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REDD in the news: 15-21 August 2011

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REDD in the news:

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.

The Money Tree

By Arno Kopecky, The Walrus, September 2011 | Meanwhile, he’s also been busy on other fronts. Participating in five of the past six international climate change negotiations under various guises – from representative for the Sierra Club in 2006… to technical adviser for Papua New Guinea at the 2010 meeting in Cancún – he has become a prolific advocate for REDD. The UN proposal calls for industrialized nations to establish a fund that would pay developing countries to not log their forests, and it has weathered about as much criticism as its free market alternative has. How do you prevent a government from cutting down a teak forest twenty years after someone like Brinkman has been contracted to draft a land management strategy and plant trees? Or ensure that a government doesn’t simply let someone else log a different patch of forest? And if it had already planned on conserving its trees, why should REDD pay it anything extra?

International symposium on REDD plus

United Nations University, no date | Monday and Tuesday, 19 – 20 September 2011. International Symposium on Costs and benefits of REDD plus: What, Who, How and When? Venue: Intercontinental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia… Objectives of the symposium: 1. To Take stock of current knowledge and information on costs and benefits of REDD; 2. To Provide an opportunity to deliberate on funding systems to support REDD plus activities that protect the ecosystem services and secure the socio-economic well-being of local communities.

Sustainable Landscapes Activity Launches with First REDD+ Course

USAID Brazil, no date | USAID partner offers course about Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Pará State. The Sustainable Landscape Program, with support from USAID/Brazil, initiated its first course in May 2011 as Dr. Michael Keller of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) led a week-long classroom and field course together with Marco Lentini, Executive Director of Instituto Floresta Tropical (IFT). The course held in Belem and in Paragominas focused on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), a climate change mitigation approach that aims to preserve forest carbon.

Modalities for REDD+ Reference Levels Report Consultation Meeting

Meridian Institute, no date | October 05, 2011 – Panama City, Panama. During the course of the June 2011 meetings of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany , a group of independent, international expert authors delivered the report, “Modalities for REDD+ Reference Levels: Technical and Procedural Issues.” The report was intended to provide an objective analysis of technical and procedural issues associated with setting modalities for REDD+ Reference Levels (RLs). In response to input received in June, the authors began work on a second phase of the report that further develops options for guidelines for the preparation of REDD+ RLs by developing countries that wish to participate in a potential REDD+ mechanism under the UNFCCC. The second phase of the report will also provide examples to further amplify the suggested guidelines.

The Conservation and Management of the Forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania

Global Environment Facility, no date | This project financed by the GEF and implemented by UNDP aimed at conserving the biodiversity of the Eastern Arc Mountain forests at a level beyond what could be expected based on the prevailing management objectives of watershed protection. To address the threats facing the forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains —and the carbon they store—this project was designed with two main components: the “strategy” component that aimed to develop a holistic conservation strategy for the entire Eastern Arc Mountains ranging over 12 mountain blocks in Tanzania and including a forested area of approximately 350,000 ha; and a site-based project in the Uluguru Mountains, one of the most important mountain blocks in the Eastern Arc Mountains in terms of global biodiversity values.

15 August 2011

Increased tropical forest growth could release carbon from the soil

ScienceDaily, 15 August 2011 | A new study shows that as climate change enhances tree growth in tropical forests, the resulting increase in litterfall could stimulate soil micro-organisms leading to a release of stored soil carbon. The research was led by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the University of Cambridge, UK. The results are published online in the journal Nature Climate Change. The researchers used results from a six-year experiment in a rainforest at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, Central America, to study how increases in litterfall – dead plant material such as leaves, bark and twigs which fall to the ground – might affect carbon storage in the soil. Their results show that extra litterfall triggers an effect called ‘priming’ where fresh carbon from plant litter provides much-needed energy to micro-organisms, which then stimulates the decomposition of carbon stored in the soil.

Stop Global Warming – Chop Down Tropical Forests?

By Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine, 15 August 2011 | All right, all right – the headline is a tad tendentious. However, researchers have long argued that tropical forests are absorbing a good bit of the extra carbon dioxide that humanity is producing by burning fossil fuels. An entire multi-billion dollar United Nations program, Reducing Emissions by Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), is premised on the idea that saving tropical forests from the axe will mitigate climate change. ScienceDaily is reporting a new study in Nature Climate Change which suggests that this process is not as simple as it seems. What’s going on? Answer: Rotting leaves… The study concludes that a large proportion of the carbon sequestered by greater tree growth in tropical forests could be lost from the soil. The researchers estimate that a 30% increase in litterfall could release about 0.6 tonnes of carbon per hectare from lowland tropical forest soils each year.

Lessons from the world’s longest study of rainforest fragments

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 15 August 2011 | For over 30 years, hundreds of scientists have scoured eleven forest fragments in the Amazon seeking answers to big questions: how do forest fragments’ species and microclimate differ from their intact relatives? Will rainforest fragments provide a safe haven for imperiled species or are they last stand for the living dead? Should conservation focus on saving forest fragments or is it more important to focus the fight on big tropical landscapes? Are forest fragments capable of regrowth and expansion? Can a forest – once cut-off – heal itself? Such questions are increasingly important as forest fragments – patches of forest that are separated from larger forest landscapes due to expanding agriculture, pasture, or fire – increase worldwide along with the human footprint. The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP) – begun in 1979 – has started to provide general answers to these questions.

Six stand trial in carbon fraud case in Germany

Reuters, 15 August 2011 | Six people accused of evading more than 200 million euros ($281.7 million) in a tax fraud scheme in the European carbon market appeared before a court on Monday as their trial started in Frankfurt. The six men, aged 27 to 65, are accused of having conspired from September 2009 to April 2010 to evade value-added tax (VAT)… The EU carbon market has suffered from a series of damaging scandals since its launch in 2005, which apart from VAT fraud include a long-running glut of permits, theft and recycling of carbon credits.

[USA] Calif. stakeholders press CARB on emissions cap-and-trade design

Platts, 15 August 2011 | California stakeholders have urged the state’s air-quality regulator to adopt changes to the design of its cap-and-trade program, which is aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, in order to reduce compliance costs, comments filed last week show… One issue drawing many comments concerned offsets. CARB had inserted a controversial provision stating that in the event an offset is found to be invalidated, the responsibility for replacing that offset with another compliance instrument would fall on the shoulders of the buyer… “Such offset loopholes deprive California of the environmental, economic and public health co-benefits that a carbon cap purportedly provides,” wrote Friends of the Earth US, Greenpeace, International Forum on Globalization and Rainforest Action Network.

Malians reforest climate-threatened delta

By Soumaila T. Diarra, AlertNet, 15 August 2011 | Farmers in a fertile area of central Mali sustained by the Niger River are replanting forests that are dwindling due to a shortage of rain, hoping to protect the wildlife on which their incomes depend, including fish, birds and hippos… In 1985, villagers and farmers started work to restore some of the region’s forests, with technical support from IUCN and Wetlands International.

Workshop on REDD+ for Panama’s Indigenous Leaders

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 15 August 2011 | STRI’s Packard Project, The Environmental Leadership Training Initiative (ELTI), a joint effort by STRI and Yale University, and the Dobbo Yala Foundation hosted a workshop on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) for Panama’s indigenous authorities and members of the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples (COONAPIP). The event took place in the Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca on August 6-7. More than half of Panama’s remaining mature forests are found in indigenous territories, both formally recognized and under claim. These forests, along with secondary-growth forests, contribute to mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration. As such, they are eligible for the REDD+ mechanism by which industrialized countries will pay developing countries for conserving and sustainably managing their forests to partially offset carbon emissions.

Brazil bolsters security as ‘crisis situation’ threatens uncontacted Indians

Survival International, 15 August 2011 | The Brazilian government says it will dispatch National Security Force agents to help protect a tribe of uncontacted Indians missing after drug traffickers attacked a government guard post. Last week Survival reported that heavily armed drug traffickers from Peru had surrounded and ransacked the base in the western Brazilian Amazon. Fears for the Indians’ welfare grew after workers from FUNAI (the government’s Indian Affairs department) found a broken arrow inside one of the trafficker’s rucksacks. FUNAI has made an overflight of the area to look for signs of the uncontacted Indians. It showed their village and plantations were in a good condition. But fears remain high, as there are still no confirmed sightings of the Indians themselves.

Indonesia Turns Back on Papua Food Bowl Plan

By Faisal Maliki Baskoro, Jakarta Globe, 15 August 2011 | After two years with little progress, the government is considering shifting the location of its planned food estate to East Kalimantan from Papua because of the availability of land. Suswono, the agriculture minister, on Monday said there was 200,000 hectares of land in East Kalimantan that could be used as an agriculture cluster. Under its plan, the Merauke Food Industrial Estate would have about 2 million hectares. “The principle of the food estate is finding enough land for an agricultural zone. It doesn’t have to be in Papua,” he said. “[The East Kalimantan site] may not as big as Merauke, but it is more feasible. It has been two years since we floated the plan, but there has been no progress at all.” Suswono said land clearance regulations were partly to blame for the slow progress.

Forest groups say Indonesia should look to Chinese model

By Ziphora Robina, Reuters, 15 August 2011 | Indonesia has one of the world’s highest deforestation rates and is the worst emitter of greenhouse gases when it comes to slash-and-burn land clearances. The government has taken note. This year President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono tried to put the brakes on these troubling trends by announcing a moratorium on new logging permits. But as Indonesian forests continue to vanish, some experts say a moratorium won’t be enough and that a major reforestation effort is in order. Several Asian countries, including China and India, have successfully launched similar programs, according to a recent study by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

Indigenous Indonesians fear forest sell-off

Deutsche Welle, 15 August 2011 | Angry villagers shout, clench their fists and wave banners at a group of international visitors who have come to see the Mejet Forest on the northern part of the Indonesian island of Lombok. This isn’t the reception that the visitors were expecting. The international collection of forestry officials and NGO experts came with good intentions – to take part in a conference aimed at forest conservation. They want to visit a successful project, but the villagers are disgruntled and suspicious. They believe the tour is aimed at stirring interest among potential foreign investors, looking to buy land. This has often been the case in the past. After much to and fro, the forest tour is cancelled. Instead, visitors and villagers meet with the local regent.

[Indonesia] RI must fight forest fires to meet emissions target

By Kerri Pandjaitan, Jakarta Post, 15 August 2011 | High carbon emission rates have made Indonesia the third-worst contributor after the US and China, respectively. Indonesian National Council on Climate Change (DPNI) chairman Rachmat Witoelar disagrees, arguing that Indonesia’s position is highly dependant on emissions created by forest fires. The 1997-1998 and 2006 forest fires were why the international community rated Indonesia the world’s third-worst polluter, the former environment minister said. Indonesia committed to a reduction target at the October 2009 G20 summit, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to reduce carbon emissions 26 percent by 2020. This figure could reach 41 percent with the help of international aid. The decision was well received, as Indonesia was the first developing country to declare an emissions reduction.

16 August 2011

Nordic carbon fund buys 4.6 mln UN CO2 credits

Reuters, 16 August 2011 | The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation Carbon Fund (NeCF) has closed deals to buy 4.6 million U.N.-backed carbon credits from 10 clean energy projects in India and southeast Asia, it said on Tuesday… Two projects are in western India, several are in southeast Asia, including four small hydro power plants, a biomass project and a waste heat recovery power generation plant in Vietnam, and there is an energy efficiency project in the Ukraine… NeCF said it also intends to buy CERs from eight clean energy projects in Vietnam, Thailand and China. “These transactions will be concluded within the coming months to allow the projects to enter the CDM validation pipeline by the fourth quarter,” the fund said.

Forests Absorb One Third Our Fossil Fuel Emissions

Pollution Online, 16 August 2011 | The world’s established forests remove 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere – equivalent to one third of current annual fossil fuel emissions – according to new research published today in the journal Science. This is the first time volumes of the greenhouse gas absorbed from the atmosphere by tropical, temperate and boreal forests have been so clearly identified. “This is really a timely breakthrough with which we can now clearly demonstrate how forests and changes in landscape such as wildfire or forest regrowth impact the removal or release of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2),” says CSIRO co-author of the paper: A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World’s Forests, Dr Pep Canadell. “What this research tells us is that forests play a much larger role as carbon sinks as a result of tree growth and forest expansion.”

REDD+: a natural progression

Tunza, 16 August 2011 | Sara Oldfield, director of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), thinks that the world’s botanic gardens are particularly well placed to help REDD+ achieve its goals. To encourage its global network of 700 botanic gardens in 118 countries to get involved in the global effort to reduce emissions, BGCI recently published a manual outlining some of the skills and resources botanic gardens can offer REDD+. Sara tells TUNZA about this initiative as well as some of the exciting forest conservation developments already happening in botanic gardens around the world.

[Indonesia] MUI will Issue Fatwa to Greenpeace

Berita Jakarta, 16 August 2011 | Indonesia Ulema Assembly (MUI) will issue fatwa for foreign Non-Governmental Organization (LSM) especially to Greenpeace. The policy is given due to the NGO`s presence is considered violates religious principle so MUI will not tolerate the violation. “Basically, the motive in Indonesia is not based on religious principle. In the meantime, MUI can issues fatwa for Greenpeace, including other NGO`s which are proven associated here,” stressed Head of MUI, Amidhan during a dialogue with Alliance of College Students Refusing Greenpeace NGO in MUI building, Jakarta, Tuesday (8/16). He stated that his previous statement about lottery fund received by Greenpeace was an entrance door to kick out the Dutch NGO from Indonesia. Previously, he stressed that dozens of million rupiahs lottery funding is prohibited.

[Indonesia] RI forests play role in global emissions

By Kerri Pandjaitan, Jakarta Post, 16 August 2011 | Deforestation is responsible for about 80 percent of Indonesia’s emissions, National Council for Climate Change (DNPI) chairman Rachmat Witoelar says. While many have called the target unrealistic, the DPNI is certain that 85 percent of the target may be achieved through more efficient forest management alone, with the help of foreign partners… “We will achieve the targets,” Rachmat said recently… Controversies arose surrounding the REDD+ carbon trading system, which allows developed countries to pay off high carbon emissions by sponsoring developing countries in their fight against deforestation and forest degradation. Problems surrounding this system include the possibility of a decrease in the value of carbon, which would tempt both corporations and governments to avoid alternative low-carbon technologies.

How Indonesia crippled its own climate change project

By David Fogarty, Reuters, 16 August 2011 | In July 2010, U.S. investor Todd Lemons and Russian energy giant Gazprom believed they were just weeks from winning final approval for a landmark forest preservation project in Indonesia. A year later, the project is close to collapse, a casualty of labyrinthine Indonesian bureaucracy, opaque laws and a secretive palm oil company… After three years of work, more than $2 million in development costs, and what seemed like the green light from Jakarta, the project is proof that saving the world’s tropical rainforests will be far more complicated than simply setting up a framework to allow market forces to function.

Forest experts to meet in Jakarta

Jakarta Post, 16 August 2011 | Forest experts were scheduled to gather in Jakarta on Sept. 27 for an international conference on forest and carbon economics. Titled “Indonesia’s Forest: future alternative to fulfill necessity on food, wood, energy and REDD+”, the conference will discuss challenges and opportunities pertaining to the usage of natural resources in Indonesia. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), business groups, NGOs, ministries and neighboring countries have announced their participating in the conference… Thirty-nine experts are slated to speak at the conference, including World Bank special envoy for climate change Andrew Steer, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Chief of the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4) Kuntoro Mangkusubroto.

Adaptation and mitigation work hand-in-hand in Latin American forests

By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 August 2011 | The long held view that adaptation and mitigation are mutually exclusive approaches for reducing the impacts of climate change has been questioned in a recent study, with the beginnings of an integrative approach in many forestry projects in Latin America showing improved outcomes at the local level. “Few climate change or forest policies address the linkages possible between adaptation and mitigation in the forestry sector. But in many ways, adaptation activities can increase the success of mitigation activities. Adaptation focuses on local issues, provides benefits at the local scale, and shows faster results in reducing the vulnerability of communities,” said CIFOR and CIRAD scientist Bruno Locatelli, lead author of the study published recently in Forests.

17 August 2011

Gender and climate change workshop set to kick off

República, 17 August 2011 | A workshop on Gender and Climate Change under the initiatives of IUCN Nepal and support of ICIMOD and WOCAN is all set to kick off in the capital from Thursday. According to a press statement issued by the IUCN, the workshop will be focused on policy, planning and programs of the government and its external development partners on gender issues. “Mitigation and adaptation policies in regards to climate change should include gender to create a real and visible impact at local and national level,” Rajendra Khanal, in-charge of IUCN, Nepal said, the statement reads. The workshop is also expected to provide a platform for sharing knowledge on key issues like NAPA and REDD Plus from a gender perspective.

[Indonesia] Public to remain indifferent without real REDD+ implementation, journalists say

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 17 August 2011 | The general public will remain indifferent and uninterested in REDD+, a global mechanism to compensate developing countries for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, as long as the programs fail to affect them directly on the ground, say journalists that cover the issue in Indonesia’s pilot province Central Kalimantan. “Central Kalimantan is 1.5 the size of the whole island of Java. That’s too big for a pilot area,” said Satriadi, a journalist with Tabengan daily in Palangka Raya, at the sideline of a visit to a REDD+ demonstration activity in Kapuas regency Central Kalimantan, part of a media training held by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) recently. “The government should focus their efforts in some areas — at least people living there will care,” he said.

Ministry of Forestry continues to undermine Indonesia’s REDD program, finds Reuters

mongabay.com, 17 August 2011 | Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry is continuing to undermine the country’s ambitious forest protection program in favor of industrial forestry interests, reports Reuters. David Fogarty of Reuters investigated the the Rimba Raya REDD project, which aims to conserve 90,000 hectares of peat forest in Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo. Despite winning initial approval from official in Jakarta, the project was last year halved by the Ministry of Forestry, undercutting its viability. Instead, the Ministry of Forestry granted thousands of hectares of deep peat to PT Best, an oil palm company. The concession not only breaks Indonesian law &38212; which prohibits conversion of peatlands deeper than 3 meters but sends a dangerous signal to other backers of some 40 REDD projects across Indonesia and raises questions of governance.

Clarifying land rights as a pre-condition for pro-poor REDD in Papua Province, Indonesia

By Pete Wood (Samdhana Institute), IUCN, 17 August 2011 | Secure rights over forests and the carbon within them is generally agreed to be a pre-requisite for any REDD+ mechanism to function successfully, and delivering this certainty has been a major pre-occupation of Governments and private sector investors. Defining these rights is not simple, at least in Indonesia, where up to 40 million people live within land designated as ‘state forest’ without any legal right to be there or to use the resources. In July 2011, at an international conference on Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise in Indonesia,(http://asiatenureconf2011.wordpress.com/) one expert reported that “whilst in Asia overall about a quarter of the forest is owned, designated or managed by communities and indigenous people, in Indonesia less than a tenth of one percent has been formally devolved to local communities.”

[Indonesia] Creating alternative livelihoods: REDD+ pilot projects encourage locals to protect forests

By Budhy Kristanty, CIFOR Forests Blog, 17 August 2011 | In a country where more than 60 percent of emissions come from deforestation, forest degradation and changes in land use, the work of a pilot REDD+ project in Indonesia to create alternative livelihoods is starting to make headway in improving the income of forest dwellers and encouraging local communities to voluntarily protect their forests. With the assistance of The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP), local communities in Tumbang Mangkutub hamlet and the village of Petak Puti in Central Kalimantan are managing their own land and income through programs which aim to improve the quality of rubber production through agricultural training of farmers, development of freshwater fish ponds in wetlands (beje) and ditch blocking to rehydrate dried peatlands.

Brazil revisits forest code

By Jeff Tollefson, Nature News, 17 August 2011 | Many scientists fear that the new law will cause further backsliding. For now, all landowners in the Amazon must maintain forest on 80% of their land, and those who had cleared illegally must reforest to that level. The House bill, however, would create exemptions for small landowners, and allow state governments to adjust the 80% rule. All told, the changes could legalize the clearing of more than 220,000 square kilometres – an area nearly the size of the United Kingdom – according to an analysis by researchers at the University of São Paulo. Thomas Lovejoy, a tropical ecologist at the Heinz Center in Washington DC, says that the bill is a “recipe for Amazon dieback”, a feedback loop that decreases rainfall and could convert vast swathes of rainforest into savannah. But the bill could still be reformed in the Senate.

The squeeze: Brazil cuts off credit to illegal loggers

By Daniel Cooney (CIFOR), Reuters AlertNet, 17 August 2011 | With fines for illegal deforestation rarely paid, Brazil is using a novel approach to save the Amazon: block those who clear land illegally from accessing credit. And, refreshingly, the system seems to be working. “If you can link someone who has been charged with an infraction with their accessibility to credit, that can be an effective deterrent,” said Peter May, a scientist working in Brazil in association with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “That is one tool that the judiciary is now using fairly effectively, jointly with the national monetary council, that those who are not in accordance with the environmental codes should not be allowed to take out (publicly approved) credit.” He said that in Brazil only about 5 people in every 100 who are fined for environmental crimes ever pay up.

[Sierra Leone] GreenWorld BVI Brings Ethical and Socially Responsible Carbon Credit Investment to the Retail Investors

GreenWorld (BVI) press release, 17 August 2011 | As the demand for ethical and socially responsible alternative investments continues to increase, GreenWorld BVI has responded by bringing a carbon credits investment offering to the retail market. GreenWorld BVI’s carbon credit investment focuses on a 50,000 hectare project in the West African nation of Sierra Leone, and is directly connected to the Gola rainforest (www.golarainforest.org), an internationally recognized area of bio-diversity and the largest lowland closed canopy rainforest remaining in Sierra Leone. The minimum investment in the project is £1,250… The investor actually owns the underlying plot of rainforest under a broad 45 year lease that has been taken out on the entire 50,000 hectare plot. The investment is a complete solution, as GreenWorld and its partners will arrange all of the steps necessary for the investor to have their carbon credits certified under the REDD standard propagated by the United Nations.

18 August 2011

World’s forests absorb almost 40 per cent of man made CO2

By Lousie Gray, Telegraph, 18 August 2011 | The University of Leeds research found forests absorb nearly 40 per cent of man made fossil fuel emissions every year. The first study to look at all the world’s forests together found that established forests, from boreal forests in the north to tropical rainforests in the south, absorb 8.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Scientists work out how much carbon is being absorbed by measuring the density of wood, height and width of different tree species over time. A further 6 billion tonnes is “mopped up” by newly planted forests around the world. However 10.8 billion tonnes is released as a consequence of deforestation as trees are chopped down and a further 28 billon tonnes is generated by cars, factories and other sources of fossil fuels.

Protected areas are more effective at reducing deforestation when they allow sustainable forest use

By Kenneth Chomitz (World Bank), RECOFTC’s Blog, 18 August 2011 | A newly published study provides some surprising and encouraging findings on protected area impacts. The study used global satellite data on forest fires as an indicator of deforestation, and assessed all officially-recognized tropical forest protected areas… As a result of the rigorous analysis, the study concluded that strict protected areas are indeed effective. However, areas that permitted sustainable forest use were on average even more effective. And “indigenous areas” (which are only officially designated in Latin America) were by far the most effective, saving 16 percent of the forest over an 8 year period, compared to control areas. In the context of the REDD+ agenda, these findings give hope to the quest to find ways to reduce deforestation and yet protect the livelihoods of forest dwellers.

[Costa Rica] Where money really does grow from trees

Jane Notten, Daily News, 18 August 2011 | In South Africa recently to tell the story behind the story was Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, regional vice-president of Conservation International and the man who led the Costa Rica turnaround as the then energy and environment minister. A guest of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership’s (CPSL) South African office, Rodriguez told an audience at a CPSL Resilience Forum earlier this month that the Costa Rican government knew it had to do something radical because, despite decades of conservation planning, the creation of protected areas and support at the highest political levels, they had not been able to stop the decline in biodiversity and loss of tropical forests.

Positive steps from Indonesia’s REDD+ pilot province

World Agroforestry Centre, 18 August 2011 | Indonesia’s REDD+ pilot province of Central Kalimantan has a number of hamlets and villages showing successes in REDD+ activities. These include communities in Tumbang Mangkutub hamlet and the village of Petak Puti. Support for these communities’ efforts come from the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP) which manages the REDD+ demonstrations and is funded by the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (IACP). Through self-run programs, the villages and hamlets are seeing improvements in the quality of rubber they produce, in the number of fish within their wetlands and in the condition of their previously dried peatlands. All these are welcomed signs by the KFCP and the Centre For International Forestry Research (CIFOR) because they show a move towards the reduction of deforestation, forest degradation and ultimately reduction in carbon emissions.

[Indonesia] Is There a REDD Solution to the Palm Oil Problem?

By Tonka Dobreva and John Alexander Adam, Ezine articles, 18 August 2011 | An interesting recent study by Oscar Venter from the University of Queensland looked to compare the profits from palm oil and timber sales a company would make versus its revenue if it were to sell REDD carbon credits and actually commit to conserving the rainforest. The study focused on the forested region of Kalimantan, Indonesia, where deforestation has been causing an outrage among environmental groups. Oscar Venter and his team calculated the amount of potential REDD carbon credits that the plantation can produce and estimated that if each credit can be sold for $10 (£6), conserving the forest could be more profitable than clearing land for oil palm.

[Peru] Amazon pipeline gets go-ahead amid reports of ‘cover-up’

Survival International, 18 August 2011 | A 200km oil pipeline in the Amazon has been given the go-ahead, amidst controversy over a ‘cover-up’ of evidence that uncontacted Indians live in the region. French oil company Perenco plans to spend $350m building the pipeline in northern Peru to transport $35 billion worth of oil from its block 67 project to the Pacific coast. But a detailed article published in US news outlet Truth Out alleges that government officials, environmental consultants and oil companies have been implicated in covering up the existence of uncontacted tribes living along the pipeline’s route.

[Uganda] Environmentalists accuse govt of contravening treaties

By John Njoroge, Daily Monitor, 18 August 2011 | With the Mabira Forest give-away storm still spiralling, environmentalists are now sounding alarm bells that Uganda is consistently acting against international environmental treaties it is signatory to. Environmentalists say the most contravened treaty across Uganda is the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and now with the intended give-away of part of Mabira Forest , the Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992 will also be violated. Politicians have argued that in order to develop certain industries in Uganda, exploitation of natural resources is inevitable. The Environment State Minister Flavia Munaaba is on record as having said: “If a nation is to develop, it must exploit the environment. Government can degazette and amend a forest so long as it fulfils certain conditions.”

[India] Tribals feel their forest rights are not recognized

The Times of India, 18 August 2011 | The state may boast of lush wildlife and protected areas but tribals living there are not amused. They are agitated about not having community rights and being deprived of the food they used to eat as forest dwellers. They claim that lack of recognition of forest rights and community forest rights has led to nutrition issues among tribals in Karnataka. The Tribal Joint Action Forum and State Primitive and Forest Rights Forum on Wednesday held a press conference to declare that if their rights are not recognized by the state, they will hold ‘Adivasi Parliaments’ in various tribal regions. They said a ‘Quit Forest Movement’ will be held by protesting in front of the range forest officer’s office.

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon up 15%

AFP, 18 August 2011 | Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon increased by 15 percent during the past 12 months, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said. From July 2010 to July 2011 the vast South American rainforest lost 2,654 square kilometers (1,649 square miles) of vegetation in the states of Mato Grosso and Para, according to a preliminary analysis of satellite photos. The year before, 2,295 square kilometers (1,426 square miles) were destroyed over that time period.

Climate Change ambassador in US to be replaced

By Kolopu Waima, Post Courier, 18 August 2011 | The O’Neill-Namah government will replace the Ambassador of Climate Change Kevin Conrad who represents Papua New Guinea and lives in New York in the United States of America. Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah announced this in the official handover and takeover ceremony for Ministry of Environment and Conservation at Holiday Inn in Port Moresby yesterday… “I want the office of climate change to be restructured and there would be no ambassador living overseas, I want to replace the ambassador to climate change Kevin Conrad, the office must be here and the ambassador must live in PNG, not in overseas. Let some of our own men who know landowner issues very well take on the responsibility so that they can address the issues easily, we want change and have PNG on the safe side, the old regime is gone and this is a new regime,” Mr Namah said.

Snapshot of REDD+ in Papua New Guinea

CIFOR, 18 August 2011 | Papua New Guinea houses the third largest tract of intact tropical forest in the world. However, the country’s forests face a number of threats. Carbon emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) are estimated at 110–126 Mt CO2e, making the country one of the highest per capita emitters in the world (OCCD 2011). Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has been a leading proponent of an international regime for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, domestic conditions have frustrated efforts to create an enabling environment for REDD+, and the progress of readiness3 activities and pilot projects has been slow. This snapshot aims to provide a brief overview of the context for REDD+ in Papua New Guinea, the evolution of REDD+ to date, and key issues moving forward.

[Guyana] Govt. not implementing the principle of free, prior and informed consent

By Janette Bulkan, letter to the editor, Kaieteur News, 18 August 2011 | Guyana Chronicle reported that the Minister of Amerindian Affairs (MoAA) and Ministry staff, with some members of the National Toshaos Council, visited eight communities in Region 7 (‘Minister Sukhai completes five-day outreach to Region 7 communities’, GC 17 August 2011). According to the Chronicle, the Minister spoke about the ‘land demarcation and extension issue’. No reference was made in the GC article that four of the eight communities have been contesting the land titling process in the High Court for 13 years: the four communities are Jawalla, Kamarang, Paruima and Phillipai; together with two other Amerindian Villages (Kako and Waramadong) in the Upper Mazaruni which were apparently not visited during the Minister’s tour.

19 August 2011

Uncertain future hangs over CER market

carbonpositive.net, 19 August 2011 | With little prospect of an extension of the Kyoto Protocol to a further commitment period beyond 2012, the future of the Kyoto offsets market for CERs has many questions marks. While the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) spawned by Kyoto can and will survive as an international mechanism to support clean-tech, low-carbon investment in developing countries, things won’t be the same in the multi-billion dollar offsets credit market from 2013, as old sources of demand shrink and new ones potentially emerge.

Romanticising Life in the Forest a Danger for REDD+

By Angela Dewan, CIFOR Forests Blog, 19 August 2011 | Local communities that depend on forests for livelihoods are not always conservationists by nature, as is often assumed in forest policy and programme design with a recent study by CIFOR in Indonesia’s Jambi province, on the lush island of Sumatra, showing that forest-dependent communities in one particular district usually favour economic development at the expense of forest conservation where developments will improve livelihoods. “Whatever the community’s attachment to traditional livelihoods and beliefs, if they have to chose between economic development and forest conservation, they rarely chose the latter,” said CIFOR’s Laurene Feintrenie, head author of “Local voices call for economic development over forest conservation: trade-offs and policy in Bungo, Sumatra”.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 August 2011 | While the Central Kalimantan Governor gained some valuable credibility among environmentalists this month after rejecting an offer from a Russian rail investor that would have contributed to forest destruction across the province, the bigger story you’ll want to keep you eye on in Indonesia revolves around the inability for the Ministry of Forestry to contribute to the country’s national REDD+ aspirations. A new news report shows the Ministry of Forestry is still bristling against a move to conservation and REDD+, favoring the concession model instead, which has been a long-time cash cow and source of corruption.

World Bank funded forestry projects to reduce 55 mn tons of CO2 in China

Climate Connect, 19 August 2011 | In past few years, China has been introducing foreign capital to the development of afforestation projects. Recently the World Bank approved $100 million in loans to five provinces in China, including Anhui, to promote integrated forestry. According to the provincial forestry authorities of Anhui, a total of 320,000 hectares of high-standard forests have been planted in east China’s Anhui Province since the 1990s with loans from the World Bank. These 320,000 hectares of newly established forests accounts for 36.8% of the province’s total man-made forest area in the same period.

21 August 2011

A balance of the sexes: How men and women can better protect forests together

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 21 August 2011 | Forest user groups that are dominated by women are less likely to adopt sustainable forest management practices than those groups that are mixed or dominated by men, according to a recent study. “The study challenges the traditionally held view that, because women are more dependent on forest resources and spend more time in the forest, that they are natural ‘conservators’ and more likely to engage in sustainable forest management.” said Esther Mwangi, CIFOR Scientist and co-author of the recent article ‘Gender and Sustainable Forest Management in East Africa and South America’, in Ecology and Society.

REDD Methodology Modules Workshop and Webinar

Avoided Deforestation Partners, 20 August 2011 | The Avoided Deforestation Partners REDD Methodology Modules were approved under the VCS in December last year. A number of projects around the world are now applying the modules, with the first VCS project using the modules recently registered in Belize. To further help project developers, Winrock International has produced a guidance document to support the use of the modules. With the support of Avoided Deforestation Partners, Winrock International, Climate Focus, and TerraCarbon will also be hosting a workshop and webinar on the guidance document and modules on September 8th between 8:45am and 11:00 am EST (GMT-5).

[UK] Forestry still scarred by first world war

By Alec Dauncey, letter to the editor, The Guardian, 21 August 2011 | I am a forester and erstwhile steward of some of the forests in the Welsh hills above Llanddewi Brefi. The poetry of Jim Perrin’s Country Diary (20 August) struck a painful chord. The spruce plantations of the 20th century originated in the very war that killed the poet Edward Thomas. I regret that we marched them in lines over the hills long after their genesis, as a timber reserve in time of submarine blockade, had become a redundant justification… It does not have to be so. Some foresters now advocate more natural continuous-cover forestry, eschewing clearfelling, and using thinning, natural regeneration and more native species. Uniform monocultural plantations could be consigned to the dustbin of history, along with the wars of the early 20th century which gave birth to such violent forestry practices on the hills of Britain.

[Indonesia] Palm oil giant tries to save the world and protect itself

By Danny Fortson, The Sunday Times, 21 August 2011 | Golden Agri-Resources of Indonesia has been forced to take sustainability seriously after buyers boycotted its products. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Indonesia] Aceh Governor does not believe advanced countries` compensation pledge

Antara News, 21 August 2011 | Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said he did not believe the advanced countries` pledge to compensate Indonesia under a carbon trade scheme. “Advanced countries had only played the compensation issue as we in reality we have so far never received the funds they promised tp give us,” he said here on Saturday after opening the Governors` Climate and Forest (GFC) meeting attended by hundred traditional institution chiefs whose regions are located within the Ulu Masen and Leuser Mountain National Park. The governor however said he remained committed to safeguarding and preserving forests in the region to prevent possible natural disasters in the Indonesian most eastern province.

A Battle Is Under Way For The Forests Of Borneo

By Anthony Kuhn, NPR, 21 August 2011 | Indonesia remains Asia’s most-forested nation, but it has suffered serious deforestation in recent decades, contributing to Indonesia’s status as the third-largest emitter of carbon after the U.S. and China. And perhaps there is no starker example than Borneo… Conservationists are urging Indonesia’s government to respect the Dayak’s rights to their traditional lands and to affirm their stewardship of the forests based on their animist religion. But in much of Borneo, it appears too late. Where forests once stood, towns now hum with traffic and commerce. According to Indonesian government statistics, 60 percent of Borneo’s rainforests have been cut down. Only 8 percent of its virgin forests remain, mostly in national parks. Western Borneo is the most denuded… Conservationists’ hopes of saving Borneo’s rainforests and its inhabitants’ traditions may be unrealistic, romantic, or simply too late.

Suriname follows Guyana in climate change policy making

Demerara Waves, 21 August 2011 | Neighbouring Suriname is following in Guyana’s footsteps by formulating policies to counter the impact of Climate Change. A Climate Compatible Development Agency (CCDA) has been established by the Dutch-speaking country to help formulate a more structured approach to climate change matters. “We owe it to our children to prepare ourselves for the effects climate change will have on our country,” President Desi Bouterse was quoted by the Suriname-based online news entity, DevSur. “Our task is to consolidate all existing climate change efforts,” explains Agency Director John Goedschalk, a US trained economist who says that since returning to his native Suriname in 2008 he looked on helplessly while knowing that there is international funding available to prepare Suriname for climate change.

[Guyana] Norway to release more funds for Forestry Commission

Stabroek News, 21 August 2011 | Guyana and Norway are expected to ink an agreement shortly to enable a second tranche of money to be disbursed to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) outside of the agreed mechanism under their forests partnership. This was confirmed by head of Conservation Inter-national’s (CI) local office Dr David Singh, who briefly noted that it was a joint decision of both governments which CI has facilitated. Stabroek News had previously reported that Guyana last year, received US$470 000 outside of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) and this year asked for more money to pay contractors involved in preparing reports for the partnership. The first tranche was channelled through CI through an existing framework. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

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