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How do you structure a REDD+ project in tropical Latin America to make sure it's effective and equitable at the same time? How do you deliver food, clothing, housing and income to a population of 109 million and counting, while protecting the tropical forests that are crucial to the planet's health? Not without understanding just how different the key actors in land use change really are, designing a suitable mix of incentives, and then making some very hard choices, says CIFOR scientist Pablo Pacheco and his colleagues in a recent article published in the journal Forests.

The folks who are transforming forests and landscapes in the American tropics range from the landless migrant family clearing a maize plot in Central America to the multinational tycoon shipping Amazonian hardwoods to a furniture factory in China. These actors, their motivations, and the effects of their actions are such a diverse and dynamic lot that just getting a handle on what is happening can seem impossibly complex. To help us all, but especially those who will implement REDD+ projects, Pacheco and company -- without denying the complexity and dynamism of what is happening -- make sense of the players as well as the trends they embody and the landscapes they are producing. In the article they classify the main actors into five different, often competing, but also commonly overlapping groups: indigenous peoples, traditional farmers who produce limited goods for markets, more market-savvy small-scale farmers, large scale commercial farmers and ranchers, and finally, loggers and timber companies.

Read more: 5 Actors, 5 Trends, a Continent of Complexity

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The Gulf War led to unprecendented pollution as the retreating Iraqi army set fire to oil wells and pumped oil into the ocean.The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is just the latest in a long list of mega-disasters that have had a seriously negative impact on the planet. From military action to nuclear meltdowns, here are some of the worst examples.

ON 20 APRIL 2010 a huge build up of methane forced itself up a pipeline to BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, causing a massive explosion that killed 11 people and began a catastrophe that eventually saw four million barrels of oil spewed out into the open ocean. To people in the US, the 24-7 media coverage made it seem like an environmental catastrophe on an unprecedented scale, but there's been plenty worse than that. Here's our rundown of some of the worst eco-catastrophes ever to have been unleashed.

Read more: The worst eco-catastrophes of all time

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Glory spacecraft orbiting Earth, Image NASA/Goddard Space Flight CenterNASA's Glory spacecraft mission will help scientists predict future changes to our climate by using new data to model the causes of global warming.

NASA have announced that the Glory spacecraft will launch on Wednesday, February 23rd 2011. The spacecraft will be launched on an Orbital Sciences Taurus XL rocket from the Space Launch Complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Read more: NASA Glory Spacecraft To Help Predict Climate Change

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