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REDD in the news: 1-7 July 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.

RapidEye imagery for REDD+ MRV activities: Guyana

RapidEye, July 2013 | Guyana possesses one of the largest tracts of untouched rainforest in South America. In 2009, the Governments of Norway and Guyana embarked on one of the first national-scale REDD+ initiatives to preserve Guyana’s forests. The bilateral agreement sets out how the two countries would work together to achieve the objective of Guyana conserving its forest stocks and helping reduce global carbon emissions. The aim was to create a REDD+ MRV system with a solid methodology for the detection and reporting of national forest change. Potentially the methods employed could serve as a model that could assist other countries to progress their REDD+ MRV initiatives off the ground.

Global Forest Coalition: Forest Cover No.43

Global Forest Coalition, June 2013 | In this new issue of the Global Forest Coalition’s newsletter in intergovernmental forest-related policy processes: the editorial addresses the main happenings during the last United Nations Forum on Forests were market based approaches gained new ground; followed by an article that gives an overview of what the last climate negotiations in Bonn were about providing a critical view on what seems to be coming next; the next article deals with the ‘Cilmate Space’, an important space given to civil society, indigenous peoples and other organizations who have been actively involved in climate change issues during the last World Social Forum held in Tunis. Former Ambassador of Bolivia to the UN, Pablo Solón, makes a reflection on what this space meant for the different struggles occuring in our days.

1 July 2013

FAO and Partners Release Tool to Estimate Carbon Stocks in Trees

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 1 July 2013 | The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in collaboration with the Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD) and Tuscia University, released a new tool to asses carbon stocks in forests. The tool, GlobAllomeTree, is intended to assist countries in the assessment of forest biomass in order to enhance climate change mitigation and research activities. In particular, it provides access to a wide range of tree models, which use information such as truck diameter and wood specific gravity to estimate forest carbon storage capacity. As such, it is expected to be particularly useful for countries engaging in REDD+.

U.N. online platform to help scientists and climate change experts

EcoSeed, 1 July 2013 | The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has initialized the very first online platform to help scientists and climate change experts to access tree models for forest volume, biomass, and carbon strocks assessment. The online platform, called GlobAllomeTree, makes use of allometric equations which can be used to assess different forest services such as timber production, as well as bioenergy strategies which include forest volume, biomass, and forest carbon. Specifically, GlobAllomeTree allows users to assess a variety of data such as stem volume, tree biomass, carbon stocks from tree characteristics such as trunk diameter, height, and wood specific gravity for various types of tree and ecological zones.

Brazil: Protestors call on President to uphold indigenous rights

Survival International, 1 July 2013 | As demonstrators continue to flood Brazil’s streets, Brazilian Indians have joined protestors in calling for an end to the onslaught on indigenous rights by the government. Davi Kopenawa, a spokesman for the Yanomami tribe, and the student movement Movimento Passe Livre (MPL), central to the recent protests, have spoken out against moves by the government to dismantle the Indians’ hard-won constitutional rights. Davi said in a video message, ‘I am angry with the government’s mistakes. The Brazilian authorities are not interested in indigenous peoples living in peace, nor do they want to help the city people.’ He added, ‘In my world, nature is with me and she is listening. She is seeing the errors of the authorities of this country. They should respect our country, respect the peoples of the city, the communities and respect Brazilian indigenous peoples’ rights.’

Brazilian state to pay counties that cut Amazon deforestation

mongabay.com, 1 July 2013 | The Brazilian state of Pará has launched a new compensation scheme to incentivize further cuts in deforestation. Using a stipulation that allows Brazilian states to determine how a quarter of taxes on sales of goods and services are distributed, last week Pará established the Green Value Added Tax (ICMS). The system will provide payments to counties for landowners’ compliance with the country’s forest code, which governs how much forest a forest a private landholder must maintain. A statement from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) explains the program: "Counties will also receive compensation for parks and reserves (25% of the re-directed VAT), but the lions’ share (50%) will go to counties where property owners register with the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), a major step toward compliance with the new Forest Code…"

[Canada] B.C. introduces carbon program for private sector

By Wendy Stueck, The Globe and Mail, 1 July 2013 | The British Columbia government wants the private sector to help plant trees on Crown land. Under the B.C. Forest Carbon Partnership Program, announced on Friday, private-sector companies would pay to replant land after a forest fire or a mountain pine beetle infestation. In return, such investors would be in line for a carbon offset credit that could have value in the global carbon offset market. According to the province, the program could result in “more than one million trees being planted in the province over the next five years.”

[South Africa] Sector ‘can be part of climate change solution’

By Neels Blom, Business Day, 1 July 2013 | The South African social enterprise Food & Trees for Africa’s crop of choice for the mitigation of anthropogenic climate change is an unlikely member of the bamboo family, but there may be more to this grass species than meets the eye — and to the arguments made in favour of carbon sequestration with which alternative crops are credited. Climate change may not be the only constraint affecting sustainability in agriculture, but adaptation in farming may be highly effective in mitigating anthropogenic global warming now generally accepted to be the consequence of the emission of greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon-rich gases released by combustion.

2 July 2013

Zombie carbon markets to be shocked back to life

EurActiv, 2 July 2013 | A patched-up plan to shock Europe’s zombie carbon markets back to life will pass a plenary vote at the European Parliament on Wednesday (3 July), but this will only "buy time" for more fundamental reform, says the chairman of the Parliament’s environment committee. “The indications are that we will win,” said German MEP Matthias Groote (Socialists and Democrats). “The proposal will be going through.” “But backloading is only an instrument to buy the necessary time to maintain the Emissions Trading System (ETS) as we need structural reform,” he added. “If the carbon price falls below €3 a tonne, it will have no more effect.”

WWF REDD+ Country Profiles

WWF, 2 July 2013 | WWF’s REDD+ Country Profiles provide a snapshot look at the progress of a country to design and implement a REDD+ national strategy and its components. Developed in partnership with WWF’s Forest and Climate Initiative, WWF-Germany and each relevant country’s WWF office, the profiles examine key components of REDD+ in each country…

Protecting Forests and Growing REDD+ – Frances Seymour

By Lawrence MacDonald, Center for Global Development, 2 July 2013 | My guest this week is Frances Seymour, our newest senior fellow at the Center… The key, Frances explains, will be to make forests more valuable standing than chopped down. “Global demand for commodities that replace forests—such as cattle to produce beef for domestic consumption and export, soybeans, palm oil, pulp and paper—is extremely high. So if we want to address deforestation, we have to find ways to reform supply chains so that markets are sensitive to the environmental impacts of the source of those globalized commodities.” So, I asked, “How do we do that?” “As long as there are bad actors that are willing to deforest highly valuable landscapes to make some money, then the government has got to step in,” Frances says. In addition, “there is a group of consumer-facing retail companies that have made a commitment to remove deforestation from their supply chains."

Big Data Goes Green: How Data Analytics Is Saving the World’s Forests

By Mike Wheatley, SiliconANGLE, 2 July 2013 | Google has a hand in most things these days, and while some of its endeavors are more questionable than others, its involvement in the development of the Global Forest Watch 2.0 project can only be commended. Global Forest Watch 2.0 is an interactive, real-time forest monitoring system run under the auspices of the World Resource Institute that was announced in April of this year. The effort will combine satellite imagery with data collected from remote sensors, together with good, old-fashioned human observation to try and lend a hand to forest management efforts in some of the world’s most at risk areas. One of the prime targets for Global Forest Watch 2.0 is Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, with the idea being to try and encourage commodities buyers and suppliers to make more informed and environmentally-friendly procurement decisions.

[Australia] Farmers say carbon price still taxing one year on

ABC Rural, 2 July 2013 | A year on from the launch of the carbon tax, farmers say the policy is significantly increasing their costs, despite evidence that other factors are having a bigger impact on electricity prices. The tax increased yesterday by 5 per cent to $24.15 a tonne. Many farmers say it’s a cost they’re already feeling through increased electricity prices. President of the Australian Dairy Farmers, Noel Campbell, believes the carbon tax is pushing up costs for dairy farms by an average of $5,500-$7,000 per year through increased power prices and processing costs. Mr Campbell says this added cost is making Australian dairy farmers less competitive internationally. "We’re exposed in exports for 40 per cent of our product," he said. "If we’ve got some sort of impact on our costs and they’re not impacted on South American or New Zealand or European costs, it certainly puts us at a disadvantage."

[Indonesia] Paper firm APP admits ‘accidentally’ breaking deforestation moratorium

By Rhett Butler, The Guardian, 2 July 2013 | Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has reported an accidental breach of its moratorium on deforestation. In May, Indonesian environmental coalition Eyes on the Forest alleged that the forest products giant had violated its deforestation moratorium when an area of forest was cleared on a concession belonging to APP supplier PT. Riau Indo Agropalma (RIA) on the island of Sumatra. Eyes on the Forest documented the clearing with geo-referenced photographs and issued a report. In response, APP and The Forest Trust (TFT) dispatched a team to investigate the matter. They found that 70 hectares of forest was indeed cleared "in breach of our moratorium." But the story is more complex than APP returning to its old forest management practices — the 70 hectares were part of a community development program mandated under Indonesian law.

[Indonesia] New data on Riau fires generate important insights

By David Gaveau and Mohammad Agus Salim, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 July 2013 | CIFOR has made an analysis of new satellite imagery for the area in Riau Province, Sumatra, which appears to have been worst affected by recent fires causing haze problems over Sumatra, Singapore and Malaysia. Although several recent assessments have used NASA’s daily fire alerts to locate the fires, we have additionally used higher-resolution imagery from the recently launched Landsat 8 satellite to map fire scars. The Landsat images were recorded on 25 June 2013. While our analysis is preliminary, it raises a number of interesting and important questions and insights about the location, context and causes of the fire incidents. We would like to share these observations and associated hypotheses below, and we encourage your feedback.

[Indonesia] Firms doubt data on forest fires as govt investigation underway

By Anggi M. Lubis, Jakarta Post, 2 July 2013 | National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwonugroho said the police had named 18 suspects as of Friday, including one person who was caught burning an area belonging to forest concessionaire PT Arara Abadi – a subsidiary of PT Sinar Mars Agro resources and Technology (SMART). The managing director of the Sinar Mas Group, Gandi Sulistyanto, said, however, that the arrest was solid proof that Sinar Mas was clean of any allegations, particularly as the arrest was made following a report by the company. Sinar Mas claims it has practiced a non-burning policy since 1996. “He [the suspect] may have thought that by burning the area he could take it over,” Sulistyanto said. A total of 75 hot spots had destroyed palm plantation and forest concession areas owned by the group, Sulistiyanto admitted, but most of the fires were caused by sparks from other fires on local plantations that quickly spread to other areas.

Japan, Vietnam sign carbon offset market deal

By Hisane Masaki, Point Carbon, 2 July 2013 | Vietnam has become the sixth country to sign up to a scheme that allows Japanese companies to earn cheap carbon credits by helping developing nations cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, the Japanese government announced on Tuesday. The Southeast Asian nation followed Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Maldives and Mongolia in hoping to attract Japanese investments by signing up to the scheme, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Under the scheme a committee of officials from the two nations will approve projects and issue offset credits that Japanese firms can use towards meeting domestic CO2 targets. The country has made an international pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and wants international recognition that emission cuts made abroad will count towards that target.

[Malaysia] In pictures: Rainforests to palm oil

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 2 July 2013 | In late May I had the opportunity to fly from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo to Imbak Canyon and back. These are some of my photos. Note that higher quality versions of these photos (and 2,500 more) will be posted on mongabay.com in coming weeks.

UN supports PNG ‘green’ plan

Islands Business magazine, 2 July 2013 | The Papua New Guinea Climate Change and Development Office and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are in support of Papua New Guinea’s Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme. The signing of a letter of agreement in Rome last week paved the way for the release of K185,000 in instalments by FAO to OCCD to develop PNG’s REDD. OCCD’s executive director Varigini Badira expressed satisfaction that the OCCD had achieved much in three years and established multi-stakeholder technical working groups on mitigation, adaptation, REDD and national consultation. “These REDD initiatives are the source of knowledge and technology sharing necessary to scale up REDD regionally, nationally and internationally,” he said.

[USA] Obama’s rhetoric makes climate action a simpler question of right and wrong

By Graham Readfearn, The Guardian, 2 July 2013 | There are a lot of decisions in life that are easier because we know the difference between right and wrong – it’s why we wouldn’t steal a biscuit from a poor homeless orphan or kick away a pensioner’s walking stick as they’re about to step on to a pedestrian crossing. For these reasons, stealing stuff that’s not yours or assaulting pensioners (or anyone else for that matter) is considered by the community at large to be ethically or morally wrong as well as being against the law. Recent rhetorical flourishes from father-of-two Barack Obama, the President of the United States, have tossed climate change into this same bucket of ethical decisions. Obama has tugged at the needle of our moral compasses several times with soundbites loaded with ethical ordnance. Take these examples from his recent climate change speech in Washington and his weekly White House address.

3 July 2013

UN: 2001-2010 decade shows faster warming trend

By John Heilprin, AP, 3 July 2013 | Global warming accelerated since the 1970s and broke more countries’ temperature records than ever before in the first decade of the new millennium, U.N. climate experts said Wednesday. A new analysis from the World Meteorological Organization says average land and ocean surface temperatures from 2001 to 2010 rose above the previous decade, and were almost a half-degree Celsius above the 1961-1990 global average. The decade ending in 2010 was an unprecedented era of climate extremes, the agency said, evidenced by heat waves in Europe and Russia, droughts in the Amazon Basin, Australia and East Africa, and huge storms like Tropical Cyclone Nargis and Hurricane Katrina.

Landscape approach boosts global socio-economic benefits – experts

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 3 July 2013 | World leaders must take a unified view of forestry, fisheries and agricultural management to boost food and nutrition security as the global population expands to 9.6 billion by 2050, said experts meeting at a policy seminar hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Tackling the current “big five” development challenges — food security, climate change, biodiversity, a green economy and the post-2015 anti-poverty U.N. global development agenda — as part of a unified, landscape approach to forests is vital to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods, said Peter Holmgren, director general of CIFOR. “Currently, these ‘big five’ are communication silos, so we get a patchwork,” Holmgren said.

Assessing risks to forest cover and carbon stocks: A review of tools and approaches to compare business-as-usual to REDD+ scenarios

WWF, 3 July 2013 | This report reviews some of the tools available to map areas at risk for deforestation and forest degradation, and to compare carbon emissions estimates under current conditions and future REDD+ scenarios. This report notes: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that 20 per cent of global carbon emissions originate from deforestation and forest degradation (Parker et al., 2009). REDD+, or reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is a proposed mechanism to combat this phenomenon. As part of REDD+, developing tropical forest countries would be financially rewarded by developed countries for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. In addition, there would be associated co-benefits for biodiversity and the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.

[Australia] Henbury carbon farm a waste of money: Scullion

By Caddie Brain, ABC Rural, 3 July 2013 Northern Territory County Liberal Senator Nigel Scullion says the Federal Government’s investment in the purchase of Henbury Station was a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. The property was purchased by R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings two years ago, with $9 million of Federal funding, to destock the station for conservation purposes and farm carbon instead. Last week, R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings went into receivership, leaving the carbon project in limbo. Senator Scullion describes the investment as "another failed Labor experiment". "This is a complete mess and just a complete embarrassment for the Labor Government," he said. "The amount of money that was invested in this is just an absolute horror story. "And of course you’ve encouraged a good business effectively to go broke. "There’s no technology that’s been proved outside of a government doing this sort of stuff."

Henbury Station financial trouble forces rethink of Australia’s largest carbon farming project

By Kristy O’Brien, ABC News, 3 July 2013 | Financial trouble at Australia’s largest carbon farming project has caused the Commonwealth and businesses to reassess their involvement. Henbury Station in the Northern Territory was purchased with Commonwealth funding of $9 million by RM Williams Agriculture Holdings two years ago. When purchased it was hailed by the Federal Government as the green project of the future. It was destocked and locked up with the promise of producing carbon credits. It was intended to store up to 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. But Henbury has been plagued with problems after the managing director was forced to resign and the carbon methodology was rejected. RM Williams Agricultural Holdings has now gone into receivership and an administrator has been appointed. Qantas had agreed to buy 1 million offset carbon credits from the property but says the agreement is not binding.

EU lawmakers back plan to fix ailing carbon market

The Washington Post, 3 July 2013 | The European Parliament on Wednesday backed a rescue plan for the world’s biggest cap-and-trade system for emissions of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas from human activities. In a 344-311 vote, European lawmakers in Strasbourg, France, approved a proposal to delay an auction of allowances in the EU’s emissions trading scheme. The delay is designed to boost the carbon price, which has dropped below 5 euros ($6.5) per ton due to an oversupply of allowances and Europe’s economic slowdown.

Japan’s climate finance plan weclomed by vulnerable nations

By John Parnell, RTCC Climate Change News, 3 July 2013 | Frustrated climate vulnerable nations are turning to a Japanese low carbon scheme to fill the international climate finance void. The Maldives is set to become the latest country to forge a bi-lateral partnership with Japan to exchange carbon credits for technology, finance and logistical support for projects to reduce carbon and protect against the impacts of climate change. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been set the target of raising $100bn a year by 2020. It was first suggested formally in 2009 and is still progressing through red tape, albeit at an increased pace. “There was high expectation from developing countries that the GCF could stand up straight away and start financing projects but that didn’t happen,” Kuni Shimada, a senior climate negotiator for the Japanese government told RTCC.

[USA] California’s Market for Hard-to-Verify Carbon Offsets Could Let Industry Pollute as Usual

By Maureen Nandini Mitra and Michael Stoll, Earth Island Journal, 3 July 2013 | The denuded clearing is on a tract of private forestland owned by timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries that is close to being approved as a sort of carbon bank under California’s new cap-and-trade scheme. It will soon grow into a plantation of mostly Douglas fir, ponderosa pine and cedar. Based on calculations of how much carbon the new and old trees in this forest area will remove from the atmosphere, the timber giant will soon be able to sell carbon credits, which regulators call “offsets,” to the largest California polluters so they can compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions. Looking to make a profit from their environmental practices, companies in forestry and other industries are rushing to meet the demand.

4 July 2013

Next steps on climate change

By Dean Tony La Viña and Purple Romero, Rappler, 4 July 2013 | Positive developments marked the negotiations on REDD-plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) as parties were able to forward draft decisions on drivers of deforestation, modalities for national forest monitoring systems and timing and frequency of reporting safeguards to COP19. While not yet fully agreed upon, it appears that a solution to the issue of verification, which prevented agreement in Doha last December, is in sight. REDD-plus is a mechanism where incentives are provided to developing countries for the sustainable management of their forests, which are carbon sinks. In COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, safeguards such as transparency and protection of the human rights of indigenous people were included in the implementation of REDD-PLUS.

Australia should say “No” to carbon credit farming – it is unsustainable

By Viv Forbes, Australian Conservative, 4 July 2013 | The carbon farming caper is supported by all political parties. Under it, landowners can sell “carbon credits” if they can prove that they have reduced carbon dioxide by capturing it as humus in soil, or by planting forests, or by allowing re-growth of woody weeds, or by reducing feral animal emissions (shooting camels) or even by promising solemnly to NOT clear specified parcels of forest. NONE of these processes are sustainable in the long run. There is a limit to the amount of humus or trees that can be based on one hectare of top-soil. And once all feral animals have been shot there are no more carbon credits to be earned there (unless the landowner is also breeding them secretly in the back paddock). And even in the corrupt carbon market for hot air, only one payment can be legally claimed for promising to NOT clear a parcel of land (and one bushfire will reverse all that in one afternoon).

[EU] Carbon credit backloading move “just a sticking plaster”

By Vicky Ellis, Energy Live News, 4 July 2013 | A vote by MEPs to hold back carbon credits from the EU’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) has been criticised as “wrong” and “just a sticking plaster” by a British steel trade association. Ian Rodgers, Director of UK Steel claimed the backloading measure will do “little” to get the changes in place that are needed. He said: “If anything, it will be counter-productive because interfering with the market sends the wrong signals… [The ETS] is not working on several levels, including for Energy Intensive Industries… “The Parliament not only took the wrong decision on the fundamental question of backloading, but also rejected an amendment which would have provided much needed support for industries, including steel, that face significant barriers to reduce emissions,” he added.

[Guyana] Poultry farming, aquaculture targeted

Kaieteur News, 4 July 2013 | Twelve Amerindian communities have started to receive funding to kick-start projects geared to improve the livelihood of its residents. The projects include poultry rearing, village shops, aquaculture, cattle rearing, cassava production and cash crops. According to a government statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs (MoAA); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Project Management Office in the Office of the President, have announced that the first set of funds has been disbursed to Amerindian communities under the Amerindian Development Fund Project. Funds disbursed to the Amerindian fund come from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), a multi-contributor trust fund for the financing of activities identified under the Government of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

[Guyana] Linmine withdraws bridge concession to Bai Shan Lin

By Jeff Trotman, Stabroek News, 4 July 2013 | The Linmine Secretariat has withdrawn, with immediate effect, a concession it had given to Chinese company Bai Shan Lin International Forest Development Inc for the company’s trucks to transport materials across the Wismar/Mackenzie Bridge to fix the Moblissa Road. This information was given to Regional Chairman, Region Ten, Kwesi Sharma Solomon, in a letter dated yesterday. The letter, which this newspaper has seen, is signed by Chief Executive Officer of Linmine Horace James. It states: “Following your request for concession to be granted to [Bai Shan Lin] to cross the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge to transport laterite for the repairs to Moblissa Farm Road, as of 2nd July 2013 – 144 truckloads of laterite plus two light vehicles have crossed the bridge… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin under fire ‘fleecing’ Region Ten

Kaieteur News, 4 July 2013 | Bai Shan Lin has again come under fire from Region Ten Chairman, Sharma Solomon, this time for a breach of faith. There was an understanding that was entered into between the company and the Region, that concessionary measures would be granted for the company to have its trucks use the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge, to transport laterite from Three Miles on the west bank to Moblissa. The laterite was to facilitate the rehabilitation of the $40 million farm road that the company’s trucks had significantly damaged, causing untold hardships to residents in the community. After the agreement had been entered into between the management of Bai Shan Lin and major stakeholders in the Region for Bai Shan Lin to fix the road, tests which were facilitated by the Region, were subsequently carried out at Three Miles, on the Wismar Shore for suitable road building material.

[Indonesia] Pulp and paper giant dodges deforestation probe

WWF, 4 July 2013 | Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and WWF have claimed that the pulp and paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) is dodging an independent enquiry into its deforestation practices in Indonesia by withdrawing from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). On June 22nd 2013, the FSC announced that APRIL had asked its certification bodies to withdraw all of its FSC Chain of Custody (COC) certificates. The three environmental organisations had earlier lodged a complaint with the FSC that APRIL was in violation of FSC’s Policy for Association through its continued large-scale conversion of natural forests in Indonesia to plantations, including the destruction of high conservation value (HCV) forests. The company also has persistent social conflicts in its operations.

Q&A on fires and haze in Southeast Asia

CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 July 2013 | Fires in forests and former forest lands occur in Indonesia in the dry season every year, particularly in the provinces of Riau, West Kalimantan, Jambi and Central Kalimantan. The haze that spreads to other countries is mostly caused by fires on peatland. Fires begin and spread for many reasons, so it is misleading to think of “fires” as the problem – or even as a single problem. Complex socioeconomic, ecological and governance factors are involved, meaning that the problem – and the solutions – go beyond who actually lights the match.

[Panama] Preliminary Report of the Independent Investigation and Evaluation Presented to the UN-REDD Policy Board

UN-REDD, 4 July 2013 | The independent Investigation and Evaluation Team assessing complaints made by COONAPIP against the UN-REDD Panama National Programme has released a report of its preliminary findings, based on an initial mission to Panama from 28 May – 07 June 2013. The Team received input from a wide range of stakeholders. The preliminary report was presented at an information session on June 24th at the 10th UN-REDD Policy Board meeting in Lombok, Indonesia, where senior representatives from ANAM and the President of COONAPIP responded to the preliminary findings. Key initial findings indicate that, while there were no violations of individual human rights by the UN-REDD Programme, there were faults in the National Programme design, and a proper participatory process with clear roles and responsibilities was not established in Panama which hampered the subsequent inclusion of indigenous peoples in the implementation of activities.

5 July 2013

[Indonesia] Interactive web map makes facts behind Sumatra fires transparent

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 July 2013 | A new online mapping tool designed to reveal the impact of forest fires burning throughout the Indonesian province of Riau in Sumatra allows users to explore and validate preliminary data. The interactive fire risk tool, developed by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) shows the location of NASA’s fire alerts in June, burned areas (brown fire scars) mapped by CIFOR using high-resolution views from the Landsat 8 satellite, and compelling before-and-after fire satellite views of the Riau region, the area worst affected by fires. “So many claims about the Sumatra fires are swirling in the popular media – this tool gives people the capacity to check for themselves,” said Agus Salim, who developed the web-based application. Unlike major Sumatra forest fires in 1982-1983, 1997-1998 and 2006, it appears the current fires did not burn in natural forests, said David Gaveau, a scientist with CIFOR…

Indonesia’s fires are of global concern

By Wendy Miles and Micah Fisher, Jakarta Post, 5 July 2013 | Over US$1.4 billion has been invested to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest fires in Indonesia. Investors include Norway, Australia, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, France, Denmark, South Korea and Japan — as well as private companies such as Merrill Lynch, the Marubeni Corporation and Gazprom. Why are these investments not working in Riau Province, where most of the fires causing the Singapore Haze have occurred? One strategy being pursued to combat Indonesia’s forest fires and high deforestation rates is a mechanism known as REDD+… Indonesia now hosts more than 50 international REDD+ carbon-offsetting initiatives that promise potentially billions of dollars worth of investments. But the haze looming over Sumatra confronts REDD+ investors and Indonesia with the contradictions of market-based solutions.

6 July 2013

7 July 2013

[Indonesia] NGO accuses Rimba Raya of misleading public with false carbon project information

Jakarta Post, 7 July 2013 | A non-governmental organization said a claim that Rimba Raya Conservation had obtained approval from the Indonesian government for its world’s largest carbon project, on 64,000 hectares of areas in Indonesia, was in fact untrue. Greenomics Indonesia said that it had verified various legal and spatial facts and clarified the claims with the Forestry Ministry. From the verification and clarification, it concluded that Rimba Raya’s claims were untrue and this could mislead the public and the carbon market. “Legally, it’s not true that the Indonesian government has agreed a working area of 64,000 hectares for Rimba Raya Conservation,” Greenomics Indonesia national program coordinator, Vanda Mutia Dewi, said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post, on Saturday.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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