Mongabay in the news, April 2019
May17

Mongabay in the news, April 2019

Some top impressions for Mongabay in the media last month were in the journal Science which reported on our feature about glow in the dark frogs. and Foreign Policy whose article about the presidential election in Indonesia referenced our 2-year investigation of corrupt land deals that underpin the expansion of palm oil in the country. Elsewhere, Public Radio International picked up on Brazil correspondent Sue Branford’s reporting about the new Brazilian President’s plan to open indigenous reserves to mining without their consent in a conversation that aired on many US radio stations including WBFO in Buffalo, NY, and WESA in Pittsburgh, PA. Our reporting also appears beyond the bounds of our main website and its multiple language subdomains when other outlets republish our articles, such as the report about indigenous people responding to deforestation threats in Panama that later appeared at the Pulitzer Center’s website. Mongabay reports are regularly republished like this under our Creative Commons license, and we encourage other media outlets to use our features in their own publications (review our reuse policy and guidelines here). Here’s a selection of outlets that our reporting was republished, cited, or re-reported by during April 2019: Adaderana-Sri Lanka, Asia Times, Asia Sentinel, Asian Correspondent, Business Times, Ecowatch, Foreign Policy, Frontier Myanmar, Gizmodo, Inhabitat, The Island, National Geographic, Pacific Standard, Public Radio International, Pulitzer Center, Science, Smithsonian, WBFO-Buffalo, and WESA-Pittsburgh. Banner image: The critically endangered golden mantella is one of Madagascar’s most threatened amphibian species. Image by Rhett A....

Read More
Mongabay seeks writers to investigate deforestation alerts
May08

Mongabay seeks writers to investigate deforestation alerts

Mongabay regularly uses satellite imagery and information provided by reports from Global Forest Watch (GFW) to assess and investigate deforestation trends in forested areas ranging from the purely local to the global scale. However, GFW has announced that it will no longer produce investigations related to locations where deforestation is found to be occurring, but instead work with news outlets like Mongabay to collect field intelligence and then report on the findings, in a program called Places to Watch. GFW’s goal is to continue producing timely, data-driven reports spotlighting areas of recent deforestation that pose the biggest threat to the world’s remaining forests, and now aims to partner with outlets like this one to investigate: “Mongabay will be a leading contributor to this initiative by assigning journalists from their global reporting network to follow up on alerts and produce original news stories which add insight, character and context to Places to Watch,” according to their statement about it. Mongabay correspondents will report on these alerts from all over the tropics for its Forest Trackers series, but we are particularly looking for reporters in these regions: Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, The Philippines) Oceania (Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands) Central Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic) West Africa (Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone) South America (Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela) Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua) If you are a writer based in the tropics and are available for assignments to investigate alerts from Places to Watch for Mongabay, in the countries listed above or elsewhere, please share your details here. Banner image: Map produced using GFW’s tools for a recent feature in the Forest Trackers series in Cameroon, where a rubber plantation was found to have expanded into 127 square kilometers of primary...

Read More
Mongabay in the News, March 2019
Apr26

Mongabay in the News, March 2019

The top impression for Mongabay in the media last month was Reuters reporting on our exposé about a Chinese bank-funded dam in endangered orangutan habitat allegedly relying on forged permits: their report was sent across the newswires and republished.  Chief Brazil correspondent Sue Branford was interviewed by the large National Public Radio (U.S.) environment show, Living on Earth, about the new Brazilian President’s plan to open indigenous reserves to mining without their consent, hear their conversation that aired across 250 radio stations here. Our reporting also appears beyond the bounds of our main website and its multiple language subdomains when other outlets republish our articles, such as the report about forests absorbing more CO2 as emissions rise that appeared in the Asia Times. Mongabay reports are regularly republished like this under our Creative Commons license, and we encourage other media outlets to use our features in their own publications (review our reuse policy and guidelines here). Here’s a selection of outlets our reporting was republished, cited, or re-reported by during March 2019: Animal Politico, Asia Times, Asian Correspondent, Breaking Belize News, CNBC-TV, Carbon Brief, Chiapas Paralelo, China Dialogue, El Colombiano, El Comercio, Common Dreams, The Dodo, Earth.com, Eco-Business, Ecowatch, FM-Bolivia, FirstPost, Forbes, The Guardian, The Hans-India, Huffpost India, India Blooms, India Times, Indigenous News, Lado B, Living on Earth, Logical Indian, Metro-Nicaragua, Millennium Post, NSS Oaxaca, National Geographic, National Geographic Australia, Pacific Standard, Pagina Siete, Periodico Central, Psychology Today, Publimetro, Reuters, Scroll, La Semana, Smithsonian, Southeast Asia Globe, Speak up for Blue Podcast, Televisa News, Truthout, and The Wire. Banner image of a hyrax in Namibia by Rhett A....

Read More
New Special Reporting Project: Changing Africa
Apr23

New Special Reporting Project: Changing Africa

The African continent is undergoing accelerating changes. Urban and rural populations alike are growing rapidly, paced by rising demand for things like food and fuel, electricity and construction materials. The continent has also been a site for the extraction of resources propping up the wealthy North for centuries – palm oil, rubber, slaves; timber, crude oil, coltan – with often devastating impacts on the environment. Looming over all of this are the growing impacts of global warming on harvests, habitat, rivers, coastlines. There are complex choices ahead for people and policymakers in Africa and beyond. The Changing Africa project will look at these in the context of the natural world that everything rests upon, strengthening accurate and useful understandings of wildlife and ecosystems, considering both fruitful and harmful connections between conservation and development, and contributing to better protection of the natural world. For a full detail description and how to submit your pitch, please click...

Read More
New Opportunity: Video Manager
Apr16

New Opportunity: Video Manager

Online video news provides a powerful and popular way of covering compelling stories and reach new audiences. To scale up and systematize Mongabay’s video program, we’re hiring a Video Manager to create, commission, and edit original content sourced from a global network of videographers inspired by conservation and environmental science. For a full detailed job description and how to apply, please click...

Read More
Summer Internship at Mongabay – Now Accepting Applications
Apr05

Summer Internship at Mongabay – Now Accepting Applications

Mongabay is now accepting summer internship applications! Be sure to view our two available opportunities both playing a crucial role in writing environmental and conservation news stories. This opportunity will provide you with the necessary tools and resources to help develop your writing skills and have your news stories be published on our renowned website. View the full internship details here and how to apply. Application Deadline May...

Read More
[VIDEO] ‘Dawning Anew’ environmental journalism discussion at CU Boulder
Apr04

[VIDEO] ‘Dawning Anew’ environmental journalism discussion at CU Boulder

In March, Mongabay staff were invited to visit the University of Colorado-Boulder to discuss our model for non-profit environmental journalism with their journalism students and environmental reporting fellows. As part of that trip an evening public discussion was planned – “Global Environmental Journalism: Under Siege or Dawning Anew?”– featuring Mongabay’s founder Rhett A. Butler and two contributing writers with CU ties, Chris Lett and Taran Volckhausen. Hosted by the Center for Environmental Journalism and partners at the Albert A. Bartlett Science Communication Center and College of Media, Communication and Information, the discussion was wide-ranging, from finding funding to reporting on solutions to environmental challenges vs. the constant stream of ‘hard news’ type stories. Mongabay.com was described as “one of the most successful environmental journalism startups in the world” in the event’s promotional materials, and the program was described further by the hosts this way, “CU Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism brought together Rhett Butler, the founder and CEO of Mongabay; Chris Lett, an Emmy-nominated journalist and Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism; and Taran Volckhausen, a Mongabay contributor and freelance multimedia journalist for an in-depth discussion about global environmental journalism. Watch here: “Butler shared Mongabay’s growth story — from his apartment to a global, multi-million-dollar environmental publication,” the event description continued. “He talked about what stories Mongabay is currently looking for, what the publication will want more of in the future, and what needs more coverage now — helpful for any journalist interested in working with Mongabay! All three talked about some of the biggest issues facing environmental journalism today. Michael Kodas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and deputy director of the Center for Environmental Journalism, moderated the panel.” Many thanks to the Center for Environmental Journalism , Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental Journalism program and their partners at CU for hosting Mongabay. Banner image of dawn in Madagascar by Rhett A....

Read More
Mongabay feature selected for ‘best science and nature writing’ anthology
Apr02

Mongabay feature selected for ‘best science and nature writing’ anthology

Mongabay is pleased to announce that senior correspondent Jeremy Hance’s feature, The great rhino U-turn, has been selected for inclusion in a highly regarded annual anthology that celebrates the best writing from the genre. This marks the first time that a Mongabay feature has been selected. “The news that my article on Sumatran rhinos was going to be included in ‘The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2019′ came totally out of the blue, it’s a huge honor and I’m over the moon about it! I think it’s especially exciting since wildlife conservation writing sometimes takes a back seat to other environmental and hard science stories when it comes to recognition in the field.” Mongabay Founder and CEO Rhett A. Butler said, “It is a tremendous honor for Mongabay that Jeremy’s story was selected as one of the best science and nature pieces. We’re very proud of him and grateful for his reporting for Mongabay. We’re also very pleased that the piece focused on the Sumatran rhino, which is on the verge of extinction in the wild.” The selected feature is part three of a four-part series on Sumatran rhino conservation, and details how researchers at the Cincinnati Zoo finally unlocked the mysteries of the species’ reproduction. This is key because there are very few of the animals left in the world, and captive breeding and reintroduction is one of the most viable strategies for saving the species. But it took 17 years of work to make captive breeding work, so Jeremy’s fascinating chronicle of this herculean effort serves as a valuable and inspiring example of dedication and good science in service to conservation. “My hope is that inclusion in this anthology will bring greater attention to the plight of Sumatran rhinos, a species that desperately needs the Indonesian government and conservationists to act, and act quickly if we’re not to lose the singing rhino,” Jeremy continued, referring to the creature’s charming habit of vocalizing musically, sounds which he likens to whale songs. “Also, a hat tip to Isabel Esterman, the stellar editor of this piece, without whom neither of my series on Sumatran rhinos would have ever happened.” The book will also feature essays that appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, New York Times Magazine, and others, and will be in bookstores this October. One can pre-order a copy here. Read Jeremy’s story here and follow the links from there to parts one, two, and four. Mongabay’s entire series on Asian rhinos can be found here. Banner image: A Sumatran rhino calf, born in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo, displays the species’ characteristic shaggy fur. Transferring rhinos to zoos in the West was...

Read More
Mongabay in the News, February 2019
Mar22

Mongabay in the News, February 2019

The biggest impression for Mongabay in the media last month came from news that our Latin America bureau Mongabay-Latam and its partner at the major Bolivian daily newspaper El Deber had won the El Rey Award, also known as the King of Spain International Journalism Award, for Roberto Navia Gabriel’s investigative report on illegal trafficking in jaguar fangs, which was produced and published by both media outlets (ore about the winning project here). The El Rey is the top prize recognizing Spanish and Portuguese-language journalism in Ibero-America. Our reporting also appears beyond the bounds of our main website and its multiple language subdomains when other outlets republish, quote from, or re-report our findings. Animal Politico picked up our story about a monarch butterfly reserve near Mexico City during February, and Cambodia Daily republished our feature about the Prey Lang Forest, for instance. Mongabay reports are regularly republished like this under our Creative Commons license, and we encourage other media outlets to republish our features in their own publications (learn how to do this here). Here’s a selection of outlets our reporting appeared in during February 2019: Asian Correspondent, Business Insider, CNBC TV18, Cambodia Daily, El Comercio, El Deber, EJU-TV, Eco-Business, EcoWatch, El Espectador, FirstPost, IPP Media, India Times, International News Lens, Lado B, La Mula, The Logical Indian, The News Minute, Online Khabar, Pacific Standard, La Prensa, Publico, Publimetro, Science, Scroll, La Semana, Weekend Leader, The Wire. Banner image of a spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis) in Panama by Rhett A. Butler for...

Read More
CU-Boulder and Mongabay to discuss environmental journalism, 3/20
Mar12

CU-Boulder and Mongabay to discuss environmental journalism, 3/20

Mongabay staff and writers will join a panel discussion hosted by the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism (CEJ) on March 20th on the topic, “Global Environmental Journalism: Under Siege or Dawning Anew?” On the panel are photojournalist and CEJ deputy director Michael Kodas, Mongabay’s Editor-in-Chief and CEO Rhett Butler, and two Mongabay writers with CU ties: journalism school alum Taran Volckhausen, who has filed over a dozen stories for Mongabay, usually on issues inside Colombia, and Chris Lett, a former CNN producer and current Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at CEJ. The free public event comes amid a visit by Butler and Mongabay Contributing Editor Rebecca Kessler to discuss trends and developments in environmental journalism with CU students at CEJ’s invitation. More information from CEJ about the event: “Come hear from the founder and journalists of one of the most successful environmental journalism startups in the world, Mongabay, as they describe the challenges faced by reporters covering environmental issues in the global tropics and the hope and success that new models of environmental journalism are having on issues ranging from deforestation to species extinction. Mongabay.com has a global audience of more than 30 million readers and publishes daily in 9 languages via 4 international bureaus which it is currently planning to expand. It is a nonprofit news organization founded 20 years ago this year that now has video and podcasting units.” Wednesday, March 20 7-8:30pm SEEC Auditorium (room C120), CU Boulder East Campus, 4001 Discovery Drive Sponsors: Center for Environmental Journalism ||| Albert A. Bartlett Science Communication Center ||| College of Media, Communication and Information ||| Mongabay.com Questions: [email protected] If you are in the greater Boulder region, please join us for this wide-ranging journalism discussion! Read our latest news from nature’s frontline here. Banner image: CU’s campus is framed by the famous Flatirons, image courtesy of The University of Colorado...

Read More
Story Pitches: Two opportunities to write about oceans and fisheries for Mongabay
Mar08

Story Pitches: Two opportunities to write about oceans and fisheries for Mongabay

It’s 2019, and science leaves little doubt that the world’s oceans are changing, fast. Temperatures and high-tide lines are rising. PH and sea ice are declining. Some species are moving into new geographies; others are succumbing to overfishing and other pressures. At the same time, humanity’s interaction with the sea is changing, too. Mongabay is pleased to announce two special reporting initiatives focused on the status of the oceans around the world with a focus on marine conservation and the fishing industry. We welcome story proposals from experienced journalists for articles to be published by December 2019. The Indonesian Fisheries reporting initiative will examine the country’s unrivaled marine biodiversity, the methods of its fishing sector, and communities grappling with the fallout from overfishing by devising new ways to manage and protect marine ecosystems. Please click here to read the full-detail description of the Indonesian Fisheries opportunity. The Sea Change reporting initiative will explore innovative practices, policies, and technologies in marine conservation and the fishing industry. We will cover a wide variety of story lines around the globe, while prioritizing those that focus on efforts to reduce illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in overfished regions, and on developments in China, Indonesia, India, West Africa, and the South Pacific. Please click here to read the full-detail description of the Sea Change opportunity....

Read More
New Opportunity: Program Associate
Mar05

New Opportunity: Program Associate

Mongabay is excited to announce a Program Associate position. Since its founding in 1999, Mongabay.com has become one of the top sources for tropical forest news, analysis, and information on the Internet. The site today draws more than three million visitors per month, making it among the most visited eco-focused destinations on the internet. Mongabay is seeking an organized, analytical, and insightful Program Associate to support the continued growth in size and capacity of the organization. This role will provide administrative, technical, and development support to Mongabay’s journalism programs under the supervision of the Global Program Director. For a full detailed job description and how to apply, please click...

Read More
New Opportunity: Investigations Editor
Feb26

New Opportunity: Investigations Editor

Mongabay is excited to announce an Investigations Editor position. Mongabay’s international team of editors and staff writers have produced impactful investigative reporting series on critical environmental and conservation issues including illegal wildlife and commodities trading, the dealings of international agribusiness and mining operations, and the fundamental transformation of ecosystems currently driving existential threats to biodiversity. To scale up and systematize Mongabay’s investigative reporting, we’re building a dedicated investigative program focused on exposing crimes against the environment and its defenders, improving transparency and accountability within natural resource industries and developing collaborative cross-border investigative partnerships. Mongabay seeks an analytical, rigorous, and collaborative investigative journalist motivated to find unanswered questions, develop hypotheses, assess and verify evidence, and organize facts to create compelling environmental reporting. For a full detailed job description and how to apply, please click...

Read More
New Opportunity: Staff Writer – Philippines
Feb26

New Opportunity: Staff Writer – Philippines

Mongabay is excited to announce a Staff Writer – Philippines position. Mongabay’s news coverage of environmental issues in the Philippines has been sporadic but impactful as Filipinos are a significant part of Mongabay’s audience. To increase our volume of high-quality locally-relevant environmental reporting, we’re partnering with Philippine EnviroNews and the Earth Journalism Network to expand Mongabay’s coverage of environmental and conservation news in the Philippines by creating a new editorial position dedicated to the country The full-time staff writer position is expected to produce multiple stories per week about conservation and environmental issues in the Philippines published in English. This staff writer will develop and produce articles working closely with colleagues in the Mongabay editorial team and Philippine EnviroNews to discuss story ideas and coverage plans. For a full detailed job description and how to apply, please click...

Read More
Mongabay in the news, January 2019
Feb25

Mongabay in the news, January 2019

The biggest impression for Mongabay in the news this January came from the paper our team published in the journal Science about the ways bioacoustics can help monitor forests. This finding was picked up by writers at New Straits Times plus at Quartz and Mashable and international wire service UPI among others. Our reporting appears like this in places beyond the bounds of our main website and its multiple language subdomains when other outlets republish, quote from, or re-report our findings. Other instances in January included a mention of our reporting by the Washington Post in reference to the record sale of a bluefin tuna in Japan, which was picked up widely. Mongabay reports are also regularly republished in their entirety under its Creative Commons license, and encourages media outlets to republish our features in their own publications [learn how to do this here]. Here’s a selection of outlets our reporting appeared in during January 2019: Asia Times, The Assam Tribune, Common Dreams, Eco-Business, Forbes, Malaysiakini, Mashable, The News Minute, Pacific Standard, La Prensa, Quartz, Resumen Latinoamericano, Reuters, Scroll, Smithsonian, The Star, Stars and Stripes, Straits Times, United Press International, Washington Post, WBFO-Buffalo, and Yahoo News. Banner image: Pacific bluefin tuna by Rhett A....

Read More
Mongabay Latam and El Deber win prestigious El Rey Award
Feb19

Mongabay Latam and El Deber win prestigious El Rey Award

Mongabay Latam and its partners at the major Bolivian daily newspaper El Deber have won the El Rey Award, also known as the King of Spain International Journalism Award. A top prize recognizing the best in Spanish and Portuguese-language journalism in Ibero-America since 1983, the awards are announced annually by Agencia EFE and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development. The Mongababy-El Deber team was recognized for Roberto Navia Gabriel’s investigative report on illegal trafficking in jaguar fangs, which was produced and published by both media outlets. When the reporter first learned of jaguars being killed for their fangs, it felt like a horror novel: “It seemed to me that it was a topic that journalism definitely had to address so that people in power [would] hear about it [and] look for a solution,” Navia Gabriel said. “Unfortunately, it is true that [Chinese citizens] are pulling fangs out of jaguars. They are selling them in China and other Asian markets at prices as high as gold or cocaine, exorbitant prices. I discovered that it was not isolated hunting, but a mafia who is entering this area and is earning thousands or maybe millions of dollars, that was a sad finding.” “For me the award means a big boost, something that makes me see that I was not wrong, that it was worthy to investigate,” continued Navia Gabriel. “And also, to establish a relationship with Mongabay has been terrific. This work wouldn’t have been possible without the important support of Mongabay, at a time when it is more difficult to do investigative journalism because there is a big lack of resources and time, so I’m grateful to El Deber, to Mongabay, to all the team that has been part of this great project,” he said. Speaking on behalf of Mongabay Latam, María Isabel Torres, Program Manager for the Lima-based Spanish language bureau of Mongabay.com, said, “At Mongabay Latam we believe that [it] is key to promote collaborative alliances between journalists and other media in different countries, not only to integrate resources and capabilities, but also to broaden the impact of our stories. Our partnership with El Deber is a great example of that.” Agreeing with Torres, Navia Gabriel‘s editor at Mongabay Latam, Alexa Eunoé Vélez Zuazo, said, “The award confirms how powerful and necessary alliances [are] between the media in Latin America [and] among journalists to unveil issues of great relevance, and put them on the radar of the authorities. Mongabay Latam has followed the problem of  jaguar trafficking in Bolivia since the first complaints began in 2016, but it was with El Deber that we worked on the first special stories.” Of Roberto Navia...

Read More
Mongabay in the news, December 2018
Jan28

Mongabay in the news, December 2018

Our reporting appears in places beyond the bounds of our main website and its multiple language subdomains when other outlets republish, quote from, or re-report our findings. Highlights from this past month center on radio broadcasts: after our writer Jeremy Hance was interviewed by National Public Radio’s environmental news program Living on Earth late in November, the interview was broadcast on hundreds of stations around North America. Public Radio International picked up on that and in December shared an article about it with all their affiliate stations around the U.S. Elsewhere our Justin Catanoso was interviewed by North Carolina Public Radio about his coverage from the latest round of climate treaty negotiations in Poland for Mongabay, which was heard on its state-wide news talk program, “The State of Things.” Numerous Mongabay reports were also republished in their entirety in December, including an article about tracing the safeguards against illegal logging in Vietnam by our Chris Humphrey, which later appeared at Asia Times. Mongabay publishes on a Creative Commons basis and encourages media outlets to republish our features in their own publications [learn how to do this here]. Here’s a selection of outlets our reporting appeared in during December 2018: Asia Times, Asian Correspondent, Business Standard, Can-India News, El Ciudad Ano, El Comercio, Common Dreams, DX, Daiji World, Dhaka Tribune, EJU TV, Earth News, Eco-Business, EcoWatch, First Post, Grist, Huffington Post, IJNet, India Blooms, India West News, Indigenous News, The Inquirer, Morung Express, Mother Jones, La Mula, El Mundo, Nagaland Post, New Kerala News, The News Advance, The News Lens, News-Armenia, News D, North Carolina Public Radio, Outlook India, Public Radio International, Pacific Standard, El Pais, El Popular, Pulitzer Center, Quartz, The Quint, RIA Novosti, Riau Online, SciDev, Scroll, La Semana, The Sentinel, Shillong Times, Sierra Magazine, The Statesman, Telegana Today, Than Nien, WESA Radio Pittsburgh, and Yahoo News Taiwan. Banner image of a lava lizard in Ecuador by Rhett A. Butler for...

Read More
New Opportunity: Mongabay Financial Controller
Jan14

New Opportunity: Mongabay Financial Controller

  At the heart of Mongabay is a spirit of innovation. We’re open to trying new ideas, adapting existing models, and phasing out underperforming projects in our quest to deliver the best products and services possible given our resources. Due to our unique culture and global, at-home staff, the most successful employees at Mongabay are amazing at working independently, and produce consistent high-quality work by taking initiative and thinking creatively about solutions to problems. Mongabay is excited to announce the opening of the financial controller position. The Financial Controller specifically, in addition to solid nonprofit financial management experience, is someone who can truly embrace new ideas and technology in order to creatively manage the financial processes of a large, virtual, global organization. For a full detailed job description and how to apply, please click...

Read More
New Opportunity: Staff Writer – Madagascar
Jan09

New Opportunity: Staff Writer – Madagascar

Mongabay is excited to announce a Staff Writer – Madagascar position. Mongabay has been covering environmental issues in Madagascar for almost 20 years. In addition to publications on our global site, Mongabay.com, our Madagascar-reportage in English is compiled on a dedicated website, http://wildmadagascar.org/.  Mongabay.com is expanding its coverage of environmental and conservation news in Madagascar and has created a new staff writer position dedicated to the country. The full-time staff writer position will produce multiple stories per week about conservation and environmental issues in Madagascar published in English and possibly in French as well. This staff writer will develop and produce articles working closely with colleagues in the Mongabay editorial team to discuss story ideas and coverage plans. For a full detailed job description and how to apply, please click...

Read More
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...

Read More