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  • Brazil's new Forest Code a mixed bag for native ecosystems

    24 April 2014, 6:03 pm by: Rhett Butler

    The revised Forest Code passed into law by Brazil in 2012 could authorize conversion of 400,000 square miles of native grassland for industrial agriculture, while granting amnesty for deforesters in the Amazon rainforest, argues a policy piece published this…
  • Brazil to test drones in monitoring the Amazon rainforest

    24 April 2014, 1:24 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Brazilian municipalities are planning to use drones to map properties and monitor forest cover as they move to step up enforcement of the country's Forest Code, reports The Financial Times.
  • Special Report: Palm oil, political interests, and land use in Indonesian Borneo (Part I)

    24 April 2014, 12:16 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    As one of the world’s largest palm oil producers, Indonesia is often at the receiving end of criticism and protests by activists, and even by its own people. Its poor forest and land management practices, which have been going on for decades, have degraded…
  • Chelonians for dinner: hunting threatens at-risk turtles and tortoises in India

    23 April 2014, 5:43 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    The extinction risk faced by mammals is often in the limelight. But it may be surprising to learn that next only to primates, chelonians—or turtles and tortoises—are the world’s most imperiled vertebrate group. New research indicates that two such…
  • Earth has fourth warmest March on record as forecasters see possible El Nino rising

    23 April 2014, 1:29 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    Last March was the fourth warmest on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Overall, temperatures were 0.71 degrees Celsius (1.28 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average during March. Looking…
  • After widespread deforestation, China bans commercial logging in northern forests

    22 April 2014, 2:50 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Forestry authorities in China have stopped commercial logging in the nation's largest forest area, marking an end to more than a half-century of intensive deforestation that removed an estimated 600 million cubic meters (21 billion cubic feet) of timber. The…
  • Earth Day Picture Gallery: Celebrating Indonesia

    22 April 2014, 1:54 pm by: Rhett Butler

    This Earth Day, we've decided to highlight the spectacular natural wonders of Indonesia, which is arguably the most biodiverse country on Earth. Indonesia is rich with wildlife thanks to its geography: some 17,000 islands spanning 1.9 million square kilometers…
  • Illegal logging makes up 70 percent of Papua New Guinea's timber industry

    22 April 2014, 11:30 am by: Jeremy Hance

    Corruption, weak governance, and powerful timber barons are illegally stripping the forests of Papua New Guinea, according to a new report from the Chatham House. The policy institute finds that 70 percent of logging in Papua New Guinea is currently illegal,…
  • NASA detects surge in deforestation in Malaysia, Bolivia during first quarter of 2014

    21 April 2014, 6:19 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Forest disturbance in Malaysia, Bolivia, Panama, and Ecuador surged during the first quarter of 2014, according to NASA data.
  • Small monkeys take over when big primates have been hunted out in the Amazon

    21 April 2014, 12:28 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    The barbecued leg of a spider monkey might not be your idea of a sumptuous dinner, but to the Matsés or one of the fifteen tribes in voluntary isolation in Peru, it is the result of a successful hunt and a proud moment for the hunter's family. However, a…
  • Brazil strips protected status from 5.2M ha

    21 April 2014, 1:27 am by: Rhett Butler

    While Brazil led the world in establishing new protected areas in recent years, it has also stripped legal protected status from some 5.2 million hectares (12.8 million acres) of land, finds a new study published in the journal Conservation Biology.
  • APRIL continued destroying high conservation rainforest up until January pledge

    21 April 2014, 12:27 am by: Rhett Butler

    Plantation giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) continued to source fiber produced by destruction of high conservation value forests in Sumatra right up until it committed to a new forest conservation policy, according to an investigation…
  • Behind the scenes of Showtime's blockbuster series on climate change

    18 April 2014, 2:11 pm by: Rhett Butler

    For years climate change activists and environmentalists have been clamoring for a high-profile, high-impact TV series about climate change to make Americans more aware of an issue that will affect billions of people around the globe in coming decades. This…
  • Rainforests on fire: climate change is pushing the Amazon over the edge

    18 April 2014, 12:04 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    From 1999-2010, nearly three percent of the Amazon rainforest burned, and climate forecasts indicate dry conditions conducive to fire will only become more commonplace in the future. A new study indicates that rainforests are more vulnerable to fire than…
  • Next big idea in forest conservation? Maps for the masses

    18 April 2014, 10:04 am by: Jeremy Hance

    Mark Mulligan makes maps for the masses. In his work on tropical forests, Mulligan uses GIS, modeling, remote sensing, and lab experiments to turn research into datasets and policy support systems, which are available online for use in development,…
  • Is Aru safe? Indonesia suspends plan to clear half the islands' forests

    17 April 2014, 4:55 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Aru, an area made up of about ninety-five low-lying islands in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia, has suspended a plan to clear half of its total forest cover for sugar cane. However, the island paradise is still not safe from large-scale…
  • Legal logging concessions drive illegal logging in Peru, threatening forests and indigenous people

    17 April 2014, 2:06 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Nearly 70 percent of "officially inspected" logging concessions in Peru have had their permits canceled or are under investigation for major breaches of forestry laws, finds a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. Worryingly, the research also…
  • Okapi-killing warlord shot dead in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    17 April 2014, 11:37 am by: Jeremy Hance

    The head of an informal militia and poaching group, Paul Sadala a.k.a. 'Morgan,' was killed on Monday after surrendering himself to the army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A well-known elephant poacher and terrorist, Morgan became most famous…
  • New relative of the 'penis snake' discovered in Myanmar

    17 April 2014, 10:00 am by: Jeremy Hance

    Scientists have discovered a new species of limbless amphibians, known as caecilians, in Myanmar. Dubbing the species, the colorful ichthyophis (Ichthyophis multicolor), the researchers describe the new amphibian in a recent paper published in Zootaxa. The…
  • Malaysia at risk of falling behind in push for more sustainable palm oil

    17 April 2014, 12:14 am by: Rhett Butler

    The Malaysian state should play a more active role in supporting the transition toward less environmentally destructive palm oil production, says a coalition of Malaysian NGO's. In a statement issued Sunday, the Malaysian Palm Oil NGO Coalition (MPONGOC) urged…
  • Weird and mysterious: scientists find new shark species

    16 April 2014, 4:25 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    A long snout with teeth jutting from the sides? Check. Catfish-like barbels dangling from its chin? Got them. Gills on the side of its body? It has those, too. These are characteristics of a bizarre group of sharks known as sawsharks. And until recently,…
  • Ecuador will have referendum on fate of Yasuni after activists collect over 700,000 signatures

    16 April 2014, 12:20 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    In what is a major victory for environmentalists, campaigners with United for Yasuni have collected 727,947 signatures triggering a national referendum on whether or not oil drilling should proceed in three blocs of Yasuni National Park in Ecuador.
  • Long lives, big impacts: human life expectancy linked to extinctions

    15 April 2014, 4:03 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Since the arrival of Homo sapiens, other species have been going extinct at an unprecedented rate. Most scientists now agree that extinction rates are between 100 and 1000 times greater than before humans existed. Working out what is driving these extinctions…
  • Nearly a thousand environmental activists murdered since 2002

    15 April 2014, 1:34 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    At least 908 people were murdered for taking a stand to defend the environment between 2002 and 2013, according to a new report today from Global Witness, which shows a dramatic uptick in the murder rate during the past four years. Notably, the report appears…
  • Malaysia imperils forest reserves and sea turtle nesting ground for industrial site (photos)

    15 April 2014, 10:33 am by: Jeremy Hance

    Plans for an industrial site threaten one of Malaysia's only marine turtle nesting beaches and a forest home to rare trees and mammals, according to local activists. Recently, the state government of Perak approved two industrial project inside Tanjung Hantu…
  • Ants plant rainforests, one seed at a time

    14 April 2014, 2:08 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Deforestation is destroying forests around the world, but its effects are especially obvious in the Amazon Basin. Due to cattle ranching, soybean farming, logging, and slash-and-burn agriculture, the rainforest is disappearing at a rapid pace. But a recent…
  • Climate change solution? UN touts ambitious (but cheap) investment in renewable energy

    14 April 2014, 10:53 am by: Jeremy Hance

    The world is warming rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, threatening everything from our food supply to our ecosystems, but the solution may be surprisingly cheap, according to the third and final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…
  • Riddled with tumors: another blow to the Sumatran rhino species

    14 April 2014, 9:32 am by: Jeremy Hance

    Conservation for Sumatran rhinos suffered another blow last week, only days after Suci—one of only ten rhinos in captive breeding efforts—died at Cincinnati Zoo. Scientists in the Malaysian state of Sabah revealed that a newly captured female, Iman,…
  • Life finds a way: the surprising biodiversity of cities

    11 April 2014, 3:05 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    In the largest global assessment of urban biodiversity to date, researchers examined the biodiversity of urban areas and found that cities are home to a surprising number of species. The study underlines the conservation importance of preserving and creating…
  • Amphibian pandemic may have hit Madagascar, hundreds of species at risk of infection

    11 April 2014, 11:53 am by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Madagascar is one of the world’s hotspots for amphibian diversity, home to so many frog species that many of them don’t even have names. But soon the island may also harbor a fungus causing drastic declines – even extinctions – of frogs around the…

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