Find out what’s happened this past week in the world of forestry!

Gene modeling done by researchers at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México has uncovered that ancient horses survived the Pleistone-Holocene mass extinction by adapting to living in the woods 11,700 years ago. During the mass extinction, many larger mammals died out, but horses adapted to the spread of forests. Early horses were plain dwellers, and researchers hypothesize that the early horses were better able to hide from predators in the darker woodland.

Russ Mittermeier has visited rapidly disappearing forests and has a surprisingly optimistic outlook on the state of international forests. Read this interview with National Geographic as he talks about the potential for creating new “ambassadors for conservation.”

Recent forest loss helps predict timing and location of Ebola outbreaks – Center for International Forestry Research

New research out of the international journal Scientific Reports has found there is a significant association between loss of tree cover and incidences of Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, with outbreaks occurring within two years of the forest loss. This research not only demonstrates the value of forested land, but will also allow researchers to predict and possibly prevent incidences of Ebola outbreak.

A new study from Newcastle University measures the detrimental effects forest fragmentation can have on biodiversity. “Forest fragmentation” refers to forested land not being a continuous area, but rather small fragments across a landscape. This effect can sometimes go unmeasured by certain metrics because total forest coverage will often fail to take into account forest fragmentation. Researchers looked at new ways to measure the incidence of forest edges and the effects living close to a forest edge had on wildlife. This new method of measurement will allow researchers to better understand how forest density effects biodiversity.

In order to preserve the existing rainforest, the Brazilian environmental minister Jose Sarney Filho has floated a proposal to incentivize landowners who preserve rainforest on their land, rather than simply punishing landowners that decimate the forest. “Command and control has already reached its limit,” he said to reporters. “If we don’t immediately start to demonstrate that forest services will be fairly paid, we will have serious problems.”