The Ecologist


Forests: 25/50 of 239
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An indigenous peoples' protest against dam building in Sarawak, February 2012. Photo: The Borneo Project.

Commerce or Corruption? The rainforest dams of Sarawak

The Borneo Project

18th June 2015

Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo already has an excess of electricity from existing hydropower dams - so why is the government determined to build a dozen more, displacing indigenous communities and flooding vast areas of rainforest? The answer, says a new documentary film by The Borneo Project, is simple - massive political corruption. more...
Allanblackia trees and a woman participating in the Novella project which aims to increase the incomes of hundreds of thousands of African farmers. Photo: Charlie Pye-Smith / World Agroforestry Centre via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Forest foods - the tasty, resilient, sustainable answer to world hunger

Bhaskar Vira

1st June 2015

Forest foods are a vital source of nutrition for millions of people, writes Bhaskar Vira, and we need to make them an even bigger part of our diets for the sake of health, biodiversity, local economies, and to increase food global security in a warming world. more...
Local community forest land cleared and planted by Golden Veroleum in Butaw District, Sinoe County, previously contained areas of high­ quality forest many stories high. A woman from a nearby village described that

To make palm oil 'sustainable' local communities must be in charge

Forest Peoples Programme

14th May 2015

The palm oil industry's repeated failure to keep its promises illustrates why global initiatives to achieve 'sustainable palm oil' must place communities centre-stage, writes FPP. Standard-setters like the RSPO must demand action, enforcement and accountability - not just lofty commitments that inspire hope, but rarely deliver. more...
Isn't she lovely ... ! Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) has reached agreement with the US-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority to develop, build and operate a 'first-of-its-kind gateway entertainment city' in South Korea integrated with a

Aerotropolis alert! Airport mega-projects driving environmental destruction worldwide

Rose Bridger

8th May 2015

Governments and corporations are driving a global wave of ecologically disastrous airport-centered mega-projects each destroying as much of 100 of farmland and forests - sucking water, resources and economic activity from surrounding areas, excluding host communities and locking in high-carbon infrastructure for decades to come. more...
As can be seen in this forest fire in the US, smoke and ash can be projected high into the sky by the intense heat. Photo: USFS Region 5 via Flickr (CC BY).

Chernobyl fire radiation hazard as 'hot particles' of plutonium go up in smoke

RT & The Ecologist

30th April 2015

Forest fires raging near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear disaster site in north Ukraine are releasing a surge of airborne plutonium particles as radioactive twigs, branches and leaf litter burn. more...
An accidental bush fire at Captain Creek in Central Queensland that started on a nearby farm. But most of the bush clearance is deliberate - and it's taking place on a huge scale. Photo: 80 trading 24 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Why is Australia topping WWF's world deforestation league?

Martine Maron & Bill Laurance

30th April 2015

A new WWF report puts eastern Australia among the world's deforestation hotspots, write Martine Maron & Bill Laurance - estimating that 3-6 million hectares of native forest will be cleared there over the next 15 years. Queensland's new Labor government could reverse the destructive policies - but will it turn a new leaf? more...
Something to celebrate: an orangutan swings through the jungle near Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Nick Leonard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Orangutans' reprieve: EuroParl votes to limit biofuels

The Ecologist

28th April 2015

Rainforests around the world and the wildlife they sustain have a rosier future after the European Parliament voted to limit the growth of biofuels such as palm oil in the transport sector. more...
A truck pulls into the Enviva Ahoskie wood pellet plant that supplies Drax power station, loaded with whole trees. Photo: Dogwood Alliance.

End support for Drax: stop subsidies for biomass power and phase out coal!

The Undersigned

22nd April 2015

Hundreds of millions of pounds meant to be spent on green energy will soon be lavished on Britain's biggest coal fired power station to reward it for burning 7 million tonnes of wood pellets a year - meant to be 'renewable' but actually driving biodiversity loss and even worse for climate change than coal. DECC must stop this madness! more...
A truck carries palm fruit for processing from a rainforest plantation in Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Banks raising $400m for palm oil expansion 'must examine high risks'

Oliver Tickell

20th April 2015

Banks preparing to launch a $400m bond issue for a global palm oil giant with a history of legal violations and broken standards have been warned of their 'high risk client' and the 'extreme and outstanding' social and environmental conflicts in the palm oil agribusiness sector. more...
Young Bengal Tigers at play. Photo: Martin Heigan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

In praise of tigers, conservation heroes of the Sundarbans

Joydip Kundu

29th April 2015

The presence of the tigers is the world's greatest mangrove forest vital to its survival, writes Joydip Kundu. It's the fear of the tiger that deters people from entering the forest to cut its trees and hunt its wildlife - and so these majestic predators protect its fisheries, and guard millions of people in south Bengal from the rising seas. more...
Skater girl portrait (Abigail Tarttelin, author of 'Golden Boy'), Atlantic City, NJ. Photo: Chris Goldberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The law of the forest and the freedom of the streets

Ken Worpole

19th April 2015

Forests are the traditional refuge of rebels, dissidents and all who seek freedom from the strictures of civilization, writes Ken Worpole. But for all the idea lives on in our hearts and minds, that role has now been usurped by our cities. Now, just as our forests have been enclosed and subdued, so our cities face a similar fate - one we must resist to preserve our liberty. more...
Vast extents of rainforest have been cleared, but extensive dry woodlands like these near Mt Barnett in Australia are producing more trees. Photo: yaruman5 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Flourishing savanna woodlands mean forests are still absorbing carbon

Tim Radford

18th May 2015

Despite massive clearance of carbon-rich forests for palm oil, cattle ranching, soybeans and other cash crops, writes Tim Radford, a new study finds that the net volume of carbon stored in trees is increasing thanks to their growing numbers on grasslands, on abandoned farmland, and in China. more...

Forests: 25/50 of 239
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Wood lizard of the Ecuadorian cloud forest, Enyalioides rubrigularis. Photo: Santiago Ron via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Letter from Ecuador - where defending nature and community is a crime

Carlos Zorrilla

25th March 2015

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has personally attacked eco-defender Carlos Zorrilla in TV broadcasts for resisting a vast new copper mine in a precious area of pristine cloud forest, and opposing the advance of oil exploration into the Amazon. Fearful for his life, Zorilla is now seeking international support for his, and his community's, battle for land, water and the natural world. more...
Indian children on Brazil's BR 319 road through the increasingly fragmented Amazon rainforest. Photo: Ben Sutherland via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

To forestall a mass extinction, fight forest fragmention

David Edwards

24th March 2015

Large areas of forest remain around the world, writes David Edwards, but many of them are - in biological terms - dying on their feet as their species diversity erodes due to fragmentation. To conserve the full richness of our forests, we must keep them entire and unbroken, and rebuild the continuity of forest islands. more...
The Amazon forest still looks green and verdant, but over the whole region changes are afoot, with trees maturing faster - and dying younger. Photo: Dams999 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Amazon carbon sink declines as trees grow fast, die faster

Oliver Phillips & Roel Brienen

21st March 2015

To date the Amazon has been a huge carbon sink, soaking up billions of tonnes of our emissions from fossil fuels, write Oliver Phillips & Roel Brienen. But now that's changing, as trees grow faster and die younger: the sink appears to be saturating. more...
Indian tribes from the Xingu region protest at a Public Hearing for the Belo Monte dam in September 2009. Behind them stands a detachment from Brazil's National Security Force. Photo: J.Gil via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Occupy Amazonia? Indigenous activists are taking direct action - and it's working

Marc Brightman

17th March 2015

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon are employing the tactics of the Occupy movement against oil companies, gold miners and illegal loggers, writes Marc Brightman. Their methods are home-grown: lacking the protection of the state, they have always had to fight their own battles. But recent campaign successes owe much to outside support. We must maintain, and strengthen, our solidarity. more...
Residents of Prek Smach commune, Kiri Sakor district at a road block they have constructed out of trees and rocks. Botum Sakor national park, Koh Kon Province, Cambodia. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Cambodia: local people risk everything to defend national park sold off to highest bidders

Rod Harbinson

24th March 2015

Botum Sakor national park is one of Cambodia's biodiversity hotspots, where indigenous tribes have long lived in harmony with the forest and its wildlife, writes Rod Harbinson. But now they are being violently evicted as the park is being sold off piecemeal to developers for logging, plantations, casinos and hotels. Now local communities are defending themselves and their land. more...
A swamp forest in Louisiana, of the same kind that's already being clear-felled and chipped to supply fuel to Drax power station in Yorkshire on a fatuous 'low carbon' promise. Photo: J E Theriot via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UK plans first new coal power station since 1974 - and it burns forests too!

Almuth Ernsting

17th March 2015

A new coal and biomass-fired power station could soon be built at Drax in Yorkshire, already the UK's biggest coal burner, writes Almuth Ernsting. It comes with a weak promise of possible 'carbon capture and storage' - an expensive, inefficient technology shunned elsewhere. As the Government's nuclear dream fades, could this be its equally flawed replacement? more...
A ranger looks at the skull of an elephant killed by poachers - a frequent side-effect of development projects that open up remote forests to human access. Photo: Ralph Buij, Author provided.

Roads to ruin: the G20's ecocidal infrastructure rampage

Bill Laurance

16th March 2015

What's needed to pull the world's economy out of recession? According to the G20, it's a massive wave of 'infrastructure' development worth as much $70 trillion, writes Bill Laurance. But all the roads, mines, dams, pipelines and 'development corridors' will inflict massive damage on wildlife populations and natural havens, not to mention local communities that stand in the way. more...
Alex standing in front of a giant tree, one of few remaining in the communal forest area at Tatai Leur in the Cardamom mountain forests. This tree blessing ceremony with villagers and Buddhist monks in 2013 sparked a wave of direct action which led to the

Cambodia expels forest defender

Rod Harbinson

9th March 2015

Determined to flood 10,000 hectares of precious rainforest for a power station producing a meager 108MW of power, the Cambodian government has expelled a big 'fishbone in their throat' - eco-defender Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, who has galvanized local and nationwide protests against deforestation, land grabs and official corruption. more...
Packers Roost, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Photo: Ken Lund via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Saving the wild Rockies

Jeffrey St. Clair

26th July 2015

In the battle to save America's real wild west of unlogged forests, grizzly bears, mountain goats, Bull trout, free flowing streams and roadless wilderness, a single person stands out, writes Jeffrey St Clair, for her dedication, courage and remarkable success: Arlene Montgomery of Friends of the Wild Swan, Montana. more...
The future Amazon? Keep on deforesting the Amazon, and Leticia in the Colmbian rainforest, which currently gets 2500mm of rain a year, could get as little rain as Israel's Negev Desert, with 20mm. Photo of the Negev by Francois BESSONNET via Flickr (CC BY

Without its rainforest, the Amazon will turn to desert

Peter Bunyard

2nd March 2015

Mainstream climatologists predict a 15% fall in rainfall over the Amazon if it is stripped of its rainforest. But the 'biotic pump' theory, rooted in conventional physics and recently confirmed by experiment, shows that the interior of a forest-free Amazon will be as dry as the Negev desert. We must save the Amazon before it enters a permanent and irreversible dessication. more...
A dry branch of the Atibainha reservoir, part of the Cantareira system of reservoirs that serves Sao Paulo, 26th February 2015. Photo: Clairex via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil's ravaged forests are taking their revenge

Robert Hunziker

2nd March 2015

Thanks to massive deforestation along Brazil's Atlantic coast and the Amazon, São Paulo's reservoirs are at just 6% of their capacity and water rationing is in place. But this is just the beginning of a long term drying process that could be recreated around the world as forests are laid waste and hydrology disrupted. more...
John Muyiisa is one of the Bugula islanders dispossessed by the IFAD-supervised oil palm plantation that has robbed him of his land and livelihood - and a co-plaintiff in teh legal action that is launched today. Photo: Jason Taylor / FoEI).

UN, banks and oil palm giants feast on the stolen land of Uganda's dispossessed

Anne van Schaik & Oliver Tickell

19th February 2015

A small community in Uganda is challenging a UN-backed international oil palm venture that has expropriated small farmers and obliterated an entire forest on a Lake Victoria island to establish a vast plantation. Three years after the grab, Friends of the Earth groups are backing the islanders legal action, which is launched today. more...
A clear-cut in Norrbotten Country, northern Sweden © Frédéric Forsmark.

Swedish wildlife extinction threat as loggers clear-cut 'old growth' forests

Alec Forss

11th February 2015

Sweden's biodiverse ancient forests will be largely wiped out within two decades, writes Alec Forss - and along with it will go thousands of species that depend on mature forest ecosystems. But with powerful logging companies riding roughshod over the law, regulators, politicians and certifiers, who is to stop the destruction before it's too late? more...


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