“The aim of reducing the emissions from forest destruction and degradation caused by industrial agriculture, logging, mining for fossil resources, etc. is today decisive to the survival of humankind and our planet. However, when the tool to achieve this aim is the trading of emission credits (offsets), we arrive at the wrong solutions.”
“Hongmu” is a style of intricately carved Chinese wooden furniture and artworks. It’s found on sale in glitzy shopping malls across mainland China. But behind the timber used to create this art form is a violent crime wave.
This week, Global Witness released a new report investigating a land grabbing crisis in Laos and Cambodia. The report looks at two Vietnamese “rubber baron” companies, Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) and the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG). Global Witness found that these companies “have leased vast tracts of land for plantations in Laos and Cambodia, with disastrous consequences for local communities and the environment”.
A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency confirms that logs from Laos continue to pour over the border into Vietnam feeding a booming furniture industry there, despite a ban on exports of unprocessed timber from Laos. This illegal trade has serious implications for REDD in both countries.
In 2005, a Japanese company called Oji Paper took over a project to plant 50,000 hectares of mainly eucalyptus plantations in central Laos. The following year, as part of his research in Laos, a Canadian researcher took a series of photographs of forests cleared by Oji’s bulldozers. Now, Oji Paper wants to get REDD funding for its plantations in Laos.
Last month I was invited to speak at a workshop titled, “Food, Livelihoods and Climate Change in the Mekong Region”. I was asked to give an introduction to REDD and an overview of some of the REDD projects and actors in the Mekong Region.
A recent study, “Forest transition in Vietnam and displacement of deforestation abroad,” found that while Vietnam’s area of forest is increasing, it is doing so at the expense of forests in other countries, including Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia.