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Indonesian official at center of licensing scandal charged in new case
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 18 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency has charged a former politician from Borneo in connection with a port development project, in a move that could shed light on an earlier scandal involving permits for oil palm plantations.



Seawall in Seychelles to be rebuilt
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 18 October 2019 (SNA) -  A seawall is being rebuilt in the western district of Anse Boileau to tackle flooding during high tides and heavy rain in the area, an increasing occurrence being blamed on climate change.



Brexit concerns blowing a gale across nervy Falklands
STANLEY, Falkland Islands, 18 October 2019 (AFP) - It may be a remote archipelago 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometres) from mainland Britain but the Falkland Islands' incredible biodiversity, as well as fishing and meat exports, are under threat from Brexit.



Why is a secretive billionaire buying up the Cayman Islands?
NEW YORK, US, 18 October 2019 (NYT) - The heir to a foam-cup fortune is believed to own more land than anyone on the storied tax haven of Grand Cayman, just as rising seas threaten to engulf it.



Gaelic disappearing from Scottish island communities
LONDON, UK, 18 October 2019 (Guardian) - The number of Gaelic speakers in Scotland’s island communities has plummeted in less than a decade, according to a leading Highland researcher who believes that the language is on the point of “societal collapse” across Scotland.



The Sundarbans crab farmers battling climate crisis - and pirates
LONDON, UK, 18 October 2019 (Guardian) - Stretching across south-western Bangladesh and into neighbouring India, the Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world, a honeycomb of islands and tributaries that eventually fan out into the Bay of Bengal.



Scanners throw laser light on the 'dark ages' in Orkney
LONDON, UK, 18 October 2019 (BBC) - The latest laser scanning technology is being used to investigate ancient inscriptions left on Orkney by the Picts and the Vikings.



Development dilemma as eastern Greenland eyes tourism boost
KULUSUK, Denmark, 17 October 2019 (AFP) - Kayaking past blue-white icebergs drifting along near a pristine harbour, wandering around colourful houses or trekking in the snow-capped wilderness: July and August are high season for tourists in eastern Greenland.



Planned roads would be 'dagger in the heart' for Borneo's forests
BRISBANE, Australia, 17 October 2019 (SPX) - Malaysia's plans to create a Pan-Borneo Highway will severely degrade one of the world's most environmentally imperilled regions, says a research team from Australia and Malaysia.



On the front line of climate change in India's Sundarbans
SAGAR ISLAND, India. 17 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Saktipada Bhuinya looks out over the ocean that surrounds Sagar Island. The Indian part of the Sundarbans, the vast mangrove forest in the Bay of Bengal, consists of 102 islands, about half of them inhabited.



Reforesting a village in Indonesia with wild coffee seeds
CIBULAO, Indonesia, 17 October 2019 (Mongabay) - A light drizzle falls outside Kiryono’s home as he peers at the thermostat on a coffee roaster. The 39-year-old’s green robusta harvest absorbs the heat in the initial part of the process, before the beans become exothermic as the temperature rises.



Early humans migrated to Greek Islands 200,000 years ago
DUBLIN, Ireland, 17 October 2019 (Ancient Origins) - A team of international scientists has today published new evidence proving that the Greek island of Naxos was populated with Neanderthals and early humans 200,000 years ago, which is tens of thousands of years earlier than currently held.



Southwest Atlantic humpback whales on recovery path
LONDON, UK, 16 October 2019 (BBC) - It's estimated the humpbacks that frequent the southwest Atlantic once totalled perhaps 27,000 animals but this was reduced to only a few hundred by the steam-driven boats and harpoons operating out of the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia. A new study suggests the humpbacks are back close to where they were.



For the Philippines, a warming world means stronger typhoons
MANILA, Philippines, 16 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Global warming is expected to increase the frequency of El Niño and La Niña weather events in the Pacific, resulting in more powerful typhoons hitting the Philippines, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.



China is leasing an entire Pacific island
SYDNEY, Australia, 16 October 2019 (NYT) - The island of Tulagi served as a strategic headquarters for Britain and then Japan when each dominated the Pacific. Before World War II, it was the capital of the Solomon Islands. During the war, its natural deepwater harbor across from Guadalcanal made it a military gem fought and died for. Now Tulagi is about to fall into Chinese hands.



Greenland's melting ice may affect everyone's future
KULUSUK, Greenland, 15 October 2019 (NatGeog) - NASA scientists are trying to understand how this region is responding to climate change and how that will influence sea levels around the world.



Cook Islands MPA leader fired after supporting seabed mining freeze
AOTEAROA, New Zealand, 15 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Last month the Cook Islands government dismissed the director of the world’s biggest mixed-use marine protected area (MPA), which is called Marae Moana.  Her firing came after she expressed support for a 10-year moratorium on seabed mining across the Pacific Ocean.



A Philippine community fights a lonely battle against gold mine
MANILA, Philippines, 15 October 2019 (Mongabay) - A tribal community in the Philippines has since July maintained a blockade of a controversial gold mine whose permit has expired but whose operator insists is allowed to continue working pending a renewal.



The disappearing islands
TORONTO, Canada, 15 October 2019 (CBC) - For decades, efforts have been underway to tame the effects of erosion on the Magdalen Islands, an archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But the effects of climate change left these tiny islands vulnerable when it came to facing two powerful and unpredictable storms in less than a year.



China's friendship to boost sustainable tourism in Solomon Islands
HONIARA, Solomon Islands, 15 October 2019 (Xinhua) - Despite its palm tree-lined shores and idyllic coral reefs, the Pacific nation of Solomon Islands remains relatively untouched in terms of tourism.



Demand for farmed salmon is causing an ecological disaster
GLASGOW, UK, 15 October 2019 (Herald) - International investigators today allege that meal made from seafood illegally or unethically caught in the Gambia, Vietnam and India is ending up in fish farmed and sold in Scotland, Norway and, especially, China.



Bougainville's 'Melanesian way' beyond the referendum
CANBERRA, Australia, 14 October 2019 (ASPI) - Bougainville knows far better than Britain that a referendum vote to go or to stay is only the first mountain. Then the second mountain must be climbed - the negotiation to turn the outcome into a reality.



Bali fights for its beautiful beaches by rethinking waste
WASHINGTON, US, 14 October 2019 (NatGeog) - From single-use plastic bans to education, Bali is digging deep to preserve its pristine reputation and save its tourism industry.



Fresh hope for embattled Scots islands as young people return
DUNDEE, UK, 14 October 2019 (Sunday Post) - Young people are moving in; millennials pumping new life into communities, working the land, launching businesses and sending their children to nurseries and primary schools.



They crossed an ocean to butcher pigs. It was no American dream.
SIOUX CITY, US, 13 October 2019 (NYT) - 200 Pacific Islanders recruited to work at an Iowa pork plant ended up in a tangled migration dispute with accusations of mistreatment and broken promises.



Foreign plastic invades Great Nicobar Island
NEW DELHI, India, 13 October 2019 (The Hindu) - The pristine beaches of the Great Nicobar Island, India’s southernmost territory, are under threat from plastic. A survey of five beaches in the islands recorded the presence of plastic bottles.



Cubans resilience sorely tested as US oil sanctions bite
HAVANA, Cuba, 13 October 2019 (Guardian) - Bus services throughout Cuba have been slashed in recent weeks as the island grapples with acute petrol shortages caused by US sanctions which target companies and oil tankers transporting Venezuelan petroleum to the island.



Molokai and Lanai: Two Hawaiian islands, two approaches to tourism
LOS ANGELES, US, 12 October 2019 (LA Times) - Some 98% of Lanai is owned by Larry Ellison, co-founder and executive chairman of Oracle. His Lanai restoration team, called Pulama Lanai, has nearly 400 workers on the payroll and is working to restore ancient fishponds and replant forests in areas ravaged by wild deer and goats.



Fake puffins used to lure the seabirds back to the Calf of Man
LONDON, UK, 12 October 2019 (Telegraph) - The cliffs of the Calf of Man appear abundant with puffins, a species threatened with global extinction, but upon closer inspection the seabirds are not all that they seem.



Saving an island from the worst oil spill in the Philippines
MANILA, Philippines, 11 October 2019 (Mongabay) - On August 11, 2006, the oil tanker M/T Solar 1, hired by Petron Corporation, sank off the coast of Guimaras, an island province in the Philippines, spilling more than 2.1 million liters (about 555,000 gallons) of bunker fuel. It is still known as the worst oil spill in the Philippines’ history.



Marshall Islands declares a climate crisis
LOS ANGELES, US, 11 Oct 2019 (LA Times) - The Marshall Islands, a low-lying chain of atolls and key U.S. ally in the Central Pacific, has declared a national climate crisis because of the mounting risk of sea-level rise, the nation’s president announced this week.



Man-made islands are more common than you think
ATLANTA, US, 11 October 2019 (HowStuffWorks) - The British Isles are made up of more than 6,000 islands, but that wasn't enough for some of their Neolithic residents. In northern Scotland, ancient peoples used to pile hundreds of boulders on lake bottoms, riverbeds and estuary floors. Using this technique, they built scores of tiny islands, some of which are around 5,500 years old. 



Bali mangrove bay is now a conservation zone
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 11 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Bali’s mangrove-rich Benoa Bay is now legally off-limits for any reclamation or development activities, following the government’s designation of the area as a maritime conservation zone.



Madagascar calls for assistance as fires imperil its protected areas
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 11 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Fires razed more than 1,300 hectares of forestland in Madagascar’s Ankarafantsika National Park in August and September - four times the size of New York City’s Central Park.



Questions raised over lack of fixed links in Scotland islands plan
LERWICK, UK, 11 October 2019 (Shetland News) - An MSP has questioned why fixed links have not been included in the Scottish Government’s proposed national islands plan since the case for bridges and tunnels has been “strongly advocated in a number of our island communities”.



Endangered bandicoots released to new island home
LONDON, UK, 11 October 2019 (Guardian) - A decades-long fight to save a tiny endangered Australian marsupial – the eastern barred bandicoot – hit a major milestone last night as conservationists released 55 into the dusk of a new island home in Victoria.



Haiti and the failed promise of US aid
LONDON, UK, 11 October 2019 (Guardian) - After an earthquake struck in 2010, the US pledged to help rebuild the Caribbean country. A decade later, nothing better symbolises the failure of these efforts than the story of a new port that was promised, but never built.



How Ibiza is tackling its problem with waste
LONDON, UK, 11 October 2019 (BBC) - Ibiza generated half a tonne of waste per person this year, which is 14% higher than the rest of Europe.



Lord Howe Island to build renewable energy microgrid
SYDNEY, Australia, 10 October 2019 (SMH) - The tiny population of Lord Howe Island will soon be powered by a state-of-the-art solar and battery system to significantly curb its reliance on diesel generators.



Airborne laser scan reveals Arran's 1,000 ancient sites
LONDON, UK, 10 October 2019 (BBC) - A "cutting-edge" archaeological project has discovered about 1,000 sites of interest on Arran including prehistoric settlements and medieval farmsteads.



Conservation finance: Seychelles' troubled waters
LONDON, UK, 10 October 2019 (Euromoney) - The Seychelles was the first country to issue a debt-for-nature swap to protect its marine environment; it was also the first to issue a blue bond, raising capital to finance sustainable marine and ocean-related projects. But can it overcome the teething problems and provide a model other island nations can follow?



How selling citizenship is now big business
PORT VILA, Vanuatu, 10 October 2019 (BBC) - Buying and selling citizenship is now a global industry worth an estimated $25bn a year. We followed the citizenship trail to the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. Since the country introduced its new citizenship scheme four years ago, it's seen an explosion of interest. Passports now provide the biggest source of its government's revenues. 



Manila transport crisis: Commuters outraged by 'leave earlier' advice
LONDON, UK, 10 October 2019 (BBC) - The Filipino president's spokesman has been criticised for dismissing commuters' concerns in Manila - one of the world's most gridlocked cities. 



Madagascar: Opaque foreign fisheries deals leave empty nets at home
TOLIARA, Madagascar, 9 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Malagasy fishers blame shrimp trawlers that ply coastal waters for their declining catches. However, the bulk of industrial fishing in Madagascar’s waters takes place far from shore and out of view. It’s conducted by foreign fishing fleets working under agreements that critics say lack transparency.



How Seychelles can improve waste management practices
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 9 October 2019 (SNA) - Seychelles waste-management practices are being studied by European and Japanese experts in order to find areas in which to improve.



The epic battle to save the islands that inspired the theory of evolution
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 9 October 2019 (Mongabay) - In the mid-1800s, the extraordinary biodiversity of the Aru Islands, a heavily forested archipelago in the eastern margins of the world’s largest island nation, helped inspire the theory of evolution by natural selection.



The British isle that doesn't belong
LONDON, UK, 9 October 2019 (BBC) - For all its proximity to mainland Britain, the Isle of Man and its roughly 85,000 residents seem to fly under the radar. It receives relatively few visitors: just more than 300,000 in 2018.



Fast evolution explains the extinct 'Hobbit' from Flores Island
LONDON, UK, 9 October 2019 (The Conversation) - It’s not every day that scientists discover a new human species. But that’s just what happened back in 2004, when archaeologists uncovered some very well-preserved fossil remains in the Liang Bua cave on Flores Island, Indonesia. The diminutive size of this new human species, Homo floresiensis, earned it the nickname “Hobbit.”



National plan for helping Scotland's islands
LONDON, UK, 8 October 2019 (BBC) - A National Islands Plan setting out the priorities for helping Scotland's islands has been proposed by the Scottish government. Tackling depopulation, a lack of housing and the need for improvements to transport and health services are among the objectives.



Palau Conservation Society: protecting paradise for 25 years
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 8 October 2019 (BirdLife) - The Pacific nation of Palau has created something no other nation on earth has. Before entering any of its 200+ islands, you are asked at customs to sign the Palau Pledge – a formal agreement to respect the natural environment throughout your stay.



For Indonesia's newest tarsier, a debut 25 years in the making
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 8 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Scientists first spotted a previously unknown type of tarsier on the Togean Islands off Sulawesi, Indonesia, in 1993, and it’s taken 25 years of further studies to describe the diminutive primate species as new to science.



Philippines races to save its increasingly endangered hornbills
MANILA, Philippines, 8 October 2019 (Mongabay) - The Philippines has 11 endemic hornbill species and nine are threatened, according to the country’s red list of threatened species, which was updated this year.



Oyster reefs are making a comeback
GOVERNORS ISLAND, US, 8 October 2019 (CNBC) - They are salty, sumptuous and often served opulently on ice. They are also now on the front lines in the fight to protect coastal real estate from climate change. Oysters - more precisely, oyster reefs.



The last mammoths died on a remote island
HELSINKI, Finland, 8 October 2019 (SPX) - The last woolly mammoths lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean; they died out 4,000 years ago within a very short time.



Overloaded Kiribati ferry where 95 died had drunk crew
LONDON, UK, 8 October 2019 (BBC) - A ferry that sank off the Pacific nation of Kiribati - killing 95 people - was overloaded, had a drunken crew, and was not allowed to carry passengers at sea, an inquiry has found.



The unrecognized cost of Indonesia's fires
SAN FRANCISCO, US, 7 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Three decades ago, scientists surveying the forests of Malaysian Borneo discovered a plant extract that killed HIV in a test tube. When they returned to the field site to collect more samples, they were surprised to find the peat forest had been cleared.



Sark police chief says island is awash with criminals
LONDON, UK, 7 October 2019 (Guardian) - Sark bills itself the “crown jewel” of the Channel Islands, a peaceful, safe, car-free slice of paradise where the visitor can escape the hustle and bustle of modern day life.



Call for Jihadis to go to West Papua following unrest
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 7 October 2019 (RNZ) - Front Jihad Islam, or FJI, issued a call to arms in the Indonesia-ruled Papuan provinces after non-Papuan settlers were among the victims of recent violence there.



NYC wants to put a climate change laboratory on Governors Island
NEW YORK, US, 6 October 2019 (NYT) - Governors Island, a 172-acre patch of land near southern Manhattan, which has an unusual history and considerable real estate potential could host a complex devoted to climate policy under the plan, which is in its early stages.



Tens of thousands of goats munch Greek island into crisis
SAMOTHRAKI, Greece, 6 October 2019 (AP) - With oak and chestnut forests, waterfalls and rugged coastline, Samothraki has a wild beauty and a remoteness that sets it apart from other Greek islands.



Seychelles Blue Economy Council holds first meeting
VICTORIA, Seychelles, 5 October 2019 (Nation) - The Seychelles Blue Economy Council met yesterday afternoon at State House in its first session to discuss the development within the Blue Economy sector.



Commonwealth steps up battle on climate change
LONDON, UK, 4 October 2019 (CS) - The Commonwealth has launched a regenerative climate change model that marries the ancient wisdom of indigenous groups with emerging innovations, technologies and scientific approaches. Common Earth, is the programme that will create a network of projects that could be replicated and adapted to any community, country or region.



Indonesia's Aceh says wildlife poachers to get 100 lashes
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 4 October 2019 (AFP) - Poachers who threaten endangered orangutans, tigers and other wildlife could receive up to 100 lashes under new rules in Indonesia's Aceh province, which usually reserves whipping for morality crimes under Islamic law.



Hundreds protest pollution from coal-fired power plant in Java
CILACAP, Indonesia, 4 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Hundreds of people in central Java earlier this week staged a protest demanding a resolution over waste mismanagement at a coal-fired power plant that has polluted their village.



Alaska fur seals thrive on an unlikely island
ANCHORAGE, US, 4 October 2019 (ADN) - Alaska’s northern fur seal population for three decades has been classified as depleted, but the marine mammals are showing up in growing numbers at an unlikely location: a tiny island that forms the tip of an active undersea volcano.



Island with just six inhabitants is voted the world's best
LONDON, UK, 4 October 2019 (Independent) - A car-free island in Iceland with just six permanent residents has been named the world’s best. Flatey Island, located off the north-west coast of Iceland and spanning just 1.2 miles in length, bagged the top spot in Big 7 Travel's list of the 50 best islands for 2020.



UN commits to help Pacific island agriculture adapt
NEW YORK, US, 4 October 2019 (UN News) - The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization pledged on Friday to work hand in hand with the people of the Pacific to improve nutrition, and mitigate the worst effects of climate change, which pose an existential threat to many island nations across the region. 



Learning brings hope to Haiti's most notorious slum
CITE SOLEIL, Haiti, 4 October 2019 (Guardian) - Swamped by sewage and prone to floods, Cité Soleil is a hotbed for gangs and violence. But for a lucky few, an education initiative offers a glimpse of a better future.



'Shocking level' of litter on sea corals off Scotland
LONDON, UK, 3 October 2019 (BBC) - Rubbish has been found snagged on cold-water corals off the north coast of Scotland. Plastic bags and lost fishing nets were among the litter spotted during a survey in and around an area of seabed known as the Darwin Mounds.



Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 3 October 2019 (Guardian) - A huge floating device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean that is three times the size of France has successfully picked up plastic from the high seas for the first time.



Sri Lanka attacks: The beach paradise that wants its tourists back
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 3 October 2019 (BBC) - Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday suicide bombings killed more than 250 people - and threatened to wreck the country's tourism industry. But, five months on, there is hope on the horizon.



Demand for charcoal threatens the forest of Madagascar's last hunter-gatherers
MIKEA FOREST, Madagascar, 3 October 2019 (Mongabay) - The Mikea, who number around 1,000 people, are facing what many of them say is an existential environmental problem.



As wildfires roil Sumatra, some villages have abandoned the burning
UPANG CERIA, Indonesia, 3 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Devastating fires and haze in 2015, as well as the threat of arrest, have prompted some villages in Sumatra to end the tradition of burning the land for planting.



Pacific urged to lead global discussions on climate and ocean change
SUVA, Fiji, 2 October 2019 (PACNEWS) - UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Oceans, Ambassador Peter Thompson has encouraged the Pacific to use its ‘unique moral authority and obligation’ to lead global discussions on climate and ocean change, in the lead up to the UN Oceans conference in Lisbon, Portugal in June next year.



China will struggle to shut Taiwan out of the Pacific
SUVA, Fiji, 2 October 2019 (PACNEWS) - And then there were 15. That was the new tally of Taiwan’s official diplomatic partners after the decisions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to recognise Beijing over Taipei. Of the 15 partners, four remain in the Pacific, including the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.



Safeguarding the world's largest tuna fishery
SYDNEY, Australia, 2 October 2019 (UNSW) - New research has used a combination of records from captains and scientific observers, fish aggregating devices (FADs) tracking data, ocean models and cutting edge simulation methods to reveal for the first time the trajectories and potential impact FADs may have on fisheries around Pacific island nations.



Report links major brands to illegal oil palm plantation
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 2 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Major consumer brands including Nestlé, Kellogg’s and Hershey have been getting some of their palm oil from an illegal plantation inside a protected forest that holds the highest density of critically endangered orangutans anywhere on Earth, a new report says.



Welcome to Estonia's Isle of Women
NEW YORK, US, 2 October 2019 (NYT) - In the Kihnu Museum on a tiny Estonian island, the elders, dressed in matching striped skirts, pondered a favorite question over coffee. What hasn’t a Kihnu woman done?



Manila's informal settlers face relocation in exchange for clean bay
MANILA, Philippines, 2 October 2019 (Mongabay) - The Philippine government has begun the process of relocating more than 200,000 families living along waterways to restore Manila Bay, the main body of water in the capital.



Anak Krakatau volcano collapse: 'Warning signs were there'
LONDON, UK, 2 October 2019 (BBC) - Anak Krakatau, the Indonesian island volcano that collapsed last December triggering a huge tsunami, did produce clear warning signals before the event.



Tsunamis linked to spread of deadly fungal disease
LONDON, UK, 2 October 2019 (BBC) - A major earthquake in Alaska in 1964 triggered tsunamis that washed ashore a deadly tropical fungus, scientists say.



Island reveals rising tide of plastic waste
LONDON, UK, 1 October 2019 (BBC) - A remote island in the southern Atlantic Ocean has helped reveal the scale of the problem of plastic waste facing our seas. Some 75% of bottles washed ashore on Inaccessible Island, in the South Atlantic, were found to be from Asia - with most made in China.



Sicily's 'king of wind' guilty of bankrolling top mafia fugitive
PALERMO, Italy, 1 October 2019 (Guardian) - A Sicilian windfarm businessman, known as the “king of wind”, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for bankrolling the No 1 mafia fugitive, Matteo Messina Denaro.



Indonesia defers legislation seen as harming the environment
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 1 October 2019 (Mongabay) - Indonesian lawmakers have chosen not to pass a raft of controversial legislation that critics say would dismantle environmental and social protections, in the face of massive student-led protests.



Martial law in Mindanao takes deadly toll on land, environmental defenders
MINDANAO, Philippines, 1 October 2019 (Mongabay) - The island of Mindanao has long been the deadliest place in the Philippines for individuals defending their land and environment from extractives and agribusiness interests.



Haitians urge judges to find UN culpable for cholera outbreak
NEW YORK, US, 1 October 2019 (Guardian) - Victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti, which killed at least 10,000 people and infected hundreds of thousands more, are petitioning the US supreme court on Tuesday to hold the UN accountable for having brought the disease to the stricken country.



Komodo: Tourists must pay $1,000 to enter 'Dragon Island'
LONDON, UK, 1 October 2019 (BBC) - The Indonesian island of Komodo, home to the Komodo dragon, will not be closed to tourists next year - but a $1,000 membership scheme will be introduced, the authorities have said.



Restoring Sumatra's Leuser Ecosystem, one small farm at a time
TENGGULUN, Indonesia, 30 September 2019 (Mongabay) - An initiative in Indonesia’s Aceh province is engaging local farmers in restoring parts of the biodiverse Leuser Ecosystem by allowing them to farm and reforest tracts of land previously used for illegal oil palm plantations.



The children in prison for stealing vanilla in Madagascar
LONDON, UK, 30 September 2019 (BBC) - Madagascar is the world's largest producer of vanilla beans, where a booming industry has led to rising theft. Children accused of stealing vanilla beans can spend nearly three years in prison without trial.



Small islands: meeting the challenges of freshwater resilience
NEW YORK, US, 30 September 2019 (UNESCO) - SIDS are at the forefront of climate change and its consequences, particularly with regard to their freshwater resources. 71% of SIDS face a risk of water shortage, a figure that goes up to 91% in SIDS with the lowest altitude.



Riots at Greek refugee camp on Lesbos after fatal fire
ATHENS, Greece, 30 September 2019 (Guardian) - Greek authorities are scrambling to deal with unrest at a vastly overcrowded migrant camp on Lesbos after a fire there left at least one person dead.



This Brazilian island wants to show the way to a green future
FERNANDO DE NORONHA, ­Brazil, 29 September 2019 (WP) - When Guilherme Rocha surveys the golden sand beaches, turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs of this speck of an island in the South Atlantic, he sees a model of sustainable development for Brazil - and the world.



Ascension Island's hydroponics lab is revitalizing life
ASCENSION ISLAND, 29 September 2019 (USAF) - The 45th Space Wing's Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield looks quite similar to Mars, per its physical characteristics. Food must be flown in because the topography of the island isn't able to grow food organically. However, a support team has revamped the hydroponics lab so that fresh vegetables can be grown and consumed by the 700 inhabitants of the volcanic island.



The tsunami and the two Samoas: 10 years on
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, 29 September 2019 (RNZ) - For the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that killed 180 people across Polynesia, RNZ Pacific journalist returned to the Samoas to see how his ancestral home lands had recovered.



The mission to return tiny snails to Pacific islands
LONDON, UK, 28 September 2019 (Observer) - They are some of the smallest animals on our planet, measuring from 1cm to 2cm in length. But the recent return of thousands of tiny tropical tree snails to French Polynesia represents one of the biggest reintroduction programmes ever attempted by conservationists.



West Papua witnesses recount horror of police shootings
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 28 September 2019 (Guardian) - Witnesses to Monday’s deadly riots in West Papua claim Indonesian police gunned down Papuan students in the street during the unrest, and say Wamena has since become a militarised ghost town.



Haiti unrest: Shops and police station looted as thousands protest
LONDON, UK, 28 September 2019 (BBC) - Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Haiti amid violent protest against President Jovenel Moïse.



Island must adapt to rising seas and stronger storms
MARTHA'S VINEYARD, US, 27 September 2019 (MVT) - Dutch architect and urbanist Matthijs Bouw says Martha's Vineyard will need to work across boundaries and disciplines in order to adapt to the growing effects of climate change.



PNG youth addresses SIDS meeting at UN
NEW YORK, US, 27 September 2019 (UN DESA) - The young advocate from the island nation of Papua New Guinea, painted a vivid picture of the dangers for delegates on Friday, during the last major summit of the UN’s high level week, dedicated to looking at the progress and pitfalls facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as the world warms, and the seas rise.  



More than 100 dolphins mysteriously found dead on Cape Verde
NEW YORK, US, 27 September 2019 (CBS) - In a heartbreaking mass stranding event, nearly 200 dolphins washed ashore in the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa this week. Now, experts in Spain are trying to determine what caused the majority of those marine mammals to die.



Europe's largest marine protected area proposed
LONDON, UK, 27 September 2019 (BBC) - Europe's largest marine protected area (MPA) has been proposed for an area of deep sea off the Western Isles.



Treasure hunt on Chile's Juan Fernandez island sparks controversy
NEW YORK, US, 27 September 2019 (Bloomberg) - The legend is too good to resist - 800 barrels crammed with gold and jewels hidden on the small, rocky island in the Pacific Ocean that inspired Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe novel.



A newborn dies amid Indonesia fire crisis
PEKANBARU, Indonesia, 27 September 2019 (Mongabay) - A newborn child in Indonesia’s Riau province has become one of the latest fatalities of the haze blanketing large swaths of the region as a result of fires burning through Sumatra’s forests.



UN SG champions the call for massive investment in SIDS
NEW YORK, US, 27 September 2019 (PACNEWS) - United Nations secretary general says today’s global review is an opportunity for the international community to take stock of progress made on implementing the SAMOA Pathway, and identify challenges.



Reviving Maori tradition to protect marine life
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands, 27 September 2019 (Mongabay) - On March 1, 2000, traditional Māori elders gathered with family, community members and government officials on the white-sand shore of Aro’a Lagoon to pray, make speeches, and formally place the water body under the protection of a ra’ui mutu kore - a permanent ban on fishing.



Indonesia rushes to pass bill seen as pandering to mining companies
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 27 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Indonesia’s parliament is rushing to pass a controversial bill on coal and mineral mining before the current legislators’ term ends on Sept. 30, defying a massive public outcry over legislation seen as favoring the extractives industry at the expense of the environment and vulnerable communities.



Top Madagascar beer maker supports investigation
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, 27 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Facing growing scrutiny for sourcing maize from a region in Madagascar that is suffering massive deforestation, the Madagascar beer maker STAR, owned by French brewer Castel, announced its support for an independent investigation into its supply chain.



Hong Kong locals fear loss of small-town life with artificial islands
HONG KONG, 27 September 2019 (Reuters) - Not long after Tom Yam returned to his native Hong Kong after 40 years abroad, he picked Lantau Island to settle in, drawn to its laid-back villages, wooded trails and scenic beaches that seemed a world away from the bustle of the city.



Wildfires spread to planned site of new Indonesian capital
SAMARINDA, Indonesia, 26 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Indonesia’s wildfire emergency has spread to the part of eastern Borneo where President Joko Widodo wants to relocate the nation’s capital.



Newfoundland couple readies for life off the grid
TORONTO, Canada, 26 September 2019 (NP) - With nobody to plow the roads or pilot the ferry or provide electricity, Michael Parsons and his wife, Georgina, will soon be the sole residents of Little Bay Islands, Newfoundland.



Surge in migration throws Greek islands back into crisis
MORIA, Greece, 26 September 2019 (AP) - There’s no room left at Europe’s largest refugee camp. New arrivals on the Greek island of Lesbos have to fend for themselves outside its barbed wire perimeter - in a maze of tents, each sprayed with a number in black paint.



Lundy's future secure for another 50 years
LONDON, UK, 26 September 2019 (Guardian) - The future of an island off the Devon coast that has been transformed from the haunt of pirates and chancers into a haven for wildlife and seekers of the quiet life has been secured for another half century.



Chile announces vital new regulations to protect seabirds
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 25 September 2019 (BirdLife) - New regulations introduced by the Chilean Government at the end of August will require a number of important trawl fleets to implement measures that reduce the bycatch of seabirds.



5 revelations from traveling the Pan Borneo Highway
KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia, 25 September 2019 (Mongabay) - In July, I traveled most of the length of the proposed Pan Borneo Highway route with the goal of trying to understand the aims, possibilities and pitfalls of this highway’s construction.



New law will hamper war against corruption in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia, 25 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Indonesia’s anti-corruption commission and its supporters have warned that the passage of a new law will severely hamper the fight against graft, including in the natural resources sector.



'I vow to tread lightly'
NEW YORK, US, 25 September 2019 (NYT) - Tourism “pledges” to promote respect for local customs and natural resources have proliferated in recent years. But whether these largely voluntary vows have changed behaviors is hard to track.



Less than 3 percent of the ocean is 'highly protected'
WASHINGTON, US, 25 September 2019 (NatGeog) - Despite a flurry of declarations about marine protected areas, world leaders are struggling to put these vital conservation measures into practice.



Hurricanes may kill some birds, but humans are the real threat
NEW YORK, US, 24 September 2019 (NYT) - In a catastrophic hurricane like Dorian, the loss of lives and homes can be overwhelming. But even in the midst of devastating sadness and disbelief, a far less urgent but perennial question can tug at the back of the mind. What is the impact of these storms on wild creatures, like birds? 



Pacific islands seek $500m to make ocean's shipping zero carbon
LONDON, UK, 24 September 2019 (Guardian) - A coalition of six Pacific island nations wants to raise $500m to make all shipping in the Pacific Ocean zero carbon by the middle of the century.



Greta Thunberg: What climate summit achieved after outburst
LONDON, UK, 24 September 2019 (BBC) - The UN’s climate summit has closed amidst cautious praise for its achievements, and bitter condemnation for its failures.



For one Indonesian village, mangrove restoration has been all upside
PAREMAS, Indonesia, 24 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Demand for firewood in recent years led to the depletion of the mangrove forest in the Indonesian village of Paremas. But the local government and NGOs worked with the community to emphasize the importance of restoring the mangrove, with surprising results.



Who is behind Philippine environment defender deaths
MANILA, Philippines, 24 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Global Witness, an eco-watchdog, has linked businesses and investors, including development banks to the increasing violence against land and environmental defenders in the Philippines, a practice rooted in the country’s “business at all costs” approach, it says in a new report.



Scientists to report on ocean 'emergency' caused by warming
MONTE CARLO, Monaco, 24 September 2019 (BBC) - Scientists have been meeting in Monaco to finalise a report on the seas and the cryosphere. It will be the clearest declaration yet on how an overheating world is hammering our oceans and frozen regions.



After tsunami, Aceh reckons with an inconsistent fisheries recovery
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, 23 September 2019 (Mongabay) - When a tsunami killed tens of thousands of people in Indonesia’s Aceh province 15 years ago, international donors contributed billions of dollars to disaster recovery efforts.



Sri Lanka eyes lucrative charismatic species to save lesser-known ones
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, 23 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Though a global biodiversity hotspot with high endemism, Sri Lanka’s wildlife tourism is driven by a select group of “charismatic” species, including the Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, blue whale and sperm whale, none of which are endemic to the island.



Paradise, polluted: Cook Islands tries to clean up its tourism sector
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands, 23 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Tourism accounts for almost 70 percent of the Cook Islands’ economy, but the industry is proving extremely damaging to its delicately balanced island ecosystem, and is contributing to islanders’ detachment from traditional ways of life.



Sri Lanka wields mangroves as its tsunami shield
KOGGALA, Sri Lanka, 22 September 2019 (Mongabay) - Fifteen years after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Sri Lanka’s government intends to keep expanding the island’s coastal green belt - the chain of mangrove swamps credited with limiting the damage and destruction of the deadly waves.



Climate change: Impacts 'accelerating' as leaders gather for UN talks
LONDON, UK, 22 September 2019 (BBC) - The signs and impacts of global heating are speeding up, the latest science on climate change, published ahead of key UN talks in New York, says.



Dunk Island set for multi-million-dollar makeover
CAIRNS, Australia, 22 September 2019 (ABC) - A Far North Queensland tourist island left lying in ruins for years will undergo a multi-million-dollar redevelopment in an effort to create an international tourism drawcard.



Tiny island's giant war on waste
PERTH, Australia, 22 September 2019 (ABC) - In 2016, the beach on Direction Island was named the best in Australia. Pictures of the idyllic location, and the coral reef off its shores, went all over the world and boosted the profile of the Cocos Islands as a remote tropical paradise.



Western Isles spaceport threatens wildlife and tourism, locals fear
LONDON, UK, 22 September 2019 (Observer) - Rocky headlands frame the silvery white sands of Scolpaig Bay on the western coast of North Uist. The spread of machair – a grassland thick with flowers in summer – moorland and rock is much loved by walkers and birdwatchers.



Haiti is collapsing as corruption and a failing economy take their toll
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 22 September 2019 (Observer) - Last Sunday, Rony Marceline was riding his motorbike out of Ouanaminthe, a muggy, colourful town on Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic, on a mission that within a few days has become commonplace: transporting yellow plastic containers of petrol.



Sicilians dare to believe: the mafia's cruel reign is over
PALERMO, Italy, 22 September 2019 (Observer) -  As the Cosa Nostra is finally brought to its knees, our reporter recalls his childhood in Palermo when the mob families felt free to murder at will.



Pacific climate warriors taking the fight to the UN
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu, 21 September 2019 (Guardian) - Frank Bainimarama, Enele Sopoaga and Hilda Heine hope their urgent demands for action will save their island nations from the rising waves.



Samoa Pathway high-level midterm review
NEW YORK, US, 21 September 2019 (UN DESA) - On 27 September 2019, the General Assembly will hold a one-day high level review of the progress made in addressing the priorities of small island developing States (SIDS) through the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway. The General Assembly has decided that the high level review will result in "a concise action oriented and inter-governmentally agreed political declaration".



Malta to hold inquiry into journalist's murder
LONDON, UK, 20 September 2019 (BBC) - Malta is to hold an independent public inquiry into the murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. She was killed by a bomb planted under the seat of her car in 2017.