in Uncategorized

REDD in the news: 4-10 June 2012

REDD in the news: 4-10 June 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.

Green Belt Movement to wait longer for carbon revenue

By Chris Mgidu and David Musyoka, Xinhau, June 2012 | Kenya-based Green Belt Movement that was started by the late Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathaai said Tuesday its campaign to earn carbon credit revenue from reforestation efforts in Aberdares and Mount Kenya forests have slowed because of the human activity in the forests that is slowing the growth of trees. The movement had hoped to start earning carbon credits last year from the reforestation efforts of thousands of acres of degraded forest but that will take time until a policy change by the Kenya government to completely ban human activity in protected forests. “We have been discussing with the government so that human activity, like farming and grazing in the forests are completely banned,” said Professor Karanja Njoroge, the Executive Director of the Green Belt Movement said in an interview with Xinhua at the Karura Forest during the celebrations of the World Environment Day.

Unready for REDD+? Lessons from corruption in Ugandan conservation areas

By Connor Cavanagh, Chr. Michelsen Institute, June 2012 | This U4 Brief extracts lessons from recent Ugandan experiences with conservation areas and corruption. A case involving the World Bank/Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Ugandan Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Industry (MoTTI), and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), illuminates how corrupt processes can unfold across multiple governance levels in the Ugandan context. Based on qualitative fieldwork, it offers monitoring and evaluation considerations for donors seeking to support both schemes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and other conservation efforts in East Africa.

4 June 2012

The best possible future we can leave our grandchildren

By Hiekki Holmas (Norway’s Minister of International Development), New Straits Times, 4 June 2012 | We have also noted Malaysia’s initiatives to develop a more sustainable forest management system and are pleased that we are both partners in the UN’s reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation programme. Rio+20 will be a new opportunity to agree on how to achieve growth and welfare and, at the same time, protect the environment. We need to find ways of making growth sustainable. We also need to distribute revenues more equitably as countries become richer.

UN-REDD Supports South-South Exchange on REDD+ Governance

Small Island Developing States Network, 4 June 2012 | The UN-REDD Programme has supported the first South-South exchange on participatory governance assessments (PGA) for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks). Held in Bogor, Indonesia, from 17-18 April 2012, the workshop brought together participants from nine UN-REDD partner countries (Ecuador, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Nigeria, Paraguay, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, and Cambodia) to share knowledge and experiences between countries on the PGA process. Four pilot PGA countries (Ecuador, Nigeria, Viet Nam and Indonesia) shared their early lessons learned in conducting a national PGA.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 4 June 2012 | The volume of forest-carbon offsets trailed off last year, but prices rose and the long-term prospects remain strong, according to the 2012 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report, which we unveiled last week at an overflow side event at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany… Our 2012 report builds on a record data collection from an unprecedented number of offset suppliers worldwide to provide insights that will once again become an industry benchmark. We hope you will be able to join Ecosystem Marketplace for an in-depth look at our findings.

Bangladesh forests disappearing at “alarming rate”, says expert

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 June 2012 | Scientists are sounding the alarm bells in Bangladesh as forest loss reaches 90 percent, a figure they say will jump to 100 percent if the country does not begin enforcing its environment policies. “If no changes occur, Bangladesh will have no forest left. It is already too late and hard to reverse, deforestation has reached an alarming rate in recent years,” said Syed Ajijur Rahman, a Center for International Forestry Research scientist and coauthor of a new journal article titled Extent and Consequences of Tropical Forest Degradation: Successive Policy Options for Bangladesh. “There are many good policies in Bangladesh but they are not being carried out. They need to be strengthened and better enforced.”

China adds 60m hectares of forest [sic] area

China Daily, 4 June 2012 | China’s total forest area has increased to 195 million hectares from 134 million hectares in 1992, marking a net gain of 60 million hectares within 20 years, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said Monday. Despite a decreasing global forest reserve, China’s forest inventory expanded by 3.6 billion cubic meters to reach 13.7 billion cubic meters during the past 20 years, SFA Vice Minister Yin Hong said at a press conference. China has strengthened its fiscal support for increasing forest area, launched a number of national ecological projects and implemented a nationwide compulsory tree-planting program to expand forests since the inking of the first global environmental treaty at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, Yin said. The country currently has 61.68 million hectares of man-made forest, the most in the world, and 7.81 billion tonnes of forest-carbon stock.

[UK] Our countryside has once again become a playground for the rich

By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 4 June 2012 | Doubtless this also has nothing to do with the mysterious abandonment by the agency his department controls – Natural England – of its case against a grouse shoot in the Pennines. Natural England was prosecuting the Walshaw Moor estate, owned by the retail baron Richard Bannister, for damaging a site of special scientific interest. After dropping the case, it agreed that he could continue burning blanket bog: a practice that not only damages wildlife but also releases astonishing quantities of carbon dioxide as the peat ignites. Natural England refuses to explain why it abandoned the prosecution.

Zimbabwe: New Forest Management Standard Welcome, but …

By Jeff Gogo, The Herald, 4 June 2012 | The apid production and consumption of wood as a major renewable energy source in Zimbabwe has stimulated serious socio-economic and environmental concerns and responsibilities. The profitability of wood as a burning fuel, and as a useful industrial raw material has thus far overtaken environmental reason, threatening ecology, fuelling pollution, and destroying forest health and biodiversity. A new certification scheme by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe plans to stop all that, or at least achieve some difficult balance on sustainability, economics, renewable energy use and biological diversity. The new national standard, ZW 923:2012 for sustainable plantation forest management to be launched later this year, certifies quality and regulates environmental impacts from the local timber industry.

5 June 2012

The long march from Stockholm

By Michael Zammit Cutajar, Times of Malta, 5 June 2012 | Environmental problems result, it is said, from the rich dumping on the poor and the present dumping on the future. That is one way to illustrate the issues to be addressed at the United Nations sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro this month. It is something of a caricature. But it reminds us that sustainability requires not just a technical fix but also a political commitment to fight poverty and a moral recognition of the interests of future generations. The global community has grappled with these issues for 40 years since the first United Nations conference on the “human environment” held in 1972 in Stockholm, that opened on June 5. Now World Environment Day, this day recalls the launch of the “global green flag” on its long march to Rio in 1992, Johannesburg in 2002, and now “Rio+20”.

Carbon Expo: Hope springs eternal

By Martijn Wilder and Megan Flynn, Climate Spectator, 5 June 2012 | The third and final day of Carbon Expo 2012 focused on a number of topics including REDD, carbon capture and storage and linking among domestic emissions trading schemes, especially the Asia Pacific. The REDD discussion opened with a passionate exposition of local community views and concerns regarding REDD projects. There was clear emphasis on the fact that in a sector where local communities often rely on land and forests for subsistence, REDD projects need to focus more on social investment and community engagement to overcome the often extreme challenges these projects face and become a robust sustainable development and investment proposition. The land is there, the communities are there, but the projects won’t be, unless REDD is approached as a comprehensive land use management and community development initiative…

INTERPOL launches Project LEAF to combat illegal logging worldwide

Interpol press release, 5 June 2012 | To mark World Environment Day, 5 June, INTERPOL announces the launch of Project LEAF (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests), an initiative dedicated to combating all aspects of forestry crime, including illegal logging and timber trafficking… David Higgins, INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme manager, said: “In 2010, INTERPOL received at its General Assembly in Qatar a unanimous mandate from its member countries to expand its response to environmental crime worldwide. Project LEAF represents INTERPOL’s commitment to this mandate and to ensuring the safety and security of communities.” “The world is recognizing that illegal logging is neither simply a moral nor a national issue. The international legislation to protect forests and curtail illegal logging demonstrates this,” he continued.

What experts mean by “SFM”

Profor, 5 June 2012 | An effort by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to clarify the concept of Sustainable Forest Management, or SFM, has yielded 8 accessible, well-documented, and concise fact sheets. Use these as reference material on the multiple functions of forests, primary forests, food security and livelihoods, indigenous peoples, REDD+, biodiversity, gender and adaptation to climate change. Or simply to challenge your knowledge and appreciation for the roles forests play. For example, did you know that there is the equivalent of only one football field of forest area available per person in the world? What would you like to do with your 0.6 hectares? Protect wildlife? Log for timber? Clear the land to grow food? Today’s global average area per capita is shockingly only half what it was back in 1960.

[Australia & New Zealand] Carbon Forestry Landscape Changing

Forest Industry Engineering Association press release, 5 June 2012 | Carbon forestry investments in New Zealand and Australia have taken a blow from the combined effects of legislative uncertainty and the depressed prices for carbon based on Euro problems, but the sector remains cautiously optimistic. In Australia Carbon Conscious Chief Executive Officer, Peter Balsarini, confirmed they are on track to achieve results in line with previous guidance to the market. Their current programme, one of the largest carbon forestry projects in Australia, includes 10,000 hectares of mallee eucalypt planting in the Australian Wheatbelt.

[Indonesia] Governor may have breached moratorium

Jakarta Post, 5 June 2012 | An environmental group has accused Central Kalimantan Governor Agustin Teras Narang of issuing a recommendation for a palm oil company to open a plantation in a primary forest in Pulang Pisau regency, a move that could be in violation of a forest-clearing moratorium agreed upon in a deal signed by the Indonesian and Norwegian governments. A report from the Central Kalimantan office of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) claims that the governor signed on April 23 a recommendation letter to accompany the company’s application to the Forestry Ministry for a logging licence on 6,707 hectares of primary forest. Such licenses are commonly issued for activities in secondary forests that are designated for production. “The area is included in the moratorium map so the activity should be deemed illegal,” said Arie Rompas, the director of Walhi Central Kalimantan.

6 June 2012

The people of the world confront the advance of capitalism: Rio +20 and beyond

La Via Campesina, 6 June 2012 | These systems of buying environmental services are being used to take lands and territories away from indigenous peoples and peasants. The mechanisms that are most forcefully promoted by governments and businesses are the systems known as REDD and REDD plus. They say that these are systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by deforestation and degradation of the forests, but they are being used to impose, for a ridiculous price, management plans that deny families and rural communities access to their own lands, forests, and water sources. In addition, they guarantee businesses unrestricted access to collective forest areas, enabling biopiracy. They also impose contracts that tie communities to these management plans for 20 years or more and that leave indigenous and peasant territories with mortgage liens, that increases the likelihood that these communities will lose their lands.

Rio+20: Exploring the livelihood and environmental impacts of biofuels in the tropics

By Laura German, Pablo Pacheco and George Schoneveld, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 June 2012 | The economic and climate mitigation promises of biofuel expansion into tropical forests and woodlands are often elusive; in some cases land users struggle to reconstruct their livelihoods following displacement, while in others land use change may lead to the release of large amounts of carbon emissions that are difficult to reverse, says a set of CIFOR papers on biofuel impacts in a special issue of Ecology and Society. “Efforts are needed to understand the actual costs and benefits associated with different biofuel crops, production models (smallholder vs. industrial-scale) and land use changes so as to set more informed policy aims for the sector. Efforts are then needed to understand how best to get us there,” says Laura German, lead editor of the special issue that examined the local social and environmental impacts of biofuels through a set of case studies…

U.N. takes pulse of the planet, prognosis isn’t good

By David Fogarty, Reuters, 6 June 2012 | Over the past two decades the Earth’s vital signs have continued to deteriorate, from loss of rainforests, overfishing, air and water pollution to chaotic weather and rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to a United Nations report. Three years in the making, the Global Environment Outlook report released on Wednesday found that out of 90 benchmark environmental goals and objectives, significant progress has been made in only four. But it said that there is hope and environmentally friendly economic growth is still possible, despite the challenges of a growing human population, expanding urbanization and insatiable appetites for food and resources.

International trade puts species in peril

Nature News Blog, 6 June 2012 | If you want to save the endangered Mexican spider monkey, put down your double-chocolate brownie and hazelnut skinny latte. The developed world’s insatiable appetite for commodities such as tea, coffee and palm oil causes a third of threats to biodiversity. It is no secret that habitats are destroyed to grow goods for export, but a new study quantifies the effect of international trade on animals. Published today in Nature, the study links threats to species recorded on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List with data on trade in 15,000 commodities. Up to 30% of species threats are due to international trade, and developed countries buy most of the harmful products. Other threats include domestic food production, hunting and pollution.

Brazil finalizes 2011 deforestation data, 6 June 2012 | Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) on Tuesday finalized its 2011 estimate for deforestation in the Amazon region. After analyzing 213 satellite images, the agency said 6,418 square kilometers of Amazon forest were cleared entirely between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011. While the number is 3 percent higher than the estimate released last December, it nonetheless marks the lowest extent of forest clearing since annual record keeping began in the late 1980s. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen by 75 percent since last peaking in 2004. The trend appears to be continuing into 2012. Last month Imazon, an NGO, reported a further decline in deforestation this year based on preliminary data. It also noted a fall in forest degradation. The Brazilian government did not release data on forest degradation caused by selective logging during the 2010-2011 period.

[Central African Republic] The Israelis saving the rainforests

By Yuval Azulai, Globes, 6 June 2012 | A company owned by Israeli entrepreneurs will manage preservation of tropical rainforests of the Central African Republic. The contract between that country and Carbon Essence is for 25 years, during which the country will receive generous monetary incentives for preserving the rainforests, and will introduce measures to halt deforestation. Carbon Essence, founded in 2009 and registered in London, is owned by Brigadier General (Res.) Yitzhak Tidhar, formerly head of the IDF’s prisoners and missing soldiers department, and Terry Julius, and deals in financing of environmental projects. The company will run projects for the government of the Central African Republic that will eventually bring it €35-80 million a year.

Ghana yet to fully register projects for global carbon market

Business, 6 June 2012 | Ghana has not been successful in registering projects to benefit from the global carbon market, after almost seven years of implementing the mechanism… Ghana is however looking at scaling up projects to tap into opportunities under the new mechanism called REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emission from Deforestation, Forest Degradation from Developing Countries. The plus signifies additional activities on forest conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The scheme was introduced in attempts to incorporate the larger role of forests in fighting future climate change and targeted at providing positive incentives for using forest sustainably. As part of the REDD+ process, the country has been selected by the World Bank to participate in REDD+ readiness project under the Forest Carbon Facility Programe (FCPF). The Bank provided a $3.6 million grant for REDD+ implementation in Ghana.

[Indonesia] GAR and SMART publish High Carbon Stock Forest Study Report

TFT, 6 June 2012 | Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) and its subsidiary PT SMART, supported by TFT and Greenpeace, have reached a significant milestone with the publication of a report detailing the methodology and findings from their High Carbon Stock (HSC) forest fieldwork. The report offers the first practical, scientifically robust and cost effective methodology for defining and identifying areas of HCS for conservation. GAR now intends to test this approach through consultation with the government, local communities, industry experts and other relevant stakeholders to explore how it can be deployed more widely as a credible way of protecting high carbon stock forests.

[Indonesia] GAR sets the bar high in Indonesian deforestation

By Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace International, 6 June 2012 | What seemed unthinkable for some people two years ago is now happening. Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) is leading the way in what could be the starting point for the palm oil industry to phase out deforestation. And instead of hanging banners at its offices, we are collaborating with the company in what is an unprecedented, serious effort towards what GAR describes as a “no deforestation footprint” for palm oil. Yes, that’s right. Golden Agri-Resources is the same palm oil company that Nestle had to drop following our Kit Kat campaign back in 2010. We are collaborating with a leading palm oil company in Indonesia showing serious commitment and willingness to have a zero deforestation footprint.

Indonesia Pushes for Sustainable Development in Mining, Palm and Forestry Sectors

Jakarta Globe, 6 June 2012 | Indonesia’s mining, plantation and forestry sectors said they were committed to implementing sustainable development practices at a stage-setting seminar on environmentally-conscious development on Wednesday. The seminar, titled “Good Practices in Land-Based Industries: Palm Oil, Mining and Forestry,” was meant to start a dialogue between industries that have historically been accused of damaging the environment and the governments REDD+ taskforce, said taskforce chief Kuntoro Mangkusubroto. These industries need to implement green concepts and increase both regulation and interaction with local residents to ensure that future developments are not environmentally damaging. “Each sector should have the same obligation to apply good practices,” Kuntoro said. “The private sector should not wait for the government [to push for] change. We should all push together for critical mass.”

[UK] Tesco supplier accused of contributing to Amazon rainforest destruction

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 6 June 2012 | British consumers are unwittingly contributing to the devastation of the Amazon rainforest by buying meat products from Tesco, according to Greenpeace. The environmental group says in a report that canned beef from the supermarket chain has been found to contain meat from ranches that have been carved out of the lands of indigenous peoples, and farms the Brazilian government believes have been sited in illegally deforested lands. The allegations stem from an 18-month investigation carried out by Greenpeace into the practices of JBS, a big Brazilian supplier of meat and cattle byproducts. The campaigning group claims it unearthed evidence of serious violations of the company’s own ethical code, and those of companies it supplies, including Tesco.

7 June 2012

Want to stop climate change: buy fossil fuel deposits

By Jeremy Hance,, 7 June 2012 | Governments, NGOs, and others fighting climate change should consider buying coal and oil deposits—not to exploit them, but to keep them from being exploited, according to a bold new policy paper in the Journal of Political Economy. Economist Bard Harstad with the Kellogg School of Management argues that climate coalitions could quickly slash carbon emissions by purchasing and conserving marginal fossil fuel deposits, a strategy that would solve the current problem of carbon leakage, i.e. when cutting emissions in one place pushes others to burn more elsewhere. Given that carbon emissions rose to a new record last year—31.6 gigatons—and carbon has hit 400 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere for the first time in at least 800,000 years, Harstad’s analysis comes at a time when scientists are warning that urgent and bold action is needed to mitigate global climate change before it becomes irreversible.

REDD and forest carbon – finding a path through the trees

CABI Blogs, 7 June 2012 | Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is a key concept in trying to tackle climate change. The core idea is that a way can be found to fund the avoidance of deforestation and forest degradation, thus reducing carbon emissions. But will it work? Frances Seymour, Director-General of CIFOR, the Centre for International Forestry Research, has analysed the published studies, and concludes that there is “a giant optimisation problem, characterised by multiple objectives and ‘dilemmas’ to be resolved in the choice of alternative approaches to achieving them.” In an article in CAB Reviews, Seymour looks at the practicalities. The studies generally anticipate that the “opportunity cost” of avoiding deforestation will be relatively low. However, establishing an internationally acceptable system that can achieve and monitor REDD objectives will be a substantial task.

Gold Standard to certify forestry carbon offsets

Point Carbon, 7 June 2012 | Forestry carbon credits can overcome a perceived image problem if suppliers can show clearly that emissions reductions are permanent, measurable and make a big contribution to sustainable development, Swiss-based certification service Gold Standard said on Thursday. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Consumption driving ‘unprecedented’ environment damage: UN

The West Australian, 7 June 2012 | Population growth and unsustainable consumption are driving Earth towards “unprecedented” environmental destruction, the UN said in a report Wednesday ahead of the Rio Summit. Of 90 key goals to protect the environment, only four have seen good progress, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said in a planetary assessment issued only every five years. “If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and ‘decoupled,’ then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. The phonebook-sized report, the fifth edition of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO), was issued ahead of the June 20-22 UN Conference on Sustainable Development — the 20-year follow-up to the landmark Earth Summit, also in Rio.

Ahead of Rio+20, “The Economy is Already Turning Green”

IPS, 7 June 2012 | While governments make a last desperate attempt to agree on a plan of action for next week’s Rio+20 summit on sustainable development – including plans on the transition to a green economy and a set of sustainable development goals – the real economy is already turning green, according to Italy’s minister of environment, Corrado Clini. It is extremely hard for governments with vastly different interests and priorities to settle on a common approach to sustainable development, which is why negotiations on the outcome document have been progressing very slowly, Clini told IPS.

Global Exchange Brings Rights of Nature to the 2012 Earth Summit (Rio+20)

By Shannon Biggs, People to People Blog, 7 June 2012 | If you’re old enough to recall, think back to 1992: the year of the original Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Way back then—in the days before space-age smart-phones, when newspapers were delivered daily by a kid on a bike, and college tuition was within reach for the working class—the human race was concerned about what we were doing to the planet. The attention of a hopeful world was focused on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a historic gathering of nations, tasked with developing solutions for the emerging crisis of climate change, environmental degradation and increasing poverty.

Nearly 100 bird species face increased risk of extinction in the Amazon

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 7 June 2012 | Birds in the Amazon are under increasing threat from deforestation, while large populations of duck have disappeared from northern Europe, and vultures are under intensifying attack in Africa, according to the latest survey of the world’s birds. The Rio Branco antbird has been singled out for particular concern – it lives in the Amazon, but its relatively long lifespan makes it more vulnerable than some other species to even moderate deforestation. The hoary-throated spinetail is predicted to lose more than 80% of its habitat in the same region, putting it on the “critically endangered” list, meaning the species faces serious risk of extinction. According to BirdLife International’s update for 2012 of the IUCN red list of threatened species, close to 100 species of birds across the Amazon region are now at a greatly increased threat of extinction.

World Bank, GEF Awarded U.S. Department of Treasury Honor for Helping Protect Amazon

Global Environment Facility press release, 7 June 2012 | The world’s largest rainforest conservation initiative, a joint project of the World Bank and Global Environment Facility (GEF), received the inaugural Development Impact Honors award from the U.S. Department of the Treasury today for helping Brazil achieve a four-year decline in deforestation rates. Treasury’s award to the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program recognizes effective projects implemented by multilateral development banks that promote growth and meet the needs of poor and vulnerable populations around the world.

[Brazil] Amazon deforestation at record low, data shows

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 7 June 2012 | Deforestation of the Amazon has fallen to its lowest levels since records began, according to data recently released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. The boost for the environment comes a week after president Dilma Rousseff was criticised for weakening the forest protection measures widely credited for the improvement, and two weeks before Brazil hosts the Rio+20 Earth summit. Using satellite imagery, the institute said 6,418 sq km of Amazon forest was stripped in the 12 months before 31 July 2011 – the smallest area since annual measurements started in 1988. The data continues an encouraging trend. Since the peak deforestation year of 2004, the rates of clearance have fallen by almost 75%. “This reduction is impressive; it is the result of changes in society, but it also stems from the political decision to inspect, as well as from punitive action by government agencies,” Rousseff said.

[Nepal] Rio+20 Business Focus: How Himalayan communities can benefit from protecting their forests

By Seema Karki (ICIMOD), RTCC, 7 June 2012 | Nepal is one of the first countries in the world to include community forest management in the national forestry policy. This confers authority to local communities to manage forest resources as forest user groups of an autonomous institution. With support from Norad, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in partnership with Federation of Community Forestry Users’ Nepal (FECOFUN) and Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bio-resources (ANSAB), is piloting a REDD+ project in community forests in three watersheds of Nepal covering over 10,000 Hectare since 2009.

UK consortium to help fight global deforestation through REDD+

DMCii press release, 7 June 2012 | UK satellite imaging company DMCii has successfully led a multi-disciplinary consortium to win a place on the Department for International Development (DfID) Forest Governance Markets and Climate (FGMC) Framework Agreement. This means they will be able to bid for projects to monitor forest governance and deforestation globally, and its effects on local communities. Coordinating a constellation of remote Earth observation satellites, DMCii has the unique capability to survey and classify vast areas of forest and to monitor changes in land use over time. This highly effective imaging system has been employed by the Brazilian space agency (INPE) since 2005, helping the authorities to quantify deforestation in the Amazon Basin and pro-actively intervene to deter illegal logging – itself advising the consortium. It is this expertise that has been crucial in helping the consortium win a place on the framework agreement.

8 June 2012

CIFOR taps FAO expert as new Director General

CIFOR press release, 8 June 2012 | As forest conservation and sustainable development take centre stage in the lead up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (known as Rio+20), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) announced today the appointment of leading forestry, climate change and food security expert Peter Holmgren as its new director general. The CIFOR board announced the selection after an exhaustive international search process. Holmgren will join CIFOR in September from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), where he is Director of the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division. “Tropical forests are at a crossroads. Tremendous progress has been made raising the profile of forests in REDD+ and sustainable development discussions. At the same time, many of the world’s forests are still under threat and the potential of forests to support sustainable development are not fully realized,” Holmgren said.

UN climate watchdog backs new greenhouse gas protocol

AFP, 8 June 2012 | A UN climate science task force urged on Thursday the adoption of new measures aimed at providing the broadest and most accurate snapshot of carbon emissions ahead of Rio+20. Armed with the latest scientific methods unveiled in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), countries will soon be able to identify more precisely than ever their biggest sources of emissions. The greatest potential is in developing countries, where the greatest producers of carbon emissions are land use and forestry. These areas are notoriously difficult to get data from, according to the IPCC, but it is vital to do so, given that they collectively contain more carbon than is present in the atmosphere.

[Brazil] Earth’s most threatened tribe demands action as logging season starts

Survival International, 8 June 2012 | Earth’s ‘most threatened tribe’ has made a desperate appeal for the Brazilian government to halt the illegal logging that is ravaging its territory, as the Amazon’s logging season starts in earnest. The Awá tribe already suffers the fastest rate of deforestation in the Amazon, and the start of the dry season has in previous years brought a huge upsurge in illegal loggers. The Awá’s urgent message pleads with Brazil’s Minister of Justice to ‘evict loggers from our land immediately… before they come back and destroy everything.’ Survival’s campaign to save the Awá tribe has already generated over 27,000 messages to Brazil’s Justice Minister, calling for him to remove all invaders. It has also prompted Maranhão state’s public prosecutor to order an investigation into those responsible for invading Awá land, and to demand they are brought to justice. However, thousands of illegal loggers are still believed to be operating in the area.

Alleged Indonesian Military Attack Claims 10 Lives in Papua: Elsam

Jakarta Globe, 8 June 2012 | Ten people were killed when the Indonesian Military (TNI) opened fire in an alleged retaliatory attack on a village in Wamena, Papua, on Thursday, a human rights activist in Jayapura said on Friday. Members of the TNI’s local Battalion 756 reportedly attacked the village on Thursday, killing ten, injuring dozens of others and setting an unknown number of houses ablaze, Ferry Marisan, director of the Papua office of the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam). It has been difficult to determine exact numbers or verify reports because the TNI has shut off all access to the village, Ferry told The Jakarta Globe in a phone call from Jayapura.

[Indonesia] SBY meets with Greenpeace chief

Jakarta Post, 8 June 2012 | Jakarta: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with Kumi Naidoo, the international executive director of environment group Greenpeace at the Presidential Office on Thursday. “Your organization is recognized as a credible one. Your dedication and hard work, including criticism of all countries in the world, in my opinion, have been a big part of the solution,” Yudhoyono said upon welcoming the activists for a 30-minute meeting, according to a press release… Naido said Greenpeace appreciated Indonesia’s commitment in overcoming environmental issues such as reducing carbon emissions to 26 percent by 2020. According to him, the percentage could jump to 41 percent with international support. “In the meeting, President Yudhoyono showed that economic development can go side by side and synergistically with environmental protection and poverty-rate reductions,” [Naidoo] said.

Red light for green energy in Latin America and the Caribbean

By Gavin O’Toole, The Guardian, 8 June 2012 | Private finance is seen as essential for climate change-related investment and key to the success of high-profile emission-reduction initiatives such as the UN’s Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (Redd), which needs up to $30bn a year. Governments alone cannot provide this kind of money, and there is a hardening consensus that change is impossible without private funds. The US has made it clear its $1bn contribution to Redd should be conditional on private-sector involvement, and, in April, Canada launched its own C$250m (£157m) climate fund for the private sector in the Americas (pdf). Slow progress in Latin America – which, by contrast, has spearheaded calls for far greater public finance from northern states – was reflected in the membership of UN environment programme’s finance initiative (Unep FI). By the start of 2011, only 6% of Unep FI’s member banks and financial institutions were Latin American…

9 June 2012

[Indonesia] Credits lost in tangle of Aceh’s forest

By Michael Bachelard, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 2012 | Five years on, the silver bullet has misfired. The REDD schemes in Indonesia, funded with Howard’s money, have come under serious criticism for overstating their aims and underachieving. The Greens leader, Christine Milne, recently labelled the largest of them a “total failure”. The private sector has fared even worse. Most of its schemes in Indonesia have faltered or fallen spectacularly, recriminations flying. Sun’s landmark project is one of them. A deal he set up with the government of Aceh to develop a carbon credit scheme has stalled, perhaps fatally, and 770,000 hectares of forest is in limbo. Sun himself, in the eyes of environmentalists, has sold out. For cash and shares worth millions, he sold half his business to a Canadian goldmining company, whose aim is to turn a forest-clad mountain-top into an open-cut mine using cyanide leaching to extract the riches.

[Indonesia] Change in Aceh hinders carbon plan

By Michael Bachelard, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 2012 | A huge Australian-owned forest-carbon project in Indonesia has stalled and may need to be abandoned entirely because of a recent change of government in the province of Aceh. Australian businessman and former chief of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Jeff Carmichael has outed himself to The Saturday Age as a seven-figure investor in the Aceh project run by Dorjee Sun, environment entrepreneur and star of the 2009 documentary The Burning Season. But Dr Carmichael acknowledges that, due to ”political risk” in Indonesia, he might lose the money he’s already spent.

10 June 2012

[Indonesia] Forests of corruption

By MIchael Bachelard, Illawarra Mercury, 10 June 2012 | As the public servants of Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry stand waiting for the lifts, they are assailed by warnings against graft. “Stop bribes, corruption,” says a large sign on level three. “We officers of the Ministry of Forestry are anti-bribes,” asserts another. It would seem patronising if it were not so necessary. “The forestry sector,” said Chandra Hamzah, the deputy chairman of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission, in 2010, “is a source of unlimited corruption.” The department earns $15 billion a year in revenue from selling forestry permits and the investors with the deepest pockets are those who want to log forests or turn them into plantations. The illegal trade in logging and forest concessions, fuelled by bribes, cronyism and corruption, is invisible but probably many times larger.

Thai Peasant Farmers Polish Palm Oil’s Lackluster Image

Jakarta Globe, 10 June 2012 | In July, Phongrat and her neighbors are to receive certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as the first independent peasant farmers in the world to do so. German aid agencies set up and financed the training program… “This has been a successful project, a piece in the puzzle in the quest for sustainable palm oil,” says Martina Fleckenstein, WWF’s director for EU policy on agriculture and biomass. “We are pushing for direct trade links. Now there is a supply for companies that want to buy sustainable palm oil from peasant farmers,” she says. Greenpeace is more skeptical of the Krabi project. “It is good when palm oil is cultivated in a sustainable way, but a project like this one in Thailand does not resolve the real palm oil problem,” says Gesche Juergens, the group’s forests and biodiversity campaigner.

PHOTO credit: Image created using

Leave a Reply