Extreme weather events are becoming more common as the world warms

To make tropical forests more resilient to climate change, we need a coordinated effort to refocus conservation tools at regional and international levels. (Correspondence)

"The best thing you could do for the Amazon is to bomb all the roads." That might sound like an eco-terrorist's threat, but they're actually the words of Eneas Salati, one of Brazil's most respected scientists. Thomas Lovejoy, a leading American biologist, is equally emphatic: "Roads are the seeds of tropical forest destruction."

When it comes to choosing an icon for the victims of global warming, the most deserving species are in the tropics, says biologist William Laurance.

Skyrocketing mineral prices are fuelling a mining boom for which few developing nations are prepared, says William Laurance.

Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Secretary of Defense, liked to distinguish between "known unknowns" and "unknown unknowns", and for this he was widely ridiculed. But Rumsfeld had a point. We all know, for instance, that global warming is harming cold-adapted species on mountain tops, even if we can't predict the ultimate magnitude of the damage. Yet the really alarming changes are those that come completely out of the blue - the unknown unknowns that we never even imagined.

DOZENS of Indonesians killed by landslides this spring have paid the price of unchecked development. Many other innocents in developing nations die each year as rampant illegal logging and deforestation denude steep hillsides, loosening soil and allowing heavy rains to create deadly deluges. Such environmental perils are increasingly common across much of the world as native forests are fragmented, waterways polluted, and oceans over-harvested. The onslaught is especially alarming in the tropics, where an area of forest the size of 40 football fields is destroyed every minute.