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REDD in the news: 4-10 February 2013

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.

Actors from 8 Countries Meet in Peru to Discuss Transparency and Participation as Indispensable Elements for Sustainable Development in REDD+ countries

PNUD Centro Regional – Panama, February 2013 | Two UNDP’s Practice Areas from the UNDP Regional Service Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (RSC-LAC), Energy & Environment and Democratic Governance, sponsored and co-organized the Regional Forum on “How to Prevent Corruption in REDD+ and the “Regional Workshop on Participation, Advice and Consent of Stakeholders in the Preparation Phase of REDD+,” on January 29t-31th and February 1st-2nd respectively in Lima, Peru. Both meetings brought different actors, governmental and non-governmental, civil society representatives, indigenous peoples, academics and UNDP officials, from 8 countries in Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru).

UNEP Riso Reports on the Economics of REDD+

Climate Change Policy & Practice, February 2013 | The UN Environment Programme Riso Centre (UNEP Riso), in collaboration with the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD), published a report on the economics of forest and forest carbon projects. The report is based on REDD+ case studies from Brazil, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico and Senegal. Based on the case studies, the report concludes that public-private partnerships that reduce investment risk are most successful at attracting the private sector, and that carbon credits act as only a secondary source of income. Furthermore, the report highlights the potential efficiencies and other advantages that can be realized through a national approach to REDD+, while stressing the importance of local community involvement for long-term sustainability.

A review and outlook of Indonesia’s forest governance

By Fitrian Ardiansyah, Coal Asia, 22 January-22 February 2013 | Finding balanced solutions is a huge task, because based on a 2011 report by the Forestry Ministry, forest areas within mining concessions, which include for oil, gas and coal activities, cover approximately 2.03 million hectares. Saying it as a huge task is perhaps an underestimate. Indonesia’s political and governance system is not homogenous. While some government agencies may be willing to collaborate, others such as the parliament and local governments need to feel the ownership of such ‘ideal call’ to get involved. Otherwise, they may come strongly against it. The strong voice from some factions of the parliament calling for the end of moratorium suggests that this important body in the Indonesian governance system may feel sidelined and do not see any benefits provided by the initiative.

4 February 2013

Is financing sustainable forest management an inappropriate use of public funding?

By Robert Nasi, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 February 2013 | The long-running debate about how best to conserve forests and improve livelihoods in forest-rich tropical countries has resurfaced in a very recent (and yet to be officially released) report by the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), reported in the Guardian and relayed by a blog in REDD-Monitor. In its report, the IEG concludes that there is little evidence that i) support of state-protected areas improved livelihoods of local people, ii) support for industrial timber concession reform has led to sustainable and inclusive economic development, iii) natural forest concessions are being managed sustainably. In the 2002 revision of its 1991 Forests Strategy, was the World Bank wrong to lift the ban on intervention in places where logging was carried out in tropical moist forests, and consider investments in all types of forests?

2nd EU REDD+ Projects Coordination Meeting

By David Sanmiguel, capacity4dev, 4 February 2013 | The 2nd EU REDD+ Projects Coordination Meeting took place in Brussels, on 3 and 4 July 2012. The meeting was organised by the European Commission, and had two main aims: sharing updates on EU funded REDD+ projects; and exchanging information and taking stock of experiences in REDD+ implementation with EU partners and other actors in the REDD+ community. About 50 participants attended the meeting, including representatives from REDD+ projects financed under the ENRTP programme, staff from the European Commission, representatives from EU Member States including Norway, and REDD+ practitioners.

EC Reports on EU-Funded REDD+ Projects

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 4 February 2013 | The European Commission has released the final report from last July’s Second EU REDD+ Projects Coordination Meeting. The meeting was convened to report on progress on EU-funded REDD+ projects, as well as to take stock and share lessons learned from the implementation of REDD+. In addition to presentations by the Commission, the Governments of Germany and Norway, as well as by the European Forest Institute, the meeting discussed four themes: measuring REDD+ performance – monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); land tenure and planning processes; local dialogue and stakeholder engagement; and financing sustainable land use to address the drivers of deforestation and degradation.

[Indonesia] Forest conservation goes high-tech

Jakarta Post, 4 February 2013 | Experts say satellite-based remote sensing technology has proven to help slow the rate of deforestation in the Harapan rainforest in Jambi province. “Deforestation in Harapan seemed to have slowed down [in the last quarter of 2012]. This was confirmed by local observers,” Netherlands-based Wageningen University forest inventory expert Dirk H. Hoekman said last week during the workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation — Fast Logging Assessment and Monitoring Environment (REDD-FLAME) held at the International Convention Center of the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) in Bogor. “It may be possible that this actually is a result of the [advanced technology].” The workshop marked the end of the REDD-FLAME program, which used the advanced technology in Mawas, Central Kalimantan.

Angry Papuan leaders demand Jared Diamond apologizes

Survival International, 4 February 2013 | Leaders across West Papua have demanded controversial author Jared Diamond apologizes for describing them in his new book as warlike, and strengthening the idea that indigenous people are ‘backwards’. The West Papuan leaders attack Diamond’s central arguments that ’most small-scale societies (…) become trapped in cycles of violence and warfare’ and that ‘New Guineans appreciated the benefits of the state-guaranteed peace that they had been unable to achieve for themselves without state government.’ Mr Diamond makes no mention of the brutality and oppression suffered by the people of West Papua at the hands of the Indonesian occupation since 1963, which has led to the killing of at least 100,000 Papuan tribal people at the hands of the Indonesian military.

[Malaysia] Risk of becoming squatters in own land real — Sidi

By Smauel Aubrey, BorneoPost, 4 February 2013 | Ibans and other native communities are at risk of ending up as squatters in their own land if their rights to their land continued to be disputed. Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) president Sidi Munan, who said this, pointed out there had been many cases of native land being encroached by plantation companies and other commercial entities. “If we are not careful, we could be squatters in our own land because of problems of encroachment. I am serious about this (possibility happening),” he told the audience at Sadia Charity Dinner here on Saturday. Sidi also dwelled on the hardship faced by urban squatters who had migrated from the rural areas in search of better prospects in the cities and big towns. He praised two non-governmental organisations – Kuching Society for the Urban Poor (SKUP) and Green Ribbon Association – for their good work in assisting squatters and the poor in Kuching.

5 February 2013

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 5 February 2013 | After two years of observation and analysis, the REDD+ Offset Working (ROW) Group and its panel of scientists, environmental experts and conservationists bring forth their draft recommendations for the inclusion of REDD+ carbon credits – from Brazil’s Acre and Mexico’s Chiapas – in California’s cap-and-trade scheme. The group’s suggestions are three-fold, covering program architecture, social and environmental safeguards, and legal and institutional matters. “The issues we tackled… are meant to provide clear guidance in creating quality jurisdictional programs that are ready for linkage with California today,” said panelist Gregory Asner. The recommendations will now undergo a comment period until the end of April, after which the finalized recommendations will be provided to the governors of California, Acre and Chiapas to await feedback.

[Indonesia] APP commits to end deforestation!

By Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace International, 5 February 2013 | The reality is that APP has already cleared the majority of forests in its supply chain to make way for plantations. A lot of forest has been lost for that expansion, tens of thousands of hectares per year in recent years. So while I am hopeful that things are changing at APP and am happy about what this could mean in future for Indonesia’s rainforests, we cannot forget that these are changes that ought to have come many years ago. So what’s different this time? The chairman of the company spoke at today’s event and endorsed the new company policies, which is an important distinction from previous commitments. The company is also working with several external organisations, including The Forest Trust and Asia Pacific Consulting. And critically, the commitments include an immediate commitment to suspend all forest clearance across its supply chain.

Leading paper firm pledges to halt Indonesian deforestation

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 5 February 2013 | The world’s third biggest paper company has pledged to halt deforestation in Indonesia, and help to restore the habitats of the rare Sumatran tiger and orangutan, following a long-running campaign by environmentalists. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) said on Tuesday that it would end the “clearing of natural forest” across its entire supply chain, with immediate effect. From now on, it has pledged to work to preserve “high conservation value” and “high-carbon stock” forests. The move marks a major victory for green campaigners, as paper made from the pulped remains of some of the last virgin rainforests of south-east Asia has been found in products across the world, and its manufacture has contributed to the endangerment of threatened wildlife.

[Indonesia] WWF Welcomes APP Announcement to Halt Clearing, Urges Paper Buyers to Wait for Proof

WWF, 5 February 2013 | WWF welcomed the announcement by the Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) stopped clearing Indonesia’s tropical forests and peatlands to allow an assessment of their conservation and carbon values. But the conservation organization urged paper buyers to wait for confirmation of the claims through independent monitoring by civil society before doing business with APP. “APP today committed to most of WWF’s calls. If the company follows through on this, it could be great news for Indonesia’s forests, biodiversity and citizens,” said Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF-Indonesia. “Unfortunately, APP has a long history of making commitments to WWF, customers and other stakeholders that it has failed to live up to. We hope this time the company does what it promised. WWF plans to independently monitor APP’s wood sourcing and forestry activities for compliance with its commitments and regularly update stakeholders on the findings,” Foead added.

The beginning of the end of deforestation in Indonesia?

By Rhett A. Butler,, 5 February 2013 | Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), a forestry giant that has been widely criticized for its role in driving deforestation and contributing to social conflict in Indonesia, today announced a zero deforestation policy that could have a dramatic impact on efforts to slow the Southeast Asian nation’s high rate of deforestation. The policy, which went into effect February 1, is ambitious enough that one of APP’s most vocal critics and agitators, Greenpeace, will suspend its highly-damaging campaign against the paper giant. The campaign against APP has cost the paper giant tens of millions of dollars in lost business since 2009. The new policy targets several of the major criticisms against APP, including deforestation, degradation of high carbon peatlands, conservation of critical wildlife habitat, and social conflict with local communities.

[USA] Report: Warming bringing big changes to forests

By Jeff Barnard, Associated Press, 5 February 2013 | Big changes are in store for the nation’s forests as global warming increases wildfires and insect infestations, and generates more frequent floods and droughts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns in a report released Tuesday. The compilation of more than 1,000 scientific studies is part of the National Climate Assessment and will serve as a roadmap for managing national forests across the country in coming years. It says the area burned by wildfires is expected to at least double over the next 25 years, and insect infestations often will affect more land per year than fires. Dave Cleaves, climate adviser to the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, said climate change has become the primary driver for managing national forests, because it poses a major threat to their ability to store carbon and provide clean water and wildlife habitat.

6 February 2013

World Bank Unmoved on Auditor’s Criticism of Forest Policy

By Carey L. Biron, IPS, 6 February 2013 | Officials at the World Bank are forcefully rejecting a new internal evaluation that is highly critical of the institution’s decade-long forest policy, expressing their “strong disagreement” with some assertions in the report. The assessment, written by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), the World Bank Group’s auditor, warns that expectations for poverty reduction as envisioned in the bank’s 2002 Forest Strategy “have not yet been met”. The report is particularly critical of the bank’s use of mass-scale logging concessions as a forest-management strategy and of a lack of projects that promote community involvement in the oversight of forests. While the full IEG report has not yet been made public, draft copies of both the report and management responses were scheduled to be discussed at the bank’s Washington headquarters on Monday. (Leaked copies of both documents can be found here and here.)

Petition to halt oil exploration in Ecuadorean Amazon gets 1m signatures

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 6 February 2013 | A global campaign to stop oil exploration in a pristine corner of the Ecuadorean Amazon has collected more than a million online signatures in little more than a week. The show of support is a major boost to the small indigenous community of Sani Isla that has been resisting intrusions by Ecuador’s state-run oil company Petroamazonas. It is also a rebuke to Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, as he campaigns for re-election. The petition, which was organised by the campaign group Avaaz, calls on Correa to stop oil exploration in the Amazon and uphold the Ecuadorean constitution, which is the only one in the world to recognise the rights of nature.

Amazon forest more resilient to climate change than feared – study

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 6 February 2013 | The Amazon rainforest is less vulnerable to die off because of global warming than widely believed because the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide also acts as an airborne fertilizer, a study showed on Wednesday. The boost to growth from CO2, the main gas from burning fossil fuels blamed for causing climate change, was likely to exceed damaging effects of rising temperatures this century such as drought, it said. “I am no longer so worried about a catastrophic die-back due to CO2-induced climate change,” Professor Peter Cox of the University of Exeter in England told Reuters of the study he led in the journal Nature. “In that sense it’s good news.”

[Indonesia] Palm oil company thugs attack Sulawesi villagers, injuring 8

By Diana Parker,, 6 February 2013 | Local thugs, allegedly linked to an oil palm plantation company, attacked a group of villagers in Indonesia’s Gorontalo province on the island of Sulawesi last week, injuring eight people, including a woman and a small child. The attack took place at the company’s log pond in Pohuwato district, where villagers have been staging an ongoing protest against the company. Zainudin Lasimpala, a victim of the attack, said a group of around 10 attackers drove up to the pond in black Strada vehicles, believed to be owned by PT Sawit Tiara Nusa, which holds a concession in the area. “It happened at around 2:30 pm. They carried machetes and immediately began slashing and hitting [the protestors]. I was hit and beaten until I fell in the ditch,” he told Mongabay-Indonesia last Thursday.

Small businesses band together to meet high cost of Indonesia’s timber certification scheme

By Melati Kaye, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 February 2013 | Next month, the Indonesian government will have fully phased in legislation requiring all furniture companies exporting to the European market prove sourcing of legally harvested timber. While this has been touted as a step in the right direction for conservation, for many small carvers the high costs associated with the new certification scheme are simply unaffordable. The Center for International Forestry Research, with support from the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Forest Research and Development Agency (FORDA) have been researching sustainable growth models for towns with forest-related industries like Jepara in Central Java. They are encouraging Jepara’s carvers to develop associations, as well as grow wood locally.

PNG company named as a global sustainability leader

ABC Radio Australia, 6 February 2013 | Papua New Guinea’s biggest palm oil producer has been named as the world’s leading sustainable agricultural company by a British-based independent assessment organisation that looks at the impact companies have on the world’s remaining forests. In its 2012 assessment the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project ranked 100 companies from every region of the world. They included such household names as Colgate-Palmolive, Gucci and Heinz . New Britain Palm Oil, which has farms in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, was ranked number one among agriculture companies.

Northeast U.S. carbon market expected emissions to tighten cap

By Valerie Volcovoci, Reuters, 6 February 2013 | States involved in the developing northeastern U.S. carbon market are expected to announce on Thursday that they will reduce the program’s emissions cap as a way to stimulate allowance trading and strengthen its environmental goals, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s (RGGI) nine member states have agreed to lower the market’s carbon cap to 91 million short tons from the current level of 165 million for the next phase, which will run from 2014 to 2017, said Dale Bryk, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is a RGGI stakeholder and observer. The regional initiative is the first market-based regulatory program in the United States that has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

7 February 2013

Investors beware: global land grabbing ends in ‘financial damage’ and human rights violations

By Jeremy Hance,, 7 February 2013 | Investing in companies that flout local community rights in developing countries often leads to severe economic losses, according to a new report from the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). A rising trend in “land grabbing” from Africa to South America by corporations and even foreign governments results in social instability, which can lead to large-scale protests, violence, and even murder, delaying and sometimes derailing projects. Such instability poses massive risk to any investor… “When we looked at companies involved in international land acquisitions, we found that they experience an astonishing amount of financial damage, ranging from massively increased operating costs—as much as 29 times above a normal baseline scenario—to outright abandonment of functional operations when they ignore pre-existing or customary local land rights,” explained Lou Munden, Chief Executive of The Munden Project…

European carbon price ‘inching ever closer to zero’

By James Murray, The Guardian, 7 February 2013 | “Dramatic”, “enduring”, “meltdown” – the words used by leading analyst firm Thomson Reuters Point Carbon to describe the continued slump in global carbon prices could not be starker. And according to analysts the chances of prices recovering in the near future remain extremely thin. The company today released data for 2012 showing that, while the volume of carbon traded globally rose 28 per cent to 10.7Gt, the value of the market fell 35 per cent to €62bn as the price of allowances in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) collapsed. The figures mirror similar data released last month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which claimed the market value contracted by more than a third to €61bn last year.

It’s time to offset the UN’s carbon footprint

By Assaad W. Razzouk, The Independent, 7 February 2013 | Over little more than a decade, the CDM has enabled the investment of $215 billion in clean energy projects – reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1 billion tons and delivering large sustainable development benefits to millions of people. What’s more, it has encouraged developing economies’ governments to follow the CDM’s lead and further invest in clean energy. It is by far the most successful environmental offsetting mechanism the world has ever seen, and a valuable contributor to sustainable development. However, the system is grinding to a halt because an imbalance in supply and demand is causing the price of CERs to plummet.

Evidence-based forestry – a core driver in policy-making

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 7 February 2013 | There are increasing expectations that policies should be evidence based. This extends to the use of public funds for development assistance, for example Government initiatives such as those promoted by national Governments and supported by initiatives such as those of the Overseas Development Institute’s RAPID programme, Research to Action and 3ie. While recognizing that scientific research is an important source of evidence, it is important to clarify that science does not per se provide answers to policy issues, nor is it the only source of what counts as authoritative evidence. Some of this confusion is reflected in the way that evidence-based approaches have sometimes been criticized for usurping other forms of evidence and for suggesting technological solutions to complex socio-economic problems. These same critics, however, are also arguing for effective decision-making that is based on sound evidence.

[Ecuador] ‘Give Me The Money Or I’ll Shoot The Trees’, 7 February 2013 | In 2007, Ecuador’s president proposed … Ecuador would promise to leave the forest untouched if countries in the developed world would promise to give Ecuador half the value of the oil – $3.6 billion. “He proposed that we want to keep the oil there,” says Ivonne A-Baki, who works for Ecuador’s government. “What we need in exchange is compensation.” These days, A-Baki is traveling the world, asking for contributions. She chooses her words carefully. Still, the pitch runs the risk of sounding a bit like blackmail. “The joke we always used to always talk about was, you know, ‘Give me the money or I’ll shoot the trees,'” says Billy Pizer, a former deputy assistant secretary for environment and energy under President Obama. Pizer says he’d love to keep the park safe. But he says the proposal worried him as a potential precedent that would encourage other countries to threaten to destroy their own forests unless the world pays up.

The Orangutan’s Road: Illegal Logging and Mining in Indonesia

By Vanda Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institution, 7 February 2013 | Like in a desolate Edward Hopper landscape, the orangutan was clinging to the one last tree that stood next to the river in Kutai National Park in eastern Kalimantan. The joy of seeing this magnificent primate was spoiled by his destroyed habitat – under normal circumstances, the orangutan would never venture so far out of trees. But here he was in a beyond-degraded and marginal habitat, probably looking for food he could no longer find inside the forest. Although once a jewel of biodiversity in Indonesia, teeming with Sumatran rhinoceros and banteng (wild Asian cattle species), and long-portrayed as one of the greatest wilderness areas left on the Indonesian side of Borneo, much of Kutai today looks like a devastation zone. Kilometers deep into its boundaries, the park has been stripped of trees.

Report: nearly half the timber from Mozambique to China is illegal

By Jeremy Hance,, 7 February 2013 | Forty-eight percent of the timber making its way from Mozambique’s forests to Chinese companies was harvested illegally, according to a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which blames the problem on widespread corruption and poor governance. The illegal logging cost Mozambique, the world’s fourth least-developed country in the world according to the UN, $29 million in tax revenue, says the report. “Despite recent commendable efforts by the Mozambican Government to control the illegal trade in timber to China, our investigation uncovers how high-level politicians, in league with unscrupulous Chinese traders, continue to not only breach Mozambique’s export and forest laws but are now putting pressure on the sustainable yield of Mozambique’s forests,” said EIA forests campaigner Chris Moye. The EIA went undercover both in Mozambique and China to expose the scale of the forest crime.

8 February 2013

Carbon release, storage by rainforests may increase by 50b tons for each degree of climate warming in the tropics, 8 February 2013 | Faster plant growth due to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide may offset increased emissions from forest die-off in the tropics, asserts a new study based on climate modeling. The research, published this week in the journal Nature, looks at how year-to-year variations in CO2 levels effect the long-term rate of carbon storage in tropical forests. It found that previous models may have overestimated the likelihood of forest die-back by assuming excessive variability in CO2 levels, while underestimating increased growth from CO2 fertilization. The study concludes that while tropical forests globally may release 53 billion tons of carbon for every degree Celsius of warming, they are likely to absorb a larger amount of carbon through more rapid growth.

Will more trees cause more rain?

IRIN, 8 February 2013 | Senior scientist Gordon Bonan of the US-based National Center for Atmospheric Research, a leading authority on the influence of forests on climate change and a contributing author to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments, spoke to IRIN about the status of the research in this area… “There is much scientific uncertainty in how afforestation affects climate – again related to albedo and evaporation. Different types of trees or other vegetation do differ in growth rates, height, etc., all of which affect albedo and evaporation. A big research question is the net effect of afforestation on climate. Forest ecosystems store carbon [reducing greenhouse gas warming], but do they warm or cool climate because of changes in albedo and evaporation? And how do these compare with the climate [influences] from carbon storage? These are all very active research areas.”

Carbon trading has failed: scrap the ETS now

Climate & Capitalism, 8 February 2013 | After seven years of failure, the European Union’s claims that it can ‘fix’ its collapsing Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) no longer have any credibility. We believe that the ETS must be abolished no later than 2020 to make room for climate measures that work. The EU ETS, the EU’s flagship policy to address climate change, was introduced in 2005 and gave rise to the currently largest carbon market worldwide. The ETS includes ‘cap and trade’ and ‘offsets’ systems which allow participants to buy and sell emissions permits and offset credits in order to comply with their reduction targets or simply to make a profit on the market.

Conflict in DRC Congo threatens chimpanzee tourism programme

By Mark Tran, The Guardian, 8 February 2013 | Fighting between government troops and M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has disrupted a promising plan for chimpanzee tourism in Virunga national park, also home to mountain gorillas. In the most serious incident, two park rangers and a soldier were killed in an ambush in October in a park covering 7,800 sq km, famed for its active chain of volcanoes and diverse habitats. A Unesco world heritage site, the park’s most famous inhabitants are 480 of the world’s 790 remaining mountain gorillas, but it is also home to a small number of chimps in Tongo, a forest in the southern sector of the park, bordering Uganda and Rwanda.

[Indonesia] Academics Urge SBY to Resolve Agrarian Conflicts

By Hayley David, Jakarta Globe, 8 February 2013 | Academics have called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to resolve agrarian conflicts and prevent indigenous land rights being compromised by upcoming elections. An expert group of researchers, policy makers and scientists have presented a petition directly to the president in what they are calling “An Academic Movement on Agrarian Justice.” The petition included recommendations for stricter regulation of licensing, immediate action to resolve land disputes and the direct involvement of relevant ministers in the administration of land tenure and resource-use laws. Speaking at an forum hosted by forest research group the Epistema Institute on Thursday, the group’s executive director Myrna A. Safitri said indigenous communities were particularly vulnerable during election campaigns as political parties vie for support from big businesses.

Researchers warn of more wild fires as Peruvians migrate to the big city

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 February 2013 | Wild fires in the western Amazon are being exacerbated by a population shift: As farmers move from rural areas to cities, they leave behind uncultivated landscapes that are drier and more susceptible to runaway blazes, a new case study indicates. And, when fires do break out, there are fewer bodies around to control them. Maria Uriarte and other researchers looked at wild fire frequency in the Peruvian Amazon from 2000 to 2010. While acknowledging previously known causes such as drought, timber extraction and road infrastructure expansion, they found that at least one other contributing factor is in play. “Fewer people leads to more fires,” said Uriarte, lead author of the province-scale analysis that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

9 February 2013

[India] Towards creating REDDReadiness

The Morung Express, 9 February 2013 | North Eastern Regional Workshop on REDD+ for awareness raising and towards creating REDDReadiness was held at Hotel Japfu in Kohima on February 9. The main objective of the workshop is preparedness for awareness raising and towards creating REDD Readiness in north Eastern States. Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi has conducted regional workshops in Bhopal, Bangalore and Agra. The workshop is organised jointly by Ministry of environment and forests, New Delhi, TERI, New Delhi and Nagaland Forest Department.

[Indonesia] Students call for governor’s arrest

Jakarta Post, 9 February 2013 | Students from Riau University’s Students Executive Board (BEM) who rallied at the Riau governor’s office on Friday cheered as they learned that Riau Governor Rusli Zainal was named a suspect by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). The students urged the KPK to immediately detain Rusli for the sake of a sense of justice among the community. Rally coordinator Yopi Pranoto said Rusli’s detention would determine whether or not graft cases in Riau would be addressed. “He is the most responsible person. The National Games graft case and illegal logging that caused the state to lose hundreds of billions of rupiah have been engineered and the perpetrators have not been detained as of now,” he said. “If KPK is not bold enough to detain Rusli, its independence should be questioned. Suspects involved in the National Games bribery and illegal logging cases, including former regents have been detained, but not Rusli.

Rapacious War Against Nature: Indonesian Palm Oil

By Dr. Reese Halter, Huffington Post, 9 February 2013 | In the 1960s, 82 percent of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands were endowed with tropical rainforests brimming with life. Today 48 percent are covered with patches of Earth’s biological treasures easily equivalent to Fort Knox, the Museum of Modern Art, the Louvre or the Prado. An incredible balance exists between the characteristics of all components of a rainforest from the tiniest insects, to the amount of sunlight; to the vast numbers of tree species, to water — the lifeblood of the Earth… In May 2010, Norway entered into a bilateral agreement with Indonesia offering $1 billion compensation for not destroying tropical rainforests. Clearly, it is not a large enough compensation. It is perplexing and frustrating to report that all 200 countries at the Doha climate talks could not agree to save Indonesia’s 105 million acres of remaining rainforests.

10 February 2013

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