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Climate
Sunrise near Mt. Sumeru, Indonesia. Aditi / Flickr

Indonesia's Deforestation Dropped 60 Percent in 2017

By Hidayah Hamzah, Reidinar Juliane, Tjokorda Nirarta "Koni" Samadhi and Arief Wijaya

In the midst of the second-worst year for tropical tree cover loss in 2017, Indonesia saw an encouraging sign: a 60 percent drop in tree cover loss in primary forests compared with 2016. That's the difference in carbon dioxide emissions from primary forest loss equivalent to 0.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide, or about the same emissions released from burning over 199 billion pounds of coal.

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Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Neil Palmer, CIAT / CC BY 2.0

Tropical Forests Lost 40 Football Fields of Tree Cover Per Minute in 2017

New University of Maryland data published by Global Forest Watch (GFW) Wednesday revealed 2017 as the second-worst year on record for tropical tree cover loss, a GFW blog announced.

Tropical tree cover decreased by an area the size of Bangladesh—a total of 39 million acres. That amounts to 40 football fields worth of trees cut every minute of last year in a devastating blow to biodiversity and the global climate.

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Adventure
Pexels

Finding a Future in the Forest

By Maggie Badore

One of the largest remaining tropical rainforests in the Americas stretches across the Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche, and reaches down into Guatemala and Belize. The forests are home to an innumerable number of species, from jaguars and mahogany trees, to plants, insects and animals still yet to be named and classified by modern science. In some places, the landscape is dotted with cenotes, caves hollowed out from limestone, that fill with dazzlingly aqua waters. People living in this region have been stewards of the forest for generations.

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Oceans
Seagrass meadows are vital ecosystems for marine animals. P. Lindgren / Wikimedia Commons

There’s Now an App for Mapping Seagrass, the Oceans’ Great Carbon Sink

The launch of an online crowdsourcing database for seagrass hopes to breathe new life into efforts to conserve the underwater flowering plants, which act as both important habitats for marine species and a major store of carbon dioxide.

Patchy mapping of seagrass meadows has hampered efforts to protect the plants (which are distinct from seaweed) from threats such as coastal development, sedimentation, coral farming and sand mining, according to Richard Unsworth, a marine biologist at Swansea University in the UK and co-founder of environmental charity Project Seagrass.

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Science
The Stužica primeval forest in Slovakia. Caroig

Two Studies Reveal Amazing Resilience of Older Forests

Maybe you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but two recent studies revealed that old forests around the world are full of surprises.

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Animals
An Asian elephant eating tree bark. Yathin S Krishnappa / CC BY-SA 3.0

5 Conservation Milestones to Celebrate on This International Day for Biological Diversity

Scientists are increasingly realizing the importance of biodiversity for sustaining life on earth. The most comprehensive biodiversity study in a decade, published in March by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), warned that the ongoing loss of species and habitats was as great a threat to our and our planet's wellbeing as climate change.

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Climate
Rising carbon dioxide levels could lead to fewer moisture clouds forming over the Amazon rainforest. Ana_Cotta / CC BY 2.0

Climate Change Could Bring Drought to Amazon, Greater Rain to Pacific and African Forests

Scientists have discovered another factor that might interact with rising carbon dioxide emissions to influence climate change—tropical forests.

In a study published in Nature Climate Change Friday, researchers found that the way tropical forests interact with increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide could alter rainfall patterns, drying out the Amazon rainforest and increasing precipitation in African and Indonesian forests.

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Food
Benjamin Drummond

Palm Oil Banned by Major UK Supermarket

The UK supermarket Iceland has announced it will remove palm oil from all its own brand products by the end of the year due to the belief there is no such thing as "sustainable" palm oil.

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Animals
Palm oil survivors. Wildlife Photographer of the Year / Aaron Gekoski

The Palm Oil Industry Promises Reform, But There’s Still No Sign of Change

It was 10 years ago that Greenpeace first published an investigation into Indonesia's palm oil industry.

We showed that the world's biggest brands got their palm oil from companies destroying Indonesia's rainforests—threatening local people as well as tigers and orangutans.

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