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Mongabay Newscast

News and inspiration from nature’s frontline, featuring inspiring guests from scientists to authors discussing global environmental issues like climate change, biodiversity, rainforests, wildlife conservation, animal behavior, marine biology and more.
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Sep 15, 2021

We look at some of the biggest news from the recent IUCN World Conservation Congress, like the upgraded conservation status of 4 tuna species, including Atlantic bluefin.

Is it really OK to eat such tuna now, as some media outlets reported? Are bluefin no longer endangered, but a species of 'least concern?' Well, it's complicated.

Mongabay staff writer Elizabeth Claire Alberts was at the event and discusses important news and motions that passed, like Indigenous peoples' role in conservation and a resounding rebuke of deep sea mining, for instance. 

Then, Pew Charitable Trusts’ senior officer for international fisheries Grantly Galland discusses the reassessments of tuna extinction risks released by the IUCN during the event, and he shares why species-level assessments don’t tell us the whole story about tuna populations.

Articles and podcast eps mentioned during the show: 

• ​​”‘Global Indigenous Agenda’ for land rights, conservation launched at IUCN congress” by Ashoka Mukpo 

• ”Podcast: Two tunas and a tale of managed extinction” (episode 118 of the Mongabay Newscast)

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to get access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonprofit media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Atlantic bluefin tuna. Photo by Richard Herrmann/Pew.
 
Please share your thoughts and ideas! submissions@mongabay.com.
Sep 8, 2021

Monocultures of corn and soybeans carpet 75% of the U.S. Midwest, leading to soil erosion, water pollution, and massive greenhouse gas emissions.

However, a new wave of farmers is breaking the monocrop monotony by growing these annuals between long rows of perennial shrubs like American hazelnuts, which keep soils intact while harboring beneficial bugs and sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere.

Hazelnuts are a huge market internationally and have big potential in the U.S. either as a snack or an oilseed, since the fatty acid profile is very similar to olive oil.

Listen to an April 2021 report published at Mongabay.com about this news via this episode of Mongabay Reports, which shares evergreen articles from Mongabay.com, read by host Mike DiGirolamo.

This episode features the popular article, "Nuts about agroforestry in the U.S. Midwest: Can hazelnuts transform farming?"

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Hazelnuts. Photo by George Hodan, CC0 Public Domain

Please share your thoughts! submissions@mongabay.com

Sep 1, 2021

The scientific evidence for what kinds of nature conservation programs actually work is always changing, and the use of such evidence should be standard practice when creating new programs, our two guests on this episode argue.

Hiromi Yamashita & Andrew Bladon with the Conservation Evidence Group join us to discuss their massive new “What Works In Conservation 2021” report, which evaluates scientific evidence for the success of conservation initiatives.

Yamashita shares her work on how traditional and local knowledge benefit conservation initiatives--especially around coastal conservation projects--while Bladon provides a broad overview and details about the newest sections added to their latest report, like the evidence for mammal conservation project successes or failures:

Also discussed is Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series, which looks at the scientific evidence for a number of strategies, from forest certification to marine protected areas and payments for ecosystem services:

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to get access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonprofit media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: NGO staffers are deeply involved in programs aimed at species conservation. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.
 
Please share your thoughts and ideas! submissions@mongabay.com.
Aug 19, 2021

There’s a growing refusal by some to acknowledge the ongoing global extinction crisis being driven by human actions, conservation scientists say.

These views are pushed by many of the same people who also downplay the impacts of climate change, and go against the actual evidence of widespread species population declines and recent extinctions.

Listen to a September 2020 report published at Mongabay.com about this news via this episode of Mongabay Reports, which shares evergreen articles from Mongabay.com, read by host Mike DiGirolamo.

This episode features the popular article, "Biologists warn 'exctinction denial' is the latest anti-science conspiracy theory."

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: The golden lion tamarin is an endangered species native to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Photo via Toronto Zoo.
 
Please share your thoughts! submissions@mongabay.com
Aug 10, 2021

Environmental journalist Cynthia Barnett joins this episode to discuss her fascinating new book, "The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans," about the many ways humans have prized seashells for millennia, using them as money, jewelry, and art, plus how seashells help us examine the challenges marine environments are facing today.

We’re also joined by Mongabay's Philippines-based staff writer Leilani Chavez, who describes the incredible marine biodiversity found in the Philippines' waters (among the best in the world) and why there’s a movement to expand conservation efforts beyond the extensive coral reef systems.

View Leilani's recent report about Philippines’ MPAs and links to related coverage, here:

• With growing pressures, can the Philippines sustain its marine reserves?”

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonprofit media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: A selection of gastropods via Wikimedia Commons.
 
Please share your thoughts and ideas! submissions@mongabay.com.
Jul 28, 2021

Top conservation photographer Ami Vitale rejoins the show to discuss the work of an Indigenous-owned elephant sanctuary in Kenya, where she has shot a wonderful, new, heart-melting film called Shaba. We discuss the Samburu people's inspiring and 'stubborn optimism' for the species, what they are acheiving at Reteti Sanctuary, and new things they're learning about this intriguing, super intelligent, and endangered species.

Then, for this World Elephant Day special, we speak with Duke University researcher John Poulsen about forest elephants of Central/West Africa: why this species is special, how they're key to the health of its rainforest home, and what his research team is learning about their conservation.

Want more? Listen to episode 85 (January 2020) to hear Ami discuss how meeting and photographing the last northern white rhino changed her life, and episode 95 (May 2020) features amazing recordings of forest elephant communication, shared by Elephant Listening Project researcher Ana Verahrami. This episode is our most popular one to date, download-wise.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonprofit media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Orphaned savanna elephant calves recuperate at Reteti Sanctuary before their eventual release, photo courtesy of Ami Vitale.
 
Please share your thoughts and ideas! submissions@mongabay.com.
Jul 22, 2021

Indonesia recently announced exciting news, the sighting of two Javan rhino calves in Ujung Kulon National Park, the last place on Earth where the critically endangered species is found.

The new additions bring the estimated population of the species to 73; conservationists have recorded at least one new calf a year joining the population since 2012.

Listen to a June 2021 report published at Mongabay.com about this news via this episode of Mongabay Reports, which shares evergreen articles from Mongabay.com, read by host Mike DiGirolamo.

This episode features the popular article, "Two new Javan rhino calves spotted in the species’ last holdout."

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: A Javan rhino calf spotted on camera trap in Ujung Kulon National Park on March 27, 2021. Image courtesy of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
 
Please share your thoughts! submissions@mongabay.com
Jul 14, 2021

Often called a panacea, 'tree planting' is a hot topic but it can fail when too little thought goes into it, so the guests on this episode reframe the practice, saying that 'tree growing' ought to be the focus of reforestation programs.

'Right tree, right place, right community” is the approach taken by Trees for Climate Health that guest Erin Axelrod directs, whose approach ensures that the dozens of projects it is implementing currently (and its overall goal to grow over 10 million trees by 2025) are appropriate to the areas, likely to succeed and survive, and benefit local communities. 

We also speak with freelance environmental journalist Mike Tatarski who recently filed a story about Vietnam’s plan to plant a billion trees by 2025. Tatarski tells us about the impetus and goals of this nationwide effort, Vietnam’s long history of supporting tree planting, and more.

Articles discussed:

• ”How to pick a tree-planting project? Mongabay launches transparency tool to help supporters decide

• ”‘Drastic forest development’: Vietnam to plant 1 billion trees — but how?

Look for episode 119 of the Mongabay Newscast to hear our discussion of reforestation trends and issues with Mongabay staff writer Dr. Liz Kimbrough, who helped develop the new Reforestation Directory and app that rates such projects: Reforestation.app.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonprofit media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Girls from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation planting ponderosa pines in South Dakota, image courtesy of Trees, Water, and People.
 
Please share your thoughts and ideas! submissions@mongabay.com.
Jun 30, 2021

During the past year's pandemic and lockdowns, spending time outdoors has been soothing for many--whether found outside our homes, in parks, or via nature documentaries--and in some ways it was a meaningful reset.

Both human health and conservation benefit when we spend time in nature, so today we're discussing reconnection for kids and adults: what we know about its beneficial effects, how a movement to connect with nature is growing globally, and what this means for conservation.

Our first guest is author Richard Louv, who coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ and wrote the 2005 book that introduced the concept, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, in order to facilitate discussion of the human cost of alienation from the natural world. Louv discusses the international movement kicked off by the book, what the latest research says about the connection between nature deficit disorder and a variety of physical and mental ailments, and how the pandemic shifted the public's views on nature. 

We also welcome to the show educator Megan Strauss, co-editor of Mongabay Kids, which provides kids, families, and educators with content that helps raise awareness of environmental issues and fosters an appreciation of plants, wildlife, and wild places. She shares the philosophy behind the site and the great variety of activities available there, plus her point of view on nature connection from her home region of Australia.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonprofit media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Boy and butterfly by Ryan Hagerty via the Creative Commons.
 
Please share your thoughts and ideas! submissions@mongabay.com.
Jun 24, 2021

Wildlife researchers often use motion-sensing cameras, also known as camera traps, to study animals in the wild. However, these are usually positioned at ground level, leaving a diverse world of animals unexamined: those that dwell in the trees above.

Camera traps set in trees in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park captured 35 different mammal species over a 30-day period, including a rare Central African oyan, a small catlike mammal that had not previously been documented there.

Mongabay Reports is a new series that shares evergreen articles like this from Mongabay.com, read by host Mike DiGirolamo. This episode features the popular article, "Camera traps in trees reveal a richness of species in Rwandan park." 

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: A L’hoest’s monkey photographed in the park, which is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Photo courtesy of WCS Rwanda.
 
Please share your thoughts! submissions@mongabay.com
Jun 16, 2021

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the field of bioacoustics,” our guest on this episode says, and she's so right: if you care about wildlife conservation, or really like technology and interesting solutions to big challenges, this episode is for you.

Laurel Symes is assistant director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's bioacoustics lab, which was founded in the 1980s to study whale songs and elephant rumbles, and it just received a massive $24 million gift and changed its name to the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics

The Cornell program is therefore about to expand this field in many ways, from technology development to implementation, so we discuss their plans and the implications with this repeat guest, who previously joined the show to discuss her own fascinating work on the soundscapes of rainforests (episode 86).

Many bioacoustics researchers like her have been featured by this show, so after discussing Laurel's exciting news, we feature some of our most popular acoustic ecology segments: get ready for an absorbing crash course on what people are learning about animal behavior and ecosystem health with these increasingly affordable and ubiquitous listening devices!

If you want to hear any of the episodes featured in full, look up the episode numbers listed here in your podcast app of choice, or click its link to hear it via the Mongabay website:

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonprofit media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Topher White of Rainforest Connection installing a bioacoustics device in the forest canopy. Image by Ben Von Wong.
 
Please share your thoughts and ideas! submissions@mongabay.com.
Jun 3, 2021

The U.S. has been M.I.A. on many environmental issues for the last few years, but the new Biden Administration has been announcing positive policies regularly.

Among the most important is the “America The Beautiful” plan, laying out a vision for conserving 30% of its lands and waters by 2030, making it the latest country to release what’s called a 30×30 plan.

But is it enough? Despite a lack of specifics, many are celebrating renewed American leadership on this front, which can encourage other countries to get aboard the 30x30 bandwagon, in addition to other green policy objectives.

Joining us to discuss is Joe Walston, executive vice president of global conservation for the Wildlife Conservation Society--we talk about how the plan has been received, the most important details of the plan needing to be fleshed out, the important role of Indigenous people and farmers it advocates for, and why the U.S. joining the 30×30 movement could have sweeping global impacts.

Other conservation initiatives are also afoot that aim to make profound changes in the way Americans live on the planet. One is through agricultural solutions to the climate crisis, so we're also joined by science writer Sarah Derouin, who recently covered agroforestry programs in the U.S Midwest and Pennsylvania for Mongabay.

Derouin shares the goals and accomplishments of these programs, the vision of trees becoming integral to farming even in areas dominated by monocultures, and how agroforestry can factor into the U.S. meeting the 30×30 targets.

Articles discussed during this episode:

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: The Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Photo credit: Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.
 
Please share your thoughts! submissions@mongabay.com
May 26, 2021

When it comes to the world’s forests, two commonly asked questions are “How many trees are on Earth?” and “How many are cut down each year?” A study in the journal Nature proposed answers: 3 trillion and 15.3 billion.

Mongabay Reports is a new series that shares evergreen articles like this from Mongabay.com, read by host Mike DiGirolamo. This episode features one of our most read stories of the last several years: "How many trees are cut down every year?" Though it was published in late 2015, the information is quite relevant today. 

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Redwood trees in California, photo by Rhett A. Butler.
 
Please share your thoughts! submissions@mongabay.com
May 20, 2021

On this episode we discuss how newly released data shows deforestation rose in 2020, even while tree planting initiatives took root all around the planet.

Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler joins us to discuss the 2020 deforestation data, how that fits into broader trends affecting the world’s forests, and what good news there is to take from last year’s deforestation numbers.

We also welcome Mongabay staff writer Dr. Liz Kimbrough to the program to discuss our new database of hundreds of reforestation projects from around the world she helped assemble that aims to help donors find the most effective tree-planting initiatives to support.

Find this new Reforestation Directory and app to learn about tree planting projects you might want to study or support at Reforestation.app.

Articles discussed in this episode:

• “Global forest loss increased in 2020” (31 March 2021)
• “A Madagascar-sized area of forest has regrown since 2000” (12 May 2021)
• “Is planting trees as good for the Earth as everyone says?” (13 May 2021)
• “How settlers, scientists, and a women-led industry saved Brazil’s rarest primate” (14 May 2021)
• “How to pick a tree-planting project? Mongabay launches transparency tool to help supporters decide” (17 May 2021)

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: A man carries trees during a reforestation project in Tanzania. Image courtesy of One Tree Planted.
 
Please share your thoughts! submissions@mongabay.com
Apr 23, 2021

Are international groups that manage declining tuna populations doing too good a job? Two guests on our show this week illustrate how these managers aren't aiming for sustainability, but rather enable maximum extraction of the 'tuna resource' that graces peoples' dinner plates.

Author Jennifer Telesca calls the Atlantic bluefin tuna program one of 'managed extinction' while Mongabay staff writer Malavika Vayawahare discusses how the European Union controls the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna fishery to such a degree that developing nations like the Seychelles that actually border those waters enjoy too little benefit from the fish's formerly extensive population.

Telesca's book "Red Gold: The Managed Extinction of the Giant Bluefin Tuna" was published in 2020 and Vayawahare's two April articles for Mongabay elicited strong support from the nation of The Seychelles and a stern riposte from the EU:

Are the allegations of a “neo-colonial” plunder of developing nations' resources  accurate? Should a small number of highly profitable industrial fishing companies be allowed to hunt iconic wildlife like bluefin tuna to extinction? 

Listen and let us know your thoughts, submissions@mongabay.com

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: Atlantic bluefin tuna, courtesy of NOAA
Apr 8, 2021

Climate change & loss of biological diversity are just two of the 9 planetary boundaries scientists say humanity is currently pushing the limits of.

How long can we sustain society if we keep pushing these limits?

We explore this question -- and some leading solutions -- with two guests: Dr. Claire Asher is a freelance science communicator and author who joins us to discuss a recent article she wrote for Mongabay that describes the boundaries, the 4 we are already exceeding, and the opportunities we’ll have in 2021 to transform the way we live on this planet and restore equilibrium to Earth’s vital ecological systems, from sustainable design and agriculture to key international meetings.

"We don't have to give up the nice things to have a planet that is habitable, but we have to start to invest now," Asher says.

Then Andrew Willner discusses his recent Mongabay article “New Age of Sail” that would transform the global shipping industry, a major source of CO2 emissions that are shifting the climate. Willner shares how cutting edge technologies are deployed on ships right now to decrease their fuel consumption, including a number of modern types of sails that are once again harnessing the wind to power the ships moving our goods around the world.

Related reading:

Episode artwork: view of Earth imaged during ISS Expedition 46, courtesy of NASA.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps!

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Mar 24, 2021
Palm oil plantations look likely to become a new cause of deforestation and pollution across the Amazon: though companies say their supply chains are green and sustainable, critics in Brazil--including scientists & federal prosecutors--cite deforestation, chemical pollution, and human rights violations.
 
Mongabay's Rio-based editor Karla Mendes investigated one such project in Para State and joins us to discuss the findings of her new report, Déjà vu as palm oil industry brings deforestation, pollution to Amazon.
 
Beside the health toll of chemical sprays on Indigenous people whose land it encroaches, Mendes studied satellite imagery to disprove claims that the company only plants on land that's already been deforested.
 
Also joining the show are a scientist who's documented contamination of water sources and related health impacts, Sandra Damiani from the University of Brasília, plus a federal prosecutor in the Amazon region, Felício Pontes Júnior, who is trying to hold palm oil companies accountable for polluting Indigenous communities.  
 
Palm oil is used in a huge array of consumer goods sold in most countries--from snacks to ice cream & shampoo---and is a main cause of rainforest loss in Africa and Southeast Asia. Now, the industry sees the Amazon as prime new ground. 
 
Episode artwork: Fresh palm oil fruit, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of Nanang Sujana for CIFOR.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store or in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Mar 17, 2021

'I'm amazed how resilient, adaptable and optimistic the people of Sumatra are,' conservationist and HAkA Sumatra founder Farwiza Farhan says in the first moments of this episode about the women and communities she works with during the final episode of Mongabay's special series on Sumatra.

The giant Indonesian island of course faces many environmental challenges, but there is also tremendous hope and good progress thanks to the work of people like her and educator Pungky Nanda Pratama, who also joins the show to describe how his Jungle Library Project & Sumatra Camera Trap Project are opening the eyes of the next generation to the need for protecting their fabulous natural heritage.

Host Mike DiGirolamo shares the effectiveness of their efforts, what they are hopeful for, their biggest challenges, and the role of grassroots organizing in protecting and revitalizing the land, wildlife, and people of Sumatra.

More about these guests' work:

Listen to the previous 9 episodes of Mongabay Explores Sumatra via the podcast provider of your choice or find them at our podcast homepage here.

Episode artwork: Pungky with the biggest flower on Earth, Rafflesia arnoldii. Photo by Alek Sander.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Mar 10, 2021

Agroecology is a style of sustainable farming spreading quickly around the globe, transforming the way food is grown.

Industrial agriculture requires chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides that harm natural systems and people alike, but by working with (and even enhancing) ecosystems, agroecology provides an alternative that encompasses many familiar practices--from composting to organic gardening and seed saving--and many less widely implemented ones, like agroforestry, while bringing modern technology like mobile apps and SMS to bear.

And studies show that it can indeed feed the world's people: food systems expert and author Anna Lappé joins the show to discuss why the idea that it's a “low yield” practice is a myth and how the adoption of agroecological practices around the globe is key to a sustainable future.

And behavioral scientist Philippe Bujold of Rare Conservation’s Center for Behavior & the Environment discusses his organization’s program that employs behavioral science to encourage farmers in Colombia to adopt agroecology in the face of changing climate conditions, like drought and heat, which are causing traditional growing methods to fail. 

Episode artwork: Vegetable farmer watering plants at an organic farm in Boung Phao Village, Lao PDR, via Flickr.

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Mar 3, 2021

Once drained for palm oil or other agricultural uses, Indonesia's peatlands become very fire prone, putting people and rich flora and fauna--from orchids to orangutans--at risk.

Over a million hectares of carbon-rich peatlands burned in Indonesia in 2019, creating a public health crisis not seen since 2015 when the nation's peatland restoration agency was formed to address the issue.

To understand what is being done to restore peatlands, we speak with the Deputy Head of the National Peatland Restoration Agency, Budi Wardhana, and with Dyah Puspitaloka, a researcher on the value chain, finance and investment team at CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research.

Restoration through agroforestry that benefits both people and planet is one positive avenue forward, which Dyah discusses in her remarks.

For more on this topic, see the recent report at Mongabay, "Indonesia renews peat restoration bid to include mangroves, but hurdles abound."

Episode artwork: Haze from fires in a peatland logging concession pollutes the air in Jambi Province, Indonesia. Image courtesy of Greenpeace Media Library.

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Feb 24, 2021

Landscape rewilding and ecosystem restoration are likely our last/best chances to maintain life on Earth as we know it, the guests on this week's show argue.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration just began, so we invited author Judith Schwartz to discuss her new book The Reindeer Chronicles and Other Inspiring Stories of Working with Nature to Heal the Earth, which documents numerous restoration projects around the globe and highlights how the global ecological restoration movement is challenging us to reconsider the way we live on the planet.

We’re also joined by Tero Mustonen, president of the Finnish NGO Snowchange Cooperative, who tells us about the group’s Landscape Rewilding Programme which is restoring & rewilding Arctic and Boreal habitats using Indigenous knowledge and science.

He previously joined us to discuss the 'dialogue' between Indigenous knowledge and western science for a popular episode in 2018, a theme we also explored with David Suzuki for another popular show about how Indigenous knowledge is critical for human survival.

Episode artwork: Reindeer calf at Lake Inari in northern Finland © Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace. 

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Feb 17, 2021

The Sumatran rhino is a ridiculously cute but cryptic species that teeters on the brink: with an estimated 80 individuals left in the wilds of its super dense rainforest home, experts are also divided on *where* they are. With conflicting and sometimes misleading data on their whereabouts, it is exceedingly difficult to track them down, and to therefore protect them.

To discuss this 'rhino search and rescue' as she calls it, host Mike DiGirolamo contacted repeat guest Wulan Pusparini, who studied them as a species conservation specialist with the Wildlife Conservation Society before pursuing her Ph.D. in Environmental Conservation at Oxford University.

Articles discussed in this episode:

Episode artwork: Rosa is the wild-born female Sumatran rhino noted by Wulan during the interview who now lives at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park. Image courtesy of Terri Roth/Cincinnati Zoo.

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Feb 10, 2021

Two technologies being promoted as climate solutions, biomass and hydropower, actually have big environmental consequences and might not be sustainable at all. Can we burn and dam our way out of the climate crisis?

We speak with Justin Catonoso, a Wake Forest University journalism professor and Mongabay reporter, who describes the loopholes in renewable energy policies that have allowed the biomass industry to flourish under the guise of carbon neutrality, even though the burning of trees for energy has been shown to release more carbon emissions than burning coal.

We also talk to Ana Colovic Lesoska, a biologist who was instrumental in shutting down two large hydropower projects in her Balkan country’s Mavrovo National Park. This recent Goldman Environmental Prize winner says there is a tidal wave of 3,000+ other hydropower projects still proposed for the region, and discusses whether hydropower can be a climate solution at all, at any scale.

Articles mentioned in this episode:

Read all of Mongabay's coverage of biomass here and hydropower here.

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Feb 2, 2021

The Sumatran orangutan is a lowland species that has adapted to life among this Indonesian island’s highlands, as it has lost favored habitat to an array of forces like deforestation, road projects, plus the trafficking of young ones to be sold as pets, so this great ape is increasingly in trouble.

On this episode, Mongabay speaks with the founding director of Orangutan Information Centre in North Sumatra, Panut Hadisiswoyo, about these challenges plus some hopeful signs.

His center is successfully involving local communities in this work: over 2,400 hectares of rainforest have been replanted by local women since 2008, creating key habitat for the orangutans, which also provides the villagers with useful agroforestry crops, for instance.

Related reading from this episode:

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts. We also offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, providing instant access to our latest episodes and previous ones.

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Jan 27, 2021

Ever drink 'shade grown' coffee or eat 'bird friendly' chocolate? Then you've enjoyed the fruits of agroforestry, an ancient agricultural technique practiced on a huge scale across the world which also sequesters a staggering amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

Agroforestry is poised for growth as the world searches for solutions to the climate crisis, and this one is special because it also produces grains/fruits/vegetables/livestock, builds soil and water tables, and is highly biodiversity-positive.

Today we discuss its power and promise with three guests: Mongabay's agroforestry series editor Erik Hoffner; the director the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri, Sarah Lovell, who discusses agroforestry’s history and extent in the United States, plus what the Biden Administration might do with it; and a true icon in the field, Roger Leakey, an author, researcher, and vice president of the International Tree Foundation. Leakey explains how helps build food security, boosts biodiversity, and reduces conditions that lead to deforestation and migration.

Mongabay’s entire series on agroforestry can be viewed here, but here are some features discussed on the show:

Episode artwork: chocolate thrives under a mix of fruit and timber trees, image via World Agroforestry.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast wherever they get podcasts, or download our free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store to have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

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