10-second nature news digest

Conservation news digest for busy people from @Mongabay. Story summaries that can be read in about ten seconds per post.

Popular topics:: Amazon | Animals | Brazil | Congo | Conservation | Deforestation | Featured | Indonesia | Logging | Malaysia | Oceans | Palm oil | Rainforests | Wildlife

Peru pledges tougher stance against illegal timber [12/05/2016]
- The new measures stem partly from a 2015 shipment of timber which Peruvian officials found was almost completely illegally sourced.
- Peruvian government estimates indicate that a full 90 percent of all sourced timber from Peru is illegal.
- Peru has also developed Operation Amazonas to compare the timber sourcer’s reported point of harvest with government field verification data.

Mexico to get its largest ever protected area [12/05/2016]
- The new reserve will be spread across several municipalities, including Isla Mujeres, Benito Juárez, Puerto Morelos, Solidaridad, Cozumel, Tulum, Bacalar and Othón P. Blanco.
- Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas Commission, or CONANP, will be responsible for the administration and monitoring of the reserve, while the Navy will be in-charge of enforcing protection.
- The marine portion of the reserve will cover an area of about 5.725 million hectares while the land portion of the reserve will cover about 28,589 hectares of coastal areas and wetlands.

Australian retailers accused of misusing the RSPO’s label on their palm oil products [12/05/2016]
- Major retailers Woolworths and Coles say their own-brand products have been "certified sustainable" by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
- However, Palm Oil Investigations, an Australian NGO, has called the legitimacy of those claims into question.
- A spokesperson from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil said she didn't know about the allegations because nobody had raised a formal complaint.
- The NGO says the roundtable must do a better job monitoring the claims of its members.

Q&A with the creators of the ‘Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes’ story map [12/02/2016]
- Schultes first ventured into the Amazon rainforest in 1941 and spent the following decades researching how indigenous peoples use plants for a variety of purposes: as medicine, in rituals, and in more practical applications.
- Throughout his career, Schultes collected more than 24,000 plant specimens — primarily in the Colombian Amazon — including at least 300 species that were then new to science.
- The Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes is a new “story map” created by an Arlington, Virginia-based NGO called the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) that lets anyone explore Schultes travels, discoveries, and photos through an interactive online resource.

Swallowing swimming pools: New sensory tags capture kinetics of lunge-feeding whales [12/02/2016]
- Researchers have developed and deployed sensory tags with video cameras to study how rorquals, a type of baleen whale, lunge feed and maximize their consumption despite the huge energetic cost.
- Comprehending the dynamics of lunge feeding and its energy tradeoffs could inform whale conservation and fisheries management.
- The scientists hope to develop the tags with a more compact design, more reliable sensors, and longer battery life, and they want to better understand the baleen and compare and analyze lunge feeding and its energetics across whales.

Land reclamation in Malaysia puts environment, endangered turtle at risk [12/02/2016]
- With technology bringing construction costs down, land reclamation projects are increasingly attractive to real estate developers and investors in Malaysia.
- Turtle landings at nesting sites near land reclamation projects have plummeted. Traditional fishing communities also fear for their way of life.
- Environmental activists and coastal communities call for more detailed environmental impact assessments.

California court upholds ban on ivory and rhino horn [12/02/2016]
- California has some of the largest illegal ivory markets in the U.S.
- In October, last year, the state banned the sale of nearly all ivory and rhino horn.
- The Ivory Education Institute challenged the ban, claiming that the law was unconstitutional.
- The Los Angeles Superior Court , however, upheld California’s state ban.

Grasslands in US Great Plains are being destroyed at “alarming rate” [12/01/2016]
- Only half of the Great Plains’ original grasslands remains intact today, the report states. Between 2009 and 2015, 53 million acres were converted to cropland every year, a two percent annual rate of loss.
- Yet little attention has been paid to the destruction of these oceans of grass, says Martha Kauffman, WWF’s managing director of the Northern Great Plains program, despite the fact that it threatens iconic species including grasslands songbirds, the monarch butterfly, and native bumble bees.
- The conversion of grasslands also compromises the ecological services provided by the Great Plains, the WWF report notes, such as the filtering of trillions of gallons of water that goes on to be used as drinking water for millions of people and helps support healthy fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Field Notes: Boosting biodiversity by studying human values, gender [12/01/2016]
- The Bengal tigers in Chitwan National Park are on the increase largely due to the positive conservation values practiced in local communities that actively protect the forests that create a buffer zone around the protected areas where the big cats live.
- However, researchers found that women in these Nepali communities were less likely to value protecting endangered animals than men. Teri Allendorf and her collaborators conducted interviews and found that this gender gap is driven by differences in belief and experience.
- The Nepali women often aren’t included in conservation efforts, and so lack knowledge regarding the value of ecosystems. Similar findings have been seen in other nations: people who understand interrelationships between natural and human communities value protected areas more.
- Surprisingly, this issue also exists in developed countries: If women aren’t included in conservation efforts, then opportunities for success can be missed. Addressing the impact of women’s access to information may be one way to close this conservation gender gap, suggests Allendorf.

Sapphire boom propels thousands into Madagascar rainforest [12/01/2016]
- An estimated 45,000 miners – and possibly more since mining began in October – are working the soil and in some cases tearing up trees to find valuable sapphires.
- Concerns about environmental degradation in the protected forest have surfaced from Madagascan scientists.
- Conditions in the makeshift camp have apparently deteriorated, with reports of violence and disease among the miners present.

Thailand failing to stop illegal trade in apes due to inadequate legislation [12/01/2016]
- TRAFFIC surveyed 59 zoos and wildlife attractions in Thailand between November 2013 and March 2014, and found 88 great apes and 162 gibbons in captivity.
- The numbers of apes in captivity seem to be much higher than those recorded as legally imported, TRAFFIC found.
- Researchers say that since Thailand’s domestic wildlife law does not include most non-native CITES-listed species under its protection, the country is unable to curb the trade in such animals.

Vietnam faces dilemma on forests as climate change threatens coffee crops [12/01/2016]
- Research shows that Vietnam may lose 50 percent of its current Robusta coffee production areas by 2050.
- 550,000 smallholder farmers supply over 95 percent of Vietnam’s coffee, while another 500,000 people are engaged in seasonal work in the industry.
- In order to continue growing this crop, the country can cut down forests to make space, or embrace them.

Fire on the Salween: Dams in conflict zones could threaten Myanmar’s fragile peace process [12/01/2016]
- Ethnic armed groups in Myanmar's border states have been in conflict with the central government for more than half a century.
- Civil society groups, ethnic political groups and ethnic armed groups already blame the Salween dams for either exacerbating existing conflict or prompting new military incursions.
- The UNHCR estimates that as of December 2015, Myanmar already has some 400,000 internally displaced persons, entire communities who have had to flee from war, natural disasters or development projects. Many fear the dams could create thousands more.

Brazil: deforestation in the Amazon increased 29% over last year [11/30/2016]
- Deforestation in the world’s largest rainforest jumped 29 percent over last year.
- Deforestation from 2015-2016 reached the highest level since 2008.
- Relaxed environmental regulation, dry conditions, and Brazil's economy may be factors in the rising rate of forest loss.

‘We need more knowledge and more control’: Palm oil expands in Ecuador [11/30/2016]
- In 2012, the government simplified procedure to obtain permission to plant oil palm in areas less than 50 hectares.
- This simplified process may have led to a ramp-up in palm oil expansion in recent years, with smaller plantations being cleared from forest near large, established oil palm plantations.
- Local governments do not monitor or have much control over land-use. In the province Orellana, the Ministry of Environment has only one forest control point for a province 21,730 square kilometers in size.

Which tropical forest conservation strategies are proving most effective? [11/30/2016]
- A multitude of conservation strategies are currently deployed across the tropics in order to curb deforestation, preserve biodiversity, and mitigate global warming.
- But conservationists and researchers often point to a need for more and better evaluations of the effectiveness of this diversity of conservation initiatives in order to determine what actually works and what doesn’t.
- The latest assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization found that Earth’s overall natural forest cover continues to shrink, though at a slower annual rate than in the past.

A dam shame: the plight of the Mekong giant catfish [11/30/2016]
- Southeast Asia’s Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) is the world’s largest freshwater fish, with the biggest among them weighing an astonishing 650 pounds (300 kilograms), and growing to a length of 10 feet (3 meters).
- Species numbers are thought to have crashed by 80 percent in recent decades, although there are no reliable population estimates for the fish. A sudden escalation in the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Mekong could seal the fate of the species.
- A host of dams, both under construction and planned, threaten to block the catfish’s natural migration patterns, potentially driving it to extinction. The Xayaburi dam, which is already being built, poses the most immediate threat.
- Radio telemetry and environmental DNA techniques are crucial to the study and monitoring of this elusive creature in the wild. Conservationists working at Cambodia’s proposed Sambor Dam hope to help the government design a project that might vastly improve aquatic connectivity.

New drone analysis highlights conservation challenges in Myanmar [11/30/2016]
- Conducted by Fauna & Flora International, the survey found that the mangrove breeding ground is actually mostly covered with Phoenix paludosa, or Mangrove date palm.
- Some areas within the sanctuary with endangered mangrove tree species have been identified and therefore have a higher chance of being protected from illegal logging and experts contend that a new, detailed restoration plan is needed to save MKWS.
- The MKWS finding highlights challenges to conservation work in Myanmar, which are often long and difficult to implement, and susceptible to unstable political and ethnic conflict.

Indonesia shifts emissions-reduction burden from energy to forestry sector [11/30/2016]
- Ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris last year, Indonesia pledged to reduce its emissions growth by 29 percent over business-as-usual levels by 2030, or by 41 percent with adequate international aid.
- Previously, the government had announced that the lion's share for meeting the commitment would fall on the coal-dependent energy sector.
- Ahead of the latest climate summit in Morocco, however, Indonesia announced a shift in the breakdown that would see the forestry sector carry the heaviest load.

Newscast #6: Carl Safina on marine conservation and Trump [11/29/2016]
- We also welcome to the show Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler, who fills us in on the origins of Mongabay and where it’s going in 2017.
- If you’ve got a question about environmental science and conservation, we’d be happy to answer it for you! Just drop us a line at submissions@mongabay.com and we’ll answer your question in a future episode of the Mongabay Newscast.
- And don’t forget, you can find all of our podcast episodes on Stitcher, TuneIn, iTunes, Google Play, and RSS.

Corrupt logging practices in Liberia could mar new era in community forestry [11/29/2016]
- The agreements allow communities to sign contracts with logging companies on their own and entitling them to as much as 55 percent of the revenue stream from logging.
- Liberian government officials say that in the past year alone, 128 communities have applied for these forestry permits.
- In the remote Garwin chiefdom, one community may have been duped into giving away its land rights and future logging profits.

Great Barrier Reef suffered worst coral die-off on record in 2016: new study [11/29/2016]
- On some reefs in the northern part of the Great Barrier, nearly all corals have died.
- But the central and southern part of the Great Barrier seem to have fared better, suffering “minor” damage compared to the northern region.
- Scientists expect that it will take at least 10-15 years for corals in the northern region to regrow, but a fourth bleaching event could strike the region before the reefs have had the chance to recover completely.

Indonesian court shuts down legal challenge to Aceh land-use plan [11/29/2016]
- The Central Jakarta District Court ruled against a class-action lawsuit filed by nine plaintiffs from Indonesia's westernmost Aceh province.
- The lawsuit had asked the court to force the Aceh government to include the nationally protected Leuser Ecosystem in its allegedly illegal land-use plan.
- The Aceh government has characterized Leuser's protected status as an imposition on its right to develop and argued that it can zone the province how it likes, without Jakarta's approval.
- The plaintiffs said they would appeal.

How citizen science is transforming river management in Malaysian Borneo (commentary) [11/29/2016]
- For thousands of years Sabah’s Kinabatangan River has wound its way down from the hills of Borneo’s northern interior through some of the planet’s richest lowland rainforests before flowing into the Coral Triangle.
- Crises in ecosystems unfold over time. In the late twentieth century, events up-river brought massive change in the Kinabatangan’s catchment.
- It is the growth of citizen science around systematic water quality measurement, carefully targeted (by indigenous knowledge) in the places and moments that matter in complex rapidly changing watersheds, that appears to offer the best way to identify and tackle the causes and to guide river restoration.
- This post is a commentary based largely on presentations at Sabah's International Heart of Borneo and Ramsar conferences in November 2016 -- the views expressed are those of the author.

NYT explores life and impact of Chico Mendes, “a Fighter for the Amazon” [11/28/2016]
- The NYTimes has released a video looking back on Mendes’ life and untimely death, which, as the newspaper notes, is widely credited with having marked “a turning point in Brazil’s environmental consciousness.”
- In the 1980s, the Amazon was being burned to make way for pastureland and other economic development projects at an alarming rate — the NYTimes video features one scientist showing off the latest remote sensing technology and noting that it allows researchers to track as many as 7,000 fires per day.
- Two Brazilian men — a local rancher and his 23-year-old son — were convicted of murdering Mendes and sentenced to 19 years in prison in 1990.

Innovative technology creates safe haven for rhinos [11/28/2016]
- The new technology system — called Connected Conservation — is a joint initiative between two international technology companies: Dimension Data and Cisco.
- It aims to allow rangers to be more proactive — in other words, to find and stop poachers before they kill.
- To test and refine the system, the two companies installed the system in a private game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Cash-strapped rhino groups turn to crowdfunding, with little success [11/28/2016]
- Bornean and northern white rhinos have little chance to avoid extinction without cutting-edge assisted reproductive technology.
- Conservation groups find it difficult to attract funding to develop these technologies, which are costly and not guaranteed to succeed.
- Organizations in Kenya and Malaysia have launched separate crowd-funding appeals to fund efforts to develop in vitro fertilization techniques.
- Both campaigns are far below targeted donation levels.

Top scientists: Amazon’s Tapajós Dam Complex “a crisis in the making” [11/28/2016]
- BRAZIL’S GRAND PLAN: Build 40+ dams, new roads and railways at the heart of the Amazon to transport soy from the interior to the coast and foreign markets, turning the Tapajós Basin and its river systems into an industrial waterway, leading to unprecedented deforestation, top researchers say.
- ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS: “The effects would clearly be devastating for the ecology and connectivity of the greater Tapajós Basin,” says William Laurance, of James Cook University, Australia; a leading rainforest ecology scientist. “It is not overstating matters to term this a crisis in the making.”
- HUMAN IMPACTS: The dams would produce “A human rights crisis, driven by the flooding of indigenous territories and forced relocation of indigenous villages… [plus] the loss of fisheries, reduced fertility of fertile floodplains, and polluting of clean water sources,” says Amazon Watch’s Christian Poirier.
- CLIMATE IMPACTS: “The worst-case scenario… over 200,000 square kilometers of deforestation,” says climatologist Carlos Nobre, which would be “very serious” and create “regional climate change.” Tapajós deforestation could even help tip the global scales, as the Amazon ceases being a carbon sink, and becomes a carbon source — with grave consequences for the planet.

Ancient hunter-gatherer tribe protects traditional forest with help from carbon trading [11/28/2016]
- According to anthropologists the Hadzabe tribe has roamed the valley floor and nearby woodland for over 40,000 years.
- The Hadzabe and other local community groups have worked hard to zone for land use, protect natural resources, and generate income with carbon offset trades.
- Carbon Tanzania has helped bring $150,000 in carbon offset sales to Yaeda Valley communities.

New species of pea-sized crab discovered — inside a mussel [11/28/2016]
- Scientists have discovered a new species of tiny pea crab within a large date mussel collected in the Solomon Islands.
- The crab has been named Serenotheres janus after Janus, the Roman two-faced god because of a large plate that covers its upper carapace, giving it the illusion of being two-faced.
- S. janus is the second known species within the pea crab genus Serenotheres, members of which parasitize rock-boring mussels of the subfamily Lithophaginae, the researchers write.

More than just prosthetics: The role of 3D printing in wildlife conservation [11/28/2016]
- 3D printed material is restoring natural structures, from a toucan’s bill to a coral reef.
- This technology is rapidly gaining relevance as a tool for wildlife and ecosystem, even helping clean our oceans and combat poaching.
- The ease with which 3D printing allows scientists and practitioners to reliably reproduce usable products has great potential for assisting research and conservation.

Development of Ethiopia’s Yayu biosphere a lifeline for organic coffee [11/27/2016]
- The UNESCO-recognized Yayu Coffee Forest Biosphere Reserve covers 50,000 hectares of land in its core and buffer zones and is the traditional home to organic, wild coffee.
- The Yayu reserve is directly and indirectly related to the livelihoods of over 150,000 people.
- Organic Ethiopian forest coffee has yet to make its debut on the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange.

Can fig trees regrow lost rainforests? [11/26/2016]
A new book exploring the history and biology of fig trees details how they can also be employed to restore the world’s degraded rain forests

Conservation in oil palm is possible (commentary) [11/25/2016]
- The oil palm sector is often blamed as one of the biggest threats in tropical conservation. Much of the critique of the sector is justified.
- Whereas most oil palm concessions are associated with the destruction of orangutan habitat, at least one company, PT KAL in West Kalimantan, stands out for protecting some 150 orangutans in its concession.
- Important lessons are to be learned from this case.
- This post is a commentary -- the views expressed are those of the author.

Protests against Bangladesh power plant begin in Dhaka and Cambridge [11/25/2016]
- On November 24, activists in Bangladesh began a ‘March towards Dhaka’, demanding the cancellation of the proposed coal-fired Rampal power plant, slated to be built very close to the Sundarbans.
- Members of Bangladesh’s National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, Power and Ports will reach Dhaka on Saturday where they are expected to hold a grand rally at the Central Shaheed Minar.
- In solidarity with the protests in Bangladesh, students from Cambridge University in the U.K. will also hold a rally tomorrow.

Timber trading platform aims to increase transparency, legality [11/24/2016]
- The Responsible Timber Exchange, launched November 23 by the organization BVRio, provides buyers with pricing, supply chain and certification information on timber and wood products coming from several countries, as well as FSC- and PEFC-certified suppliers.
- It builds on BVRio’s other risk assessment tools, available since 2015 in the form of mobile applications and online software.
- The platform’s creators say it will help diminish illegality in the timber sector, which may taint 90 percent of all timber sold.

Tigers face ‘unprecedented’ threat from transport projects: WWF [11/24/2016]
- Some 11,000 kilometers (~6,800 miles) of roads and railway projects are already planned through tiger landscapes, in addition to canals, oil and gas pipelines and power lines.
- Without wider ecological implications in mind, linear infrastructure projects can result in habitat fragments that are too small for the wide-ranging tiger populations, the report says.
- Roads and railways can also facilitate access to previously inaccessible tiger habitats, leading to increased human-tiger conflict, poaching and death from vehicular collisions.

Peru rainforest lost to illegal gold mining eclipses 10 Manhattans [11/24/2016]
- Most mining-related deforestation is occurring in southern Peru's Madre de Dios Department, but is moving northward. In addition to the loss of forest, gold mining activities have shifted the course and nature of rivers and released toxic levels of mercury into the surrounding environment.
- In total, 62,500 hectares of forest were lost to illegal gold mining between 2012 and 2016. Researchers found forest loss from illegal mining activities peaked between 2010 and 2012, and has since been declining. They attribute this to an uptick in government interventions.
- However, their analysis highlights several recent incursions into protected areas and primary forest.
- Conservationists and scientists warn of the impacts of continued illegal mining, and say it's not likely to end any time soon.

Land-use change and management failures in China lead to significant amounts of carbon emissions: Study [11/23/2016]
- Driven by the country’s rapid economic development in recent decades, especially urbanization, agricultural expansion, and reforestation, China has undergone large-scale changes in land use.
- According to the authors of the study, published earlier this month in the journal Science Advances, their results “highlight the importance of improving land-use management, especially in view of the recently proposed expansion of urban areas in China.”
- The researchers discovered large carbon losses resulted from China’s poor land management.

Damming the Salween: what next for Southeast Asia’s last great free-flowing river? [11/23/2016]
- In accordance with deals signed under military rule, Myanmar plans to build five major hydroelectric dams on its stretch of the Salween River.
- The majority of the power produced will go to China and Thailand. Critics say consumers in these countries will benefit while people in Myanmar's ethnic border states pay the price.
- The dams threaten the river's ecology and the livelihoods of riverine communities, and could exacerbate conflict between the army and non-state ethnic armed groups.

Distinctive sperm whale cultures reveal dramatic population shifts in the Galápagos [11/23/2016]
- Researchers studied distinctive communication clicks among sperm whales to track several cultural clans in the Pacific Ocean.
- Two clans dominated the waters near the Galápagos decades ago, but whales from two different clans have since moved in from across the Pacific basin.
- Managing sperm whales may require tracking their populations culturally, rather than geographically.

The Javan rhino: protected and threatened by a volcano [11/23/2016]
- Around sixty Javan rhinos are known to survive, all in Ujung Kulon National Park in western Java.
- The park lies across a narrow strait from Anak Krakatua – literally the "child of Krakatoa" – the successor to the one of the deadliest volcanos in history.
- The park's rhino population faces numerous threats, and researchers fear a volcanic eruption could push the species even closer to extinction.

Palm oil culprits apprehended in the Leuser Ecosystem. Who sent them? [11/23/2016]
- Three men and an excavator were found digging a drainage canal through the Singkil Swamp Wildlife Reserve, the region's largest, deepest and most intact peatland.
- The head of the Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency says the men appeared to be clearing the land for oil palm, which is illegal in the area.
- The arrest comes at a critical time for the broader Leuser Ecosystem, with a Jakarta court set to rule on a challenge to Aceh province's controversial land-use plan next week. The allegedly illegal plan makes no mention of Leuser.

Female chimpanzees wait for their turn at the top of the social pecking order [11/23/2016]
- By studying decades of interactions, scientists have documented that female chimpanzees line up in a pre-determined social order.
- Females wait patiently for higher-ranked females to die off before moving up the social ladder.
- Once a mature female enters the social queue, her ranking remains unchanged until elder females are out of the picture.

Scientists discover the real vocalists behind the ‘singing snake’: tree frogs [11/23/2016]
- Natives from some parts of the Amazon region have long believed that a deadly pit viper, the bushmaster, can sing.
- But the true vocalists behind the call are two species of large tree frogs that live in hollow tree trunks in the Amazonian forests.
- The first frog is the little known Tepuihyla tuberculosa, and the second frog is a newly discovered species that has been named Tepuihyla shushupe.

KEDR: Watching over the cedar forests of the Russian Far East [11/23/2016]
- KEDR uses an algorithm to automatically analyze real-time satellite images for various canopy changes to provide forest managers precise logging intelligence so they can quickly counteract violations.
- The technology could help conserve the critically endangered Amur tiger and leopard that inhabit these forests.
- KEDR is now being implemented in two provinces and has been recommended for use throughout the country. The tool will continue to be developed with technological upgrades, high-precision satellite imagery, new algorithms and artificial intelligence.

American retirement funds contribute to deforestation and climate change [11/22/2016]
- Last July, two US-based NGOs, Friends of the Earth and As You Sow, launched a “transparency tool,” called Deforestation Free Funds, to help investors find information on which global mutual funds have holdings in palm oil producers with links to deforestation.
- As of June 2016, Friends of the Earth and As You Sow said in a statement, U.S. mutual funds had a net investment of more than $5 billion dollars in palm oil producers.
- A focus of the groups’ campaign is one of the largest investment firms in the U.S., TIAA (formerly known as TIAA-CREF), which manages retirement funds for many academic and cultural institutions, from museums and universities to nonprofits and unions.

Silent soldiers of the extreme, or why I’m glad I’m not a wild yak [11/22/2016]
- They are big mammals — wild yaks, muskoxen, saiga, takin and more — possessing a multitude of wildly ingenious evolutionary adaptations that allow them to live at the margins, in Asia’s coldest, toughest habitats. But they lack defenses against us and are at risk.
- While some of these magnificent animals have received scattered attention from conservationists and the media across the years, most do not benefit from the publicity boon — or budgets — accorded to rhinos and snow leopards.
- They are unsung, mostly unstudied, existing in the shadows — hidden by high elevations, deep snow, daunting deserts, and in our lack of knowledge and indifference. Scientist Joel Berger asks us to look at why we love only thin slivers of the natural world, while ignoring much of the bounty and beauty at the margins that could provide us hope and inspiration.
- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Small-scale farming threatens rainforests in Sumatra [11/22/2016]
- A recent study probed the ecology of small farms in Sumatra, showing that small-scale farming can be just as damaging to the environment as large plantations.
- Small-scale coffee growers in Latin America have sustainable practices because they work in cooperatives with direct access to markets for rainforest-certified products.
- For smallholder farming of oil palm and rubber to become sustainable in Indonesia, farmers will need to form similar cooperatives and grow rainforest-certified crops.

Humpback whales learn habitat loyalty from their mothers, Alaskan study shows [11/22/2016]
- Marine biologists studied relationships among humpback whales in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait, Alaska, over a 30-year period.
- The whales’ loyalty to their feeding grounds is passed down from mothers to calves and persists through the generations.
- North Pacific humpback whales are making a comeback, and the new study shows how critical it is to protect their key habitats.

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