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Mongabay Features

An 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 […]

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Mongabay Features

Rainforests year in review, 2022

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 […]

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Mongabay Features

Coverage in Singapore’s Straits Times

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 […]

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Mongabay Features

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.

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Mongabay Features

Tropical Conservation Science paper examines relationship between deforestation and economic indicators in the Brazilian Amazon

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 […]

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Mongabay Features

An interview with BirdLife’s Patricia Zurita

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 […]

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Mongabay Features

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 […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin

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 […]

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Mongabay Features

What’s the outlook for tropical rainforests in 2022?

Between rising deforestation in the Amazon, new financial and political commitments to reduce deforestation, and growing interest in “nature-based solutions” like conservation and reforestation, 2021 may prove to be a fateful year for the world’s tropical rainforests. Take a look at The year in rainforests 2021, published last week, if you’d like to catch up on some […]

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Mongabay Features

What happened to rainforests in 2021?

2021 was a year where tropical forests featured more prominently in global headlines than normal thanks to rising recognition of the role they play in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. The following is a brief look at some of the major rainforest storylines from 2021. Tropical deforestation persists at a high level Despite speculation […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Nonette Royo

Research published in recent years has shown that Indigenous territories have experienced substantially lower rates of forest loss than non-Indigenous lands. Given that Indigenous territories account for at least 36% of the world’s “intact forests” and Indigenous Peoples and local communities (ILPC) live in or manage about half of the planet’s lands, these areas play […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Daniel Katz

In 1986 a 24-year-old from Ohio named Daniel Katz set out to save tropical rainforests by creating a way for consumers to directly support more eco-conscious approaches to producing products from forests. With four others, he co-founded the Rainforest Alliance to develop a global certification standard for forest products and crops, which he hoped would create a […]

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Mongabay Features

Glasgow Declaration: Where is forest loss declining?

On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 127 countries signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, pledging to “halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation” by 2030. The declaration, which was accompanied by some $19.2 billion in related funding commitments, was endorsed outside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and […]

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Mongabay Features

Are forest declarations effective?

On November 2, 2021 at the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference (#COP26), 127 countries signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use which commits them to eliminate forest loss by 2030 as part of their collective efforts to combat climate change. The declaration, which was accompanied by some $19.2 billion in related funding commitments, came seven years […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Cristián Samper

Between the global pandemic, the accelerating impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, and the conservation sector’s reckoning with its colonial past, 2020 and 2021 have been a tumultuous time for efforts to conserve the planet. As an organization that has extensive field operations in about 60 countries and runs a network of zoos and […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Kai Carter

For at least the past 20 years, there has been regular talk about the need to break down silos in conservation. The argument is straightforward: to be successful, the field must be interdisciplinary and inclusive to address the myriad issues that impact a range of stakeholders. For example, protecting an area is rarely as simple […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with James Deutsch

Last month, nine organizations collectively announced a $5 billion pledge toward biodiversity conservation efforts worldwide. Most of the participants are philanthropic foundations, but one signatory is Rainforest Trust, a conservation group that committed $500 million. The scale of Rainforest Trust’s commitment was surprising to some in the conservation world: just a decade ago, the Virginia-based group had […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Myrna Cunningham

COVID-19 has devastated communities around the world, but for some Indigenous groups, the pandemic posed an existential threat. Few people are better placed to speak to the impact COVID is having on Indigenous communities than Myrna Cunningham, a Miskitu physician from the Wangki river region of Nicaragua who has spent 50 years advocating for the […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with John Kamanga

Efforts to protect wildlife and landscapes have generally been shifting away from “fortress conservation” — where local people are excluded from the lands they’ve traditionally managed — toward more inclusive approaches. Among these latter approaches are community conservancies, which have been expanding around the world, but have especially gained traction in East Africa. According to […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Jonathan Ayers

Most people are familiar with the world’s “big cats”: Lions, tigers, leopards, jaguar, puma, and cheetah. But far fewer people know about the much larger number of small cat species, which range from the ancestors of domesticated house cats to the flat-headed cat to the ocelot. Yet, like big cats, these small cats play important […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Jane Alexander

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut theatres across North America and beyond. What’s the receipt of two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, and nominations for four Academy Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards to do? For Jane Alexander, an acclaimed film and stage actress who is up for her eighth Tony Award nomination […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Glenn Hurowitz

Over the past five years, Mighty Earth has emerged as one of the most influential advocacy groups when it comes pushing companies to clean up their supply chains. The group, which had its origins as the Forest Heroes campaign before evolving into a standalone non-profit organization, has targeted companies that produce, trade, and source deforestation-risk […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Bridgespan’s Sonali Patel

Environmental causes have traditionally attracted only a small share of philanthropic support in the United States: Between 1-3% of annual giving, depending on how the issue area is defined. But that may be changing as the impacts of climate change worsen and awareness of the links between a healthy planet and healthy society rises. Sonali […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Li Shuo

China and the United States account for nearly half the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from energy, while the two countries’ resource consumption is among the biggest threats to global biodiversity. These issues make China and the U.S. major targets for environmental activists like Greenpeace, one of the world’s most prominent advocacy organizations. Despite the difference […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Brian O’Donnell

In 2018, philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss put $1 billion toward initiatives to help a range of stakeholders conserve 30% of the planet in its natural state by 2030 via protected areas, other effective conservation measures (OECMs), and Indigenous- and community-led conservation. One of the products of that commitment is the Campaign for Nature, an advocacy, communications, and […]