By Chris Lang, May 14, 2013. Source: redd-monitor
WWF loves “sustainability”. With “sustainability”, there’s no need to address over-consumption, or the never-ending growth of capitalist expansion. Consumption can increase, as long as it’s “sustainable”.
Palm oil plantations destroying vast areas of rainforest? No problem. Here comes “sustainable” palm oil. In 2001, WWF started discussions with palm oil companies and industry bodies. Three years later the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was formed.
Today there are more than 500 members of the RSPO, including palm oil producers, processors, traders, retailers, banks and a few NGOs. But buying palm oil from RSPO members does not mean that the palm oil complies to RSPO’s standards. For that you need to buy RSPO-certified palm oil – from companies that have been assessed by an RSPO-approved certification body. But RSPO certification does not mean that companies have stopped clearing forests. TFT’s Scott Poynton pointed this out recently to Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Markets, World Wildlife Fund US:
Deforestation of secondary yet still important forests is perfectly acceptable and is happily done by companies celebrated under the RSPO standard which only obliges protection of primary and HCVF [high conservation value forest] areas. Likewise, the RSPO standard doesn’t preclude the clearance of peatlands.
Note: No surprise here…
–The GJEP Team
By Chris Lang, February 5 2013. Source: REDD-Monitor
The debate about the World Bank’s lending on forests is heating up after the Independent Evaluation Group’s review was leaked last week. The IEG report is very critical of the World Bank’s record in the forestry sector, particularly the fact that the Bank’s involvement in forests has failed to address poverty and has not benefited local communities.
REDD-Monitor posted a copy of the IEG report and predicted that Bank management would attempt to water down the criticism. And the response from the World Bank’s management, “Draft Management Response” (pdf file, 294.9 kB) attempts to do precisely that. The response from Bank management questions the approach taken by the IEG and rejects some of its findings and recommendations.
Bank management rejects the IEG’s finding that “evidence is lacking that the World Bank‘s support for industrial timber concession reform has led to sustainable and inclusive economic development”. Management argues that the Bank’s attempts to reform concessions were never intended only as “targeted poverty interventions”: Continue reading
Note: China, now the world’s biggest consumer of raw lumber, is also currently the only country where genetically engineered trees are grown commercially. In 2001, China approved the commercial production of Bt-resistant poplars. Add to that the unregulated timber industry outlined below, and you have one messy situation. Is it possible that China is exporting GE trees for use in furniture making and construction? To learn more about the threats of GE trees, go to the STOP GE Trees Campaign website (nogetrees.org), and sign the petition telling US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to ban GE trees in the US.
-The GJEP Team
By Laurence Caramel and Harold Thibault, December 11, 2012. Source: The Guardian Weekly
Photo: Qilai Shen/Corbis
China is at the centre of a vast global traffic in illegally logged timber that is destroying entire swaths of forest around the world.
Academic research and NGOs such as WWF and Global Witness have already revealed the existence of illegal trading networks in central Africa, Burma and Russia leading directly to Chinese ports or cities. Now for the first time fingers are pointing directly to Beijing and holding public enterprises and local government officials responsible for this highly lucrative illegal trade.
The British NGO, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), published a detailed report at the end of November called “China, appetite for destruction”. It reveals just how China’s appetite for wood has grown in the past decades as a result of consumption by the new middle classes, as well as an export-driven wood industry facing growing demand from major foreign furniture and construction companies.
China has become the leading importer, consumer and exporter of the world’s timber. Its own forests provide less than 40% of its needs. According to the report, “in response to severe flooding in 1998, China adopted a Natural Forest Conservation Programme […] and embarked on a massive programme of reforestation […] The government spent $31bn on tree planting between 1999 and 2009.”
From Global Forest Coalition, Biofuelwatch and Global Justice Ecology Project
For immediate release – 6 December 2012
UK alleges it will address drivers of climate change – but aims to subsidise a massive expansion of wood-based biomass industry
Doha, Qatar - As negotiations failed to finalise an agreement on a controversial forest policy called REDD+  during the ongoing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Doha, Qatar , forest groups published a letter challenging claims that the drivers of forest change are being addressed by countries within the REDD+ negotiations.
Negotiations on REDD+ turned sour in Doha as developing countries realised they can expect very little funding for this highly controversial forest scheme over the coming years. “The REDD honeymoon is obviously over” states Simone Lovera, executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, who followed the talks.
Furthermore, at the same time that REDD+ is being promoted within the UNFCCC to supposedly protect forest carbon, there is a massive expansion of the biomass industry underway, which will generate increased international trade in wood. This is being actively supported by governments such as that of the UK, and will dwarf any attempts made to protect forests within the UNFCCC.
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Doha/COP-18, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, UNFCCC
October 3, 2012. Source: Science Daily
Photo: Kimberly Green
New research suggests that cutting down swaths of forest in snowy regions at least doubles — and potentially quadruples — the number of large floods that occur along the rivers and streams passing through those forests.
For decades, the common perception in hydrology has been that deforestation in such areas made seasonal floods bigger on average, but had little effect on the number of large floods over time, said geoscientist Kim Green of the University of British Columbia. But a new study by Green and her co-author Younes Alila published October 3 in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, suggests that deforestation consistently causes more floods — both big and small.
In the interior regions of North America, many creeks and rivers get most of their flow from melting snow accumulated during winter storms in mountainous areas. How much water flows down these streams depends not only on how much snow falls upstream, but how fast the snow melts. But deforestation shines a new — and glaring — light on this water source. While ordinarily the trees keep the melting under control by shielding snow from the sunlight, “as soon as you get rid of the trees, the snow melts faster,” said Green. “It’s that simple.” Continue reading
By Claudio Angelo, 15 August 2012. Source: Nature
Survey reveals that local extinctions of large mammals are far worse than predicted.
Mammal extinctions in Brazil’s Atlantic forests are occurring at least twice as fast as estimates suggested, according to the latest survey of the region.
Jaguars, lowland tapirs, woolly spider-monkeys and giant anteaters are almost absent in Brazilian northeastern forests, which are among the most ancient and threatened tropical ecosystems on the planet. And the white-lipped peccary, a species closely related to pigs, has been completely wiped out there, the assessment shows.
White-lipped peccaries are extinct in the Atlantic forest regions surveyed. Foto Natura Stock/FLPA
The study, by a team of ecologists based in Brazil and the United Kingdom, focused on populations of 18 mammal species in 196 forest fragments, within an area of more than 250,000 square kilometres.
By Staff Writers, Aug 9, 2012. Source: Terra Daily
Manila (AFP) - Deadly floods that have swamped nearly all of the Philippine capital are less a natural disaster and more the result of poor planning, lax enforcement and political self-interest, experts say.
Damaged watersheds, massive squatter colonies living in danger zones and the neglect of drainage systems are some of the factors that have made the chaotic city of 15 million people much more vulnerable to enormous floods.
Urban planner Nathaniel Einseidel said the Philippines had enough technical know-how and could find the necessary financing to solve the problem, but there was no vision or political will.
“It’s a lack of appreciation for the benefits of long-term plans. It’s a vicious cycle when the planning, the policies and enforcement are not very well synchronised,” said Einseidel, who was Manila’s planning chief from 1979-89.
By Kizito Makoye, 7 Aug 2012. Source: Alertnet
Gerald Kishimo, left, a resident of Marangu, Tanzania, cuts down forest in the country’s Kilimanjaro region before being stopped by government official Teresia Uvisa, center. Photo: ALERTNET/Kizito Makoye
MOSHI, Tanzania (AlertNet) – A logging boom has hit Tanzania’s tourist-drawing Kilimanjaro region, reducing the region’s native forests, hitting rainfall and leading to unusually high temperatures.
The increasingly extreme weather has come as a surprise to people who live a stone’s throw from one of the world’s heritage sites, and who had been used to a cold, misty climate.
Source: Rainforest Foundation Norway
Norwegian food producers used 15 000 tons of palm oil in 2011. A successful campaign mobilizing public pressure has reduced consumption by two thirds.
The palm oil industry is the main cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia and Malaysia. 88 percent of the world’s palm oil is produced in these two countries, including palm oil for the Norwegian market.
Last autumn, Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) launched a campaign with two aims; to reduce Norwegian palm oil consumption and to expose the link between deforestation and the production of this vegetable oil. The campaign, which was developed in collaboration with the organization Green Living, targeted all major food producers in Norway.
The response has been overwhelming, says Lars Løvold, Director of Rainforest Foundation Norway. Thanks to Norwegian consumers, the use of palm oil in Norwegian food products has decreased by two thirds.
By JIM ROBBINS, July 14, 2012
Cross-Posted from the New York Times
THERE’S a term biologists and economists use these days — ecosystem services — which refers to the many ways nature supports the human endeavor. Forests filter the water we drink, for example, and birds and bees pollinate crops, both of which have substantial economic as well as biological value.
If we fail to understand and take care of the natural world, it can cause a breakdown of these systems and come back to haunt us in ways we know little about. A critical example is a developing model of infectious disease that shows that most epidemics — AIDS, Ebola, West Nile, SARS, Lyme disease and hundreds more that have occurred over the last several decades — don’t just happen. They are a result of things people do to nature.
Disease, it turns out, is largely an environmental issue. Sixty percent of emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are zoonotic — they originate in animals. And more than two-thirds of those originate in wildlife.