Our Editorial and News Affiliates
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
Noise pollution harms wildlife, degrades habitats
October 5, 2015 09:11 AM - Shreya Dasgupta, MONGABAY.COM
Traffic noise is just another inconvenience for many of us. But for wildlife, noise from honking, and zooming vehicles can often be an insidious threat: it can degrade habitats without leaving any physical evidence of change, warns a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Road noise — even in moderate levels — pushes migrating birds away from their stopover habitats, researchers from Boise State University in Idaho found. Those that stay back become weak.
“I was initially surprised that even moderate road noise — comparable to a suburban setting — would have such a wide-ranging impact on migrating birds,” William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, who was not involved in the study, told Mongabay. “On reflection, however, I guess such migrators have to be hyper-vigilent about noise, as they’re constantly moving to new areas where unseen predators could be lurking.”
Sierra Nevada snowpack at historic low
October 3, 2015 06:52 AM - Mike Gaworecki , MONGABAY.COM
On April 1, California Governor Jerry Brown stood in a Sierra Nevada meadow atop parched, brown grass — at an elevation of 6,800 feet, where there would normally be five feet of snow at that time of year — and announced the state’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions.
The Golden State is still in the grip of a severe drought that began in 2012, and new research suggests it is one of the worst in centuries.
The day Gov. Brown announced the statewide water restrictions, snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas was reported to be at just 5 percent of its historical average, as calculated from records dating back to the 1930s.
New Sensor Tag Technology Could Link Animal Behavior and Conservation Science
October 1, 2015 08:07 PM - Caleb O Brien, MONGABAY.COM
For wild sockeye salmon, the trip upriver from the ocean to their spawning grounds is fraught with peril and hardship. But quantifying exactly how obstacles along the way, fluctuations in water temperature and other factors impact fish survival has long eluded researchers. New advances in biological sensor tags are now allowing scientists to precisely measure animals’ energetics, their interactions with humans, and their responses to rapidly changing environments.
In 2014, for example, Nicholas Burnett and colleagues used accelerometer tags to measure how salmon needed to swim in order to traverse a dam in the Seton-Anderson watershed of British Columbia, Canada and how likely they were to survive the remainder of their journey. They found that when salmon resort to strenuous anaerobic swimming, they were significantly more likely to die days or even hours later.
Acidic Arctic Ocean Threatens Food Web
July 16, 2015 08:59 AM - Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa, MONGABAY.COM
One byproduct of rising carbon-dioxide levels is increasing ocean acidity — a phenomenon that scientists have termed an existential threat to marine life. The waters of the Arctic and the far-north Pacific are particularly prone to acidification as a result of several natural factors, so scientists regard the region as the proverbial canary in the coal mine for the rest of the world's oceans. A new study shows that within just fifteen years these waters may be too acidic for a range of marine animals to build and maintain their shells year round.
Siaga population cut in half in less than a month
May 29, 2015 07:02 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
No one knows what's killing them, but scientists estimate that almost half of the world's saiga (Saiga tatarica) have perished since May 10th. To date, researchers on-the-ground unofficially estimate that 120,000 saiga have died in Kazakhstan from what appears to be a wildly virulent disease, although no cause has been ruled out. Saiga are bizarre-looking, Ice Age antelopes that once roamed Central Asia in the millions, but are now listed as Critically Endangered.
Selective logging may underestimate carbon stock
April 29, 2015 08:20 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Up to 64 percent of above-ground biomass in selectively logged forests may consist of dead wood left over from logging damage, argues a paper published this week in Environmental Research Letters.
US-protected lands mismatch biodiversity priorities
April 8, 2015 08:56 AM - Glenn Scherer, MONGABAY.COM
The United States has one of the oldest, best-established park systems in the world. But what if those public lands -- mostly created to preserve scenic natural wonders -- are in the wrong place to conserve the lion’s share of the nation’s unique biodiversity? A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found exactly that. Existing “protected lands -- both federal and private -- poorly match the biodiversity priorities in the country,” say the researchers.
Yum! Brands announces zero deforestation policy for palm oil
April 6, 2015 09:02 AM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Yum! Brands, the company that owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, on Thursday announced a zero deforestation policy for its palm oil sourcing. The move came after aggressive campaigns by environmental groups that argued the chains weren't doing enough to ensure the palm oil they used to fry foods wasn't linked to human rights abuses, destruction of peatlands, and logging of rainforests.
Large animals are needed to regenerate tropical forests
March 31, 2015 08:51 AM - Alexander Montoro, MONGABAY.COM
Nearly two-thirds of tropical forests in Southeast Asia have been degraded by logging, agriculture and other human uses, and their fauna have been decimated by hunting and the bushmeat trade. But if those degraded tropical forests are to recover naturally, they will need to rely on their remaining large wild animals to disperse large tree seeds, according to a new study. The study published in mongabay.org's open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science examined the importance of large mammals such as wild primates, deer, civets, wild pigs, and tapirs to the dispersion of large seeds throughout the Harapan Rainforest of Sumatra, which has been degraded by logging and agriculture.
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."