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REDD in the news: 18-24 March 2013

REDD in the news: 18-24 March 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.

International Day of Forests 2013

FAO, March 2013 | The United Nations General assembly has proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests. From 2013, the day will be observed each year to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of forests and trees to all life on earth.

18 March 2013

March 21, International Day of Forests: Letter of support

Climate Connections, 18 March 2013 | Note: As this letter points out, the United Nations’ definition of “forest” is conveniently vague enough to consider destructive monoculture tree plantations as the same as biodiversity-rich, native forests. And if the biotech industry has its way, genetically engineered (GE) trees could be considered “forests” as well, leading to a vast expansion of these toxic wastelands for pulp and bioenergy production. Help Global Justice Ecology Project stop this madness by joining us in calling for a ban on the release of GE trees into the environment. Sign the petition here:

Beyond Safeguards: A Critique of Carbon Markets for REDD+

By Tracey Osborne, Public Political Ecology Lab, 18 March 2013 | The carbon market has been adopted as the primary financial mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, based on a troublesome assumption about efficiency: that the carbon market can and will reduce emissions at the lowest cost. Therefore, when the carbon market enters forest ecosystems, it targets land uses of low market value or opportunity cost (cost of the forgone alternative), which in many developing countries is derived from subsistence needs. Within an early program that intended to lay the groundwork for REDD+ in Chiapas, subsistence activities were constrained while production of African oil palm and jatropha for biofuels not only continued unabated, but received subsides from the state. Based on evidence from Chiapas on carbon forestry and early pseudo-REDD+ activities, I argue below that a market framework privileges exchange value … at the expense of use value…

Forcing companies to carry out costly biodiversity surveys often backfires: Experts

By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 March 2013 | Forcing timber, mining and plantation companies to carry out costly, time-consuming and for-the-most-part incomplete biodiversity surveys on their holdings could drive away those genuinely committed to conservation, while allowing less scrupulous commercial ventures to fly under the radar, a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research suggests. “Listing species in an area is always a requirement,” says CIFOR researcher Erik Meijaard. “But it is not always practical and when over emphasized it becomes counter-productive.” “You might find 400 species, or 5,000, but what does that really tell you?” he asked. “And if you duly report the presence of an orangutan or another well-known and charismatic species that is either threatened or endangered, it can push back your operations by months, even years.” “It’s a powerful disincentive to comply at all.”

Four actions to reduce the ‘forest footprint’ of commodities

By Simon Milledge, International Institute for Environment and Development, 18 March 2013 | There are a number of measures available to reduce deforestation and limit the forest footprint of commodities. Some of these include: legislation to restrict illegally-sourced imports, improving private sector supply chains, including voluntary moratoria on sourcing products from, for example, natural forests, and consumer-directed campaigns, such as when Greenpeace targeted toymaker Mattel over its use of cardboard made by a company known to destroy Indonesian rainforests.

5 Lessons for Sustaining Global Forests

By Ruth Nogueron, WRI Insights, 18 March 2013 | How forest stakeholders respond to these five issues will play a big role in shaping the future of forests. As His Royal Highness Prince Charles said in his videotaped remarks at the conference, “Put simply, and whether we like it or not, forests matter, deeply. In fact, we would be doomed without them.” It is now up to all of us to articulate the importance of forests, push and expand the approaches that are working, and forge creative alliances to ensure that forests are sustained for current and future generations.

Six new nations expected to get forest funding this week

By Lisa Anderson, Reuters, 18 March 2013 | Six additional countries are slated to receive shares in a $23 million fund during a meeting this week of a global partnership focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and enhancing forest carbon stocks. The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s participants committee (FCPF), which is meeting in Washington, DC on March 19-22, works on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus forest carbon stock conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+). At the meeting, Chile, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, Thailand and Vanuatu are expected to be approved to share in an aggregate amount of $23 million to support national REDD+ readiness programs, aimed at preparing forest countries to be part of REDD+ programmes.

RSPO hails Norwegian fund’s decision

The Edge, 18 March 2013 | The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has hailed the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global’s (GPFC) decision to consider deforestation and making reference to the RSPO’s standard and its membership as a consideration when shaping its investment portfolio.

Africa: What Do People Think? Finding Optimism in Tree Plantations

Reuters, 18 March 2013 | While timber harvested from natural tropical forests is expected to reach "peak production" in the coming decades, the area occupied by tree plantations to supply future wood demand is concurrently increasing. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), tree plantations expanded by about 5 million hectares each year from 2000 to 2010, and expansion of both large- and small-scale tree plantations is underway in many tropical countries.

[Brazil] Culture shock for Amazon chief’s son who left rainforest for New York

By Anna Bressanin, BBC News, 18 March 2013 | Nilson Tuwe Huni Kui lives a long way from New York City. In fact, the 29-year-old lives a long way from anywhere. His village in the Amazon rainforest has a population of only 600 people and it takes five days of travelling by boat to reach the nearest town. Yet the son of the traditional chief of the Huni Kiu Kaxinawa tribes in Brazil has swapped the rainforest for the concrete jungle, and now calls the Big Apple home. "My father is what Obama is for you," he explains. As a youth leader, Tuwe carries the responsibility of making his people’s culture and problems known to the world. After being sent to a summit in Rio de Janeiro last summer he was given an opportunity to study in New York thanks to Tribal Link’s Indigenous Fellowship Program and the Nataasha van Kampen Foundation.

Causes and Consequences of Deforestation on the Wildlife of India

By Jessica Frei, Living Green Magazine, 18 March 2013 | Deforestation is indeed a serious issue, and there will be no exaggeration in saying that since 1990 the jungle areas have been declining at a fast pace. India once had 14.8 billion acres of land that was forested, but now has dwindled to just 8.6 billion acres. Even in such a worsening condition, there are people who are unable to comprehend that deforestation has produced enormous problems that are getting treacherous for endurance. Forests are chopped basically for two reasons – basic necessities and maintaining the lifestyle. It is true that reason for cutting down of trees is justified to an extent, but, while razing people do not realize that they are diminishing the existence of flora and fauna, and becoming egocentric.

Indonesia’s REDD+ pilot province: how is it faring two years on?

By Yogita Tahilramani, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 March 2013 | Central Kalimantan and Riau were the two provinces in the sprawling tropical nation at risk of releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere due to their large number of deep, carbon-rich peatlands, said Daniel Murdiyarso, senior scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “If the government is trying to reduce emissions by 26 percent, it needs to include peatlands in REDD+,” said Murdiyarso, referring to President Yudhoyono’s target for 2020. Central Kalimantan covers around 15 million hectares of land, of which 70 percent is still forested and rich in biodiversity. The region has seen consistent economic growth over the last decade, however much of this has come from unsustainable expansion of the agriculture and mining sectors.

REDD+ funds bring new business opportunities to Indonesian villages

By Yogita Tahilramani, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 March 2013 | Indonesia’s villagers are benefiting from funds provided by an international forest-preserving scheme by cultivating mushrooms instead of relying on unsustainable slash-and-burn land clearing techniques, and re-learning the near-lost art of rattan mat weaving. “The people here feel that the government does not help them,” said Supardi, the chief of Manteran II, a small village in Central Kalimantan province that has benefited from funding provided by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Deforestation (REDD+) to support alternative livelihoods. “Which is why we’re so grateful for REDD+. Finally, there has been some reaction to our [economic] situation.” The U.N.-backed program, which is aimed at helping slow climate change, financially rewards forest-rich countries for keeping their trees standing.

Villagers manage Indonesia’s old flaming habits with the help of REDD+

By Yogita Tahilramani, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 March 2013 | Equipped with firemen uniforms, water hoses, a pump and axes, rice farmers in Garantung village on Indonesia’s part of Borneo seem more like a professional fire-fighting squad than field hands. But every year – after torching old rice paddies to make way for their next harvests – they brace apprehensively for the mighty blazes to spiral out of control, spreading, at times, to nearby forests. Slash-and-burn techniques have been part of rice growing traditions for generations in Garantung in Central Kalimantan province, and experts say that’s unlikely to change without strict legal enforcement or clear economic incentives to use other land clearing methods. The even bigger problem for the village, is that it harbours a large area of peatland, which becomes dry and catches fire easily when it has been drained for the paddy fields.

Deforestation in key Madagascar park accelerated after 2009 coup d’etat, finds satellite analysis

Rhett A. Butler, 18 March 2013 | Deforestation and forest disturbance in Madagascar’s largest national park increased significantly less than a year after a coup displaced the country’s democratically-elected president in 2009, finds a new study that analyzed forest cover in Masoala National Park. The study, published in’s open-access academic journal Tropical Conservation Science, is based on analysis of high resolution satellite data and ground surveys in the park, which is located in northeastern Madagascar. It found that annual deforestation and forest disturbance in the 15,280-hectare study area within the park was 0.75 percent and 0.52 percent respectively.

Myanmar moving swiftly to implement forest management plans

Eleven Myanmar, 18 March 2013 | Myanmar will have a roadmap to reduce forest degradation and emissions from deforestation by June, speakers said at a seminar on climate change and forest management in Yangon on Thursday. A draft of the roadmap has already been completed, said Dr. Rosy Ne Win of the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. “We began drafting a roadmap for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in December 2012. The road map will be completed in June,” Rosy Ne Win said. The plan comes as the country’s forests face increasing threats, officials said, explaining that the rate of deforestation is rising. In 2010 less than half of the country’s land area was forested, they said, putting the figure at 47 percent.

Disney, Latam Airlines buy 444,000 Peruvian forest carbon credits

Reuters, 18 March 2013 | The Walt Disney Company and Latin America’s largest air carrier, Latam Airlines, bought 444,000 carbon offsets from Peru-based projects for between $7 and $8 per ton in separate deals last week, giving a boost to South America’s burgeoning voluntary carbon market. Both companies will use the credits to offset a portion of their greenhouse gases. Entertainment company Disney bought 437,000 VCUs (verified carbon units) issued by the Alto Mayo Initiative, a project funded by the Peruvian government and NGO Conservation International (CI) to protect 2.8 million hectares of rainforest in Peru’s northern San Martin province. In a separate deal, Latam Airlines Group, the new airline formed out of the merger of Brazil’s TAM and Chile’s Lan Airlines, announced it bought 7,000 VCUs from a reforestation project run by project developer Bosques Amazonicos in Peru’s eastern province of Ucayali.

[USA] Including offsets from Latin America in California’s cap-and-trade plan is a bad idea

By Kathleen McAfee, Public Political Ecology Lab, 18 March 2013 | Whether California includes international offsets in our cap-and-trade system is an issue for California. I don’t think we should include it for two reasons. First, for reasons given above, it does less than nothing to reduce total GHG emissions in California, regionally, or globally. Second, offset commerce promotes the market-centric approach that is proving so inadequate in achieving real, net conservation and climate-mitigation results while – predictably – reinforcing or worsening preexisting inequalities. Climate-mitigation policies that “that address the underlying causes of both deforestation and degradation” and that “large-scale changes in the rural development model” are not possible if rewards are allocated according to market-efficiency criteria because they are bound to reflect existing power relations and inequalities.

19 March 2013

[Ecuador] BluForest Inc. Books Tangible 695 Million Dollar Asset

BluForest, 19 March 2013 | BluForest Inc. is happy to report that it has filed on a timely basis its Annual Financial Statements for the year ending 2012 on March 18th, 2013. The company is very happy with the current outcome and developments over the past fiscal year. BluForest Inc. is very proud to announce to its shareholders that it was successfully able to report the recognition of and the subsequent move from Intangible Assets of $698,875,000 to $695,277,476 of Tangible Assets on the Balance sheet. This move to tangible assets created a BOOK value of $6.72 per share. These numbers are taken directly from the latest audited 10K and the company is asking for each shareholder or financial advisor to review the filings on the SEC website.

Tropical croplands expand by 48m ha in 10 years, raising environmental concerns, 19 March 2013 | Croplands in the tropics expanded by an average of 4.8 million hectares per year between 1999 and 2008, increasing pressure on forest areas and other ecosystems, reports a study published in the journal PLoS ONE. The research found that soybeans and maize (corn) expanded the most of any crops in terms of absolute area, followed by rice, sorghum, oil palm, beans, and sugar cane. The countries which added the largest area of new cropland were Nigeria, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Brazil. The study, which involved an international team of researchers led by Ben Phalan of the University of Cambridge, found that cropland made up 10.7 percent of the land area of tropical countries, about 10 percent less than the global figure of 12 percent. Rice is the most widely grown crop in the tropics, including rainforests and tropical dry forests.

[Guyana] GFC’s efforts on deforestation should be supported

By Michael Khan, Guyana Chronicle, 19 March 2013 | As a Guyanese living in Guyana, I feel compelled to voice my opinion and my observation with regard to this ongoing issue of Government/GFC putting in place measures to curb the de-forestation of our dear land. Firstly, it is a total misconception with regard to the talk of government/GFC stalling or impeding efforts to cut trees. The GFC is simply asking for six months notice in advance for the sole purpose of verification; that is to say, if someone is requesting to operate in a specific area. The ground staff/employee (GFC) could verify if it is or is not feasible to cut a tree or few trees in that area. Because of the Forestry Commission’s policy of sustainable de-forestation, there is a measurement requirement with regard to the distance between the felling of trees.

“It’s a mystery why we chose Guyana”: Norwegian Government official

By Chris Lang, Kaieteur News, 19 March 2013 | How did Norway choose its REDD countries? Brazil and Indonesia make sense because of the large areas rainforest and the rapid rate of deforestation. But Guyana? In 2009, when the two countries signed the Memorandum of Agreement, there were no bilateral ties between the two countries, no Norwegian embassy in the country, and Norway had no political or commercial interests in the country. The only countries that are smaller than Guyana in Latin America are Uruguay and Suriname. Its population is well under one million people. In 2009, the Norwegian Ambassador was working from Norway. Only in January 2011, was the responsibility for Guyana moved to the Norwegian embassy in Brasilia.

REDD+ working unit urges Indonesia govt to extend forest moratorium

Antara News, 19 March 2013 | The Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) National Strategy Working Unit urged the Indonesia Government to extend the forest moratorium that will expire in May 2013. "We recommend the moratorium to be extended one or two more years as the government is not ready to institutionalize the permit and management for forest utilization," Spokesperson of REDD+ Working Unit Mubariq said on a discussion on forest moratorium here Tuesday. The forest moratorium was regulated in the President Decree no.10/2011 suspending the concession of primary forest and peat land for two year period. The moratorium was aimed to evaluate the economic growth and its implication towards the natural resource in Indonesia and it would expire in May 2013.

Indonesian palm oil giant launches conservation pilot project

By Diana Parker,, 19 March 2013 | Golden Agri-Resources, one of the largest palm oil producers in Indonesia, is launching a pilot program designed to protect forests within its concession areas that have high carbon stock and those most important for conservation. Greenpeace Indonesia, which has long urged the company to adopt more sustainable practices, praised the effort, and called on other palm oil companies and the Indonesian government to follow suit. Under its Forest Conservation Policy, developed together with Greenpeace Indonesia and the Forest Trust in 2011, GAR commits to not develop palm oil plantations in peatlands or in areas determined to be High Carbon Stock (HCS) or High Conservation Value (HCV) forests. Instead, GAR said it will work with local governments and communities to conserve HCS and HCV forests inside all its active concessions, beginning with a pilot project in its PT Kartika Prima Cipta concession in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province.

[Indonesia] APP conservation policy came after it pulped most of its forests

By Rhett A. Butler,, 19 March 2013 | Asia Pulp & Paper’s widely heralded forest conservation policy came after the forestry giant had already cleared nearly all of the legally protected forests within its concessions in Sumatra, alleges a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. The report, published Monday, is based on analysis of Ministry of Forestry data and satellite imagery for ten APP companies in Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra on the island of Sumatra. It finds that the forest policy announced by APP in February protects very little forest other than what is legally off-limits under Indonesian forestry regulations. "We have strong grounds for concluding that there is no natural forest or forested peatland of meaningful extent that has been saved by the New APP Forest Conservation Policy in the concessions of APP’s suppliers that have been allocated for the development of pulpwood plantations in Sumatra."

[Indonesia] Golden Agri-Resources Ltd : Presentation at RI Asia 2013: The Investor – Corporate ESG Summit: Optimising Palm Oil Yield – A Win-Win for Investor and Forest

By Peter Heng (Golden Agri-Resources Ltd), 4-traders, 19 March 2013 | GAR Forest Conservation Policy: Builds on GAR’s pre-existing commitments. GAR’s FCP in collaboration with The Forest Trust (TFT) to ensure that GAR has a no deforestation footprint. Various stakeholders including Greenpeace have provided inputs. FCP focuses on: No development on peat and high conservation value forest areas. No development on high carbon stock forests. Free prior informed consent. Comply all relevant laws and international certification P&C. Ultimately, the conserved High Carbon Stock (HCS) area can revert to its natural ecological function as a forest. Applicable to all the plantations that GAR owns, manages or invests in regardless of the stake.

[Malaysia] Revealed: Taib, deforestation and illicit outflow

Free Malaysia Today, 19 March 2013 | An international NGO recently posed as foreign investors seeking to buy land for oil palm plantations in Sarawak and unravelled in shocking detail the outflow of funds in Malaysia, the level of corruption in Sarawak and the depth of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s family’s involvement in raping the state. According to Global Witness, they had approached the Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA), a government body charged with receiving foreign investment. "An official at RECODA during a meeting in March 2012 directed our investigator to certain members of Taib’s family looking to sell their company licensed to log and clear land for plantations. “Out of four land leases offered to Global Witness during 2012, members of the Chief Minister’s family were direct shareholders or beneficial owners of three of these.

Uganda Named in the Plunder of DR Congo Timber

New Vision, 19 March 2013 | While on a visit to Bweramule, Rwebisengo in Ntoroko district early last year, a youthful man sprung from his watchtower nestled under a tree shade. Pacing fast, as if he had springs in his legs, he accosted me with a barrage of questions, one after another, without giving me a chance to answer: "Why are you taking those photographs? And where are you taking them?" I had landed on a huge consignment of timber in the district bordering DR Congo that had a huge signpost ‘for construction of Rwebisengo community hall’. I ignored the man because I was in the company of Government officials, who were waiting for me nearby. But his questions unsettled my mind. Why would an unarmed photographer scare anyone? Was this a cover-up for illegal timber trade?

[UK] Hacker jailed for bid to steal carbon credits from UN

The Telegraph, 19 March 2013 | Matthew Beddoes, 32, created a rogue ‘Trojan’ programme he called Zeus to transfer 426,108 Certified Emission Reduction credits from an account on the U.N’s Clean Development Mechanism Registry in Bonn, Germany. He was thwarted when an incorrect account number was used. Beddoes then targeted the Spanish Carbon Credit Registry and 350,000 European Union Allowances were transferred to a UK broker, who sold £89,000 worth to BP before the remainder were frozen. Carbon credits are tradable certificates used in international agreements over climate change. They grant nations the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be traded internationally.

[USA] In California, Credible Carbon Projects Help to Tackle Climate Change

Rainforest Alliance: The Frog Blog, 19 March 2013 | As an independent, third-party auditor, the Rainforest Alliance offers validation and verification services* against six leading carbon standards. One such standard, the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), has recently garnered substantial attention for its potential to become integrated into the United State’s first state level cap-and-trade program in California. Kassy Holmes, a member of the Rainforest Alliance’s climate program, summarizes recent developments surrounding California’s policies and discusses how carbon project auditing services, such as those conducted by the Rainforest Alliance, can confirm a project’s credibility and play an increasingly valuable role within emerging carbon offset programs.

20 March 2013

[Indonesia] Green Group Calls Asia Pulp and Paper Forest Policy ‘Artful Deception’

Jakarta Globe, 20 March 2013 | An environmental think tank has accused paper giant Asia Pulp and Paper of attempting to purposefully deceive the public and its stakeholders with its new conservation policy. In a report released on Monday titled “APP’s Artful Deception,” Greenomics Indonesia, a group that says it is devoted to empirical-based policy approaches for the conservation of natural resources, claimed that no significant amount of natural forest or forested peatland has been saved through Asia Pulp and Paper’s conservation policy. APP announced its new forest conservation policy on Feb. 5, calling it “a high-profile forest conservation policy on the part of one of the largest pulp and paper producers in the world.”

Training for low-emissions development in Indonesia

By Rob Finalyson, Agroforestry World Blog, 20 March 2013 | To respond to the Government of Indonesia’s need for development that produces less greenhouse gas emissions, the World Agroforestry Centre and WWF Indonesia conducted training in the specially created methodology known as Land-Use Planning for Low-Emissions Development Strategies, says Suyanto. The Government has committed to independently reduce emissions by 26%, and up to 41% with international support, by 2020. Indonesia is a world leader in setting out to reduce emissions from greenhouse gases but the capacity in district governments to plan how to do this complex task is actually quite low. To help remedy this, we began a training program, starting with staff of the District Government of Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, in February 2013.

[Indonesia] Sciencists urged to stand up for Aceh’s biodiversity

By Hotli Simanjuntak and Ruslan Sangaji, Jakarta Post, 20 March 2013 | Institutions affiliated with the Aceh Spatial Planning Alliance have urged scientists and conservationists to push the Aceh provincial administration to amend the spatial planning bylaw (RTRW), which they say is potentially damaging and could reduce the region’s forests, threatening its biodiversity. Aceh is regarded as having the largest biodiversity in Asia Pacific, especially with the Lauser Ecosystem zone, which is currently a giant laboratory for scientists from across the globe. The region is also where many wildlife species can be found, such as the rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger, orangutan and elephant. According to Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) director TM Zulfikar, the Aceh RTRW is loaded with the interests of particular individuals and sacrifices the environment and sustainability of local communities living in the conservation area.

REDD+ lessons from the field shared in Tanzania

IUCN, 20 March 2013 | Technical experts and community representatives shared lessons from selected REDD+ pilot projects in Kilosa and Kondoa districts, Tanzania, on March 4-8, 2013 through field visits and dialogues. Site visits were conducted in Chabima and Dodoma Isanga villages in Kilosa district; and in Mnenia and Mapinduzi villages in Kondoa district. Both visits were followed by dialogue workshops aimed at building consensus on a set of of REDD+ lesson learned from the field activities. In both districts, drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are being addressed through awareness creation, conservation agriculture, beekeeping, use of energy saving stoves and promotion of tree nurseries. Visited pilot projects are being implemented by Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFGC)/Mtandao wa Jamii wa Usimamizi wa Misitu Tanzania (MJUMITA) in Kilosa District, and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in Kondoa District.

[Tanzania] Comprehensive Environmental Conservation Plan in the Offing

By Bilham Kimati, Tanzania Daily News, 20 March 2013 | Wanton destruction of forests estimated between 130,000 and 500,000 hectares per year has caught the attention of the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS), currently set to unveil a comprehensive plan to control deforestation and increase community awareness on tree planting and conservation of the environment. Speaking in Dar es Salaam at an occasion to mark the beginning of a three-day World Wood Day symposium, the TFS Chief Executive, Mr Juma Mgoo, said recent estimates show that total wood consumption in Tanzania is about 87 million cubic metres, while annual growth is about 76 million cubic metres; hence makes an annual wood deficit of about 11 million cubic metres. "A comprehensive road map will be unveiled shortly entailing all-inclusive forest protection measures that include compulsory tree planting by individuals, institutions and other parties using wood fuel to bridge the gap," Mgoo explained.

21 March 2013

World Rainforest Movement: REDD+ is a false solution, 21 March 2013 | On the occasion of March 21st, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as International Day of the Forests (1), the World Rainforest Movement (WRM) and more than 300 signatories call on the General Assembly and UN Institutions and Initiatives related to forest issues to use the new initiative to address the underlying drivers of deforestation. The letter is motivated by the fact that in spite of several UN initiatives aimed at calling attention for forests at the international level, the process of deforestation -affecting especially tropical forests – continues and the proposed solutions have not slowed down tropical forest loss worldwide – on the contrary. “The proposals discussed at UN-level, by the FAO, CBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD and UNFF, to solve the forest crisis, for example REDD+ (2), are false solutions because they do not address the underlying drivers of deforestation and strengthen a false idea of sustainability.

Life-sustaining value of Earth’s forests highlighted on International Day of Forests

WWF, 21 March 2013 | The world pauses today, International Day of Forests, to recognize the life-sustaining value of Earth’s threatened forests. The livelihoods of more than 1.6 billion people around the globe directly depend on forests – as does the endurance of Earth itself. WWF’s global Forest and Climate Initiative is joining in today’s celebration working, as it does every day of the year, to conserve and value forests for the benefit of people and nature. Forests cover one-third of Earth and breathe life into our world – literally. Over 40 percent of the world’s oxygen is produced by tropical forests, while forests contribute to the critical balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. But with more than 1.6 billion people – often the world’s most impoverished – directly dependent on forests as a natural resource providing fuel wood, lumber for housing and nourishment, forests are under threat like never before.

Look to the World’s Forests — and the People Who Live There — for Climate Change Solutions

By Luis Ubiñas (Ford Foundation), Huffington Post, 21 March 2013 | But what makes this the rare policy win-win is that community management of forests is an engine for economic growth, providing jobs and improving the quality of life for those who call these places home. In Mexico, local communities now own 60 percent of the country’s forests, spurring the creation of small businesses that employ hundreds of thousands of people. In the Amazon, where a dramatic decline in deforestation stands as one of the greatest environmental accomplishments of the last decade, giving Indigenous communities clear rights over forests has been a significant factor in success.

[Botswana] Kalahari Bushmen launch new legal battle

Survival International, 21 March 2013 | Bushmen in Botswana are taking the government to court for illegally refusing them access to their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). Approximately 700 Bushmen who were evicted from the CKGR in 2002 won a marathon High Court battle in 2006 for the right to return, but the government has since done everything it can to limit the number of Bushmen who can live there. – The government claims the ruling applies only to the 189 Bushmen named in the original court papers – it refuses to allow the others to enter the reserve without a permit. Permits last just a month, after which the Bushmen risk arrest if they ‘overstay’. – Even the children of the 189 Bushmen named in the court papers are only allowed free entry to the reserve up to the age of 16, after which they too are only allowed in on month-long permits. – Wildlife scouts are prohibiting the passage of livestock and donkeys essential for transport…

[Indonesia] Monthly updates to track APP’s progress on ‘no deforestation’ policy, 21 March 2013 | The Forest Trust (TFT), the NGO that brokered Asia Pulp & Paper’s no deforestation commitment in February 2013, will produce monthly updates on Indonesian forestry giant progress toward avoiding conversion of natural forests and reducing social conflict with communities. The reports aim to both allay fears among some environmental groups that APP will not respect the commitment and advance the paper producer’s goal of eliminating rainforest and peatland destruction from its supply chain. TFT published the first update [PDF] this week. The report says that APP and TFT have been meeting with local civil society organizations to explain the policy and discuss the monitoring process. The report notes several other significant developments, including inventorying over 570 wood extraction machines, which are now idle; developing a wood tracking system; inventorying and mapping the location of all stocks of natural forest logs within APP’s supply chain…

[Indonesia] Asia Pulp & Paper says ‘Thank you’ to Greenpeace

By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 21 March 2013 | Following its landmark commitment to end all deforestation on natural forest land, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has revealed the debt of gratitude it owes to Greenpeace – the campaign group that has spent much of the past decade orchestrating boycotts against the company. In a wide-ranging interview detailing how the company came to announce last month that it had halted all development on natural forest land, APP’s managing director for sustainability and stakeholder engagement, Aida Greenbury, said the newly published Forest Conservation Policy had been in development since 2010, with the goal of getting to the point where all natural forest felling was halted.

22 March 2013

Ecosystem Marketplace Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 March 2013 | This land is your land…or my land? Across Latin America, land ownership disputes and other indigenous rights issues clamored at the forefront of REDD+ project developments forcing REDD+ project developers and investors to reevaluate and delay future plans while heightening tensions between local governments and indigenous groups. Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and its national partners were the exception to the rule this week, as it continues integrating the Amazonian Indigenous REDD+ proposal more thoroughly into REDD+ processes in the form of land rights, free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), and active indigenous participation. Across the Pacific Ocean, Indonesia pits forest conservation policy against “the calculus of economic gain” as the government deliberates extending its existing forest moratorium policy, which sunsets in May.

23 March 2013

24 March 2013

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