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With more than one million unique visitors per month, Mongabay.com is one of the world's most popular environmental science and conservation news sites. The news and rainforests sections of the site are widely cited for information on tropical forests, conservation, and wildlife.
Mongabay.com aims to raise interest in wildlife and wildlands while promoting awareness of environmental issues. Originally the site was based around a text on tropical rainforests written by Rhett A. Butler, but today the site has expanded to other topics (like Madagascar [WildMadagasacar.org]) and is available in versions for kids and in more than two dozen non-English languages. Mongabay.com is also publisher of Tropical Conservation Science, a peer-reviewed, open-access academic journal that seeks to provide opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research in their native languages.
rhett (at) mongabay.com
China bans carved ivory imports
February 27, 2015 09:00 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
China has established a one-year ban on imports of carved African elephant ivory.
Conservationists say the move, effective immediately, sends an important signal, but alone won't be enough to slow elephant poaching.
"This announcement is an encouraging signal that the Chinese government is ratcheting down the import of African elephant ivory into the country," said Iris Ho, director of wildlife for Humane Society International, in a statement. "We are hopeful that more meaningful actions are being considered by the leadership and relevant government agencies of China that will further strengthen the country’s efforts on combating the elephant poaching and ivory trafficking crisis."
Biodiversity may reduce threat of disease
February 20, 2015 08:45 AM - Victor Montoro, MONGABAY.COM
Biodiversity level changes can have consequences for species and habitats around the world. A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reaffirms previous findings that higher diversity in ecological communities may lead to reduced disease threat. The study concludes that higher amphibian diversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest is linked to a lower infection rate of a fungus that is devastating amphibian populations around the world.
The Future of Droughts in the US Central Plains and Southwest
February 13, 2015 08:51 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
In the recent film Interstellar, a mysterious phenomenon known as "the blight" is wiping out agriculture around the world until only corn—for some reason—survives. Humanity is on the brink of starvation. While the blight may be science fiction, global warming is not, and a new study finds that future warming could decimate the U.S.'s Central Plains and Southwest regions over the next century, topping even the worst drought of the last thousand years. "I was honestly surprised at just how dry the future is likely to be," said co-author Toby Ault at Cornell University. The research, published in the first edition of Science Advances, found that future drought conditions are likely to exceed a megadrought that swept through the western U.S. in the 12th and 13th Centuries.
Giant clam has giant impact
February 9, 2015 09:05 AM - Jose Hong, MONGABAY.COM
The world’s biggest bivalves are the aptly named giant clams. Inhabiting the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific, the largest of these species, the eponymous giant clam (Tridacna squamosal), can reach up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) in length and wiegh over 230 kilograms (500 pounds). Historically known as the killer clam for its supposed ability to trap careless divers, these harmless and colorful bivalves are favorite animals for divers and snorkelers to spot, but they may also be big players in the ecosystem.
Seabirds suffer from pollutant exposure
February 4, 2015 08:38 AM - Shayna Wilson, MONGABAY.COM
Seabirds, aerial ocean predators, are known to amass harmful contaminants over their lifespan. Scientists believe this exposure to pollutants, such as blood mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), negatively impacts survival rates as well as reproduction, therefore contributing to large-scale population declines. Although previously these assumptions were largely theoretical, recent research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B involving blood samples from wandering albatrosses points to new conclusions.
Did Palm Oil Expansion Play A Role In The Ebola Crisis?
January 15, 2015 04:32 PM - Emmanel K. Urey, MONGABAY.COM
TThe Ebola outbreak in West Africa may have been the result of complex economic and agricultural policies developed by authorities in Guinea and Liberia, according to a new commentary in Environment and Planning A. Looking at the economic activities around villages where Ebola first emerged, the investigators analyzed a shift in land-use activities in Guinea's forested region, particularly an increase in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) cultivation.
Study finds reefs reduce wave energy by 97%
December 18, 2014 08:50 AM - Brendan Bane, MONGABAY.COM
We have a lot of stake in the coast. Coastal waters are where we host fisheries, build homes and turn to for tourism and recreation. So how should coastal communities, which comprise nearly 40 percent of the world's population, safeguard against flooding, erosion and violent weather? Marine scientist Michael Beck suggests the solution is growing right beneath some waves and, in many cases, it has been waiting there for thousands of years.
An app to save 400 million animals
December 15, 2014 09:57 AM - Alex Rodriguez, MONGABAY.COM
Brazilian biologist Alex Bager has been leading a crusade to raise awareness of a major but neglected threat to biodiversity in his country.
Every year over 475 million animals die in Brazil as victims of roadkill, according to an estimate by Centro Brasileiro de Ecologia de Estradas (the Brazilian Centre for the Study of Road Ecology) or CBEE, an initiative funded and coordinated by Bager. This means 15 animals are run down every second on Brazilian roads and highways.
"The numbers are really scary and we need people to know about them," Bager said.
To register cases of roadkill throughout the country, Bager came up with the idea of an app, now used by thousands of citizen scientists. And a national day of action in November saw hundreds of volunteers participate in events to highlight the impact of roadkill on biodiversity.
New report finds bamboo may help mitigate climate change, reduce fossil fuel use, protect forests
December 12, 2014 10:03 AM - Julian Moll-Rocek, MONGABAY.COM
Restoring degraded land and forests with the world’s fastest growing plant, bamboo, can contribute to major carbon emission reductions. This is according to a new report released at the COP20 in Lima by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) that discusses the massive potential of bamboo in fighting global warming, with bamboo forests projected to store more than one million tons of carbon by 2050 in China alone.
Pollution May Cause Problems for Pollinators
December 11, 2014 10:57 AM - Lisa Marie Potter, MONGABAY.COM
While unpleasant car exhaust makes us wrinkle our noses, such human-made fumes may pose serious problems to insects searching for nectar. Researchers recently revealed that background odors make finding flowers difficult for pollinators. The study, published in Science, measured how hawk moths (Manduca sexta) pick out the sacred datura flower scent (Datura wrightii) amidst all the other smells that waft through the environment. Datura’s brilliant 15-centimeter trumpets leap from dark, heart-shaped leaves, sending smelly signals into the arid sky of the southwestern deserts where they grow.