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
Shark overfishing hurts coral reefs
September 23, 2013 08:58 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Overfishing for sharks is having detrimental effects on coral reefs, finds a new study published in the journal PLOS One. The research is based on long-term monitoring reefs off northwestern Australia. The authors, led by Jonathan Ruppert, formerly of the University of Toronto and now with York University, compared community structure between several atoll-like reefs. Some of the reefs were protected, while some were open to exploitation by Indonesian fishermen using traditional fishing techniques. Indonesian fishermen tend to target high value species like sharks.
Newly discovered chytrid fungus devastates salamander populations
September 20, 2013 01:13 PM - Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa, MONGABAY.COM
A frightening disease has been ravaging amphibians across the planet. At least 350 species have been infected, two hundred of which have suffered massive population reductions or extinctions, some even occurring within the space of weeks. In 1999, a single fungal species called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), commonly known as the chytrid fungus, was identified as the causative agent for these rapid die-offs.
Leaping Legless Lizards!
September 19, 2013 05:06 PM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Four previously unknown species of legless lizard have been described in California, report researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and Cal State-Fullerton. The species, all members of the Anniella genus, were hiding in plain site, living in marginal habitats that included "a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield, among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley, on the margins of the Mojave desert, and at the end of one of the runways at LAX", according to a statement from UC Berkeley.
Indigenous people of Honduras granted one million hectares of rainforest
September 16, 2013 09:31 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
One-hundred and fifty years after a treaty with England granted the Miskito people rights over their land--a treaty which was never fully respected--the government of Honduras has officially handed over nearly a million hectares (970,000 hectares) of tropical forest along the Caribbean Coast to the indigenous people. The Miskito are found along the eastern coast of both Honduras and Nicaragua and number around 200,000. "This is an unprecedented and historic moment for our peoples," said Norvin Goff, chairman of Miskitu Asla Takanka (MASTA), a Honduras group representing the tribes."The entire region is at risk from illegal hunting, logging and clearing of land to graze cattle. The Miskito people can protect it, but only if we have title to those lands."
Global warming may 'flatten' rainforests
September 13, 2013 07:54 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Climate change may push canopy-dwelling plants and animals out of the tree-tops due to rising temperatures and drier conditions, argues a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The development may be akin to "flattening" the tiered vegetation structure that characterizes the rainforest ecosystem. The conclusion is based on surveys of frogs and other canopy-dwelling animals in Singapore and the mountains of the Philippines. Brett Scheffers of James Cook University and colleagues found that the "rainforest's vertical strata provide climatic gradients much steeper than those offered by elevation and latitude, and biodiversity of arboreal species is organized along this gradient."
Loose laws threaten Australia's wildlife
September 11, 2013 09:29 AM - Liz Kimbrough, MONGABAY.COM
Kookaburras, koalas and kangaroos—Australia is well known for its charismatic animals and vast, seemingly untamable, wild spaces. But throughout the country, the national parks and reserves that protect these unique animals and ecosystems have come under increasing threat. New rules and relaxed regulations, which bolster immediate economic growth, are putting pressure on Australia's already-threatened biodiversity. Legislation allowing recreational shooting has been introduced in New South Wales. In Victoria, developers will be allowed to build hotels in national parks. New laws have been passed by the Queensland government to allow the feeding of livestock in national parks during droughts, and a scientific trial of grazing in several national parks and reserves has been re-instated after previous unsuccessful attempts. According to some, these examples point to a disturbing trend towards ecological irresponsibility within state legislature.
Europe importing more palm oil for biofuels, raising risks for rain forests
September 10, 2013 09:52 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Palm oil imports into Europe for use as car fuel increased by more than three-fold since 2006, raising concerns than renewable fuels targets may be contributing to deforestation, displacing marginalized communities, and driving greenhouse gas emissions in Southeast Asia, finds a new study published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
Snake Fungal Disease Hits U.S.
September 9, 2013 06:15 AM - Adam Andrus, MONGABAY.COM
A fungal outbreak in the eastern and Midwestern United States is infecting some populations of wild snakes. Snake Fungal Disease (SFD), a fungal dermatitis consistently associated with the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, is showing recent spikes in occurrence according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) and other diagnostic laboratories. So far, the diseased snakes submitted by Wildlife Monitors to the NWHC are attributed to wild populations from nine states, including Florida, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Two new Species of Octocorals Discovered in the Pacific Ocean
September 5, 2013 12:21 PM - Bradley Fessenden, MONGABAY.COM
The vast expanse of the Earth's oceans makes finding a new species like finding a needle in a haystack. In fact, finding a needle in a haystack may be easier than finding a new species of octocoral in the Pacific Ocean. But Gary Williams with the California Academy of Sciences has recently found not only one but two new species, including a new genus of octocoral. In a recent paper published in the journal Zookeys, Williams provides a taxonomic assessment of two new colorful species of soft coral and a new genus to accommodate a bright red sea fan.
World's biggest owl depends on large old trees
September 4, 2013 03:06 PM - Natalie Millar, MONGABAY.COM
The Blakiston fish owl (Bubo Blakistoni) is the world's largest — and one of the rarest — owl species, with an impressive 6 foot (2 meter) wingspan. The giant owl, found exclusively in northeast Asia, shares its habitat with a menagerie of endangered and impressive animals, including Amur tigers, Amur leopards, Asiatic black bears and wild boars. Now, a recent study in Oryx, led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has discovered that these owls rely on threatened old trees for nesting and foraging sites.