Editor's note

There are many reasons to be appalled by this year’s Amazon fires, but depleting Earth’s oxygen supply is not one of them. The oft-repeated claim that the Amazon rainforest produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen is based on a misunderstanding. In fact nearly all of Earth’s breathable oxygen originated in the oceans, and there is enough of it to last for millions of years. Scott Denning explains.

For decades debates over the ivory trade have dominated the global conference on the trade in endangered species and wild fauna and flora conference (CITES). This reflects huge tension between those against hunting and the trade in ivory and countries with large elephant populations that are in favour. As Duan Biggs and Matthew Holden warn, the subject has led to a host of other equally important issues being pushed off the agenda. They set out ways in which the deadlock can be broken.

Caroline Southey


Top Stories

Fire consumes an area near Jaci Parana, state of Rondonia, Brazil, Aug. 24, 2019. AP Photo/Eraldo Peres

Amazon fires are destructive, but they aren’t depleting Earth’s oxygen supply

Scott Denning, Colorado State University

If the Amazon rainforest functions as our planet's lungs, what do raging wildfires threaten? An atmospheric scientist explains why the fires, though devastating, won't suffocate life on Earth.

African elephant. PhotocechCZ/Shutterstock

It’s time to break the deadlock over Africa’s ivory trade: here’s how

Duan Biggs, Griffith University; Matthew H. Holden, The University of Queensland

As the ultimate custodians,it is urgent that African countries with elephants take ownership of the processes at CITES.

Politics + Society

Development for all: a better solution for Papua

Asmiati Malik, Universitas Bakrie

Adopting an inclusive development approach to the well-being of Papuans is the best solution to solve Papuan problems.

Poland invites nationalism in its commemoration of WWII by moving location and inviting Trump

Rebecca M. Townsend, University of Hartford

For the 80th anniversary, Poland has changed the site of the usual commemoration ceremony and, for the first time, has invited a U.S. president to speak.

Energy + Environment

Indigenous hunters are protecting animals, land and waterways

Mylène Ratelle, University of Waterloo

A holistic approach to conservation finds people have a place in the natural world and a responsibility to maintain it.

Peru’s ancient water systems can help protect communities from shortages caused by climate change

Susan Conlon, University of Bristol; Kevin Lane, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Peruvian glaciers have shrunk by 25% since 1987, causing water shortages in rural villages. But ancient technology could help manage this precious resource.

En français

Tourisme culturel et mondialisation : l’Espagne, entre fiction et réalité

Ivanne Galant, Université Paris 13 – USPC

Le concept de « tourisme culturel » ne sert qu’à mettre en mots une réalité ancienne, dont seules les modalités changent au fil des époques.

La France est-elle vraiment en marche vers l’école inclusive ?

Alexandre Ployé, Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne (UPEC)

En 2004, il y avait 37 000 élèves en situation de handicap dans le secondaire. Ils sont aujourd’hui 140 000 environ. Mais derrière les chiffres se pose la question de leur réelle intégration.