Conservation News

World’s nations gather to tackle wildlife extinction crisis

Giraffes, sharks, glass frogs - and the woolly mammoth - may get boosted protection at summit

From giraffes to sharks, the world’s endangered species could gain better protection at an international wildlife conference.

The triennial summit of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), that began on Saturday, will tackle disputes over the conservation of great beasts such as elephants and rhinos, as well as cracking down on the exploitation of unheralded but vital species such as sea cucumbers, which clean ocean floors.

Related: Earth's sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn

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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, but many of our coastal towns need more love | Sarah Ditum

Britain’s resorts have been largely left to struggle. But their joys can still be revived

My summer holiday of choice involves no passport, minimal cultural outings and as much time as possible spent immersed in 15C water. When I tell people that I am spending my break swimming in the North Sea off Yorkshire, reactions tend to run from “you’re brave” to “why would you do that?”. Which I imagine is similar to the comments I’d get if I announced I was taking a week to visit prisoners with whole-life orders. But I maintain that true pleasure requires not much more than an RNLI-supervised beach, a tide table and a novel to read between dips.

The British seaside is tragically underappreciated and disastrously underfunded. A lack of year-round jobs and lousy transport links are driving its residents away: four in 10 coastal towns are forecast to suffer a decline in their population of under-30s, with those in the north worst affected. Even the south-west, which attracts nearly half of the visitors to Britain’s coast, is struggling. Places that are a hive of cute tearooms and sun-dappled tourists in the summer pull down their shutters at the end of the season; the holidaymakers leave and a bleak and empty winter sets in.

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Norway halts Amazon fund donation in dispute with Brazil

International concerns grow over deforestation surge since Jair Bolsonaro took power

Norway has followed Germany in suspending donations to the Brazilian government’s Amazon Fund after a surge in deforestation in the South American rainforest. The move has triggered a caustic attack from the country’s rightwing president.

Related: Bolsonaro rejects 'Captain Chainsaw' label as data shows deforestation 'exploded'

Related: Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon surges to record high

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Ash dieback is just the start of killer plagues threatening Britain’s trees | George Monbiot

Deadly diseases are marching across Europe unchecked – all in the name of free trade

As Dutch elm disease spread across Britain in the 1970s, the country fell into mourning. When the sentinel trees that framed our horizons were felled, their loss was a constant topic of sad and angry conversation. Today, just a few years into the equally devastating ash dieback epidemic, and as the first great trees are toppled, most of us appear to have forgotten all about it. I’ve travelled around much of Britain this summer, and seen the disease almost everywhere. A survey published this spring found infected trees across roughly three-quarters of England and Wales: the spread has been as rapid and devastating as ecologists predicted. But in this age of hypernormalisation, only a few people still seem to care. Ash to ashes: our memories wither as quickly as the trees.

And almost nothing has been learned. Our disease prevention rules, whose scope is restricted by the European Union and the World Trade Organization, and whose enforcement is restricted by the British government’s austerity, do little to prevent similar plagues afflicting our remaining trees. Several deadly pathogens are marching across Europe. While it is hard to prevent some of these plagues from spreading across land, there is a simple measure that would stop most of them from spreading across water: a ban on the import of all live plants except those grown from tissue cultures, in sterile conditions.

Related: Ash dieback expected to cost British economy nearly £15bn

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State government-funded managers urge cane farmers to question reef science

Exclusive: Speaking tour by controversial academic Peter Ridd is being supported by sugarcane managers paid for with Queensland government funds

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Sugarcane industry managers funded by grants from the Queensland government to help cane growers reduce pollution flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef are promoting lectures by a controversial scientist who argues farm runoff is no threat to the reef.

Peter Ridd began a speaking tour of regional Queensland on Monday amid fierce opposition to proposed state regulations that would set restrictions for sediment and chemical runoff from farms into reef catchments.

Related: Great Barrier Reef: four rivers are most responsible for pollution

Related: Farmers' groups withhold data from $9m Great Barrier Reef water quality program

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