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Scottish beaver seen in 2008. Photo: Paul Stevenson via Flickr (CC BY).

Scotland's wild beavers win legal protection

Oliver Tickell

24th November 2016

The Scottish government has announced that its wild beaver populations will be given the full protection of both UK and EU law. The decision has been welcomed by campaigners who point out all the benefits of beavers to biodiversity, water management and flood control. Now, they say, England and Wales should follow suit. more...

Switch the Stick - why we need to stop buying plastic cotton buds

Laura Briggs

23rd November, 2016

A new campaign is persuading the UK's top retailers to switch from plastic to paper cotton buds. LAURA BRIGGS reports more...
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...

Scientists call for the protection of the little-known and disappearing ecosystem: seagrass ‘meadows'

LAURA BRIGGS

21st November, 2016

A unified scientific approach has been called for to help protect one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. LAURA BRIGGS learns more about the unique ecosystem known as seagrass beds 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...
John Letts harvesting his biodiverse crop of heritage wheat on an organic farm in Buckinghamshire. Photo: Adrian Arbib for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine.

Farming with the grain - John Letts and his evolutionary 'made for organic' heritage seeds

Oliver Tickell

10th November 2016

To feed the world we must abandon not just GMOs but all diversity-destroying selective crop breeding, organic farmer John Letts told Oliver Tickell. Only by using biodiverse local seed mixtures that evolve in the field can food production adapt to climate change without ever-increasing chemical inputs, and meet human needs for wholesome nourishment. more...
Amphibians are going extinct about 100 times faster than in the past. Rainforest tree frog, Costa Rica. Photo: Casey Atchley via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The debate is over: Earth's sixth great extinction has arrived

Bill Laurance & Paul Ehrlich

18th November 2016

Limiting climate change is just the start of what we need to do to forestall a runaway cascade of species extinctions, write Bill Laurance & Paul Ehrlich. We must also reverse the destruction and fragmentation of key wildlife habitats, constrain our over-consumption of natural resources, stabilise human numbers - and elect leaders determined to prioritise these issues. 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...
Once a rainforest ... land cleared for a palm oil plantation, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Privatizing nature, outsourcing governance: the economics of extinction

Margi Prideaux

7th November 2016

The 'Global Redesign Initiative', a project of the World Economic Forum, aims to replace UN-based intergovernmental decision-making with unaccountable 'multi-stakeholder governance' run by and for corporations, writes Margi Prideaux. What future for nature and people in this brave new world? Generate profits for investors, or face extinction or exclusion to the margins of existence. more...
Vaquitas in the northern Gulf of California. Photo: AMNH Seminars on Science / Natural History Magazone via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Plan to save Mexico's vaquita porpoise won't work without fishers' engagement

Andrew Frederick Johnson, University of California, San Diego

1st November 2016

The exclusion of fishers from the design of management plans for the vaquita, driven by conservation groups and implemented by the government, has led to polarized opinions and a large divide between communities and conservation agencies, writes Andrew Frederick Johnson. To save the vaquita, this needs to be replaced with a close collaboration. more...

WITNESS: Cleaning up the iconic but highly polluted Jukskei River

Ielyzaveta Ivanova, South Africa

Efforts to clean up the Jukskei River are to be applauded but fall far short of what's really needed to return it to the former glory so many Johannesburg residents still remember writes LELYZAVETA IVANOVA more...
Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at the 14th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - 27 April 2015, New York. Photo: via rightsandresources.org.

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz: 'The better protected areas are those where indigenous peoples live!'

Joe Eisen / Conservation Watch

19th October 2016

Indigenous Peoples are often the victims of nature conservation, according to a new report by Vicky Tauli-Corpuz presented to the UN this week, as they are expelled from lands they have inhabited for millennia. One reason, she told Joe Eisen, is that indigenous territories are precisely the places where biodiversity is best preserved - thanks to the protective, nurturing presence of their traditional owners. more...

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WITNESS: Obesity, Ecology and the Confines of the Government Strategy

Yvonne Adebola

13th October, 2016

In the first of our new WITNESS series of blogs, food anthropology researcher YVONNE ADEBOLA suggests a 'One Health' approach to childhood obesity which recognises the ecological impact of modern food systems on the environment and on our collective health and wellbeing more...
How's it worth more? Alive or dead? African bush elephant. Photo: Arno Meintjes via Fliuckr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Saving the elephant: don't forget local communities!

Ross Harvey & Alexander Rhodes

10th October 2016

With 27,000 African savannah elephants a year illegally killed for their ivory, the species is in peril, write Ross Harvey & Alexander Rhodes. Now international action at CITES and the closure of domestic ivory markets are attacking the ivory trade at both ends. But we must also give our full support to 'elephant neighbor' communities. more...

Biofuels from seaweed?

Laura Briggs

12th October, 2016

Seaweed is known for its culinary uses and has seen a renaissance in past years thanks to its health claims and a distinctive taste - but there are more ecological benefits to seaweed that currently remain untapped. more...
A Common toad colony migrating across a road near Ipswich.

Toad's 30-year decline shows 'large-scale deterioration of environmental quality'

Oliver Tickell

6th October 2016

A 30-year decline in toad populations recorded by volunteers, shows the need to rebuild vital 'green infrastructure' across both the wider countryside and urban areas, writes Oliver Tickell: reversing habitat fragmentation, digging out ponds and ditches, and leaving ample unkempt areas for cover and hibernation. more...

Tourism vs Ecology - which in this case boils down to SSSI Sand Dunes vs a new Scottish Golf Course

Laura Briggs

3rd October, 2016

Campaigners fighting a development for an 18-hole golf course on a pristine part of the Moray Firth are planning to launch a legal challenge against the plans with £10,000 they have sourced through crowdfunding. LAURA BRIGGS reports more...

The Ecologist Arts Interview: UK Wildlife Artist Rachel Lockwood

Gary Cook

28th September, 2016

Wildlife artist Rachel Lockwood is in creative lockdown preparing for her new exhibition called Wilding. Ecologist Arts Editor, GARY COOK went to her North Norfolk studio to talk paint, animals and other environmental matters more...
Could a legal, regulated trade in rhino horn help save these wonderful animals by paying for their conservation and taking the profit out of poaching? Photo: rhino on the Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Colin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our rhinos, we need a legal horn trade

Keith Somerville, University of Kent

22nd September 2016

The trade ban on rhino horn is not working, writes Keith Somerville. But non-lethally and sustainably harvested rhino horn can earn income to encourage breeders, pay rangers and anti-poaching teams, provide surveillance and supply wider benefits that will gain the support of people around parks, reserves and ranches. more...

Tackling the knotty issue of non native invasive weeds: what impact will Brexit have?

Laura Briggs

21st September, 2016


As leading figures from the world of law, ecology and technology prepare to come together and discuss how best to deal with non-native invasive plants in the UK, more research is still needed on how best to manage these species taking over the countryside writes LAURA BRIGGS
more...
Soldiers came with the park officers. They planted a Thai flag and told the Karen to leave the village at once, or be shot. Photo: via CW.

Thailand court: National Park officers 'can burn indigenous homes'

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

20th September 2016

The Thai government was right to evict an indigenous community from the Kaeng Krachan National Park at gunpoint and burn down homes, a Bangkok court has ruled - even though one resident had lived there for 100 years and the Park was only created in 1981. more...
Wilderness in Alaska, USA. Photo: Travis Wise via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness needs immediate protection for climate - and much more

James Watson, Bill Laurance, Brendan Mackey & James Allan

16th September 2016

The destruction of the world's wilderness is accelerating with a new clutch of mega projects from dams, roads and mines to large scale agriculture, write James Watson, Bill Laurance, Brendan Mackey & James Allan. It's cost-effective to put a stop to it right now for the carbon value of wilderness alone - never mind the biodiversity and indigenous peoples it safeguards. more...
Who ate all the pies? Robin redbreast on an English farm. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

'State of Nature' 2016 report shows continued loss of Britain's biodiversity

Susan Clark

14th September 2016

The 2016 'State of Nature' report, published today, offers many small victories to celebrate, writes SUSAN CLARK, but overall it's not good news: 15% of our native species are under threat of extinction, while 53% are in decline. With intensive farming the main cause of the damage, and climate change a serious long term problem, turning the tide of wildlife attrition will be a long and challenging task. more...
Durham Wildlife Trust volunteers surveying invertebrate populations at Stanley Moss, Sunniside, England. Photo: Dougie Nisbet via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

'State of Nature': a labour of love by Britain's conservation heroes

Dr Mark Eaton

14th September 2016

The 'State of Nature' report, published today, is the apex of a vast pyramid of loving and heroic toil by many thousands of volunteer naturalists, writes Dr Mark Eaton - hard at work in all seasons in our marshes, forests, mountains, swamps and farmland. But do we have the young recruits to keep this wonderful tradition going? more...
Chief Caleen Sisk holding an exchange with Hawai'ian sacred site custodians at the 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i. Photo: Sacred Land Film Project.

World Conservation Congress votes to protect indigenous sacred lands

Hal Rhoades

13th September 2016

As the global assault on indigenous lands intensifies, the world's largest conservation group, the IUCN, has just voted at its World Conservation Congress for the sacred natural sites and territories of indigenous peoples to be recognised as 'No-Go Areas' for destructive industrial scale activities, writes Hal Rhoades - and for corporations to permanently withdraw from such areas. more...

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