REDD in the news: 28 February – 6 March 2011

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REDD in the news: 28 February - 6 March 2011

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.

Working together for REDD+

FCPF, FIP, UN-REDD, February 2011 | The FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD Programme are working together to define both short- and long-term options to enhance cooperation and coherence among REDD+ institutions in support of activities that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation at the country level. From joint missions and planning meetings to harmonizing procedures and developing a common platform for the execution of REDD+ activities, the three organizations are actively exploring pragmatic options to foster collaboration… The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change indicated at COP15 that REDD+ should be implemented in phases, beginning with the development of national strategies or action plans, policies, measures and capacity-building, followed by the implementation of such national policies and measures, and evolving into results-based actions leading to emission reductions and payments.

Carbon rights in REDD+: The case of Mexico

redd-net.org, 2011 | In light of developments in REDD+, national governments are increasingly adopting legislation aimed at regulating forest carbon rights. In Mexico, a draft law on climate change is currently under discussion at Parliamentary level, however this law does not specifically consider forest carbon rights. This means that in determining carbon rights in Mexico, ownership or substantive use rights of forests should be the first step in determining the entity most likely to have rights to carbon sequestered by forests. This case study provides an outline of how the legal framework in Mexico regulates ownership on forest lands, providing insights into who is likely to hold forest carbon rights in Mexico. The case study also outlines the remaining uncertainties in defining and allocating carbon rights.

REDD-plus in friction: Local concerns in discourse and policy

By Moeko Saito-Jensen, University of Copenhagen, no date | Case 1: Tanzania’s REDD national plan submitted to FCPF – Argentina and Denmark explicitly highlighted the lack of clarity in how stakeholders may be involved in REDD-plus even though they were “consulted”. Australia asked Argentina and Denmark to tone down criticisms by converting them into the words of recommendations. Reviews in friction but a consolidated review notes an overall high quality of the plan… Case 2: Papua New Guinea’s REDD national plan submitted to UN-REDD – Secretariat review: indicated an unclear stakeholder consultation process. Technical review: explicitly noted that there is a problem with the stakeholder consultation processes. PNG’s Civil society (unofficial): expressed their grave concerns that stakeholders had been excluded in the preparation… Norway, the largest donor, urged the board not to block the plan.

IDB works, with FIP, CFP and GRIF

Inter-American Development Bank, no date | To support the region in the REDD agenda, the IDB is expanding its role as an implementing agency for climate change-related funds. The IDB is responding quickly to the current financing opportunities to scale up its support to Latin America and the Caribbean… The Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF): The GRIF is intended to be a model for REDD payments to countries with low deforestation rate and high forest cover. More specifically, the GRIF will be an instrument to get Guyana “ready” for compliance markets or non-compliance market for emissions reductions from deforestation and forest degradation. It is a transitional instrument as the country envisions a future economy in which forest and environmental services will figure prominently. Through the GRIF, Guyana and Norway, invited the IDB to act as GRIF Partner Entities to implement specific projects and programs to prevent and control emissions from deforestation and degradation.

A Minus in REDD+: The Challenge of Social Impact Assessments

By Maya Sepehri, University of Copenhagen, no date | Case study in Oddar Meanchey 2011… conflict aspects of tenure and equity concerns… emphasize relations and impacts at the intra-household level, as well as political impacts at the intra-community level… intangible issues and qualitative indicators… structured around two theoretical frameworks; conflict assessment framework (Daniels et al, 2009) and an access theory framework (Ribot and Peluso, 2006)… various methods; participant observation, interviews, surveys etc.

REDD in Papua New Guinea

By Nalau Bingeding, National Research Institute, no date | In the case of PNG, it will not be cheap and easy to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests. The implementation of REDD on customary land will be a daunting task for the government because natural forests and land belongs to customary land owners (CLOs), and not the Gov’t. As such the PNG Gov’t will have to find better ways to implement the REDD concept so that REDD is efficiently implemented in PNG. In so doing, the CLOs will be happy, the Gov’t will be happy, carbon brokers will be happy, and REDD projects will not be jeopardized in future due to legal, social and environmental implications. Moreover, PNG will fulfill its international obligation to reduce its GHG emissions from LULUCF. And this will portray a good image of PNG on the international arena.

High-resolution Forest Cover and Carbon Monitoring for Compliance MRV

By Gregory P. Asner, Carnegie Institution, Stanford University, no date | 1st major MRV barrier: Monitoring deforestation & degradation – REDD and other programs depend upon accurate carbon monitoring, reporting and verification… 2nd major MRV barrier: Monitoring forest carbon emissions – Satellites do not measure carbon directly, so a other approaches are needed to provide scientifically sound and cost-effective monitoring at large regional scales… An Operational Approach – A rapid carbon mapping approach that reduces cost and makes fully MRV (emissions, uptake) monitoring very possible. Three parts: Automated satellite analysis of forest cover, deforestation, degradation. High-resolution carbon mapping from the air. Long-term emissions monitoring at high resolution.

28 February 2011

Indonesia’s Largest Palm Oil Producer Sees Profits Double on Rising Prices

By Yuriy Humber, Jakarta Globe, 28 February 2011 | Golden Agri-Resources, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, said fourth-quarter profits more than doubled as prices for its main product jumped to record highs and its assets gained in value. Net income increased to $1.17 billion for the quarter ending on Dec. 31, compared with $473 million a year earlier, the Singapore-listed Indonesian company said on Monday. Profit, excluding gains from asset value upgrades and currency exchange gains, jumped 124 percent to $146 million. Sales rose 85 percent to $1.19 billion. Crude palm oil futures gained 37 percent in the last three months of last year, the fastest quarterly gain since at least the middle of 2009 as yields fell in Malaysia and Indonesia, the top two regions for plantations, due to unseasonal rains.

Scientists flee blaze in Chinese rainforest restoration project

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 28 February 2011 | One of the world’s most advanced rainforest restoration projects may be going up in smoke in southern China. A short while ago, I received a frantic phone call from Bulang Mountain in Xishuangbanna, where scientists and conservationists are fleeing 30m-high flames that, they said, were consuming trees in seconds. Witnesses said the blaze had reached the edge of the Seeds of Heaven biodiversity development centre, where an ecologically healthy forest had been painstakingly rebuilt over the past four years on the site of a former rubber plantation. “It’s like an inferno,” Prof Friedhelm Goeltenboth, of the University of Hohenheim, told me. “It’s horrific. This model, which is recognised internationally as one of the most advanced of its type in the world, is now going up in flames.”

SOE Manage 774 Million Tons of Carbon Reserves

By Anindityo Wickaksono, Media Indonesia, 28 February 2011 | SOE has tremendous potential to become a key business driver of carbon in Indonesia. Total carbon stocks that are managed by 21 state-owned forestry and plantations in Indonesia reached 774.185 million tons of carbon. This potential of carbon that can be included in carbon trading if the mechanism is ready to be implemented. Deputy of the Ministry of Primary SOE Megananda Daryono told her that when the speakers in a workshop on Green Growth Policy and the Council of Indonesia, Jakarta, Monday (28 / 2). “Trading carbon could become one of the National Strategic Plan for the implementation of REDD + according to the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% until 2020,” he said.

REDD News Update Indonesia

CIFOR Forests Blog, 28 February 2011 | Concern is growing over the inaction of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in signing the presidential Instruction (Inpres) for the two-year logging moratorium. In order for the moratorium to be legally binding, it must be backed by a presidential decree, which has yet to be issued. Bisnis Indonesia (in Bahasa) reports that there is no clear information on when President will reconcile the different drafts that prepared by Ministry of Forestry and REDD+ Presidential task force (UKP4). The ministry’s version states the moratorium should apply only to primary forests and peatlands, while the task force’s version says secondary forests in peat areas should also be included. Latif Adam of the Social Research Center (The Indonesian Institute of Sciences) said that UKP4 draft version will give too much power to REDD+ Task Force potentially allowing them to overtake the duties of the Ministry.

India raps rich nations for not disbursing funds

By Jairam Ramesh, Indian Express, 28 February 2011 | At the conclusion of the sixth BASIC ministerial meeting in New Delhi on Sunday, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh lambasted the developed countries for not disbursing funds which they had pledged to give for mitigation and adaptation for Fast Start Finance (FSF). “It is neither fast, nor started and there is no finance,” Ramesh said. The decision to pledge FSF by developed countries was taken at the Copenhagen Summit, for providing developing countries during the 2010-2012 period, for enhanced action on mitigation (including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, REDD), adaptation, technology development and capacity building. “The continued inability to provide Fast Start Finance is a betrayal of the grand bargain arrived at Copenhagen,” said Ramesh, adding that almost nothing out of the pledged $30 billion by the developed world had been disbursed out to any developing country.

Hotspots of carbon confusion in Indonesia threaten to warm the world more quickly

ICRAF press release, 28 February 2011 | While international negotiations on rules about how to reduce emissions and slow global warming are slow but ongoing, the Indonesian and Norwegian governments signed a letter of intent under which up to US$ 1 billion is available to assist in setting up a ‘stop deforestation and forest degradation’ system that also addresses peatland emissions. Part of the agreement is that Indonesia will implement a moratorium or ‘two-year suspension on all new concessions for conversion of peat and natural forest’. Promising as this may sound, the devil is in the detail. A lot depends on how ‘peat’ and ‘natural forest’ are defined and how rights are agreed upon. Strong lobbies from the forest and tree-crop plantation industry argue that the economy will be harmed if ‘business as usual’ is interrupted.

Can palm oil firms really create a sustainable future?

By Jessica Shankelman, BusinessGreen, 28 February 2011 | [S]ome industry players argue that mandatory targets for sustainable palm oil would alienate smallholders if they are introduced too soon. For example, poorer plantations would be reluctant to replace ageing trees with higher-yield crops because they would have to wait eight years until the fruit could be harvested to make a return on investment. In the early years of palm oil development in Indonesia and still today, this gap was covered by sales of timber from cutting down tropical rainforest, but that would clearly violate CSPO sustainability standards. WBG argues that incentives, such as the United Nations REDD+ scheme could help to plug this funding gap, but REDD+ is still very much at the pilot phase, and critics fear the forest protection scheme could be undermined if it is seen to support plantation developers.

Meet the Young Woman Passionately Spreading the Word on Climate Change in Nigeria – Environmental Sustainability Advocate, Esther Agbarakwe

By Gbenga Awomodu, Bella Naija, 28 February 2011 | The Nigerian Government is not doing enough, compared to some countries, though the government has begun to show some promising actions by beginning the process to develop the National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) and REDD+ frameworks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Government has not stopped gas flaring and is also yet to sign the Climate Change bill still at the National Assembly and finalize the Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We have a lot to do. We need a concrete legislation on climate change and the involvement of all Line Ministries. For Nigeria to magnify her regional voice and influence in the international negotiations to come, Nigeria must create the Climate Change Commission which will help to bring together different strands of analysis and policies that affect climate issues in Nigeria.

Nigeria signs Radiation Mission Statement

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Vanguard, 28 February 2011 | In its effort to conserve its forest and achieve benefits derivable from it, the Federal Government has signed the Endorsement of Radiation Mission Statement on UN-REDD. Minister of Environment Mr. John Odey, signed on behalf of the Federal Government and Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State signed on behalf of the state while Mr. Joseph Garry Head of Mission UN-REDD signed on behalf of the mission. In his remarks Governor Imoke commended the Environment Minister Mr. Odey for responding to the state’s request for Nigeria to join the UN-REDD and other related international efforts for the sustainable management of Nigeria’s remaining forest for concessions.

Africa – Enhancing Institutional Capacities on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) issues for Sustainable Forest Management in the Congo Basin Project

World Bank, 28 February 2011 | Integrated Safeguards Data Sheet. The Project Development Objective is to strengthen the capacities of the Congo Basin countries on REDD+ issues and on forest carbon stock measurements.

Europe’s CO2 emissions growing with the economy

EurActiv, 28 February 2011 | Europe’s CO2 emissions picked up speed as the continent’s economies emerged from recession in 2010, finishing 2-4% higher than a year before, market analysis seen by EurActiv indicates. Industrial emissions rose by 4% while power and heat emissions grew by 2%, according to estimates contained in a new report by leading carbon market analysts Point Carbon. Emissions covered by the EU’s cap-and-trade system, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), increased by 3%. The industrial emissions figures come with a greater uncertainty warning, but are in line with predictions from Barclays Capital (4%), IdeaCarbon (2-4%) and Nomisma Energia (2.7%), all reported on 25 February.

1 March 2011

Mexico’s Mayan People Pin Their Hopes on REDD+

By Kegin Qian, climatemediapartnership.org, 1 March 2011 | While delegates from more than 190 countries were negotiating how to tackle climate change in the Mexican city of Cancun, local indigenous people were also hard at work on how to solve the problem. Elias Be Cituk, 56, is chief of a Mayan community five hours’ drive south of Cancun. Speaking in the early stages of the 2010 UN climate conference, he had high hopes of an agreement at the negotiations on REDD+… Felipe Carrillo Puerto started a trial of a REDD+ project in 2006. It attracted support from organisations such as USAID, WWF, the UN Development Programme and Mexican sponsors. Elias says how satisfied he is with the project because “it changed the situation for the better”. The community has already planted 60 hectares of trees, says Sebastian Proust, a Frenchman who works on the programme and lives locally.

UN climate chief warns Durban offers last chance for carbon market clarity

By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 1 March 2011 | The head of the UN climate change secretariat has warned the future of the global carbon market could be thrown into doubt unless this year’s annual climate change summit in Durban reaches an agreement on how to replace or extend the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol when it ends in 2012. Speaking at a summit hosted by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Tokyo, Christiana Figueres said Durban represents the “last opportunity to provide clarity on the carbon market before the end of the commitment period”.

Decree ‘a win for forests’

Viet Nam News, 1 March 2011 | he issuing of Decree 117 on the organisation and management of Special Use Forests (SUF) was an important step in the fight to protect our environment, said Hua Duc Nhi, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the capital city yesterday. “The Decree will also help to strengthen Viet Nam’s legal framework for biodiversity preservation and conservation,” said Nhi. “The new document will allow Vietnamese laws and international conventions to operate side by side while avoiding overlapping and inconsistency,” he added. According to Nhi, Viet Nam’s SUF system was established nearly 50 years ago under the Law on Forest Protection and Development and the Land Law. The system’s main function is to preserve and conserve the diverse forest eco-system and biodiversity as well as the natural landscape, cultural and historical value and the environment.

Nigeria’s REDD+ readiness programme draft get stakeholders nod, for submission soon

By Kayode Aboyeji, Nigerian Compass, 1 March 2011 | Efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria to tap into the new environmental finance instrument under negotiation in the climate change convention that seeks to reward financially developing countries for demonstrated efforts in forest conservation received a boost, last week, as stakeholders in the nation’s reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) endorsed the draft proposal on the programme. Nigeria’s representatives at the convention in Washington DC, United States of America (USA), had in November last year made a presentation about the progress to date to the United Nation REDD+ policy board, to which it has been a member since 2009. Consequently, the UN-REDD policy board invited Nigeria to submit a full National Programme for consideration by the Policy Board at its sixth meeting coming up later this month in Vietnam.

Women should be given greater role in forest management: activists

Xinhua, 1 March 2011 | Women should be given greater role in forest management as research had showed that their involvement usually improves the condition and sustainability of the forests, a press statement said here on Tuesday. The Center for International Forestry Research, which has its headquarters in Indonesia, said that women are the main users of forests in developing countries gathering food and firewood but they continue to be sidelined in how the forests are managed despite years of efforts to mainstream their involvement.

Carbon market puts brave face on headwinds

By Gerard Wynn and Ivana Sekularac, Reuters, 1 March 2011 | Carbon trading firms remain optimistic about a European market, after a 50 million euros cyberattack, but have given up hope on a U.S. cap and trade scheme, they told an industry conference on Tuesday. Perhaps indicative of the problems facing carbon markets, attendance was well down on previous years at the Point Carbon conference, at nearly 800, compared with 1,700 in 2008. The reputation of carbon markets has faced headwinds following the hacking in January of electronic emissions permits from a European scheme, the hub of global trade, as well as dimming expectations of a federal U.S. market… “It did not impact trading volumes as much as it damaged credibility and that is the big problem,” said Stig Schjolset, a senior analyst at Point Carbon, of the thefts. “But that problem can be solved.”

2 March 2011

Mitsubishi to Invest Up to $20b in Indonesia

By Camelia Pasandaran & Faisal Maliki Baskoro, Jakarta Globe, 2 March 2011 | Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. is committed to expanding its business in Indonesia and will back up that commitment with capital, the Investment Coordinating Board chief said on Wednesday. Gita Wirjawan, who heads the board, also known as the BKPM, said Mitsubishi would invest in projects in sectors ranging from automotives and energy to infrastructure. “The total investment plan in the next five to 10 years … is around $18 billion to $20 billion. It is not small at all,” Gita said after meeting Mitsubishi president and chief executive Ken Kobayashi and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the president’s office in Jakarta.

More Than 20 Years of Forest Carbon Yield Plenty of Lessons for Investors

By Hannah Kett, Forest Carbon Portal, 2 March 2011 | It’s more than two decades since a handful of environmental non-profits and green industrialists first began experimenting with mechanisms that slow global warming by funding the preservation of rainforests. In the ensuing decades, we’ve learned a lot about about what works and what doesn’t. Now Forest Trends and Bio-Logical have distilled these lessons into one 30-page guide for investors.

REDD+, RFM, Development, and Carbon Markets

By Bastiaan Louman, Miguel Cifuentes and Mario Chacón, Forests, 2 March 2011 | Combining responsible forest management (RFM) experiences with literature reviews and stakeholder discussions allows an assessment of the potential role of RFM in reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). RFM contributes to greater carbon storage and biodiversity in forest biomass in comparison to conventional logging and deforestation. Using an adjusted von Thünen model to explain land user behavior in relation to different variables, considering a general forest transition curve and looking at a potential relation between governance and deforestation rates, the authors conclude that reduction of deforestation and forest degradation can only be achieved by a combined approach of increasing forest rent relative to other land uses and reducing transaction costs for forest management and conservation.

3 March 2011

EU Emissions Trading Triggered ‘Dash for Coal’

By Jerome Roos, Breakthrough Europe, 3 March 2011 | A landmark study by Michael Pahle, recently published in Energy Policy, has found that, “despite political activities to foster a low-carbon energy transition,” the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) actually triggered a major ‘dash for coal’ in nations like Germany, which set out on the construction of dozens of new coal plants. According to Pahle, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, this recent rush to build new coal plants is the result of perverse incentives generated by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). In the words of the New Scientist, “the mistake in 2005 [when the ETS was introduced] was to allocate permits according to demand from existing technology, which meant coal-fired generators got the lion’s share.”

Climate Change Negotiations: A Collection of Post-Cancún Analyses

By Miquel Munoz, TripleCrisis, 3 March 2011 | Since Cancún, many experts have published their analyses, commentaries and other resources on that conference. These range from descriptions of the Cancún meeting and analysis of its agreements, to the implications for a wide array of issues, from climate-specific such as REDD, finance, technology and adaptation, to wider-reaching and longer term issues such as trade, security, human rights, migration, Rio+20, ethics, and the future of the UN and multilateralism. For those interested in those analyses and commentaries of the Cancun negotiations and implications, I offer with this post a collection of such resources.

People, plots and pixels: both high- and low-tech skills needed to measure carbon in forests

Environmental Defense, 3 March 2011 | If you are in a forest in Ecuador and see indigenous communities standing with an android phone, a measuring tape and a good pair of boots, don’t be surprised. These ‘indigenous forest carbon monitors’ have been trained to collect field data by measuring a 40m x 40m sample plot. They align the center of the square plot with a GPS coordinate associated with the center of a satellite footprint, and measure the diameter of the trees in the plot. Once the measurements of the trees are determined, they are sent via phone to scientists who use satellite images – and now even images available on Google Earth – to estimate the amount of carbon stored in forests.

Forest carbon offers up hard lessons

carbonpositive.net, 3 March 2011 | Two decades of attempts to restore and preserve forests to help combat climate change have seen the slow rise of a “forest carbon” sector that is vast in opportunity, but not for the faint-hearted. That’s according to a report, “Investing in forest carbon: Lessons from the first 20 years” by research organisations the Katoomba Group, Ecosystem Marketplace and Forest Trends. The report draws on the findings and feedback gleaned in this group’s annual State of the Forest Carbon Markets surveys in recent years. It identifies the lessons for project developers learned the hard way in a difficult, emerging industry over 20 years. Many of the opportunities in forest carbon lie in developing countries, with all the governance, institutional and infrastructure challenges they pose. Top of the list is that although the rules are often unclear, it is vital for project developers to know them as best they can.

Peru admits timber certificates faked in secret cable

Survival International, 3 March 2011 | Peru’s government has secretly admitted that 70-90% of its mahogany exports were illegally felled, according to a US embassy cable revealed by Wikileaks. Furthermore, Peru’s government is aware that the illegal timber is being ‘laundered’ using ‘document falsification, timber extraction outside the concession boundaries and links to bribes’. The revelation will embarrass several US DIY stores, who have all admitted to Survival that they continue to import Amazonian hardwoods. Home Depot, Lowe’s and Lumber Liquidators have all confirmed they use the timber in their products. Then-US ambassador to Peru James Struble quoted ‘unofficial INRENA estimates’ in the 2006 cable. (INRENA was the government’s Natural Resources Institute).

Gender Continues to be Major Issue in Africa

By Edith Abilogo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 3 March 2011 | Jane Tarh Takang is the former Coordinator of Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN) West and Central Africa. She tells us about her experiences in gender and women empowerment in development in Africa. WOCAN is a US-based international network of professional women and men that assists agricultural and natural resource management organizations address gender issues in their programs and internal structures.

4 March 2011

Super funds back carbon price

By Clancy Yeates, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 2011 | Superannuation funds have thrown their weight behind the government’s plan to introduce a carbon price, saying the Coalition’s pledge to roll back an emissions trading scheme would hurt investment in cleaner energy. With $1.3 trillion in assets, super funds are tipped to play a crucial role in funding the move towards a lower-carbon economy. But amid a fierce political debate over pricing polluting, key funds have said they would be unable to invest with certainty unless there was an economy-wide carbon price. The chief executive of construction industry fund Cbus, David Atkin, said a carbon price was ”critical” for backing cleaner investment, but that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s policy of direct action would not allow this. ‘We think getting a price on carbon is critical to enable investors to allocate more capital to low-carbon assets,” he said.

On Climate, Who Needs the Facts?

New York Times, 4 March 2011 | Regrettably, politics trumps science among House Republicans, who recently voted to zero out this country’s extremely modest $2.3 million annual commitment to the IPCC. The bill also slashes spending on a half-dozen domestic programs that study the causes and effects of climate change… Mr. Obama asked for $400 million for the World Bank’s clean technology fund, $95 million for the bank’s program to prevent deforestation and $90 million for its program to help at-risk nations cope with the effects of a warming planet by, for instance, developing drought-resistant crops. The House’s answer in all three cases: zero. An appalling performance. But the worst of it was the House’s apparent belief that wishing away the evidence will eliminate the problem.

Exploring the role of women in Brazil nut management in the Amazon

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 4 March 2011 | Amy Duchelle is a Research Fellow in the Forests and Livelihoods Programme at CIFOR’s Brazil office. Trained as a biologist and tropical forester, she has been on staff at CIFOR since 2010 to coordinate the Global Comparative Study on REDD (GCS C2) in Latin America. Through this study, Amy is trying to understand the effectiveness, efficiency and benefits of pilot REDD+ initiatives in the Amazon. Her key areas of expertise are community forest management, livelihoods, land use, land cover change, multiple-use forestry, and climate change mitigation through REDD+.

RGGI scheme claims success, loses member

carbonpositive.net, 4 March 2011 | The United States’ only mandatory emissions trading scheme has lost a member state, but the scheme claims success in driving energy efficiency and funding renewable energy. The small state of New Hampshire, one of ten participating states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the US North East and mid-Atlantic coast, looks set to leave the scheme. The state legislature’s lower house, now dominated by Republicans, voted overwhelmingly in support of a bill to repeal the RGGI programme in that state. The bill cited costs to business and a lack of credible analysis of the scheme’s impact as reasons for the action.

South-South exchange on community forestry and REDD+

GEF, 4 March 2011 | A 10-day South-South Exchange on community forestry and REDD+ recently took place in Brazil with participants from six African countries. The exchange aimed to support countries to better understand the role that community forestry can play in their national REDD+ strategies. The activity brought together participants from Africa (Central African Republic, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar and the Republic of Congo) to exchange experiences on “Community Forestry and REDD+” with various Brazilian counterparts, including federal and state governments, the private sector, civil society and indigenous people’s organizations… Financed by the GEF, and implemented by the World Bank, this project is contributing to building increased absorptive capacities in non-Annex I countries on REDD+ and its role in the wider agenda of sustainable forest management (SFM).

As CO2 Levels Have Risen, Plants Are Releasing Less Water, Study Says

e360 digest, 4 March 2011 | A study of plant samples from the past 150 years shows that as atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have steadily increased, the density and size of pores that allow plants to breathe has decreased, also reducing the plants’ transpiration of water. The undersides of leaves contain pores, or stomata, that enable plants to absorb CO2 and release water into the air. When researchers at Indiana University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands examined leaves from Florida herbarium collections dating back 150 years, and compared them with leaves from the same plant species today, they found that the density of stomata has decreased 34 percent, presumably because greater atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have enabled the plants to absorb sufficient CO2 with fewer pores. That decrease in stomata has led to a “huge reduction in the release of water into the atmosphere,” said one of the researchers.

IMF praises Guyana’s fiscal management; urges caution in some areas

Demerara Waves, 4 March 2011 | The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given the Guyana government a passing grade for its fiscal prudence in weathering domestic and external shocks and says the country’s medium term outlook remains positive. However, it urged caution on the fiscal risks associated with the Amaila Falls Hydropower project, lagging productivity in Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) and the need to strengthen the finances of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) as wells as a possible fall off in aid commitments.

Living on Earth: Can REDD Work for the Amazon?

Living on Earth, 4 March 2011 | GELLERMAN: The REDD scheme is simple. Make the carbon stored in the trees worth money, so farmers and timber companies have an economic incentive not to cut them down. Brian Murray, Director of Economic Analysis at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, thinks REDD can work. MURRAY:The idea here is to change the economics because in many parts of the world, it’s more economic to knock the tree down than it is to leave it standing. Deforestation and degradation are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. This occurs primarily in the tropical countries.

UN postpones green fund climate talks to April

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 4 March 2011 | The United Nations postponed until April on Thursday a 40-nation meeting due to start designing a green fund to help poor nations fight climate change, missing a March deadline amid disagreements about who should attend. Groups of Asian and Latin American and Caribbean nations have yet to decide their delegates for the first meeting of a so-called Transitional Committee, which had been due to meet in Mexico this month to work on a “Green Climate Fund”. “The first meeting of the Transitional Committee…scheduled to be held on 14-15 March in Mexico City…has been postponed until the latter part of April 2011,” the Bonn-based Climate Change Secretariat said in a statement. “Further information will be provided soon,” it said. Delegates say that many nations wanted to attending the talks, seeing it as a chance to gain early influence over the fund.

5 March 2011

Deforestation’s impact on Mount Kilimanjaro calculated

Science Daily, 5 March 2011 | The impact that local deforestation might have on the snowcap and glaciers atop Mount Kilimanjaro are being calculated at The University of Alabama in Huntsville using regional climate models and data from NASA satellites. The first piece of that research, which looked only at the month of July, found that deforestation is changing weather patterns around the mountain but not (at least in July) at the peak, according to Dr. Udaysankar Nair, a research scientist in UAHuntsville’s Earth System Science Center. Early results from this work, which is funded through NASA’s Earth Science Directorate, were published Feb. 15 in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

UN provides $2.7m to manage forests

Vietnam News, 5 March 2011 | The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) signed an agreement with the Vietnamese Government yesterday, committing itself to a technical assistance partnership to develop the country’s capacity in forest resources assessment. The agreement launched the National Forest Assessment (NFA) project, a US$2.7 million project financed through FAO’s forest co-operation programme with the Finnish government. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi co-signed the project document with the FAO representative in Viet Nam Yuriko Shoji. According to FAO, the timing of this assistance is critical, as Viet Nam will soon need to prepare a forest assessment system that not only generates data for domestic planning and monitoring purposes, but also meets international standards and requirements as stipulated by the REDD+ programme through the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change.

6 March 2011

Moratorium on Amazon deforestation for soy production proving effective

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 6 March 2011 | The Brazilian soy industry’s moratorium is proving effective at slowing deforestation for soy production in the Amazon rainforest, reveals a new study published in the journal Remote Sensing. Conducting aerial surveys, ground inspections, and satellite image analysis, Brazilian researchers found that only 0.4 percent of soy established in the Amazon biome since 2006 has occurred in areas deforested since the implementation of the soy moratorium. The moratorium, which was established by the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (ABIOVE) and the National Association of Cereal Exporters (ANEC) – bodies that account for 92 percent of Brazil’s domestic market – in response to complaints by environmentalists over the growing role of soy expansion in driving Amazon deforestation, compels major traders to source soy from areas deforested prior to June 24, 2006 in the Amazon biome in Brazil.

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