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Environmental science and conservation news

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
Fire on the Salween: Dams in conflict zones could threaten Myanmar’s fragile peace process
(December 1, 2016, 12:29 am) The five large hydroelectric projects planned for Myanmar’s stretch of the Salween River all fall in or near areas of contested governance. Pushing the projects through could undermine already troubled efforts to end decades of conflict in Myanmar’s ethnic border states.
Brazil: deforestation in the Amazon increased 29% over last year
(November 30, 2016, 11:49 pm) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reaches an eight-year high.
‘We need more knowledge and more control’: Palm oil expands in Ecuador
(November 30, 2016, 8:48 pm) As more and more forest is cleared for oil palm cultivation in northeastern Ecuador, many blame a lack of regulation.
Which tropical forest conservation strategies are proving most effective?
(November 30, 2016, 6:45 pm) A collection of studies published by the journal PLOS ONE earlier this month evaluates the effectiveness of numerous tropical forest conservation policies and programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
A dam shame: the plight of the Mekong giant catfish
(November 30, 2016, 4:31 pm) Rapid hydropower development in Southeast Asia is seriously threatening one of the World’s largest fish. Without quick action it could soon vanish.
New drone analysis highlights conservation challenges in Myanmar
(November 30, 2016, 11:15 am) First-ever drone survey analysis show that a 53-square-mile wetland mangrove reserve, Mein-ma-hla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary (MKWS) in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta, has shockingly few mangrove trees.
Indonesia shifts emissions-reduction burden from energy to forestry sector
(November 30, 2016, 7:00 am) The archipelago country is banking on being able to reduce emissions from its annual wildfires to a greater extent than it previously put forward.
Newscast #6: Carl Safina on marine conservation and Trump
(November 29, 2016, 9:44 pm) Noted ecologist and author Carl Safina appears on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast to discuss the current state of marine conservation and its future under the Trump presidency.
Corrupt logging practices in Liberia could mar new era in community forestry
(November 29, 2016, 2:04 pm) A 2009 law revolutionized Liberia’s forest mangement system, giving communities the right to apply for “Community Forestry Management Agreements”.
Great Barrier Reef suffered worst coral die-off on record in 2016: new study
(November 29, 2016, 11:48 am) In the northern region of the Great Barrier Reef, about 67 percent of the corals have died over the last 8-9 months, making it the largest loss of corals ever recorded for the Great Barrier Reef, scientists say.
Indonesian court shuts down legal challenge to Aceh land-use plan
(November 29, 2016, 11:47 am) A defeat for those who had hoped to secure the protected status of the archipelago country’s Leuser Ecosystem, one of the region’s last great swaths of intact rainforest.