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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
Majority of Big Saharan Animals Threatened by Extinction
December 5, 2013 03:42 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Bigger than all of Brazil, among the harshest ecosystems on Earth, and largely undeveloped, one would expect that the Sahara desert would be a haven for desert wildlife. One would anticipate that big African animals—which are facing poaching and habitat loss in other parts of the world—would thrive in this vast wilderness. But a new landmark study in Diversity and Distributions finds that the megafauna of the Sahara desert are on the verge of total collapse. "While global attention has been focused on [biodiversity] hotspots, the world’s largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic decline in megafauna," the researchers write.
Reversing local extinction: scientists bring the northern bald ibis back to Europe after 300 years
December 4, 2013 09:15 AM - Federica Di Leonardo, MONGABAY.COM
The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), also called the hermit ibis or waldrapp, is a migratory bird. Once, the bald ibis lived in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern and central Europe, but due to hunting, loss of habitat and pesticide-use, the birds disappeared from most of these areas and is currently considered Critically Endangered. It became extinct in Europe 300 years ago; the bird is almost gone in Syria, with only a single individual recorded at the country's lone breeding site in 2013; and the only stronghold left is a small population of around 500 birds in Morocco. But now, a team of scientists from Austria is working to reestablish a self-sustaining, migratory population of bald ibis in Europe.
Not all mangroves are created equal: new map reveals carbon storage hot-spots
December 2, 2013 08:51 AM - Dominic Rowland, MONGABAY.COM
Mangrove forests are one of the most important weapons in the fight against climate change. Not only do they directly store huge amounts of carbon, but they actively capture additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it in their soils. When mangroves are destroyed, huge quantities of carbon are released into the atmosphere, significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, until recently, little research has been done to identify which mangrove forests store the most carbon and are therefore most important in combatting climate change. However, all this has changed, thanks to a new study showcasing a global map of carbon storage in mangrove forests.
Indonesia’s National Airline Carrier Bans Shark Fins
November 24, 2013 04:24 PM - Diana Parker, MONGABAY.COM
Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda Indonesia has joined a growing number of airlines looking to curb the international shark fin trade by banning the transport of shark fins and other shark products on their aircraft.
Gulf of Mexico may need decades to recover from 2010 oil spill
November 22, 2013 12:34 PM - Nicholas St. Fleur, MONGABAY.COM
The catastrophic explosion that spewed some five million barrels of oil deep into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 will take a heavy toll in the ocean's lowest layers for years to come. That's the stark conclusion of seafloor research conducted six months after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The study, published on August 7 in PLoS ONE, examined life in the Gulf's deepest waters near the blowout, about 1.6 kilometers below the surface. Here, the researchers found that the damages will take decades to reverse.
Japan pledges to raise carbon emissions, not cut them
November 21, 2013 09:00 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
In 2009, Japan pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 25 percent based on 1990 levels within 11 years. Four years later—including a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima—and Japan has reset its goal with a new target to cut emissions by 3.8 percent based on 2005 levels at the UN Climate Summit in Warsaw, Poland. But, the new target, which received widespread condemnation when announced on Friday, actually results in a 3.1 percent rise in emissions when viewed from the widely-accepted 1990 baseline. "The new target is based on zero nuclear power in the future. We have to lower our ambition level," said Hiroshi Minami, Japan's delegate at the 19th annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Carbon emissions set to hit new record high in 2013
November 20, 2013 10:21 AM - Jeremey Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere in 2013 is expected to hit a new high of 36 billion tonnes, according to a Carbon Budget released today by the Global Carbon Project (GCP). This is a 2.1 percent rise from 2012 based on data from the same group.
Study estimates 400,000 seabirds are killed by gillnets
November 19, 2013 08:57 AM - Jordanna Dulaney, MONGABAY.COM
A recent study from the Biological Conservation journal brings shocking news: every year across the globe, an estimated 400,000 seabirds are killed by gillnets. Gillnets, a common term for any net used to entangle and catch fish, are used all over the world, and at any depth. These nets, whether used in subsistence or commercial fishing, trap anything that swims through them. When unintended marine wildlife, or "bycatch," is caught in these nets, the results can be significant.
Tiny algae signal big changes for warming Arctic lakes
November 18, 2013 10:05 AM - Molly Sharlach, MONGABAY.COM
The mighty polar bear has long been the poster child for the effects of global warming in the Arctic, but the microscopic diatom tells an equally powerful story. Diatoms are a type of algae that form the base of the food chain in watery habitats the world over. Disturbances among lake diatoms have exposed the impacts of rapid warming in the Hudson Bay Lowlands of eastern Canada, researchers reported Oct. 9 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Longline Fisheries in Costa Rica Hook Tens of Thousands of Sea Turtles Every Year
November 15, 2013 01:04 PM - Julia Calderone, MONGABAY.COM
Hundreds of kilometers of commercial fishing lines slither along coastal waters in Costa Rica, hooking thousands of mahi-mahi and many other marketable fish. But when scientists scrutinized fishermen’s catch, they were shocked by the staggering number of sea turtles accidentally snagged on the lines. A study published Aug. 20 in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology suggests that longline fisheries in Costa Rica unintentionally caught about 700,000 Olive Ridley turtles as bycatch between 1999 and 2010—the second highest catch after mahi-mahi. Other bycatch included silky sharks, pelagic stingrays and Indo-Pacific sailfish.