REDD and Rainforests
Forest Trends, July 2014 | This policy brief examines the institutional and legal framework surrounding forest conversion in Lao PDR, giving special consideration to the social, environmental, and legal implications of expanding land investments to meet Lao PDR’s economic development goals summarized in the National Export Strategy (2011-2015).
mongabay.com, 23 July 2014 | After exceeding an ambitious fundraising target to launch a near-real time forest monitoring system in the Congo Basin, a San-Francisco based start-up is now eyeing expansion in the Amazon where it hopes to help an indigenous rainforest tribe fight illegal logging. On Monday, Rainforest Connection (RFCx) announced a partnership with Equipe de Conservação da Amazônia, a Brazilian NGO, to bring its alert system to the forest homeland of the Tembé people. Rainforest Connection's system is built using a network of recycled Android smartphones, which are modified to detect specific sounds, including the audio signatures to chainsaws, gunshots, and vehicles. When the system registers one of these sounds, it sends a signal — in real-time — to local authorities, who can then potentially take action to stop illegal logging or poaching as it happens. Each RFCx device can monitor roughly three square kilometers of forest.
IPS, 24 July 2014 | The international community is failing to take advantage of a potent opportunity to counter climate change by strengthening local land tenure rights and laws worldwide, new data suggests. In what researchers say is the most detailed study on the issue to date, new analysis suggests that in areas formally overseen by local communities, deforestation rates are dozens to hundreds of times lower than in areas overseen by governments or private entities. Anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to deforestation each year."This model of government-owned and -managed forests usually doesn't work. Instead, it often creates an open-access free-for-all." -- Caleb Stevens. The findings were released Thursday by the World Resources Institute, a think tank here, and the Rights and Resources Initiative, a global network that focuses on forest tenure.
Strengthening Community Forest Rights is Critical Tool to Fight Climate Change, Says Major New Report
World Resources Institute, 23 July 2014 | Strengthening community forest rights is an essential strategy to reduce billions of tonnes of carbon emissions, making it an effective way for governments to meet climate goals, safeguard forests and protect the livelihoods of their citizens, according to a major new report. The report, called “Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change,” is being published jointly by World Resources Institute (WRI) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). The paper provides the most comprehensive analysis to date linking legal recognition and government protection of community forest rights with reductions in carbon pollution.
'In Africa, you can come across Kaya forests of coastal Kenya, customary forests in Uganda, sacred forest groves in Benin, dragon forests in The Gambia or church forests in Ethiopia...You can also come across similar forest patches in South and Southeast Asia including numerous sacred groves in India well-known for their role in conservation of biological diversity,' Dr. Shonil Bhagwat told mongabay.com.
By Robert Finlayson, ASB, 23 July 2014 | The ability of any scheme to meet its national target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus conservation (REDD+) requires understanding how its processes are linked across scales, from local through provincial to national and international levels. A single approach to reduce deforestation that is effective for a project in several villages might not be as effective at an aggregated level, such as a district. Accordingly, scale must be addressed in REDD+ schemes, including highly technical activities such as satellite mapping of vegetation cover. This is a critical feature, since knowing how the amount of carbon stock in the form of vegetation, of what type, and how it changes over time determines payments to local people for preserving, adding to, or depleting the stock.
WWF, 22 July 2014 | WWF-Indonesia is making major strides in partnering with local communities to demarcate and preserve vast sections of forest in the Kutai Barat area... WWF-Indonesia, along with support from the WWF Forest and Climate Programme, is also collaborating on the submission of an Emissions-Reductions Programme Idea Note (ER-PIN) to the FCPF which would potentially unlock funding for emissions reductions payments. If approved, funding from the FCPF Carbon Fund would add significant momentum for jurisdictional or subnational REDD+ in Indonesia and could help bring access to credible international partners and to technical assistance.
Targeted law enforcement efforts via Brazil's green municipalities programs were responsible for reducing deforestation by 10,653 square kilometers — an area the size of Massachusetts — between 2009 and 2011, argues a paper published in the journal Land Use Policy.
Rebuilding Kissama: war-torn Angola's only national park affected by deforestation, but refaunation gives hope
The story of Kissama National Park is one of perseverance, vision and disaster in waiting. The only functional national park in Angola, a country wracked by war for decades, Kissama (also called Quiçama) lost much of its wildlife, with that which is left still impacted by poaching and deforestation. However, a project is attempting to bring the park back to life.
In an effort to kickstart investment in mining and fossil fuels, Peru has passed a controversial law that overturns many of its environmental protections and essentially defangs its Ministry of Environment. The new law has environmentalists not only concerned about its impact on the country but also that the measures will undermine progress at the up-coming UN Climate Summit in December.
By Cath McAloon, ABC Rural, 22 July 2014 | Farming groups are pushing ahead with plans for projects to store carbon in soil, after the Federal Government approved a methodology that will allow farmers to earn carbon credits. The methodology for sequestering carbon in soils in grazing systems was approved by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt last week. Louisa Kiely, director of Carbon Farmers of Australia, says having the methodology finalised and approved for earning carbon credits is the culmination of many years of research and negotiation. "It is significant not just for Australia, but it's significant world wide," Ms Kiely said. "This could help farmers all over the world, as well as the job of removing carbon from the air all over the world. "The landholders of Australia, the farmers, who control over 65 per cent of our land, can now start the important job of sequestering carbon into their soils for productivity improvement and selling the carbon into a carbon market."
By Susanna Twidale and Kathy Chen, Reuters, 21 July 2014 | Some developers of projects to cut carbon emissions in developing nations, particularly China, are likely to pull out of the U.N. offset scheme and move to markets with higher prices, if plans to allow them to exit are implemented. At a meeting last week, members of the board overseeing the U.N's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) said they would work on new rules to allow any registered project to exit the system. They will discuss proposed rule changes at its next meeting in September. Some developers in China, where almost half of all registered CDM projects are located, said they would be interested in leaving the CDM, because carbon credits can fetch much higher prices in China's new domestic trading schemes. "If we can only choose between one or another market, it is all up to the financial return," said a consultant manager with a Chinese state power company, who was not authorized to speak with the press.
Survival International, 21 July 2014 | Highly vulnerable uncontacted Indians who recently emerged in the Brazil-Peru border region have said that they were fleeing violent attacks in Peru. FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department, has announced that the group of uncontacted Indians has returned once more to their forest home. Seven Indians made peaceful contact with a settled indigenous Ashaninka community near the Envira River in the western Acre state, Brazil, three weeks ago. A government health team was dispatched and has treated seven Indians for flu. FUNAI has announced it will reopen a monitoring post on the Envira River which it closed in 2011 when it was overrun by drug traffickers. The emerging news has been condemned as “extremely worrying” by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, as epidemics of flu, to which uncontacted Indians lack immunity, have wiped out entire tribes in the past.
By Liz Kimbrough, mongabay.com, 21 July 2014 | When a new road centipedes its way across a landscape, the best of intentions may be laid with the pavement. But roads, by their very nature, are indiscriminate pathways, granting access for travel and trade along with deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation. And as the impacts of roads on forest ecosystems become clear, governments and planning agencies reach a moral crossroads. Roads have the potential to greatly cut costs for businesses and farms, grant rural communities access to healthcare facilities and bolster economic growth. But the trouble with roads is that they can easily pave the way for more destructive activities. As they are built, loggers, miners, land speculators, ranchers and other potentially eroding forces follow swiftly behind roads crews, turning the relatively small line of deforestation caused by a road into a an amoeboid-like growth of deforestation.
After exceeding an ambitious fundraising target to launch a near-real time forest monitoring system in the Congo Basin, a San-Francisco based start-up is now eyeing expansion in the Amazon where it hopes to help an indigenous rainforest tribe fight illegal logging.
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, mongabay.com, 22 July 2014 | Inches away from being passed, a new regulation on peatlands management in Indonesia is drawing protests from civil societies that claim it may increase land tenure conflicts among local people. The Government Regulation on Peatland Ecosystem Protection and Management, initially drafted by the Ministry of Forestry in 2013, is getting mixed acceptance from civil society. On one hand, the regulation would offer more protection to the country’s vast peatland areas. However, on the other, some NGOs have slammed the draft as a potential source of new conflicts for local people. “The draft only categorizes peatlands into two functions, as protection areas and as cultivation areas,” Zenzi Suhedi, forest and plantation campaigner of ... Walhi, recently told Mongabay-Indonesia. “It does not touch on the ownership issue at all which brings out the question, what will happen to local people who are already in the areas?”
The Government Regulation on Peatland Ecosystem Protection and Management, initially drafted by the Ministry of Forestry in 2013, is getting mixed acceptance from civil society. On one hand, the regulation would offer more protection to the country’s vast peatland areas. However, on the other, some NGOs have slammed the draft as a potential source of new conflicts for local people.
A coalition of conservation groups have established a new protected area in one of Latin America's most neglected ecosystems: the Colombian-side of the Serranía de Perijá mountain range. Following decades of bloody conflict and rampant deforestation, experts say only five percent of rainforest is left on the Colombian side of this embattled mountain range.
UN Human Rights, 18 July 2014 | The new United Nations sustainable development goals must not be a step backwards for indigenous peoples, a group of UN experts on indigenous peoples has warned today. Their call comes as the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals meets in New York to draft a set of goals which will be presented to the UN General Assembly in September. “Indigenous peoples face distinct development challenges, and fare worse in terms of social and economic development than non-indigenous sectors of the population in nearly all of the countries they live,” they said. “However,” the experts stressed, “they also can contribute significantly to achieving the objectives of sustainable development because of their traditional knowledge systems on natural resource management which have sustained some of the world’s more intact ecosystems up to the present.”
When a new road centipedes its way across a landscape, the best of intentions may be laid with the pavement. But roads, by their very nature, are indiscriminate pathways, granting access for travel and trade along with deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation. And as the impacts of roads on forest ecosystems become clear, governments and planning agencies reach a moral crossroads.