Civil war in Syria is the result of the desertification of the ecologically fragile Syrian steppe, writes Gianluca Serra - a process that began in 1958 when the former Bedouin commons were opened up to unrestricted grazing. That led to a wider ecological, hydrological and agricultural collapse, and then to a 'rural intifada' of farmers and nomads no longer able to support themselves.
Australia's government can breathe a sigh of relief as UNESCO keeps the Great Barrier Reef off its 'World Heritage in danger' list, writes Emily Lindsay Brown. But in return, it has committed to protect the reef from farm run-off and dredgings, and to implement its 'Reef 2050' sustainability plan. If Australia fails, the Reef could be officially 'in danger' as soon as 2020.
Over the Great Barrier Reef's coral has already been lost, writes Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, and UNESCO is expected to add the site to its 'World Heritage in danger' list. The reef's survival will depend on the world's ability to control carbon emissions. So why is Australia planning to open vast new coal mines in the Galilee Basin?
Europe's most important laws for wildlife, the EU's Nature Directives, are under threat in from a recently launched 'review', writes Martin Harper. The official purpose is to make the laws more effective, but in reality it's all part of the Commission's agenda to strip away regulations that impede business in its pursuit of profit.
President Obama Earth Day appearance on the Florida Everglades' failed to disguise the truth, writes Grant A. Mincy - that governmental and corporate domination of ecosystems brings their all too predictable destruction. It's not national parks that will save our nature, but restoration of the commons and their management by local communities.
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.
A Pacific island paradise 340 miles from Costa Rica's coast should be the ideal place for marine conservation, write Julia Baum & Easton R. White. But while its waters are indeed teeming with life, steep population declines in key shark and ray species show that stronger protection is badly needed.