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.
UN-REDD, March 2013 | In the Feb/Mar 2013 edition of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter, read more on REDD+ progress in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, the DRC, Ecuador, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, Solomon Islands and Zambia. Also get updates on the UN-REDD Programme’s work linking REDD+ to the issues of land tenure, anti-corruption and forest law enforcement.
25 March 2013
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 25 March 2013 | REDD+ can’t start rolling until developing countries can report their current rates of deforestation and then monitor, report, and verify (MRV) their REDD+ activities. To date, however, none have reported reference levels and – according to researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), none have the capacity to carry out MRV, and only four are even close to being able to do so. In an effort to change that, the University of California San Diego and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have launched an intensive four-week certification program targeted to participants from developing-world countries. The first course will take place in La Jolla, California. The fee is a hefty one – $12,500 – but applicants from developing-world countries will be eligible for scholarships, according to course director John O. Niles.
By Daniel Stolle, Phys.org, 25 March 2013 | Billions of trees killed in the wake of mountain pine beetle infestations, ranging from Mexico to Alaska, have not resulted in a large spike in carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, contrary to predictions, a UA-led study has found. Massive tree die-offs release less carbon into the atmosphere than previously thought, new research led by the University of Arizona suggests. Across the world, trees are dying in increasing numbers, most likely in the wake of a climate changing toward drier and warmer conditions, scientists suspect. In western North America, outbreaks of mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) have killed billions of trees from Mexico to Alaska over the last decade. Given that large forested areas play crucial roles in taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis and turning it into biomass, an important question is what happens to that stored carbon when large numbers of trees die.
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 March 2013 | It sounds counter-intuitive. Indonesia’s vast mangrove forests, CIFOR has recently discovered, are a valuable carbon sink. They shelter unique species, protect coastlines from stormy seas – and they are fast disappearing. Conservationists would see them protected from the logger’s chainsaw. But it’s possible that selective and sustainable logging of these forests can be done while retaining much of their carbon – and save them from worse fates. “The threat to mangrove forests is not the cutting of the above ground wood, but conversion to other uses,” says Muljadi Tantra, the Deputy Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of a group of companies that harvest mangrove wood for charcoal and paper pulp in the provinces of Kalimantan and Papua. “Once you convert it into a shrimp pond, the whole soil changes, and all the carbon is lost.”
By Mark Rushton, Pulp and Paper International, 25 March 2013 | PPI interviewed Andy Tait, senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace, and an environmental activist heavily involved in the highly visible media campaign against Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) over recent years. Tait was also instrumental in the behind -the -scenes talks that have now seen the dramatic turnaround of APP’s procurement policy, which has recently resulted a complete halt to obtaining pulpwood from natural forest clearance in Indonesia.
By Diana Parker, mongabay.com, 25 March 2013 | Indonesian lawmakers criticized the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for its inability to stop deforestation in Sumatra, accusing the group of trying to destroy Indonesia’s reputation abroad and hurting the country’s economy. “Foreign NGOs like the WWF are like thieves visiting our homes to steal our treasures without us realizing it,” said lawmaker Firman Subagyo, as quoted by the Jakarta Globe on March 17. “The NGO’s arrogance has impacted our weakened industrial competitiveness overseas, which will [in the] end worsen Indonesia’s economy.” Firman was particularly critical of the WWF’s work in Tesso Nilo National Park in Indonesia’s Riau province, where massive deforestation continues to occur despite the organization’s attempts to prevent forest clearing in the park. “It is time for Indonesia to stop compromising with the WWF because it has failed to do anything,” Firman said.
Forest Peoples Programme, 25 March 2013 | Instances of conflict between communities and large-scale agricultural concessions have recently brought the issues of land and human rights into focus in Liberia, and throughout Africa. Rural communities in Grand Cape Mount, north-western Liberia, have been at the sharp end of a dispute with Malaysian oil palm giant Sime Darby, that received national and international attention. Today, these communities will present a new report to the Liberian Land Commission, “We who live here own the land” – Customary Land Tenure in Grand Cape Mount, and Community Recommendations for Reform of Liberia’s Land Policy & Law to ensure that governments, companies and communities learn from the experiences at Grand Cape Mount.
Survival International, 25 March 2013 | The United Nations has demanded an immediate halt to the expansion of a major gas project in the Peruvian Amazon, over concerns that it poses a grave risk to the lives of uncontacted Indians living nearby. In a letter to the Peruvian government, the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) requested the ‘immediate suspension’ of plans to expand the existing Camisea gas project further into the Nahua-Nanti reserve, as it ‘threatens the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous peoples living there.’ The call follows an appeal to CERD by Peru’s indigenous organizations AIDESEP, ORAU and COMARU, who are also launching legal action against the government and companies involved in the $1.6 billion project. Camisea is run by a consortium of companies including Argentina’s Pluspetrol, US’s Hunt Oil and Spain’s Repsol, and is one of the largest gas projects in the Amazon.
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), 25 March 2013 | The article "Climate Change, REDD+ Implementation and the Right to Information in Tanzania" presents an analysis of REDD+ implementation in Tanzania from a legal perspective. Elifuraha Isaya Laltaika, a lecturer in law and an advocate of the high court in Tanzania, discusses the right to information in connection to Tanzania’s main climate change migration strategy called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), in an article pulished in The Tanzania Lawyer Journal. Timely access to relevant environmental information on climate change and REDD+ is vital for the public to improve or Challenger decisions that are likely to impair the enjoyment of their Rights.
26 March 2013
By Pablo Solón, Climate & Capitalism, 26 March 2013 | We also need to end the hubris of man. We need to end the arrogance of man that he can control nature and solve the climate crisis with techno-fixes. Carbon markets, the monetary valuing of nature, “REDD”, “Green economy”, GMOs, agro-fuels, synthetic biology, nuclear projects, geo-engineering are all false solutions because they reinforce the misguided belief that humans can control nature through technology. It is also based on the false premise that the capitalist system and free market can solve the climate crisis that it has created by putting a price and commodifying the functions of nature. Instead of recognizing the limits of man and markets, they encourage suicidal technologies and promote new speculative derivative markets on nature.
Shuttleworth Foundation, 26 March 2013 | The central role that indigenous peoples should play within Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is highlighted by a new community friendly video ‘’Our Forests, Our Life! Indigenous Peoples and REDD+’ released by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP).
By Stephen Russell, WRI, 26 March 2013 | Agriculture is a major actor in spurring global climate change. The sector is already responsible for at least 10-12 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and agricultural emissions are expected to increase by more than 50 percent by 2030. Mitigating agricultural emissions, then, could go a long way toward mitigating global climate change. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is currently developing an Agricultural Guidance to help companies measure and reduce their agricultural emissions. We’ve just released a second draft of the Guidance for open comment period, which will run until May 31, 2013.
By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 March 2013 | A new review of strategies to prepare for the impacts of climate change shows that expanding forests worldwide by planting more trees is unambiguously a good idea. But if not planned carefully, policymakers could waste resources and have unintended consequences, says a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The problem boils down to the simple fact that we don’t really know what will happen in the future as the planet warms: “How can we plan for adaptation when climate modeling itself is so full of uncertainties?” explains Emilia Pramova, CIFOR researcher and lead author of Forests and trees for social adaptation to climate variability and change.
The Guardian (Belize), 26 March 2013 | Belize has, with great fanfare, observed the International Day of Forests. The Forestry Department within the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development celebrated the United Nations-sanctioned day, International Day of Forests, near the National Police Headquarters building in Belmopan on March 21st. Many primary school-aged children were present for the event full day. In her speech to the gathering, the Honorable Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development stated that trees and forests are becoming increasingly important because of the carbon that is stored in them and reviewed her Ministry’s commitments towards fortifying the forests. “My Ministry if committed to sustainable forest management by reducing deforestation and land degradation and improving our forest cover.”
By Hotli Simanjuntak, Jakarta Post, 26 March 2013 | Environmental scientists and institutions are calling on the Aceh provincial administration to maintain the province’s biodiversity amid fears that an incoming spatial plan will further exploit its vast forests. The scientists also called on the administration to preserve protected species as well as guarantee food supplies for residents living in the province’s lowlands. “We expect the Aceh provincial administration to make use of scientific findings made by scientists working on biodiversity in Aceh and other countries,” said Antony J. Lynam, secretary of the Asia Pacific chapter of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC). The association held a chapter meeting in Banda Aceh from March 18-22.
Jakarta Post, 26 March 2013 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with George Soros, the billionaire and philanthropist, in Bali on Tuesday to discuss follow up in the Indonesia-Norway partnership on Reducing Emissions and Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)+. “[The meeting with Soros] aimed to discuss follow up in our partnership with Norway and the REDD+, and it was related to the moratorium,” said Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, who accompanied President Yudhoyono during the meeting. The meeting took place ahead of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 meeting, which will be led by President Yudhoyono and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as well as UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who will present his comments through a video conference. “He [Soros] provided inspiration and praised Indonesia’s leadership on the REDD+, including how the provincial administration could play a role in implementing the initiative,” said Hatta.
By Dan Collins, The Guardian, 26 March 2013 | Peru has declared an environmental state of emergency in a remote part of its northern Amazon rainforest, home for decades to one of the country’s biggest oil fields, currently operated by the Argentinian company Pluspetrol. Achuar and Kichwa indigenous people living in the Pastaza river basin near Peru’s border with Ecuador have complained for decades about the pollution, while successive governments have failed to deal with it. Officials indicate that for years the state lacked the required environmental quality standards. A new law published on Monday that sets out, for the first time, environmental quality standards setting acceptable limits for contaminants in soil, may be a key advance, say officials.
27 March 2013
By Wenonah Hauter, Huffington Post, 27 March 2013 | The most effective way to reduce carbon and nutrient pollution is to create less pollution. Instead of helping large agricultural operations invest in resources and technology that would reduce carbon and nutrient pollution in the Bay Area, this program allows them to claim nitrogen reductions and carbon offsets in the form of credits, which they can sell to power plants and other big industrial polluters. This creates another opportunity for agribusiness to profit off the sale of pollution credits so other industrial sources of pollution can continue to pollute at, or even above, their current rates. Unfortunately, when people see that this program involves the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and another nonprofit with "Environmental Defense" in the name, they tend to think it’s a good idea, when, in fact, it is compromising the very principals of pollution reduction that most environmentalists hold dear.
By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 March 2013 | Initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forest loss (REDD+) need to be financially transparent and accountable, an Interpol expert said. By closely involving forest-dwelling communities, we also minimize the risks of money being diverted into the wrong hands or distributed inequitably. Davyth Stewart, speaking at a session organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) at the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Brasilia late last year, also recommended independent auditing of projects linked to the U.N.-backed scheme; assurances that information is up-to-date and publicly available; participation by stakeholders in the ways funds are managed; and clear consequences when they are misused.
environmentalresearchweb.org, 27 March 2013 | Many habitats around the globe are under pressure and conservation budgets are tight, so it is important to target the money where it will have maximum impact. That can be tricky because decision makers never have perfect information and acquiring even limited data is expensive. Concerningly, a study in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) indicates that the widely used RAPPAM (Rapid Assessment and Prioritization of Protected Area Management) tool may not provide useful results when it comes to allocating investment in conservation management.
WWF, 27 March 2013 | This is an archive of a webinar that took place Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
By Juan Forero, Washington Post, 27 March 2013 | As a small boy in the early ’80s, Almir Surui hunted monkeys with a bow and arrow, wore a loincloth and struggled with Brazil’s official language, Portuguese. At 38, he is the tech-savvy, university-educated chief of the Paiter Surui, or “the real people,” of this western corner of Brazil. He can still handle a bow. But Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui says his weapon of choice is technology: Android phones to monitor illegal logging, hand-held Global Positioning System devices to map territory and Google Earth Outreach to show the world what a well-managed forest looks like.
WWF, 27 March 2013 | Costa Rica has become the first country to enter the “pipeline” for Carbon Fund support, triggering the much anticipated activation of the fund. Under a Carbon Fund Emissions Reduction Payment Agreement (ERPA), Costa Rica will receive a maximum of US$63 million for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The announcement was made last week at a meeting of the Carbon Fund, at which Costa Rica’s Emissions Reduction Program Idea Note (ER-PIN) was approved, progressing the country’s REDD+ efforts from the readiness phase to the demonstration phase—and closer to benefiting from performance-based REDD+ payments.
JamaicaObserver.com, 27 March 2013 | Jamaica could potentially earn as much as US$30 billion through its forests, says United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Dr Arun Kashyap. The revenue would be realised under the UN’s programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. "It is now timely and an imperative that… Jamaica… gradually…begins the process of accrediting economic value to as many forestry goods and services as possible," he in an address at a Forestry Department forum at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston on March 21, the UN’s International Day of Forests. Dr Kashyap, who is also the UN Resident Coordinator to Jamaica, notes that the economic potential of forests are often not recognised by countries blessed with these resources.
28 March 2013
By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame, AlertNet, 28 March 2013 | Forest dwellers forced off their land in southern Cameroon after it was leased to private companies have been allowed to return by the government, but many still fear for their livelihoods and the future of their homes. “Our lands have been taken away from us (and) our forest, which is our main source of living, destroyed, forcing us stay in poverty,” said Medjo Marcel, the village chief of Adjap, one of several villages affected by land takeovers. “We (still) have no right to possession,” Marcel added. “We cannot invest on the land for fear that foresters and other land grabbers may flush us out at any time.” Over the past decade Cameroon’s government has leased more than 42,000 hectares (104,000 acres) of forest in the country’s South region alone to companies like HEVECAM, a rubber production business, and ONADEF, a timber firm.
By Rashmee Roshan Lall, The Guardian, 28 March 2013 | Haiti aims to plant 50m trees a year in a pioneering reforestation campaign to address one of the primary causes of the country’s poverty and ecological vulnerability. President Michel Martelly will launch the drive to double forest cover by 2016 from the perilous level of 2% – one of the lowest rates in the world. Despite scepticism engendered by past ill-fated campaigns, there are hopes that the high-level push will mark a turning point after hundreds of years of degradation.
The Inquirer, 28 March 2013 | It is a fact that the Forestry Sector in Liberia is undergoing changes in terms of development in the areas of policy, law, engagement of stakeholders and sharing of benefits to say the least. A report by Liberia natural resource advocacy groups, Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU) and Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) indicates that their policies and legal frameworks have improved the sector. The SAMFU and SDI issued a joint statement to this regard after a one year evaluation closing program which took place last weekend. The report covering a three year Sustainable Forest Management Project through a program workshop held at the Environment Defend Center in Duarzon, Margibi County indicates that policies put in place couple the necessary legal framework is making the sector better and improving the entire sector.
By Ian Burrell, The Independent, 28 March 2013 | Sarawak has the fastest rate of deforestation in Asia and exports more tropical logs than Africa and Latin America combined. It has only 0.5 per cent of the world’s tropical forest but accounted for 25 per cent of tropical log exports in 2010. Fogle’s involvement in the PR campaign has shocked critics of the Sarawak government and its appalling record on conservation. “It seems Ben Fogle may have been made a pawn,” said Clare Rewcastle, founder of the Sarawak Report blog. “Anyone with the slightest knowledge of environmental matters should know the issues around Malaysian oil palm destruction and the culpability of the Sarawak state government.
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 28 March 2013 | The global green and good flocked to Kew Gardens to remember Maathai and discuss her legacy… The event was a celebration of the life of Wangari Maathai, the first African Nobel peace prize winner and leader of the grassroots Green Belt movement organisation that planted 15 million trees, who died two years ago. "The most important matter in life is protecting the environment," said Ebadi, a former lawyer and judge and the only recipient to have had her award seized by a government. "Peace does not just mean an absence of war. Peace means a series of conditions that ensure human beings [living] together preserving their dignity. How can we speak of peace when there are 800 million people in the world without drinking water? In the 21st century, war will be about the lack of water and natural resources."
By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 March 2013 | Using the REDD+ mechanism to fight deforestation and climate change involves a complicated and lengthy process that crosses over several sectors. Because of its complex nature, Valentino Shal of the Mopan Maya Indigenous people says multi-stakeholder engagement is key to REDD’s success. Shal is an Indigenous Social Development Consultant for the Mopan Maya community in southern Belize-a region offering pristine rainforest, mountains and rivers. It’s an area that could easily work for a REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) project and many of the locals want it to. But before they can move forward, Shal says, certain safeguards must be in place to ensure that the rights of the Indigenous tribe regarding their land and culture won’t be violated and their way of life remains intact.
29 March 2013
By Brian Loux, mongabay.com, 29 March 2013 | There are two ways to look at Charting New Waters: State of Watershed Payments 2012 – the latest report released by Forest Trends on incentive-based water protection. One is that investments in watershed protection are fast approaching a tipping point – rising 25% from the previous year and with 25% of all recorded investments occurring within last two years. The other is that investments in watershed protection have a long ways to go before they are more than a scant drop in the bucket in terms of world GDP, prevalent outside of China, or independent of government/non-profit aid. The truth lies somewhere in between. Bennett, Carroll, and Hamilton have performed an exhaustive and invaluable service in interviewing, compiling, and reviewing the work of watershed payment programs from across the globe. Investments in watershed services (IWS) are incentive or market-based mechanisms that act to preserve natural water resources.
By Sorina Buzatu, Phys.org, 29 March 2013 | More accurate data regarding the extent to which greenhouse gases stemming from human activity interplays with the balance of carbon stocks in Europe will soon be available to inform policies. But would that make a difference? Forests and land ecosystems are the earth’s carbon reservoirs. They are key to limit the impact of greenhouse gases, as they fix those gases down. Scientists at the EU funded project GHG Europe aim to identify how best to manage the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in land and forest ecosystems. Meanwhile, they also have to balance the need to meet the growing demand for food, feed and bioenergy, which stem from activities likely to increase GHG production. This project builds on the findings from a previous project, called CarboEurope-IP, completed in 2008. Its aim was to quantify the present terrestrial carbon balance of Europe and assess the level of uncertainly margin of these estimates at various scales.
By Christopher Ram, Stabroek News, 29 March 2013 | Amaila has had its own blight with a disastrous road project awarded to favoured “investor”, Mr. Fip Motilall by the ubiquitous NICIL to build an access road to the site. NICIL made the award to Synergy despite publicly expressed concerns that the company did not have the experience, skills training, capability, human resources nor equipment and tools to undertake such a task. Motilall inevitably had to be fired and the contract divided up among local contractors. The most recent available information is that the local contractors who have replaced Motilall have also not performed well and that Chinese contractors are being considered to complete the project. October 2013 is the date to which the contract price of the hydro-electric power plant extends. If the roads are not completed, the price will have to be renegotiated.
30 March 2013
Sudan Vision Daily, 30 March 2013 | Sudan’s forest resources can store 6441 million tons of carbon, according to the Forest Resource Assessment (FRA, 2010). Sudan could generate 96 615 million US Dollars in the compliant market and 64 410 million voluntary markets annually at the base year 2010, if Sudan maintains and eliminates the deforestation and forest degradation rate. Sudan has vast areas for afforestation and reforestation. which could contribute to the total carbon stock and benefit local people.
31 March 2013
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.