A new report by the Forest Peoples Programme finds that “Deforestation and forest degradation have increased in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite the government’s commitment to safeguard its forests”.
The Areng Valley in southwest Cambodia has been home to the Chong indigenous people for more than 600 years. The area is also home to elephants, pileated gibbons, clouded leopards, and is one of the most important breeding sites for the endangered Siamese crocodile. But a proposed dam threatens the river, the forests and its inhabitants.
The Paraguayan Chaco covers an area about the size of Poland. Thorn forests provide habitat to a wide range of species, including jaguar, ocelot, puma, tapir and giant armadillo. It is home to indigenous peoples, such as the Ayoreo, some of whom are uncontacted, the last uncontacted indigenous tribe south of the Amazon.
One year ago, Wetlands International released a report that revealed that the rate of deforestation in Malaysia’s province of Sarawak is about 2% a year. Most is being converted to oil palm plantations. “Total deforestation in Sarawak is 3.5 times as much as that for entire Asia, while deforestation of peat swamp forest is 11.7 times as much,” the report states.
The Dayak Benuaq Indigenous People of Muara Tae in East Kalimantan are defending their last remaining area of forest against two palm oil companies. “This is the last remaining forests that we have and the only land we have to survive. If my forests are gone, our lives will end,” says Pak Singko, a leader of the Dayak Benuaq of Muara Tae.
Earlier this week, Greenpeace activists blockaded a Chinese logging ship, the Fu Tian, that was exporting timber from Papua New Guinea. The ship was docked near the village of West Pomio, where villagers are protesting the operations of Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau and its subsidiary, Gilford Limited.
Two pieces of depressing news from the Amazon. First, the price of gold has increased, leading to increased mining and increased deforestation. Second, Brazil is planning to invest US$120 billion in large-scale infrastructure projects in the Amazon region.
An anonymous article in the September 2011 UN-REDD newsletter paints a rosy picture of REDD-readiness in the Republic of Congo. An anonymous response, sent to REDD-Monitor yesterday, argues that the UN-REDD article ignores the on-going destruction of the Republic of Congo’s forests.
Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, recently announced that he would allow the destruction of 7,100 hectares of the Mabira Forest to make way for sugarcane plantations. If REDD is to mean anything in Uganda, it has to provide some sort of mechanism for preventing this sort of destruction. So far, there is no sign that this is the case.
On 1 February 2011, Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, awarded two concessions covering a total area of 18,855 hectares for conversion to rubber plantations. No surprises there, then. Hun Sen’s government awards land concessions on an astonishingly regular basis. But these two concessions are perhaps a little more surprising because they are inside a national park.
“Forests under Threat,” was the title of a recent article in the Phnom Penh Post. It’s a good article, but the headline could have been this year’s entry for the Basil Fawlty Award for stating the bleeding obvious. Cambodia’s forests, what’s left of them after years of destructive logging (legal and illegal), industrial agrobusiness and mining concessions, are among the most threatened on the planet.