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Environmental science and conservation news

Raging Amazon forest fires threaten uncontacted indigenous tribe
(August 23, 2016, 10:26 pm) According to Survival International, fires are “raging” in Awá territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon and “threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.”
Indonesia must do more to protect whale sharks, conservationists say
(August 23, 2016, 10:23 pm) The world’s largest fish was recently declared an endangered species.
What conservation isn’t: Eating endangered lemurs to save them
(August 23, 2016, 9:09 pm) Lemur conservation is an issue that requires coordinated, targeted, thoughtful, and sustained action. It also requires a deep understanding of local cultural norms, traditions, and potential consequences to one’s actions. We would wager a guess that consuming lemurs to save them does not meet these criteria.
Dams inevitably result in species decline, losses on reservoir islands
(August 23, 2016, 3:39 pm) Global dam study: reservoir islands shouldn’t be counted as conservation areas by developers. Island isolation inevitably leads to extinctions, ecosystem instability.
Atauro island has highest average reef fish diversity in the world
(August 23, 2016, 6:12 am) Ataúro Island, located around 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital, has an average of 253 reef fish species per reef site, higher than that of Raja Ampat in Indonesia’s West Papua province that previously held the record.
Scientists have just discovered the first endemic bird species to go extinct on the Galápagos Islands
(August 22, 2016, 8:22 pm) Scientists say their research shows that two subspecies of songbirds found only on the Galápagos Islands should be elevated to full species status. There’s one big caveat, however: One of the two newly minted species may already be extinct.
Two new species of glowing spook fish discovered
(August 22, 2016, 12:58 pm) Scientists have identified two new species of fish off New Zealand that belong to the family Opisthoproctidae, also known as spook fish or “barreleyes”.
Watch how corals ‘violently’ bleach as sea temperatures rise
(August 22, 2016, 7:32 am) For the first time ever, scientists have captured time-lapse videos of corals bleaching in warmer-than-normal waters.
Indonesian parliament to investigate fire-linked firms in Riau
(August 20, 2016, 12:07 am) After police in the province closed cases against 15 companies linked to burning.
Five tools are better than one: determining deforestation drivers from above
(August 19, 2016, 9:12 pm) Staying up to date with rapid advances in remote sensing technology to help conserve the Amazon rainforest
Sarawak establishes 2.2M acres of protected areas, may add 1.1M more
(August 19, 2016, 6:00 pm) Sarawak is making good on last year’s pledge by Chief Minister Adenan Satem to prioritize the protection of its tropical forests and the orangutans that inhabit them.
Deforestation has been occurring continuously in New England since the 1980s
(August 19, 2016, 2:59 pm) A new study finds that the expansion of affluent suburbs in the New England region of the northeastern United States is a significant driver of deforestation — and possibly indicative of trends in temperate regions across the Western world.
New species of extinct dolphin discovered in museum collection
(August 19, 2016, 7:40 am) The ancient dolphin species, named Arktocara yakataga, most likely swam in the cold subarctic waters some 25 million years ago and is the distant relative of the endangered South Asian river dolphin, scientists believe.
Timber from Peru 90 percent illegal, finds report issued by U.S. gov’t
(August 18, 2016, 10:04 pm) A verification report produced by Peruvian agencies and released by the U.S. government found most sampled timber exported to the U.S. in January 2015 was illegally harvested.
Indonesia’s peat restoration chief calls for protection of all peat domes
(August 18, 2016, 9:58 pm) The Indonesian agency set up to prevent a recurrence of last year’s devastating forest and peatland fires is calling for all peat domes in the country to be designated as protected areas. Indonesian law already prohibits development on deep peatlands, where the carbon-rich peat soil can extend for many meters below the surface. But the country’s vague peat […]
Three murders highlight troubles of Iran’s park rangers
(August 18, 2016, 7:52 pm) In June, poachers murdered three rangers in Iran’s rugged hinterlands, sparking outrage and contributing to a national conversation about improving conditions for the country’s environmental protectors.
July was hottest month ever recorded and 15th consecutive record-breaking month
(August 18, 2016, 4:31 pm) According to data released on Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), July 2016 was the hottest July on record.
Here’s where tropical forests have been destroyed for palm oil over the past 25 years
(August 18, 2016, 2:54 pm) Most oil palm is grown in areas that were once species-rich and carbon-rich tropical forests, thanks to the fact that the crop’s natural range is limited to the humid tropics. So where are the active fronts of deforestation for oil palm? And where might they be in the future?
China jails 7 people, including airport employee, for smuggling rare tortoises
(August 18, 2016, 11:35 am) The smuggling racket was busted on 3 February 2015 when Chinese authorities caught an airport employee with 316 tortoises stuffed inside two knapsacks.
Researchers say addressing the second D in REDD can benefit the climate while ensuring timber harvests
(August 17, 2016, 7:43 pm) Significant reductions in carbon emissions could be achieved by sustainable forestry practices in the tropics, researchers say — but so far, the world is not taking full advantage of this opportunity to mitigate global warming.