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Archive: Biodiversity

18 Dec 2014

Asia’s Fragile Caves Face New Risks from Development

by MIKE IVES
The limestone caves of Southeast Asia and southwest China are home to scores of species of plants and animals, many of them rare. But a rise in tourism, mining, and other human activities is increasingly placing these biodiverse environments at risk. READ MORE

09 Dec 2014

After Steep Decline, Signs of Hope for World’s Sea Turtles

by TED WILLIAMS
Nearly all sea turtle species have been classified as endangered, with precipitous declines in many populations in recent decades. But new protections, particularly in the U.S. and Central America, are demonstrating that dramatic recovery for these remarkable reptiles is possible. READ MORE

04 Dec 2014

A Decade After Asian Tsunami, New Forests Protect the Coast

by FRED PEARCE
The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 obliterated vast areas of Aceh province. But villagers there are using an innovative microcredit scheme to restore mangrove forests and other coastal ecosystems that will serve as a natural barrier against future killer waves and storms. READ MORE

20 Nov 2014

In Romania, Highway Boom Poses Looming Threat to Bears

by ALASTAIR BLAND
Romania, one of Europe’s poorest nations, badly needs a modern highway system. But conservationists warn that unless the movements of wildlife are accommodated, a planned boom in road construction could threaten one of the continent’s last large brown bear populations. READ MORE

17 Nov 2014

Fast-Warming Gulf of Maine Offers Hint of Future for Oceans

by REBECCA KESSLER
The waters off the coast of New England are warming more rapidly than almost any other ocean region on earth. Scientists are now studying the resulting ecosystem changes, and their findings could provide a glimpse of the future for many of the world’s coastal communities. READ MORE

13 Nov 2014

A Scientist's Call for Civility And Diversity in Conservation

by DIANE TOOMEY
The ongoing debate over how to value the natural world has become rancorous and counterproductive, says marine biologist Jane Lubchenco. It is time, she tells Yale Environment 360, for the dispute to end and for conservation efforts to become more diverse. READ MORE

04 Nov 2014

Fostering Community Strategies For Saving the World's Oceans

by CRYSTAL GAMMON
To conservationist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, getting coastal communities involved in plans to protect their waters is critical for protecting the planet's oceans. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she talks about her work in one Caribbean island and how it shows how such a strategy can get results. READ MORE

30 Oct 2014

A Conservationist Sees Signs of Hope for the World’s Rainforests

by RHETT BUTLER
After decades of sobering news, a prominent conservationist says he is finally finding reason to be optimistic about the future of tropical forests. Consumer pressure on international corporations and new monitoring technology, he says, are helping turn the tide in efforts to save forests from Brazil to Indonesia. READ MORE

23 Oct 2014

Albania’s Coastal Wetlands: Killing Field for Migrating Birds

by PHIL MCKENNA
Millions of birds migrating between Africa and Europe are being illegally hunted on the Balkan Peninsula, with the most egregious poaching occurring in Albania. Conservationists and the European Commission are calling for an end to the carnage. READ MORE

20 Oct 2014

Drive to Mine the Deep Sea Raises Concerns Over Impacts

by MIKE IVES
Armed with new high-tech equipment, mining companies are targeting vast areas of the deep ocean for mineral extraction. But with few regulations in place, critics fear such development could threaten seabed ecosystems that scientists say are only now being fully understood. READ MORE

16 Oct 2014

Electric Power Rights of Way: A New Frontier for Conservation

by RICHARD CONNIFF
Often mowed and doused with herbicides, power transmission lines have long been a bane for environmentalists. But that’s changing, as some utilities are starting to manage these areas as potentially valuable corridors for threatened wildlife. READ MORE

13 Oct 2014

The Case Against a Legal Ivory Trade: It Will Lead to More Killing of Elephants

by MARY RICE
Proponents of easing the global ban on ivory are ignoring the fact that it was a legal market for ivory that pushed elephants toward extinction only a few decades ago. What’s needed now is not a legal ivory market, but better regulation and enforcement of the existing ban. READ MORE

13 Oct 2014

Ivory Trade Debate: Should the Global Ban on Ivory Be Lifted?

by JOHN FREDERICK WALKER
Although most conservationists oppose it, a proposal to allow a partial lifting of the ban on ivory trading would benefit Africa’s elephants. With proper controls and enforcement, a legal trade would choke off demand for illicit ivory and discourage the poaching now decimating the continent's elephant populations. READ MORE

09 Oct 2014

True Altruism: Can Humans Change To Save Other Species?

by VERLYN KLINKENBORG
A grim new census of the world’s dwindling wildlife populations should force us to confront a troubling question: Are humans capable of acting in ways that help other species at a cost to themselves? READ MORE

25 Sep 2014

Cashes Ledge: New England's Underwater Laboratory

A little over 70 miles off the coast of New England, an unusual undersea mountain range, known as Cashes Ledge, rises from the seabed. The area teems with kelp forests, sea sponges, and a wide variety of fish and mollusks — much of it captured by ocean photographer Brian Skerry during dives made earlier this year READ MORE

18 Sep 2014

How Norway and Russia Made A Cod Fishery Live and Thrive

by JOHN WALDMAN
The prime cod fishing grounds of North America have been depleted or wiped out by overfishing and poor management. But in Arctic waters, Norway and Russia are working cooperatively to sustain a highly productive — and profitable — cod fishery. READ MORE

17 Sep 2014

Peak to Peak: An Intimate Look at The Bighorn Sheep of the Rockies

The third-place winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest focuses on a herd of bighorn sheep in Montana and features remarkable scenes of lambs as they gambol along the slopes of the northern Rockies. Produced by Jeremy Roberts, the video follows a field biologist as he monitors the sheep and talks about the possible impact of climate change on the animals’ future. READ MORE

15 Sep 2014

How to Make Farm-to-Table A Truly Sustainable Movement

by DIANE TOOMEY
Chef Dan Barber says the farm-to-table movement that he helped build has failed to support sustainable agriculture on a large scale. To do that, he says in a Yale Environment 360 interview, we need a new way of looking at diverse crops and the foods we eat. READ MORE

02 Sep 2014

Badru’s Story: Early Warnings From Inside an Impenetrable African Forest

"Badru’s Story," which documents the work of researchers in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is the first-place winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest. Filmmakers Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele trek along with scientist Badru Mugerwa and his team as they monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife. READ MORE

28 Aug 2014

Fate of the Passenger Pigeon Looms as a Somber Warning

by JOEL GREENBERG
This September 1 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, the last known passenger pigeon on earth. The extinction of this once-abundant North American bird still stands as a cautionary tale. READ MORE

20 Aug 2014

How Drones Are Emerging As Valuable Conservation Tool

by CRYSTAL GAMMON
Lian Pin Koh believes drones can be a key part of conservation efforts, particularly in remote regions. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, he talks about how his project, ConservationDrones, is promoting the use of drones for everything from counting orangutans to stopping poaching. READ MORE

11 Aug 2014

Africa’s Vultures Threatened By An Assault on All Fronts

by MADELINE BODIN
Vultures are being killed on an unprecedented scale across Africa, with the latest slaughter perpetrated by elephant poachers who poison the scavenging birds so they won’t give away the location of their activities. READ MORE

28 Jul 2014

Why Restoring Wetlands Is More Critical Than Ever

by BRUCE STUTZ
Along the Delaware River estuary, efforts are underway to restore wetlands lost due to centuries of human activity. With sea levels rising, coastal communities there and and elsewhere in the U.S. and Europe are realizing the value of wetlands as important buffers against flooding and tidal surges. READ MORE

21 Jul 2014

Primate Rights vs Research: Battle in Colombian Rainforest

by CHRIS KRAUL
A Colombian conservationist has been locked in a contentious legal fight against a leading researcher who uses wild monkeys in his search for a malaria vaccine. A recent court decision that banned the practice is seen as a victory in efforts to restrict the use of monkeys in medical research. READ MORE

17 Jul 2014

Scientists Look for Causes of Baffling Die-Off of Sea Stars

by ERIC WAGNER
Sea stars on both coasts of North America are dying en masse from a disease that kills them in a matter of days. Researchers are looking at various pathogens that may be behind what is known as sea star wasting syndrome, but they suspect that a key contributing factor is warming ocean waters. READ MORE

24 Jun 2014

Life on the Mississippi: Tale of the Lost River Shrimp

by PAUL GREENBERG
The 20th-century re-engineering of the Mississippi River wreaked havoc on natural systems and devastated once-abundant populations of native river shrimp. Biologist Paul Hartfield has focused his work on studying these creatures, which were known for making one of the world’s great migrations. READ MORE

05 Jun 2014

How Weeds Could Help Feed Billions in a Warming World

by LISA PALMER
Scientists in the U.S. and elsewhere are conducting intensive experiments to cross hardy weeds with food crops such as rice and wheat. Their goal is to make these staples more resilient as higher temperatures, drought, and elevated CO2 levels pose new threats to the world’s food supply. READ MORE

14 May 2014

Examining How Marine Life Might Adapt to Acidified Oceans

by ELIZABETH GROSSMAN
In an interview with Yale Environment 360, marine biologist Gretchen Hofmann discusses how well mollusks and other shell-building organisms might evolve to live in increasingly corrosive ocean conditions caused by soaring CO2 emissions. READ MORE

12 May 2014

Brown Pelicans: A Test Case for The U.S. Endangered Species Act

by TED WILLIAMS
Brown pelicans were removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 2009, in what was considered a major conservation success story. But a recent crash in Pacific Coast populations of sardines, the pelican’s prime food, is posing new threats to these oddly elegant birds. READ MORE

06 May 2014

Mimicking Nature, New Designs Ease Fish Passage Around Dams

by REBECCA KESSLER
Originating in Europe, "nature-like" fishways are now being constructed on some U.S. rivers where removing dams is not an option. Unlike traditional fish ladders, these passages use a natural approach aimed at significantly increasing once-abundant runs of migratory fish. READ MORE

01 May 2014

In a Troubled African Park, A Battle Over Oil Exploration

by FRED PEARCE
Congo's Virunga National Park has long been known for its mountain gorillas and for the lawless militias that operate there. But the recent shooting of the park warden and plans to begin oil exploration in the park have sparked concern about the future of this iconic World Heritage Site. READ MORE

24 Apr 2014

Mining Showdown in Andes Over Unique Páramo Lands

by CHRIS KRAUL
High-altitude neotropical ecosystems known as páramos are increasingly at risk in Colombia and elsewhere in South America as major mining companies seek to exploit rich deposits of gold and other minerals. Such projects, scientists warn, could have serious impacts on critical water supplies. READ MORE

22 Apr 2014

Unsustainable Seafood: A New Crackdown on Illegal Fishing

by RICHARD CONNIFF
A recent study shows that a surprisingly large amount of the seafood sold in U.S. markets is caught illegally. In a series of actions over the last few months, governments and international regulators have started taking aim at stopping this illicit trade in contraband fish. READ MORE

15 Apr 2014

A Public Relations Drive to Stop Illegal Rhino Horn Trade

by MIKE IVES
Conservation groups are mounting campaigns to persuade Vietnamese consumers that buying rhino horn is decidedly uncool. But such efforts are likely to succeed only as part of a broader initiative to crack down on an illicit trade that is decimating African rhino populations. READ MORE

10 Apr 2014

Will Increased Food Production Devour Tropical Forest Lands?

by WILLIAM LAURANCE
As global population soars, efforts to boost food production will inevitably be focused on the world’s tropical regions. Can this agricultural transformation be achieved without destroying the remaining tropical forests of Africa, South America, and Asia? READ MORE

17 Mar 2014

Rebuilding the Natural World: A Shift in Ecological Restoration

by RICHARD CONNIFF
From forests in Queens to wetlands in China, planners and scientists are promoting a new approach that incorporates experiments into landscape restoration projects to determine what works to the long-term benefit of nature and what does not. READ MORE

13 Mar 2014

In the Pastures of Colombia, Cows, Crops and Timber Coexist

by LISA PALMER
As an ambitious program in Colombia demonstrates, combining grazing and agriculture with tree cultivation can coax more food from each acre, boost farmers’ incomes, restore degraded landscapes, and make farmland more resilient to climate change. READ MORE

10 Mar 2014

A New Leaf in the Rainforest: Longtime Villain Vows Reform

by RHETT BUTLER
Few companies have done as much damage to the world’s tropical forests as Asia Pulp & Paper. But under intense pressure from its customers and conservation groups, APP has embarked on a series of changes that could significantly reduce deforestation in Indonesia and serve as a model for forestry reform. READ MORE

20 Feb 2014

Life on Mekong Faces Threats As Major Dams Begin to Rise

by JOSHUA ZAFFOS
With a massive dam under construction in Laos and other dams on the way, the Mekong River is facing a wave of hydroelectric projects that could profoundly alter the river’s ecology and disrupt the food supplies of millions of people in Southeast Asia. READ MORE

13 Feb 2014

Amid Elephant Slaughter, Ivory Trade in U.S. Continues

by ADAM WELZ
In the last year, the U.S. government and nonprofits have put a spotlight on the illegal poaching of Africa’s elephants and Asia’s insatiable demand for ivory. But the media coverage has ignored a dirty secret: The U.S. has its own large ivory trade that has not been adequately regulated. READ MORE

03 Feb 2014

Growing Insects: Farmers Can Help to Bring Back Pollinators

by RICHARD CONNIFF
With a sharp decline in pollinating insects, farmers are being encouraged to grow flowering plants that can support these important insects. It’s a fledgling movement that could help restore the pollinators that are essential for world food production. READ MORE

30 Jan 2014

Animal ‘Personhood’: Muddled Alternative to Real Protection

by VERLYN KLINKENBORG
A new strategy of granting animals “personhood” under the law is being advanced by some in academia and the animal rights movement. But this approach fails to address the fundamental truth that all species have an equal right to their own existence. READ MORE

28 Jan 2014

How Rise of Citizen Science Is Democratizing Research

by DIANE TOOMEY
New technology is dramatically increasing the role of non-scientists in providing key data for researchers. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Caren Cooper of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology talks about the tremendous benefits — and potential pitfalls — of the expanding realm of citizen science. READ MORE

23 Jan 2014

Northern Mystery: Why Are Birds of the Arctic in Decline?

by ED STRUZIK
With some species of Arctic birds experiencing steep drops in population and their prey also undergoing marked shifts, scientists are working to understand what role climate change is playing in these unfolding ecological transformations. READ MORE

13 Jan 2014

The Case Against De-Extinction: It’s a Fascinating but Dumb Idea

by PAUL R. EHRLICH
Even if reviving extinct species is practical, it’s an awful idea. It would take resources away from saving endangered species and their habitats and would divert us from the critical work needed to protect the planet. READ MORE

13 Jan 2014

De-Extinction Debate: Should We Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth?

A group led by futurist Stewart Brand is spearheading a movement to try to use genetic technology to revive extinct species, such as the woolly mammoth and the passenger pigeon. In a Yale Environment 360 debate, Brand makes the case for trying to bring back long-gone species, while biologist Paul R. Ehrlich argues that the idea is ill conceived and morally wrong. READ MORE

06 Jan 2014

Urban Nature: How to Foster Biodiversity in World’s Cities

by RICHARD CONNIFF
As the world becomes more urbanized, researchers and city managers from Baltimore to Britain are recognizing the importance of providing urban habitat that can support biodiversity. It just may be the start of an urban wildlife movement. READ MORE

19 Dec 2013

In Imperiled Forests of Borneo, A Rich Tropical Eden Endures

by WILLIAM LAURANCE
In Borneo's Danum Valley — one of the last, untouched forest reserves in a region ravaged by logging and oil palm cultivation — a team of international and Malaysian scientists is fighting to preserve an area of stunning biodiversity. READ MORE

18 Dec 2013

Documenting the Swift Change Wrought by Global Warming

by PETER ESSICK
Photographer Peter Essick has traveled the world documenting the causes and consequences of climate change. In a Yale Environment 360 photo essay, we present a gallery of images Essick took while on assignment in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung locales. READ MORE

26 Nov 2013

A North Atlantic Mystery: Case of the Missing Whales

by REBECCA KESSLER
Endangered North Atlantic right whales are disappearing from customary feeding grounds off the U.S. and Canadian coasts and appearing in large numbers in other locations, leaving scientists to wonder if shifts in climate may be behind the changes. READ MORE

12 Nov 2013

Canada’s Great Inland Delta: A Precarious Future Looms

by ED STRUZIK
The Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas, is facing major change as rising temperatures, a prolonged drought, and water withdrawals for Alberta’s tar sands industry threaten to increasingly dry out this vast expanse of waterways and wetlands. READ MORE

11 Nov 2013

Using Ocean Robots to Unlock Mysteries of CO2 and the Seas

by TODD WOODY
Marine phytoplankton are vital in absorbing ever-increasing amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, researcher Tracy Villareal explains how he is using remotely operated robots to better understand how this process mitigates climate change. READ MORE

07 Nov 2013

People or Parks: The Human Factor in Protecting Wildlife

by RICHARD CONNIFF
Recent studies in Asia and Australia found that community-managed areas can sometimes do better than traditional parks at preserving habitat and biodiversity. When it comes to conservation, maybe local people are not the problem, but the solution. READ MORE

29 Oct 2013

A Key Mangrove Forest Faces Major Threat from a Coal Plant

by JEREMY HANCE
As Bangladesh makes a controversial turn to coal to produce electricity, the construction of a large coal-fired power plant is threatening the fragile ecosystem of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. READ MORE

14 Oct 2013

The Ambitious Restoration of An Undammed Western River

by CAROLINE FRASER
With the dismantling of two dams on Washington state’s Elwha River, the world’s largest dam removal project is almost complete. Now, in one of the most extensive U.S. ecological restorations ever attempted, efforts are underway to revive one of the Pacific Northwest’s great salmon rivers. READ MORE

07 Oct 2013

Microbiomes at the Roots: A New Look at Forest Ecology

by RICHARD CONNIFF
With advances in genetic sequencing technology, scientists are now able to readily identify the microbes living in and around the roots of trees. This information is proving to have important implications for everything from tropical forest restoration to climate change planning. READ MORE

26 Sep 2013

In Galápagos, An Insidious Threat to Darwin's Finches

by ELIZABETH KOLBERT
The birds that have come to be known as Darwin's finches have long intrigued students of evolution. But now a parasitic fly introduced to the Galápagos Islands is threatening the future of one or more of these iconic finch species. READ MORE

19 Sep 2013

Poaching Pangolins: An Obscure Creature Faces Uncertain Future

by RICHARD CONNIFF
The pangolin does not make headlines the way elephants or rhinos do. But the survival of this uncharismatic, armor-plated animal is being threatened by a gruesome trade in its meat and its scales. READ MORE

26 Aug 2013

On a Remote Island, Lessons In How Ecosystems Function

by FRED PEARCE
Transformed by British sailors in the 19th century, Ascension Island in the South Atlantic has a unique tropical forest consisting almost entirely of alien species. Scientists say that what has happened there challenges some basic assumptions about ecosystems and evolution. READ MORE

12 Aug 2013

The War on African Poaching: Is Militarization Doomed to Fail?

by ADAM WELZ
African countries and private game reserves are engaging in an increasingly sophisticated arms race against poachers, yet the slaughter of elephants and rhinos continues. Some experts argue that the battle must be joined on a far wider front that targets demand in Asia and judicial dysfunction in Africa. READ MORE

18 Jul 2013

Should Wolves Stay Protected Under Endangered Species Act?

by TED WILLIAMS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stirred controversy with its proposal to remove endangered species protection for wolves, noting the animals’ strong comeback in the northern Rockies and the Midwest. It’s the latest in the long, contentious saga of wolf recovery in the U.S. READ MORE

03 Jul 2013

New Initiatives to Clean Up The Global Aquarium Trade

by REBECCA KESSLER
An estimated 30 million fish and other creatures are caught annually to supply the home aquarium market, taking a toll on some reef ecosystems. Now conservationists are working to improve the industry by ending destructive practices and encouraging aquaculture. READ MORE

17 Jun 2013

An Economic Boom in Turkey Takes a Toll on Marine Life

by SULMAAN KHAN
The development-at-any-cost policies of Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan — a key factor behind the protests and clashes in Istanbul’s Taksim Square — are also playing a role in the steady decline of the nation’s porpoises, dolphins, and other marine life. READ MORE

13 Jun 2013

The Surprising Role of CO2 in Changes on the African Savanna

by ADAM WELZ
Recent studies show that many of the world’s savannas, including famed southern African landscapes, are experiencing significant change as rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere favor the growth of trees over grasslands. READ MORE

10 Jun 2013

Green Highways: New Strategies To Manage Roadsides as Habitat

by RICHARD CONNIFF
From northern Europe to Florida, highway planners are rethinking roadsides as potential habitat for native plants and wildlife. Scientists say this new approach could provide a useful tool in fostering biodiversity. READ MORE

20 May 2013

A Plague of Deforestation Sweeps Across Southeast Asia

by DANIEL DROLLETTE
Illegal logging and unchecked economic development are taking a devastating toll on the forests of Vietnam and neighboring countries, threatening areas of biodiversity so rich that 1,700 species have been discovered in the last 15 years alone. READ MORE

13 May 2013

True Nature: Revising Ideas On What is Pristine and Wild

by FRED PEARCE
New research shows that humans have been transforming the earth and its ecosystems for millenniums — far longer than previously believed. These findings call into question our notions about what is unspoiled nature and what should be preserved. READ MORE

09 May 2013

How Mussel Farming Could Help to Clean Fouled Waters

by PAUL GREENBERG
Along the shores of New York Harbor, scientists are investigating whether this ubiquitous bivalve can be grown in urban areas as a way of cleansing coastal waters of sewage, fertilizers, and other pollutants. READ MORE

07 May 2013

Will Lead Bullets Finally Kill Off the California Condor?

by TED WILLIAMS
The California condor, the largest bird in North America, was saved from extinction by a captive breeding program that increased its numbers in the wild. But now the condor is facing a new and pernicious threat — the lead from bullets used by game hunters. READ MORE

01 May 2013

Ginkgo: The Life Story of The Oldest Tree on Earth

by ROGER COHN
Revered for its beauty and its longevity, the ginkgo is a living fossil, unchanged for more than 200 million years. Botanist Peter Crane, who has a written what he calls a biography of this unique tree, talks to Yale Environment 360 about the inspiring history and cultural significance of the ginkgo. READ MORE

30 Apr 2013

Declining Bee Populations Pose A Threat to Global Agriculture

by ELIZABETH GROSSMAN
The danger that the decline of bees and other pollinators represents to the world’s food supply was highlighted this week when the European Commission decided to ban a class of pesticides suspected of playing a role in so-called “colony collapse disorder.” READ MORE

04 Apr 2013

Blocked Migration: Fish Ladders On U.S. Dams Are Not Effective

by JOHN WALDMAN
Fishways on rivers in the U.S. Northeast are failing, with less than 3 percent of one key species making it upriver to their spawning grounds, according to a new study. The researchers’ findings provide a cautionary tale for other nations now planning big dam projects. READ MORE

01 Apr 2013

Tracking the Causes of Sharp Decline of the Monarch Butterfly

by RICHARD CONNIFF
A new census found this winter’s population of North American monarch butterflies in Mexico was at the lowest level ever measured. Insect ecologist Orley Taylor talks to Yale Environment 360 about how the planting of genetically modified crops and the resulting use of herbicides has contributed to the monarchs’ decline. READ MORE

25 Mar 2013

The Scientist as Guardian: A Tool for Protecting the Wild

by WILLIAM LAURANCE
An expanding body of evidence shows that the presence of field biologists and their assistants is playing an important part in deterring poaching, illegal logging, and other destructive activities in the world’s parks and wildlife reserves. READ MORE

20 Mar 2013

A Leading Marine Biologist Works to Create a ‘Wired Ocean’

by BEN GOLDFARB
Stanford University scientist Barbara Block heads a program that has placed satellite tags on thousands of sharks, bluefin tuna, and other marine predators to better understand their life cycles. Now, using data available on mobile devices, she hopes to enlist public support for protecting these threatened creatures. READ MORE

14 Mar 2013

Into the Heart of Ecuador’s Yasuni

Few places on earth harbor as much biodiversity as Ecuador’s Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, which sits atop vast deposits of oil and now faces intense development pressure. In a Yale Environment 360 video, filmmaker Ryan Killackey travels to the heart of Yasuni with scientists inventorying its stunning wildlife and plants. The researchers hope their work will bolster initiatives to preserve this threatened land. READ MORE

11 Mar 2013

Counting Species: What It Says About Human Toll on Wildlife

by VERLYN KLINKENBORG
By analyzing mitochondrial DNA, scientists now can make more accurate estimates of the numbers of individual species that existed centuries ago. What does it tell us about our impact on the natural world and about our own future? READ MORE

07 Mar 2013

Biodiversity in Logged Forests Far Higher Than Once Believed

by FRED PEARCE
New research shows that scientists have significantly overestimated the damage that logging in tropical forests has done to biodiversity, a finding that could change the way conservationists think about how best to preserve species in areas disturbed by humans. READ MORE

28 Feb 2013

Will Reform Finally End The Plunder of Europe’s Fisheries?

by CHRISTIAN SCHWäGERL
Maria Damanaki, Europe’s crusading fisheries minister, is making major headway in changing a cozy, “old boys” network that over-subsidized the European fishing industry and brought about the severe overfishing of the continent’s marine bounty. READ MORE

26 Feb 2013

In Tibet, Change Comes to the Once-Pristine Roof of the World

by GEORGE SCHALLER
Renowned biologist George Schaller has been traveling to the Tibetan Plateau for nearly three decades, studying its unique wildlife. But with climate change and overgrazing taking a toll on the landscape, he reports, scientists and the Chinese government are working to preserve one of the planet’s wildest places. READ MORE

12 Feb 2013

To Catch a Rhino: Capturing Animals in Order to Save Them

Six white rhinos were captured recently at a reserve in South Africa for eventual relocation to neighboring Botswana, which has lost its entire rhino population to poaching. E360 contributor Adam Welz joined the operation and produced a photo essay that documents the harrowing process. READ MORE

06 Feb 2013

Will Bold Steps Be Needed to Save Beleaguered Polar Bears?

by ED STRUZIK
In a new paper, the world’s leading polar bear scientists say the time has come to consider drastic measures to save these iconic animals, including supplemental feeding by humans during ice-free periods and relocating more southerly populations to the High Arctic. READ MORE

31 Jan 2013

Mercury’s Silent Toll On the World’s Wildlife

by REBECCA KESSLER
Scientists are only beginning to understand the impacts of mercury contamination on birds, fish, and other wildlife populations. But what they are finding is alarming — even low levels can cause harm, and chronic exposure has unexpected and troubling effects. READ MORE

10 Jan 2013

Reviving Europe’s Biodiversity By Importing Exotic Animals

by CHRISTIAN SCHWäGERL
Scientists are conducting intriguing — and counterintuitive — experiments at several sites in Germany: Bringing back long-lost herbivores, such as water buffalo, to encourage the spread of native plants that have fared poorly in Europe’s human-dominated landscape. READ MORE

08 Jan 2013

The Perils and Rewards of Protecting Congo’s Gorillas

by CHRISTINA M. RUSSO
Virunga National Park, home to one of the last remaining populations of mountain gorillas, has witnessed years of war and civil strife. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, the park’s warden describes the lethal threats faced by his rangers and the remarkable survival of the park’s gorillas. READ MORE

27 Nov 2012

The Dirty War Against Africa’s Remaining Rhinos

by ADAM WELZ
The killing of rhinoceroses has escalated dramatically, especially in South Africa, which is home to 75 percent of the world’s rhino population. The slaughter is being orchestrated by brazen, highly organized gangs that smuggle the rhinos' horns to black markets in China and Southeast Asia. READ MORE

15 Nov 2012

As Myanmar Opens to World, Fate of Its Forests Is on the Line

by CHARLES SCHMIDT
Years of sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime helped protect its extensive wild lands. But as the country’s rulers relax their grip and welcome foreign investment, can the nation protect its forests and biodiversity while embracing development? READ MORE

29 Oct 2012

How Fishing Gear is Killing Whales in the North Atlantic

by REBECCA KESSLER
Researchers have been documenting the deadly threat that fishing lines and ropes pose to large whales that become entangled in them. Now, new studies are pointing to another disturbing fact: the ensnared whales endure enormous pain and prolonged suffering. READ MORE

25 Oct 2012

For Wolves on the Brink, A Hobbled Recovery Plan

by CAROLINE FRASER
Few creatures in the United States have come as close to extinction as the Mexican wolf, which was wiped out in the U.S. by 1970. Now, scientists and conservationists contend, federal officials are caving into political pressure and failing to implement a legally mandated reintroduction plan. READ MORE

08 Oct 2012

In the Land of the Maya, A Battle for a Vital Forest

by WILLIAM ALLEN
In Guatemala’s vast Maya Biosphere Reserve, conservation groups are battling to preserve a unique rainforest now under threat from Mexican drug cartels, Salvadoran drug gangs, and Chinese-backed groups illegally logging prime tropical hardwoods. READ MORE

27 Sep 2012

How the Web Can Help Identify Countless Undiscovered Species

by DIANE TOOMEY
Taxonomist Quentin Wheeler is calling for a concerted effort to classify the millions of unidentified species in the world. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about the new field of “cybertaxonomy” and how it is harnessing the Web to speed up the effort to catalog life on earth. READ MORE

20 Sep 2012

Shining a Bright Light on Africa’s Elephant Slaughter

by CHRISTINA M. RUSSO
Fueled by a rising demand for ivory, the mass killing of African elephants has reached extraordinary levels. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman discusses his in-depth investigation of the deadly ivory trade, which involves the U.S.-backed military forces of several African nations. READ MORE

12 Sep 2012

Tracking the Big Snakes Devouring the Everglades

by KEVIN DENNEHY
The invasive Burmese python has altered ecosystems in Florida’s Everglades, decimating populations of native animals. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, python expert Michael Dorcas describes the ecological damage these huge snakes have caused and why it will be nearly impossible to get rid of them. READ MORE

09 Aug 2012

Easing The Collateral Damage That Fisheries Inflict on Seabirds

by JEREMY HANCE
Two recent studies highlight the harm that industrial fisheries are doing to the world’s seabirds, either by overharvesting the birds’ favorite prey or by drowning birds hooked on longlines. But tighter regulations and innovative technologies are starting to significantly reduce seabird “bycatch,” slashing it by 90 percent in some regions. READ MORE

08 Aug 2012

The Imperative of Thinking Big In Global Conservation Efforts

by FEN MONTAIGNE
In his 12 years as president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Steven E. Sanderson oversaw major projects in Gabon, Chile, South Sudan, and elsewhere. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Sanderson explains why conservation groups need to better coordinate work across large, human-influenced landscapes and more effectively marshal science to fight their battles. READ MORE

02 Aug 2012

Dreaming of a Place Where the Buffalo Roam

by HILLARY ROSNER
Former Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Gerrity is trying to turn a swath of northeastern Montana into a prairie reserve teeming with herds of bison. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Gerrity talks about the challenges of reclaiming a landscape long dominated by agriculture. READ MORE

17 Jul 2012

Linking Twin Extinctions Of Species and Languages

by VERLYN KLINKENBORG
A recent study noted that most of the 6,900 languages spoken on Earth occur in regions of high biodiversity. These findings point to a strong correlation between biological and linguistic diversity, with languages closely connected to the habitats where they are found. READ MORE

28 Jun 2012

Beyond Rio’s Disappointment, Finding a Path to the Future

by FRED PEARCE
The Rio+20 Summit produced a largely meaningless document that failed to address the daunting environmental challenges the world faces. But many at the conference looked to an alternative approach they called “green economics” — using market forces to help nations achieve sustainable development. READ MORE

25 Jun 2012

Maya Lin’s Memorial to Vanishing Nature

by DIANE TOOMEY
The designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is now focused on the mass extinction of species, a threat she is highlighting on an interactive Web site. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Maya Lin talks about her “What is Missing” project, which she calls her “last memorial.” READ MORE

19 Jun 2012

Looking for Solutions in the Fight to Preserve Biodiversity

by ROGER COHN
At the Rio+20 conference this week, conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy received the prestigious Blue Planet Prize. Before traveling to Brazil, Lovejoy talked with Yale Environment 360 about the loss of biodiversity and about whether it is too late for the world to do something about it. READ MORE

12 Jun 2012

A Desperate Effort to Save the Rainforest of Borneo

by RHETT BUTLER
The once-magnificent tropical forests of Borneo have been decimated by rampant logging and clearing for oil palm plantations. But in the Malaysian state of Sabah, a top official is fighting to reverse that trend by bringing sustainable forestry to the beleaguered island. READ MORE

17 May 2012

The Vital Chain: Connecting The Ecosystems of Land and Sea

by CARL ZIMMER
A new study from a Pacific atoll reveals the links between native trees, bird guano, and the giant manta rays that live off the coast. In unraveling this intricate web, the researchers point to the often little-understood interconnectedness between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. READ MORE

14 May 2012

Africa’s Ambitious Experiment To Preserve Threatened Wildlife

by CAROLINE FRASER
Five nations in southern Africa are joining together to create a huge conservation area that will extend across their borders and expand critical territory for elephants. But can these new protections reverse decades of decline for area wildlife while also benefiting the people who live there? READ MORE

10 May 2012

Melting Sea Ice Could Lead To Pressure on Arctic Fishery

by ED STRUZIK
With melting sea ice opening up previously inaccessible parts of the Arctic Ocean, the fishing industry sees a potential bonanza. But some scientists and government officials have begun calling for a moratorium on fishing in the region until the true state of the Arctic fishery is assessed. READ MORE

26 Apr 2012

Fighting A Last-Ditch Battle To Save the Rare Javan Rhino

by RHETT BUTLER
Rhinoceroses worldwide are under siege as their habitat shrinks and poachers slaughter hundreds annually for their valuable horns. Now, in Indonesia, conservation groups are engaged in a desperate struggle to save the last 40 Javan rhinos on earth. READ MORE

19 Apr 2012

As Threats to Biodiversity Grow, Can We Save World’s Species?

by LEE HANNAH
With soaring human populations and rapid climate change putting unprecedented pressure on species, conservationists must look to innovative strategies — from creating migratory corridors to preserving biodiversity hotspots — if we are to prevent countless animals and plants from heading to extinction. READ MORE

13 Mar 2012

In Fight to Save Coral Reefs, Finding Strategies that Work

by KEVIN DENNEHY
In four decades as a marine biologist, Nancy Knowlton has played a key role in documenting the biodiversity of coral reefs and the threats they increasingly face. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she assesses the state of the world’s corals and highlights conservation projects that offer hope of saving these irreplaceable ecosystems. READ MORE

21 Feb 2012

As Arctic Sea Ice Declines, Polar Bear Patrol Gets Busy

by ED STRUZIK
Polar bears have long come ashore in Churchill, Manitoba, the self-styled ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World.’ But as summer sea ice steadily disappears in Hudson Bay, bears are being marooned on land for longer periods of time — and that is generating a lot of work for the Polar Bear Alert Team. READ MORE

02 Feb 2012

Mysteries of Killer Whales Uncovered in the Antarctic

by FEN MONTAIGNE
Two of the world’s leading experts on the world’s top marine predator are now in Antarctica, tagging and photographing a creature whose remarkably cooperative hunting behavior and transmission of knowledge across generations may be rivaled only by humans. READ MORE

30 Jan 2012

A Vast Canadian Wilderness Poised for a Uranium Boom

by ED STRUZIK
Canada’s Nunavut Territory is the largest undisturbed wilderness in the Northern Hemisphere. It also contains large deposits of uranium, generating intense interest from mining companies and raising concerns that a mining boom could harm the caribou at the center of Inuit life. READ MORE

23 Jan 2012

Monitoring A Grim Rise In the Illegal Ivory Trade

by CHRISTINA M. RUSSO
For two decades, TRAFFIC’s Tom Milliken has tracked the illicit ivory trade that has led to the continued slaughter of Africa’s elephants. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Milliken talks about the recent increase in ivory seizures and the criminal gangs that supply Asia’s black market for ivory. READ MORE

14 Dec 2011

A Defender of World’s Whales Sees Only a Tenuous Recovery

by CHRISTINA M. RUSSO
Biologist Roger Payne played a key role in helping end the wholesale slaughter of whales. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Payne discusses the mysteries of these legendary marine mammals and the threats they continue to face. READ MORE

05 Dec 2011

Camera Traps Emerge as Key Tool in Wildlife Research

by JEREMY HANCE
Scientists and conservationists are increasingly relying on heat- and motion-activated camera traps to study rare or reclusive species in remote habitats. And the striking images they provide are proving to be a boon for raising conservation awareness worldwide. READ MORE

21 Nov 2011

Northwest Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived

by ELIZABETH GROSSMAN
The acidification of the world’s oceans from an excess of CO2 has already begun, as evidenced recently by the widespread mortality of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists say this is just a harbinger of things to come if greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar. READ MORE

10 Nov 2011

Military Bases Provide Unlikely Refuge For South’s Longleaf Pine

by BRUCE DORMINEY
The expanses of longleaf pine forest that once covered the southeastern United States have been whittled away to just 3 percent of their original range. But as scientists are discovering, this threatened forest ecosystem has found a sanctuary in an unexpected place — U.S. military installations. READ MORE

03 Nov 2011

Can Vulnerable Species Outrun Climate Change?

by EMMA MARRIS
Recent studies shed light on the key question of whether certain species, including slow-moving amphibians, can move swiftly enough to new territories as their old habitats warm. The challenges are formidable, especially if human-caused warming continues at such a rapid rate. READ MORE

27 Oct 2011

Killing Wolves: A Product of Alberta’s Big Oil and Gas Boom

by ED STRUZIK
The development of the tar sands and other oil and gas fields in Alberta has carved up the Canadian province's boreal forest, threatening herds of woodland caribou. But rather than protect caribou habitat, officials have taken a controversial step: the large-scale killing of the wolves that prey on the caribou. READ MORE

24 Oct 2011

A Rise in Fungal Diseases is Taking Growing Toll on Wildlife

by MICHELLE NIJHUIS
In an increasingly interconnected world, fungal diseases are spreading at an alarming rate and have led to deadly outbreaks in amphibian, bat, and bee populations. And in the last decade, researchers note, some of the most virulent strains have infected people. READ MORE

10 Oct 2011

Can Wildlife Corridors Heal Fragmented Landscapes?

by JIM ROBBINS
Conservationists have long called for creating ecological corridors that would enable large mammals and other wildlife to roam more freely across an increasingly developed planet. But now scientists are taking a closer look at just how well these corridors are working and what role they might play in a warming world. READ MORE

15 Sep 2011

The Crucial Role of Predators: A New Perspective on Ecology

by CAROLINE FRASER
Scientists have recently begun to understand the vital role played by top predators in ecosystems and the profound impacts that occur when those predators are wiped out. Now, researchers are citing new evidence that shows the importance of lions, wolves, sharks, and other creatures at the top of the food chain. READ MORE

12 Sep 2011

A Huge Oil Palm Plantation Puts African Rainforest at Risk

by RHETT BUTLER AND JEREMY HANCE
As global agricultural companies turn to Africa, a U.S. firm is planning a massive oil palm plantation in Cameroon that it says will benefit local villagers. But critics argue that the project would destroy some of the key remaining forests in the West African nation and threaten species-rich reserves. READ MORE

06 Sep 2011

In Berlin, Bringing Bees Back to the Heart of the City

by CHRISTIAN SCHWäGERL
In Germany’s capital — and in cities as diverse as Hong Kong and Chicago — raising bees on rooftops and in small gardens has become increasingly popular, as urban beekeepers find they can reconnect with nature and maybe even make a profit. READ MORE

29 Aug 2011

Climate Relicts: Seeking Clues On How Some Species Survive

by CARL ZIMMER
In pockets ranging from mountain peaks to bogs, scientists are discovering plants and animals that survived previous eras of climate change. Now, conservation biologists say, these climate “relicts” could shed light on how some species may hang on in the coming centuries. READ MORE

22 Aug 2011

The Long Strange Journey Of Earth’s Traveling Microbes

by FRED PEARCE
Airborne microbes can travel thousands of miles and high into the stratosphere. Now scientists are beginning to understand the possible role of these microbes — such as bacteria, fungal spores, and tiny algae — in creating clouds, causing rain, spreading disease, and even changing climate. READ MORE

21 Jul 2011

On Lake Taihu, China Moves To Battle Massive Algae Blooms

by RICHARD STONE
For two decades, the once-scenic Lake Taihu in eastern China has been choked with devastating algae blooms that have threatened drinking water for millions. Now, in a move that could provide lessons for other huge lakes worldwide, China is taking steps to restore Taihu’s ecological balance. READ MORE

16 Jun 2011

The Unfulfilled Promise of the World’s Marine Protected Areas

by BRUCE BARCOTT
Biologists and conservationists maintain that establishing marine reserves — areas where fishing is off-limits or severely restricted — offers the best hope for recovery for our overstressed oceans. So why is such a small area of the world's oceans protected? READ MORE

14 Jun 2011

In Brazil, Palm Oil Plantations Could Help Preserve the Amazon

by RHETT BUTLER
In recent years, palm oil development in Malaysia and Indonesia has devastated tropical forests there. With Brazil on the verge of its own palm oil boom, can sustainable cultivation of the crop actually help save the rainforest, rather than hastening its destruction? READ MORE

08 Jun 2011

Using the Power of the Web To Protect Africa’s Wildlife

by CHRISTINA M. RUSSO
Paula Kahumbu runs a conservation organization with a distinctly 21st-century mission: Posting field blogs from conservationists to attract global support for wildlife protection. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Kahumbu talks about her group’s triumphs and struggles as it battles to preserve Africa’s magnificent animals. READ MORE

02 May 2011

The World’s Tropical Forests Are Already Feeling the Heat

by WILLIAM LAURANCE
Much attention has been paid to how global warming is affecting the world’s polar regions and glaciers. But a leading authority on tropical forests warns that rising temperatures could have an equally profound impact on rainforests and are already taking a toll on some tropical species. READ MORE

14 Apr 2011

The Cerrado: Brazil’s Other Biodiverse Region Loses Ground

by FRED PEARCE
While Brazil touts its efforts to slow destruction of the Amazon, another biodiverse region of the country is being cleared for large-scale farming. But unlike the heralded rainforest it borders, the loss of the cerrado and its rich tropical savanna so far has failed to attract much notice. READ MORE

05 Apr 2011

A Scientist Extols the Value Of Forests Shaped by Humans

by JOHN CAREY
Political ecologist Susanna Hecht has incurred the wrath of some conservationists by arguing that the notion of the primeval forest is largely a myth and that disturbed forests play a vital ecological function. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she makes the case for a “new rurality” that places less emphasis on protected forests and more on the areas where people live. READ MORE

31 Mar 2011

As Larger Animals Decline, Forests Feel Their Absence

by SHARON LEVY
With giant tortoises, elephants, and other fruit-eating animals disappearing from many of the world’s tropical woodlands, forests are suffering from the loss of a key function performed by these creatures: the dispersal of tree seeds. But a new experiment shows that introduced species may be able to fulfill this vital ecological role. READ MORE

24 Mar 2011

In Aeolus Cave, A Search for the Vanishing Bats of the Northeast

by ELIZABETH KOLBERT
When wildlife biologists ventured into a Vermont cave this month, they found disturbing evidence that white-nose syndrome was continuing to take its toll on once-abundant bat populations. But the question remains: What can be done to halt the spread of this still-mysterious ailment? READ MORE

07 Mar 2011

Agribusiness Boom Threatens Key African Wildlife Migration

by FRED PEARCE
The Ethiopian region of Gambella is home to Africa’s second-largest mammal migration, with more than a million endangered antelope and other animals moving through its grasslands. But the government has now leased vast tracts to foreign agribusinesses who are planning huge farms on land designated a national park. READ MORE

03 Mar 2011

Deep-Sea Mining is Coming: Assessing the Potential Impacts

by ERICA WESTLY
Numerous companies are moving ahead rapidly with plans to mine copper, gold, and other minerals near hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. But in an interview with Yale Environment 360, marine biologist Cindy Lee Van Dover warns that without environmental safeguards the unique ecosystems of deep-sea vents could be severely damaged. READ MORE

24 Feb 2011

Alien Species Reconsidered: Finding a Value in Non-Natives

by CARL ZIMMER
One of the tenets of conservation management holds that alien species are ecologically harmful. But a new study is pointing to research that demonstrates that some non-native plants and animals can have beneficial impacts. READ MORE

22 Feb 2011

How Fisheries Can Gain From The Lessons of Sustainable Food

by JOHN WALDMAN
As agriculture and energy production have made strides toward becoming more sustainable, the world’s fisheries have lagged behind. But restoring our beleaguered oceans to health will require an emphasis on diversification and conservation — and a more sensible mix of fishing practices. READ MORE

31 Jan 2011

In Novel Approach to Fisheries, Fishermen Manage the Catch

by BRUCE BARCOTT
An increasingly productive way of restoring fisheries is based on the counter-intuitive concept of allowing fishermen to take charge of their own catch. But the success of this growing movement depends heavily on a strong leader who will look out not only for the fishermen, but for the resource itself. READ MORE

19 Jan 2011

A Fierce Advocate for Grizzlies Sees Warning Signs for the Bear

Doug Peacock has been tireless defender of the Yellowstone grizzly for decades, but he believes the bear may now be facing its toughest threat yet. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Peacock talks about the insect infestation that is destroying a key food source for grizzlies and recalls some of his closest encounters with the bears. READ MORE

13 Jan 2011

Massive Outbreak of Jellyfish Could Spell Trouble for Fisheries

by RICHARD STONE
The world’s oceans have been experiencing enormous blooms of jellyfish, apparently caused by overfishing, declining water quality, and rising sea temperatures. Now, scientists are trying to determine if these outbreaks could represent a “new normal” in which jellyfish increasingly supplant fish. READ MORE

27 Dec 2010

Indonesia’s Corruption Legacy Clouds a Forest Protection Plan

by RHETT BUTLER
Norway and other nations have vowed to invest billions of dollars to help preserve Indonesia’s remaining tropical forests. But can foreign involvement stem the tide of graft and uncontrolled logging that has steadily decimated one of the world’s largest areas of rainforest? READ MORE

17 Nov 2010

As Shark Slaughter Continues, A Defender Targets Fin Trade

As the economies of China and other Asian nations have boomed, demand for shark fins — a prized delicacy — has soared, leading to severe overfishing of many shark species. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, shark conservationist Sonja Fordham talks about the battle to save one of the world’s most magnificent fish. READ MORE

15 Nov 2010

With Tigers Near Extinction, A Last-Ditch Strategy Emerges

by CAROLINE FRASER
In the past century, populations of wild tigers have plummeted from 100,000 to 3,500. Now the World Bank and conservationists have launched an eleventh-hour effort to save this great predator, focusing on reining in the black market for tiger parts and ending the destruction of tiger habitat. READ MORE

04 Nov 2010

In War-Scarred Landscape, Vietnam Replants Its Forests

by MIKE IVES
With large swaths of forest destroyed by wartime defoliants, and even larger areas lost to post-war logging, Vietnam has set an ambitious goal for regenerating its woodlands. But proponents of reintroducing native tree species face resistance from a timber industry that favors fast-growing exotics like acacia. READ MORE

01 Nov 2010

Hatch-22: The Problem with The Pacific Salmon Resurgence

by BRUCE BARCOTT
The number of salmon in the Pacific Ocean is twice what it was 50 years ago. But there is a downside to this bounty, as growing numbers of hatchery-produced salmon are flooding the Pacific and making it hard for threatened wild salmon species to find enough food to survive. READ MORE

27 Sep 2010

What Are Species Worth? Putting a Price on Biodiversity

by RICHARD CONNIFF
When officials gather for an international summit on biodiversity next month, they might look to remind the world why species matter to humans: for producing oxygen, finding new drugs, making agricultural crops more productive, and something far less tangible — a sense of wonder. READ MORE

23 Sep 2010

A Troubling Decline in the Caribou Herds of the Arctic

by ED STRUZIK
Across the Far North, populations of caribou — an indispensable source of food and clothing for indigenous people — are in steep decline. Scientists point to rising temperatures and a resource-development boom as the prime culprits. READ MORE

20 Sep 2010

New Hope for Pavlovsk Station And Russia’s Rare Plant Reserve

by FRED PEARCE
In the early 20th century, Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov created a preserve outside St. Petersburg that today contains one of the world’s largest collections of rare seeds and crops. Now, scientists and conservationists are waging an international campaign to save the reserve’s fields from being bulldozed for housing development. READ MORE

16 Sep 2010

In Scotland’s Search for Roots, A Push to Restore Wild Lands

by CAROLINE FRASER
As Scotland asserts its identity and its autonomy, environmentalists are working to restore its denuded landscape – planting native forests, creating wildlife corridors, and reintroducing species that were wiped out centuries ago. READ MORE

02 Sep 2010

A Steady, Steep Decline for The Lowly, Uncharismatic Eel

by JAMES PROSEK
The freshwater eel, which spawns in the middle of the ocean, was once abundant in much of the world. But the proliferation of dams, coastal development, and overfishing have drastically reduced eel populations, with few defenders coming to the aid of these fascinating — though still not fully understood — creatures. READ MORE

05 Aug 2010

A Looming Oxygen Crisis and Its Impact on World’s Oceans

by CARL ZIMMER
As warming intensifies, scientists warn, the oxygen content of oceans across the planet could be more and more diminished, with serious consequences for the future of fish and other sea life. READ MORE

22 Jul 2010

Enlisting Endangered Species As a Tool to Combat Warming

by TODD WOODY
Environmentalists in the U.S. are increasingly trying to use the Endangered Species Act to ease the impact of global warming on numerous animals and plants, including the American pika. The goal is not only to protect the habitat of at-risk species but also to force reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. READ MORE

08 Jul 2010

For Hudson Bay Polar Bears, The End is Already in Sight

The polar bear has long been a symbol of the damage wrought by global warming, but now biologist Andrew Derocher and his colleagues have calculated how long one southerly population can hold out. Their answer? No more than a few decades, as the bears’ decline closely tracks that of the Arctic’s disappearing sea ice. READ MORE

01 Jul 2010

As Madagascar is Plundered, A Staunch Defender Fights Back

by STEVEN KOTLER
Primatologist Patricia Wright has spent the past 25 years studying — and protecting — Madagascar’s rich yet highly threatened biodiversity. Now, as many of the island’s remaining forests are being felled in the wake of a 2009 coup, Wright describes how she is helping organize the local residents and international conservation organizations to fight back. READ MORE

06 May 2010

Under Threat in the Gulf, A Refuge Created by Roosevelt

by DOUGLAS BRINKLEY
Among the natural treasures at risk from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, created by Theodore Roosevelt to halt a grave threat to birds in his era — the lucrative trade in plumage. Now, oil from the BP spill is starting to wash up on beaches where Roosevelt once walked. READ MORE

15 Apr 2010

As Pharmaceutical Use Soars, Drugs Taint Water and Wildlife

by SONIA SHAH
With nearly $800 billion in drugs sold worldwide, pharmaceuticals are increasingly being released into the environment. The “green pharmacy” movement seeks to reduce the ecological impact of these drugs, which have caused mass bird die-offs and spawned antibiotic-resistant pathogens. READ MORE

08 Apr 2010

The Natural World Vanishes: How Species Cease To Matter

by JOHN WALDMAN
Once, on both sides of the Atlantic, fish such as salmon, eels, and, shad were abundant and played an important role in society, feeding millions and providing a livelihood for tens of thousands. But as these fish have steadily dwindled, humans have lost sight of their significance, with each generation accepting a diminished environment as the new norm. READ MORE

15 Mar 2010

What’s Killing the Great Forests of the American West?

by JIM ROBBINS
Across western North America, huge tracts of forest are dying off at an extraordinary rate, mostly because of outbreaks of insects. Scientists are now seeing such forest die-offs around the world and are linking them to changes in climate.   READ MORE

04 Mar 2010

After Two Decades of Delay, A Chance to Save Bluefin Tuna

by CARL SAFINA
The obscenely profitable market for bluefin tuna in Japan has led to years of overfishing and left the world’s bluefin population badly depleted. A ban on the bluefin trade, if adopted at international talks this month, would go a long way toward giving this magnificent fish a chance to recover. READ MORE

17 Feb 2010

A New Strategy for Saving The World’s Wild Big Cats

Populations of many of the world’s wild cats are plummeting, with the number of tigers falling to roughly 3,200. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Alan Rabinowitz, a leading wild cat biologist, lays out a vision of how populations of these magnificent creatures can be brought back from the brink. READ MORE

25 Jan 2010

Network Theory: A Key to Unraveling How Nature Works

by CARL ZIMMER
In the last two decades, network theory has emerged as a way of making sense of everything from the World Wide Web to the human brain. Now, as ecologists have begun applying this theory to ecosystems, they are gaining insights into how species are interconnected and how to foster biodiversity. READ MORE

19 Jan 2010

Why Africa’s National Parks Are Failing to Save Wildlife

by FRED PEARCE
The traditional parks model of closing off areas and keeping people out simply may not work in Africa, where human demands on the land are great. Instead, what’s needed is an approach that finds ways to enable people and animals to co-exist. READ MORE

07 Jan 2010

Behind Mass Die-Offs, Pesticides Lurk as Culprit

by SONIA SHAH
In the past dozen years, three new diseases have decimated populations of amphibians, honeybees, and — most recently — bats. Increasingly, scientists suspect that low-level exposure to pesticides could be contributing to this rash of epidemics. READ MORE

04 Jan 2010

Madagascar’s Political Chaos Threatens Conservation Gains

by RHETT BUTLER
Since the government's collapse after a coup last March, Madagascar's rainforests have been plundered for their precious wood and unique wildlife. But now there are a few encouraging signs, as officials promise a crackdown on illegal logging and ecotourists begin to return to the island. READ MORE

19 Nov 2009

Courting Controversy with a New View on Exotic Species

by GREG BREINING
A number of biologists are challenging the long-held orthodoxy that alien species are inherently bad. In their contrarian view, many introduced species have proven valuable and useful and have increased the diversity and resiliency of native ecosystems. READ MORE

29 Oct 2009

In Japan’s Managed Landscape, a Struggle to Save the Bears

by WINIFRED BIRD
Although it is a heavily urbanized nation, fully two-thirds of Japan remains woodlands. Yet many of the forests are timber plantations inhospitable to wildlife, especially black bears, which are struggling to survive in one of the most densely populated countries on Earth. READ MORE

15 Oct 2009

The Spread of New Diseases and the Climate Connection

by SONIA SHAH
As humans increasingly encroach on forested lands and as temperatures rise, the transmission of disease from animals and insects to people is growing. Now a new field, known as “conservation medicine,” is exploring how ecosystem disturbance and changing interactions between wildlife and humans can lead to the spread of new pathogens. READ MORE

27 Aug 2009

The Growing Specter of Africa Without Wildlife

by RICHARD CONNIFF
Recent studies show that wildlife in some African nations is declining even in national parks, as poaching increases and human settlements hem in habitat. With the continent expected to add more than a billion people by 2050, do these trends portend an Africa devoid of wild animals? READ MORE

10 Aug 2009

Controlling the Ranching Boom that Threatens the Amazon

by RHETT BUTLER
Clearing land for cattle is responsible for 80 percent of rainforest loss in the Brazilian Amazon. But with Amazon ranching now a multi-billion dollar business, corporate buyers of beef and leather, including Wal-Mart, are starting to demand that the destruction of the forest be halted. READ MORE

03 Aug 2009

First Comes Global Warming, Then an Evolutionary Explosion

by CARL ZIMMER
In a matter of years or decades, researchers believe, animals and plants already are adapting to life in a warmer world. Some species will be unable to change quickly enough and will go extinct, but others will evolve, as natural selection enables them to carry on in an altered environment. READ MORE

23 Jul 2009

A Total Ban on Whaling? New Studies May Hold the Key

by FRED PEARCE
As the International Whaling Commission debates whether to ban all whaling or to expand the limited hunts now underway, recent research has convinced some scientists that the world’s largest mammal should never be hunted again. READ MORE

06 Jul 2009

Climate Threat to Polar Bears: Despite Facts, Doubters Remain

by ED STRUZIK
Wildlife biologists and climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that the disappearance of Arctic sea ice will lead to a sharp drop in polar bear populations. But some skeptics remain unconvinced, and they have managed to persuade the Canadian government not to take key steps to protect the animals. READ MORE

25 Jun 2009

With the Clearing of Forests, Baby Orangutans Are Marooned

by RHETT BUTLER
As Borneo's rain forests are razed for oil palm plantations, wildlife centers are taking in more and more orphaned orangutans and preparing them for reintroduction into the wild. But the endangered primates now face a new threat — there is not enough habitat where they can be returned. READ MORE

20 May 2009

Previous Eras of Warming Hold Warnings for Our Age

by CARL ZIMMER
By 2100, the world will probably be hotter than it’s been in 3 million years. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, paleoecologist Anthony D. Barnosky describes the unprecedented challenges that many species will face in this era of intensified warming.audio READ MORE

20 Apr 2009

As Climate Warms, Species May Need to Migrate or Perish

by CARL ZIMMER
With global warming pushing some animals and plants to the brink of extinction, conservation biologists are now saying that the only way to save some species may be to move them. READ MORE

26 Mar 2009

Satellites and Google Earth Prove Potent Conservation Tool

by RHETT BUTLER
Armed with vivid images from space and remote sensing data, scientists, environmentalists, and armchair conservationists are now tracking threats to the planet and making the information available to anyone with an Internet connection. READ MORE

24 Mar 2009

Twenty Years Later, Impacts of the Exxon Valdez Linger

by DOUG STRUCK
Two decades after the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska’s waters, the Prince William Sound, its fishermen, and its wildlife have still not fully recovered. READ MORE

19 Mar 2009

With Temperatures Rising, Here Comes ‘Global Weirding’

by JOHN WALDMAN
They’re calling it “global weirding” – the way in which rising temperatures are causing species to change their ranges, the timing of their migrations, and the way they interact with other living things. And the implications of all this are only beginning to be understood. READ MORE

09 Mar 2009

Finding New Species: The Golden Age of Discovery

by BRUCE STUTZ
Aided by new access to remote regions, researchers have been discovering new species at a record pace — 16,969 in 2006 alone. The challenge now is to preserve threatened ecosystems before these species, and others yet unknown, are lost. READ MORE

26 Feb 2009

Laos Emerges as Key Source in Asia’s Illicit Wildlife Trade

by RHETT BUTLER
Long an isolated land with abundant forests and biodiversity, Laos is rapidly developing as China and other Asian nations exploit its resources. One of the first casualties has been the wildlife, now being rapidly depleted by a thriving black-market trade. READ MORE

19 Jan 2009

The Cost of the Biofuel Boom: Destroying Indonesia’s Forests

by TOM KNUDSON
The clearing of Indonesia’s rain forest for palm oil plantations is having profound effects – threatening endangered species, upending the lives of indigenous people, and releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. READ MORE

11 Dec 2008

As Rain Forests Disappear, A Market Solution Emerges

by RHETT BUTLER
Despite the creation of protected areas in the Amazon and other tropical regions, rain forests worldwide are still being destroyed for a simple reason: They are worth more cut down than standing. But with deforestation now a leading driver of global warming, a movement is growing to pay nations and local people to keep their rain forests intact. READ MORE

08 Dec 2008

Regulators Are Pushing Bluefin Tuna to the Brink

by CARL SAFINA
The international commission charged with protecting the giant bluefin tuna is once again failing to do its job. Its recent decision to ignore scientists’ recommendations for reducing catch limits may spell doom for this magnificent – and endangered – fish. READ MORE

16 Oct 2008

What’s Killing the Tasmanian Devil?

by DAVID QUAMMEN
Scientists have been trying to identify the cause of a cancer epidemic that is wiping out Australia’s Tasmanian devils. Now new research points to an alarming conclusion: because of the species’ low genetic diversity, the cancer is contagious and is spreading from one devil to another. READ MORE

02 Oct 2008

A Corporate Approach to Rescuing the World’s Fisheries

by NICHOLAS DAY
The commitment by Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and other major companies to buy only sustainably-caught seafood is an encouraging sign in an otherwise bleak global fisheries picture. After decades of government inaction and ineffective consumer campaigns, corporate pressure may finally be starting to turn the tide on reckless overfishing. READ MORE

22 Sep 2008

Saving the Seeds of the Next Green Revolution

by FRED PEARCE
With food prices skyrocketing and climate change looming, the world needs a green revolution like the one a generation ago. But many valuable seed varieties have been lost – and scientists now are scrambling to protect those that remain before they vanish down the genetic drain. READ MORE

08 Sep 2008

Alaska’s Pebble Mine: Fish Versus Gold

by BILL SHERWONIT
With the support of Gov. Sarah Palin, mining interests have defeated an Alaska ballot measure that could have blocked a huge proposed mining project. Now, plans are moving forward to exploit the massive gold and copper deposit at Bristol Bay, home of one of the world’s greatest salmon runs. READ MORE

22 Jun 2008

As Energy Prices Rise, the Pressure to Drill Builds

by EUGENE LINDEN
President Bush is urging Congress to open the U.S. coasts and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. But America must ultimately wean itself off fossil fuels. The question is whether it makes the transition now — or waits until every last one of its unspoiled places has been drilled. READ MORE

19 Jun 2008

Global Commodities Boom Fuels New Assault on Amazon

by RHETT BUTLER
With soaring prices for agricultural goods and new demand for biofuels, the clearing of the world's largest rain forest has accelerated dramatically. Unless forceful measures are taken, half of the Brazilian Amazon could be cut, burned or dried out within 20 years. READ MORE

13 Jun 2008

Biodiversity in the Balance

by CARL ZIMMER
Paleontologists and geologists are looking to the ancient past for clues about whether global warming will result in mass extinctions. What they're finding is not encouraging. READ MORE

03 Jun 2008

Carbon’s Burden on the World’s Oceans

by CARL SAFINA AND MARAH J. HARDT
The burgeoning amount of carbon dioxide in oceans is affecting a lot more than coral reefs. It is also damaging marine life and, most ominously, threatening the future survival of marine populations. READ MORE

03 Jun 2008

Russia’s Lake Baikal: Preserving a Natural Treasure

by PETER THOMSON
The world's greatest lake, holding 20 percent of the planet's surface fresh water, has long remained one of the most pristine places on earth. Now, as Russia's economy booms and its climate warms, the Siberian lake faces new threats. READ MORE

03 Jun 2008

DNA Technology: Discovering New Species

by JON R. LUOMA
By taking bits of a single gene, scientists are using DNA barcoding to identify new species. If a portable hand-held scanning device can be developed, one ecologist says, it could “do for biodiversity what the printing press did for literacy.” READ MORE

e360 digest

04 Dec 2014: Arabian Sea Whales Are Earth's Most Isolated and Endangered Population

24 Nov 2014: Record Number of Rhinos Poached In South Africa, Government Says

13 Nov 2014: Interview: Bringing Civility and Diversity to Conservation Debate

07 Nov 2014: Organized Chinese Crime Behind Tanzania's Elephant Slaughter, Report Says

04 Nov 2014: Interview: Saving World’s Oceans Begins With Coastal Communities

31 Oct 2014: Giant Galapagos Tortoises Are Making a Strong Comeback, Researchers Say

29 Oct 2014: Weather and Climate Key in Weights of Penguin Chicks, Researchers Say

23 Oct 2014: Drones Can Help Map Spread Of Infectious Diseases, Researchers Say

22 Oct 2014: In East Coast Marshes, Goats Take On a Notorious Invader

21 Oct 2014: Desert and Mediterranean Plants More Resistant to Drought than Expected


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