Latin America’s largest electrical company operates 45 hydroelectric dams, and is responsible for 34 percent of Brazil’s generating capacity. The company, Eletrobras, makes laudable claims about its corporate values, including a commitment to sustainability, and to “operating through a well-balanced environmental, social and ethical responsibility.”
But with grave concerns raised about the environmental and social impacts of hydroelectric dams in the Amazon, and with Eletrobras itself a key actor in the hugely controversial Belo Monte dam, how sustainable are dam-building companies really being? Are the business decisions they make driven by a genuine commitment to sustainability? And, perhaps more importantly, how can we pragmatically assess the true motivations behind those decisions?
Ethical analysis may hold the answers, according to a recent study published in Sustainability. An international team of researchers suggest it is possible to pinpoint what lies behind a company’s decision-making process through a rigorous ethical analysis.
Read the full article, published in May 2016 on Mongabay, here.
Researchers are using acoustic monitoring to tune into gunshots and track a most deadly predator – Africa’s wildlife poachers.
Cameroon’s Korup National Park is home to elephants, chimpanzees, red colobus monkeys, drill, and a myriad of noisy species, whose squawks, squeals and howls fill the forest air. For more than two years, twelve acoustic monitors were deployed there and recorded every sound covering a 54 square kilometer (21 square mile) area of protected tropical forest.
They were tuned to listen around the clock for just one sound: gunshots.
“Our ultimate goal is to improve the effectiveness of anti-poaching patrols in African tropical forest protected areas,” Joshua Linder, one of the lead scientists working on the acoustic monitoring project, told Mongabay.
Read the full article on Mongabay.
Climate change health effects are wide ranging and include negative impacts on air quality, mental health, nutrition, and insect and microbe transmitted diseases.
- A Climate and Health Assessment presented at the White House by the US Global Change Research Program revealed wide-ranging climate change health impacts.
- Every American is vulnerable, but low income people, certain ethnicities, Indigenous people, the young, elderly, and pregnant women are disproportionately at risk.
- The report is meant to help policymakers generate and implement a proactive response to the many escalating and evolving health impacts due to climate change.
First published on Mongabay in April this year, you can read the full article here.
Scientists have discovered at least 500 Critically Endangered grey-shanked doucs in Vietnam — their only home — boosting species estimates to up to 1,500 animals
Photo copyright: Nguyen Van Truong/Fauna & Flora International
Grey-shanked doucs live in the forest canopy of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Their numbers have been severely reduced by habitat loss and fragmentation, along with hunting for food and the pet trade.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) researchers located the 500+ animals in several subpopulations within the Kon Tum forest, which provides important connectivity to protected areas to the south and north, and across the border into Cambodia.
FFI Vietnam is now developing a conservation strategy which may include ecotourism and forest patrols for the newly discovered population. Vietnam is home to 11 Critically Endangered primate species, and a priority for primate conservation in Southeast Asia and the world.
Read the full article on Mongabay.
My latest piece for Mongabay looks at some of the threats facing the Amazon’s freshwater ecosystems, and at how a fragmented protected area network and policy framework – based on terrestrial ecosystems – is failing to protect the connectivity of the freshwater world. As multiple impacts interact with each other the functioning of the whole ecosystem is under threat. You can read the full article here.
A little while ago I wrote about the plight of Amazon river dolphins in the face of dam-building across the region. Here’s the opening few lines, but to read the whole piece please follow the link to the original on Mongabay. A National Geographic photographer kindly let us use some of his pictures, so it is worth a look!
A dam-building boom is underway in the Amazon. More than 400 hydroelectric dams are in operation, being built, or planned for the river’s headwaters and basin. Scientists know that tropical dams disrupt water flow and nutrient deposition, with negative consequences for aquatic animals, especially migratory species. But little detailed knowledge exists as to the impacts of dams on specific species, or as to the best mitigations to prevent harm.
A recent study that tries to fill in that knowledge gap zeroes in on Brazil’s river dolphins. It found that as many as 26 dams could negatively impact dolphin populations and their prey.
The research, led by Dr Claryana Araújo of the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil, focused on two freshwater species: the Amazon River Dolphin, or boto (Inia geoffrensis), which is sometimes famously pink; and the Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis).
The river dolphins of South America are charismatic emblems of rainforest biodiversity, and have captured the public imagination. Swimming in rivers, lagoons, and among submerged tree trunks in flooded forests to chase down prey, they can be found as far inland as the upper reaches of Amazonian tributaries, more than 2,600 kilometers (1,615 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean.
To continue reading, click here.