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”

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?”

Why you should stop buying new clothes

Alana James, Northumbria University, Newcastle The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions – and it’s estimated that by 2050 this will have increased to 25%. A staggering 300,000 tonnes of clothes are sent to British landfills each year.Continue reading “Why you should stop buying new clothes”

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?”

Humans force wild animals into tight spots, or send them far from home

The COVID pandemic has shown us that disruptions to the way we move around, complete daily activities and interact with each other can shatter our wellbeing. This doesn’t apply only to humans. Wildlife across the globe find themselves in this situation every day, irrespective of a global pandemic. Our latest research published today in NatureContinue reading “Humans force wild animals into tight spots, or send them far from home”

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.

Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire: Let’s Sort the Plastic Menace

Smoke is a clear sign of something brewing up. The decision taken afterward determines the outcomes. If ignored, the fire may destroy everything. But if we bother to check out, we may save the day. It has been more than a month now since we heard the rumors of Kenya being used as a hubContinue reading “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire: Let’s Sort the Plastic Menace”

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”

How our food choices cut into forests and put us closer to viruses

Terry Sunderland, University of British Columbia As the global population has doubled to 7.8 billion in about 50 years, industrial agriculture has increased the output from fields and farms to feed humanity. One of the negative outcomes of this transformation has been the extreme simplification of ecological systems, with complex multi-functional landscapes converted to vastContinue reading “How our food choices cut into forests and put us closer to viruses”