Archaeologists in Honduras have discovered ruins deep in the rainforest that appear to be the fabled White City (known fancifully as "The City of the Monkey God"). Unfortunately there are deforestation threats to the site, including illegal cattle ranching.
Franco believes that governments must increase efforts to preserve indigenous cultures. “The Indians represent a special culture, and resistance to the world,” argues the historian, who has spent three decades researching isolated tribes in Colombia. Martínez says that the Indians have a unique view of the cosmos, stressing “the unity of human beings with nature, the interconnectedness of all things.” It is a philosophy that makes them natural environmentalists, since damage to the forest or to members of one tribe, the Indians believe, can reverberate across society and history with lasting consequences. “They are protecting the jungle by chasing off gold miners and whoever else goes in there,” Franco says. He adds: “We must respect their decision not to be our friends—even to hate us.”
A ten-day trip to the Mato Grosso do Sul to take pictures of anacondas worked out quite well for nature photographer Franco Banfi. (Videos from a similar expedition in 2010.)
A new monkey species, known to locals as the 'lesula' (Cercopithecus lomamiensis), has been discovered in a largely unexploited rainforest within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Funny that I'm linking to Huffington Post (uffington horse?) and not the other way around... But this blog post about the last members of the Maijuna tribe in the Amazon is amazing.
Lush climates alone do not account for the vast biodiversity in tropical rainforests. Research on treefrogs from around the world, covering 123 sites and gathering DNA sequence data for 360 species of treefrogs, has provided a new understanding of biodiversity in tropical rainforests: some groups of treefrogs have existed together in the Amazon Basin for more than 60 million years. A more recent publication supports this finding, noting that forests in Canada and Europe may have much more in common with tropical rainforests than previously believed, but tropical forests have not been subjected to glaciations and mass extinctions, allowing for much greater biodiversity.
Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
Inspired by its 10th anniversary, the Earth Observatory has pulled together a special series of NASA satellite images documenting how the world has changed. From these images, Wired Science has made 5 videos, presenting convenient time-lapse views of the world changing (mainly) because of human actions. Watch the urbanization of Dubai, specifically the growth of Palm Jumeirah. See the Aral Sea dry up - once the fourth largest lake, down to 10 percent of its original size (marked by the thin black line in the video) by 2007. View the clearing the Amazon, as observed from above the state of Rondônia in western Brazil. Behold the return of Mesopotamia's Wetlands, now in the process of being restored from near total destruction under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Witness the impact of drought on Southern Utah's Lake Powell, where water level dropped from 20 million to 8 million acre-feet from 2000 to 2005.
"Percy Harrison Fawcett ... convinced himself, based on a mix of archival research, deduction and clairvoyance, that a large undiscovered city lay hidden somewhere in the Amazon" Greg Grandin of The Nation talks about the allure of the Amazon in history and the repeated attempts made to domesticate, colonize, control, or explore it. previous discussion of failed Amazon ventures here ( via )
Silence Like Scouring Sand. "One of America's quietest places, and the valiant effort to keep it that way." (Previously.)
Geologists have discovered the remains of one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests , near Danville IL. The four square miles of fossils are in a coal mine 250 feet below the surface.
African dust storms [pic] have been suspected of causing fish-killing red tide in the Caribbean, but also of mitigating the effect of hurricanes. Now analysis of images from NASA's MODIS satellite have revealed the Bodélé, a region of the Sahara not far from Lake Chad, as the source of more than half the material that fertilises the Amazon rainforest.
Afro-Celtic music inspired by the Baka, pygmies living in the Central African rainforest of Cameroon. Rivers running through the rainforest are one of the alluring Bakas' favorite instruments, the water drum. Highly inventive and constantly changing, the vocal polyphony and the polyrhythmic sounds of hands and drums are prodigious achievements which astonish modern composers. There are various albums.
The vision: a federally funded 5-acre enclosed rainforest, supposedly the world's largest, will make Coralville, Iowa into a world-class destination city and ignite the imagination of its heretofore benighted citizens. The problem: a federally funded rainforest. In Iowa. Read some entertaining background and analysis on the inspiring project here and here.
"When they emerged after 50 yards, the landscape no longer looked anything like the southern edge of the Amazon forest. It looked like Iowa." In Mato Grosso, Brazil the rainforest is vanishing. And all because of soybeans and beef. "If we were an aggressive tribe, we would have killed the land owners already," said Tupxi, one of the canoeists, who estimated his age at 77. " good Washpost story...
Butterfly farming, whether it's to provide live, captive-bred butterflies or framed insects, is a way for people to generate income by nurturing rainforest habitat rather than cutting it down. It's happening in places like Costa Rica, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. But you can also raise butterflies yourself.