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REDD in the news: 23-29 April 2012

REDD in the news: 23-29 April 2012

A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.

23 April 2012

Companies try to reduce humanity’s footprint

By Sarah Murray, Financial Times, 23 April 2012 | High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs; and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights. The Worldwatch Institute, an environmental group, argues in a recent report that, with the rate at which natural resources are consumed more than doubling in the past 50 years and up to 2bn more aspiring consumers, humanity is “outstripping its resource base at an unprecedented global scale”. It is a message many companies are taking seriously. The question is whether their environmental strategies are sufficiently ambitious. Be it water stewardship or carbon reduction, it is hard these days to find a leading brand that does not proclaim a range of environmental goals.

FIP Pilot Country Meeting Evaluates REDD+ Initiatives

Biodiversity Policy & Practice (IISD), 23 April 2012 | The third meeting of pilot countries participating in the Forest Investment Program (FIP) addressed: developing innovative approaches to invest in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+); working with the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities; and sharing views on the design and implementation of systems to monitor REDD+ investment results. The FIP is a programme funded by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), which is currently supporting pilot projects in Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico and Peru. The meeting, which took place from 2-3 April 2012, in Brasilia, Brazil, allowed pilot country participants to share experiences in regulating REDD+ at the country level and discuss innovative approaches to promote mitigation…

Burkina Faso, DRC and Ghana share innovations in REDD+ investments

African Development Bank, 23 April 2012 | On 2 and 3 April 2012, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ghana joined other countries from around the world participating in the Forest Investment Program (FIP) in Brasilia, Brazil, for their third annual FIP pilot countries meeting. They shared innovations in investments to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and discussed working with private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities. The meeting also offered an opportunity to advance the design and implementation of systems to monitor results and manage knowledge. As an implementing agency of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), of which the FIP is a part, the African Development Bank (AfDB) also attended to lend support and offer insights.

Warning on Indonesia’s Disappearing Forests

Jakarta Globe, 23 April 2012 | An environmental group on Sunday called on the Aceh administration to stop issuing permits to convert forested areas for other uses. “We also call for the government to immediately conduct an inspection of all forest conversion permits,” T.M. Zulfikar, the executive director of the Aceh office of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), said in Banda Aceh on Sunday. Zulfikar said the permits, which are issued to plantation, mining and other firms, should be reevaluated. He added that the government should reestablish people’s customary rights to forest areas to ensure their preservation. Zulfikar said 58 percent of Aceh’s 5.7 million hectares was covered by forests, but that this was shrinking under the pretext of investment, both in plantations and mines.

Indonesia, greens move to stop eco disaster

Times LIVE, 23 April 2012 | The Indonesian government and environmentalists have moved to halt the destruction of a peatland forest after activists warned that the endangered Sumatran orangutans in the area have almost been driven to extinction. A coalition of local and international conservation groups warned last month that orangutans in the Tripa forest on Sumatra island could disappear by the end this year unless action was taken to stop land clearing using fire by plantation companies. “Palm oil companies have been burning peatlands in violation of Indonesian laws,” said Ian Singleton, director for the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program. “The situation is urgent and requires action.” The Coalition to Save Tripa, which includes the local group Walhi and Greenpeace, said satellite images from December 26 showed less than 13,000 hectares of the area’s 60,000 hectares of forest remained and at least 40 hotspots indicating fires were detected in May.

Sri Lanka lacks forest data for REDD+ funds

By Smriti Daniel,, 23 April 2012 | Lack of reliable data on forest resources could prevent Sri Lanka from immediately accessing UN funds pledged to help the island nation reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, a new study said. Sri Lanka was last month (25 March) promised initial funding worth US$ 4 million from the UN-managed, multi-partner trust fund to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)… The study, by the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and Linköping University, Sweden, showed that though the country had large forest reserves it lacked reliable data on its forest resources, or rates of forest loss to establish benchmark levels for carbon emissions.

24 April 2012

Climate change is a human rights issue – and that’s how we can solve it

By Olivier De Schutter, The Guardian, 24 April 2012 | Global climate-change talks often resemble the scene of a traffic accident. Multiple voices shout each other down in a bid to tell their own version of events. What is the real damage, how quickly must it be repaired, and who should foot the bill? But the real concern is not that the debate is congested and gridlocked; it is that the current clamour masks a deeper failing, namely to identify an honest starting point. In Prosperity Without Growth, the economist Tim Jackson convincingly expounds the myth of “absolute decoupling” of emissions from economic growth. The growth of emissions can be slowed, relative to the growth rate of the economy. However, emissions cannot conceivably be stalled or reversed while the economy continues to expand, however great the carbon-saving technologies of the coming years.

EU mulls use of global carbon permits from 2020

Climate Spectator, 24 April 2012 | The European Commission could discuss the possibility of allowing Europe’s emitters to use some government-held Kyoto carbon permits to meet caps under the European Union’s emissions trading scheme (ETS), an EU official said on Monday. Poland has called for Europe’s biggest emitters to be allowed to use government-held emission rights allocated under the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol, to meet carbon caps under the bloc’s carbon market, a policy paper proposed last week. The Polish paper said allowing global credits to be used in the EU scheme would help Europe link its carbon market to those emerging in other countries, and could eventually help establish bilateral offset mechanisms with its neighbours.

EU Says Carbon Auctions Review Won’t Reduce Amount of Permits

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 24 April 2012 | The planned review of European Union’s carbon-permit auctioning regulation would change the timing of sales, while keeping intact the amount of allowances to be sold in the next trading period from 2013, the EU said. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced last week that the bloc’s regulatory arm plans to propose a revision of the rules on auctioning carbon permits to be enacted before the end of this year. The measure would help curb an oversupply of allowances and could bolster prices by delaying sales of some permits to companies in the EU emissions trading system. “This short-term measure is an option that does not affect the total amount of allowances being auctioned in 2013 to 2020, but rather addresses the time when these allowances are auctioned,” Isaac Valero-Ladron, climate spokesman for the European Commission, said by e-mail today.

Carbon trading: Why ‘good’ companies embrace ‘bad’ credits

By Stefano Valentino, Christian Science Monitor, 24 April 2012 | The US companies claim they were unaware of the dubious nature of the HFC-23 credits before the EU ruled them out. But they have made no public statements to suggest they’re trimming their use now. “Chevron complied with all required aspects of the EU [European Trading System] regulations at all points in the past and intends to continue to do so in the future”, writes Sean Comey, media adviser at Chevron in San Ramon, Calif., in an e-mail. “We worked with a reputable financial broker, JP Morgan, to purchase CERs. These purchased CERs had physical delivery from December 2008 through 2012,” says Vanessa Apicerno, media relations specialist at Cabot in Boston, in an e-mail. “We did, however, mandate that all credits purchased be certified and valid.”

Forest Carbon News Brief

Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 April 2012 | With Earth Day fresh on our minds… Brazil steals the spotlight with its delivery of the world’s first reforestation tCERs a decade after project inception. The country’s leadership in forest carbon markets could take on a new trajectory depending on the outcome of the vote on the controversial Forest Code reforms slated for this week (translation), as well as on Brazil’s potential to develop carbon market linkages, starting with Acre’s potential supply of carbon credits to Sao Paulo. Norway is breathing life into REDD projects in Guyana, Tanzania, and Indonesia, with additional financing going to Nigeria and Ghana via UN-REDD and other bilateral efforts. We always talk about financing, but what about the underwriting? British taxpayers may have some beef with underwriting tree-planting efforts in China.

Combet predicts Asia-Pacific carbon trading pact, 24 April 2012 | Climate Change Minister Greg Combet says Australia’s carbon trading system could eventually be linked to those in China and other Asia-Pacific countries in a system which would eliminate “competitive disadvantage” between the region’s economies. Mr Combet is in Beijing to speak to officials about how Chinese carbon trading systems will work before heading to South Korea, where legislation is currently before parliament. China is preparing to run pilot carbon trading schemes in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Hubei and Guangdong – major cities with a combined population of 250 million people. The Government’s goal is to then introduce a national trading scheme by 2015.

China may steal a march on Europe in fight against climate change

By Rob Elsworth, The Guardian, 24 April 2012 | For too long, developed countries have used the excuse there is little point in acting to tackle climate change, if China, now the world’s biggest emitter, doesn’t act too. Sandbag’s new report into the emergence of emissions trading in China shows the speed and extent to which things are changing and we argue that Europe must now increase its own ambitions. All too often China’s size and rapid development leads people to the conclusion that no action is being taken on climate change, that it is a polluting behemoth whose addiction to coal undermines all global efforts to avoid the worst effects of climate change. It is certainly true that in terms of addressing climate change few countries matter as much as China. A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that in 2009 China and the US alone accounted for 41%, or 12Gt, of the worlds carbon dioxide emissions. Yet China must be understood in context.

Malaysian company looking to invest in Guyana

Business Guyana, 24 April 2012 | Malaysian firm, Wee Boon Ping Group of Companies, has expressed an interest in pursuing investment opportunities in Guyana following a meeting on Monday with the country’s President and other officials. Starting off as a logging company in 1976, Wee Boon Ping Group of Companies has since diversified operations into reforestation as part of efforts to promote sustainable management of forestry practices, bioscience, property development and construction, among other ventures. Chairman of the Company Sir Datuk Wee Kok Tiong and his team held discussions with Guyana’s President, Donald Ramotar, in the presence of Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud. The group owns 109,000 hectares (269,230 acres) of virgin forest land, approximately two times the size of Singapore and, one of the largest rubber plantations in the world.

$90 million in corrupt logging money linked to Malaysian Chief Minister, UBS bank

By Jeremy Hance,, 24 April 2012 | Documents under investigation show that around $90 million may have been laundered from logging companies in Sabah to UBS bank accounts linked to high-ranking Malaysian officials, according to the Sarawak Report. Critics of the government say the money is likely kickbacks from logging companies to government officials for the right to log in the state’s declining rainforests. Such transactions are alleged to occur typically in the run up to elections. The bank accounts in question have been linked to two associates of Sabah’s Chief Minister Musa Aman. According to the Sarawak Report the money was to be held “on trust” for Musa Aman, Sabah’s head of state, by timber trader Michael Chia and lawyer Richard Christopher Barnes. To date, Aman has denied the allegations.

Pacific Regional REDD+ consultation for policy framework

YouTube, 24 April 2012 | Members of the Pacific Island Countries meet in Suva, Fiji for consultation of policy framework on REDD+.

Vietnam’s mangroves trees threatened by rising tide of deforestation

By Alisa Tang, The Guardian, 24 April 2012 | “My sense in Lang Co, and in provinces across Vietnam, is that economic development has become a driving force so dominant that environmental precautions have fallen by the wayside,” said Evan Fox, a coastal planning consultant. “In villages where local governments are searching for ways to bolster their economic output, it is difficult to justify preservation of an area if managers and local people cannot discern its tangible benefit.” There are laws that protect the forests and mangroves in Vietnam, but enforcement can be lax, rendering such regulations impotent. “My interpretation is that it’s illegal but everything is negotiable in Vietnam and since there is no consequence for breaking the law (at least in the environmental domain), mangroves get cut. Anyway, since there are so many conflicting laws, you can probably legalise what you’ve done by reference to a previous law,” said Jake Brunner, programme co-ordinator for the IUCN…

25 April 2012

How to save two million hectares of rainforest

By Chris Kelsey, Wales Online, 25 April 2012 | A project to save tropical forests from destruction is helping Wales make its mark in the global battle against climate change. A previous business minister was fond of describing Wales as a “small, clever country”. When the history of the country’s response to climate change is written, one project that will loom large will be a clever one geared to using Wales’ size as a way in to the crucial task of reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The idea behind Size of Wales, as project director Hannah Scrase explained, is “to try to get people in Wales involved in protecting an area of rainforest the size of Wales”… “When tropical forests are cut down the amount of carbon dioxide released is equivalent to all the transport in the world,” said Scrase. “So it doesn’t matter how much we use public transport, unless we help prevent tropical deforestation it’s not enough.”

[Brazil] Colin Firth launches campaign to save ‘Earth’s most threatened tribe’

Survival International, 25 April 2012 | Oscar-winning film star Colin Firth today launched a major Survival International campaign to save ‘Earth’s most threatened tribe’ – the Awá of the Brazilian Amazon. The centerpiece of the campaign is a short film, featuring an appeal by Colin Firth and music by Grammy-winning composer Heitor Pereira. The Awá are a small tribe whose territory has been invaded by a vast army of illegal loggers, ranchers and settlers. Astonishing graphics on the campaign website show the devastating destruction of the Indians’ forest – which is happening faster than any other Amazon tribe.

[Cameroon] Logging companies may assist rural development: Study

By Fawziah Selamat, CIFOR Forests Blog, 25 April 2012 | Logging companies play a key role in developing forest regions in Central Africa, a CIFOR report studying the impact of commercial forest management says. Services in forest regions are scarce. However, because logging companies possess concessions of about 8.5 million hectares, which overlap with village land use, they have a significant presence that can be utilised for rural development, says Guillaume Lescuyer, the principal scientist of the article, “Logging concessions and local livelihoods in Cameroon: From indifference to alliance”. “Tweaking regulations by getting logging concessions to include credible socio-economic surveys, which identify the needs of local communities, in their formal forest management plans, would help companies on the path towards integrating the needs of local communities,” Lescuyer said. “Monitoring these regulations needs to be thorough to obtain more optimal results.”

[Indonesia] WWF calls for probe and legal action in Tripa Peat forest clearing

WWF Indonesia, 25 April 2012 | WWF is calling on Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and police to investigate and take strict legal action against the perpetrator of the recent clearing of land known to house around 200 critically endangered orangutan in Aceh’s Tripa peat swamp. Initial findings from the task force investigting the violations indicate several laws have been broken by the land owner, such as the use of fires to clear land, clearing peat land deeper than 3 meters, and conducting land-clearing activities prior to the issuance of a permit. “The area is home to about 200 critically endangered Sumatran orangutan. WWF is calling for a follow-up investigation and legal action to prevent further clearing and stop incidents like this from reoccurring in the future,” said Dede Suhendra, WWF-Indonesia Program Leader in Aceh. “WWF-Indonesia is prepared to help the Government further investigate the case,” Dede added.

[Indonesia] Photographers Capture the World’s Beauty, And Its Problems

By Katrin Figge, Jakarta Globe, 25 April 2012 | After the United Nations declared 2011 as “The International Year of Forests,” the Forests and Climate Change Program (FORCLIME) and the German International Cooperation (GIZ) collaborated with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and the Goethe-Institut for a photo campaign. “The theme for the International Year of Forests was ‘Forests for People,’ which underlines the interdependence between mankind and forests, and our responsibility for ensuring the conservation and sustainable management of forests for the benefit of present and future generations,” said Rolf Krezdorn, program director of FORCLIME. “The objective of the FORCLIME photo contest was to raise public awareness of the importance of Indonesia’s rich forest resources for the livelihood of people and sustainable development,” he explained. “With this in mind, interested people were encouraged to submit their photos to the contest website.”

[Tanzania] Communities to save forests in Zanzibar

By Issa Yusuf, Daily News, 25 April 2012 | Environmentalists in Zanzibar warn that deforestation on the Isles is increasing at an alarming rate, and that collaboration between policy makers and communities residing near natural forests is crucial in protecting the remaining forests. Ignorance, insufficient funds, lack of definitive boundaries of forests are areas that increase the likelihood of encroachment and land possession conflicts. The cost of alternative fuel for cooking such as gas is some of the challenges hampering efforts in protecting forests in Zanzibar… REDD+ takes on the role of encouraging communities to reduce emissions as a result of deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. The programme covers sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks in developing countries.

[USA] Climate Change Obama Can Believe In: Why Global Warming Will Heat Campaign Trail in Coming Months

By Shawn Lawrence Otto, Huffington Post, 25 April 2012 | In an important departure from his recent administration-wide silence on climate change, President Obama announced in a Rolling Stone interview published today that he considers climate change and the money being thrown into the denial of science as one of the most important issues in the coming campaign discussion… The importance of this shift in Obama’s perspective cannot be overemphasized. The issue is important not just on climate change, but on a whole host of science-driven policy problems, where Americans have increasingly been subject to well-financed and coordinated propaganda campaigns to confused them about the difference between articulately or forcefully argued opinion and the knowledge derived from measurements of nature and reflected in mainstream, peer-reviewed science.

26 April 2012

Global GHG emissions could peak in 2016 — Deutsche Bank

Argus Media, 26 April 2012 | Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will peak in 2016 in line with economic growth in emerging economies and then decline slowly to 2020 on a “best case global outlook”, Deutsche Bank said in a report released yesterday. The emission trajectory assumes maximum potential abatement – the strongest combination of mandates and emissions targets for individual countries. While the recession has slowed economic growth in Europe and the US in the past few years, economic growth will be moderate in the coming years. But after 2015, economic growth in emerging markets will moderate more, the report said. China will remain the primary emitter in 2020, according to the report, which highlighted recent media reports that China’s lead climate negotiator has reportedly said to have discussed an extension of the country’s timeline to meet its carbon intensity target. China’s energy intensity target is the largest source of abatement globally.

Palm oil industry lobbies EPA to reverse palm oil biofuel findings, 26 April 2012 | Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil processor and trader, has hired a major lobbying firm to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling that palm oil-based biodiesel will not meet greenhouse gas emissions standards under America’s Renewable Fuels Standard, reports The Hill. Wilmar Oleo North America hired lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman to pressure the EPA on its finding that biofuels produced from palm oil do not offer substantial emissions savings relative to conventional gasoline. The EPA based its decision on analysis of lifecycle emissions from palm oil production, which at times occurs at the expense of carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands. The Hill notes that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group that drafts legislative language favoring corporate interests that fund it, is working to overturn the EPA’s finding.

Forests and women – some encouraging signs

By Carol Colfer, CIFOR Forests Blog, 26 April 2012 | One of the first professional positions I held was as a ‘Women in Development Specialist’ in the early 1980s. Despite decades of research, many of the problems identified in the 1970s and 80s persist: the invisibility of women’s forest-related work for policymakers, extension personnel, and even researchers; the inattention throughout the value chain to the forest products women use; a lack of women’s voices in policymaking, as well as in household decisions related to forests; the inadvertent but adverse effects on women of well‑meaning forestry programs. The recent special issue on ‘Forests and Gender’ (International Forestry Review) is a breath of fresh air. While the scientific forestry community has been receptive to studies of women’s forest-related work, they have found some of our more theoretical and qualitative studies a hard slog.

World needs to stabilise population and cut consumption, says Royal Society

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 26 April 2012 | World population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid “a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills”, warns a major report from the Royal Society. Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says the study published on Thursday, which was chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston. The assessment of humanity’s prospects in the next 100 years, which has taken 21 months to complete, argues strongly that to achieve long and healthy lives for all 9 billion people expected to be living in 2050, the twin issues of population and consumption must be pushed to the top of political and economic agendas. Both issues have been largely ignored by politicians and played down by environment and development groups for 20 years, the report says.

Swedish conference calls for action at U.N. Rio meet

The Mainichi, 26 April 2012 | A conference of international experts and environment ministers in the Swedish capital on Wednesday urged world leaders gathering later this year in Brazil to discuss world’s sustainable development to “stop talking and start acting.” The 12-point “Stockholm Call for Action” plan was presented to a top representative of the U.N. at the end of a three-day conference on sustainable development. The meeting is the last informal ministerial gathering before the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June. The meeting in Stockholm, which was attended by delegates from dozens of countries and organizations, including China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and the U.N. Under Secretary-General Sha Zukang, laid out 12 recommendations for the Rio conference, including a call to honor commitments made previously. “Now it is time to stop talking and start acting. Clear actions and targets are necessary,” the joint statement said.

Brazilian congress adopts controversial land use law

Reuters, 26 April 2012 | Brazil’s congress voted late on Wednesday to ease rules mandating the amount of forest farmers must keep on their land, delivering a long-sought victory to the country’s powerful agriculture lobby and a political defeat for president Dilma Rousseff. Though the bill will require millions of hectares of already cleared land to be replanted, environmentalists say it makes it too easy for farmers, responsible for much of the deforestation of the Amazon and other swaths of environmentally sensitive land in recent decades, to comply with regulations that stipulate how much forest they must preserve… The final law, which was changed dramatically from a hard-bargained version her government was backing, will leave it to federal states to decide how much forest needs to be replaced alongside rivers, making it possible for big farming states to make only minimal demands of farmers.

Mexico sets global benchmark on tackling deforestation

By Barry Gardiner and Ignacio Pichardo, Daily Times, 26 April 2012 | Below the global radar, a major victory was secured in Mexico on Tuesday, April 24, in the worldwide battle to prevent deforestation and forest degradation, which are collectively the world’s second largest sources of greenhouse emissions. A set of legal amendments was approved by the Mexican Parliament that sets a powerful global precedent for empowering local communities to address deforestation. In so doing, the vote also positions Mexico as the first country in the world to legislate in support of efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (the so-called REDD+ agenda). This is a crucial development, and is of global importance for several reasons.

NGO: lifting sanctions on Myanmar must lead to forestry reform

By Jeremy Hance,, 26 April 2012 | Following historic elections, many foreign powers have relaxed or lifted sanctions against Myanmar, also known as Burma. But the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) warns that the end of sanctions presents Myanmar and the world with a choice: further plundering of the country’s forests for outside markets or large-scale forestry reform. “After half a century of corruption and rule by the military and their business associates, Burma simply has no credible infrastructure through which we can verify the legality and sustainability of its timber exports,” explains EIA Head of Forests Faith Doherty in a press release. “What this historic moment does represent, however, is a unique opportunity to establish a role for civil society in Burma. It must be part of any reform that creates the very infrastructure needed to ensure the invaluable resources of the country’s forests are not squandered for the financial gain of a few.”

[Nepal] Ineffective forest law mars timber corporation, 26 April 2012 | The customers are suffering due to the ineffective distribution system of the Timber Corporation Nepal (TCN). Lack of proper procedures to supply timber and timber products has deprived the customers of good services. In the absence of proper mechanism, it has been difficult for them to purchase timber, while the lack of clear pricing policy has made things simply worse. TCN chief Sambhu Prasad Mainali blames the government for the absence of clear provisions for timber trade. “There is no clear law in selling timber in the Forest Act. As a result, TCN and other departments under the Ministry of Forests sell it on their own,” says Mainali. “All the departments under the ministry have the same source for timber but their prices largely vary. This allows businessmen to manipulate traders, resulting in huge kickback,” adds Mainali. “We need effective law and sincere employees to address this issue.”

[Pacific Islands] Regional Consultation of REDD+ Policy Framework Begins

By Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Solomon Islands News, 26 April 2012 | About 30 people, representing 10 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and regional organisations, are currently attending a meeting to discuss a Pacific Regional Policy Framework that will facilitate PICs’ access to support under REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) funding possibilities. This support will enable them to better manage their forest and tree resources. The meeting’s discussions are focusing on a first draft of the Policy Framework, which was developed after initial national consultations held earlier this year in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.

[Philippines] Discovery of new species spurs conservation efforts

BusinessWorld, 26 April 2012 | Recent discovery of two new species of frogs and 229 floral species on Mt. Nacolod in Southern Leyte has led to intensified efforts to rehabilitate natural forests and conserve biodiversity in the area. Purificacion M. Daloos, regional information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Eastern Visayas, said the discovery of new flora and fauna in the forests of Mt. Nacolod has pushed the government to enhance its environmental protection program in the region. “Despite Mt. Nacolod’s infamous reputation of having highly fragmented and degraded forests, the impressive list of flora and fauna demonstrates the under-appreciated biodiversity of the country,” Ms. Daloos said… “For the national government, the discovery of new species will spur forest protection and rehabilitation efforts under the Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy as part of the National Climate Change Action Plan and the National Greening Program.”

[Philippines] DENR-8 finalizes Biodiversity Assessment of REDD+ Pilot Area and Mt. Nacolod in SoLeyte

By Rebecca S. Cadavos, Philippine Information Agency, 26 April 2012 | The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has completed the Biodiversity Assessment of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) pilot area and at Mt. Nacolod in the province of Southern Leyte. DENR 8 Regional Executive Director Rogelio T. Trinidad in a letter to PIA-Maasin said, a presentation of the assessment and a Management Planning will be conducted on May 2-3, 2012 at Kuting Reef in Macrohon, this province. The activity, he said, is aimed to present the results of the biodiversity assessment and draft the management plan for Mt. Nacolod based on the practical knowledge and strategic species-habitat information gathered during the study. The study was jointly undertaken by Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau/New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project (PAWB/NewCAPP) and Forest Management Bureau//German Development Cooperation…

27 April 2012

REDD and A/R

Geoengineering Politics, 27 April 2012 | From a geoengineering perspective, REDD is most significant with regard to its potential to promote A/R activities. In practice, however, afforestation and reforestation have figured marginally in efforts to build a REDD architecture. But a new report from the Rights and Resources Initiative titled The Greener Side of REDD+ makes a strong, straightforward argument for elevating the status of A/R, either within REDD as a “+” component, or outside REDD as a companion mechanism. Put simply, its authors contend that afforestation, reforestation, and restoration of degraded lands (ARRDL) “is a necessary complement to REDD” (italics original, p. 31): “If REDD is pursued aggressively and successfully, but demand for wood and wood products continues to rise, then REDD alone will not be enough. That is because, as a country locks up its forests and reduces illegal logging under REDD programs, domestic wood supplies will dwindle…”

What you might not have known about forests and food security

CIFOR Forests Blog, 27 April 2012 | Take part in a unique opportunity to highlight the contribution forests can make to sustainable development: the Rio+20 Dialogues. The Dialogues are an initiative of the Government of Brazil to provide an online tool for civil society to discuss ten key issues related to sustainable development. Conclusions and recommendations emanating from these forums will be conveyed directly to the heads of State and Government gathering in Rio June 20-22. This week, the Dialogues are focusing on the development issue of forests and food, namely “How will we fight world hunger without forests?”. Participants are discussing issues such as “Where will the land to feed 9 billion people come from?” and “Is agricultural intensification the solution and if so, how will this affect forests?”. Sign up at

[Bhutan] Converting green cover into greenbacks

Kuensel Online, 27 April 2012 | With a forest cover of 72 percent, work is underway in the country, to have in place a mechanism that would help measure the financial value of carbon stored in the forests of Bhutan… In a two-day meeting, forest officials are discussing the strategy Bhutan would adopt to go about establishing the mechanism and implementing it… Chief forest officer of watershed management division Chado Tshering said incentives through REDD+ program mean establishing mechanisms to mitigate carbon emissions in that particular country. “Until now, when we discuss climate mitigation, estimation of carbon in our forest wasn’t given much importance,” he said. “But now, after implementing REDD+, we’ll be able to measure, as well as trade, carbon with other developed countries.”

Cambodian officer killed environment activist then took own life, army says

Associated Press, 27 April 2012 | The Cambodian military has concluded that one of its own police officers killed a prominent environmentalist then took his own life in an incident in a forest rife with illegal logging. Chut Wutty had been taking photographs on Wednesday in a forest where a Chinese company is building a hydropower dam. He refused to stop when an officer called In Ratana asked him to, military police spokesman Kheng Tito said. The two men began arguing and cursing each other, until In Ratana shot Chut Wutty with his AK47 assault rifle. “When he learned that Chut Wutty died, he killed himself with his own weapon,” the spokesman said. The death of Chut Wutty, the director of the country’s National Resources Protection Group, outraged human rights and environmental groups. A Cambodian rights group, the Centre for Cambodian Civic Education, described it as “cold-blooded murder”.

[Ghana] Forestry Commission initiates programme to reduce forest degradation, 27 April 2012 | Professor Bruce Banoeng-Yakubo, Chief Director of Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, on Thursday lauded Ghana’s commitment towards fighting climate change. This, he said, had culminated in the launch of the Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD +) Initiative. The REDD+ Initiative sponsored by the World Bank, is a global climate change mitigation initiative, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change… Prof Banoeng-Yakubo announced that Ghana had been selected in Africa to benefit from a Climate Investment Fund under the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) based in Washington. “The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology have just completed its FIP, which would be presented to the FIP sub-committee in Washington for approval and about $30 million to $50 million is expected for the plan,” he said.

Investing in managing forest landscapes improves incomes in Guinea

By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 27 April 2012 | Visit any village around a set of project sites in the forests of Guinea’s Fouta Djallon Highlands and you will hear the same story: there has been a significant increase in incomes – with revenues up by a factor of seven in some areas – and communities are more involved in forest management than ever before. These are the results from a four-year project funded by USAID, in which the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) joined forces to reinvigorate community participation in forest management and improve rural livelihoods in villages surrounding the forests of Balayan Souroumba, Sincery Oursa, Souti Yanfou and Nyalama.

[Guyana] More historic developments as…Budget approved, $21B slashed

By Gary Eleazar, Kaieteur News, 27 April 2012 | The Combined Opposition yesterday for the first time in Guyana’s history, managed to dramatically gouge a significant portion of the monies allocated for spending in various sectors. Following two days of cuts by Alliance for Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the 2012 Budget was slashed by $21B with the entire $18.5B allocation for the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) projects gutted and reduced to $1. This followed the previous day’s cuts to the tune of some $2.23B which targeted the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) subsidy as well as GINA, NCN and GECOM, among others. The first victims of yesterday’s cuts as proposed in the motion by APNU’s Carl Greenidge were the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, Ethnic Relations Commission and the State Planning Secretariat.

Palm oil is a major driver of peatlands destruction in Indonesian Borneo, finds new study, 27 April 2012 | Developers in Indonesian Borneo are increasingly converting carbon-dense peatlands for oil palm plantations, driving deforestation and boosting greenhouse gas emissions, reports a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research concludes that nearly all unprotected forests in Ketapang District in West Kalimantan will be gone by 2020 given current trends. The study, which was led by Kim Carlson of Yale and Stanford University, is based on comprehensive socioeconomic surveys, high-resolution satellite imagery, and carbon mapping of the Ketapang, which is home to some of the most biodiverse forests on the planet including those of Gunung Palung National Park.

28 April 2012

29 April 2012

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