FEATURED ARTICLES [Latest news updates]
Amazon deforestation rises slightly to 4,600 square miles in 2008
(11/28/2008) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased slightly for the August 2007-July 2008 period, reports the country's National Institute of Space Research (INPE). The rise is the first since 2004 when 27,379 square kilometers were destroyed, but is lower than forecast. The 2008 figure is the second-lowest annual loss since 1991.
[Amazon | Brazil | Deforestation | Rainforests]
South Korea to lease half of Madagascar's arable land for corn, oil palm production
(11/19/2008) South Korea's Daewoo has signed a 99-year lease for half of Madagascar's arable land, reports the Financial Times. The agreement covers 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) — an area half the size of Belgium. Daewoo says it plans to plant corn on 1 million hectares in the arid western part of the island and 300,000 ha (740,000 acres) of oil palm on land in the tropical east, a region that is home to the bulk of Madagascar's rare rainforests. The company will produce the food for export and plans to import workers from South Africa, although a Daewoo spokesman said that the project could create up to 70,000 local jobs.
[Madagascar | Agriculture]
California joins effort to fight global warming by saving rainforests
(11/19/2008) California has joined the battle to use rainforest conservation to fight global warming. In an agreement signed yesterday at a climate change conference in Beverly Hills, California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged financial assistance and technical support to help reduce deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia. The Memorandum of Understanding commits the California, Illinois and Wisconsin to work with the governors of six states and provinces within Indonesia and Brazil to help slow and stop tropical deforestation, a source of roughly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The governors include Governor Antônio Waldez Góes da Silva of Amapa, Brazil; Governor Eduardo Braga of Amazonas, Brazil; Governor Blario Maggi of Mato Grosso, Brazil; Governor Ana Júla de Vasconcelos Carepa of Para, Brazil; Governor Yusof Irwandi of Aceh, Indonesia; and Governor Barnamas Suebu of Papua, Indonesia.
[Avoided deforestation | Avoided deforestation | Happy-upbeat environmental | Deforestation | Rainforests]
Illegal drug use destroys rainforests
(11/18/2008) Colombian officials have re-iterated their claim that cocaine use in rich countries is driving deforestation in Colombia, reports The Guardian. Speaking to a conference of police officers in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos Calderon said that 133,000 hectares of rainforest are cleared each year for coca cultivation. Coca is the raw ingredient for cocaine production.
[Colombia | Deforestation | Rainforests]
New rules establish market for saving rainforests through carbon trading
(11/18/2008) A new carbon accounting standard will bolster efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation, thereby creating a financial incentive for saving rainforests, say backers of the initiative, known as the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). Starting today, land use projects including forestry and agriculture can be validated and verified against VCS, qualifying them for credits tradable in voluntary carbon markets.
[Avoided deforestation | Carbon finance | Rainforests | REDD]
Rangers return to Virunga and begin gorilla census
(11/30/2008) After fifteen months rangers have been allowed to return to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A deal was worked out between insurgents and the government to allow rangers to return and begin overseeing the park's operations and monitoring its wildlife once again. Virunga is famous as one of the world's last stands for the mountain gorilla.
[Insects | Animal behavior]
Insect intelligence: paper wasps display strong long-term memory
(11/30/2008) A recent study in Current Biology finds that paper wasps are capable of remembering rivals a week after initially meeting. As a highly social insect, the discovery proves that the paper wasps' social interactions are based on applied memory rather than simple instinct. The finding overturns many ideas about the intelligence of insects.
[Insects | Animal behavior]
The Pygmies' Plight [external]
(11/30/2008) The Smithsonian features an excellent article by Paul Raffaele on the plight of "pygmies" in Central Africa. Denied rights to their traditional lands and practices, and increasingly excluded from protected areas, the short-statured forest people are losing out to loggers, poachers, and oppressive Bantu overseers.
Invasive ant interferes with gecko's role in pollinating endangered plant
(11/28/2008) Invasive ants are destroying the symbiotic relationship between a colorful gecko and a critically endangered flower on the island of Mauritius, reports New Scientist citing research published by Dennis Hansen and Christine Müller in the journal Biotopica.
[Ecology | Reptiles]
A new reason to ban whaling: your health
Health officials have recommended a ban on the eating of pilot whales, a traditional food source, in the Faroe Islands, reports New Scientist. The build-up of toxins — which bioaccumulate up the food chain as predators feed on tainted organisms — have rendered whale meat harmful to humans.
Climate change will damage forests, creating hardship for rural communities
(11/28/2008) Climate change will transform forests that directly sustain nearly one billion people, warns a report to be released next week at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Poznán, Poland.
[Forests | Impact of climate change]
Germany meets Kyoto target for CO2 emissions
(11/28/2008) Germany has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions below levels mandated under the Kyoto Protocol reports Bloomberg.
[Europe | Carbon dioxide]
New hope of curing amphibian plague
(11/28/2008) Amphibians worldwide are in trouble. One of the most endangered animal groups, amphibians are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. However the largest threat is chytridiomycosis, a devastating disease caused by a parasitic chytrid fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, otherwise known as Bd.
Japanese scientists clone embryo of vanishing 'living fossil'
With less than 5,000 Amami rabbits left in Japan, scientists have implanted a cloned embryo of the species into a common rabbit according to a recent entry in the EDGE blog. The scientists hope that the Amami will come to full-term, but warned that the possibility of pregnancy was only 10 percent—not uncommon with other cloned animals.
[Conservation | Endangered species]
Living up to the Pope's words: the Vatican turns to solar power
(11/28/2008) In his three years since being inaugurated, Pope Benedict XVI has made the environment one of his central issues, proclaiming that "God entrusted man with the responsibility of creation". He has described the need to confront climate change as a “moral obligation” and spoken eloquently on the destruction of arable soil, forests and marine life.
Carbon market could pay poor farmers to adopt sustainable cultivation techniques
(11/27/2008) The emerging market for forest carbon could support agroforestry programs that alleviate rural poverty and promote sustainable development, states a new report issued by the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF).
[Agroforestry | Avoided deforestation | Carbon finance]
Cameroon moves to protect rarest gorilla
(11/26/2008) The government of Cameroon has created a national park to help protect the world's most endangered great ape: the Cross River gorilla, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a group that provided scientific and technical support for the initiative.
[Cameroon | Gorillas]
Guide to reducing emissions through forest conservation released
(11/26/2008) Ahead of next week's climate meeting in Poznań, Poland, the Global Canopy Programme — an alliance of 37 scientific institutions in 19 countries — has launched a layman's guide to a proposed mechanism for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation. Deforestation and land use change accounts for roughly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — a larger share than all the world's cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes combined.
[Avoided deforestation | Carbon finance | REDD | Rainforests]
Captive breeding of monster Amazon fish could feed people and save it from depletion
(11/26/2008) A new technique for sexing a giant Amazon fish may help create a sustainable source of protein in South America, report researchers writing in Fish Physiology and Biochemistry.
[Amazon | Fish]
Madagascar denies 'land grab' by South Korean conglomerate
(11/22/2008) Officials from Madagascar are denying they have reached an agreement to turn over half the island nation's arable land to a South Korean corporation for food production, reports Reuters. The controversial deal — which would have paid Madagascar nothing and turned over 1.3 million hectares to produce corn and palm oil for export at a time when one-third of country's children are malnourished — was reported last week by the Financial Times.
[Madagascar | Agriculture]
Brazil moves to protect and restore endangered Atlantic rainforest
(11/22/2008) Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signed a decree to protect and restore critically endangered rainforest along the country's Atlantic coast, reports the Associated Press.
[Brazil | Atlantic forest]
A cure for the Tasmanian devil's strange and fatal cancer?
(11/21/2008) Researchers have announced that two Tasmanian devils have survived a cancer devastating their species after receiving inoculations of dead tumor cells, according to the International Herald. However, the inoculations have not worked on every devil – despite being inoculated four devils died from the cancer during the work.
[Australia | Endangered species]
Studying world's rarest penguin leads to the discovery of a new species
(11/19/2008) Researching one of the world's most endangered penguins in New Zealand, the yellow-eyed penguin, has led to a remarkable discovery. DNA from 500-year-old penguin fossils has shown that the country was once home to not just one penguin species, but two. The DNA has resurrected an unknown extinct penguin, which researchers have named the Waitaha Penguin.
[Penguins | Species discovery]
Long lost pygmy tarsier rediscovered in Indonesia
(11/19/2008) Scientists have rediscovered a long-lost species of primate on a remote island in Indonesia. Conducting a survey of Mount Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park on the island of Sulawesi, a team led by Sharon Gursky-Doyen of Texas A&M University captured three pygmy tarsiers, a tiny species of primate that was last collected in 1921 and was assumed to be extinct until 2000 when two scientists studying rats accidentally trapped and killed an individual. Gursky-Doyen's team spent two months using 276 mist nets to capture the gremlin-like creatures so they could be fitted with radio collars and tracked. One other individual was spotted but eluded capture.
[Primates | Species discovery]
Brazil to use body-heat sensing technology to find uncontacted Amazon tribes
(11/19/2008) Brazil will use a plane equipped with body-heat sensing technology to locate tribes in the Amazon rainforest, reports the Associated Press.
[Indigenous people | Brazil]
Last uncontacted tribe in Paraguay rapidly losing homeland
(11/19/2008) An indigenous rights' group has sounded the alarm over a new threat to an uncontacted tribe in Paraguay.
[Indigenous people | Paraguay]
Malaysia's indigenous people to get land rights for first time
(11/19/2008) Malaysia's government will for the first time grant ownership rights of land farmed by indigenous people, reports the Associated Press, but the legal changes may pave the way for oil palm expansion at the expense of forest land.
[Malaysia | Palm oil | Indigenous people]
Coordinated effort needed to cut deforestation via carbon markets
(11/18/2008) The Coalition for Rainforest Nations — a group of 40 tropical countries seeking compensation in the form of carbon credits for protecting their forest cover — will ask the United Nations at next month's climate conference in Poland to establish a single body to coordinate forest carbon trading, reports Reuters from a workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) meeting in Milan, Italy.
[Oceans | Ocean acidification]
Tropical ocean dead zones could increase 50 percent by 2050
(11/18/2008) If carbon dioxide levels continue to rise as expected, marine dead zones in the tropics are expected to increase by 50 percent in just over four decades, according to a new study from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Germany. The expansion of marine dead zones in tropical seas could have devastating impacts on ocean ecosystems and fisheries.
[Oceans | Ocean acidification]
Industrialized countries slow to reduce emissions
(11/17/2008) Industrialized countries are making slow progress in reducing emissions as pledged under the Kyoto Protocol, finds a new U.N. assessment of global emissions.
Conflict in PNG between govt and landowners over REDD carbon trading
(11/17/2008) The government of Papua New Guinea is facing criticism over its plan to seek compensation via the carbon market for protecting the country's rainforests, reports Australian Broadcasting Corporation News (ABC News).
[REDD | Papua New Guinea]
Mosques Support Sea Turtle Conservation in Malaysia
(11/17/2008) This week almost 500 mosques around the Malaysian state of Terengganu will present sermons on turtle conservation, reported the New Strait Times.
[Malaysia | Sea turtles]
Korean demilitarized zone has become pristine wildlife habitat
(11/17/2008) In 1953 when the Korean War ended, South and North Korea agreed to a demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two nations: 2.5 miles wide and 155 miles long. Residents were moved out of the area and access became restricted to military only. While the DMZ is known as a region of international tension, it has also become pristine wildlife habitat.
[Asia | Wildlife]
CO2 emissions penalties may cost 20 countries $46 billion
(11/16/2008) Japan, Australia, and several European countries face billions of dollars in emissions penalties under the Kyoto Protocol, reports Bloomberg.
Discovery may lead to organic acrylic glass made from sugar
(11/16/2008) A new discovery make it possible in the future to manufacture acrylic glass from organic materials including sugars, alcohols or fatty acids.
Cheetah conservationist awarded for renewable energy product that helps wildlife
(11/14/2008) Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), has been awarded $50,000 by the Tech Museum of Innovation for her organization's Bushblok program which uses a high-pressure extrusion process to convert invasive, habitat-destroying bush into a clean-burning fuel log. Bushblok provides an alternative to products such as firewood, coal, lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes that are costly or result in environmental harm.
[Conservation | Cats | Happy-upbeat environmental]
Newly discovered ocean bacteria fixes nitrogen instead of carbon
(11/14/2008) A remarkable species of cyanobacteria possessing a unique nitrogen fixation adaptation has recently been discovered in the open ocean, report researchers writing in the November 14th issue of Science. "Fixation" is the process by which bacteria convert ambient sources of otherwise unusable molecules into compounds necessary for life. Previous to the discovery, carbon was thought of as a necessary accompaniment during fixation because the conversion of carbon dioxide into sugars through photosynthesis provides the necessary energy source for cyanobacteria. It is still unclear how this new species produces its own food, although many microbiologists strongly suspect that a mutually beneficial partnership may exist between the new cyanobacteria and another organism.
Monstrous Chinook salmon found in California
(11/14/2008) A fifty-one inch long Chinook salmon, found dead during a salmon survey in Battle Creek by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), is probably a record for the state of California say Department biologists. "I have counted tens of thousands of salmon during my career and this is the biggest I have ever seen," said Doug Killam DFG Associate Fisheries Biologist. "When alive, it could have weighed more than the largest Chinook officially recorded in California, an 88-pound fish caught in the Sacramento River." Usually, the salmon weigh between 20 and 30 pounds.
[Fishing | Fish | California]
Climate change will cost California billions
(11/14/2008) $2.5 trillion of real estate assets in California are at risk from extreme weather events, sea level rise and wildfires expected to result from climate change over the course of a century, according to a new assessment from UC Berkeley researchers.
[California | Impact of climate change]
Coral reefs and mangroves worth $395-559 M per year in Belize
(11/14/2008) Services provided by coral reefs and mangroves in Belize are worth US$395 million to US$559 million per year, or 30 to 45 percent of the Central American country's GDP — according to a new report released by the World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
[Belize | Coral reefs | Mangroves]
Group may sue EPA under Clean Water Act to address ocean acidification
(11/14/2008) An environmental group plans to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to uphold water standards in the face of ocean acidification.
[Ocean acidification | Oceans]
Limiting global warming to 2-degree rise will require $180/t carbon price says energy think tank
(11/13/2008) In a report released Wednesday the International Energy Agency warned that a business-as-usual approach to energy use would result in a 6°-degree rise in temperatures putting hundreds of millions at risk from reduced water supplies and diminished agricultural production. But the agency said that limiting temperature rise to 2-3°-rise by the end of the century would be "possible, but very hard."
[Energy | Oil | Carbon emissions]
IP law failing to help indigenous people protect traditional knowledge
(11/13/2008) Promoting capacity for self-governance rather than using conventional systems governing intellectual property rights may be a more effective way to safeguard traditional knowledge of indigenous groups, argues a new report published by an international team of IP experts. Released at an IP conference convened by Sciences Po, a French research institute, and The Innovation Partnership, a Canadian NGO, the report details how traditional knowledge is treated in Brazil, Kenya and Northern Canada. It finds significant differences in the effectiveness of IP laws and policies in protecting the wisdom and knowledge accumulated by indigenous communities.
[Indigenous people | Biodiversity]
Scientists can't explain cause of amphibian extinction crisis
(11/13/2008) Scientists have yet to conclusively explain the underlying cause of global declines in amphibian populations, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research says that two leading theories for the demise of amphibians — both related to the emergence and spread of the deadly chytrid fungus — are not supported by scientific data.
[Extinction | Amphibians]
Rare rhino rat snake hatches in London zoo
(11/13/2008) With its characteristic horn, the endangered rhino rat snake has been bred in a European zoo for the first time.
[Reptiles | Endangered species]
Brazil OKs $4 billion dam in the Amazon rainforest
(11/13/2008) Brazil has given final go-ahead on a controversial dam on the Madeira river in the Amazon rainforest provided environmental conditions are met, reports the Associated Press.
[Dams | Brazil]
Stopping ocean acidification would save billions of dollars in revenue
(11/12/2008) A new report from Oceana shows that action taken now to curb ocean acidification would not only preserve the world's coral reefs, but also save billions in lost revenue in the fishing and tourism industries.
[Ocean acidification | Oceans]
Caspian seal numbers plummet 90%
(11/12/2008) Caspian Seal populations have declined 90% in the past 100 years, prompting the IUCN to switch their designation from Vulnerable to Endangered. Pollution, habitat degradation, disease, drowning in fishing nets, and commercial hunting have reduced the seal population from over one million at the turn of the 20th century to an estimated 100,000 today.
[Mammals | Endangered species]
Factoring social and economic instability into ecological catastrophe and the decline of western civilization
(11/12/2008) When proposing and exploring solutions to environmental crises we rarely, if ever, consider social and geopolitical factors such as massive refugee migrations, economic market instability and collapse, wars for resources, the peaking of oil, civil uprisings/riots, and the rise of fascism/military oppression. If we hope to create lasting and effective solutions to environmental issues of the 21st Century it is clear we must consider facets beyond the realm of traditional environmental science and shift towards multi-disciplinary systems-level approaches.
[Extinction | Pollution]
Biodiversity of rainforests should not be compared with oil palm plantations says palm oil council chief
(11/12/2008) Scientists should compare the biodiversity oil palm plantations to other industrial monocultures, not the rainforests they replace, said Dr. Yusof Basiron, CEO of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), in a post on his blog. Basiron's comments are noteworthy because until now he has maintained that oil palm plantations are "planted forests" rather than an industrial crop.
[Palm oil | Malaysia | Rainforests]
Bad news for whales - Supreme Court lifts ban on sonar testing
(11/12/2008) A Supreme Court decision will allow the Navy to continue its of sonar in training exercises off the coast of California, a defeat for environmental groups who say sonar is harmful to whales, reports the Associated Press.
[Whales | Oceans]
Brazilian rancher claims he owns land American nun was killed defending in the Amazon
(11/12/2008) The rancher suspected or orchestrating the killing of an American nun in the Brazilian Amazon now claims he owns the land she died trying to defend, reports the Associated Press (AP).
[Brazil | Amazon]
Effects of ocean acidification will come 30 years earlier than expected
(11/11/2008) The Southern Ocean may be 30 years closer to a tipping point for ocean acidification than previously believed, putting sea life at risk, according to research published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
[Ocean acidification | Oceans]
Greenpeace activists block palm oil shipment from departing Indonesia for Europe
(11/11/2008) Greenpeace activists blocked a palm oil shipment from departing Dumai, Indonesia's main palm oil export port, for Europe to protest against the ongoing destruction of Indonesia's forests.
[Activism | Palm oil]
American fast food is almost entirely made of corn
(11/10/2008) American fast food is almost entirely produced from corn according to a chemical analysis of dishes served at McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using a stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen to determine the origin of molecules present in hamburgers, chicken, and fries, Hope Jahren and Rebecca Kraft found corn to be the almost exclusive food source of the beef and chicken served in fast food restaurants. The researchers also uncovered evidence to suggest that fast food restaurants are misleading consumers as to the oils used in preparing french fries and that animals slaughtered for production are kept in confined quarters, rather than outdoors.
[United States | Corn]
First RSPO-certified ("eco-friendly") palm oil shipment to arrive in Europe
(11/10/2008) The first shipment of palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is expected to arrive in Europe Tuesday, but an environmental group is already criticizing the initiative's credentials. Wetlands International warns that the batch of certified palm oil originates from a plantation which has palm oil grown on peatlands, a carbon-rich ecosystem that releases massive amounts of CO2 when cleared, drained, and converted for agricultural use. It says that RSPO fails to account for greenhouse gas emissions in its certification process.
[Certification | Palm oil]
Facing extinction from rising seas, Maldives establishes fund to buy homeland abroad
(11/10/2008) The Maldives will establish a trust fund to buy a homeland abroad once rising sea levels swamp the island nation, says Mohamed Nasheed, president-elect of the Maldives. The funds would come from the country's revenue from tourism.
[Maldives | Sea levels]
A "biocentric" perspective on environmental degradation
(11/10/2008) A new online magazine will take a "biocentric" perspective to the planet's environmental problems. Ecological Internet, a pioneering environmental campaign group, published its first issue of New Earth Rising on Sunday. The issue includes original essays on climate change, water scarcity, over-consumption of Earth's resources, and deforestation.
New species of flying lemurs discovered
(11/10/2008) A new study has found that colugos or flying lemurs are twice as diverse as previously believed.
Limestone karsts - islands of biodiversity in Asia - under threat from mining
(11/10/2008) Researchers have devised a scientific methodology for prioritizing conservation of limestone karsts, biologically-rich outcroppings found in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. The findings are significant because karsts — formed millions of years ago by sea life — are increasingly threatened by mining and other development. Using data from 43 karsts across Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, authors led by Reuben Clements of WWF-Malaysia reported that larger karsts support greater numbers of endemic snails — a proxy for biological uniqueness among other species — making them a priority for protection.
[Biodiversity | Malaysia | Mining]
Hundreds of rare and bizarre marine species discovered
(11/9/2008) The evolutionary origin of deep sea octopuses, new species populating an underwater "continent", 12,000 amphipods crowding a square meter in the Gulf of Mexico, massive gatherings of white sharks in the middle of the Pacific: these are just a few highlights from the Census of Marine Life (COML)'s fourth report. With 2,000 scientists from 82 nations, COML plans to have a full census of all known marine life in two years time. In the meantime, the fourth report released by COML provides a glimpse of the wealth of marine life and the constant opportunity for new discoveries.
[Biodiversity | Oceans | Species discovery]
In final weeks, President Bush aims to extend his environmental legacy
(11/9/2008) On Tuesday, November 4th, the people of the United States elected a new president, Senator Barack Obama. Many feel a new day is coming on a number of issues, including the environment. However the Bush Administration has 72 days left in its term and appears hopeful to use every one of those to make last-minute changes to environmental rules that will have wide-ranging impacts on the nation's endangered species, air, water, parks, and undeveloped land. As the administration has done since taking office eight years ago, it is working toward such policies—all of them controversial—to benefit industry at the cost of the environment and health safeguards.
Malaysia, Indonesia to curtail palm oil production due to low prices
(11/8/2008) Malaysia and Indonesia ̵ countries that account for more than 85 percent of global palm oil production — will cut production in an effort to shore up collapsing palm oil prices, reports The Jakarta Post. The decline in palm oil prices is expected to slow expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, a development that will please environmentalists who blame the palm oil industry for large-scale destruction of rainforests across Southeast Asia.
New gecko species discovered
(11/8/2008) A previously unknown species of gecko has been discovered in the South Pacific by French scientists, reports the Associated Press.
[Species discovery | Reptiles | Vanuatu]
South Africa auctions last of 'legal' elephant ivory to China, Japan
(11/7/2008) South Africa sold 47 metric tons of elephant ivory to Chinese and Japanese buyers for $6.7 million in what was the final of four auctions sanctioned by CITES, an international agreement on the wildlife trade. Like the earlier auctions — held in Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe over the past two weeks — the proceeds will go towards conservation efforts in the country.
EU's sustainable biofuels push angers Malaysia, Brazil
(11/7/2008) Eight developing countries threatened to file a World Trade Organization complaint against the E.U. for its proposed legislation to require imported biofuels to meet environmental standards, reports Reuters. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Malaysia called the requirements "unjustifiably complex" and said they would hurt their exports.
[Environmental politics | Europe | Biofuels]
Missing link between fish and land animals discovered
(11/7/2008) A study published in the October 16 issue of Nature details research into and implications of a fossil fish, Tiktaalik roseae, discovered last year at Ellesmere Island in Canada. The Devonian fossil shows an array of features found in both terrestrial and aquatic animals, providing the best glimpse so far into the transitory period during
which vertebrates were able to adapt to life out of water. The find provides some of the first osteological evidence of neck development, a crucial adaptation to terrestrial life because it allows an animal's body to remain stationary while it surveys its environment.
Obama may bring leadership, rather than obstruction, to climate talks
(11/6/2008) The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States may bring a new era of U.S. leadership on climate.
Sharks in trouble after nations fail to create sustainable management programs
(11/6/2008) Sharks are disappearing from the ocean at startling rates: currently one-in-five of these famous marine predators are threatened with extinction. According to a report from the Australian Government and TRAFFIC—an organization that monitors wildlife trade both legal and illegal—the collapse of shark populations is being caused largely by rising demand for shark fin in Asia. The report shows that legal fishing for sharks has become nearly as detrimental as illegal, since few fisheries have management strategies concerned with sustainability.
[Sharks | Oceans]
Missing gorilla rangers return safely in Congo, one dies of cholera in camp
(11/6/2008) All of the missing rangers have now been accounted for after they fled Virunga Park Headquarters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The headquarters was seized by rebels led by Laurent Nkunda on October 26th.
[Congo | Gorillas]
20 convicted for poaching Asiatic lions in their last refuge
(11/6/2008) Twenty people have been convicted for poaching Asiatic lions last year in India's Gir National Park. The twenty individuals will spend three years in prison and be fined 10,000 Rs each.
[Cats | India | Poaching]
Brazil triples endangered species list
(11/5/2008) Brazil has nearly tripled the number of species on its endangered list due to development, overfishing, pollution, wildlife trafficking and deforestation, reports the Associated Press.
Palm oil companies propose satellite monitoring of their plantations to ensure sustainability
(11/5/2008) The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is considering a proposal to use satellite imagery to enforce criteria that high value conservation areas are not converted to oil palm plantations, reports Ian Wood of the Telegraph. The move would boost RSPO's credibility at a time when the industry-lead sustainability initiative is under fire from environmentalists who say its performance to date suggests it is merely an exercise in greenwashing.
Louisiana cypress mulch industry devastates old-growth forests
(11/5/2008) The cypress forests of Louisiana have suffered much devastation from human development, coastal erosion, and exploitation by the lumber industry. Now, vast tracts are being clear cut for the production of cypress mulch. A new online campaign is seeking to reform the Louisiana cypress mulch industry.
[United States | Forests | Logging]
Forests for Climate initiative launches in Indonesia
(11/4/2008) Greenpeace has officially launched its Forests for Climate initiative (FFC), a non-market avoided deforestation scheme that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by slowing forest destruction. The initiative, which was unveiled earlier this year, was launched at a ceremony in Jakarta co-hosted by Rachmat Witoelar, Indonesia's environmental minister. Greenpeace also called for a complete moratorium on logging in Indonesia until a new carbon financing mechanism is in place.
[Avoided deforestation | Carbon finance | Rainforests]
Endangered wildlife in Malaysia falls victim to rampant poaching due to 'outdated' laws
(11/4/2008) In the face of rampant poaching of endangered animals, conservationists are calling for Malaysia to reform its 36-year-old wildlife protection law. Four environmental groups — Malaysian Nature Society, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF-Malaysia — have launched a petition demanding that the Malaysian government improve and strengthen the country's Protection of Wild Life Act 1972, which the NGOs call "severely outdated and riddled with loopholes".
[Malaysia | Poaching | Wildlife]
Rainforest fungus generates biodiesel, may drive energy of the future
(11/4/2008) A fungus recently discovered in the Patagonian rainforest has shocked biologists and environmentalists: the fungus produces gas almost identical to diesel. In a paper announcing the discovery in Microbiology, scientists state that they believe the fungus, called Gliocladium roseum, could become an incredibly efficient green energy source.
[Biofuels | Biodiversity]
Review of the indoor rainforest at San Francisco's new Academy of Sciences
(11/4/2008) As a longtime resident of San Francisco's Inner Sunset district, I am quite familiar with the Academy of Sciences which is a short walk from my domicile. While I had visited it many times in its previous incarnation, the old (now demolished) museum was a far cry from the new high-tech building that opened this Fall. Both as someone who has traveled extensively in the tropics, and as the author of a number of travel guides which cover tropical rainforests and their ecosystems as well, I was looking forward to one of its most highly touted new features: the "rainforest dome."
Rainforest agriculture can preserve bird biodiversity
(11/3/2008) Conservation of biodiversity and agriculture have long been considered conflicting interests. Numerous studies have shown that when agricultural replaces a forest, biodiversity greatly suffers. However a new study finds it doesn't have to be that way.
[India | Agroforestry | Biodiversity]
Ugandan president continues effort to undermine forest reserves
(11/3/2008) Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni — a leader who has repeatedly sought to hand forest areas over to industrial developers and undermine the sanctity of reserves — is now blaming the country's forestry agency for deforestation in Uganda.
[Uganda | Deforestation]
New process may help offset emissions by storing billions of tons of CO2 in rock
(11/3/2008) Researchers may have devised a way to store massive amounts of carbon dioxide in rock through a relatively simple process. The finding is described in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
[Geoengineering | Carbon sequestration | Global warming mitigation]
Rise of industrial chicken farming imperils genetic stock of the industry
(11/3/2008) Industrial poultry farming is reducing the genetic diversity of chickens, putting them at greater risk of disease, report researchers writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors propose interbreeding commercial chickens with indigenous stocks to restore greater diversity within the industry.
Forest certification system needs reform to ensure sustainability - report
(11/3/2008) Demand for wood products is ultimately one of the largest drivers of global deforestation through both direct clear-cutting and selective logging, which increases a forest's vulnerability to fire and subsequent clearing and disturbance by other actors, including hunters, subsistence farmers, land speculators, ranchers and agro-industrial firms. Reducing the detrimental environmental impacts of meeting wood demand is critical to protecting the world's forests as healthy, productive and resilient ecosystems.
[Logging | Rainforests | Certification]
Voice of America writes up mongabay.com [external link]
(11/3/2008) Web Site Brings Attention to Wildlife and Wild Places — Mongabay.com started as an effort to save rainforests. Transcript of radio broadcast from Voice of America.
[Voice of America]
Most popular news articles for October
(11/1/2008) Most popular news articles for October.