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  • Conservationists propose Dracula Reserve in Ecuador

    24 October 2014, 4:29 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Deep in the dark, cool forests of Ecuador and Colombia live strange and mysterious organisms. Some inhabit the trees and others stay to the ground, and many are threatened by human encroachment. Because of this threat, Rainforest Trust has launched a Halloween…
  • Google's new Gombe Street View lets users 'walk' along chimp trails and into Jane Goodall's house

    24 October 2014, 1:22 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Google Maps is now available for Tanzanian forest paths. Users can walk virtually along the same trails Jane Goodall has used for her decades of chimpanzee monitoring -- and even into her house.
  • When cute turns deadly – the story of a wildlife biologist who was bit by a venomous slow loris,…

    24 October 2014, 11:41 am by: Brittany Stewart

    Slow lorises are YouTube stars. A quick search on the website will greet you with several videos of these endearing little primates--from a slow loris nibbling on rice cakes and bananas, to a loris holding a tiny umbrella. Lady Gaga, too, tried to feature a…
  • Beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products from 8 countries responsible for 1/3 of forest destruction

    23 October 2014, 4:23 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    Four commodities produced in just eight countries are responsible for a third of the world's forest loss, according to a new report. Those familiar with the long-standing effort to stop deforestation won't be surprised by the commodities named: beef, palm oil,…
  • Brazil declares new protected area larger than Delaware

    23 October 2014, 2:27 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Earlier this week, the Brazilian government announced the declaration of a new federal reserve deep in the Amazon rainforest. The protections conferred by the move will illegalize deforestation, reduce carbon emissions, and help safeguard the future of the…
  • Next big idea in forest conservation? Recognize the value of novel forests

    23 October 2014, 10:45 am by: Jeremy Hance

    Think first before you eradicate non-native species says Dr. Ariel E. Lugo, the current director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry within the USDA Forest Service, based in Puerto Rico. Lugo, an accomplished ecologist, supports the idea that…
  • Demand for rhino horn drops 38 percent in Vietnam after advertising campaigns

    22 October 2014, 4:21 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    A new poll finds that consumer demand for rhino horn in Vietnam has dropped precipitously following several advertising campaigns. According to the poll by the Humane Society International (HIS) and Vietnam CITES, demand has plunged 38 percent since last year.
  • Gold mining expanding rapidly along Guiana Shield, threatening forests, water, wildlife

    22 October 2014, 3:45 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Gold mining is on the rise in the Guiana Shield, a geographic region of South America that holds one of the world’s largest undisturbed tract of rainforest. A new mapping technology using a radar and optical imaging combination has detected a significant…
  • Saving the survivor: China scrambles to keep the finless porpoise from extinction

    22 October 2014, 10:35 am by: Tiffany Roufs

    On the morning of July 14, 2002 Qi Qi ate breakfast as he always did. As the world’s only captive baiji – or Yangtze river dolphin – Qi Qi was something of a celebrity in China and his caretakers kept a close eye on his health. That care may explain why,…
  • Colombia reports drop in deforestation

    21 October 2014, 5:11 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Colombia has for the first time released an annual report on deforestation, revealing that forest loss during 2013 was lower than the recent average. The government says some 120,933 hectares of natural forest were cleared between January and December 2013.
  • 'No forests, no cash': palm oil giants commit to sustainability, but will they follow through?

    21 October 2014, 2:31 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Four of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers signed a landmark commitment in New York in September to further implement sustainable practices across one of the country’s largest commercial sectors. Then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the…
  • Coal, climate and orangutans – Indonesia’s quandary

    21 October 2014, 1:14 pm by: Tiffany Roufs

    What do the climate and orangutans have in common? They are both threatened by coal - the first by burning it, and the second by mining it. At the recent United Nations Climate Summit in New York, world leaders and multinational corporations pledged a variety…
  • Top scientists raise concerns over commercial logging on Woodlark Island

    21 October 2014, 1:05 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    A number of the world's top conservation scientists have raised concerns about plans for commercial logging on Woodlark Island, a hugely biodiverse rainforest island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The scientists, with the Alliance of Leading Environmental…
  • Saving Asia's other endangered cats (photos)

    21 October 2014, 10:47 am by: Jeremy Hance

    It's no secret that when it comes to the wild cats of Asia—and, really, cats in general—tigers get all the press. In fact, tigers—down to an estimated 3,200 individuals—arguably dominate conservation across Asia. But as magnificent, grand, and…
  • Indonesian law bars palm oil companies from protecting forests

    20 October 2014, 11:15 pm by: Rhett Butler

    A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers' commitments to phase…
  • Indonesia developing mega coal mine five times larger than Singapore

    20 October 2014, 2:00 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Global miner BHP Billiton and Indonesian partner PT Adaro are developing what could become the single largest mine in Indonesia in terms of land area, with BHP owning 75 percent. The IndoMet mine complex in Central and East Kalimantan provinces on Borneo…
  • With death of rhino, only six northern white rhinos left on the planet

    20 October 2014, 10:46 am by: Jeremy Hance

    Rhino conservation suffered another tragic setback this weekend with the sudden death of Suni, a male northern white rhinoceros at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Suni's passing means there are only six northern white rhinos left in the world, and only one…
  • Walking the walk: zoo kicks off campaign for orangutans and sustainable palm oil

    20 October 2014, 10:08 am by: Jeremy Hance

    If you see people wearing orange this October, it might not be for Halloween, but for orangutans. Chester Zoo’s conservation campaign, Go Orange for Orangutans, kicks off this month for its second year. The campaign aims to raise money, and awareness, for…
  • Behind on biodiversity targets, govts pledge to increase funding for conservation

    17 October 2014, 7:18 pm by: Rhett Butler

    On the heels of a report showing that the world is far behind on targets to halve habitat loss, cut pollution, and reduce overfishing, delegates meeting at a United Nations conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea have agreed to increase step up efforts to…
  • Indonesia’s tough choice: capping coal as Asian demand grows

    17 October 2014, 4:44 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Indonesia cannot build power stations fast enough. And neither can most of its Asian neighbors. Rapid economic and population growth are driving equally rapid demands for electricity as the region builds out power grids to connect up millions of people to fuel…
  • Push to undermine Indonesia's new president could stymie environmental progress, say NGOs

    17 October 2014, 2:55 pm by: Rhett Butler

    concerted push by political elites to undermine Indonesia's president before he even takes office could stymie progress on social and environmental issues in the country, say Indonesian civil society groups. On July 9, former Surakarta (Solo) and Jakarta mayor…
  • To become less damaging, target non-forest lands for palm oil, says book

    16 October 2014, 2:12 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Palm oil production has been spectacularly profitable but ecologically disastrous across Southeast Asia, consuming millions of hectares of indigenous lands, rainforests, and peatlands in recent decades. That paradox has made the crop highly controversial…
  • Indonesia tries to clamp down on coal sector’s worst excesses

    16 October 2014, 12:00 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    Out of the jungles of East Borneo in Indonesia comes the fire that fuels Asia’s burgeoning economies: coal. Miners dig deep open pits, clearing forests and farmlands to extract coal from thick black seams, which is then crushed and loaded onto trucks and…
  • Daring activists use high-tech to track illegal logging trucks in the Brazilian Amazon

    15 October 2014, 3:34 pm by: Jeremy Hance

    Every night empty trucks disappear into the Brazilian Amazon, they return laden with timber. This timber —illegally cut —makes its way to a sawmills that sell it abroad using fraudulent paperwork to export the ill-gotten gains as legit. These findings are…
  • Scientists find temperate bat in the hot tropics of the Western Ghats (photos)

    15 October 2014, 12:28 pm by: Tiffany Roufs

    The Western Ghats is one of the world’s eight richest biodiversity hotspots. A UNESCO World Heritage site, and also known as the Great Escarpment of India, the Ghats run parallel to India’s west coast. This great ecosystem is home to over 139 mammal…
  • Researchers create global map of world's forests circa 1990

    14 October 2014, 7:56 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Researchers have created a global map of the world's forests in the year 1990, enabling accurate comparisons between past and current deforestation rates. The GIS data underpinning the map is available at
  • As Amazon deforestation falls, small farmers play bigger role in forest clearing

    14 October 2014, 7:11 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Smallholder properties account for a rising proportion of overall deforestation in Brazilian Amazon, suggesting that Brazil’s progress in cutting forest loss through stricter law enforcement may be nearing the limits of its effectiveness, finds a new study…
  • India plans huge palm oil expansion, puts forests at risk

    14 October 2014, 4:28 pm by: Morgan Erickson-Davis

    The world's largest importer of palm oil, India is seeking to slake its thirst domestically. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that India has the potential to cultivate oil palm in 1.03 million hectares of land--nearly the size of the U.S. state of…
  • Plantation companies in Sumatra failing to meet fire prevention standards

    14 October 2014, 4:20 pm by: Rhett Butler

    An inter-agency audit of 17 plantation and timber concessions in Riau Province, Indonesia, found that every company is failing to meet fire prevention and control standards. In addition, several companies are working in prohibited areas, including peatlands…
  • Rogue palm oil company appeals deforestation case to Indonesia's supreme court

    14 October 2014, 4:11 pm by: Rhett Butler

    Oil palm company PT. Kallista Alam has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court continuing the closely-watched legal battle set to redefine Indonesia's commitment to environmental justice. Lawyers for the company filed the new appeal on October 6, claiming the…

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