Africa’s rainforests are different. Why it matters that they’re protected

Martin Sullivan, University of Leeds; Oliver Phillips, University of Leeds, and Simon Lewis, UCL Around 2 million km² of Africa is covered by tropical rainforests. They are second only in extent to those in Amazonia, which cover around 6 million km². Rainforests are home to vast numbers of species. For example, the world’s tropical rainforestsContinue reading “Africa’s rainforests are different. Why it matters that they’re protected”

Demand for meat is driving deforestation in Brazil – changing the soy industry could stop it

Angela Guerrero, Stockholm University and Malika Virah-Sawmy, Humboldt University of Berlin Soy may have a pretty innocuous reputation thanks to its association with vegan food and meat alternatives. But don’t be fooled – crops of this pale legume are behind much of Brazil’s epidemic of deforestation. Since 2000, Brazil has doubled its total area ofContinue reading “Demand for meat is driving deforestation in Brazil – changing the soy industry could stop it”

A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species

Jim Radford, Deakin University Our planet is on the precipice of a sixth mass extinction event. But unlike the five previous mass extinctions, this one is man-made: a global biodiversity crisis in which species are disappearing three to 12 times faster than the “normal” rate of extinction. Australia is not immune from this crisis. InContinue reading “A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species”

Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?

Sebastian Leuzinger, Auckland University of Technology What would happen if we cut down the entire Amazon rainforest? Could it be replaced by an equal amount of reforestation elsewhere? Removing the entire Amazon rainforest would have myriad consequences, with the most obvious ones possibly not the worst. Most people will first think of the carbon currentlyContinue reading “Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?”

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”

Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study

We know that ecosystems under stress can reach a point where they rapidly collapse into something very different. The clear water of a pristine lake can turn algae-green in a matter of months. In hot summers, a colourful coral reef can soon become bleached and virtually barren. And if a tropical forest has its canopyContinue reading “Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study”

Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?

Les Kaufman, Boston University In a recent journal article, a team of biologists, medical scientists, environmental scientists and conservationists proposed a number of measures to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics, many of which originate with wild animals such as bats. They argue that spending billions of dollars per year – a fraction of theContinue reading “Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?”

Explainer: What is a tipping point, and why should we care?

Our ability to understand and act thoughtfully around this single concept could determine the fate of life on Earth. August 20, 2020 — Lately, you may have heard someone say that we have reached a “tipping point.” This year alone, with the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the sustained civil unrest sparkedContinue reading “Explainer: What is a tipping point, and why should we care?”

Can we feed the world and stop deforestation? Depends what’s for dinner

If we all woke up vegan in 2050, we would require less cropland than we did in the year 2000. This could allow us to “reforest” an area around the size of the entire Amazon rainforest – somehow fitting considering 70-80% of deforestation in the Amazon is due to the livestock industry.

How forest loss has changed biodiversity across the globe over the last 150 years

Maria Dornelas, University of St Andrews; Gergana Daskalova, University of Edinburgh, and Isla Myers-Smith, University of Edinburgh The Earth’s forests have been changing ever since the first tree took root. For 360 million years, trees have grown and been felled through a dynamic mix of hurricanes, fires and natural regeneration. But with the dawn ofContinue reading “How forest loss has changed biodiversity across the globe over the last 150 years”

Opinion: Seven strategies that offer hope for rainforests

Company policies, new technologies, innovative financing and more are brightening prospects for the tropical rainforests — but time is short. February 18, 2020 — This piece was excerpted from Rainforest:Dispatches From Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines by Tony Juniper, Copyright © Tony Juniper. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C. The continuing clearance and degradationContinue reading “Opinion: Seven strategies that offer hope for rainforests”