REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
9 April 2018
UN says Africa is embracing technology in managing climate change
Xinhua, 9 April 2018
African countries are beginning to embrace technology in managing climate change, a UN official said on Monday.
Jukka Uosukainen, the Director of the UN Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), said that since the Paris climate agreement in France in 2016, African governments have started asking for technological support in tackling climate that adversely affects the continent.
Africa’s vegetation has lost 2.6bn tonnes of CO2 in just seven years
By Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief, 9 April 2018
The rainforests, savannahs and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa have lost around 2.6bn tonnes of CO2 over the past seven years, a new study finds.
The large-scale loss of stored carbon – which on an annual basis is almost four times the CO2 emissions of Nigeria – was driven by a series of severe droughts across the continent, as well as deforestation, the research suggests.
Critics say proposed changes to Mexico’s Forestry Law threaten sustainable forest management by local communities
By Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay, 9 April 2018
The call goes out over the radio: An unknown car has entered Ejido Cruz de Ocote, a community-managed forestry operation in the state of Puebla, Mexico.
A short time later, Constantino Cortés Martínez, chief of surveillance for the ejido, discovers what the occupants of that unknown car were after: “Tell Mario, and everyone else, to return here. Someone just knocked down a tree here,” he says into his walkie-talkie.
Nicaragua Rejects Help From Costa Rica to Control Forest Fire at Indio Maiz Biological Reserve
By Aura Alvarado, The Costa Rica Star, 9 April 2018
A group of 40 Costa Rican firefighters was already at the border with Nicaragua this Monday morning ready to help the neighbor country to control the forest fire that has been affecting the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve for several days which has reportedly destroyed over 7,000 hectares of protected land, however, they were sent back after being informed that President Daniel Ortega had decided to use more of their own resources and therefore their help was no longer needed.
The Vice-President of the government Luis Cañas, thanked Costa Rica for the offering and through a press release explained that the Nicaraguan army had incorporated more personnel to control the fire.
Rights in poorer nations must be upheld as Thai firms go abroad, activists say
By Rina Chandran, place, 9 April 2018
Thailand’s businesses and its government must do more to protect the rights of vulnerable people abroad, analysts and activists said, after a landmark case filed by Cambodian farmers in a Bangkok court against a Thai sugar firm.
It is the first time plaintiffs from another country have filed a class-action lawsuit against a Thai company in a Thai court over its operations outside Thailand.
The two plaintiffs represent about 3,000 people who say they were forcibly removed from their homes and land in five villages in Oddar Meanchey province in Cambodia’s northwest, to make way for a Mitr Pohl sugarcane plantation between 2008 and 2009.
[USA] Sealaska Corporation announces multimillion dollar deal to keep trees in the ground
By Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO, 9 April 2018
Big greenhouse gas emitters in California are now able to buy carbon offset credits based in Alaska. The Southeast regional Native corporation Sealaska is using some of its lands for carbon sequestration. Thousands of acres of old growth trees will stay intact for over 100 years. It’s the first carbon bank in the state to be approved for the market.
Sealaska says its another way of securing a future for shareholders.
10 April 2018
Sustainable palm oil advocates don’t agree with Iceland’s palm oil ban
By Dionne Kennedy, The Big Issue, 10 April 2018
Frozen food giant Iceland announced today its plans to stop the use of palm oil in all own-brand products by the end of this year. Used in more than half of its products – from biscuits to soap – the supermarket cited the oil’s devastating effects on tropical rainforests across southeast Asia.
The ban, sparked by Greenpeace campaigners and a visit to Borneo last year by managing director Richard Walker means Iceland is the first major supermarket in the UK to remove the oil from its shelves.
Iceland’s move to ban palm oil products could backfire
By Jake Bicknell and Matthew Struebig, University of Kent, 10 April 2018
Iceland’s move to ban palm oil in its products is unsurprising given the recent news that 100,000 orangutans have been killed in Borneo since 1999, most attributed to deforestation. Much of this deforestation has been associated, rightly or wrongly, with palm oil production. Retailers are therefore under a lot of pressure to ensure their palm oil products are sourced responsibly.
Did deforestation cause the Ebola outbreak?
By Kaite McQue, New Internationalist, 10 April 2018
It all started with one mysterious death. Patient Zero was an 18-month old little boy, who became sick after playing near a giant dead tree that was swarming with bats. The unnamed illness crept through the village of Meliandou in Guinea, quietly picking off its victims, starting with those who had come into contact with the toddler.
Deforestation in tropical Africa is not as bad as previously thought
By Julie C. Aleman, The Conversation, 10 April 2018
Deforestation has massive effects on the biosphere. It contributes to carbon emissions, changes in water cycles and biodiversity loss. The main cause of deforestation is the conversion of forested lands to agricultural lands.
Tropical forests are home to an exceptional diversity of flora and fauna, and they represent one of the largest terrestrial carbon stocks. This means that tropical deforestation can release a huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. As a result tropical deforestation had been closely monitored for the past decades. The most common way of doing this has been with the use of satellite images.
[Brazil] A China-US trade war: a threat to tropical forests and the Cerrado?
By Alex Morrice, Global Canopy, 10 April 2018
As the tit-for-tat threats over trade sanctions between the US and China continue, one loser if this war of words turns into a full blown trade war could be tropical forests and other important habitats, particularly in Latin America. One tariff threatened by China is particularly eye-catching; a 25% tariff on American soy, as part of a package of sanctions aimed squarely at Trump-supporting parts of the US.
[Brunei] Fire and Rescue Dept preps for bush fires
By Daniel Lim, Borneo Bulletin, 10 April 2018
The Fire and Rescue Department, Operation Branch ‘B’, in an effort to help curb the effect of bush and forest fires that may occur due to the higher-than-normal temperatures during the dry season, conducted a press conference at the Seria Fire Station yesterday afternoon.
Senior Superintendent of Fire and Rescue (SSFR) Muhd Shahreeni bin Haji Yusof, Commanding Officer of the Operation Branch ‘B’ Fire and Rescue Department, explained that the department is monitoring and making preparations to combat bush and forest fire in the dry season.
[Indonesia] Alue Dohong: Restoring peatlands, empowering communities
By Budhy Kristanty, CIFOR Forests News, 10 April 2018
The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) was established with a mission to accelerate the restoration of peatland hydrology and vegetation degraded as a result of forest and land fires. As part of its efforts, it has carried out social interventions in critical peatland regions and communities dependent on peatlands for their livelihoods.
Forests News spoke with Dr. Alue Dohong, Deputy of the BRG’s Construction, Operations and Maintenance Division, on the impacts and challenges of BRG’s actions on the ground.
11 April 2018
Is it worth paying for carbon offsets next time you fly?
By Belinda Smith, ABC News, 11 April 2018
When booking flights online you may be offered the option to offset your share of carbon emissions for a few extra dollars.
But where does the money go, what is it used for, and is it worth ticking that carbon offset box?
The option is there because aviation is responsible for about 2 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Colombia takes ‘unprecedented’ step to stop farms gobbling forests
By Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11 April 2018
Indigenous communities that depend on Colombia’s Amazon rainforest for their survival will have more say over their ancestral lands, as Colombia adds 8 million hectares to its protected areas in an effort to stem forest loss.
The new measures announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday aim to create a buffer zone for the country’s southern Amazon region.
Farmers are pushing deeper into forests, cutting down more trees to clear land for cattle-grazing and agriculture.
Colombia and Norway strengthens cooperation to reduce deforestation
Government of Norway, 11 April 2018
Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos Tuesday April 10. announced an intention to expand their climate and forest cooperation for five more years. Simultanously president Santos announced a ruling to give autonomy for indigenous peoples impacting large parts of Amazon rainforest. Colombia will also freeze all agricultural expansion into forests, the president announced.
[India] Forest fires a common phenomenon in Kashmir
Brighter Kashmir, 11 April 2018
Forest fires in Kashmir have become a common phenomenon in Kashmir, with hectares of the forest areas witnessing devastation every year.
Last week fire destroyed more than 20 hectares of forests in Dachigam area which later entered into the national park as well.
Prior to it fire broke out at Zabarwan mountain range in Januray this year, which engulfed its vast area at in Srinagar.
The fire broke out at three different places in the mountain range in Brein Nishat, Harwan and around Shalimar.
[Kenya] Local communities best placed to protect our endangered forests
By Peter Kitelo, The Standard, 11 April 2018
As millions of Kenyans are faced with hunger following an unprecedented dry spell, interspersed with excessive flooding, the government recently called for a 90-day ban on all logging activities as it reviews the country’s forest sector. This ban comes at a time when Kenya’s forest cover stands well below the 10 percent and major rivers are drying up.
However, the ban will have little impact unless it is accompanied by an overhaul of Kenya’s approach to conservation. We need to recognise that traditional forest dwelling communities – like the Ogiek of Mt Elgon and Mau, the Yaaku of Mugogodo forest, the Awer of Boni forest and the Sengwer of the Cherangany Hills – have a critical role to play in conserving our forests.
Nightmare in New Guinea
By Jeremy Hance, ALERT, 11 April 2018
The island of New Guinea — which sustains the third-largest tract of intact rainforest on the planet — is becoming the latest global deforestation nightmare.
Long-protected from exploitation by its remoteness, steep terrain, and fiercely independent native peoples, the island is now rapidly losing forest to logging projects and palm oil development.
In 2015, deforestation across the island leapt by 70 percent above the year before.
12 April 2018
We need long-term strategies to meet the challenge of climate change
By Patricia Espinosa, Climate Home News, 12 April 2018
Often in the immense challenge of climate change, we focus on the immediate action that needs to happen. There is a good reason for this. Science says that we are running out of time to avert the worst impacts of climate change on people and on our planet.
Yet as we take action before 2020, we have to keep an eye on the future. Our action today must be in service to the long-term goals agreed when the world first came together to address the climate challenge.
Guitar Makers Hit Hard by New Regulations on Prized Rosewood
AP, 12 April 2018
An international crackdown on illegal logging in tropical forests has ensnared the makers of some guitars and other musical instruments, whose top-end products require small amounts of rosewood, a material prized for its rich, multicolored grain and resonant sound.
Since new trade rules took effect in 2017, guitar makers have complained about long delays in getting permits to import rosewood and export finished instruments that contain it. Warehouses have filled with unsold instruments, and a bagpipe maker in New Hampshire went so far as to ask the governor to intervene after a permit application was lost.
Brazil plants chocolate forests to save the Amazon
By Marcy Nicholson and Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 12 April 2018
For years, Valdomiro Facchi has made a living ranching on land carved from the Amazon rainforest. He’s a small player in one of the world’s biggest environmental disasters.
But now that his cattle have trampled the pastures to dust – and new laws prevent him from clearing fresh land – he has to find new income.
“I want to diversify,” said the rancher, outlining plans to plant cocoa trees on his 300-hectare (741-acre) plot in Brazil’s Para State. “I want to have the cocoa income when profit from cattle ranching fails.”
[Myanmar] National strategy on forest conservation out this year
By Myat Moe Aung, Myanmar Times, 12 April 2018
The Government will come up with a national strategy to stem forest degradation this year as part of the country’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Dr. Thaung Naing Oo, director of the Forest Department, said the country’s REDD+ Programme aimed at mitigating climate change would be concluded this year, instead of next year as originally scheduled.
REDD+ Programme is aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
It is an initiative for developing countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aimed at mitigating climate change in the forest sector.
New Sierra Leone president suspends timber export over deforestation concerns
EnviroNews, 12 April 2018
The newly-elected President of Sierra Leone, Mr Julius Bio, on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 issued a directive ordering the suspension of timber export.
According to the presidential directive issued by State House, the suspension is part of the government’s strategy to fight deforestation in the country.
13 April 2018
Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 13 April 2018
Serious disruption to the Gulf Stream ocean currents that are crucial in controlling global climate must be avoided “at all costs”, senior scientists have warned. The alert follows the revelation this week that the system is at its weakest ever recorded.
Past collapses of the giant network have seen some of the most extreme impacts in climate history, with western Europe particularly vulnerable to a descent into freezing winters. A significantly weakened system is also likely to cause more severe storms in Europe, faster sea level rise on the east coast of the US and increasing drought in the Sahel in Africa.
Community land rights open investment opportunities in global south
By Julie Mollins, Landscape News, 13 April 2018
The devolution of land tenure rights to forest-dwelling communities over the past quarter century has led to the development of entrepreneurial initiatives with substantial positive socio-economic outcomes for livelihoods, according to a leading scientist.
Through case study examples in Guatemala, Namibia, Nepal and Mexico, Steven Lawry, director of Equal Opportunities, Gender, Justice and Tenure at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), demonstrates how ownership and exclusionary rights provide incentives for communities to proactively manage resources, leading to equitable distribution of benefits and sustainable environmental outcomes.
“Algae forestry” could take CO2 straight out of the air and put it on your plate
By Mihai Andrei, ZME Science, 13 April 2018
Through a mixture of algae, eucalyptus, carbon storage and bioenergy, researchers believe they have found the recipe to simultaneously provide food in many parts of the world while taking out CO2 from the atmosphere.
As the world struggles to keep global warming at manageable levels, scientists are exploring several avenues to reduce emissions. Researchers from Cornell University, Duke University, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo have an idea that could prove extremely effective: they devised a system that can act as a carbon dioxide sink while also generating food and electricity.
Why more businesses should reassess the voluntary carbon market
By Mark Nicholls, GreenBiz, 13 April 2018
Two years on from the Paris Agreement in 2015, one of the most encouraging developments has been the engagement of the corporate world in tackling climate change. Dozens of private-sector initiatives have sprung up or accelerated. Hundreds of leading global companies have proposed, or are working on, science-based targets in line with the climate goals enshrined in Paris. Billions of dollars are being invested in low-carbon technologies.
But even the most optimistic observer will acknowledge there’s a long way to go.
World can limit global warming to 1.5C ‘without BECCS’
By Simon Evans, CarbonBrief, 13 April 2018
It is possible to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures without using negative emissions from bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), new research says.
The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, throws open the debate about how to meet the stringent temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. It shows, for the first time, how a range of highly ambitious mitigation options can minimise – or, collectively, eliminate – the need for BECCS.
Certified weaknesses: The RSPO’s Liberian fiasco
By Gaurav Madan, FoE US, 13 April 2018
It’s late March and the latest news about the future of communities’ traditional lands has yet to reach the towns and villages in southeastern Liberia.
On February 13, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the industry certification system for production of conflict-free palm oil, confirmed what many in rural Sinoe County have been saying all along: Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a palm oil company operating since 2010, did not properly receive the consent of local communities to acquire their traditional lands.
[Peru] Poseidon with Stellar blockchain to reduce carbon footprint
By Charles Brett, Enterprise Times, 13 April 2018
The Poseidon Foundation (Poseidon) has received its first €2.1 million contribution (ahead of its public fundraiser in May 2018). 80% of this particular contribution will go to protect 55 million trees in the Cordillera Azul National Park in Peru in an area double the size of Andorra. Supporting over 500 local people, it represents the first investment made by Poseidon into Ecosphere+’s conservation projects.
Poseidon is a non-profit that uses blockchain technology to empower individuals to rebalance the carbon footprint of their lifestyle choices through supporting sustainable development projects.
Bar Works mastermind Renwick Haddow extradited to US
By Knorad Putzier, The Real Deal, 13 April 2018
Renwick Haddow, the mastermind behind the alleged co-working Ponzi scheme Bar Works, has been extradited to the U.S., federal prosecutors announced Friday.
Crain’s reported that he appeared in court the same day.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission filed separate charges against Haddow in June, accusing him of cheating Bar Works investors out of $37 million. He is also accused of defrauding investors in a separate venture, Bitcoin Store. In July, Moroccan police arrested him Tangiers. In December, the SEC announced that Haddow had agreed to be extradited.