REDD-Monitor’s on-going round-up of the news on forests, the climate crisis, REDD, and natural climate solutions. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter. For weekly REDD in the news posts, click here.
Firms asked to compensate 22.5 billion USD for Indonesia’s forest fires
VNA, 19 November 2019
The Indonesian government is set to receive some 315 trillion IDR (22.5 billion USD) from a number of corporates in the forest fire public lawsuit, according to the Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK).
The amount is from nine lawsuits that were granted by the Supreme Court (MA) a while back, said KLHK Director General of Law Enforcement Rasio Ridho Sani.
In total, there are 17 lawsuits related to the massive forest fires Indonesia witnessed this year. Last month, the ministry deemed eight corporate suspects and one individual responsible for widespread forest fires.
After Brazil’s Summer of Fire, the Militarization of the Amazon Remains
By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia, Foreign Policy, 19 November 2019
Over the summer, as fires burned more than 20,000 hectares of Amazon forest, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro decided to authorize the deployment of the Brazilian Armed Forces to try to contain the blaze. The operation lasted until Oct. 24 and, according to the Defense Ministry, resulted in 127 arrests and more than $33 million in fines.
Forest the size of 8,300 football fields destroyed in Ghana annually – NDF report
By Ama Cromwell, Joy Online, 20 November 2019
Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), a non-governmental organisation, has revealed that 2.5 million m³ of timber, which is equivalent to a forest area of 8,300 football fields, is illegally harvested annually in Ghana.
Addressing the media on the study published on Wednesday, the Capacity Building Expert, Abena Wood, said illegal logging is a major cause of Ghana’s deforestation.
“Between 2000 and 2010, increase in forest cover through forest plantations is 150,000 hectares, which accounts for only 13% of forest cover loss (1,150,000 hectares),” she stated.
Muslim women in Kenya raise butterflies to aid forests
By Andrew Wasike, AA, 20 November 2019
Butterflies are empowering and transforming the lives of many women in the village of Gede on the eastern coast of Kenya.
Gede is well-known for its ancient ruins which consist of mansions, mosques and houses that are estimated to be around 800 years old.
[Ghana] NDF, Tropenbos trains community monitors on REDD at Sefwi Wiawso
GhanaWeb, 19 November 2019
Nature and Development Foundation (NDF) and Tropenbos Ghana (TBG) with funding from European Union had as part of its implementation projects on “Strengthening the Capacity of Non-state Actors (NSAs) to improve Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) have organised a training exercise for its monitors and farmers with the Western North Region.
US Govt updates on proceedings against co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow
By Maria Nikolova, FinanceFeeds, 18 November 2019
The United States Government has provided an update on the proceedings against Savraj Gata-Aura, a co-conspirator of Ponzi scammer Renwick Haddow.
In a filing with the New York Southern District Court on November 19, 2019, the Government says that on November 18, 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty to Count One of the S1 Indictment, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 18, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. before Judge Rakoff.
[Kenya] Why We Must Save the Elephants… or Else
By Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble, The Daily Beast, 19 November 2019
Everyone loves elephants.” We hear it a lot, but do we love them enough to want to ensure their survival on this planet? Not as zoo inmates or residents of elephant sanctuaries, but as free-roaming keystone species in savannas and forests living in family groups? Elephants are waterhole-excavating, bulldozing, bark-stripping engineers and gardeners of their environments—and for that they need space. Their migration routes and deep-trodden paths, some of them probably hundreds of years old, once meandered across the African continent, connecting waterholes, rivers, food sources, salt licks. Elephants prefer not to climb, so where they could, rather than traverse ridges, their paths followed the contours of the land. It is no surprise that civil engineers often followed them to put in roads.
[USA] Landowners earn millions for CO2 savings that may not happen
By Lawrence Cole, Asumtech, 19 November 2019
As part of a California program to control climate change, US landowners have received hundreds of millions of dollars in promised carbon dioxide reductions, which may not materialize.
The government has issued carbon credits for projects that may exceed their emission reductions by 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is one-third of the overall cuts that the government’s emissions trading program should reach, according to a in the next decade Policy Brief, which will be published in the coming days by the University of California at Berkeley.
The forests of the Amazon are an important carbon sink
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research press release, 18 November 2019
The world’s tropical forests store huge quantities of carbon in their biomass and thus constitute an important carbon sink. However, current estimates of the amount of carbon dioxide stored in tropical forests of the Amazon vary largely. Scientists at the UFZ have developed an approach that uses recent satellite data to provide much more precise estimates of the amount of biomass in tropical forests than in the past. This makes it possible to obtain a more exact picture of the consequences of droughts and forest fires for the Amazon.
The cost of consumerism: Indonesian forest fires linked to global brands
By Zachary Frye, ASEAN Today, 19 November 2019
Indonesia is struggling with forest fires and the destruction of natural ecosystems. Every year, palm oil producers burn swathes of land across the country to make way for new crops. While this may be financially beneficial, the fires are leading to severe air-quality problems.
According to a newly released Greenpeace study, big-name consumer brands, including Unilever, Mondelez, Nestlé, and Proctor and Gamble, continue to buy products from suppliers that utilize dangerous farming techniques. The report claims these companies are linked to over 10,000 fire hotspots around the country.
USA fires MAPPED: The shocking extent of fires burning across America right now
By Kaisha Langton, Daily Express, 18 November 2019
This year to date, there have been 146,621 fires according to MODIS fire alerts data. The fire alerts are spread across the breadth of the country. The worst hit areas are the south east and the west coast of the USA. In total during the week to November 17, there were 433 MODIS alerts and 1,544 VIIRS alerts.
Australia fires: Sydney blanketed by smoke from NSW bushfires
BBC News, 19 November 2019
People in Sydney woke up to a city shrouded in smoke on Tuesday, as scores of bushfires rage across the region.
Strong winds overnight brought smoke from fires inland, pushing the air quality in Australia’s largest city to beyond “hazardous” levels at times.
On social media, locals have described hazy skies and the stench of smoke in their homes.
[Guyana] Paying countries for carbon protects forests, but only if payments continue
Boise State University press release, 18 November 2019
Fires ravaging the Amazon rainforests and global climate strikes have highlighted the need for global action to mitigate climate change and conserve forests. Though the situation can seem dire at times, there is good news from a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Carbon payments do protect forests and represent one solution to reversing the trend of global deforestation.
[Indonesia] Gov’t Rolls Out New Forest Replantation Program With Unique Catch
Jakarta Globe, 18 November 2019
The government has launched a program to replant and protect natural forests in Indonesia, luring local people to join it with the promise that they would be allowed to harvest some of the forests’ yield.
The Environment and Forestry Ministry has already spent Rp 2.7 trillion ($200 million) since January to replant 206,000 hectares of forest by the end of this year – ten times the area the ministry had managed to replant before 2019.
Dangerous levels of warming locked in by planned jump in fossil fuels output
By Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, 20 November 2019
Global governments plan to produce 120 percent more fossil fuels by 2030, drastically at odds with the 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) warming limit they all agreed to under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. All major fossil fuel-producing nations—including the United States, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Canada, and Australia—have ambitious plans to increase production, according to a new report by leading research organizations and the United Nations.
The climate science is clear: it’s now or never to avert catastrophe
By Bill McKibben, The Guardian, 20 November 2019
The one thing never to forget about global warming is that it’s a timed test.
It’s ignoble and dangerous to delay progress on any important issue, of course – if, in 2020, America continues to ignore the healthcare needs of many of its citizens, those people will sicken, die, go bankrupt. The damage will be very real. But that damage won’t make it harder, come 2021 or 2025 or 2030, to do the right thing about healthcare.
Carbon Credits Won’t Be Travel’s Saving Grace
By Nikki Ekstein, Bloomberg, 18 November 2019
Greta Thunberg is once again sailing across the Atlantic, and travelers everywhere are being reminded: There’s never been a more depressing time to fly.
That’s not just because of shrinking seats. With air transit accounting for from 2% to 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions, travelers are having to weigh their consciences against their desire to see the planet in all its (thawing) glory.
One Whale Is Worth Thousands of Trees in Climate Fight, New Report Says
By Jana Randow, Time, 20 November 2019
Climate activists would be better off trying to save whales rather than planting trees if they had to choose between those options, according to a report published by the International Monetary Fund.
Great whales are the carbon-capture titans of the animal world, absorbing an average of 33 tons of CO2 each throughout their lives before their carcasses sink to the bottom of the ocean and remain there for centuries, according an article in the December issue of the IMF’s Finance & Development magazine. A tree, by contrast, absorbs no more than 48 pounds of the gas a year.
Forest damage costs far more than thought
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 19 November 2019
We know already that human activities are causing devastating forest damage. Now a new study shows the loss we face could be much worse than we think.
Here, it says, is how to multiply your country’s contribution to solving the carbon problem sixfold. It’s simple. Do not do anything to your intact tropical forest. Don’t put roads around it, hunt in it, or select prize lumps of timber from it; don’t quarry, mine or plant oil palms in it. Just protect it.
Exclusive: Investors step up pressure on global energy watchdog over climate change
By Matthew Green and Jonas Ekblom, Reuters, 18 November 2019
Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), faced renewed pressure on Monday from investors and scientists concerned about climate change to overhaul the agency’s projections for fossil fuel demand.
Sustainable wildlife management key as Guyana faces rapid economic change
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News, 15 November 2019
If you drive along a rural road in Guyana’s southern Rupununi region at night, your headlights are likely to pick out a caiman waddling across the road or a couple of foxes bounding ahead of your vehicle.
Most roads in the area are unpaved, and traffic is light, so relatively few animals are killed by vehicles. But that rate could rise in the near future. Guyana is poised for a cascade of changes that could have dramatic impacts on the Rupununi landscape, its wildlife and the people who depend on fish and wild game for food.
Balancing development and conservation needs of stakeholders in a shared landscape
By Sandra Cordon, CIFOR Forests News, 13 November 2019
Integrate knowledge holders. Understand power relationships and address imbalances to ensure marginalized groups are heard. Promote transparency in decisions and actions in landscape restoration work. Address governance and ensure transparency in motives and “political visions.”
Also, try to be humble in dealings with local stakeholders, particularly communities and traditional leaders; yet review all knowledge, common practices and traditions with a healthy skepticism. And remember to consider gender and youths in stakeholder platforms.
CIFOR and ICRAF Create ‘Resilient Landscapes’ Initiative
By Catherine Benson Wahlén, IISD, 14 November 2019
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), both of the CGIAR Consortium, merged at the beginning of 2019. In September 2019, they announced the creation of a new organization “born from the merger”: Resilient Landscapes. The organization will promote sustainable, innovative solutions to ensure integrated, multi-functional landscapes that are performing, productive and resilient and will help countries, communities and companies improve land management and livelihoods in sustainable and resilient ways.
Indian government scraps “dangerous” forest law after outcry
Survival Internationl,15 November 2019
The Indian government has scrapped a plan to militarize its forests and open them up for commercial exploitation, after a national and international outcry.
The government’s proposals were initially secret, and were drawn up with the involvement of the CEO of WWF-India, Ravi Singh. But they were leaked in March, and led to protests in India and an international campaign led by Survival International.
Reforesting the UK: ‘Trees are the ultimate long-term project’
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 16 November 2019
“This whole area wants to be a wood,” says Edward Milbank, sweeping his arm across the former hill farm in Northumberland. Small saplings of birch have invaded the cleared ground, but many more trees are being pushed into the soil by hand.
The bracken and rhododendron that had overrun the hillside took heavy machinery three months to rip out. “When you disturb the soil, it becomes a wood very quickly,” says Milbank.
[Kenya] Ministry rolls out plan to reclaim two forests
By Julius Chepkwony, Standard Digital, 17 November 2019
Two weeks after the government launched an initiative for planting 10 million trees in the Mau, plans are underway to reclaim two other forests.
The reclamation efforts are now set to move to Marmanet and Embobut forests in Laikipia County and Elgeyo Marakwet counties respectively.
A total of 19,700 tree seedlings were planted through aerial means while 300,000 by locals on more 35,000 hectares of the Mau forest. The Ministry revealed that Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko toured Marmanet forest and decried the extensive encroachment.
Activists hold climate conference deep in the Amazon rainforest
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 15 November 2019
The search for solutions to the climate crisis does not get any more radical, far-reaching or deeper into nature than the alternative climate conference currently taking place in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.In the past few days, European climate strikers and Extinction Rebellion youth activists have travelled by motor canoe deep into a region known as Terra do Meio to share ideas with indigenous leaders, forest dwellers, environmental activists and Brazil’s leading climate scientists, anthropologists and archaeologists. The Russian punk anarchist Nadya Tolokonnikova, of Pussy Riot, was also set to join the gathering along with local artists and Catholic bishops.
[Indonesia] ‘Timebomb’: Fires devastate tiger and elephant habitat in Sumatra
By Michael Standaert, Mongabay, 15 November 2019
Recent dry-season fires that raged across Indonesia in September and October have taken a toll on forests, even in protected areas. Fires were particularly destructive in southern Sumatra, burning around 8 percent of Sembilang National Park, according to satellite data and local observers.
The fires, along with illegal logging in the area and the conversion of secondary forest and shrub land to oil palm plantations, continue to threaten critically endangered wildlife such as the Sumatran elephant, a subspecies of the Asian elephant, and the Sumatran tiger. Endangered Malay tapir, as well as several common primate species, are also known to inhabit the park area.