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Photos from Belize


(05/30/2008) Earlier this month I visited Belize and Guatemala. Pictures from the trip have been added to the photo section of the site.   [ Belize | Guatemala]


Forest carbon credits could help development in Congo:
Interview with Nadine Laporte, remote sensing expert


(05/28/2008) An initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by offering carbon credits to countries that reduce deforestation may be one of the best mechanisms for promoting sustainable development in Central Africa says a remote sensing expert from the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC). Dr. Nadine Laporte, an associate scientist with WHRC who uses remote sensing to analyze land use change in Africa, says that REDD could protect forests, safeguard biodiversity, and improve rural livelihoods in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other Central African nations.   [ Congo | Interviews | Carbon finance]


Next-gen biofuels could decimate rainforests

(05/27/2008) Next generation biofuels could decimate tropical forests says a leading ecologist from the University of Minnesota. Speaking at Stanford University on May 15, Dr. David Tilman said cellulosic ethanol technologies that convert biomass directly into biofuels could put new pressure on forest lands already bearing the brunt of agricultural expansion in the tropics. He estimated that a typical hectare of rainforest with 200 tons of harvestable biomass could yield 15,000 gallons of ethanol once cellulosic technology is commercial. In dollar terms, clear-cutting rainforest for ethanol production could generate more than $36,000 in revenue per hectare and perhaps $7,000 in profit.   [ Biofuels | Cellulosic ethanol]


Defaunation, like deforestation, threatens global biodiversity:
Interview with Rodolfo Dirzo, ecologist at Stanford University


(05/20/2008) Loss of wildlife is a subtle but growing threat to tropical forests, says a leading plant ecologist from Stanford University. Speaking in an interview with mongabay.com, Dr. Rodolfo Dirzo says that the disappearance of wildlife due to overexploitation, fragmentation, and habitat degradation is causing ecological changes in some of the world's most biodiverse tropical forests. He ranks defaunation — as he terms the ongoing biological impoverishment of forests — as one of the world's most significant global changes, on par with environmental changes like global warming, deforestation, and shifts in the nitrogen cycle.   [ Biodiversity | Interviews | Wildlife]


Carbon market could fund rainforest conservation, fight climate change:
An interview with Tracy Johns, REDD policy expert at WHRC


(05/19/2008) A mechanism to fund forest conservation through the carbon market could significantly reduce greenhouse emissions, help preserve biodiversity, and improve rural livelihoods, says a policy expert with the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) in Massachusetts. In an interview with mongabay.com, WHRC Policy Advisor and Research Associate Tracy Johns says that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), a proposed policy mechanism for combating climate change by safeguarding forests and the carbon they store, offers great potential for protecting tropical rainforests.   [ Carbon finance | Interviews | REDD]


U.S. climate policy could help save rainforests:
An interview with Jeff Horowitz of Avoided Deforestation Partners


(05/14/2008) U.S. policy measures to fight global warming could help protect disappearing rainforests, says the founding partner of an "avoided deforestation" policy group. In an interview with mongabay.com, Jeff Horowitz of the Berkeley-based Avoided Deforestation Partners argues that U.S. policy initiatives could serve as a catalyst for the emergence and growth of a carbon credits market for forest conservation.   [ Carbon finance | Avoided deforestation | Interviews | Rainforests]


Papua signs REDD carbon deal to generate income from rainforest protection

(05/14/2008) The government of the Indonesian province of Papua has entered into an agreement with an Australian financial firm to establish a forestry-based carbon finance project on the island of New Guinea. The project — which could involve more than one million hectares — aims to create "a perpetual financial base for local communities" through carbon credits generated by forest conservation.   [ Carbon finance | Indonesia | Rainforests | REDD]


Al Gore's investment firm bets that rainforest conservation will be profitable

(05/14/2008) Al Gore's investment firm has signaled an interest in the emerging market for ecosystem services by taking an equity position in an innovative Australian financial company. Tuesday London-based Generation Investment Management announced a minority stake in Sydney-based New Forests Pty Limited, a firm that specializes in business models that deliver returns from environmental markets such as carbon, biodiversity and water. Al Gore is the chairman of Generation Investment Management.   [ Carbon finance | Ecosystem services | Rainforests]


No longer a fan of Earth Day:
An editorial by Jeremy Hance


(05/01/2008) After April 22nd of this year, I am no longer a fan of Earth Day. It has become a strange pseudo-holiday that allows individuals, governments, corporations, and the media to focus a minuscule spotlight on our environmental crises, and then breathe a sigh of relief over the following days and weeks as they to go back to their old ineffectual ways. It is a day to stem the guilt of the sorry state of our natural—and 'civilized'—world. It is not a day where environmental education actually reaches the masses, or when people wake to the need—not the luxury—to change our ways. It is the opposite: a chance to feel good about our time's greatest crisis.   [ Environment]


Sustainability conference reveals a rift in the Malaysian Palm Oil Council

(05/01/2008) Last month's sustainability conference sponsored by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) revealed a rift between some planters and the industry marketing organization. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, several oil palm plantation executives distanced themselves from a video created by the MPOC as well as closing remarks by the group's CEO, Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Yusof Basiron. They said the video and comments provided ammunition for NGOs that accuse the MPOC of greenwashing.   [ Palm oil | Malaysia]




Future cities will be more like ecosystems that enrich society and the environment

(05/30/2008) As The World Science Festival continues in New York this week, specialists in vastly diverse fields across scientific disciplines are coming together to talk about ideas, problems and solutions. From Astronomy to Bioacoustics, the dialogues about challenges and opportunities are rich and inspiring. At the front of this year's festival rests the issue of sustainability and how scientists, specialists and society will address the imminent environmental and economic trials we are sure to face in a rapidly changing and uncertain world.   [ Sustainability | Green design]


Honolulu, Los Angeles have the smallest carbon footprint among U.S. cities

(05/30/2008) Honolulu, Los Angeles and metropolitan Portland have the smallest carbon footprint among American cities, while Cincinnati-Middletown area, Indianapolis, and Kentucky's Lexington-Fayette have the worst, according to a new report that analyzes carbon emissions from transportation and residential energy use by city dwellers.   [ Sustainability | Carbon dioxide]


Uncontacted tribe found in the Amazon rainforest

(05/30/2008) A fly-over of a remote part of the Amazon rainforest spotted members of what is believed to be one of the world's last uncontacted tribes. The Amazonians reacted aggressively to the fly-over, with bow and arrows aimed at the plane, according to Survival International, a group that works to protect indigenous peoples.   [ Amazon | Indigenous people]


Greenpeace ship attacked by Turkish tuna fishermen during protest

(05/30/2008) Members of a Turkish tuna fishing boat attacked the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise while the ship was engaged in a protest against overfishing. The incident occurred Friday in the Cypriot Channel and was reported to the Turkish Iskenderun Gulf Port Authorities.   [ Oceans | Activism]


Bush Administration: global warming is real and a threat to the U.S. economy

(05/30/2008) The Bush Administration today released a court-ordered assessment on climate. The report — titled "Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States" — says human-driven climate change will damage ecosystems and pose challenges to key sectors of the U.S. economy including agriculture and energy.   [ United States | Climate change politics]


Environmental damage costs $4.8 trillion annually

(05/29/2008) Environmental damage and biodiversity loss in forest ecosystems costs 2.1 to 4.8 trillion dollars per year, according to a report released Thursday at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Bonn, Germany.   [ Ecosystem services | Biodiversity]]


Carbon dioxide levels at highest level in 800,000 years

(05/29/2008) Greenhouse gases are at the highest levels in the past 800,000 years according to a study published in the journal Nature.   [ Carbon dioxide]]


Brazil's Amazon conservation efforts worth $100 billion

(05/29/2008) A plan to protect large expanses of the Amazon rainforest could reduce carbon emissions by 1.1 billion tons by 2050, according to a study presented in Bonn, Germany at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.   [ Amazon | Avoided deforestation]]


China's plastic bag ban goes into effect June 1

(05/29/2008) Few Chinese businesses appear to be prepared for the June 1st ban on the manufacture and free distribution of thin plastic bags, reports Scientific American.   [ China | Greening of China]]


Congo pygmies use GPS to map eco-certified timber concession

(05/29/2008) Loggers have teamed with indigenous Pygmies to establish the largest ever eco-certified logging scheme.   [ Congo | Logging]]


Wildlife conservationist in Tanzania awarded prestigious prize

(05/29/2008) A wildlife conservationist working in Tanzania has been awarded the prestigious 2008 Parker/Gentry Award for Conservation Biology.   [ Conservation | Tanzania | Wildlife]]


Roads are a major killer of amphibians, reveals study

(05/29/2008) Frogs, toads, and salamanders worldwide are dying from mysterious causes, with possible culprits ranging from habitat loss to fungal diseases. Now, researchers at Purdue University believe they may have identified a significant and surprising contributor to global amphibian declines: traffic. In a recent study, the scientists looked at road kill along several stretches of road in northwestern Indiana and found that 93 percent of the dead animals were amphibians.   [ Amphibians | Wildlife]]


40 arrested in illegal timber raid in the Brazilian Amazon

(05/29/2008) Brazilian federal police arrested at least 40 members of an illegal logging operation in an Amazon Indian reserve in the state of Mato Grosso, reports Reuters.   [ Amazon | Logging]]


Brazil to establish huge Amazon preservation fund

(05/29/2008) Brazil's state-run development bank announced it will establish a fund to collect international donations for Amazon preservation initiatives, reports Reuters.   [ Amazon | Brazil]]


High-tech collars to reveal the secretive behaviors of mountain lions

(05/28/2008) A handful of mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California soon will wear high-tech collars as part of a new study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The collars will reveal not only how these animals range within their sprawling territories, but also how they hunt. The scientists aim to figure out ways to minimize conflicts between humans and mountain lions -- also known as pumas and cougars.   [ Animal behavior | Wildlife]]


Biofuels expansion in Africa may impact rainforests, wetlands

(05/28/2008) Biofuel feedstock expansion in Africa will likely come at the expense of ecologically-sensitive lands, reports a new analysis presented by Wetlands International at the Convention of Biological Diversity in Bonn.   [ Biofuels | Africa]


Climate change will cause significant disruptions to U.S. agriculture says Fed study

(05/28/2008) Human-induced climate change will cause significant disruptions to water supplies, agriculture, and forestry in the United States in coming decades, says a federal report released Tuesday.   [ Climate change | United States]


50 years after the blast: Recovery in Bikini Atoll's coral reef

(05/27/2008) Fifty years after atomic bombs rocked Bikini Atoll and pulverized its coral reef, the lagoon again boasts a flourishing coral community. Scientists diving in the two-kilometer-wide Bravo Crater, created in 1954 by a blast 1,000 times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, found a thriving habitat with treelike corals 30 centimeters (one foot) thick. The study shows that coral reefs can recover from profound damage—when humans leave them alone.   [ Coral reefs | Oceans]


From "kampung boy" to conservation force in the Malaysian rainforest

(05/27/2008) Waidi Sinun oversees three extraordinarily diverse conservation areas in the Malaysian rainforest, a career shaped by a love for the environment stemming from childhood memories, as well as the foundation that fostered his education. Sinun is a forest hydrologist who spearheads three internationally recognized forest conservation efforts in Sabah, East Malaysia—the part of Borneo Island shaped like a dog's head. The areas preserve a rich variety of flora and fauna unique to Asian tropical rainforests, making them noteworthy conservation zones.   [ Malaysia | Rainforests]


50 species per day discovered in 2006

(05/27/2008) 16,969 species were discovered in 2006 according to a report compiled by Arizona State University's International Institute for Species Exploration, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the International Plant Names Index, and Thompson Scientific. The authors say the report, titled State of Observed Species, is a "report card on human knowledge of Earth's species." It includes a list of the top 10 new species described in 2007.   [ Species discovery | Biodiversity]


Cocaine use is destroying the Amazon rainforest, says new campaign

(05/26/2008) A new campaign has linked cocaine consumption in Europe and the United States to destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia.   [ Colombia | Amazon]


Rat killing spree may save endangered wildlife on remote Pacific islands

(05/26/2008) A team of scientists is on its way to remote the Phoenix Islands Protected Area to eradicate rats that are threatening populations of indigenous seabirds, reports Conservation International, an environmental group.   [ Birds | Invasive species]


Ocean acidification worse than expected, threatens sea life

(05/22/2008) Increasing ocean acidification along the continental shelf of North America will likely have negative impacts on marine ecosystems, including the corrosion of calcium carbonate exoskeletons in many organisms, warn researchers writing in the journal Science. Surveying waters from central Canada to northern Mexico, Richard A. Feely of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and colleagues found lower pH levels in seawater closer to the surface than expected. The authors attribute the acidification to the ocean's increased absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are driving the trend.   [ Oceans | Ocean acidification]


Why is there soot on the snowpack?
New air sampling stations in Sierra Nevada will search for pollution sources


(05/22/2008) This fall, suitcase-sized air samplers will sprout throughout the Sierra Nevada. The air monitoring stations will be installed by researchers at the University of California, Davis, as part of a contract approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC) during its May 7 meeting. The researchers hope to learn whether the pollutants affecting the state's climate are coming from local sources or from transPacific sources like Asia, said Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) manager Guido Franco. The sensitive new devices will measure the amount of air pollution in the area and identify the makeup of the particles, Franco told the commission. Chemical detective work will then reveal their sources.   [ Pollution | California]


Geriatric turtle sex only hope for world's rarest reptile

(05/21/2008) With only four individuals of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle left on Earth—one in the wild and three in captivity—conservationists have launched a desperate attempt to save the species from extinction. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), working in conjunction with partners from two Chinese zoos and the China Zoo Society, have introduced an 80-year-old female turtle, living in China's Changsha Zoo, to the only known male in China, a more than 100-year-old living more than 600 miles away at the Suzhou Zoo.   [ China | Endangered species | Reptiles]


Marauding kangaroos may drive extinction of earless dragons in Australia

(05/21/2008) A plague of kangaroos overgrazing sensitive grasslands near Australia's capital city Canberra is jeopardizing habitat critical for the survival of endangered species including the golden sun moth (Synemon plana) and the grassland earless dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla), one of the world's rarest lizards, according to German and Australian. Culling the kangaroos may be the only option for saving some of these grassland species from extinction.   [ Australia | Endangered species | Herps]


U.S. carbon dioxide emissions reach record high in 2007

(05/21/2008) U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.6 percent in 2007 to a new record reported the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA).   [ Greenhouse gas emissions | United States]


Global warming harming plant-eating animals in the Arctic

(05/21/2008) Climate change is making it more difficult for plant-eating animals in highly seasonal environments like as the Arctic to locate food, according to a new study published in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.   [ Greenland-Arctic | impact of climate change]


Energy firm to mine oil sands in the Republic of Congo

(05/21/2008) Eni SpA, one of Italy's largest energy companies, has signed an agreement to exploit oil sands in the Republic of Congo, reports The Wall Street Journal.   [ Republic of Congo | Biofuels]


Humpback whale population is recovering

(05/21/2008) The number of humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean has increased substantially since international and federal protections were put into place in the 1960s and 70s, according to a new study involving more than 400 whale researchers throughout the Pacific region.   [ whales | happy-upbeat environmental]


Venezuela bans gold-mining in forest reserve, will not issue new open-pit permits

(05/21/2008) Venezuela banned gold mining in its Imataca Forest Reserve and said it will not issue new permits for open-pit mines anywhere in the country, according to Reuters.   [ Venezuela | Mining]


Will consumers pay 10% premium for sustainable palm oil?

(05/21/2008) The first shipments of certified eco-friendly palm oil will arrive in Germany during the second half of 2008 according to the head of OVID, a German edible oil industry group.   [ Palm oil | Certification]


Group files for ESA protection of 681 species in 12 states

(05/21/2008) On March 19th WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit to place 681 species under the Endangered Species Act. Dr. Nicole Rosmarino, wildlife program director for the environmental group, says These 681 species represent species in only 12 states, include no subspecies, and are only the "most imperiled" of the United State's threatened species. Rosmarino estimates that in total there are 6,000-9,000 endangered species in the United States today. Mongabay.com recently caught up with Dr. Rosmarino regarding this landmark lawsuit and the reasoning for it.   [ Interviews | Endangered species | United States | Environmental law]


Naming rights for newly discovered 'walking frog' to be auctioned for conservation

(05/20/2008) The Amphibian Ark, an initiative to save disappearing amphibians from extinction, will auction of the naming rights of a newly discovered 'walking frog' in Ecuador to raise money for local conservation efforts.   [ Species discovery | Amphibians]


Greenpeace calls for carbon fund to save forests and climate

(05/20/2008) In a report unveiled today at the UN conference on biodiversity in Bonn, Greenpeace announced support for a plan to save tropical forests through a fund for carbon and other ecosystem services. Greenpeace says the basis for the system would be "Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Units" (TDERUs), newly defined units that would be used for compliance with emission obligations agreed upon in future international climate treaties. Industrialized nations would be required to meet a certain percentage of their emissions obligations using TDERUs purchased from the mechanism. In effect, these countries would pay into a fund to reduce deforestation in tropical nations. The fund would aim to raise $10-15 billion per year — the amount estimated by the UK government's Stern report on climate change to reduce tropical deforestation by half.   [ Deforestation | Carbon finance]


Half of oil palm expansion in Malaysia, Indonesia occurs at expense of forests

(05/20/2008) More than half of the oil palm expansion between 1990 and 2005 in Malaysia and Indonesia occurred at expense of forests, reports a new analysis published in the journal Conservation Letters. Analyzing data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Lian Pin Koh and David S. Wilcove of Princeton University found that 55-59 percent of oil palm expansion in Malaysia and at least 56 percent of that in Indonesia occurred at the expense of forests. Given that oil palm plantations are biologically impoverished relative to primary and secondary forests, the researchers recommend restricting future expansion to pre-existing cropland and degraded habitats.   [ Deforestation | Palm oil]


Frog chooses whether to lay eggs on land or in water

(05/19/2008) Researchers in Panama have discovered a frog that can choose whether it lays its eggs on land or in water. It is the first time such "reproductive flexibility" has been found in a vertebrate.   [ Animal behavior | Frogs]


Invasive Species: Toad-ally out of control

(05/18/2008) Global warming will produce fewer Atlantic hurricanes, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Geoscience by a U.S. government meteorologist. Devising a regional climate model of the Atlantic basin that reproduces the observed rise in hurricane counts between 1980 and 2006, Tom Knutson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fluid dynamics lab in Princeton, N.J. and colleagues conclude that warming oceans due to rising atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations will not increase the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes.   [ Invasive species | Australia]


Global warming may produce fewer Atlantic hurricanes

(05/18/2008) Global warming will produce fewer Atlantic hurricanes, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Geoscience by a U.S. government meteorologist. Devising a regional climate model of the Atlantic basin that reproduces the observed rise in hurricane counts between 1980 and 2006, Tom Knutson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fluid dynamics lab in Princeton, N.J. and colleagues conclude that warming oceans due to rising atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations will not increase the frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes.   [ Hurricanes | Impact of climate change]


'Rarest of the Rare' species list released

(05/16/2008) In honor of Endangered Species Day, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has released a list of twelve critically endangered species, which it considers the "rarest of the rare". The list spreads widely throughout the animal kingdom, including insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.   [ Biodiversity | Wildlife]


Global wildlife declines 30% in 30 years

(05/16/2008) Nearly one third of the world's wildlife has been lost since 1970, according to a study released by the Zoological Society of London, WWF and the Global Footprint Network. Tracking nearly 4,000 populations trends for about 1,500 species, scientists from the environmental groups found that populations of wild species have declined by 30 percent on land and in freshwater and marine ecosystems. The current extinction rate is 10,000 times faster than the biological norm recorded in the fossil record.   [ Biodiversity | Extinction | Wildlife]


Global ban on biofuels would lead to immediate decline in food prices

(05/16/2008) A global moratorium on biofuels produced from food crops would result in a significant decline in the price of corn, sugar, cassava and wheat by 2010, according to testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs by Mark W. Rosegrant Testimony of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).   [ Deforestation | Rainforests]


Tropical deforestation is 'one of the worst crises since we came out of our caves'

(05/15/2008) Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week in Vietnam, keynote speaker Dr. Norman Myers said that 5 percent of deforestation in 2005 was due to cattle ranching, 19 percent to over-heavy logging, 22 percent to the growing sector of palm oil plantations, and 54 percent due to slash-and-burn-farming.   [ Deforestation | Rainforests]


Prince Charles calls for rainforest protection to fight climate change

(05/15/2008) Ending the destruction of tropical rainforests is the simplest step to helping address climate change, said Prince Charles in an interview with the BBC.   [ Rainforests]


Brazil will forge its own path for developing the Amazon

(05/15/2008) The Brazilian government will use cheap loans, payments, and other benefits to encourage Amazon farmers to reduce their impact on the Amazon rainforest, under a plan unveiled last week. Brazil says the Sustainable Amazon Plan will create jobs, generate economic growth and reduce social inequalities for the more than 23 million people living in the Amazon by promoting sustainable development schemes and improving infrastructure to integrate the region into the broader economy. Critics say the plan's emphasis on port and road expansion will facilitate more deforestation — Environment Minister Marina Silva resigned shortly after the plan was announced.   [ Amazon | Brazil | Deforestation | Rainforests]


Nitrogen pollution harming ecosystems and contributing to global warming

(05/15/2008) Nitrogen pollution of the world's oceans is harming marine ecosystems and contributing to global warming, report two reviews published in the journal Science.   [ Oceans | Pollution]


Insect diversity in the tropics greater than previously believed

(05/15/2008) The tropics are more biodiverse than previously believed, report researchers writing in the journal Science. Doing DNA analysis on fruit flies in Latin America, biologists led by Cornell professor Marty Condon found a surprising number of different species occupying separate parts of the same plant.   [ Biodiversity | Insects]


BBC Coverage: the Amazon Paradox

(05/15/2008) The BBC is running its special on the "Amazon Paradox". Mongabay has assisted the effort, providing background information (including a report on French Guiana), data, and images and graphics.   [ Amazon Paradox]


New research shows wild sloths sleep less than captive sloths

(05/14/2008) Wild sloths are considerably more active than their counterparts in captivity, reports the first electrophysiological study of sleep in a wild animal. Writing in the journal Biology Letters, Niels Rattenborg of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and colleagues report that wild sloths sleep less than 10 hours per day. By comparison, captive sloths sleep for around 16 hours per day.   [ Animal behavior | Mammals]


U.S. lists the polar bear as threatened, but decision won't affect emissions rules

(05/14/2008) The U.S. Interior Department has decided to list the polar bear as a threatened species due to declining sea ice cover in the Arctic. The decision comes a day before a court-imposed deadline to decide whether the polar bear should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The listing could force the U.S. government to take measures to protect the bear's Arctic habitat which scientists say is melting partly as a result of the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Such measures may include a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, though Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, discounted the possibility in a press conference announcing the decision.   [ Polar bear | Endangered species]


Brazil's environmental minister resigns after losing Amazon fight

(05/14/2008) Marina Silva, Brazil's environmental minister, resigned Tuesday after losing several key battles in her fight to rein in destruction of the Amazon rainforest.   [ Brazil | Amazon]


Will earthquake slow dam-building spree in China?

(05/14/2008) Monday's 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province left more than 15,000 dead, 26,000 missing, and 64,000 injured, according to state media. The quake also "seriously damaged" two hydroelectric stations in Maoxian county, leading authorities to warn that the dams could burst. More than 2,000 troops were sent to work on the Zipingku Dam, a dam said to be in "great danger" of collapse upriver from Dujiangyan, a city near the quake's epicenter.   [ China | Dams]


Convicted nun-killer freed in the Brazilian Amazon

(05/14/2008) A campaign to plant one billion trees has planted more than 2 billion trees in just 18 months and now aims for seven billion, according to the UN Environment Programme, one of the backers of the initiative.   [ Amazon | Brazil]


46% of Brazil's energy comes from renewable sources

(05/14/2008) A campaign to plant one billion trees has planted more than 2 billion trees in just 18 months and now aims for seven billion, according to the UN Environment Programme, one of the backers of the initiative.   [ Brazil]


China to push for overseas acquisition of farmland to improve food security

(05/14/2008) Worries over food security may drive China to seek agricultural lands abroad, according to a report from the Financial Times.   [ China | Agriculture]


Mangrove loss may have worsened scale of disaster in Burma

(05/13/2008) Weeks after the devastating cyclone Nagris struck Myanmar's Irrawaddy Delta on May 2nd, scientists and the media are debating the role in the scale of the disaster played by the region's deforestation of mangroves. According to recent studies, mangrove forests act as a buffer against the effect's of tropical storms like Nagris, though scientists don't yet fully understand the relationship between storm mitigation and mangroves.   [ Hurricanes | Mangroves | Burma]


2 billion trees planted in 18 months

(05/13/2008) A campaign to plant one billion trees has planted more than 2 billion trees in just 18 months and now aims for seven billion, according to the UN Environment Programme, one of the backers of the initiative.   [ Happy-upbeat environmental | Reforestation]


Indonesian palm oil firms pledge to stop clearing rainforests

(05/13/2008) Palm oil companies operating in Indonesia pledged to stop clearing forests for new plantations reports The Jakarta Post. The move is a response to growing criticism that oil palm expansion is destroying biologically-rich rainforests and contributing to global warming.   [ Palm oil | Indonesia | Happy-upbeat environmental]


Eight individuals of one of the world's rarest cats caught on film

(05/13/2008) Recent photographs have brought hope to conservationists regarding the world's rarest large cat, the Amur leopard. They were taken in the Primorisky Region of Russia by a camera trap.   [ Great cats]


Environmental news buried at New York Times and Wall Street Journal

(05/13/2008) The Project for Excellence in Journalism has released a study examining the front pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal from December 13th through March 13th 2008. The report found that both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times essentially buried environmental stories, as environmental news for both papers made up only 1 percent of the total front page.   [ Environment]


Book Review: State of the Wild

(05/13/2008) State of the Wild is a textbook sized collection of essays and conservation information from the Wildlife Conservation Society. The book deals with myriad issues surrounding wildlife and ecosystem conservation, essentially exploring the current 'state of the wild' through various lenses.   [ Environment]


Americans least environmental, according to a new survey

(05/13/2008) A survey, entitled Greendex, by National Geographic and GlobeScan has found that out of fourteen developed and developing nations, American lifestyles are the least environmentally sustainable. The Canadians and French rounded out the bottom three. On the opposite side, Brazil and India tie as the most "green" of the nations surveyed. The survey found a clear distinction between developing and developed nations' consumption of resources and energy with developing nations more sustainable than developed nations and more concerned about the environment in general.   [ Environment]


Please note: There will be few or no new posts until mid-May. Thank you for your interest and patience.
Rhett Butler.


Global warming to worsen ocean dead zones, hurt fisheries

(05/01/2008) Warming oceans will worsen oxygen-deficient or hypoxic dead zones, affecting ecosystems and fisheries, warn researchers writing in the journal Science.   [ Impact of climate change | Oceans | Malaysia]


Unilever calls for ban on rainforest destruction for palm oil

(05/01/2008) Unilever, the world's largest consumer good company, will start using palm oil from certified sustainable sources this year and aims to have all its palm oil certified by 2015, according to a speech delivered today by CEO Patrick Cescau. Cescau also voiced support for a moratorium on rainforest destruction for oil palm plantations in Indonesia.   [ Palm oil | Palm oil | Sustainability | Deforestation | Happy-upbeat environmental]


High palm oil prices kill the biodiesel market for Asia

(05/01/2008) High palm oil prices have forced investors to shelve plans for biodiesel refineries, according to The Wall Street Journal.   [ Palm oil | Biofuels]





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