REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.
23 April 2018
Deforestation has driven up hottest day temperatures, study says
By Daisy Dunne, CarbonBrief, 23 April 2018
The average hottest day of the year in Europe, North America and Asia has been made significantly more intense as a result of deforestation since the start of the industrial revolution, a study finds.
The research considers the dual impact that deforestation has on the climate: first, that clearing forests releases CO2 into the atmosphere where it contributes to rising global temperatures; and second, the large impact it can have on physical processes in the local climate – which can have a net warming or cooling effect more widely.
[Colombia] The Human Element
WWF, 23 April 2018
People play a crucial role in conservation, and partnering with Indigenous Peoples and local communities can ensure the long-term sustainability of conservation efforts. We sat down with Pia Escobar Gutiérrez, of WWF-Colombia, to learn how she is connecting with partners to bring more people into the process.
What is your role at WWF?
I work in the Cali office of WWF-Colombia, in the Governance and Sustainable Livelihoods program. Currently, I am leading a project on deforestation strategies, and coordinating the leadership of a capacity building process that supports Indigenous Peoples’ governance.
In the EU, does carbon price foreshadow change?
By Hæge Fjellheim, Reuterss, 23 April 2018
We are witnessing a green shift in the European energy sector, and there are plenty of signs this will only accelerate in the years to come. But, it is far from certain that the price on carbon will be the main driver for this transition.
On April 8, a major reform of the European Union Emission Trading System, the flagship instrument of Europe’s climate policy, entered into effect. It will significantly tighten the market and could further boost carbon prices towards 2030. But will that be enough to ensure the trading system is the driver of green transition in Europe?
Women are the guardians of the forest. So why does India ignore them in its policies?
By Purabi Bose,, Scroll.in, 23 April 2018
A few weeks ago, when Google India marked the 45th anniversary of the Chipko movement with a doodle, it was a refreshing flashback to forest communities sacrificing their lives to protect trees from being felled for timber use.
One of the first such recorded community protests was at Khejarli village in present-day Rajasthan. In this village, around the year 1730, about 300 Bishnois led by Amrita Devi are said to have sacrificed their lives to protect Khejri trees. The Bishnois, particularly the women in the community, considered Khejri trees (Prosopis cineraria) sacred because of their multi-use benefits. Amrita Devi, before she was beheaded with an axe bought inside the forest to cut trees, said: “Sar sāntey rūkh rahe to bhī sasto jān.” If a tree is saved even at the cost of one’s head, it’s worth it.
Indonesia environment minister rebuffs groups who want more forest preserved
Reuters, 23 April 2018
Indonesia’s Environment Minister on Monday (April 23) rebuffed conservationists who want the government to add secondary forests to its moratorium on issuing new licences to use land designated as primary forest.
Announced in May 2011, the first two-year moratorium was applauded as an important step in reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, and it has been extended three times.
[Nigeria] UNDP GEF-SGP, NCF redefine forest management for communities
By Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi, Punch, 23 April 2018
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation, with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services and the Global Environment Facility, Small Grant Programme says it is redefining forest management, conservation of landscape and rural livelihoods in selected forest-edge communities of Ebok, Kabakken and Ebranta in Boje, Boki Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State.
[Peru] The Rainforest’s Comeback
By Claudia Coronado, WWF, 23 April 2018
In the last two decades, the department of Madre de Dios, located in the Peruvian Amazon, has increasingly struggled with illegal and informal gold mining.
As a consequence, the area known as La Pampa, located in the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve, has been invaded by thousands of so-called artisanal gold miners. According to the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, 560 hectares of forest were destroyed in La Pampa just between April 2016 and September 2017.
[Zambia] A Ponzi scheme with Nature?
By Paolo Cerutti, Robert Nasi, Xiaoxue Weng, and Davison Gumbo, CIFOR Forests News, 23 April 2018
A few months back, we shared our first impressions of new research on the Zambian trade of Pterocarpus tinctorius – a beautiful tree commonly known as mukula, or rosewood, in commercial timber circles. That assessment is now completed, and we have a proposition for you.
What would you say if someone offered you USD 1,000 to invest in an incredibly profitable business operation, in which you would get your 1,000 back, plus 30,000 profit within 50 days? All you would need to do is return the USD 1,000 and spread the word around among your friends, so that they also give this person some money to run the same operation over and over again.
Too good to be true?
24 April 2018
Reducing Carbon Emissions, Let Soil and Trees Do the Dirty Work
World Bank, 24 April 2018
By now, most of us are familiar with the role forests play in absorbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are accelerating climate change around the world. But forests are just one part of a broader landscape that often includes water resources and farming that can also play an important role in climate change mitigation.
Climate-smart approaches to reducing emissions from forestry, agriculture and energy, among other sectors, have the greatest potential to improve sustainable livelihoods while limiting the impacts of climate change.
Asian Games to boost Indonesia’s war on forest fires: Official
Reuters, 24 April 2018
Indonesia’s choking annual haze will be limited this year by the pressure of hosting the Asian Games and a new approach to preventing forest fires, a senior official said on Tuesday (April 24).
Every dry season – usually from June until October – large parts of South-east Asia are shrouded in pollution caused by forest fires in Indonesia, many set deliberately to clear land for pulp and paper and palm oil plantations.
[Indonesia] Minister highlights lack of substance in biased news report
Forest Hints, 24 April 2018
Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya has expressed her regret at the missing substance and lack of context in a Reuters news report (Apr 23) titled ‘Indonesian environment minister rebuffs groups who want more forest preserved.’
[USA] Lyft rides are now carbon-neutral—what does that mean for you?
By Alissa Walker, Curbed, 24 April 2018
In 2016, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer set a bold goal for the company’s future by claiming most Lyft vehicles would be autonomous within five years. Now the ride-hailing giant has announced another forward-thinking effort—effective immediately, all its rides will be carbon neutral.
Over to You, Children! Zambia’s ‘Plant a Million Trees’ Takes Root
By Friday Phiri, IPS, 24 April 2018
Trees are a vital component in the ecosystem—they not only give oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give refuge to wildlife, but also provide materials for tools, shelter and ultimately, food for both animals and human beings.
In fact, according to the World Bank statistics, some 1.3 billion people around the world depend on forests for their livelihood—that is a fifth of the global population. This includes income from the sale of trees and tree-related products. It also includes the value of fruit, fodder, medicines, and other direct or indirect products that they consume.
25 April 2018
Climate talks are not enough
Nature, 25 April 2018
Countries will initiate the first formal review of progress under the 2015 Paris climate pact at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, next week. According to the UN, the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ aims to “share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.”
Can the world kick its fossil-fuel addiction fast enough?
By Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 25 April 2018
Making sense of recent energy trends can seem like a high-stakes Rorschach test. Some experts see the boom in renewable energy and the shift away from coal in many countries as evidence that the world is beginning to turn a corner on global warming. Others see simply a continuing reliance on low-cost fossil fuels, slow governmental action and a rising risk of planetary meltdown.
Can a nature-based economy help us drive green growth?
By Frank Rijsberman, Global Green Growth Institute, 25 April 2018
Bioeconomy is a hot topic for scientists and policymakers. Rapid advances in molecular biology combined with big data and artificial intelligence have resulted in big jumps in our understanding of living organisms, including the biomass produced by plants and animals, at the level of their DNA.
Forest loss leads to local climate change effect in Borneo
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Landscape News, 25 April 2018
If you have ever perspired under the sun in the tropics and then experienced the welcome crispness of the shade offered by the leafy boughs of a tree, the focus of a new study by scientists at the University of Queensland and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences clearly linking forest loss and local climate change in Borneo seems obvious: forests help keep things cool.
[Cameroon] Taylor Guitars Launches ‘The Ebony Project,’ An Immersive Multimedia Storytelling Experience About Responsible Ebony Wood Sourcing
Taylor Guitars press release, 25 April 2018
Taylor Guitars, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium acoustic guitars, is excited to launch an engrossing digital experience called The Ebony Project. The eight-part story takes people on a virtual journey to the African country of Cameroon to learn more about Taylor’s efforts to improve the ebony trade after purchasing a sawmill there in 2011. The experience blends incredible footage of the Congo Basin Rainforest with written storytelling, video interviews, and photos, offering a deeper appreciation for the people and effort involved in sourcing ebony used for musical instruments.
[Indonesia] Study puts a figure to hidden cost of community-company conflict in palm oil industry
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 25 April 2018
It took Yando Zakaria, an Indonesian anthropologist, four hours to convince the embattled Suku Anak Dalam tribe to get involved in his study last year on the cost of social conflicts in the palm oil industry.
The study was commissioned by the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD), and aimed to calculate the costs of social conflicts incurred by local communities as a result of the palm oil industry’s expansion.
Kenya’s forest people hope reforms will stem graft and evictions
By Kevin Mwanza, Reuters, 25 April 2018
Cosmas Murunga, an elder from Kenya’s forest-dwelling Ogiek community, pointed at a beehive in a tree a few meters from his grass-thatched house on the mist-swathed slopes of Mount Elgon.
He said a government scheme allowing farmers to grow crops among seedlings has ruined his honey harvest in the Ogiek’s ancestral home, Chepkitale forest, in western Kenya.
Grabbing Green? The institutionalization of the green economy in Tanzania
By Jill Tove Buseth, Green Mentality, 25 April 2018
Policies increasingly discuss technological and financial aspects of the green transition, particularly in the global North. Less attention has been paid to the ways in which the green economy is being implemented in the global South, as well as to the governance implications of these green transitions. While the green economy in the global North often focuses on technological innovation in the energy sector, the green economy in the global South often infers transformed control over natural resources. Initiatives such as carbon and biodiversity offsetting, REDD+ and wildlife conservation are all examples of this. The green economy is also increasingly merged with investments aiming to increase productivity in the agriculture sector in Africa – also known as the ‘New Green Revolution’ in Africa.
26 April 2018
‘We’re doomed’: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention
By Patrick Barkham, The Guardian, 26 April 2018
“We’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman with such a beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”
Brands ‘neglecting land rights’ as key weapon in battle to save forests
By Eric Marx, Ethical Corp, 26 April 2018
Any effective approach for curbing deforestation and climate change should clarify and secure community land rights. This proposition, known as FPIC (free, prior and informed consent) is pushed by environmental activists and human rights groups as the next ground upon which business practice could soon evolve, amidst a recognition that none of the companies that pledged to protect forests are on track to achieve their 2020 “zero-deforestation” targets.
What happened at the 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit
By Nabiha Shahab, CIFOR Forests News, 26 April 2018
Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region on earth, home to the world’s three largest cities.
Yet it also contains 740 million hectares of forests, accounting for 26% of the region’s land area and 18% of forest cover globally. More than 450 million people depend on these forests for their livelihoods.
[DRC] NGOs fear UN REDD+ scheme to combat deforestation will lead to land grabs
By Eric Marx, Ethical Corp, 26 April 2018
Land rights is emerging as a big issue in the UN’s REDD+ programme to reduce deforestation, with concern focused on a tract of 9.8 million forested hectares in the Mai-Ndombe province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Mai-Ndombe contains an exceptionally high concentration of advanced REDD+ projects, as well as enormous amounts of tropical forest carbon. At least 20 projects are under way or planned, covering 12.3 million hectares, with an investment of more than $90m. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
Booming EU carbon credit prices spell the end for coal, ex-Barclays analyst warns
By Mark Cobley, Financial News, 26 April 2018
The price of EU carbon credits, which have been the world’s best-performing energy commodity in the past year, is set to double again by 2021, according to a top sector analyst who quit Barclays for a climate-change think tank this month.
The cost of these credits could go even higher if EU governments follow through on pledges they made at the Paris climate accords in 2015, he said, reaching a level that would doom the continent’s coal energy industry entirely.
[Indonesia] More land, forests burned down in Jambi
By Jon Afrizal, Jakarta Post, 26 April 2018
Land and forest fires have been detected in the regencies of Batanghari and Kerinci, as well as Sungai Penuh city in Jambi, the Batanghari Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has said.
Two fires occurred in January, while one incident occurred in April. “A total of 3.2 hectares has been burned down, with five hot spots,” he said on Thursday.
Offspring Films lands first BBC commission with “Red Ape”
By Daniele Alcinii, Real Screen, 26 April 2018
Bristol-based Offspring Films has secured its first commission for the BBC with an hour-long documentary about orangutans for the British pubcaster.
Red Ape: Saving the Orangutan provides exclusive access to frontline conservation efforts in Borneo by following a team of medics from International Animal Rescue (IAR) in their fight to save the region’s endangered orangutan.
27 April 2018
A place to turn to when you’re stumped by forest governance issues
By Valerie Wayte, UN-REDD Programme, 27 April 2018
In case you haven’t heard of it yet, there’s a place to go when you face a challenge related to forest governance in your REDD+ -related work.
With 494 members from 78 countries, the online discussion group on REDD+ and Forest Governance – or the ‘D-Group’ as it is referred to – is a popular forum for informal exchange of information and ideas on issues of fundamental importance to the success of REDD+. Often the best advice can come from a peer who has faced a similar issue, sometimes in a distant country. The D-Group aims to facilitate the sharing of technical knowledge and insight across national boundaries to stimulate and inspire new effective approaches to forest governance challenges.
REDD+: Shell joins forest protection programme
BusinessGreen, 27 April 2018
Shell joins REDD+ Business Initiative in support of new offset programme for customers’ fleets
One of the world’s largest energy companies has vowed to step up efforts to halt the destruction of valuable rainforests, after Shell formally joined the corporate-led conservation programme REDD+ Business Initiative this week.
The programme is designed to help companies embed forest conservation agendas into their corporate strategies.
Paris to decide fate of ‘mega’ gold mine in forests of French Guiana
By Chloé Farand, The Guardian, 27 April 2018
Through the window of the small propeller plane leaving the capital Cayenne, the jungle’s canopy stretches out as far as the eye can see.
More than 90% covered by luxuriant rainforest, French Guiana has little in common with mainland France bar the name.
Yet this corner of the Amazon forest is awaiting a decision by Emmanuel Macron’s government over the development of a controversial open-pit gold mine that would be the country’s largest.
Forest fires in India increased by 125 per cent in last two years
By Kiran Pandey, Down to Earth, 27 April 2018
India, which saw a 46 per cent increase in the number of forest fires in the last 16 years (2003-17), witnessed a 125 per cent spike (from 15,937 to 35,888) in such fires in just two years (2015 to 2017).
In 2017, the maximum number of forest fires were reported in Madhya Pradesh (4,781) followed by Odisha (4,416) and Chhattisgarh (4,373).
Significant Progress in Indonesia’s Forest Fire Prevention: Carbon Conservation
By Suksmajati Kumara, Jakarta Globe, 27 April 2018
In 2015, Sumatra and West Kalimantan were hit by the worst forest and peatland fires in history, which have blanketed much of Southeast Asia in toxic haze. The air-pollution crisis brought Indonesia into the local and international media spotlight.
To prevent forest fires and the damage they do to the environment, livelihood and health of many, APRIL, a major producer of fiber, pulp and paper, and the Indonesian government came up with the Fire Free Village Program (FFVP). It was introduced in Riau province on Sumatra’s east coast in 2015.
The program aims to address the underlying causes of fires, such as slash-and-burn farming, by means of education and raising awareness of the devastating impacts they have on communities in Indonesia and neighboring countries.
REDD+: Nigeria initiates moves to take inventory of forest emissions
EnviroNews Nigeria, 27 April 2018
Consequent upon its commitment to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) through the implementation of REDD+ Readiness activities, Nigeria has commenced moves to assess its historical emissions to establish a Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL). The FREL is a benchmark on which REDD is measured.
[USA] California’s Love Affair With Big Oil: from Marine ‘Protection’ to Cap-and-Trade
By Dan Bacher, CounterPunch, 27 April 2018
My long series of articles investigating the power of Big Oil in California, including my coverage of the passage last year of Jerry Brown’s legislation extending California’s cap-and-trade program past 2020, began at the Annual Legislative Fisheries Forum at the State Capitol in March of 2009.