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Mongabay Features

Philanthropist Wendy Schmidt: ‘Solutions are always local’

This week, scientists from James Cook University in Australia announced the discovery of a previously unknown detached coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef. It was the first new reef to be discovered in the area since the late 1800s. The discovery was made by an underwater robot launched by a team aboard the Falkor, a research […]

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Mongabay Features

American Forests CEO Jad Daley: ‘We are one nation under trees’

In the decade following the end of the U.S. Civil War, a group of people led by physician and horticulturist John Aston Warder established the American Forestry Association to create a constituency for protecting the country’s fast-disappearing forests. The group advocated for better stewardship of forests, including the creation of forest reserves to maintain timber […]

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Mongabay Features

Amazon botanist Sir Ghillean Prance: ‘The environmental crisis is a moral one’

The second half of the 20th century was a time of unprecedented change in the Amazon rainforest. The ecosystem was opened up by government road-building and colonization schemes in the 1970s and 1980s, unleashing a spasm of large-scale deforestation unlike anything seen in human history. But that period was also characterized by a great expansion […]

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Mongabay Features

Despite COVID, political divides, conservation can advance: Hansjörg Wyss

2020 was supposed to be the year that the world assessed progress on a decade’s worth of effort to stave off the sixth mass extinction — the first extinction driven by the activities of a single species — and set ambitious new targets for conservation. But the COVID-19 pandemic intervened, leading to postponement of the […]

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Mongabay Features

Public lands and parks are our common heritage: Bruce Babbitt

Until recently, protecting the environment was a bipartisan issue for Americans. But in an era marked by bitter divides, this is no longer the case. Bruce Babbitt, former governor of Arizona and Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton Administration, believes that environmental protection can again be a unifying issue for Americans. But to get […]

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Mongabay Features

Colombia, ethnobotany, and America’s decline: An interview with Wade Davis

Wade Davis is a celebrated anthropologist, ethnobotanist, photographer, and author who has written thought-provoking accounts of indigenous cultures around the world. These have ranged from The Serpent and the Rainbow about the “zombies” in Haitian vodoun religion to One River about the explorations of famed ethnobotanist Richard Evan Schultes who studied the remarkable knowledge of traditional shamans in the […]

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Mongabay Features

Data drives Bloomberg’s support for climate solutions, says Antha N. Williams

Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation launched by businessman and former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is one of the world’s largest charitable organizations. According to the Foundation Center, the foundation’s $7.15 billion in assets in 2015 made it the 10th largest foundation in the United States that year. Bloomberg says it distributed $3.3 billion […]

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Mongabay Features

Putting sustainability at the center of business strategy: An interview with Paul Polman

Over the past decade perhaps no major diversified consumer products company has done more to burnish its sustainability credentials than Unilever, the 91-year-old conglomerate that owns brands ranging from Dove soap to Lipton tea to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. A driving force behind this shift was Paul Polman, who took the helm of the […]

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Mongabay Features

The post-COVID opportunity for the environment: An interview with the GEF’s Carlos Manuel Rodriguez

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is one of the largest and most influential environmental funders in the world. Since its inception in 1992, the GEF has provided more than $20 billion in grants for over 4,800 projects and 170 countries, engaging some 24,000 civil society and community groups. Yet the institution remains less well known to […]

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Mongabay Features

Exploring the history of the Amazon and its peoples: an interview with John Hemming

Earlier this month Rieli Franciscato of the Brazilian government’s Indigenous affairs agency FUNAI was killed on the edge of the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau Indigenous territory in Rondônia, Brazil. Franciscato, a sertanista or elite forest Indigenous expert, had worked to protect the rights and territory of Indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation in the Amazon rainforest. His death is thought […]

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Mongabay Features

Can public lands unify divided Americans? An interview with John Leshy

It might be hard to believe in the current political climate, but public lands were a unifying issue for Americans until quite recently. Most Americans have supported the idea of the government owning and managing large areas of land for public use, and that bipartisan consensus has culminated in the creation of vast network of […]

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Mongabay Features

Why the health of the Amazon River matters to us all: An interview with Michael Goulding

Like the rainforest which takes its name, the Amazon is the largest and most biodiverse river on the planet: the Amazon carries more than five times the volume of world’s second largest river — the Congo — and its basin is home to at least 3,000 species of fish. The river and its tributaries are a critical thoroughfare for […]

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Mongabay Features

New Guinea has the most plant species of any island

New Guinea is the planet’s most floristically diverse island, reports a comprehensive assessment of vascular plant species published in the journal Nature. The species list, which was compiled by 99 botanists from 56 institutions across 19 countries, verified the identity of over 23,000 plant names from over 704,000 specimens collected from New Guinea since the […]

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Mongabay Features

World Rainforest Day: The world’s great rainforests

Tropical rainforests have an outsized role in the world. Of the Earth’s ecosystems, rainforests support the largest variety of plants and animal species, house the majority of indigenous groups still living in isolation from the rest of humanity, and power the mightiest rivers. Rainforests lock up vast amounts of carbon, moderate local temperature, and influence rainfall […]

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Mongabay Features

14 straight months of rising Amazon deforestation in Brazil

Deforestation in Earth’s largest rainforest increased for the fourteenth consecutive month according to data released today by the Brazilian government. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is currently pacing 83% ahead of where it was a year ago. Data from Brazil’s national space research institute INPE shows that 830 square kilometers (sq km) of rainforest was […]

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Mongabay Features

Amazon rainforest loss topped 10,000 sq km in 2019

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon surpassed 10,000 square kilometers in 2019, the according to revised data from Brazil’s national space research institute INPE. It’s the first time forest clearing in Earth’s largest rainforest has topped that mark since 2008. INPE says that 10,129 square kilometers of forest were cleared across the “Legal Amazon” — an area that […]

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Mongabay Features

Drone photos of the Amazon rainforest

In March 2020, just prior to COVID-19 being a pandemic, I spent a few days in the tri-border region of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. There I used a drone to capture some images of the Amazon rainforest, including the flooded igapo forest, oxbow lakes, and terra firm forest. Below is a collection of some of […]

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Mongabay Features

Using satellites to alert an Amazonian indigenous community of coca encroachment

In early March 2020, I visited the tri-border area of Peru, Colombia, and Brazil and used the opportunity to explore a cluster of potential deforestation hotspots detected by Global Forest Watch’s GLAD alert system. According to Global Forest Watch, the patches were small and dispersed. Therefore I expected to find small-scale clearing for subsistence or local […]

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Mongabay Features

Obituary for Indonesian investigative reporter and journalism advocate Tommy Apriando

Tommy Apriando, an esteemed investigative journalist and chairperson of the Yogyakarta branch of Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), died Sunday at the age of 30 after being hospitalized for complications from diabetes. In a country where environmental reporting is potentially deadly, Apriando wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power. He took on politicians who […]

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Mongabay Features

Rainforests in 2020: 10 things to watch

After a decade of increased deforestation, broken commitments, and hundreds of murders of rainforest defenders, the 2020s open as a dark moment for the world’s rainforests. Here are some key things to watch for the coming year: Brazil, destabilization of tropical forests, U.S. elections, the global economy, Jokowi’s new administration in Indonesia, market-based conservation initiatives, […]

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Mongabay Features

2019: The year rainforests burned

2019 closed out a “lost decade” for the world’s tropical forests, with surging deforestation from Brazil to the Congo Basin, environmental policy roll-backs, assaults on environmental defenders, abandoned conservation commitments, and fires burning through rainforests on four continents. The following covers some of the biggest rainforest storylines for the year. MORE

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Mongabay Features

Drone images from Hawaii’s Big Island

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Mongabay Features

Tropical forests’ lost decade: the 2010s

The 2010s were a tumultuous time for tropical forests. The decade opened with hope and optimism built on solid momentum around recognizing the value of forests and their inhabitants, technological advances that increased transparency, empowered activists and communities, a new breed of corporate conservation commitment, and unprecedented progress in reducing deforestation in Earth’s largest rainforest. […]

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Mongabay Features

Obituary: Conservation biologist and wildtech journalist Sue Palminteri

Whether it was radio-collaring elephants across the savannas of South Africa, competing internationally alongside the Israeli national team in tennis, tracking saki monkeys through the rainforest in the sweltering mid-day heat of the Peruvian Amazon, or evaluating the practicalities of implementing technological solutions to conservation challenges, Sue Palminteri fully embraced all she pursued with rare […]

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Mongabay Features

Michael Shellenberger’s sloppy Forbes diatribe deceives on Amazon fires

I understand the desire to correct misinformation that proliferates in the aftermath of breaking news events. And I understand the frustration of sensationalist headlines that mislead readers. But columnist Michael Shellenberger’s attempt in Forbes to correct the record on fires burning in the Brazilian Amazon was sloppy at best, and deceiving at worst. Shellenberger is right on several […]