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Environmental science and conservation news

Study points to El Niño-like global connections between forests
(December 7, 2016, 8:15 pm) In a pattern similar to El Niño, the loss of forests in one place can influence forests in another seemingly disconnected part of the world.
The media megaphone: does it help curb bad infrastructure projects?
(December 7, 2016, 5:50 pm) A tsunami of infrastructure development — dams, roads, mines and pipelines — is penetrating the wild. Do journalists have a key role in killing ill-conceived projects?
“My spirit is there”: life in the shadow of the Mong Ton dam
(December 7, 2016, 3:58 pm) The Mong Ton is the largest of five dams planned for Myanmar’s stretch of the Salween River. If it is built, traditional ways of life, and areas of global ecological significance, will be gone forever.
Sea ice extent tumbles around both poles in November
(December 7, 2016, 10:46 am) The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports record low levels of sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic, citing warmer air and water temperatures and shifting winds.
Watch video of baby slow loris born to mother rescued from wildlife traffickers
(December 7, 2016, 8:41 am) A Javan slow loris, rescued by traffickers, has given birth to a healthy baby at the International Animal Rescue Primate Rehabilitation Centre in Bogor, Indonesia.
Chimps help farmers ‘plant’ cacao in Guinea
(December 6, 2016, 10:23 pm) A mutually beneficial behavior may help an endangered population endure while boosting profits for farmers.
From loathed to loved: Villagers rally to save Greater Adjutant stork
(December 6, 2016, 5:26 pm) “Called a prodigy of ugliness” by one ornithologist, this avian scavenger is being championed by local Indian villagers, to everyone’s mutual benefit.
Over 50% of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean Sea are at risk of extinction
(December 6, 2016, 9:14 am) The status of 11 species of sharks and rays in the region have worsened since their last assessment in 2007, according to a new report by the IUCN.
Peru pledges tougher stance against illegal timber
(December 5, 2016, 12:22 pm) In November, the Peruvian government pledged to improve the traceability of timber flows through export documentation, authentications after harvest and before export, and new penalties.
Mexico to get its largest ever protected area
(December 5, 2016, 8:50 am) The new Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve will cover more than 5.7 million hectares.
Australian retailers accused of misusing the RSPO’s label on their palm oil products
(December 5, 2016, 3:35 am) Woolworths and Coles deny the allegations.
Q&A with the creators of the ‘Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes’ story map
(December 2, 2016, 7:15 pm) Richard Evans Schultes is often referred to as “the father of ethnobotany,” a field of study that focuses on indigenous cultures and their use of plants. A new online tool lets anyone explore the Amazon rainforest along with him.
Swallowing swimming pools: New sensory tags capture kinetics of lunge-feeding whales
(December 2, 2016, 7:11 pm) Scientists are using innovative tags featuring video recording and 3D accelerometry to understand how large whales feed.
Land reclamation in Malaysia puts environment, endangered turtle at risk
(December 2, 2016, 6:32 pm) A slew of artificial islands being constructed in the Strait of Malacca threaten nesting sites for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle.
California court upholds ban on ivory and rhino horn
(December 2, 2016, 9:22 am) On November 28, the Los Angeles Superior Court upheld California’s ban on trade in ivory and rhino horn, rejecting claims by the Ivory Education Institute that the new law was unconstitutional.
Grasslands in US Great Plains are being destroyed at “alarming rate”
(December 1, 2016, 7:34 pm) According to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the US Great Plains lost more acres of grassland in 2014 than the Brazilian Amazon lost rainforest.
Field Notes: Boosting biodiversity by studying human values, gender
(December 1, 2016, 7:02 pm) Mongabay offers a glimpse into conservation science in progress: Teri Allendorf studies role of women, values for building better conservation partnerships.
Sapphire boom propels thousands into Madagascar rainforest
(December 1, 2016, 3:59 pm) Miners in eastern Madagascar have opened up a pocket of protected forest in the hunt for sapphires.
Thailand failing to stop illegal trade in apes due to inadequate legislation
(December 1, 2016, 8:32 am) Thailand’s domestic wildlife law does not include most non-native CITES-listed ape species under its protection, because of which the country is unable to curb the trade in such animals, according to two new reports by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
Vietnam faces dilemma on forests as climate change threatens coffee crops
(December 1, 2016, 7:16 am) Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of Coffea canephora, or Robusta coffee, which is mainly used to make instant coffee and other lower-quality products