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Cheetah population stabilizes in Namibia with support from farmers:
An interview with Dr. Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund


(09/30/2008) Viewing the world's fastest land animal as a threat to their livestock, in the 1980s farmers killed half of Namibia's cheetah population. The trend continued into the early 1990s, when the population was diminished again by nearly half, leaving less than 2,500 cheetah in the southern African country. Today cheetah populations have stabilized due, in large part, to the efforts of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an organization founded by Dr. Laurie Marker.   [ Interviews | Cats | Wildlife | Conservation]


Cheetah population declines 90% in 100 years:
An interview with Rebecca Klein of Cheetah Conservation Botswana


(09/30/2008) The planet's fastest land animal is falling behind in its race for survival against habitat encroachment, loss of prey, the illegal wildlife trade, and disease. Once found widely across the African continent to Kazakhstan in the north to Burma in the East, the cheetah has seen a dramatic reduction of its range and numbers in recent centuries as livestock holders have relentlessly killed off the cat as a threat to their livelihoods. Today the cheetah clings to strongholds in only a few African nations. Among these is the southern African country of Botswana, which harbors large expanses of prime cheetah habitat. Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB) is working to preserve the country's cheetah population through scientific research and community outreach and education. In an interview ahead of an upcoming appearance in the U.S., CCB co-founder Rebecca Klein spoke about her organization's work and its efforts to conserve cheetahs while delivering benefits to local communities.   [ Interviews | Cats | Wildlife | Conservation]


An interview with Peter Blinston of Painted Dog Conservation:
Painted Dog population falls 99%, but community efforts could save species


(09/29/2008) The painted dog, or African wild dog, was once found widely across Africa but relentless persecution by humans, coupled with habitat loss and spread of disease from domestic dogs, has driven the population down from 500,000 to less than 5,000 over the past century. The species is now listed as endangered by the IUCN. While the outlook is not good in many countries, there are emerging signs of hope, particularly in Zimbabwe where the efforts of a community-based conservation project has nearly doubled the population of the dog to 700 individuals.   [ Interviews | Colombia | Monkeys | Conservation]


An interview with Mauro Lucherini of the Andean Cat Alliance:
'Snow leopard' of the Andes is one of the world's most endangered cats


(09/29/2008) One of the world's rarest cats is also one of its least known. The Andean mountain cat, sometimes called the "snow leopard" of the Andes, is an elusive species found only at high elevations of the Andean region in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Little is known about its ecology and behavior. While the species is known to be rare, no one knows how many individuals survive in the wild. Mauro Lucherini and his colleagues at the Andean Cat Alliance(AGA) are working to change this.   [ Interviews | Colombia | Monkeys | Conservation]


An Interview with Rosamira Guillen of Fundación Proyecto Tití:
"Punk-rock" monkey and handbags made from recycled trash inspire conservation in Colombia


(09/25/2008) A small, but charismatic primate has become the symbol for conservation efforts in an area of threatened forest in northwestern Colombia, says a conservationist who helped pioneer a successful community development program that turns trash into attractive handbags. Rosamira Guillen, Executive Director of the Fundación Proyecto Tití, is working with local communities to protect the endangered Cotton-top tamarin and its tropical dry forest habitat in northwestern Colombia. The effort relies heavily on creating alternative livelihoods for local people who would otherwise collect the squirrel-sized primate for the pet trade or raze its habitat for agriculture. In the process, Fundación Proyecto Tití has created a thriving business that converts plastic bags — a source or mortality among cotton-top tamarins — into fashionable "eco-mochilas" that are now sent all over the world.   [ Interviews | Colombia | Monkeys | Conservation]


An Interview with sun bear expert Siew Te Wong:
Logging, wildlife trade drive sun bears toward extinction


(09/25/2008) Industrial logging, large-scale forest conversion for oil palm plantations, and the illegal wildlife trade have left sun bears the rarest species of bear on the planet. Recognizing their dire status, Siew Te Wong, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Montana, is working in Malaysia to save the species from extinction. Known as "Sun Bear Man" in some circles, Siew Te Wong is setting up the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. The project aims to save sun bears, which have largely overlooked by conservationists, through research, education, rehabilitation, and habitat conservation.   [ Malaysia | Interviews | Endangered species | Conservation]


U.S. Congress passes legislation to boost solar, wind, and geothermal energy

(09/24/2008) Tuesday the U.S. Senate passed a bill that will extend tax credits on solar power installations through 2016. The House approved the measure Wednesday.


Cutting deforestation can fight climate change, reduce poverty and conflict

(09/24/2008) Forest conservation can play a critical role in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate poverty, said a prominent group of politicians, development experts, and environmental NGOs meeting in New York City to discuss U.S. climate policy. Organized by Avoided Deforestation Partners, an international policy group, the meeting sought to establish a strategy to highlight the global impact of deforestation and push for the inclusion of tropical forests in domestic climate policy. Attendees included leaders of WWF, the Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Vision, Oxfam, Mercy Corps, Care International, and the Union of Concerned Scientists; former Vice President Al Gore; Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Prize-winning activist from Kenya; Bharrat Jagdeo, president of the South American country of Guyana; and executives from a number of carbon-trading and financial firms. The event was hosted by veteran journalist Dan Rather.   [ Avoided deforestation | Carbon finance | Rainforests]


WWF ends contentious debate, will now support effort to fight climate change by saving rainforests

(09/24/2008) WWF, one of the world's largest environmental groups, says it will now support policy mechanisms that would compensate tropical countries for reducing carbon dioxide emissions generated by deforestation and forest degradation, according to remarks by the group's president and CEO at an "avoided deforestation" meeting in New York.   [ Avoided deforestation | Carbon finance | Rainforests]


Kenyan community displaced by nature reserve seeks justice

(09/22/2008) Lake Bogoria is a fascinating nature reserve in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Set in a strange arid landscape, the lake attracts tens of thousands of flamingos. The multitudes of bright pink birds contrast with the grayish-blue landscape. The lake itself is shallow and saline; boiling hot springs and geysers can be found along its western shore. Fish eagles and marabou storks haunt the waters, seeking out flamingo for dinner. Antelope, even the greater kudu, can sometimes be seen, while hyraxes make their homes in the surrounding bare rock. However, the strange beauty of this reserve comes with a grim reality not shown to tourists.   [ Kenya | Conservation]


Group takes "venture capital" approach to conservation

(09/16/2008) An innovative group is using a venture capital model to save some of the world's most endangered species, while at the same time working to ensure that local communities benefit from conservation efforts. The Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), an organization based in Los Altos, California, works to protect threatened species by focusing on what it terms "conservation entrepreneurs" -- people who are passionate about saving wildlife and have creative ideas for dong so. After a rigorous review process to identify and select projects that will have the greatest impact on conservation in developing countries, WCN provides the conservationist with fund-raising and back-office support, technology, and access to its network of people and resources.   [ Conservation | Wildlife]


Latest Tropical Conservation Science now online

(09/15/2008) The latest issue of Tropical Conservation Science, mongabay.com's peer-reviewed, open-access journal, is now online. This issue is noteworthy in that all eight papers have a scientist from a tropical country as lead author. A recent paper in Biotropica showed that tropical scientists are greatly underrepresented in the scientific literature pertaining to tropical ecology — most papers are written by authors based in the United States and Europe.   [ Tropical Conservation Science]


A tour of Madagascar for kids

(09/10/2008) Despite its economic misfortunes, Madagascar has long been recognized for its spectacular biological and cultural richness. WildMadagascar.org, Mongabay.com's companion site, has a new section to encourage children to learn more about the island's uniqueness. The main parts of WildMadagascar have also been updated.   [ Madagascar]


An Interview with Jennifer Jacquet:
Small-scale fisheries are "best hope" for sustainability in developing world species


(09/08/2008) Fish stocks are declining globally. While the consumer in the industrial world has yet to feel the full impact of this decline, those in the developing world know it well. Local small-scale fishermen are catching less fish to feed growing populations. Jennifer Jacquet of the Sea Around Us Project believes the hope for sustainable seafood lies in these very fisheries.   [ Fishing | Oceans | Interviews]


Yellow toad births offer hope for extinct-in-the-wild species

(09/04/2008) The birth of Kihansi spray toadlets at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo has renewed hopes that the species can someday be successfully reintroduced to its natural habitat in a remote gorge in Tanzania. The Kihansi spray toad is believed to have been driven to extinction by the destruction of its only known habitat — the Kihansi gorge in the Southern Udzungwa Mountains of South Central Tanzania — by a hydroelectric project. Its demise was hastened by the appearance of the deadly chytrid fungus, a pathogen that is taking a heavy toll on amphibians around the world. The last confirmed sighting of the species in the wild was in May 2005.   [ Amphibians | Extinction | Conservation | Happy-upbeat environmental]




Wildlife experts descend on San Francisco

(09/30/2008) Wildlife experts from around the world are arriving in San Francisco ahead of a conservation expo that gives the public the opportunity to meet, in person, the people who are saving endangered wildlife. The event — put on by the Wildlife Conservation Network, an innovative group that uses a "venture capital" model to support promising conservation projects — will showcase the efforts of 18 conservationists on Saturday, October 4th at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco   [ Wildlife | Conservation]


Brazilian government is biggest destroyer of the Amazon rainforest

(09/30/2008) A Brazilian government agency changed with land distribution to the poor is the largest driver of deforestation since 2005, according to the country's environmental ministry. Speaking Monday, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said that the Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) was responsible for the clearing of 220,000 hectares (550,000 acres) of rainforest on six Amazon properties. The six properties are the largest deforested areas in the entire Brazilian Amazon since 2005.   [ Amazon | Brazil | Deforestation]


More than half of Europe's amphibians face extinction by 2050

(09/28/2008) Researchers with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said over half of European amphibians face extinction in less than fifty years due to a perfect storm of threats: climate change, habitat loss, and disease. The announcement came at an event titled 'Amphibians in a climate of change' hosted by Sir. David Attenborough, one of the world's most well-known wildlife enthusiasts due to his long career making nature documentaries.   [ Amphibians | Extinction]


Al Gore calls for "civil disobedience" against new coal plants

(09/28/2008) Former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner, Al Gore, told the audience at the Clinton Global Initiative that the moment had arrived for civil disobedience against new coal plants. Gore called the fight against global warming a "rout", saying "we are losing badly". Currently the U.S. has 28 new coal plants under construction.   [ Environmental politics | Activism | Energy | Coal]


Palm oil firm becomes first to win eco-certification

(09/28/2008) United Plantations, a Malaysia-based palm oil producer, has become the first oil palm plantation firm to be certified for adopting the strictest standards of sustainability for palm oil production, according to Bernama.   [ Palm oil | Certification]


Malaysian oil palm firms eye Papua for expansion

(09/26/2008) Malaysian palm oil firms are looking to aggressively expand operations in Papua, the Indonesian part of New Guinea, reports Bernama.   [ Palm oil | New Guinea]


Brazil plans to cut Amazon deforestation to zero by 2015

(09/26/2008) Brazil aims to cut net deforestation to zero by 2015 according to a plan that will be released by the government next week. The plan will apparently rely both on reforestation and reductions in deforestation, although it is presently unclear to the extent that industrial plantations will count toward its goal. An emphasis on plantations in the plan would be significant in that they are deficient in terms of biodiversity and carbon storage relative to natural forests.   [ Amazon | Brazil | Rainforests]


Environment at rock-bottom of concerns for American voters

(09/26/2008) In a poll conducted by Gallup asking voters to state their top two reasons for choosing a candidate, one percent said the environment or climate change. The environment was tied with education for being the least given reason.   [ Energy]


Brazil suspends Amazon road project until protected areas established

(09/26/2008) Brazil has temporarily suspended the paving of a major Amazon road pending demarcation of 13 neighboring protected areas, reports the Associated Press. Wednesday Environment minister Carlos Minc said the government will delay construction contracts for BR-319, a highway that connects Manaus (Amazonas) and Porto Velho (Rondonia), until 13 conservation areas are established. The road, which is nearly impassable during the rainy season, will be transformed into an all-weather highway to enable soy farmers and ranchers to get their products to markets faster and at a lower cost. Environmentalists fear the road improvements will drive logging and agricultural expansion in the region as has been the case with other infrastructure development projects in the country.   [ Amazon | Brazil | Roads]


CO2 emissions accelerate 400% as world turns to dirtier fuels

(09/26/2008) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose at a record clip in 2007, according to the Global Carbon Project's annual overview of the greenhouse gas.   [ Carbon dioxide]


Past climate change drove mass extinction in Pakistan

(09/26/2008) Research on long-vanished mammals in the Siwalik region of Northern Pakistan has yielded results relevant for today. In the span of two-and-a-half million years climate change caused a shift in Siwalik habitat from wet monsoon forest to savannah, dooming over half the mammal species to local extinction. The research was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   [ Extinction]


12 fish species go extinct in lake near Istanbul

(09/24/2008) Turkey has lost twelve species of fish to pollution in Lake Sapanca. Lake Sapanca used to be one of Turkey's most bio-diverse lakes. A decade ago the lake's water was pristine enough to be pumped directly to Istanbul for citizen use, but due to rising pollution it no longer serves as a source for the city water.   [ Pollution | Fish]


Bushmeat trade "most significant" threat to Africa's wildlife says Richard Leakey

(09/24/2008) Maverick conservationist, Richard Leakey, writes that "commercial bushmeat hunting has become the most significant immediate threat to the future of wildlife in Africa and around the world" in an article on Wildlife Direct. Founded by Leakey, Wildlife Direct is a nonprofit allowing researchers and wildlife organizations in Africa and Asia to connect directly with supporters through blogs.   [ Bushmeat | Hunting]


'Safe' CO2 level may destroy the fishing industry, wreck reefs

(09/23/2008) An atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 450 parts-per-million (ppm) — a target level deemed safe by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — would be devastating to marine ecosystems warn scientists writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.   [ Ocean acidification]


Photos of the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

(09/19/2008) The new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Park will open its doors to the general public for the first time on the weekend of September 27-28. The new facility was designed and constructed to minimize its impact on the environment, employing wide range of energy-saving materials and technologies. The building features a 2.5-acre living roof which captures rainwater that is filtered through the Academy's state-of-the-art living rainforest exhibit. Other exhibits include a planetarium, an aquarium, and a natural history museum. The also facility houses the Academy's renowned research institution.
  [ California]


Monoculture tree plantations are "green deserts" not forests, say activists

(09/19/2008) A number of environmental and social organizations have declared September 21st: International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations to highlight the social upheaval and environmental degradation — including impacts on global biodiversity and climate change — wrought by industrial plantations. "Tree plantations are not forests. A plantation is a highly uniform agricultural system that replaces natural ecosystems and their rich biodiversity,” Sandy Gauntlett of the Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition said. “The trees planted are geared to the production of a single raw material, whether it is timber, pulp, rubber, palm oil or others.”   [ Plantations | Forestry]


U.S. ignores laws on e-waste disposal

(09/19/2008) U.S. laws for exporting electronic waste (e-waste) are widely ignored, according to a General Accountability Office (GAO) report, which faults the Environmental Protection Agency.   [ Pollution]


Unknown but critically endangered iguana species discovered in Fiji

(09/19/2008) Researchers have discovered a third species of iguana in Fiji. It is believed to be critically endangered, with a population of a "few hundred".   [ Malaysia | Palm oil]


100 new species of sharks and rays discovered in Australia

(09/19/2008) Scientists have described 100 new species of sharks and rays in the seas around Australia.   [ Malaysia | Palm oil]


A solution to worldwide fishery collapse?

(09/17/2008) In November 2006 a study on global fisheries received a lot of attention: employing 53 years worth of fishery data, Boris Worm predicted that by 2048 the ocean would be empty of fish. Essentially there would be nothing left to catch. Already, Worm reported, fishing stocks had collapsed in 29 percent of the world’s fisheries. Although scientists called for rapid and overhauling changes to fisheries, the fishing industry carried on business-as-usual. Now, two years later, a study in Science proposes to have found the solution to the global fishery-collapse.   [ Malaysia | Palm oil]


Malaysian palm oil industry accused of child slavery by Indonesia

(09/17/2008) Indonesia's Commission for Child Protection has accused Malaysia's oil palm planters of enslaving migrant workers and their children at plantations in the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, reports The Jakarta Post. Arist Merdeka Sirait, secretary general of the commission, told the newspaper that a fact-finding team sent to Sabah discovered "tens of thousands of Indonesian migrant workers and their children had been 'systematically enslaved,'" by Malaysian plantation owners.   [ Malaysia | Palm oil]


Palawan's wildlife faces extinction risk due to mining, pet trade

(09/17/2008) Scientists warn that species on the Philippine island of Palawan are rapidly headed toward extinction due to habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade. Last week ornithologist Aldrin Mallari presented a paper showing that all of Palawan's endangered species inhabit lowland forest, according to an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Lowland forest has been largely converted to agriculture, whereas areas above a thousand meters have government protection.   [ Biodiversity | Philippines | Endangered species]


Norway offers $1 billion towards saving the Amazon rainforest

(09/17/2008) Norway will donate up to a billion dollars to a Brazilian government fund that aims to protect the Amazon rainforest.   [ Deforestation | Amazon | Brazil]


Scientists discover 120 million year-old ant in the Amazon rainforest

(09/17/2008) Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of ant in the Amazon that may shed light on the evolution of ants. The species is believed to be the oldest-known ant at around 120 million years old. The discovery is presented this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   [ Insects | Species discovery]


Arctic sea ice falls to second lowest on record

(09/16/2008) Arctic sea ice retreated to the second lowest level on record but remains about 9 percent above the low set last September, reports the NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.   [ Sea ice]


Pollination worth $216 billion/yr for food production

(09/16/2008) Pollination services provided by insects are worth $216 billion (€153 billion) a year reports a new study published in Ecological Economics. The figure represents about 9.5 percent of the total value of world agricultural food production.   [ Ecosystem services]


Rainforest conversion to oil palm causes 83% of wildlife to disappear

(09/15/2008) Conversion of primary rainforest to an oil palm plantation results in a loss of more than 80 percent of species, reports a new comprehensive review of the impacts of growing palm oil production. The research is published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.   [ Deforestation | Palm oil | Logging]


Commercial bushmeat trade is devastating wildlife

(09/15/2008) Commercial killing of rainforest wildlife is putting biodiversity at risk and reducing sources of protein for rural populations, warns a new report from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB). The report — which assessed the sustainability of bushmeat hunting — estimates that more than a million tons of bushmeat are harvested from Central Africa each year, an amount equivalent of almost four million head of cattle.   [ Bushmeat | Hunting | Wildlife]


Earth already committed to 2.4-degree C rise from climate change

(09/15/2008) As of 2005 the Earth was already committed to rise of global mean temperatures by 2.4°C (4.3°F), concludes a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The conclusion is significant because the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that a rise in global temperature by 1 to 3°C will lead to catastrophic consequences, including “widespread loss of biodiversity, widespread deglaciation of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and a major reduction of area and volume of Hindu-Kush-Himalaya-Tibetan glaciers, which provide the head-waters for most major river systems of Asia.” These glaciers, predicted to shrink considerably in the next few decades, provide food and water to over two billion people.   [ Climate change]


Migratory waterbird populations in decline in Europe

(09/15/2008) Rwanda and Burundi have agreed to protect a large tract of tropical mountain forest that is home to chimpanzees, rare owl-faced monkeys, and other wildlife.   [ Burundi | Rwanda | Conservation]


Migratory waterbird populations in decline in Europe

(09/15/2008) 41 percent of 522 migratory waterbird populations on the routes across Africa and Eurasia show decreasing trends, reports a new study released at the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement meeting in Antananarivo, Madagascar.   [ Birds | Conservation]


Primate conservation may enhance food availability to humans

(09/15/2008) Primate conservation may have the unintended benefit of enhancing food availability to humans reports a study led by African scientists. The research, conducted in the Taï region of Côte-d’Ivoire, found that seven species of monkeys used about 75 species of plants as a source of fruit, of which 25 were also used by local human inhabitants for various purposes. Because monkeys are key seed dispersal agents, the results suggest that primate conservation may sustain the persistence of plant resources important for human livelihoods.   [ Primates | Conservation]


Regrowing the Amazon rainforest will require help from bats and birds

(09/15/2008) As large tracts of Amazon rainforest are degraded by industrial logging and cleared for cattle pasture and agriculture, other deforested areas are abandoned and being reclaimed by forest. Understanding this recolonization of degraded forest lands by pioneer species will critical to efforts to rehabilitate restore forests around the world.   [ Amazon | Forests | Reforestation]


Mangrove destruction for fish trade may undermine fishermen in West Africa

(09/15/2008) The harvesting of mangrove forests in West Africa for the smoked fish trade threatens to undermine the primary source of income for the very fishermen who supply fish to the market, reports a study published Monday in the open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science. Conducting surveys in fishing camps and villages in southwest Cameroon, Njisuh Zebedee Feka of Cameroon's Regional Centre for Development and Conservation and Mario G. Manzano of the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico, found a poor understanding among local people of the importance of mangroves in maintaining fisheries.   [ Whales | Oceans]


11 species of monkeys discovered in West African biodiversity hotspot

(09/15/2008) Urgent conservation measures are needed to protect some of the world's most endangered primates from the hunting, logging, and oil palm development in a region that has only recently emerged from a period of civil strife, report researchers writing in the open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science.   [ Rainforests | Monkeys | Ivory Coast]


Loss of wildlife is threatening biodiverse forests in northeastern India

(09/15/2008) Logging, agricultural expansion, and hunting of large birds and mammals in the tropical forests of northeastern India may be reducing the capacity of the biologically-rich ecosystem to regenerate itself, report researchers writing in the open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science.   [ Whales | Oceans]


Teak wood may be improved by greater genetic diversity

(09/15/2008) Molecular genetics is an important tool not only in basic studies of phylogeny, genetic variation, and relatedness among others, but also for managing tropical forest resources that have important commercial value.   [ Whales | Oceans]


New rainforest sanctuary in Cameroon already at risk from plantations, hunting

(09/15/2008) The forests of southern Cameroon bordering Gabon are biodiversity-rich and harbor important populations of gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants. In 1998 the government of Cameroon established the Mengame Gorilla Sanctuary and in 2002, working in close partnership with the government of Cameroon, the Jane Goodall Institute launched a project to protect habitat and biodiversity in the reserve while creating a connection between conservation and socio-economic improvement in communities bordering the sanctuary. The sanctuary now plays an important role in emerging trans-boundary protected area initiatives.   [ Cameroon | Biodiversity]


Threatened forest in Kenya home to a diversity of bird life

(09/15/2008) The Tana River forest in coastal Kenya is home to a diverse array of bird species but is increasingly under threat from logging, agricultural expansion, and unsustainable harvesting of some bird species, reports a new study published in the open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science.   [ Birds | Kenya]


Europe cuts biofuel targets to 4% in 2015, 6% in 2020

(09/12/2008) The E.U. voted to relax biofuels targets following widespread criticism of their social, economic, and environmental impacts. Thursday the European Parliament's Industry and Energy Committee said it would push a plan calling for a 5 percent share of renewables in transport fuel by 2015 and a 10 percent target by 2020, a reduction from the 20 percent target set forth in March 2007. The plan effectively cuts targets for biofuels produced from conventional feedstocks to four percent in 2015 and six percent in 2020.   [ Biofuels | Energy]


IWC issues media blackout on discussions to lift whaling ban

(09/12/2008) The survival of whales is perhaps the most successful conservation story of the 20th century. Since a moratorium on commercial hunting, some whale species have staged dramatic recoveries. In May it was announced that the humpback whale population has climbed from 1,500 to 20,000 individuals, resulting in it being "downlisted" from vulnerable to least concern, according to the IUCN's Red List. Others, like the blue whale, appear to have stable populations but recovery remains slow. The moratorium on hunting, begun in 1982, was the decisive moment for whale conservation. Next week, the fate of that moratorium will be decided by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In St. Petersburg, Florida twenty-six of the eighty nations making up the IWC will gather under a media-blackout to discuss the continuance of the commercial hunting ban on whales.   [ Whales | Oceans]


Old growth forests are carbon sinks for centuries, helping offset emissions

(09/11/2008) Old growth forests are important carbon sinks that help global warming, reports a study published in the journal Nature. The results run counter to claims by the forestry industry that old growth forests are carbon neutral or even net emitters of carbon dioxide.   [ Forests | Carbon sequestration]


Thought-to-be-extinct frog rediscovered in Australia

(09/11/2008) Scientists have rediscovered a thought-to-be-extinct species of frog in a creek in Northern Australia. The find offers hope that some species have survived a fungal epidemic that has devastated the amphibians of Queensland.   [ Australia | Frogs]


Study confirms strong link between CO2 and climate over 70,000 years

(09/11/2008) Analysis of ice core samples from Greenland show a strong correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and abrupt changes in climate, reports a paper published in Science. The researchers say the findings "appear to confirm the validity of the types of computer models that are used to project a warmer climate in the future."   [ Climate change | Carbon dioxide]


Prince Charles says hedge funds could save rainforests

(09/10/2008) Prince Charles renewed his call to protect rainforests for the services they provide humanity. Speaking Wednesday at a black-tie dinner in London, Charles compared the need to protect forests to fighting a war. He said that by valuing the services healthy forests provide, the market, not philanthropists, could be the savior of rainforests.   [ Rainforests | Carbon finance]


Falling palm oil price makes palm biodiesel viable, may offer target for NGOs

(09/10/2008) Plunging palm oil prices are increasing its attractiveness as a biofuel feedstock and thereby helping buoy demand for the oilseed, reports Reuters. With the feedstock accounting for as much as 80 percent of the cost of producing biodiesel, surging palm oil prices due to rising demand as an ingredient in food, consumer, and industrial products have undermined the economics of biodiesel production using the oilseed. Now that prices have fallen by about half since peaking in March at 4,486 Malaysian ringgit per metric ton, it is again profitable to produce biodiesel from palm oil.   [ Palm oil | Biofuels]


Nearly 40 percent of America’s freshwater fish in danger

(09/10/2008) The most comprehensive study of America's freshwater fish in twenty years has revealed that nearly 40 percent are threatened with extinction. The study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), found that 700 species in America's lakes and rivers are in danger. Classifying the fish by level of threat, the USGS listed 230 as vulnerable, 190 as threatened, and 280 as endangered. The study, published in Fisheries, also stated that 61 species have already gone extinct.   [ Fish | Wildlife | Conservation | Endangered species]


Rare okapi photographed for the first time in Congo park

(09/10/2008) A camera trap has captured the first-ever photo of an okapi in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. The picture shows that the elusive forest giraffe has managed to survive more than a decade of war in and around the park.   [ Congo | Wildlife]


Malaysia pushes Borneo rainforest logging by deposing tribal leaders

(09/09/2008) The Malaysian government is attempting to quell indigenous opposition to logging in the rainforests of Borneo by deposing community leaders and replacing them with timber company stakeholders, reports an environmental group. The Bruno Manser Fund, a Swiss NGO that works on behalf of the forest people of Sarawak, Malaysia, says that the headmen of at least three Penan communities that have opposed logging have lost official recognition from Malaysian authorities over the past year. The government is working to install representatives who support logging.   [ China | Monkeys | Conservation | Endangered species]


Drug use blamed as vulture population crashes 99% in India and Pakistan

(09/09/2008) Captive breeding programs are not large enough to ensure the oriental white-rumped vulture's survival, reports a new study in Biological Conservation. Circling vultures used to be a common sight in India and Pakistan, but in less than twenty years their populations have crashed by 99 percent. The cause was a drug called diclofenac used on livestock. When an animal died they were taken to dumps where the vultures fed. Consuming a carcass that contains diclofenac proved fatal: within a few days the vulture's kidneys failed. Tens of millions of vulture perished due to the drug.   [ Birds | Conservation | Endangered species]


Big computer makers pitch energy efficiency to sell more services, equipment

(09/09/2008) Tech giants are using high power costs to market new energy efficiency computers to large corporate data centers, reports the Wall Street Journal.   [ Energy efficiency]


Rare monkeys double in number in China but remain under threat

(09/08/2008) China's population of the gray snub-nosed monkey, a critically-endangered species endemic to Guizhou Province in southwestern China, has more than doubled in the wild since conservation measures were implemented in 1979, reports Chinese state media.   [ China | Monkeys | Conservation | Endangered species]


Nobu offers critically-endangered species to sushi diners

(09/08/2008) Nobu, a pricey and trendy sushi restaurant with locations around the world, regularly serves critically-endangered Northern bluefin tuna to its clientele, reveals an investigation by the environmental group Greenpeace.   [ Fishing | Oceans | Conservation | Endangered species]


Moose Mission in New York's Adirondacks

(09/05/2008) Bushwhacking our way through nearly impenetrable bogs and blow down in the central woods of the Adirondacks in northern New York, I am wondering... how can a MOOSE move through this stuff? Weighing nearly 1400 pounds and standing six to seven feet tall, moose favor the dense mixed forests that surround the lakes and ponds of the Adirondacks, the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. About 6 million acres of boreal forests, mountains, and lakes in northern New York are within the boundaries of the Adirondacks, half of which are public lands, the other half are private. The relatively cool climate and available plants on the many riparian banks of the area make for a moose mecca.   [ Conservation | Wildlife]


Cameroon and Nigeria to protect world's rarest gorilla

(09/05/2008) Cameroon and Nigeria have agreed to protect the the Cross River gorilla, world's most endangered gorilla, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society, which helped broker the deal.   [ Gorillas]


Obama talks science: ocean health, water scarcity, climate change, and more

(09/05/2008) Presidential nominee Barack Obama recently answered fourteen science-related questions for the organization Science Debate 2008. The questions covered a wide-variety of topics, including the importance of innovation, science and math education, energy policies, national security and biosecurity, genetics research, stem cells, space exploration, health, support for research and restoring scientific integrity in the White House.   [ Politics]


Photo: commonly-kept gecko was thought to be extinct in the wild

(09/04/2008) The Crested Gecko is endemic to South Province, New Caledonia in the South Pacific. While the species is widely kept in the pet trade, the species was long believed extinct in the wild until it was rediscovered in 1994. It is now known to have three distinct populations and its conservation status is currently being evaluated by the IUCN. Trade in wild-caught individuals is presently banned.   [ Reptiles | Photos]


Ghana becomes first country to sign sustainable timber pact with the E.U.

(09/04/2008) The European Union has signed a sustainable forestry deal with Ghana that would stop imports of illegally-harvested timber from the West African nation, according to a statement released by the European Forest Institute. The agreement comes under the European Commission's 2003 Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), which seeks to address illicit timber imports. The regulation requires chain-of-custody documentation for timber to be imported into the E.U.   [ Ghana | Forestry | Logging]


Forecast sea level rise may be overestimated by some models

(09/04/2008) Global sea level rise is unlikely to exceed 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) by the end of century argues a new study published in the journal Science.   [ Sea levels]


Did prehistoric farmers drive early global warming?

(09/03/2008) In 2003 William Ruddiman put forth a controversial theory: 7,000 years ago the rise of agriculture spawned large-scale climatic changes. According to Ruddiman, the felling of forests for fields throughout Europe and Asia caused a rise in carbon dioxide, while the flooded fields for rice released methane gas. This combination of large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane entering the atmosphere caused the globe to warm, preventing the planet from entering another ice age.   [ Climate change | Agricuture | Carbon dioxide]


Independent of climate, forest cover in southern Amazon may fall to 20% by 2016

(09/03/2008) Forest cover in the "Arc of Deforestation" of southern Amazonia will decline to around 20 percent 2016 due to continued logging and conversion of forests for cattle pasture and soy farms, report researchers writing in the journal Environmental Conservation. Analyzing high resolution satellite data from 1984 through 2004 for the Alta Floresta region in northern Mato Grosso, Fernanda Michalski, Carlos Peres and Iain Lake of the University of East Anglia found that forest cover declined from from 91.1 percent to 41.7 percent between 1984 and 2004. They note that while the deforestation rate has slowed to around 2 percent per year since peaking at more than 8 percent annually in late 1980s to mid-1990s, renewed expansion of road networks will enable loggers to increasingly exploit remaining forests, leading to degradation and likely eventual conversion for agricultural use. Overall Michalski and colleagues forecast that forest cover in Alta Floresta will fall to 21 percent by 2016, a decline of 77 percent since 1984.   [ Amazon | Brazil | Deforestation]


For Australian beetles bigger is better; while American beetles don't care about size

(09/03/2008) Researchers have discovered a dung beetle that may be evolving into separate species in a few decades rather than thousands or millions of years. Separated geographically, sub-populations of the species show large differences in the size of their genitalia and horns. Such distinctions could create new species in a short time, because beetles with largely different genitalia cannot successfully mate.   [ Strange | Biodiversity]


Canada's ice shelves lost 23% of their area this summer

(09/03/2008) A 19-square-mile (50 sq km) chuck of ice shelf broke off from Canada's Ellesmere Island in the northern Arctic, reports the Associated Press. The Manhattan-sized ice shelf is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean. It is the largest of more than 83 sq mi (214 sq km) of ice shelf that has broken up in the Canadian Arctic this year.   [ Canada]


Powerful hurricanes may be getting stronger due to warmer seas

(09/03/2008) Warming climate is causing the strongest hurricanes to strengthen and more moderate storms to stay the same, claims a new study published in Nature. However the data on which research is based is already facing fierce criticism.   [ Hurricanes]


Researchers devise new comparison of mass extinction events

(09/03/2008) Researchers have created a new way to compare historical mass extinction events. The scoring system, presented in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, works by multiplying the number of taxa — species, genera, and families — that went extinct by the inverse of the time it took to produce a measure dubbed "greatness", which represents the magnitude of the event.   [ Extinction | Biodiversity]


Scientist forecast 4 Atlantic hurricanes in September

(09/02/2008) Prominent hurricane researchers are forecasting five tropical storms in the Atlantic for September, including four hurricanes. Two of these are expected to be "major" — category 3 or greater.   [ Hurricanes]


When in season, wolves choose salmon over deer

(09/02/2008) The popular image of hunting wolves is a pack bearing down on a deer, working in concert to make the kill. However, new research has discovered that when available, wolves largely forgo hoofed mammals for salmon. To create an accurate picture of the relationship between wolves and salmon, researchers spent four years studying the feeding habits of wolves in British Columbia.   [ Animal behavior | Wildlife]


Indonesian raids on tiger traffickers yielding arrests in Sumatra

(09/02/2008) A raid on illegal tiger traders in Indonesia resulted in four arrests in Sumatra, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The arrests come under a new crack-down by Indonesian authorities on the sales of tiger parts. 10 traffickers have been arrested in the past 3 months.   [ Tigers]


Republicans backtrack, call for end to ethanol requirements in gas

(09/02/2008) Meeting at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, Republicans Monday called for an end to a requirement that gasoline contain a set amount of ethanol, reports Reuters.   [ Ethanol]


Whale meat is back on the menu in Iceland

(09/02/2008) Whale meat is back at restaurants and food markets in Iceland, reports the WALL STREET JOURNAL.   [ Whales]


Most popular news articles on mongabay.com for August

(09/01/2008) "Future threats to the Amazon rainforest" was narrowly beat out by a story published a year ago on a Chupacabra hoax in Texas. Chupacarba and other stories about imaginary beasts seem to peak each year around August in the United States. The latest craze by was set off by a San Antonio sheriff's video of a dog which he said resembled the animal of folklore. Andrew Mitchell's interview on the emerging market for ecosystem services was the third most popular news article for the month.   [ Popular news articles]


Past decade is warmest in at least 1,300 years

(09/01/2008) A reconstruction of surface temperatures over the past two thousand years provides further evidence that the northern hemisphere is now warmer than at any time in at least 1300 years. The research, published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are higher than those of the Medieval warm period.   [ Climate change]


Carbon market may fund dam in Panama that threatens natural reserve

(09/01/2008) The UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) — a scheme that provides funds to projects that reduce emissions in developing nations — may be used to finance a hydroelectric dam in Panama which, according to environmentalists, threatens a biologically rich World Heritage site and an indigenous tribe.   [ Panama | Dams]


Melting permafrost will be major driver of global warming

(09/01/2008) The thawing of permafrost in northern latitudes will become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study that more than doubles previous estimates of the amount of carbon stored in the frozen soils of Alaska and Siberia.   [ Greenhouse gas emissions | Greenland-Arctic]





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