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Tag archives for deforestation

The Forgotten Elephants of the Leuser Ecosystem

The future of the critically endangered Sumatran elephant hangs on a thread. Palm oil plantations have converted 90 percent of prime Sumatran elephant habitat to a monoculture desert. The lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem are the world’s best remaining habitat for the Sumatran elephant yet they are being bulldozed, often illegally, for palm oil everyday.

World on Path to Miss 2C Target

Plans submitted by world’s top polluters won’t limit global warming to the 2-degree Celsius threshold recommended by the United Nations, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a tool developed by a consortium of four European research organizations. In a report released last week at climate talks in Bonn ahead of the U.N. climate conference…

Protecting Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Conserving Biodiversity

By Lilian Painter

On August 9 the world will commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year the focus is on health and wellbeing. That topic engages me particularly as a conservationist working in the Amazon. The Bolivia program of WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has shown that the interests of indigenous peoples and conservation are not only compatible but also dependent on each other.

The Foundations of our Forests

Louise Egerton-Warburton, Ph.D. Conservation Scientist, Soil and Microbial Ecology, Chicago Botanic Garden Characterized by warm temperatures, high rainfall and a 365-day growing season, tropical rainforests are an unparalleled display of biodiversity. These impressive and unique ecosystems provide resources we need – from shelter to medicines to food – while releasing oxygen, cycling and filtering water, and…

Orangutan Rescue in the Land of the Chainsaw

As Sumatra’s rainforests get bulldozed to make way for oil palm plantations, large mammals like the Sumatran Orangutan get trapped in ever decreasing pockets of forest, from which they need to be rescued for their health and safety.

Climate Hopelessness is a Work of Fiction

Fiction writer Jonathan Franzen’s latest essay for The New Yorker on the hopelessness of climate change opens with a complaint about new football stadium being built for the Minnesota Vikings. The stadium will be built with glass walls that pose a lethal hazard to the thousands of birds flying through the area. But instead of…

Lessons from São Paulo’s Water Shortage

It’s getting harder and harder to separate nature’s role in disasters from our own, and the dire water predicament confronting São Paulo, Brazil, is no exception. But as with the ongoing drought in California, there are important lessons from São Paulo’s grim situation that can help us prepare for the “new normal” that’s unfolding. It’s…

Poachers of Pangolins

The pangolin is the world’s most highly-traded mammal, with more than a million being poached from the wild over the last decade, but most people are not aware such an animal even exists. iLCP Fellow Paul Hilton urges us to pay attention to the decimation of the pangolin, before it is too late.

Indonesia’s Indigenous Communities Use Ecotourism To Secure the Rights to their Land

From Chandra Kirana in Bogor, Indonesia. Six Indigenous communities have launched an ecotourism initiative that would show off their ancestral forests in a bid to develop alternate economic models that local government in Indonesia could embrace, moving away from extractive industries such as mining and palm oil plantations. The initiative, called GreenIndonesia, would ultimately help…

Under-the-Radar Environmental Stories for 2015: The Furtive Five

Between crazy weather, international events, and global agreements, 2014 was a year in which climate change took center stage. Whether it was a catastrophic drought in California, accelerated ice melting in Antarctica, or even record-breaking heat disrupting the Australian Open, the impacts of climate change are being felt around the world—and people are starting to…

Feeding Conservation: An African Vision for Restoring Biodiversity

By Dale Lewis

Since 2003, the non-profit company Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) has been working in Zambia to help poor farmers improve their skills, grow surpluses, and receive above-market prices for their produce in exchange for meeting conservation targets. In managing the production and sale of these nutritious and chemical-free products, COMACO has committed itself to passing on above-market-price profits to farmers in the form of raw materials if they commit to conservation.

Zookeeper Bando Gen on the shifting relationship between humans and animals

When a shortage of work in the agricultural sector prompted newly qualified veterinarian Bando Gen to accept a job offer at Hokkaido’s Asahiyama Zoo the situation did not look promising. Zoos in Ueno and Yokohama had bought in exotic animals such as sea otters and koalas but Japan’s northernmost zoo, with its dilapidated enclosures and mainly domestic…

Conservationists Playing with Fire

By Julie Kunen

For millennia, tropical civilizations cultivated their crops through a practice known as slash and burn agriculture. In this practice, vegetation is cut down and burned to clear land and improve the soil with the resulting organic matter and nutrients. Fire also kills or drives away pests and encourages the regeneration of grasses in natural pastures. When used over extensive areas in a cycle of planted and fallowed fields, the practice is sustainable. Today, many agricultural communities that lack access to machinery and chemical inputs depend upon fire for their livelihoods, using it to clear and maintain the fertility of agricultural lands and to delimit property boundaries. Yet, fire is also a great danger to humans and there are many risks associated with the use of fire as a land management tool.

You Cannot Save the Climate Without Trees

The People’s Climate March that trumpeted its way through the streets of Manhattan yesterday was led by communities on the front lines of climate change—and Indigenous Peoples were at the forefront of this group.  The tropical forests where they live are not only getting hammered by changing weather patterns, drug traffickers, invasive pests, and massive…

Who Will Save the Last Primary Forests on Earth?

By Brendan Mackey and James Watson

It’s now or never if the world’s surviving primary forests are to be saved. Will the international community act or continue to turn a blind eye to our planet’s key life support systems? Despite their shortcomings, international environmental agreements can provide incentives for national governments and land custodians to turn back the tide of forest destruction. Primary forests, however, remain invisible in forest policy debates and oddly off the radar for most conservation organizations.