Environmental stories from around the web, January 18, 2018

  • There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.
  • Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.
  • If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.
  • Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content.

Tropical forests

Indonesia’s plans to build thousands of kilometers of roads in New Guinea could endanger the island’s rainforests (Yale e360).

Deforestation is dimming the prospects for tourism in a small town in the West African country of Benin (Development and Cooperation).

Scientists caution that the impact of forests on climate change are complex and “uncertain” (Nature News).

Tanzania has a new forest reserve that’s home to elephants but is also threatened by illegal deforestation (The Citizen, Phys.Org).

Researchers are working to plot out the world’s mangrove forests and quantify the “blue carbon” they contain (The Conversation).

An orca calf sighting off the West Coast of the U.S. is a hopeful sign for a threatened killer whale family (The New York Times).

A botanical repository in DRC teems with rare plant specimens (CIFOR Forests News).

The jewelry retailer Tiffany said that it will provide information about where its diamonds come from (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project).

World’s “loneliest frog” gets a potential mate from an expedition in Bolivia (The New York Times).

Other news

A long-in-place strategy to control predators and keep hunters happy in Alaska lacks a scientific foundation, a new study finds (PLOS Biology/EurekAlert).

Observers have now seen two North Atlantic right whale calves off the coast of the U.S. this year (Cape Cod Times).

Climate change is a “huge issue” but not a crisis, according to Trump’s pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (The New York Times).

Physicians are increasingly worried about the adverse health effects of climate change (The Los Angeles Times).

Scientists use signals from refueling ships as a way to track illegal fishing vessels (Hakai).

The drop in enforcement of U.S. pollution laws has caught the attention of the Government Accountability Office (The Hill).

The U.K.’s “blue belt” initiative is aimed at protecting 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) (Business Insider).

Sea turtle and marine mammal numbers have rebounded under the protection of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (PLOS ONE/EurekAlert).

Central Texas is home to three new species of salamander (KUT 90.5).

A receding glacier reveals two new species of fungi to scientists (Science Daily).

Desalination plants, which make fresh water, release a salty slurry that damages local environments (Reuters).

A presidential order in the U.S. could lead to more deforestation in the name of preventing forest fires (The Independent).

The monarch butterfly population in California was down by 86 percent in 2018 (The New York Times).

A new children’s book imagines how the current sixth extinction of life on earth might shape the animals that live thousands of years in the future (The Atlantic).

Banner image of a monarch butterfly via Wikimedia Commons © Derek Ramsey/derekramsey.com (Used with permission). 

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South Africa Today – Environment

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