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REDD in the news: 8-14 July 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.

[Canada] Forest Carbon Program means more Trees for B.C.

Government of British Columbia press release, July 2013 | British Columbia has planted more than 20,000 trees to kick off an innovative program that uses private-sector investment to stimulate ecosystem restoration and reforestation on Crown land, says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The B.C. Forest Carbon Partnership Program could see more than one million trees planted in the province over the next five years, helping to restore forests devastated by wildfire and the mountain pine beetle infestation while reducing B.C.’s carbon footprint. Under the program, corporate investors pay to plant trees – which store carbon and lower greenhouse gas levels – and then receive a carbon offset credit. Over time, the program could expand to hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest.

Swidden, rubber and carbon: Can REDD+ work for people and the environment in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia?

By Jefferson Fox, Jean-Christophe Castella and Alan D. Ziegler, Global Environmental Change, June 2013 | Swidden (also called shifting cultivation) has long been the dominant farming system in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia (MMSEA). Today the ecological bounty of this region is threatened by the expansion of settled agriculture, including the proliferation of rubber plantations. In the current conception of REDD+, landscapes involving swidden qualify almost automatically for replacement by other land-use systems because swiddens are perceived to be degraded and inefficient with regard to carbon sequestration. However, swiddening in some cases may be carbon-neutral or even carbon positive, compared with some other types of land-use systems. In this paper we describe how agricultural policies and institutions have affected land use in the region over the last several decades and the impact these policies have had on the livelihoods of swiddeners and other smallholders.

Quality-of-governance standards for carbon emissions trading

By Federico López-Casero, Tim Cadman and Tek Maraseni, IGES Discussion Paper, 2013 | For the emergence of a global carbon market it is necessary to develop common governance and regulatory structures. Ensuring good governance is particularly important for the development of a financial mechanism for REDD+. Transparent and effective national forest governance is needed to encourage investments in REDD+, to ensure that REDD+ delivers real and long-term emissions reductions, to promote accountability and transparency, to develop credible monitoring and reporting on REDD+ safeguards and to change behaviour and solve the problems underlying deforestation and forest degradation.

[Brazil] Importance of local participation in achieving equity in benefit-sharing mechanisms for REDD+: a case study from the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve

By Maria Fernanda Gebara, International Journal of the Commons, May 2013 | Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) in tropical countries is now a critical piece of any international agreement that aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. An important issue refers to the distribution of benefits or, in other words, benefit sharing mechanisms. In this paper, I examine the degree of local participation in benefit-sharing mechanisms in the case of the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve in the State of Amazonas, Brazil, and assess how local participation – or lack of it – affects the outcomes, particularly with regard to equity. The analysis seeks to address the gap between theory and practice by considering the main concerns regarding equitable benefit sharing for REDD+, namely, the types of benefits to be distributed, eligible beneficiaries, the structure of benefits, and mechanisms for distributing them…

8 July 2013

Two New Ways to Follow IUCN’s REDD+ Work

IUCN, 8 July 2013 | IUCN has a new monthly “REDD+ Roundup” e-newsletter and Twitter feed (@IUCN_redd) to share knowledge and lessons from its ongoing REDD+ initiatives at the global, regional and national level.

UN carbon market scheme passes 7000 project mark

By Ed King, RTCC Climate Change News, 8 July 2013 | The world’s largest emissions trading scheme has passed the 7000 project mark, despite continued concerns over its viability and a collapse in carbon prices. The Clean Development Mechanism’s newest project is a biogas capture plant in a Philippine chicken farm, which will reduce emissions by 48,000 tonnes, equivalent to 10,000 cars. The news is welcome boost to the UN, which runs the CDM under the Kyoto Protocol. One thousand new projects have been accepted since February, but certified emission reductions (CERs) prices remain low, having dropped 90% in 2013.

[Australia] Trees best left to generate carbon credits

By Ben Cubby, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 July 2013 | It makes better financial sense for the native forests of southern NSW to remain un-logged and left to generate carbon credits, a new report suggests. NSW taxpayers would be able to generate carbon abatement, conservatively valued at about $222 million over the next 2½ decades, and use some of the money to fully compensate timber companies, according to the analysis by think tank The Australia Institute. The NSW government disagrees, saying the report is based on an unrealistically high carbon price.

Bolivia’s indigenous people join fight to save Gran Chaco wilderness

By Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 8 July 2013 | The Gran Chaco is threatened on all sides: Mennonite cattle ranchers have bought up large tracts in Paraguay and Brazilian farmers looking for cheap land for their soy crops have flooded across the border. The quarter of it that lies in Bolivia is the best preserved, but even its habitats have been disrupted by a gas pipeline and military operations against drug traffickers, whose camps have been spotted in the 34,000 sq km (13,000 sq miles) of Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco national park. Bigger than Belgium, it is Bolivia’s largest national park. Erika Cuéllar, a Bolivian conservation biologist with an Oxford doctorate, is training the indigenous people of this expanse of dry forest totalling 1m sq km how to work as field biologists, giving them the means to make a living – and a stake in the rich biodiversity of the continent’s second biggest ecosystem.

[Canada] Couple converts family land to ‘carbon farm’

By Elizabeth Whitey, Edmonton Journal, 8 July 2013 | The concept of the Carbon Farmer is simple: turn previously tilled land into forests with native trees, shrubs and grasses while helping people and businesses offset their carbon footprint. Customers can pay $2 to have a tree planted on their behalf. Or they can buy carbon credits at $15 per tonne. For that, The Carbon Farmer will give them a certificate that attests that it will plant the number of trees required to sequester that amount of carbon. (Third-party assessments are done on all their planted forests to determine the amount of carbon sequestered.) The Carbon Farmer website has an online calculator so you can figure out how much carbon you owe from travelling, putting on events, et cetera. “The amount (you pay) depends on the vehicle you drive, how much you travel around the world, your lifestyle, basically,” Brad explains.

[Costa Rica] Information flow is vital for ecosystem-based adaptation – expert

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 July 2013 | Identifying organizations that can bridge gaps in knowledge is an important step when seeking effective ways to design strategies for local adaptation to climate change, an expert in ecosystem-based adaptation has said. Such organizations can help create collaborative partnerships between farmers, scientists and policy makers, according to Raffaele Vignola, director of the Latin American Chair of Environmental Decisions for Global Change at Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica. “We have to acknowledge that adaptation takes place within complex and institutional governance contexts”, said Vignola, who conducted research into the Birris sub-watershed in central Costa Rica, where a combination of extreme rainfall, intensive horticulture and grazing dairy cattle on steep slopes has caused severe erosion, a problem for farmers and the hydropower sector.

Europe’s carbon credit oversupply could “worsen”

By Vicky Ellis, Energy Live News, 8 July 2013 | The oversupply of carbon credits in the European Union’s carbon trading scheme could “worsen”. That’s the view of ratings agency Fitch in response to the MEPs’ decision to temporarily withdraw 900 million permits in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) last week. Giving its verdict on the European Parliament’s vote to hold back carbon credits, Fitch suggested that in the short term is likely to push their prices up if the move gains “traction” but won’t kill off coal power. It pointed to the 9% rise in carbon prices on Wednesday and a boost of 20% in the six-month forward market. The agency said it believes prices are “likely to rise further” if the plan is implemented as the volume held back makes up around 15% of the total permits available for 2013-2015 and potentially more than a third of the permits due to be auctioned over that period.

Indonesia world leader in palm oil production

By Krystof Obidzinksi, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 July 2013 | High demand for edible palm oil in India, China and at home have made Indonesia the top global producer of crude palm oil, according to statistics compiled by scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research. Here are some key facts about Indonesia’s palm oil…

Study: New actors involved in the fires and haze in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia

By Elizabeth Kahurani, ASB, 8 July 2013 | For more than a decade, fires from land-use change in forests and peatlands in Sumatra, Indonesia, have left in their wake a smoky haze whose extent enveloped the skies of Singapore and parts of Malaysia. The recent episode took a peak, with a total of 3270 fire hot spots on the island of Sumatra detected in 2013, over 90% occurring in June. Analysts have warned that the pollutant standard index has hit hazardous levels. Obviously, debates have focused on the actors responsible, with the brightest beam on either the traditional slash-and-burn farming methods of smallholders or the large-scale slash-and-burn land clearing by plantation companies for oil palm or pulp & paper industry, many with a basis in Singapore and Malaysia.

FAO Assesses Tanzania’s Forest Resources

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 8 July 2013 | The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Government of Tanzania, with financial support from the Government of Finland, are carrying out a mapping exercise of Tanzania’s forests to assess its resources, including the size of the carbon stock stored within its forests. The National Forest Resources Monitoring and Assessment project (NAFORMA) has conducted field assessments across 32,000 sample plots throughout Tanzania. The assessments gathered data on tree-species, tree height, trunk diameter, soil composition, as well as socioeconomic data within the communities in and around forests. The project under changing climatic conditions has revealed increasing pressure in Tanzania’s forests as a result of energy needs. According to FAO, wood and charcoal provide approximately 90% of the energy needed for cooking in Tanzania.

[USA] Group to explain cap-and-trade lawsuit in Salinas

thecalifornian.com, 8 July 2013 | The Pacific Legal Foundation will hold a briefing Wednesday in Salinas on its lawsuit to stop the state’s cap-and-trade regulation. The PLF is a national organization with an office in Sacramento that provides legal assistance to efforts in support of property rights, free market economics and limited government. The PLF said it believes the regulation requires businesses that emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide to bid for carbon “credits” from the state. PLF’s lawsuit challenges the regulation because it alleges that constitutes an illegal tax. The tax is illegal because the California Air Resources Board concocted it without approval by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, as required after Propositions 13 and 26 amended the state constitution, according to the PLF.

[USA] Big Red Card For California REDD

By Nnimmo Bassey, The Africa Report, 8 July 2013 | California is on the verge of allowing carbon credits obtained from forests and tree plantations anywhere in the world to be used as offsets for polluting activities at home. Targeted forests include those in Acre, Brazil as well as in Michigan in the USA. In bringing up the UN-REDD Framework, the United Nations admitted that REDD could result in the "lock-up of forests," "loss of land" and "new risks for the poor." The No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN) stated in a recent statement rejected the inclusion of REDD projects in the State of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32. NRAN stated that just as the ‘UN predicted, in Africa, REDD and forest carbon projects are already resulting in "loss of land" in the form of massive evictions, as well as "new risks for the poor" in the form of servitude, slavery, persecutions and killings.’

Small Scale Illegal Logging In Vietnam: Implications for FLEGT And REDD+

Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 July 2013 | Strategies attempting to curb illegal logging in Vietnam must provide forests benefits for the local communities in order to be effective. This means clear and secure tenure rights are distributed to the local people. It’s a key lesson to consider in the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiatives currently pursued by the Government of Vietnam and the focus of NGO and Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends’ Information Brief on Vietnam deforestation. The brief examines two case studies from Hoa Binh and Binh Dinh provinces that illustrate how differences in the allocation of clear and secure tenure and use rights affected the prevalence of illegal logging. In the small Dao village of Ban Y (all village names have been changed), villagers were not given meaningful tenure rights to the local forest.

9 July 2013

Stronger rights, protected forests, better livelihoods

By Rob Finlayson, Agroforestry World Blog, 9 July 2013 | The Rights and Resources Initiative is a global coalition of organizations encouraging the reform of policies that affect forestland tenure and livelihoods. Its new goal is to increase the amount of land controlled by indigenous people by 100 million hectares. The World Agroforestry Centre will play an important part in achieving that goal, say Jenna di Paolo and Robert Finlayson. Forests and drylands in developing countries constitute almost 40% of the Earth’s land surface (almost 6 billion hectares) and house over 40% of the planet’s population. These more than 3 billion people are among the world’s poorest and most ignored by mainstream society. Their customary land and resource rights are typically unrecognized by national legal systems. This leads to land grabbing, deforestation and degradation of ecosystems: these forests continue to be cleared at a rate of around 13 million hectares a year.

Interview with Minnie Degawan, Senior Advisor for Social Safeguards

WWF, 9 July 2013 | Minnie Degawan is the Senior Advisor for Social Safeguards with WWF’s international Forest and Climate Initiative (FCI). She works directly with indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) to ensure that they participate in REDD+ dialogue and decisions both at the national and global levels.

“Zombie” CO2 projects on the rise as CDM hits 7,000

By Michael Szabo, Reuters, 9 July 2013 | A U.N. programme to channel climate finance to poor nations said it approved its 7,000th greenhouse gas-cutting installation last week, but warnings of “zombie projects” and more companies pulling out of the struggling scheme made the number appear increasingly irrelevant. The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) hit its latest milestone amid rock-bottom prices for the carbon credits it generates, which have collapsed by more than 95 percent in the past two years due to a mix of swelling supply and a lack of demand. Valued at around 50 euro cents ($0.64), they give little incentive for project owners to continue shelling out cash to monitor and verify emissions cuts – activities required to receive credits under the scheme. Alexandre Kossoy, senior financial specialist at the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit, said this has led some owners to stop participating in the CDM despite their installations being registered under it.

[Australia] Profits from forests? Leave the trees standing

By Andrew Macintosh, The Conversation, 9 July 2013 | (Andrew Macintosh receives funding from Forests Alive Pty Ltd, a carbon offset company that specialises in improved forest management projects.) In debates about climate change and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, there is a widely-held belief that market mechanisms, like the Labor government’s carbon pricing scheme, will reduce emissions in the cheapest possible way. As a matter of pure theory, this is correct but, in practice, it depends on what is included and excluded from the scheme and how it is designed. One of the most commonly overlooked sources of carbon abatement is public native forestry, which is currently excluded from the carbon pricing scheme and the government’s offset scheme, the Carbon Farming Initiative. This is despite the fact that stopping the harvesting of public native forests is one of the cheapest ways to reduce Australia’s emissions.

Cambodia’s sugar rush leaves farmers feeling bitter at ‘land grab’

By Kate Hodal, The Guardian, 9 July 2013 | Sugar is big business in Cambodia, thanks to a preferential EU trade scheme called Everything But Arms (EBA), which allows Cambodian sugar to be sold duty-free on the European market at a minimum price per tonne. Official figures show that 97% of Cambodia’s €10m (£8.5m) sugar exports went to the EU last year, and Tate & Lyle bought 99% of them. Although the initiative is intended to bolster the world’s least-developed countries, the villagers say they have not profited from the deal at all. "When the company came in May 2006, they bulldozed without consultation or any environmental impact assessment," said Teng Kao, 52, a village representative from Koh Kong province who lost nearly 10 hectares to the plantations. "They bulldozed the fields and streams. They shot our animals. After about 100 families’ land was taken away, we started taking pictures."

China’s Carbon Emissions Traders Await Offset Demand

By Daphne Yin, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 July 2013 | Designated as China’s first special economic zone back in 1980, the fast-growing city of Shenzhen has come to epitomize the country’s move toward market-oriented economic policies. On June 18, Shenzhen set yet another precedent when it launched the first of seven pilot programs to help pave the way for a national cap-and-trade program. Under the pilot program, 635 companies in Shenzhen, responsible for about 38% of the city’s emissions, face obligations to reduce their carbon intensity by 6.68% on average per year by 2015. The first day of trading on the Shenzhen Emissions Rights Exchange saw eight transactions of emissions allowances completed for a total of 21,112 tCO2e. Allowance prices ranged from 28 to 32 yuan per tonne, close to the expected price of 30 yuan per tonne (US$4.89).

[DRC] Carbon Fund reviews proposal for largest-ever forest emissions reduction programme in Africa

WWF, 9 July 2013 | The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one step closer to unlocking up to US$60 million in payments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and creating the largest forest emissions reduction programme in Africa. DRC’s emissions reduction program idea note (ER-PIN) was reviewed last month in Paris by the Carbon Fund of the World Bank-run Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), beginning the process. This review process is an important step in developing an emissions reductions programme for the DRC. It is an opportunity to gather valuable expert feedback on the proposal, so that it can be refined to most effectively provide significant benefits to the country’s nature and people.

10 July 2013

Green economy would highlight full value of forests

By Imogen Badgery-Parker, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 July 2013 | As more developing countries plan to make the transition to a green economy—defined as “low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive”—the spotlight is turning on the “true” value of forests. And it’s clear that they’re worth a lot more than the price of timber. “A green economy is about being more efficient in how you use your resources,” said Grace Wong, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who is also a member of a U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) working group on REDD+ in a green economy. “It’s about understanding the real value of your natural resources so that the way you use them and the policy decisions you make reflect all those values,” Wong said on the sidelines of a UN-REDD Global Symposium held in Jakarta in June.

Will REDD+ create or diminish conflicts over land?

World Agroforestry Centre, 10 July 2013 | How REDD+ will impact peace and security is addressed in a new report by students from the London School of Economics. As a REDD Monitor website story outlines, for REDD+ to be effective and equitable relies on large areas of land with clear tenure arrangements. In many developing countries, conflicts exist over land ownership and communities are excluded from land use decisions.

REDD+ in Ghana: Promoting a Pro-Poor Approach

IUCN, 10 July 2013 | This 30-minute documentary highlights how Ghana’s efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) are addressing climate change and the needs of the poor. It originally aired on Ghana’s state television station (GTV) in May 2013.

[Indonesia] House endorses bill to curb illegal logging

By Margareth S. Aritonang, Jakarta Post, 10 July 2013 | After 11 years of deliberation, the House of Representatives finally endorsed on Tuesday a bill on prevention and eradication of deforestation amid of protests from environmentalists, who criticized the excessive power granted to the Forestry Ministry to manage the country’s forests. The bill draft, was first proposed by the government as an illegal logging bill in 2002, but was only discussed by the House from 2010. “The first draft only aimed to curb illegal logging, however, as deforestation has expanded to conservation areas, a regulation is needed to prevent and eradicate deforestation,” deputy chairman of House Commission IV overseeing agriculture and forestry Firman Subagyo said. Firman said that once endorsed, the bill would effectively protect the country’s 133.4 million hectares of forest and would give severe penalties to individuals guilty of illegal logging or occupying forest areas protected by the government.

Blueprint for Russia’s carbon market should be ready by end of 2013

By Olga Dobrovidova, RTCC Climate Change News, 10 July 2013 | Last Friday was a rather busy day in the odd world of Russian climate change policy, with two high-level expert meetings competing for participants and producing equally exciting outcomes. Russia’s interministerial working group on climate change and sustainable development, headed by presidential advisor and climate envoy Alexander Bedritsky, had its second meeting, this time focusing on both topics. At its inauguration in February the group endorsed a 25% below 1990 target to be set by the ill-fated draft presidential decree. In what now looks like a cycle of climate crazy, the draft decree, after getting every ministry’s endorsement, has apparently been – again! – booted back by the president’s administration, and it may take another six months for it to finally be signed.

[Tanzania] Report On Investment Climate Out On Thursday

Tanzania Daily News, 10 July 2013 | Tanzania Private Sector Foundation will tomorrow launch an important survey on investment climate in Tanzania. The Foundation said in a statement that report, titled "Business Leader Perceptions of the Investment Climate in Tanzania" is compiled from interviews to business leaders from all sectors of the economy. The survey by Ipsos-Synovate assesses the investment climate and the business environment in Tanzania by obtaining views from prominent business leaders representing all sectors and levels of the economy. Also interviewed were executive directors of private sector membership organizations. The launching event will bring important players in the public and private sector to a round-table discussion about challenges and prospects of doing business in Tanzania.

[USA] Big-Time Preservation, Thanks to Carbon Credits

By Dan Rademacher, San Francisco Public Press, 10 July 2013 | The ink is drying on the largest land conservation deal in Sonoma County history, and local preservationists say the promise of income from “offset” credits for absorbing atmospheric carbon helped seal the deal. It will cost $24.5 million to permanently protect the 19,000-acre Preservation Ranch from a long-threatened vineyard and estate conversion process. It’s actually just one part of a vast expanse of 58,000 acres of contiguous preserved land encompassing huge parts of both the Gualala and Garcia River watersheds.

11 July 2013

The Great REDD+ Perpetual Motion Machine

seventythree, 11 July 2013 | Redd-Monitor, the excellent resource on all matters pertaining to REDD+, recently published a satirical critique of REDD, a two-part article by Dominic Elson. The original article can be found here. It has since been re-published on the United Nations University site.

Trees Using Water More Efficiently Due To Increase in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

By Benita Matilda, Science World Report, 11 July 2013 | A paper published online in the journal Nature Wednesday, examines how a dramatic change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels makes trees thriftier with water. It is a known fact that atmospheric carbon dioxide boosts the growth of plants. To state that carbon dioxide is an important plant food is not a new argument. Many experts have expressed concerns over the fate of forests in the face of climatic changes taking place because such alterations directly and indirectly affect the growth and productivity of the forests.

Africa Looms Large On CDM Map

By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 11 July 2013 | Africa has traditionally been overshadowed as a potential host of carbon offset projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) program. Instead, project activity and investment have been focused on least-cost emission reductions in Asia and Latin America. But the European Union recently instituted a ban on CDM offsets (CERs) from non-LDCs (least developed countries) that are registered post-2012, a move that has pushed some traditional CDM heavyweights out of the market. That leaves the door open for Africa, which is in a good position right now because most of the LDCs are located on the continent and because the price of CDM offsets could recover, says Marie-Claude Bourgie, Climate Change and Finance Expert for Quebec City-based consultancy and project developer ÉcoRessources. “It’s a good idea to really take advantage of that position,” she said at the Africa Carbon Forum in Abidjan…

MEPs approve proposals to reduce biofuels emissions

By Will Nichols, BusinessGreen, 11 July 2013 | EU parliamentarians have approved proposals to limit the contribution of conventional biofuels toward its green transport targets, in a move producers labelled "complex and ineffective". MEPs in the influential Environment Committee (ENVI) voted 43-26 – with one abstention – to set a cap for fuels made from food crops at 5.5 per cent and include emissions arising from indirect land use change (ILUC) factors such as clearing of forests, wetlands or grasslands in the Renewable Energy Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive when calculating official emissions impacts.

[Indonesia] UN to take NGO reports on RI human rights seriously

By Yohanna Ririhena, Jakarta Post, 11 July 2013 | Members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) said they would treat reports of Indonesia’s human rights record, presented by NGOs, as essential input in considering points of recommendation to be made at the end of an upcoming session by the committee. UNHRC head Sir Nigel Rodley underlined the significance of the NGO reports. “All the reports that we get from civil society are very important to us, since government reports inevitably tend to portray things in the best possible light,” Rodley told The Jakarta Post.

[Indonesia] Ministry Says Forest Law Aims at Big Operators

By Stephanie Hendarta & Marco Puguh, Jakarta Globe, 11 July 2013 | The Forestry Ministry has defended a new law that critics claim fails to criminalize the setting of forest fires and reduces punishment for illegal logging, saying it is focused on large-scale, systematic destruction. Sumanto, a spokesman for the Forestry Ministry, told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday that the Law on Preventing and Eradicating Forest Destruction, passed on Tuesday, would focus on tackling organized forest destruction, while the issue of forest fires would still be dealt with under the 1999 Forestry Law. He added that the government was optimistic about the new law, which was originally conceived in 2002. “The new law is extraordinary. … Hopefully it will make law enforcement for forest crimes more effective and more synergistic. We are hoping to get more commitment from everyone, including people from rural areas within the forests, the police to government officials,” Sumanto said.

Panama: Preliminary Note On Findings, Conclusions And Recommendations – Independent Team For The Investigation And Evaluation Of The UN-­REDD Panama Programme

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 11 July 2013 | In February 2013, citing a lack of guarantees for the respect of indigenous rights and the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, the National Coordinating Body of the Indigenous Peoples of Panama (COONAPIP) issued a resolution announcing their withdrawal from the Panama National Programme of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-­‐REDD). In response to the complaints made by COONAPIP, and with the agreement of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) of Panama, the UN-­‐REDD Programme decided to carry out a thorough and independent investigation into the complaints made by COONAPIP and a mid-­‐term evaluation of the National Programme in order to determine the root causes of the conflict and identify possible solutions.

[USA] University to assess carbon content of land it owns and manages

cattlenetwork.com, 11 July 2013 | Iowa State University has begun an environmental assessment to determine the amount of carbon in the soil of the land that it and its affiliated organizations own and manage. “One increasingly recognized method of evaluating land in an environmental context is assessing the soils’ carbon content,” said Catherine DeLong, a graduate student in agronomy who is working on the study. “Through this project Iowa State is pairing its historic mission of helping the Iowa farmer, with its expanding global mission of benefiting the environment as a whole, as well as evaluating its global environmental impact.” Carbon plays an important role in the environment. It is the basis of organic matter and the source of the characteristic dark color of Iowa’s soils. “Carbon plays a huge role in the soil,” said Lee Burras, Iowa State agronomy professor who is supervising DeLong’s study.

Vietnamese Farmers Gather UN Data on Deforestation with Smartphones

TechPresident, 11 July 2013 | A case study in Vietnam found community based monitoring (CBM) an accurate and inexpensive way to gather data on deforestation. The trial was a part of the United Nations Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD). Community members in the Tra Bui commune of the Quang Nam province, armed with Android devices, were able to return data with an accuracy comparable to experts. They were more effective at monitoring small scale degradation from gathering wood for fuel or selective logging than satellite imagery. Although the researchers considered the trial a success, there are hurdles to implementing a system like this on a large scale. In advance of the trial, 3G service providers and the power company in the region had to be contacted to try to ensure connectivity. That will always be a problem in remote areas, although the power supply problem can be solved by using solar-powered chargers.

USAID urges Zambia to control deforestation

By Gift Chanda, The Post Online, 11 July 2013 | Zambia risks depleting its forest cover in 15 years if the current rate of deforestation is not controlled, a USAID official warned yesterday. And the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) says it is important that forests are conserved because they are essential for food security. Dr Anna Toness, the economic growth team leader at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said the rate at which Zambia was losing its forest cover was worrying. "The country is estimated to be losing at least 300,000 hectares of forest each year, Dr Toness said at a CIFOR organised media briefing in Lusaka. Driven by agriculture expansion, charcoal production, Dr Toness agreed with CIFOR southern regional scientist Dr Davison Gumbo that Zambia’s forests were currently under siege.

12 July 2013

New swidden agriculture monitoring tool aids REDD+

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 July 2013 | A new tool designed to evaluate the impact of swidden on forest degradation could play a key role in monitoring REDD+ climate change mitigation programs, according to scientists. The REDD+ framework puts binding obligations on industrialized countries to reduce global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation. Debates over how to monitor, report and verify carbon emissions have been sticking points in global climate change negotiations. “For a future REDD+ scheme, accurate identification of deforestation and forest degradation and linking these processes to land use is crucial,” said Jean-Christophe Castella, a Laos-based scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD).

AfDB Continues to Support Low-Carbon Development Pathways for Africa

African Development Bank, 12 July 2013 | For the fifth time the African Development Bank was a co-organizer of the Africa Carbon Forum (ACF) along with UN agencies, the World Bank and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). This important forum was held from July 3-5, 2013 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Given the challenges of the current carbon market, ACF reflected on how the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and other mitigation and financing mechanisms have performed to date ad discussed how those mechanisms could continue to be successfully applied on the African continent. As the premier financing and development institution for Africa, committed to promoting viable financing solutions for climate-friendly development on the continent, the AfDB strongly supports the continuation and the scaling up of those mechanisms.

[Canada] Carbon trust’s surplus to climb past $30 million

By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, 12 July 2013 | The Pacific Carbon Trust’s growing surplus is expected to climb to more than $30 million, further fuelling calls from critics to shut down the controversial Crown corporation. Under the system created in 2009, hospitals, schools and universities are forced to pay into the trust as compensation for their carbon emissions. This allows the B.C. government to claim the public sector is "carbon neutral." The trust (PCT) uses the public money to help finance carbon reduction improvements made by private companies. The PCT’s surplus is increasing because the public sector is charged a much higher price for emitting carbon ($25 per tonne) than is paid to the forestry and energy companies for the carbon reduction credits ($11.30 per tonne on average in 2012). "This continues to be a shell game for government, where they overcharge their own agencies to buy these carbon credits," said Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. spokesman Jordan Bateman.

[Indonesia] Malaysian firm named suspect in Riau forest fires

By Yuliasri Perdani and Rizal Harahap, Jakarta Post, 12 July 2013 | A day after the Riau administration lifted the haze disaster emergency status, the National Police announced on Thursday they were set to slap charges on a Malaysian firm believed to be responsible for the forest fires in the province. The police said that they had named PT ADEI Plantation and Industry, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhard (KLK), a suspect in the forest burning in Riau carried out to clear land for plantations. National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said that the company allegedly carried out irresponsible burning practices in its concession area in Riau. “The company is responsible for the fire and has been declared a suspect, but we have not determined the company’s employees who were responsible for the burning,” he said at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.

World Bank’s Forest Investment Programme in Peru denounced by indigenous organisations who demand suspension of consultation process

Forest Peoples Programme, 12 July 2013 | On the eve of a government consultation of indigenous peoples in Yurimaguas on the latest draft of its Forest Investment Plan, an initiative financed by the World Bank’s Forest Investment Programme, to address deforestation, indigenous peoples organisations in the San Martin and Loreto regions of the Peruvian Amazon have rejected both the planned consultation as well as warned that the latest draft still fails to respect their rights. They highlight the failure of the Peruvian government to conduct consultation in good faith due to inadequate prior notice or allocation of sufficient time for the event as well as the failure to include the Candoshi, Shawi and Shiwilo peoples in the same consultation process. More seriously still they highlight that the current proposal includes plans for the creation of the Shawi regional conservation area (ACR Shawi), a new protected area that overlaps with indigenous peoples’ customary lands.

13 July 2013

[Nigeria] FG Can Generate Over 1m Jobs From Forestry, Says Expert

Leadership Newspaper, 13 July 2013 | Mrs Oluremi Bakare, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Forest Carbon Company (NFCC),has said that the Federal Government can generate more than one million jobs through investment in forest conservation activities. Bakare made the statement in Abuja on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), adding that investing in forest conservation would boost the economy and reduce over-reliance on oil and gas sectors… ”We have an agreement with the Federal Government to Reduce Emission Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) project, which means managing the forest. ”We will also look at how we can use the forest to bring sustainable development to the state, earn carbon credit through the UN Kyoto protocol, create employment for their youth and improve quality of lives and infrastructure,” she said.

14 July 2013

REDD a ‘False Solution’ for Africa

By Isaiah Esipisu, 14 July 2013 | “The theory behind REDD says that a forest doesn’t exist in isolation – especially the savanna woodlands. Think of it as a dam. The most water is in the deepest part of the dam (the biggest carbon stocks are in the equatorial rain forests) and the savannas are like the edge of a dam – the shallow water actually recedes the quickest,” [Sharon Kockott, a director of Conservation Science Afric] says. But Nnimmo Bassey, the director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation and a member of the No REDD in Africa Network thinks otherwise. “REDD is a false solution for climate mitigation. When you guard a particular forest without offering an alternative solution, the loggers will definitely move to other locations because the need is still there,” he tells IPS. “The net effect is that deforestation isn’t halted. Even if it did for a particular location, there is no assurance that it would do so in perpetuity,” Bassey says.

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin boss denies violating forestry laws

Stabroek News, 14 July 2013 | Bai Shan Lin’s Chairman Wenze Chu has denied that the company, which is undertaking a US$100 million forestry operation in Guyana, has broken any law and insists that it will be adhering to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) regulations and standards as it seeks to move forward. The company, which is no stranger to controversy, is in control of almost one million hectares of Guyana’s forest… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Indonesia] AusAID scheme goes up in smoke

By Paul Malone, Canberra Times, 14 July 2013 | The ability of AusAID to deliver government programs must be called into question following the revelation that the aid agency has failed in its major program to reforest Kalimantan peat swamp land. The agency issued no media statement admitting its failure but the ABC reported early this month that the $100 million scheme designed to cut carbon emissions and reduce the periodic smoky fires that plague South-East Asia, had come to an end. In response to questions from Fairfax Media AusAID initially pointed to its website, where an announcement claimed that the key programs of the project had ended as planned, on June 30. In reality, the key objectives were not delivered at all and the failure raises serious questions about AusAID’s capabilities and the value of Indonesian aid projects – projects prime ministers so dearly love to launch on overseas trips, but later ignore as they fail to match their grandiose statements.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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