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Mongabay Features

Interview with philanthropist Lisa Yang

Last month, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology announced the receipt of a $24 million donation to catalyze the field of conservation bioacoustics, which uses sound data to to understand and monitor species, habitats, ecological processes, and environmental health. The benefactor is Lisa Yang, an investor and philanthropist, who serves on several boards and has degrees from Columbia University and Cornell […]

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Interview with Nick Salafsky of Foundations of Success

Determining the success of a conservation project is rarely as simple as measuring how well forest cover has been maintained or the headcount of an endangered species. The multifaceted nature of most conservation projects means that many factors need to be monitored and evaluated using a range of metrics to determine whether a real impact […]

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Interview with with Dominique Bikaba

Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is renowned for its biodiversity, including Grauer’s gorilla — an endemic subspecies — and around 350 bird species. The area is also home to the Batwa people, who are highly dependent on its forests for their livelihoods and cultural traditions. But forests in this region […]

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Mongabay Features

Interview with Aileen Lee

Since the early 2000s, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars into efforts to protect the Amazon, making it the largest private donor of conservation efforts for Earth’s largest rainforest. The foundation has supported a range of interventions, including establishing protected areas and Indigenous territories, using technology to […]

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Interview with Colleen Begg

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing last year, long-running concerns about discrimination, colonial legacy, privilege, and power dynamics in conservation have gained prominence, forcing many organizations in the sector to reckon with their origins and how they operate. Current and historic injustices against Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the name of establishing protected […]

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Mongabay Features

Amazon rainforest destruction is accelerating, shows government data

Destruction of Earth’s largest rainforest is accelerating ahead of the region’s peak fire and deforestation season, reveals data released today by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE. According to INPE’s satellite-based deforestation tracking system, DETER, forest clearing in the Brazilian part of the Amazon amounted to 1,391 square kilometers, an area 24 times the size […]

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Interview with Peter Kallang, a Kenyah leader who organized resistance to mega-dams in Sarawak

The Malaysian state of Sarawak was until recently home to some of the last truly nomadic peoples of Borneo, who roamed its wild and rich rainforests as they had done since time immemorial. Starting in the early 1980s, industrial logging companies moved deep into Sarawak’s hinterland, tearing down forests, forcing forest peoples from their traditional […]

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Interview with Rare CEO Brett Jenks

Efforts to maintain protected areas and safeguard wildlife can at times feel futile given the persistent onslaught of encroachment, poaching and extractive activities. At the extremes, top-down conservation approaches may tend toward militarization, while bottom-up conservation can seem to lack the scale needed to have meaningful impact. But at the root of many conservation challenges, […]

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Interview with WWF Africa’s Alice Ruhweza

Protecting Africa’s charismatic megafauna often come first to mind when Westerners think about conservation in Africa. But there’s a lot more to conservation efforts across the continent beyond elephants and lions. Conservationists often need to navigate the complexities around balancing the needs of local communities with the needs of wildlife, adapt to rapid changes in […]

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Mongabay Features

Commentary: Amazon palm oil has not lived up to its promise of sustainability

In the late 2000s and the early 2010s, the Brazilian palm oil industry told us that oil palm plantation expansion would take a different path than in Southeast Asia, where the sector destroyed vast areas of native forests, increased the risk of fire by draining peatlands, and pushed Indigenous and local peoples off their traditional […]

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DiCaprio, conservationists launch $43M effort to restore Galápagos Islands

A coalition of groups, including a newly formed organization backed by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, have mobilized $43 million for efforts to restore degraded habitats in the Galápagos Islands, an archipelago renowned for its endemic species and central role in scientists’ understanding of ecology and evolution. The Galápagos initiative has three immediate priorities: Helping restore Floreana […]

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An interview with Chinese environmental lawyer Jingjing Zhang

Western corporations have been inflicting environmental damage overseas for generations, but the sharp rise in the scale of China’s international ambitions and operations in recent years has put a spotlight on the impact of Chinese companies abroad. The emergence of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the foreign policy strategy put forth by Xi Jinping that […]

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An interview with EDF’s Eric Schwaab

It’s no secret that humanity is abusing the world’s oceans. We’re overfishing at all levels of marine food chains, we’re annihilating critical habitats from mangroves to coral reefs, and we’re polluting global seas with plastic, agricultural run-off, and carbon emissions. The challenges standing in the way of addressing these issues however are immense. At the […]

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An interview with The Nature Conservancy’s Jennifer Morris

Like many sectors, conservation has increasingly been reckoning with issues around inclusivity, representation, justice, and equity. Many of these stem from the sector’s origins in the West, where conservation has tended to be the domain of the well-off. Conservation goals were thus often pursued at the expense of peoples who were traditionally the most dependent […]

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An interview with Enrique Ortiz

The past year has been difficult for much of Latin America: The pandemic has hit the region harder than most, a series of natural and manmade disasters has adversely impacted communities from Honduras to Brazil, and violence is surging. On the environmental front, the pandemic has undercut livelihoods associated with ecotourism and research, environmental law […]

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An interview with author Bryan Christy

Since his breakthrough book, The Lizard King, and his National Geographic feature on “The Kingpin”, Bryan Christy has established himself as one of the best-known wildlife crime writers. In 2012, Christy’s explosive National Geographic cover story traced elephant ivory as it was trafficked from war zones and conflict areas in Africa to markets in China and beyond. Christy’s newest project builds on his […]

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The Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) coalition launches

This story was co-authored with Aurora Solá. A new initiative to mobilize at least $1 billion to reward tropical countries for halting deforestation was announced April 22, Earth Day, at the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. The initiative, called the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance), will offer significant economic […]

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An interview with businessman and philanthropist André Hoffmann

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic went global just over a year ago, there had been a notable shift in messaging from some of the world’s largest companies around their responsibility beyond profit maximization. A growing number of firms were making commitments to reduce emissions, diversify their leadership, and eliminate environmental degradation and human rights abuses […]

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An interview with UN CBD’s Elizabeth Mrema

2020 was supposed to be the year for evaluating the past decade’s progress in meeting biodiversity conservation targets and setting the agenda for the next decade. But then the pandemic hit, plunging the world into hardship and uncertainty, prompting postponements of global meetings, and pushing biodiversity to the back of most people’s minds. But the […]

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An interview with forests and land rights expert David Kaimowitz

Over the past 20 years, the conservation sector has increasingly recognized the contributions Indigenous communities have made toward achieving conservation goals, including protecting biodiversity and maintaining ecosystems that sustain us. Accordingly, some large conservation NGOs that a generation ago were heavily focused on establishing and fortifying protected areas are today advocating for Indigenous rights and […]

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An interview with Bloomberg’s Antha Williams

Shortly ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Mongabay spoke with Antha N. Williams, the head of the environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation launched by businessman and former New York city mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. During the interview, Williams discussed how Bloomberg puts data at the center of its programs, which on the environmental front […]

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An interview with Jinfeng Zhou

Efforts to advance biodiversity conservation in China is generally not well understood in the West. But with China set to host the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) this October, China’s conservation initiatives — including those run by Chinese NGOs — are likely to […]

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An interview with Wallace Global Fund’s Ellen Dorsey

A decade ago, the idea of using the financial resources of university endowments, religious institutions and philanthropic foundations as a mechanism to advance action on climate change was still in its relative infancy, mostly limited to college campuses. While divestment has been long used as a tool for activism, in the early 2010s, plenty of […]

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An interview with EcoNusa’s Bustar Maitar

With much of the accessible lowland primary forests in Sumatra and Borneo cleared and converted for agriculture and industrial plantations, the Indonesian half of New Guinea is the last stand for the rainforests that once blanketed Indonesia. The diversity of New Guinea’s forests are mirrored in its seas: the ecosystems around West Papua and the […]

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Global forest loss increases in 2020, though pandemic’s influence is mixed

No one was sure exactly what near-term impact the global pandemic would have the world’s forests in 2020. Some expected lockdowns and economic shocks to dampen deforestation rates; others thought surging asset prices, government stimulus programs, diminished environmental law enforcement, and a sudden reversal of rural-to-urban migration would drive forest clearance higher. Data released today by the […]