Conservation news

Environmental science and conservation news

Using space tech to improve palm oil transparency in Colombia

By Andrew J. Wight [2018-09-21]
MEDELLIN, Colombia — Keeping an eye on what is going on out in the vast countryside of Colombia’s palm oil plantations is a challenge. But that may be about to change. Thanks to a combination of satellites, drones and the Internet of Things (IOT), farmers and scientists expect to be able to monitor palm oil […]

Video analysis shows baby birds avoid predators while building strength

By Sue Palminteri [2018-09-21]
Every year, millions of baby birds leave the security of their nests, flying off into the uncertainty of the outside world. A single chick’s fledging takes just a moment, and all chicks in a nest typically fly off within an hour or two, so people, even dedicated birdwatchers, rarely witness it. A team of researchers […]

Activists blast Myanmar timber deal: ‘There is no transparency at all’

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-21]
A forestry department ground inspection team checks the timber to be exported and monitors con-tainer loading at the site before sealing the container. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is sounding the alarm over what it calls a “shadowy agreement” made by the Myanmar government to allow the logging and export of 5,000 tons of hardwood timber, including 3,000 tons of highly prized teak. In a statement, the EIA says that the timber deal, first reported by local […]

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, September 21, 2018

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-21]
Tropical forests People settled Madagascar thousands of years before previously thought, meaning the island’s first human inhabitants didn’t cause the extinction of the elephant bird (Science Magazine). Nestlé, one of the world’s largest corporations, is searching for deforestation on its oil palm plantations using satellite monitoring (Reuters). A newly discovered species of black bird that […]

New species of blood-red coral found off Panama coast

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-21]
Marine ecologists have described a bright-red species of coral from Panama that’s new to science. The researchers found the coral growing at a depth of 45 to 50 meters (148 to 164 feet) in Hannibal Bank, a coastal seamount 60 kilometers (37 miles) off Panama’s Pacific coast. The bank, which researchers have only started to explore, […]

Scientists uncover what makes deep soil either a carbon sink or source

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-20]
Researchers say they have discovered the conditions that determine whether deep soil acts as a source of carbon emissions, releasing heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, or as a sink, sequestering the carbon and keeping it from contributing to global climate change. According to Caitlin Hicks Pries, an assistant professor of biology at Dartmouth College […]

Activists say Indonesia dragging its heels on indigenous rights

By Hans Nicholas Jong [2018-09-20]
JAKARTA — Indigenous rights activists in Indonesia have expressed concern that the government is stalling the passage of a long-awaited bill on indigenous rights by tangling the legislative process in red tape. The government said in July that it had agreed with members of the House of Representatives to start discussions on the bill on […]

Global wildlife trafficking still a ‘lucrative criminal activity,’ expert says

By Genevieve Belmaker [2018-09-20]
A non-native smallmouth bass eats a native sucker. Credit: UDWRWhen it comes to the multi-billion dollar global illegal wildlife trafficking market, security experts note a “threat convergence” where trafficking and organized crime meet. Because of that convergence, trafficking in illegal natural resources is a major security threat and environmental risk. Illegal wildlife trade includes a huge range of natural – often forest-rleated – items from […]

1984: the meeting that changed everything for Sumatran rhinos

By Jeremy Hance [2018-09-20]
This is the first article in our four-part series “The Rhino Debacle.” It’s hardly the most likely place to meet a Sumatran rhino. But as you enter Zimmer Hall at the University of Cincinnati , deep in the heart of the Midwestern United States, there he is: Ipuh. A one-ton, taxidermed behemoth, a prehistoric relic who only […]

Wildlife detectives link smuggled African elephant ivory to 3 major cartels

By Shreya Dasgupta [2018-09-20]
Around 40,000 African elephants are illegally killed for their tusks every year. But catching ivory poachers, and successfully convicting them, has remained incredibly hard. In 2016, for instance, Kenyan businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali was found guilty of dealing in ivory worth $433,000, equivalent of killing at least 120 elephants, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. But […]

Indonesian president signs 3-year freeze on new oil palm licenses

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-20]
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a moratorium on new licenses for oil palm plantations. The presidential instruction, signed on Sept. 19, will remain in place for no more than three years, according to the policy document, seen by Mongabay. Environmentalists previously called on Jokowi to impose no limit on the duration of the moratorium, […]

Indonesia’s Teater Potlot takes on the plight of the Sumatran tiger

By Taufik Wijaya [2018-09-19]
PALEMBANG, Indonesia — For those worried about the plight of the Sumatran tiger, of which only a few hundred remain, concern typically flows from a sense that all life is worth saving. For Teater Potlot, a theater group based in South Sumatra, Indonesia, the concern goes back further. Centuries, in fact. “The Srivijaya kingdom managed […]

Deep reefs were not spared by 2016 mass bleaching event on Great Barrier Reef

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-19]
New research finds that the mass bleaching event that led to the death of 30 percent of shallow-water corals on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 also had a substantial impact on deep reefs. Occurring at depths lower than 30 to 40 meters below the surface of the sea, deep coral reefs, also known as […]

As turtles go, so go their ecosystems

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-19]
Turtles were once a tough group of animals. Sea turtles survived the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. But the modern descendants of this ancient group are struggling to survive. Turtles are in fact among the most threatened of the major groups of vertebrates in the world, a new […]

Connect the dots: Cerrado soy drives inequality to provide EU with chicken

By Anna Sophie Gross [2018-09-19]
Traditional communities in Brazil’s savannah, lacking land deeds, have been displaced by large-scale soy growers, and forced to resettle in impoverished cities like Campos Lindos.

Indonesian province calls time-out on mining

By Ebed de Rosary [2018-09-19]
Planet satellite image of the open pit copper-gold mine on Sumbawa.MAUMERE, Indonesia — A newly inaugurated governor in Indonesia has called a time-out on mining in his province, citing a lack of benefits for residents from the extractive industry. “We are going to impose a moratorium on all kinds of mining, and this is a policy that will be implemented in the near future,” Viktor […]

Crop losses to insects will accelerate as the globe warms: study

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-18]
Insects already eat between 5 and 20 percent of the most important grain crops produced around the world — and new research finds that they could be responsible for even more crop damage in the near future as global temperatures continue to rise. Insect-driven losses of maize, rice, and wheat — the three major grain […]

Audio: How the social sciences can help conservationists save species

By Mike Gaworecki [2018-09-18]
On this episode, we take a look at how the social sciences can boost conservation efforts. Listen here:   Our guest is Diogo Verissimo, a Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Oxford in the UK and the Institute for Conservation Research at the US-based San Diego Zoo Global. Verissimo designs and evaluates programs that aim […]

Agroforestry ‘a good investment’: Mongabay’s Washington Post op-ed (commentary)

By Mongabay.com [2018-09-18]
Mongabay editor Erik Hoffner wrote about the mismatch in funding priorities for climate mitigation solutions for the Washington Post’s global edition, the World Post, on September 11. Too often, he wrote, high tech methods of removing carbon from the atmosphere get attention and investment, when low tech options exist: “In the quest to curb climate change, […]

Slave labor found at Starbucks-certified Brazil coffee plantation

By Daniela Penha contributor for Repórter BrasilRoberto Cataldo — translator [2018-09-18]
Raid rescues 18 workers from Minas Gerais farm holding good practice seals. Starbucks denies buying beans there in recent years, though its certifier approved the farm.