‘Ships, sonar and surveys’: Film explores impacts of a noisy ocean [09/21/2017]
- Sonar, air gun charges for oil and gas exploration, and ship traffic in the ocean can interfere with marine mammal communication, cause physiological problems and drive animals to strand on beaches. - A new film, “Sonic Sea,” traces the risks of an increasingly noisy ocean to whales, dolphins and porpoises. - The film is a finalist for the Best Science in Nature prize at the 2017 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Jackson, Wyoming. - The winners will be announced Sept. 28.
Four new toads discovered in Sumatra [09/21/2017]
- Scientists discovered four new species of toads who, unlike their cousins, live isolated in the highlands of Sumatra. - The four toads are distinguishable from one another by their skin patterns, limb shapes and voices. - In the wake of the discovery, one of the researchers called on the Indonesian government to strengthen the monitoring of harvesting quotas for toad exports so that scientists can keep track of its population in the wild.
Historical nautical maps show coral loss more extensive than previously believed [09/20/2017]
- Researchers used nautical charts produced in the 1770s to help quantify changes in the coral reefs of the Florida Keys over the past 240 years. - Loren McClenachan, a professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine who led the study, said that, after comparing the historical charts to modern coral maps produced using satellite data, she and her team discovered that, overall, 52 percent of the coral reef habitat mapped by British cartographers in the 18th century no longer exists — and that in some areas, especially nearer to the coastline, coral loss was even more severe. - McClenachan said her team’s findings hold crucial implications for the conservation of what’s left of coral reef systems in the Florida Keys, as they improve our estimates of historical abundance and the full extent of subsequent coral loss and therefore must also alter our aspirations for their recovery.
Cross currents: Mega-dams and micro-hydro offer two different futures for rural Borneo [09/20/2017]
- Rural villages along the Papar River in Sabah, Malaysia are getting electrical infrastructure for the first time by building micro-hydropower systems. - The proposed Kaiduan Dam would flood the Ulu Papar Valley, displacing villagers in order to provide a water source to the state capital, Kota Kinabalu, and its environs. - Villages share what they have learned about managing their new hydropower systems, and work together to try to block plans for the dam.
Citizen scientists use mobile apps to help “green” the ocean [09/20/2017]
- Marine debris litters beaches and underwater habitats across the globe, even in remote areas, where it harms hundreds of animal species, from corals to whales. - Mobile phone apps have launched to encourage and assist volunteers in cleaning up marine habitats by facilitating the recording and sharing of their efforts via social media. - Volunteers also become citizen scientists, as the apps compile data from thousands of clean-ups into global databases to permit analysis of trends in trash composition and distribution and to bring to light the damage being done by debris to marine creatures and systems.
Stalking snow leopards: Q&A with the director of “Ghost of the Mountains” [09/20/2017]
- In spring 2014 a crew of filmmakers ventured to the remote mountains of Sanjiangyuan in China’s western province of Qinghai to film the notoriously elusive snow leopard in the wild. - A new film, “Ghost of the Mountains,” documents that expedition. - The film is a finalist for Best People and Nature Film in the 2017 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival taking place next week in Jackson, Wyoming.
Pangolins reduced to small, isolated populations in Bangladesh: new study [09/20/2017]
- With the help of the Mro tribe in Bangladesh, researchers have found that pangolins do persist in many forested areas of the country, but in small, isolated populations. - Of the four Asian pangolin species, the Chinese pangolin seems to occur most commonly in Bangladesh, while the Indian pangolin is possibly rare or extinct within the country, the researchers say. - The study also found that pangolin hunting has shot up since 2010, most likely due to a sharp rise in the price of pangolin scales.
Amazon dam defeats Brazil’s environment agency (commentary) [09/20/2017]
- The term “controversial” is inadequate to describe the São Manoel Dam. - It is located only 700 m from the Kayabí Indigenous Land and has already provoked a series of confrontations with the indigenous people. - As with other dams, São Manoel can be expected to negatively affect the fish and turtles that are vital food sources for the Kayabí, Munduruku and Apiacá indigenous groups. - This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author.
Photos: South America’s adorable Andean bear [09/20/2017]
- This photo essay comes via Mongabay's partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society's Wild View blog. - Once a month we'll publish a contribution from Wild View that highlights an animal species. - This month, Scott Silver writes about the only bear species from South America – the Andean bear. - Sometimes called the spectacled bear due to its cream-colored facial markings that can look like eyeglasses, these bears are found in parts of southern Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and northern Argentina.
Fossil discovery in Indonesia reveals ‘lost world’ of beasts [09/19/2017]
- On the Indonesian island of Sumba, scientists unearthed the bones of tiny elephants, giant rats and other extinct creatures. - They also found Komodo dragon fossils, confirming the lizard's existence outside the islets off of nearby Flores island. - Sumba remains little researched. The scientists hope more can be done.
Traffickers find new ways to smuggle rhino horn out of Africa [09/19/2017]
- Criminal networks of Chinese origin operating in southern Africa have started processing rhino horn into jewelry and other trinkets before smuggling it out of the continent, reports wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic. - A shift from smuggling whole horns to jewelry complicates law enforcement efforts, and suggests there is a growing demand for luxury items made from rhino horn. - New tactics and trade routes underscore how difficult it is for authorities to combat global trafficking networks.
Audio: Legendary musician Bruce Cockburn on music, activism, and hope [09/19/2017]
- Music has a unique ability to inspire awareness and action about important issues — and we’re excited to welcome a living legend onto the program to discuss that very topic. - Bruce Cockburn, well known for his outspoken support of environmental and humanitarian causes, appears on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast. - Our second guest is Amanda Lollar, founder and president of Bat World Sanctuary, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Texas. - All that plus the top news!
Andes dams could threaten food security for millions in Amazon basin [09/19/2017]
- More than 275 hydroelectric projects are planned for the Amazon basin, the majority of which could be constructed in the Andes whose rivers supply over 90 percent of the basin’s sediments and over half its nutrients. - A new study projects huge environmental costs for six of these dams, which together will retain 900 million tons of river sediment annually, reducing supplies of phosphorus and nitrogen, and threatening fish populations and soil quality downstream. - Accumulating sediments upstream of dams are projected to release 10 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, significantly contributing to global warming, and would contaminate waters and the aquatic life they support with mercury. - The construction of these dams should be reconsidered to preserve food security and the livelihoods of millions of people in the Amazon Basin.
Belo Monte dam installation license suspended, housing inadequacy cited [09/19/2017]
- A federal court has suspended the installation license of the Belo Monte mega-dam in the state of Pará, Brazil. The dam, slated to have the world’s third-largest generating capacity, became operational in 2015, but won’t see construction finished until 2019. - The court ordered further construction halted until Norte Energia met the commitments it made in 2011 to provide adequate housing for those displaced by the dam, including indigenous and traditional people that had been living along the Xingu River. - Among commitment violations cited were houses built without space for larger families, houses built from different materials than promised, and homes constructed too far from work, schools and shopping in Altamira, a city lacking a robust public transportation system. - The consortium continues to operate the dam, as its operating license has not been suspended.
First orangutan birth in Aceh reserve ‘gives hope’ for survival of species [09/19/2017]
- The first baby orangutan was born at the Pinus Jantho Nature Reserve in Sumatra. - The other release site in Sumatra, Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, saw a similar birth last year, the first at either site. - Both Jantho and Bukit Tigapuluh hold an entirely new population of orangutans being established in the Sumatran wilds.
Indonesia abuzz over possible finding of extinct tiger [09/19/2017]
- Park rangers in Java photographed a big cat that resembled the Javan tiger which was officially declared extinct in 2003. - The finding prompted authorities and NGO in Indonesia to deploy an investigation team to gather more evidence. - Meanwhile, some experts argued that the animal was most likely the Javan leopard.
Pursuing a decent life for all on a sustainable planet (commentary) [09/18/2017]
- Mounting evidence reminds us how human actions have begun changing the climate and forced an awareness of global warming’s impact on the quality of human life. That awareness will be top of mind for participants in the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly taking place in New York City this week. - General Debate in the assembly this year considers the theme of “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.” - That topic deliberately invites discussion about the inter-connectedness of all the world’s people and our dependence on a shared planet if we are to thrive and prosper. - This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors.
CETA: environmentally friendly trade treaty or corporate Trojan horse? [09/18/2017]
- As early as September 21st, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) could come into provisional effect, linking international commerce between Canada and all of the nations in the European Union (EU). - Supporters claim CETA includes new mechanisms that make it a blueprint for future trade treaties, chief among them the replacement of the controversial Investor State Dispute System (ISDS), with the new investor court system (ICS). - Opponents argue CETA’s rules guarantee numerous benefits for foreign investors and transnational corporations, while the agreement includes no enforceable rules to guarantee labor rights, environmental protection or food safety. “Profit comes before people and the planet,” argues one expert. - Though it could come into provisional effect as early as this week, big roadblocks remain before CETA is fully approved, with resistance possible from the public, NGOs and government.
Indigenous victory: Brazil’s Temer decrees 1.2 million Amazon reserve [09/18/2017]
- In a rare recent victory for Brazil’s indigenous people, President Temer has established the 1.2 million hectare Indigenous Territory of Turubaxi-Téa along the Middle Negro River in Amazonas state. - While NGOs and indigenous groups applaud the move, they note that the region has not been claimed by the Temer-backed ruralists, agribusiness and mining interests, who have aggressively disputed indigenous claims to ancestral lands in the southern Amazon region. - Two weeks ago, Temer reversed a decree establishing the 532-hectare indigenous Territory of Jaraguá in São Paulo state, ancestral home to 700 Guarani Indians. As a result, the indigenous group has now been squeezed into a reserve covering just 1.7 hectares. - Brazil also just established the 5,200-hectare Indigenous Territory of Tapeba, near Fortaleza, the capital of the northeastern state of Ceará. These indigenous victories do not seem to indicate a shift away from Temer’s wave of initiatives undermining indigenous land rights.
Oil palm firms advance into Leuser rainforest, defying Aceh governor’s orders [09/18/2017]
- The government of Indonesia's Aceh province has banned land clearance for oil palm development inside the Leuser Ecosystem. - However, deforestation is still ongoing as some companies ignore the moratorium. - During the first seven months of 2017, Leuser lost 3,941 hectares of forest cover, an area almost three times as large as Los Angeles International Airport, watchdogs say.
Does social forestry always decrease deforestation and poverty? (commentary) [09/17/2017]
- Many governmental and non-governmental organizations see community forestry in Indonesia as a new approach to reducing environmental degradation and increasing social welfare. Despite a decade of experimentation with the concept, very little is known, however, about actual impacts. - Studies by the Monitoring and Evaluation of Social Forestry program (MEPS) reveal that Village Forest (Hutan Desa) areas reduce deforestation in forests allocated for watershed protection and limited timber extraction - In forest allocated to normal timber production and conversion, Hutan Desa areas, however, have higher deforestation than comparable forests not managed by communities. Community forestry can achieve positive outcomes, but not everywhere. The government needs to take this insight on board to help in allocating licenses and investments for this scheme. - This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author.
‘Snow white’ giraffes caught on video for the first time [09/16/2017]
- Two rare white giraffes have been captured on video in the wild for the first time, reports a wildlife conservancy in Kenya. - The giraffes are leucistic, meaning they have a genetic condition that inhibits pigmentation in skin cells. - The giraffes are not albino, or lacking melanin throughout their bodies.
Local approaches to conservation may be the most effective, study finds [09/15/2017]
- Researchers compared deforestation and forest degradation rates in areas of the Peruvian Amazon that were unprotected to those protected through government and local management. - They found, on average, locally led conservation initiatives proved more successful in preserving forests than those that are government-managed. - The study adds to mounting evidence that letting local and indigenous communities officially manage their forests may often be a highly effective way to conserve them. - However, official recognition of land rights often stands in the way of community-based conservation initiatives. The researchers urge the process be simplified so that more indigenous territories can be established and managed by the people who live in them.
Spot the pattern: Whisker-prints and citizen science [09/15/2017]
- University of Manitoba researchers are pioneering the use of whisker pattern analysis software to identify and track polar bears in Canada. - Whisker print identification can aid polar bear researchers in investigating bear behaviors and interactions, assessing and mitigating potential human-polar bear conflict, and evaluating the potential impacts of climate change on the bears. - The integration of citizen science into the Whiskerprint Project has helped researchers to collect the bears’ images for identification and raise awareness of the importance of polar bear conservation, while enhancing STEM education for local students.
What works in conservation? In-depth series starts next week [09/15/2017]
- "Conservation Effectiveness" is a multi-part series investigating the effectiveness of some of the most popular strategies to conserve tropical forests around the world. - The series is the result of a collaboration between Mongabay staff reporters Shreya Dasgupta and Mike Gaworecki, and a team of conservation scientists led by tropical forest ecologist Zuzana Burivalova of Princeton University. - Conservation Effectiveness launches next week.
Amazon mining unleashed (commentary) [09/15/2017]
- On August 23, 2017, Brazil’s president Michel Temer issued a decree revoking the RENCA, an area the size of Switzerland in the Amazon. - The Ministry of Environment had not been consulted and Brazil’s environmentalists and public were caught by surprise - A firestorm of criticism in Brazil and abroad led Temer to “revoke” the decree on August 28th and replace it with a new one. - This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author.
Pygmy death shows need for land reform, group says [09/15/2017]
- The shooting death of a Pygmy native in the Democratic Republic of Congo is putting park rangers there under the microscope. - The rangers in the country's protected areas are employed by a semi-government entity in charge of protected areas, the ICCN. - Local Pygmy groups and some advocacy organizations say the shooting proves that proper access to the forest is crucial to their way of life and safety.
Nicaraguan beef raised illegally in biological reserve mostly exported [09/14/2017]
- Environmental organizations and the indigenous Rama-Kriol Territorial Government in southeastern Nicaragua have reported the invasion and deforestation of the core zone of the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. - The invasion is caused by the advance of agriculture and the expansion of cattle raising. - Most of the cattle sold in La Maravilla market come from the company’s paddocks. Some of these cattle are raised and fattened inside the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve.
Rehabilitating wildlife in the aftermath of Harvey [09/14/2017]
- When the team at Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford, Texas, a town about 30 miles west of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, heard about what was happening to bats as Hurricane Harvey battered Houston, they knew immediately that they had to help. - It wasn’t just bats that needed saving, of course: Wildlife rehabilitators rescued numerous species after the storm, from common animals like beavers, deer, opossums, owls, and raccoons to rarer wildlife like alligator snapping turtles and magnificent frigatebirds. - Many of the animals were treated in the field and released, but those that needed more extensive medical attention were taken to wildlife rehab facilities across the state of Texas.
Protest against hydropower plant in Sumatra ends with injuries [09/14/2017]
- On Aug. 24, indigenous people in North Sumatra staged a protest against the development of a planned 510-megawatt hydroelectric dam which threatens to evict them from their ancestral land. - The protest turned sour after a woman was knocked over during a scuffle between protestors and people claiming to be representatives of the project's developer, PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy. - The project also threatens to damage the ecosystem of the Batang Toru forest, home to Critically Endangered Sumatran tigers and orangutans.
North America’s ash trees, Africa’s antelopes face heightened threat of extinction [09/14/2017]
- The latest update to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, released today, finds that even species once considered so abundant as to be safe have been put at risk of extinction by human activities and their impacts on the environment. - Five of the six most widespread and valuable ash tree species in North America have declined so severely due to an invasive beetle that they have now been entered onto the Red List as Critically Endangered, the last threat level before extinction in the wild. - Five African antelopes also had their threat status upgraded in the latest Red List update, among them the Giant Eland (Tragelaphus derbianus), previously listed as Least Concern but now Vulnerable, and the Mountain Reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula), also previously listed as Least Concern but now assessed as Endangered.
Ecologist wins Heinz environment prize for airborne mapping that informs policy [09/14/2017]
- Ecologist Greg Asner of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory will receive a $250,000 award from the Heinz Family Foundation for his work to map rainforests and coral reefs around the world. - Lawmakers and other key decision-makers use Asner’s research to guide policy in the United States, South America and Southeast Asia. - Asner said he intends to put the funds toward marine education and outreach in Hawaii, where he began his career.
Samsung won’t partner with Korindo following outrage over forest destruction in Indonesia [09/14/2017]
- Under fire from watchdogs and consumers of its smartphones, Samsung said it would not pursue a joint venture with Korindo, itself the target of an NGO campaign for destroying rainforests in Indonesia. - Korindo was previously outed in a Mighty Earth report for using fire to clear dense forests in Indonesia's Tanah Papua region, home to birds-of-paradise and tree kangaroos. - Papua is the last frontier for oil palm plantation firms like Korindo, and they move east in search of land on which to expand.
Move to open U.S. Atlantic coast to oil drilling meets increased opposition [09/13/2017]
- In April, Trump issued an executive order aimed at implementing his so-called “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” which called for a review of the 2017-2022 Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program finalized under the Obama Administration and proposed that all U.S. waters be considered for offshore drilling. - The executive order also instructed federal agencies to "streamline" the permitting process for "seismic research and data collection" and "expedite all stages of consideration" of Incidental Harassment Authorizations required under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. - A species of particular concern is the North Atlantic right whale, which is listed as critically endangered under the US Endangered Species Act. There are only about 500 of the whales left, and their only known calving ground is off the coast of the southeast US, including the area where seismic surveying has been proposed.
Communities struggle to save Sabah’s shrinking mangroves [09/13/2017]
- A development plan establishing shrimp farms and timber plantations begun purportedly to reduce poverty in northern Sabah, Malaysia, has attracted criticism from local communities and NGOs, which say the project is ignoring communities’ land rights. - Satellite imagery shows the clearing of large tracts of mangrove forest for shrimp farms. Critics of the development say this is depriving forest-dependent local communities of their livelihoods as well as threatening mangrove wildlife. - Several communities have banded together and are together petitioning the government to officially recognize their rights to the remaining mangroves and prevent further clearing for development.
Curiosity saves the cat: Tourism helps reinvent the jaguar [09/13/2017]
- Retaliatory killings of jaguar by cattle ranchers currently threaten the recovery of the species and the long-term viability of tour operators dependent on their presence. - A recent study found that the value of jaguars to tourism (US$6,827,392) was far in excess of the cost to ranchers from depredation of their cattle (US$121,500). - Tourists were overwhelmingly receptive to the idea of donating to a compensation fund for ranchers that live harmoniously with jaguars.
Palm oil giant FGV will ‘endeavor to rehabilitate’ peatlands it trashed in Borneo [09/13/2017]
- About a year ago, Felda Global Ventures promised to stop clearing rainforests and peatlands to make way for its oil palm estates. - This year, though watchdogs reported that the company had continued to clear over 1,000 hectares of forest and peat in Indonesian Borneo, violating not only its green pledge but also its obligations as a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), as well as a new government regulation. - Last month, FGV renewed its commitment and said it would try to rehabilitate the peatlands it planted since August 2016.
Transformance: Finding common ground in the Amazon (commentary) [09/12/2017]
- The Fórum Bem Viver (Good Life Forum) met earlier this month to bring together indigenous leaders, military police, a federal judge, television actors, musicians, journalists, scientists and activists from eight countries and 14 Brazilian states. - The event, organized by the eco-cultural education nonprofit Rios de Encontro, utilized arts performances and workshops to seek common ground between participants regarding sustainable solutions in the Amazon. - The event was held in Marabá, Pará state, which is home to the Carajás mine, the world’s largest iron ore mine, and the community sits beside the Tocantins River where a dam is proposed upstream. - Participants sought solutions for turning Marabá into an “example of sustainable development for the Amazon, the Americas, and the world.” This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
Jackson Hole Film Festival finalist Q&A: “Yasuni Man” [09/12/2017]
- The Jackson Hole Film Festival is considered to be the “Oscars of nature filmmaking” and had over 1,000 entries for 25 awards. - One of those entries, "Yasuni Man," is the story of a tribe in the Ecuadoran Amazon that lives in harmony with nature yet is constantly under threat from different intruders to the rainforest. - Filmmaker and film festival finalist Ryan Patrick Killackey talks to Mongabay about motivation, inspiration, and saving the planet's biodiverse places.
Central Africa’s ivory trade shifts underground, according to new report [09/12/2017]
- A series of undercover investigations by the NGO TRAFFIC over several years in five Central African countries has revealed a shift in the region from local markets for ivory to an ‘underground’ international trade. - The resulting report, published Sept. 7, finds that organized crime outfits, aided by high-level corruption, are moving ivory out of Central African to markets abroad, especially in China and other parts of Asia. - A 2013 study found that elephant numbers in Central Africa’s forests dropped by 62 percent between 2002 and 2011.
Keeping lions at bay to keep them going [09/12/2017]
- Conflict between local pastoralists and lions remains a tricky problem in lion conservation, but reinforcing traditional fencing structures called “bomas” may provide a cost-effective solution. - A study found adding chain-link fences to bomas cut livestock losses to top predators by 75 percent, according to the research. - When looking at cost, partially reinforced bomas – as opposed to fully reinforced – was actually a more cost-effective solution to the persistent problem of livestock loss in Kenya.
Javan rhinos face human incursions into their last remaining habitat [09/11/2017]
- Only around 60 Javan rhinoceroses are believed to remain, all of them in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park. - Authorities have caught dozens of people hunting, gathering forest products and planting crops in the park, including the recent arrest of 13 people in core rhino habitat. - Despite the challenges, the population is believed to be stable and calves continue to be born.
Uncontacted Amazon indigenous groups reportedly attacked by outsiders [09/11/2017]
- Brazil is investigating possible violent incidents between illegal miners and farmers and two uncontacted indigenous groups in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Territory in Amazonas state bordering Peru. - One alleged case involved gold miners operating dredges illegally on the Jandiatuba River, a tributary of the Solimões. - In a second case, villagers in Jarinal, a Kanamari community on the Jutai River reported an attack against a Wakinara Djapar group, possibly carried out by people farming illegally in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Territory. - Both reports are under investigation, but so far no solid evidence confirming the attacks has been produced. FUNAI, Brazil’s indigenous services agency, has been hampered in enforcing protections of uncontacted groups due to drastic budget reductions. This year, the Temer administration cut the agency’s operating budget by nearly 50 percent.
Why we can’t lose hope: Dr. David Suzuki speaks out [09/11/2017]
- Suzuki on hope: “I can certainly see that people in the environmental movement are being disheartened… [but] we’ve all got to do our little bit… Actually doing something invigorates you.” - On politics: “In many ways, the election of Trump was dismaying, but it has galvanized Americans to oppose him and to get on with reducing carbon emissions.” - The big problem: “[T]he values and beliefs we cling to are driving our destructive path… You can’t change the rules of Nature. Our chemistry and biology dictate the way we have to live.” - The solutions: “We need to enshrine environmental protection in our Constitution… [A]s consumers, we’ve got a big role to play, [and] we’ve also got to be… much more active in the political process.”
Rethinking camera traps for the small, fast, and elusive [09/11/2017]
- To solve the logistical challenge of filming hummingbirds, researchers have developed a mechanical camera trap trigger system that separates the camera from the sensors that detect an animal’s movement or heat. - The independent positioning of multiple sensors enables users to detect small, fast-moving animals before they reach the camera and to adapt to immediate surroundings, such as vegetation that can trigger unwanted photos. - The do-it-yourself nature of the circuit, powered by AA batteries, keeps it low-cost, long-lasting, and easy to recharge for those with some knowledge of wiring and electronics.
Deforestation in Cambodia linked to ill health in children [09/11/2017]
- A new study has found that the loss of dense forest cover in Cambodia is associated with an increased risk of diarrhea, acute respiratory infection and fever in children younger than five years. - Just a 10 percentage increase in the loss of dense forest around Cambodian households was associated with a 14 percent increase in the rate of diarrhea among children, the researchers found. - In contrast, a higher coverage of protected areas around the households was linked to a lower incidence of diarrhea and acute respiratory infection in children.
Guilty pleas entered in South American rainforest gold laundering cases [09/08/2017]
- Two Miami businessmen have pleaded guilty in federal court to their part in a $3.6 billion money laundering scheme involving gold. - Illegally mined gold was used to "wash" money made from the sale of cocaine. - The profits from the gold was in the billions and also came at the cost of the Amazon rainforest.
REDD+ Africa: looking past Trump’s U.N. proposed climate budget cuts [09/08/2017]
- In March, the Trump administration proposed the elimination in its entirety of the Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI), established by President Obama to integrate climate change funding into U.S. foreign assistance. - Though Congress has yet to finalize a 2018 budget, Trump’s cuts if implemented, would end the GCCI, reducing to zero all U.S. payments to U.N. climate change programs, including the Global Climate Fund (GCF), Global Environmental Facility (GEF); Clean Technology Fund (CTF); and Strategic Climate Fund (SCF). - These losses would impact UN-REDD+ programs (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) in Africa and around the world only to a degree, since many are funded by other nations or supported by private groups. - However, Trump’s proposed cuts, if approved, would impact REDD+ programs in Malawi in the short term, and likely in other countries, if U.S. international climate change funding is not restored.
A lingering ‘legacy’: Deforestation warms climate more than expected [09/08/2017]
- Tropical deforestation results in the release of not only carbon dioxide but also methane and nitrous oxide, leading to greater-than-anticipated warming of the global climate. - The study compared emissions from land conversion with those from burning fossil fuels for energy and other sources. - The researchers found that tropical deforestation at current rates could cause a 1.5-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures by 2100.
Three years after the tragedy of Saweto, where is the justice and security? (commentary) [09/08/2017]
- Three years ago this month, my friends Edwin Chota and Jorge Ríos were assassinated along with Francisco Pinedo and Leoncio Quintícima as they hiked through their homelands in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest along the border with Brazil. - This summer I returned to their community of Saweto and hiked the path where they died. The community now holds legal title to their homelands, but their situation is far from secure. Illegal loggers continue to operate in their territory. - If the most famous titled community in Peru has neither territorial security nor sustainability two years after receiving title, how will the scores of other recently titled communities fare? - This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.