May 28, 2004
Today The Wall Street Journal carried an article on counterfeit drugs in Nigeria. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a giant problem especially in developing countries: estimates by Kristina Lybecker, an economics professor at Drexel University put the annual value of the fake drug market around $50 billion (10% of the $500 billion in medicines sold worldwide). Counterfeit drugs also take a cut out of the revenue -- and reputation -- of large pharmaceutical companies which often offer discounted drugs in poorer countries.
May 27, 2004
The debate over clear-cutting in the Sierra Nevadas rages on according to a new Wall Street Journal article. The battle "plays into a broader national debate: how to manage Western forests that are prone to giant blazes after more than a century of fire suppression and logging that, in many places, has left the weakest trees behind."
May 26, 2004
Last week a federal judge acquitted the environmental group Greenpeace on charges that it conspired to break the law by sending activists aboard a freighter carrying mahogany illegally harvested from the Brazilian Amazon. U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan granted a Greenpeace motion to dismiss the charges ruling federal prosecutors had failed to prove their case. The case was seen as significant in that it was the first time U.S. authorities have sought criminal prosecution of an advocacy group for civil disobedience.
May 25, 2004
In a study published in the May 26 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers have identified a compound in cilantro -- a key flavor component of salsa -- that kills harmful Salmonella bacteria and shows promise as a safe, natural food additive that could help prevent foodborne illness. [full article]
May 24, 2004
According to BBC News, Scientists in southern Africa are mystified by a disease which appears to be killing baobab trees.
I added two Italian-language biotope pages (translated by Alessandro Tozzi and Carmelo Fruciano) along with updating the conservation news section of mongabay.
May 23, 2004
This week's issue of Science featured a report on Deforestation in Amazonia which links increasing forest loss to Brazilian infrastructure development policies. The research team behind the report notes that the proliferation of new highways and infrastructure projects opens the Amazon to increased illegal deforestation, logging, mining, and hunting activities.
May 22, 2004
According to The Wall Street Journal, despite palm-oil prices recently hitting five-year highs, Malaysia is struggling with inefficiencies in palm-oil production. Currently Malaysia produces 51% of the world's palm oil, making up 6% of the country's total exports and 10% of its gross domestic product.
Palm-oil plantations are a significant contributor to deforestation in much of the tropics -- especially in Asia.
May 21, 2004
According to a new report by The Environmental Justice Foundation, growing consumer demand for shrimp is fueling an environmental crisis. Shrimp farming is destroying biologically rich mangrove forests and estuaries, causing pollution, and depleting wild fish stocks: Environmental Degradation from Shrimp Farming
May 18, 2004
A study in the Journal of Forest Ecology and Management found that 75% of tree species in a section of the Amazon rainforest were more than 200 years old. This finding means that ancient trees represent the single most important carbon sink in rainforests. These trees are often targeted under "selective logging" schemes. [abstract]
May 17, 2004
According to Forbes Magazine Bank of America Corp. is tightening lending standards for project financing to address potential environmental risks.
Bank of America agreed not to fund projects involving oil and gas exploration, mining or logging activity in old-growth tropical rainforests. It also agreed ... not to finance "companies or projects that collude with, or knowingly purchase timber from, illegal logging operations," or projects in "sensitive" forests where indigenous peoples have unresolved land claims.
Data aggregations found on mongabay.com
May 16, 2004
I added two new reference sections to the site: deforestation figures for selected countries and country statistics.
May 13, 2004
Rainforest Research Opportunities through Earthwatch Institute, a nonprofit organization that engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.
I also added an update page to track changes to the site.
May 12, 2004
In the next couple of weeks Brazil is expected to announce updated deforestation figures for the 12 months ended March 2003. The figures will show that more than 24,000 square kilometers - and area the size of Belize - were lost. I have prepared an update on what is responsible for deforestation in Brazil and what can be done to help save Brazil's rainforests.
May 11, 2004
The Earthwatch Institute is a nonprofit organization that offers volunteers short-term opportunities for directly assisting scientists in their field research. Two projects may be of special interest to tropical fish hobbyists: opportunities for tropical fish research in the field.
Brazil Deforestation Figures -- tables showing annual deforestation rates 1978-2003.
May 10, 2004
Gonzalo Villarreal Rocca of Buenos Aires, Argentina has agreed to help develop Spanish and Portuguese-language versions of rainforest content on mongabay.com. These versions will be a major improvement on the currently auto-translated versions.
May 9, 2004
I recently did an interview for Aqua Botanic -- a community for the aquarium plant hobby.
May 4, 2004
Next month my sister's article on her surf trip will be published in an Italian magazine. Here is an English version: Surf Trip to Bahia, Brazil.
New landing pages for: Rain Forests, Rain Forest, Tropical Rainforests, and Rainforest.
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A Place Out of Time:
Tropical Rainforests - Their Wonders and the Perils They Face. Information on rainforests, biodiversity, and environmental concerns.
Pictures of wildlife and landscapes from around the world.
Information on a country rich with culture and biodiversity.
Tropical Freshwater Fish:
Information on tropical freshwater fish including species descriptions, tips on aquarium care, and more.
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