Newsletter 2023-05-04



Ground-nesting chimps hold lessons for conservation — and for human evolution by Ini Ekott — April 27, 2023


– Eastern chimpanzees in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo frequently build nests and sleep overnight on the ground even in areas where predators are present, a recent study finds.
– The ability of these relatively small-bodied apes to sleep on the ground without fire or fortifications suggests that other hominids, including early humans, could have moved from the safety of trees earlier than thought.
– The study also found that chimpanzees were not deterred from ground nesting when they shared space with humans — as long as those humans were not hunting.
– This, the researchers say, suggests chimpanzee conservation and human use of forests can coexist.

In a Bolivian protected area torn up for gold, focus is on limiting damage by Thomas Graham — May 2, 2023


– Artisanal gold mining by local cooperatives abounds in protected areas across Bolivia, in particular the Apolobamba highlands near the border with Peru.
– The mining boom here began in the late 1990s, and since then the cooperatives have continued to use mercury amalgamate the gold.
– There are worries over mercury contamination as well as the diversion of river flows away from wetlands to the mines.
– NGOs working with the cooperatives say the local miners are keen on making their operations more sustainable, but that the cost and lack of government support are hurdles to achieving this.

Brazil’s President Lula recognizes six Indigenous lands, and says more to come by Jenny Gonzales — May 1, 2023


– During the largest gathering of Indigenous people in Brazil, President Lula recognized six Indigenous lands, resuming the demarcation process which stalled for over five years under the two former presidents.
– Brazil has 733 Indigenous territories, of which 496 are now recognized by the state. The remaining 237 are in different stages of the demarcation procedure.
– The number of demarcations the president recognized was lower than the expected 14 lands, to the disappointment of attending Indigenous leaders who didn’t have their land recognized yet.
– The president declared that he will demarcate the highest number of Indigenous lands possible in his four-year term, but the fate of several lands depends, to a large extent, on the passing of a controversial bill which could restrict the amount of Indigenous lands recognized.

Small farmers in limbo as Cambodia wavers on Tonle Sap conservation rules by Hanna Hett | Shaurya Kshatri | Megan Wilde | Aastha Sethi — April 28, 2023


– In 2021, Cambodia’s government began enforcing a ban on farming in designated conservation zones around the Tonle Sap wetland, moving to protect the health of this vital fishery but also disrupting the lives of thousands of farmers who live around the lake.
– With general elections scheduled for July, authorities now appear to be taking a softer line on enforcing the ban; in December 2022, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the boundaries of the conservation zone be redrawn by the end of May this year.
– Subsistence farmers, who experts say have been given little support to find alternate forms of livelihood, wait as their futures hang in the balance.
– This story was produced in partnership with fellows of the Global Reporting Program at the University of British Columbia’s School of Journalism, Writing, and Media.

Madagascar: What happens to villagers when a graphite mine comes knocking? by Malavika Vyawahare — April 27, 2023


– When representatives of an Australian mining firm arrived in Ambohitsy Haut village in southern Madagascar, they told residents they wanted to drill holes looking for graphite in their village. The villagers agreed, but they were clear; you can dig, but away from our ancestral tombs.
– In November, the company, BlackEarth Minerals (BEM), told investors it was ready to move to the next stage, exploitation, and planned to start construction of a mine this year, which could mean resettling the villagers and moving their tombs. But villagers said they haven’t given the company permission to do so.
– BEM, now known as Evion Group, is touting Madagascar as an alternative to China , currently the world’s leading graphite supplier, but experts and activists say the graphite mining rush is coming to a country and communities ill-prepared for it: obsolete mining laws, a brittle land rights regime, and limp environmental and social protections.
– A top Evion executive told Mongabay that the villagers had no private claims to the land, but the company would respect their traditional rights.


How will climate change affect Latin America? Scientists respond to IPCC report by Yvette Sierra Praeli — May 4, 2023
– Mongabay Latam spoke with scientists who contributed to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report about the effects in Latin America, opportunities for mitigation and adaptation and the contributions of Native cultures.
– IPCC released the latest report in March as a synthesis summarizing the six previous reports it has issued on the situation of the planet since 2015.
– The new scientific report warns once again of increased global warming, but also mentions that solutions exist with the help of technology and local communities.

Guatemala national park nearing ‘collapse’ amid land grabbing, deforestation by Maxwell Radwin — May 4, 2023
– Guatemala’s Sierra del Lacandón National Park has lost thousands of hectares of forest over the last two years, raising concerns among government officials and conservationists that the area may soon be lost to illegal actors.
– Some communities that were already living in the area when the park was established have declined to cooperate with the government’s plans to work together on sustainability, education and public health projects.
– Instead, the communities have expanded their presence with roads, cattle ranching and airstrips for drug planes, all of which have exacerbated deforestation rates.

Study shows Javan leopard habitat shrinking, but real picture may be worse by Sean Mowbray — May 4, 2023
– Leopards lost more than 1,300 km² (500 mi²) of suitable habitat across the Indonesian island of Java between 2000 and 2020, a new study shows.
– It found that “highly suitable” habitat for the critically endangered Javan leopard shrank during this period by more than 40%.
– Other researchers say the big cat’s situation is likely even direr, with half of the suitable habitat occurring outside protected areas, and with a total population of some 350 individuals surviving in isolated forest fragments.
– They emphasize that conservation efforts for the Javan leopard must be underpinned by a thorough population assessment, but this is still lacking.

Global Ocean Census aims to find 100,000 marine species in 10 years by Elizabeth Claire Alberts — May 3, 2023
– A new initiative called the Ocean Census aims to expand marine biodiversity knowledge by finding 100,000 new marine species within a decade.
– It will send scientists on dozens of expeditions at marine biodiversity hotspots and use advanced technology like high-resolution imagery, DNA sequencing and machine learning, to identify new species.
– Scientists estimate that only about 10% of marine species have been formally described, and about 2 million species have yet to be identified.

‘Many features of the Amazon are man-made’: Q&A with archaeologist Eduardo Neves by Peter Speetjens — May 3, 2023
– Research shows that the human presence in the world’s largest tropical rainforest dates back much further and was much more varied than previously thought.
– Archeologist Eduardo Neves has studied human occupation of the Amazon for 30 years and found evidence of rice, manioc and palm tree cultivation dating back thousands of years.
– In an interview with Mongabay, Neves talks about the new understanding of the Amazon: “The diversity of the Amazon, the presence of many large nut trees and fruit-bearing palm trees, is a result of Indigenous practices.”
– The old paradigm about the agricultural limitations of the rainforest has been shelved, according to Neves. “The Amazon Rainforest is not only a natural heritage, but [also] a biocultural heritage.”

Meet the ‘forest fishers’ restoring mangroves and livelihoods in Mexico by Flavia Morales — May 3, 2023
– Residents of the Mexican community of Costa de San Juan have restored more than 350 hectares (865 acres) of mangrove forest in the Alvarado Lagoon System in the Gulf of Mexico.
– After deforestation and fires, the fishers and locals learned a new respect for the mangroves surrounding them.
– Fishers have been working to diversify their incomes as well by exploring beekeeping, small-scale forestry, the pet trade, and ecotourism.

Forests & Finance: Agroforestry in Cameroon and reforestation in South Africa by — May 3, 2023
– An agroforestry initiative in a cocoa-growing community on Cameroon aims to prevent the expansion of cocoa farms into the nearby forest while also providing additional income to farmers.
– A community effort in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province is restoring the region’s mistbelt forest that’s home to the iconic Cape parrot, and since 2011 has planted 52,000 trees while allowing participants, mostly women, to earn a living.
– A program meant to ensure the legality of timber in Gabon’s supply chain was briefly suspended between March and April over what the government says was missing paperwork — a justification that proponents have called into question.
– Forests & Finance is Mongabay’s bi-weekly bulletin of briefs about Africa’s forests.

Maasai conservationist strives to protect Indigenous rights because ‘land is life’ (commentary) by Dismas Partalala — May 2, 2023
– “As a member of the Maasai community in Tanzania, I am all too aware of how for thousands of years, Indigenous communities have been the caretakers of the environment, protecting their lands and respecting wildlife,” a new op-ed says.
– Dismas Partala argues that Indigenous communities can offer a more sustainable solution to advancing conservation, and at a lower cost through the biodiversity protection roles they play.
– A conservation program his organization developed for Indigenous-led conservation secures a communal land title deed known as ‘Certificate of Customary Right of Occupancy,’ which has resulted in elephants, cheetahs and wild dogs being spotted with greater frequency.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

Mexico approves mining reforms to protect environment, Indigenous people by Maxwell Radwin — May 2, 2023
– Reforms to Mexico’s mining law limit harmful practices by extractive industries and improve protections for the environment and Indigenous peoples. But they’re also a far cry from the change activists had been hoping for.
– Under the new reform, Indigenous communities will receive 5% of a mining operation’s profits. The maximum lifespan of mining concessions is also reduced from 100 years to 80.
– Concessions will no longer be granted in areas with water shortages or in protected areas. Currently, there are 1,671 mining concessions in 70 protected areas in Mexico, spreading across 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of preserved land.

More evidence backs Indigenous territories as best safeguard against Amazon deforestation by Liz Kimbrough — May 2, 2023
– Protected areas and Indigenous territories in the Amazon Rainforest experienced just one-third the loss of primary forest compared to non-protected areas, according to a new report by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP).
– Over the five-year study period, between 2017 and 2021, protected areas lost slightly less forest than Indigenous territories, but deforestation was lower in Indigenous territories.
– The MAAP study estimated that 11 million hectares (27 million acres) of primary forest were lost over the five years of the study, of which 71% were lost to deforestation and 29% to fire.
– The study highlights the effectiveness of Indigenous territories in protecting forests and the need for more protective designations, particularly for Indigenous territories.

Hawaiian communities restore Indigenous conservation, from mountains to sea by Roxanne Hoorn — May 2, 2023
– In Hawai’i, an Indigenous stewardship and conservation system known as ahupua’a is slowly being revived on a mountain-to-sea scale in partnership with U.S. government agencies.
– Three Indigenous communities that have successfully reintroduced the ahupua’a system are seeing some conservation successes, such as a 310% increase in the biomass of surgeonfish and an increase in the Bluespine unicornfish (Naso unicornis) population.
– The inclusion of Indigenous Hawaiian conservation, social and spiritual values, like Aloha kekahi i kekahi, have been key to building these conservation areas and forming better working relations with the government.

A frontline view of the fight against illegal mining in Yanomami territory by Rubens Valente/Agência Pública — May 2, 2023
– In the Brazilian Amazon, Yanomami Indigenous people have been suffering a health crisis aggravated over recent years by the dismantling of Indigenous health care support services and the illegal mining invasion.
– Since the start of operations against miners in February, Brazil’s environmental inspectors have been setting fire to gear used to support illegal mining activities, both inside and outside the Indigenous territory.
– “The Yanomami land is one of the most difficult areas in the country in which to conduct our operations,” said one inspector who spoke to Agência Pública.

Still time to save Brazil’s Cerrado, study shows, but it’s running out fast by Maurício Brum — May 2, 2023
– Conservation efforts in the still unfragmented natural habitats of the northern Brazilian Cerrado should be prioritized to prevent the loss of key and threatened species, according to new research.
– The high rate at which habitat conversion and fragmentation are taking place is shrinking the window for biodiversity conservation in the world’s most threatened savanna, it warns.
– Contiguous natural habitat areas are cheaper and easier to preserve while also hosting a larger genetic pool of biodiversity that enhances the chances of survival for endemic vertebrate species, experts say.
– Efforts to change the status quo need to involve different sectors of society, including the private sector, which currently holds about three-quarters of land in the Cerrado without many incentives to protect it.

Montana cannot be trusted with grizzly bear & wolf management (commentary) by Lara Birkes — May 1, 2023
– The U.S. State of Montana’s legislature has recently proposed a litany of extreme anti-wildlife bills despite widespread and diverse opposition.
– Grizzly bears are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, but Montana lawmakers and Gov. Greg Gianforte are pushing measures that would issue grizzly bear kill permits to ranchers using public lands, for example.
– The state has also opened up unlimited wolf hunting along Yellowstone National Park’s border, despite the fact that those wolves spend 96% of their time in the park.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

Gold miner faces global protests as it rekindles a mine with a violent legacy by Ian Morse — May 1, 2023
– Three years after the Papua New Guinea government refused to renew its license, the Porgera gold mine is now on track to reopen.
– The mine will relaunch under joint ownership of the government and mine operator Barrick Gold.
– Activists in PNG have joined global protests against Barrick, saying the new agreement does not address a legacy of violence and environmental damage, and drawing parallels between Porgera and Barrick’s mines in Tanzania and Pakistan.

Ethiopia used chemicals to kill locusts. Billions of honeybees disappeared by Malavika Vyawahare — May 1, 2023
– Kenya and Ethiopia sprayed millions of hectares of cropland and pastures with chemical pesticides in response to massive locust swarms that emerged between 2019 and 2021.
– In Ethiopia, around 76 billion honeybees died or abandoned their hives during this period, a new study estimates, arguing that chemical spraying was most likely to blame.
– The researchers said Somalia’s use of a biopesticide, on the other hand, was a better approach and that chemical pesticides banned in the EU and the U.S. because of harmful effects on the environment and human health cannot continue to be used in other parts of the world.
– Advocates for integrated pest management say that countries should track and manage locust upsurges before they reach threatening proportions.

After Bruno Pereira’s murder, widow Beatriz Matos strives for Indigenous rights by Carolina Conti — May 1, 2023
– In an interview with Mongabay, anthropologist Beatriz Matos, widow of Indigenous specialist Bruno Pereira, tells of the duties she assumed on Feb. 14 as head of the Department of Territorial Protection and of Isolated and Recently Contacted Peoples inside the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples.
– Matos tells of her recent return to the Javari Valley, where she and Pereira met, and of the challenges in reverting the destruction of and negligence toward Indigenous rights in the recent past.
– Matos also explains how mapping of isolated peoples in Brazil works and how the department has been structuring itself to carry out this work together with Funai, the National Indigenous Peoples Foundation.
– According to Matos, the current priority is to “work to guarantee safety and protection for Indigenous peoples and their territories.”

With little will to fight it, corruption is major risk for Indonesian palm oil by Hans Nicholas Jong — May 1, 2023
– Indonesia’s top 50 palm oil companies have weak antigraft measures, rendering the industry highly prone to corruption, according to a new report by Transparency International Indonesia.
– It found that practices such as political lobbying and revolving door practices among the 50 companies are barely regulated, and many companies don’t disclose their tax data.
– Some companies also don’t have antibribery policies and programs that extend to all staff, including executives and directors, the report says.
– On average, the 50 companies scored 3.5 out of 10 on six criteria, such as anticorruption programs, lobbying activities and data transparency.

Madagascar bush fires prompt exasperated NGO to curtail tree planting by Valisoa Rasolofomboahangy — May 1, 2023
– Graine de Vie, a Belgian NGO present in Madagascar since 2009, claims to be the leading reforestation organization in the country.
– Weary of repeated bush fires and an alleged lack of government action, the NGO announced in January that it would reduce its activities by a third.
– The announcement followed the catastrophic loss of thousands of freshly planted saplings to a bush fire.

Activists slam Sri Lanka’s bid to seek X-Press Pearl compensation in Singapore by Malaka Rodrigo — April 30, 2023
– The Sri Lankan government will seek compensation in Singapore’s courts for a 2021 ship sinking that became the worst maritime disaster in the country’s history.
– The Singapore-flagged X-Press Pearl caught fire off Colombo in May 2021 and sank several days later, unleashing its cargo of billions of plastic pellets and tons of toxic chemicals; an expert committee has put the environmental damage at $6.4 billion.
– Environmental activists have questioned the decision to file for compensation in Singapore instead of Sri Lanka, saying there’s less likelihood of winning adequate compensation overseas.
– However, the government says previous efforts to claim compensation in an earlier ship disaster through Sri Lankan courts ran up against obstacles.

Proposal to export 100,000 crop-raiding macaques sparks outcry in Sri Lanka by Malaka Rodrigo — April 28, 2023
– Following the Sri Lanka Agriculture Ministry’s confirmation of a request from a Chinese company to import 100,000 toque macaques for their zoos, environmentalists have mounted protests over fears that monkeys may be used for medical experiments or as a food delicacy.
– The toque macaque (Macaca sinica) is a primate endemic to Sri Lanka but is also an agricultural pest that often causes considerable damage to crops such as coconuts, vegetables and fruits; the ministry is considering possible solutions, including population control.
– Meanwhile, a recent study indicates the presence of toque macaques on 80% of the tropical island, but experts say the government’s claim of a monkey population of 3 million is an exaggeration.
– On the contrary, some farmers and villagers in monkey-infested areas have responded positively, saying the removal of 100,000 toque macaques from the environment can be the beginning of a solution.

‘Extinct’ snails return to Tahiti in largest wildlife reintroduction ever by Elizabeth Claire Alberts — April 28, 2023
– In April, conservation experts reintroduced more than 5,500 Partula snails to the French Polynesian islands of Moorea and Tahiti.
– About 30 years earlier, these endemic snails were driven out of their native home by introduced species like the giant African land snail and the rosy wolf snail.
– Most Partula species are either extinct in the wild or critically endangered, but experts hope their reintroduction will help restore their populations.

Rio Tinto must repair the damage caused by their Madagascar mine (commentary) by Ketakandriana Rafitoson — April 28, 2023
– The giant mining conglomerate Rio Tinto has a large ilmenite mine which abuts wetlands and lies in the vicinity of a river and two lakes in one of the poorest regions of the fifth poorest country in the world, Madagascar.
– Though it’s a large employer in the region, activists say that the company’s Qit Minerals Madagascar mine contaminates water supplies and reduces food security for the vulnerable local population.
– “We [are] calling for the creation of a grievance mechanism which will truly respond to people’s concerns, and that complies with international standards – not only by giving them financial compensation, but by affording them their dignity,” a new op-ed says.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

Questions over accounting and inclusion mar Guyana’s unprecedented carbon scheme by Dimitri Selibas — April 28, 2023
– Guyana has put nearly all the forests in the country on the carbon market, allowing it to sign a carbon credit deal with petroleum company Hess Corporation worth $750 million, with 15% of funds going to Indigenous communities.
– However, some climate experts have questioned how ART, the independent carbon credit issuer, calculates the emissions reductions for forests that are already intact and under little threat of deforestation, saying they’re vastly overstated and bending the rules to create money.
– Indigenous organizations also disagree about whether they were properly and legally consulted before all their lands were put onto the carbon market.
– ART maintains that its methodology for calculating carbon reduction is conservative and important to protect intact forests, while the government insists that it properly consulted Indigenous leaders before it included their forests in the carbon scheme.

‘Alarming’ heat wave threatens Bangladesh’s people and their food supply by Mohammad Al-Masum Molla — April 28, 2023
– Temperatures across Bangladesh have hit record highs as the country swelters in the heat wave currently sweeping across much of Asia.
– Dhaka recorded its highest temperature in six decades this month, at 40.6°C (105.1°F), with meteorologists warning that heat waves like this are becoming more common.
– The heat also threatens the country’s all-important rice crop, with the government advising farmers to ensure sufficient irrigation to prevent heat shock to their plants.
– With the heat now easing, a new fear has emerged: Cooler temperatures signal the start of the monsoon, which, in the northeast region of Bangladesh often means floods that can also destroy rice crops.

Cambodian activists commemorate 11th anniversary of Chut Wutty’s murder by Gerald Flynn — April 28, 2023
– April 26, 2023, marks 11 years since Cambodian environmental activist Chut Wutty was gunned down, with no one ever facing justice for his death.
– Wutty was a frequent thorn in the side of Cambodia’s ruling elite, both in the government and in the security forces, for his repeated exposés of their role in illegal logging.
– In a vigil and march in Cambodia to commemorate his death, fellow activists demanded the Ministry of Justice reopen the investigation into Wutty’s killing.
– They also denounced the killings, arrests and prosecutions of environmental activists in recent years as a message from the government to stop.

Colombia: Scientists explore remote seamounts to protect hammerhead sharks by Tatiana Rojas Hernández — April 28, 2023
– Since 2000, the Malpelo and Other Marine Ecosystems Foundation has conducted 40 expeditions on and around Malpelo Island, a rocky outpost about 500 kilometers (310 miles) off Colombia’s Pacific coast.
– These expeditions have allowed the foundation to gather information about the area’s population of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) and to discover this critically endangered species’ breeding areas.
– They’ve also influenced the expansion of the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary and UNESCO’s declaration of it as a World Heritage Site.
– Malpelo Foundation researchers hope their new expeditions to the area’s seamounts, which form a vital corridor for migratory species, will inform the ongoing fight against illegal fishing that threatens the hammerheads and other marine fauna.

Bangladesh’s vultures still threatened by poison despite conservation actions by Abu Siddique — April 28, 2023
– The discovery of 14 dead vultures in an area of Bangladesh considered safe for the scavenging birds has highlighted the persistent threats to the birds despite ongoing measures to protect them.
– The vultures are thought to have died after feeding on a goat carcass laced with poison, which local residents had left out for feral dogs and jackals that had killed their livestock.
– Vulture populations across South Asia were decimated in the 1990s by the widespread use of the cattle painkiller diclofenac; birds that fed on dead cattle that had been treated with the drug died of severe poisoning.
– Bangladesh has since banned diclofenac and ketoprofen, another livestock painkiller deemed poisonous to vultures, and established vulture-safe zones around the country in an effort to boost their populations.

Mouth of the Amazon oil exploration clashes with Lula’s climate promises by Sarah Brown — April 28, 2023
– State-owned Petrobras has requested a license to investigate an oil site in a region in the north of Brazil where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
– The region is home to swathes of mangroves and coral reefs that environmentalists say are highly biodiverse and fundamental to local communities.
– Experts demand that Brazil’s environmental agency reject the license, saying the government hasn’t conducted the required detailed studies to assess the potential impact.
– Critics warn that pursuing fossil fuels contradicts President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s vows to adopt a renewable energy strategy and clashes with global climate change guidelines.

Apache tribe decry loss of sacred site to massive copper mine at both court and the U.N. by Kate Schimel — April 27, 2023
– The San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona, United States, has taken its legal battle against the U.S. government to the United Nations to save its traditional territory from what could be North America’s largest copper mine.
– The Indigenous tribe say that the mine will permanently alter desert ecosystems and destroy their most sacred site, akin to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount or Mecca’s Kaaba.
– The mine could produce up to 40 billion pounds of copper over 40 years, providing about 1,500 jobs, millions in tax revenue and compensation and minerals for renewable energy development.
– Both sides are awaiting a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court on whether destruction of the site violates the religious rights of the Apache people.

Indianapolis Zoo offers $1m grant for plan to save a threatened species by Liz Kimbrough — April 27, 2023
– The Indianapolis Zoological Society is offering a $1 million grant to an organization that can develop a plan to save an animal species currently designated as threatened on the IUCN Red List.
– The first stage of the application is due June 4, 2023 and a winner will be announced in February 2024.
– A jury of animal conservation experts from around the world will decide on the winner, which will then have five years to get the program rolling and demonstrate some progress.
– Scientists agree that we’re experiencing a mass extinction event caused by humans: Since 1900, at least 543 species of vertebrates have gone extinct, and those are just the ones we know of.

Nepali pangolin conservationist Tulshi Suwal among winners of Whitley Awards by Abhaya Raj Joshi — April 27, 2023
– Nepali pangolin conservationist Tulshi Laxmi Suwal has been named one of the winners of this year’s Whitley Awards, known as the “Green Oscars.”
– The 40,000 pound ($50,000) award recognizes her work studying and protecting pangolins in a field that has traditionally been male-dominated.
– Suwal says she will use the prize money to conduct Nepal’s first impact assessment of the effects of fires on the Chinese pangolin and create 10 community pangolin conservation groups.
– She also plans to plant 20,000 local mixed broad-leaved trees and reach 200,000 people through an awareness campaign, all aimed at protecting the world’s most trafficked mammal.

Funders commit $102.5 million to support tribal-led conservation efforts in the U.S. by Laurel Sutherland — April 27, 2023
– The Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Biodiversity Funders Group launched a funding pledge to support tribal-led restoration and conservation efforts in the United States.
– Fifteen funders have already committed $102.5 million to support the Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge goals since its launch in March.
– Projects to benefit will be selected by funders and could include natural resource and conservation projects, regrants and tribal-led conservation NGOs working in direct partnership with tribes, among several others.
– Erik Stegman, the Native Americans in Philanthropy’s chief executive officer, said the pledge ensures that Indigenous groups continue to lead the way in conservation efforts in the U.S. as well as meet the vision of conserving 30% of U.S. land and waters by 2030.

The U.S. has cataloged its forests. Now comes the hard part: Protecting them by Justin Catanoso — April 27, 2023
– In April 2022, President Biden instructed the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to do a thorough inventory of forested public lands as a part of his climate mitigation strategies to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
– The new study, released April 20, identifies a total of 112.8 million acres of mature and old-growth forests on federal lands across all 50 states, an area larger than the state of California.
– Forest advocates largely heralded the new inventory, so long as it serves as a road map for putting those millions of acres off-limits to logging so the forests and their biodiversity can remain intact to fight climate change.
– The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have long supported logging for timber and other wood products on the majority of lands they oversee. During a 60-day public comment period, forest advocates will argue that all forests in the inventory be fully protected from logging.

U.N. parties are worlds apart on plastics treaty solutions by Charles Pekow — April 27, 2023
– The United Nations Environment Programme will sponsor a Paris meeting in late May and early June in the ongoing effort to create an international treaty to potentially control plastic production and pollution.
– Delegates from 175 nations, along with private stakeholders (including the petrochemical industry and environmental groups), remain far apart on what the treaty should cover: reuse, banning certain chemicals, limiting plastics production, whether to focus on cradle-to-grave supply chain regulation or mostly on ocean pollution, and much more.
– Perhaps most importantly, the world’s countries need to determine how the treaty will be implemented: Should the final agreement require mandatory international compliance, or should individual nations be allowed to act voluntarily to solve the plastics problem?
– China and the United States are taking a far less aggressive position on implementation, recommending a voluntary national approach, while Pacific Island countries and the European Union want to see stricter rules for compliance and more focus on production limits. At this point, no one has any idea what the final treaty document will look like.

Operation Artemis: Colombia’s failed military operation to stop deforestation by David Tarazona and Julián Parra De Moya — April 27, 2023
– In 2019, the Colombian government, led by Colombia’s former president, Iván Duque, launched Operation Artemis, which sought to stop deforestation, but it barely tackled 3% of the total deforested area in the country between 2019 and 2021, according to calculations by Mongabay Latam and Cuestión Pública.
– Although Operation Artemis cost Colombia more than 3.4 billion Colombian Pesos (about $765,000), deforestation did not slow down, going from 158,894 ha (about 392,636 acres) lost to deforestation in 2019 to 174,102 ha (about 430,215 acres) in 2021.
– Former President Duque also promised to recover the rainforest in the regions targeted by Artemis, but so far, there has not been any forest restoration work in those areas, according to what Colombia’s Network of National Natural Parks told Mongabay Latam and Cuestión Pública.

Mating urge adds new pressure to human-elephant conflict in Nepal by Abhaya Raj Joshi — April 27, 2023
– Domesticated elephants kept in or near human settlements are a magnet for wild male elephants from Nepal’s Chitwan National Park.
– The males, looking to mate, often cause injury or property damage when entering these settlements, compounding the already severe problem of human-elephant conflict in Nepal.
– Elephant welfare activists say the government should establish a sanctuary where all domesticated elephants can roam in relative freedom away from human settlements.
– However, the government says it doesn’t have the resources or land for such a scheme, and that the welfare of the domesticated elephants is the responsibility of their private owners.

‘I’ll keep fighting’: Indigenous activist and Goldman winner Alessandra Munduruku by Sarah Brown — April 27, 2023
– Indigenous leader and human rights activist Alessandra Korap Munduruku was one of the six winners of this year’s prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, also known as the “Green Nobel Prize.”
– The award recognizes her relentless resistance to illegal mining within the Munduruku Indigenous Territory, including prospecting attempts by mining giant Anglo American.
– In an interview with Mongabay, Alessandra discusses what the prize means to her, the policy changes she’s seeing in Brazil, and the current crisis in the Munduruku territory.
– While she praises some actions of the current government, she says her fight isn’t over yet, as she warns of possible environmental issues arising from upcoming infrastructure projects.



Indigenous women in Colombia protect rich Amazonian wetland from overfishing by Astrid Arellano — April 20, 2023
Professional services abound for Amazon land grabbers seeking legitimacy by Fernanda Wenzel — April 25, 2023
Mongabay Explores the Congo Basin: The ‘heart of the world’ is at a turning point by Mike DiGirolamo — April 25, 2023
Meet the 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners by Liz Kimbrough — April 24, 2023
We need to show that planetary wins are possible, says Dax Dasilva by Rhett A. Butler — April 24, 2023
Counterintuitive conservation: Fire boosts aquatic crustaceans in U.S. savannas by Ashli Blow — April 21, 2023