REDD in the news: 1-7 April 2013

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REDD in the news: 1-7 April 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.

[Laos] Where is Sombath Somphone?

By Focus on the Global South, March 2013 | On the evening of December 15, 2012, Sombath Somphone was abducted at a major street in Vientiane after being stopped by the police. Recorded by a CCTV camera, the abduction shocked people inside the country and across the world. The abduction itself as well as the government’s responses, continue to raise many troubling questions and paint the Lao government in very poor light.

Adopting REDD+ for Conservation, Sustainable Community Livelihood and Climate Change Mitigation

Worldwide Universities Network, April 2013 | Global deforestation and forest degradation accounts for approximately 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the global transportation sector and third only to the global energy (26%) and industrial sectors (19%) (UN-REDD, 2012). Understanding the importance of forest conservation in adapting to climate change, the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have agreed to start the global Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme in order to slow, halt and reverse forest loss and the related emissions in developing countries… Joint research is required in which universities from developed countries, universities from developing countries and non-governmental organizations work together to share knowledge on the aforementioned issues as well as build each other’s capacity through workshops, joint-research, seminars, student exchange and post-graduate research.

Incentivizing the Involvement of the Private Sector in REDD+: A Review of Early Experiences and Lessons Learned in the Forest Investment Program

Climate Investment Funds, March 2013 | This report offers policy makers and development partners a more detailed description of the private sector, the opportunities and constraints private investors face when considering REDD+ involvement, and how the FIP’s engagement and incentive models work to increase their participation in the planning, financing, and implementation of REDD+ investments. The review also shares the perspective of different stakeholder groups towards private sector involvement in the FIP.

FIP: REDD+ Stakeholder Collaboration

Climate Investment Funds, March 2013 | This report identifies common challenges encountered by different stakeholder groups in FIP pilot countries who are engaged in REDD+ processes and explain how collaboration can be further enhanced at the country-level as FIP investments are developed and implemented. Based on interviews with over 200 REDD+ stakeholders in four FIP pilot countries – Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, and Peru – the report proposes key opportunities and lessons for FIP policy makers regarding consultations, capacity building, and transformational change.

1 April 2013

Soils in new forest could help offset climate change

ScienceBlog, 1 April 2013 | Surface appearances can be so misleading: In most forests, the amount of carbon held in soils is substantially greater than the amount contained in the trees themselves. If you’re a land manager trying to assess the potential of forests to offset carbon emissions and climate change by soaking up atmospheric carbon and storing it, what’s going on beneath the surface is critical. But while scientists can precisely measure and predict the amount of above-ground carbon accumulating in a forest, the details of soil-carbon accounting have been a bit fuzzy. Two University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues helped to plug that knowledge gap by analyzing changes in soil carbon that occurred when trees became established on different types of nonforested soils across the United States. In a paper published online April 1 in the Soil Science Society of America Journal, they looked at lands previously used for surface mining and other industrial processes…

Experts: Corruption could threaten global efforts to slow forest loss

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 1 April 2013 | U.N.-backed efforts to slow forest loss could be derailed by corruption, experts warned as they pointed to a potentially dangerous combination: An opportunity to make a lot of money and weak governance in many of the participating countries. Unless tackled, they said, communities most dependent on these biodiverse ecosystems may not see the benefits. The forestry sector is one of the most prone to graft globally. Among other things, it’s threatened by bribery and unclear land tenure rights, a lack of access to accurate or credible information, and an absence of transparency around financial flows, research groups and environmental experts told the International Anti-Corruption Conference held in Brasilia, Brazil in November 2012. “In effect, what REDD+ has done is establish a new value for forests, which we call carbon,” said Andrew Wardell, Research Director of the Forest and Governance portfolio at CIFOR.

Africans move against REDD initiatives in continent

Premium Times Nigeria, 1 April 2013 | African participants at the World Social Forum in Tunisia have taken a historic decision to launch a No REDD in Africa Network and join the global movement against REDD. Participants from Nigeria, South Africa, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Mozambique, Tunisia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Tanzania participated in the launch of the network recently… “REDD is no longer just a false solution but a new form of colonialism,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Alternative Nobel Prize Laureate and former Executive Director of ERA/Friends of the Earth Nigeria. “In Africa, REDD+ is emerging as a new form of colonialism, economic subjugation and a driver of land grabs so massive that they may constitute a continent grab,” Mr. Bassey said. “We launch the No REDD in Africa Network to defend the continent from carbon colonialism,” he added.

Incentive for Change: Deforestation in the Amazon (Part 3)

By Steve Schwartzman, Environmental Defense Fund, 1 April 2013 | There are already signs that the powerful agriculture lobby in Brazil’s Congress wants to open up Indian lands and parks in the Amazon to exploitation, so the need to create economic incentives for reducing deforestation is growing. One way to achieve these goals is for Brazil, Amazon states and indigenous peoples to get credit for reducing deforestation in carbon markets. That means getting paid for saving forest land. The idea under discussion in California and other emerging carbon markets is that states or countries that reduce their deforestation below historical levels (and verify those reductions with satellite photos) would sell carbon credits to companies or governments that have to reduce their emissions.

No hard sell on Myanmar timber

By Rosie Gogan-Keogh, Mizzima, 1 April 2013 | "Forestry should be developed as a healthy part of the growing domestic economy, but more importantly it should remain a source of livelihood for the 80 percent rural population," said Jack Hurd, Asia Pacific region deputy director of The Nature Conservancy, speaking while on a research trip to Myanmar to explore how the environmental NGO can expand its advocacy work into the country. "The new [unprocessed logs] law will shine a spotlight on the illegal logs that are leaving the country and will create more processing jobs," says Hurd. Historically, Myanmar had a world-renowned forestry management program, which operated from the early mid-19th century under British colonialism. This began to break down under military rule’s mismanagement from the 1960s, and a plethora of destructive forces—not least illegal logging and exporting, but also timber waste and a lack of reforestation—have ravaged the country’s forests.

[UK] Carbon floor price launches at £16 per tonne

By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 1 April 2013 | The government has imposed a minimum price for companies emitting carbon, despite concerns that the measure will drive up energy bills while having a negligible impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. The new carbon floor price, which came into effect today, will see firms charged £16 per tonne of CO2 for fuels used for power generation this year. The move is designed to provide a long-term price signal for low-carbon investors and will increase gradually every year to reach the Treasury’s goal of £30 per tonne by the end of the decade, and £70 per tonne in 2030. But businesses and green groups have consistently warned that in setting a carbon floor price that is significantly higher than in the rest of Europe, the Treasury will simply drive heavy energy users out of the UK, a problem dubbed "carbon leakage".

2 April 2013

Economist warns of ‘radical’ climate change, millions at risk

france24.com, 2 April 2013 | The author of an influential 2006 study on climate change warned Tuesday that the world could be headed toward warming even more catastrophic than expected but he voiced hope for political action. Nicholas Stern, the British former chief economist for the World Bank, said that both emissions of greenhouse gas and the effects of climate change were taking place faster than he forecast seven years ago… Stern’s 2006 study, considered a landmark in raising public attention on climate change, predicted that warming would shave at least five percent of gross domestic product per year. Despite the slow progress in international negotiations, Stern saw signs for hope as a number of countries move to put a price on greenhouse gases. "My own view is that 2013 is the best possible year to try to work and redouble our efforts to create the political will that hitherto has been much too weak," Stern said.

Fostering Growth and Poverty Reduction in a World of Immense Risk

World Resources Institute, 2 April 2013 | In the six-plus years of economic turbulence since the publication of the Stern Review, the risks from unmanaged climate change look substantially higher. Continued neglect will likely spur large movements of population and extended conflict. We understand how to radically reduce these risks, yet the political will to act is weak. A key obstacle is the common but misguided perception that there is a stark conflict between growth and climate responsibility. Lord Stern will analyse how risks and understanding have changed in these least six years and argue that the transition to the low-carbon economy is full of opportunity for growth and poverty reduction.

World Bank chief says global warming threatens the planet and the poorest

By Howard Scheider, Washington Post, 2 April 2013 | World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday said climate change was a “fundamental threat” to global economic development as he called for a major new push to reduce extreme poverty over the next 17 years. The bank is in the middle of an internal debate over how to reshape its role in a world where the major developing nations — the core “customers” for its loans and programs — have become increasingly middle class and where states caught in civil war pose an intractable development problem. At the same time, the impact of climate change disproportionately threatens the African and Asian nations that would find it hardest to cope.

Six Tropical Forest Countries Qualify for Forest Carbon Partnership

By Andrew Burger, globalwarmingisreal.com, 2 April 2013 | Chile, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, Thailand and Vanuatu all submitted national REDD+ Readiness Plans to the FCPF Particpants Committee at the sixth meeting of the Carbon Fund Participants in Washington D.C. in late March. This paves the way for them to receive $3.8 million each “to support activities such as developing national REDD+ strategies; developing reference emission levels; designing forest monitoring systems; and setting up REDD+ national management arrangements, including proper safeguards.”

Policy in the Forest-Agriculture Mosaic: REDD+

Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog, 2 April 2013 | One size doesn’t usually fit all. And the case of reducing deforestation and forest degradation is no different. While agriculture is often viewed as a driver of deforestation, context is key for developing policies to maintain ecosystem benefits within a landscape. A recent paper examines different stages of forest-agriculture interaction, what is deemed the “forest transition” – the process of moving from high forest cover and low deforestation to a stable mix of forest-agriculture uses and eventual reversal of the deforestation process. Considering how policy plays such an important part in forest and agricultural land dynamics, the authors argue that policy should also reflect the stages along the transition. This study resonates well with integrated approaches to landscape management.

How to balance forests and food?

By David Rothschild, Reuters, 2 April 2013 | A few weeks ago the Skoll World Forum hosted an online debate on how increased global consumption can be balanced with sustainability. The debate asks how a rapidly growing world that is ever consuming can hope to feed everyone, and at the same time address the deforestation that is emitting massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and destroying the world’s greatest tropical forests. Many contributors made very strong points—even contradicting one another in their approaches and ideas. The question is daunting, and can seem both overwhelming and discouraging if one thinks about how rapidly the world population is increasing, destined to reach 9 billion by 2050. The question becomes even more challenging when one considers the massive numbers of people entering the lower middle classes, for example in China and India, and their ever increasing consumption patterns including more and more meat, a major driver of deforestation.

Pilot Projects Lead the Way in Measuring and Protecting Blue Carbon

By Alison Bredbenner, Human Nature (Conservation International Blog), 2 April 2013 | The concept of “blue carbon” – the carbon stored by coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses – has recently gained traction in climate change discussions. However, our knowledge of field projects that work to protect and restore these ecosystems for their role in climate change mitigation has thus far been limited. To change this, I recently worked with CI and the International Blue Carbon Initiative to compile a database of existing blue carbon projects around the world. My report, “Profiles in Blue Carbon Field Work” (PDF), shows that a global community of scientists, policymakers and coastal communities is rallying around the concept of blue carbon as a nature-based tool to help mitigate global climate change.

[Australia] CO2 closer to creating carbon credits

The West Australian, 2 April 2013 | Carbon offset company CO2 says it has registered its first projects with the Clean Energy Regulator allowing it to create carbon credits for its clients. UPDATE 1.30pm: Carbon offset company CO2 says it has registered its first projects with the Clean Energy Regulator allowing it to create carbon credits for its clients. Clients can use the credits to either offset carbon liabilities or trade them under the Australian Carbon Pricing Mechanism. CO2 chief executive Andrew Grant said he was pleased to have achieved project registration so quickly after our reforestation and afforestation methodology determination coming into effect. CO2 directly manages about 26,400 hectares (or 39 million trees) of carbon sinks, comprising a mixture of plantings that it owns outright, owns in partnership, or manages on behalf of large emitters seeking to reduce their carbon tax exposure.

[Brazil] 25 years after Chico Mendes, killings in the Amazon are endemic

By David Hill, The Guardian, 2 April 2013 | On Wednesday, in the Brazilian state of Pará, the trial begins of three men accused of murdering José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo, who had campaigned against loggers and ranchers for years. Their assassinations in May 2011 generated international outrage, just like that of Chico Mendes, 25 years ago, and that of the American-born nun Dorothy Stang in 2005. "This trial exposes the problems and challenges in the Amazon today," says the Brazilian political ecologist Felipe Milanez, who will attend the trial. "It’s something we haven’t dealt with in the past 30 years. The same thing that happened to Mendes and Dorothy happened to Claudio, and will happen to other people defending the forest."

EU capped carbon emissions fell 1.4 percent in 2012

By Andrew Allan, Michael Szabo and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 2 April 2013 | Emissions from power plants and factories covered by the European Union’s carbon market fell by 1.4 percent last year, preliminary like-for-like data showed on Tuesday, helping keep the EU on track to reach its 2020 emissions reduction target. Around 10,000 installations out of some 13,000 firms operating under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) reported carbon dioxide emissions of 1.79 billion tonnes in 2012. Emissions fell for a second consecutive year on the scheme, which is the bloc’s main tool to fight climate change. The 1.4 percent fall matched an average forecast from a Reuters poll of analysts published on March 12 yet views from the seven analysts varied widely, from a fall of 5.2 percent to a rise of 0.3 percent.

In Malaysia’s election, a focus on rainforest graft

By Niluksi Koswanage, Reuters, 2 April 2013 | The island of Borneo may be all that stands between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and an unprecedented election defeat within weeks for his ruling coalition. Borneo’s two Malaysian states — Sabah and Sarawak — have been a bastion of votes for the National Front coalition headed by Najib’s party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). The two states, among Malaysia’s poorest despite vast natural resources, kept the National Front in power in 2008 even as a groundswell of support for the opposition deprived the government of its iron-clad two-thirds parliamentary majority. That could start to change. Allegations of corruption in recent months have dogged the chief ministers of both Sabah and Sarawak, long-time rulers who hold vast sway over some of the world’s largest tracts of tropical forests.

[Zimbabwe] Global forest-protection plan depends on carbon credits

By Zinta Zommers, The Globe and Mail, 2 April 2013 | REDD+ is expected to become a key part of a “post-Kyoto Protocol” global climate-change agreement. In anticipation, 17 donor countries have already spent more than $4-billion helping 50 poor countries build systems to monitor forests. Canada has given $71.5-million to support “REDD+ readiness” projects. Local communities and the private sector also have big plans. The Kariba REDD+ Project, launched in July, 2011, in Zimbabwe, is a community-based forest conservation project managed by South Pole Carbon, a private company that specializes in emissions-reduction projects. “What we did is offer support to local communities and a local private investor to sort out how much deforestation is occurring and why,” said Christian Dannecker, director of forestry at South Pole Carbon. Conservation activities, such as planting trees for firewood, are now planned.

3 April 2013

Improving the rigor of measuring emissions from deforestation, agriculture

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 3 April 2013 | To help address the technical issues that underpin carbon measurement, the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have launched a new Certificate in Advanced Terrestrial Carbon Accounting. The program is led by John O. Niles, Director of Climate and Forests at WWF-US and a past lecturer in global carbon science and policy at UC San Diego. The course will also feature guest lecturers on GIS, remote sensing, field measurements, allometry, and other fields related to carbon accounting.

Conservation gets boost from new Landsat satellite

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 3 April 2013 | Efforts to monitor the world’s forests and other ecosystems got a big boost in February with the launch of Landsat 8, NASA’s newest earth observation satellite, which augments the crippled Landsat 7 currently orbiting Earth (technically Landsat 8 is still named the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) and will remain so until May when the USGS turns control of the satellite over to NASA). Last week Landsat 8/LDCM sent back its first image, showing the meeting of the Great Plains with the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. The image showcases the satellite’s nine spectral bands, which include three visible light bands, two near-infrared bands, and two shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands, among others, as well as two thermal sensors. Landsat 8/LDCM is the most advanced Earth observation satellite to date. It is the eighth Landsat since the initial launch in 1972.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 April 2013 | After some delay, British Columbia’s Auditor General last week released an incendiary audit report of the province’s Carbon Neutral Government program and the Pacific Carbon Trust, which buys carbon credits and sells them to government agencies within BC Province for offsetting purposes. Within the report, the Auditor General condemns the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Darkwoods Forest Carbon Project – North America’s largest private forest carbon project to date – as well as the Encana Underbalanced Drilling project. Together, these projects account for almost 70% of the offsets bought by BC government to achieve its carbon neutrality claim.

Training on Land Cover Classification for REDD+ in Bangladesh

ICIMOD, 3 April 2013 | A training workshop on Land Cover Classification in the Context of REDD+ in Bangladesh was held in Dhaka, 24–25 March. This workshop cum training, organized by the Forest Department of Bangladesh and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the UN-REDD Programme, focused on outlining different classification systems and constraints related to the harmonization of available data related to and making recommendations for a classification system in line with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decisions and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines. The workshop resulted in the development of a harmonized classification system in line with IPCC guidelines. Following the inaugural session chaired by Md Yunus Ali, Chief Conservator of Forests, Kabir Uddin, GIS and Remote Sensing Analyst at ICIMOD, made a presentation on land cover mapping in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region…

Amazon tribe threatens to declare war amid row over Brazilian dam project

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 3 April 2013 | An Amazonian community has threatened to "go to war" with the Brazilian government after what they say is a military incursion into their land by dam builders. The Munduruku indigenous group in Para state say they have been betrayed by the authorities, who are pushing ahead with plans to build a cascade of hydropower plants on the Tapajós river without their permission. Public prosecutors, human rights groups, environmental organisations and Christian missionaries have condemned what they call the government’s strong-arm tactics. According to witnesses in the area, helicopters, soldiers and armed police have been involved in Operation Tapajós, which aims to conduct an environmental impact assessment needed for the proposed construction of the 6,133MW São Luiz do Tapajós dam.

European CO2 Emissions Reduction System Is Broken

By Nils Klawitter, Der Spiegel, 3 April 2013 | Saving the climate? It doesn’t seem all that difficult at first glance. All you have to do is fly from Germany to Zambia once in a while, as the German energy giant RWE’s environment protection team does. It has made frequent trips to the capital Lusaka in recent years to distribute a total of 30,000 small stoves — RWE’s contribution to a good cause. The stoves were intended to help poor families cook in a more environmentally friendly way. Biomass was to replace charcoal as cooking fuel. In an advertising brochure for RWE, the company that "travels around the world to help our climate" touts the campaign with the slogan "New Cooking Pots — Less CO2." But RWE doesn’t seem to have included such factors as air travel and the production of the stoves in its calculations. Besides, the project wasn’t entirely altruistic, because RWE will receive credits for its effort.

[Indonesia] Not much protected and no commitment to restoration in APP forest promises

WWF, 3 April 2013 | The much-touted new deforestation policy of controversial paper giant Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) will save almost no forests in its main base of operations, Sumatra, Indonesia, a new report by NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest has concluded. APP and Sinar Mas announced the policy in February as “an end to the clearing of natural forest across its entire supply chain in Indonesia, with immediate effect.” However, a new Eyes on the Forest (EoF) analysis that looks at all APP concessions – including those not covered by the moratorium – in Riau Province, Sumatra, found that the policy protects at most 5,000 hectares of natural forest. This compares to the deforestation of more than 2 million hectares caused by the operation of APP’s Sumatra pulp mills over the past three decades. “We’re extremely disappointed. When APP published the policy, we thought it could be great news for Indonesia’s forests, biodiversity and citizens,” said Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF.

[Kenya] Wildlife Works’ Big Day Out!

Wildlife Works Blog, 3 April 2013 | Wildlife Works’ regional directors from around the world, with the REDD+ directors from the U.S. and Kenya offices, and the top performers from each department of our Kenyan Project, gathered for an educational day of exploration in and around the rural communities we serve! The aim of this big day was for the directors of REDD+ projects and Wildlife Works employees to experience the beauty of rural Kenya, to learn about the community projects we have already accomplished, and to get to know the local residents and hear their needs for future community projects. Everyone gathered at Camp Kenya, an eco-tourism site on our land, and divided into 6 teams with 6 or 7 people per team. The event was made up of multiple challenges including a treasure hunt, sightseeing, a community questionnaire and a scavenger hunt. Each team was equipped with a map of our project area in southeast Kenya, a GPS and a list of questions.

[Nepal] Jungle policies

ekantipur.com, 3 April 2013 | Currently, at least 10 policies related to forests are being drafted, including interim policies, forest sector strategies, agricultural development policy, biodiversity policy, national conservation strategy and national REDD strategy. No doubt, effective public policies are necessary to facilitate development. But the concern is that we do not know who is driving these policies and why. As the country has no elected government, they are obviously not driven by the sovereign people or their representatives. All of these are actually ‘projects’ funded by donors.

[Tanzania] Zanzibar residents to receive free cooking gas

By Issa Yussuf, DailyNews, 3 April 2013 | In efforts to minimise environment degradation in the Islands and mitigate negative impacts of climate change, Zanzibar has resumed its campaign to distribute cooking gas free of charge to its residents. The campaign being implemented under ‘Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) – Hifadhi ya Misitu ya Asili (HIMA) project – targets to give gas to at least 7,000 households on Unguja and Pemba islands.

[Thailand] Community Forestry: The Next Generation

By Maggie Kellogg, RECOFTC’s Blog for People and Forests, 3 April 2013 | On 7 February 2013, a group of representatives from RECOFTC’s key donors travelled together with staff members on a 3-hour journey out of Bangkok to Suphanburi province to visit the Huai Hin Dam community and their forest. The group of representatives consisted of members from JICA, Norad, Sida and SDC. The purpose of this field visit was to provide an opportunity for the donor representatives to interact directly with communities that RECOFTC has been working with over the years. It was also an opportunity for them to see the impacts of their support, as well as the challenges that still needed to be addressed. This field visit was tied together with the RECOFTC Annual Review Meeting for donor focal points that was scheduled the following day, at which representatives from the European Commission, Kasetsart University, and USAID also participated.

[UK] Is the carbon price floor going to push 60,000 households into fuel poverty?

By Mat Hope, Carbon Brief, 3 April 2013 | The Easter weekend saw the introduction of a new government policy which makes companies pay to emit carbon dioxide. The new levy, called the carbon price floor, is being implemented despite heavy criticism from industry and green groups that say it means higher household bills and massive profits to nuclear generators. The policy is meant to encourage investment in low carbon energy sources, but the chief executive of E.ON UK claimed it’s "just a tax for the Exchequer". The weekend’s media coverage was full of similar gloom. The Sunday Telegraph said the price floor would add £50 to household energy bills, and the Sun and Daily Mail claimed it would force 60,000 homes into poverty. The policy clearly isn’t popular – but what kind of effect is it likely to have?

4 April 2013

Could the Sustainable Development Goals include Landscapes?

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 April 2013 | Last week, the UN High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda met in Bali, Indonesia. The political commitment from last year’s Rio+20 conference to agree on a set of post-2015 goals addressing the broad challenges of poverty eradication, environmental protection and sustainable consumption and production (the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs) remains strong. At the same time, there is a flurry of ideas on what the goals should be and how progress should be measured. Often these proposals come from organizations forwarding the topics that they are mandated to deal with. This can make it difficult to maintain an overview of what we would actually like to achieve in the future.

Deforestation takes flight again in the Amazon

By Jess Miller, Greenpeace International, 4 April 2013 | Last week, as some of us were heading off for the long holiday weekend (Easter is a holiday here in Brazil), the Brazilian government was quietly releasing deforestation trends showing an increase in deforestation for the first time in five years. These numbers use the DETER rapid response satellite system, a system that provides estimates of deforestation rates every month. Over the time period documented, August 2012 to February 2013, the rates increased an estimated 26.82% and an area of the Amazon larger than the size of the city of London disappeared. In absolute numbers, that means 1,695 square kilometers (654 square miles) of forest have disappeared. That equals an area the size of 237,000 soccer fields. The state of Maranhão saw the biggest increase (121%), followed by Tocantins (110%). However, Mato Grosso state continued to top the list of forest destruction with 734 square kilometers of forest lost.

Foreign demand for beef, soybeans adds pressure on Amazon forest

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 4 April 2013 | Rising foreign demand for beef and soybeans will tempt Brazil to clear more of the Amazon rainforest, in a reversal of recent success in slowing forest losses, a study said on Thursday. About 30 percent of deforestation in Brazil in the decade to 2010 was due to farmers and ranchers seeking land to expand export production of beef and soybeans, against about 20 percent in the 1990s, the report said. "Trade is emerging as a key driver of deforestation in Brazil," according to experts at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo (Cicero). "This may indirectly contribute to loss of the forests that industrialized countries are seeking to protect through international agreements," they wrote in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Working visit to Guyana by French forest delegation

Guyana Times, 4 April 2013 | A delegation from the French National Forest Office (ONF) is visiting Guyana to prepare for the official launching of the regional platform for the development of a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation “plus” conservation (REDD+) programme across the Guiana Shield. According to a release, the delegation comprising French Embassy Attaché of Cooperation Jason Cassata, French Guiana Regional Office Director Nicolas Karr, and REDD+ Guiana Shield Programme Project Leader Boris Romaguer met with Office of Climate Change head and presidential adviser Shyam Nokta and team, inclusive of a representative from the Guyana Forestry Commission on April 3. The team discussed key issues related to REDD+, Guyana’s REDD+ efforts as well as the regional platform for the development of a REDD+ programme across the Guiana Shield.

[Guyana] GFC wants increased timber production

By Smauel Skhnandan, Guyana Times, 4 April 2013 | Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) Chairman Clinton Williams said despite the forestry sector contributes three to four per cent of Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); he believes that the sector can make a greater contribution to the national economy from the perspective of timber production. Williams said Guyana is well within the limits of the law as it relates to sustainable production, while noting that there are too many lands use, especially with traditional species of timber. The GFC chairman added that Guyana has great potential to expeditiously maximise value-added by engaging in more downstream processing. The GFC board and the sector have already chartered a course starting this year, to aggressively implement a range of activity that will see positive changes in the forestry sector in the short and medium-term.

Climate challenges undermine a fragile Maasai culture

By Faun Kime, The Daily Climate, 4 April 2013 | The most recognizable cultural group in Africa may be the Maasai. Living mostly in Kenya and Tanzania, their everyday attire of brightly colored fabrics and elaborate beaded jewelry, set against the backdrop of the African Savannah, have seared their identity into the minds of every traveler to the region. The Maasai warriors were so fierce, their people were able to defy slavery. To this day, it’s a rite of passage to kill a lion when a young man becomes a warrior. This brand of virility and masculinity is also defined by the number of cattle in one’s herd. But the Maasai’s profound cultural and economic ties to livestock are threatened by a series of relentless droughts, which have wiped out more than 50 percent of their herds. "There is a big change," Takiata Kariankei, a 77-year-old pastoralist and family patriarch, said via a translator.

Tree Planting by Better Globe operations in Kenya contribute to poverty eradication and mitigate global warming

By Jon Ivar Boe (Better Globe), Connect African Development, 4 April 2013 | Better Globe is planting trees in arid and semiarid areas in Kenya, so far in two plantations. By this, unemployed people are getting working opportunities and money in their pockets, soil erosion is diminished dramatically, CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere and transformed into oxygen, thus mitigating global warming. It is a simple yet a brilliant solution to many problems both locally and internationally… For 6 years, Better Globe has implemented a tree planting pilot project in Kiambere, Kenya, as the only tree planting company working in Africa challenging the arid and semiarid areas. With excellent results! 400,000 trees have been planted. The results are very promising that the 2013 tree planting drive will be scaling up dramatically, and this to be done in a commercially effective way.

[Indonesia] APP denies breaking logging promise after WWF allegations

By Leigh Stringer, The Guardian, 4 April 2013 | Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) announced today that it has not breached its deforestation policy following allegations by WWF that it will not provide "any real conservation benefits". Announced in February, APP and Sinar Mas’s deforestation policy stated that it would form "an end to the clearing of natural forest across its entire supply chain in Indonesia, with immediate effect." However, according to new analysis released today by Eyes on the Forest (EoF), a coalition of environmental organisations, including WWF, Jikalahari and Walhi Riau, the policy protects "at most 5,000 hectares of natural forest". WWF said that this compares to the deforestation of more than 2 million hectares caused by the operation of APP’s Sumatra pulp mills over the past three decades.

Norway and VCS Team Up to Support Jurisdictional REDD+

Verified Carbon Standard, 4 April 2013 | A major investment by the Norwegian government will soon allow countries and jurisdictions to scale up their forest conservation and emission reduction efforts by using the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) requirements. Under the terms of the joint agreement, the Norwegian government will invest 8 million Krone (~US$1.4 million) to pilot JNR programs around the world. This investment marks a significant commitment to JNR since the requirements were launched just six months ago. “In just a few short months, the VCS JNR requirements have been embraced by the global community, and will support the development of REDD+ programs that incentivize forest conservation and carbon reduction at greater scale,” said VCS Chief Executive Officer David Antonioli. “The challenges of the climate crisis and tropical forest loss are real.

Uganda: Bugisu Sub Region

New Vision, 4 April 2013 | Margaret Shiwowo, a survivor of a landslide that struck villages in Bumwalukani Parish in Bududa District in June 2012, is a member of Bumwalukani Disaster Development Association that has embarked on tree planting to mitigate the effects of climate change. With support from the Territorial Approach to Climate Change (TACC) project operating in Mbale region comprising Mbale, Manafwa and Bududa districts, Bumwalukani Disaster Development Association is among twenty other groups that are engaged in various mitigation and adaptation strategies in the project area. "Since forming the association in November last year, comprising 56 members, we have established beds for seedlings of trees and Arabica Coffee that we started distributing to residents in Bunamulembwa and Bunakasala villages that were badly affected by the landslides." Shiwowo said.

[USA] REDD+ offsets don’t add up: Report shows why use of international forest offsets won’t reduce carbon emissions

Climate Connections, 4 April 2013 | Developments in the United States may lead to the adoption of international forest offsets being permitted in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). California’s newly launched carbon market is considering allowing offsets from REDD+ programs while at the same time the state is considering linking its market with the EU’s. California would be the first carbon market to allow international forest offsets. A new report, Bad Trade: International Forest Offsets and the Carbon Market, released by Food & Water Europe today, demonstrates that international forest offsets should not be allowed into any carbon market because they don’t encourage emission reductions at the source, but instead privatize natural resources, present opportunities for corrupt offset trading, and threaten the livelihoods and resources of indigenous communities.

5 April 2013

Botanic Gardens for Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa

Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog, 5 April 2013 | At present the majority of tree planting in Africa focuses on monotypic stands of non-native species, which offer limited added value in terms of biodiversity or socioeconomic opportunities. Effective forest restoration using a wider species mix, focusing on indigenous species, and including endangered species, offers benefits to biodiversity, supports conservation, increases resilience to climate change and protects watershed health. By planting trees that supply food and medicine, socioeconomic opportunities are also created. In response, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has recently launched a three year project entitled Enhancing Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa, generously funded by the Ashden Trust. The project aims to promote the use of indigenous species in forest restoration and the added benefits that using a wider species mix offers.

Trade emerging as a key driver of Brazilian deforestation

Phys.org, 5 April 2013 | A new study published online April 4th in the journal Environmental Research Letters finds that trade and global consumption of Brazilian beef and soybeans is increasingly driving Brazilian deforestation. Consequently, current international efforts to protect rainforests (e.g., REDD) may be undermined by the increased trade and consumption. By estimating CO2 emissions from deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon from 1990 to 2010, and connecting the emissions to the most important direct drivers of Brazilian deforestation, i.e. cultivation of soybeans and grazing of cattle, the study allocates the emissions to countries based on domestic consumption and international trade of Brazilian soybeans and beef. "With a consumption perspective, the share of responsibility for deforestation is divided among the global consumers.

[Brazil] Two convicted of Amazon activists’ murders

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 5 April 2013 | A Brazilian court has convicted two men for the murder of prominent Amazon activists, but stirred up anger by acquitting the farm-owner who was accused of paying for the killings. José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, were shot in May 2011 by gunmen riding on a motorbike through a forest reserve in the northern state of Pará. Their assassinations in May 2011 generated international condemnation, and were compared by many with the killings of Chico Mendes 25 years ago, and of another environmental campaigner, the American-born nun Dorothy Stang, in 2005. The couple had been leading the campaign against illegal deforestation and the eviction of rural workers by a local farmer, José Rodrigues Moreira. After multiple threats, da Silva had predicted his own death six months before it happened.

Nepal: Eager to join global efforts to fight deforestation, but not getting to the root

By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 April 2013 | Though it has shown enthusiastic support for global efforts to slow forest loss and degradation (REDD+), Nepal has yet to tackle some of the biggest drivers at home, from land tenure disputes and poverty to weak governance, a recent study by the Center for International Forestry Research said. And without a dramatic turnaround, the scheme could fail in the tiny, troubled nation, warned Naya Paudel, lead author of The Context of REDD+ in Nepal: Drivers, Agents and Institutions. It’s not all bad news, he was quick to add, with community-managed forests showing that it’s possible to reverse the trends of deforestation. But in areas managed by the state, particularly in the fertile, densely populated southern lowlands called Terai and inner Terai, the condition of forests is deteriorating.

6 April 2013

[Canada] A BC Forest Policy for the 21st Century

By Jessica Clogg, 6 April 2013, TheTyee | The current crisis in our forests challenges each of us to consider what type of future we want for B.C. What is the right direction, in a province where our identity is so closely linked to our vast forests, salmon rivers and diverse species; where some of our forests may hold their greatest future value as storehouses of living carbon and the source of critical ecosystem services like flood control and clean water; where First Nations are increasingly retaking their rightful role in decision-making about their ancestral lands; and where communities are tired of important decisions affecting their lives being made in corporate boardrooms far from home? Regrettably, the policy options presented recently to a Legislative Committee were simply a super-charged version of the status quo: from strengthening corporate timber rights to logging areas reserved for biodiversity, wildlife and scenic values.

7 April 2013

World Health Day 2013: Combating malnutrition and infection with forests

By Bronwen Powell, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 7 April 2013 | World Health Day is a time when — as a nutritionist — I think about the links between nutrition and infection. Current estimates suggest that 30 percent of global child mortality is directly or indirectly linked to malnutrition. This is because infection and malnutrition are linked in a cyclical manner: malnutrition decreases immune function and increases risk of infection (e.g. vitamin A deficiency increases risk of diarrhea and respiratory tract infections) – while infection increases nutritional requirements and the risk of becoming malnourished (e.g. the malaria parasite destroys red blood cells and can result in iron deficiencies).


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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