REDD in the news: 9-15 April 2012

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REDD in the news: 9-15 April 2012

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.

REDD+ actor analysis and political mapping: An Indonesian case study

By H. Purnomo, D. Suyamto, L. Abdullah, and R.H. Irawati, International Forestry Review, 2012 | Forests are not empty. There are various rights and interest in forests as well as the people who live in and around forests. If the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus (REDD+) mechanism is to work unilaterally by state and overlook the role of various actors, then it is likely that REDD+ will fail. From our stakeholder analysis and political mapping in Jambi, a priority province for REDD+ implementation in Indonesia, we show that REDD+ actors with knowledge, power and leadership, can support or reject REDD+. Specifically, we discuss the implementation capacity and new directions in policy. The analysis also provides indications as to the readiness of Jambi to implement REDD+, who wins and loses in adopting REDD+ and intervention scenarios to make REDD+ work. The methods used in this study are general and could be implemented elsewhere in Indonesia or abroad.

Rethinking REDD+ Benefitting the Environment and Forest People

Forest Carbon Asia, March 2012 | The second annual Asia REDD+ Working Group facilitated by Community Forestry International was held in Kathmandu, Nepal. Members from government, NGOs, field project representatives, international donors, and technical & financial resource persons attended from ten countries: Nepal, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Philippines, USA, UK, France, Germany, and Japan. The Asia REDD+ Working Group (ARWG) supports the design, development, and replication of community-based REDD+ projects. The REDD approach (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) provides an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol’s ANR (Afforestation and Reforestation) emission reduction system under the Clean Development Mechanism. REDD was first introduced at the UNFCCC meeting in Bali in 2007.

9 April 2012

Who is Brazil’s Most Creative Person in Business?

By Ricardo Geromel, Forbes, 9 April 2012 | According to Fast Company Magazine, Brazil’s most creative person in business is a tribal chief who has partnered with Google to save his tribe from the brink of extinction and stop deforestation in Amazon rainforest. The innovative and effective ways chief Almir Narayamoga Surui of the Surui Paiter tribe has chosen to fight these noble causes have made him the target of death threats and also worldwide notoriety. For instance, Bianca Jagger recently told the Financial Times that Chief Almir is “her friend.” … In October 2011, chief Almir earned the first Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation Award for Leadership in recognition of “his courageous struggle” in defense of Surui ancestral land in the Amazon and his commitment to environmental protection and to the survival of his people.

Warming Atlantic primes the Amazon for fire

By Barbara Fraser, The Daily Climate, 9 April 2012 | Fires are a major source of carbon emissions in the Amazon, and scientists are beginning to worry that the region could become a net emitter, instead of a carbon sink. New findings link rising ocean temperatures off the northern coast of Brazil to changing weather patterns: As the Atlantic warms, it draws moisture away from the forest, priming the region for bigger fires. “We are reaching a tipping point in terms of drought, beyond which these forests can catch fire,” says Daniel Nepstad, international program director at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute in Brasília, Brazil…

10 April 2012

Very few countries have cut their carbon emissions without cheating

By Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 10 April 2012 | Now, the Breakthrough report isn’t an advertisement for nuclear power. What it shows is that a global effort to mitigate climate change would require a sharp break with the past. Not only would countries have to decarbonize at a much faster rate than they’ve managed to do over the past 40 years, but they’ll need to do it by relying more heavily on low-carbon forms of energy, as France and Sweden have done. They can’t keep simply outsourcing factories and farms off to countries like Brazil, China and India. After all, if a country like Britain is pushing all its manufacturing to China, then the Brits may look more virtuous on paper, but those outsourced carbon emissions are still heating the planet.

Putting agriculture front and center in policy considerations

Climate Science and Policy, 10 April 2012 | A conversation with Molly Jahn (University of Wisconsin-Madison (Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment)… We believe of the extreme importance to consider the use of landscapes holistically, so we recognise that REDD+ may help us to highlight the importance of indirect land use consequences from agriculture and other demands on landscapes. Any opportunity to manage the consequences of human activities and our immediate demands more holistically allows us to deal better with the environmental consequences of climate change. Right now REDD+ discussions are opened, and I hope that sustainable agriculture and deforestation will be both directly and comprehensively addressed during the process.

Health of forest people needs more attention for welfare and environment

By Carol Colfer, CIFOR Forests Blog, 10 April 2012 | Better understanding of the health of forest dwellers is required to both protect their human rights and manage population to ensure sustainable forest use. The relationship between people’s health and the forests in which they live has become increasingly clear in recent years. There has been a growing tendency to see forests in a holistic manner, recognizing their value beyond timber. This has led to better, though still incomplete, understanding of the many uses forests have, from foods and medicines to fibers, not to mention the differing cultural and symbolic meanings people attach to them. Such recognition led CIFOR scientists in the mid-late 2000s to begin investigating the importance of forests in regard to health, a move in line with the theme of this year’s UN World Health Day, held on Saturday.

Thirty Years of Sustainable Forest Management in Africa

African Development Bank press release, 10 April 2012 | As a contribution to the commemoration of the UN International Year of Forests (2011), the United Nations Forum on Forests commissioned the publication of a book entitled “Forests for People” which contains submissions from key institutions and professionals that are making important contributions in the forestry sector. The International Year of Forests provided a useful platform “to educate the global community about the great values of forests – and the extreme social, economic and environmental costs of losing them.” The Bank’s experience in financing sustainable forest management projects in Africa in the last thirty years was one of the articles submitted. The book was launched at the UN Headquarters in February 2012.

Equatorial Guinea Participates in Global Environment Facility Project for Sustainable Forestry

Republic of Equatorial Guinea press release, 10 April 2012 | Equatorial Guinea is now part of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) project titled ‘A Regional Focus on Sustainable Timber Management in the Congo Basin’, an initiative backed by international development organizations, national NGOs, and government officials. One of three pilot countries, Equatorial Guinea will begin a series of regional activities in which all GEF participants will collaborate closely to address illegal logging and ensure the sustainability of forest production. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) project will focus on improving forest management and conservation in order to preserve the Congo Basin and is a task of The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC), The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Rainforest Alliance. Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry…

[Indonesia] Tragedy in Tripa: Cargill Can Make a Difference

By Chelsea Matthews, Rainforest Action Network Blog, 10 April 2012 | Last week hundreds of fires blazed through the Tripa peat forest of Indonesia, threatening the survival of one of the largest remaining populations of wild Sumatran orangutans in the world. These fires rapidly got out of control after they were intentionally set by profit-hungry palm oil companies in order to clear rainforest for palm oil plantation expansion… One palm oil company responsible for setting fire to Tripa peat forest is PT Kallista Alam. We know through customs data that U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill has purchased palm oil from PT Kallista Alam’s parent company. Cargill can make a difference.

U.S. gobbling illegal wood from Peru’s Amazon rainforest

mongabay.com, 10 April 2012 | The next time you buy wood, you may want to make sure it’s not from Peru. According to an in-depth new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the illegal logging trade is booming in the Peruvian Amazon and much of the wood is being exported to the U.S. Following the labyrinthian trail of illegal logging from the devastated forests of the Peruvian Amazon to the warehouses of the U.S., the EIA identified over 112 shipments of illegally logged cedar and big-leaf mahogany between January 2008 and May 2010. In fact, the group found that over a third (35 percent) of all the shipments of cedar and mahogany from Peru to the U.S. were from illegal sources, a percentage that is likely conservative. “Peruvian authorities currently have little capacity to control what’s happening in their forests,” reads the report, entitled The Laundering Machine: How Fraud and Corruption in Peru’s Concession System are Destroying the Future of its Forests.

[Tanzania] Rich yet to fulfill their promise on forest cash

By Gerald Kitabu, IPPMedia, 10 April 2012 | The government has called on rich countries to honour their promise made five years ago, to fund a project on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-REDD to lessen climate change impact. The promise was made during the 13th Conference of Parties of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007, followed by the 15th conference in Poznan Poland. It was agreed that rich countries should extend financial support to poor countries including Tanzania to manage their forest resources and empower local communities dependent on forest resources for their living to secure alternative sources of income. However, five years down the line, REDD has not yet shown a clear direction due to lack of will by the rich countries to honour the conference resolutions.

11 April 2012

International offsets to play limited role in California CO2 market: official

Point Carbon, 11 April 2012 | California will not look to international offsets to make up for a possible shortage of domestically-produced credits for the state’s carbon market, the head of the regulatory body that will implement the market said Wednesday. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

EU CO2 law could scupper global climate talks

By Krittivas Mukherjee, Reuters, 11 April 2012 | A European Union law that charges airlines for carbon emissions is “a deal-breaker” for global climate change talks, India’s environment minister said, hardening her stance on a scheme that has drawn fierce opposition from non-EU governments. From January 1, all airlines using EU airports have come under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, prompting a volley of retaliatory threats, including of a possible trade war. U.S. airlines have said they would grudgingly comply, but China has barred its carriers from participating unless they are given permission to do so. India on Wednesday formally forbad its airlines from participating having earlier said it would boycott the scheme.

Carbon Industry Votes The CarbonNeutral Company Best Offset Retailer for the Second Year Running

The CarbonNeutral Company press release, 11 April 2012 | The CarbonNeutral Company has been voted Best Offset Retailer 2012 in a survey by Environmental Finance. It’s the second consecutive year that the retailer has received the industry nominated award, in recognition of its work in the carbon markets over the past twelve months. Stephen Killeen, CEO of The CarbonNeutral Company, commented: “It’s a great honour to be recognised by our peers for our reliability, innovation and quality of service in sourcing and procuring carbon credits to enable our clients to take action on climate change. The CarbonNeutral Company has always led the way in establishing high levels of integrity and quality within the carbon market and pride ourselves on identifying innovative projects which meet our clients’ specific requirements.”

DMCii’s detailed satellite imagery helps Brazil stamp out deforestation as it happens

GISuser.com, 11 April 2012 | Remote sensing solutions provider DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) has signed a contract with Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) to deliver near real-time satellite imagery to monitor forest clearing in the Amazon rainforest and target illegal logging as it happens. INPE is leading the world in the use of satellite imagery to monitor deforestation, providing information central to Brazil’s war on deforestation that has cut deforestation rates by 78% since 2004. The space agency’s groundbreaking DETER service uses regular satellite images to detect forest clearance as it happens – rather than surveying the damage afterwards – guiding Brazil’s enforcement officers to provide effective forest clearing control. However in recent years, the authorities have discovered that illegal loggers are clearing smaller areas to evade detection by the 250metre-pixel MODIS data that is currently in use.

Woodfuel causes deforestation in Congo Basin yet is potential renewable energy source

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests Blog, 11 April 2012 | Woodfuel overexploitation resulting from high dependency on the resource in Africa’s Congo Basin is causing degradation and deforestation near areas with high demand yet it remains a potential renewable energy supply, a study notes. “Woodfuel is a potential renewable energy thanks to the managed or spontaneous regeneration and growth of woody resources,” said CIFOR associate researcher Jolien Schure and co-author of Contribution of woodfuel to meet the energy needs of the population of Central Africa: prospects for sustainable management of available resources. “Initiatives for woodfuel plantations and agroforestry systems that include trees for fuel can provide sustainable sources for wood energy.”

[Guyana] Billion dollar disparity in bids to complete Amaila Falls road

Stabroek News, 11 April 2012 | Three groups are vying to complete the Amaila Falls road and transmission line clearing project and bids opened yesterday showed a more than $1B difference between the highest and lowest submissions. Government reopened the tender for the project after ending a controversial US$15.4M contract with contractor Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall’s… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Indonesian NGOs tell FIP team they “cannot accept the excuse of… technical difficulties”

Bank Information Center, 11 April 2012 | In a second open letter, Indonesian NGOs detail their needs so that an open dialogue can take place. On March 16th, 2012, several Indonesian NGO’s wrote an open letter to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Ministry of Indonesia critiquing the draft of the Forest Investment Program (FIP). They cited a lack of Indonesian translations for needed documents, a far too short two-week window for feedback from concerned citizens, and other difficulties which stood in the way of accessing needed information. The Joint FIP team has since responded by posting an Indonesian translation of the documents on their site, but this is not enough to overcome the problem. In a second open letter, the Indonesian NGOs make clear why this is not an adequate response…

Green groups may call for boycott of Indonesian palm oil over forest destruction in Sumatra

mongabay.com, 11 April 2012 | Environmental groups are escalating their battle over an area of peat forest in Tripa, Sumatra that has been granted for oil palm plantations. The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), an initiative run jointly by the Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari and the PanEco Foundation, says that unless the government suspends the contested plantation permits and prosecutes the “rogue companies” operating in the area, it will push for a suspension of Norway’s billion dollar aid package for Indonesia’s forests and a global moratorium on Indonesian palm oil that hasn’t been certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). SCOP is also demanding international rejection of the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification scheme, which compels Indonesian palm oil companies to abide by Indonesian laws.

Mackenzie Financial Investments linked to illegal rainforest destruction

Greenpeace Canada, 11 April 2012 | “As an Imagine Canada Caring Company, Mackenzie Financial claims to embrace corporate citizenship and commits, in theory, to following ethical and environmentally responsible business practices,” said Shane Moffatt, forest campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. “Mackenzie’s investment in APP’s rainforest destruction not only makes a mockery of their commitment to corporate citizenship, but is also both economically unsound and environmentally destructive.” Greenpeace first raised its concerns with Mackenzie Financial in November 2011, but has been repeatedly informed by the investment firm that they are not willing to discuss this matter. In contrast, major companies like Xerox, Staples, Mattel and Lego have cancelled contracts with APP as a result of the grave peril posed to their brand by the supplier’s toxic reputation.

New Zealand proposes international carbon trading limits

By Naomi Tajitsu, Reuters, 11 April 2012 | Proposed changes to New Zealand’s carbon trading scheme, the only one of its kind outside Europe, would limit the use of international carbon credits and cap the price for the next three years, officials said on Wednesday. New Zealand Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said the proposed changes, released on Wednesday as part of a consultation process, were meant to help New Zealand avoid possible market volatility while economic uncertainties remain. The proposals, recommended in a review last year, would allow the government to control the number of cheap, foreign-based carbon units traded in the New Zealand market, the world’s only trading scheme outside the much larger European market.

[Tanzania] HIMADA: Litmus test for REDD that is bearing fruit

By Lusekelo Philemon, IPPMedia, 11 April 2012 | Hifadhi Mapafu ya Dar es Salaam (HIMADA), which means conserve the lungs of Dar es Salaam is one of the nine Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) pilot projects implemented in Tanzania. Himada project is currently undertaken in the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves (PKFRs). The two reserves are found in Dar es Salaam’s Ilala district and Kisarawe district in Coast Region. The four-year project in the reserves, which serve as catchments for Kizinga River and one of the recharge areas of groundwater in parts of Dar es Salaam, is aimed at reducing carbon emissions by curbing deforestation, controlling forest degradation as well as improving carbon stocks in the PKFRs and surrounding areas. The government is one of the key stakeholders in the project, others include Lawyers Environment Action Team (LEAT), Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST), University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS)…

Blood rosewood: Thailand and Cambodia team up to tackle illegal logging crisis and save lives

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 11 April 2012 | Cambodian and Thai officials have agreed to work together to combat illegal logging of rosewood and resulting violence between Cambodian loggers and Thai rangers, reports MCOT online news. Officials with both nations met on Tuesday and spent three hours discussing the issue. Commercial logging was banned in Thailand following devastating floods in 1989. However, the ban has not stopped Cambodian nationals from illegally crossing the border to harvest rosewood. Over 400 Cambodians have been arrested logging across the Thai border. Confrontations between Cambodian illegal loggers and Thai wildlife rangers sometimes turn violent: 13 Cambodian illegal loggers have been killed since January 1st in Thailand. Rangers says they are firing in self-defense as loggers are often armed. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that the country needed a campaign to halt Cambodians from sneaking illegally into Thailand for logging.

12 April 2012

ArcelorMittal, Tata Lead Europe Emitters With CO2 Permit Surplus

By Catherine Airlie and Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 12 April 2012 | ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA) were given 62.4 million more free carbon permits than the two steelmakers used last year, the most of any European companies. The European Union allowances, awarded by governments, are worth 839 million euros ($1.1 billion), assuming a value of 13.45 euros each, the average price on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange of the December 2011 contract in the 12 months to expiry. That’s a 36 percent increase in permits from a year earlier, according to preliminary European Union data compiled by Bloomberg.

Signs Europe Bending on Airline Carbon Fee

By Harvey Morris, New York Times, 12 April 2012 | The European Union, heading for a trade war over a new toll on the greenhouse gas emissions of international airlines using European airspace, has been warned that the measure could wreck the prospects for global action on climate change. In the latest assault on a measure that came into force on Jan. 1, Jayanthi Natarajan, India’s environment minister, said Wednesday that the E.U.’s Emissions Trading System, which requires airlines to buy carbon permits to cover excess emissions, was a “deal-breaker” in the context of international efforts to curb global warming. “For the environment ministry, for me, it is a deal-breaker because you simply cannot bring this into climate change discourse and disguise unilateral trade measures under climate change,” she said.

Carbon Trade Lessons from the EU

By Kevin Jianjun Tu and David Livingstone, The Economic Observer, 12 April 2012 | Finally, China should actively collaborate with other international actors. The Chinese carbon markets could become a source of future financial flows for efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation, commonly referred to as REDD. Given China’s proximity to another major forest nation with an acute interest in attracting REDD investment—Indonesia—a bilateral agreement could be established to allow the issuance of offset credits for projects that benefit Indonesian forest protection. Such a partnership could prove especially fruitful under China’s expanding South-to-South initiatives on climate change. This must be a long-term consideration, however, as emphasis is first placed on ensuring a set of well-functioning domestic Chinese markets. China’s fledgling carbon markets must focus on their forebears to avoid unnecessary turbulence.

Can We Make Enough Food To Eat Without Cutting Down All The Trees?

By Michael J. Coren, Fast Company, 12 April 2012 | An initiative to do so is known as Roundtable-REDD. Scheduled to be launched with $4 million seed funding from Norway at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro Rio+20 in Brazil this June, it offers a carrot as well as a stick. The program will invest in agribusinesses around the world to adopt minimum environmental standards for major commodities such as sugar cane, soya, and palm oil offering the greatest impact to cut carbon emissions and conserve the world’s tropical forests. Landowners who adopt the standards (dealing with everything from workers’ rights to limiting deforestation) will be eligible to apply for subsidized government loans–worth some $1.7 billion during the current growing season, for soil improvement, intensification, or reclaiming degraded fields.

Startup to bring photo-degradable bags to grocery chains

By Patricia Resende, Mass High Tech Business News, 12 April 2012 | Billerica startup GXT Green is using $3 million in angel investment to get its green products into the hands of consumers and help businesses reduce their carbon footprint… [Ed] Weisberg [GXT’s senior vice president of marketing] and his colleagues Manas “Bob” Chatterjee, president and CEO, and Michael Vanin, senior vice president of sales and COO, said the company is a “pioneer” in the evolving market for forest-based carbon offsets, which includes REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) forest projects in the rain forests of Cambodia and India, as well as the development of a global commodity exchange for offsets.

[Australia] Tree-top vigil highlights destruction of Tasmanian forest

By Simon Birch, The Guardian, 12 April 2012 | Perched 60m up an ancient gum tree in a remote part of south-west Tasmania, Miranda Gibson’s tree-top home has a spectacular view across one of the biggest untouched tracts of temperate rainforest left in the southern hemisphere. For more than three months, 30-year-old Gibson has been living high above the canopy floor that is the home to some of Australia’s most threatened indigenous wildlife, including the Tasmanian devil and spotted tail quolls. Flying overhead are the equally threatened Tasmanian white goshawks and wedge-tailed eagles.

[Brazil] Indigenous Tribe Wins Validation for Landmark Forest Carbon Project

Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 April 2012 | A small tribe of indigenous people unknown to the outside world a half-century ago and once on the brink of extinction has harnessed an innovative forest carbon project to shield their territory from illegal logging and preserve their chosen way of life. As a result, the 1300-strong Paiter-Surui last week became the first indigenous tribe in the Amazon and globally to earn carbon credits under internationally recognized standards for keeping carbon locked in trees – setting the stage for scores of similar projects that can unleash needed funding for indigenous people who preserve endangered tropical rainforest across the Amazon. “This project is good for the state of Rondônia and can serve as a model for other indigenous groups across the state and perhaps across Brazil,” said Nanci Maria Rodrigues, Environment Secretary for the Brazilian state of Rondônia, where the project is located.

[Brazil] Amazon tribe becomes first to get OK to sell REDD credits for rainforest conservation

mongabay.com, 12 April 2012 | An Amazon tribe has become the first indigenous group in the world’s largest rainforest to win certification of a forest carbon conservation project, potentially setting a precedent for other forest-dependent groups to seek compensation for safeguarding their native forests. Today the Paiter-Surui, a tribe with 1300 members, announced their Surui Forest Carbon Project has been validated under both the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard Gold, the dominant standards for accrediting projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, a concept known as REDD. “Future generations also have the right to live, the right to have forests,” said Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, the chief of the Paiter-Surui. “This project makes it possible for us to preserve the forest as providers of an ecosystem service.”

[Canada] Cheakamus Community Forest to sell carbon credits

By Cathryn Atkinson, Pique Newsmagazine, 12 April 2012 | MManagers of Whistler’s Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) will find out shortly if the B.C. government will allow them to earn money by selling carbon credits. Peter Ackhurst, chairman of the CCF, said the forest could partly earn its keep as a carbon sink, a natural reservoir that collects and neutralizes carbons released by human activity and industry, as soon as September. “We’re optimistic,” he said. Countries and businesses that are large carbon pollutant emitters buy credits from sources that take the carbons out of the atmosphere, with the aim of lessening greenhouse gas emissions. Ackhurst is expecting a response from the province about the forest, which is leased Crown land, in the next few weeks. “The provincial government said in an email that we can proceed with our carbon applications. The one thing that isn’t done yet is they want a share of the carbon credit money, the revenue, because they own the land,” he said.

[Indonesia] SBY Aide Vows to Probe Aceh Forest Concession

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 12 April 2012 | An aide to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed concern over a recent court ruling that cleared the outgoing Aceh governor’s action in granting a plantation concession in an ostensibly protected forest. “That plantation is inside the protected forest. It’s strange that they can get a permit. I suspect something behind the issue of the permit,” Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said on Wednesday of the ruling in favor of Irwandi Yusuf. Kuntoro, who is also head of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) forest carbon reduction task force, said he had asked the National Land Agency (BPN), to give him the map of the area to check for violations… Aside from the Tripa case, Kuntoro said government ministries and agencies had done well in keeping the forest untouched under the moratorium.

Indonesia to investigate contested oil palm concession as governor loses election in Sumatra

mongabay.com, 12 April 2012 | A high ranking Indonesian official is investigating the controversial grant of an oil palm concession within an area of protected peat forest in Aceh on the island of Sumatra, reports the Jakarta Globe. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force, told the newspaper he has asked the National Land Agency (BPN) to provide a map of the Tripa area so he can investigate violations alleged by environmental groups and local communities… Irwandi however lost his re-election bid for governor Monday. The impact on his election loss on Aceh’s forests in uncertain. Until the Tripa controversy, Irwandi had been a champion of forest preservation efforts.

13 April 2012

Carbon Traders Ask California to Add Offset Projects to Curb Projected Rise in Compliance Costs

By Carolyn Whetzel, Bloomberg, 13 April 2012 | Carbon traders and regulated entities have urged California to boost the supply of offset projects available under its greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program to avoid skyrocketing compliance costs during the second phase of the program. Their plea came April 11 at the Climate Action Registry’s 10th annual conference, which focused largely on California’s economywide emissions trading program and efforts to link it with the cap-and-trade program adopted by the Canadian province of Quebec. Brokerage firms and other watchers of the carbon markets speaking at the event mostly praised the structure and design of California’s program, but said their analyses indicated there would be a shortage of carbon offsets beginning in 2015, pushing the cost of compliance instruments up. Officials from Chevron Corp. and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. also expressed concern about compliance costs…

Traditional Slash and Burn Agriculture Sustainable Solution to Climate Change

By Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, 13 April 2012 | Climate change is the result of not behaving in the right way according to the isolated Trio, an indigenous people living in Suriname’s Amazon forest near its border with Brazil. “They see climate change as big problem. They say their forests are changing, deteriorating,” said Gwendolyn Smith, a project director for the non-profit organization Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). ACT was launched by US ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin and Costa Rican conservationist Liliana Madrigain Madrigal 1996 to work with local peoples indigenous peoples in the rainforests of Suriname and elsewhere in the Amazon to retain their traditional knowledge.

A Plea for a REDD plus plus approach

Sustainia, 13 April 2012 | The development from REDD to REDD plus was a good sign of the changing paradigm on the plan itself. REDD plus does not just view natural forests as carbon stock, but far more importantly, as natural ecosystem service resources. Thus, REDD plus not only gives us a chance to contribute to global warming mitigation, but also plays a significant role in conserving the tropical ecosystem itself. However, another additional step has to be taken in this reasoning, making use of sustainable agroforestry. We have to go a next step to REDD plus plus, creating and mimicking in agricultural production tropical ecosystems that not only sequester carbon dioxide but at the same time considerably improve the agricultural environment by the massive use of trees, raising and nursing them in a participatory approach in the often degraded agricultural environment. We need a REDD plus plus approach in which all forest products are developed on agricultural lands.

Indigenous Brazilian tribe certified to trade carbon credits

By Luisa Massarani, SciDev.Net, 13 April 2012 | Brazil’s Paiter Suruí community has become the first indigenous group in the country to receive international certification to sell carbon credits in return for protecting and restoring forests in their Amazonian territory. The Suruí community, which numbers around 1300 people, was first contacted by outsiders in 1968. Over the past decade, with assistance from environmental advocates, they have conducted a sophisticated campaign to prove to the world that they are helping to preserve their 248,000 hectare forest territory. Four years ago, they established the Suruí Forest Carbon Project, with a view to selling carbon credits under the so-called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism.

[Fiji] Project survival

By Rusila Tagicakibau, Fiji Times Online, 13 April 2012 | REDD+ is a new mechanism that aims at slowing down the rate of CC by paying developing countries to stop cutting down their forests. It is a policy framework that is being implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit) in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), through which small landowners are able to benefit from…. REDD+ ensures that the rights of the indigenous people are taken into consideration, as many of these indigenous groups, who have lived in the forests are worried about being neglected. People who depend on the forests often lack political power and fear that their interests will not be taken into consideration by governments and international institutions and REDD+ puts that thought to rest. Carbon trading is another way of labeling REDD+.

Guianas set an Example with REDD+

aidenvironment, 13 April 2012 | In many tropical countries forests are under great pressure from agricultural expansion, infrastructure development and wood production. Deforestation and forest degradation have become the second largest contributors to worldwide carbon emissions. REDD+ provides a financial incentive for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and makes it possible to protect natural forests while fostering sustainable development. The Guianas are capitalizing on this opportunity. WWF Guianas and Aidenvironment have compiled a brochure which offers an insight into the history and present status of REDD+ in Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, and the numerous activities undertaken in these seemingly similar, yet very different countries.

[Guyana] Norway funds imminent, two projects approved – Persaud

By Kwesi Isles, Demerara Waves, 13 April 2012 | Guyana is on the “edge” of finally drawing down from its US$250M eco-pact with Norway, says Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud who on Thursday announced that two projects have been approved. Addressing the National Assembly Thursday during the 2012 national budget debates he announced that the finance minister is expected to initial the project documents very soon. He subsequently told Demerara Waves Online News that the projects are the “institutional strengthening” of the Office for Climate Change (OCC), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Project Management Office while the other is the Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) and building alternative livelihoods project… Persaud on Thursday announced that a third tranche is about to be deposited into the account.

Guyana on track for more Norway funds, says Persaud

Stabroek News, 13 April 2012 | Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud says Guyana will very soon be receiving the third tranche of funds under the Guyana/Norway forest agreement, as the country is on course to meeting all of the conditions. Speaking during the budget debate in the National Assembly yesterday, Persaud said that projects will finally receive funding from the Norway funds now that they have been approved. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Obscure Forest Policies Creating Conflict in Indonesia: Walhi

By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 13 April 2012 | The obscure legal framework governing the management of the country’s forests has given rise to hundreds of sometimes deadly conflicts between rural communities and forestry and plantation companies, an environmentalist said on Thursday. Berry Nahdian Furqon, executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), said at least 12 people had been killed and 69 arrested as a result of these conflicts in the past two years. “The trigger for these conflicts is the government’s policy on forest zoning, which doesn’t take into account the people who live there,” he said at a Walhi summit in Balikpapan. “In these cases, those with traditional claims to the forest are always seen as being at fault.” Prevailing government policy on forests identifies four types of zones where commercial logging and planting is prohibited, but where Berry said the practice was still rife.

Indonesian forestry stakeholders sign new declaration

Packaging News, 13 April 2012 | Indonesian forestry stakeholders have launched a declaration outlining the eight practical steps required to be undertaken by all trade associations to achieve world-class timber production and trade standards through implementation of the Wood Legality and Verification System (SVLK). The declaration was agreed at a formal ceremony in Jakarta on 20 March during the second High Level Market Dialogue 2012. The introduction of SVLK in Indonesia will ensure that only wood products verified as legal will enter the market… Aida Greenbury, managing director, sustainability and stakeholder engagement, APP said: “As an active member of the forestry associations, APP fully supports the declaration, which is focusing on a multi stakeholder approach to providing assistance to smaller, community-based and geographically remote companies as well as to ensure a sustainable implementation of the SVLK.”

TD Bank Group Announces New Support for North American Forests

TD Bank Group press release, 13 April 2012 | With more than 90 per cent of North Americans identifying forests as natural areas in need of protection, TD Bank Group (TD), an environmental leader in the North American banking sector, today announced a major forest conservation initiative – TD Forests. TD Forests will bring together the bank’s longstanding community programs relating to forest conservation and education under one canopy. The initiative will also include a major conservation program to protect critical forest habitat across North America. This will be linked to TD’s commitment to reduce its paper usage by at least 20% by 2015 – customers have told the bank that paper reduction is important to them. Through TD Forests, the bank will also protect forested areas equivalent to the paper it uses.

14 April 2012

REDD+ strategy for Bhutan to be developed

By Dawa T Wangchuk, Business Bhutan, 14 April 2012 | Bhutan may soon be able to sell its carbon credits to the industrialized countries once everything is in place. Bhutan will adopt a phased program of implementing REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation) in securing its ecological and economic benefits… The focal person for REDD+ program for Bhutan, TashiSamdrup, WMD, said one of the main objectives of the workshop is to bring all the stakeholders together and provide opportunity for the participants to familiarize with the concept of REDD+ scheme and educate them on the process of a REDD+ strategy development. “REDD+ program is in the initial stages at the moment but we have started it,” said TashiSamdrup. REDD+ is linked with a market mechanism that allows developed countries to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits from developing countries.

15 April 2012

[Indonesia] Get Tough on Forest Graft, Riau Activists Urge KPK

By Rizky Amelia, Jakarta Globe, 15 April 2012 | Activists in the Sumatran province of Riau on Sunday called on the antigraft body to go after corporations that engaged in corruption in the forestry sector. Susanto Kurniawan from the Forest Network Rescue Riau (Jikalahari) said the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) needed to be more aggressive in policing shady behavior in the sector, suggesting its efforts so far had been half-hearted. “The problem is, does the KPK genuinely intend to catch these corporations?” Susanto asked. While much corruption in the sector involves corporate dealings with government on the issuance of timber forest exploitation permits, the activist said it was company officials rather than bureaucrats who needed to be investigated. “The ones enjoying the benefit from state losses are those corporations,” Susanto said.

Iconic Conservationists Appeal to Save Orangutans From ‘Extreme Threat’

Jakarta Globe, 15 April 2012 | Characterizing Indonesia’s biodiversity as under “extreme threat,” the patrons of the Great Apes Survival Partnership – Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey, Richard Wrangham and Russell Mittermeier – have sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asking him to halt the destruction of Sumatra’s rainforests and enforce laws that protect orangutans and their habitat. The group, also know as GRASP, sent the letter on Friday in response to man-made fires in the Leuser ecosystem that were set to clear rainforest land for oil palm plantations through allegedly illegal permits. Experts from GRASP fear that as many as 300 orangutans could perish in the fires. The Sumatran orangutan has been classified as critically endangered since 2000, and no more than 6,300 are believed to exist in the wild. Only found in Sumatra, the orangutans are rarer than their Borneo relatives. The biggest threat to the Sumatran orangutans is the destruction of their habitat.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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