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 G. Lescuyer, S. Assembe Mvondo, J.N. Essoungou, V. Toison, J.F. Trebuchon, and N. Fauvet, Ecology and Society, 2012 | Sustainable forest management gives the opportunity to better integrate the way local populations use their customary “village terroirs” in the logging activities. This requirement is explicitly stated in all forest laws of the Congo Basin countries but its implementation on the field remains under documented. In Cameroon, 30 forest management plans (FMP) for logging concessions have been reviewed to assess how they effectively include customary use rights. The integration of use rights into the FMPs is heterogeneous but always with very low enforcement. The weak influence of the FMP application on local practices is confirmed with an empirical survey that shows that natural, financial, and physical capitals in two villages of the eastern region of Cameroon have been little affected by the adjoining logging concession over the latest 13 years.
By Lars Schmidt, Phaivanh Phiapalath and James McBreen, GIZ, December 2012 | Intact ecosystems – particularly forests – contain significant amounts of carbon. Their conservation is therefore a relatively cost-efficient way to protect the climate. On this basis, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) intends to create incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions through the protection and better management of forests. Apart from mitigation effects, REDD+ aims at generating multiple co-benefits for nature and people, such as the conservation of biological diversity. There are, however, also some concerns associated with the implementation of REDD+, such as potentially negative impacts on biodiversity. These include ecological risks like the displacement of deforestation and degradation to areas which are low in carbon but rich in biodiversity or the reforestation with non-native tree species.
By Isilda Nhantumbo, IIED Publications Database, November 2012 | Understanding how land use and its changes affect forest cover and carbon stocks is fundamental to developing sound REDD+ delivery options. A study in Manica Province, a REDD+ pilot area for Mozambique, suggests biomass and forest carbon fell substantially between 2007 and 2010. The study combined radar remote sensing information (to measure changes in biomass and carbon stocks) with field investigations (to establish land use and land cover changes, and their causes). Small-scale agriculture is responsible for nearly half of the loss. Charcoal production and logging account for around a quarter. Large-scale commercial agriculture’s small role (around 3 per cent) will increase as allocated land is cleared. The remaining carbon loss comes from diverse smaller causes. Recording and mapping land use rights is crucial for identifying the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation…
By Isilda Nhantumbo, IIED Publications Database, November 2012 | Deforestation is a complex problem. Almost 50 countries are now working towards REDD+ programmes — new plans to reduce climate change from loss of forests — and they are running into difficult dilemmas. Should REDD+ be led by a forestry agency, or by a cross-sectoral institution that can deal with the many pressures on forested land? How can pilot projects be designed to capture the different sides of the issue in a coherent way? Neighbouring Mozambique and Tanzania have taken approaches that sometimes intersect, but often contrast. Comparing the two offers lessons in how to design the process of getting ready for REDD+.
24 December 2012
mongabay.com, 24 December 2012 | Deforestation in the Amazon leads to a substantial loss in microbial biodiversity potentially reducing the ecological resilience of affected areas, report researchers writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sampling 100 square kilometers (38 sq miles) of forested land converted to cattle pasture, a team of scientists found that deforestation leads to “biotic homogenization and net loss of diversity” of soil bacteria. The results suggest the decline in biodiversity may reduce the ability of forest areas to recover as well as the ability of deforested land to sustain agriculture. “We have known for a long time that conversion of rainforest land in the Amazon for agriculture results in a loss of biodiversity in plants and animals. Now we know that microbial communities which are so important to the ecosystem also suffer significant losses,” said lead author Jorge Rodrigues of the University of Texas at Arlington.
25 December 2012
26 December 2012
UN-REDD, 26 December 2012 | A project-based approach to REDD+ superficially seems attractive – but this is only because it is so familiar. Everyone understands a project-based approach – everyone has been involved in such projects, even if they have had limited success in meeting their objectives, whether those be biodiversity conservation or carbon conservation. The fundamental change in thinking that the national approach for REDD+ requires is a challenge in itself, but is necessary if REDD+ is going to have a significant impact. A national approach will result in priority actions being identified to reduce net emissions, and many of these priority actions will involve activities at specific sites. Such activities could be thought of as discrete “projects”, but this must not be confused with a project-based approach and all of its shortcomings.
By Desmond Brown, Inter Press Service, 26 December 2012 | In July 2009, Guyana launched a low carbon strategy aimed at promoting economic development, while at the same time combating climate change. At the launch, then President Bharrat Jagdeo called for a platform on which developing countries like Guyana are not seen as mere recipients of aid, but as equal partners in the search for climate solutions. A low carbon economy is one where economic activities are geared to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that would otherwise go into the atmosphere, and where other activities and lifestyles seek to minimise the effects of climate change. About 80 percent of Guyana’s forests, or some 15 million hectares, has remained untouched over time. An expert study commissioned by Guyana estimates that the country would earn some 580 million dollars annually if it were to engage in economic activities that could lead to the destruction of the forests…
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 26 December 2012 | Pulp and paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) continues to destroy large areas of rainforests and peatlands despite a commitment to end natural forest logging by 2009, says a new report issued by a coalition of Indonesian environmental groups. The Eyes on the Forest report finds that APRIL and its suppliers cleared at least 140,000 hectares (346,000 acres) of natural forest between 2008 and 2011 in Riau, accounting for 27 percent of all forest loss in the province during the period. Some of the area cleared by APRIL and its subsidiaries consisted of deep peat swamp forest, which stores massive amount of carbon. The report, which is titled “APRIL: Riau, Sumatra’s biggest forest pulper 2009 to 2012”, says that 69 percent of APRIL’s concessions lie on peat soils, suggesting that emissions from the company’s operations could worsen as it clears remaining forest areas.
By Rachel O’Reilly (Wildlife Works), Wildlife Works Blog, 26 December 2012 | This October, I was assigned to visit our REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project in Kenya to document the essence of the project through imagery with world-renowned “cause-related” photographer, Lisa Kristine. Lisa’s work is focused on the vast diversity and hardships of humanity, resulting in photos that connect audiences to the dignity that exists in us all, regardless of the conditions. The Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project is located between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks in Kenya. It acts as a vital wildlife corridor for a fantastic diversity of over 50 species of large mammals, more than 300 species of birds and important populations of IUCN Red List endangered and vulnerable species including Grevy’s zebra, cheetah, lion, African wild dog as well as over 2000 African elephants—a population that grows increasingly fragile…
27 December 2012
NY Carib News, 27 December 2012 | Guyana will receive US$45 million from Norway for its climate services in maintaining extremely low levels of deforestation while advancing the nation’s landmark Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). A Government Information Agency (GINA) statement said this now brings all three contributions from the Norway-Guyana climate and forest partnership to a total of US$115 million since the programme was announced in 2009. “This latest contribution from our partnership with Norway will help achieve the vision that we laid through our Low Carbon Development Strategy more than three years ago. Our vision is to create a strong and vibrant low-carbon economy that benefits our people, reduces pressures on our forests and provides valuable climate services to the world,” said President Donald Ramotar.
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times, 27 December 2012 | Over the last three years, with its economy in tatters, Ireland embraced a novel strategy to help reduce its staggering deficit: charging households and businesses for the environmental damage they cause. The government imposed taxes on most of the fossil fuels used by homes, offices, vehicles and farms, based on each fuel’s carbon dioxide emissions, a move that immediately drove up prices for oil, natural gas and kerosene. Household trash is weighed at the curb, and residents are billed for anything that is not being recycled. The Irish now pay purchase taxes on new cars and yearly registration fees that rise steeply in proportion to the vehicle’s emissions. Environmentally and economically, the new taxes have delivered results. Long one of Europe’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels nearing those of the United States, Ireland has seen its emissions drop more than 15 percent since 2008.
28 December 2012
By George A. Dyer, Robin Matthews and Patrick Meyfroidt, PLoS ONE, 26 December 2012 | We use economy-wide simulation methods to analyze the outcome of a simple REDD+ program in a mixed subsistence/commercial-agriculture economy. Alternative scenarios help trace REDD+’s causal chain, revealing how trade-offs between the program’s public and private costs and benefits determine its effectiveness, efficiency and equity (the 3Es). Scenarios reveal a complex relationship between the 3Es not evident in more aggregate analyses. Setting aside land as a carbon sink always influences the productivity of agriculture and its supply of non-market goods and services; but the overall returns to land and labor–which ultimately determine the opportunity cost of enrollment, the price of carbon and the distribution of gains and losses–depend on local conditions.
RECOFTC, 28 December 2012 | Natural disaster management and agriculture tend to dominate discussions on climate change adaptation. But forests matter too. In fact, they matter a lot. Recent research is beginning to uncover just how much forest-based products and services contribute to the livelihoods of rural communities globally – now believed to be approximately one-fifth to one-quarter of household income. We need to begin paying more attention to how forests can increase the resilience of communities to impending climate change impacts. And given the recent rise of our interest in REDD+, how exactly REDD+ can help or hinder this process.
By Yuyun Indradi (Greenpeace), Jakarta Globe, 28 December 2012 | Although the government claims that the rate of deforestation has slowed from an average of around 1.8 million hectares per year to around 450,000 million hectares per year, the fact that industrial-scale exploitation continues seriously undermines Yudhoyono’s ability to honor his good commitments. The latest Forestry Ministry figures put the area of remaining primary rainforest at less than 50 percent of the 130 million hectares of land the ministry currently defines as forest. Most of the remaining pristine rainforests are concentrated in Papua, with very little left in already over-exploited Sumatra and Kalimantan. Almost 35 percent of Sumatra’s forests have been destroyed over the last 20 years, and recent expansion in Kalimantan has pushed deforestation rates to rival those recorded in Sumatra. The extractive industries are now targeting our largest remaining tracts of pristine rainforests in Papua.
ICIMOD, 28 December 2012 | In collaboration with the Sindh Forest Department, ICIMOD and WWF Pakistan jointly organized consultation workshops with local communities and other stakeholders to identify local drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. The workshops, held in Sukkur and Karachi in Sindh Province on 11 and 13 December were part of the series of district-level consultations held under the REDD+ project’s Preparedness Phase in Pakistan. Forest Conservators from the concerned areas were chief guests at the respective workshops. Local forest community members, forest contractors, local NGOs, media personnel, and officials from various government departments also took part and offered valuable feedback. The REDD+ project team will now conduct consultation workshops in the forested areas of Ziarat and Zhob districts in Balochistan Province on 18 and 20 December, respectively.
By Rose Athumani, Tanzania Daily News, 28 December 2012 | Tanzania is currently in the last stages of finalizing a vegetation map that will show different vegetation zones across the country. Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Professor Rogers Malimbwi from the Forest Department, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) said that the exercise which started in 2010 will also enable the government have an official database of all tree species across the country, regardless of ownership. “The field teams have assessed soil and its carbon content, which act as massive carbon stores. The soil samples are being analyzed at SUA”, said Prof. Malimbwi. He added that areas which were not reached due to difficulties including dense vegetation constituted only 11 per cent.
29 December 2012
30 December 2012
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.