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REDD in the news: 24-30 April 2017

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REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

24 April 2017

The Right’s Green Awakening
By Daniel Tanuro, Jacobin, 24 April 2017
The COP21 negotiators at the Paris 2015 convention enjoyed a rare moment of success. Unlike in Copenhagen six years before, the climate summit produced an agreement — and an ambitious one at that. The attending governments committed to keeping the temperature rise “well below 2° C” and “continuing efforts” not to exceed 1.5° C of warming. No one had imagined such a breakthrough.
There was a fly in the ointment, however, which French president François Hollande immediately pointed out: the parties had not agreed to introduce a carbon price, an element that had been at the center of capitalist climate strategy leading up to the summit. Six months before COP21, Hollande had said:
“If we really want to send signals to the markets so that companies can make their decisions based on an economic optimum, which can be an ecological optimum, the question of the price of carbon is necessarily posed because it is the most tangible sign that can be addressed to all economic actors.”

Bamboo Gaining Traction in Caribbean as Climate Savior
By Desmond Brown, IPS, 24 April 2017
Keen to tap its natural resources as a way to boost its struggling economy, Guyana struck a multi-million-dollar deal with Norway in 2009.
Under the deal, Norway agreed to pay up to 250 million dollars over five years, if Guyana, a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country in South America, maintained a low deforestation rate.
It was the first time a developed country, conscious of its own carbon-dioxide emissions, had paid a developing country to keep its trees in the ground.
The initiative was developed by the United Nations and called REDD+ (for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus conservation).
The main aim was to allow for carbon sequestration – the process involved in carbon capture and the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

25 April 2017

Climate Change Altering the Arctic Faster Than Expected
By Brian Kahn, Climate Central, 25 April 2017
Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state. Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation and dissolving permafrost.
A new report chronicles all these changes and warns that even if the world manages to keep global warming below the targeted 2°C threshold, some of the shifts could be permanent. Among the most harrowing are the disappearance of sea ice by the 2030s and more land ice melt than previously thought, pushing seas to more extreme heights.

Extreme Arctic Melt Is Raising Sea Level Rise Threat; New Estimate Nearly Twice IPCC’s
By Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News, 25 April 2017
Global sea level rise could happen at nearly twice the rate previously projected by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even under the best scenario, according to a new report.
By the end of this century, as some glaciers disappear completely, the Arctic’s contribution to global sea level rise will reach at least 19 to 25 centimeters, according to the report by the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program (AMAP).

Carbon Offsetting: Buyers’ Guide 1.0
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 25 April 2017
A few weeks back, my Skype started bleating impatiently.
It was my friend Hein, seeking my advice – which is odd, because Hein is one of those people I’m always running to for help. He’s a lawyer who became obsessed with computers and now makes his living protecting governments and companies from cyberattacks.
It turns out he’d been listening to a podcast I produced on passenger flights, and he’d been trying to offsets his greenhouse-gas emissions from a whole year of travel.
“I went to the sites you mentioned, and I calculated my total emissions,” he explained.
“Cool!” I said.

Collective forest tenure reforms: Where do we go from here?
By Anne Larson, CIFOR Forests News, 25 April 2017
The recent World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, held this past March in Washington D.C., provided a unique opportunity to reflect on collective land tenure reforms not only from a research point of view, but also from that of governments.
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) organized a South-South Exchange at the Conference, as part of its Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reforms. Seven government officials from Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda and Kenya were invited to participate. These officials represented land offices from Latin America and forestry offices from Africa and Asia.

Brazil Police Attack Indigenous Activists Protesting Congress
teleSUR, 25 April 2017
Brazilian military police on Tuesday attacked thousands of Indigenous tribe members in front of the country’s Congress in Brasilia while protesting for greater rights.
Several demonstrators attempted to occupy the pond in front of the congressional office and were met by police who used rubber bullets, pepper spray and flash bombs to disperse the crowd. In response, Indigenous protestors shot arrows at the police and in the direction of Congress.

26 April 2017

Amazon rainforest under threat as Brazil tears up protections
By Richard Schiffman, New Scientist, 26 April 2017
The Amazon rainforest is facing a new threat: politics. Brazilian laws that protect the world’s largest rainforest are threatened by the country’s continuing political turmoil following the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff.
The so-called “ruralista” bloc in the National Congress of Brazil, which represents the interests of agribusinesses and large landholders, has been using the chaos in the political system as a cover to push through legislation to reverse longstanding protections for the rainforest, says Phillip Fearnside, an ecologist with the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) in Manaus.
These initiatives include a move to open portions of conservation areas in Para state to mining and agricultural activities.

Brazil: Government abandons uncontacted tribes to loggers and ranchers
Survival International, 26 April 2017
All the government units currently protecting Brazil’s uncontacted tribes from invasion by loggers and ranchers could be withdrawn, according to information leaked to Survival International. The move would constitute the biggest threat to uncontacted Amazon tribes for a generation.
Agents from FUNAI, the country’s indigenous affairs department, perform a vital role in protecting uncontacted territories from loggers, ranchers, miners and other invaders. Some teams are already being withdrawn, and further withdrawals are planned for the near future.
Thousands of invaders are likely to rush into the territories once protection is removed.

[Fiji] Ministry finalises Emalu lease agreement payments
By Timoci Vula, Fiji Times, 26 April 2017
Questions on why the people of the Emalu landowning unit of Draubuta Village in Navosa had to be paid for the lease of their land held for REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) were asked in Parliament today.
And in response, Minister for Forests Osea Naiqamu the lease agreement had undergone a vigorous consultation process.
Mr Naiqamu said the Emalu REDD+ lease was a first of its kind in the country.

Forest Fire destroys more than 57,000 sq km of India’s woods in 2014
By Kalyan Ray, Deccan Herald, 26 April 2017
India lost more than 57,000 sq km of jungles – an area larger than Himachal Pradesh – in forest fire in 2014, says India’s first scientific estimation of forest fire losses.
The total burnt area under vegetation cover (forest, scrub and grasslands) was 57,127.75 sq km, which in 2014 accounts for almost 7% of India’s forest cover.
The highest burnt area was recorded in the Deccan zone followed by North East and Western Ghats. No fire was seen in the Himalayas and the islands in that year.

A Lack of Clear Boundaries Impedes Sustainable Development in Indonesia
By Wahyu Mulyono and Melati Kaye, Pacific Standard, 26 April 2017
Laurensius Lani’s footsteps can be heard at dawn alongside the traditional honay thatched-roof houses of the Baliem Valley, here in the archipelago country’s easternmost Papua province.
This is a region of biodiversity and riches. Asolokobal sits on the southern end of Indonesia’s sole snow-covered mountain range. Tasmanian tigers, long thought to be extinct in the wild, were said to be spotted here not long ago. Yet, 125 miles north along the Jayawijaya range is the world’s largest copper and gold mine, operated by United States company Freeport-McMoRan.

[Indonesia] Local law and order
by Rose Foley, CIFOR Forests News, 26 April 2017
On the outskirts of Dompas village in Riau province, a group of men is peeling back the black earth with rhythmic strokes. Armed with hoes, they move slowly in the afternoon sunshine, sliding scores of thick-set seedlings into the ground, one by one. These baby sago palms are being planted on Indonesian peatlands that are degraded, drying and highly vulnerable to fire.
However, the canal that once ran along the edge of this plantation and sapped the site of its water and vital nutrients, has now been transformed into a deep mirror. Blocked by villagers with a series of small concrete dams, it is now feeding resources back into the soil.

[Indonesia] Palm oil practices and ecosystem sustainability
By Bustar Maitar, Jakarta Post, 26 April 2017
As regards the historic track, palm oil is not deemed an indigenous commodity. Palm oil is the newcomer’s commodity, brought to Indonesia by the Dutch in 1848 with seeds planted in the Bogor Botanical Garden and as decorative vegetation along the thoroughfare in Deli, North Sumatra. Commercialization of palm oil commenced in 1911 in Deli and Aceh. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Liberia] REDD Targets 12 Counties on Climate Change Awareness
By Edwin M. Tajia, III, Daily Observer, 26 April 2017
The National Project Coordinator of Reducing Emissions of Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), Saah David, said the agency has begun the first phase of its awareness campaign in 12 of Liberia’s 15 counties.
In an interview with the Daily Observer over the weekend, Mr. David said counties targeted are Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, and Nimba.
Other counties are, Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru, Sinoe, Margibi, River Cess, and River Gee.

27 April 2017

Time is Running Out: the Twin Perils of Deforestation and Climate Change
By Nigel Sizer, Rainforest Alliance, 27 April 2017
Thirty years ago, in response to horrific images of deforestation and a growing awareness that our planet’s precious rainforests were at a tipping point, a new mass movement was born. It started with small-scale protests by indigenous campaigners, who took great risks to grab the world’s attention — the Brazilian environmentalist Chico Mendes, for example, was assassinated for mobilizing the Rubber Tappers’ Union in defense of the Amazon. But their voices could not be silenced. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, indigenous people from the Amazon took to the international stage to protest the destruction of their rainforest home, creating new alliances with international NGOs and even a few celebrities.

Fires rage in Bolivia as illegal deforestation for beef and soy continues to surge
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 27 April 2017
New data on land fires in Bolivia indicates that the surge in illegal forest conversion for large-scale commercial agriculture and cattle ranching seen since 2012 is accelerating. But despite this rapidly deteriorating situation, deforestation in Bolivia continues to receive scant international attention.
The Bolivian forest enforcement agency (ABT) has documented a rapid increase in illegal deforestation in recent years. According to their analysis, 118,000 hectares were cleared illegally in 2012, 158,000 hectares in 2013 and 118,000 hectares in 2014 (see chart). During that three-year period, more than 85% of all deforestation in the country was found to have been illegal. Though end-of-year data on the areas illegally deforested in 2015 and 2016 is yet to be published, the number of illegal deforestation events detected continued to rise through 2015.

[Brazil] Message From Tashka Yawanawa On Importance of Indigenous Life Plans
By Tashka Yawanawa, Ecosystem Marketplace, 27 April 2017
We are the Yawanawa indigenous people, a tribe of approximately 1,250 living in the Brazilian Amazon in the state of Acre. The majority of our population is young people and children. At one time, our population was numerous but many of our elders died, a sad consequence of colonization.
We live in a territory that’s roughly 200,000 hectares with 95% of its biodiversity intact.

[Indonesia] Riau extends emergency alert status to maintain control of forest fires
By Rizal Harahap, Jakarta Post, 27 April 2017
Riau province has extended its emergency alert status in order to maintain a tight grip on forest fires in the province, an official has said.
The decision was made following a meeting at the Riau administration office on Thursday. The meeting concluded that the measures taken by the government, including declaring an emergency alert status, had been effective in curbing forest fires.
“The measures to mitigate forest fires have been effective after the provincial administration declared an emergency alert status on Jan. 24, or a few days after Dumai and Rokan Hulu regency did so,” Riau administration secretary Ahmad Hijazi said.

[Indonesia] Getting down and dirty in degraded lands
By Deanna Ramsay, CIFOR Forests News, 27 April 2017
Tropical peatlands are massive carbon sinks. But what happens when they are depleted of the water that sustains them, or subject to other land-use changes?
After fires raged in 2015 over Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia, in part due to the widespread draining of peatlands, these wetland ecosystems and their environmental significance catapulted to the center of global discussions.
“Protecting tropical peatlands is essential to combating climate change. By monitoring the emissions from degraded peat and the resulting fires, we now know just how important they are,” says Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) scientist Daniel Murdiyarso.

[Malaysia] Government In Midst Of Finalising National Strategy On REDD+
Malaysian Digest, 27 April 2017
The government is in the midst of finalising the National Strategy on Reducing Emission from Forest Destruction and Degradation (REDD+) to ensure forest resources and ecosystem services are protected, the Dewan Negara was told today.
REDD+ which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests, and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks in Developing Countries is a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mechanism to encourage developing countries to better protect, manage and use forest resources.
Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri said all states which rely heavily on forest products would share the benefits fairly and equitably once the strategy was finalised.

28 April 2017

Ghana gets $5.5m World Bank support for natural resources management in 52 communities
Ghana Business News, 28 April 2017
Over 52 selected local communities in the Brong-Ahafo and Western Regions of Ghana are to benefit from a $5.5 million Ghana Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Local Communities project (G-DGM), the World Bank has announced in a press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com.
The grant is to strengthen their knowledge and practices towards reducing deforestation and improving the sustainable management of their activities.

Guyana is a REDD+ best-case scenario
WWF, 28 April 2017
Guyana is one of the greenest countries on Earth, with fully 85% of its land area fully covered by tropical forests, and exhibits one of the lowest deforestation rates in the tropics – 0.065% in 2014, the last year for which figures are available. Guyana’s forests are packed with dense-wooded, carbon-rich trees that challenge the logging industry with high production costs and relatively low value timber — making Guyana a best-case scenario for REDD+.

Indonesia’s struggle to save tropical forests
By Safiya Sadyr, Global Journalist, 28 April 2017
A new book highlights possible answers to deforestation in the tropics.
Preventing climate change is often linked to cutting back on the use of fossil fuels. Yet the clearing of carbon dioxide consuming tropical forests harms the atmosphere nearly as much as the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the world’s two top polluters: China and the U.S.
Slowing this process should be easier than cutting fossil fuel consumption from cars and power plants. Yet in some tropical countries like Indonesia the rate of deforestation has actually increased in recent years. Indonesia alone lost at least 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of forest cover to palm oil plantations in between 2000 and 2010, according to research published by the journal Conservation Letters. Loggers and other agricultural interests added to that total, and contributed to the burning of Indonesia’s carbon-rich peatlands.

Carbon offset project boosts conservation of Kenya’s mangrove forests
By Joy Nabukeya, Xinhua, 28 April 2017
A small fishing village in Kenya’s coastal region has earned international recognition as a hub for green economy thanks to a community-owned carbon offset project that has enhanced the conservation of mangrove forests.
The Gazi village, located about 40 kilometers south of the port city of Mombasa, is the site of the project that has earned global accolades for revolutionizing conservation of mangrove forests.
Thanks to this project dubbed Mikoko Pamoja (a Swahili word that means together with mangroves), Gazi has attracted international visitors to learn how carbon trade can lift communities’ living standards.

29 April 2017

[Nepal] Forest fire in Tansen yet to be contained
Kathmandu Post, 29 April 2017
Forest fires that started on Wednesday have spread across more than hundred hectares of forestland in the community forests near Tansen, the district headquarters of Palpa. The fire could not be contained until Friday afternoon.
The raging fire has damaged Deurali Community Forest and Bandevi Community Forest. Locals said the fire spread in the forest from the nearby dumping site of the municipality. The untamed fire has threatened Batase and Kailashnagar settlements located near the community forests.
People vented their anger at forest officials’ inaction in containing the fire.

[UK] Online Tool To Identify Pension Scams
By Lisa Smith, iExpats, 29 April 2017
Pension watchdogs have kicked off a new campaign to help retirement savers spot scammers after their cash.
Figures from the City of London Police revealed that £13.2 million was lost to pension liberation scams in the year to February 2016 – up 26% on the year before.
Regulator the Pension Advisory Service (Tpas) fears millions more has been stolen but victims are either too embarrassed to come forward or have not realised the cash has gone because they do not monitor their pension pots.

30 April 2017

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