September 20, 2004

I will be in Europe (Paris and southern Italy) and Madagascar through mid November 2004. I probably will not have internet access in Madagascar so the site is going to be quiet for a while. I appreciate your interest and will add lots of pictures upon my return.

September 19, 2004

An update on mining, deforestation, and conservation in Laos.

September 18, 2004

Organizers at The Fourth Green Meeting of the Americas, a conference sponsored by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and other Brazilian energy companies, proposed creating an international court to assess and punish environmental crimes. The International Environmental Court would be modeled after the World Court in the Hague, Netherlands.

September 17, 2004

Foreign ministers of eight Amazon Basin countries signed the Manaus Declaration claiming "the sovereign responsibility" to promote the sustainable development of the region. The document formally establishes their collective goal of

  • fighting biopiracy and asserting full control over the region's biological resources;
  • protecting the rights of native Amazonians;
  • curbing illegal deforestation;
  • establishing a system for sharing information gathered through remote monitoring systems;
  • promoting investment and trade; and
  • moving toward the formation of a South American Community of Nations.
The BBC featured an article on the Mamiraua Project for Sustainable Development, an integrated conservation and development project in the Brazilian Amazon.

September 16, 2004

The evolution of a complex forest ecosystem on the mid-Atlantic island of Ascension only 150 years after plants were first introduced has surprised scientists and has sparked a debate over conventional ecological theory according to a report in New Scientist magazine.

September 15, 2004

Die Welt, a German news daily reported that Syria -- in coordination with the government in Sudan -- has used chemical weapons against civilians in Darfur. China, which has oil interests in Sudan and veto power at the U.N., will not allow a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for sanctions against the Sudanese government which is currently supporting groups that are committing atrocities in the remote region. The United Nations has estimated some 1.2 million people have fled their homes and up to 50,000 people have died from direct violence, starvation or illness in what it describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

September 12, 2004

Yesterday scientists announced that they had captured a female po'ouli bird in the rainforest of Maui, the first step toward developing a captive breeding program that may save the species from extinction. It is believed that the po'ouli is down to its last three members -- one male and two females -- due to habitat destruction and predation from introduced species.

September 11, 2004

Julie Larsen Maher of the Wildlife Conservation Society recently traveled to Madagascar and visited a few of the places I plan to see. Here's her photo journal from the trip.

September 8, 2004

Another sign corporations are shifting their stance on global warming: the Conference Board, a nonprofit organization whose members include 2,000 major corporations from around the world, issued a report citing increasing scientific consensus that humans are contributing to the warming of the planet and warning "businesses that ignore the debate over climate change do so at their peril." The Wall Street Journal points out that the Conference Board's report comes less than two weeks after the Bush administration issued its own report that said warmer temperatures in North America over the past half century "were unlikely to be due only to natural climate variations."

September 7, 2004

In anticipation of my forthcoming trip to Madagascar, I have launched a new site: The site is still very much in beta but will give you a brief overview of the country. The official launch will come in late November once I've returned from my travels.

September 6, 2004

Yesterday The Washington Post featured an article on slavery in the Brazilian Amazon. While Brazil abolished slavery in 1888, the government has acknowledged to the United Nations that at least 25,000 Brazilians work under "conditions analogous to slavery" as workers in the Amazon Basin. The article argues that slavery persists in Brazil for two reasons:

  1. Brazil's "slaves are out of sight and out of mind: Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, who dominate the national political culture, are no more likely to worry about rural slaves in the Amazon than New Yorkers are to worry about illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley" and
  2. "Brazil's modern slaves are cogs in the global economy. Their labor makes Brazil's exports of beef, soybeans, timber and pig iron cheaper, often much cheaper than competing U.S. products."

September 5, 2004

The San Francisco Chronicle featured an update on the Huaorani Indians of Ecuador who have been battling development in their Amazonian homeland for more than two decades. In May 2003, a group of 9 Huaorani men from the village of Tiguino were responsible for a massacre of 26 Tagaeri men, women and children. Now an investigation has concluded that the murder may have been spurred on by Colombian loggers seeking access to valuable timber (Spanish cedar and mahogany) located on Tagaeri land.

September 4, 2004

Added some resource links on indigenous people: African, Asian, North American, Pacific, and South American.

September 1, 2004

I'm back from Oahu and preparing for Madagascar. September marks the 3-year anniversary of In that time, traffic to the site has increased from just over 100 visitors per day to more than 32,000 daily visits.

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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.

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Pictures of wildlife and landscapes from around the world.

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Information on tropical freshwater fish including species descriptions, tips on aquarium care, and more.

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