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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
Proposed changes to Brazil's Forest Code could hurt economy
July 14, 2011 09:02 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Proposed changes to Brazil's Forest Code will hurt Brazilian agriculture, argues a leading conservationist. Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, WWF-Brazil's director for conservation, says the reform bill currently being evaluated by Brazil's Senate could have unexpected economic implications for Brazilian ranchers and farmers. Scaramuzza says a bill that grant amnesty for illegal deforesters and sanctions expanded destruction of the Amazon rainforest would make Brazilian agricultural products less attractive in foreign markets.
Animal picture of the day: humpback whale breaching
July 13, 2011 07:19 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a conservation success story. Decimated by centuries of whaling, most populations have risen since a moratorium was placed on commercial whaling in the 1966. Today, over 60,000 humpback whales migrate through the world's oceans, though this is still considerably less than the historic population. Humpback whales, one of the most iconic cetaceans, grow over 50 feet long (16 meters), with females slightly larger than males. These behemoths mate and reproduce in warm tropical waters then migrate to feeding grounds in the more productive northern latitudes.
Brazilian government: Amazon deforestation rising
July 1, 2011 08:49 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Satellite data released today by the Brazilian government confirmed a rise in Amazon deforestation over this time last year. Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) says that deforestation during the month of May amounted to 268 square miles, a rise of 144 percent over May 2010. 35 percent of the clearing occurred in Mato Grosso, the state where agricultural expansion is fast-occurring.
Over 900 species added to endangered list during past year
June 20, 2011 06:45 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The past twelve months have seen 914 species added to the threatened list by the world's authority of species endangerment, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List. Over 19,000 species are now classified in one of three threatened categories, i.e. Vulnerable, Endangered, and Critically Endangered, a jump of 8,219 species since 2000. Species are added to the threatened list for a variety of reasons: for many this year was the first time they were evaluated, for others new information was discovered about their plight, and for some their situation in the wild simply deteriorated. While scientists have described nearly 2 million species, the IUCN Red List has evaluated only around 3 percent of these. "The key to halting the extinction crisis is to target efforts towards eradicating the major threats faced by species and their environment; only then can their future be secured," explains Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission in a press release. "The IUCN Red List acts as a gateway to such efforts, by providing decision makers with a goldmine of information not only on the current status of the species, but also on existing threats and the conservation actions required."
Amazon mega-dam gets final approval
June 2, 2011 08:43 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Brazilian authorities gave final approval to the controversial Belo Monte dam, reports AFP. The project — which has been widely opposed by human rights groups, environmentalists, and indigenous tribes — will dam the Xingu river, one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River.
Photos: Cambodians rally as 'Avatars' to save one of the region's last great rainforests
June 1, 2011 08:40 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Two hundred Cambodians rallied in Phnom Penh last week to protest the widespread destruction of one of Southeast Asia's last intact lowland rainforests, known as Prey Lang. In an effort to gain wider media attention, protestors donned dress and make-up inspired by the James Cameron film, Avatar, which depicts the destruction of a forest and its inhabitants on an alien world. The idea worked as the rally received international attention from Reuters, CNN (i-report), MSNBC, and NPR, among other media outlets. Located between the Mekong and Stung Sen River, nearly half of Prey Lang has never been logged, making it an incredible rarity in Southeast Asia, whose forests, according to Conservation International (CI), are the world's most imperiled.
On the edge of extinction, Philippine eagles being picked off one-by-one
May 26, 2011 08:40 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Down to a few hundred individuals, every Philippine eagle is important if the species is to survive. However, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) has recently announced that people continue to illegally trap and keep eagles captive. Since December the organization has taken in four confiscated Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi), according to The Philippine Star. One died of a fungal infection after confiscation, while two others have suffered serious injuries.
Belief and butchery: how lies and organized crime are pushing rhinos to extinction
May 12, 2011 08:17 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Few animals face as violent, as well organized, and as determined an enemy as the world's rhinos. Across the globe rhinos are being slaughtered in record numbers; on average more than one rhino is killed by poachers everyday. After being shot or drugged, criminals take what they came for: they saw off the animal's horn. Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which claims that it has curative properties, rhino horn is worth more than gold and cocaine on the black market. However, science proves all this cash and death is based on a lie.
Brazil's forest code debate may determine fate of the Amazon rainforest
May 9, 2011 03:03 PM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Brazil's forest code may be about to get an overhaul. The federal code, which presently requires landowners in the Amazon to keep 80 percent of their land forest (20-35% in the cerrado), is widely flouted, but has been used in recent years as a lever by the government to go after deforesters. For example, the forest code served as the basis for the "blacklists" which restricted funds for municipalities where deforestation has been particularly high. To get off the blacklist, and thereby regain access to finance and markets, a municipality must demonstrate its landowners are in compliance with environmental laws.
Demand for gold pushing deforestation in Peruvian Amazon
April 20, 2011 08:33 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Deforestation is on the rise in Peru's Madre de Dios region from illegal, small-scale, and dangerous gold mining. In some areas forest loss has increased up to six times. But the loss of forest is only the beginning; the unregulated mining is likely leaching mercury into the air, soil, and water, contaminating the region and imperiling its people.