I. In THE PRESS
17 July 2011, SciDevNet
Projects in Latin America have shown that paying farmers for planting trees and conserving forests can enhance reforestation in the region.
16 July 2011, Mongabay
Between 1990 and 2007 global forests absorbed nearly one-sixth of all carbon released by fossil fuel emissions, reports a new study published in Science. The results suggest forests play an even bigger role in fighting climate change than previously believed.
13 July 2011, Washington Post
Marauding insects have become a leading threat to the nation’s forests over the past decade, a problem made worse by drought and a warming climate, a federal report says.
12 July 2011, The Guardian
Expansion of sugar exports, demand for palm oil, cattle farming and subsistence communities pushed off their traditional land produced the world's fastest rate of deforestation.
11 July 2011, The Guardian
After years of decline, the felling of trees in the Amazon and the murderous violence that accompanies it is rising ahead of proposed changes to Brazil's forest code. To document the increase in deforestation in the world's largest rainforest, Greenpeace took to the air and has published these aerial photographs for the first time.
7 July 2011, Mongabay
A group of prominent scientists has condemned a bill that will potentially weaken Brazil's environmental laws. The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) has expressed strong reservations about prospective changes to the Brazilian Forest Code.
7 July 2011, Mongabay
A new study says that giving local communities control over forest resources can help slow and even reverse deforestation. The research, published by the RRI on the eve of a forestry workshop in Lombok, Indonesia, analyzed trends in countries that have either maintained or expanded forest cover since 1990.
06 July 2011, Business Green
The World Bank has warned that the complicated processes that afforestation and reforestation projects have to adhere to in order to qualify for the UN's planned carbon trading system could stifle growth for the embryonic sector.
05 July 2011, BBC
Even though the trees here are probably the best-protected anywhere on earth - at least in theory - someone is still cutting them down and burning them. For several years now, the Brazilian government has insisted that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has declined sharply.
28 July 2011, The Guardian
The world's forests are in greater danger than ever, as a United Nations mechanism intended to generate funding for their protection is unlikely to produce sizeable sums "for the foreseeable future", according to new research.
28 June 2011, AlertNet
Developing countries aiming to curb greenhouse gas emissions need to create strategies that address the deforestation caused by agricultural expansion, which is the main cause of forest clearing in most nations, according to a report released this month.
25 June 2011, Jakarta Post
Indigenous communities in Central Kalimantan are calling on the government to stop a pilot REDD project, fearing that it would prompt conflicts between local groups.
II. UNFCCC negotiations and related discussions
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
No negotiations have taken place since the June newsletter. In the October issue we will be back with a report on the negotiations taking place in Panama, 1-7 October 2011.
III. Events & meetings
International Year of Forests, 2011
UN General Assembly has designated 2011 as International Year of Forests. The secretariat of the UN Forum on Forests serves as the focal point for the implementation of the International Year of Forests, in collaboration with governments, the members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and international, regional and subregional organizations and processes as well as relevant major groups. More.
Africa Carbon Forum
The third All-Africa Carbon Forum - “Marrakech Plus 10" - regional trade fair and knowledge sharing platform for carbon investments. The event is being co-organized by the Nairobi Framework partners - UNFCCC, UNDP, UNEP/UNEP Risoe, IETA, UNITAR, UNCTAD, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank. More.
Payments for Ecosystems Services: What role for a green economy?
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and the Finnish Environment Institute. The aim of the workshop is to address issues linked to payments for different ecosystem services, particularly in the forest and water sectors, to explain the sectoral relevance of environmental research linked to the valuation and payment of ecosystem service. More.
Climate Change and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: State of Knowledge, Risks and Opportunities
Organized by the Commission for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This seminar will include presentations covering forest genetic resources and discussions will include setting the policy scene, and agriculture biodiversity and climate change. More.
UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies
The third part of the sixteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 16) and the third part of the fourteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 14). More.
FAO European Forestry Commission and UNECE Timber Committee
The European Forestry Commission (EFC) is one of six FAO Regional Forestry Commissions that cover the world's major geographic regions. More.
FAO Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission
Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2011 promises to be the most significant forestry event of the year in the Asia-Pacific region. The event will bring together a large and diverse group of stakeholders to deal comprehensively with the most relevant challenges facing the sector today. Climate change issue will take central stage in one plenary session and several partner events. More.
Asia Pacific Forestry Week
The Second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, promises to be the most significant forestry event of the year in the Asia-Pacific region. More details will be available soon on the website of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week. More.
Forest Day 5
Forest Day 5 will seek to inform the UNFCCC global agenda and forest stakeholders on ways to implement an international REDD+ funding mechanism that produces social and environmental benefits, above and beyond avoided emissions. The event will have a particular African focus, looking at the tropical forests of the Congo Basin and elsewhere, and the continent's wide expanses of dry forest areas. More.
IV. Research Articles
Forests in climate policy: technical, institutional and economic issues in measurement and monitoring.
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 2011. 16: 5, 499-513
Despite the economic and environmental significance of the world's forests, we have limited data about them. Estimates of deforestation in tropical countries and rates of reforestation or afforestation in boreal and temperate countries are inconsistent. Accordingly, estimates of emissions released in deforestation vary widely and range from 7% to 17% of all sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The lack of good data severely hampers efforts to shape climate policy because it is difficult to model the role of forests both in the physical global carbon (C) cycle and in cost-effective regimes to abate GHG. Data limits strain the capacity of even the best models to estimate marginal cost functions for forest carbon (C) sequestration. It is technically possible to obtain better information, but for institutional and economic reasons these technologies have not yet been fully deployed. The emergence of carbon (C) trading or tax policy in which forest carbon (C) storage becomes valued would strengthen incentives to supply better data, as would nonmarket regulation if it elicited a shadow value of forest carbon (C) in substituting for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. "Geo-wiki" may provide a short-term solution to at least part of the data problem. The ultimate solution is the development of a comprehensive forest monitoring system involving remote sensing and on-the-ground truthing. This paper briefly discusses the role of forests in climate policy and then describes data gaps, the capability of technology to fill them, the limits of institutions and budgets in realizing this capability, and possible near-term solutions.
Preparing for and responding to disturbance: examples from the forest sector in Sweden and Canada
Forests. 2011. 2: 2, 505-524..
Coping or adaptation following large-scale disturbance may depend on the political system and its preparedness and policy development in relation to risks. Adaptive or foresight planning is necessary in order to account and plan for potential risks that may increase or take place concurrently with climate change. Forests constitute relevant examples of large-scale renewable resource systems that have been directly affected by recent environmental and social changes, and where different levels of management may influence each other. This article views disturbances in the forest sectors of Sweden and Canada, two large forest nations with comparable forestry experiences, in order to elucidate the preparedness and existing responses to multiple potential stresses. The article concludes that the two countries are exposed to stresses that indicate the importance of the governing and institutional system particularly with regard to multi-level systems including federal and EU levels. While economic change largely results in privatization of risk onto individual companies and their economic resources (in Canada coupled with a contestation of institutional systems and equity in these), storm and pest outbreaks in particular challenge institutional capacities at administrative levels, within the context provided by governance and tenure systems.
Journal of Sustainable Development. 2011. 4: 3, 152-162.
Green Resources AS, a plantation, carbon offset, forest products, and renewable energy company with operations in Eastern Africa, calculated carbon footprints for 2008 and 2009. In both years, the footprint was dominated by removals of CO2 from the atmosphere attributable to afforestation. These removals were more than 17 times the emissions from the company's value chain. The largest difference between the 2008 and 2009 footprints was due to loss of forest carbon caused by fire. Otherwise, the most important changes in the footprint were related to plantation expansion and growth, and increased output of products in 2009, which caused increases in several types of emissions. The remaining elements of the footprint (manufacturing, forestry operations, transport, and upstream emissions related to non-fibrous inputs, fuels, and electricity) were approximately equal. The use of the charcoal manufactured by the company avoided coal-related emissions equal to approximately one-quarter of the company's value chain emissions.
Insect pests in future forests: more severe problems?
Forests. 2011. 2: 2, 474-485.
A common concern is that damage by insects will increase in forests as a consequence of climate change. We are assessing the likelihood of this predicted outcome by examining how other factors (especially changes in forest management practices) may interact with effects of climate change. Here we describe the strategies for improving understanding of the causes of insect outbreaks and predicting the likelihood of insect-mediated damage increasing in the future. The adopted approaches are: (i) analyses of historical data, (ii) comparison of life history traits of outbreak and non-outbreak species, (iii) experiments along climatic gradients to quantify the strength of trophic interactions, and (iv) modeling. We conclude that collaboration by researchers from many disciplines is required to evaluate available data regarding the complex interactions involved, to identify knowledge gaps, and facilitate attempts to progress beyond speculation to more robust predictions concerning future levels of insect damage to forests.
Alternative Architecture for Climate Change: Major Economies
This article argues that the Kyoto Protocol to the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change was doomed to face difficulties ab initio. It explains why this is the case by analyzing the Kyoto Protocol’s shortcomings and deficiencies. Moving the climate change agenda forward multilaterally among the 195 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is proving to be a serious challenge. The article concludes that no breakthroughs will take place regarding a global climate change agreement until there is more political maturity on the side of the U.S., and until rapidly emerging economies such as China and India indicate that they are ready to play their part in tackling the climate change challenge, since they are part of the solution. Large emitters of GHG need to be involved for negotiations to come to a conclusion. Much progress is still needed until we reach an international agreement that covers all the world’s countries and that is strong enough to tackle climate change effectively and is equitable enough to gain the sympathy of all countries.
A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World’s Forests
The terrestrial carbon (C) sink has been large in recent decades, but its size and location remain uncertain. Using forest inventory data and long-term ecosystem C studies, we estimated a total forest sink of 2.4 ± 0.4 Pg C yr–1 globally for 1990–2007. We also estimated a source of 1.3 ± 0.7 Pg C yr–1 from tropical land-use change, consisting of a gross tropical deforestation emission of 2.9 ± 0.5 Pg C yr–1 partially compensated by a C sink in tropical forest regrowth of 1.6 ± 0.5 Pg C yr–1. Together, the fluxes comprise a net global forest sink of 1.1 ± 0.8 Pg C yr–1, with tropical estimates having the largest uncertainties. This forest sink is equivalent in magnitude to the terrestrial sink deduced from fossil fuel emissions and constraints of ocean and atmospheric sinks.
Ecosphere. 2011. 2: 5, Art64
Interactions between multiple disturbances are of special concern in ecology due to their potential for non-linear behavior and long-lasting legacies on landscape structure and function. If multiple disturbances overcome the ecological resilience of a system, alternate stable states are possible. Increases in the frequency and severity of disturbance events as a result of climate change heighten this concern. This study directly addresses the question of ecosystem resilience in the face of multiple disturbances. We investigated a gradient of disturbance interaction severities between two events in a subalpine forest, a 1997 windstorm (variable severity) and a 2002 wildfire (high-severity). A third disturbance, salvage logging of blowdown (1999-2001) prior to the fire, served as a de facto experimental treatment. Ninety-nine study plots were established across the disturbance gradient, including fire-only areas for a baseline fire response. Modeling indicated that the combination of two severe disturbances created novel conditions which exceeded the resilience mechanisms of the system. Modeled mean fire residence time and temperature (First Order Fire Effects Model, FOFEM), as well as mean distance to potential seed sources, increased as a result of the interaction. Regeneration 8 years post-fire was essentially absent in medium- to high-severity blowdown+fire plots, whereas low-severity blowdown+fire and fire-only areas showed strong regeneration. Blowdown+salvage+fire had significantly higher regeneration than areas of comparable blowdown, suggesting that fuel loading drove the interaction. CART analysis supported this hypothesis. Multiple disturbances have the potential to create surprising situations and reduce the resilience of an ecosystem. Differential recovery as a result of a "novel disturbance" created by compounding events will likely have long lasting legacies across the landscape.
Options for REDD+ voluntary certification to ensure net GHG benefits, poverty alleviation, sustainable management of forests and biodiversity conservation.
Forests. 2011. 2: 2, 550-577.
Our objective was to compare and evaluate the practical applicability to REDD+ of ten forest management, social, environmental and carbon standards that are currently active worldwide: Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB), CCB REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards (CCBA REDD+ S&E), CarbonFix Standard (CFS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Conservation Standard (GCS), ISO 14064:2006, Plan Vivo Standard, Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), SOCIALCARBON Standard and the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). We developed a framework for evaluation of these standards relative to each other using four substantive criteria: (1) poverty alleviation, (2) sustainable management of forests (SMF), (3) biodiversity protection, (4) quantification and assessment of net greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits; and two procedural criteria: (5) monitoring and reporting, and (6) certification procedures. REDD programs require assessment of GHG benefits, monitoring, reporting and certification. Our analysis shows that only the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) treats these three criteria comprehensively. No standard provides comprehensive coverage of the social and other environmental criteria. FSC, PEFC and CarbonFix provide comprehensive assessments of the sustainable forest management criterion. CCBA REDD+ S&E, CCB, and GCS provide comprehensive coverage of the biodiversity and poverty alleviation criteria. Experience in using these standards in pilot projects shows that projects are currently combining several standards as part of their strategy to improve their ability to attract investment, but costs of implementing several certification schemes is a concern. We conclude that voluntary certification provides useful practical experience that should feed into the design of the international REDD+ regime.
Adaptation options to reduce climate change vulnerability of sustainable forest management in the Austrian Alps
Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 2011. 41: 4, 694-706.
Sustaining forest ecosystem functions and services under climate change is a major challenge for forest management. While conceptual advances of adapting coupled social-ecological systems to environmental changes have been made recently, good practice examples at the operational level still remain rare. The current study presents the development of adaptation options for 164 550 ha of commercial forests under the stewardship of the Austrian Federal Forests (AFF). We used a comprehensive vulnerability assessment as analysis framework, employing ecosystem modeling and multicriteria decision analysis in a participatory approach with forest planers of the AFF. An assessment of the vulnerability of multiple ecosystem goods and services under current management served as the starting point for the development of adaptation options. Measures found to successfully reduce vulnerability include the promotion of mixed stands of species well adapted to emerging environmental conditions, silvicultural techniques fostering complexity, and increased management intensity. Assessment results for a wide range of site and stand conditions, stand treatment programs, and future climate scenarios were used to condense robust recommendations for adapting the management guidelines currently used by AFF practitioners. Overall, our results highlight the importance of timely adaptation to sustain forest goods and services and document the respective potential of silvicultural measures.
V. Publications, Reports and other media
Local Versus International Perspectives on REDD+
The report focus on the question of whether local stakeholders can make use of REDD+ interests to advance their livelihood strategies and development aspirations. Using case studies from Indonesia, it suggests that existing models of household decision making have not captured the complexity of decisions around REDD+. The publication.
Linking Forests and Food Production in the REDD+ Context
This paper evaluates the extent to which countries participating in the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) readiness activities are actively linking REDD+ and agriculture policies, programmes, and institutional and governance arrangements. Based on 20 current country readiness proposals (R-PPs) submitted to the FCPF, the analysis reveals that overall, REDD+ strategies and actions generally fail to address agricultural drivers. The paper.
REDD+ and Carbon Markets: 10 Myths Exploded
Despite the United Nations’ negotiations on REDD+ growing increasingly pivotal to global discussions on climate change, there are still a number of serious misconceptions about the suitability of carbon markets to finance forest protection. This paper aims to demonstrate why 10 assumptions are false or misleading. The publication.
Communities Must See the Plus in REDD-plus - Cambodia
This is one of three reports from the TDF Initiative on REDD-readiness that summarize the main outcomes of field dialogues in Cambodia, Ecuador and Guatemala. More than 160 leaders from local and international stakeholder groups participated in these dialogues, exploring common challenges in the REDD-readiness phase and making specific recommendations to address them. The report.
Pushing Forward REDD-plus: Civil Society Processes in the Development of a National REDD Strategy - Guatemala
This is one of three reports from the TDF Initiative on REDD-readiness that summarize the main outcomes of field dialogues in Cambodia, Ecuador and Guatemala. More than 160 leaders from local and international stakeholder groups participated in these dialogues, exploring common challenges in the REDD-readiness phase and making specific recommendations to address them. The report in English/Spanish.
A Draft Framework for Sharing Approaches for Better Multi-Stakeholder Participation Practices
UN-REDD and FCPF
The publication focuses on 4 topics: a) A set of common terms relating to stakeholder participation; b) A framework for categorizing and describing different types of stakeholder engagement processes to facilitate sharing of relevant experiences; c) A discussion of the types of information most relevant for practitioners to share; and d) Next steps for developing a comprehensive and sustained approach to sharing information and experiences between and among partners, and identifying good practices. The publication.
UN-REDD and FCPF
This publication outlines national benefit-sharing approaches from three areas of forest management policy with respect to REDD+, including: payments for ecosystem services (PES), participatory forest management (PFM) and forest concession revenue sharing arrangements. The publication.
A Review of Three REDD+ Safeguard Initiatives
UN-REDD and FCPF
This publication seeks to contribute to the discussion on practical experiences regarding safeguards by outlining current approaches to the application of social and environmental standards and principles. It highlights the current REDD+ safeguard initiatives from the FCPF, the UN-REDD Programme, and REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards (SES), and the lessons learned and anticipated challenges to application of REDD+ safeguards. The publication.
REDD+ Design in Cambodia, Indonesia and Mexico: Lessons to Inform International REDD+ Policy Development
Center for Clean Air Policy
This paper presents a summary of the key results of CCAP’s in-country REDD policy work in these countries and discusses the international implications. The paper and the full country reports can be downloaded at the CCAP Forestry and Climate Change Program website.
Carbon righteousness: how to lever pro-poor benefits from REDD+
This briefing discusses the opportunities and challenges involved in the creation of a new form of private property that can be bought and sold in domestic and international markets — the ‘carbon right’. It looks at how equity and fairness can be built into this new commodity so that carbon trading schemes and REDD+ projects support the rural poor who rarely hold formal land ownership or tenure rights but are key players in putting sustainable forest management into practice on the ground. The paper.
Improved methods for carbon accounting for bioenergy - Descriptions and evaluations
The report describes and evaluates various bioenergy accounting systems that could be used in nations with GHG-limitation obligations. This report briefly describes accounting system options and then evaluates them in 2 ways. The report.
The Greener Side of REDD+
The report review the literature on forest policy processes and government-led reforestation and restoration programs, and find their success relied on government support at the highest levels, and forest governance reforms (particularly land and resource tenure systems) to incentivize good forest management and tree-planting. However, constraints to wood supply have caused some countries to rely on wood imports and “export” deforestation, diminishing global carbon benefits. The report.
FLEGT and REDD Unit, Head of Unit
Is looking for a senior-level professional with strong international leadership and management experience to lead and develop further the two facilities. Visioning and leading the future growth of the facilities in the context of increasing importance of forests in the international environmental and climate policy will be the main task of the head of FLEGT-REDD Unit. More.
Forestry Officers - REDD+ (FAO)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are seeking to fill several project positions with the UN-REDD Programme, ranging from young professionals to a senior position as Programme Coordinator (UN-REDD Country implementation). More.
Projects Manager - Climate Program
The Projects Manager will provide dynamic and creative leadership to manage Climate Program projects in agriculture, forestry and tourism globally, with a particular focus on the Amazon and Congo basins, Southeast Asia and Central America. S/he will coordinate with staff from Sustainable Forestry, Agriculture, Tourism, and other programs to ideate, develop and implement projects, and will build and strengthen partnerships with key stakeholders from civil society, the private sector and government. S/he will lead the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to shape climate policy in priority tropical countries and amongst target bilateral and multilateral climate investment funds and international organizations including UNEP, FAO CIFOR and others. S/he will supervise the Climate Program Assistant. More.
Postdoctoral Position with the International Forestry Resources and Institutions
The International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) Network, located at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, seeks a postdoctoral fellow for a one-year appointment beginning Fall 2011. The Postdoctoral Fellow will work under the direct supervision of Professor Arun Agrawal who coordinates the IFRI network. The Fellow will conduct and support research for several existing projects on institutional and social dimensions of forest outcomes and climate adaptation, community forest governance, and land cover change. As necessary, the Fellow will also assist with the preparation of new grant proposals, coordination of IFRI field research, and organization of research workshops in national and international contexts. A combination of scholarly imagination and rigorous interdisciplinary empirical and analytical skills will provide applicants a competitive edge. Strong statistical training, experience working with complex social-ecological datasets, and some spatial analysis skills (GIS and Remote Sensing) are especially desirable. Qualified applicants may come from a range of fields, including Political Science, Public Policy, Geography, Sociology, Economics, Ecology, and Environment programs. To apply, please send a 1-page cover letter, names of two recommendation letter writers, and a copy of a recent publication (all as a single file with your full name in the filename) to Joan Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org. The initial appointment will be for a year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year contingent on satisfactory performance and final approval of funds. We will begin reviewing applications August 15, and will accept applications until Sept. 1, or until the position is filled. For more information on the IFRI research program please visit: http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/ifri/home
Asia Pacific Forestry Week, Registration is now open!
Register as a participant or register your Partner event or Exhibition booth at this year's Asia Pacific Forestry Week by clicking the link: http://apfw-registration.apfnet.cn/
The REDD+ Partnership
The new interactive interface for the Voluntary REDD+ Database (VRD) has been launched. The website offers access to maps, graphs and summary statistics on REDD+ financing that has been reported to the REDD+ Partnership, as well as detailed information on individual agreements between countries and/or institutions. The Database is one of the key ongoing activities of the REDD+ Partnership, and is frequently updated as Partners and Institutions provide additional information to the VRD team. The VRD is managed by FAO and UNEP-WCMC on behalf of the UN-REDD Programme Team and the Facility Management Team of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.
The Adaptation Fund Project Tracker
The Adaptation Fund established under the Kyoto Protocol has reached full operationalisation and has approved first projects proposals earlier this year. The Germanwatch Adaptation Fund Project Tracker gives an overview of the state of project approval, including a list of all projects so far considered by the Adaptation Fund Board. This table will be continuously updated before and after each Adaptation Fund Board meeting. The tool.
New Methodology for Measuring Emission Reductions from Reduced Deforestation Stands to Unlock Carbon Revenues for Poor Communities
A new methodology for quantifying emission reductions from projects that reduce unplanned deforestation could help unlock carbon market revenues for countries and poor communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America, boosting the conservation of forests and creating new livelihoods. More.
Survey: Integration of climate change concerns in development planning
Integration of climate change concerns in development planning is considered desirable by all policy makers. However, countries are making limited progress. To overcome barriers of mainstreaming climate change in development planning, this survey aims to better assess the significance of specific constraints – especially in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G5X3GXT
23-24 November 2011, Leuven, Belgium. In the International Year of Forests, the key objective of this science to policy conference is to identify how science can contribute to improved ecosystem services of forests for the benefit of the people. Through its programme and final memorandum, the conference aims to contribute to the on-going European policy processes, in particular the review of the EU Forestry Strategy, the Green Paper on Forest Protection and Information of the EU, and the EU FLEGT and REDD facilities.