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REDD in the news: 30 May – 5 June 2011

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REDD in the news: 30 May - 5 June 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.

Earth is a small REDD+ planet

AgClim Letters, June 2011 | “Agriculture as a driver of deforestation” is one of a very select list of topics that the new UNFCCC REDD+ work program will tackle in Bonn this month. Optimistic visions are that financed actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation will benefit not only carbon storage, but also biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and poverty reduction. Experienced practitioners in conservation and development rightly ask whether such idealistic multiple wins are really possible. The good news is that, yes, countries can simultaneously increase both food production and forest cover. Successful countries – China, Vietnam, India, Bhutan, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Chile – have used combinations of policy measures to incentivize agricultural intensification while regulating land-use zones.

30 May 2011

[Indonesia] New round of pulp and paper expansion in Indonesia: What do we know and what do we need to know?

By Krystof Obidzinski and Ahmad Dermawan, CIFOR Forests Blog, 30 May 2011 | The recently signed Presidential Instruction to impose a 2-year moratorium on forest conversion in Indonesia is a positive and long awaited development that is expected to help preserve the country’s rich forest resources. At the same time, however, questions emerge as to how the government will reconcile its commitment to protect primary forests and peatlands with Indonesia’s growing demand for pulp fibre and plantation development. Just prior to approving the moratorium, on 25 April 2011 Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry (MoF) announced several large investments in the pulp and timber plantation sector. The new investment plan envisages the construction of 7 new pulp mills with the capacity of nearly 5 million tons and nearly 2 million hectares of new timber plantations (HTI) with the overall cost of USD 14 billion (Table 1). The plan is to be implemented by 2017.

Corruption hinders Indonesia’s logging ban

By Step Vaessen, Al Jazeera, 30 May 2011 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently signed a two-year moratorium on new logging concessions and as a result will receive $1 billion dollars from Norway as part of a UN-backed bilateral agreement in helping to reduce emissions. But in secretly filmed footage, Al Jazeera reveals that the reality on the ground paints a different picture where government officials continue to grant hundreds of licenses to mining and logging companies.

[Indonesia] Walhi calls on president to evaluate oil palm plantation development

Antara News, 30 May 2011 | The West Kalimantan chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) has called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to evaluate the massive way in which oil palm plantations were being opened in the country and to abandon plans to build a nuclear power plant. “We hope the government will not force its will in developing oil palm plantations and planning to build a nuclear power plant without paying attention to their social and environmental aspects,” said Hendrikus Adam, chairman of the West Kalimantan chapter of WAHLI`s Research and Campaign Division. West Kalimantan reportedly has around four million hectares of oil palm plantations, exceeding the quota of 1.5 million hectares.

[Indonesia] Climate change cause ‘may land’ Yudhoyono top UN post

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 30 May 2011 | Incumbent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s term ends in Dec. 2011. His successor will be elected with the approval of the five permanent UN veto-wielding Security Council members — the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and the United States — and will lead the UN office until 2016. Members of the Indonesia Environment Forum (Walhi) and officials from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) have said Indonesia will eye the UN Secretary-General post for the tenure beginning in 2016. “It is a public secret that Yudhoyono wants to be UN Secretary-General,” Teguh Surya of Walhi told The Jakarta Post. “Such issues have often been brought up in informal talks in discussions with officials, including from the UKP4,” he said referring to the Presidential Work Unit for Development Control and Monitoring led by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto.

Legitimacy key to success of global forests scheme in Latin America

By Andrew Wight, CIFOR Forests Blog, 30 May 2011 | Ensuring legal frameworks are in place and that transparency and limiting corruption are high on the list of issues will determine the success of a scheme that compensates developing countries for keeping their forests, said forestry researchers. Anne Larson and Elena Petkova, from the Center for Forestry Research (CIFOR) said although Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), is a potentially significant financial mechanism for giving incentive to shift from deforestation and to forest conservation and sustainability, there were particular challenges in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. The region has about 23% of the world’s forests, but is also home to many legal systems ill-equipped to combat illegal logging, high numbers of rural poor, and forestry industries that account for twice as much GDP as the global average.

REDD+ emerging as priority for the SADC region

SADC REDD+ Network, 30 May 2011 | In a recently conducted survey among government officials and decision-makers from the SADC Member States on climate change issues, more than 90% of respondents identified REDD+ as an important, quite important or very important issue in the international climate change negotiations. There are concerns, however, whether the SADC countries and also in general the African countries have the capacity and capabilities to implement the Cancun Decision on REDD+. The survey was conducted among participants of a workshop organised by the SADC Secretariat with support from GIZ that aimed to prepare officials for the next round of negotiations under the UNFCCC and support the development of a common position on climate change and REDD+ from the SADC countries.

REDD Light!: Indigenous say offset plan threatens traditional title

By Dawn Paley, The Dominion, 30 May 2011 | Decisions about how exactly to finance REDD have been postponed to COP-17 in Durban. “If REDD is going to be financed through the carbon market, it won’t be a real solution to climate change,” Mariana Porras of Friends of the Earth Costa Rica told The Dominion in a phone interview from San Jose. “We’ve denounced this, but government groups don’t see it the same way,” she said. Market-based financing for REDD will likely complement the ongoing privatization of forest reserves, which moves ownership and access rights of forests currently owned communally by Indigenous or peasant communities into the hands of individuals.

[Ghana] Country On Track to Mainstream Forest Investment Programme

By Ama A. Amankwah Baafi, Public Agenda, 30 May 2011 | A forestry expert has said that Ghana is on track to mainstream the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) into her development activities. He, however, adds that there is need for consensus on Tree Tenure and Carbon Rights. Ghana is developing a comprehensive Low Carbon Growth plan that will address Climate Change as part of national and sectoral development strategy. “Who gets the carbon rights? We need a dialogue on it to come to consensus to build in our forest strategy. We’ve got to have a system that we can have some reliable baseline data, for instance, on deforestation rate,” Mr. Musah Abu-Juam, Technical Director at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, stated at a workshop in Accra by Civic Response on the various forest initiatives in Ghana including the enhanced form of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and FIP.

The true cost of saving rainforest and improving food security

University of Leeds press release, 30 May 2011 | New research shows international plans to pay developing countries to reduce tropical forest destruction may increase rural poverty because critical income streams to rural people have been ignored. The team of African, US and UK scientists and economists calculated the costs to local people of conserving forests across half a million square kilometres of Tanzania, an area of rapid forest conversion coupled with intense poverty and food insecurity. The study shows that charcoal production – usually ignored in estimates of the cost of slowing deforestation – makes up one-third of the profit of converting Tanzanian forests and woodlands to agriculture. The research suggests that slowing deforestation will be considerably more costly than reported in the Stern Review, an influential document which discusses the threat of climate change to the world economy. The study’s findings are published today in Nature Climate Change.

31 May 2011

CIFOR’s Newsletter Highlights REDD+ Workshops

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 31 May 2011 | The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has released the May issue of its News Update, which includes information on recent workshops on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks). The update provides a briefing on the luncheon organized by CIFOR during the B4E- Business for Environment meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in May 2011, focusing on REDD+. Frances Seymour, CIFOR Director General, presented the case that businesses can meet both REDD+ and their own business objectives. The discussions highlighted the challenges for both Norway and Indonesia of working together on their REDD+ agreement from May 2010.

Reducing forestry emissions in Indonesia

By Ruth Raymond, CIFOR Forests Blog, 31 May 2011 | After the agreement was announced in May 2010, CIFOR scientists were repeatedly consulted by a range of stakeholders in Indonesia and Norway, and have been invited to contribute to several task forces formed to move forward on the Letter of Intent provisions. Early in the process, CIFOR contributed an analysis of the degree to which Indonesia’s stated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent could be reached by planting trees. A central finding of the study, ‘Reducing forestry emissions in Indonesia’, was that attempts to achieve significant reductions through tree planting alone would not be feasible, as the number of trees needed to fully achieve emission reduction targets would require a land area twice the size of the country. Instead, emission reduction efforts needed to focus on keeping existing forests as forests.

Indonesian Government Complicit in Rainforest Destruction: Report

B Stephen Schaber, Jakarta Globe, 31 May 2011 | The Indonesian government is facilitating the destruction of protected forests, according to a cable news report aired on Tuesday. “[Logging and mining companies are] legally destroying the forests since government officials simply gave them a license to do so,” Al Jazeera correspondent Step Vassen says in the special report. Al Jazeera bases its findings on discussions with environmentalist organizations and footage captured secretly in Kalimantan of a coal mining company operating in a protected forest area. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently signed a two-year moratorium on logging in Indonesia’s primary forests and peatland. The Al Jazeera report challenges the authenticity of the ban. “Indonesia is at the forefront of the battle against climate change,” Vassen says. “But the reality on the ground [is that] most of the so-called, ‘lungs of the world,’ have been destroyed already.”

Indonesia to Lead Coal Export Growth Through 2020

Jakarta Globe, 31 May 2011 | Indonesia will lead global growth in thermal coal exports in the next decade with producers Bumi Resources and Adaro Energy becoming two of the top three coal exporting companies worldwide by 2015, an energy consultancy firm said on Tuesday. Wood Mackenzie said the country, already the world’s top thermal coal exporter, would make up 39 percent of global increases in coal exports, with Australia coming in a close second, accounting for 36 percent of export growth. “Indonesia will be the largest country for growth in thermal coal exports,” said Rudi Vann, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie. “[Bumi Resources and Adaro Energy] each own mines at the top of the 10 largest mine expansions for thermal exports in the world,” he said, adding that six of the 10 largest mine expansions globally would be in Indonesia. By 2020, Indonesia’s annual production will be above 500 million tonnes, a more than 50 percent increase from last year’s production of 320 million tonnes.

[Indonesia] Rezal Kusumaatmadja: Seeing REDD

By Melinda Chickering, Jakarta Post, 31 May 2011 | In some ways, Rezal Kusumaatmadja is a matchmaker, marrying the environmental conservational interests of business, NGOs and government. Working with NGOs while studying in Hawaii, Rezal realized that what is profitable for business can also be good for communities and for the environment. He also recognized the necessity of involving the private sector in conservation. This led to him founding Starling Resources in 2006. “Starling was set up to make NGOs think more like businesses and make businesses think more like NGOs,” he said. One strategy involves the private sector by putting a price on carbon emissions, then selling carbon credits to investors so that companies have a monetary incentive to emit less carbon into the atmosphere. This is called “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”, or REDD.

Indonesia forest decree to help CO2 projects

By David Fogarty, Reuters, 31 May 2011 | A landmark forest protection ruling by Indonesia might be good for investors trying to save carbon-rich forests, but only if a ban is enforced and progress is made in using the market to save the environment. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed an order this month imposing a two-year ban on new licences to clear primary forests and peatlands, a key part of a $1 billion climate deal with Norway last year. The decision, delayed by five months, has earned praise and concern from green groups but broad support from investors and analysts as a first step towards better protection and more transparent management of Indonesia’s dwindling rainforests. “The next two years are critical … they have to set the stage for sustainable management in the long run,” said Frank Sperling, senior adviser on climate risks, forests and carbon at WWF Norway.

[Brazil] Amazon rainforest: Proposed law threatens to cripple preservation efforts

By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2011 | California officials adopted a carbon trading program in December that would eventually allow the state’s industries to offset part of their greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing credits generated by forest preservation in Brazil and other nations. “Brazil has been a leader in international efforts to protect rainforests and slow climate change,” said Steve Cochran, an official with the Environmental Defense Fund, which has been active in the Amazon region. “But its vote to throw open hundreds of thousands of currently protected acres to deforestation threatens to undermine its position on the world stage.”

Death threat from Shell supplier on Brazilian tribe’s land

Survival International, 31 May 2011 | A Brazilian rancher supplying sugarcane to a joint venture partner of energy giant Shell has reportedly issued a death threat against a political opponent.

José Teixeira, who is also a state deputy, is said to have recently warned a political rival that, ‘If it were up to me, you’d be under the ground.’ Teixeira is renting out part of his ranch for sugarcane production, even though the Government has confirmed that the land belongs to Guarani Indians. 

Shell and Brazilian ethanol company Cosan are now united in a $12 billion joint venture company called Raizen, to produce ethanol to sell as a biofuel. Cosan is buying sugarcane grown on Guarani land that Teixeira continues to occupy. Survival has urged Shell and Cosan to stop using sugarcane grown on the Guarani’s land, but the companies continue to use it.

REDD should fund efficient stoves, crop yield increases, says study

mongabay.com, 31 May 2011 | Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) must incorporate the implementation cost of programs to meet resource demands of local people in order to be successful, argues a new study published in Nature Climate Change. The research, led by Brendan Fisher of Princeton University, looked at deforestation in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. It found that current economic assessments tend to undervalue the cost of meeting expected food and fuel demand by local farmers, who would be expected to curtail forest conversion under the country’s REDD program. Failing to meet the needs of local farmers, could either increase poverty or displace forest conversion to forests outside the reach of REDD programs, an issue known as “leakage”.

New NASA Map Reveals Patterns of Tropical Forest Carbon Storage

NASA press release, 31 May 2011 | A NASA-led research team has used a variety of NASA satellite data to create the most precise map ever produced depicting the amount and location of carbon stored in Earth’s tropical forests. The data are expected to provide a baseline for ongoing carbon monitoring and research and serve as a useful resource for managing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide… The new map, created from ground- and space-based data, shows for the first time the distribution of carbon stored in forests across more than 75 tropical countries. Most of that carbon is stored in the extensive forests of Latin America. “This is a benchmark map that can be used as a basis for comparison in the future when the forest cover and its carbon stock change,” said Sassan Saatchi of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who led the research. “The map shows not only the amount of carbon stored in the forest, but also the accuracy of the estimate.”

New global carbon map for 2.5 billion ha of forests

mongabay.com, 31 May 2011 | Tropical forests across Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia stored 247 gigatons of carbon – more than 30 years’ worth of current emissions from fossil fuels use – in the early 2000s, according to a comprehensive assessment of the world’s carbon stocks. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by an international team of scientists, used data from 4,079 plot sites around the world and satellite-based measurements to estimate that forests store 193 billion tons of carbon in their vegetation and 54 billion tons in their roots structure. The study has produced a carbon map for 2.5 billion ha (6.2 billion acres) of forests.

Wildlife Works Gets Carbon Credits for Kenya Project Phase II

By Catherine Airlie, Bloomberg, 31 May 2011 | Wildlife Works Carbon LLC, a U.S. conservation business, said it received a second batch of voluntary carbon credits for its project to safeguard forests in Kenya, following verification checks by Det Norske Veritas Climate Change Services AS. The Kasigau Corridor Project, Phase II, received voluntary credits under a forest-protection program known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degredation, or REDD, and was validated and verified under the Verified Carbon Standard, or VCS, and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard, or CCB, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Tempering optimism but making headway on REDD+

By Isilda Nhantumbo, AlertNet, 31 May 2011 | So why the low success rate? And what can this tell us about the best way forward for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)? Undoubtedly there has been tremendous progress during the past year in terms of the number of approved REDD readiness plans. And REDD+ negotiations had a boost in Cancun with the milestone agreement that included the establishment of the Carbon Fund. Furthermore countries such as Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Brazil are taking the lead on field pilots to learn the intricacies of delivering REDD+. Both the United Nations and the World Bank report progress on some of the key technical issues such as monitoring reporting and verification as well as broader awareness and exchanges of lessons between stakeholders at various levels.

Bonn “Can Do” Cancun Climate Change Agreement

IUCN press release, 31 May 2011 | IUCN is promoting nature-based solutions to climate change, through REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and through recognising the role nature can play in increasing resilience and reducing vulnerability of people in the face of climate change… Forests are central to efforts to deal with global climate change. “With every month of global inaction to reduce emissions, forests take on an increasingly significant role,” says Stewart Maginnis, IUCN’s Director of Environment and Development. “REDD+ is one of the few options available now to help avoid dangerous climate change.”

Congo’s poor need incentives to save giant forest

By Jonny Hogg, Reuters, 31 May 2011 | imon Kasagana knows his meager livelihood depends on the forest, but like many others eking out a living in the vast Congo basin, he has little choice but to destroy it. He used to be a nursing assistant, but the pay was too low to live off, so he began cutting trees for a local businessman, who pays him in planks. He sells them, making around $13 a week. But as the forest slowly disappears under pressure from logging, charcoal burning and encroachment by subsistence farmers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s remote Equateur province, Kasagana is having to travel increasingly far from villages along dirt roads to find wood.

The triple crunch won’t be pretty. But will it banish our economic torpor?

By Larry Elliot, The Guardian, 31 May 2011 | Actually, as the news from the past few weeks has illustrated, it could be worse than that. It is not just that the global economy remains severely unbalanced or that it is business as usual in an unreformed financial sector. It is not even that the euro area could trigger the sort of mayhem last seen in the autumn of 2008. It is that oil prices have been rocketing and greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year. There is the potential there for not just one crisis but three: a situation where the ATMs freeze up, the planet warms up, and the lights go out.

Carbon levels hit new peak, research shows

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 31 May 2011 | Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have reached a new peak despite the economic recession in western countries and assurances from politicians that they intend to cut emissions, new research has shown. Preliminary data from the US government’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, where measurements of CO2 have been continuously monitored for almost 50 years, show that 2011 CO2 levels peaked last week at 394.97ppm. This is an increase of nearly 1.6ppm on last year and the highest ever recorded. The research comes after estimates from the International Energy Agency, revealed by the Guardian on Monday, that carbon-dioxide emissions from energy generation in 2010 were also the highest in history. About three-quarters of the energy emissions increase in 2010 came from developing countries, including China and India, said the IEA.

BP among founding members of World Bank carbon fund

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 31 May 2011 | BP, responsible for the loss of around 5m barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico last year and annual carbon emissions greater than more than 120 developing countries put together, has become the world’s first company to try to profit from a new World Bank carbon fund. The oil company on Tuesday joined Britain, Germany and Norway as well as the EU and NGO Nature Conservancy as founding members of a fund designed to pay developing countries for reducing carbon emissions caused by the destruction of their forests. The six initial Forest carbon partnership facility members have so far pledged $156m, with Germany and Norway believed to have donated the most. BP’s share has not been made public but is thought to be modest. The company will be allowed to offset its own emissions via the fund, or could buy carbon offsets and sell them on the open market.

Biofuels boom in Africa as British firms lead rush on land for plantations

By Damain Carrington and Stefano Valentino, The Guardian, 31 May 2011 | British firms have acquired more land in Africa for controversial biofuel plantations than companies from any other country, a Guardian investigation has revealed. Half of the 3.2m hectares (ha) of biofuel land identified – in countries from Mozambique to Senegal – is linked to 11 British companies, more than any other country… A market has been created by British and EU laws requiring the blending of rising amounts of biofuels into petrol and diesel, but the rules were condemned as unethical and “backfiring badly” in April by a Nuffield Council on Bioethics commission. In the UK, only 31% of biofuels used meet voluntary environmental standards intended to protect water supplies, soil quality and carbon stocks in the source country.

Experts meet in Congo in bid to rescue world forests

By Christian Tsoumou, Reuters, 31 May 2011 | Representatives from 35 countries will seek ways to protect the world’s largest rainforests during a week-long meeting in Congo Republic starting on Tuesday. The outcome of the summit could play a role in the preservation of some 80 percent of the world’s remaining forests, seen by experts as key to offsetting rising global emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Environment ministers and some heads of state will be among the delegates aiming to draft a cooperation agreement to preserve the Amazon in South America, the Congo in Central Africa, and the Borneo-Mekong in Indonesia. “We need to work together to promote best forest practices in the three basins. This is the main objective of the summit,” Congo’s Forest Economy Minister Henri Djombo said at the official opening of the summit on Monday. “We are called upon to reduce deforestation and better manage our forests, so we need to be more rational about how we use them,” he said.

1 June 2011

FAO/ITTO Report: Deforestation Rates in Rainforest Basins “Alarming”

Climate change Policy & Practice, 1 June 2011 | A report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) indicates that deforestation rates continue to be “alarming” in most of the 30 countries in the Amazon, Congo and Southeast Asian rainforest basins. The report, titled “The State of Forests in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia,” was prepared for the Summit of the Rainforest Basins, taking place from 31 May-3 June 2011, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. It states that the net loss of forest area in the rainforest basins has decreased from 7.1 million hectares from 1990-2000 to 5.4 million hectares from 2000-2010. The Amazon Basin suffered the most deforestation, followed by Southeast Asia. Of the forests in these regions, just over 1% is certified, 3.5% is managed sustainably, and less than 15% is covered by a management plan.

World Bank warns of ‘failing’ international carbon market

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 1 June 2011 | The international market in carbon credits has suffered an almost total collapse, with only $1.5bn (£916m) of credits traded last year – the lowest since the market opened in 2005, according to a report from the World Bank. A fledgling market in greenhouse gas emissions in the US also declined, and only the European Union’s internal market in carbon remained healthy, worth $120bn. However, leaked documents seen by the Guardian appear to show that even the EU’s emissions trading system is in danger. The international market in carbon credits was brought about under the Kyoto protocol, as a way of injecting much-needed investment into low-carbon technology in the developing world. Under the system, known as the clean development mechanism, projects such as windfarms or solar panels in developing countries are awarded carbon credits for every tonne of carbon avoided..

Growth in Global Carbon Market Pauses Amid Uncertainty

World Bank press release, 1 June 2011 | The World Bank’s annual review of the global carbon market shows that 2010 was a watershed year as the market ended five years of robust growth with a slight decline compared to 2009. The State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2011, released today at Carbon Expo in Barcelona, shows that the total value of the global carbon market was estimated to be US$142 billion last year. The report’s authors noted that several reasons help to explain the decline, including the continuing lack of clarity about the market after 2012 and the loss of political momentum on setting up new cap-and-trade schemes in several developed economies. Some buyers from industrialized countries, which in previous years had reached or surpassed targets, consequently made fewer purchases in 2010. As well, lingering effects of the recession in several industrialized countries led to lower greenhouse gas emissions, easing emissions reduction compliance obligations.

World Bank reports ‘stagnant’ carbon market

BusinessGreen, 1 June 2011 | The value of the global carbon market has slipped slightly from $144bn in 2009 to $142bn last year, according to new research from the World Bank which blames the fall on continued uncertainty over the successor to the Kyoto Protocol. A report published today said that offsets generated under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) were the worst hit, falling by almost a half from $2.7bn in 2009 to just $1.5bn in 2010… The Bank found that, as a result of the ongoing uncertainty over the future of the CDM, money flowed into more predictable markets such as the UN-backed REDD forestry preservation scheme, which saw a large upswing during 2010 with 16.7 million credits transacted compared to just 2.8 million in 2009.

How remote sensing can help protect forests

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests Blog, 1 June 2011 | Scientists and policy makers are utilizing the latest technology in aerial and space imagery to access information about forests, aiding the fight against climate change. One of the biggest challenges for scientists studying tropical forests is quantifying the areas of forest remaining and the deforestation and degradation rates. Forest variation is immense and scientists measuring trees and forests on the ground are unable to accurately upscale their measurements to map large areas. At a workshop, organized by the Center for International Forestry Research on Bali held in April on Tropical Wetland Ecosystems of Indonesia, remote sensing experts from around the world presented their latest results and new technologies for mapping mangrove and peat forests.

How palm oil jeopardises global efforts to reduce emissions

By Caroline Lucas, The Guardian, 1 June 2011 | Primarily produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, and increasingly in Africa, around 70% of palm oil is thought to end up in food and other common products – with multinational companies accounting for the lion’s share. Given the scale of the problem, you would imagine that the government would want to do all it can to address this crucial issue. An EU-wide mandatory labelling policy is one common sense solution – reducing palm oil’s invisibility and allowing consumers to make informed decisions about the products they buy, increasing pressure on companies to commit only to certified sustainable palm oil. Such a policy would also be in line with the government’s Food 2030 strategy, which highlights the need to support the development of sustainable supply chains.

[Indonesia] Greens Blast ‘Hidden Mining’ Decree

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 1 June 2011 | Activists have blasted a presidential decree that allows underground mining in protected areas, saying it will result in the exploitation of forest ecosystems. Hendrik Siregar, a campaigner with the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam), said on Tuesday that the decree signed last month went against the government’s commitment to protecting the environment. “[Forests] need to be guarded because of their ecological value. No kind of mining, no matter the method, should be taking place in protected areas,” he said. Under the decree, resource exploitation in protected forests is allowed as long as it is done underground and does not violate the terms of use on the land.

Brazil approves Belo Monte hydroelectric dam

Reuters, 1 June 2011 | Brazil’s environment agency gave its definitive approval on Wednesday for construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, a controversial $17bn (£10bn) project in the Amazon that has drawn criticism from native Indians and conservationists. The regulator, Ibama, issued licences to the consortium in charge of Belo Monte to build the massive dam on the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon. The government has said the 11,200-megawatt project, due to start producing electricity in 2015, is crucial to provide power to Brazil’s fast-growing economy. It will be the world’s third biggest hydroelectric dam after China’s Three Gorges and Itaipu on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. In January, Ibama had issued a preliminary licence allowing the construction site to be set up.

Experts Discuss Success Factors for REDD+ Implementation in Developing Countries

By E. Kahurani, Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins, 1 June 2011 | The initiative to Reduce Emission from Deforestation and Land Degradation, plus the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) forged by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) holds great promise to efforts on tackling climate change. However, for REDD+ to be actualized, implementation mechanisms and frameworks need to be well defined. George Wamukoya, Climate Change Advisor for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat facilitating a session at the Cameroon IISD-ASB workshop for policymakers.

A plea for a REDD plus plus approach

By Kees Stigter and Mohan Reddy Vishwavaram, International Society for Agricultural Meteorology, 1 June 2011 | There has recently been quite some discussion on the REDD planning, with REDD the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. This also applies to Indonesia and India, where we live. Discussing this for Indonesia, Yansen (2010) argues that “our participation in nature based solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation is the right pathway to follow. (……) The development from REDD to REDD plus is a good sign of the changing paradigm on the plan itself. REDD plus does not just view natural forests as carbon stock, but far more importantly, as natural ecosystem service resources. (…..) Thus, a plan such as REDD plus not only gives us a chance to contribute to global warming mitigation, but also plays a significant role in conserving the tropical ecosystem itself”.

EU and AU Joint Declaration

EU and AU press release, 1 June 2011 | The 5th College-to-College meeting of the European Commission and the African Union Commission… We welcome the progress on the Green Development Fund, which has great potential to mobilise climate funding efficiently and effectively for Africa. We note that African states account for most of the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU and look forward to their full implementation. We will also seek to maximise the synergies between FLEGT and REDD+ strategies.

Peru in shock move to abolish uncontacted tribe’s reserve

Survival International, 1 June 2011 | The survival of the uncontacted tribe whose images caused a worldwide sensation in February is in jeopardy, after Peruvian government plans to abolish a reserve that protects their territory were exposed.
 

The Indians live inside Brazil, close to the Peru border. The Murunahua reserve protects neighbouring uncontacted Indians on the Peru side, but has been invaded by illegal loggers in recent years. 


Following Survival International’s release of the photos and footage in February, Peru’s government said it would work with the Brazilian authorities to protect the area. But now its Indian Affairs Department INDEPA is planning to abolish the Murunahua reserve completely – because it ‘does not believe there are uncontacted tribes living there.’


Cameroon: not ready for REDD+

By Benoit Bosquet (FCPF), Nature, 1 June 2011 | Contrary to your implication (Nature 472, 390; 2011), the World Bank’s policy on indigenous peoples depends on more than just their consent after consultation. The charter of our Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) makes it clear that World Bank safeguards, which ensure development finance is environmentally and socially sustainable, apply to FCPF-financed activities. This includes the bank’s policy on indigenous peoples: the bank will proceed only with projects supported by affected communities after free, prior and informed consultation. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

2 June 2011

[USA] Californian CO2 market delay seen up to 12 months

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 2 June 2011 | The start-up of a carbon market in California, viewed as a potential template for future U.S. national emissions trading, could be delayed up to 12 months or more, experts at a carbon conference said on Thursday. The multi-billion dollar plan will be key to helping the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a target mandated under a law passed in 2006 known as AB 32. It is scheduled to begin operating on January 1, 2012, but a California judge’s ruling last month put the move on hold until the agency designing the market completes an analysis of alternative measures to cut greenhouse gases other than carbon trading. “I don’t know anyone who thinks this will go live on January 1,” said Brian Storms, chief executive of environmental exchange NYSE Blue.

Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg Document Record Year in Voluntary Carbon

EON, 2 June 2011 | The voluntary carbon market shrugged off policy failures and the closure of the Chicago Climate Exchange in 2010 to post a 34% surge in volume to a record 131 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) worth at least $424 million, according to “Back to the Future: State and Trends of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2010,” published Thursday by Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance and available for download at http://bit.ly/kLvNlq. “The healthy volumes reflect the growing emphasis of corporate social responsibility spending on climate change,” says Katherine Hamilton, Managing Director of Ecosystem Marketplace. “The marketplace showed itself to be incredibly resilient – bouncing back from failed US legislation expectations, expanding its reach in developing countries and returning to its CSR roots.”

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 June 2011 | This year’s report, Back to the Future: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2011 gives a clear sign that interest in forest-based projects is going nowhere but up, driving roughly a majority of transactions in the voluntary marketplace. The bigger story for REDD’s longer term cash flow remains to be written, but market players are clearly buoyed by the array of progress being made on forest carbon in the UN climate talks, California’s cap-and-trade scheme, and the release of new groundbreaking methodologies in the voluntary market. For the nitty gritty of the forest carbon market story, stay tuned for Ecosystem Marketplace’s next State of the Forest Carbon Markets report coming in the fall. In the meantime, you’ll find no shortage of insights in our latest report on the always evolving voluntary carbon markets.

Voluntary Carbon Market Surges to Record Year on CSR, Forestry

By SteveZwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 June 2011 | The policy-driven carbon market contracted in 2010, but the voluntary market achieved its highest volume ever – thanks in part to renewed spending on corporate social responsibility and the release of new methodologies for forest carbon. Indeed, the number of participants based in the developing world more than doubled in response to demand for REDD credits.

State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2011

By Molly Peters-Stanley, Katherine Hamilton, Thomas Marcello, and Milo Sjardin, Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 June 2011 | For five years, Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have published the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Reports to shed light on trading volumes, credit prices, project types, locations, and the motivations of buyers in this market. Every year’s marketplace seems more complex than the one before, as actors continually refine their programs, businesses, and investments in search of a more perfect future – for their projects and the planet. In 2010, suppliers that weathered the previous year’s storm of political and economic uncertainty and transacted the largest market-wide volumes (131 MtCO2e) ever tracked in this report series. Success was built on a refined understanding of what turns the markets on or off.

Government cracks down on illegal logging in Madagascar

mongabay.com, 2 June 2011 | Authorities in Madagascar seized roughly a thousand logs during an ongoing operation in the northeastern part of the country, which has been besieged by illegal logging, reports l’Express de Madagascar. Seven people were arrested. The operation was coordinated by the Ministry of Environment as part of its campaign against the “logging mafia” blamed for cutting valuable rosewood and palisander trees from protected forests. Under Malagasy law, rosewood can not be harvested or exported from Madagascar. Voice of America News (VOA) reports that the arrests have been met by protests thought to be organized by loggers and their allies. “Local newspapers say protests have been orchestrated by a network, which includes major transport companies, that is lobbying for the suspects, who are charged with illegal transport of logs,” said VOA.

Climate action faces legal gap, no deal this year

By Gerard Wynn and Alister Doyle, Reuters, 2 June 2011 | The world will again fall short of a full climate deal this year, after two past attempts, say developed countries which want a narrower focus on forests and funds at resumed U.N. talks in Germany next week. A fresh postponement will all but end hopes of a binding U.N. deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol before its present round expires at the end of 2012, leaving a legal gap and possible makeshift arrangements for years. A summit in Copenhagen two years ago was blown off course by world recession and political wrangling. Hopes are now dimmed for a conference in Durban, South Africa later this year. Developing countries want to extend Kyoto, which binds only rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions until 2012. But Japan, Russia and Canada reject that, preferring a new, wider deal in a rich-poor deadlock which echoes world trade talks.

Learning lessons from mangrove research

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests Blog, 2 June 2011 | Bubbling gas tracers into mangrove river systems is just one of the innovative ways that difficult-to-measure carbon flux can be quantified, helping to unveil the influence of mangroves and peat swamp forests on carbon levels. Climate Scientist Victor Engel from the Florida Everglades National Park in the USA joined a workshop held in Bali by CIFOR in April 2011 on Wetland Ecosystems in Indonesia. The workshop focused on new research that is on the cutting edge of climate change science. The ‘tracer experiment’, as he calls it in a video interview from the workshop (watch above), has proved new methods in calculating carbon budgets in complex ecosystems such as mangroves.

Seeing REDD in Indonesia

By Lily Morrissey, Climate Spectator, 2 June 2011 | Norway’s “One Billion Dollar Pledge” has set a precedent in Indonesian and global politics by contributing to that shift and proving that compensated forest protection is a reality in international politics. Critics of carbon trading argue that assigning a market value to forests merely perpetuates the problem by ignoring the intrinsic or biodiversity value of forests. But in Indonesia, the lack of a middle class means that those with political clout are usually involved in resource extraction, so trying to put a value on forests that doesn’t involve cash is pretty difficult, politically. Furthermore, they are the ones with the resources and capacity to get real results – even if it is simply by slowing down or halting their own operations. In this context, companies need to be brought on board if conservation is to succeed. Showing them the money is a sure way to get their attention.

[Brazil] Yanomami Indians seize plane in health protest

Survival International, 2 June 2011 | Yanomami Indians in the Brazilian Amazon have captured an airplane used by health workers, in protest at corruption within the health service. The Yanomami are outraged by the nomination of a new indigenous health coordinator, who has little connection with indigenous peoples, and who is thought to be favored for political reasons. Yekuana Indians have also joined the protest. In 2007 political appointees to the regional health office were arrested in a major police operation, which revealed that US$19 million designated for indigenous health care had been stolen.

Destruction of world’s biggest rainforests down 25 percent: FAO

By Jonny Hogg, Reuters, 2 June 2011 | The rate of destruction of the world’s three largest forests fell 25 percent this decade compared with the previous one, but remains alarmingly high in some countries, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said. A report entitled The State of the Forests in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and South East Asia, was released to coincide with a summit in the Congo Republic bringing together delegates from 35 countries occupying those forests, with a view to reaching a global deal on management and conservation. The Amazon and the Congo are the world’s first and second biggest forests, respectively, and its third biggest – the Borneo Mekong – is in Indonesia.

[Cambodia] Villagers under surveillance

By May Titthara, Phnom Penh Post, 2 June 2011 | Villager representatives from Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district who have been vocal in their opposition to land concessions in Prey Lang forest say they have been under surveillance in recent months and fear they may face legal action. The villagers raised the issue at a public forum in Preah Vihear province on Tuesday that was organised by the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights. Sandan Chheang Vuthy said police in the district had stopped him and other representatives and taken down their names as the group travelled to a community forum in April and a protest in Phnom Penh last week. “I am afraid because the authorities said the names will be taken to file a complaint to the court, but I wonder what I am doing wrong,” he said. Svay Phoeun, another community representative, said local forums in Sandan had drawn police who registered all village representatives in attendance.

3 June 2011

For World Environment Day June 5th: Nature at Whose Service?

Climate Connections, 3 June 2011 | On the eve of the next round of United Nations climate talks, the Global Forest Coalition (GFC), a worldwide network of more than 50 NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations, has expressed its strong opposition to the theme of the UN’s 2011 World Environment Day, which takes place on 5 June. While intended to draw attention to the many ways in which forests are essential to human society, and, in the words of the UN Environment Programme, “to encourage forest conservation and sustainable consumption for green growth,” the UN’s theme for this year’s World Environment Day, “Forests: Nature at Your Service,” is indicative of the United Nations’ wrongheaded approach to the climate crisis, contends Global Forest Coalition.

Reviving the forestry sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By Ruth Raymond, CIFOR Forests Blog, 3 June 2011 | The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is at once rich in natural resources and one of the poorest countries in the world. Now, as the DRC transitions out of instability and civil war, CIFOR is helping the country to rebuild the capacity to benefit from its valuable forest resources in a sustainable and equitable manner. In 2005, a survey by CIFOR and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) revealed that there were fewer than 10 forest researchers in the whole of the DRC. The number had plummeted as a result of AIDS, war and emigration. It was clear that if the country was ever to pull itself out of poverty using its own rich resources, the forestry sector would have to be strengthened substantially. Against this background, a CIFOR project funded by the European Commission sought to address forest research capacity in the DRC.

The Brazilian tribe that played by our rules, and lost

Jacqueline Windh, The Guardian, 3 June 2011 | The Belo Monte dam will be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam (after China’s Three Gorges dam, itself with numerous problems, and the Brazilian-Paraguayan Itaipu dam). It will flood 400,000 hectares of the world’s largest rainforest, displacing 20,000 to 40,000 people – including the Kayapó. The ecological impact of the project is massive: the Xingu River basin has four times more biodiversity than all of Europe. Flooding of the rainforest will liberate massive amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas far more damaging than carbon dioxide. But the impact on Chief Raoni’s people, on an entire society, is unimaginable. The Kayapó traditionally practised slash-and-burn agriculture on small farms cut into the jungle. The rich resources of their lands (minerals, timber, and potential hydroelectrical power) have brought pressures from outside.

Guide on REDD-plus and Biodiversity

Global Environmental Policy Window, 3 June 2011 | The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat has launched a new guide on REDD-plus and Biodiversity: volume no. 59 in the CBD Technical Series aims to inform CBD National Focal Points and other biodiversity experts how to support REDD-plus design and implementation efforts. The document is available for download at http://bit.ly/jwJflX

Carbon projects first to reach verification status for well regarded CCB standards

Physorg.com, 3 June 2011 | The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) announced that the first two carbon forestry projects have reached verification status against the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, meaning that the projects have been implemented using best practices for community engagement and have generated benefits for local communities and biodiversity as well as for the climate. In addition, both projects will add the newly established ‘CCB Label’ to their carbon credits, which is a permanent marker added to each credit’s unique carbon registry identification code that that will make it easier for investors and offset buyers to identify a project that has met the CCB Standards.

Voluntary carbon market climbs on trees

carbonpositive.net, 3 June 2011 | The voluntary carbon market climbed to record volumes of emissions reductions last year, bouncing back from worldwide recession on the back of corporate social responsibility demand and the rise of forest-based offset supply. This picture emerges from the State and Trends of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2010, published this week by Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Organisations voluntarily choosing to offset their carbon emissions drove trading higher with the departure during the year of North American pre-compliance buyers, exiting the market after the failure of US legislative attempts to implement a national emissions cap and trade scheme. Volumes reached 131 million tonnes, up 34 per cent on the previous recession-hit year and surpassed pre-recession levels.

How To Prevent Rainforest Destruction

By Ariel Schwatrz, Fast Company, 3 June 2011 | The climate is becoming increasingly unpredictable and global greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, but take heart: the destruction of the world’s largest rainforests (the Amazon, Congo, and Borneo Mekong) is actually down 25%, according to a new report from ForestCarbon Asia. So what are the governments in charge of these rainforests doing right? Over the past decade, the countries of the Congo Basin designated 11% of the land as protected areas. Five countries–Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, and the Central African Republic–are reviewing their national forest policies “with a view to improving consistency of actions and integration between the forest sector and other sectors with potential impacts on trees and forests.”

[Indonesia] The Rape of Borneo

By Jack Hewson, Asia Sentinel, 3 June 2011 | At a mine-site near Sangatta in East Kalimantan, a titanic crater yawns out of the ground, its nadir filled with brown slurry. Looking across the hinterland from its southern ridge, a dust-scape stretches off towards the horizon, braided by dirt tracks and the giant dump trucks that traverse them. The distant drone of their two-storey engines fills the air. Ten minutes down the road lies another pit, and another… Saving Indonesia’s remaining rainforest faces many obstacles, but back in Bentian Besar, Masriansyah remains wary of the consequences of inaction. “I don’t want my brothers to die,” he says. “Logging and mining are killing our land. If I don’t do something it’s like I’ve poisoned myself.” Hopefully his defiance will not be in vain.

[Indonesia] Forest moratorium map inaccurate: Govt

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 3 June 2011 | The government said on Wednesday that its claim that the forestry permit moratorium would cover about 64 million hectares of primary forest was inaccurate, as that figure resulted from remote imagery. Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto clarified that it did not mean the government had deliberately manipulated the figure, saying rather that it was the latest data it could retrieve from Landsat satellite imagery. “The accuracy is not essential for an indicative map [on the forest moratorium],” he told The Jakarta Post. “We will revise it [the map] every six months, if there are findings with scientific proof.” The accuracy of the forest area measured by Landsat imagery depended on several factors, including cloud density during the measurement. “We can’t do anything if the forest area is totally covered by clouds,” ministry spokesman Masyhud added.

Poor may cut down forests without West’s aid-Guyana

By Jonny Hogg, Reuters, 3 June 2011 | Developing countries could abandon attempts to protect their forests if Western nations do not provide promised conservation funding, Guyana’s president told a summit on tropical forests on Friday. “We say we’re going to lock away large tracts of forest and preserve them, but these are forests that could be used for other purposes,” President Bharrat Jagdeo told leaders and delegates from 35 countries occupying the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong basins, the world’s three largest stretches of forest. The conference in the Congo Republic’s capital aims to find ways developing countries with big swathes of forest can influence global policy on climate change and receive funding for management of forests that sink billions of tonnes of carbon, cooling the climate.

[Guyana] High level team to discuss climate change and sustainable development

Guyana Chronicle, 3 June 2011 | President Bharrat Jagdeo is leading a team to the Republic of Congo for the Heads of States and Government Summit on the three Tropical Forests Basins of the World (Amazon, Congo, Borneo-Mekong). He is accompanied by Robert Persaud, Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for forests. The summit began Monday and concludes today, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, and is organized by the Republic of Congo and other international partners.President Jagdeo and team’s visit is at the specific invitation of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and the Environment, of the Republic of Congo, Henri Djombo, who recently visited Guyana as part of the ongoing co-operation between the two forest-rich countries.

Guyana, Congo Republic expected to sign major forest cooperation treaty

Kaiteur News, 3 June 2011 | A cooperation treaty between Guyana and the Republic of Congo on forest conservation and sustainable use is one of the highlights of a four-day meeting expected to conclude today. According to a Ministry of Agriculture release, President Bharrat Jagdeo led a team to the Republic of Congo for the Heads of States and Government Summit on the three Tropical Forests Basins of the World (Amazon, Congo, Borneo-Mekong). He is accompanied by Robert Persaud, Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for Forests. This summit which started on May 31st in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, was organized by the Republic of Congo and other international partners. The visit is at the specific invitation of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and the Environment, of the Republic of Congo, Henri Djombo, who recently visited Guyana as part of the ongoing cooperation between the two forest-rich countries.

4 June 2011

Studying the impacts of development in Indonesia

By Ruth Raymond, CIFOR Forests Blog, 4 June 2011 | CIFOR’s research in Indonesia’s Papua province has contributed to a reconsideration of the extent and pace of land being allocated for oil palm and timber plantations, as communities learn more about their social, environmental and economic impacts. Boven Digoel is a district in Papua province that had become a target for investment in oil palm plantations and industrial timber estates. CIFOR’s research there, to be published in 2011, found that oil palm development contributed to the economy through tax revenues and employment. However, the plantations caused significant environmental damage and conflicts over land. As a result of CIFOR’s study, the government of Boven Digoel district postponed authorisation of large-scale initiatives until more is known about how to manage their impacts.

[Indonesia] When it comes to climate change, we have no planet B

By Warief Djajanto Basorie, Jakarta Post, 4 June 2011 | The Norwegian embassy stand had a Q&A sheet explaining the working of the US$1 billion Indonesian-Norwegian REDD+ partnership signed on May 26, 2010 in Oslo. It answered nine frequently asked questions the embassy gets, from why Norway chose Indonesia to give the money to whether Norway had any qualms that the funds might be squandered due to corruption. For that last question the answer is Indonesia had “a good record” in managing the US$7 billion from foreign donors to rehabilitate and reconstruct Aceh and Nias after the devastating 2004 tsunami. “The principle of good governance will similarly be applied for the special agency that will be established to manage the development and implementation of REDD+ in Indonesia,” the Norwegian embassy handout said.

[Indonesia] Forest encroachment

Jakarta Post, 4 June 2011 | A lone hut sits idle in the middle of the devastated Bukit Barisan protected forest in Padang, West Sumatra, on Saturday, a result of encroachment and illegal logging. The Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) in West Sumatra has petitioned regional government officials and related institutions to impose severe sentences on those engaged in illegal logging practices. Illegal logging in West Sumatra has resulted in forest degradation in several areas, including Pesisir Selatan, Pasaman, Solok and Padang.

Indonesia: Missing the woods for the rainforest trees

By Bruce Gale, Straits Times, 3 June 2011 | Yet other uncertainties have to do with cartography. Mr Elfian showed me a map of protected forests issued with the presidential decree that was barely half the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Based on outdated satellite data from 2009, it had a scale of 1:19,000,000. As such, the map was far less detailed than the 1:2,000,000 normally used by government departments for national spatial planning. It was also well short of the 1:25,000 scale recently recommended by the Corruption Eradication Commission for companies applying for licences for forest exploitation and conversion. Imprecision opens up numerous opportunities for graft. Clearly, much work remains to be done to identify exactly which areas are to be protected and which are not.

Interview with Indonesian climate official on rainforest logging moratorium

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 3 June 2011 | Agus Purnomo: Yes, the INPRES is a big step to move forward to more sustainable economy. This is the first Inpres on moratorium of new licenses that Indonesia ever had, and it happened during SBY’s presidency. Indonesia is moving in the right direction, almost passed the point of no return, on the course toward a sustainable and low-carbon economy. Environmental sustainability has become an integral part of Indonesia’s economic development at the highest level of policy-making. The presidential instruction to suspend the issuance of new licenses for two years is intended to create the space for governance improvement, especially in primary forests and peat lands in Indonesia. It is intended to balance economic development with social and environment protection, as part of a comprehensive policy to reduce greenhouse gases emissions (GHGs) from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

[Indonesia] W Sumatera govt urged to act against illegal loggers

Antara News, 4 June 2011 | The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) has renewed its call for the West Sumatra provincial government to take firm action against any local official involved in illegal logging. “So far no firm action has been taken against government apparatuses involved in illegal logging. Walhi urges the relevant agencies such as the forestry office, police, public prosecutor`s office and district court to take stern measures against any of their employees involved in it,” the executive director of Walhi`s West Sumatra branch, Khalid Saifullahm, said here on Friday. He said he was renewing the call as the threat of degradation and deforestation in West Sumatra had reached an alarming level. Illegal logging had caused deforestation in a number of areas including Pesisir Selatan, Pasaman, Solok, Solok Selatan, and Padang, he said.

Forest summit promises closer ties for poor nations

By Jonny Hogg and Christian Tsoumou, Reuters, 4 June 2011 | Leaders from the world’s three largest forest basins said they would work together to tackle deforestation, on the final day of a weeklong conference, in Brazzaville. Heads of state and ministers from countries in the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong basins signed a declaration recognising the need to protect their forests in the fight against climate change, but stopped short of agreeing on a formal structure for co-operation. “(The governments) agree to adopt concrete steps to promote dialogue among their countries. They mandate their relevant ministers to meet and prepare an action plan on co-operation on sustainable management of forests,” the joint declaration said…

[Guyana] Jagdeo appointed roving ambassador for three forest basins

Stabroek News, 4 June 2011 | President Bharrat Jagdeo has been appointed roving ambassador representing the interest of states of the three largest forest basins in the world after calling on developed nations to deliver on promised conservation funding. In a joint declaration issued on the final day of a weeklong conference in Brazzaville, The Congo, leaders from the world’s three largest forest areas- the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong basins – signed a declaration recognising the need to protect their forests in the fight against climate change, but stopped short of agreeing on a formal structure for co-operation, Reuters reported.

[Guyana] Norway confident of openness in forest pact

Stabroek News, 4 June 2011 | Norway’s Minister of the Environment Erik Solheim is confident about the safeguards for transparency in its forest agreement with Guyana, while noting that none of the consultants hired for verification reports has reported problems with obtaining information from government. Solheim gave this assurance in reply to a letter sent in late March by several members of civil society as well as two parliamentarians, who wrote him saying that the government here has “substantially failed” to implement the agreement, in which Oslo has committed up to US$250 million ($51.7 billion) by 2015 for Guyana to preserve its forests. Their assertion was rejected by the Office of Climate Change (OCC). However, most of the signatories of the open letter still stand by their original concerns. Responding recently, Solheim said that he read the letter “with interest”. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

5 June 2011

[Philippines] Int’l group probes alleged land-grab by foreign firms

By Cynthia D. Balana, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 5 June 2011 | An international fact-finding team is in the country to investigate the alleged land-grabbing by Philippine, Japanese and Taiwanese companies of some 11,000 hectares from indigenous peoples in Isabela to build the biggest bio-ethanol project in the Philippines. The international mission is composed of delegates from the Organic Consumers Association (USA), Global Forest Coalition (Paraguay), Action Center for Development and Rights (Japan), Friends of Earth (Japan), Philippine Solidarity Network (Canada); and from the Philippines, the Asian Peasant Coalition, Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community (Searice), Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham-Philippines), Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo and the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Protect Philippine forests

By Marjorie Pamintuan, Philippine Daily Inguirer, 5 June 2011 | The Philippines is both a hotspot and a megadiversity area, making it a priority for conservation. The country’s forests are habitat for more than 6,000 plant species and numerous bird and animal species, including the endangered Philippine Eagle and the Visayan warty pig. Forests also serve as home to some 12 million indigenous peoples. They support millions of Filipinos who depend on them for livelihood. However, despite, or perhaps because of their richness and importance to people, forests face continuing destruction.

[Guyana] President Jagdeo named first Goodwill Ambassador for global tropical forests

Guyana Chronicle, 5 June 2011 | Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo has been named the world’s first Goodwill Ambassador for tropical rainforests by leaders of the Amazonian, Congo and Borneo-Mekong basins meeting in Congo’s capital, Brazzaville. The proposal that he should be so named came from President of the Republic of Congo and host of the meeting, Dennis Sasso Nguesso, and is in recognition of the Guyanese President’s global leadership on forest and climate change issues. Though not a full-time position, the Goodwill Ambassadorship will take effect when President Jagdeo demits office as president following the holding of general and regional elections here. The announcement was greeted by thunderous applause by delegates attending the meeting during the closing session Friday. In 2010, President Jagdeo earned the title of the United Nations Champion of the Earth. Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, who has responsibility for forests, accompanied President Jagdeo to the summit.

[Guyana] Good news on two fronts

Guyana Chronicle, 5 June 2011 | Political opponents may not be pleased with the news on two fronts last week involving President Bharrat Jagdeo. But deserved credits ought not to be expediently ignored. The news, as reported, relate first to the choice of the Guyana Head of State as roving ambassador for a trio of the world’s largest forest basins – those of the Amazon, Congo and the Borneo-Mekong. That honour was conferred on President Jagdeo at the closing session of the week-long conference in Brazzaville, capital of the Congo, at which protection of the world’s forest reserves, as a core feature in the battle against the negative consequences of climate change, was the central focus.

Recommendations in NORAD report on Guyana valid, APA says

Stabroek News, 5 June 2011 | Recommendations contained in a recent report commissioned by the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD) are valid and should be implemented as soon as possible, President of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), Sharon Atkinson said. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

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