According to a report last week from the World Wildlife Fund, 361 new species, were identified and described on the island of Borneo between 1994 and 2004.
April 29, 2005
Ornithologists announced the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird long thought extinct by most scientists. After a year long search the bird was found in Cache River and White River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas by a team from Cornell University. Prior to this sighting, the ivory-billed woodpecker, one of the largest woodpeckers in the world, was last seen 61 years ago in northeastern Louisiana. While always somewhat rare, the bird once ranged widely across the southeastern United States until logging eliminated many forests between 1880 and the 1940s. The finding may bring large numbers of birders to the region.
April 28, 2005
On April 25, the New York-based banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. adopted an environmental policy that places an increased focus on more ecologically responsible business practices. J.P. Morgan's action follows similar policies put in place by Citigroup and Bank of America in the past year and a half. Corporate America, Activists & Circumventing Washington: A New Approach to Environmental Lobbying takes a look at this trend.
April 27, 2005
Land battles in Brazil's countryside reached the highest level in at least 20 years in 2004 as activists clashed with farmers and loggers advancing on savanna and Amazon rain forest. More than 200,000 square miles of the Amazon rain forest has been felled since 1978.
April 26, 2005
A look at trends in ethnobotany and bioprospecting in seeking new ways to address human health conditions: Shamans and Robots: Bridging the Past and Future of Ethnobotany and Bioprospecting.
April 25, 2005
Madagascar has been called the great red island and from space, astronauts have remarked the island looks like it is bleeding to death. Severe environmental degradation means Madagascar loses more topsoil per hectare than any country in the world. Being one of the poorest nations on Earth, the people of Madagascar can ill afford this loss. In 2004 I set off to see one of these rivers that is carrying away the lifeblood of the Malagasy; the Manambolo of Western Madagascar.
April 24, 2005
Last week Corneille Ewango of the Wildlife Conservation Society received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for risking his life helping to protect one of Africa’s environmental gems—the Okapi Faunal Reserve—from the depredations of rebel militias in the war-torn region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
April 23, 2005
The tropical rainforests of Kalimantan have long been threatened and increasingly endangered by deforestation and other invasive types of human activity. However, a lesser known ecosystem in the region, the tropical peat lands, is literally coming under fire.
April 22, 2005
So today is Earth Day. Here's a little editorial that draws on the preface of the site to reflect on whether Earth Day is just another gimmick day full of false promises and empty pledges.
April 21, 2005
Over the past decade there have been a lot of talk about the potential of bioprospecting, which is the search for new chemicals in living things that have medicinal or commercial applications. Many conservation scientists look at bioprospecting as a means for funding protected areas, sponsoring research, and ensuring that local people benefit from preservation efforts. Let's take a look bioprospecting in Coiba, an island 12 miles off the coast of Panama, where a possible cure for malaria may be found in the coral reefs surrounding the island.
April 20, 2005
Rainforests around the world still continue to fall. Does it really make a difference? Are rainforests still worth saving?
April 19, 2005
With Earth Day approaching, it is an appropriate time to take another look at the conservation of rainforests.
April 18, 2005
While the planet's most biologically diverse island is also one of the poorest countries in the world, Madagascar may well be on its way to a brighter economic future thanks to a blockbuster animated movie, an innovative new aid program, and the capable leadership of the new president.
April 16, 2005
Cane toads, a particularly destructive invasive species, are making headlines in Australia after an Australian Minister of Parliament from the Northern Territory sparked outrage from animal welfare groups when he urged people on Australian radio to club toads to death with golf clubs and cricket bats.
April 15, 2005
According to an assessment released last week by Coral Cay Conservation -- an not-for-profit organization based in London -- coral reefs suffered only minimal damage from last December's Indian Ocean tsunami. The discovery contradicts initial reports suggesting that the region's reefs were devastated by the disaster, which killed around 300,000 people across south Asia.
April 14, 2005
Once one of the world's wildest frontiers, today the island of Borneo is fast becoming a burned out land of scrubland and failed agricultural experiments. A report on deforestation in Borneo.
April 12, 2005
Madagascar has been called the "land that time forgot" for its collection of unique and often downright bizarre plants and animals. Around 75% of the species on the island are found nowhere else on Earth, putting Madagascar atop the list among the world's most biologically diverse countries. One of Madagascar's strangest beasts is the aye-aye. This nocturnal and reclusive lemur looks like it has been assembled from a variety of animals and has equally peculiar behavior. Here's an account of my recent attempt to see the aye-aye in the wild: In Search of the Aye-aye
April 10, 2005
One of the most anticipated films of the spring is Dreamworks’s Madagascar. Scheduled for release over the Memorial Day weekend, this new feature is generating lots of buzz for the studio as well as the actors voicing the animated creatures featured in the movie. Madagascar, the country, hopes the film will stimulate its tourist industry in a way similar to Kenya’s after the 1985 film Out of Africa was released.
April 9, 2005
Habitats provide humans with services such as erosion prevention, flood control, water treatment, fisheries protection and pollination -- functions that are particularly important to the world's poorest people, who rely on natural resources for their everyday survival. Traditional studies have tended to overlook the value of such services and undervalue intact ecosystems so five years ago the United Nations commissioned an assessment of the consequences of habitat change for humankind. Last week, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment produced its first official report on humankind's impact on the capacity of ecosystems to perform valuable services. The conclusion: humanity is quickly stretching its natural assets through the degradation the planet's ecosystems.
April 8, 2005
According to a new report from Conservation International, the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN, and the International Primatological Society 25 percent of the world's 625 primate species are at risk of extinction. These primates are threatened primarily by habitat loss and poaching/hunting and about a quarter of the most endangered 25 species are from the island of Madagascar.
April 7, 2005
Brazil and Peru have recently embarked on a highway construction project that will link the Amazon basin to the Pacific ports of Peru. The purpose of the road is to provide access to Asian markets for agricultural products that are increasingly grown on former rainforest lands. Currently, vast areas of forest are being converted for soybean production.
April 6, 2005
With its projected growth rates, China will soon surpass the United States in wood consumption. This voracious appetite for timber is threatening tropical forests around the globe but nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa where China is increasingly focusing its development efforts and adding fuel to a booming trade in illegally harvested timber.
April 5, 2005
The Ministry of Environment of Madagascar has issued a ban on logging permits that threaten the sustainability of the country's forests. The ban covers as much as 7.0 million hectares and comes a year after Malagasy President Marc Ravalomanana made a commitment to triple the protected surface area to six million hectares, or 10 percent of the national forests.
April 4, 2005
The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society announced that the first Siberian tiger ever fitted with a radio-collar was killed by poachers in Russia. Olga, the 14-year-old tiger, was closely monitored for much of her life as part of the Siberian Tiger Project, a cooperative research and conservation program between the Wildlife Conservation (WCS) and Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik. Her killing is not unusual: of 23 deaths of tigers recorded by the WCS Siberian Tiger Project, 17 were killed by poachers. Tigers are poached in the Russian Far East primarily to meet Chinese demand for rare wildlife products which are believed to enhance sexual performance and bring other health benefits. Past investigations into poaching rings have found ties to the trafficking of drugs, alcohol and women.
April 3, 2005
A new report from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy showed that a massive aerial spraying offensive last year failed to reduce the area of coca under cultivation in Colombia. Drug eradication efforts in the country have lately resulted in the shifting of large-scale coca production into the extensive rainforests of Choco state. Poor farmers are clearing tracts of forest to plant millions of coca seedlings according to an Associated Press report.
April 2, 2005
Bhutan, one of the poorest countries in Asia, has a relatively pristine environment due to low population pressures and a historically isolationist government. Earlier this year, Karen Ingersoll spent some time in the kingdom. Here are some of her Bhutan photos (more to follow).