Climate change is forcing human and non-human beings to become climate refugees

The definition of refugee or displaced person is someone fleeing a life-threatening crisis. The emerging refugees of this century are fleeing unliveable environmental conditions brought about by climate change and other complex interrelated factors including conflict, disease and famine. Humans and non-human beings alike are becoming climate change refugees. The choices are stark and clear – move and live or stay where you are and perish.

How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests

Indonesia now has the has the fastest rate of deforestation in the world, driven largely by clearing for palm oil plantations. But the process began long ago, with one of the most common building materials: plywood. As far as commodities are concerned, it was plywood that defined the rainforests of Borneo in the 1970s andContinue reading “How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests”

Every Living Organism Has a Way of Communicating

Every living organism has a way of communicating. We may not be able to understand each other’s language. But its there and communication get passed from one organism to another. How do forests speak to us? If you have ever been into the woods and feel different ways nature talks to us. From the windContinue reading “Every Living Organism Has a Way of Communicating”

African grey parrots help each other in times of need

Désirée Brucks, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and Auguste von Bayern, Max Planck Institute People readily help each other. We donate blood and food or help old people across the street. Among non-human animals this propensity to help is very rare. There are a few observations of helping behaviours in non-human animals. For example,Continue reading “African grey parrots help each other in times of need”

Okapi: African Unicorns

Deep in the heart of Africa, in the dense tropical rainforests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), there lurks a very curious creature. With its long legs and predominantly dark brown coat of short fur, it looks, at first glance, a bit like a horse. But a second look will reveal a somewhatContinue reading “Okapi: African Unicorns”

The Plight of the Pangolin

My favourite animal changes all the time. When I was younger, I cycled through various large, majestic cats such as tigers, jaguars and snow leopards. At one point, I considered the polar bear among my favourites; another time, the hippo. But now I much prefer stranger, more obscure, more underappreciated animals. And a weird, elusive,Continue reading “The Plight of the Pangolin”

Gibbon song may be music to the ears of human language students

Nicholas Bannan, University of Western Australia Gibbons and humans have more in common than might immediately seem apparent. Among many behavioural traits shared by our two species is singing. Not just that – the songs of gibbons have the potential to teach us about the origin of our own human capacities. A recent study inContinue reading “Gibbon song may be music to the ears of human language students”

Borneo’s bearded pig, gardener of forests and protector of their inhabitants

Edmond Dounias, Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) Borneo – fourth-largest island in the world, home to more than 20 million people – has always aroused the fascination of explorers. The island is dense with forests, waterways and soaring mountains, and its indigenous population have a deep relationship with the forest. A fragile landscapeContinue reading “Borneo’s bearded pig, gardener of forests and protector of their inhabitants”