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Environmental science and conservation news

The Philippines commits to science-anchored fishery policies

By Mongabay.com [2017-10-20]
The agency responsible for looking after the Philippines’ fish stocks has pledged to step up the science behind its management of the resource as it announced new reforms to the sector. “Healthy fisheries are critical to the well-being of all Filipinos, and we are committed to making fishing sustainable nationwide,” said Eduardo Gongona, head of […]

Another Madagascar environmental activist imprisoned

By Edward Carver [2017-10-20]
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — In Madagascar, speaking out against corporate wrongdoing or government corruption can be dangerous business. So it took some courage for Raleva, a 61-year-old farmer, to stand up and ask questions at a meeting in his village in southeast Madagascar on September 27. A Chinese-Malagasy company, previously expelled from the area, had come […]

Belo Monte dam-opposing Brazilian activist wins prestigious environmental award

By Mike Gaworecki [2017-10-19]
Brazilian environmental and human rights activist Antônia Melo da Silva received the Alexander Soros Foundation Award earlier this month in recognition of her work organizing opposition to the Belo Monte dam and other infrastructure projects in the Amazon. Melo founded the “Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre” two decades ago in order to bring together the […]

Could fungi provide an alternative to palm oil?

By Kimberley Brown [2017-10-19]
Fungi – a kingdom grouping that includes mushrooms, mold and yeast – have long been heralded for their beneficial properties. They’ve been used to soak up oil spills, boost your immune system and lower cholesterol, among other environmental and medical feats. Now, researchers have found one more use for fungi – as a possible alternative […]

Deforestation drops 16% in the Brazilian Amazon

By Rhett A. Butler [2017-10-19]
Deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest declined over the past year, reports the Brazilian government. According to preliminary data from Brazil’s national space agency INPE, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon amounted to 6,624 square kilometers (2,558 square miles) between August, 1 2016 and July 31, 2017. The loss is equivalent to 112 Manhattans or half […]

Amazonian manatee migration at risk from disruption by proposed dams

By Claire Salisbury [2017-10-19]
During the wet season, manatees swim Amazon basin floodplains; in dry times they migrate to lakes. Hundreds of planned dams could disrupt that cycle.

Road building threatens forests, water supplies in Kuala Lumpur area

By Kate Mayberry [2017-10-19]
AMPANG, Malaysia – Taman Rimba Ampang was once a peaceful retreat from the bustle of Malaysia’s capital, a place where Kuala Lumpur’s residents could paddle in the shallow waters of the river, shaded by lush jungle canopy. Now it’s being torn apart. A gash of orange-red mud cuts across the road that once brought paddlers […]

Leading US plywood firm linked to alleged destruction, rights violations in Malaysia

By John C. Cannon [2017-10-19]
The sustainability and legality claims of the largest plywood importer in the US have come under question after it was found to have received shipments of Malaysian plywood worth more than $500,000 from a supplier connected to environmental and human rights violations. The 600 cubic meters (21,200 cubic feet) of plywood that Liberty Woods bought […]

Seychelles home to new species of caecilian, a legless amphibian

By Mongabay.com [2017-10-19]
A team of scientists from Seychelles, the United States and the United Kingdom has found a new caecilian, perhaps the smallest species of the legless amphibian on Earth. “As soon as I saw it I knew it was a new species,” Simon Maddock, a conservation biologist at the University of Wolverhampton, said in a statement. […]

‘If it’s going to kill us, OK, we’ll die’: Villagers stand firm as Cambodian dam begins to fill

By Jenny Denton [2017-10-18]
On Sept. 25, amid a continuing crackdown on media, political opposition and civil society described by commentators as “a slide into dictatorship,” Prime Minister Hun Sen officially launched Cambodia’s biggest hydropower project. At the ceremony the gates were closed on the $800 million Lower Sesan 2 dam, a joint venture between China’s Hydrolancang International Energy, Cambodia’s […]

Unfair trade: US beef has a climate problem

By Sean Mowbray [2017-10-18]
When Donald Trump pulled the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), it dashed plans to increase beef exports to Japan. But trade deals like TTP, which don’t address climate change, remain a looming environmental threat, as does rising global beef consumption.

Audio: Indonesian rainforests for sale and bat calls of the Amazon

By Mike Gaworecki [2017-10-18]
This episode of the Mongabay Newscast takes a look at our new investigative series, “Indonesia for Sale,” and also features a new acoustic study of Amazonian bats. We recently published the first installment of a new investigative series Mongabay is doing in collaboration with The Gecko Project. The series is called “Indonesia For Sale,” and […]

Jakarta reclamation project allowed to resume, but opposition remains

By Basten Gokkon [2017-10-18]
JAKARTA — The Indonesian government has allowed work to resume on a $40 billion project to build 17 artificial islands off the northern coast of the capital Jakarta, overturning a suspension imposed last year. Construction activities on three of the reclamation project’s islets were halted in early 2016 following concerns from regulators and opposition from […]

How small is too small? The uncertain fate of Madagascar’s forest fragments

By Rowan Moore Gerety [2017-10-18]
Each dry season, members of the community group VOI Sohisika try to keep brush fires at bay with controlled burns that run along firebreaks on the perimeter of the preserve. Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden.ANKAFOBE, Madagascar — When he first told colleagues at the Missouri Botanical Garden that lemurs still lived in the forest in Ankafobe, Jean Jacques Rasolofonirina said he was met with disbelief. “The forest is too small,” he recalled one saying—just 27.76 hectares, to be exact, split into three fragments scarcely larger than three or four […]

One man’s quest to save the world’s wildest places: Hansjörg Wyss

By Rhett A Butler [2017-10-18]
In the late 1950s, a young graduate student from Switzerland named Hansjörg Wyss took a summer job with the Colorado Highway Department. In his free time, he explored, climbed, and camped in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. That summer left an indelible impression on Wyss, who later went on to found a medical device […]

Munduruku standoff against Amazon dam builders potentially explosive

By Sue Branford with Fernanda Moreira and Maurício Torres [2017-10-17]
Last Friday, eighty Munduruku warriors — demanding an apology for destruction of two sacred sites — tried to occupy an Amazon dam; they were met by armed police.

SMART and well-Connected: reserve patrol data system adds communications capacity

By Sue Palminteri [2017-10-17]
Increasingly well-funded poaching gangs, as well as the pressure of ever-growing surrounding human populations, have made protecting wildlife and nature reserves a sometimes dangerous and uncertain way to make a living. To meet these threats with generally understaffed patrol teams, managers at several hundred protected areas globally have enlisted the free, open-source Spatial Monitoring and […]

Study maps out reptiles’ ranges, completing the ‘atlas of life’

By Mongabay.com [2017-10-17]
Across the swath of vertebrate lifeforms that inhabit Earth, scientists have a pretty good idea about where most of the known land mammals, birds and amphibians live. That makes identifying areas for protection where a lot of these animals live relatively straightforward, even if the details of actually protecting these places are far more complicated. […]

Acidifying oceans a bad trip for marine ecosystems

By Alexandra Popescu [2017-10-17]
A more acidic ocean under climate change threatens to reconfigure entire ecosystems by advantaging some fish species to the detriment of others, a new study has found. The research is one of only a few that go beyond the lab to study how species interactions are changing in nature under more extreme conditions. Researchers from […]

When a rhino calls in the forest, this guy hears it: Q&A with a Javan rhino researcher

By Mongabay.com [2017-10-16]
How much can we learn about a species that is rarely ever spotted by humans? The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is among the rarest and most cryptic of mammal species. Although its entire remaining population is now confined to a single park in Indonesia, many aspects of these elusive animals’ lives remain almost completely unknown […]