REDD in the news: 29 August – 4 September 2011

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REDD in the news: 29 August - 4 September 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.

[Mexico] Do Trees Grow on Money?

By Jeff Conant, Earth Island Journal, August 2011 | The REDD scheme unfolding in Chiapas offers a particularly compelling test for this controversial idea. Home to most of Mexico’s tropical trees, a third of its mammal species, and half of its bird and butterfly species, the Lacandon is also, famously, home to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, the insurgent rebel group that rose up in 1994 to demand that Indigenous Peoples be allowed to control their own territories. That struggle, and the Mexican government’s response, has engendered paramilitary massacres, years of counterinsurgency, and tens of thousands of displaced people – and it can be traced, in part, to a decades-old agreement that took as its pretext the protection of the Lacandon. The region’s rich biodiversity, open conflicts over land tenure, and the potential investment from California make Lacandon a fascinating test case – or an instructive cautionary tale – of what REDD may bring.

REDD-plus & Biodiversity e-Newsletter

CBD, August 2011 | The aim of this e-Newsletter is to inform CBD National Focal Points and CBD partners about biodiversity aspects in relation to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD-plus).

UN-REDD Programme Newsletter 21

UN-REDD, August 2011 | In the UN-REDD Programme’s August issue, read more on the five UN-REDD partner countries now entering into implementation; the Policy Board’s endorsement of the UN-REDD Global Programme Framework document which provides a roadmap for global-level support to National Programmes; as well as progress updates on Indonesia, Nigeria and Zambia’s REDD+ efforts. Readers can also learn more on the UN-REDD Programme’s work in the area of gender and REDD+.

REDD+ and Energy: a cross-sectoral approach to REDD+ and implications for the poor

By Kristy Graham, REDD-net, August 2011 | This paper exampines the linkages between the energy sector and forests at local to global levels, covering wood fuel use and the competition for land between forests and biofuel feedstock crops. The paper suggests a number of policy options that may be part of a REDD+ strategy that also contributes to energy sector objectives. The potential implications for the poor are highlighted and the ways in which policy design and targeted REDD+ revenues can be used to mitigate these suggested.

REDD+ and Agriculture: a cross-sectoral approach to REDD+ and implications for the poor

By Kristy Graham and Raffaele Vignola, REDD-net, 2011 | The paper outlines the linkages between forests and agriculture, and the need for REDD+ to effectively address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation from the agriculture sector. It goes onto discuss the potential policy options for doing this, including their potential socio-economic impacts and how policy design and targeted REDD+ revenues can be used to mitigate these.

Making REDD+ cross-sectoral: why, how and what are the potential socio-economic impacts?

By Kirsty Graham, REDD-net, August 2011 | The need for REDD+ to coordinate and involve multiple sectors involved in driving deforestation and forest degradataion is becoming increasingly important. To ensure national ownership and political and social sustainability REDD+ will also need to be harmonised with the objectives of other key economic sectors such as agriculture and energy. This policy brief outlines some key policy options that encourage synergies between REDD+ and the agriculture and energy sectors, and their potential socio-economic impacts.

29 August 2011

As COP17 approaches: Dirty Durban’s manual for climate greenwashing

By Patrick Bond, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, 29 August 2011 | What Reddy knows, but Assaf doesn’t say, is that the sources of climate-threatening CO2 emissions are also responsible for much more immediate socio-ecological destruction. For example, Assaf enthusiastically promotes landfill methane gas-to-electricity conversion at Durban’s infamous Bisasar Road dump without observing (as do most academic articles) that Africa’s largest “Clean Development Mechanism” is actually one of the world’s primary cases of carbon-trading environmental racism, worthy of a front-page article in the Washington Post in 2005 on the day the Kyoto Protocol took effect. Placed in a black neighbourhood during apartheid, Bisasar Road – Africa’s largest landfill – should have been closed when Nelson Mandela came to power, as African National Congress pamphlets in the 1994 election promised the community it would be.

Cultural Conundrum of Climate Change

NL-Aid, 29 August 2011 | From carbon sequestration projects under CDM to cash transfer mechanism for conservation and reforestation under REDD+, the challenge of confronting the uncertainty of glacial meltdown is being converted into an opportunity by the donor-backed scientific fraternity who is working overtime to sell the idea to politicians and governments alike. It is being accepted and for good reasons too. However, the flip side of this otherwise promising story is that decisions are being made on behalf of the unsuspecting mountain communities who may not have contributed to the ecological crises but are being made to pay for it by way of adapting to the subtle but significant changes in weather pattern. On their own, mountain communities have rarely altered their life-support systems.

Big damage in Papua New Guinea: new film documents how industrial logging destroys lives

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 29 August 2011 | The new film Bikpela Bagarap (‘Big Damage’) documents the impact of industrial logging on the lives of local people in Papua New Guinea. Filmed over three months by one guerrilla filmmaker – David Fedele – using a simple handheld camera, the movie shows with startling intimacy how massive corporations, greedy government, and consumption abroad have conspired to ruin lives in places like Vanimo, Papua New Guinea. “The whole industry is corrupt from the highest level downwards. The entire system is broken, and people have no other choice than to participate in this system – it is basically an unregulated industry,” Fedele told mongabay.com in a recent interview.

[Malaysia] Insidious plantation activities destroy Iban communities’ livelihood

By SM Mohamed Idris, letter to the editor Free Malaysia Today, 29 August 2011 | Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is shocked at plantation activities that are being carried out at a furious pace in Tanjung Upar, Baram Sarawak, which are affecting a group of landowners without their consent. The company involved obtained a Provisional Lease (PL) over Lot No. 1210 of the Puyut Land District several years ago but it has yet to issue official notice to the community regarding their intention to plant oil palm. This PL was issued by the Sarawak state government along with those on Lot 197, Lot 1207 and Lot 1200 within the Puyut Land District, measuring about 21,913 ha and affecting three communities including Rumah Chabop and Melayu Narum. These PLs will soon consume the native land that has been timelessly worked by the people to sustain their livelihood and to ensure their daily sustenance – a way of living that has been in existence since Rajah Brooke days and beyond.

[Nepal] Carbon crunching at low price for the benefit of advanced nations

By Dr. Suhirendar Sharma, NL-Aid, 29 August 2011 | While the CDM has created the largest carbon offset market, the CER have seemingly remained underpriced. Earning a meager Rs 7,000 a year from protecting a hectare of afforested land, that the project promises, may not be appealing enough should the land be valued otherwise! Given the fact that the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh has an estimated 2.48 million hectares of wasteland, the potential of replicating carbon revenue generating project seem promising nonetheless. However, developing such projects is technically cumbersome and financially infeasible unless there are donors to underwrite the preparatory expenses. Else, it doesn’t seem economically expedient for a state to invest in a project that will generate only Rs 20 crore over a period of 20 years.

30 August 2011

Rising biomass demand could drive land grabs: report

Reuters, 30 August 2011 | Rising global demand for cleaner energy from biomass could drive more land acquisition in poorer nations where food security and land rights are weak, an International Institute for Environment and Development report said on Tuesday. “If left unchecked, the growing pressure on land access could undermine livelihoods and food security in some of the world’s poorest countries,” the London-based non-profit research group said, calling for more public scrutiny into global biomass expansion plans. Biomass energy makes up 77 per cent of world renewable energy, and trees and woody plants account for 87 per cent of that biomass, the report said. As governments attempt to move away from fossil fuel-based power, they are increasingly looking at biomass, as new technologies now allow it to be converted competitively into liquid fuels and electricity.

Romanian official quits after carbon market suspension

AFP, 30 August 2011 | The head of Romania’s environment protection agency quit Monday after the Balkan country was blocked from selling carbon credits over concerns about irregularities, the government said. Iosif Nagy, named to the job in 2010, told Agerpres news agency he was paying for his predecessors’ errors. The committee monitoring Kyoto Protocol compliance has suspended Romania from the programme due to “irregularities observed” in Bucharest’s 2010 greenhouse gas emissions data, the environment ministry said Sunday. In December, Romanian Environment Minister Laszlo Borbely said the country hoped to earn some 1.5 billion euros ($2.2 billion) from selling carbon offsets. Romania was in talks with two Japanese companies on selling parts of the 300 million carbon credits it had been granted by the Kyoto committee. The suspension has immediate effect, and Bucharest must put in place an “adequate” system for monitoring emissions before it can resume selling carbon offsets…

[Brazil] For Sustainable Forestry, the Power of Dialogue

By Luiz Paulo Pinto, Conservation International Blog, 30 August 2011 | Founded in 2005 and modeled after an international initiative of the same name, the Brazilian Forests Dialogue is based on the concept that establishing a discussion between groups with divergent viewpoints can help create a common understanding and trust. In the past, forestry companies and environmental groups were often seen as conflicting forces – one group naively seeking to fence off the forest to protect it, and the other seeking to exploit the same forest for gain. For years, there was little dialogue between the two, and sometimes active opposition. But under the auspices of the Forests Dialogue – initially convened by CI and partners – people from forestry companies and NGOs began to meet and talk. And as foresters and conservationists began to literally walk through the forest together, they realized they in fact had much in common.

REDD Offset Working Group: ROW 101: Introduction & Overview

REDD Offset Working Group, 30 August 2011 | California’s AB 32 – Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Requires the state to reduce it’s GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Allows for the use of market-based compliance mechanisms, including cap and trade. Chiapas: Chiapas started the design of REDD+ program under the Law for Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change of Chiapas State approved by State Congress on 12/10. REDD+ technical advisory committee (CTC) formally established 8/11. Chiapas CTC is linked with the National CTC and the national working groups for the strategy. Contributions for deforestation to GHG emissions have been evaluated for Chiapas, as well as a community monitory methodology has been developed. Reference levels have been established and capacity for building a strong MRV exist. Project design efforts, including safeguard development with indigenous peoples consultations, have started and will last through Spring 2012. [R-M: link to pdf file]

LEAF Program to build REDD+ technical capacity in SE Asia

Forest Carbon Asia, 30 August 2011 | In Southeast Asia, USAID’s LEAF program builds technical capacity in climate change mitigation efforts in the forestry and land use sector. From August 23-25, the USAID-funded Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) Program initiated its technical capacity building program with a training workshop focused on the creation of Reference Emission Levels (RELs). Robust and accurate RELs are a baseline from which countries can measure emissions reductions, and position themselves to potentially receive payments for these reductions under initiatives such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)… The training workshop was led by Winrock International’s internationally-recognized climate scientist Dr. Sandra Brown and her Ecosystem Services team, and included interactive sessions on REL creation using historic emissions and projections, practical tools for carbon accounting, and reporting of national circumstances.

[Indonesia] Cargill tied to violence in Sumatra?

UPI.com, 30 August 2011 | Security forces used by a palm oil supplier to Cargill are using violence and intimidation against villagers in Indonesia, the Rainforest Action Network claims. The Rainforest Action Network accused palm oil supplier Wilmar of using armed violence against villagers in Sumatra. Heavy machinery, the advocacy group adds, is used by Wilmar to destroy area homes as well. Lindsey Allen, forest program director at the group, said agricultural trading giant Cargill needs to adopt “crucial” safeguards on its supply chains… The advocacy group claims security forces working for Wilmar arrested one villager for trying to sell palm oil fruits. This in turn sparked conflict between villagers and local police forces. Working with Indonesian police, Wilmar security teams destroyed some village homes and the use of live ammunition was reported during the raids.

Lawmakers want more US pressure on human rights as Obama embraces regional ally Indonesia

Washington Post, 30 August 2011 | President Barack Obama has embraced Indonesia as a crucial U.S. ally in Southeast Asia, but rights groups and critics in Congress say the administration is too eager to trumpet Jakarta as a democratic success story. Ahead of Obama’s trip later this year to Indonesia, the second of his presidency, they want the U.S. to press Indonesia harder over its weak response to recent sectarian attacks by Islamic hard-liners and abuses by the military in remote West Papua.

[Indonesia] How dentists are saving Borneo’s rainforest

By Stanley Johnson, The Independent, 30 August 2011 | Orang-utans could be extinct in the wild within 20 years. Gunung Palung National Park was haven to about 2,000 of them. Gunung Palung is also home to endangered species such as sun bears, proboscis monkeys and gibbons, plus hornbills among an estimated 178 types of birds. With the relentless expansion of palm oil plantations all around, there are more and more pressures on the park, not just from those who wish to chip away at its boundaries to establish palm oil plantations, but from local people who increasingly turn to the park to meet their needs for firewood and timber.

[Cambodia] Invoking Buddha to Protect Forests

By Brendan Brady, PRI’s The World, 30 August 2011 | Tha Soun’s orange robe shimmers as he strolls through a patch of forest in Northern Cambodia, pointing out trees and shrubs with medicinal benefits. He gestures toward berries that he says are good for joint and muscle pain, and a beehive full of nutritious wild honey. Tha and his fellow monks from nearby Samraong pagoda have presided over this 44-thousand acre forest known as Sorng Rukavorn, or simply Monk Forest, for a decade. These days it seems a serene garden, but it wasn’t always so. Tha says that not long ago, police and soldiers would come here to poach timber. “I would advise them to stop if I thought they might listen,” Tha says. “But if they wouldn’t listen, I would just take away their chainsaws and weapons.” Tha says he and the other members of his Buddhist community have succeeded in protecting the forest because they are respected spiritual figures. But his experience before he became a monk certainly helps as well.

31 August 2011

Macquarie builds a Partnership worth $25 Million

By Hannah Kett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 August 2011 | A new partnership between the Macquarie Group and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) is trying to address this challenge by launching the BioCarbon Group Pte Limited to identify and fund REDD projects around the world. “We believe this is a truly unique arrangement,” says Brer Adams, an Associate Director of Macquarie. “What makes this very different is this is a global agreement between BioCarbon and FFI. It covers all forest conservation opportunities that might suit commercial investment across FFI’s 41 countries.”

Sorting out rights to trees in Ghana

By Jan Willem den Besten (IUCN), AlertNet, 31 August 2011 | In many countries where REDD+ is now being prepared, tenure rights are ill-defined or unclear. In Ghana, the situation can be particularly confusing because formal and customary systems exist side by side. Most land in Ghana is owned and controlled by traditional authorities or families. They typically lease land to farmers under customary arrangements recognised under Ghana’s constitution. Farmers share proceeds and crops with the owners of the land. Tree ownership is more clearly defined inside forest reserves because there the government manages the forest and trees and hold the land in trust for the people. Outside forest reserves, where land is owned by traditional authorities or families, the situation is complex… The current situation and lessons learned provide another reminder to REDD funders and practitioners that REDD involves a lot more than just enabling payments for carbon.

Anti-extinction campaign launched to protect 35 Colombian tribes

Survival International, 31 August 2011 | The UN has launched a campaign to protect 35 indigenous tribes from extinction in Colombia. Survival works closely with one of tribes, the Nukak, nomadic hunter-gatherers living in the northwest Amazon basin. The campaign responds to a barrage of threats that could wipe out the Indians. These include internal displacement, disappearances, massacres, anti-personnel mines and forced recruitment of youngsters into armed groups. In 2010, a UN article ahead of this campaign, warned that ‘the risk of physical or cultural disappearance remains, and in some cases has risen’. The tribes it singled out as being in critical danger included the Nukak-Maku, Guayaberos, Hitnu and Sicuani. Colombia’s national indigenous organization ONIC also claims 60 indigenous people have been murdered in the last eight months.

[Brazil] Rainforest activist asks for protection after death threats

By Fabíola Ortiz, The Guardian, 31 August 2011 | Raimundo Francisco Belmiro dos Santos, a defender of the Amazon jungle, has requested urgent protection from the authorities in Brazil after reporting that a number of hired gunmen are looking for him, because landowners in the northern state of Pará have offered a 50,000 dollar contract for his death. Belmiro dos Santos is a 46-year-old “seringueiro” or rubber tapper who fears for his life and the lives of his family, after receiving numerous threats for his activism against the destruction of the Amazon jungle. “My life is really complicated today, because they have put a price on my head, and say that I will be killed before the end of the year,” the activist told IPS in an anguished voice by telephone from the Riozinho do Anfrísio reserve, where he lives.

Brazil Forest Law changes threaten to send climate achievements up in smoke

WWF, 31 August 2011 | Proposed changes to Brazil’s forest laws that will cut back protection and offer wide ranging amnesties for illegal deforestation threaten to undo the country’s impressive performances in cutting back emissions and protecting biodiversity. “As it stands now, the forest law is a piece of legislation that looks to the future. It is the best possible legal framework for our adaptation to Climate Change through the conservation of ecosystems”, the leader of WWF’s Living Amazon Initiative, Claudio Maretti, told a recent seminar organized by NGO groups in Brasilia. Over the last 10 years Brazil has set a highly positive example of conservation, not only by reducing the rate of deforestation in the Amazon but also by creating terrestrial protected areas, Maretti said.

[Indonesia] When Will We Cash In on the Carbon Trade?

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 31 August 2011 | Iman Santoso, the Forestry Ministry’s director general for forestry business, said much of the policy framework necessary for Indonesia to benefit from its forests’ capacity to function as a carbon sink was not yet in place. “First, we need to have a fixed price [for carbon] so that we can benefit from a carbon-trading scheme,” he said during a recent discussion about the low-carbon economy. “Second, we still don’t have regulations, for instance about the distribution of the money,” he said. “Who’ll get what? And how much?” Iman added that while the Forestry Ministry had drafted several policies on the carbon trade, they were still under review because the Finance Ministry had differing opinions.

[Vietnam] “Community forest” the effective tool for sustainable forest management

VietnamNet, 31 August 2011 | Despite the problems, experts still believe that the model of “community forests” can create favorable conditions to effectively apply the tools for sustainable forest management, including REDD (United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries), PES (Payments for Environmental Services), FLEGT Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade. At the recent meeting between the delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the leaders of Na Ri and Ba Be in Bac Kan province, Deputy Minister Hua Duc Nhi said that the ministry has submitted the plan on the second phase of REDD project to the donors, and Bac Kan would continue to be one of the two provinces to implement the second phase.

1 September 2011

[UK] London Olympics Drops Carbon-Offset Plan

By Sarah Halls, Bloomberg, 1 September 2011 | Organizers of the London 2012 Olympic Games dropped a plan to cut carbon emissions during the sporting showcase, abandoning a pledge made when it defeated eight other cities to host the event. Games administrators will “no longer pursue formal offsetting procedures” to mitigate Olympics-related emissions, documents posted on the London Olympics website said. David Stubbs, the head of sustainability at the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympics Games, or LOCOG, said in an interview that going ahead with the plan would have shifted the focus away from Britain.

Panda Bashing: Reflections on NGO-Business Partnerships

By Scott Poynton, Huffington Post, 1 September 2011 | NGOs, like businesses, have an intense marketing motive. Businesses spend money — lots of it — on environmental and social programs. There’s no shortage of NGOs with which to partner. This creates a dance where businesses bring their dollars, NGOs bring their programs, and amid much choreography, someone wins. Unsurprisingly, because that is how our human minds work, it is usually the NGO with the slickest marketing able to convince us that their program best matches the motive. NGOs do spend money on marketing and where there’s marketing, inevitably, there is bullshit, too. Nothing wrong with a focus on brand, but when the approach to build the brand value trends towards bullshit, you’re in trouble. Prenuptial dances between businesses and NGOs now focus more on questions of delivery. What are you delivering? How are you doing it? Is it bringing real change in the eyes of the people that count?

[Equatorial Guinea] Visiting minister’s over E17m stolen

By Welcome Dlamini, Times of Swaziland, 1 September 2011 | Visiting Equatorial Guinea’s Mini-ster of Agriculture and Forestry Teodoro Ngu-ema Obiang Mangue has been robbed an amount believed to be about E17.5 million. The minister, who is reportedly earmarked as the next President of the oil-rich country, is said to have lost the money at the five-star Royal Villas Resort where he has been accommodated since arrival. The lost money, which sources said was kept in a bag inside the minister’s room, is reported to amount to $2.5 million, which is E17.5 million if calculated at the latest exchange rate. Sources said the money disappeared between Monday night and Tuesday morning after the flamboyant minister had thrown a party in his villa.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 September 2011 | Maybe it’s because Durban is just around the corner, but a lot of countries seem to be making an effort to signal their willingness to take self-directed steps to build capacity and stronger policy for REDD+ programs. In Laos the Department of Forestry held its first national information-sharing and consultation workshop to build a strategy for REDD implementation, while Indonesia’s government signaled an increase willingness to at least hear what the public has to say (albeit through email) about their current draft strategy for a national REDD+ program. Over in Suriname a new agency is being set up to coordinate action on reducing emissions, conserving and expanding forests, and the real prize (if Suriname can attract REDD+ funding on par with their neighbors in Guyana) – to manage the country’s Climate Change Fund.

REDD: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Geneviève Lavoie-Mathieu, Alternatives International, 1 September 2011 | REDD, which has for main aim to create incentives for people and investors to protect rather than destroy forests, has spurred a lot of controversy. It stems from the fact that forests targeted by REDD include areas heavily populated by indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities. For them, REDD projects could mean a drastic change in their traditional way of life as their rights, interests, and livelihoods are at stake. Some claim the carbon market solutions are not about mitigating climate, but are in fact greenwashing policies – followed for symbolic rather than environmental reasons – that allow fossil fuel development to expand.

Guyana getting closer to decision on EU forestry trade accord

Stabroek News, 1 September 2011 | A decision on whether Guyana will join a European Union (EU) trade accord to ensure that only legally harvested timber is imported into the EU is likely to be made shortly. Guyana is considering entering into a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU under its Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme and held an awareness workshop on the topic yesterday. VPAs are a central element of the EU’s strategy to combat illegal logging and ensure legal timber trade as well as support good forest governance in the partner countries.

2 September 2011

WikiLeaks shows cracks in India’s climate stand

By Nitin Sethi, Times Of India, 2 September 2011 | The differences of opinion in the higher echelons of the government about India’s international climate change stance has now come out in the open with a WikiLeaks cable showing senior leaders Jairam Ramesh, in his role as environment minister, and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of Planning Commission, taking divergent views on climate change in their interactions with senior US officials. A cable recording a meeting of US special envoy on climate change Todd Stern with Ahluwalia in August 2009 records, ” Deputy Planning Commissioner Montek Singh Ahluwalia told S/E Stern that the developing countries’ rhetoric regarding historical responsibility was a negotiating tool and while India publicly projected that it had no intention of reducing emissions, it was putting in place measures to deploy wind and solar energy that would reduce its emissions from business as usual.”

Community-Managed Forests Preserve More Trees Than Government Protected Areas, Study Says

By Matthew McDermott, TreeHugger, 2 September 2011 | Circling back on an issue TreeHugger wrote about in 2009, with a new study backing up the idea that community-managed forests preserve them better than government-run protected areas. A new study done by the Center for International Forestry Research, published in Forest Ecology and Management looked at 40 protected areas and 33 community-managed forests in 16 nations. The community forests only lost 0.24% of forest cover per year, while the government-protected areas lost an average of 1.47% annually. As for the reason why the community-managed forests fared better on average, the study says involving the community in conservation not only (perhaps obviously) increases local participation, but it also reduces poverty and provides greater economic opportunities.

New plan to restore 150 million hectares of forest

mongabay.com, 2 September 2011 | Conservationists and politicians meeting in Bonn on Friday launched a new initiative to restore 150 million hectares (580,000 square miles) of deforested and degraded forests, reports the World Resources Institute (WRI), an NGO that is involved in the effort. Supporters say the target – dubbed the Bonn Challenge – could could boost economic growth while helping fight climate change. “Restoring 150 million hectares of degraded lands represents an exciting and largely untapped opportunity to create more jobs and economic growth, while also protecting our climate,” said Göran Persson, a former Prime Minister of Sweden who will lead the New Global Restoration Council.

[Vietnam] $11m in funds to help protect forests

Viet Nam News, 2 September 2011 | The German Government and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) office in Germany have committed 8.2 million euro (US$11.7 million) to enhance the protection of forests near the Viet Nam-Lao border, the German Embassy announced yesterday. The four-year project “Annamites Carbon Sinks and Biodiversity” aims to prevent forest degradation and promote sustainable management of 200,000ha of forest in the central provinces of Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue, and a national park in Laos. The area, part of the Truong Son Mountain Range and a portion of the biggest mixed-forest region in Asia, is home to many endangered species such as Indochina Tiger, Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) and douc langurs (Pygathrix)… A majority of the funding, $10.3 million, will come from Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through KfW Entwicklungsbank (the German Development Bank). The remaining funds will come from the WWF German bureau.

Making small-scale mining less of a gamble in the Congo Basin

By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 2 September 2011 | Gold and diamond mining remains a risky business in the Congo Basin, but the development of coherent mining policies and improvement of the knowledge and skills of small-scale miners is necessary to ensure secure livelihoods and maintain minimal impact on the surrounding forest area, suggests a new study. Small-scale or artisanal mining employs over 13 million people in developing countries, and 100 million more people indirectly depend on the sector for their livelihoods. Gold and diamond deposits have been found throughout the Congo Basin and have a long history of exploitation and conflict in the region.

3 September 2011

[Indonesia] Jambi Villagers Fight to Save Their Forests

By Fawziah Selamat, Jakarta Globe, 3 September 2011 | During Indonesia’s dry season from May to September, thick smoke from the fires blow into neighboring Singapore and Malaysia. But now, villagers in Merangin regency are fighting back. Worried that their forests will be wiped out, 17 villages in the regency are seeking central government approval for the green areas to be recognized as hutan desa, or village forests, under a 2008 law. If they succeed, they will secure rights to manage the forest for up to 35 years. Applying for hutan desa status essentially pits villagers against large firms, and throws them into a tedious and complicated process. The villagers have to use their own funds to map out the exact perimeters of their forest, and the boundaries have to be approved by the local, provincial and central governments.

4 September 2011

Who owns the carbon? Resolving land tenure key to moving forward with REDD+ in Indonesia

By Rachel Rivera, CIFOR Forests Blog, 4 September 2011 | Clarifying land tenure policies to avoid forest conflict in Indonesia- where overlapping claims to forest lands and undefined boundaries are a common problem- will require active engagement of local communities especially as the government grapples with getting REDD+ off the ground, says a recent CIFOR study.“Tenure insecurity is at the crux of forest controversies. If left unresolved the issue will undoubtedly lead to further conflict under REDD+,” said Yurdi Yasmi, co-author of Managing Conflict Escalation in Forestry: Logging versus local community interests in Baru Pelepat village.

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