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REDD in the news: 28 January – 3 February 2013

REDD in the news: 28 January - 3 February 2013

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.

[Indonesia] MIFEE-affected communities want their land back

Down to Earth, January 2013 | Indigenous communities living along the Bian and Maro Rivers in Merauke, southern Papua, have demanded the return of their customary lands taken for the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) mega-project. A set of demands issued after four days of community discussions in December also called for the revoking of location permits covering their customary land and for the companies involved to restore the damage done and pay compensation to affected communities. A key component of the government’s unwieldy MP3EI economic masterplan for Papua, MIFEE was officially launched in 2010 amid concerns over human rights, environmental and social impacts. The project involves the conversion of indigenous land, including forests and peatlands, into plantations growing food, energy and other crops and is expected to prompt an influx of migrant workers to meet the sharply increased demand for labour.

SNV launches new programme: The REDD+ Energy and Agriculture Programme

SNV World, January 2013 | Agriculture and energy use are major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. In order to tackle these drivers requires the introduction of improved agricultural practices and appropriate renewable energy technologies. SNV will begin the REDD+ Energy and Agriculture Programme (REAP) in January 2013 toadvance understanding on the interface between agriculture and energy use across different forest landscapes and to introduce contextualised solutions in order to bring about reduced emissions, forest protection and improved livelihoods.

From REDD+ readiness to implementation; thinking ahead

SNV World, January 2013 | NV identified a number of critical areas in which we believe further thinking is needed in order to advance application of REDD+, namely: (i) how to better link the sectors driving deforestation and forest degradation through low-emission development planning; (ii) near-term options for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) for REDD+; and (iii) REDD+ financing. SNV hired Matthew Ogonowski, an independent consultant, who is now employed at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide further insights on each of these 3 topics. The opinions and views expressed in this paper are those of the author and not necessarily those of USAID and SNV.

Work Streams: REDD+ and Sustainable Land Use

UNEP Finance Initiative, January 2013 | It is estimated that USD 17 – 40 billion per year is required to halve emissions from the forest sector by 2020… UNEP FI is supporting the UN-REDD Programme to engage with the private finance sector at both international and national levels to mobilize private finance into REDD+ and sustainable land use. In order to be truly effective, it is important to fundamentally reshape the way forest assets are currently exploited, and to move towards more sustainable land-use patterns.

28 January 2013

Forests as rainmakers: CIFOR scientist gains support for a controversial hypothesis

By Ashlee Betteridge, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 28 January 2013 | A new study boosts support for the physics behind a controversial theory that forests play a significant role in determining rainfall, creating atmospheric winds that pump moisture across continents. The model could revolutionise the way we understand local climates, and their vulnerability, with many major implications. It suggests, for instance, that by strategically replanting forests we could attract rainfall into desert and arid regions like the African Sahel, where drought has for years ravaged crops and induced famine. Likewise, significant forest loss could transform lush tropical regions into arid landscapes. “This theory provides us with yet another reason to protect and conserve forest cover,” said Douglas Sheil, co-author of the paper published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and a Senior Associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Industry key to conserving forests as demand for wood projected to triple by 2050

WWF, 28 January 2013 | “A scenario of tripling the amount of wood society takes from forests and plantations needs to motivate good stewardship that safeguards forests – otherwise we could destroy the very places where wood grows,” says Rod Taylor, Director of WWF’s Global Forest Programme. “Wood, if sourced from well managed forests or plantations, is a renewable material with many advantages over non-renewable alternatives. The key challenge for forest-based industries is how to supply more wood products with less impact on nature. This challenge spans the whole supply chain, from where and how wood is grown and harvested to how wisely and efficiently it is processed, used and reused.” WWF’s forest conservation target is zero net deforestation and forest degradation by 2020, which means no overall loss of forest area or forest quality. The target requires the loss of natural forests to be reduced to near zero, down from the current 13 million hectares a year…

WWF’s Living Forests Report forecasts a tripling of wood consumption in society by 2050 due to rising population and demand

WWF press release, 28 January 2013 | By 2050, rising population and demand, as well as an increase in use of wood for bioenergy, could triple the amount of wood society takes from forests and plantations per year, according to the latest instalment of WWF’s Living Forests Report . The report, presented today at the international paper conference Paperworld in Frankfurt, projects paper production and consumption may double in the next three decades, and overall wood consumption may triple. “A scenario of tripling the amount of wood society takes from forests and plantations needs to motivate good stewardship that safeguards forests – otherwise we could destroy the very places where wood grows,” says Rod Taylor, Director of WWF’s Global Forest Programme. “Wood, if sourced from well managed forests or plantations, is a renewable material with many advantages over non-renewable alternatives.

Bolivia takes step to boost agriculture and curb surging deforestation

mongabay.com, 28 January 2013 | Bolivia has passed a land use law that aims to boost food security and slow deforestation in a region that is wracked by illegal forest clearing. Approved earlier this month, Ley 337 seeks to regulate land use in the Bolivian Amazon where deforestation for industrial agricultural production is surging. The law requires landowners who illegally deforested land prior to 2011 to either reforest or establish “productive agriculture” on the land and pay reduced fines for past transgressions. The stated goal is to boost Bolivia’s low agricultural productivity, which lags the rest of Latin America, and has exacerbated deforestation and been blamed for the need for occasional food imports. According to Bolivian government projections, the area of agricultural production in Santa Cruz Department alone will increase from 1.1 million hectares to 1.7 million ha by 2018.

Helping Borneo’s indigenous people fight for their forests

By Allison Hanes, mongabay.com, 28 January 2013 | In the 1980’s and 1990’s more timber was removed from the rainforests Borneo than from all of Africa and South America combined. This tragic loss of habitat, with its attendant loss of wildlife and indigenous cultures, has gone largely unrecognized in the United States. Joe Lamb, a Berkeley-based writer, activist, and arborist, has worked to change that. In 1991 Lamb founded The Borneo Project to draw attention to the forgotten rainforest and the indigenous peoples who have been fighting to keep their forest home. Since then, the Borneo Project has helped indigenous peoples map their lands, bring their case to the court of public opinion, secure land rights, and press for the preservation of their forests through legal action. Lamb’s efforts have won him many accolades, including the honor of the Goldman Foundation recognizing him as an “environmental hero”.

How Costa Rica and Chile are Leveraging Independent Carbon Standards to Get Ready for REDD

By Selene Castillo, Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 January 2013 | Both Costa Rica and Chile suffer from high rates of deforestation, which means both can earn carbon credits by saving their rainforest and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). For that to happen in a way that is recognized under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), however, the countries must first develop national accounting procedures to keep track of their forests and monitor the activities designed to save them. Even if they do, a global agreement under the UNFCCC is years away and does nothing to combat deforestation now. So, the countries have begun developing REDD programs today that can be absorbed into the national accounting systems that eventually emerge. It’s a procedure called nesting, and it’s being practiced around the world – from Peru to Vietnam.

[Indonesia] Large blocks of Sumatra’s endangered rainforest may be put up for mining, logging

mongabay.com, 28 January 2013 | The Indonesian province of Aceh on the western tip of the island of Sumatra may be preparing to lift the protected status of key areas of lowland rainforest potentially ending its bid to earn carbon credits from forest conservation and putting several endangered species at increased risk, according to reports. Under a draft plan developed by the Aceh parliament’s spatial planning committee, some 71,857 hectares of protected areas will lose their protected status and be turned over for logging, mining, and conversion for plantations. While the area represents two percent of Aceh’s forests, which presently cover 55 percent of the province’s land mass, it includes some of Sumatra’s increasingly rare lowland forests. Aceh has the most extensive forest cover left in Sumatra, where vast swathes of forest — 40 percent of its primary forests and 36 percent of its total forest cover since 1990 — have been cleared for pulp and paper plantations, oil palm…

[Indonesia] Large blocks of Sumatra’s endangered rainforest may be put up for mining, logging

mongabay.com, 28 January 2013 | The Indonesian province of Aceh on the western tip of the island of Sumatra may be preparing to lift the protected status of key areas of lowland rainforest potentially ending its bid to earn carbon credits from forest conservation and putting several endangered species at increased risk, according to reports. Under a draft plan developed by the Aceh parliament’s spatial planning committee, some 71,857 hectares of protected areas will lose their protected status and be turned over for logging, mining, and conversion for plantations. While the area represents two percent of Aceh’s forests, which presently cover 55 percent of the province’s land mass, it includes some of Sumatra’s increasingly rare lowland forests.

[USA] California’s Carbon Market: A Potential Game-Changer in Slowing the Amazon’s Deforestation

By Steve Schwarzman (EDF), blogs.edf.org, 28 January 2013 | California moved into the fast lane on the low-carbon development highway when it launched its carbon market this month. Now it has the opportunity to do even more to stop dangerous climate change while cutting the costs of controlling global warming pollution. Recommendations from a group of experts on how Reducing Emissions from tropical Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) can come into California’s market show how… The REDD+ Offsets Working Group (ROW) convened by California, the Brazilian state of Acre, and the Mexican state of Chiapas, has released recommendations for how California can bring REDD+ into its carbon market. The ROW, in accordance with California’s Global Warming Solutions Act’s (AB32) guidance, recommends that California allow states or countries that reduce their total emissions from deforestation below an historical average…

29 January 2013

World Bank spending on forests fails to curb poverty, auditors claim

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 29 January 2013 | The World Bank’s $4.1bn (£2.6bn) investments in forestry over the past 10 years have done little to reduce poverty, improve conservation, tackle climate change or benefit local communities in developing countries, a study by its own inspectors has found. The 202-page report – a copy of which has been seen by the Guardian – was compiled by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), which consists of senior bank staff and outside consultants. The document says the bank’s financial support helped to protect 24m hectares (59m acres) of forest around the world and to classify 45m ha of forest as being on indigenous people’s land. But it says the bank mostly failed to address critical social and environmental issues.

NASA data registers strong deforestation signals in Sumatra, Borneo, Brazil, Gabon

mongabay.com, 29 January 2013 | NASA satellites picked up signals of extensive potential deforestation in Sumatra, Borneo, Central Africa, the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, the Chocó in Colombia and Ecuador, and the Chaco region of Paraguay between October 1 and December 31, 2012, according to the latest update on Mongabay.com’s Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS). Deforestation signals were particularly strong on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where large areas of forest have been converted for palm oil and pulp and paper production in recent years. In Africa, Gabon was riddled with potential deforestation hotspots, as was the western part of the Republic of Congo.

As China Builds, Cambodia’s Forests Fall

WCAI, 29 January 2013 | China’s demand for natural resources is being felt in a big way in Cambodia. Illegal logging and economic land concessions are threatening Cambodia’s dwindling forests, which now echo the sound of chainsaws. Prey Lang forest — an eight-hour journey north and east of the capital, Phnom Penh — is one of the forests where illegal loggers see money signs on the trees… Both Conservation International and Wildlife Alliance have been working with Cambodia’s government to protect some forests. Those efforts have been hugely successful in slowing the rate of forest decline there, but without this protection, Gauntlett says, it would be a different case. “Six months — six to eight months,” she says. “It’d all be gone. It would be wiped out, believe me.”

The huge scale of illegal logging in DRC laid bare

By Irène Wabiwa, Greenpeace International, 28 January 2013 | Deep in the vast rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, chainsaws are buzzing. Heavy machinery rumbles and growls, as loggers slice their way through the forest. Three newly published investigations have confirmed that much of this logging work is illegal – and all of the biggest players in the industry are behind it … including: Until 2012 Swiss-owned (today US-owned) SIFORCO exceeded its permitted logging volume in a manner that was “quasi-systematic and massive”. SODEFOR, subsidiary of Liechtenstein-registered Norsudtimber Group (NST), falsified log markings, and failed to provide investigators with any of the key paperwork requested. Subsidiary of Lebanese-owned Congo Futur, TRANS-M, owed over 150,000 USD in taxes… three months before the Ministry awarded it a 25-year tax freeze. NST subsidiary CFT was felling trees 12 km outside of its permit area, inside the permit area of another NST subsidiary.

Miners win ruling over indigenous groups in Guyana

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 29 January 2013 | A judge in Guyana’s high court has ruled that indigenous groups do not have the right to expel legal miners from their land. The judge, Diana Insanally, found that if the miners in question held a government-approved license than the local community had no right to dispute the mining. The ruling has sparked protests by indigenous groups and is expected to be appealed. “We are deeply disappointed and worried with this ruling and what it means to our village and to Amerindian communities in general. On the ground it has serious environmental and social impacts for us. The miners have, for example, brought with them problems related to drugs and prostitution,” reads a press release from the indigenous community Isseneru.

[Indonesia] Bogor to host international workshop on environment

By Nurni Sulaiman, Jakarta Post, 29 January 2013 | Bogor will host the first leg of a series of international workshops on the environment, an organizing committee revealed over the weekend. Eric van Valkengoed, the chief executive of the workshop in Indonesia, said that the workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation — Fast Logging Assessment and Monitoring Environment (REDD-FLAME) would be taking place at the International Convention Center of the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB-ICC), on Jan. 31. The project, he said, was part of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development for collaborative research on space science (FP7-SPACE) funded by the European Commission. The workshops would also be held in Mozambique in February and then in Brazil in March.

Spring may come earlier to North American forests, increasing uptake of carbon dioxide

ScienceDaily, 29 January 2013 | Trees in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. could send out new spring leaves up to 17 days ear­lier in the com­ing cen­tury than they did before global tem­per­a­tures started to rise, accord­ing to a new study by Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity researchers. These climate-driven changes could lead to changes in the com­po­si­tion of north­east­ern forests and give a boost to their abil­ity to take up car­bon dioxide. Trees play an impor­tant role in tak­ing up car­bon diox­ide from the atmos­phere, so researchers led by David Med­vigy, assis­tant pro­fes­sor in Princeton’s depart­ment of geo­sciences, wanted to eval­u­ate pre­dic­tions of spring bud­burst — when decid­u­ous trees push out new growth after months of win­ter dor­mancy — from mod­els that pre­dict how car­bon emis­sions will impact global temperatures. The date of bud­burst affects how much car­bon diox­ide is taken up each year, yet most cli­mate mod­els have used overly sim­plis­tic schemes…

30 January 2013

Savaging Primitives: Why Jared Diamond’s “The World Until Yesterday” is Completely Wrong

By Stephen Corry, The Daily Beast, 30 January 2013 | It is true that Diamond does briefly mention, in passing, that all such societies have “been partly modified by contact,” but he has still decided they are best thought about as if they lived more or less as all humankind did until the “earliest origins of agriculture around 11,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent,” as he puts it. That is his unequivocal message, and the meaning of “yesterday” in his title. This is a common mistake, and Diamond wastes little of his very long book trying to support it. The dust jacket, which he must agree with even if he did not actually write it, makes the astonishingly overweening claim that “tribal societies offer an extraordinary window into how our ancestors lived for millions of years” (my emphasis). This is nonsense.

Whither REDD+ after Doha? New realities for forest advocates Observations from UNFCCC COP 18

By Andrea Tuttle, Forest Carbon Asia, 30 January 2013 | The usual excitement around forests, a dependable bright spot in recent years, also failed to deliver. Not only was this the first COP not to agree on a SBSTA negotiating issue on REDD+ (concerning verification) – but Doha also marked the closing of Forest Day, the foremost rallying point for forest advocates that has brought them to COPs for the past 6 years… In the 5 years from Bali to Durban we’ve become accustomed to REDD+ as a COP high point, driven by a commitment that carbon emissions from forest loss are too large to ignore. The complexity of bringing forests into a global climate strategy has attracted the best minds to a rich scientific and intellectual debate. REDD+ has stimulated more widespread understanding of the social and environmental importance of forests than any other traditional sustainable forest management program.

Reference Levels: Concepts, Functions, and Application in REDD+ and Forest Carbon Standards

Climate Focus, 30 January 2013 | This paper is the second in an evolving series surveying forest carbon standards for their insight relevant to results-based payments for REDD+. The objective of this paper is to assess how different results-based initiatives deal with common Reference Level (RL) design problems in order to inform REDD+ negotiations and policy makers. It is also intended to serve as a reference for a consolidated overview of options for constructing RLs, and enhance understanding of how their different forms and function will impact the overall design of REDD+ mechanisms. The first paper, “Standards for Results-Based REDD+ Finance, Overview and Design Parameters” by Charlotte Streck and John Costenbader, was published in December 2012. The current paper presents a deeper analysis of establishing RLs within the REDD+ standards and initiatives presented in the first paper.

REDD+ Learning Session 7: Satellite Data for REDD+ MRV

WWF, 30 January 2013 | This is an archive of a REDD+ Learning Session that took place January 30, 2013. Aurélie Shapiro, Remote Sensing Specialist with WWF Germany, takes us through an overview of satellite data for REDD+ MRV. Learn about a number of data sources available specifically for REDD+ MRV, how to select imagery based on timing resolution, and how to budget for imagery for forest mapping and monitoring. The webinar also includes a spotlight on RapidEye, an imagery resource that can help provide data for REDD+ MRV.

Eco-villages instead of eviction: a new approach to the ‘people in parks’ problem in Indonesia?

By Rachel Rivera, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 30 January 2013 | It’s a unique solution to a problem that is plaguing national parks all over Indonesia: instead of trying to evict local communities, who have long lived within the boundaries of these protected areas, carve out an “eco-village,” where they can still make use of nuts, berries, medicinal plants and other non-timber products collected from the tropical forests. Various local groups are making claims in Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan province based on historical rights of access, raising complex legal and governance issues and hampering conservation of an area that has already been subjected to logging, coal mining and oil exploration activities. Though this is presenting special challenges, it’s unfortunately not unusual in a country where many of the 50 national parks are, in effect, “parks that exist solely on paper”.

[Vietnam] JICA-funded forest management project expanded

Báo Dân Trí English, 30 January 2013 | They met in Dien Bien province on January 29 to review the progress of the five-year JICA-funded project on Sustainable Forest Management in the Northwest Watershed Area (Susform-Now), which was commenced in the locality in August 2010. The added sites are Muong Phang commune (Dien Bien district) and Muong Muon commune (Cha district), along with Sai Luong and Phieng Ban villages (Dien Bien district), Hang Tro B, Na Phat A, Tia Ghenh C, Huoi Mua A villages (Dien Bien Dong district), and Ta Leng commune and Nam Thanh ward (Dien Bien Phu city). Susform – Now aims to assist local authorities of the benefited locations to protect and extend their watershed areas, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, increase secure livelihood for locals while heightening their awareness of forest protection.

31 January 2013

Growing Palm Oil Could Speed Up Climate Change, Study Says

Jakarta Globe, 31 January 2013 | Growing palm oil trees to make biofuels could be accelerating the effects of climate change, new research showed on Wednesday, adding further weight to claims the crop is not environmentally sustainable. In a paper published in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists examined how the deforestation of peat swamps in Malaysia to make way for palm oil trees is releasing carbon which has been locked away for thousands of years.

Planting trees may not reverse climate change but it will help locally

BioMed Central press release, 31 January 2013 | Afforestation, planting trees in an area where there have previously been no trees, can reduce the effect of climate change by cooling temperate regions finds a study in BioMed Central’s open access journal Carbon Balance and Management. Afforestation would lead to cooler and wetter summers by the end of this century. Without check climate change is projected to lead to summer droughts and winter floods across Europe. Using REMO, the regional climate model of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, researchers tested what would happen to climate change in 100 years if land currently covered in non-forest vegetation was converted into deciduous forest. This equates to more than a doubling of forest in Poland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Northern Ukraine, Northern Germany and France. But in already heavily forested countries such as Sweden the increase is smaller, at less than 10%.

1 February 2013

Forests and Food: Thoughts on Our Fear of Working Together

Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog, 1 February 2013 | Last week the Yale chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters webcast its annual conference, this year focused on Food and Forests: Cultivating Resilient Landscapes. This series of presentations and panel discussions provided a captivating window into the world of forestry expertise, which at times is challenged by increasing requests and requirements to collaborate with the agriculture and food security sectors. In her keynote address, former Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) director general (and current special consultant to the Packard Foundation) Frances Seymour expressed concern about abolishing the barriers between forestry and agriculture. According to Seymour, “the case for integrating forestry and agriculture across landscapes is abundantly clear.”* But, Seymour noted, there are real risks involved with merging forest interests with agriculture in a new “landscapes” category…

ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. Announces Significant First Sale and Delivery of Offsets from Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project in the DRC

Ecosystem Restoration Associates press release, 1 February 2013 | ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. (“ERA” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: ESR) is pleased to announce that it has completed its first sale and delivery of carbon offsets from its landmark Mai Ndombe REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The buyer is Forest Carbon Group AG (“FCG”), based in Frankfurt Germany. A total of 300,000 offsets from the first vintage of approximately 2.5 million verified offsets were transacted. This transaction is the first sale and delivery of Mai Ndombe REDD+ offsets to occur under a three year sales agreement with FCG under which ERA will deliver a total of 1.1 million offsets through the end of 2014. Following this initial delivery, subsequent delivery is scheduled to occur in tranches of 100,000 offsets in each quarter throughout 2013 and 2014.

[Ghana] Local innovations tap into carbon financing

Business News, 1 February 2013 | Proponents of green initiatives geared towards mitigating the impact of climate change are exploring opportunities to receive support under the global carbon credit arrangements. Carbon trading is a thriving economic venture as a result of global interest in issues of climate change. Ghana has in times past failed to benefit from carbon financing as schemes like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and REDD Plus are yet to rake in the needed revenue. But there are new opportunities under the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for small businesses who are contributing to a reduction in carbon emission. “Some organizations in Ghana have been able to access the carbon credit, especially collaborating with international organizations and now there is a breakdown of the cumbersome process which will help small industries to be able to benefit from the carbon credit”, says Lovans Owusu-Takyi…

Indonesian Peat Emissions a ‘Global Disaster’

By Habat Indiyatno, Jakarta Globe, 1 February 2013 | Thousands of years’ worth of carbon stored in Indonesia’s peat forests is being released at an alarming rate as a result of deforestation, a new study by UK scientists shows. In the paper “Deep instability of deforested tropical peatlands revealed by fluvial organic carbon fluxes,” published online in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature, the researchers noted that tropical peatlands “contain one of the largest pools of terrestrial organic carbon,” amounting to about 89 billion tons. “Approximately 65 percent … is in Indonesia, where extensive anthropogenic [man-made] degradation in the form of deforestation, drainage and fire are converting it into a globally significant source of atmospheric [CO2],” the paper says.

[Indonesia] East Kalimantan Issues Forest Ban Over Land Spats

By Michael Taylor & Yayat Supriatna, Jakarta Globe, 1 February 2013 | East Kalimantan has imposed a one-year ban on forest destruction, the provincial governor has said, citing the need to curb mining and palm oil expansion and cut back on land disputes. The move is a potential roadblock for investors in Indonesia, who already face a thicket of overlapping regulations at provincial and national levels. But Indonesia, home to the world’s third-largest expanse of tropical forests, is under international pressure to slow deforestation and destruction of its carbon-rich peatlands. Indonesia is also the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal and the top producer of palm oil. Estates growing oil palms sprawl across 8.5 million hectares, with about 200,000 hectares added each year. “We have applied this moratorium policy for new permits on forestry, mining and plantation since several weeks ago and it will last for a year,” East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak said.

Indonesia’s agric ministry backs province’s forest moratorium

By Yayat Supriatna and Michael Taylor, Reuters, 1 February 2013 | Indonesia’s agriculture ministry backs a move by East Kalimantan to impose a forest moratorium in the province, an official said on Friday, in what may signal a softening in the department’s opposition to extending the nationwide forest destruction ban. East Kalimantan imposed a one-year forest moratorium for 2013, citing the need to cut back on land disputes in the palm oil and coal producing province. “We support East Kalimantan provincial government’s measure to impose plantation moratorium for 2013,” Gamal Nasir, director general of plantation at the agriculture ministry, told Reuters. “We support it because the aim of this moratorium is to fix and improve land concessions and land-use for the sake of better management of natural resources in East Kalimantan,” he added. Plantation firms have doubted whether provincial governments have the authority to issue a separate forest moratorium policy.

[Indonesia] RI needs advanced technology for forest conservation

By Nurni Sulaiman, Jakarta Post, 1 February 2013 | Experts say Indonesia requires advanced technology to expand the conservation of forests and prevent damage from getting worse. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation’s (BOS) manager for planning, monitoring and evaluation, Baba S. Barkah, said advanced remote sensing technologies were proven to have a positive effect on forest conservation. “Using a satellite that can penetrate cloud-covered areas is helpful in detecting forest damage, including damage that is caused by illegal logging activities. It is very effective, allowing observation activities in the field to touch right on the target,” he said on the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – Fast Logging Assessment and Monitoring Environment (REDD-FLAME) workshop at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) in Bogor, on Thursday. The workshop marked the end of the REDD-FLAME program in Mawas, Central Kalimantan.

Land grabs and human rights violations exposed in Liberia ahead of global development summit

Friends of the Earth International, 1 February 2013 | Palm oil companies are grabbing more than 1.5 million acres of land in Liberia and are violating the human rights of local communities, warn Liberian NGOs including Friends of the Earth Liberia (SDI – Sustainable Development Institute), Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU) and Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev). On the eve of a United Nations meeting in Liberia, that will discuss a new global development framework, Friends of the Earth International is backing the local NGOs’ demands – including renegotiation of contracts for land concessions and a reassessment of the Liberian agricultural development strategy on which these concessions are based.

In Southeast Asia, hope for biofuels turns to early disappointment

By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 February 2013 | Governments across Southeast Asia had high hopes for biofuels several years ago: At a time of upwardly spiralling oil and gas prices, renewable energy made from palm oil, sugarcane or jatropha was seen as a way to reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports, improve livelihood opportunities for rural communities and play a part in global efforts to mitigate climate change. But all of the countries failed to meet their own targets, according to a recent study by the Center for International Forestry Research, partly because — in a region where oil and gas has long been heavily subsidized — consumers had little incentive to switch to a more costly, sustainable alternative.

[Uganda] Elgon residents get climate lessons

By David Mafabi, Sunday Monitor, 1 February 2013 | Residents living around the slopes of Mt. Elgon and along rivers in Sironko District have been educated on how to handle the impacts of climate change. The eight-month project, seeking to reduce the impact of climate change, was implemented by Sironko Valley Integrated Project, a non-governmental organisation… “Given the increasing population, we intend to promote innovative approaches for improved water and land management in order to restore the catchment of Sironko river, protect Mt Elgon eco-system but also improve livelihoods of communities in Sironko District,” said Ms Namutebi.

2 February 2013

The Dangers Of Relying On Hydroelectric Power: Brazil’s Lesson

By Rasheed Abou-Alsamh, International Business Times, 2 Februar 2013 | Then there’s the cost of running the thermoelectric power plants, which has reached R$1.6 billion (US$800 million) since October, according to Greenpeace Brazil. That also generated 16 million tons of carbon dioxide, O Globo newspaper quoted the environmental consultancy WayCarbon as estimating. According to a Brazilian environment ministry official, the carbon emissions from power plants in 2013 would for the first time be more than emissions caused by the deforestation of Brazil’s huge Amazon rainforests. In a surprising shift of policy, the business daily Valor Econômico reported last week that the Brazilian government was going to keep thermoelectric power plants running virtually year-round, shutting them down only for periodic maintenance. This is in sharp contrast to the past practice of only switching them on a few months each year, usually during the dry season when dam reservoir levels dipped.

3 February 2013


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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