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
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.
Palm Oil Now Biggest Cause of Deforestation in Indonesia
September 3, 2013 10:20 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Conversion of forests for palm oil production now appears to be the single largest driver of deforestation in Indonesia, accounting for roughly a quarter of forest loss between 2009 and 2011, asserts a new Greenpeace report that accuses the sector's main certification standard of failing to stop forest destruction. The report, titled Certifying Destruction, uses satellite imagery, government concession data, field investigations, and third party analysis to conclude that several recent and current members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) — the industry's chief eco-certification body — are continuing to buy or trade palm oil produced via the conversion of rainforests and carbon-dense peatlands in the Southeast Asian nation.
Are sea turtles responsible for lower fish catches in India?
September 1, 2013 08:03 AM - Sandhya Sekar, MONGABAY.COM
Fishing communities on Agatti Island in Lakshwadeep, India, blame their reduced fish catch on green turtles; according to them, green turtles chomp their way through the seagrass beds lining the shallow reef waters that are essential for fish to breed. This leads some in the community to clandestinely kill sea turtles and destroy their nests. Wildlife happens to intrude on human "space" mostly while searching for food, and this can result in human deaths, or destruction of human livelihood. The perception of people living close to wildlife in such conflict areas shapes the interaction between them and the wildlife.
Trinidad and Tobago: A Biodiversity Hotspot Overlooked
August 26, 2013 02:02 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean (just off the coast of Venezuela) may be smaller than Delaware, but it has had an outsized role in the history of rainforest conservation as well as our understanding of tropical ecology. Home to an astounding number of tropical ecosystems and over 3,000 species and counting (including 470 bird species in just 2,000 square miles), Trinidad and Tobago is an often overlooked gem in the world's biodiversity. "In the last 100 years, work in these forests was instrumental in deciphering principles we now take for granted. For example: echolocation in bats, animal chemical defenses and mimicry," Nigel Noriega, the director of Sustainable Innovation Initiatives (SSI) told mongabay.com adding that the "Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve is under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is on record as the world's oldest legally protected forest reserve geared specifically towards a conservation purpose.
Google Earth Introduces Fish-Eye View of Coral Reefs
August 23, 2013 03:23 PM - Editor, ENN via, MONGABAY.COM
It is estimated that coral reefs cover around 284,000 square kilometers providing a habitat for thousands of species to live. And unless you've snorkeled in some of these underwater habitats, or perhaps have seen a Planet Earth documentary, most of us have never experienced these natural wonders. But thanks to Google Earth, you can now visit up-close and personal some of the world's most imperiled ecosystems. The Google team is currently working with scientists to provide 360 degree panoramas, similar to Google street-view, to give armchair ecologists a chance to experience the most biodiverse ecosystems under the waves.