Newsletter 2023-10-12


Ken Burns discusses heartbreak & hope of ‘The American Buffalo,’ his new documentary by Liz Kimbrough — October 3, 2023


– Mongabay’s Liz Kimbrough spoke with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns about his upcoming documentary, “The American Buffalo,” which premieres in mid-October.
– The buffalo was nearly driven to extinction in the late 1800s, with the population declining from more than 30 million to less than 1,000, devastating Native American tribes who depended on the buffalo as their main source of food, shelter, clothing and more.
– The film explores both the tragic near-extinction of the buffalo as well as the story of how conservation efforts brought the species back from the brink.
– Burns sees lessons in the buffalo’s story for current conservation efforts, as we face climate change and a new era of mass extinction.

Kenya’s Lake Victoria floods leave orphaned children to run their households by Mactilda Mbenywe — October 12, 2023


– Beginning in 2019, devastating floods on the shores of Kenya’s Lake Victoria have inundated homes, displaced families and left some orphaned children in charge of caring for their siblings and running the household.
– Many families continue to live in makeshift camps, hoping to rebuild and renew their lives; the effects of the flooding have been particularly harsh on children who have had to drop out of school or work to ensure the family’s survival.
– Experts attribute the floods to a combination of factors, including climate change, increased rainfall and lack of vegetation to control runoff; in 2015, an international research team predicted swiftly rising waters that could harm the region.
– UNICEF reports a concerning increase in the number of children affected by flooding in recent years, as climate change leads to more crises that can disrupt education, destabilize families and leave long-term effects on child development and psychosocial well-being.

How our team debunked the UN’s climate neutrality claims by Mike DiGirolamo — October 10, 2023


– Despite claiming to be 95% “climate neutral,” the United Nations — a long-standing and vocal proponent of climate action — isn’t, a new report has found.
– Mongabay teamed up with reporters at The New Humanitarian in a yearlong investigation spanning multiple countries to investigate the U.N.’s claims.
– The investigation found that many projects that issue carbon credits to the U.N. were linked to environmental damage or displacement, and 2.7 million out of 6.6 million credits were linked to wind or hydropower — which experts say don’t represent true emissions reductions.
– Investigative reporter Jacob Goldberg from The New Humanitarian joins the podcast to explain how the team arrived at these surprising findings.

How the U.N., nations, kids and corporations saved the Red Sea from an oil disaster by Elizabeth Fitt — October 9, 2023


– In August, an international effort led by the U.N. averted a massive oil spill in the Red Sea.
– The FSO Safer, a deteriorating oil tanker anchored in Yemen’s Marib Basin, posed a 1.14-million-barrel environmental and humanitarian threat, with a potential $20 billion cleanup cost.
– Even schoolchildren from Westbrook Elementary School in Maryland recognized the urgency and initiated their own fundraising efforts, but most oil companies with historical involvement in the Marib Basin have failed to contribute so far.
– While some nations and organizations stepped up to help, ongoing challenges in securing funding highlight the need for collective responsibility in preventing environmental disasters.

Microplastics pose risk to ocean plankton, climate, other key Earth systems by Claire Asher — October 9, 2023


– Trillions of microplastic particles in the ocean threaten marine life, from huge filter-feeders to tiny plankton. Although not lethal in the short term, the long-term impacts of microplastics on plankton and marine microbes could disrupt key Earth systems such as ocean carbon storage and nitrogen cycling.
– Oceans represent Earth’s largest natural carbon store and are crucial to mitigate atmospheric CO2 increase. Carbon taken up by plankton and stored in the deep ocean — known as the biological carbon pump — is a major process in ocean carbon storage. Microplastics may “clog” this pump and slow ocean carbon uptake.
– Microplastics in marine sediments alter microbial communities and disrupt nitrogen cycling, potentially magnifying human-caused problems like toxic algal blooms. Changes in plankton communities at the ocean surface could exacerbate deoxygenation driven by climate change, starving marine organisms of oxygen.
– Small plastic particles are impossible to remove from the oceans with current technology, so stopping pollution is a priority. Plastic production continues to soar year-on-year, but a U.N. treaty to address plastic pollution could offer a glimmer of hope that the international community is ready to take action.

Frogs in the pot: Two in five amphibian species at risk amid climate crisis by Liz Kimbrough — October 5, 2023


– The extinction risk for more than 8,000 amphibian species has significantly increased in the past 18 years, primarily due to climate change impacts, with two in five amphibians now threatened, a new study shows.
– Amphibians are particularly vulnerable because of their permeable skin and specific habitat needs; diseases like the chytrid fungus further threaten their survival.
– Salamanders are the most at risk, with a lethal fungus in Europe posing a significant threat, especially to the diverse salamander population in North America.
– The study emphasizes the importance of global conservation efforts, with habitat protection showing positive results for some species, and highlights the broader context of the ongoing global biodiversity crisis.


Indonesia opens carbon trading market to both skepticism and hope by Hans Nicholas Jong — October 12, 2023
– Environmentalists have criticized Indonesia’s carbon trading mechanism, which had its first day of trading Sept. 26.
– The government touts the mechanism as a way to curb emissions and attract climate funding, but critics call carbon trading a false solution to climate change and a greenwashing attempt.
– Environmentalists say carbon trading could discourage companies from outright reducing emissions, enabling a “business as usual” attitude in which people and companies could buy carbon credits to continue polluting instead of changing their behaviors.
– A recent analysis by The Guardian and researchers from Corporate Accountability found that most of the top 50 emission offset projects — those that have sold the most carbon credits in the global market — were likely junk or worthless.

Beyond ‘no,’ more positive visions for conservation need communication (commentary) by Rachael Garrett — October 12, 2023
– “I have become increasingly concerned that [environmentalists’] ongoing failures stem at least partially from really bad messaging,” a new op-ed states.
– “We are so focused on being against things that we keep missing an opportunity to be for something…We desperately need new climate-friendly visions for our economies and governance systems that we can all get behind, not just a laundry list of what not to do,” the Cambridge scholar continues.
– Some environmentalists are starting to push more positive communications and the development of transformative visions for conservation, such as developing “socio-bioeconomies” to replace existing economic models.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

Agriculture in the Pan Amazon: Beef production models by Timothy J. Killeen — October 11, 2023
– Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
– Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
– Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
– Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023.

Indigenous environmental defenders among favorites for Nobel Peace Prize by Dimitri Selibas — October 11, 2023
– Indigenous leaders Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Juan Carlos Jintiach were shortlisted by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) as possible winners of the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.
– This was the first year the PRIO included a topic for Indigenous environmental defenders.
– Both leaders say they are grateful for the recognition, especially for recognizing the international Indigenous peoples’ movement, and priority areas remain the protection of Indigenous rights and access to direct climate funding.
– The first and only time an Indigenous person won the Nobel Peace Prize was in 1992 when Guatemalan rights defender Rigoberta Menchú Tum received the award.

As oceans warm, marine heat waves push deep beneath the surface, study shows by Elizabeth Claire Alberts — October 11, 2023
– A new study found that the ocean experiences the most intense marine heat waves at a depth of between 50 and 250 meters (160 and 820 feet), where a large portion of the ocean’s biodiversity can be found.
– It also found that parts of the ocean between 250 and 2,000 m (6,600 ft) had less intense but longer marine heat waves, with a duration twice as long as at the surface.
– The intensity and duration of marine heat waves could have widespread effects on marine biodiversity, increasing the likelihood of species displacement and mortality, the study suggests.

Brazil strikes intruders of Amazon’s most deforested Indigenous land by Sarah Brown — October 11, 2023
– On Oct. 2, federal agencies descended upon the Native Apyterewa and Trincheira Bacajá territories in the state of Pará in an attempt to remove non-Indigenous people from the land.
– Human rights activists praise the move as Indigenous communities within these lands continue to struggle against soaring levels of deforestation and decades-old conflicts with outsiders.
– Insiders say that federal agencies are temporarily relocating Indigenous people to villages far from invader settlements to ensure their safety.
– The Parakanã people from the Apyterewa Territory lament that local authorities in Pará are rallying in Brazil’s capital Brasília to suspend operations and allow the illegal invaders to remain on the land.

How climate change could jeopardize Brazilian coffee by Rachel Brabbins — October 11, 2023
– Drier and hotter climates are wreaking havoc on arabica coffee production in São Paulo and Minas Gerais; global climate change and deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado are the main causes.
– Since 2010, temperatures in coffee-producing municipalities have risen by 1.2° Celsius (2.16° Fahrenheit) during the flowering period; projections indicate more days of extreme temperatures (above 34°C, or 93°F) by 2050.
– Producers are betting on agroforestry and shading techniques to save production and improve natural pollination.

Taking the global pulse of biodiversity monitoring: Q&A with Andrew Gonzalez by Abhishyant Kidangoor — October 11, 2023
– A group of scientists have put forward a proposal to set up a global network that centralizes biodiversity monitoring and facilitates seamless sharing of data.
– The group wants its proposed Global Biodiversity Observing System (GBiOS) to function similarly to the network of local weather monitoring stations across the world, whose data are used to analyze and monitor climate change.
– While the technology being used to monitor biodiversity has become more sophisticated over the years, there still exists a void in getting different communities to work together to address the broader challenges in dealing with the biodiversity crisis.
– “We would not only federate people who are working together more effectively, but also fill many of the gaps in the data that currently exist in the biodiversity field,” Andrew Gonzalez, who is leading the proposal for GBiOS, told Mongabay.

Calls for crackdown intensify as fire crisis heats up across Indonesia by Mongabay Haze Beat — October 11, 2023
– A senior member of Indonesia’s parliament has called for tougher law enforcement as firefighters continued to battle wildfires across the archipelago.
– Indonesia’s environment ministry says it had sealed off 35 land concession, including several oil palm concessions, in the year to date.
– The fires are also fueling a diplomatic spat with neighboring Malaysia, which blames poor air quality there on the haze blowing from fires in Sumatra and Borneo.

An ‘aquatic moonshot’ in Vietnam aims to fight livestock methane with seaweed by Michael Tatarski — October 11, 2023
– Scientists from the R&D company Greener Grazing aim to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by growing and marketing a red seaweed (Asparagopsis taxiformis) as an additive for livestock feed.
– Worldwide, some 3 billion cattle and sheep produce roughly 231 billion pounds of methane annually; researchers estimate some 100 million tons of A. taxiformis would be needed to eliminate 98% of those emissions, a figure that’s roughly three times current global production of all seaweeds.
– Greener Grazing is experimenting with growing A. taxiformis in central Vietnam’s Van Phong Bay, but there are challenges.
– Skeptics also say the benefits of seaweed are limited in both the amount of methane that can be reduced as well as the capacity for scaling production to meet the size of the problem.

Conservationists condemn Nepal proposal to allow hydropower in protected areas by Abhaya Raj Joshi — October 11, 2023
– The Ministry of Forest and Environment has proposed a new procedure that would allow large-scale hydropower development inside protected areas, with fewer environmental safeguards and more legal loopholes.
– Conservationists and legal experts have criticized the proposal as going against the Constitution and the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act as well as risking the biodiversity and ecosystem services of Nepal’s protected areas.
– They have also warned that the proposal could undermine the balance between development and conservation and expose the country to more climate change impacts such as floods and landslides.
– The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation has defended the proposal as documenting the existing practices and bolstering the balance, not upsetting it.

Gone before we know them? Kew’s ‘State of the World’s Plants and Fungi’ report warns of extinctions by Liz Kimbrough — October 10, 2023
– The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s “State of the World’s Plants and Fungi” report assesses our current knowledge of plants and fungal diversity, the threats they face and how to protect them.
– The report warns that many plant and fungal species, 45% of documented flowering plants and half of all analyzed fungi risk extinction (though less than 0.4% of identified fungi have been assessed for extinction to date).
– The report identified 32 plant diversity darkspots, places where plants are highly endemic but severely under-documented, including Colombia, New Guinea and China South-Central.
– Report authors argue that priority conservation areas should consider distinctiveness in plants or “phylogenetic diversity” and found that these hotspots of phylogenetic diversity differ from the traditional biodiversity hotspots approach.

Seaweed: Untapped economical potential in Bangladesh by Farhana Parvin — October 10, 2023
– Bangladesh currently produces some 400 tons of seaweed, valued at 55 million taka (about $500,000), while a study suggested the country could produce 50 million tons of seaweed annually by 2050.
– Despite the potential to grow and earn more foreign currency through export, the sector is dealing with a number of difficulties, including inadequate investment as well as proper guidelines and regulations.
– According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), seaweed farming is one of the fastest-growing aquaculture sectors globally, with an annual production of about 33 billion tons, valued at $11.8 billion.

Conservation success lies with governments, not NGOs: Q&A with Hem Sagar Baral by Abhaya Raj Joshi — October 10, 2023
– Hem Sagar Baral is a renowned Nepali ornithologist and conservationist who recently retired as the country representative of the Zoological Society of London.
– In an interview with Mongabay, he talks about his experience setting up ZSL’s office in Nepal, the challenges and achievements of working with various stakeholders, and the role of NGOs in conservation.
– He also emphasizes that NGOs can’t replace the government’s role in conservation, but can only complement it by filling in the gaps and providing technical expertise.

Agriculture: profitability determines land use | Chapter 3 of “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” by Timothy J. Killeen — October 10, 2023
– Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
– Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
– Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
– Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023.

Indonesian police slammed after protester demanding rightful land is shot dead by Hans Nicholas Jong — October 10, 2023
– Indonesian police have reportedly shot dead one protester and injured two others in a flareup of yet another land dispute between communities and outside investors.
– Residents of the mostly Indigenous Dayak village of Bangkal in Central Kalimantan province have since Sept. 16 protested over palm oil company HMBP’s failure to allocate land to them as required by law.
– Police claim the protesters attacked security forces in the Oct. 7 clash, but video and witness accounts from the ground strongly suggest otherwise.
– Activists say the Bangkal case is emblematic of how the Indonesian government prioritizes commercial interests over those of communities, including using excessive force against protesters.

New electric-blue tarantula species is first found in Thailand mangroves by Liz Kimbrough — October 9, 2023
– A new electric-blue tarantula species, Chilobrachys natanicharum, has been described by scientists in Thailand, making it the first-known tarantula species in Thai mangroves.
– Researchers from Khon Kaen University and wildlife YouTuber JoCho Sippawa found these vibrant blue tarantulas in the muddy conditions of Phang Nga province’s mangrove forest.
– The spider’s vivid blue coloration is created not by pigments but by nanostructures on the tarantula’s hairs that manipulate light and produce an iridescent effect.
– The researchers are concerned about the tarantulas’ mangrove habitats being cleared for oil palm cultivation.

Plan to bring Mennonite farmers to Suriname sparks deforestation fears by Maxwell Radwin — October 9, 2023
– Investors from Argentina and the Netherlands have spent the past several years trying to bring Mennonite farming communities to Suriname from Belize, Mexico and Bolivia.
– Mennonite farmers have faced criticism for clearing thousands of hectares of forest across Latin America, often in protected areas and Indigenous territories.
– The company behind the project is called Terra Invest Suriname & Guyana, and plans to purchase as much as 30,000 hectares (about 74,000 acres) for approximately 1,000 Mennonite families.

Communities track a path of destruction through a Cambodian wildlife sanctuary by Gerald Flynn | Andy Ball | Meng Kroypunlok — October 9, 2023
– Illegal logging persists deep in the heart of Cambodia’s Chhaeb-Preah Roka Wildlife Sanctuary amid government inaction and even complicity with the loggers.
– Routine patrols by local activists and community members have painstakingly documented the site of each logged tree in the supposedly protected area, even as these community patrols have been banned by the authorities.
– Mongabay reporters joined one of these patrols in April, where a run-in with rangers underscored complaints that the authorities crack down harder on those seeking to protect the forest than on those destroying it.
– A government official denied that the logging was driven by commercial interests, despite evidence to the contrary, instead blaming local communities for cutting down trees to build homes.

Cambodia bars green activists from traveling to accept international award by Gerald Flynn — October 6, 2023
– Three Cambodian environmental activists have been barred from leaving the country to accept an award in Sweden, prompting criticism of the government.
– Long Kunthea, Phun Keo Reaksmey and Thun Ratha are with the group Mother Nature Cambodia, which last month was named a winner of the Right Livelihood award for its “relentless” activism against environmental destruction in the country.
– The three are currently under court supervision following early release from jail in a case related to their activism, which means they can’t travel abroad.
– Mother Nature Cambodia’s founder says the government has put itself in a “lose-lose situation” by barring them, as the incident has both garnered international scrutiny and revealed the shrinking space for civil society in Cambodia.

Indonesia reports a new Javan rhino calf, but population doubts persist by Basten Gokkon — October 6, 2023
– Indonesian officials have reported the sighting of a new Javan rhino calf in Ujung Kulon National Park, home to the last surviving population of the critically endangered species.
– While the discovery of the female calf is good news, it comes amid growing doubt about official claims that the species’ population is increasing steadily.
– The Indonesian government puts the Javan rhino’s current population at about 80 animals, with an average of three new calves added per year.
– Its past estimates, however, have counted rhinos that have disappeared (some of which were confirmed dead), throwing into question whether the species’ population trend is really increasing or even declining.

Restoring degraded forests may be key for climate, study says by Liz Kimbrough — October 6, 2023
– Scientists have found that focusing on restoring degraded forests, which cover more than 1.5 billion hectares (3.7 billion acres) globally, can enhance forest carbon stocks more efficiently than replanting in deforested areas, with natural regrowth being a cost-effective method.
– In Central America’s “Five Great Forests,” there’s a goal to restore 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) by 2030. The study identified 9.8 million hectares (24.2 billion acres) as top restoration priorities, with 91% being degraded forests.
– Restoring just 5% of these priority zones was calculated to potentially sequester 113 million tons of CO2, equivalent to taking more than 20 million cars off the road for a year.
– The research emphasizes the importance of involving local communities in restoration planning and suggests that current forest management practices, like those in the timber industry, need to adapt for more sustainable outcomes.

World Bank accused of supporting evictions, rights abuses at Tanzanian park by Ashoka Mukpo — October 6, 2023
– In a report released last week, the US-based advocacy group The Oakland Institute accused the World Bank of complicity in what it said were serious human rights abuses committed by rangers at the Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania.
– Rangers at Ruaha have received support from the bank through a program meant to boost tourism to the park.
– Human rights advocates and community leaders from the region who spoke to Mongabay said that rangers had carried out extrajudicial killings, sexual assaults, and livestock theft.
– The accusations are the latest in an ongoing clash over the rights of Indigenous peoples living in and near wildlife reserves in Tanzania, which draw billions of dollars per year in tourism revenue.

99% of Caatinga biome could lose plant species due to climate change: Study by Evanildo da Silveira — October 6, 2023
– An unprecedented study analyzed 420,000 occurrence records for 3,060 Caatinga plant species and concluded that 99% of the plant communities there are expected to lose species by 2060.
– Even though the species in the biome are theoretically adapted to extreme climates, researchers found that the Caatinga is much more vulnerable to climate changes than previously believed.
– Protecting the more sensitive areas and restoring landscape vegetation connectivity is crucial for the resilience of Caatinga ecosystems; the biome is one of Brazil’s least protected, as less than 9% of its area lies within Conservation Units.

Applications open for Airbus’s ‘Satellites for Biodiversity Award’ by Abhishyant Kidangoor — October 6, 2023
– The second edition of the “Satellites for Biodiversity Award” has been announced by the Airbus Foundation and the Connected Conservation Foundation.
– The two organizations are accepting applications until Dec. 15 for an award to support the use of high-resolution satellites for monitoring, tracking and protecting global biodiversity.
– Winners will receive access to Airbus’s high-resolution Pléiades and Pléiades Neo satellites, along with access to global mapping software from Esri and funding of $6,000.
– Previous winners include a project to map elephant habitats in Sai Yok National Park in Thailand, and community-led efforts to use drones and satellites to save tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea.

Cut down once again: Uncontrolled logging puts new Sahel reforestation projects at risk by Yannick Kenné | Sabré Na-Ideyam | Georges Messi — October 6, 2023
– Reforestation projects to restore degraded lands in Chad and Cameroon, like the “Great Green Wall” and the “Reforestation 1400” projects, are facing increasing pressure from logging activity.
– Facing poverty, war and corrupt local authorities, locals and refugees are cutting trees in new protected areas for firewood or to sell charcoal.
– Local environmental defence organizations, officials and administrations who lead these reforestation projects are raising the alarm about the extent of deforestation which is contributing to desertification in these areas.
– Despite alternative solutions to excessive logging being proposed and implemented, locals are still harvesting from reforested areas.

World owes it to Tanzania to keep Eastern Arc forests standing, study shows by Ryan Truscott — October 6, 2023
– Tanzania’s Eastern Arc’s evergreen forests provide carbon sequestration that the world benefits, yet it’s local communities alone who shoulder the costs of keeping the forests standing.
– The authors of a new study recommend that international investments in conservation within the Eastern Arc worth $2 billion need to be made over the next 20 years.
– Without this, the authors say, the mountains’ forests and their extraordinary levels of biodiversity will be lost or degraded as local communities convert them to agricultural land or harvest timber from them.

Pope Francis condemns world leaders for deeply flawed UN climate process by Justin Catanoso — October 5, 2023
– In the leadup to the 2015 Paris summit, Pope Francis issued Laudato Si, “On Care for Our Common Home,” a landmark climate and faith document that ultimately saw much of the pope’s language of human responsibility and hope enshrined in the breakthrough climate agreement.
– But this week Pope Francis issued Laudate Deum, a follow up document which condemns world leaders for eight years of climate inaction and of making hollow unfulfilled pledges as they repeatedly fail to respond effectively to the severely escalating global climate crisis.
– The pope notes in the new document that it is the world’s poorest who suffer most from the battering of record heatwaves, storms, floods, droughts, melting glaciers, and rising seas. He also asserts that it is the obligation of the world’s wealthiest nations to decisively lead humanity out of the crisis, before Earth reaches “the point of no return.”
– It seems clear from the timing of Pope Francis’ declaration that he hopes it will positively influence COP28, the climate conference to be held in early December in the United Arab Emirates, where an oil company executive will preside as chair.

World Bank still backs coal in Asia, despite climate claims, report reveals by Carolyn Cowan — October 5, 2023
– A new report shows that the World Bank continues to supply funding to some of Asia’s largest coal developers through its financial intermediaries.
– The multilateral lender committed in 2013 to cease its involvement with coal, and more recently pledged to align its investments with the Paris Agreement.
– The investigation from environmental and economic watchdogs shows that the World Bank’s private lending arm holds stakes in client banks that are funding at least 39 coal developments throughout China, Indonesia and Cambodia.
– The report highlights the case of the planned Jambi 2 development in Sumatra, an “unwanted and unneeded” venture that the report says would severely impact the health, quality of life and livelihoods of affected communities already suffering the impacts of intensive coal development in the area.

Sustainable infrastructure in the Pan Amazon: In search of an oxymoron by Timothy J. Killeen — October 5, 2023
– Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
– Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
– Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
– Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023.

Up in the air: Study finds microplastics in high-altitude cloud water by Elizabeth Claire Alberts — October 5, 2023
– A new study found tiny microplastics — sized between 7.1 to 94.6 micrometers — in cloud water collected from high-altitude summits in Japan.
– The researchers suggest that microplastics could therefore be influencing the formation of clouds and even impacting the climate.
– However, one outside expert casts doubt on the assumption that microplastics could contribute to cloud formation or affect the climate in a substantial way.
– With the total amount of plastic waste produced by humanity between the 1950s and 2050 expected to total 26 billion metric tons based on current trends, determining how plastics impact Earth’s operating systems, ecosystems and health is critically important.

What does land mean to Australia’s Indigenous groups fighting logging? by Tessa Fox — October 5, 2023
– Many Indigenous Gumbaynggirr people in Australia feel an intimate connection to their ancestral lands, which holds the trees, animals, ancestral spirits and creation stories that form a core part of their identity and sense of belonging.
– This landscape, part of the Newry State Forest in New South Wales, Australia, is facing a logging project by the state-owned Forestry Corporation that threatens the habitat of the vulnerable koala species — also a cultural totem.
– Gumbaynggirr protesters resisting logging plans say they believe every part of the world is in deep relationship with each other, including humans to nature and the land. Their cultural duty to protect totems, they say, pushes them to try to stop extractive industries.
– In this piece, Indigenous Gumbaynggirr protesters explain what land — this piece of the Earth — means to them.

‘Wasn’t us,’ fire-hit Indonesia claims as Malaysia chokes on poor air quality by Hans Nicholas Jong — October 5, 2023
– Malaysia has blamed forest fires in neighboring Indonesia of causing smoke that has sent air quality levels to unhealthy levels across much of the country.
– Air quality in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia have worsened in recent days, with more than a dozen regions recording unhealthy air quality.
– Indonesian officials have denied that fires in their jurisdiction are to blame, and accused their Malaysian counterparts of misreading the data.
– Indonesia dismissed that same source of data in 2019, however, when fires in Sumatra and Borneo also spread to Malaysia and Singapore.

Indonesian children locked out of school as El Niño haze chokes parts of Sumatra & Kalimantan by Mongabay Haze Beat — October 5, 2023
– Poor air quality over several Indonesian cities and outlying rural areas has forced local authorities to cut class times or close schools altogether.
– Air pollution on Oct. 5 in one area of Palangkaraya far exceeded the level at which air quality is classified dangerous to human health.
– The government of Jambi province has closed schools until Oct. 7, after which it will review whether to reopen for in-person teaching.

VIDEO: The truth about Cambodia’s Prey Lang sanctuary | Chasing Deforestation by Romi Castagnino — October 5, 2023
– Chasing Deforestation is a series that explores the world’s most threatened forests through satellite data and reporters on the ground.
– Cambodia has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, and the situation in the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary which spans four provinces is emblematic of the problem.
– Preliminary satellite data from Global Forest Watch indicate that deforestation in Prey Lang in 2023 is set to surpass both 2022 and 2021, with the latter year marking the highest recorded forest loss since the start of the century.
– In the latest episode of Chasing Deforestation, host Romi Castagnino sent Mongabay reporter Gerry Flynn on a mission to find out what’s happening inside the supposedly protected area.

Brazil’s Indigenous women march again for the rights of their people and lives by Inaê Guion — October 5, 2023
– Trying to consolidate their leading role in the fight for territory and political prominence, around 8,000 Indigenous women occupied Brasília during the III March of Indigenous Women.
– Aware of the role of Indigenous peoples in preserving biodiversity, the meeting was scheduled to discuss climate emergencies and the importance of Indigenous women’s participation in the U.N. Climate Conference, to be held in Belém, in northern Brazil, in 2025.
– Amid debates in Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court, the demarcation of Indigenous territories was brought to the top of the list of urgent issues at this year’s march.



Return of the wolf to Nepal’s Himalayas may threaten snow leopards by Abhaya Raj Joshi — September 29, 2023
Defending a forest for tree kangaroos and people: Q&A with Fidelis Nick by John Cannon — October 4, 2023
Sumatran rhino birth is rare good news for species sliding to extinction by Jeremy Hance — October 3, 2023
Indonesian village forms coast guard to protect octopus in Mentawai Islands by Jaka Hendra Baittri — October 3, 2023
Mother Nature Cambodia’s ‘relentless’ activism earns Right Livelihood Award by Gerald Flynn — September 28, 2023