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REDD in the news: 21-27 May 2012

REDD in the news: 21-27 May 2012A 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.

Forest Management and Climate Change: Stakeholder Perceptions

FAO, Forests and Climate Change Working Paper 11, 2012 | This document is part of the publications series produced by the Forest and Climate Change Programme of FAO. The programme seeks to provide timely information and tools to a wide range of stakeholders, with the ultimate objective of assisting countries’ efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change through actions consistent with sustainable forest management. FAO, in collaboration with forest management and climate change experts and relevant stakeholders, is currently developing guidelines to assist forest managers to understand, assess and implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The guidelines will highlight adjustments that may be considered in the planning, implementation and monitoring phases of forest management to accommodate climate change considerations. They will be relevant for all forest types, all management objectives and all types of managers.

Myanmar: Overview of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade

By Kevin Woods, Kerstin Canby, Forest Trends, May 2012 | Myanmar remains one of the world’s only countries with no prohibitions on log exports. The country provides much coveted teak and other hardwood logs to the region and beyond. Sawn wood, and to a lesser extent finished wood products, contribute a relatively small amount to Myanmar’s total exports of wood products. As in the majority of Mekong countries, one of the most significant trends affecting forest lands in Myanmar relates to the considerable, and often times informal, foreign direct investments (FDI) in agribusiness plantations such as rubber, oil palm, timber plantation, cashew nut and other horticultural crops. FD are also being made in other resource sector developments, including hydropower and mineral extraction. These types of developments often require the clearing of natural forest areas and has led to land disputes with local communities.

UN-REDD Newsletter 28

UN-REDD Programme, May 2012 | In this month’s issue, read more on Programme’s anti-corruption work with partner countries in Africa, as well as the recent global and regional outreach efforts with Indigenous Peoples on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Also get details on Mexico’s recent landmark legal reforms for REDD+, and the first-ever international land tenure guidelines launched by the Committee on World Food Security.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Drivers & Barriers for REDD

By Inken Reimer, NFI Climate Policy Perspectives, May 2012 | Greater coordination amongst donor countries is required in order to secure environmental and social standards and to monitor the readiness of host countries to move from the preparatory phase of REDD to generating actual reductions in emissions. Clear and binding environmental and social safeguards must be implemented to ensure equal credible standards for all REDD actors. Alternatives to public financing of REDD are necessary to secure long-term effectiveness of the mechanism. Demand for REDD is dependent on internationally agreed compliance obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; demands from individual national emissions trading systems may impair the environmental quality of emission reduction units.

21 May 2012

“Cash is king”: Forested countries must see REDD+ financial rewards

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 May 2012 | Developing countries will not be incentivised to change business -as- usual practices and invest in REDD+ schemes until there’s certainty that the financial rewards that have been used to promote the forest carbon mechanism will materialise in the future, said experts at the sidelines of the climate change talks in Bonn. “Cash is king,” said Maria Brockhaus, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), at a side event held alongside the meetings of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Bodies. “The prospect of REDD+ financing is already a game changer, but if we want the change to be transformational and not just on the surface, there needs to be certainty on what forested nations will receive under REDD+.”

Negotiations: Activists worry about impact of vague Rio+20 meeting on climate talks

By Lisa Friedman, Climate Wire, 21 May 2012 | Climate change activists have begun to openly worry that the upcoming Rio+20 U.N. mega-conference on sustainable development has abandoned a grand vision for fighting global warming. In their fear of tainting the sunny Rio de Janeiro summit with the dark clouds of the ever-troubled international climate negotiations, analysts note, national and U.N. leaders have avoided even speaking about the two bodies in the same sentence. The result, many say, is that Rio is in danger of pushing climate change to the far margins of the global environmental discussion. “Climate change is the third rail of the Rio conference,” said Andrew Light, a senior fellow specializing in international climate policy at the Center for American Progress.

[Australia] Forest Management Plan proves controversial

By Gerry Georgatos, Donnybrook – Bridgetown Mail, 21 May 2012 | The state government’s newly released Forest Management Plan (FMP) has proved controversial among conservation and green groups. Conservation Council WA (CCWA) president Piers Verstegen said the government’s next forest management plan will be a death sentence to endangered animals. However, the Forest Products Commission (FPC) said the concerns were premature. A scoping document for the FMP argues 10,000 hectares of native timber should be available for logging each year from 2014. Mr Verstegen said this was a 20 per cent increase. He said in recent years 8000 hectares had been logged and Warrup’s numbats and other endangered species would not survive the increase. “We’ve shown the logging industry is exempt from hard-won legislation designed to protect our threatened animals,” Mr Verstegen said.

G8: Leaders open up vital new front in the battle to control global warming

By Geoffrey Lean, The Telegraph, 21 May 2012 | It seems to have gone virtually unnoticed, but the world leaders at the weekend’s G8 summit look as if they have taken the biggest step in years in tackling climate change. And it’s quite apart from anything to do with carbon dioxide. The summit’s final communiqué, the Camp David Declaration, supports “comprehensive actions” to reduce “short-lived climate pollutants”. These substances – including black carbon (soot), methane, ground-level ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons – are responsible for about half of global warming. Straightforward measures to address them, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme concluded last year, would delay dangerous climate change by more than three decades, buying crucial time for the much more difficult process of slashing carbon dioxide emissions.

[Indonesia] Forestry Ministry Says Greenpeace Claims vs APP Not True

Jakarta Globe, 21 May 2012 | The Forestry Ministry has denied allegations by Greenpeace that a high-profile pulp and paper company is logging valuable ramin trees in Riau. Darori, the ministry’s director general for forest protection and nature conservation, said on Monday that Asia Pulp & Paper was not responsible for the logging of the ramin, a tropical hardwood species. “These trees are indeed being logged, not by APP but by suppliers for APP,” he said, adding that the move on the part of the suppliers was “a mistake” because ramin, typically used for furniture, was unsuitable for pulping. “And besides, cutting down ramin trees isn’t a crime,” Darori said. He also said that APP had put aside the logs that it had received and could not do anything with them because “they don’t have an economic value.” Ramin is the most valuable tree species in Indonesia, selling for $1,000 per cubic meter when exported.

Norway SWF told to invest in land as climate change hedge

By Sohpie Baker, Financial News, 21 May 2012 | Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global should invest in agricultural land and forests as a hedge against any climate change policies that governments around the world may introduce, according to a report specially prepared by investment consultant Mercer. The Nkr3.3 trillion ($550bn) fund, the second-largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, according to the SWF Institute, should invest in these commodities “as a ‘hedge’ against climate policy measures that are not fully anticipated by the market”, Mercer’s report said.

22 May 2012

Differing views on market-based approaches for REDD+plus finance

By Hilary Chiew, Third World Network, 22 May 2012 | Parties differed in their views on the use of private finance for forest-related activities at the spin-off group under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long term Cooperative Action under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (AWG-LCA) to discuss the financing system for ‘REDD-plus’ on 19 May. While most countries that made interventions preferred the use of both public and private funding sources and favoured the market-based approaches, Bolivia, Sudan, Tanzania and India differed, particularly in the use of offsets within these market-based approaches.

German bourse scraps EU carbon emissions trading

By Vera Eckert, Reuters, 22 May 2012 | Bavaria’s stock exchange will abandon its carbon emissions certificate trading operations in the EU-traded CO2 market on June 30 after volumes in Europe “plunged to practically zero” in recent months, it said on Tuesday. The EU’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) limits the carbon dioxide emissions of the 27-nation bloc’s factories and power plants and covers nearly half of EU emissions. Prices in the ETS have shed around 60 percent of their value over the past year due to market worries about the growing supply glut and weak demand. “Emissions trading will never find its feet again without radical political action,” said Christine Bortenlaenger, the head of the exchange, in a statement. “To actually achieve the original goal of reducing carbon emissions, trading prices must be boosted by drastically reducing the number of certificates. Only then will companies perceive investment in carbon reduction technologies as worthwhile,” she added.

Environment special: Deforestation and forest degredation

By Willy Rowing, New Europe, 22 May 2012 | Research based on the FAO’s Global Forest Resource Assessment 2010 calculates that the annual loss of tropical forest cover in the decade to 2010 has been 9.3 million hectares, an area larger than Scotland. The root cause of deforestation is the failure of the world’s market economy to award any value to the intrinsic environmental assets of the rainforest. This malfunction contrasts with the rocketing prices of timber, paper, furniture, minerals, fossil fuels, meat, cosmetics and biofuels, each of which is linked with forest destruction. Demand for these goods, and food production in particular, will continue to be underpinned by global population growth and rising affluence. Extracting timber resources from a forest prior to its clearance for agriculture offers an irrestistible business model to prospective investors.

Moving REDD+ forward: more structured discussion on the drivers of deforestation is needed

By Charlene Watson, Overseas Development Institute, 22 May 2012 | Tackling the drivers of deforestation (and let’s not forget the drivers of forest degradation) is key to move towards REDD+, but it requires progress on three key issues: – land use planning that allows agriculture to meet food needs, as well as the multiple forest conservation objectives under REDD+, – national REDD+ strategies that recognise and balance the needs of development and economic growth, such as infrastructure development, extractive industries and biofuel opportunities, that have, historically, opposed the conservation of forested land, – reduction in consumer country demandfor forest products, or those that drive forest losses such as meat, soy and palm oil that often exceed consumer needs. The second REDD+ Partnership meeting of 2012, held prior the UNFCCC Bonn intersessional, should be commended for its acknowledgment and frank discussion on these important issues.

Marine scientist champions Blue Carbon, 22 May 2012 | Seagrasses could be the oceans’ best-kept secret, and a multibillion-dollar marketplace, for mitigating global climate change, according to a study published this week. Seagrass meadows act as a massive carbon sink, capable of storing as much carbon as forests. There’s only one problem: due to poor watershed management and declining water quality near shorelines, seagrasses are disappearing at alarming rates. James Fourqurean, who has devoted his career to seagrass research, recently completed a study with a team of scientists from across the world that provides the first global analysis of carbon stored in seagrasses. The research, “Seagrass Ecosystems as Globally Significant Carbon Stocks,” was published Sunday in Nature Geoscience… The United Nations’ REDD program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) already exists to protect the earth’s forests. But seagrass meadows are capable of storing as much carbon dioxide as any forest.

New environment award recognises peace prize winner Wangari Maathai

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 May 2012 | A new environment award from the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and commemorating renowned environmentalist, the late Wangari Maathai, will be presented in September this year. The US$20,000 Wangari Maathai Award recognises 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s positive contribution to forests and the environment.

Lessons Learned from Community Forestry & REDD+ in Brazil

World Bank, 22 May 2012 | Designing a successful REDD+ strategy is complex, in part because it deals with the intricacies of changing economic incentives and human behaviors toward forests – and toward land in general. That’s where community forestry can play an important role. Various tropical countries have demonstrated that the effective decentralization of forest management rights and responsibilities, when combined with long-term support of local communities, can lead to better management of forest resources. REDD+ can foster decentralization of forest management rights and responsibilities. (REDD+ refers to all activities covered by the mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, plus the conservation of forest carbon stocks, the sustainable management of forests, and the increased enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.)

[Cambodia] Security forces strip, handcuff women in Kratie amid eviction

By May Titthara, Phnom Penh Post, 22 May 2012 | Villagers detained during a bloody crackdown in Kratie province last week in which a 14-year-old was shot dead have accused security forces of brutal acts of cruelty, including forcing pregnant women to stand naked in the sun for hours. The villagers from Pro Ma village in Chhlong district’s Kampong Damrei commune have alleged that military police and police forced men and women to strip naked, handcuffed them and left the females in broad daylight for hours while the males were not freed until the end of the day. Almost 1,000 police and military police officers stormed the village, where residents have a longstanding land dispute with the company Casotim, at about 8:30am last Wednesday in an operation they said was to arrest the ringleaders of a group attempting to create a mini autonomous state.

Indonesia forest moratorium won’t meet climate pledge – Norway

By Olivia Rondonuwu, Reuters, 22 May 2012 | Norway has been impressed by what Indonesia has achieved in terms of transparency in the forest sector and by a change towards being more pro-environment in policy debates around land use, said its environment minister, BÃ¥rd Vegar Solhjell. However, deforestation continues in areas not covered by the moratorium as well as illegally in the country’s carbon-rich tropical forests and peatlands. Permits to clear land are often given out by local governors and there is a lack of central government enforcement. “We know that the moratorium itself is not sufficient to reach the climate mitigation pledged, or to stop deforestation in the speed that is necessary,” Solhjell told Reuters in an interview. It was the first time Norway indicated the moratorium may not be sufficient.

Indonesia revises moratorium map; makes contested orangutan forest off-limits, 22 May 2012 | Indonesia is making “encouraging” progress on its push to reduce deforestation by improving governance over its forests and peatlands but still needs to do more to enforce environmental laws, said the head of the country’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) task force speaking at a press conference Monday in Jakarta. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of the Indonesian President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4) and Chair of the REDD+ Task Force, said an effort to develop a map of Indonesia’s forests and forest concessions has been completed, although the Ministry of Forestry has yet to deliver the map to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, missing last Friday’s deadline. The map serves as the basis for a two-year moratorium on new forestry concessions in primary forests and peatlands had been completed.

[Mexico] Research questions REDD Program in Chiapas for Destroying Indigenous Identity

By Hermann Bellinghausen, La Jornada, 22 May 2012 | The program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD Plus), driven by the UN, has been embraced by the government of Mexico since 2010, and its flagship is Chiapas where, as in other countries, the program is controversial. To begin with, “the government itself has divided peoples into ‘legals’ and ‘illegals’ in order to ‘respect’ ILO Convention 169 people when it comes to indigenous peoples working with the government, while not respecting the convention when it comes to other Indian it chooses to consider ‘invaders,’ “says the paper “REDD Plus Project in Chiapas” by Norwegian researcher Ingrid Fadnes. What about the rights of indigenous peoples? A shared vision among most, on a continental scale, is that those who destroy their land and resources are causing their own destruction and that of their identity as a people.

23 May 2012

Cameroon’s forests pressured as leaders welcome palm oil investors

By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame, AlertNet, 23 May 2012 | Cameroon is inviting foreign companies to expand lucrative palm plantations, pitting the country’s need for economic development against environmentalists who foresee the loss of important forests. Since 2009 this West African country has witnessed a sharp rise in interest from companies seeking vast expanses of land for industrial palm plantations in response to increasing global demand for palm oil. Six foreign-owned companies are currently trying to secure over 1 million hectares (about 2.5 million acres) of land for the production of palm oil in the country’s forested southern zone, according to a coalition of environmental organisations.

Trees Absorb Less Carbon in Warming World Than Experts Have Assumed

By Robert Krier, InsideClimate News, 23 May 2012 | Trees may not be the planetary saviors people have been counting on in a warming climate. A new study shows that while trees certainly help counteract rising temperatures, they are absorbing 3.4 percent less carbon than had been assumed in models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. More CO2 in the atmosphere means more warming. According to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it all comes down to how the trees react to sunlight.

Ghana: Turning the Back On Forest Revenue Loses

By Masahudu Ankilu Kunateh,, 23 May 2012 | The negligence of state institutions, including Parliament, to review Ghana’s Timber Rights Fees (TRF), popularly known as ‘Forest Fees’, meant for the state is having rippling effects on the Mills-led government and the Grace Bediako ‘cooked figures’ middle-income country. The TRF is the rent timber companies pay for their concessions annually. This means that for the past six years, the country has lost millions of Ghana cedis to timber companies. This whopping amount could have been used to undertake development projects such as schools and health infrastructure, provision of potable water to deprived communities, and upgrading of roads in forest-rich communities.

Indonesia Is Wilting

By Alexandra Di Stefano Pironti, IPS, 23 May 2012 | As Indonesia marks the first year of a two-year moratorium on deforestation that followed a pledge of a billion dollars from Norway, a coalition of international and local green groups urged Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this week to strengthen the moratorium so that it becomes a real instrument to reduce, and ultimately halt, deforestation in the country. “The existing moratorium only suspends the issue of new forest use permits, it did not order a review of existing permits. There are other glaring loopholes in the moratorium which need to be addressed if Indonesia is to honour its international commitments,” Yuyun Indradi, forests policy adviser, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said at a press briefing Monday. Such concerns are being raised ahead of the Rio+ summit on sustainable development next month.

24 May 2012

Global CO2 emissions hit record in 2011 led by China-IEA

By Michel Rose, Reuters, 24 May 2012 | China spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday. CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 percent last year to 31.6 billion tonnes, preliminary estimates from the Paris-based IEA showed. China, the world’s biggest emitter of CO2, made the largest contribution to the global rise, its emissions increasing by 9.3 percent, the body said, driven mainly by higher coal use. “When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,” Fatih Birol, IEA’s chief economist told Reuters.

U.N. Doha climate talks risk sinking ‘like Titanic’

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 24 May 2012 | Hopes are fading that climate talks in Qatar late this year will make even modest progress towards getting a new globally binding climate deal signed by 2015, as preliminary negotiations in Germany this week have left much work to be done. The fear is that if work plans and agendas are not set by the end of this year at the latest it could have a knock-on effect, holding up the entire effort to avert potentially devastating global warming.

Bonn Talks Disappoint On Land-Based Offsets

By Matt Leggett, Global Canopy Group, Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 May 2012 | Progress at the Bonn UNFCCC Climate Conference has been frustratingly slow. One of the key goals for the conference was to lay the foundations for scaling up the finance needed for REDD+, and to secure short term additional finance commitments to support this transition in advance of COP18 in Doha. However, as the conference draws to a close, Parties are still struggling to agree on whether sources of private finance (e.g. market based approaches) can, or should, be used to supplement flows of public finance (e.g. non-market based approaches) to support REDD+ activities. While most interventions from Parties have supported pursuing a combination of market and non-market based approaches to fund REDD+, key parties such as India, Bolivia and others continue to disagree.

Rio+20 Dialogues: forest peoples’ rights, how can they be recognised and secured?

By Michelle, Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 24 May 2012 | Pervasive tenure insecurity is limiting the implementation of sustainable development policy in many countries, with struggles for land in the Brazilian Amazon being linked to violent conflicts and excessive deforestation. These startling issues are just some of discussion points raised by participants in the Rio+20 Dialogue on Forests while debating how customary use claims to land by indigenous and rural communities can be formally recognised and secured by governments. According to a recent study by the Forest Peoples Program, one billion of those classified as living in “extreme poverty” depend on forest resources for all or part of their livelihoods.

Cutting carbon in Cambodia through REDD+

By Amanda Bradley (PACT), Rio+20 Business Focus, 24 May 2012 | “When trees are lost it makes the earth warmer and there are more disasters like big storms, so that creates problems for everyone”, explains Din Heng, the elected Community Forestry leader for the remote Dung Beng village in Cambodia. For years, he and other community members have witnessed firsthand unwelcome changes in the local climate such as increased flooding and drought. But recently they are beginning to understand the broader connections between forests and climate change, as well as the community’s important role in contributing to mitigation.

[Indonesia] New Google Earth tool maps deforestation, threatened forests in Sumatra, 24 May 2012 | The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and a coalition of Indonesian environmental groups known as Eyes on the Forest have released a new Google Earth-based tool ( maps forests, land use, carbon stocks, and biodiversity across the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The project is based on a database compiled by experts working on the ground in Sumatra. It aims to boost transparency around land use in Sumatra, which has lost roughly half of its forests since 1985 due to agricultural expansion, mining, pulp and paper development, and oil palm plantations. Forest loss in Sumatra has put a number of charismatic animal species

Where will the loggers strike next? Map could model deforestation vulnerability across the Amazon rainforest

By John Burn-Murdoch, The Guardian, 24 May 2012 | Researchers exploring the value of different types of timber across the Amazon rainforest have produced a fascinating choropleth map to illustrate their findings. Shown above, it consists of timber values plotted on a gridded map of equal-area cells, each 0.25km-squared in size. Click on the image to view the full-size version. Sadia Ahmed and Robert Ewers, both of Imperial College London, carried out the study and believe its findings could provide a method for predicting future deforestation patterns in the region.

In Peruvian Amazon, timber extraction in Brazil nut forests set to rise unless better regulated

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 24 May 2012 | In the Peruvian Amazon, uncontrolled timber extraction from concession forests destined primarily for the harvesting of Brazil nuts could overtake the amount extracted from logging concession areas, warns a new CIFOR study. Existing regulations in Brazil nut forests must place tighter controls on timber extraction without compromising the needs of local people who access the forest for nut harvesting activities. “Timber is a very important resource in the region as is the Brazil nut. However, since 2004, a reform in the law which allows timber extraction within Brazil nut concessions has prompted overharvesting due to weak legal enforcement and a set of much lighter requirements than those applied to extract timber from timber concessions,” said Manuel Guariguata, co-author of “El aprovechamiento de madera en las concesiones castañeras (Bertholletia excelsa) en Madre de Dios, Perú” and scientist at CIFOR.

25 May 2012

Connie Hedegaard: “In Bonn, some of the world’s largest emitters have wasted too much energy in trying to move backwards rather than in securing progress”

By Connie Hedegaard, European Commission, 25 May 2012 | Parties to the UNFCCC met in Bonn over the last two weeks for its mid-year climate change talks. Commissioner Hedegaard made the following statement as the session concluded. ”The European Union is almost the only player taking a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and so keeping it alive. Because we believe climate change needs to be addressed in a legally-binding international framework, we are willing to do this, even when other major economies are at present only willing to enter into voluntary commitments. But – and it is a big but – we need other major economies and significant emitters to play ball. The world cannot afford that a few want to backtrack from what was agreed in Durban only five months ago. Durban was – and is – a delicately balanced package where all elements must be delivered at the same pace. It is not a pick and choose menu.

U.N. Risks Investor Stand-Off On REDD By Delaying Work: Green Groups

By Ben Garside, Planet Ark, 25 May 2012 | Countries risk delaying much-needed private sector investment in slowing deforestation by dodging tricky issues such as how to protect the rights of forest dwellers, green groups said Thursday… “Until these items are addressed I would expect it would be too difficult for responsible companies to get involved,” Nils Hermann Ranum of green group Rainforest Foundation Norway… He said that because many countries with the biggest REDD potential were considered risky for investors to deploy cash, they needed firm guarantees over land rights of forest inhabitants and the rich biodiversity of rainforests included as part of a U.N. framework.

Why we need laws to save what’s left of our forests

By Tom Picken (Global Witness), TrustLaw, 25 May 2012 | International efforts to protect forests and the people that live in them have failed so badly that just 20 per cent of forest remains untouched by commercial activity. It is really, really crucial that we find a global system that looks after what remains of the world’s lungs. The question of how best to do this lies at the heart of a recent public debate between Global Witness and WWF over the credibility of the latter’s flagship timber sustainability scheme, the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN).

Brazil’s leader vetoes portions of new Amazon rainforest law

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 25 May 2012 | Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has partially vetoed a bill that would have weakened her country’s efforts to protect the Amazon and other forests. Environmentalists cautiously welcomed the last-minute decision, which came after the most closely watched political debate of the year in Brazil. But they warned that the battle was not yet over because large parts of the bill will still go through. Last month, legislators in both houses passed a set of revisions to the Forest Code that threatened permanent preservation areas – a key provision in Brazilian environmental legislation – that obliged farmers to keep a proportion of their land as protected forests, particularly on the fringes of rivers and hillsides. This requirement has long been opposed by Brazil’s powerful agricultural lobby.

One of Indonesia’s top REDD+ experts discusses logging moratorium progress

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 May 2012 | Indonesia’s moratorium on new logging concessions has helped to improve forest governance and seal an agreement between different government agencies to work together to reduce deforestation, said Heru Prasetyo, member of the Presidential REDD+ Task Force. “In the past, the Ministry of Forestry and Ministry of Agriculture and land [mapping] agencies are not working together. For the case of updating of the moratorium map, we need to work together and actually the improvement was beyond my expectation,” he said. Indonesia imposed a two-year moratorium on granting new logging concessions last May under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation. Prasetyo, who is also Deputy for Planning at the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight, discusses what he hopes the moratorium will have achieved at the end of the two years in this exclusive interview with CIFOR.

[Vietnam] In Central Highlands: cassava swallows the forest

VietNamNet, 25 May 2012 | Thousands of hectares of virgin forests have been destroyed in the mountainous areas of the central region and Central Highlands to give place for cassava fields. Cassava starch processing plants have been set up in many places since investors believe that the plants can bring fat profit. The mushroomed plants have prompted local residents to destroy the forests to have the land for growing cassava to provide to the starch processing plants. As a result, thousands of hectares of forests have been cleared because of the human’s cupidity.

26 May 2012

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, REDD, +. Plus what?

Five Trillion Trees, 26 May 2012 | I’ll get to the point. My point. It is that REDD, with or without its +, is more neo-colonialism. We have a fundamentally good idea and, in all the tugging and debating and gathering at this congress or that symposium, it is lost in so much impenetrable red (sorry) tape and to the desires and agendae of powerful, hidden vested interests. [By “hidden” I mean assumed, unannounced, integral groupings.] That’s how a certain South American country recently started to blackmail the World with respect to its as yet untapped oil resource and forests. I suggest that we all grow up and accept that “We’re all in this together” and stop trying to foist all the efforts for planetary repair onto the “Developing World”.

27 May 2012

Closing Statement SBSTA Working Group On REDD+ – International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum On Climate Change UNFCCC Bonn

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 27 May 2012 | Indigenous Peoples live from the forests and forests depend on us. Our traditional forest management, conservation and livelihood practices such as shifting cultivation and pastoralism must therefore be recognized and respected. They are not drivers of deforestation but rather adaptive strategies which are being placed at risk by climate change. Drivers of deforestation are those actions and policies that pose a threat to our survival. Unrestricted demand and consumption of natural resources cause deforestation and undue pressure on indigenous lands and livelihoods and should be dealt with at both the national and international levels. Any activity, program, or action that may be implemented to address drivers must respect our rights to land, territories, resources, traditional knowledge and customary agricultural practices.

Pushing forward to better land use

By Fitrian Ardiansyah and Thomas Barano (WWF), Jakarta Post, 27 May 2012 | May and June are shaping up to show if Indonesia has achieved significant progress in promoting better land-use management, particularly in reducing deforestation and land degradation. May 20, for instance, marks the completion of the first year of Indonesia’s two-year moratorium on new permits for primary forest and peat-land clearing. June 5 is World Environment Day, with its “Green Economy: Does it Include You?” theme — in which land-use management is considered to be one of six high-growth sectors in the green economy… A synchronized, synergized and agreed-to map — adhered by various sectors and layers of government — of forest and land use in Indonesia is fundamental to address the challenges facing our land-use management.

[Tanzania] Representing Nature: WWF, REDD, and the Politics of ‘Science’

By Connor Cavanagh, REDD+ Earth, 27 May 2012 | In socioeconomic contexts marked by dire poverty, high population growth, and contentious land-based politics, however, contradictions will frequently emerge between conservation/climate mitigation and development goals. Because REDD projects derive their value from delivering on climate mitigation objectives (ie., by sequestering tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), there is an omnipresent threat of marginalizing the social and development goals of these programmes. In minor cases, this may involve the strategic embellishment of the social “co-benefits” that accrue to communities from these schemes. In major cases, however, such as the one examined by Beymer-Farris and Bassett, we begin to see situations in which massive evictions and human rights abuses are construed as completely unrelated to conservation efforts.

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