’s Komodo National Park is a ray of hope by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [05/24/2022]
Devastated by a typhoon, community foresters in the Philippines find little support by Keith Anthony S. Fabro [05/23/2022]
‘The promise was a lie’: How Indonesian villagers lost their cut of the palm oil boom by Mongabay | The Gecko Project | BBC News [05/23/2022]
Researchers compile largest-ever photo database of Amazon wildlife by Liz Kimbrough [05/20/2022]
As biomass burning surges in Japan and South Korea, where will Asia get its wood? by Annelise Giseburt [05/19/2022]