In the past three years, four major companies have promised a total of $2.6 billion in palm oil investment in Liberia, and more could be coming soon. Global demand for the versatile oil is expected to double by 2020.
Great white shark: Researchers have found that fewer great whites are in the Pacific ocean than previously believed. Other shark species from around the world have also suffered steep population declines like the great white shark's in recent years.
Snow covers bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam's city center. Most schools in the Netherlands will close their doors Friday for two weeks of Christmas holidays.
Antigovernment ''red shirt'' protesters launch floating paper lanterns into the sky during the rally at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand.
The two-week negotiations begin on Monday and carry far lower expectations than did last December's climate change talks in Copenhagen.
Tiger trade: The markets, in an area of northeastern Myanmar controlled by the Wa minority, are considered one of the world's hot spots for wildlife trafficking, and among the only places left where tiger parts are openly sold.
Snub-nosed monkey, newly discovered in a remote forest in Myanmar, has a nose that is upturned, causing it to sneeze whenever it rains.
Biodiversity researchers warn that 20 percent of vertebrate species are threatened with extinction, largely because of human damage to habitats. But conservation efforts, they say, are effective.
On Tuesday the academic journal Science released an assessment of the survival chances of the world's vertebrates. Working off of the International Union for Conservation of Nature "Red List," which measures extinction risks, the journal analyzed the level of danger for more than 25,000 species. Science found that one-fifth of all species are classified as threatened and that proportion is increasing.
As talks on halting the global loss of species got underway Monday in Japan, long-standing disagreements over how to split up the economic benefits those species generate are threatening to stall negotiations.