Newsletter feed

All news

Conservation news

Environmental science and conservation news

Caribbean startups are turning excess seaweed into an agroecology solution
By Marlowe Starling [2024-04-16]
Sargassum in Villa Clara province, Cuba.In 2015, smelly mats of a brown macroalgae called sargassum piled as high as 1.2 meter (4 feet) on the beaches of Barbados, recalls Joshua Forte. It was the fourth year in what has become an annual nightmare, with an estimated 18,100 kilograms (20 tons) of seaweed inundating Caribbean shorelines each year and wrecking the […]






Brazil’s illegal gold trade takes a hammering, but persists underground
By Fernanda Wenzel [2024-04-16]
Mercury being used to agglomerate gold.Measures throughout 2023 to curb the illegal gold trade in Brazil led to a 20% drop in the country’s exports of the precious metal.






Global coral beaching now underway looks set to be largest on record
By Elizabeth Claire Alberts [2024-04-16]
Fluorescing and bleached reef in New Caledonia in 2016.ATHENS — The world is currently undergoing its fourth global bleaching event, with coral bleaching occurring in the territorial waters of more than 50 countries, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). Since February 2023, more than 54% of the world’s […]






Climate change could drive mammal extinction in Brazil’s Caatinga, study warns
By Evanildo da Silveira [2024-04-15]
Even if everything goes well and the targets set by the Paris Agreement are met, average temperatures are expected to rise by 2.7° Celsius (4.86° Fahrenheit) this century, according to the United Nations, with the dry season extending for 21 more consecutive rainless days. As expected, this will have drastic consequences for the climate and […]






Rapid growth of Bolivia’s lithium industry creating new problems for local communities
By Maxwell Radwin [2024-04-15]
Bolivia is racing to attract foreign investment in its massive, untapped lithium reserves, with plans to expand operations and build new processing plants. But residents living near the lithium deposits say there are too many problems with the facilities already in operation. A lithium plant opened last year has untested equipment and is possibly mismanaging […]






It will take 880 years to achieve UN ocean conservation goals, at this rate (commentary)
By Angelo Villagomez [2024-04-15]
Clownfish at Komodo.The ninth Our Ocean conference takes place this week in Athens, Greece. It is the largest and highest profile conference of its kind, and attracts presidents and celebrities, who all try to outdo one another with bigger and stronger conservation commitments. This year I was invited to attend and will be speaking about my 20 […]






On the trail of Borneo’s bay cat, one of the world’s most mysterious felines
By Jeremy Hance [2024-04-15]
Photo of the captive bay cat in 2008.Few researchers have ever seen this elusive wildcat and it is known primarily from a few camera trap photos. Which raises the question: How do you conserve an endangered species about which we know almost nothing?






Faced with an extreme future, one Colombian island struggles to rebuild
By Juan Pablo Pérez Burgos [2024-04-15]
No one on the Colombian island of Providencia was prepared for what happened on the night of Nov. 16, 2020. Not even Josefina Huffington, who had survived four hurricanes. That evening, as she waited for the storm to pass by playing parchisi with her son, a tree, lifted by winds as fast as 305 kilometers […]






Conservationists welcome new PNG Protected Areas Act — but questions remain
By Spoorthy Raman [2024-04-12]
A flame bowerbird (Sericulus ardens) in PNG.With more than 70% of the country blanketed by tropical rainforests, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a megadiverse country home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity, including charismatic tree kangaroos, egg-laying echidnas and flightless cassowaries. However, since 1972, nearly a third of the country’s rainforest has been lost or degraded due to logging, […]






Traceability is no silver bullet for reducing deforestation (commentary)
By Erasmus zu Ermgassen [2024-04-12]
Cattle ranch next to a recently deforested area in Candeias do Jamari, Rondônia, Brazil. Photo courtesy of Victor Moriyama / Amazônia em Chamas (Amazon in Flames Alliance).The food we eat causes one third of all greenhouse gas emissions, as forests are cleared at an ever-growing rate to make way for new cattle pastures, soy fields, cocoa farms and oil palm plantations. Driven by new legislation to protect forests and calls to cut emissions, companies are racing to trace where their food […]






Bonobos, the ‘hippy apes’, may not be as peaceful as once thought
By Ryan Truscott [2024-04-12]
Bonobo. Image by Maud Mouginot.Anthropologist Maud Mouginot recalls an encounter with bonobos early one morning in 2019 deep in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo that helped revise her impression of them as the peace-loving “hippy apes.” It was still pitch dark in Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve, in the center of the country, and she and colleagues were […]






Between Brazil’s Caatinga & Cerrado, communities profit from native fruits
By Sibélia Zanon [2024-04-12]
PORTEIRINHA, Minas Gerais — Beneath the shade of the umbu tree, Maria Neves tells Maria José that ripe umbu fruit is like a woman on the brink of giving birth: It demands immediate attention. “Umbu doesn’t take a day off; it’s like milking cows, it’s every day,” says Maria Neves Almeida, a Caatinga dweller (or […]






New technologies to map environmental crime in the Amazon Basin (commentary)
By Robert Muggah and Peter Smith [2024-04-12]
AI generated image of a satellite over South AmericaEnvironmental crime slows climate action, deters investment in nature-based solutions, and undermines the green transition. Around the world, land grabbing, illegal deforestation, illicit mining, poaching and a rash of other crimes are ravaging tropical forests, eroding biodiversity, and reversing sustainable development. Despite growing awareness of the problem, an ecosystem of criminality persists in most major biomes, from the Amazon Basin to […]






Rainwater reserves a tenuous lifeline for Sumatran community amid punishing dry season
By Suryadi [2024-04-11]
Muhammad Erlangga, a student, washes his clothes with rainwater.INDRAGIRI HILIR, Indonesia — Dahniar starts worrying after a few days without rain during the dry season here on the northeast coast of Sumatra. Traders selling water will complain of supplies drying up. Even Dahniar’s neighbors are reluctant to sell their water when the heat is on and anxiety begins to drip through Kuala Selat […]






Research links deforestation in Cambodia to stunting in kids, anemia in women
By Anton L. Delgado [2024-04-11]
People watch a forest fire in Kratié Province, Cambodia.New research has linked prenatal exposure to deforestation in Cambodia to child stunting and anemia among women. This link between human well-being and forest loss illustrates how the latter can compound preexisting rural health issues in Cambodia, a country notorious for high levels of both deforestation and malnutrition. Gabriel Fuentes Cordoba, an associate professor at […]






New online tool is first to track funding to Indigenous, local and Afro-descendant communities
By Sonam Lama Hyolmo [2024-04-11]
Women carrying saplings.Developers have rolled out the first ever interactive online tool to track all funding for Indigenous peoples, local communities and Afro-descendant peoples’ forest stewardship and land tenure. The Path to Scale dashboard, developed in a partnership between the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), provides information on funding from 133 […]






A new and improved bird family tree shows rapid post-dinosaur evolution
By Liz Kimbrough [2024-04-11]
Hoatzin in Peru. Photo credit: Rhett A. ButlerScientists have created the largest and most detailed bird family tree ever, showing how various species are related to each other and how they evolved over the past 93 million years. The study, published in Nature, looked at the genomes of 363 bird species, representing 92% of all bird families. “Our goal is to reconstruct […]






In Java Sea, vigilantism and poverty rise as purse seine fishing continues
By Riyad Dafhi Rizki [2024-04-11]
For generations here, fishers like Mukhlis have used wood to build fish-aggregating devices, known locally as rumpon, which are moored offshore to attract schools of fish.SEMBILAN ISLAND, Indonesia — Until recently, skippers on this island relied on their day’s catch of grouper, mackerel and snapper tipping the scales at around 50 kilograms (110 pounds). Today, Mukhlis provides for his family with just a fraction of that daily haul. “They’re using cantrang fishing gear,” Mukhlis told Mongabay Indonesia, referring to the […]






Unseen and unregulated: ‘Ghost’ roads carve up Asia-Pacific tropical forests
By Carolyn Cowan [2024-04-11]
Informal logging roadRoads are being built at an unprecedented rate across the globe. Some 25 million kilometers (15.5 million miles) of paved roads are expected to be built in just the four decades leading up to 2050 — enough to wrap around the equator more than 600 times. But much of this construction is happening under the […]






Forests in Vietnam’s Central Highlands at risk as development projects take priority
By Le Quynh [2024-04-10]
LÂM ĐỒNG, Vietnam — In 1991, Trần Văn Ry migrated from his home in northern Vietnam to Lâm Đồng in the country’s Central Highlands. Along with hundreds of other migrants, he took part in a government initiative to reforest the area’s hills, many of which were deforested and barren following the U.S.-led war. Today, Ry […]






Features

Conservation news

Environmental science and conservation news

Caribbean startups are turning excess seaweed into an agroecology solution
By Marlowe Starling [2024-04-16]
Sargassum in Villa Clara province, Cuba.In 2015, smelly mats of a brown macroalgae called sargassum piled as high as 1.2 meter (4 feet) on the beaches of Barbados, recalls Joshua Forte. It was the fourth year in what has become an annual nightmare, with an estimated 18,100 kilograms (20 tons) of seaweed inundating Caribbean shorelines each year and wrecking the […]






Brazil’s illegal gold trade takes a hammering, but persists underground
By Fernanda Wenzel [2024-04-16]
Mercury being used to agglomerate gold.Measures throughout 2023 to curb the illegal gold trade in Brazil led to a 20% drop in the country’s exports of the precious metal.






Global coral beaching now underway looks set to be largest on record
By Elizabeth Claire Alberts [2024-04-16]
Fluorescing and bleached reef in New Caledonia in 2016.ATHENS — The world is currently undergoing its fourth global bleaching event, with coral bleaching occurring in the territorial waters of more than 50 countries, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. and the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). Since February 2023, more than 54% of the world’s […]






Climate change could drive mammal extinction in Brazil’s Caatinga, study warns
By Evanildo da Silveira [2024-04-15]
Even if everything goes well and the targets set by the Paris Agreement are met, average temperatures are expected to rise by 2.7° Celsius (4.86° Fahrenheit) this century, according to the United Nations, with the dry season extending for 21 more consecutive rainless days. As expected, this will have drastic consequences for the climate and […]






Rapid growth of Bolivia’s lithium industry creating new problems for local communities
By Maxwell Radwin [2024-04-15]
Bolivia is racing to attract foreign investment in its massive, untapped lithium reserves, with plans to expand operations and build new processing plants. But residents living near the lithium deposits say there are too many problems with the facilities already in operation. A lithium plant opened last year has untested equipment and is possibly mismanaging […]






It will take 880 years to achieve UN ocean conservation goals, at this rate (commentary)
By Angelo Villagomez [2024-04-15]
Clownfish at Komodo.The ninth Our Ocean conference takes place this week in Athens, Greece. It is the largest and highest profile conference of its kind, and attracts presidents and celebrities, who all try to outdo one another with bigger and stronger conservation commitments. This year I was invited to attend and will be speaking about my 20 […]






On the trail of Borneo’s bay cat, one of the world’s most mysterious felines
By Jeremy Hance [2024-04-15]
Photo of the captive bay cat in 2008.Few researchers have ever seen this elusive wildcat and it is known primarily from a few camera trap photos. Which raises the question: How do you conserve an endangered species about which we know almost nothing?






Faced with an extreme future, one Colombian island struggles to rebuild
By Juan Pablo Pérez Burgos [2024-04-15]
No one on the Colombian island of Providencia was prepared for what happened on the night of Nov. 16, 2020. Not even Josefina Huffington, who had survived four hurricanes. That evening, as she waited for the storm to pass by playing parchisi with her son, a tree, lifted by winds as fast as 305 kilometers […]






Conservationists welcome new PNG Protected Areas Act — but questions remain
By Spoorthy Raman [2024-04-12]
A flame bowerbird (Sericulus ardens) in PNG.With more than 70% of the country blanketed by tropical rainforests, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a megadiverse country home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity, including charismatic tree kangaroos, egg-laying echidnas and flightless cassowaries. However, since 1972, nearly a third of the country’s rainforest has been lost or degraded due to logging, […]






Traceability is no silver bullet for reducing deforestation (commentary)
By Erasmus zu Ermgassen [2024-04-12]
Cattle ranch next to a recently deforested area in Candeias do Jamari, Rondônia, Brazil. Photo courtesy of Victor Moriyama / Amazônia em Chamas (Amazon in Flames Alliance).The food we eat causes one third of all greenhouse gas emissions, as forests are cleared at an ever-growing rate to make way for new cattle pastures, soy fields, cocoa farms and oil palm plantations. Driven by new legislation to protect forests and calls to cut emissions, companies are racing to trace where their food […]






Bonobos, the ‘hippy apes’, may not be as peaceful as once thought
By Ryan Truscott [2024-04-12]
Bonobo. Image by Maud Mouginot.Anthropologist Maud Mouginot recalls an encounter with bonobos early one morning in 2019 deep in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo that helped revise her impression of them as the peace-loving “hippy apes.” It was still pitch dark in Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve, in the center of the country, and she and colleagues were […]






Between Brazil’s Caatinga & Cerrado, communities profit from native fruits
By Sibélia Zanon [2024-04-12]
PORTEIRINHA, Minas Gerais — Beneath the shade of the umbu tree, Maria Neves tells Maria José that ripe umbu fruit is like a woman on the brink of giving birth: It demands immediate attention. “Umbu doesn’t take a day off; it’s like milking cows, it’s every day,” says Maria Neves Almeida, a Caatinga dweller (or […]






New technologies to map environmental crime in the Amazon Basin (commentary)
By Robert Muggah and Peter Smith [2024-04-12]
AI generated image of a satellite over South AmericaEnvironmental crime slows climate action, deters investment in nature-based solutions, and undermines the green transition. Around the world, land grabbing, illegal deforestation, illicit mining, poaching and a rash of other crimes are ravaging tropical forests, eroding biodiversity, and reversing sustainable development. Despite growing awareness of the problem, an ecosystem of criminality persists in most major biomes, from the Amazon Basin to […]






Rainwater reserves a tenuous lifeline for Sumatran community amid punishing dry season
By Suryadi [2024-04-11]
Muhammad Erlangga, a student, washes his clothes with rainwater.INDRAGIRI HILIR, Indonesia — Dahniar starts worrying after a few days without rain during the dry season here on the northeast coast of Sumatra. Traders selling water will complain of supplies drying up. Even Dahniar’s neighbors are reluctant to sell their water when the heat is on and anxiety begins to drip through Kuala Selat […]






Research links deforestation in Cambodia to stunting in kids, anemia in women
By Anton L. Delgado [2024-04-11]
People watch a forest fire in Kratié Province, Cambodia.New research has linked prenatal exposure to deforestation in Cambodia to child stunting and anemia among women. This link between human well-being and forest loss illustrates how the latter can compound preexisting rural health issues in Cambodia, a country notorious for high levels of both deforestation and malnutrition. Gabriel Fuentes Cordoba, an associate professor at […]






New online tool is first to track funding to Indigenous, local and Afro-descendant communities
By Sonam Lama Hyolmo [2024-04-11]
Women carrying saplings.Developers have rolled out the first ever interactive online tool to track all funding for Indigenous peoples, local communities and Afro-descendant peoples’ forest stewardship and land tenure. The Path to Scale dashboard, developed in a partnership between the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), provides information on funding from 133 […]






A new and improved bird family tree shows rapid post-dinosaur evolution
By Liz Kimbrough [2024-04-11]
Hoatzin in Peru. Photo credit: Rhett A. ButlerScientists have created the largest and most detailed bird family tree ever, showing how various species are related to each other and how they evolved over the past 93 million years. The study, published in Nature, looked at the genomes of 363 bird species, representing 92% of all bird families. “Our goal is to reconstruct […]






In Java Sea, vigilantism and poverty rise as purse seine fishing continues
By Riyad Dafhi Rizki [2024-04-11]
For generations here, fishers like Mukhlis have used wood to build fish-aggregating devices, known locally as rumpon, which are moored offshore to attract schools of fish.SEMBILAN ISLAND, Indonesia — Until recently, skippers on this island relied on their day’s catch of grouper, mackerel and snapper tipping the scales at around 50 kilograms (110 pounds). Today, Mukhlis provides for his family with just a fraction of that daily haul. “They’re using cantrang fishing gear,” Mukhlis told Mongabay Indonesia, referring to the […]






Unseen and unregulated: ‘Ghost’ roads carve up Asia-Pacific tropical forests
By Carolyn Cowan [2024-04-11]
Informal logging roadRoads are being built at an unprecedented rate across the globe. Some 25 million kilometers (15.5 million miles) of paved roads are expected to be built in just the four decades leading up to 2050 — enough to wrap around the equator more than 600 times. But much of this construction is happening under the […]






Forests in Vietnam’s Central Highlands at risk as development projects take priority
By Le Quynh [2024-04-10]
LÂM ĐỒNG, Vietnam — In 1991, Trần Văn Ry migrated from his home in northern Vietnam to Lâm Đồng in the country’s Central Highlands. Along with hundreds of other migrants, he took part in a government initiative to reforest the area’s hills, many of which were deforested and barren following the U.S.-led war. Today, Ry […]






Wildtech news

Wildtech

Technology for Conservation

Experts hack away at portable DNA barcode scanner to fight timber and wildlife trafficking
By Julia John [2016-09-08]
Survey responses to the Wildtech needs assessment—especially from field researchers—put portable DNA analysis near the top of the research and conservation technology wish-list. How could we harness DNA barcode technology in an adaptable, handheld device that frontline officials in developing countries could use to combat timber and wildlife trafficking? The DNA Barcode Scanner Hack that […]






Hot stuff: improving chili fence effectiveness (in protecting crops from elephants)
By Sue Palminteri [2016-09-07]
Some tips from a chili fence expert on how to make the most of a low-tech approach to reducing crop raiding and retaliatory killing of elephants






Solving Global Grand Challenges, One MOOC at a Time
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-08-12]
A new online course aims to address the complex challenges facing conservation and development.






Understanding the ghost of the mountain
By Julia John [2016-08-10]
The grayish-white form of the ghost of the mountain slinks through the snowcapped slopes of Central Asia. Its remote, harsh habitat, cryptic coat and elusive nature have impeded investigation and made monitoring the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) arduous, if not impossible. Technological advances, however, are changing that. New population estimates for the big cat, based […]






How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: advanced tools
By Dan Williams [2016-08-08]
An oil-palm plantation with a few remaining rainforest trees in Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Other stories in Mongabay’s series on using the Bloomberg Terminal in advocacy work: Part 1: How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: the basics Part 2: Tracking assets for environmental advocacy work with Bloomberg  The previous two articles in this three-part series detailed some of the basic functions of the Bloomberg Terminal — […]






Identifying the drivers of Amazon deforestation through high-tech maps and stories
By Suzanne Palminteri [2016-08-05]
A new logging road stands out against an otherwise intact rainforestThe MAAP project integrates a range of satellite imagery and analysis tools to detect and disclose deforestation across the Peruvian Amazon.






DART-TOFMS: Finding the chemistry in wood
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-08-03]
Earlier this summer, members of the Forest Legality Alliance (FLA) gathered in Washington, DC for their Semi-Annual Membership Meeting. As a precursor to the upcoming CITES COP17 meeting in September, the FLA member meeting focused on issues pertaining to illegally traded CITES-listed timber species, proposals to add new timber species to the CITES list and […]






Chew on this new way to detect disease in primates
By Julia John [2016-07-28]
Preoccupied with snipping a saliva-soaked plant part with a scalpel and placing it in a little tube of viral transport media, veterinary epidemiologist Tierra Smiley Evans thought she was alone, backed up against a big bush. But someone was watching close by with beady eyes. Suddenly, a shaggy black arm darted under her armpit and […]






Piloting PALM Risk to detect palm oil-driven deforestation
By Julia John [2016-07-20]
What do lipstick, detergent and instant noodles have in common? They all contain palm oil. Half of every packaged product stocking supermarket shelves can be traced back to a ruthless army of oil palm trees rapidly occupying land that naturally supported rich tropical forests. Palm oil production razes and replaces biologically diverse ecosystems with monospecific […]






Wildlife Law Enforcement in Sub-Saharan African Protected Areas: A Review of Best Practices
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-07-15]
“Across Africa, illegal killing and trade in wildlife, especially of iconic species such as elephants and rhinos, has now reached crisis proportions. Illicit wildlife trafficking now comprises the fourth largest illegal trade internationally after arms and drugs trafficking, and trafficking in human beings. In recent years, tens of thousands of elephants have been killed every […]






New map of Malaysia’s limestone hills will help set conservation priorities
By Mike Gaworecki [2016-07-11]
Malaysia’s limestone hills, or karsts, have been described as “arks of biodiversity,” but they’re facing intense pressures from mining and other human activities. Limestone is a vital resource for the construction industry, meaning it is not likely that forest degradation and quarrying in a developing country like Malaysia, where 445 limestone hills have been recorded […]






GDELT: Mining and mapping global wildlife crime news
By Julia John [2016-07-07]
In the eighth grade, at an age most boys spend their time outside school watching sports and playing videogames, Kalev Leetaru was delving into large-scale web mining and founding his first web company. With his continued interest in investigating enormous amounts of data two decades since, he now heads the GDELT Project, a massive open-data platform that analyzes news media […]






Bringing Star Trek tricorder analysis to the 21st century
By Hina Alam [2016-07-04]
Handheld, palm-sized, lightweight DNA preparation and sequencing devices are coming your way soon.






Bridging the Gap between Land and Space
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-07-01]
The United Nations/Kenya Conference on Space Technology and Applications for Wildlife Management and Protecting Biodiversity aims to expand the use of space technology in conservation.






5 Tech Projects That Are Protecting Sharks
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-06-30]
Annually, approximately 100 million sharks are killed by commercial fisheries. Coupled with climate change and a decrease of food supply from overfishing, some shark populations are teetering on the edge of extinction. Bringing sharks into mainstream media, the brainchild of the Discovery Channel and the longest running cable TV program, Shark Week has aired every […]






A World of Tings
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-06-28]
The real-time wildlife sighting app, Latest Sightings, can help to link a global community of wildlife enthusiasts and promote conservation one “ting” at a time.






Combining high-tech and low-tech to turn satellite images into action
By Nathan Hahn [2016-06-24]
Dr. Lilian Pintea, Vice President of conservation science at the Jane Goodall Institute. Photo courtesy of JGI/Jeff Kerby.Since its founding, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has been on the forefront of conservation science, and in recent years the group has been applying remote sensing, mobile phone technologies, and cloud-based mapping tools to its forest and […]






Drink beer, help the ocean?
By Julia John [2016-06-14]
Beer may have a bad rep among carb-fearing ab-chiseling fitness fans, but it could now be better for the environment than it was before. Well, at least the new kind packaged using edible six-pack rings from south Florida’s Saltwater Brewery. This Delray Beach microbrewery north of Miami, Florida, just launched the first ever 100% compostable […]






e-Eye of the tiger: Complex surveillance system extends watch over India’s wildlife sanctuaries
By Julia John [2016-06-10]
A new set of eyes is keeping watch over tiger reserves across India. They’re electronic, but they seem to have hawk-like observational faculties. And they may be related to how the country’s tiger population increased from 1,706 in 2010, one year before this digital monitoring system was first implemented, to 2,226 in 2014, the last […]






Tracking assets for environmental advocacy work with Bloomberg
By Dan Williams [2016-06-09]
Oil-palm estate in Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Other stories in Mongabay’s series on using the Bloomberg Terminal in advocacy work: Part 1: How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: the basics Part 3: How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: advanced tools The Bloomberg Terminal is Windows-based proprietary software that offers users real-time access to global news sources, financial […]