RFS must consider impact on biodiversity, court tells EPA

In a victory for environmental groups, a federal appeals court told the EPA to consider the effect of the ethanol mandate on endangered animals and plants. The ruling applied to the 2019 RFS but held implications for the agency's development of the RFS for future years.

Relying on birds to battle farm pests

In California, farmers are building nesting houses for birds, attracting swallows, Western blue birds, and barn owls to combat pests, rather than relying on pesticides, according to FERN's latest story by Lisa Morehouse, produced in collaboration with KQED's The California Report. No Paywall .

Amazon agroforestry co-op shows how to farm sustainably in the rainforest

In remote northwestern Brazil, a group of farmers has set up a co-op that plants native fruit trees on exhausted former ranchland. In the process, the farmers are not only reforesting the area in a way that mimics the natural habitat, they’re earning about five times more per acre from their agroforestry plots annually than local ranchers are earning by clearing the forest to graze their cattle, says FERN's latest story, produced with National Geographic. (No paywall)

Rethinking wildfires at the start of a potentially devastating fire season

California experienced more wildfire last year than any previous year on record, but the severe drought currently strangling nearly three-quarters of the American West threatens to make the 2021 fire season even worse. And while many state and federal agencies are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the further loss of life and property – including prescribed burns, thinning and the deployment of the largest firefighting force in California’s history – some question the efficacy of these increasingly costly measures. (No paywall)

Audubon enlists grass-fed meat brand to conserve critical bird habitat

The National Audubon Society today announced a partnership with Perdue-owned Panorama Organic Grass-fed Meats that will add nearly a million acres to its Conservation Ranching Initiative. Audubon has focused recent conservation efforts on privately owned rangelands, where 95 percent of grassland bird species live, and the deal with Panorama boosts the total acreage in its ranching program to 3.5 million.(No paywall)

The battle to eradicate feral hogs

The most popular way to eradicate wild hogs is to shoot them, whether on gaming ranches, in the wild or from the door of a helicopter. But hunting has done little to stem the estimated 6-9 million hogs running wild across at least 42 states and three territories, as Stephen R. Miller writes in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with National Geographic.(No paywall)

Lawsuit would overturn EPA approval of dicamba

The EPA failed to ensure that dicamba can be used safely when it issued a five-year approval of the weedkiller, said a lawsuit that asks a federal appeals court in San Francisco to vacate the EPA registration of the herbicide. Foes say dicamba is overly prone to evaporate from where it is …

Monarch butterflies are in peril but won’t go on U.S. endangered list

The orange-and-black monarch butterfly, known for its 3,000-mile migration across North America and its plunging population, meets the criteria for listing as a threatened or endangered species, said the Interior Department on Tuesday. But it will be listed only as a candidate for federal  protection because "we must focus resources on our higher-priority listing actions," said Fish and Wildlife Service director Aurelia Skipwith.

A novel approach to deforestation may also offer a pandemic safety net

A novel conservation group in western Borneo offers healthcare services and training in sustainable farming to curb illegal logging. In the process, the group may have come up with a blueprint to stop diseases from making the deadly leap between wildlife and people, Brian Barth writes in FERN's latest story produced with Popular Science. (No paywall)

In the water and in the courts, fight to save endangered right whales grows urgent

With only an estimated 360 left, the fight to save the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered species on the planet, has grown urgent — in the water and in the courts, as Rene Ebersole explains in FERN's latest story, published with Yale Environment 360. (No paywall)