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
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."
Sea ice extent in the Arctic is very near to beating the previous record low set in 2007, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Researchers told Reuters that they expect the record to be beaten by the end of month, well over a week before the melt season ends in the frozen north. In 2007 the sea ice extent fell to a record nadir of 4.28 million square kilometers (1.66 million square miles), astonishing experts and prompting a second look on how quickly sea ice might disappear from the Arctic altogether during the summer. But researchers say sea ice extent could fall below 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) this year if current melt trends continue.
Belo Monte mega-dam halted again by high Brazilian court, appeal likely but difficult
August 17, 2012 08:21 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
A high federal court in Brazil has ruled that work on the Belo Monte dam in the Brazilian Amazon be immediately suspended. Finding that the government failed to properly consult indigenous people on the dam, the ruling is the latest in innumerable twists and turns regarding the massive dam, which was first conceived in the 1970s, and has been widely criticized for its impact on tribal groups in the region and the Amazon environment. In addition the Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF1) found that Brazil's Environmental Impact Assessment was flawed since it was conducted after work on the dam had already begun.
Northwest Passage is open again - NASA
August 15, 2012 06:39 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
A satellite image released by NASA last week shows a key channel that forms part of the Northwest Passage is partially free of ice. The image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows that more than two-thirds of the Parry Channel was ice-free on July 30. The median coverage for that date was 79 percent from 1980-2010. The Parry Channel separates Victoria Island from Melville Island in Canada's far north.
King of the jungle: lions discovered in rainforests
August 13, 2012 08:30 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Calling the African lion (Panthera leo) the 'king of the jungle' is usually a misnomer, as the species is usually found in savannah or dry forests, but recent photos by the Germany-based Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) document lions in Ethiopian rainforests.
Extreme heatwaves 50 to 100 times more likely due to climate change
August 6, 2012 08:46 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
A recent rise in deadly, debilitating, and expensive heatwaves was caused by climate change, argues a new statistical analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Climatologists found that extreme heatwaves have increased by at least 50 times during the last 30 years. The researchers, including James Hansen of NASA, conclude that climate change is the only explanation for such a statistical jump. "This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened," Hansen, a prominent scientist and outspoken climate change activist, wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post.