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Forests cover 31% of the land area on our planet. They produce vital oxygen and provide homes for people and wildlife. Many of the world’s most threatened and endangered animals live in forests, and 1.6 billion people rely on benefits forests offer, including food, fresh water, clothing, traditional medicine and shelter. But forests around the world are under threat from deforestation, jeopardizing these benefits. Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink—soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to ongoing changes in climate patterns. Deforestation is a particular concern in tropical rainforests because these forests are home to much of the world’s biodiversity. WWF has been working to protect forests for more than 50 years.

Deforestation Deforestation, clearance or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use.[1] Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees are cut down to be used or sold as fuel (sometimes in the form of charcoal) or timber, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforestation has also been used in war to deprive the enemy of cover for its forces and also vital resources. Disregard of ascribed value, lax forest management and deficient environmental laws are some of the factors that allow deforestation to occur on a large scale. Causes Environmental problems Atmospheric Hydrological Soil Biodiversity

Pristine Continent, Messy Problem john blackstone, journey to the bottom of the earth, garbage, antarctica, trash CBS This is the thirt part of a series on the effects of global warming in Antarctica. Antarctica is a land of towering mountains and vast emptiness - a pristine continent with a big garbage problem. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone asked Mark Furnish, who is in charge of picking up at McMurdo Station, America's main Antarctic science base: "You're the garbage man of Antarctica?" "Yeah, I'm the biggest trash man on the continent," Furnish said. His challenge: None of the trash produced in Antarctica can be left there because it would be there forever. "If you go down to Scott's Hut, down there on the point, you'll see ... still see seal carcasses that haven't decomposed yet," he said. One of the beauties of Antarctica, and one of its problems, is that nothing goes away. This is the hut explorer Robert Scott built in 1901. Inside the hut, it's an amazing scene of the past preserved. In Antarctica?

Should Everest be closed? | World news | The Observer It has been described as the highest junkyard in the world. Covered in discarded mountaineering detritus and suffering under thousands of tourists' boots every year, environmental groups are to launch a push for a radical solution - the temporary closure of the world's highest mountain. Warnings that an ecological disaster is imminent in the area around the mountain have largely been ignored amid years of turmoil in Nepal. But conservationists think that growing political stability in the Himalayan kingdom means that the time has come and that the damage caused every year by thousands of climbers and tourists can no longer be ignored. Maoist rebels declared a ceasefire with Nepal's government in April after a decade-long insurgency and are negotiating to join an interim government with the country's mainstream political parties. Campaigners warn that the price of tourism is discarded rubbish and medical waste and the colonisation of the area by restaurants and internet cafes.

Press Freedom Index 2013 Download the reportDownload the 2013 world press freedom mapRead in Arabic (بالعربية)Read in Turkish (Türkçe)Read in Italian (Italiano)Read in German (Deutsch)Read in Chinese (看中文) After the “Arab springs” and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year’s index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to a more usual configuration. The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year’s index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term. The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom. From top to bottom The Nordic countries have again demonstrated their ability to maintain an optimal environment for news providers. Big rises...

Press Freedom Index 2002 Surprises among Western democracies: US below Costa Rica and Italy below Benin Reporters Without Borders is publishing for the first time a worldwide index of countries according to their respect for press freedom. It also shows that such freedom is under threat everywhere, with the 20 bottom-ranked countries drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The situation in especially bad in Asia, which contains the five worst offenders - North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan. The top end of the list shows that rich countries have no monopoly of press freedom. The index was drawn up by asking journalists, researchers and legal experts to answer 50 questions about the whole range of press freedom violations (such as murders or arrests of journalists, censorship, pressure, state monopolies in various fields, punishment of press law offences and regulation of the media). In the worst-ranked countries, press freedom is a dead letter and independent newspapers do not exist.

Adam Kingsmith: The Slow and Painful Death of Freedom in Canada Less than a generation ago, Canada was a world leader when it came to the fundamental democratic freedoms of assembly, speech and information. In 1982, Canada adopted the Access to Information Act -- making it one of the first countries to pass legislation recognizing the right of citizens to access information held by government, and as recently as 2002, Canada ranked among the top 5 most open and transparent countries when it came to respect for freedom of the press. Fast-forward a decade, and we've become a true north suppressed and disparate -- where unregistered civic demonstrations are inhibited and repressed, rebellious Internet activities are scrutinised and supervised, government scientists are hushed and muzzled, and public information is stalled and mired by bureaucratic firewalls. Loading Slideshow So what the devil is going on? But don't worry -- it's for our protection. But the undemocratic stifling doesn't stop here either. But then again, this is Canada.

Boat filled with protected species hits coral reef MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A Chinese vessel that ran into a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines held evidence of even more environmental destruction inside: more than 10,000 kilograms (22,000 pounds) of meat from a protected species, the pangolin or scaly anteater. The steel-hulled vessel hit an atoll on April 8 at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site on Palawan island. Coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said Monday that 400 boxes, each containing 25 to 30 kilograms of frozen pangolins, were discovered during a second inspection of the boat Saturday. The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines said the Chinese vessel F/N Min Long Yu could have been carrying up to 2,000 of the toothless, insect-eating animals rolled up in the boxes, with their scales already removed. The boat's 12 Chinese crewmen are being detained on charges of poaching and attempted bribery, said Adelina Villena, the marine park's lawyer.

Latest News by Zoe Loftus-Farren – April 21, 2014 Gulf communities and wildlife still reeling from the damage, but BP ends cleanup efforts Four years ago, on April 20, 2010, the United States suffered the greatest oil spill in American history. With the explosion of a British Petroleum (BP) offshore oil rig, five million barrels (roughly 206 million gallons) of oil were released from the Deepwater Horizon oil well into the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven rig workers lost their lives, and immeasurable damage was wrought on coastal communities and wildlife. photo by faungg on Flickr Four years later, many Gulf communities are still coping with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and scientists are still struggling to understand the long-term impacts of the spill on birds, marine mammals, fish, and aquatic invertebrates. “Every day is touch and go,” says Al Sunseri, president of New Orleans-based P & J Oyster Company. Aside from overall ecosystem harm, the spilled oil directly affected oysters in at least two ways.

Canada's environmental activists seen as 'threat to national security' | Environment Canadian government agencies have been accused of conflating extremism with peaceful protests, such as the ongoing campaign against Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Monitoring of environmental activists in Canada by the country's police and security agencies has become the "new normal", according to a researcher who has analysed security documents released under freedom of information laws. Security and police agencies have been increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies, said Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Protests and opposition to Canada's resource-based economy, especially oil and gas production, are now viewed as threats to national security, Monaghan said.

Gorilla Youngsters Seen Dismantling Poachers' Traps—A First "This is absolutely the first time that we've seen juveniles doing that ... I don't know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares," said Veronica Vecellio , gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund 's Karisoke Research Center , located in the reserve where the event took place. "We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas ... so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that," Vecellio added. (Also see "Dian Fossey's Gorillas Exhumed for Investigation." ) Bush-meat hunters set thousands of rope-and-branch snares in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, where the mountain gorillas live. Adults are generally strong enough to free themselves. Just last week an ensnared infant named Ngwino, found too late by workers from Karisoke, died of snare-related wounds. The hunters, Vecellio said, seem to have no interest in the gorillas. (Related pictures: "Baby Gorilla Rescued in Armed Sting Operation." ) National Geographic

Budget bill gives Harper Cabinet new powers over CBC ITK's 'A Taste of the Arctic' shindig on April 7, Ottawa, photographs by Cynthia Münster April 14, 2014 The Hill Times photograph by Cynthia Münster A happy crowd at ITK's 'Taste of Arctic' at the NAC gathers for a picture. National Inuit Leader and ITK President Terry Audla shows off his seal vest to Employment Minister Jason Kenney. Environics' Meredith Taylor and Greg MacEachern with ITK's Stephen Hendrie. Justice Minister Peter MacKay, his son Kian, and ITK president Terry Audla. ITK president Terry Audla and Abbas Rana, assistant deputy editor at The Hill Times and Party Central columnist. Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, ITK President Terry Audla, Laureen Harper, and local Ottawa photographer Michelle Valberg. ITK President Terry Audla and Labour Minister Kellie Leitch. A platter of smoked fish. Conservative MP Colin Carrie. Seal hash martinis. NDP MP Dennis Bevington, who represents the Western Arctic, N.W.T., and Chris Farris. ITK President and National Inuit Leader Terry Audla.

Video: Collecting Rainwater Now Illegal in Many States Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I’m about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials, that rain belongs to someone else. Check out this news report out of Salt Lake City, Utah, about the issue. It’s illegal in Utah to divert rainwater without a valid water right, and Mark Miller of Mark Miller Toyota, found this out the hard way. After constructing a large rainwater collection system at his new dealership to use for washing new cars, Miller found out that the project was actually an “unlawful diversion of rainwater.” “Utah’s the second driest state in the nation. Outlawing rainwater collection in other states

Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized Is water a free and basic human right, or should all the water on the planet belong to major corporations and be treated as a product? Should the poor who cannot afford to pay these said corporations suffer from starvation due to their lack of financial wealth? According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, corporations should own every drop of water on the planet — and you’re not getting any unless you pay up. The company notorious for sending out hordes of ‘internet warriors’ to defend the company and its actions online in comments and message boards (perhaps we’ll find some below) even takes a firm stance behind Monsanto’s GMOs and their ‘proven safety’. Watch the video below for yourself: “Nestlé production of mineral water involves the abuse of vulnerable water resources. Nestle has also come under fire over the assertion that they are actually conducting business with massive slavery rings. Sources :

Video Galleries : Jimquisition : The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists The game industry doesn't want female characters. That is allegedly the message publishers have been sending to developers. As female characters get hidden from the front covers of games and projects with leading ladies are passed over in favor of more Gun Bros being bros with their guns, it might be time to admit, even if you don't want to, that videogames has some issues with women. Like, a lot of them. Follow Jim on twitter for a chance to win Twitter updates from Jim: @JimSterling New episodes of Jimquisition appear every Monday, only at The Escapist . Jim Sterling is the reviews editor for and a game media gun-for-hire who appears regularly at GamePro, GameFront, GamesRadar and pretty much everywhere else. Like this video? Please note that any reproduction of this video without the express written consent of The Escapist is expressly forbidden.