The Suruí Forest Carbon Project in Brazil has been suspended indefinitely as a result of illegal diamond and gold mining, as well as illegal logging, inside the 248,147 hectare territory of the Suruí.
The Suruí Forest Carbon Project was the first REDD project to be developed and run by indigenous people. The Suruí’s Seventh of September territory covers an area of 248,000 hectares on the border of the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso. The chief of the Suruí, Almir Suruí, has been lauded internationally for his role in promoting the project. He’s been called the Gandhi of the Amazon. In 2013, he won a UN Forest Hero Award.
In 2011, REDD-Monitor asked “Can REDD save the Amazon?”. Six years later, after Norway has poured more than US$1 billion into REDD in Brazil, it is clear that REDD is not a solution to Amazon deforestation. Deforestation fell from 2004 to 2012, but the reasons were nothing to do with REDD. Now deforestation is going back up.
A new report by the Forest Peoples Programme finds that “Deforestation and forest degradation have increased in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite the government’s commitment to safeguard its forests”.
The Areng Valley in southwest Cambodia has been home to the Chong indigenous people for more than 600 years. The area is also home to elephants, pileated gibbons, clouded leopards, and is one of the most important breeding sites for the endangered Siamese crocodile. But a proposed dam threatens the river, the forests and its inhabitants.
The Paraguayan Chaco covers an area about the size of Poland. Thorn forests provide habitat to a wide range of species, including jaguar, ocelot, puma, tapir and giant armadillo. It is home to indigenous peoples, such as the Ayoreo, some of whom are uncontacted, the last uncontacted indigenous tribe south of the Amazon.
One year ago, Wetlands International released a report that revealed that the rate of deforestation in Malaysia’s province of Sarawak is about 2% a year. Most is being converted to oil palm plantations. “Total deforestation in Sarawak is 3.5 times as much as that for entire Asia, while deforestation of peat swamp forest is 11.7 times as much,” the report states.
The Dayak Benuaq Indigenous People of Muara Tae in East Kalimantan are defending their last remaining area of forest against two palm oil companies. “This is the last remaining forests that we have and the only land we have to survive. If my forests are gone, our lives will end,” says Pak Singko, a leader of the Dayak Benuaq of Muara Tae.
Earlier this week, Greenpeace activists blockaded a Chinese logging ship, the Fu Tian, that was exporting timber from Papua New Guinea. The ship was docked near the village of West Pomio, where villagers are protesting the operations of Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau and its subsidiary, Gilford Limited.
Two pieces of depressing news from the Amazon. First, the price of gold has increased, leading to increased mining and increased deforestation. Second, Brazil is planning to invest US$120 billion in large-scale infrastructure projects in the Amazon region.