Conservation News

Reporting on the Australian fires: 'It has been heartbreaking'

Guardian Australia’s reporters and editors reflect on the vast scale of the disaster and the harrowing personal stories of the communities ravaged by fire

Australia’s unprecedented bushfire crisis has unfolded in waves across the spring and summer, demanding coverage across many months that has encompassed a vast geographical area and has tried to make sense of dozens of interrelated narratives, from the personal stories of individuals caught in the disaster to the devastation of wildlife, social media misinformation and the overarching relevance of the climate crisis.

The sound of thunder in Nowra rolling overhead from dirty brown clouds, knowing it was one of three storms generated by a nearby fire.

The feeling of guilt having firefighters check on our welfare and make sure we weren’t hungry.

The steely bravery on the face of a 12-year-old kid who wasn’t evacuated before the roads closed and was now helping their mum put out spot fires in the backyard.

The overwhelming desire to hug interview subjects, either because they’d just gone through something horrific or they’d just done something extraordinarily selfless, and because this isn’t just a news story, this is home.

Continue reading...

Beetles and fire kill dozens of 'indestructible' giant sequoia trees

Deadly interaction between insects, drought and fire damage have forced California’s park officials to trigger climate crisis plans intended for the 2050s

Giant sequoia trees, the largest living organisms on the planet – some more than three millennia old – have started dying from beetle attacks linked to the climate emergency, the preliminary findings of a new study have revealed.

The deaths of the trees, some of which lived through the rise and fall of hundreds of empires, caliphates and kingdoms – not to mention the inauguration of every US president – have shocked researchers in their speed and novelty.

Related: 'This is not how sequoias die. It’s supposed to stand for another 500 years'

Continue reading...

Young sea eagle takes up residence among Oxfordshire's red kites

Bird is one of six released on Isle of Wight as first residents in England for 250 years

It is one of the country’s top predators, with a 2.4-metre (8ft) wingspan and a preference for plucking fish from the ocean.

So a young sea eagle’s choice of landlocked Oxfordshire as its home is unexpected. More surprising still is that the bird has lived for four months almost completely unnoticed by the public close to the M40 and the commuter belt.

Continue reading...

Biggest food brands 'failing goals to banish palm oil deforestation'

Commitments to phase out deforestation by 2020 are out of reach for many, reports find

Some of the world’s biggest brands are failing in their commitments to banish deforestation from their supply chains through their use of palm oil, despite making public claims to environmental sustainability, according to two reports.

Scores of the world’s biggest consumer brands have agreed to phase out deforestation through the use of sustainable palm oil by 2020, but this goal looks far out of reach for many, according to separate reports from the campaigning groups WWF and Rainforest Action Network.

You may not have heard of palm oil but you certainly eat it, probably every day. It is the most widely consumed vegetable oil in the planet, representing a third of all vegetable oil. It is used in many foods, from margarine, chocolate and cookies to bread and instant noodles.

Continue reading...

Wollemi pines' survival shows what humans can do when determined

Out of the bushfires catastrophe, the ancient trees have become a symbol of survival and hope in the face of a climate emergency

Imagine if more than a quarter of a century ago, the bushwalker David Noble had not stumbled across the stand of Wollemi pines and they had remained undiscovered.

The trees survive in three stands in just one remote canyon in a massive wilderness to Sydney’s north-west. Until they were found, they were a species clinging to the edge of the precipice of extinction – just one disaster away from vanishing.

Related: 'Dinosaur trees': firefighters save endangered Wollemi pines from NSW bushfires

James Woodford is the author of The Wollemi Pine: The Incredible Discovery of a Living Fossil from the Age of the Dinosaurs, Text Publishing

Continue reading...
Latest Job Listings