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REDD in the news: 6-12 May 2013

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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.

6 May 2013

New crowdfunding site for carbon offsets forges unique path

By Kristine A. Wong, GreenBiz.com, 6 May 2013 | Based on the belief that storytelling is the most effective way to capture hearts and minds, a new crowdfunding site for carbon offsets aims to use its platform to go beyond engaging concerned individuals. CarbonStory wants to get companies on board to launch employee engagement programs — and perhaps even the customers of company brands — through offsetting projects of their choice within a gamification framework. The website first guides users through its carbon footprint calculator, then enables them to choose from almost two dozen offset projects around the world to offset their monthly consumption. Rates range from $4/ton (for renewable energy projects) to $16/ton (for a drinking water project in Kenya distributing filters that eliminate the need for heating). After purchasing the offsets, users can boast about their carbon neutral status with their social network (they must log onto Facebook first)…

European carbon market’s trouble darkens outlook for remedying climate change

By Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, 6 May 2013 | That system, however, is in deep trouble. A drastic drop in industrial activity has sharply reduced the need for companies to buy emission rights, causing a gradual fall in the price of carbon allowances since the region slipped into a multi-year economic crisis in the latter half of 2008. In recent weeks, however, the price has appeared to have entirely collapsed — falling below $4 as bickering European nations failed to agree on measures to shore up the program… Carbon “started as the commodity of the future, but it has now deteriorated,” said Matthew Gray, a trader at Jefferies Bache in London and one of a diminishing breed of carbon dealers in Europe. “Its future is uncertain.”

7 May 2013

The why and how of subnational REDD+

Climate Focus, 7 May 2013 | In conjunction with its work with the Governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF), Climate Focus has developed a background brief explaining the significance of subnational initiatives for REDD+ and the means by which they may be implemented in making progress towards national reductions of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). The GCF is a coalition of 19 states and provinces from Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the U.S. working to develop institutional, legal and technical capacities and frameworks for REDD+ and low-carbon development policies. As most REDD+ work to date has been concentrated in national readiness planning and isolated projects, this brief explains how provinces and states are critical in up-scaling and connecting localized initiatives to comprehensive national-level efforts, simultaneously greatly increasing levels of REDD+ participation.

Safeguards in REDD+ and Forest Carbon Standards: A Review of Social, Environmental and Procedural Concepts and Applications

By Stephanie Roe, Charlotte Streck, Luke Pritchard and John Costenbader, Climate Focus, 7 May 2013 | This paper is the third report in a series of analytical papers that compare main design features of forest carbon standards and REDD+ initiatives. It presents a comparative analysis of social and environmental safeguard standards, their substantive and procedural components, and issues from developing country, donor country and private sector perspectives. The paper also clarifies how safeguard standards align with the Cancun Safeguards, how they are to be applied at various scales, and how they correspond to the different types of REDD+ programs and financing. The first paper, “Standards for Results-Based REDD+ Finance, Overview and Design Parameters” was published in December 2012, and the second “Reference Levels: Concepts, Functions and Application in REDD+ and Forest Carbon Standards” was published in January 2013.

The Emerging Interlocking Climate Solution

By Taylor Clayton, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 May 2013 | The hula-hoop first caught on in the US state of California, as did crack cocaine. For better or worse, that’s where trends originate before they sweep the nation and, often, the world. So it’s apropos that California is closely engaging with the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) , which links the state up with 18 other “sub-national” governments, from Illinois in the US to Chiapas in Mexico to Cross River in Nigeria. But the GCF isn’t the only one. California belongs to a whopping six climate associations around the world, including the Climate Group’s States and Regions Program , which promotes low-carbon leadership and shared best practices among sub-national governments and the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP), which provides a forum for public authorities who are actively pursuing carbon markets through cap-and-trade systems.

RED vs. REDD: Biofuel Policy vs. Forest Conservation

By Peter Dixon, The Centre for European Policy Studies, 7 May 2013 | This paper assesses the complex interplay between global Renewable Energy Directives (RED) and the United Nations programme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). We examine the interaction of the two policies using a scenario approach with a recursive-dynamic global Computable General Equilibrium model. The consequences of a global biofuel directive on worldwide land use, agricultural production, international trade flows, food prices and food security out to 2030 are evaluated with and without a strict global REDD policy. We address a key methodological challenge of how to model the supply of land in the face of restrictions over its availability, as arises under the REDD policy. The paper introduces a flexible land supply function, which allows for large changes in the total potential land availability for agriculture.

Amazon timber-food balance saves forest smallholder livelihoods from risk

By Barbara Fraser and Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 7 May 2013 | Tropical fruits, leaves, oils and seeds from the Amazon rainforest provide food, medicine and income for millions of people, but their socio-economic importance for smallholders should not be overshadowed by the revenues reaped from the timber trade, scientists say. Almost half of tree species in the heavily forested Brazilian State of Pará valued by smallholders for serving nutritional and health needs are also felled for use as lumber, research shows, leading to their designation by scientists as “conflict-of-use” species. "On a broad scale, fragmentation of and loss of plant and animal species resulting from deforestation holds immeasurable consequences for Amazonian biodiversity and ecosystem value and function,” said Patricia Shanley, a scientist working with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)…

Brazil World Cup contractor buys 200,000 carbon credits to offset emissions

Reuters Point Carbon, 7 May 2013 | A group of companies involved in public transportation projects for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup bought 200,000 voluntary carbon credits last week to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, marking the first offset deal associated with the major sporting events Brazil will host in the next three years. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Brazil] Awá’s plight reaches top human rights watchdog

Survival International, 7 May 2013 | The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Americas’ leading human rights body, has received an urgent petition from Survival International and Brazilian indigenous rights organization CIMI to save Earth’s most threatened tribe. The official submission calls on the IACHR to hold Brazil’s government to account for failing to remove hundreds of illegal invaders from the Awá’s land. It says, ‘The Awá will not survive without their lands, which the State of Brazil has failed to take timely and effective measures to protect against the loggers, ranchers and settlers who continue to encroach upon them.’ The Awá are one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes in Brazil and live in a rapidly disappearing island of rainforest – over 30% of one of the Awá’s territories has already been cut down, and loggers are closing in on their communities.

[Guyana] World Wildlife Fund disappointed over LCDS budget cut

Guyana Times, 7 May 2013 | The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas has expressed concern that the cut to the budgetary allocation for the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) will undoubtedly negatively impact the country’s development initiatives through the revolutionary programme… The Gy$20 billion allocated to the strategy in this year’s national budget, was reduced to Gy$ 1 billion after the opposition political parties used their one-seat majority to cut Gy$ 19 billion from the strategy. The cuts have also attracted the attention of the Norwegian government, according to new Norwegian Ambassador to Guyana Aud Marti Wiig who met Prime Minister Samuel Hinds recently. Guyana has already earned US$ 115 million from the Norwegian government with the setting up of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) to implement projects under the LCDS.

[Indonesia] $17m Investment to Protect Riau Peat Swap Forest

By Muhammad Al Azhari, Jakarta Globe, 7 May 2013 | Gemilang Cipta Nusantara, a company affiliated with pulp and paper company Asia Pacific Resources International Limited, is set to spend up to $17 million to restore a peat forest on Kampar peninsula in Riau. The program is aimed at protecting rare animal species including Sumatran tigers and one of the largest natural carbon-absorbing areas in the world. Called Riau’s Ecosystem Restoration, the program is being conducted under a 60-year restoration license issued by the national Forestry Ministry. “The ecosystem restoration is done by giving a concession to a forest area that has been degraded and will be replanted. Investors can make profit from non-timber business,” Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan on Tuesday.

Indonesia: it’s not easy being green

By Ben Bland, Financial Times, 7 May 2013 | On Monday night, the UN released its first ever index of forestry protection in Indonesia, giving the country a less-than-impressive starting score of 2.33 out of 5. Like a kindly school teacher at a parents evening, the UN may have been trying to encourage Indonesia that it “could do better”. But, Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesia’s embattled forestry minister, was not in the mood to be mollycoddled, using his speech at the index launch to insist that environmental campaigners, international NGOs and the media need to give him a break. “It’s not easy to understand about forestry,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t have the knowledge. But the public’s assessment always starts from the negative.”

Indonesia Launches Forest Governance Index To Strengthen REDD+

By Seulki Lee, Antara News, 7 May 2013 | As the two-year moratorium on deforestation faces expire, Indonesia has launched its first forest governance index to address the current state of forest protection and management of central and provincial government. "Good forest governance is about public system and laws to protect the forest and peat lands. We hope the assessment results will translate into concrete actions to improve forest, land and REDD+ governance," said Beate Trankmann, country director of the UNDP Indonesia at the official launching event held in Le Merdien Hotel here on Monday. UNDP Indonesia, Ministry of Forestry, National REDD+ Task Force and National Development Planning Board (BAPPENAS) jointly conducted the participatory government assessment (PGA) to provide adequate monitoring instrument for forest and peat lands protection in Indonesia.

[Indonesia] Minister confirms extension of forest moratorium

Antara News, 7 May 2013 | Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has confirmed that the forest moratorium based on Presidential Instruction No 10/2011 which will expire this May, to be extended but he still does not know when the new regulation to be issued. "The forest moratorium has to be extended. I still don`t know when, and whether it should be expanded or not as its draft is still on the round-table discussion," Minister Hasan said here on Tuesday. One of the reasons why the moratorium about the postponement of issuance of new licenses and improving governance of primary natural forest and peatland has to be extended, is because it is part of the Indonesian Government`s commitment to reduction of 26 percent of the carbon emission by 2020, he noted. "We are committed to achieving this goal. However the Presidential Instruction was issued in May 2011, we had prepared its draft since early 2010," he said.

[Indonesia] Aceh, North Sumatra administrations urged to halt destruction of orangutan natural habitats

By Apriadi Gunawan, Jakarta Post, 7 May 2013 | Environmentalists from ProFauna Indonesia staged a protest in Medan, North Sumatra, on Tuesday, urging the Aceh and North Sumatra administrations to halt the destruction of orangutan natural habitats. ProFauna Indonesia chairman Rosek Nursahid said the habitats of orangutans were continuing to decline due to ongoing deforestation in North Sumatra and Aceh. He said there were only 6,000 Sumatran orangutans left in their natural habitats. The largest concentration of Sumatran orangutan was found in East Leuser, Rawa Singkil and West Leuser in Aceh while a small number of Sumatran orangutan was found in Batang Toru forests in North Sumatra. Rosek said Aceh and North Sumatra played a crucial role in orangutan conservation. Unfortunately, he said, the provinces’ local administrations were not able to ensure the survival of the endangered species.

A Conversation with Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi on Indonesia’s Forests

By James Anderson, WRI, 7 May 2013 | How can Indonesia—the world’s fourth-most populous country and an emerging economic powerhouse—reduce deforestation and promote sustainable development across its vast, rapidly changing landscape? That was a question recently posed by Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi, Deputy for the Indonesian President’s Delivery Unit on Development Monitoring and Oversight and Chair of the REDD+ Task Force Working Group on Forest Monitoring. At an informal meeting of forest and development experts at WRI’s offices in Washington, D.C., Samadhi explored possible answers, while reporting on the Indonesian government’s efforts to map and monitor forests and improve land use policies across the country. Koni shared some of his insights with us in a video interview. Check it out below.

‘Rainbow Warrior III’ to make first visit to Indonesia

Jakarta Post, 7 May 2013 | The new Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior III, will sail from Papua to Jakarta from May 9 to June 10, on a tour entitled “100% Indonesia: protecting our forests and oceans together.” “The Rainbow Warrior has been the heart and soul of Greenpeace global campaigning for over 30 years,” said Longgena Ginting. “She’s been raided, rammed, shot at and bombed, but the spirit of the Rainbow Warrior is as strong as ever. “Indonesia is home to some of the world’s richest oceans and most pristine forests. This year, the Rainbow Warrior III will sail on a journey to tell the whole world of the beauty of Indonesia, and the need to protect our natural assets,” he added.

[Indonesia] Forest clearance moratorium lives on

Jakarta Post, 7 May 2013 | Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan confirmed on Tuesday extension of the 2011 forest moratorium due to expire this May. “The moratorium will be extended. We are still discussing when it will be extended until and whether coverage will be expanded,” said Zulkifli as quoted by Antara news agency. Under the President Instruction (Inpres) No.10/2011, the government no longer issues permits for conversions of natural forests or peatland. The moratorium extension is crucial as it is part of the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020. Zulkifli warned that forestry companies may file lawsuits against the ministry. “We will take that risk,” he said. On Monday, the Forestry Ministry in cooperation with the United Nations of Development Programme launched the first forest governance index to address current state of forest protection and management.

[USA] Critics Slam California “Forest Offset” Plan

By Katelyn Fossett, Inter Press Service, 7 May 2013 | More than two dozen environmental organisations are urging California Governor Jerry Brown to disregard recommendations from a United Nations task force to include so-called forest “offsets” in the state’s new emissions-trading scheme. The offsets would serve as a mechanism by which emissions-producing companies in California could continue to pollute if they compensate foreign governments for the protection of their own forests. But critics say the consequences of such a policy would have repercussions that extend far beyond the environment. “Independent investigations into the promotion of international forest offsets have raised serious concerns related to human rights violations and there is major opposition from indigenous peoples and local communities in both Chiapas, Mexico and in Acre, Brazil,” the groups said in an open letter sent this weekend.

[USA] Will California fall into the REDD trap?

By Manuela Picq, Al Jazeera English, 7 May 2013 | If REDD makes it into AB32, California’s big polluters will pay corrupt governments to offset their carbon responsibility instead of reducing industrial emissions. Communities in California will continue to suffer asthma and cancer. Forest communities in Mexico and Brazil will lose access to their livelihoods, and evictions will force them into homelessness and poverty. Pollution will not be curbed, and global warming will get worse. For anyone who still finds it difficult to grasp the forest offset business, suffice to look at who is in favour of REDD and who is against to understand the dynamics at play. REDD supporters are organisations like the World Bank and companies like Shell, Rio Tinto and Chevron-Texaco which are successfully buying their way out of reducing greenhouse emissions at source.

Debate heats up over California’s plan to reduce emissions via rainforest protection

mongabay.com, 7 May 2013 | As the public comment period for California’s cap-and-trade program draws to a close, an alliance of environmental activists have stepped up a heated campaign to keep carbon credits generated by forest conservation initiatives in tropical countries out of the scheme. These groups say that offsets generated under the so-called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism, will undermine efforts to cut emissions as home, while potentially leading to abuses abroad. However supporters of forest conservation-based credits say the program may offer the best hope for saving the world’s beleaguered rainforests, which continue to fall at a rate of more than 8 million hectares per year.

8 May 2013

World Bank turns to hydropower to square development with climate change

By Howard Scheider, The Washington Post, 8 May 2013 | The World Bank is making a major push to develop large-scale hydropower projects around the globe, something it had all but abandoned a decade ago but now sees as crucial to resolving the tension between economic development and the drive to tame carbon use. Major hydropower projects in Congo, Zambia, Nepal and elsewhere — all of a scale dubbed “transformational” to the regions involved — are a focus of the bank’s fundraising drive among wealthy nations. Bank lending for hydropower has scaled up steadily in recent years, and officials expect the trend to continue amid a worldwide boom in water-fueled electricity.

IUCN signs new partnership for better forests

IUCN, 8 May 2013 | IUCN signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday with the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux ( ATIBT) – a key player in the tropical timber industry specialized in sustainable forestry, local processing of timber and forest certification schemes. The two organizations will now work together on the assessment of timber species for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ to help improve the way forest resources are managed. They will also explore the important role that forest certification plays for biodiversity and for local social and economic development. During its initial years, the new partnership will focus on the West and Central African sub-region.

Agricultural Intensification Could Run Up High Bills In The Long-Run

By Juliana Chan, Asian Scientist, 8 May 2013 | Maximizing crop yields on existing farms in an effort to stem rampant land clearance in developing countries may become financially untenable in the long-term, researchers say. Researchers from Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom modeled the long-term consequences of this ‘agricultural intensification’ on future conservation costs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In the DRC, which has some of the largest remaining forests in the world, the researchers found that a new agricultural intensification and conservation program could double or triple cassava and maize yields by introducing disease-resistant plant varieties, including fertilizer use and improving farming practices to spare other areas for conservation.

For Peat’s Sake: expert investigates tropical peatland in Southeast Asia

University of Leicester press release, 8 May 2013 | Fascinating peatland ecosystems play a key role in the global cycle – however urgent action is required to protect them from human impact. Professor Susan Page, from the Department of Geography will give her Inaugural public lecture, For Peat’s Sake: Understanding the Vulnerability of the Tropical Peat Carbon Pool at the University of Leicester on Tuesday 14 May. The lecture will explore Southeast Asia, where the largest area of tropical peatland is located, and the particular role that tropical peatlands play in the global carbon cycle, with the focus on the impact of human activities that have increased the vulnerability of their carbon pools.

[South Korea] SK Forest Acquires International Carbon Emissions Right

Korea IT Times, 8 May 2013 | SK Forest acquired an international carbon emissions right through reforestation of deserted land in Korea. SK Forest and the Korea Forest Service jointly announced on May 6 that their carbon emissions right project was finally approved by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under this project, SK Forest will plant 250,000 trees in a 75-hectare area in Goseong County in mountainous Gangwon Province. The approval of this project is a meaningful milestone since it allows Korea to trade carbon emissions rights through reforestation. Carbon emissions right trading is the 45th in the world and the 13th in Asia. Carbon emissions right is given by the United Nations to a country or an entity that reduces the emission of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide. Carbon emissions right can be traded in the international market after a clean development mechanism is registered.

Local communities demonstrate readiness for REDD+ in Kigoma, Tanzania

IUCN, 8 May 2013 | Local communities in Kigoma demonstrated their readiness for full scale REDD during a recent field visit by technical experts in Kigoma districts, Tanzania. The field visit was facilitated by IUCN project on Strengthening REDD+ Lesson Learning Networks and Information Management funded by the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA) of the University of Dar es Salaam. Visited pilot project is being implemented by the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in Kigoma district. Site visit was organized in Ilagala village in Kigoma.

9 May 2013

CIFOR Working Paper Compares REDD+ Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms in 13 Countries

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 9 May 2013 | CIFOR … has released a working paper that examines policies for REDD+ benefit-sharing mechanisms in 13 countries. The publication aims to provide a global overview, comparative analysis and profile of five types of REDD+ benefit-sharing mechanisms. The authors analyze how rights are structured under REDD+, and how political and economic factors influence the design and setting of benefit-sharing mechanisms. According to the authors, REDD+ is considered a promising mechanism for forest management and reducing emissions, but stakeholders still face unresolved questions related to REDD+. The working paper suggests the issue of benefit-sharing mechanisms has, in particular, generated international attention of communities and policymakers, and that benefit-sharing mechanisms will be integral to ensuring REDD+ efforts are effective, efficient and equitable.

ESA’s gen-next satellite to monitor Earth`s forests

Zeenews.com, 9 May 2013 | The European Space Agency is set to launch a new innovative Earth explorer satellite in 2020 to map and monitor the global forests – our planet’s most important natural resources. ESA’s Earth Observation Programme Board has selected "Biomass" to become the seventh Earth Explorer mission. The innovative satellite aims to ‘weigh’ the Earth’s forests. The Biomass mission concept is set to become the next in a series of satellites developed to further our understanding of Earth, ESA said in a statement. The satellite will be designed to provide, for the first time from space, P-band radar measurements that are optimised to determine the amount of biomass and carbon stored in the world’s forests with greater accuracy than ever before. This information, which is poorly known in the tropics, is essential to our understanding of the role of forests in Earth’s carbon cycle and in climate change.

REDD Talks Marks America’s First Symposium on Global Warming and the Vital Role of REDD

Wildlife Works, 9 May 2013 | Corporate leaders and experts on global warming and climate change policy came together on Earth Day, 2013, in Sausalito, California for REDD+ Talks, an inaugural event, which addressed business leaders on how emissions from deforestation contribute to global warming and how this will affect their businesses. General Manager of PUMA, Martyn Bowen, said in his talk, “We need to go further than just having CSR. We need to go further than just doing less bad. We need to start doing more good.” Advocated by companies including Microsoft and Allianz in addition to PUMA as an immediate and proven solution to address the negative effects of climate change, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) is a climate change mitigation strategy envisioned by the United Nations to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Microsoft puts price on carbon, buys credits from forest conservation project

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 9 May 2013 | Microsoft is "offsetting" some of its greenhouse gas emissions by buying credits generated by a forest conservation project in Kenya. According to TJ DiCaprio, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability, the technology giant’s carbon neutrality program is supporting the Kasigau REDD+ Project, an initiative that protects 200,000 hectares of dry forest that forms a wildlife corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks in Kenya. "We’ve put a price on carbon. We have an internal carbon fee," said DiCaprio during a presentation at the Earth Day REDD+ Talks symposium held last month. "Each of our 14 business divisions across 110 countries is now charged an additional fee that’s associated with the carbon emissions from energy consumption and business air travel."

The CarbonNeutral Company receives Best Offset Retailer Accolade for the Third Year Running

CarbonNeutral Company press release, 9 May 2013 | For the third year running, The CarbonNeutral Company has been voted Best Offset Retailer 2013 in a survey by Environmental Finance. The accolade, voted for by the carbon industry, recognises the company for its reliability, innovation and quality of service in the sourcing of carbon credits and the service it delivers to its clients. The award culminates a period of strong client growth for the company after it recently became preferred carbon credit supplier to tech-giant Microsoft. Stephen Killeen, CEO of The CarbonNeutral Company, commented: "It’s a huge coup for us to receive this award for the third consecutive year, as it represents a powerful endorsement from our peers in the industry. It is recognition for the quality, expertise and knowledge of our team, our relationships with our suppliers and partners, and the value and service we deliver to our clients all over the world…"

Brazilian Monitoring and Law Enforcement Prevented over 59,500 sq. km of Amazon Deforestation

Climate Policy Initiative press release, 9 May 2013 | Brazil’s efforts to better monitor forest clearings and enforce laws prevented the clearing of over 59,500 km2 of Amazon forest area from 2007 through 2011, according to a new study by Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), DETERring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Deforestation observed during this period totaled 41,500 km2 – 59% less than would have occurred in the absence of the policy change. The deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon decreased sharply in the second half of the 2000s, falling from a peak of 27,000 km2 in 2004 to 5,000 km2 in 2011. DETERring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon examines one of the main Brazilian forestry policy changes introduced during that time period. It finds that the implementation of a satellite-based monitoring system, called DETER, greatly enhanced monitoring and targeting capacity, making it easier for law enforcers to act upon areas with illegal deforestation activity.

10 May 2013

Predicting Future Conflict under REDD+ Implementation

By Toral Patel, Ahmad Dhiaulhaq, David Gritten, Yurdi Yasmi, Toon De Bruyn, Naya Sharma Paudel, Harisharan Luintel, Dil B. Khatri, Chandra Silori and Regan Suzuki, 10 May 2013 | Forests, 4 (2) | With the current complexity of issues facing forest and land management, the implementation of the REDD+ initiative comes with significant risks, including conflict. While the exact nature and shape of conflict in REDD+ implementation is difficult to pinpoint, this study aims to build a preliminary predictive framework to identify possible sources of impairment that may result in conflict over management of forests and natural resources. The framework was developed from an extensive literature review and was tested in three REDD+ pilot project sites in Nepal. The results indicate that most of the sources of impairment are present in all study sites, particularly issues relating to benefit sharing, which have been main drivers of conflict prior to REDD+.

Amazon clearance for agriculture is ‘economic own goal’ for Brazil

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 10 May 2013 | Brazil is at risk of scoring an economic own goal if it continues clearing Amazon forest for herding and soya production, according to a new study that has potential implications for global food security. In recent decades, the conversion of vast tracts of the Amazon into pastures and farm fields has boosted the national economy and played a major role in meeting rising world demand for beef and grain, particularly soyabeans – for which Brazil overtook the US this year as the number one supplier. But researchers say the economic and agricultural gains are in danger of slipping into reverse because the loss of forest is reducing rainfall, raising temperatures and causing other malign feedbacks on the regional climate. "The more agriculture expands in the Amazon, the less productive it will become…," warns the paper by Brazilian and US scientists that is published on Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

[Indonesia] Palm Oil Planters Bid to End Deforestation Moratorium

By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 10 May 2013 | Palm oil planters have denounced a two-year forest-clearing moratorium that ends this month, saying it has throttled palm oil production and are urging the government against its extension. Topan, a spokesman for the Association of Indonesian Palm Oil Producers (Gapsi), said in Balikpapan that the freeze on permits to clear primary and peat forests had impacted the producers’ operations and resulted in Indonesia being overtaken by Malaysia as the world’s biggest producer of crude palm oil. “We firmly reject any proposal to extend this moratorium because we stand to lose more than we gain from it,” he said. The moratorium, which went into force in May 2011, was imposed as part of a deal with the Norwegian government in which the latter would provide $1 billion to Indonesia for programs to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, or REDD.

[UK] Prince Charles attacks global warming sceptics

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 9 May 2013 | In his speech, Prince Charles praised countries such as Brazil, which has taken a lead on reducing deforestation, and Norway, which is offering billions of dollars to developing nations to protect their forests. The scientists at the Prince’s forum endorsed a call for much greater investment on "big science, which supports the integration and expansion of global tropical forest monitoring networks" and "enhanced research" into the resilience of forests. About a billion people all over the world depend on forests for their livelihoods, and although the rate of deforestation has slowed in countries such as Brazil, it is accelerating over swathes of south-east Asia and Africa.

11 May 2013

12 May 2013


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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