Newsletter 2023-11-30


North Atlantic orcas reveal the troubling persistence of toxic ocean pollutants by Kristel Tjandra — November 27, 2023


– As the top predators in the ocean, killer whales suffer from the magnifying level of pollutants that build up in the marine food web.
– Scientists found that North Atlantic orcas feeding on marine mammals carry significantly higher levels of pollutants than orcas that eat fish.
– Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls in the orcas’ blubber are ten times higher than the toxic threshold for these dangerous household chemicals.

Paradise lost? Brazil’s biggest bauxite mining firm denies riverine rights by Thais Borges and Sue Branford — November 27, 2023


– Mineração Rio do Norte (MRN), Brazil’s largest bauxite producer, launched a new mining project in the Amazon region in 2019 but failed to notify and consult four impacted traditional riverine communities that have been established for generations. The villages say their lives are heavily impacted.
– MRN’s stance of no significant impact is backed by IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency, because it only is required to recognize Indigenous and Quilombola populations as legitimate traditional peoples guaranteed prior, free, informed consultation — a right enshrined in international law.
– Other traditional riverine communities are being denied such a right, say critics who are calling on President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government to instruct IBAMA to reduce the impact of mining on riverine communities.
– Action by IBAMA could help preserve the way of life for hundreds of traditional riverine people likely to be affected by a series of new mines planned by MRN. The ruling could also act as a precedent for other traditional communities not currently guaranteed prior, free, informed consultation.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran & petrochemical industry stall plastics treaty: Critics by Charles Pekow — November 22, 2023


– In March 2022, the world’s nations met to launch negotiations for a global plastic treaty with the goal of achieving final treaty language by 2025. That effort came as the planet drowns in a tidal wave of plastic waste, polluting oceans, air and land.
– That treaty goal and deadline may have been put at risk this month as the United Nations Environment Programme’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC) met in Nairobi, Kenya for its third session.
– There, three of the world’s biggest petrostates — Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran — began obstructing the process in an attempt to stall the negotiations, according to environmental NGOs that attended the meeting. More than 140 lobbyists at the November conference represented the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries.
– While a coalition of more than 60 high-ambition nations is seeking a binding international treaty that regulates cradle-to-grave plastics production, the resisters argued for treaty language that would focus on recycling rather than production, would not regulate plastic toxins and would allow nations to set individual goals for plastics regulation.


In Chile’s far south, scientists record an island’s quickly shifting ecology by Michelle Carrere — November 30, 2023
– On Chile’s Navarino Island, home to South America’s southernmost city where some places share the same temperatures as Antarctica, a group of scientists is trying to understand how climate change is affecting subantarctic forests.
– The beautiful landscape, which is considered one of the most pristine on the planet and attracts travelers from around the world, has seen increased temperatures and decreased rainfall. Wetlands have dried up, ice floes have disappeared, populations of various animals have declined significantly and the life cycles of some insects have changed.
– The scientists working there want to communicate to the world that humans need to understand ourselves as one piece in a complex machine in which all living beings have an important and irreplaceable role in maintaining well-being.

Ecologists help migratory birds adapt to climate change by Gillian Dohrn — November 30, 2023
– Warmer and earlier spring seasons cause problems for migratory birds, who return to breeding sites after winter to find that most of their food is already gone.
– Researchers drove European pied flycatchers north from the Netherlands to Sweden, where spring arrives two weeks later and food supplies peak at the right time for newly hatched chicks.
– Birds born in Sweden flew back to the same northern sites on their own to breed, showing that scientists might be able to help some species adapt to climate change.

No animals harmed as wildlife specimen collection goes digital in 3D by Abhishyant Kidangoor — November 30, 2023
– Conservationist and photographer Scott Trageser has developed a 3D scanning system that could potentially reshape how animals are studied in the wild.
– The system uses an array of cameras that work in sync to rapidly capture photos of animals in the wild, yielding a virtual 3D specimen viewable on smartphone or with a VR/AR headset.
– The noninvasive methodology will enable scientists to conduct research without euthanizing animals; digital specimens also have the advantage of not degrading over time.
– However, the high cost and technical skills required to assemble and operate the system, in addition to its inability to gather internal morphological data, are hurdles to its widespread use.

Smallholders and loggers push deeper into Sumatra’s largest park by Jeremy Hance — November 29, 2023
– Kerinci Seblat National Park on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has lost more than 4% of its primary forest cover over the past 20 years, satellite data from Global Forest Watch show.
– Much of the deforestation is driven by nearby communities logging and farming, in particular potatoes, and possibly also illegal gold mining.
– The park hosts a diversity of wildlife like nowhere else — tigers, elephants, helmeted hornbills and barking deer, among others — but these are now threatened by loss of habitat and poaching.
– Kerinci Seblat was at one point a stronghold of the Sumatran rhino, but this critically endangered species has since gone extinct from the park.

Track-a-mole: Sniffer dog and eDNA help ‘rediscover’ South African golden mole by Liz Kimbrough — November 29, 2023
– A sniffer dog and environmental DNA analysis enabled researchers to confirm the continued existence of the rare De Winton’s golden mole, not seen by scientists since 1936.
– The habitat near Port Nolloth, South Africa, where the critically endangered mole was found, is currently unprotected and threatened by development and mining.
– De Winton’s moles are one of the of 25 “most wanted” lost species that have been found again by science.

Iconic tusker’s plight shows challenges in managing Sri Lanka’s wild elephants by Malaka Rodrigo — November 29, 2023
– When an iconic Sri Lankan elephant was recently injured in the leg by a trap gun, the incident received wide attention and criticism over the island’s poor handling of wild elephants.
– Agbo is one of Sri Lanka’s largest elephants, and since June, a team of wildlife veterinary surgeons and support staff have been treating the tusker.
– With months among humans, Agbo started showing signs of habituation, losing his fear or mistrust of people and developing a taste for the food provided during treatment.
– From January to late November, Sri Lanka has lost 440 elephants, with gunshot injuries being the main cause for fatalities.

High quality cacao in Amazonia by Timothy J. Killeen — November 29, 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 and 2024.

Cargill widens its deforestation-free goals, but critics say it’s not enough by Maxwell Radwin — November 29, 2023
– Cargill has announced its Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina supply chains will be free of deforestation and land conversion by 2025.
– The commitments also expand to all row crops in those countries, including soy, corn, wheat and cotton.
– While conservation groups have welcomed the expanded commitment, they say it still leaves out countries like Bolivia, Paraguay and Colombia, where deforestation from the expanding agricultural frontier continues to increase.

New algorithm looks at how Amazon vegetation will behave after climate change by Vitor Alexandre Araujo Prado dos Anjos — November 29, 2023
– Brazilian scientists have pioneered a new vegetation model with a broader array of life strategies that is expected to provide a more accurate representation of the Amazon ecosystem’s functioning and the forest’s responses to climate change.
– The new model suggests that Amazon plants would reorganize, allocating more energy to their roots at the expense of stems and leaves; consequently, they would have a lower capacity to retain and absorb carbon in a scenario with reduced rainfall.
– Field research and future contributions will add new information to the model, and experts hope it will get better at predicting the future and shaping policies for conservation.

In DRC, Virunga deforestation escalates as fighting sends refugees into park by Elodie Toto — November 29, 2023
– Virunga National Park has lost 964 hectares (2,382 acres) of forest over the last four months, according to forest monitoring platfrom Global Forest Watch. Twenty percent of these losses have been around informal refugee camps located near the Nyiragongo volcano.
– Fresh fighting between the government and an armed group called the March 23 Movement (M23) has driven nearly a million people from their homes.
– Now living in precarious camps in the park, these displaced people cut down trees for fuel to cook, boil water and make charcoal, NGO workers in the area say.

African leaders & activists will bring new demands, hopes to COP28 by Abdulkareem Mojeed — November 29, 2023
– As world leaders prepare to meet in Dubai for COP28, African activists bring new hopes and expectations following the first-ever Africa Climate Summit (ACS) that took place in Nairobi in September.
– The ACS resulted in a historic Nairobi Declaration, calling on the global community to fulfill promises for climate financing, adaptation, mitigation and emissions reduction.
– Activists say they hope COP28 will result in decisive action to implement the Loss and Damage Fund that aims to support countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but skeptics say they worry this summit will result in the same old story, especially as the COP28 presidency is held by an oil baron.

In reversal, Mexico calls for moratorium on international deep-sea mining by Elizabeth Claire Alberts — November 28, 2023
– On Nov. 21, Mexico became the latest nation to call for a moratorium on deep-sea mining in international waters.
– Before this announcement, some Mexican delegates to the International Seabed Authority, the UN-associated body tasked with regulating the activity, had expressed support for fast-tracking mining rules that would enable mining to start.
– This announcement came two weeks after member states of the ISA met to work on a set of regulations, which are currently far from complete.
– While calling for a moratorium on seabed mining in international waters, it remains unclear if Mexico will allow deep-sea mining in its own waters; there are several mining concessions in the Bay of Ulloa, off the coast of Baja California.

Climate loss & damage fund ‘the furthest thing imaginable from a success’ by Mike DiGirolamo and Rachel Donald — November 28, 2023
– The fifth and final meeting of the U.N. Transitional Committee to design a loss and damage fund ahead of COP28 climate summit concluded in Abu Dhabi last month without a mandate that wealthy, industrialized nations pay into it, sources say.
– Frequent Mongabay contributor and journalist Rachel Donald joins the Mongabay Newscast as co-host to speak with Brandon Wu, director of policy and campaigns at ActionAid USA, to unpack this most recent negotiation.
– In addition to leaving out a provision for contributions from wealthy nations, the fund will be housed in the World Bank, a global lending institution that continues to fund coal projects and has been linked to human rights abuses.
– The text of the fund will move to the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai next month, where it will be considered by member countries.

Quilombola communities take iron mine to U.K. court, alleging decade of damages by Sarah Brown — November 28, 2023
– Afro-Brazilian communities in the Brazilian state of Bahia are applying to the English courts for compensation for a decade of alleged pollution and disruptions from a nearby iron ore mine.
– The allegations date back to 2011 and include air and noise pollution, physical and psychological damage from mining operations, and possible water contamination, which the communities blame on a subsidiary of U.K.-registered Brazil Iron Limited.
– Brazil Iron denies the allegations and says they could undermine a new project it plans to begin soon that will bring billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the region.
– The case has already led to the court issuing an injunction against Brazil Iron for sending letters to community members; the case, in which 80 community members are seeking individual compensation, must first settle on whether the English courts have jurisdiction in the matter.

Keeping herbivores at bay helps in early stages of restoration, studies show by Tim Vernimmen — November 28, 2023
– Excluding herbivores from restoration areas may lead to an increase in both vegetation abundance and plant diversity, according to a new analysis.
– The global-scale analysis, which reviewed hundreds of studies, found that herbivores tend to be more common in areas undergoing restoration and can slow down vegetation recovery.
– While native herbivores play a crucial role in healthy ecosystems, researchers argue it may be beneficial to keep them from entering heavily degraded areas in the early stages of restoration.
– The impact of herbivores on restoration varies, and project managers should consider timing and local conditions when deciding whether to exclude, tolerate, or introduce herbivores.

Congo’s waters are hotspot for endangered sharks & rays, reveals data from artisanal fishers by Molly Herring — November 28, 2023
– A new shark census off the coast of the Republic of the Congo relied on hard-earned trust between researchers and artisanal fishermen.
– The team found endangered sharks and rays on potential nursery grounds, including juveniles and two species thought to be gone from the region.
– The authors recommend conservation strategies to protect endangered species without harming the livelihoods of Congolese fishermen.

Panama copper mine to close after Supreme Court rules concession unconstitutional by Maxwell Radwin — November 28, 2023
– Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of the Canadian company First Quantum Minerals (FQM), will have to shut down the Cobre Panamá mine after the country’s highest court ruled the concession contract unconstitutional.
– One of the challenges to the constitutionality of the contract focused on tendering, a process in which companies are invited to bid on a project, ensuring a fair market and competition.
– Last year, the mine produced over 86,000 tons of copper, around 1% of the world’s total production and 5% of Panama’s GDP. But the operation is also exacerbating a current drought and threatening migratory birds, protestors said.

Cultivation and processing of Amazonian coffees by Timothy J. Killeen — November 28, 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 and 2024.

Forest restoration to boost biomass doesn’t have to sacrifice tree diversity by Carolyn Cowan — November 28, 2023
– Restoring degraded forests to boost biodiversity, store carbon and reconnect fragmented habitats is a burgeoning area of tropical forest conservation.
– But uncertainty remains around the long-term impacts of various restoration approaches on forest biodiversity and functioning, with experts suggesting, for instance, that overly focusing on biomass accumulation for climate mitigation can come at the expense of species diversity.
– A new study in Malaysian Borneo has found that actively restoring logged forest plots with a diversity of native timber species, coupled with management of competitive vegetation, actually boosted adult tree diversity after nearly two decades compared to plots left to regenerate naturally.
– While the results add to a growing body of evidence that active restoration can lead to biodiversity gains, the authors caution that restoration approaches must be conducted in ecologically sensitive ways to avoid unintended outcomes.

Kenyan pastoralists fight for a future adapted to climate change (commentary) by Peyton Fleming — November 28, 2023
– Pastoralism provides much of the milk and protein consumed in Kenya, but it faces a perilous future especially from climate change but also a lack of infrastructure and land rights.
– Recent droughts have exacerbated the challenges, leading to conflict between pastoralist communities struggling to find enough forage and water for livestock.
– Fresh ideas and new programs are arising to help ease the situation in areas of northern Kenya, from where this dispatch originates.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

Do tree-planting projects on grasslands increase fire risk? by Alix Soliman — November 28, 2023
– Global tree-planting initiatives, aimed at storing carbon from the atmosphere, could include plantations in fire-prone African savannas.
– 58% of tree plantations grown in South African grasslands between 1980 and 2019 burned, polluting water and releasing carbon dioxide back into the air.
– As efforts to plant trees for carbon storage in Africa expand, researchers suggest cutting fossil-fuel emissions would be a better approach — but scientists are hotly debating the issue.

Collaboration key to rediscovery of egg-laying mammal in Papua’s Cyclops Mountains by Basten Gokkon — November 28, 2023
– Collaboration between international and local researchers, conservation authorities, NGOs and Indigenous groups was key to the success of an expedition in Indonesia’s Cyclops Mountains that uncovered new sightings of a rare egg-laying mammal and multiple unidentified species.
– “I think the trust between the expedition team and the community was important in the success of the expedition, and a lack of trust may have contributed to former searches being less successful,” said University of Oxford researcher James Kempton who proposed the expedition in 2019.
– The highlight of the expedition was camera-trap images of Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, distantly related to the platypus, which scientists hadn’t seen since 1961 and which they’d long feared was extinct.
– The expedition also found the Mayr’s honeyeater, a bird scientists haven’t seen since 2008; an entirely new genus of tree-dwelling shrimp; countless new species of insects; and a previously unknown cave system.

Carbon credit certifier Verra updates accounting method amid growing criticism by John Cannon — November 28, 2023
– The world’s largest carbon credit certifier, Verra, has overhauled its methods for calculating the climate impacts of REDD projects that aim to reduce deforestation.
– REDD stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
– The emissions reductions from these projects can be sold on the voluntary carbon market to individuals and companies, which proponents say provides a vital stream of funding for forest conservation.
– The update changes the process for calculating deforestation baselines, which help determine how effective a project has been at reducing forest loss and keeping the carbon those trees contain out of the atmosphere.

New calf brings new hope, and new concerns, for embattled Sumatran rhinos by Jeremy Hance — November 27, 2023
– A male Sumatran rhino calf was born Nov. 25 at Indonesia’s Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, marking the second birth at the facility in as many months.
– Independent estimates put the species’ wild population at no more than 47 individuals, so each new birth increases hopes the species can be saved from extinction; the new calf brings the captive population up to 11.
– However, the birth also highlights weaknesses of the captive-breeding program: the father and mother of the new calf are related, a consequence of all the male rhinos currently in captivity being descended from a single genetic line.

The tricky business of commercializing invasive plants to death by Shreya Dasgupta — November 27, 2023
– To control the spread of invasive plants, some have offered a different solution: harvest and sell the invaders into extinction.
– But as some initiatives show, making and selling artisanal products from invasive species can come with social, economic and ecological challenges.
– Instead, some conservationists and researchers say that invasive plants may need to be removed at large scales for industries like biofuel, and not just to make artisanal products.
– While some researchers worry this could incentivize keeping invasive plants around, advocates of commercialization contend that for some species, large-scale economic use might be the only way to control their spread.

How Indigenous peoples and local communities can make the voluntary carbon market work for them (commentary) by Francisco Souza, Jennifer Tauli Corpuz, Kanyinke Sena and Levi Sucre Romero — November 27, 2023
– The voluntary carbon market has the potential to address $4.1 trillion in nature financing gap by 2050 and support Indigenous peoples and local communities — when done right, argue a cohort of Indigenous leaders in a new commentary.
– The voluntary carbon market can work for and support Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPs and LCs), and them for it, but these communities have not been adequately engaged or consulted to participate in this carbon market.
– The Indigenous leaders announce the new IPs and LCs Voluntary Carbon Market Engagement Forum that is taking shape and will try to address these IPs and LCs’ priorities. The Forum is now coordinating open calls for Governing Board members and Forum partners.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Llama herding helps community in Peru recover from a melting glacier by Sierra Bouchér — November 27, 2023
– Melting glaciers in Peru leave behind barren rocky soil that can take decades to be productive again, and can harm local communities with acidic water run-off.
– Llamas can revitalize these landscapes much more quickly through their waste and by dispersing seeds for plants to regrow.
– Researchers are partnering with communities and llama herders in the Andes to improve soil quality and plant productivity as more ice retreats.

Discriminatory U.S. housing policies still affect bird sightings 90 years later by Chiara Villanueva — November 27, 2023
– Researchers have found far less data on bird sightings in neighborhoods impacted by discriminatory housing policies in the United States since the 1930s.
– Even with the rise of digital citizen science platforms like eBird in the last two decades, the information gap on bird species between wealthy and impoverished areas has gotten much worse.
– This legacy of environmental injustice in the U.S. prevents ecologists from having a reliable picture of biodiversity in major cities.

In Brazil’s Amazon, a clandestine road threatens a pristine reserve by Ana Ionova — November 24, 2023
– Terra do Meio Ecological Station, a pristine reserve under federal protection, has suffered invasions amid efforts to open up an illegal road cutting through the rainforest.
– Much of the deforestation is spilling over from APA Triunfo do Xingu, a sustainable use reserve that has become one of the most deforested corners of the Amazon in recent years.
– Federal and state authorities have cracked down on environmental crime in the region, but experts say this has not been enough to halt the advance of the road or stop outsiders from turning forest into pasture.
– Environmentalists worry that, if invaders succeed in fully opening up the road, it would splinter an important ecological corridor meant to protect the region’s rich biodiversity and its Indigenous residents.

Jane Goodall and Dax Dasilva partner with Amazon Indigenous youth for new Roots & Shoots program by Liz Kimbrough — November 24, 2023
– Jane Goodall is partnering with Dax Dasilva to bring her Roots & Shoots youth program to the Brazilian Amazon to help equip Indigenous youth to protect their ancestral lands.
– On Goodall’s first in-depth visit to the Amazon, she and Dasilva met with Juma Xipaya, who leads resistance against dams and illegal mining and logging in her indigenous territory of the Xipaya, located in Brazil’s Pará state.
– Deforestation and climate change are drying and degrading the Amazon rainforest, and this year saw historic droughts across the region.
– Indigenous territories remain important strongholds for safeguarding the remaining Amazon Rainforest.

Killings of Bornean orangutans could lead to their extinction by Madeline Reinsel — November 24, 2023
– Human actions have led to the deaths of more than 100,000 Bornean orangutans since 1999, mainly for crop protection, bushmeat or the illegal wildlife trade.
– For the first time in 15 years, researchers surveyed residents of Kalimantan, the Indonesian section of Borneo, to find out why people kill the great apes and whether conservation projects help protect them.
– Researchers found that killings seriously threaten orangutan numbers, and that conservation projects have not yet helped.

Chemical recycling of plastic not so fantastic, report finds by Elizabeth Claire Alberts — November 24, 2023
– A new report by NGOs International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and Beyond Plastics scrutinizes the chemical recycling industry that is on the rise in the U.S. and other parts of the world, including several European countries.
– Chemical recycling, also known as advanced recycling, is an umbrella term for industrial processes designed to use plastic waste as a feedstock to create fuel and new plastic products.
– While plastic producers and fossil fuel companies argue that chemical recycling presents a solution to the world’s plastic problem, environmentalists say chemical recycling is an unproven process that exacerbates the pollution problems it’s supposed to solve.
– In mid-November, negotiators met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the global plastics treaty. Chemical recycling was not formally discussed, but critics are concerned that it may be a part of future treaty negotiations.

U.N. carbon trading scheme holds promise and peril for tropical forests by Sarah Sax — November 23, 2023
– Suriname is one of the first countries to announce it aims to use emissions reduction results through a forest conservation scheme known as REDD+ to trade almost 5 million carbon credits underArticle 6 of the Paris Agreement.
– Article 6 of the agreement establishes a framework for emissions trading through market and non-market mechanisms, which are poised to play a central role in delivering the pledged emissions cuts of many countries.
– Around 85% of countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement have indicated their intent to use international carbon markets to achieve their updated or new emissions reduction targets.
– While some experts see Article 6 as a valid way to channel finance into REDD+, others are wary that it could compromise the integrity of the system.

Clouded leopards face alarming decline amid ‘genetic crisis,’ study warns by Carolyn Cowan — November 23, 2023
– Supremely adapted to life in the forest canopy, clouded leopards have declined in recent decades due to habitat loss and fragmentation, indiscriminate snaring, and poaching for their patterned coats.
– New genomic evidence indicates that both species of the big cat have low levels of genetic diversity and high rates of inbreeding and negative genetic mutations — factors that could ultimately compromise their long-term survival in the wild.
– Conservationists working to maintain genetic diversity among both captive and wild populations may face an uphill struggle. Clouded leopards are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity, and forest loss has fragmented wild populations, limiting genetic mixing in the wild.
– The new insights could be used by conservationists to focus protected-area design and captive-breeding programs with a view to maximizing genetic diversity.

Investigation shows ‘shadow companies’ linked to Indonesia palm oil giant First Resources by — November 23, 2023
– The investigation is part of Deforestation Inc, a reporting collaboration coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involving journalists from 28 countries.
– The findings indicate that companies associated with First Resources may have been behind more deforestation in Southeast Asia during the last five years than any other corporate organization.
– First Resources continues to supply blue chip consumer goods companies with palm oil, including Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo.

90 NGOs question Thailand Prime Minister on fisheries deregulation plan (commentary) by Steve Trent — November 23, 2023
– Thailand’s new government is promising to “unlock” fisheries by reducing regulation and transparency around vessels’ activities.
– A letter signed by 90 NGOs questions the National Fishing Association’s proposals for fisheries reform, including returning to day-rate salaries, permitting child labor and weakening punitive measures designed to deter illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
– This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Coffee and cacao in the Pan Amazon by Timothy J. Killeen — November 22, 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 and 2024.

Can impermanent carbon credits really offset forever emissions? by John Cannon — November 22, 2023
– A team of researchers has put forth a method that they say makes it possible to compare credits for carbon from forests projects against more permanent storage solutions.
– The carbon emissions that these credits are meant to offset can last for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in the atmosphere. Forests, by comparison, are subject to fires, disease and deforestation, meaning that their climate benefits can be more temporary than longer-term solutions, such as direct air carbon capture.
– By “discounting” the credits from forest carbon projects based on conservative upfront estimates of how long a forest will safeguard or sequester carbon, the authors say that “like-for-like” comparisons would be possible.
– The team published their work Oct. 30 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Glyphosate leaves its mark even in protected areas of Brazil’s Cerrado by Adriana Amâncio — November 22, 2023
– A study found lichens dying as a result of exposure to glyphosate in an ostensibly protected area in Brazil’s Goiás state.
– Formed by interaction between fungi and algae, lichens are bioindicators of air quality.
– Glyphosate is the top-selling herbicide in Brazil and the world, used intensively in soybean, corn and sugarcane plantations; around 70% of pesticides sold in the country are applied in the Cerrado grassland biome.
– The study confirms the dispersion of the product into conservation areas from farmland, with aerial spraying a major factor for this so-called drift.

The coveted legacy of the ‘Man of the Hole’ and his cultivated Amazon forest by Fabio Zuker — November 22, 2023
– Tanaru, also known as The Man of the Hole, was an Indigenous person who survived several massacres that decimated his relatives in the state of Rondônia, in the Brazilian Amazon, in the 1980s and 1990s.
– He was the last of his group and refused contact with non-Indigenous Brazilian society and with other Indigenous people for decades, and he died peacefully in 2022.
– Tanaru’s dramatic story was told in Corumbiara, a documentary by Vincent Carelli, who hoped to capture Tanaru’s footage to persuade the Brazilian state to recognize the land as an Indigenous territory.
– Now Indigenous people and advocates are fighting for the Tanaru Indigenous land to remain an Indigenous territory, but ranchers want to take possession of the plot to turn it into pastures and soy fields.


Last of the reef netters: Decline of an Indigenous, sustainable salmon fishery by Liz Kimbrough — November 21, 2023
The coveted legacy of the ‘Man of the Hole’ and his cultivated Amazon forest by Fabio Zuker — November 22, 2023
Mongabay CEO discusses slowdown in Amazon loss and other positive news by Mike DiGirolamo — November 21, 2023
Texas ocelot breeding and reintroduction may offer new route to recovery by Erik Iverson — November 21, 2023
End of impunity for Indigenous killings in sight for Brazil’s Guajajara by Karla Mendes — November 20, 2023
Circular economy poised to go beyond outdated oil, gas and coal, experts say by Sean Mowbray — November 16, 2023
Lethal or not? Australia’s beaches are a crucible for shark control methods by Nick Rodway — November 16, 2023
Indigenous farmers’ hard work protects a Philippine hotspot, but goes overlooked by Keith Anthony S. Fabro — November 16, 2023
Beyond Climate: Fossil fuels rapidly eroding Earth’s ‘safe operating space’ by Sean Mowbray — November 15, 2023