By now you will have seen the headlines. The image above is just a small selection. They are based on a paper published in Science titled, “The global tree restoration potential”. While the paper generated wildly optimistic headlines, it also generated a fair bit of criticism.
In 2009, Nophea Sasaki and Francis Putz wrote a paper titled, “Critical need for new definitions of ‘forest’ and ‘forest degradation’ in global climate change agreements”. Their concern was that, under current definitions of forests, “great quantities of carbon and other environmental values will be lost when natural forests are severely degraded or replaced by plantations but technically remain ‘forests.’”
The Government of India is proposing to lease 40% of the country’s forests, classified as “degraded”, to private companies to improve and restore forest landscapes. Earlier this week, the All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM) put out a statement opposing this proposed privatisation of India’s forests.
On 9 April 2015, the Brazilian Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) approved the commercial use of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. This is the first approval of GE trees in Latin America. The application came from FuturaGene, a subsidiary of pulp and paper company, Suzano.
21 March was International Day of Forests. The theme this year, chosen by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation was “Forests | Climate | Change”. FAO explains that this theme was chosen “purposely to highlight the ways in which forests and climate change are linked, and to rally global support for greater action and change”.
The Warsaw decision on national forest monitoring systems allows governments to decide for themselves how they define “forests”. A better way of undermining what little legitimacy REDD had is difficult to imagine.
“How much carbon is emitted from tropical deforestation?” asks Daniel J. Zarin of the Climate and Land Use Alliance in the most recent issue of Science magazine. The answer may be considerably less than previously thought.
“Secondary forests are a major terrestrial carbon sink and reliable estimates of their carbon stocks are pivotal for understanding the global carbon balance and initiatives to mitigate CO2 emissions through forest management and reforestation.” This is the first sentence of a recently published paper in Forest Ecology and Management.
There is much to criticise in Indonesia’s moratorium on new forestry concessions. Many of these criticisms have been put forward in previous posts on REDD-Monitor (here, here and here). A recent briefing from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) points out serious flaws with the moratorium and then makes suggestions for improving it.
In September 2011, the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference took place in Bonn, Germany. About 1,500 people from 70 countries turned up. On the third day of the meeting, a remarkable thing happened. Not a single participant at the conference put up their hand to disagree with a declaration which promotes REDD as a carbon trading mechanism.
Yesterday, Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, promised that he would “dedicate the last three years of my term as President to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia”.
“It’s important to remember the moratorium is not primarily about what won’t take place during that two year-period, e.g. halting conversion of forest for economic development. Much more significant is what will take place during that same timeframe.” That’s Aida Greenbury of Asia Pulp and Paper welcoming the moratorium that finally came into effect last week in Indonesia.