The sudden shift from 'Least Concern' to 'Vulnerable' status for all four species of giraffe is a red flag for their survival, writes Bill Laurance. Hunted down by poachers with automatic weapons for their 'trophy' tails, their range fragmented by roads and mines, and their woodland habitat cleared for farms or burnt for charcoal, giraffes need our help, fast.
Limiting climate change is just the start of what we need to do to forestall a runaway cascade of species extinctions, write Bill Laurance & Paul Ehrlich. We must also reverse the destruction and fragmentation of key wildlife habitats, constrain our over-consumption of natural resources, stabilise human numbers - and elect leaders determined to prioritise these issues.
The destruction of the world's wilderness is accelerating with a new clutch of mega projects from dams, roads and mines to large scale agriculture, write James Watson, Bill Laurance, Brendan Mackey & James Allan. It's cost-effective to put a stop to it right now for the carbon value of wilderness alone - never mind the biodiversity and indigenous peoples it safeguards.
The remarkable Leuser ecosystem in Aceh, Sumatra, has faced massive destruction over recent years with rice farms, palm oil, roads and mines, writes Bill Laurance. But that's all set to end with a moratorium on forest clearance that's supported at the highest levels of government, both state and national. This is definitely news to celebrate! But we must also maintain our vigilance.
New development financiers like China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are driving a global attack on the environment, writes Bill Laurance. With their fast track 'no questions asked' procedures, they are financing a wave of destructive mega-projects, giving the World Bank and other lenders the excuse to lower their already weak safeguards.
Australia's rainforest state, Queensland, is destroying well over 100,000 hectares of native vegetation a year, and rising, write Martine Maron, Bill Laurance & colleagues, including 'at risk' habitats and Koala bear forests. This is more than reversing the entire nation's eco-restoration programs and pushing endangered species ever closer to extinction.
Roads, mines, dams, power lines, pipelines and other infrastructure projects are fast eating into the world's 'core forests', writes Bill Laurance. These rare and precious places where wildlife and ecological processes can flourish undisturbed must come before the evanescent gains of 'development'. To save what's left, governments and funders must learn the word 'No!'
The 'knowns' of climate change are already plenty scary enough, writes Bill Laurance. But far more worrying are the unknowns. And in a system as complex and convoluted as the global climate system there are lots of them, creating scope for many nasty surprises to emerge.
A new WWF report puts eastern Australia among the world's deforestation hotspots, write Martine Maron & Bill Laurance - estimating that 3-6 million hectares of native forest will be cleared there over the next 15 years. Queensland's new Labor government could reverse the destructive policies - but will it turn a new leaf?
What's needed to pull the world's economy out of recession? According to the G20, it's a massive wave of 'infrastructure' development worth as much $70 trillion, writes Bill Laurance. But all the roads, mines, dams, pipelines and 'development corridors' will inflict massive damage on wildlife populations and natural havens, not to mention local communities that stand in the way.
Africa is facing an unprecedented surge in road and railway building with 33 huge 'development corridors' planned that threaten 2,400 of the continent's protected wildlife areas, writes Bill Laurance. We must block the most destructive plans and limit avoidable impacts on natural areas - before it's too late.
Roads are responsible for massive environmental damage around the world, writes Bill Laurance - yet they also bring huge benefits. His solution? A new atlas that shows where the 'goods' of roads outweigh the 'bads', so that developing countries can harness the prosperity new roads can bring, without the destruction.
It's fine for 'green' groups to plant trees, or rescue baby flying foxes, write Susan & Bill Laurance. But when they campaign for the environment, right wing politicians see red, Moves are now afoot to strip advocacy groups of their charitable status, reflecting a broader clamp down on eco-activism across the Asia Pacific region in China, Cambodia, Lao and India.
Tropical forests are valuable for their biodiversity, carbon and water functions even after logging. But they are also highly vulnerable to fire and conversion to other uses. A new focus is needed on saving tropical forests after the bulldozers have left.