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
The Problem with Tree Plantations
September 22, 2012 08:08 AM - Isaac Rojas, MONGABAY.COM
Today, September 21, is the "International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations", an annual event organized by a coalition of social and environmental groups. Here, Isaac Rojas, a Costa Rican who is Friends of the Earth International coordinator of its Forest and Biodiversity Program, expresses his view point on industrial plantations. Public environmental awareness has come a long way since September 1962, when Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' was published, stimulating the birth of the environmental movement. This movement may be fifty years old, but nowadays you can feel 'green' by helping destroy forests instead of protecting them, for instance by clicking online a 'plant a tree' button on a seemingly well-meaning website.
An update to one of the most comprehensive maps of the Amazon basin shows that forest cover across the world's largest rainforest declined by about six percent between 2000 and 2010. But the map also reveals hopeful signs that recognition of protected areas and native lands across the eight countries and one department that make up the Amazon is improving, with conservation and indigenous territories now covering nearly half of its land mass.
Another mishap kills Shell's Arctic oil drilling for the year
September 19, 2012 07:38 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Following global protests, a series of embarrassing mishaps, and a lengthy regulatory process, Dutch Royal Shell has announced it is abandoning its hugely controversial off-shore oil drilling in the Arctic—this year. The announcement came after the company damaged a containment dome meant to cap an oil spill. The incident was the latest in a series of delays and problems that oil the giant faced in its $4 billion plan to drill in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Wildlife trade bans may be worsening trafficking of some species, argues paper
September 18, 2012 09:49 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
While founded with good intentions, wildlife trade bans may in some cases be worsening the plight of some endangered species, argues a commentary published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science. Looking at three animals listed under the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) — tigers, elephants and rhinos — Kirsten Conrad of AsiaCat argues that a moratorium on legal trade has exacerbated illegal trafficking by boosting prices and moving all commerce to the black market. She says the situation is worsened by poor law enforcement, ambiguous property rights, and demand rooted in "strong traditional affiliation".
Photos: camera traps capture wildlife bonanza in Borneo forest corridor
September 11, 2012 08:54 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Camera traps placed in a corridor connecting two forest fragments have revealed (in stunning visuals) the importance of such linkages for Borneo's imperiled mammals and birds. Over 18 months, researchers with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) have photographed wildlife utilizing the corridor located in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Malaysian Borneo.
Shell begins offshore drilling in the Alaskan Arctic
September 10, 2012 04:44 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
With the approval of the Obama Administration, Royal Dutch Shell began drilling into the ocean floor of the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska yesterday morning. The controversial operation, which has been vehemently opposed by environmental and Native groups, will likely only last a few weeks this year until the Arctic winter sets in. The U.S. government has said that Shell must complete operations by September 24th, however the oil giant has asked for an extension. "We look forward to continued drilling progress throughout the next several weeks and to adding another chapter to Alaska’s esteemed oil and gas history," Shell wrote in an online statement. "We're proud to be offshore Alaska, and we're extremely proud of the preparation we've put in place to do it right." Extreme weather, floating ice, and remoteness are just a few of the challenges that faces any fossil fuel exploitation in the Arctic, and environmental groups say Shell hasn't proven itself ready to drill safely. The oil giant, which spent $4 billion on Arctic oil drilling, has suffered costly and embarrassing delays all year, including an oil spill containment barge which is still harbored in Washington State and undergoing retrofitting.
Climate change causing forest die-off globally
September 10, 2012 08:19 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Already facing an onslaught of threats from logging and conversion for agriculture, forests worldwide are increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change, including drought, heightened fire risk, and disease, putting the ecological services they afford in jeopardy, warns a new paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Colombia gained nearly 17,000 square kilometers of forest between 2001 and 2010 as forests recovered in mountainous regions in the Andes, reports a new study published in the journal PLoS One. The research, based on analysis of satellite imagery, assessed vegetation change across all Colombia's six biomes and 13 ecoregions. Unusually, the study was able to account for forest recovery. Most research has typically only account for net forest loss.
Brazil's controversial Belo Monte back on track after court decision overruled
August 29, 2012 08:52 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Brazil's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered work on the controversial Belo Monte dam in the Amazon to resume, overturning a lower court order that suspended the project less than two weeks ago. Construction activities by the Norte Energia, the consortium building the dam, resumed immediately, according to the Associated Press.
Some Birds use a Hurricane to Fly Fast - REALLY Fast!
August 25, 2012 07:18 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Migrating Whimbrels — a type of shorebird — may struggle for hours against winds when trying to cross the Caribbean during hurricane season but get a huge boost as they fly out of storms, report researchers from the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Virginia. Ahead of a large tropical storm last year scientists attached satellite transmitters to one Whimbrel, which they named "Hope". A statement from the American Bird Conservancy explains what they found. "She took 27 hours averaging just 9 mph to fly non-stop through the storm to get to the center; then she flew at an average of almost 100 mph for 1.5 hours out the back end, using the power of the storm to 'slingshot' her towards land."