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
Madagascar's rate of speciation slowing down
July 17, 2013 08:57 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
While Madagascar is famous for its incredible diversity of plants and animals, a new study suggests that the island's rate of speciation has slowed to a crawl. The research, published last week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B by Daniel Scantlebury of the University of Rochester, is based on analysis of evolutionary records of seven groups of reptiles and amphibians. It finds a decrease in the rate of new species formation since Madagascar split from the super-continent Gondwana some 90 million years ago.
What is causing drop in Monarch Butterfly population?
July 16, 2013 06:06 AM - Lacey Avery , MONGABAY.COM
In the next few months, the beating of fragile fiery orange and black wings will transport the monarch butterfly south. But the number of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) reaching their final destination has steadily declined, dropping to its lowest level in two decades last winter, according to a recent survey. The insect's journey begins in late summer and August, when monarchs fly from Canada and the Northeastern U.S. to highly selective overwintering sites in Mexico. Individually weighing less than a paperclip, monarch butterflies employ an inherited compass to make the longest insect migration in the world, flying up to 4000 kilometers (2,485 miles) to reach their final destination by November.
Forgotten Species: The Arapaima or 'Dinosaur Fish'
July 15, 2013 11:21 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Everyone knows the tiger, the panda, the blue whale, but what about the other five to thirty million species estimated to inhabit our Earth? Many of these marvelous, stunning, and rare species have received little attention from the media, conservation groups, and the public. This series is an attempt to give these 'forgotten species' some well-deserved attention.
Forests may be using less water as CO2 rises
July 11, 2013 05:13 PM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Forests may be becoming more efficient in their use of water as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, reports a new study in Nature. The findings are based on data from 300 canopy towers that measure carbon dioxide and water flux above forests at sites around the world, including temperate, tropical, and boreal regions. The researchers found that plants are becoming more water efficient as CO2 levels rise. While the findings are consistent with forecasts using models, the rate of efficiency gain is higher than expected.
Rising temperatures are triggering rainforest trees to produce more flowers
July 10, 2013 09:31 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Slight rises in temperatures are triggering rainforest trees to produce more flowers, reports a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The research is based on observations collected in two tropical forests: a seasonally dry forest on Panama's Barro Colorado Island and a "rainforest" with year-around precipitation in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. The authors, led by Stephanie Pau, currently at Florida State University but formerly from UC Santa Barbara, analyzed the impact of changes in temperature, clouds and rainfall on flower production. They found an annual 3 percent increase in flower production at the seasonally dry site, which they attributed to warmer temperatures.
Chinese lose 2.5 billion years of life expectancy due to coal burning
July 9, 2013 08:42 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Chinese who live north of the Huai River will lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years of life expectancy due to the extensive use of coal burning in the region, concludes a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, which involved researchers from MIT, China, and Israel, estimated the impacts of particulate matter from coal-powered heating on life expectancy. In the process, the authors developed a rule-of-thumb for the effects of air pollution: "every additional 100 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter in the atmosphere lowers life expectancy at birth by three years," according to a statement from MIT.
Illegal palm oil from an Indonesian national park used by Asian Agri, Wilmar, WWF report says
July 8, 2013 09:24 AM - Diana Parker, MONGABAY.COM
Illegal palm oil expansion inside Indonesia's Tesso Nilo National Park is threatening protected forests and the reputation of two companies who claim to be sources of sustainably-produced palm oil, says a new WWF-Indonesia report. In its June 26 report, "Palming Off a National Park," WWF-Indonesia found that over 52,000 hectares of natural forests in the area have already been illegally converted into palm oil plantations. And fruits from the illegal plantations have made their way into the supply chains of at least two global companies — Asian Agri and Wilmar.
US Initiative to Combat Elephant and Rhino Poaching in Africa
July 4, 2013 08:35 AM - Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian , MONGABAY.COM
Barack Obama launched a new initiative against wildlife trafficking on Monday, using his executive authority to take action against an illegal trade that is fueling rebel wars and now threatens the survival of elephants and rhinoceroses. The initiative, announced as the president visited Tanzania on the final stop of his African tour, was the second time in a week Obama has used an executive order to advance environmental policy, after announcing a sweeping new climate change plan.
New forensic method tells the difference between poached and legal ivory
July 1, 2013 05:45 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Forensic-dating could end a major loophole in the current global ban on ivory, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Scientists have developed a method to determine the age of ivory, allowing traders to tell the difference between ivory taken before the ban in 1989, which is still legal, and recently-poached ivory. Elephants across Africa are being slaughtered in record numbers for their tusks—the most recent estimate put it at 3,000 annually—due to rising demand for ivory in East Asia. Various loopholes have exacerbated the crisis.
Giraffe need conservation help too!
June 29, 2013 07:44 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Just two year's before his assassination, Julius Caesar brought to Rome one of the world's most astonishing living creatures: a giraffe. The animal was among Caesar's spoils from his campaign in Egypt and according to the Roman writer, Dio, the giraffe, which was arguably the first to ever touch European soil, was paraded in the Circus for all to see. Today, over two thousand years later, the giraffe has become one of the world's most recognizable animals: after all nothing looks quite like it with its spotted coat, tufted horns, and, most importantly, that impossibly long neck. But less commonly known is that the giraffe is in trouble with some subspecies down to just a few hundred individuals. "Two giraffe (sub)species have been classified on the IUCN Red List as 'Endangered'—the West African giraffe (<300 individuals) and the Rothschild’s giraffe (<700 individuals). However, sadly, there may be other populations threatened—if not all of them, as we are only starting to get a good feel on numbers and range. As an example, the Nubian giraffe in Ethiopia and maybe South Sudan would number less than the Rothschild's giraffe," explains Julian Fennessy, a conservation scientist and co-founder with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), in a recent interview with mongabay.com.