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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.

Everything is Connected | Chapter 4: Salmon People

Like other indigenous First Nation communities throughout Canada, the Tla-o-qui-aht people are survivors. Over a century of cultural genocide, Christianisation, forced assimilation, land alienation and re-settlement reduced their numbers tenfold and pushed them to the brink of extinction. But despite environmental, social and cultural upheavals, the Tla-o-qui-aht are slowly but surely strengthening their ability to…

Everything is Connected | Chapter 3: Ancient Woods

Like other indigenous First Nation communities throughout Canada, the Tla-o-qui-aht people are survivors. Over a century of cultural genocide, Christianisation, forced assimilation, land alienation and re-settlement reduced their numbers tenfold and pushed them to the brink of extinction. But despite environmental, social and cultural upheavals, the Tla-o-qui-aht are slowly but surely strengthening their ability to cope…

Missing “Rain Frog” Resurfaces in Honduras: Freshwater Species of the Week

In 2008, National Geographic Young Explorer Jonathan Kolby re-discovered a frog species endemic to Honduras that had been declared extinct. The amphibian had vanished mysteriously in the mid 1980s. Now, the Australia-based Kolby told us via email, “I’ve been searching for more proof of its existence every year since, and finally found a second one a…

Video: Clean Water or Clearcuts for Oregon?

Big decisions are looming for management of 2.8 million acres of Oregon’s public forestlands – an area covering the size of more than eight Crater Lake National Parks. Because legislation concerning management of the so-called O&C lands could end up undermining some of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water…

Balancing Logging and River Health in the Pacific Northwest

  I spent this past weekend on Oregon’s North Umpqua River. One of the most beautiful rivers in the state, it is world-renowned for its steelhead fishing and is designated as a federal Wild and Scenic River. At a dinner hosted by The North Umpqua Foundation, I got to spend a little time with Frank…

Jaguars Battling in the Darkness: Sense of place in the Peruvian Amazon…

Like the other remaining wilderness areas around the world, the vast Peruvian Amazon has become ring-fenced by land conversion for pastures, rampant logging, commercial forestry, mining, dams, agricultural development, and other drivers of global trade and development. This vast wilderness that seemed impossible to destroy or harm is under threat and in decline… Listen here…

Contest in the Congo: Central Africa’s Shot at Sustainable Development

As some 30 million votes are counted in the wake of elections this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), another contest is shaping up in the Congo between those who would build systems of fair governance and those who would ransack Central Africa for its natural resources.

LOGGERS AND NATIVES FACE OFF IN THE BORDERLANDS

Lumberjack invasion spurs cross-border contact between native villages In a sign of growing indigenous activism and impatience with ineffectual bureaucrats, communities in Peru and Brazil have joined forces in recent days to patrol a volatile border region rife with illegal loggers and heavily armed gangs of drug-runners. Earlier this month, a joint patrol of Ashéninka…

Dark Edge of the Frontier

Natives face retaliation when they stand up to those who loot the forest While on assignment for National Geographic in Peru this summer, I had the privilege of visiting the Ashéninka indigenous community of Saweto, at the headwaters of the Alto Tamaya River near the border of Brazil. It can take up to eight grueling…

One-Time Illegal Logger Fights to Save the Forests of Borneo

Pak Bastarian was once an illegal logger, cutting trees in the forests of West Kalimantan, Borneo. Today he is a conservationist, leading his village of former headhunters in the fight to prevent oil palm plantations from clearing forest in his village.

A Death Foretold

In Brazil’s violent backwoods, environmental destruction and murder go hand in hand.

Fisticuffs Erupts in Peru Over Uncontacted Tribes

Officials deny plans to open rain forest reserves, promise new protections