Any proposal to reduce deforestation must find a way of addressing the causes of deforestation. So if REDD is a serious attempt to reduce deforestation it must address the causes of deforestation. But a recent paper by three of CIFOR’s scientists found that causes of deforestation are not part of discussions about REDD.
At the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Indonesia’s President famously promised that Indonesia would reduce its emissions by 26% by 2020 from business as usual. With international suppport, he said, Indonesia could reduce emissions by 41%. Four years on and there’s practically nothing to show for Yudhoyono’s promises.
Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesia’s Minister of Forestry, made the headlines last week when he said he was “shocked” by 71-year-old actor Harrison Ford’s questions about deforestation. Perhaps Zulkifli had forgotten the scale of the problem in Indonesia.
Between 2007 and 2011, Indonesia lost more than US$7 billion to illegal logging and mismanagement in the forestry sector. That’s the shocking finding of a new report by Human Rights Watch: “The Dark Side of Green Growth: Human Rights Impacts of Weak Governance in Indonesia’s Forestry Sector”.
In February 2013, Siri Gedde-Dahl, a journalist with Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper, investigated corruption in a REDD project in Tanzania funded by Norway. In a recent Aftenposten article, Gedde-Dahl reports that Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, the Tanzanian NGO that was running the project, has collapsed.
This week, Global Witness released a new report investigating a land grabbing crisis in Laos and Cambodia. The report looks at two Vietnamese “rubber baron” companies, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG). Global Witness found that these companies “have leased vast tracts of land for plantations in Laos and Cambodia, with disastrous consequences for local communities and the environment”.
WWF loves “sustainability”. With “sustainability”, there’s no need to address over-consumption, or the never-ending growth of capitalist expansion. Consumption can increase, as long as it’s “sustainable”.
A new report by Carbon Trade Watch takes a detailed and critical look at REDD from the perspective of land enclosures. “REDD+ will not stop deforestation,” the report argues. Rather than addressing the root causes of deforestation, REDD promotes the argument that environmental destruction in one location can be ‘compensated’ in another. As such, REDD reinforces underlying causes of deforestation.
The Alto Mayo Protected Forest in the Peruvian Amazon covers about 182,000 hectares. Although it became a protected area in 1987, it remained under serious threat. Today it is the site of a REDD project run by Conservation International with funding from Walt Disney.
In November 2012, Chu Wenze, the chairman of Chinese logging company Bai Shan Lin, gave a presentation outlining his company’s plans for Guyana at the 2nd World Congress on Timber & Wood Products Trade in Taicang, China. The company’s plans expose Guyana’s proposals to reduce deforestation and forest degradation as a bunch of lies.
This week the 10th Skoll World Forum takes place at the Saïd Business School in Oxford. One of the topics for debate is “How do we feed the world and still address the drivers of deforestation?”
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.