A paper authored by Zuzana Buřivalová, Natalie Yoh, H.S. Sathya Chandra Sagar, Edward T. Game, and myself was published today in Current Biology. Titled, Broadening the focus of forest conservation beyond carbon, the paper is a review of recent trends in forest conservation, with a focus on the tropics. Here’s the summary of the paper: […]
Author: Rhett Ayers Butler
Rhett Ayers Butler is the Founder and CEO of Mongabay, a non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. He started Mongabay in 1999 with the mission of raising interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife.
An interview with Jeff Morgan
Last December, delegates from nearly 200 governments adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada. This agreement aims to conserve 30 percent of the earth by 2030 – a goal colloquially known as “30×30”. But it’s one thing to set aside areas for conservation and another to […]
Interview with Dax Dasilva
In 2021, Canadian technology entrepreneur and activist Dax Dasilva launched “Age of Union” with a $40 million donation to support high impact conservation projects. Operating on the conviction that conservation has the potential to make major contributions toward addressing both climate change and the extinction crisis during this critical decade, Dasilva quickly committed all the […]
The Heinz Family Foundation produced a short video that provides a nice overview of Mongabay’s work and how we think about the impact environmental journalism can have.
Interview with Kelvin Chiu
Among the planetary challenges we face, biodiversity loss often takes a back seat to climate change. However, interest in “nature-based solutions” is rising as more people recognize the opportunities presented by protecting and restoring natural ecosystems. For example, restoring a degraded tract of mangroves can sequester vast amounts of carbon while simultaneously buffering against storm […]
There were some hopeful developments for tropical rainforest conservation in 2022, including declines in the deforestation rate in Indonesia and the Brazilian Amazon, new high-level policy commitments supporting forest protection, and expanding recognition of the importance of forests for human well-being. But the outlook for tropical forests nonetheless remains tenuous, with the impacts of climate […]
The Straits Times, a major newspaper in Singapore, published a story about the Heinz Award on October 17, 2022. The story, titled Founder of environmental news site Mongabay wins major US green award, was written by David Fogarty, the paper’s Climate Change Editor. I spoke with Fogarty in September, ahead of a visit to Singapore […]
Photos from Harapan, Sumatra
In October 2022, I briefly visited the Harapan ecosystem restoration project in Jambi and South Sumatra on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Below are a few images from the visit. Highlights from Flickr. Some video clips.
Deforestation proponents in Brazil routinely argue that cutting down the Amazon is an effective way to alleviate poverty. For example, the Bolsonaro administration’s official statement to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference asserted that “where there is a lot of forest there is also a lot of poverty,” implying that forest cover is inversely […]
Interview with Eco-Business
In September I met with Robin Hicks of Eco-Business to talk about Mongabay, non-profit media, and trends in environmental journalism. The resulting interview was published at ‘Page views are not real impact’: Mongabay founder Rhett Butler. A few excerpts from the interview: The challenge for newsrooms in finding the balance between gloomy environmental news and […]
In September I spoke with Innovation Forum’s Toby Webb about the latest trends in tackling deforestation in the world’s tropical forests. The conversation touched on the importance of including Indigenous and local communities in conservation efforts, the development of Mongabay’s tree-planting transparency tool, and more. Progress on deforestation: where are the chinks of light?
Next month BirdLife International, a global partnership of 115 organizations working to protect birds and their habitats, will mark its 100th anniversary by holding the BirdLife World Congress in London. The event will bring together scientists, conservationists, and other stakeholders from around the world. BirdLife has a lot to celebrate on its 100th birthday. It counts […]
Aerial photos from Peru
Photos from a short visit to Wayqecha and Villa Carmen biological stations in the Kosnipata Valley in Cusco, Peru in July 2022. More photos available at: Flickr
In April, I formally joined the advisory council for the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Bioacoustics will revolutionize biodiversity monitoring, transform how we evaluate the effectiveness of conservation, and create new opportunities to engage the public around wildlife and ecosystems. The K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation […]
In June 2022, I spoke with Aimée Christensen at the Sun Valley Forum on “Reporting on the State of Nature”. I talked about the origin of Mongabay; how Mongabay works; the current state of environmental journalism including trends, threats, and opportunities; and more. I also shared some of my nature and wildlife photos. Here is […]
In response to my recent LinkedIn post about Mongabay’s decision to deprioritize Facebook, a number of people have asked about Mongabay’s experience with LinkedIn. We started prioritizing LinkedIn as an outreach channel in the past few months, so I’m by no means an expert and can only share our early experiences with the platform. So […]
10 years of Mongabay-Indonesia
Ten years ago this month, we established Mongabay-Indonesia with a goal of increasing transparency and accountability in Indonesia’s forest sector. Mongabay-Indonesia would go on to lay the groundwork for Mongabay’s global expansion. The path to launching an Indonesian-language environmental news service was a serendipitous one. But I believed that Indonesia was an under-served market when […]
Happy 5th birthday, Mongabay-Latam
In 2016 we formally established Mongabay Latam, a Spanish-language environmental news service that aimed to improve coverage of critical planetary issues in the most biologically diverse region of the world. Five years in, Latam has greatly exceeded our hopes and expectations. Today Latam has monthly onsite readership that regularly exceeds 600,000, a network of contributing […]
Mongabay just hit 1 billion lifetime pageviews. It took almost 23 years. Here’s my key takeaway from the journey. One billion pageviews is a small number compared with platforms like YouTube and Facebook or mainstream news outlets like The New York Times, but for a niche provider of environmental news like Mongabay, the interest in our […]
Interview with Ken Wilson
The concept of “biocultural diversity” has gained wider prominence in recent decades as academics, institutions, and practitioners have expanded cross-disciplinary work at the intersection of human culture and biological diversity. Within the conservation realm, this trend has helped raise the profile of issues like Indigenous rights and traditional knowledge, especially since the mid-2010s as many […]
Meta is getting a lot of attention this week after it reported losing users for the first time in its history, resulting in its stock market valuation plunging $230 billion in a single day. As a nonprofit news organization that once relied heavily on Meta’s platforms for distribution – especially Facebook – this news isn’t […]
Mongabay’s 2021 Year in Review
Mongabay persevered through the many challenges of 2021, continuing to publish high quality journalism and expand our impact. We ended the year stronger than we began it. Key numbers In 2021 we published nearly 5,000 stories in six languages covering more than 110 countries. This reporting attracted 54 million users to our website, including visitors […]
As a best-selling author, the co-founder of the award-winning Amazon Conservation Team, and an acclaimed public speaker, Mark Plotkin is one of the world’s most prominent rainforest ethnobotanists and conservationists. Plotkin has worked closely with Indigenous communities–including traditional healers or shamans–since the 1980s, first as an academic, then as a member of a large conservation […]
How do I get my work covered on Mongabay?
“How do I get my project covered on Mongabay?” As the founder of Mongabay, this is one of the questions I’m frequently asked. For those of you who don’t know Mongabay, we’re a non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. The Mongabay newsroom is flooded with story ideas and pitches on a daily basis from […]
BNN Bloomberg appearance
Today I spoke with Jameson Berkow at BNN Bloomberg about the impact of macroeconomic factors on tropical forests in 2022.