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REDD in the news: 11-17 March 2013

REDD in the news: 11-17 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.

[Indonesia] Saving Leuser

By Carlos Quiles, carlosquilesfoto.com, March 2013 | The Leuser ecosystem is one of the most important protected areas in the world. The only place that still hosts Sumatran tigers, orangutans, elephants, rhinos and sun deers. Located in Sumatra, Indonesia it is an area of immense ecological value. Mike Griffith, a pioneer, and the most important personality in connection with the conservation of the Leuser ecosystem talks about the threats that it is currently facing. He also gives us a positive message of hope when we take into account all the solutions that are being implemented in the region by local organizations. During the making of this movie, we filmed and photographed the illegal burning of one of the most important reserves of peat swamp forest worldwide by one of the palm oil companies operating in the area. As many as one hundred orangutan died in these fires as the peat swamp is their natural habitat.

Why am I working on REDD?

UN-REDD, March 2013 | Before the emergence of REDD and then REDD+, including forestry in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) had been the subject of heated debate, especially in the lead-up to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 6) in 2000. Most discussions revolved around how to deal with non-permanence (the forest can be removed after the issuance of credits), the risk of leakage (displacement of carbon emissions beyond the project perimeter) associated with a project-based approach and how to avoid nflation of carbon credits. As a result of these concerns avoided deforestation was not included in the decisions. The risks of lack of additionality and leakage were found to be unmanageable. Almost end of story. The discussion reignited only three years later at COP 9 when a new proposal was put on the table. Santilli and his co-authors reviewed all what had been said and written before and concluded that project-base schemes would not be the solution.

UN-REDD Examines Indigenous Land Rights and REDD+ in Mesoamerica

Climate Change Policy & Practice, March 2013 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) has published a report titled "Tenure of Indigenous Peoples Territories and REDD+ as a Forestry Management Incentive – the case of Mesoamerican countries." The report draws on case studies from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama to demonstrate how land tenure rights are linked to incentive mechanisms for good forestry management. The report specifically examines REDD+ and payments for ecosystem services, highlighting successful examples of payments for ecosystem services in Costa Rica and community forestry in Guatemala.

REDD+ and the Green Economy — Global Symposium

UN-REDD, March 2013 | Activities related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in developing countries can contribute significantly to rural development and to broader development objectives, and there is increasing demand for integrating REDD+ within green economy and green growth efforts. However, there is only nascent understanding and knowledge, both within international organizations and other REDD+ actors, and in developing countries, of how to establish mutually reinforcing links between ongoing REDD+ activities and a green economy transition. Over the past three years, the UN-REDD Programme has developed a body of work on ‘Ensuring that REDD+ and a Green Economy transformation are mutually reinforcing’, based on pilot activities in a number of partner countries. The Global Symposium aims to take stock of the lessons learned, with a view to provide key decision makers with a stronger rationale for linking REDD+ planning and REDD+ investments…

Legal Preparedness for REDD+ forum

UN-REDD, March 2013 | I’d like to let you know about UN-REDD’s new online discussion forum on legal preparedness for REDD+. “Legal preparedness for REDD+” refers to efforts to make a country’s legal framework more supportive of REDD+. As part of that effort, countries may need to— • assess existing legislation and draft new provisions; • engage with parliamentarians; • enforce laws; or • develop legal instruments at the project level. Along the way, the legal questions will overlap with many practical questions of REDD implementation. Are tenure and contract rights reliable enough to support investments in forests? Do local governments have enough capacity to enforce laws? Can failures of the rule of law, for example due to corruption or insurgency, undermine REDD? If you are interested in topics like these, please visit and bookmark the UN-REDD online workspace’s new forum. The URL is http://bit.ly/REDDlaw.

11 March 2013

Evidence grows of rainforest resilience to global warming

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 11 March 2013 | The world’s tropical forests are less likely to lose biomass, or plant material, this century due to the effects of global warming than previously thought, scientists said in a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Sunday. This adds to growing evidence that rainforests might be more resilient to the effects of climate change than feared. Tropical forests play an important role in the world’s climate system because they soak up carbon dioxide and use it to grow leaves, branches and roots. It is estimated that they store around 470 billion metric tons (518.09 billion tons) of carbon in their biomass and soil, some of which can be released back into the atmosphere when plants rot or get burnt. Rising global temperatures cause droughts and fires, which can kill trees, but estimates vary on how much forest cover would be lost in a warming world.

Tropical forest resilience boosts protection schemes

By Alex Peel, Planet Earth Online, 11 March 2013 | Tropical forests may be more resilient to climate change in the coming century than first thought, scientists say. The news could boost schemes designed to curb carbon emissions by discouraging deforestation, like the United Nation’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) programme, which rely on a stable forest to keep carbon locked out of the atmosphere. Such schemes would become more difficult to sell if the forests they are attempting to protect were likely to be degraded by climate change in any event. But the team, led by Dr Chris Huntingford from NERC’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, is keen to point out that there are still many uncertainties involved in predicting rainforest responses to our warming climate.

Tracking integrated management of rural landscapes for food production, ecosystem conservation, and sustainable livelihoods.

By Abidah Setyowati, WOCAN, 11 March 2013 | On the one hand, if designed properly, REDD+ could help provide women with new rights to forest lands and resources, increase their capacity to engage in REDD+ decision-making, and improve their economic and social status. On the other hand, without accounting for the differences between men and women, REDD+ initiatives could perpetuate women’s exclusion from decision making processes and even reinforce gender inequality by working within existing socio-cultural norms, placing a higher value on the work of men. For instance, women could be subjected to heavier workloads without appropriately scaled compensation, displaced from or refused access to forests, denied a fair share of benefits, or left out of consultations and capacity-building activities.

[Brazil] Protected areas successfully prevent deforestation in Amazon rainforest

University of Michigan News Service, 11 March 2013 | Strictly protected areas such as national parks and biological reserves have been more effective at reducing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest than protected zones that allow for controlled removal of trees and other natural resources. In addition, protected areas established primarily to safeguard the rights and livelihoods of indigenous people performed especially well in places where deforestation pressures are high, two University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues determined. The U-M-led study, which found that all forms of protection successfully limit deforestation, was published online publication March 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The lead author is Christoph Nolte, a doctoral candidate at the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment. Co-authors include Arun Agrawal, a professor of natural resources at SNRE.

Toward forest-friendly growth in Brazil, the Congo Basin and Indonesia

Program on Forests, 11 March 2013 | The forest transition theory holds that economic growth and deforestation go hand in hand. What is happening in the Amazon, in the Congo Basin and in Indonesia does not necessarily follow that model. A seminar on forest-friendly growth in the three major tropical forest areas, held at the World Bank on February 28, 2013, gave the following food for thought.

Indonesian Government to Revoke Palm Oil Licenses Without Sustainable Credentials

Jakarta Globe, 11 March 2013 | The Indonesian government is ready to revoke the licenses of palm oil companies in the country if they do not have an Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil certificate by 2014, a high-level official at the Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday. “Because it is a mandatory, there will be sanctions. We could revoke the licenses of palm oil companies that do not have the ISPO,” said Gamal Nasir, director general for plantations at the ministry. The Indonesian government introduced the ISPO several years ago, setting a standard to ensure that palm oil producers will not add to deforestation and destruction of carbon-rich peat lands because of their activities. The certification is an effort by the government to set up its own environmental standard as the country is now the biggest crude palm oil producer in the world.

12 March 2013

Response to Foreign Affairs REDD+ Article

By Duncan Gromko, Natural Capital, 12 March 2013 | Foreign Affairs published an article on deforestation in the Amazon and REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation) in their most recent issue. I was torn. On the one hand, I was thrilled because a popular and respected journal was covering two issues that I believe are important and don’t get enough attention. On the other hand, the article just isn’t very good and doesn’t seriously engage the issues. There are a lot of nuances to these two issues, but the article just glosses over them… Saying that some environmentalists worry about REDD+ is an intentionally dismissive and misleading way of brushing aside real concerns about REDD+. You could also say that "some scientists believe in the theory of evolution" or "some tables have four legs." There are very few, if any, environmentalists or social activists who are actively engaged in REDD+ that don’t have any concerns.

Carbon Markets of the Future are Forming Where You Might Not Expect

The World Bank, 12 March 2013 | In China, Chile, and more than a dozen other countries around the world, the carbon markets of the future are beginning to take root. Five Chinese cities and two provinces are in the process of piloting emissions trading systems with the goal of a building a national carbon market. The government has integrated its climate change strategy into its economic development planning, and it has committed to reducing its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by at least 40 percent by 2020 compared with 2005. Australia introduced a carbon price in July 2012 to support its transition a low-carbon economy. Its biggest polluters now have to report on their emissions and pay $23 per metric tonne for carbon pollution, creating an incentive to reduce their greenhouse gases. In Tokyo (pdf), a cap-and-trade system has been operating since 2010. By its second year, it had cut greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent.

Strong ‘no deforestation’ commitments save forests and feed people

By Scott Poynton, mongabay.com, 12 March 2013 | REDD+ and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) are not off the ground enough to make anything but a restricted local impact. They’re not new initiatives, they’re just not happening, and it’s not for lack of money – there’s something inherent stopping their uptake. Sure, we could have more meetings to try to push them through some tipping point but no one knows where that tipping point is, nor how much time and resources are needed to get us there, if ever. Time is something our remaining forests have in short supply, which makes it doubly odd to hail Consumer Goods Forum CEOs environmental heroes for their irresponsibly weak commitment to no “net” deforestation by 2020; another seven years of deforestation, what are we thinking?

New protection for endangered trees against rampant logging trade

By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 12 March 2013 | Every species of mahogany and rosewood tree in Madagascar gained new protection on Tuesday against a rampant logging trade that threatens to wipe out some species before they are even discovered. The 178 nations at the world’s biggest wildlife summit agreed unanimously to strictly regulate the international trade in mahogany timber. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), taking place in Bangkok, also gave new protection to rosewood in Central America, Thailand and Vietnam. Ebony and rosewoods are targeted to make high-price furniture, musical instruments, chess pieces and flooring. "There are 80 ebony species known in Madagascar but they are literally identifying more right now and there may be as many as 240 species in all," said Noel McGough, a botanist at Kew Botanical Gardens in London and a member of the UK delegation.

[Indonesia] ‘Protected’ Forest in North Kalimantan Turned into Plantations, Settlements: Officials

By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 12 March 2013 | Officials with the North Kalimantan district of Nunukan on Tuesday admitted that 700 hectares of protected forest area in the region had been converted into oil palm plantations and settlements. The forest, which is protected under a 1979 agriculture minister regulation, is situated on Sebatik Island in Nunukan and originally covered 1,054 hectares. But now 70 percent of its once dense tree coverage has disappeared. Hamran, head of the Central Sebatik subdistrict, has put the blame on local residents who cut down trees and replaced them with empty fields intended for oil palm plantations and for houses.

Corporation Partners With Community to Tackle Deforestation in Uganda

By Lillian Tindyebwa, Global Press Institute, 12 March 2013 | Agricultural development, population growth and urbanization are fueling deforestation in Uganda. A corporation is training local communities in Uganda’s Kabale district on new conservation strategies. If deforestation continues at the current rate, experts project there will be no forest cover in Uganda in 40 years. The projects in Kabale are adding innovative techniques to traditional knowledge to reverse deforestation and soil erosion.

13 March 2013

Agreement reached to proceed with largest forest carbon program in Congo Basin

WWF, 13 March 2013 | A diverse partnership of forest stakeholders has come together in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to submit a design for the largest ever carbon project in the Congo rainforests. In a three-day forum last week, forest stakeholders and government officials met to finalise DRC’s Emissions Reductions Program Idea Note (ER-PIN). This highly participative process paves the way for DRC to harness important REDD+ conservation and financial opportunities, with the potential for up to US$60-70 million in REDD+ funds from the Carbon Fund of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The forum was organized under the authority of the Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism (MECNT) with the support of the global conservation organization WWF and the National REDD+ Coordination agency (CN-REDD), and funding from the government of Norway’s development agency Norad.

[Indonesia] Aceh plans to clear 1.2 million hectares of protected forest trigger alarm over increase in landslides, floods and other natural disasters

Press release, endoftheicons.wordpress.com, 13 March 2013 | An alarming admission from the chairman of the Aceh Government’s Spatial Planning Committee is fuelling serious concern over the potential illegal loss of 1.2 million hectares of Aceh’s protected forests, as was explained in detail at a press conference today in Jakarta. Tgk. Anwar, today, in the Aceh Post, stated that the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry has accepted ‘almost 100%’ of the Aceh Government’s new spatial plan proposal. Earlier, he told the Sydney Morning Herald that Aceh was preparing to reduce its protected forest area from 68% to 45%, meaning the loss of 1.2 million hectares.

[Kenya] The Jojoba Project: Cosmetic and beauty plants benefit rural communities

Wildlife Works Blog, 13 March 2013 | As part of our greenhouse program, Wildlife Works has devoted roughly one hectare to growing jojoba, making Wildlife Works the largest producer of the plant in Kenya! Currently, oil from the jojoba plants we grow is used in our soap production and is sold to hotels in Kenya. We hope to begin exporting the handmade soaps to sell in the U.S. in the near future. The supervisor of The Jojoba Plant Project, Cosmas, is a 56-year-old married man with four children (three girls ages 21, 19 and 16, and one 14-year-old boy) living in Maungu, an adjacent town to Wildlife Works. Since 2009 when Cosmas took on the role of supervisor for the plant project, the number of facilities and employees dedicated to the project has risen, and quality of jojoba shrubs has increased. He says the project team is putting in a lot of hard work, knowing that the community will benefit from their success.

14 March 2013

Climate heavyweights fire fresh salvos in global CO2 debate

By John Parnell, RTCC – Climate change news, 14 March 2013 | The first salvos of the new UN climate regime have been fired by some of the most influential nations ahead of the first talks in earnest on a global emissions deal. After early housekeeping was addressed at the UNFCCC’s session in Doha last year, the second meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, known as the ADP, kicks off next month. Bigger issues, like how to share responsibility fairly, will feature on the agenda throughout 2013. Japan, USA and an influential group of developing countries have all submitted input to the process this week with China entering theirs the previous week. The ADP will seek to find a universal globally binding deal to reduce emissions by 2015 and to be put into force in 2020. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, it will apply to rich and poor nations.

In Our World: 14 March 2013 (resilience, dev-goals, forests and more)

By Mike Shanahan, International Institute for Environment and Development, 14 March 2013 | Forest Politics – "It’s a mystery why we chose Guyana," to give money to for avoided deforestation, says a Norwegian Government official. Panama’s Indigenous Peoples Coordinating Body withdraws from the UN body for reduced emissions from deforestation. CIFOR has a new guide to getting women’s perspectives into forest management. Zoe Cormier blogs about it here. Meanwhile Catriona Moss and Amelia Swan blog about what policymakers need to know about gender analysis in forest research.

Amazon Indians unite against Canadian oil giant

Survival International, 14 March 2013 | Amazon Indians from Peru and Brazil have joined together to stop a Canadian oil company destroying their land and threatening the lives of uncontacted tribes. Hundreds of Matsés Indians gathered on the border of Peru and Brazil last Saturday and called on their governments to stop the exploration, warning that the work will devastate their forest home. The oil giant Pacific Rubiales is headquartered in Canada and has already started oil exploration in ‘Block 135’ in Peru, which lies directly over an area proposed as an uncontacted tribes reserve. In a rare interview with Survival, a Matsés woman said, ‘Oil will destroy the place where our rivers are born. What will happen to the fish? What will the animals drink?’

[Brazil] Tribe rejects payment from electricity company behind destructive Amazon dam

mongabay.com, 14 March 2013 | Leaders of more than two dozen Kayapó indigenous communities have rejected a $9 million offer from Brazilian state energy company Eletrobras to fund development projects in their region due to the the firm’s involvement in the construction of the Belo Monte dam, reports Amazon Watch, an activist group fighting the hydroelectric project. Eletrobras had offered the money over a four year period, during which it is planning to proceed with the dam, which will redirect the flow of 80 percent of the Xingu river, which Kayapó and other indigenous communities depend upon for fishing. Belo Monte, which will operate at less than 40 percent of capacity despite its $15 billion dollar price tag, will require additional upstream dams to be commercially viable, according to independent analysts. These dams would more directly affect the Kayapó, the majority of whom live 500 km upstream of the Belo Monte dam site.

Big agribusiness at the Cambodian forest frontier: will REDD+ be able to compete?

By Anna Bolin, The Global Canopy Programme, 14 March 2013 | These findings confirm what has already been known for some time. The expansion of large scale agriculture has been a hot topic amongst NGOs, civil society and major organisations such as the World Bank since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, but the link to deforestation and REDD+ has been a bit slower to catch on. For many years, forests and the forestry sector have been managed in isolation, with little consideration of the impacts of other sectors, such as agriculture. It is only now that the link between agriculture and the forestry sector is fully beginning to be considered in the international policy negotiations at the UNFCCC. The example of ELCs in Cambodia highlights that fully capturing the multiple layers of actors and socio-economic pressures that drive forest loss is a challenge, but one that must be prioritised for REDD+ to be effective. A more holistic “landscape approach” to REDD+…

SBY and Minister of Forests must work together to protect Indonesia’s forests

Greenpeace Indonesia, 14 March 2013 | Recent Greenpeace analysis of the latest moratorium maps shows that the Ministry of Forestry’s SK 458 Decree consigned over 600,000 hectares of forest, just in the province of Papua alone, to potential clearance if the moratorium is allowed to expire. An additional 150,000ha has been assigned for degradation through selective logging concessions. As the Decree also includes orders to rezone 376,535 hectares of the threatened forest, supposed to be protected by the moratorium, to non-Forest Zone, the consequences could be irreversible. “President Yudhoyono must now work closely with Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan to urgently revise SK 458 to reinstate the protected forest. The President also must stop his own government undermining the moratorium and his emissions reduction commitments,” said Teguh Surya, Forest Political Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Indonesia.

Pakistan launches REDD+ Roadmap process

ICIMOD, 14 March 2013 | On 21 February, over 70 forestry experts and stakeholders gathered for a national consultative workshop under the ‘REDD+ Project: Preparedness Phase for Pakistan’ to initiate a ‘REDD+ Roadmap’ process for improving forest protection and management in Pakistan. The workshop was organized by Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, ICIMOD, and WWF-Pakistan, with the support of One UN Joint Programme on Environment. The Inspector General of Forests and national focal point for REDD+, Syed Mahmood Nasir, was chief guest at the event and the Assistant Country Director, United Nations Development Programme, M Gul Najam Jami, welcomed the workshop participants.

[USA] Finite Carbon and Downeast Lakes Land Trust Project Among First Forest Carbon Offset Projects Listed by California Air Resources Board

Finite Carbon, 14 March 2013 | Developed by Finite Carbon, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust Farm Cove Forest Carbon Project was one of only two forest offset projects included in the California Air Resources Board (ARB) inaugural listing of compliance offset projects on March 8, 2013. In September 2012, the Farm Cove Forest Carbon Project was completed and registered with the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) as an improved forest management (IFM) project under the CAR Forest Project Protocol 3.2. CAR forest offset projects are one of four offset types allowed as “early action” projects under the ARB greenhouse gas emissions trading program that launched on January 1, 2013. Under the ARB program, regulated emitters may use approved offset projects to meet up to eight percent of their emissions cap. On March 8, ARB listed the first group of 25 compliance program offset projects. The Farm Cove and Willits Woods IFM Carbon Projects were the first and only forest offset projects listed.

15 March 2013

[Indonesia] Activists Decry Aceh Plan to End Log Ban

Jakarta Globe, 15 March 2013 | Environmental activists have condemned the Aceh administration following confirmation that it planned to reverse a logging ban imposed by the previous administration and clear up to 1.2 million hectares of protected forest across the province. Efendi, a spokesman for the Coalition of People Concerned for Aceh’s Forests (KPHA), said at a media conference in Jakarta on Thursday that the provincial administration’s special planning committee had confirmed that the Forestry Ministry had approved of “almost 100 percent” of proposed changes to its spatial plans. This would slash the proportion of protected forest in the province from 68 percent to 45 percent, and cause the loss of 1.2 million hectares of forest.

[Indonesia] Norway Ambassador Observed REDD+ Progress in Central Kalimantan

norway.or.id, 15 March 2013 | H.E. Ambassador Stig Traavik, accompanied by Mr. William Sabandar from the National REDD+ Task Force, Counselor Marthe Hotvedt and Advisor Nita Murjani, visited Central Kalimantan on 5-7 March 2013 to observe progresses on REDD+ preparation and implementation in the REDD+ Pilot Province. During the mission, the delegation had meetings with Governor Teras Narang, visited various REDD+ related projects, and met with local stakeholders and partners to discuss opportunities and challenges of REDD+ implementation in the Province. Governor Teras Narang underlined that there has been a lot of progress since the stipulation of Central Kalimantan as the REDD+ Pilot Province, and referred to on-going REDD+ related projects especially in the ex-mega rice area. The Governor emphasized that support from the national government as well as from donor countries, including Norway, is very important in order to keep the momentum in this REDD+ process.

16 March 2013

17 March 2013

[Malaysia] Kill off the animals and you change the forest — fast

By Mike Shanahan, Under The Banyan, 17 March 2013 | Now researchers have shown what these extinctions mean for the forest itself. Rhett Harrison and colleagues tracked the fates of over 470,000 trees of more than 1,100 species for a 15-year period since intense hunting began there. In a new study published in Ecology Letters, they have shown that the forest has changed markedly. There are far more trees now — the density of saplings increased by over 25 per cent between 1992 and 2008 — probably because there are fewer deer and other mammals to eat the young plants. But overall the diversity of trees has fallen. And compared to species that rely on gravity or wind to spread their seeds, there has been a relative decline in the number of new trees from species that depend on animals to disperse their seeds.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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