Indonesia to spend $10M on cloud-seeding scheme to slow haze

The Indonesian government will spend 100 billion rupiah — $10 million — on a cloud-seeding scheme to reduce the haze plaguing Sumatra, Singapore, and Malaysia. According to a statement released after a meeting between top officials, Indonesia will use airplanes to seed clouds with salt in an effort to increase condensation and rainfall over parched parts of Sumatra where peat fires are spewing particulate matter into the atmosphere. The operation is expected to last until the end of the dry season, which typically runs through late September or early October.

The Giant hot pink slug

The Hot Pink slugs that emerge after rainy nights have become a conservation symbol for alpine forests on Australia's Mount Kaputar, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The slugs, which measure up to 20 centimeters (8 inches), are only found on Mount Kaputar, a volcano that last erupted 17 million years ago. They spend most of their time buried under leaf litter, but emerge by the hundreds when conditions are right to feed on moss, algae, and fungi. While their fluorescent coloration may seem jarring, it actually helps them blend in with brightly-colored eucalyptus leaves that cover the forest floor.

Mount Everest glaciers have shrunk 13% in 50 years

Glaciers in the Mount Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent and the snow-line has shifted 180 meters (590 feet) higher during the past 50 years, according to a study that will be presented this week at a conference organized by the American Geophysical Union.

Rhinos now extinct in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park

Poachers have likely killed off the last rhinos in Mozambique's Limpopo National Park, according to a park official who spoke with Portugal News. Park director António Abacar said that no rhinos have been sighted in Limpopo National Park since January, "which means that the ones that lived in the park are probably dead".

Tribe rejects payment from electricity company behind destructive Amazon Dam

Leaders of more than two dozen Kayapó indigenous communities have rejected a $9 million offer from Brazilian state energy company Eletrobras to fund development projects in their region due to the the firm's involvement in the construction of the Belo Monte dam, reports Amazon Watch, an activist group fighting the hydroelectric project.

Why is SO Much Food Wasted?

A new report titled "Global food, waste not, want not" published by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers has found that 30 to 50 percent of all food produced in the world never reaches a stomach. The authors of the study warn that these figures are quite conservative. The large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers and water that are wasted in the food production have not been accounted for.

Palm oil or lard?

Animal fats and margarine consumption in the United States have been largely replaced by palm oil, a plant-based oil that has similar cooking properties, but may not be as environmentally-friendly as commonly believed, argues a researcher in this week's issue of Nature.

Brazil forms special environmental security force to combat spike in deforestation

Brazil will set up a special environmental security force in an effort to stem rising deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, reports AFP. In a statement, Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the new body will be backed by the army, the federal police and the Brazilian Environment Institution (IBAMA). The force will be charged with permanent surveillance of the Amazon.

Wildlife trade bans may be worsening trafficking of some species, argues paper

While founded with good intentions, wildlife trade bans may in some cases be worsening the plight of some endangered species, argues a commentary published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science. Looking at three animals listed under the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) — tigers, elephants and rhinos — Kirsten Conrad of AsiaCat argues that a moratorium on legal trade has exacerbated illegal trafficking by boosting prices and moving all commerce to the black market. She says the situation is worsened by poor law enforcement, ambiguous property rights, and demand rooted in "strong traditional affiliation".

Despite moratorium, Indonesia failing to take action on illegal palm oil plantations

Indonesian authorities are failing to take action against a palm oil company that is operating illegally in Central Kalimantan, alleges a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telapak. The report, published Thursday, says that authorities have failed to conduct a criminal investigation into the illegal conversion of more than 23,000 hectares of peatland and peat forest by PT SCP, part of the BEST Group, despite being provided with "sufficient evidence" to do so. EIA and Telapak say the dossier detailed PT SCP's violations of laws governing "land allocation, access to resources and environmental management."