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REDD in the news: 24-30 September 2012

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REDD in the news: 24-30 September 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 is updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

Overcoming Legal Barriers to REDD+ Implementation

Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research, September 2012 | Although it is widely acknowledged that domestic legal frameworks form the ‘backbone’ of REDD+ implementation, the relatively recent development of REDD+ at the international level combined with the small number of pilot projects around the world has left a vacuum in terms of how existing law is applied to implement successful REDD+ projects. REDD+ project developers must tackle issues such as defining carbon rights, designing benefit-sharing systems for local stakeholders (and ensuring that the rights of local peoples are respected), structuring projects to ensure that foreign investment is permitted and addressing challenges such as leakage and permanence.

Estimating Global “Blue Carbon” Emissions from Conversion and Degradation of Vegetated Coastal Ecosystems

By Pendleton L, Donato DC, Murray BC, Crooks S, Jenkins WA, et al., PLoS ONE, September 2012 | Recent attention has focused on the high rates of annual carbon sequestration in vegetated coastal ecosystems—marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses—that may be lost with habitat destruction (‘conversion’). Relatively unappreciated, however, is that conversion of these coastal ecosystems also impacts very large pools of previously-sequestered carbon. Residing mostly in sediments, this ‘blue carbon’ can be released to the atmosphere when these ecosystems are converted or degraded. Here we provide the first global estimates of this impact and evaluate its economic implications. Combining the best available data on global area, land-use conversion rates, and near-surface carbon stocks in each of the three ecosystems, using an uncertainty-propagation approach, we estimate that 0.15–1.02 Pg (billion tons) of carbon dioxide are being released annually…

Indigenous Peoples in Asia-Pacific Call for a Strengthened Role in REDD+

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, September 2012 | The indigenous peoples’ dialogue, held on 31 August 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand in parallel with the UNFCCC and REDD+ Partnership meetings, brought together a diverse range of participants to discuss indigenous peoples’ effective engagement in REDD+. Participants included representatives of Indigenous Peoples organizations, government representatives and civil society organizations from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as representatives from the UN-REDD Programme. Participants came out with substantive and concrete recommendations to strengthen collaboration and cooperation between the UN-REDD Programme and indigenous peoples on REDD+. The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and UN-REDD Programme organized this dialogue. Ms. Joan Carling, Secretary General of AIPP, shared the objectives of the dialogue…

24 September 2012

“Dead” CERs to trade below 3 euros indefinitely: Barclays

Point Carbon, 24 September 2012 | Prices for Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), beaten down to below 1.50 euros last week on ballooning supply, will never again rise back above 3 euros, even if Europe’s governments intervene to lift EU carbon prices, Barclays said in a note Monday. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

When pigs fly: Why is including women in managing forests still so unusual?

By Nisha Onta, IIED, 24 September 2012 | Sadly the institutionalized exclusion of women in the forest sector isn’t just happening in Nepal – it’s prevalent worldwide. Studies conducted in many countries show that forests are managed and policies are designed for and by men. There are various reasons for this exclusion. The forestry sector is male-dominated and provides few educational and training opportunities for women to enter the sector. Due to this culture and other socio-cultural factors, young women choose other paths. Low levels of literacy, mobility constraints and high work burdens also hamper women’s abilities to participate in public forestry activities. Locally, women generally use forests to support their families, such as by collecting non-timber forest products and so remain largely invisible, while men’s work is often linked to timber and markets, and is thus more visible.

U.N.: World must sustain its forests

UPI.com, 24 September 2012 | A country’s forests must be carefully managed because they play a crucial role in helping achieve sustainable development, a senior U.N. official says. Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, made the remarks Monday at the opening of the agency’s Committee on Forestry in Rome, a U.N. release reported. “The success of FAO’s work in improving lives will depend very much on how we balance the use and preservation of natural resources,” he said. “This includes forests, which play an important role in environmental factors like carbon sequestration, soil and water quality preservation and conserving biodiversity.” The committee, composed of heads of forest services and other senior government officials, will spend five days in Rome identifying emerging policy and technical issues, to seek solutions and to advise FAO and others on appropriate action, the United Nations said.

Investment guide to ‘triple win’ from locally controlled forestry

BusinessGhana, 24 September 2012 | A detailed discussion between investors and forest rights-holders, have resulted in new guidance for investments that can create a ‘triple win’ of returns for investors, livelihood security for local communities and protection for forests. The advice on investment in locally-controlled forestry appears in a forthcoming guide by the Growing Forest Partnership (GFP) initiative, and will be presented on Monday September 24th at COFO21, the Conference of the Committee on Forestry at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). “We believe almost any individual or group with imagination, enthusiasm and access to expertise can build and manage a successful forest enterprise that yields sustainable returns,” says Gary Dunning of The Forests Dialogue (TFD).

Forests play key role in helping countries achieve sustainable development – UN official

United Nations News Centre, 24 September 2012 | From soil and water preservation to conserving biodiversity, forests play a crucial role in helping countries achieve sustainable development, a senior United Nations official stressed today at the opening of a key gathering on forestry. “The success of FAO’s work in improving lives will depend very much on how we balance the use and preservation of natural resources. This includes forests, which play an important role in environmental factors like carbon sequestration, soil and water quality preservation and conserving biodiversity,” said the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, at the opening of the agency’s Committee on Forestry in Rome, Italy.

[Brazil] Amazon fire analysis hits new heights

By Claudio Angelo, Nature News & Comment, 24 September 2012 | A group of scientists from Brazil and the United Kingdom are taking an unusual tropical field trip: 21 days flying in and out of heavy smoke plumes from wildfires in the Amazon and measuring everything they can, from the size of cloud droplets to the thickness of the aerosol column up to the stratosphere. The goal is to understand how burning biomass in South America is affecting the local weather and air quality, and to close crucial gaps in climate models about how the process changes Earth’s radiation balance. The SAMBBA (South American Biomass Burning Analysis) mission uses a four-engine jet aeroplane carrying a suite of instruments that can take measurements up to 12 kilometres above the canopy. Previous airborne campaigns used smaller planes and flew at much lower altitudes, so were unable to observe some crucial physical processes.

[Guyana] President Ramotar and IDB head discuss Amaila falls project

Guyana Chronicle, 24 September 2012 | President Donald Ramotar on Monday met President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Luis Alberto Moreno at the office of the Guyana Mission to the United Nations in New York to discuss several key developmental plans, including the Amaila Falls Hydropower project. Following the meeting, the Guyanese Head of State explained that the discussions were very fruitful. “We had a very good discussion, we spoke about Amaila and the stage where it’s at…you know the President of the IDB himself went to China and he has been very helpful in pushing this project. We all understand that this is a very big project and very important project for Guyana, for the bank, for Sithe Global, for all involved… I don’t think we are very far away from bringing a conclusion to the first stage, and then we will begin the second stage of construction,” President Ramotar said.

Indonesian President Yudhoyono Honored with “Valuing Nature Award” in NYC

World Resources Institute, 24 September 2012 | Three leading global environmental and conservation organizations are honoring Indonesia’s President H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with the first-ever “Valuing Nature Award” for his leadership in recognizing the importance of natural resources and working to conserve them. Indonesia, with an area of nearly 2 million square kilometers (772,204 square miles) and over 2 hundred million people, is one of the most important countries when it comes to sustainability, particularly in relation to its globally important biodiversity, forest and marine resources. The award will be presented by the Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute and WWF at a dinner in New York City, coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

Mexican Rainforests and Californian REDD funds

Greenpeace International, 24 September 2012 | The “Governors’ Climate and Forest task force” (GCF) – initiated by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – is meeting in Chiapas State, Mexico to discuss the future of forests. The GCF is working with a political program called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) – something that has direct implications for indigenous peoples and communities´ rights. We are releasing a new report Outsourcing Hot Air, which highlights the escalation of social conflict in forest regions participating in offset schemes and argues that no real emissions reductions are being achieved… Take a listen to this five minute podcast with Greenpeace REDD expert Roman Czebiniak.

[Peru] Distance between government and indigenous communities grows

By Cecilia Remón, Latin America Press, 24 September 2012 | At the end of August, the Peruvian government announced that for the first time in the country, a prior consultation would take place in the indigenous communities of the Amazonian region of Loreto regarding the drilling of an oilfield at the watershed of the Pastaza, Corrientes and Tigre rivers. This process, which is part of the Indigenous and Native Peoples’ Right to Prior Consultation Law, will be led by the Vice Ministry of Intercultural Affairs at the Ministry of Culture. The consultation will start early next year, after the parcel for oil drilling is tendered and the winner of the concession is identified. “Only at that point will the stages of information-sharing and dialogue be carried out with the indigenous communities,” Iván Lanegra Quispe, vice minister of Intercultural Affairs, told the press.

[Vietnam] Officials call for halt to natural forest clearing

VietNamNet, 24 September 2012 | All projects that seek to use forest land for non-forestry purposes should be stopped and exploitation of natural forests should be suspended immediately in order to deal with rampant deforestation in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region, delegates agreed at a seminar held in Pleiku City. Another key measure to save the region’s remaining forests is to strengthen forestry management, they said. Organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the seminar on forest management, protection and development in the Tay Nguyen region was attended by authorities and officials of five Central Highland provinces – Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong. According to a report tabled at the seminar, from 2007 to 2011, the forest area in the Tay Nguyen has fallen by 130,000 ha, with natural forest accounting for 100,000ha of this loss.

25 September 2012

Agriculture is the direct driver for worldwide deforestation

BioScholar News, 25 September 2012 | A new synthesis on drivers of deforestation and forest degradation was published during the Bangkok climate change negotiations in September by researchers from Canada and from Wageningen University, Netherlands. The report stresses the importance of knowing what drives deforestation and forest degradation, in order to be able to design and monitor effective REDD+ policies to halt it. Agriculture is estimated to be the direct driver for around 80% of deforestation worldwide. In Latin America, commercial agriculture is the main direct driver, responsible for 2/3 of all cut forests, while in Africa and tropical Asia commercial agriculture and subsistence agriculture both account for one third of deforestation. Mining, infrastructure and urban expansion are important but less prominent drivers worldwide.

California CO2 market may undermine Mexico’s REDD plans: report

Point Carbon, 25 September 2012 | Plans by the Mexican state of Chiapas to earn money by preserving its rain forests to generate carbon credits for California’s carbon market threaten to undermine Mexico’s national deforestation goals, a new report by Greenpeace said. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Commentary: Greenpeace report threatens climate change mitigation and tropical forests

By Daniel Nepstad, mongabay.com, 25 September 2012 | From 2008 through 2010, deforestation in the states of the Brazilian Amazon declined steeply, lowering reductions in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by approximately 1.5 billion tons. During this same period, the 30 nations that participate in the world’s largest carbon market—the European Union’s “Emissions Trading Scheme” (EU ETS)—reduced emissions by about 1.9 billion tons (Figure 1). There is an important difference between these two extremely important steps towards emissions reductions. The first was achieved through climate-related donations of approximately US$ 0.47 billion. The second involved financial transactions of US$ 411 billion—roughly 875 times more money. Greenpeace’s new report, Outsourcing Hot Air, could help to slow—or reverse—the progress of tropical states and provinces around the world in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

Brazil’s Congress Hands Rousseff a Second Forest Bill Defeat

By Maria Luiza Rabello, Bloomberg, 25 September 2012 | Brazil’s Congress yesterday concluded voting on a decree to revamp the country’s forest code, handing President Dilma Rousseff a second defeat on her plan to limit deforestation. The president’s decree signed May 25 required that cleared areas bordering rivers wider than 10 meters be replanted out to 20 meters on each bank. Lawmakers reduced that distance to 15 meters. On larger tracts, the protection was lowered from 30 meters to 20 meters. Lawmakers have also authorized the use of fruit trees for replanting. “The president has repeatedly showed that the government is only committed to the original version of the decree,” Senator Eduardo Braga, leader of the government coalition in the Senate, said. “The possibility of another veto is real,” he told reporters in Brasilia.

[Brazil] Earth’s most threatened tribe demands help ‘urgently’ amid hunting peril

Survival International, 25 September 2012 | The Awá of Brazil, known as Earth’s most threatened tribe, have written to the country’s Justice Minister telling him to ‘evict invaders urgently’, as news emerges that their hunting livelihood is being held to ransom by the activities of illegal loggers. The Awá’s letter urges Brazil’s government to evict invaders from their forest, stressing that, ‘Only then will we be satisfied!’ Their written appeal coincides with fresh video testimony from an Awá man denouncing the dramatic effects illegal logging is having on his tribe’s ability to hunt.

[Cambodia] Inclusion and Benefit Sharing in REDD+, The Case of Oddar Meanchey

Danida Research Portal, 25 September 2012 | Inclusion and Benefit Sharing in REDD+, The Case of Oddar Meanchey Equitable benefit sharing and inclusion are important in REDD+ programmes in order to make sure REDD+ projects function successfully. When these issues are taken into account, elite capture can be avoided, active participation among rural population promoted and perverse incentives avoided. Oddar Meanchey is a poor province in northwestern Cambodia that is struggling with multiple drivers of deforestation. Here, an existing Community Forestry (CF) programme is to be linked up with a REDD+ project. In this province, many potentially vulnerable groups of people are present, and their needs are to be taken into consideration for their own benefits as well as the success of the REDD+ project.

[India] REDD+ in the Garo Hills

whatifwechange.org, 25 September 2012 | Wildlife Trust of India wants to involve local communities in North East India in the REDD+ program. In this clip Rishi Kumar, Biologist/assistant manager WTI explains why he thinks this region should be involved in the program.

Liberia: Notorious Malaysian Company Surfaces in Liberia

By Charles B. Yates, The Inquirer, 25 September 2012 | A comprehensive investigation by this paper has unearthed that a notorious Malaysian logging company (Samling) has surfaced in Liberia as a business partner to a Liberian logging company Atlantic Resources.Atlantic Resources is owned by Mr. John Gbessay, a long time business partner of former Liberian President Charles Taylor who has been convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Our investigation further revealed that Mr. Gbessay was one of those behind the notorious Oriental Timber Company (OTC) investment in Liberia that destroyed the Liberian forest and squandered the country’s natural resources. OTC is noted for committing gross human rights and environmental abuses in Liberia, Arms trafficking and illegal trade in the sub-region.

[Nepal] Community forests earn$44,000 in Dolakha

ekantipur.com, 25 September 2012 | Community forests under the Charnawati watershed in Dolakha district have received $44,000 for carbon emission trading this year. As part of a pilot project, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+), launched by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (Icimod) and financed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the incentive was provided to 58 community forests on Monday. Ramesh Subedi, treasurer of Golmeshwor Community Forest, received the sum equivalent to Rs 3.87 million in a function organised in Charikot. Subedi said the money will be invested to uplift and empower the poor, the Dalit community and the women. A study of last year showed that 35 community forests in the district sequestered 1.254 million tonnes carbon dioxide. Based on the finding, the community forests were provided Rs 3.2 million as reward for carbon offsetting.

[UK] New Way to Capture Carbon: More Forests

By Ahn Jae Wook, Construction Source, 25 September 2012 | A proposal from the timber industry in the United Kingdom to increase forest cover as a means of capturing and storing carbon is not exactly ground-breaking, but it could make a massive environmental difference. The plan, devised by UK timber industry body Wood for Good, has been submitted to the (UK) Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) £1 billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) program. In a statement released last week, Wood for Good said it is promoting increased forest cover as a means of sequestering the UK’s carbon emissions and is calling on the government to invest available funds in sustainable forestry, which it says involves harvesting trees at the peak of their growth and carbon sequestration ability. New trees would then be planted to create a continuous, renewable cycle.

26 September 2012

Factbox: Carbon trading schemes around the world

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 26 September 2012 | Carbon trading schemes are emerging all over the world as governments try to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in the fight against climate change. Thailand and Vietnam this week announced plans to launch emissions trading schemes. The European Union has agreed to link its own carbon market with Australia’s scheme in 2018 and has struck a deal with China to help with the design and implementation of its emissions trading schemes. These moves are encouraging small steps towards a potential international scheme in the future, carbon analysts say. Under cap-and-trade schemes, companies or countries face a carbon limit. If they exceed the limit they can buy allowances from others. They can also buy carbon offsets from outside projects which avoid emissions, often from developing countries.

How can law support effective benefit sharing and participation in REDD+?

IUCN, 26 September 2012 | The IUCN Environmental Law Centre held an all day conservation campus event on ‘Law and governance for REDD+’ on Saturday, 8 September at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea. Co-organizers and partners included ClientEarth, the World Resources Institute, the International Development Law Organization, Conservation International-Peru, the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, the IUCN Mesoamerica Office (ORMA), and the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. The purpose of the event was to enhance practical understanding of current legal and institutional approaches to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) with a focus on benefit sharing and participation and examples at the national and sub-national levels.

[Ghana] Report suggests provision of more incentives to communities to protect the forests

Ghana News Agency, 26 September 2012 | Provision of more incentives to the Community Forest Committees (CFCs) has been identified as critical to efforts at protecting the forest and its resources. A research finding by Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) in four forest districts concluded that this is the only way to motivate those in the forest fringe communities to take responsibility for stopping illegal logging in the reserves. Insurance schemes, alternative and sustainable income sources and payment of monthly stipend for those engaged in community forest projects should be introduced to reduce their involvement in illegal timber activities. The research was conducted in the Dunkwa, Offinso, Oda and Bechem Forest Districts as part of a one year project to strengthen the capabilities of the local communities in southern Ghana to tackle the forest depletion.

[Indonesia] In eco-pact, will controversial paper giant APP turn over a new leaf?

mongabay.com, 26 September 2012 | Mongabay.com: When did TFT begin the process of engagement with APP? Scott Poynton: TFT began working with APP in February 2012. Mongabay.com: What is the scope of TFT’s engagement with APP? Are affiliates and “independent” suppliers included? Scott Poynton: TFT is working with APP on the ground in Indonesia and China, providing advice, guidance, capacity building and monitoring on issues around High Conservation Value forests, High Carbon Stock forests, peat land clearance, community conflict and other operational issues affecting environmental and social performance.

Laos’ forests still falling to ‘connected’ businesses

EIA International, 26 September 2012 | More than a year after being exposed as major players in the smuggling of timber from Laos, a new report reveals the Vietnamese timber industry, the military and well-connected Lao actors are still profiting from the flow of logs into Vietnam. As well as the role played by a commercial operation of the Vietnam People’s Army, the report details how Laos’ attempts to protect its forests are being corroded by the circumvention of Lao law by companies with key political contacts. Checkpoints: How Powerful Interest Groups Continue to Undermine Forest Governance in Laos is released today by the London-based EIA. Based on months of detailed investigations, its findings update the July 2011 EIA report Crossroads: The Illicit Timber Trade Between Laos and Vietnam which revealed how Laos’ export ban on raw timber was being routinely flouted on a huge scale to feed the timber processing industries of Vietnam, China and Thailand.

Nepal: Community forest value untapped

IRIN Asia, 26 September 2012 | Government oversight is preventing local communities from reaping economic benefits from forests they have spent decades re-generating, activists say. Communities “cannot make [the] best use of their available resources because of the restrictions imposed and a complicated process of getting approval for harvesting of any timber and non-timber forest products,” Ganga Ram Dahal of the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a global coalition promoting forest land tenure reform, told IRIN. The challenge is“safeguarding the rights” of communities, Bharat Pokharel, forester and deputy country programme director in Nepal for the Swiss development agency Helvetas, explained at a recent regional workshop on forestland tenure held in the capital, Kathmandu.

Venezuela: Declaration Of Horonami Yanomami Organization About Illegal Mining In The Upper Ocamo Region

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources, 26 September 2012 | Today, 25th September 2012, we, the Yanomami indigenous people, represented by HORONAMI Yanomami Organization, gathered in Puerto Ayacucho, want to make the following declaration about the PRESENCE OF ILLEGAL MINING IN THE UPPER OCAMO, Upper Orinoco Municipality: … It is easy to think that the Yanomami and their organization Horonami are lying because the commission did not find evidence of a massacre of Yanomami Indians. The news that reached us about the massacre is not lies; it is a clear sign that there is a lot of conflict in the Upper Ocamo area. Saying that everything is fine in this region is the lie.

REDD+ in Vietnam: Integrating National and Subnational Approaches

By Phuc Xuan To, Robert O’Sullivan, Jacob Olander, Slayde Hawkins, Pham Quoc Hung and Noriyoshi Kitamura, Forest Trends, Climate Focus, Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Japan International Cooperation Agency, 26 September 2012 | There is a general consensus in the UNFCCC and the international REDD+ community that emission reductions and removals must ultimately be accounted for at the national level. “Nested” approaches to REDD+ have been discussed widely in this context, whereby projects and/or subnational programs are integrated into higher-level accounting in order to provide a coherent picture of countries’ progress in reducing emissions. This report, which was funded by NORAD, USAID, JICA and DFID, provides background information and advice to the Government of Vietnam and stakeholders in Vietnam on how to integrate national and subnational approaches to REDD+ in Vietnam.

27 September 2012

Organized crime trade in illegal timber responsible for up to 90% of tropical deforestation

bikyamasr.com, 27 September 2012 | Between 50 to 90 percent of logging in key tropical countries of the Amazon basin, Central Africa and South East Asia is being carried out by organized crime threatening efforts to combat climate change, deforestation, conserve wildlife and eradicate poverty. Globally, illegal logging now accounts for between 15 and 30 per cent of the overall trade, according to a new report from the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and INTERPOL. Forests worldwide bind Carbon Dioxide and store it – known as Green Carbon – and help mitigate climate change. However deforestation, largely of tropical rainforests, is responsible for an estimated 17 percent of all man-made emissions – 50 percent more than that from ships, aviation and land transport combined. The Rapid Response Report entitled “Green Carbon: Black Trade” says that the illegal trade, worth between US$30-100 billion annually, hampers the REDD initiative…

VCS Announces Historic Agreement to Build Voluntary Carbon Market in Colombia

Verified Carbon Standard, 27 September 2012 | The voluntary carbon market in Colombia is set to expand, thanks in part to an agreement reached by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Fundación Natura (FN) in Bogotá this morning. By signing a memorandum of understanding, both organizations have agreed to work together to build the necessary foundation for a robust voluntary carbon market in Colombia; this market will recognize Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) as one of the main credits to be transacted. “As the chief executive of the world’s largest, and most respected carbon standard, we are honored to have the chance to work closely with Fundación Natura to help establish a voluntary market in Colombia,” said VCS Chief Executive Officer David Antonioli.

Pushing problems from the North to the South is not a forest solution

By Sebastian Bock, Greenpeace International, 27 September 2012 | Greenpeace wants to see a world where deforestation is a dirty word and where polluters can’t hide by buying dubious forest offset credits. Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger initiated the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF) in 2008. From its very beginning the GCF has been a leading advocate for using questionable forestry programs that allow industrial polluters to weasel their way out of emissions reductions. This is why we found ourselves in San Cristobal de las Casas, a town in southern Mexico, this past week. San Cristobal played host to the latest GCF meeting, and while it’s easy to get carried away by the beautiful setting of San Cristobal, it is important to understand what’s at stake here. Greenpeace is fighting to ensure that the program to curb deforestation – known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) – delivers on its promises.

Another journalist attacked in Cambodia for covering illegal logging

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 27 September 2012 | Two weeks after an environmental journalist was found murdered in the trunk of his car, another journalist has been brutally attacked in Cambodia. Ek Sokunthy with the local paper Ta Prum says he was beaten in his home by three assailants by a pistol and a stick. The attack follows swiftly after the high-profile murder of 44-year-old forest journalist Hang Serei Oudom. Ta Prum’s Phum Chesda told the Phnom Penh Post that Sokunthy had written an article on illegal logging last month. Sokunthy received three death threats after publishing the article. Sokunthy described his assailants as “illegal loggers,” telling the Post that, “I have never written of their case. I didn’t know the reason why they beat me because I always wrote stories favorable to authorities and am fearful now.” Police are currently searching for the three attackers, one of whom was allegedly a former police officer.

[Indonesia] This is what APP’s new sustainability commitments look like

By Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace International, 27 September 2012 | Asia Pulp and Paper has spent the last few weeks telling customers around the world that the company’s latest sustainability pledges mean that this time, the changes the company has announced are genuine. To the untrained eye new pledges to stop forest clearance in limited areas and plans to only source from plantations can sound promising. But today in Indonesia, as part of Greenpeace’s latest ‘Tigers’ Eyes Tour’ Greenpeace Indonesia and WALHI (Indonesian Environmental Forum) activists, along with Robi, lead singer of famous Balinese grunge band, Navicula, came across the fresh clearing in the middle of a plantation run by PT Asia Tani Persada. This again highlights the real problem: If words aren’t matched by immediate action to stop forest clearance, APP’s commitments are meaningless.

28 September 2012

41st issue of Forest Cover, the newsletter of the Global Forest Coalition

Global Forest Coalition, 28 September 2012 | We present the 41st version of the Global Forest Coalition’s newsletter in intergovernmental forest-related policy processes: Forest Cover no.41st. In this issue you will find: an interesting editorial on the current policies that add pressure to the current climate crises drawing on Rio+20 and its “Green Economy” and the latest climate talks in Bangkok . It also includes two analysis from different points of view from the latest Rio+20 Summit also known as the ‘Earth Summit’, 20 years later from the original in 1992; one analyses the ‘usefulness’ of the Rio+20 summit as well as addresses the alternative People’s Summit, and the other analysis is given from an Indigenous perspective taking into consideration its Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs)…

Upto 30% of global timber trade is illegal

By Kevin Heath, Wildlife News, 28 September 2012 | A new report produced jointly by the United Nations and Interpol which was published yesterday will make depressing reading for anyone involved over the last 30 years in environmental campaigning. The report called Green Carbon – Black Trade states that anything between 15% and 30% of global timber trading involves illegally source logs. To put some financial value to that it means that organised criminals are making between 30 and 100 billion US dollars a year from destroying protected forests. My own first direct action and campaigning over 30 years ago was involved with protecting tropical forest and illegal logging. As a volunteer with groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth I’d be involved in action against DIY stores to get them to think about where they sources their timber from. Back then the enemy was ignorance and naivety.

REDD Funding: The Horror Story That Isn’t

By John-O Niles, Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 September 2012 | Climate change is growing ever more dire. All major reputable scientific organizations and national assemblies have settled on one thing. Human greenhouse gases are likely going to substantially and negatively impact our planet. And they have also resounding stated that one of the most immediate, cost effective, and highly beneficial way to stem climate change is to help developing countries try to slow down and stop deforestation. But like all things on the real Earth, “It’s complicated”. Stay tuned for the conclusions, but don’t stay on the edge of your seat. The challenge of tracking REDD+ finance will take several years to answer. Like it or not, tracing flows of money between governments to tackle deforestation is complex and cumbersome. Unlike Hollywood or Bollywood, this story is not fast moving entertainment. It is an at times dry topic whose conclusions will be decided by number crunchers and analysts and spreadsheets.

Chainsaws massacre Tanzania’s green cover

IPPMedia, 28 September 2012 | These challenges have been also thwarting the local and global efforts in reducing carbon emission into the atmosphere as forest cover has been going down on daily basis because of human induced activities. The Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in that case, get a stumbling block in achieving its desired mission. Recently, the government established the Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS) to help manage the nation’s dwindling forest resources, which have come under tremendous pressure due to high demand of forest products at local and global level. At local level trees are cut for charcoal and at global for timber. Juma Mgoo is Chief Executive Officer of TFS, who admits that charcoal remains a challenge in conserving and managing forest resources in the country. REDD+ in that case, he says is facing a challenge that needs to be addressed using a pragmatic approach.

Venezuela’s Yanomami Indians urge action to tackle illegal goldminers

Survival International, 28 September 2012 | Yanomami Indians have appealed to Venezuela’s government to tackle the ‘presence and impacts’ of illegal goldmining, rather than deny the problem exists. In a statement released by the Yanomami organization Horonami, the Indians call for the government to recognize how their lives and land are being ‘destroyed and contaminated’ by goldmining. It follows denials by Venezuelan authorities that goldminers are in the area, after a recent visit to the Upper Ocamo region to investigate reports of a ‘massacre’. Army generals on the trip said, ‘What reigns here is peace and harmony: all the Yanomami are in a perfect state. We have not detected any illegal goldminers.’ However, Horonami representatives were also present, and say, ‘we saw the camps of the illegal miners, we saw a small plane pass overhead, we saw a clandestine airstrip, we saw some miners fleeing from the commission as it walked through the forest.’

29 September 2012

30 September 2012

The role of forests in combating climate change

By Tierney Smith, RTCC, 30 September 2012 | Speaking at the Rio+20 Summit earlier this year, Louis Verchot, Director of the Forests and Environment Programme at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said that the role of forests in addressing climate change was only beginning to be understood. “We have an attention on forest issues which we perhaps haven’t seen in over 20 years,” he said. “Because they were treated in isolation and were forests for the sake of forests it didn’t go nearly as far as many people had hoped at the time. “Now we have forests linked to climate change and to other international agendas we are seeing much more attention given to them. Between 2005 and now the discourse and the discussion in the international community has taken off.”


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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