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Riverside rainforest in the Congo basin. Photo: Paul Godard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

World's biggest tropical carbon sink found in Congo rainforest

Tim Radford

16th January 2017

A 145,000 sq km area of peatland swamp forest has been discovered in the Congo Basin, writes Tim Radford, and it holds a record 30 Gt of carbon, equivalent to 20 years of US fossil fuel emissions. Now the race is on to protect it from damaging development that would emit that carbon over coming decades. more...

Scientists highlight the critical role of birds in forest regeneration

Laura Briggs

16th January, 2017

The loss of birds could significantly impact efforts to combat deforestation, according to research from scientists looking at species across the Brazilian Amazon. LAURA BRIGGS reports more...
Evicted from their forests for a flawed model of conservation: Baka 'Pygmies' in the Cameroon forest. Photo: ..zuzu.. via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

OECD takes up complaint that WWF has funded abuses of Cameroon's forest peoples

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

12th January 2017

The OECD is pursuing a complaint that WWF has funded abuses against the indigenous forest-dwelling Baka or 'Pygmy' peoples of Cameroon, after determining that its human rights guidelines do apply to WWF owing to the 'commercial nature' of its conservation activities. more...
Workshop at the 2013 FanFest at Rosia Montana, which attracted thousands to the small village and stimulated a new round of activism to defeat the gold mine. Photo: Jan Slangen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Rosia Montana: how Romanians united to save a mountain village from mining apocalypse

Alexandru Predoiu / WNV

11th January 2017

Last week's decision by the Romanian government to seek UNESCO World Heritage status for Rosia Montana, a historic Carpathian mountain village under threat of gold mining, is a massive victory for campaigners after a hard 15-year struggle, writes Alexandru Predoiu - one that has united farmers, city-dwellers and new-age protestors against cultural and ecological destruction. more...
New regulations to protect Indonesia's peatlands - like this swamp forest under conversion to plantation - are doomed to failure. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Indonesia's plans to protect its peatland forests are fatally flawed

Yuyun Indradi / Greenpeace Indonesia

9th January 2017

Indonesia's plans to meet its Paris Agreement obligations by protecting its swamp forests, the world's biggest land reservoir of carbon, have been acclaimed by the world's press, writes Yuyun Indradi. But they contain so many loopholes and flawed compromises that - unless radically reformed - they are doomed to certain failure. more...
Fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes and 'metabolic syndrome' may be among the human health consequences of eating glyphosate residues in food, if a new study on rats is anything to go by. Photo: Tony Alter via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup residues in food cause fatty liver disease

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

9th January 2017

Cutting-edge molecular profiling analyses reveal that the popular weedkiller Roundup causes serious liver damage to rats at low doses permitted by regulators, reports Claire Robinson. The findings suggest that residues of glyphosate-based herbicides in food could be linked to rises in the incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes and 'metabolic syndrome'. more...
The EPA building in Washington DC. Photo: Mark Ordonez via Flickr (CC BY).

EPA's systemic bias in hearings over glyphosate and cancer

Carey Gillam

19th December 2016

The US Environmental Protection Agency was on the defensive last week in its hearings to determine whether glyphosate, the word's number one herbicide, causes cancer, writes Carey Gillam, as it stood accused of giving preferential treatment to industry representatives, excluding evidence of cancer links, and refusing testimony from a world expert epidemiologist. more...
Morning Sun Beams on the Thomas Divide in North Carolina as seen from Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the Appalachian Trail crosses US 441. Photo: John Britt via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Fire, snow and mist: resilience and the way of the Smoky Mountains

Grant A. Mincy

13th December 2016

This summer, the Smoky Mountains burned, writes Grant A. Mincy. The aftermath is terrible to behold. But with the autumn rains and winter snow, life is returning, and a new cycle of regeneration is under way. Once again we witness the beating heart of the forest: water travels the vascular tissue of the trees and transpires over the valley and ridge. The wilderness is breathing. more...
Tina Rothery of The Nanas on an anti-fracking protest. Photo: The Nanas.

Cuadrilla - drop your £55,000 claim against Lancashire fracking 'Nana'!

Oliver Tickell

8th December 2016

A Lancashire grandmother is to appear in a Preston court tomorrow to defend a £55,000 claim pressed by fracking company Cuadrilla and its CEO Francis Egan for the costs of an eviction that never even took place, writes Oliver Tickell. Now a campaign calling on Cuadrilla to drop its unjust and oppressive legal action is gaining momentum - and its Egan who's on the defensive. more...

The Big Shift: Why the banks need to stop investing OUR money in fossil fuels

Joe Ware

7th December, 2016

The world's poorest and most vulnerable countries are doing their bit to promote the expansion of renewable energy. The least we can do in the developed world is to ensure the money in our bank account helps rather than hinders their efforts, writes JOE WARE more...
'Entry forbidden - Law number 26834 - Law number 28736 - Zone of restricted access owing to the presence of indigenous peoples living in isolation'. Sign in the Manu National Park, Peru. Photo: oarranzli via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Amazon: rainforest road threatens Peru's last isolated tribes

Oliver Tickell

1st December 2016

Peru's Congress may soon approve a road through remote rainforest which is home to the country's last uncontacted tribes. The link to the Inter-Oceanic highway would open the area up to land grabs, wood cutting and gold mining, and expose vulnerable indigenous people to diseases to which they have no immunity. more...

Cold Winter, Cosy Home

Mukti Mitchell

30th November, 2016

Mukti Mitchell, period home insulation expert, who last week won the 2016 ‘Devon Environmental Champion' award for his work insulating the heritage village of Clovelly, says now is the time to make your old home cosy for winter more...

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A portrait of Luc taken in the Rheinthal (Switzerland) in May 2007.

Heaven's eyes: Luc Hoffmann, unsung hero of nature conservation

James Breiding

23rd November 2016

Born into the wealthy family that founded the Roche pharmaceutical and chemical giant, Luc Hoffman turned his back on the comforts of wealth at an early age, writes James Breiding, and dedicated his life, and his money, to conservation. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to this man of few words, encyclopedic knowledge, decisive action and unswerving commitment. more...
Bt GMO crops are designed to combat pests like the Helicoverpa armigera moth, which causes A$25 million of damage a year in Australia alone to crops such as cotton, legumes and vegetables. But there is a cost: damage to beneficial soil fungi. Photo: CSIRO

Vital soil fungi damaged by GMO Bt cotton

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

24th November 2016

A study of GMO cotton varieties shows they disrupt an important beneficial soil fungus, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji, apparently due to the Bt insecticide they are engineered to express. Disruption caused by the transgenic cotton to mycorrhizal fungi, and the wider soil ecosystem, may underlie the low yields and poor pest resistance now endemic among Bt GM crops. more...
Local communities in Pitas are monitoring the area in order to prevent the project from expanding into the remaining 1,000 acres of mangrove forest. The sign reads: Future for indigenous peoples. Photo: Camilla Capasso / FPP.

'Poverty alleviation' shrimp farms destroy mangrove forest, grab indigenous land

Camilla Capasso

17th November 2016

A government-led shrimp farming project meant to tackle extreme poverty in northern Sabah, Malaysian, won local support in 2010 by promising job opportunities for impoverished indigenous communities. Six years on, mangrove forests local people depend on for food, materials and income are closed off and being cleared - but the jobs have yet to materialise. more...
A logging truck in Asia Pulp and Paper's PT Wira Karya Sakti pulpwood forest license. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2005. Now APP is financing forest restoration through the Belantara Foundation. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY

Hope for forests at COP22

Tony Juniper

15th November 2016

COP22 has revealed signs of real momentum toward an effective role for tropical forests in achieving a low carbon future, writes Tony Juniper. Now for the hard bit - connecting with realities on the ground to make it happen. This will mean working with indigenous and other forest communities to support and reward their conservation efforts, while harnessing large-scale international carbon finance. more...
COP22 in Marrakesh. Photo: Rhys Gerholdt / WRI via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

COP22: American Muslims vote to ditch fossil fuels

Alex Kirby

11th November 2016

An influential organisation of American Muslims announced at COP22 in Marrakesh that it will end investment in fossil fuels, and urged its partners to follow suit, writes Alex Kirby. The move adds to pressure on sovereign wealth and pension funds worth $19 trillion to follow suit to meet Paris Agreement targets. more...
Red squirrel among dead bracken at Kinrara, northern Scotland. Photo: Paul Buxton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Red squirrels return to Scotland's Caledonian forest

Oliver Tickell

15th November 2016

A project to reintroduce red squirrels to isolated areas of regenerating forest in the Scottish Highlands gets under way this month. This will increase both the numbers and the range of red squirrels in the UK, and help to regenerate their native Caledonian forest habitat. more...

The Arts Interview - Edward Parker, Environmental Photographer

Gary Cook, Arts Editor

4th November, 2016

After decades of travelling the globe documenting environmental issues, UK photographer Edward Parker has turned his lens closer to home with a new book on the Ancient Trees of the National Trust. He talks to Arts Editor, GARY COOK more...
Longleaf Pine Regeneration in South Carolina. Photo: Justin Meissen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

UK biomass power industry is a vital part of the renewable energy mix

Nina Skorupska / Renewable Energy Association

27th October 2016

Contrary to arguments advanced in a recent Ecologist article, the biomass industry supplying the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is a model of sustainability, writes Nina Skorupska, and delivers genuine, substantial emissions reductions compared to coal. more...
Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui meeting Prince Charles in 2010 after being awarded a major prize for his humanitarian and ecological work

This is my cry of alarm, please listen to me!

17th October, 2016

Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people

Today, the Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people in the state of Rondônia, Brazil has issued the following plea for help to stop illegal logging and mining on their lands. The letter is unedited. more...

WITNESS: Bob Dylan - The Times They Are a-Changin'

Harriet Griffey

14th October, 2016

In becoming the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Bob Dylan is in esteemed company; many previous recipients have also been voices for social protest and change, all of whom have borne witness to their life and times writes HARRIET GRIFFEY more...
A total of 1,378 chemicals are banned for use in cosmetics in the EU, as opposed to a mere 11 in the US. Photo: Agnes via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Europe must resist chemical industry attacks on health and environment

Lora Verheecke & Laura Große

12th October 2016

Chemical and pesticide industry lobbyists are striving to abolish the European precautionary principle in favour of a so-called 'science-based' approach, write Lora Verheecke & Laura Große. If the EU succumbs to the spin, human health and the environment across Europe will be sacrificed to corporate profit. more...
No place for oil drilling: lonely Mountain in the Sierra del Divisor national park, Peru. Photo: Diego Pérez / El Taller / Ministerio del Ambiente via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Peru: national park 'Master Plan' opens uncontacted tribe's land to oil drilling

Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd

7th October 2016

Full credit to Peru for creating the Sierra del Divisor national park in one of the most precious areas of the Amazon, write Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd. But not for leaving it open to oil drilling, risking the future of uncontacted indigenous tribes that depend on their pristine rainforest environment to survive. more...
A keyboard player, blind from birth due to a genetic defect induced by Agent Orange, performing at the War Remnants Museum. Photo: Mick Grant.

First Agent Orange, now Roundup: what's Monsanto up to in Vietnam? Ecologist Special Investigation

Mick Grant

10th October 2016

With the International Monsanto Tribunal beginning this week (14-16 October) in The Hague, MICK GRANT reports from Vietnam with this special investigation for The Ecologist five decades after the company's lethal herbicide Agent Orange first devastated the country - and discovers the agribusiness giant is sneaking its way back into Vietnam with modern herbicides and 'Roundup-Ready' GMO crops. more...

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