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Miners at a riverbank site in the Amazon. Maria Rodriguez

By Marlene Cimons

Last summer, scientist Maria Rodriguez traveled to the Peruvian region of Madre de Dios, once the home of lush rainforests, meandering rivers and thriving wildlife. But her destination was anything but picturesque. She'd come to study several sites ravaged by illegal gold mining that had left a legacy of destruction and mercury poisoning. One area, in fact, resembled a lunar landscape, rather than a rainforest.

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Paulo Paulino Guajajara was 26 years old and was shot in the face. A partner with him was injured but escaped. euronews / YouTube screenshot

Illegal loggers shot and killed an indigenous defender of Brazil's Amazon rainforest, the Guajajara tribe announced Saturday, as Reuters reported.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Joe Lo

The burning Amazon rainforests, with their jaguars, monkeys and colorful birds, have grabbed global attention in a way the destruction of the world's mossy peatlands never has.

Yet protecting the world's peatlands, which store at least twice as much carbon as forests, is critical in the fight against climate change.

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Aerial picture showing smoke from a fire billowing from the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil, on Aug. 23. CARL DE SOUZA / AFP / Getty Images

If current deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest continue, the forest could be two years away from the "tipping point" after which it will no longer be able to sustain itself by making its own rain.

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Pope Francis flanked by representatives of the Amazon Rainforest's ethnic groups and catholic prelates march in procession during the opening of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region at The Vatican on Oct. 07 in Vatican City, Vatican. Alessandra Benedetti / Corbis News / Getty Images

By Vincent J. Miller

The Catholic Church "hears the cry" of the Amazon and its peoples. That's the message Pope Francis hopes to send at the Synod of the Amazon, a three-week meeting at the Vatican that ends Oct. 27.

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A demonstrator waves an Ecuadorian flag during protests against the end of subsidies to gasoline and diesel on Oct. 9 in Quito, Ecuador. Jorge Ivan Castaneira Jaramillo / Getty Images

The night before Indigenous Peoples' Day, an Indigenous-led movement in Ecuador won a major victory.

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Climate activists demonstrate against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Barcelona on Aug. 23. LLUIS GENE / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In an open letter to Brazilian society and right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, a group of experts warned that a "genocide is underway" against uncontacted tribes because of Bolsonaro's efforts to strip away Indigenous peoples' rights and lands and open up more of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness and mining.

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The Paraguayan Chaco, South America's second largest forest, is rapidly disappearing as agriculture extends deeper into what was once forest. Here, isolated stands of trees remain amid the farms.

Joel E. Correia / CC BY-NC-ND

By Joel E. Correia

The fires raging across the Brazilian Amazon have captured the world's attention. Meanwhile, South America's second-largest forest, the Gran Chaco, is disappearing in plain sight.

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A jaguar in the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil in 2006. Land Rover Our Planet / Flickr

By Shreya Dasgupta

The fires ravaging the Amazon forest in Brazil and Bolivia this year have burned key habitats of at least 500 adult, resident jaguars as of Sept. 17, rendering them dead or homeless, say experts at Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization.

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Brazilians living in The Netherlands organized a demonstration in solidarity with rainforest protectors and against the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro on Sept. 1 in The Hague, Netherlands. Romy Arroyo Fernandez / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Tara Smith

Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have jumped 84 percent during President Jair Bolsonaro's first year in office and in July 2019 alone, an area of rainforest the size of Manhattan was lost every day. The Amazon fires may seem beyond human control, but they're not beyond human culpability.

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Colombia rainforest. Marcel Oosterwijk / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Torsten Krause

Many of us think of the Amazon as an untouched wilderness, but people have been thriving in these diverse environments for millennia. Due to this long history, the knowledge that Indigenous and forest communities pass between generations about plants, animals and forest ecology is incredibly rich and detailed and easily dwarfs that of any expert.

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