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REDD in the news: 11-17 June 2012

REDD in the news: 11-17 June 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.


Analysing REDD+: Challenges and choices

By A. Angelson, M. Brockhaus, W.D. Sunderlin and L.V. Verchot (eds), CIFOR, 2012 | Key conclusions are: As an idea, REDD+ is a success story: It is a fresh approach generating hope of significant result-based funding to address an urgent need for climate change mitigation. The idea has been sufficiently broad to serve as a canopy, under which a wide range of actors can grow their own trees. REDD+ faces huge challenges: Powerful political and economic interests favour continued deforestation and degradation. Implementation must be coordinated across various government levels and agencies; benefits must be distributed and need to balance effectiveness and equity; tenure insecurity and safeguards must be genuinely addressed; and transparent institutions, reliable carbon monitoring and realistic reference levels are all required to support result-based systems.

Accounting for carbon leakage from REDD+ are current quantification methods suitable?

By Sabine Henders, Focali, 2012 | Carbon leakage refers to the displacement of greenhouse gas emissions from one place to another due to emission reduction activities. It is caused by a direct or indirect shift of emission-intense activities from within to outside an emissions accounting system. This Brief is based on the article: “Forest Carbon Leakage Quantification Methods and Their Suitability for Assessing Leakage in REDD” by Sabine Henders and Madelene Ostwald published in the journal Forests (Vol. 3, issue 1, 2012). The article analyses 34 different quantification methods currently available in the carbon markets and in scientific literature for their sustainability to address leakage from REDD. Accounting methods used for different leakage types and geographical scales of leakage are examined and the challenge with accounting for leakage beyond national borders is raised, which none of the standards and scientific methods address.

NO REDD+! in RIO+20 – A Declaration to Decolonize the Earth and the Sky

Indigenous Peoples 4 Mother Earth @ Rio+20, no date | After more than 500 years of resistance, we, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, peasant farmers, fisherfolk and civil society are not fooled by the so-called Green Economy and REDD+ because we know colonialism when we see it. Regardless of its cynical disguises and shameful lies, colonialism always results in the rape and pillaging of Mother Earth, and the slavery, death, destruction and genocide of her peoples. Rio+20’s Green Economy and REDD+ constitute a thinly-veiled, wicked, colonialist planet grab that we oppose, denounce and resist. Rio+20 is not an Earth Summit, it is the WTO of Life.

Constitutional Court Decision on Indonesia’s Forest Zone Could Lay Groundwork for Sustainable Low Emissions Development

Daemeter Consulting, 2012 | Experts believe decision creates a unique opportunity to achieve consensus on spatial plans. They say that a recent decision on how Indonesia’s Forest Zone (Kawasan Hutan) is to be established in the future has far reaching consequences for Indonesian land use and spatial planning arrangements. Constitutional Court decision No. 45/PUU-IX/2011 (MK45) means that the process for allocating land for forestry purposes is now rigorous and requires a much greater degree of cooperation between the national and regional governments. In light of certain possible interpretations of MK45, it also creates uncertainty over the current extent of Indonesia’s Kawasan Hutan and the Ministry of Forestry’s (MoF) management authority over areas that have not yet been formally gazetted.

Christian Aid launches document on REDD+

Eco Congregation Ireland, no date | Christian Aid has produced a document entitled REDD+ in Latin America and the Carribean: Does it Work for Local Communities? … It is the view of Christian Aid and many of its partners that REDD+ projects must be directly managed by affected local communities and vulnerable groups. Any initiatives, be they UN-led or other, must be inclusive, participatory and community-based.

11 June 2012

Global warming threat seen in fertile soil of northeastern U.S. forests

ScienceDaily, 11 June 2012 | Vast stores of carbon in U.S. forest soils could be released by rising global temperatures, according to a study by UC Irvine and other researchers in a recent online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists found that heating soil in Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands by 10 and 20 degrees increased the release of carbon dioxide by up to eight times. They showed for the first time that most carbon in topsoil is vulnerable to this warming effect.

Rio+20: Are human development indices forest-blind?

By Melati Kaye, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 June 2012 | When policymakers and national planners set out to enhance local “quality of life,” they often base their decisions on a variant of the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI), a basket of indicators, ranging from income to life expectancy. Ask people living near forests what they consider most essential to their wellbeing and you get a very different set of priorities, as CIRAD scientist seconded to CIFOR, Claude Garcia, and his research partners from ICTA (Autonomous University of Barcelona) reveal in a new paper. According to their results, the HDI fails to capture how much communities value environment. The metric does not even reflect that forest dwellers care about the forest. This failure, Garcia says, leads to environmental concerns being absent from policy agendas at the local, regional and even international level.

[Brazil] First-Ever REDD Project in Amazon Rainforest Receives Registration Under the Verified Carbon Standard

33 Forest Capital, 11 June 2012 | 33 Forest Capital, working in cooperation with Brazilian company CKBV Florestal, part of Grupo Cikel, announced today that it has been awarded Registration under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) for the first-ever REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project in the Amazon Rainforest. The CIKEL Brazilian Amazon REDD APD Project is expected to receive carbon credits over the next ten years based upon a projected reduction of 9.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. The CIKEL Project is located in Para State, Brazil, where 63% of the Amazon Rainforest has already been lost. By using sustainable logging practices certified by the Forest Stewardship Council®, CIKEL will continue to avoid the deforestation of 27.4 thousand hectares of rainforest which would have been deforested had traditional logging practices been used.

[Cambodia] The Cardamom Conundrum: Q&A; with CI’s Tim Killeen

By Molly Bergen, Triple Pundit, 11 June 2012 | In his new book, “The Cardamom Conundrum: Reconciling Development and Conservation in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” scientist Dr. Tim Killeen provides an insightful new look at sustainable development opportunities… Cambodia can build a green economy by focusing on four pillars of its existing and future economy: Conserving and managing forests by emphasizing community forestry (which can be subsidized by international carbon markets). Diversifying agriculture by intensifying production on the rice plain through drip irrigation, but also by introducing new crops on upland landscapes, particularly perennial woody species such as rubber and silk. Ensuring the productivity of the country’s existing natural fisheries, while using technology to promote innovation and sustainability in aquaculture. Promoting the concepts of sustainable tourism by improving land-use planning and zoning, energy efficiency and design in tourist facilities.

[Canada] Great Bear Forest to Be Massive Carbon Offset Project

By Christopher Pollon,, 11 June 2012 | An unprecedented new carbon offset project, among the largest ever conceived, promises industrial logging will not return. Beginning this year, the Gitga’at and seven neighbouring First Nations (see sidebar “The Coastal First Nations”) will “harvest” one million tonnes of “carbon offsets” from the Great Bear Rainforest, sharing millions of dollars in revenue with the province over the next century. That harvest was created, counterintuitively, by putting vast areas of the Great Bear off-limits to industrial-scale logging. By leaving more trees standing, the First Nations are able to sell certificates attesting to the increasing volume of carbon stored in their roots, leaves and fibre. Purchasers may claim the carbon thereby removed from the atmosphere to offset their own direct greenhouse emissions.

EU Report on Carbon Market Due Before August: Hedegaard

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 11 June 2012 | The European Union will present a report on its emissions trading system and a proposal to delay auctions of some carbon permits before the summer recess that starts in August, EU climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said. The report, which is being brought forward by a year, will include some long-term options to improve the EU cap-and-trade program, Hedegaard told reporters after a meeting of the bloc’s environment ministers in Luxembourg today. The price of permits in the European carbon market dropped to a record low earlier this year due to oversupply caused by the economic slowdown. “There will be a proposal on how we can backload the auctioning profile, which is a short-term measure,” Hedegaard said. “We will also give different options as to what could be longer-term, more structural things you can do with the carbon market, and ministers can come back and discuss that later.”

Guyana launches special report ahead of Rio+20

INews Guyana, 11 June 2012 | Guyana on Monday launched a report on the country’s position to be taken at the Rio +20 Summit in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro next week. Addressing the second multi-stakeholders consultative meeting in Georgetown, Environment and Natural Resources minister Robert Persuad said issues and discussions emanating from the summit will be added to the report to guide local policies in the future. Persaud said Guyana looks forward to progress at Rio and regardless of what happens there, the country will remain committed to all international agreements on climate change. He added that Guyana will forge ahead with new international partners in pursuance of a green economy.

Did you know that you have a right to know? Spreading the word in Papua New Guinea’s forests

By Alice Harrison, Transparency International, 11 June 2012 | As we sit in a large circle under the fierce afternoon sun, the villagers of Leileiyafa recall the day that the Forestry Department came to visit them: on 17th December last year. “We’ll give you money if you don’t cut down any trees,” the officials said. The prospect of money is not one that the villagers are at liberty to turn down, so they agreed. “Did they tell you how much money you’d get and when?” I ask. “No,” they respond. “Have you heard anything from the department since?” Again, the answer was ‘no’. The result of their brief conversation with the government was thus that the community forfeited their right to stop the REDD+ project because they weren’t told what REDD+ is and they didn’t know that they could influence it.

Sprouting success in Senegal: trees offer growing solution to Sahel

By Cathy Watson, The Guardian, 11 June 2012 | Abdou Sall, 62, is a farmer in Kaffrine in Senegal’s peanut basin. Peanut production has declined by two-thirds across the district in the past 15 years, which like the rest of the Sahel is in the grip of its third drought in a decade. Sall is buoyant, however. He says his trees have shielded him from the hunger that affects as many as 18 million people across eight west African countries. “Last year there was lack of rain, but I had fewer problems than others. When it rained, the humidity stayed longer on my fields.” Since 2009, Sall has practised farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR), protecting wildlings and pruning stumps that coppice so they rapidly grow or regrow into trees. The conventional wisdom is that trees compete with crops, but FMNR has increased millet harvests from 430kg to 750kg a hectare, according to World Vision, which supports 39,000 hectares (96,000 acres) of FMNR in Kaffrine.

12 June 2012

As the Earth warms, forest floors add greenhouse gases to the air

By Brian Vastag, Washington Post, 12 June 2012 | Huge amounts of carbon trapped in the soils of U.S. forests will be released into the air as the planet heats up, contributing to a “vicious cycle” that could accelerate climate change, a new study concluded. “As the Earth warms, there will be more carbon released from soils, and that will make the Earth warm even faster,” said Eric Davidson, who studies soil carbon at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts but was not involved in the new study.

Saving the rainforest — and making money off of it

The Washington Post, 12 June 2012 | World governments must change that. Instead of expecting Brazil and other countries to bear all the costs of preserving ecologically valuable land, fairness and efficiency argue for an international program to turn forest preservation into a source of income. In its most efficient form, the money to pay for saving forests would come from an international carbon market, not from strapped national treasuries. But gridlock in international climate talks, mostly relating to issues other than deforestation, has made progress on creating such a program unacceptably slow.

Not for Sale: Why We Can’t Save the Planet By Putting a Price on Nature

AlterNet, 12 June 2012 | The green economy is the mechanism for new ways to sell nature, including UN and World Bank initiatives such as REDD-plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), the Clean Development Mechanism, carbon trading, PES (Payments for Environmental Services), the International Regime on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing, patents on life, TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity), natural capital, green bonds and species banking. This economic system greenwashes environmentally and socially devastating, extractive industries like logging, mining and oil drilling, and promotes them as “sustainable development.”

Indigenous Message to Rio+20: Leave Everything Beneath Mother Earth

By Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service, 12 June 2012 | “For years indigenous peoples have been divided. Now we are going to unite,” said Enomenga, who was born into an uncontacted community and is now president of the Quehueri’ono Association. “Not everyone can hear the voice of Mother Earth from the jungle, and we want to bring that voice to Rio,” added Enomenga, who said he was prepared to walk to Rio if the bus broke down. The World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Territories, Rights and Sustainable Development or Kari-Oca II will be held Jun. 14-22 in a traditionally constructed conference village built by Brazilian indigenous peoples five kilometres from the official Rio+20 conference facility.

Amid Brazil Forest Code controversy, will Presidential vetoes benefit forests?

By Jan Börner, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 June 2012 | Two weeks ago Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vetoed critical elements of a proposal to reform the Brazilian Forest Code which had recently passed the Brazilian Congress. The changes are set to have implications for farms across the country and in particular the largest tracts of rainforest in the world, in the Amazon region. First issued in 1965, the Forest Code regulates land use on private properties and has been the subject of heated debates between the agricultural lobby and environmentalists ever since. Now changes in the so called “legal reserve” which requires farms in the Amazon to maintain 80% of their farms under forest cover are being proposed.

[Brazil] Bunge jumps in to back REDD+ project

REDD News, 12 June 2012 | NYSE listed Bunge Limited has announced it is participating in a project that will generate 30 million carbon credits through the preservation of 70,000 hectares of native forest in the Amazon. The project is being developed on private land through a partnership between Bunge Environmental Markets and Brazilian paper producer Florestal Santa Maria. “This unique project is a clear demonstration that sustainable forest management and payment for environmental services (PES) can be an economically attractive, long-term option for private landowners,” said Alfred Evans, Manager, Bunge Environmental Markets and CEO, Climate Change Capital. “We are pleased that it will commence shortly after the RIO+20 summit, which is bringing needed focus to the development of environmental markets.”

Cikel Joins REDD+ Program With Forest in Northern Brazil

Hardwood Floors News, 12 June 2012 | Cikel Brasil Verde (Curitiba, Brazil) announced Thursday its forest concession in Brazil’s Para State has been certified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) as part of the REDD+ program. Through using forestry practices certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Cikel will avoid deforesting nearly 106 square miles of rainforest that would have been destroyed using traditional logging practices, 33 Forest Capital said in a release. 33 Forest Capital, which develops conservation projects that generate revenues from the REDD+ program, coordinated the certification for Cikel, and it said the project is the first of its kind in the Amazon rainforest. Over the next 10 years, 33 Forest Capital expects the project to garner carbon credits based upon projected reduction of 20.7 billion pounds of carbon emissions; in turn, Cikel will sell the Verified Carbon Units (VCUs). The project was verified by VCS and the Rainforest Alliance.

Brazil’s blueprint for reforestation

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 12 June 2012 | The misty forests of Miguel Pereira, just two hours drive from Rio’s Copacabana beaches, show the scars of development. Over the past century, this part of the Atlantic forest has experienced three waves of development – logging, coffee plantations and cattle ranching – each of which ran down the environment a step further. By 2008, there was almost nothing left to extract. The hills were stripped bare, the rivers dry and the soil degraded. Local people were left in poverty. Many moved to Rio to find work. But now they are returning because Miguel Pereira is once again frontier territory and is being held up as a model in a new global campaign to revitalise 150 million hectares – six times the area of the UK – of degraded land around the planet by 2020. The success story at Miguel Pereira will also be food for thought for ministers and heads of state from around the globe attending the Rio+20 summit next week on sustainable development.

Rio+ 20 and Indonesia’s land reform agenda

By Noer Fauzu Rachman, Jakarta Post, 12 June 2012 | Land reform is conspicuously absent from the agenda of next month’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil. In fact only one line in the March 29 draft of “The Future We Want”, the principle outcome document for Rio+20, touches on land rights. In their study “Why Land Rights Should Be On The Rio+20 Agenda” Veit and Ranganathan (2012) said the only reference was to “avoid creating food and water insecurities and limiting access to land, particularly for the poor”, and this point has already been opposed by a number of developed nations, including the US and states within the European Union. President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono, together with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, will head a panel at Rio+20 to advise the UN on global sustainable development beyond 2015.

[Malaysia] A Desperate Effort to Save the Rainforest of Borneo

By Rhett Butler, Yale Environment 360, 12 June 2012 | Flying over Sabah, a Malaysian state that covers about 10 percent of Borneo, the damage is clear. Oil palm plantations have metastasized across the landscape. Where forest remains, it is usually degraded. Rivers flow brown with mud… “Yayasan Sabah has been a cash register for politicians,” said one senior forestry official. “Yayasan Sabah has huge area but is nearly insolvent because all the timber money has been taken out by politicians.” Now, the director of forestry for the state of Sabah, Sam Mannan, is trying to reverse the region’s trend toward deforestation, moving forward with a plan to convert 10 percent of Yayasan Sabah to oil palm plantations to generate revenue, and then gradually restore most of the rest of the tract so it can be sustainably logged. Whether he will succeed or simply end up with even more of Yayasan Sabah being converted to oil palm plantations remains an open question.

13 June 2012

In the Wild, Seeking an Answer: What Replaces Dying Trees?

By Lauren E. Oakes, New York Times, 13 June 2012 | The coastal mountains of southeastern Alaska rise steeply from the Pacific Ocean. Fjords and channels separate over 1,000 islands from the mainland. Dressed like fishermen, we traipse through forests and crawl through brush as weather fronts whip through inlets and rumble along the outer coast. Duct tape often fails, and “waterproof” data sheets reach saturation by mid-morning. Yet we persist. What I had in my head actually seemed easy. Stage one: measure all the plants and trees in plots of live and dead forests. Two: process the data, make comparisons, run the statistical tests. Three: find out what happens after the yellow-cedars die, a phenomenon linked to climate change.

Nissan to use Leaf credits for forest conservation

The Japan Times, 13 June 2012 | Nissan Motor Co. has launched a fund to use carbon credits generated by the use of its Leaf electric vehicles to support the installation of quick charging facilities and forest conservation activities. Nissan is soliciting Leaf owners to participate in the program. Because the Leaf emits no carbon dioxide, owners are calculated to earn carbon emission credits equivalent to the 0.9 ton of carbon dioxide generated a year by a gasoline-powered vehicle. The Nissan Zero Emission Fund will receive emission credits from participating Leaf owners and sell them to the Green Investment Promotion Organization, set up by the government to promote investment in low carbon emissions. Profits earned by the sale of credits will be invested by the fund. For the first year of the program, Nissan expects the fund to invest some ¥18 million in forest conservation in Yamanashi Prefecture and other activities.

Developing world holds key to keep Rio principles alive

By Nitin Sethi, Times Of India, 13 June 2012 | With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh slated to attend the Rio summit on sustainable development, the government has prepared the grounds to help ‘friendly’ Brazil but not accept the adverse conditions that Europe is keen to impose at the event, which culminates with the meeting of heads of state from June 20 to 22. Sources in the Indian team warned that while Brazil would be looking for a ‘successful’ and substantial results from the high-profile meeting, there is a risk of the existing Rio principles being junked unless the developing world sticks together as it has done so far.

UN environment summit opens, but prospects grim

By Yana Marull, AFP, 13 June 2012 | Twenty years after the first Earth Summit, a renewed bid to rally the world behind a common environmental blueprint opened in Rio de Janeiro against a backdrop of discord and economic gloom… This frenzy of contacts and deal-making could well be more fruitful than the UN Conference on Sustainable Development itself, analysts say, mindful of the failures of the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen. Behind the scenes, there is incipient panic over the draft summit communique after three rounds of preliminary informal negotiations left more than 75 percent of the paragraphs still to be agreed.

Barack Obama needed at Earth Summit

By Frances Beinecke (NRDC), Politico, 13 June 2012 | The Obama administration, unfortunately, has signaled that President Barack Obama won’t be among those attending. That’s too bad – too bad for the conference, and for a world in search of a leader in the fight against global warming and in addressing critical issues like climate change, sustainability and alternatives to fossil fuels. As U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said, Obama’s attendance at Rio+20 is “crucial.” Missing the summit means missing an opportunity for the president and the United States to demonstrate world leadership.

‘Offsetting’ Campaign To Save Forests To Be Announced At Rio+20

By Amrutha Gayathri, International Business Times, 13 June 2012 | Five major corporations will join the emergency campaign to save the world’s threatened forests by pledging to buy REDD multimillion dollar credits from projects protecting threatened forests around the world, the campaign announced Tuesday at the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly known as Rio+20. REDD credits, sold in carbon markets, are “offsets” because they allow the purchaser, say, a coal company, an electric power plant, or a cement manufacturer in an industrialized nation to emit more tons of CO2 than they would otherwise have permitted. The patrons who are set to make their pledges include multinational financial services provider Allianz, global luxury sport and lifestyle premium brands giant PPR, international sustainable energy provider Eneco, German renewable energy provider Entega and the leading South African bank, Nedbank.

Shell scraps controversial biofuels plan after Brazilian Indian protest

Survival International, 13 June 2012 | A biofuels company set up by Shell in Brazil has scrapped controversial plans to source sugar cane from land stolen from an indigenous tribe after a vociferous campaign by the Indians and Survival International. The company, Raizen, was established in 2010 as a joint venture of Shell and Brazilian ethanol giant Cosan to produce biofuel from sugar cane. But some of its sugar cane is grown on land claimed by the Guarani tribe, one of the most persecuted and impoverished in South America. Their leaders are regularly killed by gunmen acting for the sugar cane growers and cattle ranchers who have taken over almost all their land. Now Raizen has agreed to stop buying sugar cane from land declared as indigenous by the Ministry of Justice. Sustained campaigning by Survival, and pressure from Brazil’s public ministry kick-started negotiations between Raizen and FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian affairs department.

[Canada] Resolute Forest Products Now World’s Largest Manager of Forest Stewardship Council® Certified Forests

Resolute Forest Products Inc. press release, 13 June 2012 | Resolute Forest Products and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are pleased to announce that Resolute has become the largest manager of Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified forests in the world. The Company recently certified 3.2 million hectares (7.9 million acres) of forestlands in the Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec to the FSC Boreal Standard. This certification raises the total area of Resolute-managed FSC-certified forests in North America to 10.3 million hectares (25.6 million acres), an area twice the size of Nova Scotia and larger than Portugal, Hungary or South Korea. “Becoming the world’s largest FSC holder is a major milestone in our efforts to become a positive force for sustainability within the forest products industry,” stated Richard Garneau, Resolute’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Guyana looking to Russia for advocacy at G20, support at RIO, 13 June 2012 | President Donald Ramotar says Russia’s representation at important international forums such as the G8 and G20 can serve as a mediator for small countries that have been pressing for reforms and restructuring of the international financial system. This comment was made to Russian Ambassador to Guyana Nikolay Smirnov at a reception at the Russian Embassy to mark Russia’s National Day. With sustainable development at the forefront of Guyana’s path, President Ramotar called on Russia to join the bandwagon as the country prepares to highlight its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and its REDD plus partnership with the government of Norway at the upcoming United Nations conference on Environment and Development in Brazil later this month. Ambassador Smirnov said Russia supports Guyana’s position on climate change and concurred with the need for cooperation during the upcoming Rio plus 20 Summit in neighbouring Brazil during the period June 20 to 22.

Indonesian President makes speech at CIFOR on “sustainable growth with equity”

CIFOR Forests News Blog, 13 June 2012 | sustainable forestry is critical to our efforts at sustainable development as well as to our climate mitigation efforts. Our forests cover 69 percent of Indonesia’s land area and 31 percent of the global land. They hold a massive number of biodiversity that needs to be sustained. As a mega-diverse country, we have about 12 percent of the world’s mammals, 16 percent of the world’s reptiles and amphibians, 17 percent of the world’s birds, 25 percent of fish species, and over 38,000 of plant species. We consider this God-given rich biodiversity as enormous national treasures. It is worth reminding that sustainable forestry was not always an obvious policy choice. In the 1970s and 1980s, Indonesia favoured a different forestry policy. Put in other words, our forestry policy was to allow anyone to cut our forests so long as it gave benefits to development. It seemed the logical thing to do back then.

Indonesian President: World must move to green economy & protect forests

CIFOR Forests News Blog, 13 June 2012 | Indonesia’s president today said that the sustainable management of the world’s forests is critical for equitable economic growth and he called for a “fundamental reinvention and reorganisation of societies throughout the world”. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that Indonesia’s economy has changed from one in which forests were sacrificed in return for economic growth, to an environmentally sustainable one where forests are prized for the wide range of ecological services that they provide to society. He declared that by 2025 “no exploitation of resources should exceed its biological regenerative capacity”. “Sustainable forestry is critical to our efforts at sustainable development as well as to our climate mitigation efforts,” the president said in a speech today at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), which has its global headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia.

Norway’s Development Minister discussed REDD+ with Local Government, Civil Society and Local Community during visit to Central Kalimantan, 13 June 2012 | H.E. Minister Heikki Holmås, the newly appointed Minister of International Development of Norway, visited Indonesia on 6-7 June 2012. The Minister’s Delegation, accompanied by Pak Heru Prasetyo and Pak William Sabandar from the REDD+ Task Force, flew to Central Kalimantan, after a series of meetings in Jakarta with high-level officials including the Chair of the REDD + Task Force Pak Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, to meet with focal point and stakeholders in the appointed REDD+ Pilot Province.Upon arrival at the Tjilik Riwut Airport, Minister Holmås and his delegation were welcomed with a traditional welcoming ceremony ‘Tetek Pantan’ and met with local government delegation, Central Kalimantan Vice Governor, Pak Achmad Diran, and Regional Secretary, Pak Siun Jarias. In a subsequent meeting, Minister Holmås and Vice Governor Achmad Diran discussed general progress on REDD+ in the Province, including opportunities and challenges.

Possible Solution for Deforestation in Indonesia Nears

By Sylviana Hamdani, Jakarta Globe, 13 June 2012 | Arif Aliadi [is] executive director of Lembaga Alam Tropika Indonesia (Latin)… Latin is an NGO that aids local communities by helping them manage their natural resources in collaborative and sustainable ways… On May 22, Latin announced its national carbon trading scheme in Jakarta. The scheme is based on the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme, better known as REDD, introduced by the Kyoto Protocol… The carbon market is one of the fastest-growing financial markets in the world. Its market value has expanded from $10 billion in 2005 to $142 billion in 2010, according to a World Bank report from 2010. Carbon trading is a lucrative business for Indonesia. A 2010 Forestry Ministry report revealed that Indonesia had more than 132 million hectares of forest… Latin calculates the carbon stock within these forests by using the standard set by the International Center for Research in Agroforestry.

[Indonesia] Aceh Peat Clearing Was ‘Illegal’

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 13 June 2012 | A formal government investigation into the clearing of a vast tract of protected peat forest in Aceh has concluded that only one of the two companies involved was at fault, while exonerating a second company of any wrongdoing. Sudariyono, the deputy for legal compliance at the Environment Ministry, said on Monday that palm oil plantation company Surya Panen Subur 2 “was suspected of burning some 1,183 hectares” of land inside the Tripa peat swamp from March 19 to 24 this year. “Our suspicion is that a really wide swath of land [was burned] in such a short time, and this indicates that it was systematic, meaning there was an element of intent,” he said. He added that a second company, Kallista Alam, was believed to have burned some 30 hectares of its 1,605-hectare concession in the peat swamp, but that it was the victim of a bureaucratic foul-up.

New York court nixes challenge to carbon market

By Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 13 June 2012 | A New York state court on Wednesday dismissed a Tea Party-backed lawsuit that tried to block the state from participating in a cap-and-trade system to cut carbon emissions in the Northeast, finding that the plaintiffs had no grounds to challenge the program. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who represented New York in the case, argued that they lacked a credible reason to challenge the state’s participation in the program. He also said the plaintiffs took too long to file their suit – nearly three years after New York began implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in late 2008.

14 June 2012

The green movement at 50: Mission unaccomplished

By Michael McCarthy, The Independent, 14 June 2012 | But if we examine the 50 years of the Green Movement’s existence and try to tot up its failures, the inability to halt deforestation would probably be near the top of the list… The former director of Friends of the Earth, Tony Juniper, [says] “There are two really big failures of the Green Movement, underpinned by a third… The first is that there are two parallel discourses going on: one is about planetary boundaries and nature, and the other is about is about economic growth, and they’re going in polar opposite directions. The second is that we have failed to link an ecological narrative with popular culture. The fact that most people in the country regard a trip to the shopping mall on a Saturday as a better day out than a trip to a nature reserve says quite a lot… But the profoundest failure of all is our underlying disconnect from the the Earth.”

Profitable Forest Conservation

Allianz Knowledge, 14 June 2012 | Since last October Allianz has been working in partnership with Wildlife Works Carbon (WWC) to protect forests in developing countries. A project in the Kenyan Tsavo National Park shows that environmental protection and business acumen are not mutually exclusive. Up to now a forest’s value has been measured mainly in terms of the price of its wood, but the United Nations is currently turning this premise on its head. Its REDD program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) aims to prove that conserving a forest is more profitable than cutting it down – for all concerned. This theory is currently being tested in a project developed by Wildlife Works Carbon (WWC), the world leader in REDD programs, in which Allianz acquired a ten percent stake last October. The project area is situated in the Kasigau Corridor, an area of over 200,000 hectares that connects the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks in southern Kenya.

Asia CDM Stakeholder Consultations and Implications for CDM AR & REDD+

By Unna Chokkalingam, Forest Carbon Asia, 14 June 2012 | A CDM policy dialogue with Asian stakeholders took place in Bangkok from 7-8 June 2012. Asia has more than 80% of the registered CDM projects in the world. What did the participants have to say about CDM’s impact and future prospects, and what are the implications for CDM forestry projects and REDD+? The Durban Climate Change talks last December extended the Kyoto Protocol and its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) into a second commitment period while new mechanisms are to be worked out for global agreement and compliance starting from 2020. In this final year of the first commitment period, it is now time to take stock. What has CDM achieved, where does it need improvement, what is its potential future and what can it contribute to emerging new mechanisms?

Rio+20 organisers struggle to untangle new world disorder

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 14 June 2012 | A new world disorder is increasingly evident at the Rio+20 conference as traditional blocs of international alliances break and reform, making an overarching deal “extremely difficult”, the chief negotiator of the host nation warned on Wednesday. The frank assessment by Brazilian diplomat André Corrêa do Lago came as the UN’s once-in-a-generation sustainability conference opened with participants still widely divided on how to build a “green economy” and strengthen global governance. Negotiators now have a week left to pull together one of the broadest ranging documents in UN history, before 130 world leaders arrive for a final Earth summit on 20-22 June that is supposed to set a new path towards poverty eradication and environmental protection.

RIO+20: Sticky issues and hope

IRIN, 14 June 2012 | “The pace is too slow” and “there is a lack of urgency”, grumbled a negotiator as preparatory talks on the final political outcome document limped back into motion on 13 June at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “We have just a week to go before the conference starts officially [on 20 June],” said Sha Zukang, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, and secretary-general of Rio+20. Officials, NGOs and members of other lobby groups have three days in which to work out their differences before heads of state make a final decision on accepting the document. Before the last round of talks in New York, in the first week of June 2012, only 6 percent of the text had been agreed upon. This has now jumped to more than 20 percent and many additional paragraphs are close to agreement, according to Ambassador Kim Sook of the Republic of Korea, co-chair of the Preparatory Committee.

CIFOR director general Frances Seymour’s welcome speech to Indonesian President

By Frances Seymour, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 June 2012 | Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration in 1992 called for public access to information about the environment, and public participation and justice in environmental decision-making. Indonesia has made enormous progress in realizing the objectives of Principle 10 over the last 20 years, including with respect to the management of its vast forests. In September 2001, Indonesia hosted the first Ministerial on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance to address the problem of illegal logging. More recently, Indonesia has become the first country in Asia to negotiate a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union to ensure that timber for export originates from legal sources. Just over a year ago, the President’s instruction establishing a moratorium on new forest concessions catalyzed an unprecedented process of making forest-related maps available to the public.

Q&A; with Daniel Murdiyarso following the Indonesian President’s visit to CIFOR

By Melati Kaye, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 June 2012 | The President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, visited the CIFOR campus Wednesday, June 13, to give a speech titled “Sustainable Growth and Equity”. Shortly after, Melati Kaye asked Senior Scientist Daniel Murdiyarso about a few points raised by Yudhoyono’s address. So how is Indonesia doing in terms of carbon emissions reduction targets committed to voluntarily at the 2009 Pittsburg G20 summit? It depends if you are talking about Indonesia’s voluntary commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent [from business-as-usual levels] or the 41 percent figure the President said he would commit to if there were international assistance. I would sit down and calculate whether the avoided deforestation falls in the area that has a significant impact on reducing emissions.

Court decision in Indonesia may grant local authorities more power over forests, 14 June 2012 | A ruling by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court could shift some forest management authority from the country’s powerful Ministry of Forestry to local governments, say forestry experts. The “MK45” case centered around the central government’s control over Indonesia’s Forest Zone (Kawasan Hutan), a classification that applies to more than two-thirds Indonesia’s landmass or roughly 130.7 million hectares. Five district heads in Central Kalimantan challenged the designation of their administrative districts as Kawasan Hutan, which required their constituents — hundreds of thousands of people who live in the designated Kawasan Hutan areas — to seek permission from Ministry of Forestry whenever they wanted to make land use decisions. The Constitutional Court ruled that some of language underpinning Ministry of Forestry’s control over Kawasan Hutan is “unconstitutional” and “unenforceable”.

[Paraguay] Just sign here: cowboys’ attempt to fool Indians backfires

Survival International, 14 June 2012 | An elaborate ploy by ranchers in Paraguay to trick an Indian tribe into allowing them to build a new road that would cut the Indians’ land in half has backfired, with an official investigation now underway. Leaders of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe had been visited by the ranchers’ agents, demanding they sign a ‘friendly agreement’ allowing the ranchers to bulldoze a road through the middle of the Indians’ land. When the Indians refused, the ranchers allegedly forged their signatures and sent the ‘agreement’ to government officials. But just days later the same government office received a letter from the Ayoreo denouncing the ranchers’ strong-arm tactics. If built, the road would have allowed the ranchers to carry out more of the illegal forest destruction which has already ravaged much of the Ayoreo’s land, including areas inhabited by uncontacted members of the tribe.

Bilateral U.S. Government Program (Peru)

The REDD Desk, 14 June 2012 | The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will invest $4.5 million in global climate change programs in Peru with Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 funding. This funding will support (1) forest inventory development that will include tracking systems to monitor carbon fluxes in support of Peruvian forests; (2) forest mapping using cutting-edge LIDAR technologies; (3) new technologies for forest mapping and management to strengthen forest inventories, improve forest conservation, and prepare Peruvian authorities, the private sector, and civil society to participate in forest carbon markets; and (4) additional forestry governance and capacity-building efforts. These activities will address the most critical threats to forests—land use conversion, illegal logging, and informal mining—by building government, community, nongovernmental organization, and business capabilities to conduct forest resource inventories, especially in tropical forests…

[Philippines] $23-million Phl debt for environment swap OK’d

By Jose Katigbak, The Philippine Star, 14 June 2012 | The US has approved the utilization of $23 million in debt owed by the Philippines for an environmental project. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner confirmed in a meeting last week with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Ambassador Jose Cuisia that the Philippines was eligible for a second round of debt conversion under the US Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1988, the embassy said in a statement. A letter from Undersecretary Lael Brainard stated that “a provisional allocation of up to $23 million will be set aside by the Treasury in US appropriated funds for the treatment of certain eligible debt owed by the Philippines to the US government.” Debt conversion involves the exchange of debt for equity or counterpart domestic currency funds to be used to finance a particular project or policy. In this case, the US has approved the utilization of debt for an environmental project.

Court decision in Indonesia may grant local authorities more power over forests, 14 June 2012 | A ruling by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court could shift some forest management authority from the country’s powerful Ministry of Forestry to local governments, say forestry experts. The “MK45” case centered around the central government’s control over Indonesia’s Forest Zone (Kawasan Hutan), a classification that applies to more than two-thirds Indonesia’s landmass or roughly 130.7 million hectares. Five district heads in Central Kalimantan challenged the designation of their administrative districts as Kawasan Hutan, which required their constituents — hundreds of thousands of people who live in the designated Kawasan Hutan areas — to seek permission from Ministry of Forestry whenever they wanted to make land use decisions. The Constitutional Court ruled that some of language underpinning Ministry of Forestry’s control over Kawasan Hutan is “unconstitutional” and “unenforceable”.

15 June 2012

Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom: Her vision for common resource management

By Melati Kaye, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 15 June 2012 | By the time Nobel Economics Laureate Elinor Ostrom died of pancreatic cancer earlier this week at age 78, she had already gone a long way to redefine the way social scientists and policymakers think about common resources, including CIFOR’s research focus on forests and other jointly exploited resources such as fisheries or pastureland. Back in the 1940s, when Ostrom was pursuing her political science doctorate at the University of California in her native Los Angeles, conventional wisdom maintained that, left to their own devices, individual users of such shared resources would inevitably deplete them. This concept was later coined “Tragedy of the Commons,” in a seminal 1968 article by ecologist Garrett Hardin. The only remedy was to turn over the “commons” to either private or governmental control.

Rio+20: indigenous peoples denounce green economy and REDD+ as privatization of nature

Climate Connections, 15 June 2012 | Indigenous Peoples of the world participating in Rio+20 denounce that the Green Economy and REDD+ privatize nature, sell the air we breathe and destroy the future. Indigenous Peoples´ powerful message to the United Nations summit is eloquently conveyed in the No REDD+! in Rio+20 Declaration launched this morning by of the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life. The Alliance warns that REDD+ constitutes a worldwide land grab and gigantesque carbon offset scam… “Not only does REDD+ corrupt the Sacred and fuel financial speculation, it also serves as greenwash for extractive industries like Shell and Rio Tinto,” according to Berenice Sanchez of the Nahua People of Mexico.

Why Aren’t Forests On The Rio Agenda?

By Andrea Booth,, 15 June 2012 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this week urged the international community to protect its forests, in the wake of forestry issues being sidelined at Rio+20 conference on sustainable development to be held later this month. “Sustainable forestry is critical to our efforts at sustainable development as well as to our climate mitigation efforts,” Yudhonoyo said. “Losing our tropical rainforests would constitute the ultimate national, global and planetary disaster.” … Yet the Indonesian Forestry Ministry estimates that Indonesia has been losing between 1.6 million and 2.8 million hectares of forest every year to illegal logging and land conversion over the past few years, as reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “In the 1970s and 1980s … our forestry policy was to allow anyone to cut our forests so long as it gave benefits to development,” Yudhoyono said.

Amazon basin sees shift from burning forest to savanna fires

environmentalresearchweb, 15 June 2012 | The Amazon basin has seen a shift in biomass burning from relatively more forest fires in the early 2000s to a larger proportion of savanna/agricultural fires in the late 2000s. That is according to researchers from Stanford University, US, NASA/GSFC/Laboratory for Atmospheres, US, and the University of São Paulo, Brazil, who used satellite data on land cover, aerosol optical depth, single scattering albedo, and precipitation. “We attribute this shift in part to enhanced forest law enforcement and lower deforestation rates that reduced forest fires in the latter 2000s,” John Ten Hoeve of Stanford University told environmentalresearchweb. “The increase in savanna/agricultural fires in 2007 and 2010 is due in part to drought conditions during these years, but also to increased agricultural and pastoral development on already degraded land rather than newly deforested land, a change which has been shown in other recent studies.”

Amazon Rainforest REDD project receives world’s first Verified Carbon Standard registration

Carbon Positive, 15 June 2012 | The first ever REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project in the Amazon Rainforest has been awarded registration under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), it has been announced this week. The project, entitled the ‘CIKEL Brazilian Amazon REDD APD Project’, a partnership between CIKEL and 33 Forest Capital protects Rainforest, passed rigorous validation standards to be validated by the VCS and the Rainforest Alliance. The CIKEL Project is located in Para State, Brazil, where 63% of the Amazon Rainforest has already been lost to deforestation practices. CIKEL will work to mitigate and prevent the further deforestation of 27.4 thousand hectares of rainforest via the use of sustainable logging practices certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® and is expected to receive carbon credits over the next ten years based upon a projected reduction of 9.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Panama Canal to Protect Watershed Forests

By Peter T. Leach, Journal of Commerce, 15 June 2012 | The Panama Canal Authority is moving to cut carbon emissions in the environmentally sensitive watershed zone around the canal by encouraging sustainable use of its forests. It signed a technical cooperation agreement Thursday with Panama’s National Environmental Authority and the German Agency for International Cooperation to apply mechanisms that will reduce emissions. The agreement is designed to establish the terms and conditions for the design and implementation of a pilot program in the Panama Canal watershed and compensation mechanisms for the sustainable management of forest resources that can be replicated nationwide under the parameters of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a program known as REDD +.

16 June 2012

In Rio, 5 big companies to launch initiative to boost demand for REDD+ carbon credits, 16 June 2012 | Five large corporations have launched an effort to boost demand for carbon credits from “high quality” Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) projects in tropical countries. Insurance giant Allianz, French retail conglomerate PPR, energy companies Eneco and Entega, and South African bank Nedbank have pledged to buy millions of dollars in emissions reductions credits generated by REDD+ projects that have been certified under both the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB). Forest carbon credit providers include BioCarbon Pty Ltd. (Ecuador), ERA (Democratic Republic of Congo), Forest Carbon Offsets (Belize), The Surui Project (Brazil), Wildlife Alliance (Cambodia), Wildlife Conservation Society (Madagascar), and Wildlife Works (Kenya). The initiative, dubbed Code REDD, requires carbon project developers to sign a code of ethics as well as achieve certification under VCS and CCB.

[Guyana] Controversial Amaila Falls hydro project…

Kaieteur News, 16 June 2012 | Financial closure on the government’s US$840 Amaila Falls Hydro Project has been delayed by several months, the developer Sithe Global yesterday said. It was anticipated that the project, which was touted to become the country’s largest infrastructure development in its history, would have been approved by lenders to enable a financial close by this summer. “While that timing has slipped, our lenders remain supportive of the project. We have worked closely with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to address its concern about Guyana Power and Light’s (GPL) technical and financial capacity,” Sithe Global said yesterday in a release by local public relations consultant, Cathy Hughes. The company said that it is likely that financial closure may be by March 2013.

Haze returns to Malaysia

Inquirer News, 16 June 2012 | Haze caused by forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia blanketed parts of Malaysia including the capital Saturday, causing air pollution to hit unhealthy levels. Haze is an annual problem during the monsoon season from May to September as winds blow the fumes from Sumatra across the Malacca Strait to Malaysia. Skies over Kuala Lumpur Saturday were gloomy and visibility was described as poor by the Meteorological Department. With dry weather forecast for the next week, air quality is expected to deteriorate further. The Air Pollutant Index reached 127 in the capital Kuala Lumpur, 144 in Port Klang, the Southeast Asian country’s top port and 129 in the township of Shah Alam. Readings of 101-200 are considered unhealthy. The Star newspaper Saturday said that the haze situation was expected to worsen with the “hot and dry spell in the Riau district of Sumatra set to peak over the next two weeks.

17 June 2012

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