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REDD in the news: 25 February – 3 March 2013

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REDD in the news: 25 February - 3 March 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.

The Need to Jump-Start REDD

By Michael Jenkins (Forest Trends), Skoll World Forum, March 2013 | [T]o date very little of the commitments to REDD+ has reached the ground and with minimal impact in terms of real reductions of carbon emissions from forestry and land use, or mobilizing longer-term private sector investment. The lion’s share of these fast-track funds are earmarked for REDD Readiness – preparing for a market that does not exist. There is a critical need to increase efficiency in the way these funds are deployed and to dramatically leverage new sources of private finance. We need to jump-start REDD… In order to jump-start or catalyze the rapid scale-up of private finance for REDD and long-term growth for forest carbon payment schemes, we need a bilateral (Norway, US) or multilateral (World Bank) institution to use its balance sheet enhancement; act as a central buyer of forest and land-use carbon credits that reduces risk for both public and private sector investment…

Global Symposium: REDD+ in a Green Economy

UN-REDD, March 2013 | The Symposium will serve three main objectives: To generate further political momentum for REDD+ by showcasing how it can catalyze green economy/green growth efforts; To build a stronger ‘business case’ for increased investments into REDD+ readiness and implementation by illustrating how it can yield multiple returns on investment; To build capacity for achieving synergies between REDD+ and a green economy transition.

25 February 2013

Capitalism versus Planet Earth – an irreconcilable conflict

By Fawzi ibrahim, Climate and Capitalism, 25 February 2013 | While the actions of mankind over the past thousand years have had a detrimental effect on the environment, it wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that such effect became geologically significant – so much so that two eminent scientists, Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer, proposed in a paper published in 2000 that this age be called the “Anthropocene,” “the recent age of man,” on the grounds that human activities have brought about profound and fundamental changes to the planet. It is no coincidence that environmental degradation should have reached the crisis level it is at today at the same time as capitalism experiences one of the worst crises in its history. As CO2 pollution rose to its highest level, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and the crisis that has been dubbed the Credit Crunch took hold. But the Credit Crunch (and the subsequent economic and sovereign debt crises) is no ordinary crisis.

Suriname REDD+ process

ForwardMotionSR on Vimeo, 25 February 2013 | "We are the forest and the forest is us", that’s the slogan of the REDD+ process in Suriname, South America. The government is willing to preserve the current 94% forest coverage of the country. In this short documentary you will see the preparation process until the final proposal which was sent to the World Bank by February 2013. Peoples, government, institutions and NGOs are working together to preserve the forest for its people and the world. Powered by: EU, UNDP Suriname, Guiana Shield Facility, CCDA Suriname, Republic of Suriname.

26 February 2013

How agroforestry schemes can improve food security in developing countries

By Caspar van Vark, The Guardian, 26 February 2013 | Agroforestry – the integration of trees and shrubs with crops and livestock systems – has strong potential in addressing problems of food insecurity in developing countries. Done well, it allows producers to make the best use of their land, can boost field crop yields, diversify income, and increase resilience to climate change. To date, the uptake of agroforestry has been constrained partly because it has lacked a natural ‘home’ in policy space, but that may be changing thanks to a growing body of evidence of what it can achieve, and how to make it work. The FAO last month published a guide to advancing agroforestry on the policy agenda with case studies of best practice, and is due to hold a conference on forests and food security and nutrition in May.

Deforestation Reaches 10.600 Hectares Per Year in Angola

Angola Press, 26 February 2013 | The levels of deforestation of the main green zones in Angola has reached about 10.600 hectares per a year, due to the illegal cutting and burning by citizens or company that depend on this natural resources in various regions of the country. Such data are contained in the 2nd Report of the General State of Environment (REGA) 2012 that was recently presented by the Ministry of Environment, mentioning among other areas, the characterization of the sector of agriculture in the soils sustainable management. Under this legal and illegal deforestation, it is not known the number of animal and plant species that are devastated annually, but the habitat of many animals has been destroyed during this process in a year.

[Pakistan] Tight budgets, smuggling chip away at Kashmir’s forests

By Roshan Din Shad, AlertNet, 26 February 2013 | Kashmir’s ancient forests are coming under growing pressure, as economic hardship drives families to cut them down for fuel and construction, while government funding for tree-planting programmes is slashed. Around 3 million trees will be planted under the state’s annual reforestation campaign for this financial year, which ends in June, compared with 10 million in 2007-08. Raja Khizar Hayat, chief conservationist for forests in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, told AlertNet the programme had received just one third of the funds usually allocated for reforestation and forest preservation, due to the effects of a financial crunch.

[USA] What California’s Carbon Market Is Doing Right

Co.Exist, 26 February 2013 | The California Air Resources Board, which currently runs the world’s second largest carbon market, confirmed Friday that permits to emit greenhouse gases for the rest of 2013 closed at $13.60 a ton, $3.53 up from last year, $2.90 above the minimum price, and $1.30 up from analysts’ peg. These results stand in stark contrast to the world’s largest market, the European Emissions Trading System, where prices plunged to less than $4 a ton this month. In other words, California’s cap and trade system is working: Companies are buying carbon credits at market rates to make sure they aren’t penalized by the state for emissions they produce later.

27 February 2013

Tony La Viña: Landscape approach is a stronger signal to REDD+

By Elizabeth Kahurani, ASB, 27 February 2013 | According to Tony La Viña, a REDD+ facilitator at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (UNFCCC COP 18) talks, a landscape approach holds potential to unlock ambiguities and uncertainties that threaten to stall implementation and scaling up of the REDD+ (Reducing emissions form Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism. “We are looking at the new Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) process as the future framework that will merge REDD+, Agriculture, Land-Use Change and Forestry into a land use approach that might make more sense with stronger signals,” Tony said while speaking at an event organized to disseminate findings of a study on engagement of private sector in REDD+ conducted by ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre (ASB-ICRAF) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Does policy in Cameroon discourage smallholder tree planting?

By Rebecca Selvarajah-Jaffery, Agroforestry World Blog, 27 February 2013 | In Indonesia, a 2009 export restriction designed to protect natural rattan stands, resulted in the total collapse of their cultivation. In Nepal, government-imposed levies for Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) caused farmers to lose interest in them. In Cameroon, conservation measures intended to protect some forest products from exploitation, discourage farmers from planting these species on their farms. Policies work in complex ways and governments may sometimes get more than they bargained for when farmers respond to legislation in unexpected ways.

[Canada] ‘This Is Huge’: Sweeping Forest Bill Gathers Foes

By Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee, 27 February 2013 | A British Columbia government bill that would radically shift the management of public forests is drawing criticism from environmental groups, the head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and opposition politicians. The bill, however, is in the middle of a legislative log jam and may not pass before the province’s politicians leave the legislature to hit the campaign trail. "This is huge," said Vicky Husband, a long time conservationist whose efforts have been recognized with an Order of B.C. award. "It’s the biggest giveaway of our forest lands in about 60 years… There has been no conversation, no consultation on this." … Joe Foy at the Wilderness Committee said in a press release if the bill passes, "it will set off a massive privatization of the public’s forest lands…"

China in Africa: New forum seeks sustainable, pro-poor forestry

International Institute for Environment and Development, 27 February 2013 | A new forum will launch on 5-6 March to help ensure Chinese investments in African forests have positive outcomes for local livelihoods and sustainability. The China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform was developed by the Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG), an international alliance that promotes policymaking that serves forest-dependent communities and sustainability. It will enable policy researchers and forest specialists from Africa and China to share information on issues such as forestry investment, timber supply chains and forest-linked livelihoods.

With microfinancing, Vietnam’s rural people emerge as champions of reforestation

By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 February 2013 | Rural people are playing a key role in reforesting Vietnam, using small, low-interest loans for household plantations that both supply the pulp and paper industry and act as personal savings accounts: When in need of fast cash, they can always cut down a few trees, says a new report by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Thomas Sikor, lead author of the report, says the scheme has helped turn this Southeast Asian nation into a model for other tropical countries seeking to slow forest loss and land degradation. “The strategy is working,” he said, adding that Vietnam has now transferred a quarter of its forestland to households.

28 February 2013

Can saving forests help feed the world?

By Steve Schwartzman and Ruben Lubowski, mongabay.com, 28 February 2013 | As world population climbs from 7 to a projected 9 billion people and emerging and developing economies demand ever more of the food and fiber that drive deforestation, many environmentalists ask with increasing urgency whether and how tropical forests can survive. But the question may actually be whether and how the world’s increasing, and increasingly rich, population can be fed unless tropical forests survive. Science has long warned that agricultural output is vulnerable to climate change. Under gradually increasing temperatures, however, many hypothesized that production would decline in some places while rising in others. But extreme weather – like the heat wave in Russia in 2010, last summer’s drought and wildfires in the US and the multi-year drought in Australia – hurts farming everywhere.

Time to join the dots on environmental murders

By Mike Shanahan, International Institute for Environment and Development, 28 February 2013 | Intimidation, violence and murder have long been the tools that the powerful have used to cow those who oppose their lust for timber, oil, gems, fast money and even the ‘pink gold’ of farmed shrimp. But according to UK-based environmental investigators Global Witness, the death rate is rising. Their 2012 report A Hidden Crisis [PDF] described more than 700 murders over the past decade — that’s more than one each week on average. By 2011, there were 106 deaths — more than two a week. Last year gunmen slayed five rangers in Chad whose job it was to protect the last of the region’s elephants. In 2011, in Brazil, hired killers murdered three environmental activists in a single week. And in the Philippines, since 2010, assassins have killed twenty of the forest rangers who try in vain to stop illegal logging. Professor William Kovarik of Radford University lists many more murders here.

The challenge of putting Brazil’s forests in good hands

By Andrea Margit, mongabay.com, 28 February 2013 | People often associate Brazil with its forests. It’s no wonder given that nearly 60% of the country’s territory is covered by forest and it holds about one-third of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests. You might assume that a country like this would care about educating people to sustainably manage this precious heritage. Well, you’d be wrong! It is important to recall that Brazil has overcome decades of military intervention that framed the Amazon colonization in sovereignty terms, preaching the occupation of the forest under the slogan “to integrate not to give away”. The result was the destruction of about 18% of the Brazilian Amazon. Most of the clearing was done for grazing cattle, cropland and commercial logging. During this same period, the education system promoted a divorce between young people’s intellects and their environment, as though where one lives has no impact on his or her development.

UCSB anthropologist studies cattle ranchers in Brazilian Amazon

environmentalresearchweb, 28 February 2013 | For over a century, the rubber tappers of Acre, Brazil collected the valuable sap of the rubber trees from the forests of the western Amazon. As the demand for natural rubber declined, however, the Brazilian government sought to stimulate the economy in the 1970’s by encouraging southern ranchers to bring their cattle to the isolated state and convert the forests to pastureland. During the dramatic land conflicts that ensued, rubber tappers captured international media attention by arguing that their harvesting of rubber and other products from the standing forest gave them a livelihood, while at the same time contributing to the preservation of the Amazonian rain forest. While much has been written about the internationally celebrated "forest guardian" rubber tappers, few researchers have tried to understand the ranchers, who, in the minds of many, remain the violent and environmentally destructive villains of Amazonia.

One hundred hours in Burma: A photo diary

National Geographic, 28 February 2013 | The dockside was noticeable for the dozens of second-hand Korean buses and coaches that lined it, most waiting their turn to join the hustle and bustle of Yangon’s creaking public transport system. Behind lay row upon row of logs. According to the Indian and Bangladeshi crew, the Deshbandu-1 would be in port for one month as it loaded its cargo. Final destination: Chittagong, Bangladesh. Burma is a major exporter of teak, with 75% of the world market worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the country. As one of the only countries to harvest high-quality teak from natural forests, Burma faces a deforestation crisis.

Guyana to increase employment in low carbon type activities with $5 million grant

Inter-American Development Bank, 28 February 2013 | A $5 million grant to be administered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will support the Guyanese Government’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions by re-orienting the economy onto a low carbon path, through the creation of the necessary incentives for the beneficiaries to invest in the low carbon sectors (LCS). The program will consist of two components. The first component will mitigate the structural problems faced by the beneficiaries in the LCS, with regards to their limitations on access to credit. Three types of financial products will be supported by the program: (i) a credit guarantee fund; (ii) an interest payment support facility; and (iii) a low carbon grant scheme to assist potential beneficiaries with seed capital to start up or expand their businesses.

1 March 2013

Environmental factors drive moves that lead to deforestation

environmentalresearchweb, 1 March 2013 | Land scarcity and soil degradation drive people to migrate to the forest frontier of northern Guatemala and cause deforestation. However, even from the communities that see the highest migration to these areas, less than 5% of the population moves to the rainforest. These are some of the findings of a study published in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) , which revealed how the migration of a small number of people can have a large effect on deforestation of Latin American rainforests. "It’s a very small minority that migrate to the forest frontier but, despite a high level of poverty, per capita they have a big impact," said David López-Carr of the University of California, Santa Barbara, US. "There have been thousands of studies of deforestation where it happens. This paper looks at how the environmental changes in one place impact the environment in other places."

Saving forests by stemming agricultural sprawl

By Jason Clay, mongabay.com, 1 March 2013 | I’m fortunate to travel the world helping conserve habitats for some of the world’s most iconic species. When I visit places like the Amazon and Sumatra, I’m still awestruck by their diversity and pristine beauty. I’m also reminded how threatened they are. Our growing demand for food and fiber is fueling deforestation in resource-rich regions of the world. As environmentalists, if we don’t change where and how we produce food and fiber, we can turn off the lights and go home. There won’t be any biodiversity left to protect. Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about “agriculture sprawl.” According to the FAO, the expansion of the agricultural frontier is the main cause of deforestation, accounting for up to 90% of global deforestation each year. A closer look shows we currently use 33 percent of the Earth’s surface for food.

[EU] New timber regulation in force

EUbusiness.com, 1 March 2013 | On 3 March, new legislation comes into effect to counter the trade in illegal timber. The new EU Timber regulation will affect everyone in the wood trade. It prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber on the European market in an effort to tackle the problem of illegal logging across the world. Illegal logging has severe economic, environmental and social impacts: it is associated with deforestation and climate change, it can undermine the efforts and livelihoods of legitimate operators, and it can also contribute to conflicts over land and resources. The new law affects both imported and domestically produced timber and timber products, and it covers an extensive range of products, from paper and pulp to solid wood and flooring. The aim is to put in place procedures to minimise the risk of illegal wood being traded. Anyone who first places a timber product on the EU market must apply "due diligence" to ensure that the wood they are trading…

Ecosystem Marketplace Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 March 2013 | Tracking terrestrial carbon is the name of the game for this news brief series – and Ecosystem Marketplace is in the midst of doing just that as we continue to survey project developers to inform the 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets report. If you have not already responded and would like to (and be recognized as a featured project and by company name and web link at the bottom of a news brief intro) contact Daphne Yin in our Carbon Program to find out if there’s still time! On to the news! According to preliminary findings from Forest Trends’ REDD+ Expenditures Tracking initiative (REDD X), very little of existing REDD+ commitments pledged by funds, private investors, private foundations, and others – mostly earmarked for REDD+ readiness efforts – has touched the ground, let alone made significant impact in mobilizing long-term private sector investment or realizing emissions reductions in the forestry and land use sector.

BluForest Signs Contract to Develop REDD+ Project With the Commonwealth of Northern Equador (“MNE”) Resulting in a Groundbreaking Milestone for REDD+ Projects in Central and South America

BluForest press release, 1 March 2013 | On February 28, 2013, Charles Miller, CEO of BluForest Inc and Guillermo Herrera, President of the REDD+ Common Wealth of Northern Ecuador ("MNE"), in the presence of the former Minister of Environment and current National Congresswoman Abogada Marcela Aquinaga Vallejo, signed a contract to develop the REDD+ project – Phase 1, corresponding to the province of Sucumbios, with an initial 1,500,000 hectares, corresponding approximately 17 million Verified Carbon Standards, ("VCS"). The MNE and BluForest aim to develop the REDD + MNE project under the appointing of the United Nations Climate Change Convention Frame. This is the first REDD+ Project in Ecuador, that goes alongside with another Ecuadorian and worldwide unique project, the Yasuni ITT initiative, to maintain non exploited oil reserves of the area in which lies the Yasuni National Park and their areas of influence.

[Malaysia] Declare emergency to stop decline of natural resources, Government urged

By Isabelle Lai, The Star, 1 March 2013 | The Government must declare a National Deforestation and Degradation Emergency and put in emergency measures to reverse the decline of the country’s natural resources, said Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M). Its secretary-general Josie Fernandez said such action should first begin with a “time-bound action-oriented” review of state forest policies. “We all agree that this is a situation of emergency. “Environmental issues must be at the forefront of the general election because our future generations will be severely affected if nothing is done,” she said at the National Conference on Environment: People, Forests, Sustainability here yesterday.

Myanmar timber to be exported to EU soon, say exporters

By Khin Myo Thwe, Mizzima, 1 March 2013 | A delegation will arrive from the EU in Myanmar this month to assess the timber industry ahead of signing an agreement to export timber to the EU. Exporters have said that they hope timber exports will be possible by June 2013. Bar Bar Cho, General Secretary of the Myanmar Timber Merchants Association (MTMA) told Mizzima that he was certain that over time timber merchants would be able to satisfy the EU requirements. “The Myanmar timber and forestry products must be guaranteed as legal products before they can be exported,” said Zaw Win of MTMA. However, there are several obstacles that will need to be overcome before any agreement is reached. Speaking with Mizzima, Kevin Woods, a Yangon-based PhD candidate in environmental policy at the University of California and a part-time consultant for Forest Trends, said “the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) needs to address several outstanding issues…"

Indigenous peoples’ organisations in Panama pull out of UN-REDD National Joint Programme (NJP)

Forest Peoples Programme, 1 March 2013 | Indigenous peoples’ organisations in Panama have withdrawn from the UN-REDD National Joint Programme (NJP) due to the inadequate attention to rights issues by the government and UN agencies and the lack of full and effective consultations with indigenous peoples on the various stages and implementation of the programme.

[Pakistan] Roadmap process for improving forest protection initiated

The International News, 1 March 2013 | The Ministry of Climate Change, ICIMOD and WWF-Pakistan, with the support of the One UN Joint Programme on Environment, took an important step towards making forests a major part of Pakistan’s strategy to combat climate change, says a press release. Over 60 forestry experts and stakeholders gathered to initiate a ‘roadmap’ process for improving forest protection and management. A mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is now one of the key elements of international climate change negotiations. REDD+ is a new way of financing good forest management. Industrialised nations will provide incentives to developing countries for their efforts to reduce the rate at which forests are lost or damaged, and to increase forest cover and quality, using accurate assessment of the level of carbon in forests as an indicator of success.

NASA: Climate change thins forests in eastern U.S.

By Wendy Koch, USA Today, 1 March 2013 | Years of drought and high temperatures are thinning forests in the upper Great Lakes and the eastern United States, NASA satellites show. Nearly 40% of the Mid-Atlantic’s forests lost tree canopy cover, ranging from 10% to 15% between 2000 and 2010, according to a NASA study released this week. Other afflicted areas include southern Appalachia, the southeastern coast and to a lesser extent, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. "There has been a series of summers — growing seasons for trees — that have been deficient in moisture. When you combine that with higher temperatures, it’s stressing the trees," says author Christopher Potter, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Welsh charity saves an area of rainforest the size of Wales

By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 1 March 2013 | Welsh campaigners have protected an area of rainforest the size of Wales, after campaigners hit their fundraising target of £2m on Friday, St David’s day. Launched less than three years ago, the Size of Wales charity decided to flip the country’s use as a unit of negative ecological measurement – it is often deployed to describe deforestation rates – into a positive. Its aim was to raise £2m for conservation projects in 2m hectares of tropical rainforest to stop logging and keep the forests’ carbon locked away. Hannah Scrase, the charity’s director, told the Guardian: "Until 2012 the fundraising was quite slow, and then it took off. It got a critical mass of people knowing about it. We had donations coming in from the US, the Czech Republic and Austria."

Zimbabwe to implement REDD Plus projects

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, 1 March 2013 | Zimbabwe stands a chance of benefitting from international funds to carry out projects under the Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Land Degradation Programme (REDD Plus). Although Zimbabwe has for years been keen to implement REDD Plus projects, lack of finance has hampered the conservation and sustainable management of forests. Speaking at the first REDD Plus workshop, former Head of United Nations REDD Plus based in Geneva, Yemi Katerere said chances are high that Zimbabwe can benefit from international financing considering that the country has in the last few years been actively engaged in the process. Forestry Commission General Manager, Darlington Duwa said reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation programme aims to provide incentives to developing countries to protect their forestry resources wisely.

2 March 2013

[Indonesia] Tiger Hurts Jambi Man in Latest Attack Linked to Deforestation

Jakarta Globe, 2 March 2013 | Last week, two farmers in West Tanjung Jabung district were attacked by tigers and had to be hospitalized. Just days later, a domesticated cow in Batanghari district was killed and eaten by tigers. BKSDA Jambi chief Tri Siswo said the majority of the tiger population live inside the Kerinci Seblat National Park, which borders three provinces — Jambi, West Sumatra, and Bengkulu — and was heavily affected by recent floods. Tri said that massive deforestation was also to blame for the increasing number of encounters with the endangered species, which is estimated to number only 30 to 40 in the entire province.

[Venezuela] Amazon tribe at centre of new cultural storm

By Paul Harris, The Observer, 2 March 2013 | It became one of the fiercest scientific arguments in recent times: are the Yanomami Indians of the Amazon rainforest a symbol of how to live in peace and harmony with nature or remnants of humanity’s brutal early history? Now a debate that has divided anthropologists, journalists, human rights campaigners and even governments has been given a fresh burst of life by the publication of a lengthy memoir by outspoken US anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon.

3 March 2013

The Surui 50-year plan: against and toward a certain future

By Rachel Petersen, Global Native Networks, 3 March 2013 | Certainly the Surui could not carry out their Carbon Project without important strategic partners. And despite the amount of attention that it receives, the REDD project is not – and will not be – the sole salvation of the Surui people. Almir realizes that many variables – international carbon markets, national climate legislation, and market prices – are beyond his control. But he does hope to show the world that indigenous peoples can do the groundwork to make carbon credits robust, permanent, and meaningful investments when the world is ready to combat climate change and deforestation. For this reason the 50-year plan outlines a swath of activities beyond REDD: it aims to increase disposable income in the villages through the sale of sustainable nuts, coffee, bananas and artisanal goods, and through community tourism. It outlines steps to improved local governance, health, education, cultural and biological preservation.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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