NASA and NOAA: 2016 hottest recorded year ever [01/23/2017]
- NOAA reported an average temperature for the year of 14.83 degrees C (58.69 degrees F) in 2016 – 1 degree C (1.69 degrees F) warmer than the average for the 20th century. - NOAA also said that, at 10.15 square kilometers (3.92 million square miles), the Arctic’s sea ice level is the lowest it’s been since 1979. - Weather- and climate-related disasters cost the U.S. 138 lives and $46 billion in 2016.
Bridge through Borneo wildlife sanctuary moving forward [01/22/2017]
- For more than a year, scientists and conservationists have argued that the 350-meter (1,148-foot) Sukau bridge crossing the Kinabatangan River in the Malaysian state of Sabah would hurt wildlife populations and a blossoming ecotourism market more than it would boost local economies. - The paved road that would accompany the bridge would cut through the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, home to Borneo elephants and 11 species of primates including orangutans. - A government official responded to recent reports about the bridge’s construction, saying that it would not begin until the environmental impact assessment has been completed.
Then and now: 100 years of wildlife loss and deforestation in Borneo [01/21/2017]
- With funding from National Geographic we are retracing the footsteps of Henry Cushier Raven, a specimen collector who travelled extensively in East Kalimantan, Indonesia between 1912 and 1914. - We want to know which species Raven found and whether we can still find these species today. - In April 2016, we already covered the Berau and East Kutai parts of Raven’s journey. This is the story of his Mahakam travels. - The story is published in four parts. This is part III.
Scientists ‘impressed and delighted’ by animals found in remnant forests [01/20/2017]
- A new study finds promising conservation value in forest corridors along rivers in Sumatra's plantation-dominated landscape. - But government regulations require areas of forest that border rivers -- called "riparian" forests – be left standing to safeguard water quality for downstream communities. - In the first study of its kind conducted in the tropics, researchers set camera traps in riparian forests through tree plantations near Tesso Nilo National Park. They found a significant mammal presence, including tapirs, tigers, bears, pangolins, and elephants. - The researchers say their findings indicate Sumatra's forest remnants could help keep wildlife populations afloat in areas with lots of habitat loss. However, they caution that these corridors are threatened by lax regulation enforcement, and can only work in tandem with larger forested areas.
This newly discovered moth has a hairdo just like Trump’s [01/20/2017]
- Neopalpa donaldtrumpi was formally described in the journal ZooKeys this week, just days before Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States. - A very small moth with a wingspan of just nine millimeters (0.4 inches), N. donaldtrumpi is the second species of twirler moth found throughout Southern California in the United States and Baja California, Mexico. - The researcher who made the discovery said he hopes that naming the new moth N. donaldtrumpi on the eve of Trump's inauguration will raise public awareness about the critical need for conservation of areas like the threatened habitat of the new species.
Indigenous traditional knowledge revival helps conserve great apes [01/20/2017]
- Deforestation and hunting continue to put Africa’s great apes at risk. National parks and other top down strategies have met with limited success. Many conservationists are trying alternative strategies, especially harnessing the power of indigenous taboos and other traditional knowledge to motivate local communities to protect great apes. - In remote parts of Africa, taboos against hunting have long helped conserve gorilla populations. However, those ancient traditions are being weakened by globalization, modernization and Christianity, with anti-hunting taboos and other traditional beliefs being abandoned at a time when they are most needed to conserve great apes. - Primatologist Denis Ndeloh Etiendem suggests a unique approach to reviving indigenous taboos and traditional beliefs — the creation of videos and films in which these beliefs are presented as a prime reason for conserving wildlife. He also urges that African environmental and general educational curricula focus not on endangered dolphins or whales, but on wildlife found in interior Africa. - Development specialist Dominique Bikaba emphasizes the importance of moving away from top down federal management, and to local management of community forests by indigenous communities, whose leaders mesh traditional beliefs with modern conservation strategies. Prime examples are successes seen at Burhinyi Community Forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Saving the Sumatran rhino requires changing the status quo [01/20/2017]
- With a small, fragmented population, the Sumatran rhino is currently on the path to extinction. - Despite dedicated efforts by conservationists, existing policies -- population surveys, anti-poaching efforts and a small breeding program -- have been unable to reverse this trend. - Attorney and nonprofit consultant W. Aaron Vandiver argues that we now face a binary choice between maintaining the status quo until the species goes extinct, or embracing the expense and "risk" required to carry out an ambitious plan to capture and manage the surviving population. - This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
NASA scientists find connection between fires and droughts in sub-Saharan Africa [01/19/2017]
- The Northern Sub-Saharan African region accounts for 20 to 25 percent of global carbon emissions from biomass burning. - Just like overgrazing, fires set by herders and farmers to clear the land dries out the soil and disrupts the local hydrological system, including rainfall patterns. - A team of researchers led by scientists at NASA used satellite records from 2001 to 2014 to analyze what impact fires had on soil moisture, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and other water cycle indicators.
‘Running out of time’: 60 percent of primates sliding toward extinction [01/19/2017]
- The assessment of 504 primate species found that 60 percent are on track toward extinction, and the numbers of 75 percent are going down. - Agricultural expansion led to the clearing of primate habitat three times the size of France between 1990 and 2010, impinging on the range of 76 percent of apes and monkeys. - By region, Madagascar and Southeast Asia have the most species in trouble. Nearly 90 percent of Madagascar’s more than 100 primates are moving toward extinction. - Primates also face serious threats from hunting, logging and ranching.
Trade in skulls, body parts severely threatens Cameroon’s great apes [01/19/2017]
- Primatologists in Cameroon have been heartened in recent years by the discoveries of new great ape populations scattered around the country. Unfortunately for these gorillas and chimpanzees, their numbers are being rapidly diminished by deforestation and human exploitation. - Cameroon’s gorillas and chimps have long fallen victim to the bushmeat trade, but they are now being hunted vigorously to feed a national and international illegal trade in skulls and other body parts which are being exported to Nigeria, other West African coastal states, and especially to the US and China, either as trophies or for use in traditional medicine. - Great ape trafficking operations in Cameroon are starting to resemble the ivory trade: International trafficking networks are financing hunters, providing them with motorbikes and sophisticated weapons. A spreading network of logging and agribusiness roads and a porous border between Cameroon and Nigeria are further facilitating the trade. - The seriousness of this poaching hits home when one considers that during a four-month period in 2015, anti-poaching and anti-trafficking squads in Cameroon arrested 22 dealers and seized 16 great ape limbs, 24 gorilla heads and 34 chimpanzee skulls in separate operations around the country. Law enforcement is likely only detecting 10 percent of the trade.
Private capital investments in conservation have taken off since 2013 [01/18/2017]
- Conservation investing has undergone a period of dramatic growth over the past two years, the NGO Forest Trends found, as the total amount of private capital committed to conservation efforts since 2004 climbed 62 percent after 2013, from $5.1 billion to $8.2 billion. - Investments in sustainable food and fiber account for the vast majority of total funds committed, some $6.5 billion. Meanwhile, $1.3 billion went to habitat conservation initiatives, and investments in efforts to improve water quality or quantity totaled another $400 million. - Among for-profit investors, half expect returns of 10 percent or more, according to Forest Trends' report, meaning that conservation investments are apparently performing well compared to traditional investment strategies.
Is Brazil green washing hydropower? The case of the Teles Pires dam [01/18/2017]
- The Teles Pires Hydroelectric Company (builder and operator of Brazil’s Teles Pires dam in the Amazon Basin) was awarded a Green Certificate in the “Responsible Social and Environmental Management” category of the Chico Mendes Award, a prize named after the murdered Brazilian eco-hero. - The company has won other green awards for its construction projects (including Amazon dams), and been awarded carbon credits by the United Nations. - But critics ask how green the company that built the Tele Pires dam can be when their project wrecked indigenous and traditional communities, led to the dynamiting of an indigenous sacred site, did harm to biodiversity and fisheries, while also likely producing significant carbon emissions. - The company claims it is not to blame, because it complied with all government regulations during the dam’s construction, and even went further to make the project sustainable. The Teles Pires dam raises key questions about “sustainability,” and who has the right to define it.
HSBC financing tied to deforestation, rights violations for palm oil in Indonesia [01/18/2017]
- HSBC has helped several palm oil companies accused of community rights violations and illegal deforestation pull together billions in credit and bonds, according to research by Greenpeace. - The bank has policies that require its customers to achieve RSPO certification by 2018 and prohibiting the bank from ‘knowingly’ engaging with companies that don’t respect sustainability laws and regulations. - Greenpeace contends that HSBC, as one of the world’s largest banks, should commit to a ‘No deforestation, no peat, no exploitation’ policy and should hold its customers accountable to the same standard.
Conservation’s best kept secret (database) [01/18/2017]
- The ZIMS database manages millions of medical and genetic records on 21,000 species cared for in captivity. - Long-used by zoos and aquariums, ZIMS could be useful for managing small populations of endangered species in the wild. - Data from ZIMS is now being used to improve wildlife recovery efforts and to better understand wildlife trade patterns.
New species of poison frog discovered in Amazonian slopes of Andes in southeastern Peru [01/17/2017]
- The species was found in just nine locales in the buffer zones of Manu National Park and the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, at the transition between montane forests and the lowlands, from 340 to 850 meters (1,115 to 2,788 feet) above sea level. - The region that the Amarakaeri poison frog calls home is considered one of the most biodiverse on the planet for herpetofauna, but it is also threatened by human activities, including agriculture, gold mining, logging, and an illegally constructed road meant for the transport of fuel for illegal miners and loggers in the area. - Based on IUCN Red List criteria, the research team that made the discovery propose that A. shihuemoy likely qualifies as Near Threatened.
‘Out of control’ wildfires damage protected areas in northern Peru [01/17/2017]
- A new analysis of satellite data describes dozens of fires that invaded protected areas throughout northern Peru in the last few months of 2016. - The rainy season has since extinguished the fires, but not before they burned through an estimated 2,668 hectares of protected habitat - Representatives from Peru's National Protected Areas Service (SERNANP) say they met the fires head-on and are working on ways to mitigate similarly severe fire seasons in the future, but critics say their efforts were lacking in 2016.
E.O. Wilson on Half-Earth, Donald Trump, and hope [01/17/2017]
- Celebrated biologist's new book outlines an audacious plan to save the biodiversity of Earth - He is also the author of numerous biological concepts, including island biogeography and biophilia - In a wide-ranging interview, he also discusses the Trump phenomenon and decries de-extinction and so-called 'Anthropocenists'
Indonesian government challenges another green group over freedom of information request [01/17/2017]
- Indonesian NGOs are making increasing use of the country's freedom of information law to gain access to data pertaining to the management of the country's natural resources. - In one ongoing case, Forest Watch Indonesia is trying to force the Ministry of Land and Spatial Planning to release in full the maps of oil palm companies' concessions, known as HGUs. - The ministry argues that releasing the names of the companies that hold the concessions is a violation of the firms' privacy.
Pileated gibbons poached as bushmeat to feed illegal rosewood loggers [01/17/2017]
- There were 14,000 Pileated gibbons (Hylobates pileatus) in southeast Thailand in 2005, the last time a census survey was done. No one knows what those numbers look like today. The animals are falling victim to illegal hunting, which is the most serious threat to wildlife across Southeast Asia according to a recent study. - The gibbons are especially being poached as bushmeat in Thap Lan National Park by poachers who feed on them when they venture deep into the forest to cut Endangered rosewood trees. 'Hongmu' (red wood) timber imports from the Mekong region to China between 2000 and 2014 were valued at nearly US $2.4 billion. - Underfunded and under-equipped Thai park rangers regularly engage in firefights with the armed loggers, but it is believed that gibbon numbers continue to fall, as the animals are easily spotted when they sing, and are shot out of the trees. - “In the past we used to hear [the gibbons singing] a lot, but now we don’t hear them so much. I think it’s people going into the forest to log that is affecting them,” said Surat Monyupanao, head ranger at Thap Lan National Park.
Southeast Asia’s coal boom could cause 70,000 deaths per year by 2030, report says [01/16/2017]
- A Harvard University-led research study analyzed the health impacts of existing and planned coal-fired power plants in Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. - The researchers found that air pollution from coal-fired power plants in the area of study currently causes around 20,000 premature deaths per year. - If all planned coal projects are constructed, that figure could rise to 70,000 deaths per year by 2030. - Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Myanmar would be most affected.
How local elites earn money from burning land in Indonesia [01/16/2017]
- Members of political parties and local figures are organizing farmers to burn land for sale to a variety of large and small buyers, a new study shows. - These elites pocket most of the profits from this destructive and illegal activity. Village officials who administer land documents and the workers who carry out the burning also receive a cut. - For the fires to stop, the study says, these actors must be disempowered through law and policy.
A trip on Borneo’s Mahakam River in search of forgotten wildlife [01/15/2017]
- With funding from National Geographic we are retracing the footsteps of Henry Cushier Raven, a specimen collector who travelled extensively in East Kalimantan, Indonesia between 1912 and 1914. - We want to know which species Raven found and whether we can still find these species today. - In April 2016, we already covered the Berau and East Kutai parts of Raven’s journey. This is the story of his Mahakam travels. - The story is published in four parts. This is part II.
Enforcement, development and education define efforts to save Vietnam’s rare primates [01/15/2017]
- An expert warns that a “wave of extinctions” among these populations could be imminent. - According to official and independent assessments, forest conservation enforcement is not enough to meet government-issued standards. - Educating local communities about forest conservation and its impact on protecting rare primates is widely seen as a key measure for preservation and species recovery.
Nutella manufacturer: Palm oil in product is ‘safe’, despite cancer concerns [01/15/2017]
- In May 2016, the European Food Safety Authority recommended limitations on the consumption of foods containing several compounds found commonly in products that use refined palm oil, such as baby formula. - The refining process results in the formation of several potentially carcinogenic esters in many types of vegetable oils, but the average levels in palm oils and fats were substantially higher than those found in other types of oil. - Ferrero, the Italian manufacturer of Nutella, said that the palm oil its product contains is processed at ‘controlled temperatures’ and is ‘safe.’
How one conservationist is sparking a ‘young revolution’ in Indonesia [01/13/2017]
- Pungky Nanda Pratama and his team at the NGO Animals Indonesia teach environmental education to five elementary schools in the surrounding villages. - The aim is to counter some of the destructive practices that threaten the health of Kerinci Seblat National Park — the largest park on the island of Sumatra, with the highest population of tigers. - To the children, ‘older brother Pungky’ is the fun teacher who shows them the pointy-nosed turtles on the riverbank and the flying dragons in the trees. To Pungky, these children hold the future of the forest in their hands. - This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
‘Last frontiers of wilderness’: Intact forest plummets globally [01/13/2017]
- More than 7 percent of intact forest landscapes, defined as forest ecosystems greater than 500 square kilometers in area and showing no signs of human impact, disappeared between 2000 and 2013. - In the tropics, the rate of loss appears to be accelerating: Three times more IFLs were lost between 2011 and 2013 as between 2001 and 2003. - The authors of the study, published January 13 in the journal Science Advances, point to timber harvesting and agricultural expansion as the leading causes of IFL loss.
NASA releases images of dramatic deforestation in Cambodia [01/13/2017]
- Cambodia lost around 1.59 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2014, and just 3 percent remains covered in primary forest. - This deforestation has led to the decline of wildlife habitat and the disappearance of tigers from the country – as well as the release of millions of tons of CO2. - The NASA imagery shows the rapid development of rubber plantations over the past decade. - Research attributes the jump in Cambodian deforestation rates primarily to changes in the global rubber price and an increase in concession deals between the government and plantation and timber companies.
Rusty patched bumblebee now first bee to be listed as endangered in continental U.S. [01/13/2017]
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced the endangered designation on Tuesday. - The final rule listing the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered appeared in the Federal Register the following day and will take effect on February 10. - According to FWS Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius, the bumblebee is among a group of pollinators, which also includes the monarch butterfly, whose populations have declined sharply across the country.
The Dammed Don: Lao hydropower project pushes ahead despite alarm from scientists [01/13/2017]
- Plans call for the Don Sahong dam to be built at a key channel for migratory fish species. Experts fear its construction could drastically reduce the Mekong's fish population. - Laos is moving forward with construction plans, despite protests from scientists, conservationists and other Mekong countries. - The dam will be built by foreign companies and managed through a private joint venture in which Laos' state-owned electricity company has only a minority stake.
New study analyzes biggest threats to Southeast Asian biodiversity [01/12/2017]
- Deforestation rates in Southeast Asia are some of the highest anywhere on Earth, and the rate of mining is the highest in the tropics. - The region also has a number of hydropower dams under construction, and consumption of species for traditional medicines is particularly pronounced. - A new study published in the journal Ecosphere analyzing all of the threats to Southeast Asia’s biodiversity concludes that the region “may be under some of the greatest levels of biotic threat.”
Great apes and greater challenges: Trafficking in Cameroon [01/12/2017]
- Cameroon is home to four great ape species and sub-species: the Western Lowland gorilla, Cross River gorilla, Central chimpanzee and Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee. Scientists still don’t fully understand these species and the secrets they may hold, especially for medical science, but those secrets will be lost if the animals are not conserved. - A thriving trade in ape skulls, bushmeat, and live animal trafficking is threatening to wipe out ape populations already stressed by habitat loss and fragmentation. The Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) is an NGO that is tackling the traffickers behind the African trade, but they are up against widespread government corruption that is hindering their efforts. - While confiscations of trafficked great apes is important, estimates put the total of traded animals being detected by law enforcement along trafficking routes at a mere 10 percent. That’s why many conservationists argue that trafficking needs to be stopped not at national borders and airports, but nipped in the bud at the source, in the wild.
Korean company bans forest clearing for Indonesian palm oil concessions [01/12/2017]
- Korindo came under scrutiny last year when U.S.-based environmental group Mighty Earth published a damning report on their practice of burning to clear land. - The report “Burning Paradise” was published on September 1, 2016 and alleged that Korindo had caused 30,000 hectares of deforestation and an estimated 894 fire hotspots since 2013. - The illegal, yet commonly-used practice of companies burning land to clear it, leads to an annual haze from forest and peatland fires.
Poaching gang of wealthy software engineers, coffee planters arrested in India [01/11/2017]
- The poaching incident came into light around New Year’s Eve. - A local conservation activist group WildCat-C and the Forest Department together nabbed 14 men involved in the killing of two Sambar deer, a large deer categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. - Conservationist says that such poaching incidents involve “trigger-happy” people who hunt opportunistically, mainly for wild meat.
Thousands hold ‘Global Protest Day’ to support world’s largest mangrove forest [01/11/2017]
- At more than 10,000 square kilometers, the Sundarbans is the world's biggest mangrove area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. - It is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals, provides important ecosystem services to human communities, and sequesters millions of tons of carbon. - A 1,320-megawatt, coal-fired power plant is being built just upriver from the Sundarbans, and critics say it threatens the mangrove as well as human health. UNESCO has urged its cancellation and relocation. - On Saturday, January 7, an estimated 4,000 people held rallies in cities around the world protesting the power plant and urging increased protection of the Sundarbans.
Meet the new ‘Skywalker’ gibbon [01/11/2017]
- The primate was discovered in the forests of the Gaoligong Mountains, which straddle the border between southwest China and northern Myanmar. - The species represents a new addition to the genus of hoolock gibbons, also known as white-browed gibbons due to their conspicuous facial markings, which are the second-largest gibbons after the siamang. - Researchers chose to name the ape the “Skywalker” hoolock gibbon (Hoolock tianxing) in order to reflect its preferred home high in the forest canopy, as well as what they describe as “the historical Chinese view of them as almost mystical beings.”
‘Day of Terror’: Munduruku village attacked by Brazil’s Federal Police [01/11/2017]
- On November 7, 2012, Brazil’s Federal Police launched the Eldorado Operation with a raid aimed at destroying an illegal gold mining barge at Teles Pires, a Munduruku village. During the attack, an Indian was killed by police — “executed,” according to a Federal Public Ministry (MPF) investigation. - The gold mining barge that was destroyed that day — and others in indigenous territory along the Teles Pires River in the Tapajós Basin — had been allowed to operate illegally by the government for years previously. - The income earned from the gold mining barges had recently been used to fund indigenous opposition to the Belo Monte mega-dam, and resistance to more than 40 dams proposed for the Tapajós Basin. The extreme violence of the Eldorado Operation has shaken Munduruku trust in Brazil’s government. - According to the Indians, the police told them to lie about these events, or face persecution. Mongabay’s videotaped eyewitness interviews have resulted in the MPF opening a new investigation into the Eldorado Operation; MPF is seeking US $2.9 million in damages for the Munduruku.
Myanmar’s ‘green princess’ is a humble activist on a mission [01/11/2017]
- Thant Cin, the great-granddaughter of Burma’s last royal family, King Thibaw and Queen Supalayat, is considered one of Myanmar’s first environmentalists and works to fight deforestation and environmental degradation in the Southeast Asian nation. - She is the founder of the environmental activist organizations Global Green Group (3G) and the Myanmar Green Network. - Despite having lived the life of a commoner, Thant Cin still considers it her royal duty to look after the interests of the Burmese people by fighting to protect the environment.
World’s most endangered fruit bat could soon be extinct due to rapid forest loss [01/10/2017]
- The rare bat is found only on two small islands of Anjouan and Mohéli in the Comoros archipelago, off the southeast coast of Africa. - Around 19 of the 21 remaining bat roost sites have been affected either by tree cutting, agricultural encroachment or soil erosion. - This bat may possibly have the lowest population estimate among all fruit bats, researchers suggest.
Trouble in India’s rhino paradise [01/10/2017]
- Two one-horned rhinos were shot in Kaziranga National Park in December, bringing the park's total number of poaching-related rhino deaths to 18 for the year. - Anti-poaching efforts face huge challenges: burgeoning demand for rhino horn in nearby China and Vietnam, easy terrain for poachers, poverty in the fringes of the park, and the presence of armed insurgent groups in the region. - Officials have responded by boosting anti-poaching patrols and punishing rangers found to be neglecting their duties, adopting new technologies and clearing encroachments on parkland. - Despite the ongoing threat of poaching, Kaziranga's rhino population is growing.
Fish for all? The fish-free fishmeal challenge [01/10/2017]
- The aquaculture industry is growing faster than the human population, at about eight percent each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. - About 20 percent of the world’s fish goes to aquaculture, depleting wild-caught forage fish such as anchovies and krill to provide essential oils and protein for the development and growth of these cultivated foods. - The first team to sell 100,000 metric tons of fish-free feed or, if that threshold isn’t reached, that sells the most feed by the end of the contest, on September 15, 2017, will be named the winner of the F3 challenge.
Newscast #9: Joel Berger on overlooked ‘edge species’ that deserve conservation [01/10/2017]
- We’re also joined by Andrew Whitworth, a conservation and biodiversity scientist with the University of Glasgow, who shares with us some of the recordings he’s made in the field of a critically endangered bird called the Sira Curassow. - Plus: China to close its domestic ivory markets, Cheetah population numbers crash, and more in the top news. - Happy New Year to all of our faithful listeners!
Fragmentation boosts carbon storage along temperate forest edges [01/09/2017]
- A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Science reports that trees on the edges of temperate forests in eastern Massachusetts grow nearly 90 percent faster than those on the interior, in contrast with the declines documented in tropical and boreal forest edges. - The increased growth rates and biomass production could translate into a 13-percent boost in carbon uptake and a 10-percent bump in carbon storage over current estimates over current estimates in the region. - However, these edges are more sensitive to higher temperatures, and as the climate warms, their growth rates will likely drop off more quickly than those further into the forest.
‘Too rare to wear’: new campaign targets tourists to end Hawksbill turtle trade [01/09/2017]
- The Hawksbill turtle’s striking shell is carved into jewelry, combs and other trinkets, which is then sold in markets across Latin America and the Caribbean. - The campaign, Too Rare to Wear, will help people learn about turtleshell souvenirs and how to avoid buying them while traveling in those regions. - The campaign includes a coalition of conservation organizations, tour operators, and media partners.
Following in Raven’s Footsteps: 100 years of wildlife loss on Borneo [01/06/2017]
- With funding from the National Geographic Society we are retracing the footsteps of Henry Cushier Raven, a specimen collector who travelled extensively in East Kalimantan, Indonesia between 1912 and 1914. - We want to know which species Raven found and whether we can still find these species today. - In April 2016, we already covered the Berau and East Kutai parts of Raven’s journey. This is the story of his Mahakam travels. - The story is published in four parts. This is part 1.
Free online analysis of forest change [01/06/2017]
- Global Forest Watch’s on-the-fly analysis tool calculates forest change within a specific area and time frame without experience using GIS software. - The user can customize the area and time period of the analysis by drawing or uploading polygon shapes. - These basic analysis tools can help users address a variety of forest spatial data questions.
An ‘infrastructure tsunami’ for Asia: Q&A with researcher William Laurance [01/06/2017]
- The world is in the grips of an infrastructure development boom, which threatens to cause enormous damage to vital ecosystems. - The "global roadmap" project led by William Laurance aims to show where roadbuilding can have the greatest benefits or the greatest harm. - Now, researchers are trying to map at a much finer scale in crucial zones in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.
Amazon Indigenous REDD+: an innovative approach to conserve Colombian forests? [01/06/2017]
- The Amazon Indigenous REDD+ (RIA) initiative led in Colombia by the indigenous organization OPIAC is being implemented in the departments of Amazonas and Guainia, territories made up of 169 indigenous reservations of 56 different villages, not counting the populations that are in voluntary isolation. - In 2012, the reservation of the Upper Basin of the Inírida River (CMARI), inside the Puinawai Nature Reserve, was chosen as the location of the first pilot implementation project of RIA in Colombia, which had its official presentation at COP18, the 18th meeting of the UN Climate Change Conference. - For indigenous communities in the Amazon, it is important that their ancestral traditions are recognized as the basis for the implementation of RIA and used as a mechanism to safeguard Amazonian biodiversity.
New maps show how our consumption impacts wildlife thousands of miles away [01/06/2017]
- The study identified 6,803 threatened species, pinpointed the commodities that contribute to threats affecting those species, then traced the implicated commodities to final consumers in 187 countries. - The maps revealed some unexpected linkages. - These maps can help connect conservationists, consumers, companies and governments to better target conservation actions, researchers say.
No ‘pause’ in rising global temperatures: Study confirms NOAA estimates of ocean warming [01/05/2017]
- In a paper published in Science in June 2015, a group of scientists led by Thomas Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, detailed the results of their analysis that corrected for various sources of bias in the data on global surface temperatures, showing in the process that global warming had not gone on hiatus after all. - Climate deniers were not convinced, however. Among them was Republican Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), chair of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, who subpoenaed communications between the NOAA scientists in an attempt to prove that they had rushed their research into publication in order to bolster the Obama Administration’s climate policies. - But new research published yesterday in the journal Science Advances confirms NOAA’s findings about ocean warming over the past two decades.