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REDD in the news: 14-20 May 2012

REDD in the news: 14-20 May 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.

Provincial workshop on “REDD+ and international requirement for REDD+ development and implementation”

REDD – VietNam, May 2012 | REDD+ is a complexity mechanism implemented under the requirements of environmental and social issues, of which biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation, indigenous right and transparency must be considered as “co-benefit” in REDD+ implementation. To achieve the multi-objectives of REDD+ activities and pilot projects, building capacity and sharing experiences in REDD+ implementation have become a crucial aspect to enhance the effectiveness of REDD+ activities at national and local levels. On May 8th, 2012, Provincial People’s Committee of Lam Dong province in cooperation with the Transparency International and UN-REDD Vietnam Programme hosted the workshop on “REDD+ and International requirements for REDD+ Development and Implementation” in Da Lat city. The objective of the workshop was to provide the general information on Forest, Climate change, REDD+, International requirements for REDD+ implementation, Transparent issues in REDD+…

Defining REDD+ Success: Expert workshop on safeguard information systems and private sector engagement

International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2012 | Two critical determinants of REDD+ success moving forward are: (1) developing and implementing REDD+ safeguard information systems (SIS) and (2) fostering effective private sector engagement in the REDD+ value chain. To explore these issues, an expert meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 2–3, 2012, under the Building REDD+ Policy Capacity for Developing Country Negotiators and Land Managers project. The workshop was delivered by IISD and the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at the World Agroforestry Centre (ASB-ICRAF), with the generous support of the Government of Norway. Experts from government, the private sector and civil society from 18 countries shared information and lessons learned in order to build capacity on REDD+. This report provides a summary of the key messages and proceedings of the meeting.

GCF Task Force E-Newsletter

Governors Climate and Forestry Task Force, May 2012 | East Kalimantan is the second largest province in Indonesia and is located in the Kalimantan region on Borneo Island. With a population of 3,550,586, the province is ranked second in GDP per capita out of 33 Indonesian Provinces. East Kalimantan has a total area of 20 million ha, which is one and a half times the size of Java. There are a number of rivers and deltas that flow throughout the province and its cities, with Mahakam River being the longest. The province’s climate is humid with rainfall ranging between 1,500-4,500 mm per year. As the nation’s third largest provincial emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, East Kalimantan has been and continues to be engaged in efforts to halt emissions, including REDD+.

14 May 2012

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 14 May 2012 | The Surui Tribe, Forest Trends, the State of Acre, and other partners invite you to a unique opportunity to discuss the complex array of ingredients for successful indigenous-led REDD+ projects. An agenda for the discussions with speaker profiles is available here… Brazil’s first government-backed carbon trading scheme, Bolsa Verde do Rio de Janeiro (BVRio), opened preregistrations recently for a new forest carbon credit market for farmers to use in compliance with the Forest Code. President Dilma Rousseff has until May 25 to exercise her veto on the latest Forest Code reforms, just a month before Rio+20. Further north, Mexico has just become the first country to pass domestic legislation in favor of REDD+. Over in Oceania, New Zealand Carbon Farming has just converted the Kiernan Creek forest into a carbon sink, with a forward-looking approach to managing carbon price risk.

Study shows trees absorb less carbon than earlier thought; leaf activity drops during summer, 14 May 2012 | On the first day of summer – the longest day of the year – tree leaves are lush and green, luminous in the June sunlight. Yet just a day after the summer solstice, length of daylight begins to incrementally decrease; tree leaves begin to shut down, and the activity of photosynthesis declines. As the season progresses, this drop in photosynthetic activity means trees absorb less carbon dioxide than they had on the longest day of the year and ultimately sequester far less carbon on a global scale than earlier thought, a team of scientists has found. Photoperiod, rather than temperature, is a primary driver of leaf activity, according to research findings published May 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In fact, photosynthetic activity wanes long before autumn’s chill, the study shows.

When, where and how wood is used impact carbon emissions from deforestation

UC Davis News & Information, 14 May 2012 | A new study from the University of California, Davis, provides a deeper understanding of the complex global impacts of deforestation on greenhouse gas emissions. The study, published May 13 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, reports that the volume of greenhouse gas released when a forest is cleared depends on how the trees will be used and in which part of the world the trees are grown. When trees are felled to create solid wood products, such as lumber for housing, that wood retains much of its carbon for decades, the researchers found. In contrast, when wood is used for bioenergy or turned into pulp for paper, nearly all of its carbon is released into the atmosphere. Carbon is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.

As the Clock Ticks, Trees Fall in Brazil’s Amazon

By Scott Wallace, National Geographic, 14 May 2012 | As Brazil braces for president Dilma Rousseff’s forthcoming decision on whether to sign or veto recent legislation that would alter the country’s Forest Code, rights groups are decrying a surge in illegal land grabs that is wrecking environmental havoc and threatening vulnerable tribal populations. According to the rights organization Survival International, a gold rush mentality seems to have taken hold among loggers, ranchers and settlers in the eastern Amazonian state of Maranhão, as intruders bore their way deeper into reserve areas set up to protect the forests of the Awá tribe. In addition to 355 contacted members of the tribe, about 100 Awá remain uncontacted, making them one of the very last groups of nomads still roaming the forests of the eastern Amazon. The majority of the 60 or more uncontacted tribes that still survive in the Amazon inhabit the more secluded and remote western regions on the vast Amazon Basin.

[Guyana] LCDS monies were not ‘cut’ from the budget

Letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 14 May 2012 | I am an Amerindian and have always been in support of the LCDS, although I must admit having a few reservations. As a matter of fact I agree with others who say that without our historical care for the environment there would be no LCDS. However, having read about the big storm surrounding the LCDS budget cuts in Parliament and seeing the PPP/C government’s overdriven propaganda in our remote indigenous communities, I did some research. The LCDS has become a political football. Actually, this is what the PPP/C intended it to be from the beginning. The goal was to win the hinterland votes by showering gifts on the indigenous people, hoping that they would vote for them resoundingly and so gain the balance of power that they desperately needed to win the last elections. Unfortunately for them, a number of factors still stand in their way.

[Guyana] The Norway funds

Stabroek News, 14 May 2012 | Amid the hysteria whipped up over the cuts to its 2012 budget, it may seem trite to state that it is the government which has failed signally to deliver on the steps that would put the designated sums in its hands for the Low Carbon Development Strategy projects. This stark fact has not however deterred the government from making the most outrageous charges over cuts and blaming the opposition for endangering every single project it can think of. In a way, the opposition’s cuts have inspired the government to try to shift the blame for its abject failure to access the funds which are presently under the stewardship of the World Bank.

REDD+ Taskforce at Indonesia Climate Change and Education Forum (Day-2)

Satgas REDD, YouTube, 14 May 2012 | REDD+ Taskforce Involvement in Indonesia Climate Change and Education Forum (ICCEFE) involving photo journalist shared their experience and knowledge about people, forest, and culture. Short workshop from Central Kalimantan teachers in creating non-timber forest product handcraft.

The Hazy State of the Indonesian Military’s Land

By Samantha Michaels & Ulma Haryanto, Jakarta Globe, 14 May 2012 | In 2009, more than a decade after the fall of Suharto, a presidential and ministerial decree ordered the Indonesian military to restructure the way it uses the vast array of state assets under its control. This meant changing the way the Indonesian Military (TNI) used hundreds of buildings and about 2,500 square kilometers of land it had been controlling and renting out for more than half a century. The decrees state that idle state assets can legally be used by the Defense Ministry and the military, who can earn money through them – renting them out or partnering with companies to manage them – but only under certain conditions… But three years later, the Defense Ministry and the military acknowledge that they have not secured permits for about 90 percent of the land they still control and rent out.

15 May 2012

UN to Help Give World’s Poor Fairer Share of Carbon Credits

By Catherine Airlie, Bloomberg, 15 May 2012 | Efforts by the United Nations to ease rules for carbon-cutting projects may encourage investments in small-scale projects in solar water heaters and efficient cookstoves in Africa and Asia. The UN Clean Development Mechanism’s Executive Board, regulator of the world’s second-biggest carbon market by traded volume, agreed last week to consider ways to quicken the approval procedure for some emission-reduction activities. The new process would help ease difficulties facing projects that produce fewer emission reductions than others, including those that create usable fuel from animal dung and renewable energy initiatives small enough to power a light-bulb. “It’s definitely a good thing,” Gareth Phillips, chief climate change officer at Sindicatum Sustainable Resources Group Ltd., a Singapore-based developer of carbon offset projects, said in a phone interview from Jakarta yesterday.

Reference emissions levels decision helps forested nations step closer to REDD+

By Karin Holzknecht and Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 15 May 2012 | A ‘step-wise approach’ for determining greenhouse gas reference emission levels (RELs) from forests, adopted at the 2011 UNFCCC talks in Durban, should help countries overcome a major technical hurdle to beginning REDD+ activities, according to a team of scientists presenting more details on the approach at UN climate talks in Bonn today. CIFOR scientist Louis Verchot called the decision on RELs at Durban “a major step forward for REDD+”, because it meant that countries could begin developing their RELs with available data and update them as new information became available — one less stumbling block for developing nations in getting REDD+ schemes up and running.

Earth’s environment getting worse, not better, says WWF ahead of Rio+20

By Erin Hale, The Guardian, 15 May 2012 | Twenty years on from the Rio Earth summit, the environment of the planet is getting worse not better, according to a report from WWF. Swelling population, mass migration to cities, increasing energy use and soaring carbon dioxide emissions mean humanity is putting a greater squeeze on the planet’s resources then ever before. Particularly hard hit is the diversity of animals and plants, upon which many natural resources such as clean water are based. “The Rio+20 conference next month is an opportunity for the world to get serious about the need for development to become sustainable. Our report indicates that we haven’t yet done that since the last Rio summit,” said David Nussbaum, WWF-UK chief executive.

Rio+20 Dialogues: Water scarcity under a changing climate, can forests help win the battle?

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 15 May 2012 | Despite recent research that has closely linked climate change and water scarcity with a rapidly rising deforestation rates, the international climate community still mainly thinks of forests in terms of their carbon storage potential rather than the critical role they play in regulating rainfall and other climate patterns. Over the last week, participants in the Rio+20 Dialogues on Sustainable Development have been discussing how forest and water managers on the ground can overcome these challenges to help solve future water problems. Giving some examples of successful water and forest management strategies in Canadian plantation forests, Simon Bridge, Head of Knowledge and Information Management at Natural Resources Canada pointed out that it was critical that water issues be addressed if forest managers expect to achieve any type of certification for sustainable management.

Consumption, population, and declining Earth: wake-up call for Rio+20

By Jeremy Hance,, 15 May 2012 | Compiled by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and the Global Footprint Network, the Living Planet Report is a biannual look at how humans consume the world’s natural resources. This year’s report – even bleaker than the last – comes just months before the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Brazil. Known as Rio+20, the summit is marking twenty years since the landmark Rio Summit in 1992. “Since the original Earth Summit, we’ve taken some steps forward, but the pace is glacial. So Rio+20 needs to elevate the urgency of action on the scale needed: now is our chance to reflect whether the future we’re creating for our planet is the legacy we want to leave for future generations,” David Nussbaum, head of WWF-UK, said in a press release.

Regulations, building links can help stop haze: Forum

AsiaOne, 15 May 2012 | Regulations and structures to handle Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+ (REDD) programmes, as well as building linkages with local communites and utilising local knowledge may be the key to the transboundary haze situation. The 2nd Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) Forum on Transboundary Haze last week decided that there is a need for regulations and incentives to be put in place by governments in order to induce the market to respond. Innovative approaches and projects which involve government officials and community groups, corporations and landowners, as well as utilising local knowledge and building linkages with local communities were also important.

[Cambodia] Chut Wutty and the Heroic Fight Against “The Resource Curse”

By Edward Zwick, Huffington Post, 15 May 2012 | Wutty was part of the Prey Lang Network — a grassroots group of activists fighting to save the Prey Lang forest, Southeast Asia’s last remaining intact lowland evergreen forest. His death is the latest episode in a long and sorry history of Cambodian dissenters being intimidated or even silenced by a kleptocratic elite ransacking the country’s natural resources for personal gain. Home to the Kuy indigenous people for centuries, the Prey Lang forest possesses significant biodiversity value as well as being a critical source of water for the country’s rice-growing areas. In fact the battle the Kuy are fighting against the march of logging, plantations and mining companies into the forest holds an uncanny resemblance to the plot of Avatar — and in what might otherwise be a charming example of life imitating art, they have even tried using the film to bring media attention to their cause…

Delays in carbon rules mean Canada is locking in emissions, new research finds

By Heather Scoffield, GuelphMercury, 15 May 2012 | Delays in regulating greenhouse gas emissions mean Canada is quickly locking in old-fashioned infrastructure that will fill the air with carbon for decades to come, new research shows. The longer the federal government waits to clamp down on emissions and business continues as usual, the more difficult and costly it becomes to meet environmental targets, the research concludes. The new research comes from the soon-to-be-defunct National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the federally funded advisory group formed to give advice and research on sustainable development. The Harper government is in the process of abolishing the agency.

Greenpeace: DRC’s moratorium on industrial logging being bypassed

Press release, Greenpeace Africa, 15 May 2012 | Greenpeace has today urged the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government to cancel the artisanal permits that are being used for industrial logging operations, an illegal practice that clearly circumvents the moratorium on new industrial logging concessions. This call comes against the backdrop of recent research carried out by Réseau Ressources Naturelles (RRN) and Greenpeace that shows an expansion of industrial logging operations that are being disguised as artisanal logging. Juvin Akiak, Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa says, “logging operators are working outside of any control or monitoring; and in all impunity. Clearly, many companies are doing this to bypass the moratorium on new logging permits”.

Stop the devastation of the DRC forests

By Augustine Kasambule, Greenpeace Africa, 15 May 2012 | The territory of Bolobo, located in the District of Plateau, in the Bandundu Province, covers an area of ​​3.500km². It is an area rich in biodiversity and home to bonobo, elephant and buffalo species, among many others. The people depend mainly on agriculture, fishing, and hunting. Social infrastructure is degraded – the roads are in a terrible state and access is possible only via privately maintained routes. Forests are invaded by “so-called artisanal loggers,” who log trees on an industrial scale. Artisanal logging, reserved only for Congolese businessmen, has become the activity of expatriates from all sides – Chinese, Lebanese, Bulgarian, etc… – all operate with impunity and with the blessing of the Congolese authorities. It’s worrying how these foreigners behave like they have conquered the land. Worse still, they receive military protection; they are among the highly protected “untouchables”.

Dubai Plans to Price Carbon at 10 Euros a Ton, Alrroya Says

By Ayesha Daya, Bloomberg, 15 May 2012 | Dubai plans to offer United Nations carbon credits at 10 euros ($12.85) a metric ton from next year for sale to European countries, Alrroya reported, citing Waleed Salman, chairman of the Dubai Centre for Carbon Excellence. Dubai is seeking its first tradable emission credits under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism as it seeks to increase energy efficiency and rely more on solar power to meet future demand. UN offsets for December delivery were up 0.6 percent at 3.66 euros a ton as of 11:03 a.m. on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.

[Guyana] Mechanisms for requiring government agencies to account for external grant funds received after the Budget has been approved are not functioning

By Janette Bulkan, Stabroek News, 15 May 2012 | With reference to your editorial ‘The Norway funds’ (May 14), I wish to mention that on November 7, 2011, the Steering Committee of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), which is comprised of representatives of the Governments of Guyana and Norway, approved the disbursement of US$5.94M to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for disbursement to Guyana for project related activities, plus administrative fees of US$140,000. In addition, Norway approved US$1.06M to Conservation International for preparatory work as pass through funds for the GFC. Out of the US$5.94M, US$3.2M was granted to the Office of the President of Guyana for ‘institutional strengthening.’ At the same time, US$3.6M was granted to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) for Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) activities. On February 1, 2012 IDB approved the GRIF project for institutional strengthening.

[Indonesia] Nothing very new in APP’s “new” forest protection policy

By Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace International, 15 May 2012 | The news initially sounded intriguing : Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) was inviting journalists in Jakarta to the launch of what the company grandly dubbed its “greatest commitment to natural forest protection.” Discarding the PR gloss, however, leaves an announcement that exposes glaring gaps in APP’s ‘new’ policy and demonstrates that the company is still not serious about reform. APP, which has been linked to illegal logging and the clearance of Sumatran tiger habitat, unveiled in in its press conference on Tuesday what it claimed were new measures to protect high conservation value forests (HCVF) in Indonesia. Starting from June 1, the company said it would “suspend natural forest clearance while HCVF assessments are conducted” in areas “owned” by the company. That of course sounds good on paper. The problem is, however, we’ve heard that before from APP.

[Indonesia] $30m Sumatra forest deal in doubt after concerns over funding

By Tom Arup, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May 2012 | The future of a much-vaunted $30 million Australian project to protect Indonesian forests for their carbon is in doubt after an independent review found it is not the best use of the money. The project on the island of Sumatra was announced by Labor in early 2010 to international fanfare, but so far there has been little detail about the project’s design. It is understood there has been no actual on-ground work in Sumatra and officials to date have done research only. It is the second Australian-Indonesian carbon project to face setbacks. The Herald reported in March that a $47 million project to restore peatland in Kalimantan, launched in 2007, had quietly been scaled back and was suffering major delays.

[Indonesia] Actor of Violation in Tripa To Be Prosecuted

endoftheicons, 15 May 2012 | The Head of REDD+ Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, emphasized that the government will take assertive action to both the companies and certain party within the governmental bureaucracy involved in the legal violation in Tripa Peat Swamp in Nagan Raya District. REDD+ Task Force has also appreciated all ministries and law enforcement institutions to firmly and effectively process the case in Tripa. “With such good work, we hope that the case can be processed properly to appropriately enforce the law. If legal violation is proven, there will be prosecution,” emphasized Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, in a press conference received by Analisa on Monday (14/5).

Indonesia Investigating Palm Oil Companies Over Forest Fires

By Ahmad Pathoni, Jakarta Globe, 15 May 2012 | Indonesia has launched a criminal investigation into the burning of a peatland forest on Sumatra island that environmentalists said resulted in the deaths of orangutans, an official said on Tuesday. Investigators will summon officials from two companies suspected of burning a large swath of the Tripa forest to make way for palm oil plantations, said Sudaryono, the head of law enforcement at the Environment Ministry. “Our investigators found that there have been fires in areas controlled by SPS2 and KA,” he said, referring to palm oil companies Surya Panen Subur 2 and Kallista Alam… “Law enforcers concluded that there have been legal violations,” task force chief Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said. Under Indonesia’s environmental law, forest clearing using fires is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 billion rupiah ($1 million). Kallista Alam has denied wrongdoing and blamed local farmers for the fires.

Dam Project Would Displace Villages in Jungle Valley of Peru

By Aaron Nelsen, New York Times, 15 May 2012 | Along the murky waters of the Ene River, in a remote jungle valley on the verdant eastern slopes of the Andes, the rhythmic humming of an outboard motor draws the stares of curious Ashaninka children. With encroachment from settlers and speculators, and after a devastating war against Shining Path rebels a decade ago, the indigenous Ashaninkas’ hold is precarious. And they are now facing a new peril, the proposed 2,200-megawatt Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam, which would flood much of the Ene River valley. The project is part of a proposal for as many as five dams that under a 2010 energy agreement would generate more than 6,500 megawatts, primarily for export to neighboring Brazil. The dams would displace thousands of people in the process.

Tanzania: FAO Helps Country Monitor Carbon Stocks

FAO press release, 15 May 2012 | FAO is helping scientists and policymakers in Tanzania to evaluate how much carbon is stored in forests and forests soils, which will enable them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Forest soils contain a huge carbon stock. Deforestation, forest degradation or changes in forest management practices can release carbon from soil to the atmosphere, thus contributing to climate change. For these reasons reliable estimates of soil carbon stock and stock changes are important. The FAO soil survey project for Tanzania was presented today at the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Bonn, Germany. “The forest soil survey, the first of its kind in Tanzania, was designed to provide unbiased estimates of the soil carbon stock in the country,” said FAO Forestry Officer Anssi Pekkarinen. “It will also help experts to further develop a methodology for assessing the changes in carbon stock.

16 May 2012

Door to 2 degree temperature limit is closing – IEA

By Nina Chestney and Oleg Vukmanovic, Reuters, 16 May 2012 | The chance of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius this century is getting slimmer and slimmer, the head of the International Energy Agency warned on Wednesday. “What I see now with existing investments for plants under construction… we are seeing the door for a 2 degree Celsius target about to be closed and closed forever,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, told a Reuters’ Global Energy & Environment Summit. “This door is getting slimmer and slimmer in terms of physical and economic possibility,” he warned.

Rio+20: European Parliament Absent in Sustainability Summit

By Julio Godoy, IPS, 16 May 2012 | The decision by the European Parliament (EP) to renounce its participation in the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next month on the grounds that hotel costs are exorbitant has provoked sharp criticism from civil society organisations. In a statement released May 7, and which almost went unnoticed, the chairman of the EP environment committee Matthias Groote said that the parliament declined to send a delegation to the Rio + 20 summit due to the “huge increase in the estimated hotel cost(s)”, which he called “simply not justifiable.”

Up to 20% of humanity directly dependent on forests, 16 May 2012 | Despite a global trend towards urbanization some 1.2-1.7 billion people worldwide remain primarily dependent on forests for their livelihoods, reports a review [PDF] published by the Forest Peoples Programme. The figures exclude people who are indirectly dependent on forests for the services they provide, including climate regulation, provision of clean water, and carbon sequestration. The data, which comes from an array of sources, indicates that the vast majority of people dependent on forests are small-holders, who rely on subsistence agriculture or agroforestry. Only a handful of forest people remain truly nomadic. The report notes that 200 million of the world’s “forest people” are considered “indigenous”. Estimates of indigenous people worldwide range from 454-560 million.

Bonn climate talks: Forest-rich nations need progress on MRV and REDD+ financing

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 May 2012 | Discussions on how mitigation and adaptation funds will be raised and used in the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol from 2013-2020 will be key during the climate change talks in Bonn to ensure that REDD+ can move forward. Forest-rich nations cannot wait much longer without progress in financing, said an expert. REDD+ cannot wait for the new climate treaty that is scheduled to start in 2020 before receiving adequate funding to move past pilot projects, said Louis Verchot, leading climate change scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “We’ve been talking about this (REDD+) since 2005. We can’t just be talking about it for 15 years and not actually get something going on the ground,” Verchot said yesterday. “Countries are going to have to commit money and commit much more money.”

Forests and climate change after Durban

RECOFTC, 16 May 2012 | Over the past two years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests have brought together regional experts to reflect on the outcomes of the 15th and 16th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The resulting booklets Forests and Climate Change After Copenhagen: An Asia-Pacific Perspective and Forests and Climate Change After Cancun: An Asia-Pacific Perspective were distributed widely and very well received. In February 2012, RECOFTC, FAO, and CoDe REDD, with support from GIZ-BMU, REDD-net, NORAD, ASFN, and SDC, brought together 13 climate change and forestry experts in Quezon City, Philippines, to discuss the implications on the forestry sector in the Asia-Pacific region of decisions taken at COP 17, held in Durban, South Africa, in November and December 2011.

REDD+ Training of Trainers Manual for Community-level Facilitators

RECOFTC, 16 May 2012 | This training manual for national and sub-national level facilitators is a timely step forward in this direction. It aims to create a well-trained human resource base in the country, which can help raising awareness and build capacity among forestry sector grassroots stakeholders. Since the concept and idea of REDD+ is new and still evolving, it is expected that this manual will undergo further revisions over time.

Report calls for REDD+ to Invest in Forest Communities

International Institute for Environment and Development, 16 May 2012 | Income generated from REDD+ should be given to forest communities to invest in their future, recommends a new report by The Forests Dialogue (TFD). Investing locally in this way should be part of understanding REDD+ as integral to broader development among forest-dependent communities. The new report Giving REDD+ Life, examines the relationship between Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) and broader development goals, and explores how and why the two should be integrated. The report is being launched as the advisory bodies for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meet in Bonn this week, and one month before the Rio+20 summit in Brazil – with “green economy” and financing high on the agendas of both meetings.

Brazil’s President Faces Defining Decision Over Forest Bill

By Simon Romero, New York Times, 16 May 2012 | President Dilma Rousseff is facing one of the defining moments of her presidency as pressure builds on her to veto a bill that would open vast protected areas of forests to ranching and farming, potentially reversing Brazil’s major gains in slowing Amazon deforestation. The Forest Code, which Congress approved in April at the urging of powerful agricultural groups, is an effort to overhaul Brazil’s 47-year-old legislation providing forest protection. The bill has emerged as a very delicate issue for Ms. Rousseff ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, scheduled to be held here next month. The bill would effectively give amnesty to landowners who illegally deforested areas before 2008, drawing the ire of environmentalists. If the legislation goes into effect, it could allow landowners in the Amazon to reduce obligatory forest cover to 50 percent from 80 percent…

[Cambodia] Two shot dead in Kratie land eviction

By May Titthara, Phnom Penh Post, 16 May 2012 | A 14-year-old girl was shot dead this morning by heavily armed officials who opened fire on a group of about 1,000 families they were sent to evict in Kratie province, military police have confirmed. A man who identified himself as a military police official but refused to give his name, said his forces had no choice but to fire on the villagers who were violently defying an order to vacate their land. Heng Chantha, 14, was killed while two other villagers were injured and four arrested during the incident that took place in Prama village, Kampong Damrei commune. About 200 heavily armed military police officials assisted by a helicopter stormed the village in the eviction operation before an unknown number of them opened fire. Military police have blocked off the area and are allowing no one in. The villagers were being evicted from the area to make way for agro-business company Casotim, military police and rights groups said.

China injects vigour into carbon debate

By Pilita Clark and Leslie Hook, Financial Times, 16 May 2012 | This year is not turning out well for the climate change business. The pace of global climate talks is sluggish. Prices have collapsed in the world’s biggest carbon market. Eurozone woes have shoved environmental concerns well down the list of priorities for leaders worldwide. Yet the outlook is far from hopeless, say some green businesses and campaigners, because of one, somewhat unlikely, part of the world: China. The world’s second-largest economy is home to some notable examples of environmental delinquency and produces more of the carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change than any other country. But its fledgling plans to start seven pilot carbon emissions trading schemes have injected vigour into the global environment debate. If these pilot programmes end up producing an efficient national carbon market, they could have a transforming impact on efforts to tackle climate change…

[Indonesia] East Kalimantan Is Third Largest Carbon Emitter

By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 16 May 2012 | The fast rate of deforestation in East Kalimantan over the last few years has made it the country’s third largest carbon emitting region. According to the East Kalimantan Climate Change Council (DDPI), the province emitted 255 million tons of carbon dioxide last year, behind only Riau (358 million tons) and Central Kalimantan (324 million tons). Daddy Ruchiyat, chairman of the DPPI, said that just five years ago the province was the bedrock of the country’s natural forests and helped minimize the impact of carbon emissions. “Now, we are the third largest emitter because more and more forests are turned into mines and residential areas,” he said in Balikpapan on Monday. Daddy said the province’s carbon emissions increased by 1.4 percent annually because the local administration had allowed more forest conversion in recent years in a bid to make more money.

[Peru] Perenco’s environmental consultancy buried evidence of Amazon tribe

By David Hill, The Guardian, 16 May 2012 | An environmental consultancy working for an oil company withheld evidence of an “uncontacted tribe” where the company is operating in Peru’s Amazon, a leaked report obtained by the Guardian reveals. The leak is acutely embarrassing for Perenco, based in London and Paris, because it has consistently claimed there is no evidence for indigenous people living without contact with the outside world near its operations and cites research by the consultancy, Daimi Peru, as proof. The report was written by three anthropologists from the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (Unap) who were contracted by Daimi, which in turn was contracted by Perenco. The anthropologists list the evidence they found – “bent branches, footprints, women bathing in the rivers and crossed spears on pathways” – all of which was reported by local people.

‘Inside job’ as Peru eyes gas in uncontacted tribes’ land

Survival International, 16 May 2012 | Secret plans reveal Peru is actively pursuing new gas reserves inside protected tribal land, a flagrant violation of laws that prevent such projects. The Nahua-Nanti Reserve in southeast Peru is known for its uncontacted Amazon tribes, but more controversially, for a wide stretch of gas fields called the Camisea project. Only last month, despite 75% of one gas block already dominating the reserve, Peru’s Ministry of Mines and Energy gave the Camisea consortium the green light for more gas exploration. And now Peru has gone further, releasing plans for the country’s first state-owned oil block, which will be inside the legally protected area. Known as Fitzcarrald, and owned by PetroPeru, Survival can reveal the new site is projected to be east of Camisea’s Block 88.

17 May 2012

Europe’s Return to Coal

Wall Street Journal, 17 May 2012 | Europe’s economic misery is having some unlikely consequences for its climate-change bulwark, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). European utilities are returning to coal—the dirty, high-emissions stuff that the cap-and-trade program was supposed to make less economically sensible for power companies. So far this year, coal-fired power generation in Germany has grown to 68% from 53% as a share of nuclear and fossil-fuel generation, according to the Leipzig-based European Energy Exchange. Profits at coal-fired plants in Germany are up by 30%. The British government reports that U.K. coal plants are running at capacity, and that coal’s share in power generation has been rising from 2009 lows.

Insuring forests

International Tree Foundation, 17 May 2012 | The problems described above are all borne from the tricky issue of trust. In order to overcome this hurdle, REDD needs to incorporate a mechanism that encourages all parties to do the right thing. One such mechanism that has been mooted recently is to develop an insurance-based version of REDD (known as iREDD). In this system an outside broker would establish a premium for the contract between the party wishing to buy carbon credits (the buyer) and the party agreeing to protect their forest resources (the seller). This premium would be based on an assessment of risk which quantifies factors such as government reputation, management capability and political buy-in. Once a risk assessment is complete, the buyer places up to a third of the proposed transactional costs (depending on the risk level) into a separate ‘insurance policy’ account that generates interest over time.

[Argentina] Tribe partners to protect Argentina’s most endangered forest

By Jeremy Hance,, 17 May 2012 | Last month, three Guarani communities, the local Argentine government of Misiones, and the UK-based NGO World Land Trust forged an agreement to create a nature reserve connecting three protected areas in the fractured, and almost extinct, Atlantic Forest. Dubbed the Emerald Green Corridor, the reserve protects 3,764 hectares (9,301 acres) in Argentina; although relatively small, the land connects three protected other protected areas creating a combined conservation area (41,000 hectares) around the size of Barbados in the greater Yaboti Biosphere Reserve. In Argentina only 1 percent of the historical Atlantic Forest survives. “The agreement that has been reached is truly ground-breaking,” John Burton the head of World Land Trust (WLT) said in a press release, “and it’s been heralded as such by the government of Misiones.”

Bunge’s Brazilian REDD project to earn 800,000 carbon credits

Point Carbon, 17 May 2012 | Agribusiness giant Bunge expects its avoided deforestation project on private land in Brazil to be issued around 800,000 voluntary carbon credits by the second half of the year, the firm’s Brazil country manager said. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Ford, GM and BMW linked to illegal logging and slave labour in Brazil

By Erin Hale, The Guardian, 17 May 2012 | Ford, GM and BMW are sourcing material from Brazil that is driving illegal logging and slave labour, according to campaigners at Greenpeace. Brazil is a major exporter of pig iron, a primary ingredient of steel and cast iron, that is produced using massive quantities of charcoal. Reports over the past decade from the Brazilian government, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the US Department of Labour have indicated that charcoal used by many pig iron suppliers in the Amazonian state of Pará was obtained through forced labour and illegal logging of protected and indigenous lands. A new report by Greenpeace uses customs data to link eight international companies to two major Brazilian exporters of pig iron, Viena Siderurgica do Maranhão (Viena) and Siderúrgica do Pará (Sidepar), that the green group says are linked through the supply chain to charcoal suppliers with histories of buying from illegal camps…

[Brazil] Exposed: World’s ‘most threatened tribe’ outnumbered 10:1 by invaders

Survival International, 17 May 2012 | The extent of the peril facing the world’s ‘most threatened tribe’ was revealed today, as Brazilian authorities admitted that the Awá tribe are now outnumbered 10:1 inside just one of their reserves. Officials acknowledged the scale of the emergency after receiving over 20,000 messages of protest following the launch of Survival’s campaign to save the Awá tribe from imminent extinction. Survival International has learned that a government survey estimates there could be up to 4,500 invaders – ranchers, loggers and settlers – now occupying just one of the four territories inhabited by the Awá tribe, whose total population stands at no more than 450. The new head of FUNAI (Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department), Dra Marta Azevedo, has confirmed that the plight of the Awá tribe is now her department’s top priority.

Cambodian troops seal off village after land clashes

Associated Press, 17 May 2012 | Security forces have sealed off a village in eastern Cambodia and denied entry to human rights workers after the fatal shooting of a teenager in the latest violent eviction aimed at clearing land for development. Soldiers said they needed to secure the area around Proma village, in eastern Kratie province, to continue the search for five accused ringleaders involved in a clash with security forces a day earlier, said Chan Soveth, a prominent investigator with Cambodian human rights group Adhoc. He said journalists and human rights activists were initially moved to an area half a mile (1km) from the village but then pushed farther back, raising concerns about the soldiers’ conduct and the safety of the villagers. The interior ministry, meanwhile, issued a statement alleging the protesters were an “anarchic group” trying to set up a self-governing zone outside the law. It accused demonstrators of abducting two soldiers and seizing their weapons.

China posed for carbon emissions scheme, 17 May 2012 | The outcome of China’s planned carbon emissions scheme could have a transforming effect on efforts to tackle climate change, experts say. China is preparing to run pilot carbon trading schemes beginning in 2013 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 introduce a national trading scheme by 2015, just two years after the seven pilot programs are scheduled to be in place. “For us to finish this in two years is a huge amount of work,” Mei Dewen, chief executive of the China Beijing Environmental Exchange told the Financial Times. “A carbon trading market is a very complex system.” Because of China’s size and rate of economic growth, the outcome of its pilot carbon trading schemes is “one of the most important questions of environmental policy of our time,” states a Stockholm Environment Institute study published last month.

Beleaguered West Papuans left to count the cost of Indonesia’s palm oil boom

By Johnny Langenheim, The Guardian, 17 May 2012 | Papua is one of the last great frontier wildernesses. Its vast rainforests and coral rich waters are home to more than 250 indigenous tribes, the most linguistically diverse population on Earth. But it is also the scene of a brutal and under-reported conflict. Indonesia took control of the western half of New Guinea – now the provinces of Papua and West Papua – in 1969. Its claim was ratified by the UN through the controversial Act of Free Choice, in which only 1,026 of an estimated population of 800,000 Papuans voted for Indonesian sovereignty, having been selected by the Indonesian military. Since then, Indonesia has been trying to extinguish an increasingly desperate independence movement. Amnesty International estimates that at least 100,000 indigenous lives have been lost as a direct result of the conflict.

West Papua’s big palm oil plantations rip-off

EIA International, 17 May 2012 | An Indonesian oil palm plantation in which Norway has a financial stake paid Papuan tribal landowners as little as US$0.65 per hectare for their forestland, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) can reveal. In the new report Clear-Cut Exploitation, EIA and its Indonesian partner Telapak expose woefully low payments by PT Henrison Inti Persada (PT HIP) to marginalised Moi tribe clans for land and timber. Evidence includes a copy of PT HIPs ‘contract’ with a Moi tribe clan leader, detailing a payment of US$923 for 14.2 sq km of forestlands – just US$0.65 per hectare. In contrast, when the Hong Kong-based commodities conglomerate Noble Group bought a majority stake in PT HIP in 2010, industry analysts estimated the plantation would be worth US$162 million once developed (based on a US$5,000 per hectare valuation) – or 7,812 times the price received by Moi tribe landowners per hectare.

18 May 2012

REDD and forest transition: Tunneling through the environmental Kuznets curve

Tropical Forestry and Timberland News, 18 May 2012 | International attention is focused on finding ways to reduce emissions from deforestation because of the emerging concerns over climate change. However the causes of deforestation are rooted in current economic and development paradigms. The causes of deforestation also vary across different geographical regions and have implications for the forest transition. Attempts to reach an international agreement on curbing deforestation have achieved little success despite over 30 years of UN negotiations. New initiatives from REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) could provide financial incentives to curb deforestation. Hence, alternative development paths for forest cover changes and forest transition are analyzed for the REDD policy within the framework of an environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) for deforestation. The EKC models are estimated for geographical regions of Latin America, Africa and Asia.

World warms to idea of climate bonds

By Giles Parkinson, The Australian, 18 May 2012 | Australia is set to play a key role in the development of a new global-debt security, with work under way on an initiative to arrange a dollar “climate bond” in what could be a world first. Climate bonds are a new form of security that are considered crucial to providing liquidity in debt markets for financing investment in low-carbon industry sectors, which will rely on economies of scale to grow. According to Sean Kidney, the Australian founder and head of the Climate Bonds Initiative, the new category is set to become a major new part of the global bond market, and he expects the world will need to issue about $300 billion of such bonds a year from 2016 to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Several banks around the world are looking at issuing climate bonds.

[Cambodia] Prey Lang Forestry Activists Lobby Washington for Help

By Men Kimseng, Voice of America, 18 May 2012 | Environmental activists from Prey Lang forest have brought their concerns to Washington seeking international support to end deforestation in Cambodia. Phouk Hong, a Kuy ethnic minority who led a three-member team, told VOA Khmer in an TV interview that concession companies have destroyed the forest and do more harm to local culture than good. “The forest concession affects us a lot, especially those in the Prey Lang community,” said Phouk Hong. “It destroys their livelihoods and their income from resin and other forest secondary products.” For Samoeun Vuthy, a Prov ethnic minority from Stung Treng province, keeping his ethnic group’s dignity and culture intact are key objectives. That means, in part, not working as labor for rubber plantations or other companies. “Land concessions do not serve the interests of indigenous groups in those areas,” he said.

Indonesia’s forest moratorium: halfway through, what has been achieved?

By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 May 2012 | Climate change scientist Daniel Murdiyarso has been closely watching the ban’s progress, and says that revisions to the map have revealed that extensive concessions had already been granted to mining, logging or palm oil companies by the time the moratorium took effect, so the area covered by the moratorium is less than originally anticipated. “The objective of the moratorium is to hold back the issuance of permits. So to some extent the map is showing that, but on the other hand it is also showing the reality […] the fact that some areas are already under license,” he said. He says the first revision of the map revealed that permits had already been issued for almost 5 million hectares of carbon-rich peatland that were previously thought to be covered by the moratorium. However, he says the fact that this is now public knowledge is a significant step forward.

[Indonesia] The Case of Tripa Peat Swamp: Entry Point To Revision Of Moratorium Map

Kompas, 18 May 2012 | The case of land use in Tripa Peat Swamp of Aceh’s Nagan Raya District is a small example of chaos in the Indonesian forest management. The government is urged to review the 4.8 million ha of forest excluded from the forestry moratorium map during the first revision. ”This case of Tripa, even that the area in dispute only of 1,605 ha, has uncover the truth about how chaotic the management of moratorium data astually is,” said Elfian Effendi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia, Wednesday (16/5), in Jakarta. The area of 1.605 in Tripa is part of 4.8 million of land and forest excluded by the government form its moratorium status during the revision of the Inficative Map for the Postponing iof New Lisence. (Peta Indikatif Penundaan Izin Baru – PIPIB), which were initially within the moratorium plan.

[Indonesia] Tribes ‘paid cents per hectare’

Herald Sun, 18 May 2012 | PT Henrison Inti Persada bought land and timber from the Moi clans at extremely low prices, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency said. Documents showed Henrison paid tribesmen $US923 ($934.16) for 14.2 square kilometres of forest. “Papuans, some of the poorest citizens in Indonesia, are being utterly exploited in legally questionable oil palm land deals that provide huge financial opportunities for international investors at the expense of the people and forests of West Papua,” the agency said. Henrison could not be reached for comment. The Hong Kong-based commodities conglomerate Noble Group bought a majority stake in Henrison in 2010. At that time, industry analysts estimated the plantation would be worth $US162 million ($163.96 million) once developed, the EIA said.

[USA] Is New Green Law Creating More Green for Logging Companies?

By Stephen Stock, Liza Meak, and Jeremy Carroll, NBC Bay Area, 18 May 2012 | California’s new Cap and Trade program has been hailed as the gold standard in environmental law for the entire world. Not only are other states looking to the law but other countries, too, are watching to judge its effects on the global economy and environment. Now, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit has learned of questions surrounding fundamental issues about how the new law is applied and who benefits from it that could undermine the entire program’s credibility… The Investigative Unit spent the last four months researching California’s new Cap and Trade program. At 262 pages, the law is as difficult to get your arms around as a giant Sequoia. The first 44-and-a-half pages alone are dedicated to spelling out definitions in the law.

19 May 2012

Brazilian deforestation lower in 2012 to date, 19 May 2012 | Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is lower in 2012 relative to the same period last year according to satellite-based data released by Imazon, an NGO. Imazon’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD) detected 830 square kilometers of clearing between August 2011 to April 2012, down about 35 percent from the 1268 square kilometers recorded at this time last year. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon last year was the lowest since annual record keeping began in the late 1980s. Imazon’s deforestation tracking system also found a sharp decline in forest degradation, which often proceeds outright deforestation. Forest degradation is typically the result of logging and fire. Brazil measures its annual deforestation at the end of July during the dry season when cloud cover is at a minimum. Final data is typically released in December. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon usually peaks in the July-September period.

[Indonesia] Pictures: mama and baby orangutan saved from palm oil developers, 19 May 2012 | A mother orangutan and its baby were rescued from an area of forest that was being bulldozed for an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, reports the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC), which participated in the translocation of the red apes. The rescue was conducted by the OIC’s Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) with the assistance of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SCOP), the Leuser Ecosystem Management Authority (BPKEL), and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA). It was the second orangutan rescue in ten days at the site. The female orangutan and her baby were isolated in a patch of forest within an oil palm plantation owned by PT Sisirau, an Indonesian palm oil company, in Aceh Province. Sisirau was preparing to bulldoze the forest, according to OIC.

20 May 2012

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