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REDD in the news: 8-14 May 2017

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

8 May 2017

It’s too soon to bury REDD+
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 8 May 2017
Is REDD+ dead? The ambitious plan for reducing carbon emissions in the tropics by preventing deforestation and forest degradation is approaching its tenth anniversary, and it has fallen short of expectations.
Progress has been slow, and it’s not clear how much forest has been saved.
Some critics have therefore suggested that REDD+ has reached the end of its lifespan, and that it’s time to try something new. But scientists linked to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) – who have been closely analyzing the implementation of the scheme since 2009 – argue that REDD+, though troubled, is not dead.

Trump threat to Paris climate pact casts shadow over Bonn talks
DW, 8 May 2017
Negotiators from almost 200 countries are meeting in Bonn to hammer out a “rule book” for putting the Paris Climate Agreement into practice. Trump’s threat to pull out of the accord is putting a damper on the UN talks.
Around 3,000 delegates have converged on the western German city of Bonn on Monday to begin drafting detailed rules designed to guide member countries through implementing the pact.
Under the Paris deal, negotiated by world leaders in November 2015, nations agreed to nonbinding pledges to cap or reduce greenhouse gases emissions and limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

‘Trump effect is not terminal’ for climate talks
DW, 8 May 2017
Donald Trump is mulling whether to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. As negotiators gather in Bonn to discuss putting the plan into action, the WRI’s Paula Caballero tells DW what a US exit could mean.
DW: You’re in Bonn for preparatory climate talks – the first round of negotiations attended by representatives from the new US administration under United States President Donald Trump. There’s talk of the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement. How do you assess the situation?
Paula Caballero: Everybody is monitoring the situation with great concern, but we all feel that it would be an error for the US to pull out of the Paris Agreement. It will erode its international standing – not just in the international climate diplomacy arena, but also on trade and other issues.

Climate Negotiators Roll Up Their Sleeves in Bonn, With or Without the U.S.
By Gustavo Silva-Chávez and Brian Schaap, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 May 2017
As the next round of climate talks get underway in Bonn, the question on everyone’s mind is whether the United States government will stay in the Paris Agreement – and, if so, under what conditions. Many expect the Trump Administration to reach a final verdict any day now, and its decision will obviously have profound effects that reach far beyond this week’s negotiations. But, as always, the show must go on, and negotiators in Bonn will continue hammering out important pieces of the Paris Agreement rulebook as that drama plays out, and regardless of its outcome.

200 large investors urge G7 to keep climate change promises
By Attracta Mooney, Financial Times, 8 May 2017
Calpers, Amundi and Schroders have teamed up with 200 other large investors to urge governments globally to stand by their commitment to fight climate change, as fears rise that Donald Trump, the US president, will pull out of the Paris agreement.
The coalition of large investors that collectively oversee $15tn in assets have sent a letter to the G7 group of influential countries calling on their governments to uphold their promises to tackle climate change.

If Trump Bails On Paris Agreement, At Least He’ll Be Out Of The Way
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 May 2017
The dark-haired man looked haggard and world-weary as he leaned towards the microphone.
“We ask for your leadership,” he told US Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, with cameras running and the world watching.
“We seek your leadership,” he continued. “But if for some reason you’re not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please, get out of the way!”
The year was 2007, and the young man was Kevin Conrad, who represents Papua New Guinea in UN climate talks. The place was Bali, Indonesia, where George W Bush’s US negotiating team had been gunking up talks with silly games and doublespeak. The words perfectly captured the exasperation in the room, and delegates roared in rare applause. Bush’s team backed down.

Normally obscure, interim climate talks opening today in Bonn offer a glimpse at a shifting world order
By Douglas Fischer, The Daily Climate, 8 May 2017
An obscure negotiating session of the UN climate talks is suddenly in the spotlight – but for all the wrong reasons.
The United Nations opens its interim talks here in Bonn on Monday, a two-week negotiating session that traditionally sets the agenda for the larger fall meetings.
But as with so many political issues this year, the climate is anything but quiet: President Trump is mulling an exit from commitments Barack Obama inked in Paris in 2015, Europe stands poised to abandon its leadership role in emissions reduction, and delegates are watching to see if China, India or another country steps to the front and assumes the mantle of climate leadership.

EU countries have brought in $1bn of coal subsidies since Paris
By Megan Darby Climate Home, 8 May 2017
EU countries are using the low carbon transition to justify new subsidies to the coal industry, instead of investing in clean alternatives, say analysts.
Six member states have introduced support totaling €875 million a year ($960m) since 2015, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). That is in spite of signing up to the Paris climate deal, which signalled a shift away from fossil fuels.
The bulk of this is schemes to keep old coal plants online, ostensibly needed as back-up generation for times when variable wind and solar power cannot meet demand. Germany and Poland are among countries planning further such “capacity mechanisms”.

New report details enormous corruption, illegal logging along Vietnamese border with Cambodia
By Michael Tatarski, Mongabay, 8 May 2017
A new in-depth report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) shows that Vietnamese officials, companies and private individuals are smuggling enormous amounts of illegally logged timber from protected areas of Cambodia into Vietnam.
The report, “Repeat Offender: Vietnam’s persistent trade in illegal timber” provides eye-opening details gleaned from months of undercover investigations in Cambodia and Vietnam by EIA investigators. EIA alleges that Vietnamese government officials are reaping huge financial benefits by facilitating large-scale logging in eastern Cambodia.

9 May 2017

In Africa, the change is palpable. In NZ it’s starting to hurt, too. So enough with the Smart Alec approach to climate
By Bronwyn Hayward, The Spinoff, 9 May 2017
Here in Africa, weather is not just a topic for small talk or research. In a region where half the population is younger than 19 it is often a matter of life and death. This year Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen face the very real possibility of an unprecedented four nation famine, as the impact of drought exacerbated by conflict and government failure, threatens the lives of 20 million people.
It was fitting therefore that climate and social scientists from around the world met last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to plan the next six years of climate research assessments. Next week in Bonn, Germany, government, representatives will gather to prepare a “rule book” of how countries should meet the Paris 2015 agreement, which committed signatory countries to significantly reducing greenhouse gases with the aim of holding the world’s temperature at less than 2 degrees warming.

UNFF 12 Highlights Means of Implementation and Links to SDGs
By Lauren Anderson, IISD, 9 May 2017
The twelfth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF 12) convened four days after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the first-ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF), a strategic UN-system-wide plan for forests, a significant part of which includes linkages to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNSPF and its corresponding quadrennial programme of work for 2017-2020 provided the basis for UNFF 12’s discussions.

Airlines Say Biofuels Can Drive Business Results (and Airports Can Help)
By Jennifer Hermes, Environmental Leader, 9 May 2017
Singapore Airlines made news last week with its announcement of “green package” flights on its non-stop San Francisco-Singapore route, powered by sustainable biofuels produced from used cooking oils and conventional jet fuel. Other airlines have committed to advancing and commercializing sustainable aviation biofuels, as well – most airlines claim they are doing so in order to become more sustainable and lower carbon emissions – but it is not clear from a business perspective just how biofuels will affect the aviation industry.

[Brazil] Amazon’s Indians and rainforest under attack
By Jan Rocha, Climate News Network, 9 May 2017
A recent violent attack on a group of indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest of northern Brazil is seen by environmentalists as a symptom of a new climate of hostility towards such groups, fuelled by conservative congressmen’s attempts to undermine land rights.
As indigenous reserves, which occupy 23% of the greater Amazon region, are spaces where most of the rainforest is still intact, this represents a growing threat to the forest’s future – and therefore could impact on climate change.

A morning in Chile, after the forest fires
By María de Lourdes López Munguía, Global Sisters Report, 9 May 2017
This morning I look and enjoy the sunrise from the mountain … but also I can smell the smoke from the forest fire.
I am sitting next to Eleuterio, a man who knows the heart of the trees, a man who has heard in his 80 years the sound of the wind embracing the hills and reaching the sea.
Sitting under an almond tree, the tree of solidarity (as poet Gabriela Mistral called it), we silently observed the destruction left behind by the forest fires in Chile earlier this year, the largest in the country’s history, according to the authorities. The fires left 11 dead — including two policemen and four firefighters — destroyed about 3,000 homes, and devastated about 400,000 hectares (more than 1,500 square miles).

Ethiopia Secures Finance To Cut Carbon Emissions From Deforestation
By Andualem Sisay Gessesse, New Business Ethiopia, 9 May 2017
The World Bank (WB) on Friday launched a ten years program in Ethiopia that enables the country to reduce its carbon emissions from deforestation. The program among others targets helping the country to make money from global carbon trading by using its forests for absorbing carbon emissions.
The $18 million grant for the project is provided by the WB’s BioCarbon Fund (Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes) financed by donors such as, Norwegian and United States governments.
“The grant supports community-centered activities that reduce deforestation and land-use based emissions as well as enhances forest carbon stocks in deforestation hotspots in selected sites in 49 districts of Oromia Region,” said Tesfaye Gonfa, coordinator of Oromia Forested Landscape Program. he made the remark speaking at the launching ceremony 80 kilometers from Addis Ababa in Ginchi town, where 5,000 hectares of mountains are covered with forest.

Wet and Wild: Indonesian Forest Fires
By Rose Foley, CIFOR Forests News, 9 May 2017
When fires tore through peatlands in Sumatra, Indonesia, in June 2013, the immediate effects were devastatingly familiar. In just one week, up to ten per cent of Indonesia’s average annual emissions of greenhouse gases flooded the atmosphere.
Rare animals and plants were put at risk, as well as human health, as hundreds of thousands of people suffered in the highly toxic air. Smoke also poured into neighbouring Singapore, causing the highest pollution levels in the country’s history.

[Indonesia] Forest Fires Detected in Three Regions
By Imam Hamdi, Tempo, 9 May 2017
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has detected fire spots in Riau, South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan. “Regions with forests and vast areas must also be monitored for potential forest fires,” BNPB chairman Willem Rampangilei said yesterday in Depok.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) informed that Indonesia will be entering the dry season in June.
The country is currently experiencing a shift from rainy to dry season. “Some regions have declared a state of emergency over forest and land fire,” he said.

[Japan] Fire Near Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Plant Extinguished
Environment News Service, 9 May 2017
Firefighters have been battling a wildfire in an area contaminated with radiation near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that melted down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the northeast coast of Japan.
The blaze has consumed about 20 hectares (50 acres) of forest on a mountain since it started April 29 in the Tohoku region close to the town of Namie in a no-go zone near the damaged nuclear power plant.

[Japan] Forest fires threaten homes, still spreading in Iwate
The Asahi Shimbun, 9 May 2017
The Self-Defense Forces were using helicopters to help fight forest fires that were threatening residential areas here on May 9.
Many residents have been forced to evacuate, but there have been no reports of deaths or injuries.
A series of forest fires broke out in Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures in the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan on May 8, fanned by strong winds and dry conditions.
They have mostly been extinguished.

[South Korea] 1 Dead in Battle Against Forest Fires
Arirang News, 9 May 2017
One member of a helicopter crew died Monday in the ongoing battle to contain a forest fire that erupted in Korea’s eastern Gangwon Province on Saturday.
The chopper was making an emergency landing just before noon when it caught on a high-tension wire and the man, a 47-year-old repairman surnamed Cho, died in hospital.

UK Sipp giant faces £1.8m tax bill over Guernsey biofuel scheme
By Monira Matin, International Adviser, 9 May 2017
UK Sipp provider James Hay has been hit with a £1.8m (€2.12m, $2.3m) tax bill from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over the Guernsey-listed biofuel investment scheme Elysian Fuels.
In a results update on its website, James Hay’s parent company IFG said it is currently in a legal dispute with the UK tax office regarding the penalty.
James Hay confirmed it has 500 clients who invested around £55m in Elysian Fuels, which was listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchangem, since been rebranded The International Stock Exchange (TISE).

To curb climate change, we need to protect and expand US forests
By William Moomaw, The Conversation, 9 May 2017
Forests have been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon for more than 300 million years. When we cut down or burn trees and disturb forest soils, we release that stored carbon to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from human activities have come from deforestation.
To slow climate change, we need to rapidly reduce global emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels, deforestation and wetland and agricultural soils. We need to also accelerate the removal of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere.

10 May 2017

[Indonesia] The power of peatlands
By Suzanna Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 10 May 2017
Peatlands cover only 3 percent of the Earth’s land and yet they store about 20 percent of the world’s carbon (in regards to their soil and the plants that grow within their ecosystems). However, peat fires and increased draining of these lands for agricultural purposes like palm oil have led to massive amounts of carbon being released as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.
One of the worst global environmental disasters occurred in Indonesia in 2015 when the daily CO2 emissions from Indonesia’s fires exceeded the daily emissions from the entire U.S. economy in the span of only 26 days.

Supporters relieved, see hope in delayed decision
By Jean Chemnick and Evan Lehmann, E&E News, 10 May 2017
Supporters of the Paris climate deal welcomed yesterday’s news that President Trump wouldn’t decide whether the United States will withdraw from it until after this month’s Group of Seven summit, hoping the extra time and exposure to foreign leaders will work in their favor.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a media briefing yesterday that Trump will announce his choice after the G-7 meeting instead of before it because he “wants to make sure that he has an opportunity to meet with his team, to create the best strategy for this country going forward.” A meeting between Trump and key White House staff set for yesterday was postponed indefinitely.

From the Bonn climate talks: Increasing ambition, inside and out.
By Douglas Fischer, The Daily Climate, 10 May 2017
Ambition is a recurring point of tension at the United Nations climate talks.
Activists keep pushing it. Scientists have made pretty clear we don’t have enough of it. Those of us living a carbon-rich Western lifestyle have built-in pushback against it.
That conflict is how I found myself Tuesday at the back of a room packed with activists and other representatives, listening as Harro van Asselt, senior research fellow at the Stockholm Environmental Institute, called for more inclusion of “non-party” stakeholders in the UN climate talks.
First, a bit of history: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change arose in 1992 from a global concern that something had to be done about climate change.

A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising.
By David Roberts, Vox, 10 May 2017
By now, the looming dangers of climate change are clear to anyone who’s been paying attention, covered extensively in both academic literature and the popular press.
But what about solutions?
For all the hand-wringing on climate change over the years, discussion of solutions remains puzzlingly anemic and fractured. A few high-profile approaches, mainly around renewable energy and electric cars, dominate discussion and modeling. But there’s been no real way for ordinary people to get an understanding of what they can do and what impact it can have. There remains no single, comprehensive, reliable compendium of carbon-reduction solutions across sectors.
At least until now.

Brazil’s archaeologists join fight to preserve country’s ancient lands
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 10 May 2017
Brazil’s archaeologists have lined up alongside conservationists and indigenous rights campaigners to protest against government proposals that they see as a threat to pre-colonial cultural heritage as well as forests, native communities and biodiversity.
The plan, to be debated by Congress on Wednesday, would roll back licensing rules for infrastructure projects, making it easier for construction companies to bulldoze sites of ancient Amazonian civilisations before they have been excavated.

[Cambodia] Calls to halt ‘reforestation’ plan
By Phak Seangly and Shaun Turton, Phnom Penh Post, 10 May 2017
Fourteen community representatives speaking for thousands of families yesterday petitioned the South Korean Embassy, Environment Ministry and Forestry Administration to halt the expansion of a controversial “reforestation” project by a Korean company situated between the protected Prey Lang forest and Mekong River.
Their petition – which calls for the reforestation concession to be converted into a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) protected area – was not accepted by the South Korean Embassy, though Cambodian authorities received the request.

EU carbon market faces changing hedging strategies, says analyst
Platts, 10 May 2017
Europe’s carbon market faces a paradigm shift as utilities may be adjusting their hedging strategies, according to an analyst.
A 37 million mt drop in open interest in the December 2017 futures contract between January 1 and May 1 this year suggests that utilities may be acquiring carbon through the daily auctions of EU emissions allowances rather than in the secondary market, Marcus Ferdinand, an analyst at ICIS, told an industry conference in Brussels Tuesday.

Indonesia ministry seeks to extend forest moratorium by two years
By Bernadette Christina Munthe, Reuters, 10 May 2017
Indonesia’s environment and forestry ministry wants to extend a moratorium on issuing new licences to use primary forest and peatland in the Southeast Asian country by two years, an official said on Wednesday.
The moratorium was established under the previous administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in a bid to reduce gas emissions linked to fires caused by deforestation, with peatlands particularly vulnerable.

11 May 2017

Thriving Communities and Strong Forests Go Hand-in-Hand
Rainforest Alliance, 11 May 2017
When the Rainforest Alliance was founded 30 years ago, the mainstream environmental movement was primarily concerned with the protection of vulnerable ecosystems through the creation of natural reserves. Most international environmental groups working to stop deforestation did not focus on the economic and social well-being of people living in and around the forest.
When the Rainforest Alliance’s founders established our first office in the tropics, however, it was clear to them that the health of a forest could not be viewed in isolation from its surrounding communities. Deforestation is a human phenomenon with clear, though highly complex, causes, mostly having to do with economic pressures.

Can Meadows Rescue the Planet from CO2?
By Jane Braxton Little, Scientific American, 11 May 2017
The record piles of snow across California’s Sierra Nevada are melting away, exposing once again its breathtaking alpine meadows. As temperatures warm the moist soil, the meadows quicken, cycling carbon from the ground into the atmosphere and back again in a pattern essential to the planet’s health. Scientists and land managers are heading into the mountains to measure the greenhouse gas activity at 16 hand-picked meadows—some recently restored, others degraded from a century of grazing and logging.
The four-year study is part of California’s pioneering effort to reduce carbon emissions. The project is designed to determine whether restored meadows hold more carbon than those that have been degraded. The outcome could prove pivotal for California and the planet. Worldwide, soils store three times more carbon than vegetation and the atmosphere combined. If the research shows restored meadows improve carbon storage, it could stimulate meadow restoration around the world.

Global carbon price needed to prevent dangerous global warming: New report
By Ilario D’Amato, The Climate Group, 11 May 2017
A worldwide carbon pricing system is needed to safeguard the future of the global economy, and to prevent dangerous levels of global warming, a group of over 200 leading organizations says in a new report from the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC).
CPLC works to expand carbon pricing globally with the aim of covering 25% of total emissions by 2020 – double the current level – and 50% within the next decade. The CPLC’s new report shows that members of The Climate Group’s initiatives are leading the race to develop and introduce bold, innovative policies that are good for citizens and businesses alike.

One of the world’s poorest countries is set to impose a carbon tax—because climate change affects us all
By Akshat Raathi, Quartz, 11 May 2017
While the richest country on Earth contemplates pulling out of the Paris climate agreement to limit global emissions, Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries, is planning to adopt even stricter measures to reduce emissions: According to sources in the nation’s finance ministry, Bangladesh will introduce a carbon tax on fuel, in a budget that will be announced later this year.
Economists—right, left, and center—argue that if done right, a tax on carbon can be one of the most effective routes to reducing emissions without dampening the economy. The idea of a carbon tax is to impose a cost on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the industry for making its products or, in this case, the fuel used. Like other taxes, the money collected can be put towards, say, environmental initiatives. Even the world’s largest fossil-fuel companies support it.

12 May 2017

5 reasons why Trump can’t tear up the Paris Agreement
By Emily Buchanan, Greenpeace UK, 12 May 2017
Since his inauguration in November last year, Donald Trump’s attack on the environment has been relentless. He’s approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, he’s put more than 2.7 million acres of iconic US landscape at risk from fossil fuel exploration and he’s proposing a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, effectively eliminating its climate change programs.
Now, Trump is threatening to pull out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark commitment struck by nearly 200 nations aimed at limiting global warming to well below 2°C. As the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the U.S. plays a massive role in achieving this. It’s hard to imagine how we’ll do it without them.

Getting down to business in Bonn
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forests News, 12 May 2017
The 46th sessions of the UN Climate Convention Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 46) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 46), as well as the third part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-3) is taking place from 8-18 May in Bonn, Germany.
Through these negotiation streams, all countries (including the U.S.) are getting down to business to negotiate the rule book to implement the Paris Agreement (PA), much of which relate to forests and land.

‘Indigenous people are stabilizing the global climate’
DW, 12 May 2017
Candido Mezua is an indigenous leader from Panama who was present at the recent violent protests in Brazil. At the climate conference in Bonn, he tells DW why it’s crucial for indigenous peoples to defend forests.
The Paris Agreement included indigenous peoples as a key element to improve climate protection. Recent studies have shown that titling land rights to indigenous communities decreases deforestation and forest degradation.
However, indigenous leaders say their land rights are still being violated – which prevents them from properly protecting the forests in which they live. Violent protests in Brasilia in late April have brought back the discussion back to the spotlight, as did a brutal attack on an indigenous tribe in Brazil at the beginning of May, in which a man had his hands cut off.

[India] Fires, poaching and more: In three months, forest helpline gets 8,500 calls
By Anuradha Mascarenhas, Indian Express, 12 May 2017
In three months, the ‘hello forest’ helpline number — 1926 — has received over 8,500 calls, with poaching, illegal tree felling and encroachment being the major complaints.
The helpline, launched on January 5, is aimed at making forest governance transparent and credible. According to state forest officials, 945 emergency calls were made to the call centre with the dedicated 24X7 helpline facility. This was a first-of-its-kind single-point public interface with the forest department.

Jamaica to Earn from Reduction of GHG Emissions
By Denise Dennis, Jamaica Information Service, 12 May 2017
Jamaica has embarked on the first phase of a global initiative that will enable the country to cash in on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forestry Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) aims to provide positive incentives to countries to contribute to climate-change mitigation through activities in the forestry and land use sectors.
“So, the programme is basically trying to provide a dollar value for the carbon that is stored in trees and allow the value to be greater than any other opportunity cost that is out there,” said Senior Research Officer of the Forestry Department, Brahim Diop, in an interview with JIS News.

America’s tragic fall from international climate leader to global embarrassment
By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, 12 May 2017
In December of 2015, the entire city of Paris was on edge. Just weeks after devastating attacks left 130 dead and 367 more injured, the city was still under a state of emergency, a feeling of silent mourning and fear mixing with its indefatigable spirit.
Paris was afforded little time to recover before it was once again thrust onto the world stage, playing host to hundreds of thousands of environmental experts, world leaders, diplomats, and journalists who gathered for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

13 May 2017

[India] BRT forests have changed radically. Is the fire ban to blame?
By Nitin D. Rai and C. Madegowda, The Hindu, 13 May 2017
Soligas can no longer recognise the forest they have lived in for generations. It is now colonised by an invasive weed.
Bangi Range Gowda is an elderly Soliga man whose lungs, after years of smoking, will only allow him to speak a few words before a bout of violent coughing cuts him short. Although in great discomfort, he speaks to us animatedly about how as a young man he and other Soligas burnt the forest every year.

[India] After two-month delay, probe into Karnataka forest fires begins
By Meera Bhardwaj, The New Indian Express, 13 May 2017
The CID probe into the massive forest fire in Bandipur tiger reserve and Kappatagudda has taken off albeit after a delay of nearly two months. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced a probe by Criminal Investigation Department on March 6 after thousands of acres of forest in Bandipur and Kappatagudda was gutted and a forest guard was killed while trying to douse the fire in Bandipur.
A CID forest cell, DIG Nagaraj said, “We have taken up the case and inquiry is going on at four places.”

[New Zealand] Big South Island forest for sale
By Colin Taylor, True Commercial, 13 May 2017
A big forest with 1902ha of established trees and a freehold land area of 2411ha, is for sale in Marlborough 79kms southwest of Blenheim, along with significant forestry infrastructure.
“This is a rare chance for an astute purchaser to secure a well-managed forest of scale,” says Jeremy Keating of CBRE Agribusiness who, with fellow director Warwick Searle, ismarketing Manuka Island Forest for sale by deadline expressions of interest with responses to be submitted by Thursday June 1, to the agency’s Auckland office.

14 May 2017

Sri Lanka’s forest-based strategy to combat the threat of climate change
The Island, 14 May 2017
It is now an established fact that the root cause of rapidly increasing changes in climatic conditions across the world is a rise in the concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to NASA scientists, this decades-long trend of rapidly increasing average global temperature is continuing, and is aggravated with Arctic sea ice decline.
Through the Sri Lanka NEXT initiative, the government of Sri Lanka is committed to achieving a sustainable development pathway that delivers broad-based economic growth while also contributing to the global fight against climate change. While the reduction of emissions is now given priority by progressive nations worldwide, the United Nations has been supporting the government of Sri Lanka to find practical ways to safeguard and maintain the island’s forest cover through the UN-REDD Programme for nearly four years.

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