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  • Large-scale logging in Cambodia’s Prey Lang linked to politically-connected mining operation
    on May 26, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    - Illegal logging appears to be taking place openly inside a swath of protected forest that authorities in Cambodia have only authorized for a feasibility study for limestone mining.- Locals and conservationists say the wood leaves the concession awarded to KP Cement in the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary and is laundered through sawmills owned by Think Biotech.- It’s not clear why the Cambodian authorities would award a concession in the middle of one of the last remaining swaths of primary forest left in the country, or why they would give it to a company linked to a tycoon with a long history of environmentally destructive activities.- New data from Global Forest Watch show that 2021 was the worst year on record for deforestation in Prey Lang, with more than 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of primary forest lost in what appears to be a trend of increasing destruction.

  • In Sierra Leone, local fishers and foreign trawlers battle for their catch
    on May 24, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    - At wharfs across the Freetown peninsula in Sierra Leone, local fishers say in recent years it’s become harder to get a good catch. They blame foreign trawlers for overexploiting the country’s fish stocks.- Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources says it has systems meant to curb illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, but enforcement remains a challenge.- In 2019, China signed a fisheries agreement with Sierra Leone that includes a promise to build a $55 million harbor, but some fishers say boats owned by its citizens are among the worst offenders.

  • For reef mantas, Indonesia’s Komodo National Park is a ray of hope
    on May 24, 2022 at 10:50 am

    - A new study has found that Komodo National Park in Indonesia has an aggregation of 1,085 reef manta rays, currently classified as a vulnerable species.- Experts say that locations such as Komodo will play an important role in safeguarding the species from extinction.- Manta rays are under pressure from fishing activity, including targeted fishing and bycatch.- However, experts say the species is also impacted by tourism and the changing dynamics of the ocean.

  • Devastated by a typhoon, community foresters in the Philippines find little support
    on May 23, 2022 at 4:43 am

    - The Macatumbalen Community-Based Forest and Coastal Management Association, based in the Philippine province of Palawan, has replanted and managed 1,850 hectares of local forests since 2002.- When Typhoon Rai struck Palawan in December 2021, the community’s forest was devastated, harming not just the ecosystem but also the livelihood of local people, who depend on agroforestry and harvesting of forest products like honey and rattan.- Four months after the typhoon struck, the community organization has been left largely on its own as it attempts to resume restoration and replanting.

  • ‘The promise was a lie’: How Indonesian villagers lost their cut of the palm oil boom
    on May 23, 2022 at 12:00 am

    - An investigation by Mongabay, BBC News and The Gecko Project estimates that Indonesian villagers are losing hundreds of millions of dollars each year because palm oil producers are failing to comply with regulations requiring them to share their plantations with communities.- The “plasma” scheme was intended to lift communities out of poverty. But it has become a major source of unrest across the country, as government interventions fail to compel companies to deliver on their commitments and legal obligations.- Palm oil from companies accused of withholding profits from communities is flowing into the supply chains of major consumer goods firms like Kellogg’s and Johnson & Johnson. Some have pledged to investigate.

  • Researchers compile largest-ever photo database of Amazon wildlife
    on May 20, 2022 at 10:27 am

    - Researchers have compiled more than 154,000 records of camera trap images form the Amazon Rainforest, recording 317 species of birds, mammals and reptiles.- This is the first study to compile and standardize camera trap images from across the Amazon at this scale, and covers Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.- The authors say this camera trap data set opens up opportunities for new studies on forest fragmentation, habitat loss, climate change, and the human-caused loss of animals “in one of the most important and threatened tropical environments in the world.”

  • As biomass burning surges in Japan and South Korea, where will Asia get its wood?
    on May 19, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    - In 2021, Japan and South Korea imported a combined 6 million metric tons of wood pellets for what proponents claim is carbon-neutral energy.- Large subsidies for biomass have led Japan to import massive amounts of wood pellets from Vietnam and Canada; two pellet giants, Drax and Enviva, are now eyeing Japan for growth, even as the country may be cooling to the industry.- South Korea imports most of its pellets from Vietnamese acacia plantations, which environmentalists fear may eventually pressure natural forests; South Korea wants to grow its native production tenfold, including logging areas with high conservation value.- Vietnam may soon follow Japan and South Korea’s path as it phases out coal, and experts fear all this could add massive pressure on Southeast Asian forests, which are already among the most endangered in the world.

  • Podcast: Vandana Shiva on the agroecology solution for the climate, biodiversity crisis and hunger
    on May 18, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    - On this episode we talk about agroecology, which applies ecological principles to agricultural systems and is considered an important strategy for both mitigating and adapting to global climate change as well as a solution to a number of the other ecological crises we’re facing.- Dr. Maywa Montenegro, an assistant professor in the department of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, joins us to discuss agroecology as a science, a practice, and a movement.- We also speak with Dr. Vandana Shiva, whose brand new book synthesizes decades of agroecology research and implementation.- Dr. Shiva shares how agroecology is an effective solution not just to climate change but also to a host of other ecological crises humanity faces, such as water scarcity, land degradation, and biodiversity loss.

  • ‘It’s just a bird’: Online platforms selling lesser-known Indonesian species
    on May 17, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    - Social media and online marketplaces are known to offer up a variety of wildlife, opening new avenues for traffickers.- A recent survey of online trade shows that a lesser-known Indonesian species, the pink-headed fruit dove, is being openly sold on Facebook and online marketplaces.- Experts say the trade in this and other “inconspicuous” species is fueled in part by rising demand overseas, which stimulates interest in collecting them domestically, where they’ve historically not been kept captive.- They call for existing laws to be enforced locally, and for online platforms to do more to address the presence of wildlife traders on their platforms.

  • Indigenous village harvests seeds to slow deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado
    on May 16, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    - Mato Grosso’s Cerrado forest in Brazil is supposed to be protected with set asides when logged for new croplands and pastures. However, farms often get away with protecting less than they’re supposed to.- In the village of Ripá, Indigenous Xavante people make expeditions for harvesting fruit with seeds for replanting forests, helping to repair some of the damage and supplement their income.- Ripá and another two dozen Indigenous communities in Mato Grosso sell their harvest to Rede de Sementes do Xingu (RSX), a wholesaler that, since 2007, has sold or given away enough seeds to replant 74 square kilometers (about 29 square miles) of degraded land.- This story was produced with support from the Pulitzer Center.