Wondering what went right this week in the conservation world? We’ve got you covered with our Conservation Optimism Round-Up! We are collating stories of optimism from around the globe so that you never miss your dose of weekly motivation.

(Image Credit: Sasso Pisano)

1. The Big News this Week: Conservation can and does work! 

” This study provides the strongest evidence to date that not only does conservation improve the state of biodiversity and slow its decline, but when it works, it really works.”

2. United States Interior Department Announces Expansion of Four National Wildlife Refuges to Conserve Habitat, Protect Species and Support Recreation

” The Department of the Interior today announced the expansion of four existing national wildlife refuges, which will allow for the voluntary conservation of up to 1.13 million acres of wildlife habitat in New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas.”

3. Mini rope bridges built in Forest of Dean, UK to help dormice

” Mini rope bridges have been installed in one of England’s ancient forests to help hazel dormice travel safely between treetops. Two 20m-long bridges have been built over a track in the Forest of Dean. The rodents’ habitats had become disconnected following the removal of diseased ash trees. Forestry England, which set up the crossings, said they would “enable dormice to feel safer as they cross from one part of the wood to another”. “

4. Drone cameras help scientists distinguish between drought stress & fungus in oaks

” Scientists have used remote sensing, spectroscopy and machine learning to detect sick oak trees and distinguish between drought stress and oak wilt, a fungal disease. “

5.  Europe is dismantling its dams at a record-breaking rate – and it’s saving rivers

” 487 barriers were removed, according to the annual report from Dam Removal Europe (DRE), up from 325 in 2022, a 49.8% increase. In total, 4300 kilometres of river habitat were reconnected, allowing rivers to flow freely and migratory fish to reach breeding areas, as well as dispersing sediments and nutrients to restore healthy habitats. “

6. Women weave a culture of resistance and agroecology in Ecuador’s Intag Valley

” In Ecuador’s Intag Valley, the women’s artisan collective Mujer y Medio Ambiente (Women and the Environment) has developed an innovative way to dye and stitch fibers from the cabuya plant, an agave-like shrub. Being part of the collective has empowered the women economically and personally, enabling them to contribute to their children’s education, gain autonomy, and become community leaders in the nearly 30-year struggle to keep mining companies out of their forests. The community’s resistance paid off when a provincial court recognized that mining companies had violated the communities’ constitutional rights and canceled their permits, setting an important precedent for protecting constitutional and environmental rights in Ecuador. “

7. The world is building renewable energy faster than ever before

” An estimated 507 gigawatts of renewable electricity were added to grids around the world in 2023 — a new record, and an almost 50 percent year-over-year increase from 2022. That’s the fastest growth rate renewable additions have seen in over two decades.”

Have a story to share for our weekly round-up? Use #ConservationOptimism on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram!