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Forest: 25/50 of 458
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Devastating fire last year in the cerrado savanna region, one of Brazil’s most threatened biomes. Photo: José Cruz/ABr via Wikimedia (CC-BY).

Brazil: as forest fires rage, new laws will open gates of hell

Jan Rocha

14th January 2016

Never mind Brazil's COP21 promises to cut its carbon emissions, writes Jan Rocha. New laws passing through Congress will encourage deforestation by removing safeguards and opening up indigenous territories to mega-projects. Serious drought is already contributing to a big increase in forest fires. 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...
A tribal elder from the Tagbanua tribe in Quezon municipality, central Palawan. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Philippines islanders unite to resist 'land grab' palm oil companies

Rod Harbinson

7th January 2016

Farmers on Palawan are being tricked into giving land away to palm oil companies with local government support, writes Rod Harbinson. Under the palm oil company 'leases' the farmers lose all rights to their land, never receive any money, and are saddled with 25 years of debt. Those who resist the land grabs are now in fear for their lives following the murder of a prominent campaigner. more...
Choices choices.. Photo by Sabotrax (CC-BY)

The great bathroom debate: paper towel or hand dryer?

Simon Lockrey

6th January 2016

Which of hand dryers or paper towels have the greatest impact on the environment? asks Simon Lockrey. Are your paper towels recycled or tree-pulped, your dryers power-hungry and long-blowing or short-blast and power-saving. Only full Life-Cycle Analysis can reveal the true punches these seemingly harmless items can deliver to our environment. 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...
Forest-based offsets are intended to save carbon-rich forests like these. But sadly, they can equally reward people for destroying them to create palm oil plantations. Photo: Shannan Mortimer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Carbon trading in Paris Agreement has set us up for failure

Steffen Böhm, University of Essex

15th December 2015

Hidden away in the pages of UN-speak that make up the Paris Agreement are the makings of global carbon market in which a host of exotic emissions derivatives can be freely traded, writes Steffen Böhm. And it's all going to be a huge and expensive distraction from the real and urgent task of cutting emissions. more...
A pair of beaver dams in Bamff, Perthshire. Photo: Paul Ramsay.

Carlisle floods: bring back the trees, and the beavers!

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2015

The key to reducing the risk of more floods like those in Carlisle is to realise that conventional 'flood defence' can never provide security against the ever more extreme weather events that global warming will bring. We must embrace natural solutions to holding back flood waters: more trees; and bring back the beavers! more...
Drax power station in Yorskshire, England, was to host the UK's examplar of BECCS in its White Rose project, with a planned CCS add-on. In a rare moment of santity, the UK government has pulled the funding. Photo: Ian Britton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

COP21's climate technofix: spinning carbon into gold and the myth of 'negative emissions'

Rachel Smolker

3rd December 2015

Paris has been awash with hype about 'CO2 recycling' and 'carbon neutral' or even 'carbon negative' technologies based on burning millions of trees, writes Rachel Smolker. But the alchemical notion that waste carbon can be spun into corporate gold is hitting serious reality checks. It's time to ditch the fantasies and progress the real solutions: like caring for land, soils, forests and grasslands. more...
Enormous farms are eating deep into the forests of the Mato Grosso in Brazil - and the EU is one of the main markets for the soya they produce. Photo: Leonardo F. Freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Europe must lead the way towards 'zero deforestation'

Sébastien Risso / Greenpeace Europe

11th January 2016

After years of half-hearted, ineffective polices to tackle deforestation, the EU is finally promising to take strong measures to deal with the problem, writes Sébastien Risso. Tackling illegal timber imports will be a great start, but it also needs to take on the far larger problem of deforestation for agriculture - stimulated by the EU's huge imports of palm oil, soy, beef and other commodities. more...
Erika Berenguer examines recently burned primary forest. Photo: Jos Barlow, Author provided.

18,000 fires rage in Brazil's Amazon rainforest

Jos Barlow & Erika Berenguer

2nd Decmber 2015

It's not just Indonesia's forests and peatlands that are burning - the Amazon is suffering almost as badly, with over 18,000 fires last month in Brazil alone, write Jos Barlow & Erika Berenguer. The future is looking hot and fiery. more...
Drought and deforestation have proved to be a volatile combination in Indonesia. Photo: David Gilbert / Greenpeace, Author provided.

As Indonesia burns, its government moves to increase forest destruction

William Laurance, James Cook University

24th November 2015

'No deforestation' pledges by global food corporations are yielding results, writes William Laurance. But now the Indonesian and Malaysian governments are calling on them to abandon their promises - even as the region's rainforests go up in smoke, cleared for new oil palm plantations. The companies must hold firm to their commitments. more...

Forest: 25/50 of 458
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Melka group oil palm plantations near Pucallpa, Peru, cutting deep into primary rainforest, April 2014. Photo: Rainforest Rescue via FPP.

Peru rainforest defender threatened: 'we will kill you'

The Ecologist

19th November 2015

Death threats to an indigenous forest defender in Peru have followed his success in closing down an illegal palm oil operation on his tribe's lands carried out by a member company of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, now meeting in Kuala Lumpur. more...
Vanishing rainforest: soon more oil palm plantations. Seen on flight between Miri and Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo: Bernard DUPONT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sustainable palm oil? RSPO's greenwashing and fraudulent audits exposed

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

19th November 2015

A new investigation of palm oil plantations, companies and auditors has found that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is failing to deliver on its promise, writes Chris Lang. Widespread fraud, collusion between auditors and companies, conflicts of interest, and a flawed complaints system mean that RSPO-certified palm oil may be destructively and illegally produced. more...
A Palestinan woman protecting an olive tree from destruction. Photo: intifada.de via Frank M. Rafik on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Destruction of Palestinian olive trees is a monstrous crime

Dr. Cesar Chelala

7th November 2015

The uprooting and cutting down of over a million olive and fruit trees in occupied Palestine since 1967 is an attack on a symbol of life, and on Palestinian culture and survival, writes Dr. Cesar Chelala. A grave crime under international humantarian law, the arboricide is also contrary to Jewish religious teachings. more...
Fire in Tesso Nilo National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia, on 5th July 2015 - made available through a partnership of Global Forest Watch Fires and Digital Globe. Photo: World Resources Institute via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why Indonesia can't put out its rainforest fires

Scott Edwards, University of Birmingham

4th November 2015

Indonesia's President Widodo has promised strong action to put out his country's raging forest fires, writes Scott Edwards. Yet this year's conflagrations are the worst since 1997. His problem? Powerful elites in forested provinces are making big money from the burning. And they see little reason to heed Widodo's pleas - or anyone else's. more...
A truck transport huge logs in Indonesia. Photo: Hari Priyadi for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Indonesia 'greenwashes' illegal timber exports

The Ecologist

3rd November 2015

Just as Indonesia's forests are going up in flames, in part as a result of illegal logging on a massive scale, the country's Trade Minister has issued a regulation that would rubber stamp exports of illegal timber - also undermining a timber agreement with the EU that's due to come into force next month. more...
Women in Jepara's teak forest area harvest ground nuts, Central Java, Indonesia, June, 2009. Photo: Murdani Usman / Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Local communities, not global financiers, are the best forest managers

Isaac Rojas / Friends of the Earth International

2nd November 2015

A new paradigm of forest conservation is gaining ground, writes Isaac Rojas: 'financialising' them and the climate and ecological services they provide to global investors. But this is a false solution - and one that excludes the local and indigenous forest communities who can truly be relied upon to sustain their sylvan heritage. more...
Women of the Dongria Kondh tribe make their way to a gram sabha hearing to determine their religious rights over the Niyamgiri mountain in Odisha, 13th August 2013. Photo: jimanish via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

India's Indigenous Peoples organise to protect forests, waters and commons

Pushpa Achanta / Waging Nonviolence

7th November 2015

India's neoliberal government is attempting the mass seizure of indigenous lands, commons and forests in order to hand them over for corporate exploitation with mines, dams and plantations, writes Pushpa Achanta. But tribal communities are rising up to resist the takeover, which is not only morally reprehensible but violates India's own laws and international human rights obligations. more...
Burning forest in the Amazon at Flona do Jamanxim. Novo Progresso, Pará, Brazil. Photo: Leonardo F. Freitas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Amazon - illegal loggers set Indigenous forest ablaze

Luana Lila / Greenpeace Brazil

28th October 2015

Deep in the Brazilian Amazon indigenous people have been protecting their reserve from illegal loggers, writes Luana Lila. The loggers took their revenge by kindling one of the Amazon's biggest fires ever, destroying almost 200,000 hectares of rainforest. more...
Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo smells the petroleum contaminated river hear his home in the Amazon rainforest. Now the water is polluted, crops don't grow, and new illnesses and cancer have been introduced. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest

Chevron's star witness in $9.5 billion Ecuador oil pollution claim admits: 'I lied'

Paul Paz y Miño / Amazon Watch

28th October 2015

It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice? more...
Even this could be called 'climate smart agriculture' - because the term is undefined. Oil palm plantations on deep peat in Indonesian Borneo. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

To keep carbon in the ground, COP21 must back agroecology

Pavlos Georgiadis

24th October 2015

'Climate Smart Agriculture' advocates were out in force at the just concluded climate talks in Bonn, writes Pavlos Georgiadis. But their finely crafted corporate message presents a real threat to genuine agroecological solutions to the interlinked food, farming and climate crises. more...
Logging road and cut logs awaiting collecting in the Laos rainforest. Photo: Denis Smirnov.

Leaked WWF report: illegal logging in Laos 'a worst-case scenario'

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

22nd October 2015

Forests in Laos are disappearing at a ferocious rate under the impact of rampant illegal logging which accounts for 90% or more of the industry, with lucrative export markets in Vietnam and China, writes Chris Lang. more...
Even though the Baram dam is on hold, logging of the reservoir area and surrounding forest is proceeding apace. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Indigenous activists celebrate bitter victory over rainforest dam moratorium

Rod Harbinson / Mongabay

22nd October 2015

As indigenous activists opposing hydropower dams on their territories gather this weekend in the rainforests of Sarawak, Malaysia, they have good news to celebrate, writes Rod Harbinson: a giant dam on the Baram river has been put on hold. But the forests are still being logged, local people have been stripped of land rights, and a programme of 12 giant dams is still official policy. more...
Devastated mountains in Romania's Sebes Valley. Photo: Magda Munteanu / BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network).

Austrian timber giant ransacking Romania's forests

The Ecologist

21st October 2015

Austrian timber company Schweighofer is linked to large-scale illegal logging which accounts for half of Romania's timber production. An EIA investigation finds that almost all the illegal timber ends up in the company's mills. more...

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