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 is updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.
By Tony Simons (ICRAF), IUFRO-FORNESSA Meeting, 2012 | This presentation contains four key sections, looking at: What is a landscape?; A Portrait of Forests and Trees; What problems are we tackling?; and Landscape Approaches. It is a useful guide for those who are new to the concept of landscape approaches, offering a scientific grounding and various case studies throughout.
20 August 2012
redd-standards.org, 20 August 2012 | Comments are invited on revised draft ‘Guidelines for the use of REDD+ SES at country level” from 20th August until 19th September 2012. Drawing on emerging experience from countries using REDD+ SES, the existing ‘Guidelines on use of the REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards at Country Level’ have been reviewed to facilitate and strengthen the in-country use of the REDD+ SES. Comments were invited from the public during 60 days from 5th April to 4th June 2012 to improve this draft. Comments were received from five people/organizations. A new draft Version 2 of these guidelines has been prepared based on these comments and a response has been prepared to explain how the comments have been addressed. This revised draft of the guidelines and the response to comments are being published on 20th August 2012 and comments are invited during a 30-day period until 19th September 2012…
21 August 2012
WWF, 21 August 2012 | This report seeks to determine which of the existing standards for the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of carbon emissions associated with REDD+ activities are most appropriate for use within a nested system. Furthermore, the report seeks to uncover and highlight key issues that all REDD+ project managers should consider when developing sub-national REDD+ projects. To achieve this goal the author has undertaken both a literature review and a series of key stakeholder interviews.
mongabay.com, 21 August 2012 | Countries across Latin America lost 78,000 square kilometers of subtropical and tropical dry broadleaf forests between 2001 and 2010, according to a new satellite-based assessment [PDF] published in the journal Biotropica. The research — based on analysis of data from the MODIS sensor on NASA satellites — looked at vegetation change in ten biomes across 16,000 municipalities in Latin America and the Caribbean. It found that dry forest cover fell from 2.03 million sq km in 2001 to 1.95 million in 2010, or 3.8 percent during the period. By comparison, moist forests — popularly lumped together as “rainforests” — declined 1.9 percent from 9.52 million sq km to 9.34 million sq km.
Ghana News Agency, 21 August 2012 | Ghana has been selected alongside three other African countries to receive between 30 million dollars and 50 million dollars towards the implementation of climate change reduction activities. The money would be released through the Forest Investment Programme of the World Bank and other development partners, to scale up pilot projects under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
22 August 2012
The UN-REDD Programme blog, 22 August 2012 | In the August edition of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter, read more on REDD+ progress in Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya and Zambia, as well as a special editorial on the future of the REDD+ Partnership by co-chairs from Costa Rica and USA. Also, get more details on the newly revamped UN-REDD Programme website launched this week!
By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 August 2012 | Many local communities know REDD+ is touted by international policymakers as the best way to protect carbon-packed forests, but recent studies indicate that communities do not fully understand the scheme’s broader goals or how they stand to benefit economically. Arild Angelsen, professor at Norway’s University of Life Sciences, and editor of Analysing REDD+: Challenges and Choices, said this is undermining the process. There has been a surge in anti-REDD+ sentiment by indigenous groups recently, Angelsen notes, attributing it partly to “misconceptions and ideologies.” “REDD+ is being associated with markets and green capitalism. Carbon markets may play a role in the future, but the fear of markets seems exaggerated,” he said. “Most REDD+ finance is currently from development aid budgets. And markets are not inherently anti-poor, as some seem to believe.”
ICIMOD, 22 August 2012 | A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the One UN Joint Program on Environment (JPE) and ICIMOD’s Pakistan office to jointly implement a REDD+ project in cooperation with the Ministry of Climate Change and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P). The MoU was signed on 7 May 2012 through the Office of the Inspector General of Forests (IGF) in Islamabad, Pakistan. A series of preparatory meetings with project partners also took place to discuss stakeholder analysis, to decide on the themes of capacity building workshops for identified stakeholders, and to arrange REDD+ sensitization events for forest communities.
23 August 2012
By Francesco Martone (FPP) and Jen Rubis (JOAS), Forest Peoples Programme, 23 August 2012 | On the occasion of the first Board meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and Jaringan Orang Asal Se-Malaysia (JOAS) are publishing a report titled: “Indigenous Peoples and the Green Climate Fund – A technical briefing for Indigenous Peoples, policymakers and support groups”. This report summarises some key issues relevant for indigenous peoples, building on statements and policy platforms adopted by Indigenous Peoples’ Caucuses. In particular the report draws attention to the need for the GCF to improve indigenous peoples’ participation in governance, adopt stronger safeguards and facilitate direct access to financing for climate change response actions developed and implemented by indigenous peoples.
By Anne Petermann, Daily Kos, 23 August 2012 | Through initiatives such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and SEFA (Sustainable Energy for All), the UN is advancing new mega-hydro projects, the privatization of forests and other lands, and industrial-scale GMO biofuel plantations. Now, through the “Green Economy,” unveiled by the UN at its Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June, the UN is promoting the privatization of every last unspoiled ecosystem for use in the perpetuation of a greenwashed version of Capitalism.
Reuters Point Carbon, 23 August 2012 | The government of Mato Grosso state, which witnessed the largest farmland expansion in Brazil last year, proposed on Thursday a framework to manage carbon credit-generating avoided deforestation projects to prolong its recent success in reducing forest destruction. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
mongabay.com, 23 August 2012 | An official warned that Myanmar is facing a deforestation crisis due to poor forest management, illegal logging, and fuelwood collection, reports Chinese state media. U Thein Lwin, secretary of the Lower House’s Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Committee, claimed during a workshop on energy, environment and climate change that forest cover had fallen from 51 percent in 2005 to 24 percent in 2008. However the figures differed substantially with independent assessments of Myanmar’s forest cover. A paper published earlier this year in the journal Science estimated Myanmar’s forest cover at 46-48 percent based on satellite analysis, while research published last year in PNAS put the number at above 50 percent. The U.N. last year reported 48 percent forest cover for Myanmar in 2010.
Survival International, 23 August 2012 | Accusations that a ranching company owned by one of Spain’s richest men illegally bulldozed forest inhabited by uncontacted Indians have been upheld by the Paraguayan authorities. The company, Carlos Casado SA, is owned by Spanish construction and property giant Grupo San José. Jacinto Rey González is President of both companies, and controlling shareholder of Grupo San José. Earlier this month Survival revealed that Paraguayan authorities had mounted a raid on Carlos Casado’s estate, discovering a huge amount of unauthorised forest clearance.
By Pallab Ghosh, BBC News, 23 August 2012 | One of the government’s most senior scientific advisers has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now “unrealistic”. Prof Sir Bob Watson said that any hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was “out the window”. He said that the rise could be as high as 5C – with dire consequences. Sir Bob added the Chancellor, George Osborne, should back efforts to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions. He said: “I have to look back on [the outcome of successive climate change summits] Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban and say that I can’t be overly optimistic. “To be quite candid the idea of a 2C target is largely out of the window.”
24 August 2012
The Independent, 24 August 2012 | Comments from a senior director at the world’s largest commodities trader that the rapidly worsening global food crisis will be “good for Glencore” only add to the sense that there are those in the finance sector still dismayingly out of touch with the world in which most people live. Chris Mahoney’s remarks also make the case for the closer regulation of agricultural futures markets stronger than ever. The scale of the emergency now unfolding is deeply concerning. The severest droughts for decades in the US have pushed up prices for all manner of foodstuffs from wheat to soybeans, leaving as many as 53 million people around the world at risk of going hungry. Amid all the uncertainty, speculators such as Glencore stand to make a fortune gambling on the market’s gyrations.
European Forest Institute, 24 August 2012 | EFI’s EU REDD Facility has launched a new website: www.euredd.efi.int The new portal provides information on the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) initiative, including interactions between REDD+ and other forest governance initiatives. The Facility was established in December 2010 to provide support to the design and implementation of REDD+ policies in developing countries. It aims to help developing countries build their capacity and improve forest governance for REDD+ through analysis, advice, outreach and training, as well as by facilitating access to and benefit from ongoing initiatives. The Facility is currently engaged in five countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Guyana, Indonesia, Republic of Congo and Vietnam.
mongabay.com, 24 August 2012 | Belo Monte dam developer Norte Energia, S.A. has stopped all work on the Belo Monte dam after receiving formal notification of the decision last week by the Brazilian Federal Appeals Court to suspend the project, reports International Rivers. Norte Energia said it would take “all available measures to reverse the decision.” The Federal Appeals Court ruled that Belo Monte cannot proceed without the consent of indigenous communities that will be impacted by the dam, which will redirect 80 percent of the flow of the Xingu river, a tributary of the Amazon river. The court said that Congress authorized the dam without prior consultations or a proper environmental impact study. To allow the project to proceed as is “would transform the Constitution into a dead letter, an act of fantasy,” according to federal Judge Antônio Souza Prudente, who authored the decision.
By Fabiana Frayssinet, IPS, 24 August 2012 | A new system to calculate the amount of greenhouse gases generated by deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon jungle region has come at a good time for assessing the effects of the reform of the country’s forest code. The new satellite system optimises government monitoring of forests. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest fell 57 percent between 2004 and 2011, as a result of a reduction in logging, according to statistics released Aug. 10 by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). In the same period, deforestation in the rainforest was reduced by 78 percent. Illegal logging in the Amazon jungle peaked in 2004, when 27,700 square kilometres of forests were cleared. But by 2011, the total had dropped to just 6,400 square kilometres, according to INPE, thanks to stepped up monitoring and oversight of logging companies, forest fires and inadequate soil use.
Ghana News Agency, 24 August 2012 | Mr Edward Obiaw, Director, Resource Management Support Centre of the Forestry Commissions (FC), has urged all Ghanaians to share in the responsibility of protecting the country’s forests. The increasing degradation through illegal mining, farming and quarry operations should be a source of concerns to everybody and concerted efforts are needed to restore sanity. Mr Obiaw was speaking at the closing session of a two-day national executive council meeting of the National Forestry Forum-Ghana, a civil society organization (CSO), held at the Washington View Hotel at Akyawkrom in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality.
environmentalresearchweb, 24 August 2012 | Indonesia has the second highest deforestation rate for a tropical country. Using a new assessment approach, researchers have found that from 1990 to 2010 Sumatra lost 7.54 million hectares of primary forest and saw a further 2.31 million hectares degraded. The bulk of the cleared forest – 7.25 million hectares – had already been degraded. “The methods are straightforward and repeatable,” Belinda Arunarwati Margono of South Dakota State University, US and The Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia told environmentalresearchweb. “Indonesia is applying a moratorium of logging from 2011–2013; the results are a valid baseline for monitoring the effectiveness of the moratorium.” Margono and colleagues used a hybrid approach to analyse forest changes, employing a per-pixel supervised classification mapping of LandSat images and Geographical Information System (GIS)-based fragmentation analysis.
Jakarta Globe, 24 August 2012 | Norway’s environment minister on Friday urged Brazil and Indonesia to avoid backtracking on policies to protect tropical forests, saying up to $2 billion in aid promised by Oslo hinged on proof of slower rates of forest clearance. Norway, rich from oil and gas, has promised more cash than any other donor nation to slow rainforest clearance from the Amazon to the Congo. Protecting forests slows climate change, since plants soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas. Environment Minister Baard Vegar Solhjell, whose country is failing to meet goals for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, said he was closely following debate in Brazil that might brake what he called a “huge success story” in slowing deforestation.
Reuters Point Carbon, 24 August 2012 | Romania has dropped a lawsuit against the EU Commission over how many carbon permits it can allocate to its biggest emitting countries under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), ending a five year dispute with the scheme’s regulator, said a spokesman with the European Court of Justice. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
25 August 2012
By Robert H. Frank, New York Times, 25 August 2012 | Don’t expect to hear much about climate change at the Republican and Democratic conventions. Yes, there will be plenty of speeches about unemployment, budget deficits and other immediate problems. But the threats posed by global warming are decades away — or so we have been told repeatedly in recent years. Many climate scientists, however, are now pointing to evidence linking rising global temperatures to the extreme weather we’re seeing around the planet. The United States has just endured its hottest 12-month period on record. The worst drought in a generation has parched the nation’s crop belt. Floods that happened once a century now occur every few years.
By Zofeen Ebrahim, IPS, 25 August 2012 | With Pakistan’s last major stands of deodar (cedar) threatened by a ‘timber mafia’, the local people in the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province are resorting to direct action to stop the denudation of their picturesque alpine homeland. Since April, the community in Ayun town has been running a determined campaign to intercept trucks carrying cedar logs out of the famed Kalash valleys. “We have unloaded about 3,500 cubic feet of timber and nobody will touch it until a case we filed in court against the illegal felling is decided,” Fazalur Rehman, a local leader tells IPS over telephone. Rehman’s village of Maldun is among several situated at the foot of the deodar forests, on the banks of the Chitral river that forms the gateway to the famous Kalash valleys and beyond to Afghanistan. “There is a timber mafia working within the government’s forest department which is behind the ruthless felling and sale of timber…”
Bernama, 25 August 2012 | Thai authorities on Friday seized Simaese rosewood logs worth at least 50 million baht (US$1.6 million) in northeastern Nakhon Phanom Province along the Mekong River. The 40 logs measuring 2 to 3 metre in length each were seized in the districts of Tah Uthen, Baan Pang and Srisongkram after being found hidden near Mekong River, Thai News Agency reported. Authorities said they believed the timber were meant to be smuggled into China, where they would fetch several million baht in a market where demand for Siamese rosewood has gone up. About 10,000 logs have been confiscated in Thailand since early this year.
26 August 2012
By Olesia Plokhii, Newsweek and The Daily Beast, 26 August 2012 | Wutty’s death made him a grim statistic in a global struggle—one of more than 700 environmental defenders worldwide who have been killed in the past decade protecting ancestral lands and endangered trees from domestic and international developers. And his country’s wilderness areas have been hit particularly hard by the loggers. According to recent rankings from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Cambodia’s rate of deforestation is the world’s third highest, behind only Nigeria and Vietnam. Much of that timber is harvested in supposedly protected areas and shipped to China, the No. 1 importer of illegally sourced wood, buying $3.7 billion in pillaged timber in 2008 alone, according to the British think tank Chatham House.
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.