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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 […]

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Mongabay Features

A healthy and productive Amazon is the foundation of Brazil’s sovereignty

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro likes to assert that foreigners deserve no say over the fate of the Amazon because it is a national sovereignty issue. His logic: Brazilian Amazon is Brazil’s sovereign territory and therefore it has the right to do what it wants with it, whether that be clearing it for cattle pasture and […]

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Mongabay Features

Photo essay: Madagascar’s disappearing dry forests

The dry forest of western Madagascar is famous for its wildlife and baobab trees, including the tourist destinations of Baobab Alley, Tsingy de Bemaraha, and Kirindy Forest. Among the species that call these forests home are the rabbit-sized giant jumping rat (Hypogeomys antimena); the puma-like fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), Madagascar’s largest predator, which feasts on lemurs; […]

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Mongabay Features

Ground-truthing satellite data in Borneo

Borneo has been special to me since my earliest years. As a kid, I would voraciously read books about the wilds of Borneo, with its dense rainforests inhabited by traditional indigenous peoples and wondrous animals like orangutans, clouded leopards, and pygmy elephants. As I grew older, I became aware of the environmental devastation in Borneo. […]

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Mongabay Features

Rainforests: storylines to watch in 2019

2018 wasn’t a great year for tropical rainforests, with major conservation setbacks in Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and the United States coming on top of back-to-back years of high forest cover loss. Here are ten storylines we’re watching in the world of rainforests as we begin 2019.

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Mongabay Features

Mongabay’s origin story

One of the few benefits of having a father who had to fly each week from San Francisco to meet clients in Hawaii and Alaska during my formative years was the airline miles — my father had a ton. So many, in fact, that our family didn’t have to spend a lot of money on […]

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Mongabay Features

10 reasons to be optimistic for forests

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the state of the world’s forests. Rates of forest loss remain persistently high, especially in the tropics and boreal regions. Drought, fragmentation, degradation via logging, and climate change are conspiring to make forests more vulnerable to fire: vast areas of forest went up in smoke across Canada, Russia, the […]

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Mongabay Features

What’s ahead for rainforests in 2016? 10 things to watch

Between Indonesia’s massive forest fires, the official approval of REDD+ at climate talks in Paris, and the establishment of several major national parks, there was plenty to get excited about in the world of rainforests during 2015. What’s in store for 2016? MORE

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Mongabay Features

The year in rainforests: 2015

Between the landmark climate agreement signed in Paris in December 2015, Indonesia’s fire and haze crisis of the late summer and early fall, and continuing adoption of zero deforestation policies by some of the world’s largest companies, tropical forests grabbed the spotlight more than usual in 2015. Here’s a look at some of the biggest […]

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Mongabay Features

How does the global commodity collapse impact forest conservation?

Since early 2014, prices for most commodities produced in the tropics have plunged. Palm oil is down by 40 percent, logs from Malaysia and Cameroon are off by roughly a fifth, while soybeans have fallen by a third and beef a tenth. The price drop for industrial commodities like metals, minerals, oil and gas has […]

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Mongabay Features

Indonesia’s massive haze problem is Jokowi’s big opportunity

This week data from Guido van der Werf of the Global Fire Emissions Database showed that carbon emissions from fires raging across Indonesia’s peatlands have surpassed 1.4 billion tons of CO2-equivalent, or more than the annual emissions of Japan. More conspicuously, the fires have triggered a spasm of air pollution that has mushroomed into a domestic health […]

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Mongabay Features

Plantation companies in Indonesia struggle to combat fires

With political pressure mounting on plantation companies, including threats of fines and legal action by the Indonesian and Singaporean governments and boycotts in consumer countries, palm oil and timber giants in Indonesia are embracing an array of tactics to battle haze-spewing blazes burning across the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, according to Mongabay.com’s informal survey […]

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Mongabay Features

Up to 15 billion trees are cut every year, finds study

When it comes to the world’s forests, two of the commonly asked questions are “How many trees are are on Earth?” and “How many trees are cut down each year?” A new study proposes answers: three trillion and 15.3 billion. The research, published today in the journal Nature, is based on a combination of satellite imagery, […]

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Mongabay Features

Conservation biology loses a leader: Navjot Sodhi, 1962-2011

Over the weekend I received very sad and unexpected news: my friend Navjot Sodhi, a scientist whose mentorship and research made him a leader in the field of conservation biology, died after a short battle with an aggressive blood cancer. He was 49. Navjot leaves behind his wife Charanjit, children Ada and Darwin, and bevy […]