Rainforest

The chimpanzees only share their identity while traveling, which may help avoid confrontations.

Chimpanzees Play Their Own Signature Drumbeats to Stay in Touch

New research suggests the animals broadcast their identity and location to find each other while traveling

Fires burn in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil on August 31, 2022. 

Wildfires Reached a Five-Year High in the Brazilian Amazon

Rapid deforestation has made the rainforest more vulnerable to flames, experts say

One of the man’s huts

The Last Member of an Uncontacted Tribe in Brazil Has Died

Known as "the Man of the Hole," he lived in isolation for more than two decades

In the midst of fire- and drought-ravaged savanna in southeastern Madagascar, a curiously lush green forest is home to myriad unexpected life-forms, including a species of mouse lemur.

Into the Forbidden Forest

Famed American biologist Patricia Wright explores an astonishing breadth of biodiversity in the wilderness of Madagascar

A researcher holds a golden-crowned spadebill in Brazil. Seventy-seven rainforest bird species in the country showed a decrease in body weight over the last four decades.

Climate Change Is Transforming the Bodies of Amazonian Birds

A 40-year study found 77 species of rainforest birds weigh less on average, and many have longer wings, than they used to

This map shows how land and ocean temperatures have changed from June 2021 relative to the 1951-1980 base period. High values (darker red colors) indicate temperatures that are higher than those in the base period. The number in the top right is an estimate of the global mean temperature increase. All temperatures are in Celsius.

New Research

Study Measuring Earth's Vital Signs Warns of Climate Tipping Points

The authors say tropical coral reefs, the Amazon rainforest, and the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets may have passed dangerous tipping points

The Algodón River flows through a forest of the Amazon Basin in the remote northeastern corner of Peru. Scientists collected and analyzed a series of ten roughly 3-foot-long soil cores from three sites, each located at least a half-mile away from river courses and floodplains.

Future of Conservation

In a Remote Amazon Region, Study Shows Indigenous Peoples Have Practiced Forest Conservation for Millennia

Smithsonian researcher Dolores Piperno says native people have always played an important role in sustainability

Red-handed tamarins have greater vocal flexibility, using calls ranging from territorial long calls to chirps to trills to communicate, whereas pied tamarins use long whistle-like calls.

Red-Handed Tamarins Can Mimic Other Species' Accents

The South American primates change their calls to communicate with other tamarin species living in shared territories

New research estimates that Brazil's Atlantic Forest has regrown 4.2 million hectares of forest since 2000.

New Research

Globally, Forests the Size of France Have Grown Back Since 2000

New research illustrates the capacity of forests to regenerate if given the chance

Hillary Hughes, Panamanian actress, visits the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Agua Salud Project during the filming of videos in Spanish and English to share hope for the success of tropical forest reforestation informed by the largest experiment of its kind in the tropics.

Smithsonian Voices

Watch These Two Videos and You Will Feel More Hopeful About the Future of Tropical Forests

Agua Salud's new bilingual videos share the results of tropical reforestation experiments at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama

A new study suggests the lush, hyper-diverse rainforests of South America were shaped by the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs.

How the Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Spurred the Evolution of the Modern Rainforest

New evidence from fossil plants shows today’s South American rainforests arose in the wake of Earth’s fifth mass extinction

Damages wrought by climate change and deforestation have transformed the Amazon rainforest. New research suggests the changes to this icon of the natural world caused by human activity may mean the Amazon now emits more greenhouse gases than it absorbs.

New Research

The Amazon Rainforest Now Emits More Greenhouse Gases Than It Absorbs

Climate change and deforestation have transformed the ecosystem into a net source of planet-warming gases instead of a carbon sink

The biodiversity map predicted that amphibians and reptiles have the most undiscovered species to date. Pictured: blue poison dart frog (Dendrobates tinctorius "azureus")

This Map Shows You the Odds of Finding a New Species in Your Neighborhood

The 'Map of Life' predicts where undiscovered birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals could be found around the world

Bryophytes in the tropics are threatened due to lack of information and research.

Smithsonian Voices

Step Into the Mossy World Where Tiny Plants Play an Outsized Role in the Environment

Bryophytes are an important part of our environment, but in the tropics, there's still much to learn about them

While blooming, the Amazonian cactus releases a unique sweet scent similar to honeysuckles and gardenias, but that scent is short-lived and turns foul after two hours.

Education During Coronavirus

Watch First Time-Lapse Footage of a Rare Moonflower Cactus Blossoming

The rare Amazonian cactus blooms only once a year for 12 hours

The male of a newly discovered species named Brookesia nana may be the smallest adult reptile ever found.

New Research

Chameleon Discovered in Madagascar May Be World's Smallest Reptile

The male of the newly described species measured just half an inch long from his nose to the base of his tail

Arranged in symbolically significant ways with no clear hierarchy, the villages’ circular layouts may reflect their Indigenous inhabitants’ conceptions of the cosmos.

Cool Finds

These Amazonian Villages Were Laid Out Like Clock Faces

Scientists used LiDAR to investigate the ruins of 14th- to 18th-century Indigenous communities in Brazil

Fires burning in states of Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, and Mato Grosso in Brazil, captured via NASA satellite on August 11, 2019. Researchers are forecasting another active fire season in the region in 2020.

NASA Warns of 'Active' Atlantic Hurricane and Amazon Fire Seasons

Forecasts show high risk of fires and hurricanes, in part due to warmer than average sea surface temperatures

This diagram shows the different kinds of animal bones used to make the 48,000-year-old tools.

Cool Finds

Evidence of Early Bow-and-Arrow Hunting Discovered in Sri Lanka

If confirmed, the 48,000-year-old find will be the oldest known instance of bowhunting outside of Africa

Short-eared dogs are the only canines that live in the Amazon rainforest.

New Research

The Amazon’s 'Ghost Dogs' Face 30 Percent Habitat Loss

The solitary species is hard to spot on camera, and they're the only canine that lives in the Amazon rainforest

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