Special Reporting Project – Tropical Forests

Background

The ongoing clearance of the world’s tropical rainforests is playing a leading role in driving global climate change and biodiversity loss as human populations grow and demand for food and land increases. Tropical rainforests are extremely high in biodiversity compared to other biomes, and they are important sources of clean air and water, as well as being crucial for combating climate change. The 2010s began with a concerted push by governments and multi-lateral institutions to reduce tropical deforestation by 2020 as a way to achieve multiple objectives, including combatting climate change; stabilizing forest-dependent livelihoods and ecosystem services; and slowing species extinction rates. That ambition, however, has failed to meet its most basic target. Over the past decade, deforestation has far outpaced the rate of forest loss in the 2000s, rising at least 30 percent, according to two datasets developed by the University of Maryland.

Series objectives 

This project intends to raise awareness of the status of forest conservation across the tropics by improving understanding of the drivers of tropical forest loss and identifying opportunities for improved conservation and sustainable livelihoods. While all tropical forests can be considered for this project, the primary focus is on rainforests of Latin America, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Suggested story topics and guidelines

We welcome proposals from experienced journalists for conventional news stories, in-depth features, investigative reports, profiles, and case studies. We will also consider proposals for fully edited and produced videos of up to 10 minutes in length. Mongabay is particularly interested in stories that are relevant to one of the following subjects, themes, or approaches:

  • Scientific studies and other reports relevant to the role of tropical forests in the sustainability of local and global food systems, the carbon cycle, and biodiversity conservation.
  • Social and environmental issues related to the rights and livelihoods for indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in tropical forest countries.
  • Linkages between deforestation, commodities supply chains, and consumer goods; including investigative reporting about how major agribusiness companies and traders involved in the conversion of forests for large-scale commercial agriculture are organized, structured, and owned.
  • Monitoring public and private sector commitments to halt tropical deforestation, the performance of their actions, and conditions influencing the results.

Opinion pieces, or commentaries, will not be considered for this project and are not paid opportunities. Please share commentary pitches using this form and refer to submission guidelines here.

Each story will be between 800 and 2,000 words in length and will include quotes from at least three original interviews. Authors will be expected to provide five to 10 publishable photos free for Mongabay’s use to accompany their articles, along with captions and photo credits.

Mongabay will negotiate all fees and contracts on a per-story basis. Completed stories will be paid on a per word or fixed fee basis, with rates depending primarily on the journalist’s experience.  Mongabay.com publishes under an open Creative Commons license that allows for sharing, translation, and re-posting.  More information on Mongabay’s editorial standards and practice can be found here.

How to submit your story pitch

To send Mongabay a pitch, please be prepared to also share your resume/portfolio along with three samples of your work. The story pitch should be roughly 500 words in length and include a title for the project. Viable pitches will clearly explain the specific subject you would like to write about in detail and your approach to covering it, and describe a few potential sources. Pitches for video-led stories should also include a shot list and a list of expected interviews.

Support for travel expenses may also be provided by Mongabay. Please include a preliminary travel plan and budget estimate (using this template) if support for travel expenses will be required to carry out reporting. Do not include payments for your work in this budget estimate. Please also describe COVID-19-related precautions you intend to take and any travel restrictions that may impact your plans.