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Who Will Save the Last Primary Forests on Earth?

By Brendan Mackey and James Watson

It’s now or never if the world’s surviving primary forests are to be saved. Will the international community act or continue to turn a blind eye to our planet’s key life support systems? Despite their shortcomings, international environmental agreements can provide incentives for national governments and land custodians to turn back the tide of forest destruction. Primary forests, however, remain invisible in forest policy debates and oddly off the radar for most conservation organizations.

Poaching Crisis in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photo from iLCP Fellow Paul Hilton. UPDATE FROM THE FIELD: Paul Hilton and FKL Rangers Expose Wildlife Poaching in…

The Penan Hunter-Gatherers of Sarawak

For the Penan of Sarawak’s rainforest, the raucous call of the white-crowned hornbill has long heralded dawn. Today, however, they are just as likely to be woken by the sound of chainsaws and falling trees. The tropical rainforest of Sarawak in Borneo, East Malaysia, is one of the most biologically rich forests on earth. It…

March 30, 2014: Skiing Everest, Mission Blue, Search for Michael Rockefeller, Violent Animal Reproduction, and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week his guests try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, figure out if Mother Nature is really trying to kill you, ski off the seven summits including Everest, look inside the city of Damascus during the Syrian War, dive into Mission Blue with Sylvia Earle, look at how much food we waste each year, take a walk on the surface of Mars, and find out what we should pack on a camping trip.

December 23, 2013: Meeting Mr. Everest, Singing Songs in Space and More

This week on National Geographic, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they summit Everest seven times, train for an Antarctic speed record, chase water while dodging cats in Africa, sing along with an astronaut, and overcome a traumatic brain injury.

Report Warns of Sudden Climate Change Impacts

Hard-to-predict sudden changes to Earth’s environment are more worrisome than larger but more gradual impacts of climate change, according a panel of scientists advising the federal government. A 200-page report released Tuesday by the National Academy of Sciences repeatedly warns of potential climate “tipping points” beyond which “major and rapid changes occur.” And some of these changes—happening in years…

Fuel For Thought: Is There Hope For Africa?

While driving up Africa from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Arusha (Tanzania) – over 4,000 kilometres via Botswana, Zambia and Malawi in 5 days - we saw this amazing juxtaposition with a man carrying over 100-pounds of charcoal on his bicycle being passed by a 20-tonne truck carrying gasoline. Both on their way to the nearest market…

REDD+ Can Be a Game-Changer in the Battle Against Tropical Deforestation

In a high profile side event to the UN General Assembly next week, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector will gather at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo to celebrate recent successes in forest protection to combat climate change and call for much greater future investment.

Old Growth Rainforest—What Still Stands is More Valuable Than Ever

No matter where I have traveled in the world, I have found that the many of the larger stretches of primeval forests can only be reached by logging roads. Consider the old growth stands of Sitka spruce and red cedar in the Carmanah Valley, on a remote part of southeast Vancouver Island.  Canada’s tallest tree,…

Forests in Madagascar Turn From Green to Smoldering Red

Some 90% of the once-green isle of Madagascar has been deforested via a combination of tavy—slash and burn agriculture for rice cultivation—and doro-tanetry, a less intensive burning used to augment grass growth for cattle grazing.

E.O. Wilson on Protecting a Biodiversity Hotspot in Mozambique

By Bridget Conneely Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique -  If you fly over the Great African Rift Valley from its northernmost point in Ethiopia, over the great national parks of Kenya and Tanzania, and follow it south to the very end, you will arrive at Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique. Plateaus on the eastern and western…

Deforestation Reduces Hydropower and May Dry Out the Amazon

Last week, scientists published a study in the journal PNAS that warned that deforestation in the Amazon could significantly decrease the power output of hydroelectric dams, which are a major source of energy in the region. The study noted that although removal of trees tends to increase the amount of water that runs off the land, and…

Carbon Dioxide Milestone Revised by NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that carbon dioxide concentrations at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii surpassed the milestone 400 parts per million for a sustained period. NOAA has since revised the figure—on the basis of computer analysis—saying its May 9 readings actually remained fractions of a point below the historic level, coming in at…

Amazon Waters: Conserving Wildlife, Securing Livelihoods

Threats to the Amazon come not only from deforestation, but also from dams, roads, human-induced climate change, gold mining, petroleum extraction, shipping and the unplanned growth of cities, whose expanding populations consume more and more of the Amazon River’s resources.

Support for People and Wildlife Merge in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park

Along Ecuador’s eastern border with Peru sits Yasuní National Park (YNP). At close to one million hectares, Yasuní is the largest expanse of protected lowland tropical forest in the country. Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989, the park is one of the world’s biodiversity jewels, containing at least 170 species of mammals, well over 596 bird species, more than 382 fish species, and a fantastic variety of flora.