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E-News Issue 1 March 2008

Global Coordinator's Message

Launching ASB e-news

ASB strives to be learning organization.  One thing we are trying to learn more about now is how to provide information services to you, the subscribers of the ASB listserv.  We understand you to have shared interests in the effects of land use and landscape management on livelihoods and environmental services in the tropical forest margins.  You also share interests in research and research outputs: some of you are most interested in methods, others more interested in empirical results, and still others more interested in the general implications of research for policy and programme design. Those of you who joined the listserv in 2007 may well be particularly interested in the debates about REDD – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  We strive to be a trusted source of information for all of you.

We also understand that you, like us at the Global Coordination Unit, are sometimes overwhelmed by information.  Your email inbox is crowded with 50-100 messages every morning and you spend the first 20 minutes deleting ‘junk mail.’  You will unsubscribe from listservs that don’t respect the value of your time.

To better serve your needs, the ASB Global Coordination Unit is launching this new electronic newsletter.  We intend to issue one issue of the newsletter each month and to use a simple and accessible format.  We want you to quickly find the stories or news items that you want to explore in greater depth.  Some issues that we cover may be particularly time sensitive, so we still may occasionally send messages between issues of the newsletter. 

Enjoy this first issue of ASB e-news.  If you like it, send it along and encourage your colleagues to subscribe.  If you have contributions, please send them to Vanessa Meadu.  If you have comments, positive or negative, please also share those.


Brent Swallow
ASB Global Coordinator, Nairobi


BBC highlights importance of REDD
"...politically and economically it would be much easier to make massive reductions in deforestation than to achieve similar cuts in air travel. And in terms of curbing climate change, that would be massively more effective, too."

Source: Flying clouds the real climate culprit. BBC News. 22 January 2008.

Aceh, Indonesia signs REDD agreement to protect 1.8m acres of rainforest

The project is expected to generate 3.3 million carbon credits annually, and will finance wildlife conservation, and bring employment to poor local communities. It is the first REDD project to be approved by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance.

Source: Scheme to protect 1.8 m acres of rainforest. The Daily Telegraph (UK). 5 March 2008.

Merrill Lynch signs voluntary REDD agreement in Indonesia

In a major demonstration of confidence in the viability of voluntary carbon offsets as a strategic investment, Merrill Lynch is raising equity for a 100-million-ton, for-profit avoided deforestation project in Aceh, Indonesia. Tellingly for the future of the forestry market, the decision to take the plunge had more to do with the cultural and biodiversity benefits than with the carbon itself.

Source: Painting the Town REDD: Merrill Lynch Inks Massive Voluntary Forest Deal. Ecosystem Marketplace. 8 February 2008.

New York Times: Biofuels a Greenhouse Threat

The New York Times reports on two new studies that highlight the negative effects biofuel development are having on tropical forests and climate change. Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these "green" fuels are taken into account, two studies have concluded.

Source: Biofuels deemed a Greenhouse Threat. New York Times. 8 February 2008.

Tropical Forestry Companies call for sustainable forest management practises in the face of climate change

Senior executives of more than 15 of the leading global forestry companies and organizations announced their vision of tropical forestry for the year 2015. “We are working vigorously to implement credibly certified sustainable forest management practices, which conserve forest resources, protect the interests of local communities, and ensure long-term revenue generation from forest goods, such as timber, and services, such as carbon storage.” said Herbert Reef, Chief Executive of Reef Hout, a  timber producing company in Brazil and Cameroon.

Source: Forestry Compenies Call for Radical Changes in Tropical Forest Management. GLOBE International. 19 February 2008.

GEO - Group on Earth Observations - seeks input on REDD monitoring systems

The most technologically and politically attractive monitoring system for REDD will probably involve integrating data from diverse remote-sensing and in-situ instruments. The GEO secretariat is proposing the creation of a project for coordinating the national and regional activities on REDD monitoring by GEO members and participating organizations. Please submit your feedback on GEO's potential role in REDD to

Source: Earth

ASB GSG member Claudio Carvalho named Director General of Embrapa Eastern Amazon

On 22 February, Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, has named Claudio Carvalho the new Director General of its Eastern Amazon research centre. Claudio has peen a member of ASB’s Global Steering Group since 2007. Many warm congratulations to Claudio!



Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt
J. Fargione, J. Hill, D. Tilman, S. Polasky, and P. Hawthorne. Science. 7 February 2008. Click for more

Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases through Emissions from Land Use Change
T. Searchinger, R. Heimlich, R. A. Houghton, F. Dong, A. Elobeid, J. Fabiosa, S. Tokgoz, D. Hayes, and T.-H. Yu. Science. 7 February 2008. Click for more.

Better RED than dead: paying the people for environmental services in Amazonia
Anthony Hall. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - Biological Sciences. 11 February 2008. Click for more.

Deforestation, Forest Degradation, Biodiversity Loss and CO2 Emissions in Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia - One Indonesian Province's Forest and Peat Soil Carbon Loss over a Quarter Century and its Plans for the Future.
WWF Indonesia. Download at


Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, 21-26 April 2008, in Hanoi Vietnam

An opportunity for various stakeholders and forest managers to interact, share perspectives, and collectively seek solutions to some of the most challenging issues facing forests and forestry today. For more information and registration click here

Forest Day Central Africa, 24 April 2008, in Yaoundé, Cameroon

CIFOR is organizing Forest Day to help shape the debate on forests and climate change in Central Africa. Speakers representing a broad range of forest stakeholders will present and discuss prominent forest issues central to the climate change debate. Presentations, discussions and debates will center on forest's role in climate change mitigation, with specific focus on REDD in Central Africa. For more information and registration click here

International Expert Meeting on Addressing Climate Change through Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests, 30 April - 2 May 2008, Yokohama, Japan

The International Tropical Timber Organization is convening an expert meeting to clarify and illustrate the role of ITTO in climate change adaptation and mitigation in relation to tropical forests and to assist members in formulating and implementing an integrated forest-sector response to climate change. For more information and registration click here

Adaptation of Forests and Forest Management to Changing Climate, 25-28 August in 2008 in Umea, Sweden.

Adaptation of Forests and Forest Management to Changing Climate with Emphasis on Forest Health: A Review of Science, Policies, and Practices is convened by IUFRO-FAO-SLU. The conference will include a Special Session on “Tropical Forest Management and Climate Change Adaptation” with papers on the biophysical/silvicultural, social, institutional, and economic aspects of tropical forest management (natural and planted stands) in the context of global climate change. More details and instructions for submission of abstracts are found at the Conference webpage: Please submit your abstracts by e-mail to Deadline for submission of abstracts: 20 April 2008.

The Last Word

The Onion* gauges public reaction to new reports on Biofuels and deforestation

"According to the journal Science, the use of biofuels does not offset the greenhouse gas emissions produced in their manufacture. What do you think?"

"Would it at least offset the amount of time I have to pretend to care about the environment?" Bruce Jones, Systems Analyst

"Just once, why can't one of our poorly considered quick fixes work?" Kirsten Simonon, Tattoo Artist

"Then where do they suppose we should get this green power? From magic? From the very Sun?" Will Trembeau, Truck Dispatcher

Source: Biofuels Worse For The Environment. The Onion - America's Finest News Source. 4 March 2008.

* satirical


The Last Word

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