8 August 2016
2016 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit
By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 8 August 2016
Integration was the key concept driving discussion among government, business, civil society and research stakeholders at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, held from 3-5 August in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
The gathering of more than 300 participants brought perspectives from across geographic and sectoral boundaries to discuss ways toward a more integrated approach to forests, people and the region.
Aviation Industry Needs to Green Operations
UNFCCC, 8 August 2016
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has warned that the aviation industry needs to prepare for severe disruptions as a result of climate change and that it needs to make full use of clean technology and policy tools in order to reduce its carbon footprint.
ICAO’s 2016 Environmental Report says that changes to the atmosphere, brought about by rising global temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions, will affect airplane’s ability to fly, while rising sea levels will affect airports.
At the same time, airports can become more sustainable, for example by running almost entirely on renewable energy, and the sector can make use of carbon markets and the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism to offset emissions.
As Peat Bogs Burn, a Climate Threat Rises
By Henry Fountain, New York Times, 8 August 2016
Kristyn Housman grabbed the end of a sampling auger, a steel tube that two colleagues had just drilled into a moss-covered hummock in a peat bog, and poked through a damp, fibrous plug of partly decomposed peat.
Peat has been building up for centuries in this bog, where the spongy moss is interspersed with black spruces and, on a late spring morning, the air is teeming with mosquitoes. The sample, taken from three feet down, is at least several hundred years old, said Ms. Housman, a graduate researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
“There’s literally tons of carbon here,” she said, looking around the bog, which covers several acres off a muddy oil-company road amid the vast flatness of northern Alberta.
Even Before The Paris Agreement Takes Effect, Hundreds Of Corporates Are Voluntarily Offsetting Emissions
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 August 2016
In 2007, as airlines around the world were lobbying to prevent the regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions from passenger flights, Delta Airlines started looking for ways to reduce its emissions – first by increasing fuel efficiency, and eventually by investing $1 million in a massive effort by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to buy up old farms across the Lower Mississippi Valley and restore them to their natural, forested state so that trees can absorb enough carbon dioxide (CO2) to offset some of Delta’s greenhouse gasses. TNC scientists say the project will mop up more than 100 million tons of CO2 over the next 70 years, and Delta is helping to finance it by purchasing offsets to reduce its carbon footprint, but the exact amount of emissions reduced is being determined through a rigorous process certified under the Verified Carbon Standard.
[Cambodia] Soldier’s home hiding luxury wood: officials
By Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post, 8 August 2016
Some 100 pieces of luxury wood believed to be from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary area were seized at the house of a military officer near the Vietnamese border on Friday, officials said yesterday.
The seizure comes just two weeks after the Walt Disney Company purchased $2.6 million worth of carbon credits as part of a plan designed to protect the sanctuary from illegal logging.
Illegal logging still threatens Cambodia’s forests despite ban: Special report
By Pichayada Promchertchoo, Channel News Asia, 8 August 2016
The road was pitch black but far from empty. Every minute or so, a muddy motorcycle would emerge from the dark and disappear within seconds, laden down with logs tied to the back seat.
“They come through all the time,” Ouch Leng told me as we watched them fly past the Pech Chreada Forestry Administration office. Dark mud stains hinted at an arduous journey through the nearby forest, a protected area of nearly 430,000 hectares in eastern Mondulkiri, wet with monsoon rain.
“They only pay the authorities when they come back from the Vietnam border with money,” the 42-year-old added.
[Guyana] Baishanlin owes GFC at least $79m
Stabroek News, 8 August 2016
Logging company Baishanlin owes the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) tens of millions of dollars and has made no effort to pay despite being requested to do so.
Stabroek News understands that the troubled logging company owes at least $79 million to the GFC and while the GFC Board and the GFC itself had written the company regarding the debts, no-follow up measures have been taken to ensure that they are paid. According to a GFC source, for the now-expired State Forest Exploratory Permit SFEP 01/2013, penalties for 2014-2015 were calculated as $29.7 million of which only $3 million was paid by April 5 this year. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
[Indonesia] High Risk of Forest Fires With 173 Hotspots Reported in Sumatra
By Ratri M. Siniwi & Almira Shae, Jakarta Globe, 8 August 2016
The Pekanbaru Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, or BMKG, has detected 173 hotspots with a high potential, or 50 percent chance, for forest and land fires on the Sumatran mainland on Monday (08/08).
The agency reported that that the hotspots were scattered over nine of the 10 provinces on the island. The number of hotspots increases by 12 since Sunday.
[Indonesia] Residents flee as company asks police to make arrests
By Severianus Endi, The Jakarta Post, 8 August 2016
Initially, it was a land dispute between residents of Olak-olak village in Kubu Raya regency, West Kalimantan, and oil palm plantation company PT Sintang Raya, which holds a concession nearby.
Then, the company accused several residents of stealing oil palm fruit and allegedly paid police to secure the area and make arrests.
The company’s harsh measures frightened locals, many of whom took shelter at the local office of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).
At least 47 residents, including children, have been sleeping at the Komnas HAM office since Thursday night, seeking protection.
[USA] EPA Determines that Aircraft Emissions Contribute to Air Pollution and Climate Change
Seyfarth Shaw LLP, 8 August 2016
Synopsis: EPA’s recent finding paves the way for the Agency to develop standards regulating greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft. Businesses in the commercial jet manufacturing and aviation transportation industry should watch this rulemaking closely, as it will affect environmental compliance costs and may have an impact on the cost of capital purchases and daily operations.
9 August 2016
I’ve converted to veganism to reduce my impact on the living world
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 9 August 2016
The world can cope with 7 or even 10 billion people. But only if we stop eating meat. Livestock farming is the most potent means by which we amplify our presence on the planet. It is the amount of land an animal-based diet needs that makes it so destructive.
An analysis by the farmer and scholar Simon Fairlie suggests that Britain could easily feed itself within its own borders. But while a diet containing a moderate amount of meat, dairy and eggs would require the use of 11m hectares of land (4m of which would be arable), a vegan diet would demand a total of just 3m. Not only do humans need no pasture, but we use grains and pulses more efficiently when we eat them ourselves, rather than feed them to cows and chickens.
Aviation industry urged to ramp up commitment to combat climate change
By George Ogleby, Edie.net, 9 August 2016
The aviation industry must prepare for the impacts of climate change by utilising clean technology and policy tools to significantly reduce its carbon footprint, the International Civil Aviation Organisation has claimed.
In its 2016 Environmental Report, released this week, ICAO highlights the necessity of achieving carbon reductions in an expanding industry which is set to suffer increasingly from the extensive impacts of more extreme weather events exacerbated by rising global temperatures.
UN Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Uncontacted Amazon tribe faces annihilation
Survival International, 9 August 2016
On UN Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Survival International is calling for the full demarcation and protection of the land of the Kawahiva people, an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon that is at extremely high risk of extinction.
With the eyes of the world on Brazil during the Rio Olympics, campaigners are hoping that more will be done to secure their land for them, and to give them the chance to determine their own futures.
Many powerful people in the region, including José Riva – dubbed “the most corrupt politician in Brazil” – are targeting the tribe’s land. The Indians are acutely vulnerable to the threat of forced contact from these loggers and ranchers.
[Canada] Giving carbon credit where credit isn’t due
By Nelson Bennett, Business Vancouver, 9 August 2016
Somewhere on Haida Gwaii is a stand of trees soaking up carbon dioxide, although calculating just how much is something of an arcane accounting science.
They’re also soaking up millions of dollars – money taken from school districts, hospitals and universities in the form of carbon offsets.
That is now easier to calculate, thanks to improved transparency in the B.C. government’s Carbon Neutral Government reporting, although it’s hard to say who the money is going to.
According to the recently released 2015 Carbon Neutral Government report, the B.C. government collected $15.6 million in carbon fines in 2015 from school districts, health authorities, Crown corporations, universities and colleges that failed to meet the government’s carbon neutrality mandate.
REDD+ in the Congo: It has to be cost effective
Woods Hole Research Center, 9 August 2016
“It has to be cost effective. It’s not about some expensive technology, it’s about appropriateness and cost effectiveness,” says Dr. Glenn Bush Projet Équateur’s principal investigator. Dr. Bush is an environmental economist who specializes in welfare economics, resource valuation, and environmental cost-benefit analysis.
Projet Équateur’s main office is located in Mbandaka, the capital of the northern province of Équateur. It is not only the most forested province in the country, but also the poorest—96 percent of its population exist on less than $1.25 USD per day. Consequently, most of the people depend on the forest for their livelihoods. Whether wood for cooking or processing into charcoal; non-timber forest products, such as bushmeat and medicinal plants; or as a source of fertile land to be cleared for agriculture, the community depends on the forest.
[Indonesia] Brexit rattles RI-European timber trade prospects
By Herry Purnomo, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 9 August 2016
Shortly after the UK people voted on June 24 to leave the European Union, the country witnessed a change of prime minister and economic uncertainties radiated around the globe.
For timber traders and advocates of environmental sustainability in Indonesia, this development was a major concern. The country was about to clear the final hurdle toward getting the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) license for its timber trade. The license would allow Indonesia’s timber to enter the EU easily, bypassing strict EU timber regulation requirements.
[Ireland] Renewable crops could save country from EU fine
By Declan O’Brien, Independent, 9 August 2016
Ireland must support the growing of bio-energy crops such as miscanthus and willow to avoid annual EU fines of up to €95m.
Paddy O’Toole of Quinns of Baltinglass warned that the State was likely to miss challenging EU renewable energy targets and faced massive penalties from Brussels as a consequence.
He said growing crops such as miscanthus could, however, offset EU fines while delivering a margin to farmers of €500/ha, which is comparable to the tillage sector.
Inside DB Cargo UK’s carbon-neutral train
By Julian Turner, Railway Technology, 9 August 2016
Germany’s DB Cargo has run the first train in the country with a zero-carbon footprint by using an innovative environmental project in Rwanda to offset emissions. Modestas Lukauskas, strategic project manager at DB Cargo UK, talks about the company’s Eco Neutral initiative.
10 August 2016
Deforestation: a lingering legacy
By John C. Cannon, mongabay.com, 10 August 2016
When we humans cut down tropical forest, we have a good idea that there will be consequences. We know that clearing the land for a farm or a pasture or the timber it holds comes at the cost of a burst of carbon into the atmosphere, and that the habitat anchored by those trees will change pretty drastically, forcing animals, plants, and other organisms to adapt, move, or disappear.
What’s not as clear is how long those changes take to unfold. As a result, we may not have an accurate picture of the extent of carbon emissions and the loss of species from areas that we have already deforested.
“We haven’t been accounting for these emissions and these extinctions, and that’s quite a big [piece that is] missing,” said Isabel Rosa, an ecologist at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research in Leipzig, in an interview with mongabay.com.
IPCC 1.5°C Special Report: More questions than answers when it comes to land use and forests
By Stephen Leonard, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 10 August 2016
The 21st Conference of the Parties (or COP21) in Paris, France last year invited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.
In April of this year, the IPCC accepted the UNFCCC’s challenge. A Steering Committee was subsequently established, chaired by IPCC Vice Chair Dr. Thelma Krug of Brazil, who is also a new member of CIFOR’s Board of Trustees.
To develop the scope and outline of the Special Report on 1.5°C, a scoping meeting will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 15 to 17 August, which will result in a draft ‘Scoping Paper’ describing its objectives, process and timeline.
Agriculture and overuse greater threats to wildlife than climate change – study
By Jessica Aldred, The Guardian, 10 August 2016
Agriculture and the overexploitation of plants and animal species are significantly greater threats to biodiversity than climate change, new analysis shows.
Joint research published in the journal Nature on Wednesday found nearly three-quarters of the world’s threatened species faced these threats, compared to just 19% affected by climate change.
It comes a month before the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) hosts its annual summit in Hawaii to set future priorities for conservation.
Prepare for a global ‘timber supply crunch’, WWF warns UK retailers
edie.net, 10 August 2016
“Urgent action” is needed from British businesses to invest in more sustainable timber sourcing practices, as highly-sourced areas suffer from a dangerous shortage of resources, a new report commissioned by the WWF has warned.
The report, released today (10 August), investigates the economic and business case for the UK moving towards a ‘100% sustainable’ timber market, and details the environmental and social benefits of doing so.
Are carbon market-financed cookstoves really “clean”?
By Megan Darby, Climate Home, 10 August 2016
Across the developing world, three billion people – mainly women – cook food over open fires fuelled by dung or wood.
The smoke damages their health and that of their families. The wood in some areas is harvested faster than it can regrow. Switching to cleaner stoves ticks a lot of sustainable development boxes: green, clean, female-focused.
Such initiatives attract high level support. US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton launched the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in 2010.
Brazil must recognise Munduruku lands
Letter Letter from Lily Cole, Paul McCartney, Olivia Colman and 45 others, The Guardian, 10 August 2016
We warmly welcome the decision taken last week by the Brazilian environment agency, IBAMA, to stop the huge São Luiz do Tapajós dam that threatened to wipe out a whole swath of pristine rainforest deep in the heart of the Amazon (Report, theguardian.com, 5 August). This was a day of relief and hope not just for the Munduruku indigenous people, who faced having their ancestral lands flooded, but for everyone who cares about protecting one of the world’s great natural wonders.
Cambodian villagers fear for future amid forest burning dispute: Special report
By Jack Board, Channel News Asia, 10 August 2016
A lone wooden hut, standing on metre-high stilts, cuts a lonely shape in the middle of a wasteland. It is an alien structure, surrounded by scarred earth and disfigured, charred remnants of forest
Next to it, a sickly pool of tepid, scum-veiled water barely ripples in the searing heat. In the air hangs the high-pitched buzzing of busy chainsaws. More forest is being cleared – today and every day.
This is Som No’s property in the heart of one of Cambodia’s largest concessions, a “reforestation” project controlled by South Korean firm Think Biotech.
Rising avocado prices fuelling illegal deforestation in Mexico
By Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, 10 August 2016
The popularity of the avocado in the US and rising prices for the “superfood” are fuelling deforestation in central Mexico.
Mexican farmers can make much higher profits growing avocados than from most other crops and so are thinning out pine forests to plant young avocado trees.
Such is the size of the market that it has become a lucrative business for Mexico’s drug gangs, with extortion money paid to criminal organisations such as Los Caballeros Templarios (The Knights Templar) in Michoacán – the state that produces most of Mexico’s avocados – estimated at 2bn pesos ($109m) a year.
[USA] Tax carbon, California — the rest of the nation will thank you
By Michael Wara, Adele Morris and Jerry Taylor, Los Angeles Times, 10 August 2016
California’s cap-and-trade program to restrict greenhouse gas emissions has hit a major political roadblock. Extending the current program beyond its 2020 expiration most likely requires new action on the part of the Legislature, and majority support looks dubious. And even a majority might not be enough. Many legal and policy analysts believe the state’s cap-and-trade regime is functionally a tax, and that reauthorizing and extending it requires a two-thirds majority vote of legislators or voters.
Zimbabweans spot green gold in bamboo that spares forests
By Jeffrey Moyo, Reuters, 10 August 2016
Lush tracts of bamboo spread across southeastern Chipinge district, where the tall plant is increasingly regarded as green gold by villagers. They are harvesting it commercially while helping preserve Zimbabwe’s fast-dwindling forests.
Bamboo is native to Zimbabwe, according to Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe, a research organization specializing in underutilized plant species. The giant grass stays green all year round, and its woody, hollow stem grows again rapidly after it is cut down.
11 August 2016
Why Do Carbon Prices Vary By Project Type?
By Claire Willers (Gold Standard), Ecosystem Marketplace, 11 August 2016
In the Q1 2016 edition of our Gold Standard Supply Report we discussed the different ways to value a carbon credit, whether by using market dynamics as a guide, pricing a project based on its cost or based on the value that a project delivers. However, pricing also varies based on the project type and can even vary within the same type of projects (see figure 1). This article highlights some of the reasons for this difference, outlining the key factors that should be considered when purchasing carbon credits.
The Geography of REDD+ Finance
Forest Trends, 11 August 2016
The nearly $6 billion pledged to forest conservation in ten key countries under the UN program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is successfully targeting nations and provinces with high levels of deforestation and associated carbon emissions, according to a new report by Forest Trends, a non-profit group that tracks global forest developments.
These findings, from the most comprehensive analysis to date of the “geography” of REDD+ funding, are a major boost for a program that many conservationists consider critical to global efforts to curb deforestation, which is a significant contributor to climate change.
How climate change is increasing forest fires around the world
By Anne-Sophie Brändlin, Deutsche Welle, 11 August 2016
Unusually large wildfires ravaged Alaska and Indonesia last year. This year, Canada, California and Spain have been devastated by uncontrolled flames, with Portugal and France as the newest victims of severe blazes.
So, have wildfires actually increased globally, or does it just seem that way because we’re tuned in more to bad news and social media?
Science suggests that over the past few decades, the number of wildfires has indeed increased, especially in the western United States. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), every state in the western US has experienced an increase in the average annual number of large wildfires over past decades.
Democracy, forests and finance: the tech making Africa a better place
By Zoe Flood, Frankline Sunday, Emmanuel Akinwotu and Kate Lyons, The Guardian, 11 August 2016
In the village of Mapubi, in the forests of south-west Cameroon, locals have watched as large swaths of their land have been destroyed.
Mapubi’s proximity to coastal ports and the increased demand for timber due to population growth in the cities mean the pressure on forests in the area is believed to be at its highest since the colonial period.
A similar plight affects many who live in the forests of the Congo basin, whose lands have been depleted by illegal logging, mining, industrial plantations and even by strict conservation activities, which often resulted in large-scale evictions of people from the environments they had populated for generations.
Botswana: Helicopter crashes after shooting at Bushmen
Survival International, 11 August 2016
A group of Bushmen who were hunting antelope to feed their families have been shot at from a police helicopter – which later crashed injuring six officers – while it was enforcing Botswana’s hunting ban. Nine Bushmen were arrested and subsequently stripped naked and beaten while in custody.
The Bushmen’s right to live and hunt for food on their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve has been recognized by Botswana’s high court.
Despite this, the government continues to label them as “poachers” and is now using advanced military technology to persecute them and their way of life. This militarization of conservation efforts reflects a global trend which has concerned many human rights campaigners.
Brazil senate approves Paris climate deal
By Claudio Angelo, Climate Home, 11 August 2016
Brazil’s interim president Michel Temer looks set to announce his country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement in September, after a final legal hurdle for domestic approval was cleared.
The climate treaty had a speedy approval by the Senate on Thursday, making it through both the Foreign Affairs Committee and the plenary in the space of a few hours. Now it goes for Presidential sanction.
12 August 2016
Video: Highlights from the 2016 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit
By Leona Liu, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 12 August 2016
Global momentum is building to sustainably manage forests and landscapes, as a key factor for mitigating climate change and promoting development.
The Asia-Pacific, a dynamic region with rich natural assets, will be a crucial focus of this movement going forward. Rainforests in the Asia-Pacific account for 26 percent of the region’s land area, and support the livelihoods of some 450 million people.
Why is Brazil regressing in its fight against deforestation?
By Paulo Baretto, mongabay.com, 12 August 2016
Last July, the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Blairo Maggi presented in Washington D.C. investment opportunities to expand Brazilian agribusiness. He emphasized investment in infrastructure, including works to connect the Midwest to the North connection (Amazon) through waterways, railroads, highways and ports.
In the slides presented, Maggi listed among the attractions of the Brazilian agribusiness, the leadership in technology for tropical agriculture, the high level of environmental protection and traceability of production (i.e., the ability to know the origin of the products).
Will the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) be able to convince international investors?
[Cambodia] Carbon Credits the Start: Minister
Khmer Times, 12 August 2016
The government and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) signed a project agreement yesterday granting the conservation group power to oversee the use of funds generated by Disney’s $2.6 million carbon credit purchase from Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary last month.
The move is an attempt to ensure greater transparency, management and disbursement of funds for projects and patrols within the wildlife sanctuary and benefit local communities living within its boundaries.
“Although the carbon that was sold and the funds that were generated belong to the government of Cambodia…the government has agreed that WCS will co-manage the funds,” said Ross Sinclair, WCS country director.
[Cambodia] Disney carbon deal sets stage for more partnerships
By Kali Kotoski, Phnom Penh Post, 12 August 2016
Cambodia’s first large-scale private-sector sale of carbon credits was finalised yesterday, with conservationists predicting that it could pave the way for more public-private partnerships, making millions of dollars of funding available for local carbon-based initiatives.
US entertainment giant Walt Disney Company has officially purchased $2.6 million in carbon credits from a climate change mitigation project in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, which covers 300,000 hectares in Mondulkiri province, in a bid to offset its global footprint.
The project, under the UN-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program (REDD+), is projected to avoid 14 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions over the first 10-year period between 2010 and 2019.
Cambodian rangers take on villagers in forest war: Special report
By Jack Board, Channel News Asia, 12 August 2016
Under a thick tree canopy and steady drizzle, a squadron of motorcycles traverse a trail made muddy and sticky by the ongoing wet season. A road becomes a track that becomes wilderness.
As small creeks form below their wheels, suddenly the four rangers come to a halt, kill their engines and listen intently in silence
“We hear chainsaws,” their leader, Volodomyr Mokh, says, his eyes lit up with intensity. “Now we try to find them.”
In one of Cambodia’s most precious forests, a war is going on.
[Indonesia] Jokowi to lead meetings on forest fires, super holding firm
By Ayomi Amindoni, The Jakarta Post, 12 August 2016
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will lead a limited Cabinet meeting on several issues on Friday including forest fires and holding firms for state-owned companies.
Jokowi is scheduled to lead a meeting at the presidential office on the prevention and management of forest and peatland fires at 2 p.m., according to President’s official agenda sent out by presidential staff. Following the meeting, the President will then discuss holding firms for state-owned companies at 3 p.m.
[Indonesia] Jokowi orders early anticipation of forest fires
By Ayomi Amindoni, The Jakarta Post, 12 August 2016
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has demanded relevant parties in his government act to anticipate forest fires as soon as possible, with the predicted peak of the dry season approaching.
During a limited Cabinet meeting at the State Palace on Friday, Jokowi explained that the number of hot spots had decreased by 74 percent from the same period last year.
Nevertheless, there remain 217 hot spots that need serious attention, Jokowi added.
Indonesian court fines sago firm RM329m for forest fires
Free Malaysia Today, 12 August 2016
A major sago producing company in Indonesia has been asked to pay a hefty fine of 319 billion rupiah (RM98 million) for negligence that caused forest fires in Riau, Sumatra, last year.
Tempo.co reported the South Jakarta District Court ruled in favour of the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s civil action against PT National Sago Prima (NSP).
The fine was for the ecological damage and financial losses caused by the fire, the news portal reported.
The court also ordered NSP to restore some 3,000 hectares of the burnt forests at a total cost of 753 billion rupiah (RM231 million).
However, the court did not grant the Environment Ministry’s demand for foreclosure of the company.
[Indonesia] Peat Land and Forest Fires Emergency Alert Raised in Five Provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan
By Ratri M. Siniwi, Jakarta Globe, 12 August 2016
Five provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan are bracing up to face peat land and forest fires as the dry season comes close to its peak in September.
The governors of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan have already raised forest fire emergency alert for their provinces. South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan and North Sumatera — also vulnerable to forest fires — have not raised the alert.
“The national disaster management agency (BNPB) will provide assistance to their regional counterparts to handle the forest fires,” said BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a statement on Friday (12/08).
13 August 2016
[Indonesia] Environment Ministry to Patrol Villages to Prevent Forest Fires
TEMPO, 13 August 2016
Environment and Forestry Ministry is set to conduct patrols in 115 villages considered prone to forest and peat land fires.
Rasio Ridho Sani, the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General, said that the move is an effort to prevent more forest and peat land fires.
“The patrol involves various sides, including regional governments, the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI), the Indonesian National Police and community figures,” Rasio said in Jakarta on Friday (12/8).
In addition, Rasio said that the Ministy would also carry out early detection measures by monitoring air quality in those villages.
The Ministry is also currently preparing supporting infrastructures to monitoring forest and peatland fires.
[Indonesia] Nip Wildfires in the Bud, Jokowi Says
By Eko Prasetyo, Jakarta Globe, 13 August 2016
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo held a cabinet meeting at his office on Friday (12/08) to respond to wildfire emergency alerts being raised by five provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan as the dry season comes close to its peak.
The emergency alert — which activated a series of coordinated responses — was declared by the governors of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan.
“I saw several fire spots in Riau, North Sumatra and South Sumatra. We should put them all out before they spread,” Jokowi said in a statement.
Despite the alerts, the president said there are fewer fire spots this year compared to last year. “74 percent fewer, the data said. But we still have 217 fire spots across Indonesia, and all of them need to be put out quickly,” Jokowi said.
[Indonesia] Ministry of Environment and Forestry Wins Wildfire Lawsuit
By Ari Supriyanti Rikin & Ratri M. Siniwi, Jakarta Globe, 13 August 2016
Sampoerna Strategic Group’s agribusiness venture National Sago Prima (NSP) will have to pay damages and recovery costs of more than Rp 1 trillion ($76 million) after losing a civil lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the South Jakarta District Court ordered on Thursday (11/08).
The lawsuit was filed to the court on Oct. 2 last year after 3,000 hectares of peat lands and forest were deliberately set on fire in the company’s palm oil concession area in Riau’s Meranti Islands.
The case is the first legal fight won by the ministry and gives hope for justice to other communities who have also suffered from wildfires.
“This is a historical moment in our fight to enforce human rights – the constitutional right for everyone to live in a safe and healthy environment,” the ministry’s director general of law enforcement, Rasio Ridho Sani, said on Friday (12/08).
[Indonesia] More firms to be on lawsuit list
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 13 August 2016
The government is preparing more lawsuits against some of the alleged perpetrators of last year’s massive forest fires following a recent landmark ruling that sets a precedent for the upcoming legal battles.
The Environment and Forestry Ministry is set to file civil lawsuits against four palm oil companies allegedly responsible for some of the 2015 forest fires, a tragedy seen as a crime against humanity after they caused the deaths of 19 people, mostly children, and brought about US$16 billion in economic losses.
“It’s almost final. We just have to look at it again because we have to be careful and learn from existing processes,” the ministry’s environmental dispute settlement director, Jasmin Ragil Utomo, told The Jakarta Post.
14 August 2016
[Indonesia] President Wants Sub-districts to Have Forest Fire Command Posts
TEMPO, 14 August 2016
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked all relevant agencies to set up land and forest fire command posts up to a sub-district level to prevent and handle land and forest fires.
“The president has asked all ranks and files including the Home Affairs Ministry, the National Defense Forces, and the National Police to make every effort to set up command posts at a sub-district level,” Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said in a press conference after a limited cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace on Friday.
Pramono said on Friday evening, President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla chaired two limited cabinet meetings. The first meeting discussed land and forest fire control and the second meeting discussed the establishment of more state-owned holding companies.