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South Water Caye Marine Reserve is one of seven protected areas that make up the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, at risk from oil exploration and drilling. Photo: © Antonio Busiello / WWF-US.

Industrial expansion threatens half of natural World Heritage Sites

The Ecologist

6th April 2016

Precious World Heritage Sites that protect vital biodiversity and human cultures are at risk from oil decelopment and other industries. Under threat are not just nature, wildlife, land and water but the 11 million people who depend on the 114 sites' environmental quality for their livelihoods. more...
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Skip Nyegard via Fliuckr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Fishing ban is helping the Great Barrier Reef resist and recover from damage

Camille Mellin, Aaron MacNeil & Julian Caley

7th April 2016

New research from Australia's Great Barrier Reef shows that no-take marine reserves don't just mean more and bigger fish, write Camille Mellin, Aaron MacNeil & Julian Caley. They also boost the resistance of reef communities to disturbances like storms, bleaching and predation, and speed their subsequent recovery. It's time for global rollout of coral reef marine reserves! more...
Mother and daughter: bison in the Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Bill Lile via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Buffalo slaughter in Yellowstone and the death of a spirit animal

Louise Willcox

5th April 2016

North American buffalo are officially 'vulnerable to global extinction', writes Louise Willcox, yet the US National Parks Service and Montana are intent on their wholesale slaughter. In place of a complete ecosystem with wild-roaming buffalo and grizzly bears, wildlife managers are systematically favoring the over-abundant elk that drive the politically powerful hunting industry. more...
t was European colonialism and slaughter on a huge scale that marked the beginning of the end of Africa's iconic wildlife. Yet in mainstream narratives, the conservation heroes are all white, and Africans are either poachers, squatters or loyal servants.

Lies in conservation: the truth about big-game hunting and African nature reserves

Navaya ole Ndaskoi

14th March 2016

Media furore over the shooting down of a helicopter in Tanzania masks a bigger picture of commercial hunting and evictions of indigenous tribes in the name of wildlife, writes Navaya ole Ndaskoi. It's time to rethink 'white saviour' mythology and develop new models of conservation that respect and engage with African communities, recognise their achievements, and inspire a new generation of conservation heroes. more...
Fenced with barbed wire: Blackfeed Indian tipis near the Glacier Nation Park, where the NPS is excluding the Indians from their rightful access to the Park and its resources, in clear breach of an 1895 contract. Photo: Bon via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

A century of theft from Indians by the National Park Service

Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

29th March 2016

George Catlin's original vision of national parks saw them as providing a refuge for 'man and beast' alike, writes Kollibri terre Sonnenblume, giving Indians a home in the 'freshness of their nature's beauty'. But soon the National Parks Service was violating promises, treaties and contracts as it perpetrated over a century of land theft from America's Indian tribes. more...
Plastic pollution found on a shoreline in Norway. Photo: Bo Elde via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Public Trust Doctrine requires governments to protect our oceans!

Deb Wright

9th March 2016

A legal principle dating from Roman times is ripe for use in protecting our waste-filled and over-exploited seas and oceans, writes Deb Wright. Under the 'Public Trust Doctrine' governments are entrusted to protect shared natural resources from abuse, and can be held accountable for neglect of their duties. more...
Monarch butterfly on Milkweed. Photo: bark via Flickr (CC BY).

Monarch butterfly decline: the overwhelming case for banning glyphosate

Eva Sirinathsinghji / ISIS

2nd March 2016

Monarch butterfly numbers are dwindling despite protection of their wintering forests in Mexico, and voluntary schemes to restore their food plant, milkweed, in US field margins, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. These measures alone are insufficient: no less than an end to the mass spraying of glyphosate on crops, predicated by 'Roundup-ready' GM corn and soy, will do. more...
Signs of beavers in riparian woodland near  Tumba, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Holmberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Give beavers permanent British residence!

Nigel Willby & Alan Law, University of Stirling

28th February 2016

Beavers are Britain's native aquatic engineers and their return to sites in Scotland and England is doing wonders for the local environment, write Nigel Willby & Alan Law: restoring wetlands, recreating natural river dynamics and ecology, filtering farm pollutants from water, and improving habitat for trout and other fish. more...
Koala bears, like this one at Arcadia Bay, Queensland, Australia, are among the many species suffering from the state's large-scale land clearance. Photo: Richard Gifford via Flickr (CC BY).

Queensland's land clearance is costing Australia and its wildlife dear

Martine Maron, Bill Laurance & colleagues

22nd February 2016

Australia's rainforest state, Queensland, is destroying well over 100,000 hectares of native vegetation a year, and rising, write Martine Maron, Bill Laurance & colleagues, including 'at risk' habitats and Koala bear forests. This is more than reversing the entire nation's eco-restoration programs and pushing endangered species ever closer to extinction. more...
The Black Mambas mean business! Photo: Julia Gunther.

South Africa's conservation success story: the 'Black Mambas' mean business!

Anneka Svenska

19th February 2016

A unique, all female anti-poaching unit has transformed the conservation picture in South Africa's Kruger National Park, writes Anneka Svenska. In just three years the Black Mambas have cut poaching by more than 75%, removed over 1,000 snares, and become role models for local youth. And this weekend they arrive in the UK to collect Helping Rhinos' 'Innovation in Conservation' Award. more...
Grizzly bear in Wyoming. Photo: Scott Taylor via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

National Park service finally stands up for Grizzlies - and for people!

Louisa Willcox

9th February 2016

As the movement to 'delist' Grizzly bears from protection under the Endangered Species Act gathers pace in US states and the Fish & Wildlife Service, two National Park superintendents have spoken out for the bears', writes Louisa Willcox. The hunters and the FWS may be furious, but the change of approach enjoys strong support from a public who have come to love their local bears. more...
Logging road in East Kalimantan: logged forest on the left, primary forest on the right. Photo: Wakx via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

REDD is dead. So now, how are we going to save the world's forests?

Chris Lang

11th February 2016

For years the 'market mantra' has been to save forests by selling the carbon they embody, writes Chris Lang, harnessing the profit motive for the benefit of trees and climate. But it never worked, and now even former fans are admitting that REDD is just another failed conservation fad. So what next? How about asking local communities to manage their forests as commons? more...

Conservation: 50/75 of 269
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Construction of the São Manoel Dam in the Brazilian Amazon. Photo: International Rivers via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Saying 'No!' A last chance for the world's forests

Bill Laurance, James Cook University

5th February 2016

Roads, mines, dams, power lines, pipelines and other infrastructure projects are fast eating into the world's 'core forests', writes Bill Laurance. These rare and precious places where wildlife and ecological processes can flourish undisturbed must come before the evanescent gains of 'development'. To save what's left, governments and funders must learn the word 'No!' more...
An Amazonian Grey woolly spider monkey feeding in the treetops. As a important seed disperser, it is essential to the forest ecology - and its capacity to store carbon. Photo: UEA.

Hunting in the Amazon threatens rainforest carbon

The Ecologist

27th January 2016

The over-hunting of wildlife in the Amazon has an unexpected knock-on effect: the reduced seed dispersal reduces the forest's capacity to store carbon in its biomass, increasing emissions from apparently 'intact' rainforest areas. more...
As a result of EU environmental law, the UK is being forced to clean up its severe urban air pollution. Air Pollution Level 5 as seen in London, 30th April 2014. Photo: DAVID HOLT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Outside the EU, the UK could again be the ‘dirty man of Europe'

Craig Bennett / Friends of the Earth

25th January 2016

When the UK joined the EU in 1973, it was dubbed the 'dirty man of Europe' thanks to its out of control pollution, writes Craig Bennett. Since then EU laws have forced us to clean up our act. But if we leave, all that may go into the reverse, with terrible impacts on our air, water, health, and wildlife. more...
Otters waiting for fish at Loch Creran, West Highlands, Scotland. Photo: Jennie Rainsford via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Connecting with nature through wildlife, place and memory

John Aitchison

19th January 2016

Some of us are fortunate enough to have close relationships with the nature around us, writes John Aitchison. But what about everyone else? We must find ways to make people feel like old friends with wildife near and far, and feel that their wild homes and habitats are extensions of our own. And hence, that they are as deserving of our care as human neighbours - if not more so. more...
An Eastern Mountain Gorilla forages on a hillside just outside of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. A large deforested buffer zone of inedible tea plants has been constructed in order to keep the gorillas from leaving the park and disrupting loca

Uganda: Save Kafuga Forest and gorillas from tea plantations

Richard Sadler

27th January 2016

Mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are at risk from tea plantations that would obliterate the adjacent Kafuga Forest, a vital buffer zone for local people, writes Richard Sadler. Deprived of foods, herbs, medicines and clean water from the forest, human pressure on the gorillas would inevitably increase, and expose them to potentially lethal diseases. more...
Lonesome George, the last of the pure-bred Pinta Island tortoises, photographed before his death in 2012 at the age of about 100. Photo: putneymark via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Second life for 'extinct' giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands

Luciano Beheregaray & Adalgisa 'Gisella' Caccone

14th January 2016

The endemic giant tortoises discovered by Charles Darwin on Floreana and Pinta islands in the Galápagos are extinct, write Luciano Beheregaray & Adalgisa 'Gisella' Caccone. But scientists have found that their genes live on in newly discovered hybrids on other islands. A selective breeding programme now aims to recreate the originals, and return them to their native islands. more...
Road pushing deep into the Gabon rainforest near Junkville Ayem Lope, 20th December 2013. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Massive road and rail projects threaten thousands of Africa’s wildlife reserves

Bill Laurance, James Cook University

4th January 2015

Africa is facing an unprecedented surge in road and railway building with 33 huge 'development corridors' planned that threaten 2,400 of the continent's protected wildlife areas, writes Bill Laurance. We must block the most destructive plans and limit avoidable impacts on natural areas - before it's too late. more...
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Green Leaves, Dead Leaves, Red Mushroom. Photo: John Britt via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

A Wild Liberty

Grant A. Mincy

18th January 2016

The world we inhabit is a miracle of billions of years of evolution as life has unfolded in its full beauty and diversity, writes Grant A. Mincy. But human activities - deforestation, mining, urbanisation, pollution, climate change - are tearing away at the functioning fabric of the living biosphere. A mass extinction is under way, and it must be halted, and reversed. But how? more...
Two mature bulls amid wild flowers on the Partido de Resina bull-breeding estate in Spain. In the background, intensively managed orange and olive plantations run up to the estate boundary. Photo: Robin Irvine.

Bullfighting is conserving Spain's biodiversity - ban at nature's peril

Robin Irvine, University of St Andrews

28th December 2015

Bullfighting may cause suffering to animals, but that does not mean the EU should ban it or withdraw farm subsidies, writes Robin Irvine. Traditional bull-breeding estates are valuable reservoirs of biodiversity in intensively farmed landscapes, and without the bulls there would be nothing to sustain them. more...
Sun breaking through the clouds over the Derwent Valley, Peak District, UK with the village of Hatersage in the distance. Photo: Richard Walker via Flickr (CC BY).

Fracking go-ahead in England's national parks, SSSIs, water sources

Kyla Mandel & Oliver Tickell

16th December 2015

New regulations that will allow fracking under national parks, water sources and nature sites won the approval of MPs today in a Commons vote, write Kyla Mandel & Oliver Tickell, even though four Tory MP's rebelled against the party whip. But the new rules won't apply in Wales and Scotland. more...
Tiger cub on the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Photo: Arindam Bhattacharya via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Coal plant threatens world's largest mangrove forest - and Bangladesh's future

Mowdud Rahman & Greig Aitken

10th December 2015

As COP21 reaches its endgame, there are plans to build 2,440 coal-fired power plants around the world, write Mowdud Rahman & Greig Aitken. Their completion would send global temperatures, and sea levels, soaring. Yet Bangladesh, the world's most 'climate vulnerable' large country, has plans for a 1.3GW coal power plant on the fringes of its World Heritage coastal wetlands. more...
This Baka boy, and his community, hunt only for their own subsistence. But they are criminalised by the 'fortress conservation' promoted by 'Last Days of Ivory'. Photo: Seclen Kucukustel / Atlas.

'Last Days of Ivory' promotes a military conservation that is fatal for tribal peoples

Lewis Evans

17th November 2015

The massacre of elephants for Asian ivory trade is driving the iconic African giant to extinction, writes Lewis Evans. But the 'military response' is both brutal and ineffective, all the more so as it excludes and alienates the indigenous communities who are the best defenders of nature and wildlife. The simplistic message of 'Last Days of Ivory' is both damaging and dangerous. more...
A large stack at the Sault Paper Mill, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Billy Wilson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Voluntary schemes cannot replace environmental regulation

Donal McCarthy / RSPB

16th November 2015

A new review of the performance of politically fashionable 'voluntary' approaches to environmental protection demonstrates limited effectiveness, writes Donal McCarthy. Laws and regulations play a vital role in protecting nature and the wider environment - for which voluntarism is no substitute. more...

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