REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
Why forests and flight go together
By Peter Graham and Anthony Mansell, Climate Advisers, March 2018
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) allows airlines to contribute towards the aviation industry’s goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020 onwards by financing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions outside of the aviation sector.
26 March 2018
Scientists to publish first-ever land health report
By Mariëtte Le Roux, Phys.org, 26 March 2018
Scientists will publish the first-ever analysis Monday of the global state of land and its ability to sustain a fast-growing human population that relies on it for 95 percent of all food.
The diagnosis is likely to be dire, providing a comprehensive overview of what other reports have already warned: unsustainable farming, mining, factory production, and climate change is pushing Earth to breaking point, leading to human conflict and mass human migration.
The EU must act on new evidence of soy’s destructive role in the tropics
By Nicole Polsterer, FERN, 26 March 2018
Spurred on by a wave of food scandals – as well as rising consumer anxieties over the environment and animal welfare – major retailers across Europe are sourcing more of their meat from local, sustainable sources.
It should be a cause for optimism. Yet it’s only half the story.
Just because more of the meat being sold in the EU is from locally reared animals, sadly, it doesn’t mean it isn’t tainted by environmental degradation.
[India] Over 120 forest fire incidents reported in Raigad this year
Times of India, 26 March 2018
While the recent half-dozen forest fires in Sanjay Gandhi National Park have shocked Mumbaikars, statistics show an astonishingly high number of such incidents in Raigad district. Over 120 cases of forest fires have been reported so far this year from Roha and Alibag divisions.
A Mahad-based environmentalist, Nizamuddin Jalal, said, “I am shocked how so many incidents of forest fires have been happening in Raigad. Some of these fires last for three to four days and forest officials. Besides, these also cause to air pollution and damaging forest property.” Jalan has shot several letters to top officials, stating that these fires were intentional.
[India] Fighting forest fires
By Peter Smetacek, The Hindu, 26 March 2018
The recent wildfire tragedy in Theni in Tamil Nadu, in which 20 trekkers lost their lives, once again brings into focus forest fires in India. Over the past few years, we have realised that these fires are not spontaneous; human beings set off fires. This tragedy raises several other issues — of approaches in fighting fires and ways of mitigating damage.
Turning down the heat in Indonesia’s oil palm industry
By Nabiha Shahab, CIFOR Forests News, 26 March 2018
In Indonesia, palm oil is a hot industry in more ways than one. In 2015 alone, it contributed USD 20.75 billion to the country’s export revenue. Oil palm plantations cover more than 14 million hectares of the country and, together with Malaysia’s, dominate the global market.
However, fire is still widely used in the development and planting of oil palm, including in carbon-rich peatlands. Resulting smoke and toxic haze have impacted the economy, the health and the environment of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries. In 2015, Indonesia’s peatland fires contributed to an economic loss of at least USD 16.1 billion and more than 100,000 premature deaths around the region.
[Nepal] Fire destroys thousands of hectares of forest
By Maheshwor Chamling Rai, My Republica, 26 March 2018
Of late, thousands of hectares of forest along the Chure Range in Udayapur district have been destroyed by forest fires. Community forests in the eastern side of the district are the most affected.
According to locals, over 10,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed by fire in the past seven days alone. Fire has destroyed most of the forest along the Laighat-Kadmaha road section along the Chure Range.
[UK] FCA wins case against Capital Alternatives Limited and others
Financial Conduct Authority press release, 26 March 2018
In a judgment handed down today, the High Court found that Capital Alternatives Limited, Renwick Haddow, Marcia Hargous, Robert McKendrick and others should pay a total of £16.9m in restitution for their roles in four unauthorised collective investment schemes which were unlawfully promoted to the public by false, misleading and deceptive statements.
27 March 2018
10 years on, tenure remains a challenge for REDD+
By Suzanna Dayne, CIFOR Forests News, 27 March 2018
It’s now been 10 years since the United Nations launched REDD, an ambitious program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. In 2010, REDD became REDD+. The addition of the ‘+’ signified the intention to go beyond reduced emissions from the forest sector to enhanced carbon stocks and sustainable forest management. The hope was for REDD+ to not only help mitigate climate change but also to reduce poverty, especially in communities that live and rely on forested landscapes.
States Should Welcome REDD+ into International Aviation Carbon Offset Program
By Chris Meyer, EDF, 27 March 2018
Two important climate change initiatives are advancing and their future success looks more and more intertwined. The Carbon Offset Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) is approaching the end of a policy-making phase to finalize environmental criteria for offset programs – which will be necessary for airlines to meet the international aviation sector’s climate commitments. At the same time, many countries striving to conserve their tropical forests are looking for sources of funding for large-scale programs for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+).
Top UN panel paints bleak picture of world’s ecosystems
By Natasha Gilbert, Nature, 27 March 2018
Biodiversity is vanishing at an alarming rate across most of the world, find the most comprehensive assessments of global ecosystem health to be done in decades.
The five reports, published in the past week, are the culmination of three years’ work by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) — a global science body set up under the United Nations in 2012 to track the planet’s ecological health. The assessments examined biodiversity loss in Africa, the Americas, Europe and Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Greenpeace leaves sustainable wood certification group
By Stephen Wright, Washington Post, 27 March 2018
Greenpeace is withdrawing from the main global group for certifying sustainable wood, saying the organization it helped found more than two decades ago is failing to protect natural forests from exploitation.
Greenpeace said the Forest Stewardship Council inconsistently implements its standards and “fell short” of its goals of conserving forests and benefiting society.
Using Mathematical Models to Save Forests
Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, 27 March 2018
How can small changes in the climate have big impacts on forest health? That’s what Smithsonian Conservation Ecology Center scientists Alan Tepley and Kristina Anderson-Teixeira are trying to figure out.
As forest fires increase in frequency, there is a growing urgency to understand how affected forests may or may not recover. In collaboration with partners from universities in the western U.S., South America and New Zealand, Smithsonian scientists have developed a mathematical model to help understand why certain landscapes are especially vulnerable to losing their forests and the species that rely on them, while others are more resilient. The study was published in the Journal of Ecology on March 27, 2018.
Lost Amazon villages uncovered by archaeologists
By Nicola Davis, The Guardian, 27 March 2018
Once people thought the Amazon was a near-uninhabited rainforest before the Europeans turned up, but researchers say they have found new evidence that it was in fact a hive of human activity and home to millions of people.
A new study has revealed details of 81 sites in the previously uncharted territory of the Amazon’s upper Tapajós Basin, with settlements ranging from small villages just 30m wide to a large site covering 19 hectares.
Researchers say the new discoveries are helping to unpick what the Amazon would have been like before Europeans arrived.
Brazil senate considers lifting ban on sugarcane production in Amazon
By Dom Phillips, The Guardian, 27 March 2018
A bill being rushed through Brazil’s senate would lift a ban on the cultivation of sugarcane for ethanol fuel in the Amazon, driving more deforestation and making it harder for the country to meet its commitments under the Paris climate deal.
The bill, which has been roundly condemned by environmentalists, companies and even Brazil’s union of sugarcane producers (UNICA), marks the latest move by a conservative congress to unravel Amazon protections.
[Nepal] REDD signals
By Aditya Acharya and Mahesh Poudel, Kathmandu Post, 27 March 2018
Deforestation and forest land degradation contribute to 17 percent of worldwide carbon emissions, which in turn has a considerable impact on the current global warming phenomenon. So, reducing emissions that arise as a result of deforestation and forest degradation was seen as a means to address this phenomenon. Initially conceived as RED (reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries), the current state of REDD+ was formalised during the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia in 2007.
[Peru] Voices of the Alto Mayo: ‘The forest gives me everything’
By Abdias Vasquez, Conservation International, 27 March 2018
Editor’s note: Despite its protected status, Peru’s Alto Mayo Protected Forest — a swath of Amazonian rainforest twice the size of New York City — has seen some of the country’s highest rates of deforestation. Since 2012, Conservation International has sought to halt the loss of forests by brokering “conservation agreements” with local communities, who agree to stop clearing forests in exchange for technical and financial advice.
To date, nearly 1,000 agreements have been signed, reducing deforestation and helping create a culture of sustainable development.
[Thailand] As fires spread in North, pollution levels spiral
By Saiarun Pinaduang, Bangkok Post, 27 March 2018
Air pollution in northern Lampang and Phayao provinces escalated to hazardous levels yesterday as fires spread in the region. The PM10 level stood at between 81 and 104 microgrammes per cubic metre, up from Sunday’s readings, according to information provided by the Pollution Control Department’s (PCD) measuring stations in lampang’s Muang and Mae Mo districts.
28 March 2018
Bonn Challenge: New solutions urged for financing landscape restoration
By Barbara Fraser, Global Landscapes Forum, 28 March 2018
Governments are increasingly committed to restoring deforested and degraded landscapes, but creative financing solutions are needed, including a larger role for private investors, said top officials who met earlier this month in Foz de Iguaçu, Brazil, over the Bonn Challenge, an initiative launched in 2011 to bring 150 million hectares of land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million by 2030.
Top Banks Pumped Billions More Into The Dirtiest Fossil Fuels Last Year
By Laura Paddison, Huffington Post, 28 March 2018
Some of the world’s biggest banks continue to lend money to support the dirtiest fossil fuels, despite global commitments to tackle climate change, according to a report published Wednesday, which picks out U.S. and Canadian banks as the worst offenders.
Every year a group of nonprofits ― including the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network and Oil Change International ― releases the Banking on Climate Change report, which grades 36 of the largest banks in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan and China on their financing of “extreme” fossil fuel companies and projects.
On dangerous ground: land degradation is turning soils into deserts
By Abbas El-zein, The Conversation, 28 March 2018
If any of us still has the slightest doubt that we are facing an ecological crisis on an unprecedented scale, then a new report on land degradation, released this week by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), provides yet another piece of evidence.
Land degradation can take many forms, but always entails a serious disruption of a healthy balance between five key ecosystem functions. These are: food production; fibre provision; microclimate regulation; water retention; and carbon storage.
29 March 2018
African Climate Talks Contribute to Talanoa Dialogue
By Leila Mead, IISD, 29 March 2018
Africa should focus more on “building internal solutions” to its problems rather than rely on international partners in addressing its climate challenges, according to participants at the the second African Climate Talks (ACT!-II), which aimed to facilitate Africa’s contribution to the Talanoa Dialogue under the UNFCCC.
Cookstoves for forest conservation in Teknaf, Bangladesh
IUCN, 29 March 2018
Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary is crucial habitat for many species, but until recently, the forests of the peninsula and the mangroves along the bank of Naf River were the only sources of fuel wood for the nearby villages. The increased prevalence of wood cutting resulted in the severe degradation of the forest, requiring a strategy to reduce the dependency of the villagers on the forest for fuel wood and other resources.
Ivy League investment in Brazilian ag mired in allegations of land grabbing and illegal deforestation
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 29 March 2018
Harvard’s US$37.1 billion endowment fund has invested in a vast farm in the Brazilian ag frontier that has been plagued by allegations of illegal deforestation and violent expulsion of small-scale farmers from their homes, an investigation by Mongabay has found.
The investigation delves into the means by which the land for a 140,000 hectare farm now owned by the fund in Bahia state was first acquired, revealing a legacy of forced evictions, and a recent history of illegal deforestation.
Mongabay obtained the findings of a Bahia state investigation that found the land was acquired through allegedly illegal, and sometimes violent, means.
[India] Maharashtra reports 1,500 forest fire cases in five weeks, most of them were man-made
By Askash Sakaria, The Free Press Journal, 29 March 2018
More than 1,500 forest fire cases were reported between February and March across the state out of which most of them were man-made, according to forest officials. The numbers constitute to more than 40% (3,487) cases reported in 2017.
Forest officials said there has been a significant rise in forest fire incidents in the past five weeks (last week of February onwards), as more than 300 cases have been reported per week. “Based on data received from the Forest Survey of India (FSI), we documented more than 1,500 cases of forest fires from the entire state between February and March so far,” said RS Yadav, additional principal chief conservator of forest (protection), Maharashtra forest department which is in charge of controlling forest fires.
A silent war is being waged on Philippine indigenous communities
By Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Financial Times, 29 March 2018
When I learnt that the Philippine government had accused me of being a terrorist, my immediate reaction was to hug my grandkids, fearing for their safety. Then, I started to speak out. Again.
I am the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. My mandate is to report when communities anywhere in the world are forced to relocate, their lands uprooted, their leaders either deemed criminals or killed. Not everyone wants to hear it, but the message needs to be spread. In the Philippines, they are shooting the messengers.
30 March 2018
31 March 2018
[India] ‘Fires destroy Kashmir’s green gold, Authorities seem in deep slumber’
By Ishtyaq Ahmad, Kashmir News Service, 31 March 2018
There has been an abrupt increase in forest fire incidents in Kashmir with government seems not taking any immediate measures to stop such incidents.
In the last two days, several forest fire incidents were reported in Kashmir.
On Thursday, fire broke out in the upper reaches of Brein and Nishat, spreading to Dachigam National Park and continued till Friday.