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REDD in the news: 1-7 November 2010

REDD in the news: 1-7 November 2010

A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.

REDD-plus and biodiversity: opportunities and challenges

By Lera Miles and Barney Dickson (UNEP-WCMC), Unasylva 236, Vol. 61, 2010 | Any new global agreement on climate change mitigation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) will include action on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, plus conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks and sustainable management of forests (REDD-plus). REDD-plus should make funding available for developing countries to support forest-related emission reductions and foster carbon sequestration within forests. The magnitude and scope of the fundign and the responsibilities of participating developing countries will depend on the final form of the agreement.

Addressing the Hidden Costs of Forest Conservation

By Lee J. Alston and Krister Andersson, University of Colorado at Boulder, no date | “The reason that some activities are not the subject of contracts is exactly the same reason why some contracts are commonly unsatisfactory – it would cost too much to put the matter right.” Fifty years ago, Ronald Coase articulated the problems with the implementation of government policies to reduce social costs concluding that sometimes the transaction costs to “put the matter right” exceed the benefits. Such transaction costs help explain why past policy efforts have failed to tame the powerful forces behind tropical forest loss. We argue that more attention to transaction costs would benefit the institutional design of a new global program intended to combat tropical deforestation in developing countries, known as REDD+.

Summary of NORAD-funded Project “Training and Capacity Building of Forest Sector Grassroots Stakeholders for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in Asia Pacific (Vietnam programme, 2010 – 2013)

NORAD, no date | In 2009, Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development) provided funding support to RECOFTC under Climate and Forest Initiative 2009-Civil Society Support to implement a project on “Training and Capacity Building of Forest Sector Grassroots Stakeholders for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in Asia Pacific”. In the first phase (August 2009-July 2010), the project was implemented in three countries in the region, namely, Indonesia, Laos PDR and Nepal. In the second phase (Aug. 2010 – July 2013), project will be operational in four countries, adding Vietnam as another focal country, other than ongoing three countries, as indicated above.

Tangible skills for a nebulous world: An audit of skills needed for quantifying forest carbon

By Zoe Ryan, Forest Carbon Specialist, Macquarie/FFI Carbon Forests Taskforce, no date | Objective of this analysis: Examine the technical skills required for quantification of forest carbon; Focus on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD); Explore how ‘traditional’ forestry skills can be applied to quantification of REDD; Examine the proportion of foresters working in REDD, relative to other disciplines. Rationale for the analysis: Demonstrate the breadth of skills involved in REDD; Understand why relatively few foresters work in this industry, given the high level of skill compatibility; Respond to questions from foresters about career prospects in forest carbon and REDD.

REDD Should Create Jobs, Not Merely Bring Compensation

By Promode Kant, Institute of Green Economics, October 2010 | The REDD payments must not only be adequate but also reflect the realities of cost to different stakeholders and reach them without vanishing in corrupt practices. One way of approaching it is to make REDD Plus a positive action instead of a passive compensation for harm not done and making most of the payments to those who actually participate in such positive actions.

1 November 2010

News Summary: November 1, 2010

Forest Carbon Portal, 1 November 2010 | Last Friday in Nagoya, Japan, policymakers convened from around the world concluded the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Although biodiversity conservation has been widely-touted as a REDD “co-benefit,” efforts to link up aid from developed countries under the biodiversity convention and a REDD mechanism under the climate convention seem to be quickly falling out of reach. Revisiting a perennial concern in forest governance and markets, more news highlighting corruption concerns emerged this month, mostly on the enforcement front. The European Union finally codified a regulation banning illegal timber from the EU market. And in Liberia, a carbon offset scandal that erupted this summer is moving towards resolution with allegations flying against an array of government officials while trials for the alleged perpetrators begin to be set.

Illegal logging rampant in Vietnam

mongabay.com, 1 November 2010 | Illegal logging is rampant in Vietnam, according to a new report from the the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s General Forestry Department. As reported by Viet Nam News, there have been 2,463 illegal logging cases across Vietnam so far this year. Action to address logging has resulted in 44 forest rangers being injured and four deaths. Illegal logging was worst in the northern provinces of Bac Kan, Lang Son and Thai Nguyen; the central provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Nam and Khanh Hoa; and the Central Highland province of Dak Lak. according to the report. Despite the report, Vietnam has seen a reversal in net forest loss in recent years due to reforestation. According to the FAO, forest cover increased by roughly 50 percent between 1990 and 2010, including 2.5 million hectares of new planted forests. But old growth forests have continued to fall, with primary forest cover plunging 79 percent over the period.

High Conservation Values in West Papua concession

Tropical Forest Trust, 1 November 2010 | A High Conservation Value Forest Assessment was recently carried out in the PT. Manokwari Mandiri Lestari (MML) forest concession in West Papua with the support of USAID’s Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) Program. The results of this interesting assessment are in the final stages of completion. The assessment identified 12 of the 13 sub-categories of high conservation values within the concession. The area was documented to support very high levels of biodiversity, with the critically endangered and little understood Echidna bruijnii being present. Globally threatened, Protected and Range-restricted species were abundantly present especially for birds. The landscape that contains the PT. MML concession is still functioning well and supporting major ecological processes and includes pristine areas of protected and conservation forest (on the boundaries of the concession) with a full complement of expected biodiversity for the region.

Hardest path is only way forward

By Lim May-Ann & Simon Tay, Today Online, 1 November 2010 | After rain has dampened fires and the haze has lifted, Singapore and the region are at something of a crossroads. We can choose to treat the haze as a nuisance that recurs once in a while but is not serious enough to command attention. Singaporeans have coughed, wheezed and whined during the latest bout of the haze. But now: Out of sight, out of mind. A second path is to point fingers at Indonesia and demand they take responsibility. This is tempting since the fires are man-made, and large companies can be blamed. The third choice is a harder path that has costs and complexities. This is to engage the problem and work with Indonesians towards a solution that will benefit all. Such an engagement will depend not on allocating blame but on cooperation and new incentives. Trends are emerging that make the third path more possible now than in the past.

Biodiversity, Indonesia and poverty

Yansen, Jakarta Post, 1 November 2010 | As a “mega-biodiversity” nation, Indonesia could become a key player in efforts to save global species. Indonesia could play a leading role in developing international policies that support conservation of tropical biological resources. Indonesia could also capitalize on expansion of international research collaborations to study biology and utilize natural products. This strategic position, if well-played, may result in gigantic benefits for Indonesia. Remember, a large proportion of the plant and animal species that inhabit the Earth live in this tropical country. Successful conservation of biodiversity in Indonesia would make a significant contribution to combating the extinction of precious global species… Indonesia’s perspectives on REDD initiatives … should not be only perceived as a carbon trading mechanism that aims to reduce carbon emissions, but it has to include biodiversity protection as an integral component.

RI-Norway LoI activities proposed do not extend

By Erwin Tambunan, Bisnis Indonesia, 1 November 2010 | Members of business associations forestry, plantation and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) calls for an agreement letter of intent (LoI) does not sacrifice the interests of the business community forestry, plantations and other sectors that support the national economy. Concern was delivered by the Executive Director of the National Forest Association (APHI) Nana Roffandi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia Elfian Effendy, and Secretary General of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) Joko Supriyono.

UNFCCC Adaptation Fund cites CIFOR-CATIE Honduras study

CIFOR’s blog, 1 November 2010 | Results from a joint study between CIFOR and CATIE on tropical forests and climate change adaptation in Honduras were cited in a document describing one of the first projects ever approved by the UNFCCC’s Adaptation Fund Board. The citation is significant because it highlights the influence of our work in shaping climate adaptation initiatives.

UK moves to eradicate multibillion-euro carbon fraud

BusinessGreen, 1 November 2010 | The UK hopes that new rules introduced today will eliminate a multibillion-pound tax fraud involving carbon credits. Carousel fraud, or missing trader fraud, is estimated to have cost EU member states up to €5bn (£4.3bn) in lost tax revenue before a crackdown earlier this year led to a string of arrests across the continent. Fraudsters used front companies to sell carbon credits, before pocketing the VAT charged on those trades and closing down the companies. At the height of the fraud, Europol estimated that up to 90 per cent of the whole market volume of trading was being perpetrated by fraudsters. But from today HMRC has imposed new rules that require purchasers rather than suppliers of carbon credits to notify the tax man of the trade and account for the VAT on all emissions products eligible within the EU Emissions Trading System, including European Union Allowances, Certified Emissions Reductions and Emissions Reduction Units.

Forest Carbon and Credent form partnership on LiDAR technology

Forest Carbon press release, 1 November 2010 | Forest Carbon, an Indonesia-based forestry and environmental consulting firm, and Credent Technology, a Singaporean based mapping technology provider, have partnered with The Nature Conservancy on a pilot project to map forest carbon stocks in Borneo using cutting edge LiDAR imaging technology.

Peru: Statement by AIDESEP on the rights and consultation of indigenous peoples

Bank Information Center, 1 November 2010 | In a public statement directed at the Peruvian State, the World Bank, UNDP and UNFCCC, the Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Forest (AIDESEP) denounces plans of the government and its political and corporate allies to grant mining, logging and tourism concessions, as well as approve REDD and environmental services initiatives after blocking the Indigenous Consultation Law. They insist: without territory, rights and consultation for indigenous peoples, such concessions must not move forward.

UN REDD Missions Partners Cross River

Voice of Nigeria, 1 November 2010 | The United Nations REDD Mission to Nigeria says it is committed to partnering with the Cross River state government in southern Nigeria , towards creating opportunities for the success of its conservation efforts. Mr. Janthomas Hiemstra of UN-REDD Mission said, during a courtesy call on Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke , that the state’s Forestry Programme was an ambitious opposition to global warming . He said that the current effort of the state would in the next six months attract investments and that UN-REDD would support the programme to attract great financial benefits. He said the organisation was impressed with the green and clean environment of the state which represents its effort to tackle global warming.

Corruption drain on forest carbon schemes

By Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 1 November 2010 | Australia could waste hundreds of millions of dollars on forest carbon schemes in Third World countries. This would occur unless more was done to combat corruption, the nation’s peak aid agencies have warned. A report by the Australian Council for International Development due for release today says without proper safeguards an international forest carbon scheme could worsen climate outcomes, obstruct sustainable development and further impoverish vulnerable communities. The government has committed about $500 million to climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries during 2010-13. This includes the $273m International Forest Carbon Initiative, under which Australia is funding demonstration projects in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Marc Purcell, executive director of ACFID, said not enough attention had been paid to addressing local corruption, particularly in Papua New Guinea.

‘Redd’ – Readiness In India

By Ghasiram Panda, Oriya Column, 1 November 2010 | ndia, if assessed in this context, holds a lot of potential and thus generates a lot of optimism. 21.02% of Indian territory is estimated to be covered by forest. Growing pressure over forest, converting forestland to non forest activities, and an overwhelming attitude to generate as much revenue from forest resources can be counted as the prime reasons behind the gradual diminish of forest property in our country. However, India has taken significant steps by enacting laws, policies and setting of action plans and missions to reduce deforestation, increase forest coverage and ensuring participation of community in management of forest resource.

Forest Carbon – Law and Property Rights

By David Takacs, Conservation International, 1 November 2010 | Investments in reforestation and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) have the potential to mitigate greenhouse gas accumulation; sustain ecosystem services that support human and ecological communities; and generate sustainable livelihoods for poor, forest-dependent people. But as a new form of property, forest carbon presents legal complications that no jurisdiction has completely untangled. This guide is designed to help community members, government leaders, lawyers, treaty negotiators, NGO advocates, and carbon investors understand forest carbon as property in order to support and develop sustainable forest carbon projects.

France wants to survey Guyana’s forest

Stabroek News, 1 November 2010 | A French delegation expressed an interest in surveying Guyana’s forest using satellite technology, during a recent courtesy call on President Bharrat Jagdeo. In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Prefect of La Guyane Daniel Ferey said his delegation is hopeful about a collaboration. He said it will make use of “technology from French Guiana because it is space centre and we are proposing to the Government of Guyana to collaborate with us for that project. But the meeting was very fruitful and we hope to start operations very soon with Guyana.” Ferey also noted that his country, along with the rest of the world is impressed with the president’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and preserving natural resources.

Toshaos reject Kaieteur News claim

By Chamanlall Naipaul, Guyana Chronicle, 1 November 2010 | The National Toshaos Council (NTC) has stoutly rejected a claim by another newspaper that Amerindians were forced to sign the resolution on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest degradation (REDD) and the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) at the recently concluded national conference at the International Conference Centre, Liliendaal Kaieteur News yesterday carried an article in which it claimed that Toshaos were told to sign the resolution and that many of them never saw the document prior to being asked to sign. However, Chairperson of the NTC, Yvonne Pearson made it clear that Amerindians are fully supportive of the LCDS and REDD. “We had a lot of discussions around land rights, demarcation and issuing of titles. Coming out of the conference, we have a resolution on the full support of the LCDS and REDD. The Amerindians are in full support of the government strategy,” she reiterated.

What the Toshaos say about…The challenges they face

By Tiffny Rhodius, Stabroek News, 1 November 2010 | As Toshaos from across the country gathered at the Liliendaal Conference Centre for the annual Toshaos Council Meeting last week, we asked the leaders what were some of the difficulties their communities face and what they hope to come out of the meeting. Rance Allicock, Rockstone Region Ten: Right now the problem that we face there is a communal land dispute with Afro-Guyanese that are resident there and they are not really resident and it is not really feasible at this moment. We move from CDC to village Council and after moving from that the other party, the Afro-Guyanese, just a few of them decided that they wanted to remain in the CDC and we are not wanting to stay one place we want to move to higher ground. Because we are doing an application for communal land they were against us and they were saying if we hold communal we don’t sell it will remain as a CDC they will take us to court.

The Amaila Falls project can be expected to cost taxpayers a lot more than is being projected

By Harry Gill, Letter to the editor Kaieteur News, 1 November 2010 | In a Confidential Feasibility Study Report on the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project (AFHEP) prepared for the Government of Guyana by a Canadian company, Kaehne Consulting Limited, June 2002 (http://www.electricity.gov.gy/amaila.pdf), this Administration is aware that, “The Guyana Power & Light (GPL) load, which provides the cornerstone of the project’s likely energy market, cannot be fully supplied by Amaila (AFHEP) due to the project’s distance from the GPL load. Synergy has indicated that GPL will have to continue to operate end-of-line diesel generation for voltage and frequency support and to provide back-up generating capacity in case of outages on the Amaila supply system……This places a higher level of burden on GPL’s operations to ensure that its customers are not adversely affected by the introduction of the Amaila project as a source of generation…”

More electricity woes

Stabroek News, 1 November 2010 | While responding to a tax relief call made by the GAWU General Secretary on Wednesday at the GLU Triennial Delegates Conference, President Jagdeo almost casually slipped in that another US$20M will be needed to secure power generation to meet peak demand and ensure stability in supplies. The following day, the GPL CEO, Mr Bharrat Dindyal disclosed that the power company was seeking to acquire another 15.6 MW. The President attempted to sugar-coat the announcement by saying that it would be the final resort to new power generators prior to the Amaila Falls hydropower project. Given the innumerable delays to this project and the questionable decisions associated with it the President is being overly optimistic particularly since he won’t be the one sitting in the Office of the President when the project really gets going.

Gov’t threatens to scrap concessions to Barama; ex-workers getting stipend, computer training

Demerara Waves, 1 November 2010 | Guyana on Monday threatened to scrap most of the tax concessions that have been granted to the Malaysian-owned Barama Company Limited if plywood-making does not resume soon. President Jagdeo also told the 200 persons, who were laid off by BCL because of a boiler explosion at the Land of Canaan-based plywood factory, that they would receive GUY$25,000 per month for the next three months but they must attend computer classes one day each week during the period of the stipend.

2 November 2010

President warns Barama ‘Restart plywood plant or lose duty-free & tax concessions’ -Gov’t offers three-month stipend to cushion laid-off workers

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 2 November 2010 | President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday announced that laid off workers of Barama Company Limited will receive a stipend of $25,000 per month for the next three months provided that they attend one day per week of computer training, as a transition measure not unlike the approach taken with bauxite workers some years back. Further, the President warned Barama that their duty-free and tax concessions could be revoked if they delay in the restart of their plywood operations, since there would be little justification to offer them without the company providing large scale employment, as set out in the concession agreements.

Govt. considers review of Barama’s tax concessions

By Leonard Gildarie, Kaieteur News, 2 November 2010 | Government has signaled its intentions to review and possibly scrap most of the tax concessions offered to Malaysian-owned Barama Company Limited (BCL) if the company’s plywood-making does not resume as soon as possible. The disclosure was made yesterday by President Bharrat Jagdeo as he met with workers of BCL who were laid off following the closure. The Head of State also announced a $25,000 monthly stipend for the affected workers but this is dependent on them taking weekly computer classes for the next 12 weeks. The stipend is expected to cushion the impact faced by workers who were suddenly given notice that they no longer had jobs. Many of the 274 workers sent home have been with the company for over a decade and an estimated 30 families were living at the worksite at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara.

Jagdeo threatens to pull Barama concessions

Stabroek News, 2 November 2010 | President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday declared that Barama Company Limited has “another think coming” if it is the company’s intention not to restart plywood operations here, following the laying off its 274 Land of Canaan workers. The workers were made redundant following damage to a boiler at the company’s East Bank Demerara location in early October.

The National Toshaos Conference

Guyana Chronicle, 2 November 2010 | 160 Toshaos from across Guyana, including the remotest area of Masakenari, gathered at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, from October 25 to 29, to discuss the further development of Amerindian communities with His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo and Cabinet members under the theme “Advancing Development in a Low Carbon Environment”. The National Toshaos Conference was truly reflective of participatory democracy as Amerindian leaders engaged the Head-of-State in one-on-one discussions regarding their communities’ achievements and possible solutions for the challenges they face… Indigenous communities will benefit further with US$ 8M from the first tranche of US$30M into the Guyana Redd Plus Investment Fund (GRIF). US$4M will be used to accelerate the demarcation process while the other US$4 will be used to fund Community Development Projects (CDPs) and to provide every Amerindian household with a solar panel.

Sunday Stabroek editorial reflects anti-government ‘venom’

By Kwame McCoy, Letter to the editor Stabroek News, 2 November 2010 | The Stabroek News has found yet another opportunity to unleash its anti-government venom through its editorial of Sunday, October 31, 2010. I am not surprised that the newspaper has resorted to a slanted version of what took place at the annual National Toshaos Council Meeting at the Guyana International Conference Centre. Let me say from the beginning, I have no apology, absolutely none, for asking the two reporters to leave the conference centre, knowing they were not invited to the sessions they tried to sneak into, under the guise of state media practitioners… Editor’s note 1. We could not have “resorted to a slanted version of what took place at the Toshaos Council Meeting” because we did not report on the actual session themselves at all. As is clear from what Mr McCoy himself goes on to say, we were simply not allowed into them.

A Ghost Agreement

By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 2 November 2010 | “Countries join forces to save life on Earth”, the front page of the Independent told us. “Historic”, “a landmark”, a “much-needed morale booster”, the other papers chorused. The declaration agreed at the summit in Japan last week to protect the world’s wild species and wild places was proclaimed by almost everyone a great success. There’s only one problem: none of the journalists who made these claims has seen it… The evidence suggests that we’ve been conned. The draft agreement, published a month ago, contained no binding obligations. Nothing I’ve heard from Japan suggests that this has changed. The draft saw the targets for 2020 that governments were asked to adopt as nothing more than “aspirations for achievement at the global level” and a “flexible framework”, within which countries can do as they wish. No government, if the draft has been approved, is obliged to change its policies.

Forest carbon boost in California ETS offset rules

carbonpositive.net, 2 November 2010 | The forest carbon sector in the US has received a boost with the release of draft rules for the Californian cap and trade scheme. The rules released by the state’s Air Resources Board (ARB) for consultation include a doubling of the limit originally proposed for the use of offsets in the scheme, from 4 per cent of an emitter’s obligation to 8 per cent, and early-action recognition of voluntary-market credits back to 2005… Offset protocols in other reduction activities will be considered for inclusion as soon as next year. Offset projects from Canada and Mexico may also be eligible in future. As well as project-based offsetting, the ARB will also pursue larger, sector-wide offsetting programs over time, including avoided deforestation, or REDD, in tropical developing countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.

REDD: fuelling corruption and climate change

Ricardo Coelho, Cool the Earth, 2 November 2010 | Sooner or later, it is expected that REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) projects begin flooding the Kyoto Protocol’s carbon markets. This means that a company can earn money by setting aside a forest instead of tearing it down. One of the first pilot programs is already underway in Indonesia, where the Asian Pulp and Paper, responsible for numerous environmental crimes, is to earn carbon credits by preserving (until when?) a part of their forest (Mongabay). Many other similar projects are expected to follow suit… One only has to add two and two to figure out what will happen when money starts flowing from polluters in the developed countries to forestry companies in Indonesia to “offset” carbon emissions. Without a change in power structures and governance, money won’t do any good.

Indonesian civil society proposes safeguards framework in the rush for “green gold”

Bank Information Center press release, 2 November 2010 | BIC announces the launch of “Beyond Carbon: Rights-based Safeguard Principles in Law,” a study that serves as a collective proposal to REDD donors and recipients to uphold human rights in the governance of forest-for carbon schemes.

Biofuel power stations in planning pipeline

By Juliette Jowit, Guardian, 2 November 2010 | Two new power stations that use a fuel critics say contributes to the destruction of rainforest in south-east Asia may be built in the UK through subsidies added to customer bills. The two plants in the south of England would run on palm oil, which in many cases is sourced from plantations sited on cleared rainforest land. They are among more than 30 new power stations at various stages of the planning process that propose to burn wood and other plant materials, as owners try to take advantage of hundreds of millions of pounds of subsidies to cut reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, experts have warned that as well as being linked to tropical rainforest destruction – and the survival threat to the orang-utan in the wild – crop-fuelled power stations will push up food prices by competing for land, and in many cases will not even cut greenhouse gas emissions.

3 November 2010

Uganda: One million trees for Mt Elgon region

IRIN, 3 November 2010 | A three-year project to increase forest cover and help local communities in eastern Uganda adapt to climate change has been launched. “The planting of one million trees has started to sustain an area of tropical forest in Africa the size of Wales,” said John Griffiths, counsel-general of the Welsh Assembly, which is supporting the project. “These trees will not only absorb carbon but provide shade for crops.” The US$1 million Territorial Approach to Climate Change (TACC) project, launched in the eastern town of Mbale on 28 October, is also supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UK government. It will be implemented in the districts of Bududa, Manafwa and Mbale… Lebogang Motlana, Uganda country director for UNDP, said the country was highly vulnerable to climate change as illustrated by a landslide in Bududa near Mbale, earlier this year, which left at least 300 people dead and was attributed to deforestation and unseasonable rain.

Obama Set to Reveal $700m Indonesian Forest Funding

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti & Reuters, Jakarta Globe, 3 November 2010 | US President Barack Obama is expected to use his brief visit to Indonesia next week to announce hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to help the nation tackle climate change, a senior official said on Wednesday. Obama, who is scheduled to visit the country on November 9, is likely to announce $700 million for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a development fund formed under the Bush administration… Meanwhile, Teguh Surya, head of advocacy at Walhi, said the funding commitment should wait until Indonesia was ready to manage the money. “Obama’s good intention should be appreciated; however, we still don’t have any clear mechanism to manage this money. It would be open to misuse,” Teguh said… Furthermore, he said, Yudhoyono should push the United States for radical emissions reductions of its own, to show that US funding was not simply a way of preparing Indonesia to enter the carbon market.

Obama to target forest, climate aid in Indonesia trip

By Sunanda Creagh and David Fogarty, Reuters, 3 November 2010 | When U.S. President Barack Obama flies over the vast Indonesian archipelago next week, he will see first hand the size of two of the nation’s greatest and most threatened resources: its forests and seas. Both are widely expected to be at the heart of efforts to boost ties between the United States and Indonesia and to step up the fight against climate change, officials and sources say… During his trip, Obama could announce how some of the $700 million allocated to Indonesia by the Millennium Challenge Corporation can be used to fund climate change and forest conservation programmes, a source said. The MCC is a U.S. foreign aid agency set up under the Bush administration… “The U.S. doesn’t want to compete directly with the Norwegians but they do want similar big headline news.”

CBD Reaches Agreement on Access and Benefit Sharing, But Some Question Its Effectiveness

ICTSD, 3 November 2010 | Caution, however, mingled with the celebration and relief. “The ABS Protocol is only a starting point. Whether it will result in the viable regime against bio-piracy now depends on the implementation,” one delegate told Bridges. The African Group formally made a similar point in the closing plenary, stating for the record that the protocol was simply a first step for moving towards the implementation of the Convention’s third objective, which is the “fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.” Other countries called the protocol “imperfect” and “incomplete,” though nonetheless an “important step” and “milestone achievement”. “It was momentum we had to make use of. Not agreeing was not an option. It would have squashed whatever we had achieved by now,” a government official explained.

IEA fears oil spike if climate pledges fail

By Javier Blas and Sylvia Pfeifer, Financial Times, 3 November 2010 | The global energy watchdog will next week throw its weight behind calls for governments to implement pledges to fight climate change and cut fossil fuel subsidies, warning that a failure to do so would significantly inflate oil prices. The International Energy Agency forecasts that implementation of new environmental policies would see demand for oil almost 10 per cent lower by 2035 than under current policy commitments. That would result in prices roughly $20 a barrel lower. “The message from this analysis is clear: the weaker and slower the response to the climate challenge, the greater the risk of oil scarcity and the economic cost for consuming countries,” says the IEA. The forecasts are the central theme of this year’s World Energy Outlook, the IEA’s flagship report, a draft copy of which has been obtained by the Financial Times.

Dutch energy firm buys stake in forestry project developer

Carbon Finance, 3 November 2010 | Dutch sustainable energy supplier Greenchoice has acquired a 50% share in forest carbon developer Face the Future, for an undisclosed sum. Rotterdam-based Greenchoice provides about 250,000 customers in the Netherlands with renewable energy and sells ‘green’ natural gas, the emissions from which are offset by retiring carbon credits. Face the Future manages projects that REDD in Ecuador, a rainforest rehabilitation project in Malaysia and several reforestation and REDD projects in Uganda, among others. The 15-year-old company says it has established 50,000 hectares of new forests, protected tens of thousands of hectares of existing forest and generated more than 2 million carbon credits from its projects. “The cooperation with Greenchoice [will] secure existing projects and expand our project portfolio with new forest projects,” said Denis Slieker, Utrecht-based managing director of Face the Future.

Incentives to Save the Planet – Part 2

Tensie Whelan, Huffington Post, 3 November 2010 | The Economist makes the reasonable-sounding assertion that “Market-led schemes can succeed up to a point but without government support they soon hit their limits,” but Rainforest Alliance’s experience indicates that the reverse is also true. FSC’s phenomenal growth predated and probably helped light governments’ way to REDD and the US and EU bans on illegal logging by finding and tapping companies own incentives to track and source sustainably. Government interdiction has definitely helped curb illegal logging, but government prohibition and regulation can only take us so far towards conserving the vast majority of the world’s forests, which are privately owned.

UN emissions targets likely in 2015 – negotiator

Carbon Finance, 3 November 2010 | UN talks in Cancún should focus on issues where some consensus already exists because agreement on binding emissions targets is unlikely before 2015, according to a UN negotiator. When the talks end next month, negotiators will likely have finalised a set of mostly process decisions, but there is a chance of a few substantive decisions, particularly on issues such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), said Antonio La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government in the Philippines and chair of the UN REDD negotiations. Binding emissions targets are “ground zero” for the international negotiations and will probably have to wait until many other issues such as adaptation, financing and technology transfer are resolved, he told attendees of the Carbon Markets Insights Americas 2010 conference in New York this week.

Grassroots groups shape strategy to protect Guatemala’s forests

Jan Willem den Besten, Reuters AlertNet, 3 November 2010 | Discussions on the fledgling U.N.-backed REDD scheme are dominated by the issues of how to consult local people and how they can participate. There is concern the voices of indigenous peoples and local communities might be lost in complex decision-making processes that aim to make forest functions in developing countries part of global climate action. The preparation phase, however, does offer opportunities to engage vulnerable groups who depend on forests going beyond token consultations. In Guatemala – which means “the land of trees” in the Maya-Toltec language – grassroots organisations show that bottom-up initiatives can indeed bear fruit. “We sometimes notice that people think that, as indigenous groups, we lack any sort of capacity to engage and get a project off the ground,” says Inocenta Macz Caal, a 35-year-old woman from the Maya-Q’eqchi community of the Lachuá Region in the north of Guatemala.

First African Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement For Soil Carbon Signed In The Hague

World Bank press release, 3 November 2010 | Small-holder farmers in Kenya are set to reap the rewards of the first soil carbon project in Africa. In the west of the country a group of farmers are changing practices and earning carbon credits. In the process, the groundbreaking Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project is set to improve food security, help address climate change, and improve the lives and livelihoods of rural dwellers who live in poverty. The agreement to purchase carbon credits which the project generates, the Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement (ERPA), was signed today in a ceremony held at the International Conference on Agriculture, Food Security, and Climate Change in The Hague. “The Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project is not only the first project that sells soil carbon credits in Africa, it is also paving the way for a new approach to carbon accounting methodologies,” says Joëlle Chassard, Manager of the Carbon Finance Unit at the World Bank.

Why the United Nations (UN) climate change talks are now largely irrelevant

By Louise Gray, Telegraph, 3 November 2010 | A debate organised by Oxfam earlier this week asked: Will the UN climate talks save the planet or is it time to look elsewhere? The panel of experts concluded that the UN talks will not force countries to reduce emissions, the only way to stop run away global warming, only economic self interest will do that. Instead environmentalists should be putting pressure on their own governments, business and wider society to act. Michael Jacobs, a former adviser to Gordon Brown on climate change who is now at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, said that the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had made a “fundamental mistake” by expecting countries to sign up to binding targets to reduce emissions. He said the last round of UN talks in Copenhagen collapsed because the world’s largest emitters China and the US were not ready to make the cuts.

Eight Upper Mazaruni toshaos reject conference pact

Stabroek News, 3 November 2010 | Several Toshaos from the Upper Mazaruni have said that the resolution on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) coming out of the recently concluded National Toshaos Conference (NTC) was drafted without their knowledge and are objecting to its contents. At their request, Stabroek News recently spoke with the leaders of Chinoweing, Jawalla, Kako, Phillipai, Kamarang/Warawatta, Kaikan, Arau, Paruima, who said that they refused to sign the document since they were not in agreement with its contents. The resolution also affirmed support from the Amerindian communities for the REDD+ initiative and said that the NTC is the sole authority to represent Amerindian interests to the Government of Guyana. The leaders said that on the final day of the conference, copies of the resolution were passed around for their signatures while it was being read by Yvonne Pearson, Chairperson of the NTC. They said that was the first time they saw the document.

Synergy has cleared over 7.5 km for roadway – Willis

Stabroek News, 3 November 2010 | Synergy Holdings Inc. has so far cleared more than 7.5 km for its contracted roadway since commencing phase one of the Amaila road project on October 11, senior Government Engineer Walter Willis says. Willis told Stabroek News that up to Saturday the company had cleared 6 kilometres by 20 metres along the Mabura Road up to Butakari, along the Essequibo River. In addition, the company has also completed clearing 1.5 km of road from the Bartica/Potaro Road going to the Kuribrong River… Synergy Holdings Inc. was controversially awarded the US$15.4 million contract for “the upgrading of approximately 85 km of existing roadway, the design and construction of approximately 110 km of virgin roadway, the design and construction of two new pontoon crossings at the Essequibo and Kuribrong rivers.”

4 November 2010

Obama: Stop funding Indonesian torture of Papuans

Survival International, 4 November 2010 | Survival is asking President Obama, who is due to visit Indonesia next week, to suspend US military assistance to Jakarta until its forces stop killing and torturing the people of West Papua. Obama’s visit comes shortly after the emergence of shocking video footage showing Indonesian soldiers torturing two villagers in the West Papuan highlands. The Indonesian government has admitted that the torturers were its soldiers. Controversially, in July this year, the Obama administration lifted its ban on assistance to Indonesia’s notorious elite special forces, Kopassus. Kopassus had been barred from receiving US military aid for more than a decade because of human-rights abuses including killings, disappearances and torture.

Asia Pulp & Paper’s emissions from paper production 500 times higher than claimed

mongabay.com, 4 November 2010 | Asia Pulp & Paper is misrepresenting the greenhouse gas emissions generated through its paper production by several orders of magnitude claims a new analysis of its carbon footprint by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Japan Tropical Forest Action Network (JATAN). The report says a carbon footprint analysis conducted for APP by Environmental Resources Management (ERM) failed to account for emissions from conversion of forests and peatlands for plantations. Factoring in these emissions, RAN and JATAN estimate the carbon footprint of APP’s paper production in Sumatra to be in the range of 16 – 21 tons of CO2e per ton of paper, or more than 500 times higher than APP’s estimate.

FAQ: Indonesia, Degraded Land and Sustainable Palm Oil

By Beth Gingold, World Resources Institute, 4 November 2010 | Common data and clear definitions will enable the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and REDD+ policy-makers to achieve a shared goal: sustainable oil palm expansion on degraded land in Indonesia. In May 2010, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced a national policy to develop oil palm plantations on “degraded land” – instead of on forest and peatland – as part of an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Indonesia’s draft national REDD+ strategy, which has been made available for public consultation, reflects this intention.

Getting REDD+ Right

CIFOR’s blog. 4 November 2010 | [REDD] has come a long way since … COP 11 in Montreal five years ago. Since then, discussions among scientists, world leaders, the private sector and other relevant parties have resulted in a scheme more refined in design… After the anticipated legally binding REDD+ deal did not come into fruition at COP 15 in Copenhagen last year, the UN has set more specific goals for REDD+ for COP 16 in Cancun this year, so that if a deal isn’t brokered, at least progress in key areas will have been made. One of those goals, discussed in a meeting last month in Brussels by the Council of the EU Environment Ministers, is to develop a concrete strategy for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). “MRV is an important pillar in addressing deforestation and land degradation, but what is needed goes beyond just technology,” said a representative of Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, chair of Indonesia’s REDD Taskforce. He was speaking at a CIFOR-run MRV workshop on Tuesday.

Carbon offset sales have not worked – World Bank

BusinessDay, 4 November 2010 | A new study from the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has reviewed the World Bank’s efforts in mitigating climate change and found some measures are working – while others have failed… Globally, about one quarter of the world’s tropical forests are under some form of protection, and the World Bank has contributed significantly to this effort. Rigorous and globally comprehensive analysis by IEG finds that, on average, protected areas significantly reduce tropical deforestation, preserving carbon sinks and biodiversity. The study found that deforestation rates were lower in areas that allowed sustainable use by local populations, and even lower in the case of areas under control of indigenous people. But the study has found that at prevailing carbon prices, carbon offset sales had little impact on most renewable energy projects’ rate of returns, and did not address investors’ need for up-front capital.

Sri Lanka’s association with climate change issues noted by ambassador Palitha Kohona at the U.N.

Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune, 4 November 2010 | “Sri Lankan rainforests are home to nearly all of the country’s endemic plants and about 75% of the endemic animals. The rich array of fauna and flora places Sri Lanka among the world’s top 18 biodiversity hotspots.” … Dr. Palith Kohona, Sri Lanka ambassador to the United Nations made the above remarks in the course of his presentation to the US General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Session on November 2 at New York. The ambassador further stated: “We will support REDD-Plus activities, which are country driven and voluntary. These activities must receive adequate predictable and sustainable financing and technological support. Indigenous people and local communities are also involved in the implementation of REDD plus process.”

Annual Progress Report on REDD-plus enablers – 2010 – for the Norway-Guyana MoU

By John Palmer, Stabroek News, 4 November 2010 | The paradox remains of the President claiming to be fully involved in the global REDD – Reduction in Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (and certainly clocking up impressive carbon-emitting air-miles in his global travels) while opposing any such reductions for Guyana. The undoubted efforts being made by some stakeholders in Guyana are undermined by the appearance of a Presidential shadow play. This play is expressed most clearly in the 32 sets of minutes of the MSSC, where the target is the pot of barely accountable Norwegian money to be paid in effect for Guyana to do nothing, as the President has agreed. This sets a terrible example to other countries engaged in the REDD preparation process. If Guyana gets so much money, and can even expand deforestation without penalty, why should other countries be more honest? Is this what Guyana wants to be known for?

Mexico builds REDD+ strategy with a national vision

Yancuic, 4 November 2010 | By 2012, it is expected that a program for the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD +) will be fully implemented in Mexico; in the short term, this strategy develops actions for the conservation of forests with the participation of various social organizations in the country and international, federal and state government, and specialists, with funds from international financing. By participating in the meeting, “Forests and Climate Change” organized by the Embassy of France in Mexico, Sergio Graf Montero, Coordinator of Production and Productivity of the National Forestry Commission, said the national strategy for REDD + means a great opportunity to promote initiatives to stop deforestation, which has to be a national aspiration regardless of international agreements.

5 November 2010

Evidence That Stays Out Of Court

By Angela Dewan, newmatilda.com, 5 November 2010 | New details of torture by the Indonesian military in the Papua region have emerged as video testimony recorded by Papuan activists provide victim’s account of two days of abuse. In the video released by the Dewan Adat Papua tribal council, Tunaliwor Kiwo speaks about his torture by Indonesia soliders. Kiwo was one of the people whose abuse was recorded on a graphic YouTube video which drew international attention last month. In this most recent video, he says the soldiers used a number of methods of torture, including clamping his genitals, burning him with an iron rod, trying to suffocate him with plastic bags and pulling out his fingernails with pliers. Five Indonesian soldiers are scheduled to face a military court in Jayapura this morning over the abuse of farmers Kiwo and Telengga Gire, but Kiwo’s detailed account is unlikely to be heard as evidence.

Papuan tells of torture by Indonesian soldiers

By Tom Allard, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November 2010 | A Papuan man depicted in a video being burnt, suffocated and hit by Indonesian troops says he was tortured for two days, according to his testimony recorded and translated by Papuan activists. Tunaliwor Kiwo was shown in agony as the soldiers burnt his penis in the video, which was filmed in May and revealed exclusively in the Herald last month. It prompted a horrified response in Indonesia and around the world, and led to the rapid arrest of five Indonesian soldiers, who face a military tribunal today. But in the new testimony Mr Kiwo, filmed two weeks ago, said the abuse was far worse than depicted in the first video.

Govt yet to name regions to host REDD pilot projects

Theresia Sufa, Jakarta Post, 5 November 2010 | The government has failed to fulfil its promise to pick a province in October that would host a pilot project imposing a moratorium on natural forest and peatland conversion as mandated by an Indonesia-Norway climate deal. Secretary of the task force on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD plus), Hery Prasetyo, said the taskforce was still examining nine provinces interested in hosting the REDD pilot project. The nine candidates are Aceh, Riau, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Jambi, Papua and West Papua. Previously, the government announced it was considering five provinces to host the REDD project, and that it would make its selection in October at the latest. “We will assess commitment from local administrations to protect forests since the REDD plus would not merely be aimed at cutting emissions,” he told reporters.

‘Sustainable wood’ may still cause damage

By Kate Ravilious, Guardian, 5 November 2010 | Lisa Kellman of the Environmental Sciences Research Center at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada, and her team have been investigating the impact that forest harvesting has on the underlying soil. It seems that the damage goes deeper than previously thought and lasts for much longer than traditionally assumed. When we buy a new wardrobe made from sustainably sourced wood, we tend to assume that the trees that were harvested to make the product were replaced by new trees, which continue to mop up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stabilize carbon in the soil. The Forest Stewardship Council for example, one of the largest and most well-known certification schemes in the UK, says that its label “guarantees that the trees that are harvested are replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally”. However, Kellman’s research shows that simply planting a new tree isn’t always enough to negate the damage of cutting down an old one.

Gold output set to top 300,000 ozs this year

Stabroek News, 5 November 2010 | Even as Guyana’s gold production seems set to exceed 300,000 ounces for the second consecutive year, controversies between Amer-indian communities and miners over mining rights in several of the country’s well-known gold-bearing areas have triggered a crisis that threatens to viability of the industry, Executive Secretary of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) Edward Shields has said.

Four years after passage Amerindian Act still to be brought into force

Stabroek News, 5 November 2010 | Over four years after the Amerindian Act 2006 was passed by Parliament, a Bill to bring it into force was yesterday laid in the National Assembly by government after it said the previous instrument utilized could not be located. The Bill seeks to retroactively cover all activity sanctioned so far under the legislation. Recently, during Amerindian Heritage month in September, chartered accountant and attorney Christopher Ram, in a letter to Stabroek News had noted that years after the Act’s passage, it had not been brought into force though the administration had, numerous times, highlighted the Act as evidence of its respect for the rights of our indigenous peoples. There had been no response by the government to Ram’s contention until yesterday.

Madagascar’s president linked to illegal logging (video)

wildmadagascar.org, 5 November 2010 | Video released by the Environmental Investigation Agency reveals Chinese rosewood traders have direct links to Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina, who seized power during a March 2009 military coup. The undercover investigation found several instances of dealers in China who claim direct dealings with the highest levels of Madagascar’s interim government. Liu Hongyu, a manager at Beijing-based Meheco, a rosewood wholesaler, was captured on camera saying that she deals directly with Rajoelina. Mr. Lu, owner of an import company in Guangzhou, told investigators he is a friend of Rajoelina and has imported over 1,000 containers of rosewood from Madagascar. “Sometimes the government does not have the money to pay its workers, this they sell the wood to get money,” he said on camera. “Each container the government charges over $45,000, then they also charge duties.”

Liberia: Global Witness Lies?

allAfrica.com, 5 November 2010 | The Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) has revealed that the hullabaloo about breach of trust in government is about nothing because Global Witness’ report that there exists a Carbon Credit Concession Agreement in Liberia is a misrepresentation. The commission, through its Board of Commissioners, made the revelation in its official response to the report of the Negbalee Warner Special Presidential Committee set up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in August this year. The President mandated the committee to investigate a Global Witness (GW) report that a British Company, Carbon Harvest Corporation (CHC), entered into a shady arrangement with the government of Liberia involving a 400,000 hectares single-sourcing forest management agreement.

6 November 2010

REDD Plus Is Not Moratorium

KpSHK, 6 November 2010 | In the near future Indonesia will have a national strategy on REDD Plus as a concrete step of Norway-Indonesia’s Letter of Intense. We have already established the Task Force of REDD Plus. REDD Plus Task Force aims to develop a national framework on climate change mitigation in forestry, agriculture sectors and natural resources. Even as quoted by the media (Kompas 4/11), REDD Plus Task Force Secretary Heru Prasetyo convinced before COP 16-UNFCCC meeting in Cancun, Mexico this year end, that Indonesia already has a concept of REDD Plus. And is it true? Looking back to the recent establishment of REDD Plus Task Force that involves about 7 sectors in the government and related fields, the biggest concern is this REDD Plus Task Force is an impaired institution which will not effectively work as institutions formed before by the government on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Pearson questions agenda of dissenting Toshaos

Kaieteur News, 6 November 2010 | Toshaos who refused to sign a document supporting REDD+, the United Nations programme under which funds would flow to poor countries for avoiding deforestation, have earned the ire of the head of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Yvonne Pearson. In an interview with this newspaper several Toshaos from the Pakaraimas in Region Eight expressed a lack of understanding of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which the government is using to seek international partnerships and incentives to protect 15 million hectares (37 million acres) of forest under REDD+.

International conference on forests and climate change in KK

Borneo Post, 6 November 2010 | The Sabah Forestry Department, in partnership with WWF-Malaysia, will be hosting an international conference on “Forests and Climate Change: Decoding and Realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (HoB), With Specific Focus on Sabah”, at the Magellan Sutera, Sutera Harbour Resort here on November 8 and 9. It will be launched on November 8 by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman. The conference stems from the interest on the various developments on REDD-plus in the region through various international initiatives e.g. UNFCCC, UNFF, UNREDD, REDD-plus Partnership. Unfortunately not much is known about the impact of these processes and their benefit at the local level in the Asia Pacific and in Malaysia.

7 November 2010

PNG: Foreign companies profiting from carbon scams

By Ash Pemberton, Green Left Weekly, 7 November 2010 | The government of Papua New Guinea has been awarded Greenpeace’s “Golden Chainsaw” award in response to its corrupt, anti-environment forestry policies. In a report released on October 25, the environmental advocacy organisation said PNG should not be allowed to take part in the controversial Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) carbon trading program until “safeguards for biodiversity and indigenous and landowners’ rights and ending the corruption and illegal logging” are in place. Greenpeace anti-logging campaigner Sam Moko said: “The government of PNG is attempting to get its hands on billions of dollars of international REDD funding. But instead of protecting rainforests at home, they are corruptly approving widespread logging and denying the rights of indigenous people who own the land.”

Deforestation jumps, but Guyana nonetheless qualifies for REDD payment

mongabay.com, 7 November 2010 | Guyana’s deforestation rate over the past 12 months was roughly three times the average annual rate over the prior 20 year period, but was still well below the baseline under the recent $250 million forest conservation partnership with Norway, according to a new report released by Guyana Forestry Commission’s REDD+ Monitoring Reporting and Verification System (MRVS). As reported in Stabroek News, the Interim Measures Report 2010 found that Guyana lost 10,287 hectares of forest from October 1, 2009 to September 2010, or about 0.06 percent of its forest cover. While the loss was three times the 0.02 percent annual rate from 1990 to 2009, it came in 12,969 hectares below the level allotted under the Guyana-Norway partnership, meaning that Guyana has met its fist year commitment despite a rising deforestation rate.

Belize lost 10,000 ha of forest per year since 1980

By Soizic Le Courtois, mongabay.com, 7 November 2010 | Forests in Belize have been cleared at a rate of nearly 10,000 hectares per year for the past 30 years, a recent study shows. In 1980, forests covered 79.5% of the land surface of Belize but as of February 2010 it had decreased to 62.7%. The area covered by forests in the country thus went from about 6500 square miles 30 years ago to around 5300 square miles today, losing an area the size of Rhode Island. In the first study of deforestation in Belize since 1996, CATHALAC (Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America & the Caribbean) and NASA used satellite imagery at different points in time since 1980 to visualize changes in the amount of land covered by forests.

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