Last updated
Mongabay Corporation
Founder Rhett Ayers Butler
Type 501(c)(3)
FocusConservation journalism
Area served
Key people
CEO Rhett Ayers Butler
Donations, grants, and advertising
55 (Feb 2021)
Over 150 (Jul 2016)

Mongabay ( is a conservation news web portal that reports on environmental science, energy, and green design, and features extensive information on tropical rainforests, including pictures and deforestation statistics for countries of the world. It was founded in 1999 by economist Rhett Ayers Butler in order to increase "interest in and appreciation of wildlands and wildlife, while examining the impact of emerging local and global trends in technology, economics, and finance on conservation and development". [1] In recent years, to complement its US-based team, Mongabay has opened bureaus in Indonesia, Latin America, and India, reporting daily in Indonesian, Spanish, and English respectively. Mongabay's reporting is available in nine languages.



In an interview with Conjour, Butler said his passion for rainforests drove him to start Mongabay: "I was intrigued by the complexity of these ecosystems and how every species seemed to play a part. As I became more passionate about rainforests, I grew more concerned about their fate, including the threats they face." [2]


The founder of the website explains that "mongabay" originated from an anglicized spelling and pronunciation of Nosy Mangabe, an island off the coast of Madagascar. He goes on to note that it is best known as "a preserve for the Aye-aye, a rare and unusual lemur famous for its bizarre appearance".

Business model is independent and unaffiliated with any organization. The site has been used as an information source by CNN, CBS, the Discovery Channel, NBC, UPI, Yahoo!, and other such outlets.[ citation needed ]


All of Mongabay's content is free to access on its site, thanks to the volumes of visitors per month - as of January 2008, 2.5 million. In 2008, Butler said that the traffic brought the site $15,000 to $18,000 a month from AdSense, [3] but the decline in advertising revenue across the environmental media sector after the financial crisis, sharply reduced the site's income. [4] In 2012, Butler launched, a 501(c)(3) organization, to support Mongabay's education program and non-English reporting initiatives as well as expand its environmental reporting initiatives, including grants for journalists. [5] Mongabay phased out advertising on its news content in 2017. [6]


Academic journals formerly published Tropical Conservation Science, a peer-reviewed, open-access academic journal on the conservation of tropical forests and of other tropical ecosystems. [7] Since its inception in 2008, it has four issues a year, in March, June, September, and December. It used to provide opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research in their native languages, but as of September 2012, Tropical Conservation Science publishes papers only in English. It has been published by SAGE Publications since August 2016. [8]

Other websites

On May 19, 2012, launched an Indonesian language affiliate. [9] In June 2016, Mongabay launched a Spanish-language news service in Latin America. [10] And in January 2018, an Indian website was launched. [11] In 2019, Mongabay established Mongabay-Brasil, a Portuguese-language bureau staffed by Brazilians. [12]


Mongabay's mascot is the Scale-crested pygmy tyrant (Lophotriccus pileatus), a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae StlODw06.jpg
Mongabay's mascot is the Scale-crested pygmy tyrant (Lophotriccus pileatus), a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae

The Mongabayorg Corporation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization headquartered in Menlo Park, California that raises awareness about social and environmental issues relating to forests and other ecosystems. [13] was established in 2012 as the non-profit arm of, an environmental science and conservation news web site launched in 1999. [14] In 2014,'s news production was shifted under [15]

By November 2015, had three main program areas: environmental news production in English, Indonesian, and Spanish; Tropical Conservation Science, [16] an open-access academic journal that was acquired by SAGE Publications in August 2016; [17] [18] and K-8 education. The Bay Area Tropical Forest Network, a social network in the San Francisco Bay Area, [19] is an additional project under is a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network. [20]

History was founded in 2012 by conservation journalist Rhett Ayers Butler. [21] Butler established the non-profit due to his desire to expand the scope of Mongabay's environmental science and conservation news service. [15] By mid-2020, Mongabay was receiving 7 million unique visitors a month on its and web sites. [22]

The first project under was Mongabay-Indonesia, [9] an Indonesian-language environmental news service run by a team of journalists in Indonesia. [23] [24] Within a year of launch, Mongabay-Indonesia was the most widely read Indonesian-language environmental news service. [25] By 2015, the site was drawing more than 500,000 unique visitors per month and had correspondents in more than 30 cities and towns across the archipelago.

Butler applied the Mongabay-Indonesia model to Mongabay's global operation in 2014, launching a network-based approach to covering environmental stories in English. The pilot project focused on using data from Global Forest Watch to develop stories about what was happening on the ground the world's forests, including deforestation, conversion to plantations, and conservation. [26] [27] After the nine-month pilot produced over 180 stories in more than 40 countries, including articles that generated significant interest in policy circles, [28] the project was expanded to a range of other topics. [29] The network of paid English-language correspondents reached 50 by mid-2015. also provides small grants to journalists to help with travel and reporting costs for stories published in high-profile third party media. [30]

Acknowledgements and awards

In 2008, Mongabay was named by Time magazine as one of the best "green websites". [31] In 2014, the founder Rhett Ayers Butler became the first journalist to win the Field Museum's Parker-Gentry Award for contributions "in the field of conservation biology whose efforts have had a significant impact on preserving the world's natural heritage and whose actions and approach can serve as a model to others". [32] The website was also the winner of a Science Seeker award in the environment category. [33] Mongabay founder Rhett Butler was selected as a winner of the 2020 SEAL Environmental Journalism Award.

Finances relies primary on grants and donations to fund its activities. [34] Most grants come from philanthropic organizations like the Ford Foundation [35] and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. [36] Less than one percent of the organization's revenue came from advertising in 2014. [37]'s network-based approach allows it to run with a small staff relative to its volume of content production.

In 2013, reported total revenue of $528,128, [38] a five-fold increase from its 2012 revenue of $92,319. Overhead costs amounted to 2.9 percent in 2013, while fundraising costs came in at 2.2 percent. [34] Revenue in 2014 reached $910,569, while in 2015, it hit $1.3 million. [39] In 2017, total revenue eclipsed $2 million.


As of May 5, 2021, Mongabay had several program areas under the non-profit, including: Global English News; Mongabay-India (environmental news on India in English and Hindi); Mongabay-Latam (Spanish-language environmental news in Latin America), Mongabay-Brasil (Portuguese-language environmental news on Brazil); Mongabay-Indonesia (environmental news on Indonesia in Bahasa Indonesia); Mongabay Education (environmental education content for pre-K through high school); and internships and fellowships. [40]

Efficiency and accountability

As of April 29, 2021, had a 100/100 score on Charity Navigator's Encompass Rating System, which evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability as well as its accountability and transparency policies. [41] had a Guidestar Platinum Transparency rating, which according to the Guidestar "[demonstrates] its commitment to transparency. [42]

Leadership is governed by its board of directors, which consists of several members. Anthropologist Brodie David Ferguson is chairman of the board. The founder is a member of the board. [43] Operationally, Butler, serves as CEO and executive director. [14] [44] [45] also has a non-governing advisory board, which includes biologist Peter H. Raven, primatologist Jane Goodall, and William F. Laurance.

Related Research Articles

Deforestation Conversion of forest to non-forest for human use

Deforestation or forest clearance is the removal of a forest or stand of trees from land that is then converted to non-forest use. Deforestation can involve conversion of forest land to farms, ranches, or urban use. The most concentrated deforestation occurs in tropical rainforests. About 31% of Earth's land surface is covered by forests at present. This is one-third less than the forest cover before the expansion of agriculture, a half of that loss occurring in the last century. Between 15 million to 18 million hectares of forest, an area the size of Bangladesh, are destroyed every year. On average 2,400 trees are cut down each minute.

Thomas Lovejoy American ecologist (1941–2021)

Thomas Eugene Lovejoy III was an American ecologist who was President of the Amazon Biodiversity Center, a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and a university professor in the Environmental Science and Policy department at George Mason University. Lovejoy was the World Bank's chief biodiversity advisor and the lead specialist for environment for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as senior advisor to the president of the United Nations Foundation. In 2008, he also was the first Biodiversity Chair of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment to 2013. Previously he served as president of the Heinz Center since May 2002. Lovejoy introduced the term biological diversity to the scientific community in 1980. He was a past chair of the Scientific Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) for the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the multibillion-dollar funding mechanism for developing countries in support of their obligations under international environmental conventions.

Rainforest Type of forest with high rainfall

Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy, moisture-dependent vegetation, the presence of epiphytes and lianas and the absence of wildfire. Rainforest can be classified as tropical rainforest or temperate rainforest, but other types have been described.

Tropical rainforest Forest in areas with heavy rainfall in the tropics

Tropical rainforests are rainforests that occur in areas of tropical rainforest climate in which there is no dry season – all months have an average precipitation of at least 60 mm – and may also be referred to as lowland equatorial evergreen rainforest. True rainforests are typically found between 10 degrees north and south of the equator ; they are a sub-set of the tropical forest biome that occurs roughly within the 28-degree latitudes. Within the World Wildlife Fund's biome classification, tropical rainforests are a type of tropical moist broadleaf forest that also includes the more extensive seasonal tropical forests.

Asia Pulp & Paper Indonesian pulp and paper company

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is an Indonesian pulp and paper company based in Jakarta, Indonesia. One of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world, it was founded as Tjiwi Kimia by Eka Tjipta Widjaja in 1972. Asia Pulp & Paper is a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group and was officially formed in 1994 when Sinar combined its paper and pulp operations from Tjiwi Kimia and PT Inda Kiat Pulp & Paper.

Deforestation in Brazil

Brazil once had the highest deforestation rate in the world and in 2005 still had the largest area of forest removed annually. Since 1970, over 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) of the Amazon rainforest have been destroyed. In 2001, the Amazon was approximately 5,400,000 square kilometres (2,100,000 sq mi), which is only 87% of the Amazon's original size.

Environment of Indonesia

The environment of Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands scattered over both sides of the equator. Indonesia's size, tropical climate, and archipelagic geography, support the world's second highest level of biodiversity after Brazil.

From year 2000 to 2005, Nigeria had the highest rate of deforestation in the world as 55.7% according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Nigeria has biodiversity in abundance which makes it thrive consideringly well. In 1950s, large areas of land were quite reserved as a protected area but unfortunately they no longer exist. Biodiversity has been greatly destroyed by deforestation, degradation, encroachment and conversion of land into other uses due to the increase in demand of the fast rising population in the country.

According to a 2005 report conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Vietnam has the second highest rate of deforestation of primary forests in the world, second only to Nigeria.

John Cain Carter is a cattle rancher and conservationist who started the Brazilian rainforest conservation organization, Aliança da Terra. Carter moved to Brazil from Texas in 1996, where he and his wife managed an 8200 hectare cattle ranch between the Xingu and Amazon Rivers in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. Shocked by the rapid deforestation occurring in the Amazon Rainforest, Carter started Aliança da Terra to provide economic incentives for farmers and ranchers to preserve the forest land.

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest Overview about the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, covering an area of 6,000,000 km2. It represents over half of the planet's rainforests and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60%, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deforestation by continent</span>

Rates and causes of deforestation vary from region to region around the world. In 2009, 2/3 of the world's forests were located in just 10 countries: 1) Russia, 2) Brazil, 3) Canada, 4) The United States, 5) China, 6) Australia, 7) The Democratic Republic of the Congo, 8) Indonesia, 9) India, and 10) Peru.

Palm oil, produced from the oil palm, is a basic source of income for many farmers in South East Asia, Central and West Africa, and Central America. It is locally used as cooking oil, exported for use in much commercial food and personal care products and is converted into biofuel. It produces up to 10 times more oil per unit area than soybeans, rapeseed or sunflowers.

Deforestation in Indonesia

Deforestation in Indonesia involves the long-term loss of forests and foliage across much of the country; it has had massive environmental and social impacts. Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world and ranks third in number of species behind Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Deforestation in Borneo

Deforestation in Borneo has taken place on an industrial scale since the 1960s. Borneo, the third largest island in the world, divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, was once covered by dense tropical and subtropical rainforests.

Avoided Deforestation Partners

Avoided Deforestation Partners, or AD Partners, is a non-profit organization under the auspices of the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C. AD Partners is involved in the global effort to solve climate change by working to end deforestation in tropical rainforest countries. By avoiding the practice of deforestation, i.e., clearing forests to provide inexpensive farmland, the world gains the significant climate benefits of not releasing carbon into the atmosphere. In addition, avoiding deforestation also allows forests to sequester carbon and scrub the air of pollutants. Beyond protecting our air quality, tropical forests create the conditions for rain, recharge our water sources, provide habitats for myriad plant and animal species, and support a way of life for 1.6 billion forest dependent people. Leading scientists and economists say that ending deforestation is the most cost effective and scalable method of reducing greenhouse gases. In fact, they believe that ending deforestation will cut the timeframe for solving the climate crisis in half.

The wildlife of the Republic of the Congo is a mix of species of different kinds of organisms. There are 400 mammal species, 1,000 bird species and 10,000 plant species in the country. Many parts of the country are covered in tropical rainforest, although some of the southern areas have been cleared by logging.

Deforestation in Nepal

Deforestation in Nepal has always been a serious issue, which has a severe effect on the lives of poor people. In the past, Nepal was a widely forested nation. However now with the requirement for the extension of rural areas, migration of hills people to the plains, the developing regional interest for timber, and the local residents dependence on firewood as the essential source of energy, less than 30% of the nation's forest cover remains. Due to the continuous deforestation in Nepal, many people and creatures are dying. Around 70 percent of the people in Nepal work in agriculture, even if it is difficult to farm in the prevailing unfavourable weather conditions.

Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an open-source web application to monitor global forests in near real-time. GFW is an initiative of the World Resources Institute (WRI), with partners including Google, USAID, the University of Maryland (UMD), Esri, Vizzuality and many other academic, non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Rhett Ayers Butler is an American journalist, author and entrepreneur who founded Mongabay, a conservation and environmental science news platform, in 1999.


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