Mongabay founder interviewed about his history with Madagascar
May25

Mongabay founder interviewed about his history with Madagascar

Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler was recently interviewed by Rainbow Travel for its blog. In the interview, conducted by Rainbow Tours’ Madagascar & Alternative Africa product manager and author/conservation writer Derek Schuurman, Rhett talked about his inspiration for starting Mongabay, including the role his visits to Madagascar played in the site’s origin as well as WildMadagascar.org, Mongabay’s sister site. The strange and unique flora and fauna of Madagascar made it an obsession from the moment I learned about the island. My first visit to Madagascar as a teen was pretty disastrous, but nonetheless I saw so many interesting things that I had to return a few years later. Travel to Madagascar invariably includes highs and lows from amazing wildlife to destroyed landscapes, but I recommend it as a destination for anyone passionate about wildlife who has the ability to weather a bit of adventure. He also revealed that Mongabay is hiring its first journalist dedicated to covering conservation and issues related to it in Madagascar. Malavika Vyawahare — an award-winning environmental journalist who has reported for Hindustan Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera and Scientific American — joined the team in April 2019. Check out the interview at An Interview with Mongabay CEO Rhett...

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Bioacoustics paper published in Science
Jan05

Bioacoustics paper published in Science

In 2017, Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series looked at what the scientific literature tells us is working and not working in the field of conservation. The series produced award-winning reporting which generated wide-ranging discussions across conservation. One of the key conclusions from the project was that conservation studies generally haven’t been designed to rigorously assess effectiveness of projects, interventions, or strategies. After the series wrapped up, we kept thinking about this issue and whether there may be other ways to measure conservation outcomes. Zuzana Burivalova, the Princeton scientist we hired to oversee the academic research component of Conservation Effectiveness, uses bioacoustics in her field work. This prompted conversations about applying bioacoustics to evaluating conservation effectiveness and eventually spurred Burivalova, Mongabay Founder and CEO Rhett Butler, and Eddie Game from the Nature Conservancy to write a paper, which was published yesterday in Science: The sound of a tropical forest. “An increasing number of ecologists and conservation scientists are using bioacoustics in their research,” said Butler. “We argue that bioacoustics could be used to strengthen zero deforestation commitments, monitor biodiversity at scale, and provide a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of conservation projects and interventions. Our hope is that the paper raises visibility for everyone working on bioacoustics.” The paper calls out two opportunities: using bioacoustics to strengthen corporate zero deforestation commitments that are being adopted by companies in the palm oil, timber, and cacao sectors, among others; and creating a world-class central repository for bioacoustic data that can be used by researchers. “The dream is a scenario where zero deforestation companies are funding real-time monitoring of forests, with data fed into the cloud for use by scientists, giving us a better picture of what’s working and what’s not working in conservation and landscape restoration,” said Butler. “Combined with satellite data and networked camera traps, we’d have a much clearer picture for measuring trends in wildlife populations.” To date, the paper has attracted significant media attention, with more the 30 media outlets covering the study within 24 hours of publication. Butler also penned an op-ed for Singapore’s Straits Times about how bioacoustics could support zero deforestation commitments. And Mongabay covered the paper as...

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Exhibition in Munich presents Mongabay founder’s photos
Jul21

Exhibition in Munich presents Mongabay founder’s photos

A photo exhibition in Munich, Germany is showcasing nature and wildlife images taken by Mongabay’s founder Rhett A. Butler in the rainforests of southeast Asia. The Exhibition, titled “Der verschwundene Wald” (“The Vanished Forest”), was organized by Susanne Nusser of memonature.org and is being hosted by Stadtteilkulturzentrum Guardini90 (Guardinistr. 90, München). The exhibit — which features 17 images from Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo, and beyond — asks viewers to consider what is happening to the world’s tropical rainforests. “Tropical rainforests have been growing for millions of years, ranging from the Amazon to Papua New Guinea. It is no exaggeration to write that today they are all at risk, in different ways and for different reasons,” said Nusser. “But what they all have in common is they are disappearing without much public attention.” “We have to ask a simple question: where have all the trees gone?” Nusser said the exhibition kicked off with an awareness-raising activity among school children, with a group of ten-year-olds exploring what’s happening to timber from the forests of southeast Asia. They found that a lot of trees eventually become paper that makes its way into German books. “The tracks of the vanished forest lead to us,” she said. The exhibition is free and open to the public. It runs through July 26,...

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Mongabay event: X-raying coral reefs and rainforests from the sky
May05

Mongabay event: X-raying coral reefs and rainforests from the sky

Mongabay’s Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN) is holding an event in Palo Alto, CA on May 24th. Patagonia, the outdoor apparel and equipment company, is graciously hosting the event at the Palo Alto store from 6-8 pm. The event will feature a conversation between Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler and Greg Asner and Robin Martin of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory. Asner and Martin will talk about their use of airplane-mounted hyperspectral sensors to map rainforests in unprecedented detail as well as their latest initiative: an effort to create a comprehensive global reef monitoring system by tying field data collected during underwater surveys to Planet’s constellation of satellites. Event description: Robin Martin and Greg Asner have pioneered the use of advanced LiDAR and spectrometer sensors to study tropical forest ecosystems, revealing information about biodiversity, habitat function and health, and ecosystem services. Their work has been widely profiled by the likes of Science Magazine, National Geographic, and hundreds of other outlets. They’ve now turned their system to coral reefs, which may support the development of the first comprehensive global reef monitoring system in an era when the world’s corals are deeply threatened by rising temperatures, growing carbon emissions, and unsustainable fishing and extraction. Rhett Butler, founder of conservation news web site Mongabay.com, will talk with Robin and Greg about how technology can help protect an conserve these critical ecosystems. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so please RVSP here if you’d like to attend. Video footage...

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Mongabay’s performance during Q1 2018
Apr30

Mongabay’s performance during Q1 2018

The first quarter of 2018 was a strong one for Mongabay. Traffic to our four main news sections — Global English, Indonesia, Latam (Spanish), and India — grew 26 percent versus Q1-2017, with a net increase of 567,000 users and 1.73 million pageviews. The biggest new development during the quarter was the official launch of Mongabay-India in mid-January. Mongabay-India’s readership and social media following grew rapidly since its inception — a trend we expect to continue as the team grows from two to six staff in the next few months. 2017 trends Traffic to Mongabay hit a new record in 2017. We had more than 24 million visitors and nearly 56 million pageviews during the year. Indonesia attracted the most traffic of our news sections, followed by English and then Spanish. Mongabay published more than 4,000 articles across nine languages. Indonesia led the way with 1,830 stories, followed by our global English section with 1,268, and Spanish with 648. The shift toward mobile devices continued through 2017, with more than 70 percent of users visiting Mongabay on cell phones. Mobile users primarily access Mongabay via the mobile version of our web site and Facebook Instant Articles. Mongabay plans to release a mobile app in the second quarter of 2018. Facebook was our largest source of traffic in 2017 with 13 million user...

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