By Jocelyn C. Zuckerman, December 4, 2013. Source: OnEarth
Photo: Marco Di Lauro
You see that coconut tree?” said Daniel Krakue, gesturing out beyond the windshield. “That used to be a village.”
It wasn’t hard to see the tree. Apart from a skinny papaya trunk, it was the only thing rising from the surrounding sea of green. We were in Sinoe County, in southwestern Liberia, on a plantation run by a company called Golden Veroleum (GVL), and for miles around there was nothing growing but baby palms, whose lime-colored fronds stretched out about as wide, some three feet or so, as they did high. Earlier we’d driven through large expanses freshly cleared of their native vegetation, weird deserts of orange mud interrupted only by the corrugated wakes of the ubiquitous giant yellow earthmovers. The company has been in operation in Liberia only since 2009. And the 543,000-acre lease it signed with the government runs for 65 years, with an option for a 33-year extension, so GVL is just getting started.
Krakue is an environmental advocate who has worked with the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI), a local partner of Friends of the Earth, and he had accompanied me here from Monrovia, the nation’s capital, on a road so riven with ditches, potholes, and impromptu lakes that it took us eight hours to go 150 miles. Sinoe County is home to some 104,000 people, but its isolation and its history as a center of the civil wars that wracked this tiny West African nation from 1989 to 2003 have left it with the ambience of a place that’s been forgotten.
We pulled over in a village called Pluoh, a scattering of mud-and-thatch houses, where a sign staked in the ground read Malaria Spoils Belly. Aside from a few chickens scratching around and a preschooler in a raggedy party dress vigorously cranking a water pump, there wasn’t a whole lot going on. Little clusters of people sat on crude wooden benches propped beneath the thatch eaves of their huts, and the cries of babies floated on the still morning air. Krakue introduced me to Benedict Menewah, a scrawny 45-year-old father of seven, who filled me in on the story of the lone coconut tree.
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project is the North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition.
Simone Lovera is co-founder and executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations. In this guest post, she describes the REDD deal that came out of COP19 in Warsaw as “the weakest text any international forest-related body has ever adopted”.
Following the June 2013 negotiations in Bonn, GFC described the emerging REDD package as the “whatever approach”. What came out of Warsaw is no improvement. “All the REDD decisions adopted are pathetically vague and non-sensical from a legal point of view,” Lovera writes.
Lovera points out that drivers of deforestation are not addressed in the REDD deal. No finance was agreed for REDD in Warsaw, and unlike existing forest policies, “REDD+ is 100% dependent on financial support”. Governments will be allowed to produce summaries of information on safeguards. The decision on reference levels is “weak”. Lovera writes that, “such texts are an insult to international law”
-Chris Lang, REDD Monitor, December 3, 2013
By Simone Lovera, December 3, 2013. Source: REDD Monitor
On 12 November 2013, the Global Forest Coalition made the following intervention during the negotiations in Warsaw on methodologies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+):
“The Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide coalition of 54 NGOs and Indigenous peoples’ organizations promoting rights-based forest policies shares the concerns of our NGO and IPO colleagues about the extremely weak draft decisions that have been developed in the areas of drivers of forest loss and safeguards. We particularly wonder what we are doing here if this body, and the REDD+ mechanism it is designing, is not capable of addressing the real drivers of forest loss, most of which are linked to international commodity trade. Frankly, if REDD+ is not about addressing the real drivers of forest loss, we don’t think it is a mechanism that should be supported. So we strongly urge governments to focus on developing more effective non-market based approaches to address the international drivers of forest loss, and if they feel they cannot do that within the framework of the REDD mechanism, we urge them to do so within other Frameworks for Various approaches.”
Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, REDD, UNFCCC, Warsaw/COP-19
By Silvia Giannelli, 15 November, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Indonesia’s Sesaot where a village committee has ably managed a forest reserve extending 3,600 hectares for over 50 years. Photo: Amantha Perera/IPS
JAKARTA – Indonesia’s rainforests are facing “legal land grabs”, allege NGOs. Its ancient communities are finding that their ancestral lands are slipping into the hands of foreign companies for oil palm cultivation, as demand for the product grows in Europe, India and China.
“There are 33,000 villages in Indonesia’s forest zone, and many thousand more in areas marked for agriculture,” said Marcus Colchester, senior policy advisor at Forest Peoples Programme, an international NGO.
“The government allocates these areas to companies without even consulting the communities. So concessions have been handed out over lands where these communities have lived for hundreds or even thousands of years,” he told IPS.
Last Friday, Colchester flew to Medan to present the findings of his research, carried out in conjunction with two local organisations, on the impact oil palm cultivation has on the lives of Indonesian communities. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Sustainability fear over new power stations’ demand for wood pellets after report says their use has implications globally
By Jamie Doward, 9 November 2013. Source: The Observer
A new report says the demand for wood pellets has implications for global land use. Photograph: Alamy
Britain’s new generation of biomass power stations will have to source millions of tonnes of wood from thousands of miles away if they are to operate near to their full capacity, raising questions about the claims made for the sustainability of the new technology.
Ministers believe biomass technology could provide as much as 11% of the UK’s energy by 2020, something that would help it meet its carbon commitments. The Environment Agency estimates that biomass-fired electricity generation, most of which involves burning wood pellets, can cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared with coal-fired power stations. Eight biomass power stations, including one in a unit in the giant Drax power station, are operating in the UK and a further seven are in the pipeline. None operates near capacity.
Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Illegal logging, Land Grabs, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
October 25, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth Australia
Deforestation of Southeast Asian rainforests and logging-related human rights violations are major problems compounded by global over-consumption of tropical timber products and by inadequate laws and purchasing policies, according to a new Friends of the Earth International report released today.
The 151-page report, ‘Sustainable’ tropical timber production, trade and procurement’, questions forestry governance in South East Asia, especially in relation to indigenous peoples’ customary land rights, as well as ineffective timber regulatory measures in Japan, South Korea and Australia.
“We are witnessing a global depletion of natural timber resources and sustainable tropical timber remains essentially a mirage. Current laws and policies regulating timber production, export and import are often inadequate. They ignore the reality on the ground. For instance they ignore systemic corruption, violations of human rights, and unsustainable production and consumption patterns,” said said Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth.
“The Australian Government spent over $32 billion in 2010–11 on contracted goods and services. A strong and proactive approach to environmental sustainable purchasing can be achieved through simple changes to the Australian Government’s Procurement Policy and Guidance, in particular the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs).”
Wednesday, September 18. Source: World Rainforest Movement
Industrial oil palm plantations are rapidly expanding, not only in Liberia. In many African countries expansion projects are happening and plans are announced. Everywhere they go, the companies promise jobs and development.
Filed under Africa, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
July 12, 2013. Source: Columbia Basin Bulletin
Predicted increases in temperature and drought in the coming century may make it more difficult for conifers such as ponderosa pine to regenerate after major forest fires on dry, low-elevation sites, in some cases leading to conversion of forests to grass or shrub lands, a report suggests.
Researchers from Oregon State University concluded that moisture stress is a key limitation for conifer regeneration following stand-replacing wildfire, which will likely increase with climate change. This will make post-fire recovery on dry sites slow and uncertain. If forests are desired in these locations, more aggressive attempts at reforestation may be needed, they said.
The study, published in Forest Ecology and Management, was done in a portion of the Metolius River watershed in the eastern Cascade Range of Oregon, which prior to a 2002 fire was mostly ponderosa pine with some Douglas-fir and other tree species. The research area was not salvage-logged or replanted following the severe, stand-replacing fire.
“A decade after this fire, there was almost no tree regeneration at lower, drier sites,” said Erich Dodson, a researcher with the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. “There was some regeneration at higher sites with more moisture. But at the low elevations, it will be a long time before a forest comes back, if it ever does.”
By Jason Kane, June 10, 2013. Source: PBS Newshour
The trees died first. One hundred million of them in the eastern and midwestern United States. The culprit: the emerald ash borer, a beetle that entered the U.S. through Detroit in 2002 and quickly spread to Iowa, New York, Virginia and nearly every state between. The bug attacks all 22 species of North American ash and kills nearly every tree it infests.
Then came the humans. In the 15 states infected with the bug starting, an additional 15,000 people died from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 more from lower respiratory disease compared with uninfected areas of the country.
A team of researchers with the U.S. Forest Services looked at data from 1,296 counties, accounted for the influence of other variables — things like income, race, and education — and came to a simple conclusion: Having fewer trees around may be bad for your health. Their findings, published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggest an associative rather than a direct, causal link between the death of trees and the death of humans.
Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, joined the NewsHour recently to discuss why.
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