Feature Story

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In the past decade, the African elephant population has declined by an estimated 111,000, according to a 2016 report, primarily due to poaching.

Malawi, identified by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as a “country of primary concern”, has lost 50 per cent of its elephant population since the 1980s.

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Behind Uganda’s lush beauty, climate change is looming large. Dubbed "the Pearl of Africa" for its stunning nature, this verdant east-African nation is struggling to deal with the prolonged dry seasons and more intense rainfalls that have become the new normal. 

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The mountainous pasturelands of Azerbaijan form part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range and offer great beauty and great potential.

With more than 40% of the country’s population currently engaged in the agricultural sector ensuring the health of the pasturelands, and the animals that graze on these lands, would allow Azerbaijan to realize that potential.

Recently, these pasturelands have been experiencing human-caused degradation and negative climate impacts.

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Naryan-Mar (is a sea and river port town and the administrative centre of the Nenets Autonomous District in Russia’s far north, on the coast of the Barents and Kara Seas. It is a region of stark beauty, featuring a distinct taxon of polar bears and bountiful wildlife.

Russia straddles eight biomes: polar deserts, arctic and sub-arctic forest tundra, taiga, broad-leaved forests, steppe, semi-arid and arid zones.

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The son of a beekeeper, Emmanuel Kajugujugu grew up learning how to harvest honey in the village of Rega, nestled in the hillside around the Gishwati forest in Rwanda’s northwest.

But beekeeping was never enough to survive on, so people would often sell wood that they had harvested from the forest, or clear trees to create pasture for cattle grazing to supplement their income.

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The Dominican Republic has called for a ban on imports of fluorescent lamp and urged state institutions in the Caribbean nation to switch to more efficient light-emitting diodes, better known as LEDs.

“We aim to become the first all-LED island in the world, for the benefits it provides to our citizens and the environment,” Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Francisco Domínguez Brito said. “By leapfrogging to LED lighting, the Dominican Republic will not only reduce electricity consumption but also eliminate the use of mercury in lighting products.”

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Sargassum is free-floating brown macro-algae that lives in the temperate and tropical oceans of the world. In the open ocean, the floating seaweed provides important ecosystem services by acting as habitats for a diverse group of marine animals. It provides food, shade, and shelter to many types of specialized fish, crustaceans, and turtles. When it reaches the coastline, it provides fertilizer for the plant ecosystems that protect the shoreline from erosion and promotes biodiversity of marine bird and wildlife.

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Only a land-based species could have called this planet Earth, since more than 70% of it is covered by sea. All life originated on the oceans and still depends on them. They regulate the climate, absorb much of the carbon that humanity emits, and produce the main source of protein for over three billion people. The ecosystem goods and services they provide are estimated to be worth US $12 trillion.

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While the idea of an island may call to mind the image of a beach paradise, for the world’s 51 Small Island Developing States this is all too often a fragile idyll.

Small, often economically at the mercy of their larger neighbours and world markets, and at the forefront of the reality of climate change, many of these states face a raft of challenges to their ongoing sustainable development. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, among the first of these is water.

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Palau, an archipelago of over 576 islands in the western tropical Pacific Ocean, is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, many of which are endangered or can be found nowhere else on the planet.

The environment forms the basis of Palau’s culture and economy, with much of the population reliant on natural resources, either for subsistence or insofar as they support tourism, the nation’s largest income source.