03/28/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What's Up With the Rainforest: Incredible New Species Discovered in Ecuador

Our weekly check-in with the Rainforest Newsladder has us roaming all over the world. From discoveries in Ecuador to deforestation in Indonesia, recent stories have captured the global importance of conserving and protecting these precious plots of land. When we created the Rainforest Newsladder along with our partner Rainforest Alliance, we wanted to be able to bring the most important news stories about rainforest conservation together in one place. Thank you to all the people who posted stories this week who made this vision come alive.

Our first story brings us deep into the Ecuadorian jungle for an announcement about the discovery of 30 new species. Among the most fascinating are a species of see-through frog (no really) and a tiny eraser-sized gecko. Seeing is believing. For the past 7 years the Ecuadorian Biodiversity Project has been busy photographing and cataloging the biodiversity of the quickly disappearing rainforest in the mountains of Cerro Pata de Pajaro. This once thriving ecosystem has been riddled with threats, ranging from crop and livestock production to the ever present effects of climate change.

The UK's environment secretary, Hilary Benn, gives a viewpoint from the top of the canopy in his assessment of global biodiversity on's Green Room. His conclusion: we have to act now if we want to conserve the biodiversity on the planet. There is no doubt about the need to preserve biodiversity and Mr. Benn takes this argument one step further, saying it needs to extend to the flora and fauna that make up the entirety of ecosystems (not just the clear-bellied frogs and cute geckos). His article highlights the connections between having vibrant, thriving ecosystems and the health and vibrance of humanity.

Which brings us to the story of the Indonesian island of Java. The island is quickly losing its forests at a rate of 2500 hectares a year. Compared to other islands of Indonesia it might not seem like that much, but if the current rates of deforestation continue Java is looking at a rainforest of only 10,000 hectares by the end of the year. The consequences have already been dire - the Javan Tiger is thought to have gone extinct back in the 80s due to habitat destruction back. Now there is a whole list of animals (Javan rhino, Javan Hawk-Eagle, the Javan gibbon, the Javan langur; Javan slow loris; and the surili, a species of monkey) that are endangered and could face the same fate of the Javan Tiger if more is not done.

Enter our hero for the week: Indonesian Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta. Hatta, recently took a stand against the big companies that have been pulverizing Indonesian forests by not granting rights for mining companies to operate in protected areas. There has been heavy pressure on the Indonesian government to cave into pressure for granting mining rights, as 70% of geothermal are located in protected areas. Chalk this one up as one for the good guys as conservation beat out profits.

And thus ends our global roundup of the Rainforest Newsladder this week. Don't think the story ends here. The Rainforest Newsladder is constantly being updated with the latest news stories and information from around the world. Have a story you think the world needs to hear? Post it and you might find your story included in next week's What's Up With The Rainforest post.