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REDD in the news: 23-29 June 2014

REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, organised by date with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

23 June 2014

Report sheds light on a massive, neglected ecosystem

By Greg Clough, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 June 2014 | Few words are as evocative as “rainforest” — wild, mysterious, valuable beyond price and worthy of the rallying cries to save it. Considerably less common is the expression, “Save the tropical dry forest!” Pity the tropical dry forest. These forests — so-called because of their long dry periods — make up nearly half the world’s tropical forests and support people and iconic wildlife, just as their humid counterparts do. But they have yet to capture the attention of the public or policymakers as the world’s rainforests have, putting them at risk of mismanagement and overexploitation. A new report could help to change that, laying out what is and is not known about tropical dry forests, and prescribing further research about an ecosystem for which a widely agreed-upon definition does not even exist.

UN: World’s forests fundamental to human well-being

By Mark Kinver, BBC News, 23 June 2014 | A senior UN official has described the world’s forests as “fundamental” to human well-being and survival. Eva Mueller, director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Forestry Division, said trees provided a direct source of food, fuel and income. Commenting on the findings of the UN’s State of the World’s Forest report, she added forests habitats were home to an estimated 80% of global biodiversity. The report has been published at a UN forestry meeting in Rome, Italy. She added: “Food from the forests – like fruit, nuts, mushrooms, leaves, roots, insects and wild animals – often contributes a nutritious supplement to rural people and provides a safety net in times of hardship.”

New UN Assembly Pushes Climate Change, Environment As Top World Priority

CBS DC, 23 June 2014 | The first-ever United Nations Environmental Assembly opened in Kenya on Monday, as more than 150 high-level delegations began a weeklong examination of the intersection between global economic progress and the environment. The environment is no longer a niche topic backed by a passionate minority, Achim Steiner, the head of the U.N. Environmental Program told The Associated Press, but is clearly linked to economic and societal issues. The changing environment — including climate change, pollution, land degradation and access to water— shows that the world’s economy needs to be reinvented or progress will suffer, Steiner said. The U.N. recently upgraded UNEP’s standing and the weeklong assembly is the highest-level U.N. body ever convened on the environment. “Wherever you live on the planet these phenomena are going to change the lives and economies of people, whether it’s in Ohio, somewhere in Siberia or western China,” Steiner said.

Lack of ‘political will’ hampering environmental laws

By Asumpta Lattus, Deutsche Welle, 23 June 2014 | The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), a new forum of all nations including environment ministers, business leaders and civil society, is holding a four day meeting in Nairobi starting June 23 to work on ways to promote greener economic growth. DW: This drive by UN includes giving environmental laws more teeth. How could this be done? Carroll Muffett: There are a number of challenges that face international environmental law. One of the most important is political will. The best laws in the world won’t matter if countries don’t have the political will to take them seriously and to enforce them. Closely related to the question of political will, which applies across every country, is the question capacity, technical capacity, financial capacity and the infrastructure to enforce the laws.

[Indonesia] How A Primatologist, An Industrialist, And An Ecosystem Entrepreneur Took On Big Palm Oil And Won

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 23 June 2014 | Eight thousand miles to the west, Biruté Galdikas was engaged in her own variation of the game as she frantically zipped between appointments in Los Angeles, where she’d gone in a futile effort to raise the money she needed to save Pak Ahmed’s forest. Like the Seruyan River, the City of Angels had been a fertile fishing ground. It served as Galdikas’s fundraising hub and helped her build Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) into a bulwark against the slaughter of orangutans in the Tanjung Puting. Unlike the Seruyan, however, Los Angeles hadn’t stopped delivering. It had simply been eclipsed by Palm Oil, which generates roughly $1 million in profit per year for every thousand hectares harvested. That’s more than OFI’s entire operating budget, and PT Best had a license to convert 150,000 hectares of forest to palm-oil plantation.

24 June 2014

Make forestry policies people-centric, says FAO

By Midhat Moini, Down To Earth, 24 June 2014 | Recognising the role of forests in providing livelihood to people, UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has asked nations to formulate people-centric forest policies. “It is time for forestry to shift perspective from trees to people,” says FAO’s annual “The State of the World’s Forests” report released on June 23. The report estimates that around 44.2 million people are employed in the forest sector. People in the world are directly or indirectly dependent on forests for food, energy, shelter or livelihood. As many as 840 million people (12 per cent of total population) collect wood fuel for their household use from forests. Wood energy is an important source of energy in lesser developed regions. Wood energy provides over half of all energy supply of 29 countries out of which 22 are in Africa. In Latin America and the Caribbean, this figure is 13 per cent and 5 per cent in Asia and Oceania.

World Bank: Climate policies could generate $2.6 trillion a year

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 24 June 2014 | Smart climate policies in the US, EU, Brazil, China, India and Mexico could add up to US$ 2.6 trillion to the world’s economy a year, according to the World Bank. The new report, ‘Climate-Smart Development: Adding up the Benefits’, assesses the impact of potential government policies on energy efficiency, waste management and public transport across the six regions. It finds that implementing these new policies would have significant benefits for the economy, climate and health. “The report’s findings show clearly that the right policy choices can deliver significant benefits to lives, jobs, crops, energy, and GDP – as well as emissions reductions to combat climate change,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.

Sustainable development goals face $2.5 trillion funding shortfall

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 24 June 2014 | The UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) will fail unless governments and businesses find an extra US$ 2.5 trillion a year to support them. The World Investment Report 2014, which the UN launched today in Nairobi, found that between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion would be needed in the developing world to deliver the goals as they appear in drafts so far. Current investment in these sectors is around $1.4 trillion, creating an average investment gap of about $2.5 trillion. The UN is due to release the hotly contested set of targets in 2015, which will deal with subjects including poverty, health, gender and climate change.

$213bn illegal wildlife and charcoal trade ‘funding global terror groups’

By Hannah McNiesh, The Guardian, 24 June 2014 | Illegal wildlife trade worth up to $213 billion dollars a year is funding organised crime, including global terror groups and militias, according to a report by the United Nations and Interpol. Aside from the well-documented ivory trade of up to around $400m a year that trickles to some militias in East, Central and West Africa, the annual trade of up to $100bn in illegal logging is helping line the pockets of mafia, Islamist extremists and rebel movements, including Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab that now rely on charcoal as its primary finance. Christian Hellemann, who led the UN Environment Programme assessment, said the scale of the illegal timber trade “has been totally underestimated and is now being regarded as very significant”, beyond concerns over deforestation, destruction of animal habitats and the threats to precious woods such as rosewood, sandalwood and mahogany.

Latest UN climate talks bring forward significant results on agriculture and food security

Environmental Enterprises, 24 June 2014 | At the eleventh hour, the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn finally made progress on issues related to agriculture. Here are some of the key results from the negotiations from SBSTA 40. For quite some time, the 40th Session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) looked bleak in terms of progress on addressing issues relating to agriculture. Despite a wide range of actors, from parties to observer and non-governmental organisations, raising issues such as food security and adaptation to climate change, Climate-smart Agriculture, sustainable landscapes and links to mitigation through official side events, sessions and meetings, the results of the negotiations were coming up short. But late into the second week of the sessions, negotiations on agriculture took a leap forward as the agriculture contact group agreed on constructive steps forward in a two year plan to address issues of adaptation…

Majority of African countries not REDD ready‑UNEA

By Henry Neondo, Africa Science News, 24 June 2014 | The UNEP and its partners have embarked on bringing forest resources from invisibility into the center stage of national economies and policy making and position it into cashless green economy, said Tim Christophersen, Senior Programme Officer, Forests and Climate Change, UNEP at the ongoing First UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Tim however said examples from all over Africa now shows the issues around land tenure remains the largest problem on the reduced emission on deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), particularly in Kenya. He said land tenure in Kenya are protracted and go back a long time and difficult to resolve. But he said while land tenure is a problem in Kenya, Rwanda however has shown that with political will, a way out can be found.

[Australia] Carbon tax ‘to steal credits’ from Direct Action

Climate Spectator, 24 June 2014 | A new report from market analysts, RepuTex, indicates that the Carbon Price Mechanism (CPM) may steal over 4 million carbon credits, or 60 per cent of all FY15 carbon credits, from the government’s proposed Emissions Reduction Fund – even if the carbon tax is repealed in early July. While the Carbon Tax Repeal Bill is expected to pass the Senate prior to July 17, with the repeal backdated to July 1, the Act itself will continue to operate for a further seven months, with companies given until February 2015 to pay their final carbon tax liabilities for the year ending June 30, 2014 – referred to as the so-called carbon “true-up” period.

Cameroon: Congo, Amazon Basins Climate Change Report Presented

By Kimeng Hilton Ndukong, Cameroon Tribune, 24 June 2014 | The study, carried out by CIFOR, revisits the role of logging companies in the reduction of emission of green-house gases. As part of efforts to reduce green-house gas emissions by safeguarding the state of tropical forests, stakeholders on June 18, 2014, gathered at the Yaounde Mont Febé Hotel to listen to the findings of a study carried out since 2009 by the Centre for International Forestry Research, CIFOR and partners. Known as FORAFAMA or “Support for Sustainable Management of Forests in the Congo and Brazilian Amazon Basins,” the project gathered knowledge on the link between forest management and climate change in Central Africa and the Amazonia. It supported pilot projects in logging concessions and strengthened the positions of States and forest communities in future discussions on the implementation of the REDD+ process.

Chile’s Bachelet promises to return land to indigenous people

By Antonio de la Jara and Anthony Esposito, Reuters, 24 June 2014 | President Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday announced a plan to buy and return disputed ancestral lands to Chile’s indigenous communities as part of a strategy to better incorporate them into the country’s political process and economic development. Chile’s indigenous peoples, which include the Mapuche, Aymara and Diaguita, have an underweight representation in Congress and often face a harsh economic reality in what is otherwise one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries. Years of conflict over land claims have increasingly flared into violence between the Mapuche, the largest indigenous group, and local farmers, forestry companies and police, putting pressure on the government to act. “It has been nearly 25 years since we got back our democracy,” Bachelet said at the presidential palace in Santiago, flanked by representatives of indigenous communities.

[Colombia] Company tries to weather carbon market downturn

By Enrique Gili, Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2014 | Receiving money for not chopping down trees – that was the deal – and the independent Afro-Columbian community of the Choco-Darien region in Colombia took it. They were helped by Anthrotect, a California company, co-founded by social entrepreneurs Brodie Ferguson and Emily Roynestad living in Colombia and California respectively. The 13,465-hectare REDD+ project called the COCOMASUR Conservation Corridor launched in 2010 was among the first of its kind to permit the sale of carbon credits from a community-owned forest. According to Ferguson, REDD+ is one way to address the inequities of passing the true costs of the carbon economy onto others. “One way or another, the world has to move in the direction where the prices that we pay reflect the costs the planet and workers are incurring,” he says in a telephone interview.

25 June 2014

No REDD Program Is an Island: Integrating Gender Into Forest Conservation Efforts

By Donald Borenstein, New Security Beat, 25 June 2014 | Since 2005, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD+) has functioned as a mechanism to financially incentivize the preservation of forestlands in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But beyond its original use, some organizations have also started exploring ways it can help with other development initiatives, like women’s empowerment. Last month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and USAID held a multi-day workshop for development organizations from more than 20 countries who are integrating gender initiatives into REDD+ programs. “REDD doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said IUCN’s Lorena Aguilar on May 18 at the Wilson Center for a public event that capped off the workshop. It should respond to the need to encourage women’s rights and empowerment outlined elsewhere by the international community.

Africa: How Does Climate Change Affect Human Rights?

World Council of Churches, 25 June 2014 | As climate change becomes more intense, its impact is more than rising seas and alterations in weather patterns, it is and will become a human rights issue. Climate change is increasing inequality and impacting territorial integrity and security as well as provoking the forced displacement of people and thus seriously affecting the human rights of people all over the world. This was the message at a recent side event to the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva. The event, called “Climate Change and Human Rights – and Ethics Perspective,” was held on 19 June and organized by the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights (GIFCCEHR), of which the World Council of Church (WCC) is a founder member. It was also co-sponsored by nearly a dozen civil society organizations.

14 Million Soccer Fields Of Amazonian Rain Forest Saved From Clearcutting

By Jake Richardson, CleanTechnica, 25 June 2014 | A research study published in Science this month (June 2014) found that a 70% decline in Brazilian Amazon deforestation could be an indication that effective management of the expanding agricultural sector is possible. One of the leading organizations behind the study was the Earth Innovation Institute in San Francisco, CA. (There were seven others that contributed to the research as well, like Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará, Bairro Fátima.) Some key points from the study paper: 86,000 square kilometers of rainforest have been spared by farmers and ranchers. This area was reported to be equivalent to about 14 million soccer fields; 3.2 billion tons of C02 kept out of the atmosphere by keeping forests intact; 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions results from deforestation.

[Australia] Former Goldman exec warned of RM Williams carbon failure

By Rory Callinan and Matthew Cranston, Financial Review, 25 June 2014 | A company part owned by News Corp disregarded advice from a leading ­carbon trading expert and went ahead with a plan to establish the world’s ­largest carbon farm – which then failed. RM Williams Agricultural Holdings, which received $9.1 million in government money, had secretly agreed to provide enough carbon to offset all of News Corp’s emissions for five years. It collapsed last year owing $100 million and failed to establish the carbon farm or sell any offsets to News Corp. Receivers have since sold the proposed carbon farm – a remote cattle ­station known as Henbury in the Northern Territory – for about half the price paid for the property. Ken Newcombe, a former Goldman Sachs head of commodities and a world expert on carbon trading, was dumped as the company’s carbon ­adviser in 2010. When he tried to advise the company against investing in the Henbury deal, he was ignored.

[Australia] Abbott completely isolated by Palmer’s “inconvenient senate”

By Alexander White, The Guardian, 25 June 2014 | Clive Palmer’s shock announcement on Wednesday night next to former vice president Al Gore has been very cautiously welcomed by Australia’s environment movement. Palmer’s announcement effectively leaves Abbott completely isolated on climate policy, both domestically, and as Al Gore’s presence demonstrates, internationally as well. It is remarkable that one of Australia’s largest coal barons has firmly declared his support for renewables, taking action on global warming, and introducing an emissions trading scheme. Senior leaders of some of the largest environment groups told me that they welcome Palmer’s position on the renewable energy target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Climate Change Authority, while approaching the details with caution and a large grain of salt. It was labelled as “definitely surprising”, “very smart politically”, “surprising” and “courageous”.

EU leaders must stop dithering on climate change

By Nicholas Stern, The A-list blog,, 25 June 2014 | European leaders must agree strong new energy and climate policies when they meet this week in Brussels. At their last summit, in March, they remained divided over European Commission proposals to set ambitious goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency and increasing renewables by 2030… Arguments have arisen over the target for domestic emissions, which the Commission has suggests should be 40 per cent lower in 2030 than 1990, with current emissions already 19 per cent lower. There are also disagreements over the proposal that member states should collectively aim to generate 27 per cent of their energy from wind, solar and other renewables. But European leaders must place at the heart of their energy strategy an objective to eliminate carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations as soon as possible.

Kenya Carbon Credit Tree Protection Program to Grow Fivefold

By David Malingha Doya, Bloomberg, 25 June 2014 | Wildlife Works Carbon LLC, a U.S.- based business selling carbon credits in the voluntary market generated by forest conservation, plans to expand fivefold the biodiversity-rich areas it protects in Kenya. Disappearing forests deprive the East African economy of as much as $75 million of income a year, about five times the amount the country earns from forestry and logging, the United Nations Environment Programme and state-run Kenya Forest Service said in 2012. Deforestation has also disrupted natural water-movement cycles into lakes and rivers, the agencies said. “More companies are also now including saving the climate in their budgets,” Wildlife Works Vice President for African Field Operations Rob Dodson said in an interview on June 19 at Kasigau in southeastern Kenya. U.K.-based Barclays Bank Plc, Nedbank Group Ltd. (NED) and BNP Paribas SA (BNP) are among investors that have bought carbon credits from the project, Dodson said.

Fighting Climate Change Is Profitable: Mexico’s Calderon

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 25 June 2014 | Curbing climate change is profitable and nations must offer business incentives for low-carbon growth to cut fossil-fuel reliance, according to former president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon. Countries must act jointly and in a “comprehensive” way, targeting the energy industry, cities, agriculture and forests as the main areas where runaway greenhouse gas emissions can be reined in, Calderon said in an interview in London. The former leader is now chairman of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a panel set up by seven nations including the U.K. to advise on the best ways to tackle global warming. “It’s completely possible to both get economic growth and to tackle climate change,” said Calderon, a former chairman of state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos. “The traditional trade-off that a lot of people talk about between growth and responsibility to the environment is a false dilemma.”

26 June 2014

Voluntary Carbon Market Stalls, But Buyers See Silver Lining

By Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 June 2014 | As Chief Sustainability Officer at the National Geographic Society, Hans Wegner uses voluntary carbon markets to offset those emissions the Society cannot eliminate. From his perspective, an oversupply of offsets in 2013 made it possible to choose only the very best offsets – meaning those that not only reduce emissions, but have knock-on “co-benefits” such as conserving habitat for endangered species. “The good thing for people like us is that competition is also causing the value and the quality of the offsets to go up,” he said on Tuesday, as Ecosystem Marketplace presented findings from its State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report at the offices of Hunton & Williams in Washington, DC. “For me, it’s really, really important – because credibility is so important to us as an organization – that we have everything verified, that we’ve purchased offsets of high value that are accounted for.

Helen Clark – Speaking Notes for the Media Roundtable On Illegal Logging, Timber Trade, and Redd At the United Nations Environment Assembly

UNDP, 26 June 2014 | By speaking with one voice here today, we are affirming not only our support to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in tackling illegal logging and trade, but also our commitment to do so coherently, jointly, and collaboratively. We very much welcome the bold initiative and courage of the distinguished ministers present here today, as the issue at hand is sensitive and complex. Their words just now have confirmed the harm from illegal logging to their economies. We feel it is our duty to put all our skills, competencies, and knowledge together to support them in this endeavour. This matter is intimately related to many critical issues, including national security, civil unrest, and illegal trade networks, as well as the rule of law and natural resources management and deforestation, climate change, development and job creation. It also involves law enforcement, judiciary institutions, and cross-border collaboration.

Report finds gaps in timber trade safeguards

By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 June 2014 | Timber harvested illegally in Africa, Asia and Latin America continues to be sold on world markets, despite international efforts to curb the trade. International systems meant to control the trade must work more closely together if they are to stem the tide, according to a new paper by Chatham House, a London-based policy institute, and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Regulations that took effect in the European Union (EU) in March 2013 prohibit the sale of illegally harvested timber and products made from illegal timber on the EU market. They also require buyers and sellers to ensure that their products can be traced all the way through the supply chain.

DelAgua: Delivering Emissions Reductions, Clean Water, and Hot Beans

By Allie Goldstein, Forest Carbon Portal, 26 June 2014 | DelAgua Health is in the business of emissions avoidance as well as emissions reduction. It’s a tricky but vital distinction. In addition to cutting climate-warming emissions that are already occurring, the UK-based company is focused on preventing emissions that never have to occur in the first place – especially from the 3 billion people in the world who cook food using traditional cookstoves or open fires, and the 884 million who still do not have access to safe drinking water. Carbon finance through the sale of offsets is central to DelAgua’s business model. Its programme of activities (PoA) under the United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) combines the distribution of two household devices – clean cookstoves and water filters – to Rwandan families and has been piloted in 2,000 homes so far.

[Australia] ALP lists Abbott climate change ‘whoppers’

The Age, 26 June 2014 | Parliamentary debate has started on the coalition government’s second attempt to axe the carbon tax, with Labor saying the move is based on 10 “whoppers”. Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler said the government had mounted a “hysterical” and “mendacious” campaign against measures to curb emissions. The lower house is considering 11 related bills – which also abolish the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – simultaneously. The government will limit debate on them so the bills, and subsequent legislation to abolish Labor’s mining tax, can be passed before the house rises for the last time this financial year on Thursday evening. Despite the curbing of debate, Labor has listed 29 speakers for the carbon tax. The bulk of them won’t get a chance to speak. Labor also engaged in minor guerilla warfare, forcing a time-wasting division on a procedural motion to extend Thursday’s sitting times.

Brazilian officials warn of ‘imminent’ death of uncontacted Indians

Survival International, 26 June 2014 | Brazilian officials have warned that uncontacted Indians face imminent “tragedy” and “death” after a dramatic increase in the number of sightings in the Amazon rainforest near the Peru border. Experts believe that the Indians have fled over the border from Peru in a bid to escape waves of illegal loggers invading their territory. They are now entering the territory of other isolated Indian groups already living on the Brazil side – and some settled communities. Ashaninka Indians in Acre state, Brazil, for example, say they recently encountered dozens of uncontacted Indians close to their community, and recent government investigations have revealed more frequent sightings of footprints, temporary camps and food remains left behind by the Indians.

East Africa: Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda Unite Efforts to Combat Illegal Timber Trade in East Africa

UNEP, 26 June 2014 | High-level government representatives from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania today, at the first United Nations Environment Assemble (UNEA), announced their intention to work together, along with INTERPOL and UN agencies, to curb the illegal timber trade that is stripping East Africa of one of its most valuable natural resources. The East Africa Initiative on Illegal Timber Trade and REDD+ represents an innovative cross-border, multi-sectoral effort that will create a powerful deterrent to Africa’s illegal timber trade. Illegal logging degrades forests, causes economic loss, destroys biodiversity and livelihoods, promotes corruption, and funds armed conflict. The economic costs of illegal logging are staggering. Including processing, an estimated US$30-100 billion is lost to the global economy through illegal logging every year, making the trade in illegally harvested timber highly damaging to national and regional economies.

Despite early headwinds, Indonesia’s biggest REDD+ project moves forward in Borneo

By Rhett A. Butler,, 26 June 2014 | Just over a year ago, the Indonesian government officially approved the country’s first REDD+ forest carbon conservation project: Rimba Raya, which aims to protect more than 64,000 hectares of peat forest in Central Kalimantan. The approval came after years of delays from the Ministry of Forestry and a substantial reduction in the project’s concession area. It also coincided with a period of plunging demand and prices for carbon credits in the E.U., the world’s largest market. But InfiniteEarth, the firm behind the project, pressed on. Now a year later, Rimba Raya’s is not only still in business, but is scaling up its operations, including developing programs that support livelihoods that depend less on forest destruction and extraction. Cognizant of the ups and downs of the carbon market, Todd Lemons, Founder of InfinteEARTH, says the project is about more than just selling carbon credits.

27 June 2014

Is REDD bad for wildlife? New study says lowland forest protection bias unfair, urges change

By Morgan Erickson-Davis,, 27 June 2014 | Carbon-centric conservation programs, such as REDD+ (Reduce CO2 Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions by preventing forest loss through protection of certain areas of forest that have high carbon content. This is determined by estimating the aboveground woody biomass, which is, basically, how thick the tree cover is. In the process, these programs tout that they’re also preserving vital wildlife habitat. However, a study published this week in’s journal Tropical Conservation Science, found tree cover does not necessarily correlate with habitat importance. It suggests that using such a metric may be leading to false assumptions of habitat importance, and that REDD+ and other carbon-centric conservation programs may actually be propelling some species towards extinction.

Technology is allowing us to watch the world’s forest disappear in real time, and hopefully halt it

Public Radio International, 27 June 2014 | “We’re continuing to lose forests at a stunning rate,” said Nigel Sizer, director of the forests program at the World Resources Institute in Washington. “At the rate of 50 soccer fields a minute, every minute, every day, every year.” Sizer can rattle off these figures because he’s been watching deforestation happen in near real time. From his laptop, Sizer zoomed in on some Indonesian rainforests, critical habitat to some of the world’s greatest biodiversity, including threatened species like orangutans and the Sumatran tiger and elephant. Many farmers there are clearing trees to plant palm illegally — a key ingredient in many processed foods — in dense jungles far from the watchful eyes of authority. Worldwide, healthy forests are also a big piece of the puzzle for fighting climate change — roughly 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from forest loss.

Reliable data will measure full impact of forest benefits: economist

By Julie Mollins (CIFOR), Thomson Reuters Foundation, 27 June 2014 | Apart from employment figures, governments have very little sound data on the exact number of people benefitting from forests, a new report says, stating that accurate measurement is crucial for understanding the overall value of forest services and how best to manage them. “The State of the World’s Forests” (SOFO), released to coincide with the World Forest Week Committee on Forestry (COFO) meeting in Rome this week, reveals that the formal forest sector employs some 13.2 million people and that at least another 41 million are employed in the informal sector.

Examples in Asia lend weight to policy link for forests, farms

By Katherine Shea, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 June 2014 | A persistent divide in policy governing agriculture and forest management must be bridged, according to experts at a recent conference who called to “change the relationship” between the two sectors. A panel discussion at the recent Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta provided examples of successes and failures in policy integration across Asia, where governments face the competing challenges of economic growth, food security for a growing population and protection of the region’s rapidly vanishing forests. “There has been a separation of farms and forests in policy, while these landscapes are actually merged together,” said panelist Kanchi Kohli, an independent researcher from India.

Indonesia Seeks $5 Billion to Cut CO2 From Deforestation

By Fitri Wulandari, Bloomberg, 27 June 2014 | Indonesia needs about $5 billion in aid to hit its target for reducing emissions, according to the agency set up to protect rainforests and peatlands. Norway’s commitment of $1 billion in 2010 is just the beginning of what is needed in Indonesia, ranked as the world’s third-largest emitter because of its shrinking forests, said Heru Prasetyo, head of the agency for Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation, known as REDD+. “To assure successful REDD+ programs, we can’t limit ourselves to the sole support from the Norwegian government,” Prasetyo said in June 25 interview. “We need to be open for new investors.” Indonesia’s target is to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 26 percent using its own funds or as much as 41 percent with international aid. That compares with projected emissions of 2.95 giga tons by 2020 if the nation takes no action.

28 June 2014

Deep Sea Fish Provide Vital Carbon Storage Facility

Labmate Online, 28 June 2014 | Deep sea fishes could be responsible for removal and storage of more than one million tonnes of CO2 from UK and Irish surface waters every year – equivalent to £10 million per year in carbon credits – according to a new study led by the University of Southampton. It is assumed that deep water fishes all depend on particles that fall from the surface for their energy. These bottom-living deep water fishes never come to the surface and the carbon in their bodies stays at the seafloor. However, at mid-slope depths there is an abundant and diverse ecosystem where a huge volume of animals make daily vertical migrations to feed at the surface during the night. The animals conducting this migration then transport nutrients from the surface back to the deep.

29 June 2014

[Guyana] Govt to identify projects to access Norway fund – Ramotar

Kaieteur News, 29 June 2014 | The Amaila Falls Hydro Project was poised to receive the bulk of the fourth tranche under its forest protection agreement with the Kingdom of Norway. However, since the project is suffering a “temporary setback” President Donald Ramotar says that government may have to explore other avenues in order to access the fund from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Ramotar was at the time addressing a media conference at State House. Since the agreement is on the basis of forest protection, Ramotar was asked to comment on how closely the forest is being monitored, considering large scale mining operations and the fact that a Chinese company has even expressed interest in large scale logging. The President assured that the forest is monitored very closely and that efforts are being made to conduct studies that would further assist small scale miners on soil types and other protective measures that can be taken.

Rate of deforestation in Indonesia overtakes Brazil, says study

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 29 June 2014 | Indonesia has greatly under-reported how much primary rainforest it is cutting down, according to the government’s former head of forestry data gathering. UN and official government figures have maintained that the country with the third biggest stretch of tropical forest after the Amazon and Congo was losing 310,00 hectares of all its forest a year between 2000 and 2005, increasing to 690,000 hectares annually from 2006 to 2010. Exact rates of Indonesian deforestation have varied with different figures quoted by researchers and government, but a new study, which claims to be the most comprehensive yet, suggests that nearly twice as much primary forest is being cut down as in Brazil, the historical global leader. Belinda Arunarwati Margono, who was in charge of data gathering at Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry for seven years and is now on secondment at South Dakota university, calculates that nearly 1m extra hectares of primary forest…

New study shows Indonesia’s disastrous deforestation

By Richard Ingham,, 29 June 2014 | Satellite images have found that Indonesia’s ancient forests, a cradle of biodiversity and a buffer against climate change, have shrunk much faster than thought, scientists said on Sunday. Between 2000 and 2012, Indonesia lost around 6.02 million hectares (14.4 million acres or 23,250 square miles) of primary forest, an area almost the size of Sri Lanka, they reported. Primary or ancient forests are distinguished from managed forests, which are plantations of trees grown for timber and pulp. The researchers found that primary forest loss accelerated during the period under review, reaching an annual 840,000 hectares by 2012—nearly twice the deforestation rate of Brazil, which was 460,000 hectares in the same year.

Despite moratorium, Indonesia now has world’s highest deforestation rate

By Rhett A. Butler,, 29 June 2014 | Despite a high-level pledge to combat deforestation and a nationwide moratorium on new logging and plantation concessions, deforestation has continued to rise in Indonesia, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change. Annual forest loss in the southeast Asian nation is now the highest in the world, exceeding even Brazil. The study, led by researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD), is based on analysis of high resolution satellite data. Unlike previous research, the new paper distinguishes between loss of natural forest — which it calls “primary forest” — and cyclical harvesting of industrial plantations. The study finds that Indonesia lost more than 6 million hectares of natural forest between 2000 and 2012. Worryingly, forest loss is trending upwards in the country despite hundreds of millions of dollars being spent by donors and the government on programs to cut deforestation. Deforestation was highest in 2012…

Peru now has a ‘licence to kill’ environmental protestors

By David Hill, The Guardian, 29 June 2014 | Some of the recent media coverage about the fact that more than 50 people in Peru – the vast majority of them indigenous – are on trial following protests and fatal conflict in the Amazon over five years ago missed a crucial point. Yes, the hearings are finally going ahead and the charges are widely held to be trumped-up, but what about the government functionaries who apparently gave the riot police the order to attack the protestors, the police themselves, and – following Wikileaks’ revelations of cables in which the US ambassador in Lima criticized the Peruvian government’s “reluctance to use force” and wrote there could be “implications for the recently implemented Peru-US FTA” if the protests continued – the role of the US government? The conflict broke out in northern Peru after mainly indigenous Awajúns and Wampis had been peacefully protesting a series of new laws which were supposedly emitted to comply with a trade agreement…

[Philippines] Indigenous tribes want ancestral lands excluded from Bangsamoro autonomy

By Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer News, 29 June 2014 | Leaders of indigenous tribes within the proposed Bangsamoro territory have demanded that their ancestral lands be excluded, saying that if Philippine government refuses to exclude them from the draft law on Bangsamoro autonomy, it would violate their inherent and inalienable right to self-determination. “We cannot accept Bangsamoro as our identity. We have our own identity and this is the Erumanen ne Menuvu,” Erumanen Datu Ronaldo Ambangan said as he read the declaration of the Erumanen ne Menuvu tribe during the June 24 congressional consultations on the proposed Bangsamoro in Midsayap, North Cotabato.

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