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  • On Sumatra coast, mangrove clearing sparks scrutiny of loophole
    on January 30, 2023 at 2:32 am

    - Last year, a 100-hectare patch of mangrove trees in eastern Sumatra was cleared to make way for an oil palm plantation.- Residents say small landowners’ claims were packaged together to form a plantation, averting the need for environmental checks or permits required of a corporate concession.- Mangrove restoration is a pillar of Indonesia’s climate change agenda, though the clearing of some intact forests has persisted.

  • Logging threats loom over tree kangaroo refuge in Papua New Guinea
    on January 25, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    - Logging is threatening the Torricelli Mountains, a biodiversity-rich forested range in Papua New Guinea known for its tree kangaroos and other threatened species of birds and mammals.- Community conservation efforts have helped to increase the numbers of tree kangaroos, once nearly pushed to extinction by hunting and logging, in conjunction with development projects for the people of the Torricellis.- The Tenkile Conservation Alliance, a Papua New Guinean NGO, has led an effort to protect the area, but the government has yet to officially designate what would be the Torricelli Mountain Range Conservation Area.- Satellite imagery shows the loss of forest and an increase in roadbuilding over the past two years. And residents of the Torricellis say that representatives of logging companies have been trying to secure permission to log the region’s forests.

  • Podcast: Botanists are disappearing at a critical time
    on January 24, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    - The expansive field of botany could be facing a dearth of skilled experts due to a growing lack of awareness of plants, interest in studying them, and fewer educational opportunities to do so.- Humans depend upon plants for basic survival needs, such as food, oxygen, and daily household products, but fewer students are receiving enough instruction to enable them to do much beyond basic identification.- This lack of educational opportunities to study plants – and a general lack of interest in them – is leading to less ‘plant awareness’ and could endanger society’s ability to address existential problems like biodiversity loss and even climate change.- The University of Leeds’s Sebastian Stroud joins the Mongabay Newscast to talk about his research highlighting this increasing lack of plant literacy, the consequences of it, and what can be done to turn it around.

  • Australian niobium mining project instills 16 years of anxiety for Malawi communities
    on January 18, 2023 at 10:59 am

    - In 2006, Australian mining firm Globe Metals & Mining began exploring for rare earth metals niobium and tantalum in Malawi’s Kanyika hills, confirming in 2012 its intention to begin commercial mining.- The metals will be used in the manufacture of high-tech equipment like electric vehicle batteries and gas and wind turbines.- For villagers being relocated for the mine, these high-tech goods hold little appeal when compared with the loss of their land, and with the 16 years they have been living in limbo while awaiting relocation.

  • At a rubber plantation in Liberia, history repeats in a fight over land
    on January 17, 2023 at 10:03 am

    - Last year, Mongabay visited the Salala Rubber Corporation in Liberia, which has been accused of sexually abusing women working on its plantation and grabbing community land.- Salala is owned by Socfin, the French-Belgian agribusiness giant that operates rubber and palm oil plantations across West and Central Africa.- In 2008, Salala received a $10 million loan from the International Finance Corporation, which advocates say was used to clear community land.- In 2019, 22 communities in and around Salala’s plantation filed a formal complaint with the IFC, but the investigation has dragged on for years.

  • Poisoned by pesticides: Health crisis deepens in Brazil’s Indigenous communities
    on January 16, 2023 at 8:57 pm

    - A recent report reveals communities in Brazil’s Mato Grosso region are contaminated by the agriculture industry’s increasing use of pesticides. About 88% of the plants collected, including medicinal herbs and fruits, on Indigenous lands have pesticide residue.- Samples discovered high levels of pesticides in ecosystems and waters far from crop fields, including carbofuran — a highly toxic substance which is banned in Brazil, Europe and the U.S.- Experts blame the lack of control by government officials for widespread environmental damage and an escalating health crisis among Indigenous populations, as communities report growing numbers of respiratory problems, acute poisonings and cancers.- A spokesperson for the biggest agrochemical companies operating in Brazil disputes the findings of the report and numbers of people far from crop regions affected by pesticide usage.

  • For Indigenous Brazilians, capital attack was ‘scenario of war’ akin to deforestation
    on January 13, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    - The morning after protesters attacked government buildings in Brazil’s capital, Mongabay spoke with Indigenous Congresswoman Célia Xakriabá, who compared the act of vandalism to forest destruction: “This is this scenario of war when you deforest.”- * Célia Xakriabá had just returned from seeing the damage to the National Congress building: “When they [the rioters] were there also in the Green Room, it made me remember that it is this scenario of war when the repossession takes place in the [Indigenous] territory.”- One of the immediate effects of the attack was the temporary suspension of the official inauguration of longtime activist Sonia Guajajara as Brazil’s first minister of Indigenous peoples and Anielle Franco as minister for racial equality.- The two women were finally sworn in on Jan. 11 at the Presidential Palace, despite the missing glass on the walls, the destroyed gallery of photos of former presidents, and a swath of destruction throughout the building. “[This] is the most legitimate symbol of this secular Black and Indigenous resistance in Brazil!” Sonia Guajajara said.

  • Deforestation ‘out of control’ in reserve in Brazil’s cattle capital
    on January 11, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    - Forest destruction has ravaged Triunfo do Xingu, a reserve earmarked for sustainable use that has nonetheless become one of the most deforested slices of the Brazilian Amazon.- Fires burned swaths of the reserve in recent months and forest clearing has surged, with satellite images showing even the most remote remnants of old-growth rainforest were whittled away last year.- Advocates say the forest is mainly giving way to cattle pasture, although illegal mining and land grabbing are gaining ground.- The destruction, facilitated by lax environmental regulation, is placing pressure on nearby protected areas and undermining agroforestry efforts in Triunfo do Xingu, advocates say.

  • Podcast: At COP 15, biodiversity finance, Indigenous rights, and corporate influence
    on January 11, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    - Mongabay editor Latoya Abulu joins the Mongabay Newscast to discuss her visit to the United Nations conference on biodiversity in Montreal that occurred in December 2022.- Latoya shares the details on the landmark Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework, which nearly 200 nations agreed to, toward halting and reversing global biodiversity loss by 2030.- While the historic agreement has been lauded as a victory, particularly for its inclusion of the acknowledgment of Indigenous rights, biodiversity experts, advocates and Indigenous leaders alike have reservations.- Latoya speaks about all this as well as corporate influence over the final text, such as the inclusion of “biodiversity credits,” which also raise some concerns.

  • From declining deforestation to quitting coal, Indonesia marks a pivotal 2022
    on December 30, 2022 at 2:00 am

    - 2022 saw a continued decline in deforestation in Indonesia, as well as financing deals for forest conservation and phasing out fossil fuels, and a scramble to keep up with changing EU timber regulations.- The year also saw the passage of controversial amendments to Indonesia’s criminal code, friction between the government and researchers, and increasing concerns about the environmental cost of the country’s nickel boom for electric vehicle batteries.- Here are some of the top environment stories and trends of 2022 from one of the world’s most important tropical forest countries.