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REDD in the news: 21-27 August 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.

21 August 2017

Climate Change Solutions: Bringing Forests to Center Stage
By Nancy Harris and Donna Lee, World Resources Institute, 21 August 2017
Forests are natural heroes of the climate change story. They soak up nearly a third of fossil fuel emissions, with the potential to absorb even more. But when cleared, they become as villainous as smokestacks, emitting carbon back into an increasingly polluted atmosphere. The paradoxical dual role of forests in the context of climate action has intrigued scientists and stumped policymakers for decades.
As the need for climate solutions becomes increasingly urgent, a new series of publications by the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) aims to demystify this topic for climate insiders and others.

Measuring the effectiveness of subnational REDD+ initiatives
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Forests News, 21 August 2017
Forests play a central role in climate change mitigation, as recognized by the Paris Agreement. Over the last decade, hundreds of subnational initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) have flourished worldwide, and numerous countries mention either forests or REDD+ as part of their mitigation strategies. Yet, very little is known about the carbon effectiveness of these initiatives.
“There is a lot of attention on how to implement REDD+ at the national and international level, especially with respect to designing financial frameworks and measuring the global tree cover change,” explains Astrid Bos. “What is not so clear is how to measure the impact of specific initiatives on the ground.”

Negative Emissions from Stopping Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Globally
By R.A. Houghton, A.A. Nassikas, Global Change Biology, 21 August 2017
Forest growth provides negative emissions of carbon that could help keep the earth’s surface temperature from exceeding 2°C, but the global potential is uncertain. Here we use land-use information from the FAO and a bookkeeping model to calculate the potential negative emissions that would result from allowing secondary forests to recover. We find the current gross carbon sink in forests recovering from harvests and abandoned agriculture to be -4.4 PgC yr−1, globally. The sink represents the potential for negative emissions if positive emissions from deforestation and wood harvest were eliminated. However, the sink is largely offset by emissions from wood products built up over the last century. Accounting for these committed emissions, we estimate that stopping deforestation and allowing secondary forests to grow would yield cumulative negative emissions between 2016 and 2100 of about 120 PgC, globally. Extending the lifetimes of wood products could potentially remove another 10 PgC from the atmosphere, for a total of approximately 130 PgC, or about 13 years of fossil fuel use at today’s rate. As an upper limit, the estimate is conservative. It is based largely on past and current practices. But if greater negative emissions are to be realized, they will require an expansion of forest area, greater efficiencies in converting harvested wood to long-lasting products and sources of energy, and novel approaches for sequestering carbon in soils. That is, they will require current management practices to change.

Burger King animal feed sourced from deforested lands in Brazil and Bolivia
By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 21 August 2017
The hamburger chain Burger King has been buying animal feed produced in soy plantations carved out by the burning of tropical forests in Brazil and Bolivia, according to a new report.
Jaguars, giant anteaters and sloths have all been affected by the disappearance of around 700,000 hectares (1,729,738 acres) of forest land between 2011 and 2015.
The campaign group Mighty Earth says that evidence gathered from aerial drones, satellite imaging, supply-chain mapping and field research shows a systematic pattern of forest-burning.

Temer’s rollback of Brazil’s environmental and indigenous protections threatens livelihoods and world’s climate goals
By Juliana Splendore and Joelson Felix, EDF, 21 August 2017
One year into his presidency, Brazilian President Temer is leading a dismantling of crucial protections for Brazil’s indigenous territories and the environment.
New policies the president recently approved put at risk indigenous peoples’ rights to their lands, and could open the flood gates for Amazon deforestation, which has been rising dramatically in the past few years.
The president’s actions, aimed at winning the favor of the powerful agriculture lobby in Congress, threaten the livelihoods of the indigenous peoples who live in the forests, as well as Brazil’s international climate leadership and the world’s ability to meet the greenhouse gas emissions targets agreed to in the Paris Agreement.

DRC: Indigenous peoples involved in natural resources management with WWF support
WWF, 21 August 2017
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, indigenous peoples have a special relationship with the forest, which is one of the foundations of their way of life and culture. Unfortunately, they have had to suffer, to varying degrees, marginalization from other local populations. WWF naturally became interested in the fate of these populations while implementing forest management projects.
In 2010, WWF started working on structuring the largest platform of indigenous associations: the Network of Indigenous and Local Populations for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems (REPALEF). This network presently includes 180 member associations reaching 30,000 to 50,000 people in all the DRC provinces. This platform aims to increase the participation of indigenous peoples in the sustainable management of natural resources in the country.

[USA] To Protect Vulnerable Populations, Plant More Trees
By Pascal Mittermaier, The Nature Conservancy, 21 August 2017
If you want evidence of climate change’s devastating effects, just look at the news over the last few weeks. Phoenix, Arizona got so hot planes couldn’t land. Iran set a new record temperature of 54°C. Perhaps most frightening, a devastating heatwave continues to grip much of Europe, killing at least five people so far and causing droughts, wildfires and transit shutdowns—Italians have dubbed the weather event “Lucifer.”
One can argue there’s nothing new or remarkable about summer heatwaves, of course. But what is new and remarkable is their frequency and intensity, and they’ll likely get worse if we don’t take steps to curb climate change. Cities will be particularly hard hit, as the urban heat island effect—caused by sparse vegetation and heat-absorbing surfaces like asphalt—can result in temperatures as much as 12°C higher than in less-developed areas nearby. While the heat island effect will remain consistent as the climate changes, the additive challenges of higher temperatures and paved cities will make many neighborhoods less livable.

22 August 2017

COP 23 Provisional Agendas Released
By Elena Kosolapova, IISD, 22 August 2017
The next UN Climate Change Conference will convene in Bonn, Germany, from 6-17 November 2017. Presided over by the Government of Fiji, it will focus on implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which entered into force on 4 November 2016. The Conference will include the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UNFCCC, the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 13) and the 47th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 47). The UNFCCC Secretariat has recently released the provisional agendas for these meetings.

Why social safeguards matter for managing trade-offs under REDD+
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 22 August 2017
Local people can benefit from climate change mitigation schemes to keep tropical forests standing and enhance forest cover — if the mix of incentives and deterrents is right, a new study shows.
Global climate change mitigation is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and tropical forest conservation is an important piece of the puzzle. But millions of people in tropical countries rely on forest resources for their survival.
That’s why the UN-backed REDD+ scheme — which aims to avoid deforestation and forest degradation and enhance carbon stocks — includes a set of social safeguards for participating countries, to try to ensure local people are helped rather than harmed by the process.

Floods claim more than 800 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh
By Rebecca Ratcliffe, The Guardian (supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), 22 August 2017
More than 800 people have been killed and 24 million affected following widespread floods across south Asia.
Severe flooding has devastated communities and destroyed crops in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, with NGOs warning of food shortages and the risk of disease.
In Bangladesh, where the floods are thought to be the most severe in 100 years, more than a third of the country has been submerged. Najibullah Hameem, chief of field office for the UN children’s agency, Unicef, in Bangladesh, told the Guardian on Monday that water levels are now going down, but that aid workers are running out of crucial supplies needed to protect communities from disease. At least 115 people have died and more than 5.7 million are affected.

[Indonesia] Six Provinces Impose State of Emergency as Forest Fires Loom
By Alin Almanar, Jakarta Globe, 22 August 2017
The authorities have declared a state of emergency in six provinces prone to devastating wildfires, as the dry season wears on in Indonesia.
According to state data, 538 hot spots have been detected across the country as of Tuesday (22/08), with the highest numbers in West Kalimantan — 193 — and Papua — 143.
The state of emergency has been imposed in West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Jambi, Riau and South Sumatra.
“This is to make it easier to provide assistance,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.
“The handling of the land and forest fires will be more coordinated.”

[Indonesia] BNPB warns of more forest fires in upcoming weeks
By Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta Post, 22 August 2017
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has warned of an increasing risk of land and forest fires from August to September as a result of the prolonged dry season.
The BNPB recorded that, based on the Terra, Aqua and SNPP satellites, 538 hot spots were detected on Tuesday with a confidence level of medium-to-high.
The actual numbers, however, might be higher than that already detected since the Terra and Aqua satellites do not pass through several regions the BNPB deems as blank spots — Aceh, Jambi, Riau, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Gorontalo and East NusaTenggara.

[New Zealand] New research: carbon farming native trees on Maori land
Voxy.co.nz, 22 August 2017
A new three year research project beginning this year will identify the opportunities and barriers for Maori land on the East Coast that could be used for native forest regeneration for carbon farming.
“With the manuka honey industry taking off and the Paris Agreement causing carbon prices to increase, earning an income from native trees may become lucrative. These days, converting Maori land to native forest carbon farming is a serious business opportunity worthy of study,” said Panapa Ehau, managing director of charitable company Hikurangi Enterprises in Ruatoria who is working with Maori landowners on the East Coast to identify alternative land use options.
Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust, Hikurangi Enterprises, and Victoria University of Wellington will work together on the project as one of eight initiatives receiving $3.3 million through the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research Programme (SLMACC) funded by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

[Nigeria] Climate Change: Conservation International meets NASS Clerks on mitigation
By Dele Anofi and Olugbenga Adanikin, The Nation, 22 August 2017
Conservation International (CI) has pledged to assist Nigeria against climate change impacts and better conserve the nation’s environment.
The international organization, during an interactive session with Clerks of Committees of the National Assembly (NASS) on Environment, Ecology, Water Resources and Transportation, said preservation of the country’s natural habitat became important to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Deforestation from gold mining in Peru continues, despite gov’t crackdowns
By John C. Cannon, Mongabay, 22 August 2017
Tambopata National Reserve is a haven for plants and wildlife, not to mention ecologists eager to understand the mysteries of the forest in this corner of the Peruvian Amazon.
“It’s just seething with species,” said Greg Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University. “It’s a place where I’ve seen jaguars swimming across rivers and huge amounts of fauna.”

Massive highway planned for Philippines’ Palawan Island
By Matthew P. Reed, Mongabay, 22 August 2017
Plans are underway for the construction of a massive superhighway on the highly biodiverse Palawan Island in the Philippines. The project would aim to expand the island’s existing road into a six-lane highway, spanning roughly 600 kilometers from El Nido on the northeastern end of the island to Bataraza on the southwestern side. But many on the island are critical of the project, fearing such a road could devastate Palawan’s distinct forest ecosystem and rare species.
“Even at two lanes, we do not experience any heavy traffic, so why do we need six?” Robert Chan, legal expert and head of the Palawan NGO Network, asked.

23 August 2017

This is why when you talk about climate change, you can’t ignore agriculture
By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post, 23 August 2017
Agriculture has historically released almost as much carbon into the atmosphere as deforestation, a new study suggests — and that’s saying something.
In a paper published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that land use changes associated with planting crops and grazing livestock have caused a loss of 133 billion tons of carbon from soil worldwide over the last 12,000 years, amounting to about 13 years of global emissions at their current levels. And at least half of those losses have probably occurred in the last few centuries.

Photos: Brazil’s Amazon forest agents fight illegal loggers, fires
Hindustan Times, 23 August 2017
The small town of Apui sits at the new front-line of Brazil’s fight against advancing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest where vast fires belch jet black smoke visible for miles while loggers denude the jungle. According to PRODES (Programa Despoluicao de bacias Hidrograficas or Basin Restoration Program) roughtly 7,989 square kilometres of forest were destroyed in 2016, a 29% increase over the previous year.

Indonesia forest threatened by development despite new rules
By Stephen Wright and Niniek Karmini, Associated Press, 23 August 2017
In a remote corner of Borneo, an Indonesian company and its Chinese partner are pushing ahead with an industrial wood plantation in a tropical forest and orangutan habitat, apparently flouting government regulations intended to prevent a repeat of disastrous fires in 2015.
Photos and drone footage taken by activists in late July show an extensive drainage canal full of water, heavy earth-moving equipment on the land and planting of seedlings despite an order in March from the Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya to cease operations.

Using compost to preserve forests in Madagascar
By Sandrine Perroud, Phys.org, 23 August 2017
Research by an EPFL PhD student has found a way to boost Madagascar’s corn crop yields up to five times while decreasing deforestation at the same time.
As part of her PhD research at EPFL’s Ecological Systems Laboratory (ECOS), Justine Gay-des-Combes discovered a sustainable method for improving the slash-and-burn farming practices traditionally used in Madagascar, whereby a wooded area is burned to create a field for growing crops. Slash-and-burn farming also plays a role in the island’s deforestation.

A section of coral reef off Mexico has been given its own insurance policy
By Maeve Heslin, Lonely Planet, 23 August 2017
A section of the Mesoamerican coral reef off the coast of Puerto Morelos in Mexico is set to make history. Thanks to the newly-founded Reef and Beach Resilience and Insurance Fund (RRIF), local businesses will contribute to an insurance policy that will protect the 40-mile length of colourful reef.
This unusual action is due to the increasing threats facing coral all around the world; storm damage and pollution are just two ways this delicate eco-system can be damaged. Working with the Nature Conservancy, insurance company Swiss Re AG are setting up the policy. In the event of damage, payouts will ensure the reef is restored to its former glory.

[Nigeria] ICAO, ECOWAS brainstorm to tackle climate change
The News Nigeria, 23 August 2017
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) would brainstorm to reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change in Africa.
The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Muhtar Usman, disclosed this at a workshop/Seminar organised by the authority on Wednesday in Lagos.
Usman explained that the seminar was a three-day programme to build the capacity of member States from this region on the Development of States’ Action Plans and CORSIA.

[UK] Why pensions cold calling ban leaves me cold
By Paul Lewis, Money Marketing, 23 August 2017
It is a hard thing to be against but I am not excited about the recent announcement that cold calls will be banned. Partly, of course, because they will not. The ban will only extend to calls (and I include texts and emails in that word) about pensions.
Cold calls from boiler room share rampers will not be banned. Nor will those from firms offering “investments” in airport car parks or shipping containers. Calls from personal injury firms will continue because the Government has separately decided not to ban those. As will those from PPI claims management firms.

[USA] California’s carbon market roars back to life
By Nathanael Johnson, Grist, 23 August 2017
California’s carbon market roars back to life. Legal challenges and political uncertainty had etherized the scheme — at an auction last year, 98 percent of the credits were left unsold. Nobody wanted to buy into a program that might die. But now that the courts have cleared the legal challenges and the legislature has extended a bulletproof version of the policy until 2030, industry has bought up every carbon credit available.
Earlier this month, California and Quebec, working together, auctioned off 64 million carbon credits at $14.75 — the highest price in years. The sale raised nearly a billion dollars. Some $300 million of the proceeds will go to low-income electricity users and pay for energy efficiency programs in California and Quebec. The balance, $640 million, will go to California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, an all-time high, according to the Environmental Defense Fund’s Erica Morehouse.

[USA] The Nature Conservancy Applauds States for Strengthening the Successful RGGI Program and Stepping Up the Region’s Leadership in Fighting Climate Change
The Nature Conservancy, 23 August 2017
Today, in a much-anticipated bipartisan agreement, the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont – the nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – announced that they will extend and strengthen the nation’s first CO2 cap and trade program to ensure greater consumer benefits and reduce even more pollution through 2030. The RGGI states’ show of leadership is a breath of fresh air as the federal government continues to stall on climate action.

24 August 2017

New timber risk assessments help companies source legal wood
NEPCon, 24 August 2017
Today, we’re releasing the NEPCon Sourcing Hub, the biggest and most detailed collection of forest-related risk assessments that have ever been published.
The Sourcing Hub helps companies meet due diligence requirements of market regulation such as the EU Timber Regulation. The Hub contains assessments of the risks of illegal timber production and trade in 62 countries, covering 87% of global timber production.
While most data is available for timber, the Sourcing Hub also contains risk assessments for palm oil, soy and beef that address environmental, social and legality risks in 10 countries. The risk assessments cover 82% of global palm oil production.

What does it take for a large corporation to go green?
By Laura Elizabeth, OZY (Created by JP Morgan Chase), 24 August 2017
Though there have been various headline-grabbing moves towards eco-friendly business in recent times, how realistic is it really for a large corporation to operate sustainably? Think about everything it takes to run a global conglomerate. How could that possibly go entirely green?
For one multinational, the answer is a two-pronged approach, aimed at delivering scale instead of small, piecemeal changes. One prong is to create a whole new infrastructure that uses green technology; the other is to collaborate with other companies and create change outside as well as within.

Brazil abolishes huge Amazon reserve in ‘biggest attack’ in 50 years
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 24 August 2017
The Brazilian president Michel Temer has abolished an Amazonian reserve the size of Denmark, prompting concerns of an influx of mineral companies, road-builders and workers into the species-rich forest.
The dissolution of the Renca reserve – which spans 46,000 sq km on the border of the Amapa and Para states – was described by one opposition senator Randolfe Rodrigues of the Sustainability Network party, as the “biggest attack on the Amazon of the last 50 years”.
Conservationists said it will open the door for mining companies to enter Renca – the Portuguese acronym for the National Reserve of Copper and Associates – which was set up in 1984 and encompasses nine protected areas.

[Indonesia] Community participation as REDD+ safeguard: What matters?
By Shintia Dian Arwida, Cythia Maharani, Indah Waty, and Amy Duchelle, CIFOR Forest News, 24 August 2017
When making decisions about land use, involving diverse members of the community can help ensure fairer outcomes for all and sustainability of the project beyond the implementation period.
This is one of the key ideas behind the promotion of community participation as a safeguard for implementing REDD+: schemes to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, while fostering conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Nigeria to join aviation emission reduction implementation by 2021
By Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi, Punch, 24 August 2017
Nigeria will by 2021 join the International Civil Aviation Organisation in the implementation of the pilot phase of the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said.
The Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, made this known on Wednesday at a workshop on the development of states’ action plans on aviation carbon emission mitigation measures and CORSIA for states affiliated to ICAO Western and Central African and the Economic Community of West African States.

[USA] NGO demands Trump-Pruitt emails on Paris withdrawal
By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home, 24 August 2017
A US NGO has submitted a public record request for correspondence between Donald Trump and his top advisors that may have influenced his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement.
The Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD) released a statement on Wednesday outlining announcing it was seeking “all reports and memoranda that the administration relied upon when it made its decision”.
The CBD has requested related emails, telephone logs and notes from meetings regarding the Paris accord between Trump, his secretary of state Rex Tillerson and head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scott Pruitt.

[USA] Blazing a New Trail for Forests and the Carbon Market
By Scot Quaranda, Dogwood Alliance, 24 August 2017
Ten years ago, a unique collaborative was initiated between the forest products industry, retailers, private landowners, and conservation organizations that strove to discover how the carbon market could improve forests management and protect forests on private lands in the Southern US. Ultimately the project led to increased protection for thousands of acres of forests in the southern Appalachians and spawned several new initiatives across the region.
A new report released today, “Carbon Canopy: Lessons from Nearly a Decade of Developing Forest Carbon Projects in Southern Appalachia,” includes valuable technical, economic and social knowledge that was gained and should serve as a road map for those interested in utilizing the carbon market to protect forests and improve management in working forest landscapes.

25 August 2017

Life-saving fossil fuel phase-out can work
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 25 August 2017
Californian scientists say a fossil fuel phase-out is achievable that would contain climate change, deliver energy entirely from wind, water and sunlight to 139 nations, and save up to 7 million lives each year.
They say it would also create a net gain of 24 million long-term jobs, all by 2050, and at the same time limit global warming to 1.5°C or less.
The roadmap is entirely theoretical, and depends entirely on the political determination within each country to make the switch work. But, the researchers argue, they have provided a guide towards an economic and social shift that could save economies each year around $20 trillion in health and climate costs.

Quilombolas’ community land rights under attack by Brazilian ruralists
By Sue Branford, Mongabay, 25 August 2017
With the recent onslaught of initiatives launched by Brazil’s wealthy ruralist elite to undo environmental and indigenous protections so as to seize more land for agribusiness, the plight of the Quilombolas — the people living in the remote hinterland communities set up by Afro-Brazilians, largely runaway slaves — has received little press.
Yet for Quilombola communities, the consequences of a legal action challenging their land rights, awaiting judgement in Brazil’s Supreme Court, could be dramatic and devastating.

“Germans expect plan for coal exit from next government”
Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), 25 August 2017
72 percent of Germans say that the next government should decide on a timetable for the country’s coal exit, according to a representative survey by Kantar Emnid, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). 59 percent of respondents said that German coal-fired power plants should be decommissioned “soon”. BUND head Hubert Weiger said this showed that Germans “expect the federal government to act on a coal exit. A large number of coal-fired power plants must be shut down within the coming two to three years.”

Nigeria: Govt Joins in the Fight Against CO2 Emission in Air Travel
By Chinedu Eze, This Day, 25 August 2017
The federal government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has joined the countries that have endorsed the implementation of the CO2 Emissions Mitigation Measures and Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
It is targeted that the full implementation would take place in 2021 and Nigeria has developed and submitted its State Action Plan to ICAO and has also voluntarily notified it that it will join CORSIA implementation from the outset during the pilot phase from 2021.

Peru tribal leaders vow to halt oil output unless indigenous rights respected
By Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 25 August 2017
Indigenous leaders from the area around Peru’s largest oil field have threatened to block the government from accessing their territories and halt oil production unless an indigenous rights law is applied within 20 days.
The tribal leaders, who hail from four Amazon river basins, accuse the government of refusing to carry out a consultation process even though it is negotiating a new 30-year contract for oil block 192 with Frontera Energy, a Canadian firm, whose current contract expires in early 2019.
The so-called prior consultation law, passed in 2011 in Peru, requires the government to seek free, prior and informed consent from indigenous people before approving any development plans that might affect them.

26 August 2017

Can swarms of seed-bearing drones help regrow the planet’s forests?
By Greg Callaghan, The Age, 26 August 2017
Resting in the middle of a grassy field like a giant black beetle, the multi-rotor drone looks pretty much like any other commercial model – the type you might see hovering over a football stadium, capturing bird’s-eye footage of a forward charging towards the try line. Similar helicopter-like drones, equipped with cameras and sensors, are set to take to our skies in droves over the next decade: in the US, companies such as Amazon, Domino’s, Walmart and Google are trialling drone delivery systems; in Australia they’re already being used by industries as diverse as real estate and defence, and are currently being tested for their ability to deliver vital medical supplies to remote areas.

[Guyana] Local, Chinese companies to invest millions, employ hundreds at former Barama concession
By Danis Chabrol, Demerara Waves, 26 August 2017
Almost one year after Barama Company Limited (BCL) gave up its 1.6 million hectare forest concession, Guyana on Saturday announced that two lots totaling 800,000 hectares of that area have been awarded to R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill, and Rong-An Inc.
The Ministry of Natural Resources said the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) said over the next three years- July 2017 to July 2020-, the State Forest Exploratory Permits (SFEP) would allow the companies to conduct an “assessment prior to commercial full scale harvesting.”

27 August 2017

[Guyana] US$9.5M investment, 500 jobs projected from new operations in former Barama concessions
Stabroek News, 27 August 2017
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) has awarded two lots totaling over 800,000 hectares of the former Barama Company Limited concession to two companies, R.L. Sukhram and Sons Sawmill and Chinese company Rong-An Inc, which is expected to yield a total investment of US$9.5 million by 2020 and the creation of 524 jobs when the operations are at full scale. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

How to offset Trump’s climate science ignorance – plant 10bn trees
By Carmen Fishwick, The Guardian, 27 August 2017
A campaign to plant enough trees to offset Donald Trump’s climate policies is under way. Organisers hope to plant 10bn trees by 24 December 2017, with the last one being a Christmas tree planted in front of the White House.
The organisers of Trump Forest are asking people to donate trees to make up for the 650m tonnes of CO2 that will be released into the atmosphere by 2025 if the president’s plans to backtrack on US climate commitments go ahead.

[USA] Did Climate Change Intensify Hurricane Harvey?
By Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 27 August 2017
Every so often, the worst-case scenario comes to pass.
As of Sunday afternoon, the remnants of Hurricane Harvey seem likely to exceed the worst forecasts that preceded the storm. The entire Houston metropolitan region is flooding: Interstates are under feet of water, local authorities have asked boat owners to join rescue efforts, and most of the streams and rivers near the city are in flood stage.
Some models suggest that the storm will linger over the area until Wednesday night, dumping 50 inches of water in total on Houston and the surrounding area.

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  1. I am one of the many aware people on this planet, who have a deep concern for the natural forests of the Earth, along with the tribal communities that live in balance within them. I appreciate the complex relationships of the different forms of life, and how they are under severe threat from badly motivated companies and politicians.

    Every time I read an article on some threat to an area of pristine forest, I feel dismayed and impotent that I cannot prevent what is happening. However, through various organisations set up to protect such areas, I can donate some money to buy various sites that harbour priceless plant, insect and animal species. However, these efforts are really minor compared to the vast areas being destroyed for palm oil, mining, timber, ranching and oil extraction. It is to be hoped that enough refuges will be created, and that they can act as restorers of the damaged natural world, some time in the future, when the greedy and rapacious side of mankind has disappeared from the
    Earth. Meantime, the whole of the economically successful parts of the world, with unrealistic economic growth rate targets and uncontrollable population growth, will continue to dominate, and further badly impact on the natural world, with fearful consequences for present and future generations. It is too late to stop the juggernaut of corruption and destruction, we can only partly lessen its careering movement across the world landscape.