Conservation news

Environmental science and conservation news

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 […]

A short walk through Amazon time: Interview with archaeologist Anna Roosevelt

By Peter Speetjens [2024-04-10]
Roosevelt said the recent hype regarding the “garden cities” in Ecuador is “annoying”, as it is not a new discovery and it ignores older research from Latin American archaeologists.

Haunting song pays tribute to Toughie, the frog whose extinction went unnoticed

By Liz Kimbrough [2024-04-10]
When the last Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) died in 2016 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, its extinction garnered little media attention. Environmental journalist Jeremy Hance, a longtime Mongabay reporter and editor, expressed his outrage in a story for The Guardian, titled “Frog goes extinct, media yawns.” “It’s so rare to be able to know […]

Brazil’s cattle industry could suffer major losses without climate policies, report says

By Maxwell Radwin [2024-04-10]
The cattle ranching industry in Brazil is one of the largest in the world, but it could see huge financial losses if it doesn’t adapt to climate change and increasingly rigorous deforestation policies to protect the Amazon, a new report says. Domestic beef production in Brazil could drop by 25% by 2050 as governments and […]