JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
Forests and Deforestation 2007-2020
17 May 2020
Which Countries Have the Most Trees?
There are more than 3 trillion trees in the world, according to a fascinating study recently released in the journal Nature. The good news: That’s more than seven times earlier estimates of 400 billion trees. The bad news: Humans have cut those numbers by 47 percent since the start of civilization.
How Do You Count That Many Trees and Where Are They?
Scientists calculated what’s called “tree wealth” or “tree resources” based on estimates of the number of trees in every country in the world in relation to various factors including the country’s physical size and population.
The world’s overall tree leader is Russia, with 642 billion trees, reports The Washington Post, which analyzed the data presented by researchers. Next is Canada with 318 billion trees and Brazil with 302 billion. The United States comes in fourth with 228 billion trees.
Other countries with significant tree wealth include China (140 billion), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (100 billion), Indonesia (81 billion) and Australia (77 billion).
Borneo is burning
Kalimantan, Indonesia (CNN) — Deep within the jungles of Indonesian Borneo, illegal fires rage, creating apocalyptic red skies and smoke that has spread as far as Malaysia and Singapore.
People are choking. Animals are dying.
This is no ordinary fire. It was lit for you.
Farmers are clearing land the fastest way they know how to cash in on growing demand for palm oil, which is used in half of all supermarket products, from chocolate to shampoo.
They’re not only burning the forest, they’re destroying the peatlands that lie beneath it — the world’s largest natural terrestrial carbon sink.
The answer per story of 19 April 2019 Reduce. Reuse. Grow. CEO Alex Henige of the company Reduce. Reuse. Grow. (RRG) has developed an alternative paper cup. The company branched off of Restoration Packaging who helpted to kickstart and fund these new cups.
Posted in 2015 – wondering what has happened since
Biodegradable Coffee Cups Embedded With Seeds Grow Into Trees When Thrown Away
(Bored Panda) A creative company in California called Reduce. Reuse. Grow has designed a coffee cup that is not only biodegradable, but even has seeds in its walls so that it can be planted and grown!
The cups, which are currently part of a Kickstarter campaign, will have seeds embedded in their walls based on their locations. Participating stores will encourage people to plant the cups themselves or to return them to be planted by the company.
‘Once they’re gone, they’re gone’: the fight to save the giant sequoia
A conservation group plans to buy the largest privately owned sequoia grove as the climate crisis threatens the species’ future
(The Guardian) Few living beings have experienced as much as the giant sequoias. With ancestors dating back to the Jurassic era, some of the trees that now grow along California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains been alive for thousands of years, bearing witness to most of human history – from the fall of the Roman empire to the rise of Beyoncé.
But a couple hundred years of human encroachment on to the sequoias’ habitat, combined with the climate crisis, increasingly intense wildfires, and drought have threatened the species’ future. The last of the world’s most massive trees now live on just 73 groves scattered across the Sierras. Most lie within protected national parks such as Sequoia national park, where visitors flock from around the world to marvel at General Sherman, the world’s most massive tree.
But not all sequoias are protected within the parks system. Now, in an ambitious bid to secure a future for them, a conservation group has struck an unusual deal to acquire the last, largest privately owned sequoia grove.
The deal is the result of two decades of discussions between the not-for-profit conservation group Save the Redwoods and the Rouch family, which has owned the 530-acre Alder Creek grove since before the second world war. The forest is home to hundreds of sequoias, including the Stagg Tree which – at more than 240ft tall and 100ft around – is the fifth-largest in the world.
… Although sequoias have evolved to withstand temperature changes, extreme heat and fire, drought and destructive wildfires are now proving to be the biggest threats to their survival.
Curiously, decades of humans fighting fires has made the problem worse.
“Giant sequoias really need wildfire,” explained Kristen Shive, a forest ecologist with Save the Redwoods. Their cones are cued up to open with the heat of a fire, releasing seeds that like to germinate in freshly burned, fertile forest floor.
Burning issue: Indonesia fires put palm oil under scrutiny
(Japan Times) A brutal Indonesian forest fire season that left Southeast Asia choking in smog has renewed scrutiny of major palm oil and paper companies, with activists accusing them of breaking promises to halt logging.
The monster blazes sent a pall of acrid smoke over the region for weeks, closing schools and airports and causing a spike in respiratory ailments.
Mostly lit to clear land for agriculture, they were the worst seen in the country since 2015.
Leading companies have in recent years pledged not to log any more pristine rainforest, not to use burning to clear land and to cut ties with smaller suppliers who don’t abide by their rules — but critics say such vows now ring hollow.
Trees hold the answers to many of life’s problems
By Diana Beresford-Kroeger, scientist and author. Her most recent book is To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest, from which this is adapted.
(Globe & Mail) We find ourselves living in a special time. On the one hand, the climate crisis poses the most significant threat to our future that humanity has ever faced. On the other, we are better equipped than ever before to take on that challenge. To do so, though, we need to understand and respect the natural world as people once did. We need to see all that the sacred cathedral of the forest offers us, and understand that among those many offerings is a way to save the world.
The forest is far more than a source of lumber. It is our lungs. It cleans the atmosphere. It recycles water. It is our collective medicine cabinet. It is the regulatory system for our climate and feeds our oceans. It is the cooling mantle of the planet. It is the health and well-being of our children and grandchildren. It is our salvation.
Trees offer us the solution to nearly every problem facing humanity today, from halting global temperature rise to defending against drug-resistant bacteria. And trees affect our lives, our cultures and spirit in many other ways. The tapestry of life, worldwide, depends on trees.
Over the past decade, science and medicine have been revealing all the ways that trees and forests are good for your health, especially mental health.
The African Congo Is Quietly Being Deforested As The Amazon Rainforest Burns
2019 could very well be the single worst year of deforestation the world has ever witnessed, and we will all be negatively impacted as species die-off, medicinal plants are destroyed, and the Earth’s primary defense against climate change is ruthlessly cut down to make way for agricultural and fossil fuel industry pursuits. If we are to deal with this problem before it’s too late, nations must take action now.
Gold mining leaves heart of Peruvian Amazon a wasteland
(PBS) A decade of illegal gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon has left thousands of acres of rainforest a wasteland. Unpermitted miners cleared vast sections of trees near Peru’s border with Brazil and infused the land with mercury, causing an environmental disaster. But some miners have fled after Peruvian troops moved in. Special correspondent Leo Schwartz reports in the first of a two-part series.
Peru is the seventh largest gold producer in the world. The U.S. imports around $2 billion dollars-worth a year, despite the fact that an estimated 20% of it is illegally mined in places like the Madre de Dios region. It’s a sparsely inhabited jungle the size of Indiana, along Peru’s borders with Bolivia and Brazil. Gold extraction isn’t illegal everywhere in Madre de Dios, but is never allowed inside national reserves or the buffer zones around them. Government officials estimate that as many as 40,000 illegal miners have occupied these areas, clearing trees, digging pits and infusing the ground with mercury. The toxic chemical draws the precious gold out of the sand and dirt, but is then left behind, poisoning the landscape. But at least some of those miners are now on the run. In February, The Peruvian Government declared a state of emergency in Madre de Dios and sent in eighteen hundred army troops and police. Today, there are seven fixed bases and a network of field sites. It’s called “Operation Mercury.” Jorge Cotito is a colonel with the Peruvian National Police.
Indonesia arrests nearly 200 over raging forest fires
Jakarta has deployed thousands of personnel to battle blazes that are turning land into charred landscapes and consuming forests in Sumatra and Borneo islands, where thousands of schools have been shut over health fears.
The fires — usually started by illegal burning to clear land for farming — have unleashed choking haze across Southeast Asia, triggering diplomatic tensions with Indonesia’s neighbours.(17 September)
Deforestation damage goes far beyond the Amazon
West Africa and Congo basin are hotspots for forest loss but receive lower global attention (12 September)
Ethiopia breaks world record by planting 350 million trees in one day
(Euronews) In a historic move for the east African nation, Ethiopia has this week announced a tree-planting initiative, via UN Environment, to outdo virtually any other country in the world. Based initially at the Gulele Botanical Garden in the capital of Addis Ababa, volunteers began planting 350 million trees spanning right across the country. In just 12 hours, the world record was broken, in an admirable attempt to combat the effects of deforestation and climate change. By fulfilling the tree-planting record, the country is surpassing its Green Legacy goal, conceived by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, of planting 200 million trees in a day at over 1,000 sites.
The last country to attempt such a feat was India, who have been reigning champions since 2016 when they planted 49.3 million trees in just one day, involving 800,000 volunteers. Equally, back in 2018, China announced plans to plant forests covering an area roughly the size of Ireland and the UK, one of the least forested countries in Europe (13% according to Forest Research), spent £5.7 million to develop a new northern forest in 2018. Could the trend of countries competing to plant the most saplings be catching on?
The Economist: This week our cover looks at the plight of the Amazon. The destruction of the world’s tropical forests already releases vast amounts of carbon through fire and decay. Were they a country, tropical forests would be the world’s third-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide after China and America. But worse looms. The Amazon basin, home to 40% of Earth’s rainforest and 10-15% of its terrestrial species, may be perilously close to the tipping-point beyond which its transformation into something closer to a steppe within decades cannot be stopped or reversed, even if the loggers lay down their chainsaws. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is sprinting towards that future in the name, he claims, of development. The Amazon’s collapse would be felt most acutely within his country’s borders, but far beyond them, too. It must be averted.
Long-lost Congo notebooks may shed light on how trees react to climate change
Decaying notebooks discovered in an abandoned research station contain a treasure trove of tree growth data dating from 1930s
A cache of decaying notebooks found in a crumbling Congo research station has provided unexpected evidence with which to help solve a crucial puzzle – predicting how vegetation will respond to climate change.
The treasure trove of tree growth data dating from the 1930s was found by the biologist Koen Hufkens in a tumbledown building at the Yangambi Biological Station, which was once Africa’s leading forest and agriculture research institution. Combined with other records, the recovered data allows Hufkens to make improved predictions about the health of the forest.
We are destroying rainforests so quickly they may be gone in 100 years
By John Vidal
At current rates of deforestation, rainforests will vanish altogether in a century. Stopping climate change will remain an elusive goal unless poor nations are helped to preserve them
If you want to see the world’s climate changing, fly over a tropical country. Thirty years ago, a wide belt of rainforest circled the earth, covering much of Latin America, south-east Asia and Africa. Today, it is being rapidly replaced by great swathes of palm oil trees and rubber plantations, land cleared for cattle grazing, soya farming, expanding cities, dams and logging.
People have been deforesting the tropics for thousands of years for timber and farming, but now, nothing less than the physical transformation of the Earth is taking place. Every year about 18m hectares of forest – an area the size of England and Wales – is felled. In just 40 years, possibly 1bn hectares, the equivalent of Europe, has gone. Half the world’s rainforests have been razed in a century, and the latest satellite analysis shows that in the last 15 years new hotspots have emerged from Cambodia to Liberia. At current rates, they will vanish altogether in 100 years.
FOUND! Sarawak’s Stolen Wealth Is Locked In A Treasure Trove In The United States!
(Sarawak Report) The treasure is in the form of vast land assets and investments, comprising major developments, mineral companies and enterprises in science and technology – all worth billions of dollars. … it is here that much of the profit from the rainforest’s destruction has been invested, watering select slices of this insatiable desert to create new townships. …
The poor native peoples of the state certainly did not benefit. The universal practice of ‘transfer pricing’, to which Taib Mahmud turned a clearly deliberate blind eye, meant that timber was sold at rock bottom prices to proxy companies, in places like Singapore, in order to avoid paying anything but a pittance in tax during all those decades of destruction.
Research further shows, and common sense indicates, that a very substantial portion of these crony companies, such as Samling, were in fact owned and controlled by the one man who had the sole power to issue and revoke all timber and plantation licences in the State, namely [Sarawak Governor] Taib Mahmud.
Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils, Dartmouth study finds
(Eureka!) Clear-cutting loosens up carbon stored in forest soils, increasing the chances it will return to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change, a Dartmouth College study shows.
The findings appear in the journal Soil Science. A PDF is available on request.
Soil is the world’s largest terrestrial carbon pool. In northern hardwood forests in the United States, mineral soil pools store up to 50 percent of total ecosystem carbon. Logging and other land-use changes are a major cause of soil carbon release, but there has been recent interest to further understand soil carbon dynamics in forested ecosystems after logging. This is of particular importance in the northeastern U.S. because of the great potential for the use of biomass as part of a diversified renewable energy portfolio.
In Borneo’s Ruined Forests, Nomads Have Nowhere to Go
Alex Shoumatoff; Photographs by Varial
(Smithsonian Magazine April 2016) The island’s hunter-gatherers are losing their home to the unquenchable global demand for timber and palm oil
Borneo’s epic rainforests are being cleared at a faster rate per acre than the Amazon’s. This might seem like a minor concern, since the island accounts for only 1 percent of the earth’s land. But according to the World Wildlife Fund, Borneo’s forests hold 6 percent of the planet’s plant and animal species. Many are now being driven toward extinction, or being extinguished before they can even be identified—all because of consumer demands around the world. Timber companies fell the ancient trees and export their wood, mostly to other Asian nations. The palm oil industry follows closely, clearing the land for enormous plantations. Ninety percent of Borneo’s primary forest cover is now gone, along with some of the tallest tropical trees in the world. In their place, much of the island is now covered with a tossing ocean of oil palm trees. The oil they produce goes out to markets in the United States, Europe and just about everywhere else: It’s an essential ingredient in processed foods, baked goods, ice cream, cosmetics, cleaning agents, biodiesel, toothpaste, shampoo and countless other products.
Great piece of investigative journalism
Indonesia: Saving the earth
In 2010, Norway’s government offered Indonesia a billion dollars to save its rainforests. Pilita Clark goes into the Borneo jungle to gauge its chances of success.
(Financial Times) [Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s climate and environment minister] may not be well known in much of the world, but in Indonesia, he is the billion dollar man, responsible for a lavish attempt to conquer one of the planet’s most pernicious environmental problems: the steady destruction of its tropical forests. As he heads to Indonesia, I join him to see if he can convince Jakarta to do more to limit deforestation and cut the greenhouse gas emissions it causes.
Waves of deforestation have occurred throughout human history as people have cleared land to make way for farms and towns, or harvested trees to fuel fires and build ships. Tree loss has generally followed population growth but, since 1950 — in the space of a single lifetime — the number of people in the world has exploded from 2.5bn to more than 7bn today, driving unparalleled demand for wood and above all, land.
The precise rate at which the world’s forests are disappearing is the subject of considerable debate. But the problem is worst in the tropics, where population growth has been fast and forests teem with so many species of animals and plants that scientists have yet to count them all. Deforestation has been especially acute in two countries: Brazil, home to much of the Amazon, the world’s biggest rainforest; and Indonesia, the 16th-biggest economy and one of the top six emitters of greenhouse gases.
n 2008, amid mounting calls for action and little sign of a solution, Norway did something unprecedented. The government declared it would give Brazil the huge sum of $1bn if it could stop chopping down so many of its trees. In 2010 it also offered $1bn to Indonesia.
Brazil’s deforestation rates have since declined so impressively that it has just been paid the last of the promised $1bn. But progress in Indonesia has been so woeful that Oslo has handed over only $60m, raising questions about whether even the most magnanimous efforts at stopping deforestation can succeed — and equally pressing concerns about climate change. …
Kalimantan, Indonesia’s part of the island of Borneo … is home to some of Indonesia’s last untouched wilderness areas and one of the world’s most endangered great apes, the orangutan. It is also oil palm country, the crop that has come to symbolise the destruction of Indonesia’s forests. Plantations spread out beyond the roadside towards the horizon.
Corruption, poverty hinder fight to save Africa’s forests
(Planet Ark/WEN) Senegal has been a leading African voice for improving the management of natural resources. A planned “Great Green Wall” from its capital Dakar across the continent to Djibouti in East Africa aims to create a natural forest barrier against the southward expansion of the Sahara Desert.
President Macky Sall boasts that Senegal has already restored 25,000 hectares of degraded land under the project, and such efforts are helping to win billions of dollars in financing for the region at climate talks in Paris this month.
But ecologists say a combination of logging and shifting rainfall patterns linked to climate change mean that nearly double that acreage is lost in Senegal each year, leaving bald savannah where forests were once so dense they blotted out the sun.
“In many forest-rich countries the problem is entrenched corruption driven by strong demand from consumer countries,” said Naomi Basik Treanor, of the U.S.-based non-profit organization Forest Trends. “It is hard for them to pass up these short-term benefits.”
After errors, Congo Basin forest effort restarts with new scrutiny
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Protecting increasingly threatened forests in central Africa’s Congo Basin will require not just cash but African governments enforcing their own forest regulations while pulling their people out of poverty, donors said on Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, governments need to take responsibility” for forests, said Per Pharo, director of the Norwegian government’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, which has committed more than $2 billion to protect forests in countries from Indonesia to Brazil.
Norway and Britain earlier this year withdrew funding from a $186 million Congo Basin Forest Fund after finding the project’s governance “inconsistent”, and saying there was little evidence the project was effectively supporting long-term protection of the region’s forests.
Those are under increasing pressure from palm oil plantations, agricultural expansion and other development efforts. … The new Central African Forest Initiative – which will work in DRC, Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo and Central African Republic – is designed to take into account those competing demands on forests, backers say.
It requires participating countries to create national investment plans, backed by top government leaders, that address the pressures driving deforestation and allow for both forest preservation and better lives for people in the countries.
REDD+ Handed in Paris
(Project Syndicate) It’s been 30 years since the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched the Tropical Forestry Action Plan, the first global intergovernmental initiative to halt forest loss. Since then, deforestation has continued unabated, and the latest international effort to stop it – an initiative known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) – looks no more likely to be effective. Far from protecting the world’s forests, the most notable outcome of these two agreements has been, ironically, the production of reams of expensive consultancy reports.
REDD+ was created as part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the agreement governing its implementation is expected to be finalized during the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris. But if world leaders are serious about halting forest loss, they should instead abandon REDD+ and replace it with a mechanism that addresses the underlying drivers of large-scale deforestation.
The flaws in REDD+ are evident in how it approaches the problem it is meant to solve. The vast majority of its projects treat forest peoples and peasant farmers as the main agents of deforestation. REDD project developers seem to be especially fond of projects that focus on restricting traditional farming practices, even as they shy away from efforts to tackle the true causes of deforestation: the expansion of industrial agriculture, massive infrastructure projects, large-scale logging, and out-of-control consumption.
Canada leads world in forest decline, report says
The world’s virgin forests are being lost at an increasing rate and the largest portion of the degradation is in Canada, according to a new report.
No longer is Brazil the main villain in the struggle to stop forest destruction.
“Canada is the number one in the world for the total area of the loss of intact forest landscapes since 2000,” Peter Lee, of Forest Watch Canada, said in an interview.
He said the main drivers are fires, logging and energy and industrial development.
“There is no political will at federal or provincial levels for conserving primary forests,” he said. “Most logging done in Canada is still to this day done in virgin forests.”
Using satellite technology, scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch and the World Resources Institute have tracked changes in the earth’s forest coverage. The scientists discovered that the pace of decline is accelerating with more than 104 million hectares – about 8.1 per cent of global undisturbed forests — lost from 2000 to 2013.
If this rate of degradation continues, “business as usual will lead to destruction of most remaining intact forests this century,” Dr. Nigel Sizer, director of the forest program at the World Resources Institute, said.
Illegal logging declining worldwide, but still ‘major problem’
A new report by the Chatham House finds that illegal logging in tropical forest nation is primarily on the decline, providing evidence that new laws and international efforts on the issue are having a positive impact. According to the report, the total global production of illegal timber has fallen by 22 percent since 2002. Yet the report also finds that nations – both producers and consumers – have a long way to go before illegal logging is an issue of the past.
Can the Amazon Thrive in the 21st Century?
Can road systems spread through the region without leading to the endless fishbone-pattern destruction of forests? Can economic resources like the oil beneath Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park be exploited without degrading the priceless biological patrimony on the surface? Can, or should, rivers be harnessed to provide renewable electricity if the result is a loss of cultures and species? (July 2010)
The Prince’s Rainforest Project ; Rainforests: The Burning Issue – online interactive booklet; FAO Forestry
Brazil data suggests spike in Amazon deforestation
(Planet Ark) Preliminary data released Tuesday by Brazil’s space agency suggests Amazon deforestation spiked by more than a third during the past year, reversing a steady decline in destruction of the world’s largest rainforest.
If substantiated by follow-up data typically compiled by the end of the year, the increase would confirm fears by scientists and environmental activists who warn that farming, mining and Amazon infrastructure projects, coupled with changes to Brazil’s long-standing environmental policies, are reversing progress made against deforestation.
Ivory Coast forest clearances threaten cocoa exports, human rights
(Planet Ark/WEN) … Cocoa represents about 10 percent of the former French colony’s economic output but the environmental costs of the industry’s growth have been high.
The European Union estimates three-quarters of the West African country’s forests, have disappeared in the past five decades, mainly due to farming including cocoa plantations.
President Alassane Ouattara’s government says it is prepared to pay the economic price of phasing agriculture out to save the dwindling tropical forest and the security services have started flattening houses and forcefully removing the farmers. … The forestry service says around half the 4.2 million hectares of protected forest reserves are illegally occupied and The evictions form part of his efforts to reassert state authority after a decade of stagnation and political turmoil.
It also tallies with his plan to diversify the economy away from cocoa, which accounts for 40 percent of exports.
Indonesian deforestation moratorium extended
(WWF) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the President of Indonesia, has extended the country’s moratorium on deforestation for another 2 years. This moratorium prohibits new exploitation permits for both primary forests and peat lands in conservation forests, protected forests and production forests. It will also apply to other forest areas included in the new indicative moratorium map.
Indonesia Fires, Singapore Smog Likely Caused By Palm Oil Companies
Palm oil companies are suspected of illegally starting widespread forest fires in Indonesia in order to clear land for palm oil plantations, Indonesian officials say.
Reuters U.K. reported Friday that the destructive blazes on the island of Sumatra had been “deliberately set.” Indonesian officials said eight companies were responsible for the fires, and more are likely to be named on Saturday, per Reuters.
“Since the fires are happening mostly on plantation lands, we believe there are plantation companies involved,” Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, according to The Times of India. “The president has already put together a team to investigate who owns the plantations
Straightening Out Accounts on Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
(IPS) – The bold strategy implemented by the Brazilian government has achieved an 84 percent reduction in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in the last eight years. But when the natural resources and pesticides used in agricultural production are taken into account, the environmental progress made is not so impressive.
Between August 2011 and July 2012, 4,571 square kilometres in the Amazon were deforested – the lowest annual rate since the Institute of Space Research (INPE) began satellite monitoring in 1988, and 27 percent lower than in the previous 12-month period.
The government and environmentalists consider that “accounts” for the Amazon should include an additional factor: the economic expansion of the country which is growing as an emerging power based on two pillars, agricultural production and mining.
Brazil is one of the top exporters of soy, beef and sugar, and its goal is to become the world’s biggest food producer. China is at present the main importer of Brazilian agricultural and livestock commodities.
… as well as illegal logging, the expansion in the Amazon of crops like soy and of cattle ranching has a strong effect on deforestation. … Brazil is currently the top global consumer of pesticides, and that the country does not include costs like the water consumed by agribusiness in the accounts it keeps of its economic growth or exports.
“Every kilo of exported beef requires thousands of litres of water for its production, a precious resource in today’s world,” [Carlos Painel, of Alternativa Terrazul, an environmental NGO] said.
The “over-use” of fuels for production and overland transport to the country’s ports is not taken into account either, he said.
Forestry Programmes Bogged Down in Latin America
(IPS) – Issues related to the ownership of forest carbon and to prior consultation mechanisms threaten to derail plans for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests (REDD+) in some countries of Latin America, according to experts.
The problems are hindering the design of Mexico’s plan in the framework of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD). In Panama, they have prompted the country’s indigenous peoples to withdraw from the programme.
Peter Foster climbs out from under his rock
Canada’s boreal forest eco-radical shakedown scam dead, but still kicking
Theoretically set to conclude on May 18, the Greenpeace/NGO extorted agreement will drag on, now apparently thanks to a subsidy from Ottawa
The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – which was conceived in eco radical do-not-buy campaigns, born of corporate appeasement, and marked by three years of infighting and lack of progress — comes to a theoretical conclusion, at the end of its three-year term, on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the CBFA is the kind of bureaucratic zombie that isn’t going to die easily. Even more unfortunately – indeed outrageously — a deal in which the federal government played no part, and which was indeed designed to impose “private” political regulation, is apparently now being supported by your tax dollars.
By strange coincidence, the amount of annual CBFA subsidy from Ottawa is, according to sources, up to $2-million, the same amount of money “saved” by the Conservatives in closing down the Experimental Lakes Area in Northern Ontario.
Peru declares environmental state of emergency in its rainforest
Government reports high levels of barium, lead, chrome and petroleum-related compounds in region that is home to oil field
(The Guardian) Peru has declared an environmental state of emergency in a remote part of its northern Amazon rainforest, home for decades to one of the country’s biggest oil fields, currently operated by the Argentinian company Pluspetrol.
Achuar and Kichwa indigenous people living in the Pastaza river basin near Peru’s border with Ecuador have complained for decades about the pollution, while successive governments have failed to deal with it. Officials indicate that for years the state lacked the required environmental quality standards.
A new law published on Monday that sets out, for the first time, environmental quality standards setting acceptable limits for contaminants in soil, may be a key advance, say officials.
Peru’s environment ministry has given Pluspetrol 90 days to clean up the affected areas and reduce the risk of contamination to the local population.
Ecuador auctions off Amazon to Chinese oil firms
Indigenous groups claim they have not consented to oil projects, as politicians visit Beijing to publicise bidding process
(The Guardian) Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China’s insatiable thirst for energy.
On Monday morning a group of Ecuadorean politicians pitched bidding contracts to representatives of Chinese oil companies at a Hilton hotel in central Beijing, on the fourth leg of a roadshow to publicise the bidding process. Previous meetings in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and in Houston and Paris were each confronted with protests by indigenous groups.
Landmark moment in bid to save Indonesia forests
Asia Pulp & Paper Co. has agreed to stop using timber harvested from natural forests. The move could represent what observers say is a landmark success by a market-based campaign to save Indonesia’s rain forests. The Christian Science Monitor (2/19)
Illegal logging besets half of Liberia’s forests
More than half of Liberia’s forests, much of it virgin rainforest — have been given over to logging companies in deals that violate local laws and could re-ignite conflict, according to the international nongovernmental organization Global Witness. Revenue from logging is seen as essential for financing the rebuilding of infrastructure after 14 years of civil war. The Guardian (London) (7/5)
Is the Brazilian forest law a missed opportunity?
The revised Brazilian forest code tries to do many things at once, including halting deforestation, regulating land use and easing the ways farmers conduct commerce. The law is seen by many observers as flawed and has led to criticism of the environmental record of President Dilma Rousseff in the run-up to the Rio+20 summit. The Economist (6/2), The Guardian (London) (6/1), The Christian Science Monitor (5/31)
Environmental law in Brazil — Compromise or deadlock?
The president’s effort to balance the claims of forests and farms has satisfied few. An opportunity to promote sustainable farming may be missed
(The Economist) The result is legally complex, perhaps inevitably (see table for a summary). The code is trying to do too many different things: to regulate land use, and to halt deforestation in the Amazon while freeing farmers elsewhere to carry out their business. The original Forest Code was pioneering in some ways. Requiring farmers to set aside part of their land for natural vegetation looks odd to foreign eyes, used to governments holding pristine land as national parks and letting private owners do as they wish. But allowing settlers to open up some land in return for protecting more had its merits in a vast country with limited state resources.
In Brazil, a showdown over rainforest deforestation
Brazil’s president is scheduled to sign a reform package today that could retroactively legalize the deforestation of millions of acres in the Amazon.
(CSM) Later today, President Dilma Roussef is expected to sign part of the “amnesty” bill into law, though she’s signaled that some amendments will be made in response to environmental concerns. But whether they go far enough to mollify an angry movement of citizens and environmental activists remains to be seen.
Indigenous Brazilian group certified to trade carbon credits
(SciDevNet) Brazil’s Paiter Suruí community has become the first indigenous group in the country to receive international certification to sell carbon credits in return for protecting and restoring forests in their Amazonian territory.
Clampdown on illegal logging in Cameroon
Cameroon has suspended the licenses of 27 companies found to be in violation of logging laws put into place after more than 13% of the country’s forest cover was lost between 1990 and 2005 due to commercial logging, agriculture and the search for fuel. Illegal logging is rife, and the head of one of the companies that lost its license says a corrupt licensing process shares part of the blame. AlertNet (3/5)
Charcoal trade harms Uganda’s forests
The indiscriminate felling of trees in northern Uganda for the production of charcoal — the “black gold” on which, with wood, some 95% of Ugandans depend — is decimating annually more than 73,000 hectares of private forest and more than 7,000 hectares of protected forest reserves. The timber and charcoal trade are seen by many as ways out of poverty. IRINNews.org (2/7)
Will new land-use rules threaten the Amazon?
The considerable gains made by Brazil in reducing deforestation in the Amazon are increasingly seen as at risk of reversal under President Dilma Rousseff, whose government has negotiated a bill seeking to overhaul the 47-year-old Forest Code, the latest in a series of measures that empower the president to cut land already marked for preservation, grant more flexibility for large infrastructure projects and give Congress veto power over designation of indigenous territories. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/24)
Brazil forest code reignites Amazon fears
(FT) Brazil has made strides to reduce the destruction of the Amazon, seen as one of the world’s main bulwarks against climate change, with deforestation falling to its lowest levels since state monitoring began in 1988 in the 12 months until the end of July.
But environmentalists warn that the forest faces multiple threats, ranging from logging, ranching and degradation from fires to climate change itself in the form of higher frequencies of floods and droughts.
Like a Fish Belongs to Water, the Ogiek Belong to the Mau Forest
(IPS) – The resettlement of evictees from Kenya’s Mau Forest remains a humanitarian and environmental concern for the country as more than 25,000 people continue to live in camps around the forest. The Mau Forest complex in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province is home to the indigenous Ogiek, and settler communities like the Kipsigis and Maasai.
The arrival of non-indigenous inhabitants to the Mau Forest began when former President Daniel arap Moi (1978-2002) encouraged the deforestation of the Mau in order to provide a place to resettle victims of the 1990s land clashes. However, communities in the Mau Forest, the largest in the country stretching across 400,000 hectares, were forcefully evicted by the government in 2009 in order to stop the massive deforestation occurring here. For the last two years they have been living on the outskirts of the forest in tents with a lack of basic services, like sanitation.
The Mau is the country’s largest carbon reservoir and largest water tower. The forest is also responsible for flood mitigation and water storage, and reduces soil erosion.
“The Man Who Stopped the Desert”
(IPS) Yacouba Sawadogo, a peasant farmer from Burkina Faso, is known as the “man who stopped the desert.” But when he first tried to save his arid land from desertification by planting the trees that have since grown into a 15-hectare forest, people in his village thought he was mad.
Study Shows Forests Have Bigger Role In Slowing Climate Change
(Reuters/Planet Ark) The world’s forests can play an even greater role in fighting climate change than previously thought, scientists say in the most comprehensive study yet on how much carbon dioxide forests absorb from the air.
Trees need large amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) to grow, locking away the carbon in the trunks and roots.
But scientists have struggled to figure out exactly how much CO2 forests soak up in different parts of the world and a global total for how much is released when forests are cut down and burned.
The study released on Friday in the latest issue of the U.S. journal Science details for the first time the volumes of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere by tropical, temperate and boreal forests. The researchers found that forests soak up more than 10 percent of carbon dioxide from human activities such as burning coal, even after taking into account all of the global emissions from deforestation.
Johann Hari: Would you trust a management consultant with the world’s rainforests?
Our protests stopped David Cameron handing UK forests over to corporations. Now the rainforests are being handed to management consultants
The two most dreaded words in any office are the same – management consultants. Their arrival rumbles through a workplace like the approaching thwump-thwump of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, rattling our desks and making us all fear we will be picked up and gored at random. We’re right to be afraid – and scornful. According to “Rip Off”, a report on management consultants by David Craig, 170 organisations who used management consultants were studied in the 1990s by the Cranfield School of Management, and only 36 per cent of clients thought they had brought any value. We all know now that management consultants were threaded through the banksters and hedge funders who just crashed the global economy.
But now management consultancy has been taken to a whole new level, according to a startling new report by Greenpeace entitled: “Bad Influence: How McKinsey-inspired plans lead to rainforest destruction.” Management consultants have, in effect, been tasked with setting the future of the world’s rainforests – and facing accusations that they are using our money to draw up plans that will result in their more rapid destruction. Instead of stopping the loggers and miners, the report suggests they are aiding them.
Politicians Out of Sync with Public Sentiment on the Environment
(IPS) Policymakers in Brazil … have yet to catch the tide of popular sentiment in the country that recognises the need to protect the environment, Mario Osava reports.This widening disconnect is especially apparent in the current controversy over the country’s Forest Code.
Senegal farmers use trees to fight climate change
Senegalese farmers in Khatre Sy have joined together to zone off sections of land where trees are allowed to flourish in a bid to restore fertility to the area’s soil and fight off the effects of climate change. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is supporting acacia tree-planting initiatives in 44 Senegalese villages to help ensure sustainable livelihoods for residents and combat desertification. AlertNet (6/22)
Slow progress on forests at UN climate talks
Diplomats say UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, are making little headway toward ensuring the protection of forests as part of a global treaty intended to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. Envoys approved the text of the so-called REDD-plus mechanism, which is designed to provide extra benefits along with emissions savings from forests, but a Kenyan negotiator said talks were not progressing quickly enough. Bloomberg (6/17)
Destruction Of World’s Biggest Rainforests Down 25 Percent: FAO
(Reuters/Planet Ark) … compared with the previous one, but remains alarmingly high in some countries, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said.
A report entitled The State of the Forests in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and South East Asia, was released to coincide with a summit in the Congo Republic bringing together delegates from 35 countries occupying those forests, with a view to reaching a global deal on management and conservation.
Chopping down the Amazon
Making sense of the numbers on the Brazilian Amazon (with graph)
(The Economist) It will probably be a couple of years before it is possible to tell for sure whether the government’s proposal to regularise land tenure in the Amazon region is resulting in more active chainsaws there.
New Forest Code Could Hinder Climate Goals
(Tierramérica) – The adoption of a new Forest Code in Brazil could threaten efforts to curb Amazon deforestation, which was reduced 70 percent between 2004 and 2010. … In addition to reducing the so-called permanent preservation areas that must be reforested if cleared, it establishes an amnesty for landholders who have illegally cleared forests on their properties. Under the current legislation, they are subject to fines.
UN: Forests are experiencing growth in Asia
A UN report says that forests in China, India, Vietnam and the Philippines have been increasing in size because of a greater emphasis on planting over felling, representing a net gain over the prior decade. Forests were growing, too, in Europe and North America, but suffering losses in parts of Africa and Latin America due to greater demands for food and firewood, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. BBC (2/2)
Indonesia Divided Over Forest Moratorium
(Reuters/Planet Ark) Indonesia’s government is still trying to thrash out the details of a two-year moratorium on forest clearing under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway, leading it to miss a planned January 1 start and continued uncertainty for plantation firms.
Emissions Punted to Durban, Breakthrough Seen on Forests
By Stephen Leahy*
CANCÚN, Mexico, Dec 11, 2010 (IPS/TerraViva) … Tropical forest protection may be the big breakthrough coming out of Cancún. Delegates adopted a decision that establishes a three-phase process for tropical countries to reduce deforestation and receive compensation from developed countries, and it includes protections for forest peoples and biodiversity. Deforestation presently contributes 15 to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
… Loopholes have been closed and good progress made on tackling the drivers of deforestation, she said. Much work is left to do to strengthen safeguards and work out the details for a new financial tool called REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).
REDD remains very controversial. It is widely touted as a way to mobilise $10 to $30 billion annually to protect forests by selling carbon credits to industries in lieu of reductions in emissions.
Many Indigenous and civil society groups reject REDD outright if it allows developed countries to avoid real emission reductions by offsetting their emissions.
Forests of the will
(The Economist) With a much better atmosphere than Copenhagen, and some hard but productive negotiating sessions, there’s a sense that, while hurdles remain, there is a real chance of leaving with a result. And the result most on people’s minds, from the president of Mexico on down, is a deal on forests.
… A REDD deal would be a good thing both for the world and the UN climate process, which sorely needs an achievement. Deforestation, which continues at the rate of a football field a second, according to almost everyone who speaks on the subject, is a huge source of greenhouse gases. Plausible reductions in emissions from avoiding deforestation are far larger than the sort of reductions which can easily be made by slowing the industrial production of carbon dioxide in the short run. And reducing deforestation removes a threat to the livelihoods and cultures of indigenous people, as well as preserving a lot of doubtless delightful wildlife. A deal which helped secure and accelerate recent advances on the issue would be worth some trumpeting.
… Getting a REDD deal in Cancún should help the fight against deforestation in many places, as long as the deal is sensibly and sensitively fleshed out over the coming months and years. Some areas are as yet vague, and others, including perhaps the details of how things should be financed, may be vagued up yet further in order to get through the conference’s final plenary session. This is probably to the good; easier to get the details right, including important ones on the vexed question of how to stop demand for wood from simply being displaced from protected places to unprotected ones, away from the pressure of deadlined negotiations.
But though such a deal would be good, it would be a recipe for action, not action itself. And everything will grind to a halt pretty quickly if the subsequent action doesn’t yield real results. For many observers of climate negotiation, political will is needed at the beginning of the process, invoked simplistically as something which might take negotiations from where they are to where people want them to be. Mr Jagdeo [Guyana’s president] sees things differently. For him political will comes before negotiations. And it fades if not fed with results.
Indonesia seeks payout for forest destruction
A report by Greenpeace claims that the Indonesian government is planning by 2030 to fell some 60 million hectares of forest — an area five times the size of England — for production of palm oil and biofuels. Moreover, the country could be eligible for climate aid that, ironically, would pay for the destruction and replanting of the forests, the report shows. The Guardian (London) (11/23)
Indians in Mexico mix forest preservation with profit
Zapotec Indians in Oaxaca, Mexico, are showing how communal ownership and management of forests can create jobs, as well as preserve woodlands. One member says the secret is “pure simple socialism, which is what the communities have, and an idea of capitalism, where we say, ‘You know what? We have to be profitable.’ ” The New York Times (free registration) (11/22)
Brazil Eyes Microchips In Trees For Forest Management
(Reuters/Planet Ark) It could be just another of the thousands of trees felled each year in Brazil’s portion of the world’s largest forest except for one detail: a microchip attached to its base holding data about its location, size and who cut it down.
Chinese scientists predicted dire results from deforestation
In a study published 13 years ago, two Chinese scientists predicted that aggressive deforestation in Gansu province would lead to landslides due to soil erosion. Government-run timber companies cut more than 300,000 acres of forest along the mountainous slopes of Zhouqu county between 1952 and 1990, exposing the slopes to soil erosion. Landslides after heavy rains in the area have claimed more than 1,000 lives since last weekend. The Christian Science Monitor (8/12)
A Worried View of the Amazon From Within its Forest
This region [MAP] used to be considered as the “end of the road” because it literally was. But with modernization and infrastructure development — bridges, roads, rural electrification, Internet and more — contact and globalization have set human and wild nature on an ugly collision course.
The post [Can the Amazon Thrive in the 21st Century?] doesn’t mention the new road to the Pacific or the ethanol plant and sugarcane plantations; or the planned road from Cruzeiro do Sul, Brazil to Pulcallpa, Peru and the multiple big hydro-energy dam constructions it will support; or the new Peruvian oil leases in indigenous reserves; or the BR$35 million worth of oil exploration in the Juruá watershed in Acre; or the Madeira River complex of big hydroelectric projects in Rondonia near Bolivia. Basically, wherever I look I see that development — including both its promises and problems — is in the driver seat.
Apparently, much the same is happening across the Amazon basin in a rushed effort to provide an energy and transportation infrastructure that can keep pace with Brazil’s spectacular economic growth
Deforestation in the Amazon
Between May 2000 and August 2006, Brazil lost nearly 150,000 square kilometers of forest—an area larger than Greece—and since 1970, over 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed.
Deforestation — for arable land, pasture, urban use or logging — has led to the loss of about half of all tropical forests, affecting biodiversity, water and nutrient cycling, climate change and sources of income. (SciDevNet topics: deforestation)
The World’s Ongoing Ecological Disasters
(Foreign Policy) While it’s probably still too soon to celebrate, BP appears to finally be getting the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico under control. But many of the world’s greatest environmental catastrophes continue, with no end in sight.
Going on since: 1492
Damage done: Haiti and the Dominican Republic share an island, as well as similar geographic and climate conditions. So why do severe storms and hurricanes — not to mention earthquakes — only cause horrific human tragedy on the Haitian side? One large reason is the almost complete destruction of Haiti’s trees. Without roots to hold the soil together, hurricanes and earthquakes are much more likely to case deadly landslides. The erosion of high-quality topsoil has also devastated Haiti’s agricultural sector, exacerbating its endemic poverty.
Kashmir fears forests will disappear through ‘timber smuggling’
Environmental catastrophe looms as corruption hinders moves to halt illegal trade fuelled by construction boom
(The Guardian) … the real problem in Kharg, and more broadly in Kashmir, is recent. The insurgency that has wracked the region for two decades is at a low ebb and an economic boom, in part fuelled by cash poured in by central government to win hearts and minds, has meant a voracious appetite for wood for new homes, hotels and other construction.
Although there is officially licensed government wood available, a huge black market of “timber smuggling” has sprung up as a result. “The problem is both substantial and widespread,” said Dr Shaqil Rumshoo, an expert at Kashmir University, Srinagar. “There are all sorts of different players.”
Save the Trees, Save the Planet
(Truthdig) DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania—What would the wealthy nations of the West (and their rising rivals in the East) do if they actually wanted to prevent catastrophic warming? Here in Africa, the obvious answer is that they would find the ways and means to discourage deforestation—the ruinous practice of clear-cutting for timber, charcoal and arable land that accounts for at least 20 percent of the atmospheric carbon burden. Save the trees, and you might just save the planet.
In theory, this ought to be a simple enough task to accomplish, with sufficient motivation and money. But in practice, the incentives created by Western policy are so perverse, according to Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, that they reward clear-cutting not once but twice over.
Brazil Amazon Dam Creates Headache For Lula
(Reuters/Planet Ark) Brazil’s plan to build the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam in the Amazon is drawing scathing criticism from a rare combination of investors and environmentalists, creating a potential political headache for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
… activists and indigenous groups, including Hollywood director James Cameron, say the dam will destroy parts of the Amazon and displace up to 20,000 people, while financial analysts call the project a politically driven money-loser. “The dam will have a terrible social and ecological impact,” said Lucio Flavio Pinto, an environmental activist who lives in the Amazon city of Belem. “But the worst part is it’s a white elephant, it’s not economically viable.”
During the dry season, the water flow will fall so much that the dam will generate less than 10 percent of capacity. Still, supporters say it will help balance power generation because dams in southern Brazil have lower output just as Belo Monte would be generating at full steam. Tribes of Amazon Find an Ally Out of ‘Avatar’
Forests growing back in U.S. face man-made tests
The United States can now hit “reset” on one of its greatest environmental mistakes: the destruction of the enormous woodland that once canopied the continent from Maine to east Texas. By the late 1800s, much of it had been cut down for agriculture and timber.
Then, farms were abandoned. Old seeds sprouted. Unlike many other environmental mistakes, this one began to fix itself: The forest grew back, though burdened with too many deer, too little fire, and armies of invasive bugs.
Now, new forests are a test, a practical exam for American environmentalism 40 years into the Earth Day era. In some places, scientists are trying to fix man-made flaws that could eventually destroy forest ecosystems. In others, the test is whether the government and private interests can save the forest from becoming suburbs and strip malls.
FAO: Global deforestation rates are dropping, but concerns remain
Aggressive planting programs have help to drop the global rate of deforestation over the past decade, according to a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The countries that lost the most forest since 2000 are Brazil, Indonesia and Australia, FAO says.
BBC (3/25); Google/The Associated Press (3/25); New York Times/AP (3/25)
Manish Bapna: Forests, climate change and the challenge of REDD
To combat global warming, forests must be part of the solution. How can we make good forest stewardship a reality?
2010 is a crucial year for forests. In March, major donor countries and forest-rich countries will meet in Paris, Nairobi and Manila, each grappling with the same question: how can efforts to reduce deforestation also help tackle climate change?
Their decisions, and those following in the next six to twelve months, could channel substantial amounts of money to protect forests.
Manish Bapna is executive vice president and managing director of the World Resources Institute. His interests and expertise are in international development with a particular focus on rural poverty and natural resources.
Les grands pays forestiers s’unissent contre la déforestation
(AFP) Le premier ministre norvégien Jens Stoltenberg a annoncé mardi la création d’un groupe des principaux pays forestiers en vue de lutter contre la déforestation.
Regroupant les pays abritant la majeure partie des forêts tropicales (Brésil, Indonésie, Guyana, Gabon, Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée), ce groupe visera à coordonner et promouvoir les mesures contre la déforestation dans la perspective de la réunion sur le climat à Mexico fin 2010. «La déforestation dans les pays en développement compte pour 17% des émissions mondiales de gaz à effet de serre», a déclaré M. Stoltenberg, dans un communiqué de presse.
Climate accord offers some grounds for hope, say analysts
(SciDev.Net) In the area of forests, experts were vexed that their progress finalising texts relating to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) was thwarted by the lack of a legally binding way to drive them forward.
Clear-Cutting the Truth About Trees
Bernd Heinrich, emeritus professor at the University of Vermont and author of the forthcoming “Nesting Season.”
(NYT Op-Ed) More than anything, carbon offsets will allow rich countries to burn ever more fossil fuels under the “clean development mechanism” of the Kyoto Protocol, the system that sets the values, in terms of tons of carbon equivalent, of emission-reduction efforts. … the Kyoto delegates decided that there would be no carbon-reduction credits for saving existing forests. Since planting new trees does get one credits, Kyoto actually created a rationale for clear-cutting old growth.
… The world’s forests are a key to our survival, and that of millions of other species. Not only are they critical to providing us with building material, paper, food, recreation and oxygen, they also ground us spiritually and connect us to our primal past. Never before in earth’s history have our forests been under such attack. And the global-warming folks at Copenhagen seem oblivious, buying into the corporate view of forests as an exploitable resource.
A forest is an ecosystem. It is not something planted. A forest grows on its own. There are many kinds of forests that will grow practically anywhere, each under its own special local conditions. When a tree falls, the race is on immediately to replace it. In the forests I study, there so many seeds and seedlings that if a square foot of ground space opens up, more than a hundred trees of many different species compete to grow there.
Climate change and forests: Touch wood
Everyone agrees on the need to save trees, but the details are still tricky
(The Economist) Impressive as it was, the rich nations’ offer did not settle the questions that need resolving in any global forest deal. One was whether or not to include timetables and targets. The most ambitious proposals called for a 50% reduction in deforestation by 2020 and a complete halt by 2030. But forested nations were unwilling to accept those ideas until they saw what the rich world was offering.
The other question was how so much money will be ladled out, how it will be raised and who would receive it: national governments, regional authorities or local people, including the indigenous. Any plan that did not give local people cause to keep their trees standing would surely fail. But some have argued that doling out cash to forest-dwellers is too crude an approach; it may be better to help non-forest areas yield more crops, or to concentrate on restoring marginal land to farming. Advocates of national approaches—involving entire countries, not small areas—say local efforts cause “leakage” as felling is stopped in one place but shifts to another.
(Globe & Mail) On Wednesday the United States, Australia, France, Japan, Norway and Britain agreed to dedicate $3.5-billion (U.S.) of public financing to the REDD program – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Whether the amount was new money, or money diverted from the proposed Quick Start fund, was not immediately clear.
Haiti turning garbage into energy
A recycling program that provides an alternative fuel source to charcoal is winning fans in Haiti, and around the globe.
(Miami Herald) With 20 million trees chopped down each year in Haiti, an over-reliance on charcoal has created a barren nation with less than 2 percent of tree cover.
Climate Talks Near Deal on Preservation of Forests
Negotiators have all but completed a sweeping deal that would compensate countries for preserving forests, and in some cases, other natural landscapes like peat soils, swamps and fields that play a crucial role in curbing climate change.
The agreement for the program, if signed as expected, may turn out to be the most significant achievement to come out of the Copenhagen climate talks, providing a system through which countries can be paid for conserving disappearing natural assets based on their contribution to reducing emissions.
Dispatch from Copenhagen: The Hon. Paul Martin on Climate Change
(Canada’s World Blog) Mr.Martin had just returned from discussions with environmental ministers of the Congo-basin African countries regarding climate change. These are countries with both enormous resources and enormous poverty. An interesting point: Mr. Martin believes that if given a choice between the resources of the Congo and the resources of Canada – one would choose the Congo, yet there is an enormous gap between the two countries economically.
There is tremendous opportunity to benefit from these resources in more ways than simple deforestation. Currently however, without a carbon market these trees are worth more dead than alive. Charcoal, wood, etc. are the primary resources these trees are currently used for through ’slash and burn’ methods. A carbon market can actually create opportunity both for developed and developing nations – credits purchased from developing nations give value to these forested areas. Carbon sequestration is just one of the many benefits a preserved and sustainability forest can bring to the Congo-basin.
Copenhagen: Barack Obama backs Norway-Brazil forest protection plan
US president endorses scheme proposed by Norway and Brazil that would protect the world’s rainforests with funding from rich countries which cannot cut their emissions at home
The president is not due at the conference for another week but his intervention comes at a critical time in the summit where negotiations on deforestation are moving rapidly. The scheme is seen as attractive because pilot studies have shown it to be effective and [it] has the backing of Prince Charles’ Rainforest Project.
Breakthrough in Monitoring Tropical Deforestation Announced in Copenhagen
New technology, developed by a team of scientists at Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology, is revolutionizing forest monitoring by marrying free satellite imagery and powerful analytical methods in an easy-to-use, desktop software package called CLASlite.
Thus far, 70 government, non-government, and academic organizations in five countries have adopted the technology, with more on the horizon.
Deforestation a main topic in Copenhagen
On Wednesday, the third day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, one issue that is high on the agenda is deforestation, as the United Nations works on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD), especially concerning to delegates from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second-largest rainforest in the world.
Copenhagen climate summit: Ending deforestation key to stopping global warming
Protecting rainforests will be a central part of any climate change deal at Copenhagen.
(Telegraph, U.K.) Deforestation causes around fifth of greenhouse gas emissions every year, more than all the forms of air and surface transport combined.
Deforestation deal could brighten Copenhagen gloom
The simple reality is this: an interim financing mechanism of around 20 billion euros would reduce levels of deforestation by 25% by 2015. And that would mean a net saving of 23 billion tonnes of CO2 through to 2020.
It’s still just possible that Copenhagen will do a deal on that (as part of the REDD discussions – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), even if it doesn’t do the whole deal in terms of a new legally binding agreement as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
On the Copenhagen Agenda, Saving Forests May Still Work
(TIME) This month, the journal Nature Geoscience published a study calculating that deforestation is responsible for about 15% of global carbon emissions, down from earlier estimates of 20% or more. Most of the world’s deforestation is concentrated in a few tropical nations, like Brazil and Indonesia where trees are disappearing fast — when these trees die or are burned, they release into the atmosphere all the carbon they’ve sucked up while they were alive. According to the Nature Geoscience study, the problem of deforestation is becoming a lot less dire than previously thought.
Unfortunately, the study’s findings couldn’t be further from the truth. The authors’ recalculation had less to do with a reduction in deforestation than with an unexpected increase in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
Q&A: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (Redd)
Redd could be the cornerstone of a Copenhagen deal, putting forests at the frontline of tackling climate change for the first time
What is Redd?
It’s a way of paying poor countries to protect their forests. Global deforestation accounts for nearly 20% of all CO2 emissions and all previous attempts to curb it have failed. Redd — “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation” would allow countries that can reduce emissions from deforestation to be paid for doing so.
Where did the idea come from?
Papua New Guinea along with nine other countries proposed it in 2005 at a UN climate meeting. It has gained ground and is now likely to be one of the cornerstones of any agreement at the Copenhagen climate conference in December. It would not start until 2013, and could eventually channel tens of billions of dollars a year from rich to poor countries.
The promise and peril of REDD
Reducing deforestation is crucial to mitigate climate change, but it mustn’t be used as an excuse to continue polluting, says Roman Czebiniak of Greenpeace.
(SciDevNet) World leaders are discussing whether and how to include tropical forests in the next agreement on climate change. A decision on financing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD) is expected at the Copenhagen climate negotiations at the end of this year.
Forests will be used to either bring the world closer to, or further away from, avoiding catastrophic climate change. Developing countries have the most to gain from a good deal, and the most to lose from a bad one.
Scientists have warned that a global temperature rise above two degrees Celsius would cause catastrophic damage to human livelihoods and the environment. A recent study in Nature examined a thousand different emission pathways to keeping us below this tipping point. All came to a singular conclusion: there are no shortcuts — we need to save every ounce of carbon we can.
Enter tropical deforestation, responsible for about 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than that from all the cars, planes, and trains in the world. After China and the United States, Indonesia and Brazil are the world’s third and fourth largest emitters — largely due to deforestation.
Reducing forest emissions: Facts and figures
U.N. Approves Program to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation
Yesterday, the U.N. announced it would spend $18 million in five pilot countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation while supporting local populations. The project — known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) — will be launched in Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Vietnam in advance of the Copenhagen climate summit taking place in December of this year.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that the forestry sector now accounts for about 17% of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. The REDD pilot participants hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both by using forest vegetation as a “carbon sink” to absorb excess amounts of carbon dioxide and by avoiding pollutants released during “slash and burn” clearing fires used to create fields for agriculture or livestock. The countries plan to employ local residents to monitor the forests’ health, thus providing economic benefits to the communities involved. Once an accounting method is agreed upon to determine how much carbon is being saved, REDD projects may be able to sell carbon credits to polluting nations to offset their emissions.
14 May 2007
Deforestation: The hidden cause of global warming
In the next 24 hours, deforestation will release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London to New York. Stopping the loggers is the fastest and cheapest solution to climate change. So why are global leaders turning a blind eye to this crisis? The accelerating destruction of the rainforests that form a precious cooling band around the Earth’s equator, is now being recognised as one of the main causes of climate change. Carbon emissions from deforestation far outstrip damage caused by planes and automobiles and factories.