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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
TransCanada to build southern half of Keystone to avoid State Department approval
March 1, 2012 09:13 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Keystone XL is becoming the project that refuses to die: TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, has said it plans to build the southern half of the pipeline while it waits to determine a new route for the northern section. The company does not need approval from the State Department, which turned down the entire pipeline in January, to build the southern half from Texas to Oklahoma. However, the Obama Administration has embraced the idea. Carrying carbon-intensive tar sands oil down from Canada to a global market, the proposed pipeline galvanized environmental and climate activists last year, resulting in several large protests and civil disobedience actions.
Arctic Warming Continuing, Approaching Tipping Point?
February 14, 2012 07:20 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Last year the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth due to global climate change, experienced its warmest twelve months yet. According to recent data by NASA, average Arctic temperatures in 2011 were 2.28 degrees Celsius (4.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above those recorded from 1951-1980. As the Arctic warms, imperiling its biodiversity and indigenous people, researchers are increasingly concerned that the region will hit climatic tipping points that could severely impact the rest of the world. A recent commentary in Nature Climate Change highlighted a number of tipping points that keep scientists awake at night.
Price of gorilla permit increases to $750/day
February 7, 2012 08:14 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Rwanda has raised the price of a permit to see mountain gorillas to $750 per day starting June 1, 2012, up from $500. While the price is steep, the program each year raises millions of dollars in revenue for gorilla conservation, including $8 million in Rwanada alone in 2008, according to a 2011 study published in PLoS ONE.
Jellyfish explosion may be natural cycle
February 7, 2012 07:09 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Evidence that jellyfish are taking over the oceans is currently lacking, according to a new study published in Bioscience. Complied by a number of marine experts, the study found that while jellyfish have been on the rise in some regions it is likely due to a natural cycle of jellyfish populations and not a global boom. Researchers, including a number of marine biologists, have warned for years that jellyfish numbers may be exploding due to human activities, such as overfishing, warmer oceans due to global climate change, and the rise of oxygen-depleted, so-called "dead zones."
Escaped pet Pythons causing decline in Everglades Wildlife
February 1, 2012 06:18 AM - liz.shaw, MONGABAY.COM
Non-native Burmese pythons are believed to be the cause of severe mammal declines in the Florida Everglades, according to new research. Also known as the Asiatic rock python, the Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) is a large constricting snake native to Asia. The exact origins of the pythons in the Everglades are unknown, but many have been imported into the United States through the pet trade, and some are likely to have escaped or been released into the wild. In the absence of natural predators, the Burmese python population has exploded. Since 2000 the species has been recognised as being established across large parts of southern Florida, where it is known to eat a wide variety of mammals and birds.
Palm Oil Biodiesel and greenhouse gas emissions
January 30, 2012 06:43 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil-based biodiesel are the highest among major biofuels when the effects of deforestation and peatlands degradation are considered, according to calculations by the European Commission. The emissions estimates, which haven't been officially released, have important implications for the biofuels industry in Europe. As reported by EurActiv, the data from the E.U. shows emissions from biofuels produced from palm oil (105g of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule of fuel), soybeans (103g CO2e/mj), and rapeseed (canola) (95g CO2e/mj) are higher than conventional gasoline (87.5g CO2e/mj). Sunflower (86g CO2e/mj) and biodiesel produced from palm oil with methane capture (83g CO2e/mj) are only slightly better than conventional crude oil, according to the data.
Protecting original wetlands far preferable to restoration
January 26, 2012 04:38 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Even after 100 years have passed a restored wetland may not reach the state of its former glory. A new study in the open access journal PLoS Biology finds that restored wetlands may take centuries to recover the biodiversity and carbon sequestration of original wetlands, if they ever do. The study questions laws, such as in the U.S., which allow the destruction of an original wetland so long as a similar wetland is restored elsewhere.
Sumatran elephant population plunges; WWF calls for moratorium on deforestation
January 24, 2012 08:38 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
The Sumatran elephant subspecies (Elephas maximus sumatranus) was downgraded to critically endangered on IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species on Tuesday, prompting environmental group WWF to call for an immediate moratorium on destruction of its rainforest habitat, which is being rapidly lost to oil palm estates, timber plantations for pulp and paper production, and agricultural use.
Biofuel breakthrough: kelp could power cars
January 23, 2012 08:52 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Scientists have devised a new way to produce ethanol directly from seaweed, offering the potential to generate biofuels that don't compete with terrestrial food production and won't suck up scarce freshwater, reports a study published today in Science.
Prehistoric Peruvians enjoyed popcorn
January 19, 2012 09:07 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Researchers have uncovered corncobs dating back at least 3,000 years ago in two ancient mound sites in Peru according to a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The ancient corn remnants, which proved residents were eating both popped corn and corn flour, are the earliest ever discovered in South America and may go back as far as 4,700 BCE (6,700 years ago), over fifteen hundred years before the early Egyptians developed hieroglyphics and while woolly mammoths still roamed parts of the Earth.