REDD in the news: 16-22 April 2012

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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.

[DR Congo] Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project

Forest Carbon Group, no date | The Mai Ndombe REDD project is the first REDD project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – supported by the Congolese government and the UN REDD Programme. It protects 300,000 hectare of tropical rainforest and has multiple positive effects on climate change mitigation, the protection of biodiversity and local living conditions. The project area is home to 50.000 people living in 26 villages. Our partner company Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) works closely with local people and communities to implement the project, for example to sustainably produce firewood and charcoal. The project also aims to build additional schools, improve medical service and sustainable agriculture. The forests in the Mai Ndombe region are threatened by a growing demand of tropical hardwoods, an increasing population and poverty driven illegal logging.

UN-REDD Newsletter 27

UN-REDD, April 2012 | In the March/April edition of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter, read more on the Programme’s recent US$8 million in funding allocations to the Republic of Congo and Sri Lanka, as well as updates from other UN-REDD National Programmes in Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, the Philippines, Sudan and Viet Nam. You can also get details and download new UN-REDD Programme reports, including the recently released “2011 Year in Review”, which gives a comprehensive snapshot of the Programme’s progress over the past year.

[Australia] Native forest protection projects

Australian Government, April 2012 | Proponent: REDD Forests Ptd Ltd and Greencollar Pty Ltd. Status: Open for public comment. Consulation period: Closing 13 May 2012. Description: This methodology proposal involves the protection of native forests through the prevention of clearing and clear felling harvesting activities. Methodology documents/tools: Redd Forests NFP 2-1 method proposal (PDF 787 kB).

Obstacles to a Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Forest Management Under REDD in Central Africa: A Two-Country Analysis

By Richard S. Mbatu, InTech, 2012 | The Central Africa forests region expands across the borders of six countries – Cameron, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon – covering an area of approximately 330 million hectares that sits largely within the geologic confines of a Basin commonly known in geographic terms as the Congo Basin. It contains the second largest area of contiguous evergreen forest in the world. The expansive forests cover of the Congo Basin presents the region with the ability to make meaningful contribution in the fight against climate change via carbon sequestration and reducing emissions from deforestation and forests degradation (REDD), as it stores an estimated 25-30 billion tons of carbon in its vegetation.

16 April 2012

EU carbon trading reform proposal this year – Oettinger

By Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 16 April 2012 | The European Commission is likely to prepare a legal proposal on reforming its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) before the end of the year, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Monday. Speaking at a European Wind Energy Association conference in Copenhagen, Oettinger said the 27-nation bloc’s trading scheme was failing to set a strong enough price to encourage investment in low carbon energy. “At the moment, there is no price signal. We have to prepare a proposal. There is an expectation from the European Parliament,” Oettinger said. “We hope to come to a conclusion before the end of the year.” Prices for carbon permits under the EU ETS are trading at around 6.90 euros ($9.03) a tonne. They hit a new record low of 5.99 euros on April 4, well below the level needed to encourage green investment.

Upcoming Trade and Environment Events

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 16 April 2012 | 30 April – 5 May, Montreal, Canada. CBD’S 16TH MEETING OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE. The Convention on Biological Diversity’s SBSTTA 16 will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 30 April to 5 May 2012 and will discuss advice on REDD+ biodiversity safeguards, and indicators to assess the impacts of REDD+ on biodiversity and on indigenous and local communities. Relevant SBSTTA documents on REDD+ safeguards are now online for peer review.

The Great Rainforest Heist: How environmental groups gone bad greenwash logging Earth’s last primary old forests

By Dr Glenn Barry, Earth Meanders, 16 April 2012 | The world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and/or planned compromised Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is sustainable forest management and carbon forestry.

Mixed Greens: Home energy ratings in Baillieu’s sights

By Sophie Vorrath, reneweconomy.com.au, 16 April 2012 | Despite the recently announced massive job cuts … traffic through the door at the federal government’s Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency won’t be all one-way. One of those who has left … is Andrew Ure, the department’s former Director of International Forest Carbon. He’s headed to OgilvyEarth – Ogilvy PR Australia’s sustainability communication practice – where he will replace outgoing managing director of 10 years, Sarah Cruickshank… Speaking about Ure’s appointment, OgilvyEarth and Ogilvy PR CEO Kieran Moore said the company was excited to get him on board… During his time at the Department, Ure supported the development of Australia’s international climate change policy, and was a lead negotiator for Australia in UN negotiations. He was elected co-chair of the international REDD+ Partnership…

Through a glass, darkly – what’s wrong with an Indian coffee retailer exporting logs of prime furniture and flooring timber from Guyana instead of local processing for added value?

By Janette Bulkan, Stabroek News, 16 April 2012 | So everything is OK and Guyana is happy to export unprocessed, and without value adding, its prime timbers? No doubt there are some happy people consequentially in Pradoville 2, the new Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). But that does not mean that the two VHPI deals satisfy the actual national policies, that is, policies which have been debated and endorsed by the National Assembly. Nor is it clear that the government (Ministers and agencies) have applied laws, regulations and procedures correctly. This article describes the background to the inherently unlikely involvement of a Main Street coffee retailer from Bengaluru, India, in logging Guyana’s tropical rainforest. A subsequent article will discuss the evidence for compliance and non-compliance with our laws, regulations and procedures, and the broader implications of these deals for the future of Guyana’s forest sector.

[Guyana] Company that supervised bungled Amaila Falls road project to overlook new contractors

By Gary Eleazar, Kaieteur News, 16 April 2012 | The very company that overlooked Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall’s bungled Amaila Falls Road project has now been tasked with continued supervision of the other contractors who will complete the critical roadway. The company, SRKN Gineering headed by Dr. Ravi Narine, was awarded ‘Supervisory Oversight’ of the US$15.4M Amaila Falls Road which was being undertaken by Motilall’s company, Synergy Holdings Inc. Dr. Narine’s contract has now been extended to September of this year. Dr. Narine’s company will also prepare the remaining road designs for the controversial project, something that Motilall had been tasked with.

The Letter of Intent that prompted a tectonic shift in the dialogue about Indonesia’s forests: An interview with CIFOR’s DG

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 April 2012 | The Letter of Intent between Indonesia and Norway has been “the single most significant game changer” for the Indonesian forestry sector in the last 25 years, commented CIFOR Director General, Frances Seymour in an recent interview. “I would say that the Letter of Intent prompted a tectonic shift in the dialogue about forests, who participates in it, realignment of domestic constituencies among themselves and vis-à-vis international constituencies in a way that I haven’t seen in 25 years,” said Seymour in an interview with REDD-Monitor, the seventh in their series of interviews with key REDD actors in Indonesia.

Laos: Communal land titles could save more than forests

IRIN, 16 April 2012 | With pressure on natural resources increasing in Laos, the first community land titles granted to five villages in Vientiane Province could provide a national model for environmental protection while safeguarding the livelihoods of villagers. “It’s very important because the communal land titles can give communities the right to access and harvest natural resources, and overcome land concessions to companies,” Souvanpheng Phommasane, an advisor for SNV Netherlands Development Organization told IRIN. The title deeds cover an area of 2,189 hectares of bamboo-producing forest. After a two-year process the land was finally handed over to the five villages in Sangthong District, 50km west of the capital, Vientiane, in February.

[Pakistan] Robust plantation drive to offset global warming effect

Dawn.com, 16 April 2012 | The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will bring 0.77 million acres of land under plantation and vegetative covers in the province next year to offset the effects of global warming and climatic change, says Minister for Environment Wajid Ali Khan. Presiding over a meeting here at Civil Secretariat regarding afforestation on Monday, the minister said the step would register 1.15 per cent increase in the overall forest land in the province. He directed the officers of forest department to initiate projects of planting olive, walnut and chalgoza plants in Chitral, Dir, Shangla and Hazara Division, which will also create job opportunities for the locals… The minister said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular and Pakistan in general were progressing steadily in bringing the benefits of REDD to the forest dependent communities and in the process were conserving biodiversity and promoting carbon sequestration as well.

Police hired by loggers in Papua New Guinea lock locals in shipping containers

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 16 April 2012 | Locals protesting the destruction of their forest in Papua New Guinea for two palm oil plantations say police have been sent in for a second time to crack-down on their activities, even as a Commission of Inquiry (COI) investigates the legality of the concession. Traditional landowners in Pomio District on the island East New Britain say police bankrolled by Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau (RH) have terrorized the population, including locking people in shipping containers for three consecutive nights. The palm oil concessions belongs to a company known as Gilford Limited, which locals say is a front group for RH. “The current situation is very bad. The [villagers] are trying their best to do (a) blockade, but because of the police involvement the people are very scared to stand up and defend their land and speak their rights.”

17 April 2012

Global community needs to invest in MRV capacity in forest-rich developing countries to make REDD+ work

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 17 April 2012 | The international community needs to help developing countries increase their ability to measure and monitor the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that they save by safeguarding their forests if a UN-backed climate change mechanism known as REDD+ is to attain its objective of cutting emissions, according to a new study that reveals major capacity gaps in most tropical forest-rich nations… “REDD+ is assumed to be a performance-based mechanism and its supporters need to be realistic about what developing countries can do in terms of MRV, at least at this point in time,” said Louis Verchot, a co-author of the study and the leading climate scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “The international community needs to commit the human and financial resources to address the gaps in MRV capacity if they want REDD+ to work.”

The Rio+20 Earth summit must back peasant farmers on land rights

By Fred Pearce, The Guardian, 17 April 2012 | Post-imperial governments across the world spent half a century putting communally owned land in state hands. The land was being held in trust for the people, they said. Now those governments are claiming the land is “empty” and “unused” – and flogging it off to foreigners who promise investment. After decades of under-investment in African agriculture, governments seem willing to accept any kind of investment. Some say this is necessary to feed the world? I don’t believe so. I agree with the World Bank report which noted in 2009 that “there is little evidence that the large-scale farming model is either necessary or even particularly promising for Africa”. And with the Ford Foundation’s Pablo Farias, who recently called for the Earth summit to “endorse community land rights”, noting that “when land rights of rural communities are recognised, far more sustainable land uses evolve”.

Astrium + AFD…The Focus Is On Trees (Imagery)

Satnews Publishers, 17 April 2012 | [SatNews] Astrium and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) have launched the second phase of their partnership to protect the forests of the Congo Basin. Thanks to their alliance, satellite images are being made directly available to Central African countries committed to the sustainable management of rainforests. The partnership’s goal is to develop forest-governance expertise in these countries, which are taking part in international initiatives such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and local projects, among them national climate plans designed to achieve greenhouse-gas reduction targets. In doing so, the nations of the Congo Basin are restating their commitment to the fight against climate change. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the leading countries in the organisation and structure of the agencies that make up the REDD+ program.

New Briefing Note: Including Mangrove Forests in REDD+

LTS International, 17 April 2012 | Lesley King of LTS International was commissioned by CDKN to write a briefing paper on Including Mangrove Forests in REDD+. Download the paper here. Key messages from the paper: REDD+ preparations have focused on terrestrial forests but recent studies show the carbon sequestration potential of mangrove forests in coastal swamps. Mangroves benefit coastal communities, particularly the fishing trade. Yet few carbon certification schemes under REDD+ are open to mangrove forests due to lack of carbon models for their deep sediment meaning communities are prevented from securing further financial benefit. This policy brief, based on findings from a project in Kenya, suggests that existing social carbon standards are suitable for mangrove forest REDD+ projects.

Brazilian REDD+ project certified under VCS, can generate 0.2 mn carbon credits

Climate Connect, 17 April 2012 | The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the world’s leading voluntary carbon offset mechanism has granted certification a REDD+ project in Brazil which will allow an indigenous tribe of the Amazon forest to earn carbon credits for protecting and restoring forests. The project being executed by the Paiter Suruí community is first of its kind as it gives an indigenous tribe to earn international carbon credits for forestry projects… [R-M: Login needed.]

[Ghana] Forest Management To Go Hi-Tech

Government of Ghana, 17 April 2012 | Ghana’s forest management system is expected to go hi-tech soon under the forest preservation programme. The objective is to prepare the Forestry Commission (FC) to harness the benefit of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) mechanism which is the payment scheme under the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for conserving forests in the developing countries. Indeed, as a rule, for the potential buyer of REDD credit from Ghana, it is mandatory for the Commission to prove that the forest is being properly conserved and the area and quality of forest have been increased over the time. And characteristic of the Japanese government, it is offering Ghana the usual helping hand in this direction. In fact, it is providing a grant of 7.8 million US dollars for a special training programme to build the capacity and capability of the Commission to undertake the mapping…

Indonesia to Investigate Forest Concession

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 17 April 2012 | The Environment Ministry has said it will launch an investigation into the issuance of a plantation concession inside the Tripa peat swamp forest in Aceh province. The ministry’s announcement came in response to findings by the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation forest carbon reduction task force. On Friday, the government-formed task force said it had evidence that palm oil company Kallista Alam had violated regulations in turning the swamp forest into a plantation. The task force recommended that the Environment Ministry and the police further scrutinize Kallista’s actions. “We will investigate if the company has properly conducted an Amdal [environmental impact analysis] or has other environmental permits,” Sudariyono, the ministry’s head of law enforcement unit, said at a seminar in Jakarta on Monday.

Indonesia’s Environment Ministry to probe destruction of protected peat forest for palm oil

mongabay.com, 17 April 2012 | Indonesia’s Environment Ministry will investigate a permit issued for an oil palm plantation in heart of Tripa peat forest on the island of Sumatra, reports The Jakarta Globe. The decision comes after the head of the country’s REDD+ Task Force called for a probe into the concession, which spurred international outcry led by orangutan conservation groups and local environmental NGOs. On Monday, Sudariyono, the head of the Environment Ministry’s law enforcement unit, said the agency would investigate whether the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam had secured the proper permits and conducted an environmental impact analysis prior to draining and clearing the contested area. Sudariyono added that the ministry would evaluate whether the company had the right to operate in the peat swamp, which should be protected under a national moratorium implemented last year as well as its status as part of the Leuser Ecosystem.

[Philippines] Two new frog species discovered in Leyte

By Rouchelle Dinglasan, GMA News, 17 April 2012 | The survey of the Southern Leyte forest was part of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) program in the Philippines funded by the German government, which aims to rehabilitate and protect the current green cover in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. One of the frogs was found on a tree branch, while the other was found in the ground, FFI said. The frogs do not have formal names yet. FFI suggested that one of the frogs be named Platymantis reddorum after the REDD project. The proposed name for the other species is Platymantis sodhi in commemoration of conservation scientist Navjot Sodhi, who was involved in the project and who recently passed away.

Cross border illegal loggers face new obstacle in Tanzania Mozambique forest agreement

By John Kabubu, WWF, 17 April 2012 | A new forest cooperation agreement to be signed tomorrow between Mozambique and Tanzania will dramatically increase the effectiveness of measures to stop rampant illegal logging and timber trading across the border. The memorandum of understanding between the National Directorate of Land and Forests of Mozambique (DNTF) and the Forestry and Beekeeping Division (FBD) of Tanzania outlines cooperative measures to help improve the management of critical natural resources such as forests and wildlife in the two countries, and to increase the economic and livelihood benefits that such resources bring to the communities. The MOU is the result of a years’ work by the signatories and the WWF, which facilitated exchange visits and organized several meetings. It is also expected to open the doors for greater cooperation and exchange of experience in issues such as community forest management and REDD.

[Vietnam] A tale of typhoons, trees and tiny creatures that stood between a community and climate resilience

By Mike Shanahan, International Institute for Environment and Development, 17 April 2012 | The typhoon caused more than US$4.4 million in damage. But one area suffered less than the rest. A 500 metre stretch of the 3500 metre long dyke had remained intact because of what stood between it and the sea: a patch of mangrove forest. Nature had provided a lesson that Da Loc commune could not afford to ignore. And in 2006 Nguyen — a project manager for Care Vietnam — arrived with a mangrove mission in mind. The plan was simple: to support the community to plant a living wall of mangrove trees to protect against future storms. But when they first tried to plant mangroves along that stretch of coast, the trees died after just two months. It looked like Nguyen’s mission was doomed to fail. Until, that is, one of the villagers diagnosed the problem. Little creatures called barnacles…

18 April 2012

UN Biodiversity Boss Dias Sees More Engagement With Cities, Private Sector

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 April 2012 | When Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias was appointed Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in January, he took responsibility for implementing the CBD’s new ten-year strategic plan. In a wide-ranging interview with Ecosystem Marketplace, he discusses the plan, the future of biodiversity, and the role of offsetting… So far, in discussions under the CBD, ALBA Countries (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América, Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) have raised the most concerns, and this prevented us from adopting decisions at COP 10 on innovative financial mechanisms, but it goes beyond these countries. Other countries also have concerns, and there is a broad constituency of civil society movements and indigenous rights organizations who have serious concerns about REDD and other market-based mechanisms.

Eco forestry rewards scheme ‘hits problems’

By Adrian Bishop, The Earth Times, 18 April 2012 | Developing countries are struggling to make a new eco forestry rewards scheme work, says a new report. Of 99 countries that signed up to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) at the UN climate change meeting, 89 have ‘very large or medium’ problems achieving the requirements, says the study. For REDD+ to succeed, the world’s richer nations must provide more help so developing nations can measure and monitor the amount of saved greenhouse gases, according to the research just published in Environmental Science and Policy… Co-author Louis Verchot, who is also a climate scientist for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), says, “REDD+ is assumed to be a performance-based mechanism and its supporters need to be realistic about what developing countries can do in terms of MRV, at least at this point in time.”

Saving forests? Take a leaf from insurance industry’s book

PhysOrg, 18 April 2012 | A group of environmental scientists say a problem-ridden economic model designed to slow deforestation can be improved by applying key concepts from the insurance industry… In a paper published online in the journal Conservation Letters, ecology researchers from Australia and South Africa argue that REDD projects can suffer from three major problems. They have proposed strengthening the scheme by using insurance policies and premiums, creating a new scheme known as iREDD. “The idea of paying a nation to protect its forests in exchange for carbon pollution offsets can potentially reduce overall emissions by keeping the trees alive, and ensure a lot of associated biodiversity gets caught up in the conservation process,” says Professor Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and a senior author of the paper.

Brazilian states discuss carbon market link

By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 18 April 2012 | Brazil’s Sao Paulo state is in talks to buy forest carbon credits from the upper Amazon state of Acre that would allow Sao Paulo state to meet targets for reducing emissions, an official said on Tue sday. Sao Paulo, an industrial powerhouse with 40 million residents, is seeking access to emission cuts in Acre to help it reach its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 98 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2020 from 122 million tonnes in 2005. Eufran Ferreira do Amaral, head of Climate Change Institute of Acre, told Point Carbon News that the state signed a memorandum of understanding last week. “A technical group will work to integrate Sao Paulo climate legislation with Acre’s environmental services system,” he said.

Is the EU ‘juking the stats’ of its carbon schemes?

By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 18 April 2012 | The EU has earned a lot of credit on the international climate scene. It has pushed through a roadmap to a second Kyoto deal at the Durban climate change summit, and stood firm on tugging global airlines into a carbon-pricing scheme… But what if a culture of creative accounting, for reasons of political expediency, was robbing the targets they were working for of any credibility? … But this is why any fears of a parallel with the run-in to the Eurozone meltdown need to be addressed now. Then, the EU’s book-keepers approved billions of euros of bad loans to countries such as Greece, which had dressed up their public finances to make it appear as though they were meeting criteria when they were not. Greek number-crunchers reportedly used a known loophole in the EU’s accounting system to “juke the stats”.

[Indonesia] REDD Alert in Kalimantan As AusAid Initiative Stumbles

By Andrew D. Kaspar, Jakarta Globe, 18 April 2012 | The Australian government is learning firsthand just how fraught environmental conservation in Indonesia can be. Introduced as an effort that would provide “immediate and tangible results” in Indonesia’s ongoing struggle to protect its forests, a leading initiative by Australia’s Agency for International Development (AusAID) has been “quietly but drastically scaled back” and is well behind schedule, according to recent research. The project in Central Kalimantan’s Kapuas district was announced jointly in 2007 by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australia’s then-foreign minister, Alexander Downer, with the aim of reflooding drained peatland, replanting deforested areas and protecting 70,000 hectares of peatland from further deforestation. The effort, known as the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership, would ultimately reduce climate change-inducing carbon dioxide emissions by 700 million tons over 30 years.

19 April 2012

Africa and the CDM: a dead-end

By Payal Parekh, climate-consulting.org, 19 April 2012 | Given the dismal state of carbon markets currently, it is baffling that there is a push to expand them to the African continent; yesterday the Africa Carbon Forum opened in Addis Ababa and next week there is a two day capacity building workshop in Lilongwe (Malawi) entitled Making carbon markets work for the poor. Furthermore, as the case studies show in the newly released report, The CDM in Africa Cannot Deliver the Money, Africa’s experience with the CDM has been anything but positive. Rather than supporting innovative projects that provide clean energy to those with limited or no access to energy, poor communities are often displaced, exposed to harmful conditions and lose their livelihoods in the name of climate action and sustainable development. Project types highlighted in the report include a landfill, gas capture projects and large hydroelectric dams.

Conference Report – Beyond Carbon: Ensuring Justice and Equity of REDD+ Across Levels of Governance

By Dr. Heike Schroeder, APN, 19 April 2012 | A wide range of actors, interests and ideas have emerged to shape this process across international, national and local institutions and a cacophony of different initiatives, programmes and policy paradigms have ensued, all of which are in some way addressing the problem of deforestation. Much is at stake and many questions remain unanswered. How can such a funding mechanism be implemented effectively given the many governance challenges, including leakage, permanence, additionality, fair benefit sharing, tenure security and stakeholder participation in decision-making processes?In essence, how can justice and equity be ensured for a mechanism that permeates local, national and international levels of governance? An APN-sponsored conference was held at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, on 23-24 March 2012, to discuss this question. It was co-organised by the University of East Anglia, the University of Oxford and the Tyndall Centre…

How do we save Africa’s forests?

By Karimeh Moukaddem, mongabay.com, 19 April 2012 | A new report by The Forest Philanthropy Action Network (FPAN), a non-profit that provides research-based advice on funding forest conservation, argues that only the full conservation of African forests will successfully protect carbon stocks in Africa… There is no NGO working exclusively on forest conservation, for example. Most of the major NGOs (e.g. Greenpeace, Global Witness, CI, Friends of the Earth, WWF, TNC) do have forest programs, but these sit alongside many other priorities. I think the role of forest conservation within the REDD negotiations has suffered as a result. Most of the specialist forest NGOs are smaller and also tend to focus on the rights and livelihoods of forest peoples (e.g. Rainforest Foundation, Forest Peoples Programme, FERN) rather than on conservation and restoration.

[Cambodia] Oddar Meanchey Community Forestry REDD+: Frontline SMS Pilot

frontlinesms.com, 19 April 20122 | Between September and December 2011, the Pact Community Forestry Partnership program piloted Frontline SMS, an open-source mobile phone SMS (Short Message Service) communication interface. In the trial the Frontline SMS application Frontline Forms was used for community forest patrol reporting by community forest management groups. The purpose of the trial was two-fold: To use mobile phones for forest patrol reporting, and To determine the applicability of Frontline SMS for the Oddar Meanchey Community Forestry REDD+ project (OM CF REDD) and other Pact programs. The trial was conducted in three community forests (CFs), including Sorng Rokavorn (the ‘Monks Forest’), Samaky and Romdoul Veasna. The trial was accompanied by training in the use of the Frontline Forms application for participating CFs. During the trial 28 patrols were accurately logged using Frontline Forms.

The countries of the Congo Basin are using geo-spatial technologies for the sustainable development of forest ecosystems

IFN International press release, 19 April 2012 | The programme for the provision of SPOT images (satellites operated by Astrium), financed by the French Agency of Development (AFD) and implemented by IGN France International (IGN FI), is now entering its second phase. The processing of satellite images will allow the beneficiaries to be able to more easily analyse these data and to better use them in order to shape their strategic choices. This new phase will thus contribute to the preparation of strategies for the preservation of forests and the establishment of national climate plans in the countries of the Congo Basin. The forests of the Congo Basin represent 22% of forestry coverage worldwide and form a carbon reservoir of more than 56 gigatons. The partnership established in 2010 between the AFD and Astrium aims, in the long term, to freely distribute SPOT satellite images to governments, public institutions and NGOs that work for the sustainable management of forests…

Sustaining Guyana’s rainforest reaping millions of dollars

Caribbean 360, 19 April 2012 | Guyana has received more than a quarter of the US$250 million promised to it by the government of Norway for its part in protecting the Amazon rainforest from degradation and deforestation. This was shared by Guyana’s prime minister, Sam Hinds, as he addressed the official opening of the 13th Annual Caribbean Conference On Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-13) of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which took place at the Guyana International Conference Centre. Hinds, who was acting as the country’s executive president in the absence of Donald Ramotar, told the gathering that, to date, Guyana had successfully met performance-requirements for two consecutive years, earning approximately US$70 million which has been transferred by Norway into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF).

[India] Forests equal to half of Delhi lost, reveals report

By Jayashree Nandi, Times Of India, 19 April 2012 | Going by the latest report on deforestation in India, we have lost forest area equivalent to more than half of New Delhi or as big as a tier two city between 2007 and 2009 alone. The study conducted by a team of forestry researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore for ” Current Science” journal says that massive deforestation has been masked by Forest Survey of India’s afforestation data. The IISc study contradicts FSI’s forest-cover figures and highlights a loss of 99,850 hectares of forests in two years.

Orangutan Emergency in Indonesia: The Edge of Extinction

By Rebecca Tarbotton (RAN), Huffington Post, 19 March 2012 | Massive fires, intentionally and unconscionably started by palm oil companies as a means of clearing forests, are, right now, ripping apart the world-renowned Tripa rainforest of Indonesia. This man-made inferno inside one of the world’s most ecologically important forests is still smoldering, and has killed more than 100 critically endangered Sumatran orangutans – a third of the local population – so far. The Tripa rainforest fires are a wake up call to the world that the iconic orangutan is in serious danger of becoming the first of the great apes to be pushed to extinction. If this unspeakably sad fate were to come to pass, no one would be able to say we did not see it coming. A recent investigation by the Indonesian government has confirmed that these catastrophic fires were set systematically and intentionally by palm oil companies for the purpose of clearing the land to plant oil palm plantations.

[Indonesia] Walhi, REDD task force fight forest clearing

Jakarta Post, 19 April 2012 | Environmental group, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), may have lost the first battle in its fight against deforestation in Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh, but the group have now won support from a government-sanctioned task force. The Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) task force visited the area last month when Walhi, and other local green groups, were awaiting a verdict on a lawsuit they had filed against the Aceh administration for issuing a concession permit to PT Kallista Alam. The Aceh Administrative Court delivered its verdict in favor of the administration on April 3 and Walhi filed an appeal the day after. Outgoing Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf had signed the permit last August, allowing the company to convert a 1,605-hectare plot of protected peatland forest in the Nagan Raya district into oil palm plantations. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan plans to visit Aceh later this month…

Japan grants 3 million USD for 250,000 indigenous people in Indonesia

China Daily, 19 April 2012 | Japan on Thursday granted 3 million U.S. dollars of aid for up to 250,000 indigenous peoples in Indonesia, the World Bank said in a statement released here. The World Bank, the Japanese government and AMAN, the National Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago, are joining forces to strengthen the voice of forest-dependent people in forest policy dialogue. “A new 3 million dollar- grant program launched today will work towards building the capacity of indigenous communities in key forest provinces. The grant is provided by the Japan Social Development Fund, and will be managed by the World Bank,” said the bank.

20 April 2012

[China] Beijing preparing for carbon trading system

By Lan Lan, China Daily, 20 April 2012 | Beijing, which aims to launch its carbon-trading system next year, is carefully calculating the city’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, said a local government official. The country has designated seven cities and provinces to launch carbon-trading systems in the next year and will introduce a nationwide carbon-trading program in 2015. Yao Fei, a senior official of the Beijing municipal commission of development and reform, told China Daily that figuring out how to calculate the city’s indirect carbon emissions is a top priority. About 70 percent of Beijing’s electricity consumption is generated outside the capital, so it is necessary to include the emissions caused by power generated in other areas, he said.

Australian REDD #Fail in Indonesia’s Kalimantan forests

ABC Radio Australia, 20 April 2012 | Lou Verchot (CIFOR): The situation in tropical forestry doesn’t change very quickly. There are alot of entrenched interests, there are alot of problems dealing with the remote areas, where the forests are. Governance issues are a problem, resources for government officers or for communities to manage a forest are awful. So there’s a whole host of problems out there, and a whole host of interests and there’ll need to be a major shift. What we’re asking for in tropical forestry right now, is a tectonic shift in the way we manage our forests and treat our forests in these regions… Most of the projects are in go-slow mode because the finances are not certain. You don’t want to undertake a process to raise hopes in communities that the finance is going to be there, that we’re going to change the way we manage these forests. If you’re not sure that it’s going to come behind with sustainable funding to make that a reality.

[Guyana] GFC begins consultations for stricter forestry practices

Stabroek News, 20 April 2012 | The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) hosted its first meeting with local stakeholders on Wednesday as it moves to establish a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) within the European Union (EU) aimed at realising stricter forestry practices that will see the exclusion of illegal timber from the market. The consultations will also include informing the local interest groups about the European Union Forestry Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT) programme and the soon to be implemented National Log Export Policy 2012-2014, a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release said. Eight sessions have been planned.

Illegal timber harvesting…Guyana, EU start negotiations for major accord

Kaieteur News, 20 April 2012 | Guyana has started negotiations with the European Union (EU) for a major accord that will ensure only legally harvested timber enters that market. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), once signed, will see increased monitoring to ensure that timber harvesting is in keeping with international standards. The EU-FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Agreement will allow access to technical and other help to improve the current processes of monitoring in the country.

Mexico passes climate-change law

By Erik Vance, Nature News & Comment, 20 April 2012 | As the Kyoto Protocol winds down without a strong replacement, countries are implementing their own strategies to reduce global warming… The Mexican legislature passed one of the strongest national climate-change laws so far on 19 April. Mexico, which ranks 11th in the world for both the size of its economy and its level of carbon emissions, joins the United Kingdom in having legally binding emissions goals aimed at stemming the effects of climate change. After three years of debate and revisions, the bill passed in Mexico’s lower house with a vote of 128 for and 10 against, and was later passed unanimously by the Senate. The new law contains many sweeping provisions to mitigate climate change, including a mandate to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 30% below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050.

21 April 2012

A New ‘Green Grab’? Mapping Carbon Offset Forestry in East and Southern Africa

By Adrian Nel, REDD+ EARTH, 21 April 2012 | That carbon forestry in Africa is emergent and ‘in flux’ is evident. It remains an unsettled and evolving structure that is driven to a large extent by processes such as the UN-REDD scheme and the FCPF’s “Readiness for REDD” program, augmented by sporadic injections of private capital and donor/NGO funding (with Norway particularly prevalent). Whilst the arrangement is in flux it is important that evaluations of progress to date are cognisant of the complexity on the ground, and look beyond obfuscating discourses of ‘win-win’ which do not pertain in project realities. These two projects have sought to enrich the debate on Carbon Forestry in Africa and suggest ways for thinking about and evaluating carbon forestry from an empirical basis.

[Bhutan] REDD-iness

By Kuenzang Choden, The Bhutanese, 21 April 2012 | Bhutan stands to gain but various issues need to be considered Bhutan is slowly gearing towards developing a national strategy on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD +). However, there is skepticism from various quarters at the country actually becoming a signatory to the mechanism. REDD+ is a mechanism that establishes incentives for developing countries to protect and better manage their forest resources by creating a financial value for the carbon stored in forests. The three mechanisms under REDD+ include: the host country should have a REDD strategy in place, they should establish a reference deforestation rate using credible methods and a monitoring mechanism should be developed which provides data on deforestation and forest degradation on an annual basis. An environmentalist in his opinion said that Bhutan already has what REDD+ would ensure.

Liberia’s EPA: Global challenges and benefits

By Morris Koffa, The Liberian Dialogue, 21 April 2012 | Liberia, like many African countries stands to benefit from this arrangement given the fact that we have one of the largest rainforest in the West Africa region. But there may be serious hurdles in our way. First, the capacities of the following entities the EPA, FDA, Fish and Wildlife Services (if we have one), Bureau of Land Management (if we have one) must be enhanced through training and education. Second, the FDA must amend or design rules that avoid “investment in influence” and enforcement mechanism that protects out forests from poachers and illegal loggers. The Fish and Wildlife Service must ensure the management of our ecosystem and biodiversity. I guess, the FWS must also organize a list of our endangered species by designing a habitat conservation plan so that they do not go extinct. Third, land has become a disputable issue in Liberia.

22 April 2012

[Brazil] ‘They’re killing us’: world’s most endangered tribe cries for help

By Gethin Chamberlain, The Observer, 22 April 2012 | Trundling along the dirt roads of the Amazon, the giant logging lorry dwarfed the vehicle of the investigators following it. The trunks of nine huge trees were piled high on the back – incontrovertible proof of the continuing destruction of the world’s greatest rainforest and its most endangered tribe, the Awá. Yet as they travelled through the jungle early this year, the small team from Funai – Brazil’s National Indian Foundation – did not dare try to stop the loggers; the vehicle was too large and the loggers were almost certainly armed. All they could do was video the lorry and add the film to the growing mountain of evidence showing how the Awá – with only 355 surviving members, more than 100 of whom have had no contact with the outside world – are teetering on the edge of extinction.

Indonesia’s Indigenous People Not Yet Focused on Climate

By Fidelis E. Satriastani, Jakarta Globe, 22 April 2012 | Though long identified as among those most vulnerable to the effects of global warming, indigenous groups meeting at a national summit in North Maluku barely touched on the issue of climate change. Nina Dwisasanti, a researcher on climate change adaptation at the Samdhana Institute, said the issue of adapting to climate change was not yet high on indigenous peoples’ agenda. “I think that’s fine because they already have a lot to deal with, including land disputes and rights issues,” she said on the sidelines of the fourth congress of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) in Tobelo, North Halmahera. Nina was the moderator of a discussion on “Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change Adaptation,” one of a series of events that are part of the AMAN Congress, attended by representatives of indigenous groups from across the country.

Indigenous People Want to Have a Say in What’s Happening to Their Lands

By Daniel Pye & Philip Jacobson, Jakarta Globe, 22 April 2012 | Though it is met with apprehension by the corporate world, FPIC already exists in the Philippines, where it has had a marked effect, said Joan Carling, secretary general of the Asia Indigenous People’s Pact, a coalition of 28 national indigenous organizations… “The heart of the matter is land tenure and sustainable livelihoods,” she said, adding that the state sees forests only in terms of carbon and as a commodity under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) schemes. “But for us it has multiple values. Indigenous people should also be compensated for cultural loss.”

Tanzania: Zanzibar Strives to Protect Its Forests and Coast From Climate Change

By Issa Yussuf, Tanzania Daily News, 22 April 2012 | Zanzibar department of environment with support from Norway has organized a workshop to raise awareness on the impact of climate change on the islands and forests. The climate change and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) project workshop for Zanzibar legislators, also appraised the strategic responses and mitigate strategies to climate change impacts. In his opening remarks, the Second Vice President (2VP), Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi, said Zanzibar is vulnerable to climate change impacts, asking all people to implement mitigation strategies. The speech was read on his behalf by the Speaker of Zanzibar House of Representatives, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho, saying that all people, including law makers, have a great role in adaptation and mitigation strategies including protecting forests.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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