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.
Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, March 2012 | Guyana’s forest covers approximately 85% of the country, contains over 5 GtCO2 in above ground biomass, and is estimated at 18.39 million hectares. It provides a home to over a thousand plant and animal species that live in and depend on the ecosystems that the forests provide. Today, Guyana’s forests stand as one of largest tract of undisturbed forest in the world (25% of world’s remaining forest) and house almost 40% endemics species of plant and animal life. Many parts of Guyana’s forest is also home to our Indigenous peoples, who have lived in and protected the forest for generations in the past. With forests being one of the most multi-dimensional resources in the world, it supports both renewable and non renewable utilization, and a range of forest goods and services.
Timber Trade Journal, March 2012 | Forests are used for much more than timber structures and building components. However, the construction industry and the timber supply chain have a key role to play in ensuring that only timber from legal and sustainable sources is used in all their activities. To support the work being done on reducing illegal harvesting of timber – such as the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme and other projects run by national governments and NGOs – the European Commission has chosen a legislative route: the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). This comes into force in March 2013 and applies to timber and timber-based products manufactured both within the EU and imported into Member States from outside the EU.
FONAFIFO, CONAFOR and Ecuador Ministry of Environment, March 2012 | Between them, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Ecuador have substantial experience with implementing payments for ecosystem services (PES) and conservation incentive programs. Yet, many aspects of their experiences remain poorly understood and would require special attention in any new or expanded use of these types of incentives. As these countries, along with many others, get ready to implement integrated approaches to Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD or REDD+ with conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks), they seek to understand how the lessons and challenges from their past experiences, as well as the wider lessons from similar initiatives around the world, can inform their emerging REDD+ strategies, policies, institutional frameworks, and tools.
IUCN, no date | IUCN is developing pro-poor options for REDD+. IUCN´s pro-poor REDD+ approach is being shaped and developed in Guatemala, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda and Indonesia. The proposed poster will inform visitors to the 2012 WCC and showcase successful experiences with the shaping of the pro-poor REDD+ Approach in these countries. The aim of this approach is for REDD+ not to create additional burdens for the rural poor but instead to recognise their concerns, rights and therefore include them in the design, monitoring of REDD+ and ensure that they are able to share in the benefits. The pro-poor REDD+ approach is anchored in IUCN´s rights-based approaches to conservation: attention to frameworks for good forest governance; the importance given to the livelihoods of people and their sharing in nature´s benefits.
IUCN, no date | This debate will explore outcomes of experiences with participatory approaches that illustrate the added value, comparative advantages and the complementary nature of pro-poor REDD+ approaches. Experts present short papers prepared in advance that summarize how information generated through the application of particular participatory tools has contributed to decision making addressing the interests of forest-dependent people. The moderator will guide the discussion with questions prepared in advance, based on the papers. Other participants will provide a reality-check and critically assess whether the information that these tools are producing can indeed better inform decision making processes. The discussion will generate recommendations for the experts to optimize the use of these tools for decisions that have to be made for REDD+ and aims to find common understanding on pro-poor REDD+ approaches.
12 March 2012
Greenlite Ventures press release, 12 March 2012 | Greenlite Ventures Inc. announced today that it has commenced sales of voluntary carbon offsets through its Website at www.greenlitecarboncredits.com. The carbon offsets being sold are from carbon sequestration by teak trees planted by United Nature in Panama. Greenlite has an agreement with United Nature to market carbon offsets produced by their reforestation projects in Panama’s Darien region, the most southern region of Panama. United Nature has 1700 hectares (4199 acres) under ownership and management in Panama. Each hectare sequesters approximately 10 tons of atmospheric carbon per year. United Nature plants in jungle areas that have been damaged as a result of illegal or unethical tree harvesting practices such as clear cutting. Teak is the preferred wood for the plantations because it is resistant to disease and forest fires.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 March 2012 | Ecosystem Marketplace launched a new report last week, with 13 case studies from around the world exploring the way governments are engaging with the voluntary carbon markets (VCM). Bringing it Home: Taking Stock of Government Engagement with the Voluntary Carbon Market reveals that of the 13 programs profiled in the report, 11 allow credits from a variety of forest and terrestrial carbon project types, from afforestation/reforestation, IFM and REDD to rangeland and grassland management. Just today, forest carbon giants ERA Carbon Offsets and Wildlife Works announced that they have entered into a Joint Venture Agreement to complete the 299,645 hectare Mai Ndombe REDD project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which was announced by ERA in late summer 2011.
By Peter Alford, The Australian, 12 March 2012 | Under the bill, an Australian importer bringing in “regulated timber products that include illegally logged timber” is criminally liable from the day the new law takes effect. The onus to ensure legality is on the importer. However, regulations to define “regulated timber products” do not yet exist, even in draft form, and will be developed over two years from the bill becoming law — unusual sequencing for Australian law… Indonesia fully supported the objective of preventing illegal logging but “regrets that our co-operation has not been sought to date on the best means to address the aims”. Indonesia believed the bill was inconsistent with Australia’s international trade obligations.
By Zheng Xin, China Daily, 12 March 2012 | China will plant another 26 billion trees in the next decade to further carry out the compulsory tree planting campaign, which began in 1979, according to a forestry official. Jia Zhibang, head of the State Forestry Administration said on Sunday that by the end of 2020, some 223 million hectares or more than 23 percent of China’s land mass will be forested. According to Jia, forests have become the fourth most significant source of energy after coal, oil and natural gas, and play an increasingly significant role as an alternative energy source, especially during the current worldwide predicament in energy resources. The campaign has become the most effective mass movement in the world in terms of time and participation, with 61.4 billion trees planted and some 13.3 billion people participating since the 1980s, according to Jia.
ERA press release, 12 March 2012 | ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd… is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with Wildlife Works to complete the 299,645 hectare Mai Ndombe REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the “DRC”) which was announced in ERA’s August 5, 2011 News Release. The Joint Venture between ERA and WW will see both companies cooperate on project finance, technical development, implementation, and eventual carbon sales from offsets developed within the project area. Current modelling estimates that the project will develop significant volumes of carbon offsets in the range of 1.5 to 3.0 million tonnes per year beginning in 2012.
By Christina Chauvenet, mongabay.com, 12 March 2012 | Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), the conservation nonprofit based in Washington, DC, is facing a lawsuit by Kenya’s Samburu tribe over alleged unlawful evictions. The hearing, originally scheduled for January 23, has now been postponed to later this month. The dispute is over an area of land in Laikipia District in Kenya, one of Africa’s most wildlife rich areas. Until recently, it was also the homeland of some 2,000 semi nomadic members of the Samburu tribe. At least according to the Samburu… This lawsuit is just the latest in a conflict that began several years ago between the Samburu and AWF. AWF bought the land in question in 2008 along with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and according to a local community elder, promised the local people many things; better roads, new schools, and improved access to healthcare. But that never came. Instead, what came was a series of brutal evictions and harassment…
By Claire Fram, RECOFTC’s Blog for People and Forests, 12 March 2012 | As Fabian Noeske, ForInfo Technical Advisor, says, “People are using their teak plantations like piggy-banks.” For village communities in Northern Laos, saving money is tough. For most of the year, they rely on rice, corn, or coix grass seeds as both cash and subsistence crops. Saving is difficult because local incomes often barely meet daily expenses, and between crop harvests cash flow in villages can be especially tight. When emergencies arise, like a family member needing urgent surgery or the death of goats in a farmer’s herd, people cannot turn to capital savings to make up for the sudden need for cash. Instead, they turn to their trees. Of the 180 households in Huaythongtai, 90 grow teak. Even though the plantations are each less than a single hectare, setting aside this land is a significant investment for villagers as it cannot be used for agriculture…
The Himalayan Times, 12 March 2012 | Massive wildfire burning at three community forests namely Chuliban, Mandine Pakha and Deurali in Dhankuta Municipality is yet to come under control. According to District Federation of Community Forest Users’ Committee, many wild animals have been burnt to death and herbal plants worth hundreds of thousands of rupees destroyed in the fire. According to District Police Office, Dhankuta, four houses, including that of Chaupate Rai of Dhankuta-8, have been reduced to ashes after the wildfire entered a human settlement. Local Amrit Rai said they are preparing to leave their houses, with the out-of-control fire approaching the settlement. Police informed that Nepal Police, Nepali Army and APF personnel and others are battling the fire, but in vain due to a strong gust of wind.
Philippine Information Agency, 12 March 2012 | A total of 1,884 upland farmers from the Bicol region are continuously benefiting from the Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources according to the 2011 accomplishment report of the DENR Forest Management Service (FMS). The report discloses the implementation of 33 livelihood and agro-forestry CBFM projects regionwide covering a total of 1, 849 hectares, seven of which have already been turned over to the regional office; the others are on its project phase. Among the project’s accomplishments for 2011 are the establishment of agro-forestry plantations, setting-up of nursery propagation and composting, and purchase and distribution of carabaos to members of organized groups. Agro-forestry farm development is the planting of forest trees combined with agricultural crops.
By Gerald Kitabu, ippmedia.com, 12 March 2012 | Communities in Kangamoja, Likwaya and Ruhoma villages in Lindi rural have started benefiting from sale of carbon credits under a project dubbed ‘REDD’ being implemented in the district to conserve forests. Carbon enterprise coordinator for Community Forest Conservation Network of Tanzania, (Mjumita) Someni Mteleka said recently that the communities have received more than 40m/- for reducing deforestation and managing forests. “The aim is to ensure that REDD benefits reach the communities, provide them with wide ranging opportunities, increase local benefits from forests and diversify local incomes from natural resource management,” he said… The REDD pilot project is being implemented by the Mjumita and Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) in Lindi and Kilosa districts with the financial support from Norway.
Bangkok Post, 12 March 2012 | The Nan River basin is being threatened by a drought crisis as a vast tract of forest in the area has been turned into cash crop plantations, water management experts have warned. Sujarit Koontanakulvong, a water engineer from Chulalongkorn University, has expressed his concern over land use changes in the river basin, saying the transformation of natural forest land into mono-crop plantation could lead to a reduction in rainfall volume in the region. The Nan River basin covers five provinces – Nan, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Phichit and Nakhon Sawan. Mr Sujarit said most of the forest zone in the river basin had been replaced by maize and rubber plantations. In Nan province alone, about 70% of the forest area has been turned into maize plantations. Mr Sujarit and his team studied the link between forest coverage and rainfall patterns in Nan. They found that in the past, rain fell more frequently, but in smaller amounts than is now the case.
13 March 2012
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 13 Mar 2012 | The contradiction is striking. Just as the European Union faces arguably the greatest crisis since its inception, leaving it visibly diminished on the world stage, the bloc’s ambitious and influential climate change strategy has never looked more powerful. This contrast was laid bare at last year’s Durban Climate Summit where EU environment ministers were widely praised for the progressive and constructive role they played in delivering a new international agreement, at precisely the same time as Prime Ministers and Presidents were engaged in the latest round of desperate through-the-night meetings attempting to save the eurozone from collapse. It is also apparent in the bold response of the European Commission to the US and China’s threats of a trade war over its plans to price carbon emissions from airlines, effectively telling one of the countries that holds a huge stake in the EU’s debt mountain to stop bleating.
By Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit, 13 March 2012 | The global demand for vegetable oil is growing and contributing to deforestation, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Their report Recipes for Success: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Vegetable Oils, offers solutions to aid businesses, governments and consumers in finding vegetable oils that do not adversely affect forest cover. The increase in demand for vegetable oil not only impacts global economy but also ecosystems. This demand more land that is needed to grow crops. Palm oil and soybean oil are the worst culprits. Sadly, over the last decade, much of this demand has been met by clear-cutting tropical forests. Deforestation accounts for about 15 percent of annual global carbon emissions.
USAID, 13 March 2012 | USAID provides a database of current projects. REDD is also being proposed after a recent publication in Nature Climate Change released a study that tropical rainforests store 229 billion tons of carbon in their vegetation. This study, through The Woods Hole Research Center, used new satellite-based assessment, including cloud-penetrating LiDAR (less degree of error). The findings are available in a free downloadable carbon density map here.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 13 March 2012 | The combined impacts of deforestation and climate change will bring a host of new troubles for the world’s tropical rainforests argues a new study in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Drying rainforests due to climate change could lead to previously inaccessible forests falling to loggers, burning in unprecedented fires, or being overexploited by hunters. “Not all tropical forests are going to dry out and warm up, but for those that do, we need to worry about more frequent and intense human-caused fires, as well as increasing accessibility to loggers and hunters,” lead author Jedediah Brodie with the University of Montana told mongabay.com.
ERA, 13 March 2012 | ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. is pleased to announce that it will support GLOBE 2012 by being an official offset sponsor for this upcoming event, and will co-host CODE REDD, a call to action for the world’s endangered forests, together with Wildlife Works. GLOBE 2012 will be held March 14th to 16th, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, at the Vancouver Convention Centre East.
BBC News, 13 March 2012 | The EU has called on European governments to include data on CO2 emissions from farming and forestry in their efforts to tackle climate change. The draft law on accounting rules is in line with what was agreed at the Durban climate change conference in December. But the EU does not yet plan to include farming and forestry in its CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The goal is to accurately measure CO2 emissions from biomass used for energy and from ploughing and logging. The European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – says the current rules covering agriculture and forestry account for two of the three main greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide – but not CO2 (carbon dioxide).
By Tina Rosenberg, New York Times, 13 March 2012 | Every year Africa loses forest cover equal to the size of Switzerland. Terence Sunderland, a senior scientist at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research, said that in southern Africa, even trees that can be used for fine carving, such as ebony and rosewood, are being cut down and made into charcoal… Sunderland is talking to several southern African governments about bamboo. Farther north, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, a membership organization of 38 countries based in Beijing, is providing technical support for growing and using bamboo in Ghana and Ethiopia.
By Sonam Choden, Kuensel Online, 13 March 2012 | About 800 acres of blue pine forest was damaged by the forest fire that raged for the last three days on the hills of Namseling and Ramtokto in Thimphu. The fire, which started around 2pm on Saturday, was contained at 4:30pm yesterday, by more than 400 people, who had come to battle the fire, with their pack lunches, twigs, water bags, spades and racks. No motorable road goes to the area where the fire, fanned by strong winds, climbed up to for the last three days. Head of forest fire management program Tandin Dorji said steep gradient and falling boulders affected their attempt to fight the fire sooner. “If it wasn’t for the steep gradient, we could have contained the fire sooner,” he said. Tandin Dorji said a lot of blue pine trees were burnt, which are nonresistant to fire. “Blue pine trees won’t survive,” he said. The fire started from an orchard where a 78-year old caretaker was burning some debris.
By Kim Chipman and Sophia Yan, Bloomberg, 13 March 2012 | As world political and business leaders ready for the Rio+20 U.N. sustainability conference in June, Brazil’s leaders are debating policy changes that could jeopardize the leadership it has earned from reducing Amazon deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Since hosting the 1992 “Earth Summit,” which produced the first international agreement on forest protection, Brazil has risen from the ninth- to sixth-largest economy, ahead of the U.K. and just behind France. Deforestation in the Amazon last year fell to the lowest rate since government began monitoring the world’s biggest rainforest in 1988. The rate is down almost 80 percent in six years. “A decade ago, almost everyone would have said efforts to get Brazil to stop cutting down the Amazon were a total failure,” said Doug Boucher, head of the Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
By Syamsul Huda M. Suhari, Jakarta Post, 13 March 2012 | In 2011, Clayton noted, 127 babi rusa were slaughtered and sold alongside vegetables in Langowan. In January 2012 YANI managed to release two babi rusa trapped in a dudeso, a rope snare set up by hunters. The reproduction rate of babi rusa is very low, with only one to two being born every year. The population on the entire island of Sulawesi is estimated at just around 5,000, of which only 500 are left in Nantu. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) declared the omnivore a protected rare species in 1996. The other threat to babi rusa comes from wood and rattan looting. Nonfi Pandeirot, 49, a YANI activist, said such activity could be seen almost every day along the banks of the Paguyaman River, particularly since 2007. In August 2011, police on a monthly patrol in Nantu seized about 80 cubic meters of logs…
By Khamphone Syvongxay, Vientiane Times, 13 March 2012 | The New Chip Xeng Group is working to boost revenues from forest protection and the carbon credit market, through the Sub-National Reduction from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Project (SN-REDD) scheme. The SN-REDD scheme is being administered as a public private partnership between the government and private sector companies with the aim of selling carbon credits through forestry protection in conservation areas. The New Chip Xeng Group have made an initial investment of US$3 million to undertake a three-year feasibility study on setting up a scheme to trade carbon credits, which began in 2011 and will end in 2013. After the feasibility study is complete, they plan to start a 17 year carbon trading scheme that will run until 2030. Initial estimations suggest forests are capable of sequestering between 10 and 20 tonnes of carbon per hectare of forest depending on the area, which will then be traded for US$4-US$15 per tonne…
The Himalayan Times, 13 March 2012 | Speakers at a program have said that proper utilization of herbs and natural resources would help generate more employment in the country. Speaking at a program organised by the Federation of Community Forest Users, Nepal, (FECOFUN) here on Tuesday, they pointed out that the forest sector could contribute double than agriculture to promote livelihood of commoners if the forest sector were developed properly. Former Chairman of the FECOFUN, Ghan Shyam Pandey said only 10 million cubic feet timber were supplied from community and national forests as there was demand for as high as 100 million cubic feet timbers in Nepal every year. He added 150 million cubic feet could be supplied if there was long-term management of forests. Secretariat member of the FECOFUN, Bal Bahadur Rai said there are 17,000 community forests in the country where around 12.5 million people have directly or indirectly involved.
scotsman.com, 13 March 2012 | Scotland’s woodlands are at risk from a giant Russian moth whose caterpillars can cause large-scale damage to pine forests over thousands of acres, Forestry Commission officials have warned. Forestry Commission Scotland is attempting to halt the spread of a localised population of the insect, the pine-tree lappet moth. The caterpillars of the moth – Latin name Dendrolimus Pini – grow to more than three inches long, and can leave large areas of pine woodland stripped of foliage as they feed voraciously on the needles. Despite the relatively modest size of the caterpillar, the moth itself is huge – females have a wingspan the breadth of a man’s hand. Many of the trees targeted by its caterpillars die because without their needles they become susceptible to diseases, bark beetles and wood-boring insects.
14 March 2012
By Peter Thompson (GreenWorld BVI), Technorati Finance, 14 March 2012 | Given the heavy focus on extraction industries in the Australian economy – sectors which would certainly not be considered “green” or environmentally sensitive – it would probably come as quite a surprise that Australia has recently implemented the most innovative carbon mitigation program in the world aimed at encouraging sustainable energy investment and combating global warming. This law involves a simple and direct tax on carbon emissions and involves an innovative use of so-called carbon credits.”
Environmental Finance, 14 March 2012 | The World Resources Institute (WRI) has named Andrew Steer, currently the World Bank’s special climate change envoy, as its new president. “Andrew is a dynamic and gifted leader, with a deep knowledge of sustainability issues and on-the-ground experience in the world’s most rapidly developing economies. As these issues become more urgent, Andrew is ideally suited to lead WRI in achieving its mission,” said James Harmon, chairman of the Washington, DC-based environmental think-tank’s board of directors. “A passionate and eloquent communicator, Andrew will champion the organisation’s evidence-based and results-focused approach to build a healthier and more sustainable planet.” Prior to his current role, Steer worked as director of the World Bank’s environment department, and as Bank country director for Indonesia and Vietnam. From 2007 to 2010, he was director general for policy and research at the UK’s Department for International Development.
Brisbane Times, 14 March 2012 | Top US economists, including five Nobel Prize winners, have urged US President Barack Obama to drop his opposition to charging airlines for carbon emissions under a European Union scheme that has drawn fierce opposition from airlines and governments around the world. The 26 US economists made their case in a letter that will be handed to Obama on Wednesday. A copy was made available to Reuters. The United States, along with China, India, Russia and the aviation industry, have expressed outrage at the European Union scheme to require all airlines using EU airports offset emissions of gasses blamed for global warming. The measure would come under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
By Samuel Nota, AlertNet, 14 March 2012 | After 20 years dominated by inaction on climate change, the world is entering a “third era” when the impacts of climate change are unavoidable, says a London climate expert. Even if countries instantly reduced carbon emissions to zero, the impacts of emissions already in the atmosphere are “inevitable and unavoidable for the next 20 or so years,” said Saleemul Huq, a climate expert at the London-based International Institute of Environment and Development and former executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies.
By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests Blog, 14 March 2012 | The invisible services that forests provide – such as recharging groundwater and preventing soil erosion– should be actively harnessed as a means to adapt to the effects of climate change, but risk being overlooked after the absence of ecosystem services from Rio+20 preparation documents. “Adaptation to climate change is central to Rio’s central theme of sustainable development. One of the critical questions for sustainable development is: how can we sustain development in a changing climate and under increasing climate threats?” said Bruno Locatelli, CIRAD scientist, seconded to CIFOR’s Forests and Environment Programme and co-author of Ecosystem Services in the National Adaptation Programmes of Action published in Climate Policy. “However, there is a risk that adaptation might not surface as an over-arching critical issue in at Rio+20, as it is not really mentioned in the zero outcome document.”
By Diana Aguiar, TrustLaw, 14 March 2012 | [UNEP’s report on the green economy] insists on the idea that a green economy will actually allow for higher growth rates, as long as markets perceive “green investments” as financially profitable, thus placing environmental sustainability under the neoliberal value of profit maximization. This is the logic behind one of the main (and much critiqued) instruments of the new “green deal”: carbon markets and the market-based Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). But these arguments fail to recognize that decisions made by transnational corporations are often based on short-term profit maximization, not on lack of information regarding “green investments”.
By Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters, 14 March 2012 | Saving biodiversity – the vast and essential variety of the natural world — will be expensive, at an estimated $300 billion a year for the next eight years. But losing it would cost even more, in terms of disease, hunger, poverty and diminished resilience to climate change, according to the new chief of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity. “Biodiversity is the basis of everything we do in agriculture, everything we do in health,” Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias told Reuters. “So the development of new vaccines, the development of new cultured varieties of plants is based on biodiversity, genetic resources. If we lose biodiversity, we lose the options for future development in these areas.” Human destruction of natural habitats, unbridled economic development, pollution and climate change are among the threats to plant and animal life, on land and underwater.
By Ben Martin, The Ecologist, 14 March 2012 | Some, such as Greenpeace’s Ian Duff, remain sceptical of the RSPO’s certification scheme. ‘There’s no such thing as sustainable palm oil,’ says Duff. ‘The standards under which the RSPO has achieved sustainability are flawed – they’re not strong enough, and they’re not being policed enough. Even if we make all palm oil sustainably produced, that won’t stop the destruction of rainforest in places like Malaysia and Indonesia.’ Kenneth Richter concurs. ‘The RSPO doesn’t take into account carbon emissions at source, which is a huge problem,’ he says. ‘In addition, there are a lot of loopholes, so companies like Sime Darby are members [of RSPO] but there is a lot of evidence that they’ve continued to illegally deforest for plantations.’ Bob Norman is more optimistic. ‘Yes, the bar can always be raised. But out of all the standards out there, it’s a very strong standard. You have to start somewhere.’
Climate Change Policy & Practice, 14 March 2012 | The March issue of Go-REDD+, a newsletter of the UN-REDD-Programme’s Asia-Pacific team, focuses on whether REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and carbon stock enhancement in developing countries) in its current form can be achievable by all States, and in particular in “fragile” States. The article, authored by Alan Karsenty and Symphorien Ongolo, argues that the system of incentives on which REDD+ is based will not likely work in fragile States where corruption and dominance of private agendas are rampant. In these cases, the authors argue, REDD+ will only reward corrupt governments. Instead, the authors propose that, in these countries, REDD+ should promote long-term capacity development focused on fundamental socioeconomic transformations, and incentive mechanisms that directly benefit local economic agents.
By Mark Tran, The Guardian, 14 March 2012 | Negotiators in Rome have agreed on a proposed set of voluntary global guidelines on responsible governance of land tenure and access rights to land, fisheries and forest resources. The proposals will be sent to the UN’s committee on world food security for final approval at a special session in Rome in May, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a statement. “Once approved, the guidelines will be voluntary, but because they have been drawn up in such a comprehensive and inclusive process, and because there is this shared perception that a framework like this is sorely needed, we all anticipate that they will set the bar for policymakers,” said Yaya Olaniran, current chairman of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). “In fact, we’re already seeing governments moving to bring their policies and practices into alignment with the guidelines.”
By Maurizio Farhan_Ferrari (FPP), Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog, 14 March 2012 | wo peer-reviewed studies published recently by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the World Bank show that strict conservation is less effective in reducing deforestation than community forests that are managed and controlled by indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities within multiple use systems. This article argues that indigenous resource management systems are not only well poised to reduce deforestation rates but also to provide a rich array of experiences, expertise, and practices that can significantly contribute to protecting biodiversity, food security, and sustainable livelihoods in indigenous communities, as well as finding answers to climate change challenges.
By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests Blog, 14 March 2012 | “Oceans” will be one of the key issues under discussion at Rio+20 with the aim to ensure sustainable ocean development and the protection of marine resources, yet mangroves – whose carbon sequestering ability and raft of ocean ecosystem services are being lost at an “alarming rate” – are not mentioned at all in the summit’s zero draft agenda. “With the loss of mangroves, we would lose many important ecosystem services. The impact on local communities and adjacent ecosystems would be catastrophic,” said Boone Kauffman, scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research and lead author of CIFOR’s recent publication: Protocols for the measurement, monitoring and reporting of structure, biomass and carbon stocks in mangrove forests.
Citola Blog, 14 March 2012 | The Australian Carbon Farming Legislation (CFI) and recent rainfall means now is the time to be planting trees. While the CFI environmental planting methodology has been designed to sequester carbon and promote sustainable land-use change, the program provides an incredible opportunity to foster local biodiversity and increase the resilience of Australia’s most vulnerable ecosystems. Environmental plantings have many benefits that extend beyond the carbon sequestration value of the trees to increased habitats, biodiversity and soil/ecosystem resilience. Additionally, there is possibility to include non-kyoto compliant projects to increase the scope of land-sector activities that can be undertaken through the CFI including improved forestry management (IFM) and avoiding deforestation which will achieve a positive outcome for native biodiversity. Hand in hand with local landholders, Citola welcomes the opportunities created by the CFI…
By Norrie Ross, Herald Sun, 14 March 2012 | Environmentalists have lost the battle to save the habitat of the endangered leadbeater’s possum in the central highlands of Victoria.In the Supreme Court this afternoon Justice Robert Osborn refused to grant permanent orders that would restrain loggers from harvesting timber in three coupes, Gun Barrel, Freddo and South Col, northeast of Toolangi. But Justice Osborn also called for an urgent review of the reserve system that is supposed to protect the leadbeater’s possum habitat within the central highlands forest management area. “The 2009 bushfires have materially changed the circumstances in which the existing system was planned,” Justice Osborn said. The judge ruled the leadbeater’s possum action statement made under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act did not stipulate the creation of exclusion zones to protect the possum independently of the forest management plan for the area.
Jakarta Globe, 14 March 2012 | Businesses have to spend 17.4 percent of their investment budgets on bribes and other illegal payments, a study has found. The study by the Institute for Economic Research and Development (LP3E), part of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), details how bureaucracy hinders the establishment of businesses, with a nine-stage process to set up a business leading to illegal levies. “The total official fees areRp 5 million [$545], but the illegal fees can amount to 17.4 percent of the investment,” said Ina Primiana, a researcher at LP3E. The Kadin study confirmed the findings of a 2011 World Economic Forum report, which found corruption was the leading factor hurting investment. In the WEF report, Indonesia ranked 129th in ease of business.
By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 14 March 2012 | Land issues and mine permits are threatening to scuttle a government plan to turn East Kalimantan into a center for national food production, the regional government has warned. East Kalimantan Governor Awang Farouk Ishak, who last year said his province had 280,000 hectares of land ready for a food estate, now says overlapping land titles and mining permits could jeopardize the plan. “This will of course become a hindrance,” Awang said. “Let’s say we want to plant a certain commodity, but after it is checked, it turns out a mining permit has already been issued for the land.” He said that many of the overlapping land claims and mining permit areas were in the same municipality and four districts as most of the 280,000 hectares of land designated for the food estate: Kutai Kartanegara, East and West Kutai and Samarinda.
By Christine Ottery, The Guardian, 14 March 2012 | Plans to ban the burning of peatland on a grouse moor in the Pennines have been dropped by the government’s environment adviser. Natural England on Tuesday scrapped its public inquiry into the blanket bog burning on Walsham Moor estate, and has also withdrawn from an unprecedented legal action against the estate that sought to ban burning completely. Walshaw Grouse moorland managers burn areas of heather to provide patches with young shoots of heather for red grouse to feed on. The estate increased its production of grouse from 100 brace to 3,000 brace a season over the past 10 years, which would usually be accompanied by an increased use of burning.
15 March 2012
Reuters, 15 March 2012 | Global greenhouse gas emissions could rise 50 percent by 2050 without more ambitious climate policies, as fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday. “Unless the global energy mix changes, fossil fuels will supply about 85 percent of energy demand in 2050, implying a 50 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions and worsening urban air pollution,” the Paris-based O.E.C.D. said in its environment outlook to 2050 . The global economy in 2050 will be four times larger than today and the world will use around 80 percent more energy. But the global energy mix is not predicted to be very different from that of today, the report said.
Rainforest Alliance, The Frog Blog, 15 March 2012 | Safeguards: We will continue to promote standards, such as the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards, as a preferred framework for countries to conduct comprehensive safeguards reporting. We will also promote Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Agriculture Network standards and auditing as approaches governments could use to support monitoring and reporting… Financing: Expect a slowing patchwork of bilateral, multilateral, donor and corporate sector assistance until new commitments or markets come on line. The Rainforest Alliance is facilitating REDD+ projects in Guatemala, Ghana and elsewhere that ultimately aim to produce carbon credits that can be sold to the private sector… Reference Levels: RELs and RLs should be coordinated under a common framework for accounting at different scales, for example, national and sub-national. “Nesting” is the preferred approach of the Rainforest Alliance…
By Medha Bisht, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, 15 March 2012 | With mitigation being the central point, the rationale for the economics of ecosystem and biodiversity seems to be at work in Bhutan. This is not only reflected at national level initiatives where payment for ecosystem services has been applied in the hydrological and tourism sectors, but also at the international level where Bhutan has been taking an active lead on the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD+) mechanism. Bhutan became a member of the UN REDD programme with an observer status in April 2010. In December 2010, Bhutan initiated a scoping study, which showed that it was feasible to implement REDD-plus projects.
By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 March 2012 | Just three months before world leaders gather in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit, Brazil’s forest law is about to be changed once again – this time, conservationists claim, not in favour of forests. Proposed reforms to Brazil’s Forest Code, which have been debated on and off for over two years, will provide amnesty to farmers involved in illegal deforestation activities before July 2008 and reduce the area of forest that landowners need to retain thus favouring agricultural expansion. As such, the reform could be a major blow to the country’s recent success in halting deforestation. Still in 2009 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Brazil had announced its plan to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80 percent. The plan’s main strategic components were (1) more rigid forest law enforcement and (2) a national program of payments for environmental services to compensate…
Latin American Bureau, 15 March 2012 | Celestial Green Ventures, a carbon trading company based in Ireland, has been quietly signing contracts with a series of indigenous groups in the Amazon so that it can sell carbon credits for their forest on the market. The company says it has rights over an enormous area, almost the size of the UK, and plans to double the territory under its control. Some of these deals are clearly illegal under Brazilian law. This is what LAB’s Brazilian partner, Pública, has revealed in a series of reports that will shock environmental groups across the world… Pública, LAB’s partner, whose article on this issue we have translated into English and publish below, has played an important role in disclosing these deals, several aspects of which raise serious doubts.
By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 March 2012 | A new CIFOR project in the Congo Basin is hoping to bolster scientific evidence that proves sustainable timber production in forests logged by private companies and local communities could increase carbon stocks needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. “It is well known that sustainable timber production in forest concession areas has helped limit deforestation, particularly in Central Africa. However, whether it can increase overall carbon stocks and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has not yet been well understood,” said Richard Eba’a Atyi, Regional Coordinator of CIFOR’s Central Africa Office and head of the FORAFAMA project.
By Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360, 15 March 2012 | In a largely unheralded technological revolution, thousands of forest dwellers have been trained in how to combine their old ways of marking and remembering territory, in which a boundary might be “the big tree by the river two days’ walk away,” with digitized mapping techniques. “It is becoming a powerful tool of advocacy,” says Georges Thierry Handja, the Cameroonian technical advisor for the Rainforest Foundation UK, a Western NGO active in the field. Consider events in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. There, in the aftermath of a long civil war, the government is currently zoning its forests — which cover as much as 316 million acres, an area nearly the size of France, Germany and Spain combined — in preparation for their mass allocation to logging companies. Old European timber conglomerates want to reactivate their concessions, some dating back almost to the brutal days more than a century ago…
Survival International, 15 March 2012 | Ethiopian authorities have inadvertently revealed the existence of highly ambitious plans to resettle Lower Omo Valley tribes who stand in the way of a massive plantations scheme. The map was included in an internal report by the country’s Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), into the environmental impact of planned sugarcane plantations in the Omo. Leaked to Survival International, the map shows where Ethiopia intends to resettle tribes whose land and communities stand in the way of their ‘development’ plans. It reveals the huge ambition of the project, which is already destroying the land of tribes such as the Mursi, Bodi and Kwegu. Reliable sources have confirmed to Survival that construction has already begun on at least three resettlement camps on Bodi land in the north of the Lower Omo Valley.
By Patrick Rouxel, Al Jazeera, 15 March 2012 | This extraordinary visual essay, told with no human commentary at all, explores the impact of deforestation and the exploitation of natural resources in Indonesia from the point of view of a dying orangutan called Green. Stunning images of the natural world and its biodiversity are counter-pointed with scenes of their destruction and the resulting cruelty to animals. The film takes viewers on an emotional journey, following Green’s final days and revealing the devastating impact of logging, land-clearing and palm oil plantations. NOTE: This film contains upsetting scenes including cruelty to animals.
mongabay.com, 15 March 2012 | Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry signed off on a plan by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) suppliers to log areas of forest that contained protected ramin species, according to documents released by Greenomics-Indonesia, an activist group. The micro-delineation documents, which are required to win approval for forestry projects in Indonesia, confirm that APP suppliers were aware that ramin trees were present in the concessions, which have since been converted to wood-pulp plantations. The revelations come shortly after Greenpeace released the results of an investigation that found contraband ramin logs at APP’s Indah Kiat Perawang pulp mill. The findings potentially put APP in violation of Indonesian law and CITES, an international agreement on trafficking of endangered species. They could also theoretically result in sanctions against some APP products in the United States under the Lacey Act.
BBC Nature, 15 March 2012 | Silky sifakas, which live in the rainforests of Madagascar, are critically endangered, with as few as 300 individuals remaining. A team of biologists is undertaking an emergency effort to protect and study the primates… Dr Erik Patel [Duke University, USA] is involved in trying to protect the rainforest from the illegal logging of ebony and rosewood trees: “The only way to save silky sifakas is to save the few remaining patches of forest where they are found.” Illegal logging reached crisis point in 2009 after a political coup. In the chaos, there was no longer any protection for Madagascar’s remote national parks. As a result, organised gangs took to the forests and cut down valuable ebony and rosewood trees… The US Environmental Investigation Agency started to track where illegally cut wood was being exported. US guitar maker Gibson was raided, with federal agents seizing a shipment of Madagascan ebony. The firm is now facing legal action.
climate-connect, 15 March 2012 | In its submissions to the UN backed Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, Norway has said that the mitigation potential of REDD+ is significant and crucial in the near term, while this potential would gradually disappear if we wait until after 2020. Reduced emissions from short lived climate forcers such as black carbon, was highlighted as another area where early action can have a significant effect on global warming by Norway. [R-M: Login needed for full article.]
By Katy Ashe, mongabay.com, 15 March 2012 | On the back of a partially functioning motorcycle I fly down miles of winding footpath at high-speed through the dense Amazon rainforest, the driver never able to see more than several feet ahead. Myriads of bizarre creatures lie camouflaged amongst the dense vines and lush foliage; flocks of parrots fly overhead in rainbows of color; a moss-covered three-toed sloth dangles from an overhanging branch; a troop of red howler monkeys rumble continuously in the background; leafcutter ants form miles of crawling highways across the forest floor. Even the hot, wet air feels alive. Suddenly, the forest stops. Bone dry, dusty air burns my nostrils. The harsh equatorial sun, no longer filtered through layers of canopy and understory vegetation, beats down with full force. We are in a vast expanse of sandy desert, the tree line barely visible on the other side. The scar of deforestation reaches miles into the horizon. An apocalyptic scene unfolds.
16 March 2012
By Dino Mahtani, Reuters, 16 March 2012 | Democratic Republic of Congo has awarded lucrative forestry concessions to a company controlled by a Lebanese businessman who also runs a firm subject to sanctions by the United States as a front for Hezbollah. The 2011 concessions issued by Congo’s environment ministry to the Trans-M company, seen by Reuters, could complicate Washington’s efforts to curb what it says are the Lebanese militant movement’s growing business activities in Africa. The concessions cover 25-year leases for hundreds of thousands of hectares of rainforest in the central African country, the world’s second forest “lung” after the Amazon. The concessions are capable of generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues over 25 years, if fully exploited, forestry experts say.
Survival International, 16 March 2012 | Peru’s largest protected area is on the verge of being invaded by a road, which threatens to destroy the lives of thousands of indigenous people. The proposed project would cut through two indigenous reserves and a national park, exposing thousands of Indians to the risks of drug trafficking, illegal logging and unwanted contact. It would also place some of the world’s last uncontacted tribes, who live in the government-protected area, in direct and immediate danger. Politicians are now debating the issue, which supporters say will open up for economic ‘development’ parts of the Amazon that are currently isolated. Fr. Miguel Piovesan, a Catholic priest from the small town of Puerto Esperanza is at the forefront of the project. He wants his town, which borders west Brazil, to have better transport links to the town of Iñapari, which lies further south.
Forestry Commission, 16 March 2012 | Efforts to boost British forests’ contribution to tackling climate change reached a key milestone this week. The amount of carbon dioxide predicted to be removed from the atmosphere by woodland planting projects registered under the new Woodland Carbon Code has passed 1 million tonnes. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common of the greenhouse gases causing the atmospheric warming that is changing the Earth’s climate. Growing trees sequester, or remove, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and this has encouraged increasing numbers of people and organisations to seek opportunities to plant trees as a contribution to tackling climate change. This demand has stimulated a commercial interest in promoting ‘carbon forestry’ projects, and the Woodland Carbon Code is a set of standards to ensure that such projects really do deliver the carbon benefits that their promoters claim.
Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods press release, 16 March 2012 | Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) today announced the completion of an independent feasibility study to assess the economic viability of afforestation carbon offsets using a native tree species (Acacia koa). The model was tested using both the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and American Carbon Registry (ACR) carbon offset protocols. The assessment reveals that mid-size to smaller scale private landowners do indeed have options to generate carbon offset projects that are commercially viable. Under the HLH proprietary business model, private land owners can choose to work under two prominent offset standards in both the compliance and voluntary carbon markets to deploy reforestation techniques that restore degraded land.
By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 16 March 2012 | As many as 1.6 million of Berau’s 1.9 million hectares of forest has been damaged, including protected-forest areas, according to the district’s forestry officials. “It is in a bad way. It has become critical. You can see this from aerial photography,” Rahmadi Pasarakan, who is in charge of forest management practices at Berau, said on Thursday. Rahmadi released figures calculated from remote sensing data, adding that 774,000 hectares were “somewhat critical,” 16,000 were “critical” and 36,000 in “very critical” condition. The damage was blamed on timber concessionaires who were logging “at an extraordinary rate” and on coal mining activities. Neither group was meeting its obligation to restore the logged areas, he said.
By Linda Yulisman, Jakarta Post, 16 March 2012 | The government plans to build a petrochemical industrial estate in West Papua next year to help meet rising demand for petroleum-based products and reduce dependency on imports, officials say. Industry Minister MS Hidayat said on Thursday that a master plan was being drafted and would soon be followed by a feasibility study. “We have a potential space of 400 hectares there. The gas supply for the industry can be sourced from the Tangguh field,” he told reporters at his office in Jakarta. The master plan, which maps out the infrastructure and funds required for the development, should be completed by October, according to Industry Ministry director general for industrial regions development Dedi Mulyadi. British Petroleum has already expressed an interest in investing in the estate, he added.
By Marianne Brown, The Guardian, 16 March 2012 | Squelching his way along a muddy trail in one of Vietnam’s most famous national parks, Vu Huu Tinh points to some pits in the forest floor. “This is where the trees used to be,” he says. We are just a few kilometres from the protected home of one of the world’s rarest primates, the Cat Ba angur, or white-headed langur. Only 70 are known to survive on the island of the same name, off the coast of north Vietnam, following decades of hunting. But conservationists have warned that there is another threat: intruders taking the trees themselves. One kind of tree is targeted in particular. The Ficus benjamica, a common sight across south-east Asia, is a kind of strangling fig popular among bonsai growers. Small trees are taken out at the root, or their stems are removed to sell to nurseries for up to $1,000, where they are potted and pruned into shape for sale. The older the plant, the more valuable it is for the bonsai industry.
17 March 2012
mongabay.com, 17 March 2012 | Two affiliates of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) have announced they are severing at least some ties with the beleaguered paper giant, according to the Northern Virginia Daily and Greenpeace, an environmental group whose recent undercover investigation found ramin, a protected species, at APP’s pulp mill in Sumatra. Oasis Brands, a firm that handles sales, marketing, and contracting for Virginia-based Mercury Paper Inc., said it will “dissolve” ties to APP “in response to company goals and customer demand for sustainability assurance”. Mercury Paper had been under fire for sourcing fiber from APP, which environmentalists have shown continues to produce pulp and paper from endangered natural forests in Indonesia. APP has been the only supplier for Mercury Paper and California-based Solaris Paper Inc.
By Adam Musa, The Citizen, 17 March 2012 | The one thing that one can easily notice about Samuel Ntapanta is that he is someone passionate about his cause. But that is not so surprising because he is an environmentalist. And like many environmentalists, he firmly believes in his calling to educate the public about the need to protect Mother Nature. A University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) political science and sociology graduate, the 26-year-old is a coordinator with the Environment Media Network (EMNet), a Dar es Salaam-based non-governmental organisation using the power of the media to sensitise local communities about environment conservation issues. Samuel grew up seeing the damage his own people were causing on the natural world through illegal fishing and other human activities that spelt doom on the environment. His passion to do something about the environment was not by accident.
18 March 2012
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.