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REDD in the news: 24-30 July 2017

REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

24 July 2017

Moving past tree planting, expanding our definition of forests and restoration
By Deanna Ramsay, CIFOR Forests News, 24 July 2017
What is a forest? And how do you restore one?
These seemingly simple questions were interrogated – with a focus on solutions – during a panel discussion at the 2017 Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Meeting, recently concluded in Merida, Mexico.
A group of experts on Latin American forests examined both the conservation and restoration of secondary forests from a variety of angles, including the ecological, political and social dimensions of such spaces.

[Brazil] Temer Accused of Backtracking on Rainforest Veto to Gain Votes
By Joe Leahy, Financial Times, 24 July 2017
Protected forests in Brazil the size of Portugal are under threat from a push to shrink conservation areas, the WWF environmental group has said.
According to activist, the government is planning to redraw the borders of the Jamanxim national forest in the Amazon, by introducing a bill to congress just weeks after similar legislation was vetoed by Michel Temer, president.
“Brazil is facing an unprecedented offensive against its protected areas,” said Marco Lentini, in charge of forests at WWF-Brazil.
Critics said Mr Temer was swapping trees for votes by agreeing to back demands from the powerful rural lobby to make it easier to operate in protected areas as he battles corruption charges.

Indonesia environment minister wants permanent ban on licences to use forest land
By Fransiska Nangoy, Reuters, 24 July 2017
Indonesia’s environment minister said on Monday she wants to make permanent a moratorium on issuing new licences to use land designated as primary forest and peatland.
The moratorium, part of an effort to reduce emissions from fires caused by deforestation, was extended by President Joko Widodo for a third time in May.
“So far its only been extended, and extended again. I want a permanent (moratorium),” said Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar. “Our primary forest cannot be cleared out.”
Indonesia is prone to outbreaks of forest fires during dry seasons, often blamed on the draining of peatland forests and land clearance for agriculture such as the cultivation of palm oil.

[USA] Amazonas Florestal Ltd. Announced Today That The Company’s Wholly Owned Subsidiary, Amazon Hemp, will not be implementing a reverse stock split during 2017, and Further Announces Update on Hemp Plantations in Colorado
Amazonas Florestal, 24 July 2017
Amazonas Florestal, Ltd. (“Amazonas Florestal” or the “company”) (OTC PINK: AZFL), a premier provider and innovator of natural resources products, certification and sales of carbon credits, sustainable forest management resources and related services, as well as a pioneer to the development and enhancement of the evolving and legal Industrial CBD Hemp business, announced that AZFL will NOT be implementing a reverse stock split during 2017.

Vietnamese smallholders help end deforestation – photo essay
By James Morgan and Justin Woolford (WWF), The Guardian, 24 July 2017
“It all starts with the seedlings!” says Le Thi Thuy Nga (left), the manager of Tien Phong forestry company in central Vietnam’s Thừa Thiên-Huế province. “All of ours are propagated from the ‘mother tree’ kept by the Academy of Forest Sciences in Hanoi. With a 99% survival rate, they effectively double overall plantation productivity.”
The nursery, in business since the end of the American war, supplies many of Vietnam’s acacia plantations and is part of the architecture of economic development that has flourished since the country’s 1986 free-market reforms.

25 July 2017

Learning Session 52: REDD+ Progress: Forests towards solving Climate Change
WWF, 25 July 2017
The last decade of REDD+ negotiations has drawn significant attention to forests and forest-related climate change mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries. Some of the results of the negotiations and increased attention include substantial progress in several countries on the ground, the inclusion of forests in Article 5 of the Paris Agreement, and the forest sector being highlighted in many of the submitted NDCs.

Where would REDD+ be most cost-effective in Indonesia?
Environmental Research Web, 25 July 2017
Spatially explicit estimates of forest carbon emissions have helped identify the most cost-effective use of REDD+ resources (for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus conserving, sustainably managing forests and enhancing forest carbon stocks) in Indonesia. Included in the list are low-cost options for protecting areas from conversion to oil palm and timber plantations – conservation strategies that are often considered expensive to implement.

Indonesia’s disaster agency says forest fire threat to escalate
Channel NewsAsia, 25 July 2017
Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) has warned of an escalating threat of forest fires with the dry season expected to peak in coming months, while hotspots detected in the province of Aceh have already been causing choking smoke.
Fires had spread to around 64 hectares (158 acres) of fields and forests in Aceh, a northern province on the island of Sumatra, producing haze and some residents had been taken to hospital due to breathing problem, the agency said on Tuesday.

Indonesia Flags Risk of Forest Fires That Triggered 2015 Haze
By Yoga Rusmana, Bloomberg, 25 July 2017
Indonesia sees the risk of forest and land fires increasing until the peak of dry season in September, reigniting concerns of a repeat of 2015 haze that enveloped much of Southeast Asia.
Satellite images showed 170 hotspots across the country, including 35 in Aceh province on Sumatra island, 44 in East Nusa Tenggara and 21 in West Kalimantan, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. Affected areas also include other parts of Sumatra, Kalimantan on Borneo, Java and Sulawesi, the agency known as BNPB said on Twitter.

[Indonesia] BMKG Detects Forest Fires in Riau
Netral News, 25 July 2017
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) of Pekanbaru Station detected six hot spots indicating a forest and land fire with a confidence level over 50 percent in Riau Province on Tuesday (7/25/2017).
“Hot spots are observed in five regencies in Riau,” said Head of Data and Information Section at BMKG of Pekanbaru, Slamet Riyadi, in Pekanbaru.
He described six hot spots detected by Terra and Aqua satellites respectively were observed in Bengkalis, Kuantan Singingi, Siak, Indragiri Hulu and two other points in Pelalawan Regency.

Indonesia in effort to extinguish forest fire
Xinhua, 25 July 2017
Soldiers, personnel of disaster management agency and volunteers have striven to end forest fires which is potential to escalate prior to the peak of the dry season, in northern tip of Sumatra Island, a senior official said here on Tuesday.
The forest fires occurred on last Tuesday, spreading in a 64-hectare land in Aceh Besar district of Aceh province, spokesman of the national disaster management agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho revealed.
The smokes from the fires have spread to other areas that led three people get medical treatment in a hospital for respiratory problem, the spokesman said.

26 July 2017

Scientists dim sunlight, suck up carbon dioxide to cool planet
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 26 July 2017
Scientists are sucking carbon dioxide from the air with giant fans and preparing to release chemicals from a balloon to dim the sun’s rays as part of a climate engineering push to cool the planet.
Backers say the risky, often expensive projects are urgently needed to find ways of meeting the goals of the Paris climate deal to curb global warming that researchers blame for causing more heatwaves, downpours and rising sea levels.

REDD+ program to ensure Fijians are informed
By Alisi Vucago, The Fiji Times, 26 July 2017
An objective by the Fiji National REDD+ Program to ensure all Fijians are informed and encouraged to participate and have strengthened working relationships with the media at local, national and regional levels will soon be achieved.
This was possible after the validation of the Consultation and Participation (C&P) Plan which is a framework guiding the consultation and awareness processes for the analytical studies that the Fiji National REDD+ Program is undertaking during its readiness phase.

Indonesia to distribute idle forest land to farmers in August
The Jakarta Post, 26 July 2017
The government will distribute idle forest land controlled by state-owned forestry company Perhutani to farmers through a social forestry program next month.
Perhutani controls 2.4 million hectares of plantations in Java, around 17 percent of the total land on the island. The social forestry program will distribute 570,000 hectares of idle land to underprivileged people in Java.
“The government will distribute approximately 2-hectare plots to each farmer,” said Economic Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution at a discussion on land productivity improvement through the business scheme cluster in Jakarta on Tuesday.
The forest-land distribution will begin in East and Central Java.

Dozens hospitalised for lung infections in Indonesia as smoke caused by forest fires thickens
Straits Times, 26 July 2017
Young children lie in hospital in Aceh province, Indonesia, as thick smoke caused by forest fires forces dozens of people to be treated for lung infections.
Some schoolchildren were still able to go to school in Meulaboh on Wednesday (July 26) wearing masks, but several schools suspended classes so students could stay at home.
In the past week, about 35 hotspots – concentrations of fires – have destroyed 70 hectares of forests and other land in Aceh, the national disaster agency said.

5 Indonesian provinces declare emergencies over forest fires
AP, 26 July 2017
Five Indonesian provinces have declared states of emergency as peatlands burn in Aceh and the risk of fires spreading elsewhere increases during the annual dry season, an official said Wednesday.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 18 helicopters have been deployed to help extinguish fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
Satellite images show that the number of fires increased from 150 on Sunday to 179 on Tuesday, he said.

[Kenya] Africa’s Iconic Chyulu Hills Launches Carbon Offset Program
Conservation International, 26 July 2017
Chyulu Hills, the iconic Kenyan landscape that served as the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa”, will soon be able to benefit from the sale of 2 million carbon credits. Revenue from the sale of carbon credits will be re-invested into community conservation efforts. The project is completely led and managed by the local land owners, including indigenous Maasai communities, NGO partners and Kenya’s national parks and forest institutions.

[Uganda] Small cost can keep African forests safe
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 26 July 2017
Economists have just shown that, at least sometimes, money does grow on the trees of African forests. By paying villagers in Uganda quite small sums not to clear the forest on their land, they changed collective behaviour and more than halved the expected tree loss.
And they demonstrated that the rewards of preserving forest were in cash terms more than 2.4 times greater than the monetary cost of saving the woodland, according to a new study in the journal Science.

[USA] Justice Deferred: A Break Down of California’s Cap & Trade Bill From The Environmental Justice Perspective
By Strela Cervas and Amy Vanderwarker, California Environmental Justice Alliance, 26 July 2017
Another contentious cap and trade battle has concluded in California with the signing of AB 398 into law. Despite the fanfare, it is important to look beyond the headlines to see what deal was actually struck.
The communities where CEJA’s members and partners work are on the frontlines of climate change. Low-income communities and communities of color are hit first and worst by changing climatic conditions, and live next to our state’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, like refineries and power plants. Whether it is extreme heat, increased storms, or worsening air quality as a result of climate change, all of these impacts are and will increasingly be felt deeply in the exact communities that have the fewest resources to adapt. For our communities, and the planet, it is critical to have the most effective, equitable tools to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The California legislature just extended cap and trade. 3,000 people will die.
By Michelle Chan, Friends of the Earth, 26 July 2017
Richmond, California has been my home for the past 15 years. It’s also home to the largest refinery on the west coast, operated by Chevron, California’s single largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions.
For almost four years, Richmond’s environmental justice advocates have been campaigning to prevent Chevron from embarking on a major refinery expansion that would allow the facility to process dirtier, heavier tar sands crude. The campaign fought to convince the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the regional air pollution regulator, to establish a refinery-based cap on greenhouse gases and toxic co-pollutants. Such a cap would help reduce the toxic pollution hotspots in Richmond and neighboring refinery communities. Public health experts estimated that such a cap could save 800–3,000 lives regionally over 40 years.

27 July 2017

Flying Is Bad for the Planet. You Can Help Make It Better.
By Tatiana Scholssberg, New York Times, 27 July 2017
Take one round-trip flight between New York and California, and you’ve generated about 20 percent of the greenhouse gases that your car emits over an entire year.
If you are like many people, flying may be a large portion of your carbon footprint. Over all, the aviation industry accounts for 11 percent of all transportation-related emissions in the United States.
According to some estimates, about 20,000 planes are in use around the world, serving three billion passengers annually. By 2040, more than 50,000 planes could be in service, and they are expected to fly more often.

New Report Tracks the Impact of Forest Finance in Brazil
By Ana Bastida, Mariano Cenamo and Gustavo A. Silva-Chávez, Forest Trends, 27 July 2017
Brazil has been recognized as a leader in global efforts to reduce deforestation and associated greenhouse gas emissions—mostly due to the successful implementation of forest conservation policies that reduced deforestation in the Amazon by 80% below historical levels, and prevented more than 5 billion tons of CO2 from reaching the atmosphere over the last decade. Brazil showed that the policy known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), could work in practice. Unfortunately, since 2016, deforestation levels in Brazil have started to rise again. What happened?

[Fiji] Community curious about REDD+
By Lice Movono, The Fiji Times, 27 June 2017
People at the grassroots level are curious about REDD+ work in reference to climate change and have approached government officials at community awareness initiatives conducted recently at various districts.
Deputy Conservator of Forests Semi Draunibaka said there was a need to ensure information on REDD+ work was disseminated effectively and consistently.

Concern about Forest Fires on Indonesia’s Kalimantan & Sumatra
Indonesia Investments, 27 July 2017
There is concern about forest fires on parts of the islands Sumatra and Kalimantan. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said five Indonesian provinces – Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan – declared emergencies as peat-lands are burning and there are risks of fires spreading to nearby regions. Eighteen helicopters have been deployed to combat the fires.

‘Indonesia fighting forest fires well’
The Star, 27 July 2017
Amid reports of developing forest fires in Sumatra, Malaysia says it will hold on to Indonesia’s assurance that there will be no repeat of the haze crisis two years ago.=
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar expressed confidence in the measures taken by the Indonesian government to combat forest fires in the aftermath of the 2015 incident.
“During meetings with my Indonesian counterparts, including a recent one in Singapore this April, I have received assurances from them that there will not be a repeat of the 2015 haze situation, which badly affected Malaysia and Singapore.”

Damming economic growth: the hidden costs of unsustainable hydropower in the Mekong
By Marc Goich0t, WWF, 27 July 2017
Lately a lot of attention has been directed at the negative impacts upstream development are causing to the Mekong delta, but Vietnam is not the only one to suffer: the ecosystems of the Mekong River in Laos and Cambodia are also deteriorating rapidly, threatening the economy and peoples’ well-being across the region.
Water quality is degrading quickly, floods and droughts are happening more often and are becoming more intense, fisheries are declining, river erosion is increasing at an alarming rate — and climate change is aggravating everything. Many things are contributing to these problems, including land use change, intensifying agriculture and industry, overfishing, and sand and gravel mining in the river, but large dams are the prime suspects.

[USA] California Governor Signs Climate Change Law Extending the Cap-And-Trade Program Until 2030
Holland & Knight LLP, Lexology, 27 July 2017
AB 398 passed in both the California State Senate and Assembly with a two-thirds majority of bipartisan lawmakers. It received support from businesses and environmental advocates alike. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law this Tuesday, July 25, 2017. The legislation extends California’s cap-and-trade program from December 31, 2020 through December 31, 2030.
The legislation indicates that it intends to ensure California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030 (Senate Bill 32, passed into law on September 8, 2016).

‘Trying to breathe’—as CA toasts environmental win, pollution still plagues
By Julie Cart, CALmatters, 27 July 2017
Growing up with 12 people packed into a two-bedroom apartment in Wilmington, Magali Sanchez-Hall rarely left the bubble of her south Los Angeles neighborhood.
She assumed everyone lived with chronic coughs, unexplained skin rashes and asthma. Her extended family and friends were all hit with cancers.
“It’s just the way it was,” she said.
Not until Sanchez-Hall left Wilmington—an industrial powerhouse where multiple freeways, the Port of L.A., rail spurs, and four oil refineries crowd into in less than 10 square miles—did she began to connect the dots.

28 July 2017

We know how to reduce deforestation – so where’s the money?
By Jeremy Hance, The Guardian (supported by GEF), 28 July 2017
For years some environmentalists and economists have argued that you could pay people to keep their forests standing, maintaining carbon sources and habitat for threatened species. Yet, the idea – known as payments for ecosystem services or PES – has faced critics, who argued it wouldn’t live up to the hype. A new study in Science this week may make them think twice.
“We needed better evidence about how well this approach worked in order to know if we should be scaling it up or rethinking it,” said Seema Jayachandran, lead author and development economist with Northwestern University.

Inquiry launched after mystery air crash kills Brazilian environmentalists
By Vincent Bevins, The Guardian (supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), 28 July 2017
Investigation is underway into an unexplained plane crash in the Amazon that left four dead, including members of Brazil’s special environmental protection forces.
Environmental analysts Olavo Perim Galvão and Alexandre Rochinski died alongside administrative technician Sebastião Lima Ferreira Junior and the aircraft’s pilot, Marcos Costa Jardim. Another analyst, Lazlo Macedo de Carvalho, survived the crash on 3 July and is receiving treatment for burns in Rio de Janeiro.

Is the forestry project of the French Development Agency threatening the peatlands of the DRC?
By Alain Karsenty, Mongabay, 28 July 2017
Prof. Simon Lewis, a co-author of an article on peatlands in the Congo Basin published in Nature, recently proposed to scientists working on tropical forests that they sign an open letter asking the Norwegian government, which finances most of the CAFI (Central Africa Forests Initiative) programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to reject the “sustainable forest management” project proposed by the French Development Agency, to be funded by the CAFI.

[Ghana] Forestry Commission launches forests 2020 project
Ghana News Agency, 28 July 2017
The Forestry Commission, in partnership with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Ecometrica has officially launched the Forest 2020 project in Ghana.
The project seeks to address technical barriers across six countries to the sustained implementation of effective forests monitoring systems, capable of measuring forest change and providing information on the risk and drivers of forest loss.

[Ghana] Commission to monitor forest with satellites to curb degradation and destruction
By Seth J. Bokpe, Graphic Online, 28 July 2017
The Forestry Commission is to roll out a forest monitoring programme that uses satellites to monitor activities in the country’s forest and protect it against degradation and other forms of destruction.
Known as Forest 2020, it is aimed at developing, testing and integrating improved methods of forest change detection, for faster and more accurate identification of deforestation and degradation.
It is a five-year project that is funded by the United Kingdom (UK) Space Agency and entails the setting up of Earth-Observation Laboratories (EO Labs) in the country to assess threats to rainforests and facilitate the conservation of forest resources.

In Kenya, a Transformation in Shades of REDD
By Amy Yee, Undark, 28 July 2017
Here is what a dead elephant looks like: Rib bones longer than my arm scattered across red dirt. Over here is a lower jaw, beached and desolate like the broken hull of a ship. Over there is the massive boulder of its skull. Behind the gaping eye sockets is a web of porous bone, a hideous honeycomb. Shreds of gray skin are strewn across the soil like filthy rags, and hyenas have dragged and scattered bits of the elephant’s remains over this final resting ground. The scavengers feast even on the bones, and they leave behind clumps of chalky dung that are vivid against the rust-colored soil.

29 July 2017

30 July 2017

Malaysia ready to help Indonesia fight forest fires
The Malaysian Insight, 30 July 2017
Malaysia is prepared to send firefighters to Indonesia to help put out forest fires in the republic.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government was concerned about the problem, which could cause smoke and was ready to provide assistance at any time.
“I have discussed it with Shahidan Kassim, who is in charge of the Fire Department and the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) and he has given the assurance that they are ready at any time,” he said today.

Indonesia steps up effort to end forest fires as hotspots increase
Xinhua, 30 July 2017
Indonesia has boosted measures to extinguish forest fires in the country as the number of hotspots increased significantly on Sunday, a senior government official said.
A total of four helicopters were dispatched to undertake water bombings in West Kalimantan province of Borneo Island as forest fires have been flaming there for four days, spokesman of national disaster agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
Satellite has detected that the number of hotpots climbed to 239 across the vast archipelagic nation as of Sunday. Among them, 126 are located in West Kalimantan province, the spokesman told Xinhua in a text message.

[Indonesia] Borneo fires on rise
By Taylor McDonald, Asean Economist, 30 July 2017
Indonesia has detected a growing number of wild fires as dry weather continues.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said satellite pictures showed there were 173 fires on Thursday and 239 on Sunday.
It included 126 peatland fires in West Kalimantan, mainly concentrated in in Sintang, Kapuas Hulu and Sanggau districts.
“Clearing of land by burning is still prevalent in these areas,” BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. “Even though it is not allowed, appeals are often made and we conduct patrols, the reality is there are still many cases of intentional land burning.”

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