REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
12 March 2018
Realising the landscape approach through REDD+ planning
By Charlotte Hicks, UN-REDD Programme, 12 March 2018
The landscape approach has long been a prominent concept in environmental conservation and natural resource management. An integrated land-use-planning approach engages stakeholders from various economic and social sectors and takes different objectives and activities in a landscape into account. It aims to enable sectors – individually or together – to achieve their goals with minimum conflict and enhanced benefits for society, the economy, and the environment. REDD+ planning offers an opportunity to practice this approach.
Global market for ecosystem services surges to $36 billion in annual transactions
By Jim Salzman, LegalPlanet, 12 March 2018
In the early 1990s, New York City began paying for land management in the Catskills watershed to ensure safe drinking water for the city, avoiding the cost of building an expensive water treatment plant. New York City provides just one example of a growing number of programs – called payments for ecosystem services (PES) – where users who benefit from clean water, habitat conservation, flood protection and other services from ecosystems pay for land management practices to provide these benefits.
This technique could restore a big chunk of Amazon rainforest
By Bruce Lieberman, Yale Climate Connections, 12 March 2018
The Amazon rainforest is home to frogs, birds, and monkeys, and to hundreds of billions of trees.
Those trees absorb and store carbon, helping to counter climate change.
But over the past 50 years, nearly a fifth of the Amazon forest in Brazil has been cut down for farming, ranching, and logging. That’s an area larger than the state of Texas.
Rodrigo Medeiros is with the nonprofit Conservation International.
Medeiros: “We are working together with several organizations to restore the Amazon rainforest and thereby return to the planet and the people the forest that had been destroyed.”
Former Conflict Zone in the Colombian Amazon on way to become Protected Area
WWF Colombia, 12 March 2018
Bajo Caguán, one of many regions formerly occupied by the Farc guerilla, could become a protected area with over one million hectares. WWF is one of the organizations leading the process.
For many Colombians, armed conflict has been the only reference point of Bajo Caguán. And there are good reasons: for over 20 years, this region in the south of the country was a heated center of conflict between the Farc guerilla and the military and was mired by grave issues, including, among others, the expansion of illicit crops. But this reality is changing.
[Congo Basin] The coming storm
Earthsight, 12 March 2018
An investigative report released today documents the destruction of the forests of the Congo Basin for industrial palm oil and rubber plantations. The Coming Storm, released by the London-based non-profit Earthsight, reveals that five-hundred square kilometres of forest has been bulldozed in the last five years and that the destruction is set to accelerate, as high-level corruption and some of the regions’ most notorious logging companies combine to create a toxic mix.
India forest fires kill 9 hikers, injure 18 others
AFP, 12 March 2018
Nine trekkers died and 18 others were left with serious burns as wildfires swept through a popular hiking spot in India’s Tamil Nadu state, officials said on Monday (March 12).
The group were hiking through Theni district, a hilly region in southern India thickly forested and dotted with tea plantations, when they were forced to flee a fast-approaching fire.
They apparently became separated while trying to find a safe way to escape the oncoming blaze.
[Indonesia] FILM: Arkani, the Dayak known as Dragon Beard
Gecko Project, 12 March 2018
Arkani, an elderly Dayak man, drew a telling comparison between the plight of his community and that of the orangutans inhabiting a nearby rainforest, in a part of Borneo that has been subject to some of the worst excesses of Indonesia’s palm oil boom.
“Orangutans and other creatures were driven from their homes,” said Arkani, who also goes by the name Jenggot Naga — Dragon Beard. “It’s the same with people. We’ve run out of places to live.”
From paper to reality: The task of restoring Latin America’s forest landscapes
By Gloria Pallares, CIFOR Forests News, 12 March 2018
Latin America has committed to restoring 27.7 million hectares of forest landscapes by 2020 under the Bonn Challenge — but how ready are the legal frameworks in the region to advance this goal, and how effectively are they being implemented?
To shed light on the state of governance of Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in Latin America, scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Sao Paulo University in Brazil analyzed the legal frameworks of 17 countries in the region.
Icao cites PHL for plan to cut aviation emission
By Lorenz S. Marasigan, BusinessMirror, 12 March 2018
The International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) lauded the Philippines for submitting its State Action Plan on CO2 Emissions Reduction for International Aviation, as this jump-starts the reduction of carbon emissions in the country’s airspace.
In a letter to the Civil Aviations Authority of the Philippines, Icao Secretary-General Fang Lui said the submission of the said action plan shows the commitment of the Philippines toward environmental sustainability.
13 March 2018
Tree Farms Will Not Save Us from Global Warming
By Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, 13 March 2018
The farmland of central Illinois might rarely be at the forefront of controversial climate action—but its moment arrived last spring when a Decatur-based ethanol plant became one of the first of its kind to launch an ambitious strategy to combat global warming.
It combines the production of biofuel with a special technology designed to capture the facility’s carbon dioxide emissions.
It’s a fledgling version of a much bigger geoengineering strategy that some experts hope could reduce global emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It’s known as “negative emissions.”
The surprising leader in the $36 billion global market for ‘payments for ecosystem services’
By David Bank, ImpactAlpha, 13 March 2018
Environmentalists have talked for decades about the value of the clean air, clean water, biodiversity and other “services” provided by nature. Now comes the fullest accounting to date of actual transactions that pay for such services.
The headline number: between $36 billion and $42 billion per year, in more than 550 “payment for ecosystem services” programs worldwide, according to the compendium, published (paywall) in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Sustainability.
This Man Wants to Pull 60,000 Rwandans Out of Poverty by Planting Trees
By Natasha Ferrari, Ornanong Maneerattana and Assumpta Uwamariya, World Resources Institute, 13 March 2018
Jean Baptiste Mutabaruka is on the road to the local bank, again. When he gets there, he will inquire once more about raising money for an idea he thinks will reduce poverty in his small farming community of 60,000 in the province of Eastern Rwanda.
For 10 years, Jean Baptiste has journeyed through the parched villages of the Karangazi Sector, even in soaring heat, to champion the planting of trees, which he sees as a potent antidote to widespread poverty in the region.
14 March 2018
World’s great forests could lose half of all wildlife as planet warms – report
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 14 March 2018
The world’s greatest forests could lose more than half of their plant species by the end of the century unless nations ramp up efforts to tackle climate change, according to a new report on the impacts of global warming on biodiversity hotspots.
Mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds are also likely to disappear on a catastrophic scale in the Amazon and other naturally rich ecosysterms in Africa, Asia, North America and Australia if temperatures rise by more than 1.5C, concludes the study by WWF, the University of East Anglia and the James Cook University.
Cash payments prompt tropical forest users to harvest less
University of Colorado at Boulder press release, 14 March 2018
Paying rural villagers to cut down fewer trees boosts conservation not only while the payments are being made but even after they’re discontinued, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study involving 1,200 tropical forest users in five developing countries.
The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Sustainability, also found that when forest users trust each other, their conservation efforts are further enhanced even after cash incentives go away.
[Cambodia] Mondulkiri villages to get REDD+ funds
By Yesenia Amaro and Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post, 14 March 2018
Twenty villages in Mondulkiri province are set to receive at least $10,000 each as a result of the $2.6 million carbon credit purchase by the Walt Disney Company in 2016, under a scheme meant to protect the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, officials said yesterday.
This would be the first time money has made its way to communities for development purposes as a result of the wildlife sanctuary’s REDD+ project, a United Nations-backed program to combat deforestation.
[Cambodia] Carbon credit sales to benefit villagers
By Mom Kunthear, Khmer Times, 14 March 2018
Local communities from 20 villages in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district have signed a community development agreement under the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary’s REDD+ project which will help them profit from selling carbon credits.
The Wildlife Conservation Society announced yesterday that it worked with the Ministry of Environment and provincial authorities to provide the communities with the agreement.
[DRC] UN forest project ‘does more harm than good’
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 14 March 2018
The harm a UN forest project in Africa is doing to local people is greater than the good it is managing to achieve for them, researchers say.
They say they have found significant flaws in conservation projects in a densely-forested region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a decision on future investment by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is imminent.
The DRC province of Mai-Ndombe, with an estimated 73,000 indigenous people, has 10 million hectares of forest and the world’s largest wetland of international importance. It is a testing ground for international climate schemes designed to halt forest destruction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reward indigenous and other local people who care for the forests.
[India] “350% rise in Karnataka forest fires was preventable” say local tribespeople
Survival International, 14 March 2018
The dramatic rise in forest fires in Karnataka, India, could have been prevented by indigenous forestry methods developed in part to prevent large-scale blazes, say members of the local Soliga tribe. These techniques halt the spread of the lantana plant, a highly flammable invasive species that has been cited by officials as a key element in the destructiveness of the fires.
The Soliga are forbidden by law from using their centuries-old practice of controlled litter fires, called Taragu benki, to manage lantana’s spread and help nurture the forest in their homelands in the BRT Tiger Reserve. The weed grows very easily and is very woody, meaning it is harder to put out the fire once the plant is ablaze. Since the Soliga have been banned from using Taragu benki, the noxious weed has spread rapidly.
Illegal cattle ranching deforests Mexico’s massive Lacandon Jungle
By Rodrigo Soberanes, Mongabay, 14 March 2018
The last thing on the minds of those who conduct their business on Mexico’s border with Guatemala is that cattle may be driving the destruction of the Lacandon Jungle, which straddles the two countries. Bringing in cattle, undocumented, suited Mexican farmer Carlos Rodríguez. He would buy the animals for a low price, transport them across the border in his truck, then leave them to fatten up on his property before selling them for a profit.
But it was a business that necessitated cash transactions: Rodríguez saw weapons, cars peppered with bullet holes, and was once nearly assaulted. So he gave it up.
[Philippines] UN Special Rapporteur undaunted by Duterte’s terrorist tag
By Ping Manongdo, Eco-Business, 14 March 2018
The Philippine government’s move to label United Nations special rapporteur on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz as terrorist is no more than retaliatory, she said on Tuesday.
In an interview with Eco-Business, Tauli-Corpuz, who is among more than 600 social justice, environmental and human rights advocates targeted by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, said that the move was a reaction to her defence of Lumads caught in the massive military operations launched by Duterte in May last year.
15 March 2018
Conservation as genocide: REDD versus Indigenous rights in Kenya
By Martin Crook, Climate & Capitalism, 15 March 2018
Kenya has a long and tragic history of genocide. It seems, the very same ‘modernising’ tendencies embodied in the former British colonial state machine have been imparted to the post-colonial regime. The ‘developmentalist’ forces have re-emerged with a green sheen in the guise of conservation and climate change mitigation.
The EU recently suspended funding for its 31 million Euro Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (WaTER) project in Kenya. After repeated warnings from human rights and civil society organisations in Kenya and around the world, UN experts and the affected Sengwer, the indigenous forest community that live in the Embobut Forest of the Cherangany Hills, the EU finally acted after the killing, on January 16, of 41-year-old Robert Kirotich, a member of the Sengwer community.
Colombian Military Forces Put Out Forest Fires
By Yolima Dussán, Diálogo, 15 March 2018
The 2nd Air Combat Command of the Colombian Air Force (FAC, in Spanish), together with Colombian National Army personnel attached to Joint Task Force Omega’s Air and River Component and to the Rapid Response Force thwarted two wildfires in different parts of Sierra de La Macarena National Park, in the department of Meta, Colombia. The forest reserve is 130 kilometers long by 30 kilometers wide. Caño Cristales, home to a delicate ecosystem of endemic flora and fauna and also known as the River of Five Colors, can be found within the jurisdiction.
[DRC] U.N. climate projects in Congo leave locals worse off – report
By Nellie Peyton, Reuters, 15 March 2018
A large-scale United Nations programme to halt deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the world’s second-largest rainforest, is harming local communities and failing to protect forests, land rights researchers said on Wednesday.
The U.S.-based group Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) called on the World Bank to withhold funding from 20 current or pending projects in the province of Mai-Ndombe, which has been a test case for a U.N.-backed conservation scheme known as REDD+.
Collective action yields positive outcomes for Nepal’s forests
By Randall Bluffstone, UN-REDD Programme, 15 March 2018
In the 1970s and 1980s, Nepal was faced with large-scale deforestation due to land clearing, and forest degradation caused by fuelwood collection and uncontrolled grazing by villagers who were the de facto controllers of forests. Centralised management and control was clearly not working.
Rather than tightening control, the Government of Nepal recognised that the downward spiral was related to nationalisation of forests in 1957. Nationalisation disrupted traditional local management structures and removed local incentives for conservation and investment; the government lacked resources to fully manage and invest in the forests, which were now under its control.
[Norway] Statoil No Longer Wants ‘Oil’ in Its Name
By Jonas Cho Walsgard and Mikael Holter, Bloomberg, 15 March 2018
Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest petroleum company, will change its name to Equinor as it seeks to broaden its energy reach beyond oil and gas production.
“The world is changing, and so is Statoil,” said Chairman Jon Erik Reinhardsen in a statement. “The biggest transition our modern-day energy systems have ever seen is underway, and we aim to be at the forefront of this development.”
16 March 2018
Irish ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Dylan Creaven found guilty of conning elderly investors out of nearly €4m in boiler room fraud
By Pat Flanagan, Irish Mirror, 16 March 2018
An Irishman who ran a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ boiler room fraud is behind bars for conning elderly investors out of almost €4million.
Dylan Creaven, 44, from Co Clare fleeced pensioners out of their life savings after offering huge returns on worthless carbon credits and inferior diamonds.
Creaven set up two fraudulent companies and financed the setting up of plush ‘boiler room’ office suites in Buchanan House, in upmarket St James’s Square in central London.
17 March 2018
[India] Why are forests of Tamil Nadu burning?
By Aravind Kumar B., The Hindu, 17 March 2018
What caused the fire?
While forest fires are as old as the forests themselves, there is a fair degree of human involvement in causing a forest to rage on through day and night. It is not yet clear what exactly caused the forest fire at Kurangani on the Western Ghats at Theni in Tamil Nadu. Forest fires may be caused by different factors like natural causes, including lightning, but 99% of the fires in the forests are man-made.
[India] Unseasonal rains bring relief to Tiger Reserves from forest fires
United News Of India, 17 March 2018
Unseasonal heavy rains in the Nagarahole and Bandipur Tiger Reserves and in most parts of Kodagu district during the last two days has brought temporary relief from forest fires.
The downpour was also expected to ease water scarcity in the country’s two major tiger reserves with several water bodies had dried up due to prolonged dry spell.
18 March 2018
UN schemes to save forests ‘can trample on tribal rights’
AFP, 18 March 2018
The only UN-approved financial mechanism to curb deforestation, a key driver of global warming, has bulldozed the rights of forest-dwelling peoples on three continents and needs to be fixed, experts say.
The latest sign that these schemes — which pay to restore tropical forests rather than cut them down — are falling short comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where 20 pilot projects in Mai-Ndombe province have upended indigenous communities, according to a detailed report from the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a Washington DC-based research group.