Islands of Biodiversity in the African Sky – The Nyika Plateau

April 2013. In a previous story I wrote about the archipelago of mountain ranges that scatters across eastern Africa between Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa.  These East African mountains are a Galapagos of speciation and
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A Strategy to Stabilize the Agricultural Frontier and Conserve Biodiversity in Malawi

April 2013. The biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide is the conversion of natural ecosystems to agriculture. It follows that the highest-priority action needed to conserve biodiversity is to stop this conversion by stabilizing the agricultural frontier, especially on the fringes of
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Islands of Biodiversity in the African Sky – Mulanje Mountain

April 2013. An archipelago of mountain ranges scatters across eastern Africa between Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa.  Most of these mountain blocks rise 2,000 meters or more – some to over 3,000 meters – above
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Women and Woodland Conservation in Malawi

April 2013. Mount Mulanje rises like an island above the rolling landscape southeast of Blantyre in southeastern Malawi. By examining images taken by the French SPOT 5 Earth-observation satellite, the Malawian team I was working with on an evaluation of USAID-funded
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Restoring Miombo Woodlands for Village Development in Malawi

April 2013. Matupi Village, in the Rumphi District of northern Malawi, is tucked in a valley on the southern border of Nyika National Park. We reached Matupi on a warm, sunny afternoon, after a long drive on rough dusty roads. It
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Documenting Forest Change at the Muir Site

February 2013. Returning to the site where Muir camped and sketched, we followed the route he described, as we had last year. It was a hot summer day, and the thousand-foot climb to the ridge, which Muir described as steep
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Following Muir’s Route in Sketches and Photos

February 2013. Marcelo Mila, the Mapuche leader of the group now living at the old Smith fundo of Ontario, first took us to see the view to the southeast, over the gentle valley of the Río Quino.  The view matched
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Maples, Mapuches, and Monkey Puzzles: Human Dimensions of John Muir’s Travels in Chile

February 2013. Few people are aware that John Muir, a founding father of American conservation, travelled alone to Chile in 1911 at the age of 73 because he wanted to see the Monkey Puzzle Tree, Araucaria araucana, in its native forests.
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Pondering the Ponds of Nags Head Woods

November 10th, 2012. Hurricane Sandy had brushed by North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Halloween, and some beachfront neighborhoods were still assessing the damage and digging out a week and a half later. But today was a glorious fall Saturday, with
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Mangroves in Mozambique: Green Infrastructure for Coastal Protection in an Era of Climate Change

20 September 2012.  After wading across the low tide mudflats at the Port of Angoche, and into knee-deep water to climb into the fiberglass boat, the big Yamaha outboard wouldn’t start.  While we bobbed lazily in the hot sun and
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