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E-News Issue 3 May 2008

Global Coordinator's Message

Forests and Watersheds: Addressing the Tough Questions

Drawing out key messages from research on the links between trees, forests and watershed function is far from easy.  Simple messages tend to be either trivial or exaggerated.  More nuanced messages often leave readers bewildered and policy makers with no concrete direction.   

ASB collaborators at the World Agroforestry Centre and the Free University of Amsterdam have prepared two new policy briefs that seek to balance the simplicity / nuance equation. The first brief deals with deforestation and the multiple functions of tropical watersheds, addressing tough questions such as “Does Forest Produce Extra Rain?”  The second brief deals with restoring the functions of watersheds, giving special attention to the potential role of agroforestry in tropical landscapes.  These two new briefs are the 8th and 9th in the ASB policy brief series. 

These new ASB policy briefs add to a corpus of recent work on this topic (see below).  We hope that readers find the messages insightful and understandable.


Brent Swallow
ASB Global Coordinator, Nairobi



New resource on water-forest interactions and policy challenges

FAO’s International journal of forestry and forest products, Unasylva, has released a collection of articles exploring the complex interaction between water and forests in a range of context and the resulting challenges for policy. By presenting this range of experiences, the issue aims to contribute towards the exchange of expertise between foresters and water management specialists, as well as to the dissemination of applied research to policy-makers.

Source: Forests and water. Unasylva No. 229. FAO 2008.

Forest Day Central Africa: Developing REDD in the Congo Basin

On April 24th stakeholders from Central Africa met at Forest Day, held in Yaoundé Cameroon. Convened by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the event focused on the effects of deforestation and forest degradation on climate change, bringing forth regional perspectives on human health, food security, and the potential of REDD as a mitigation strategy. ASB partners were joined by staff from the global coordination office to present research on Avoided Deforestation with Sustainable Benefits, and take part in the debate.

Full Story: Cameroon: Forest Day - Stakeholders Seek to Mitigate Climate Change. The Post (Buea). 28 April 2008.

New Overview of REDD Challenges and Opportunities

The World Resources Institute (WRI) has released an overview of the opportunities, challenges and options surrounding current REDD discussions, while also highlighting potential policy alternatives that lie beyond the international climate change framework.

Full Story: Protecting Forests to Save the Climate: REDD Challenges and Opportunities. EarthTrends pdate. April 2008.

Prince of Wales urges Avoided Deforestation

Speaking on BBC radio’s Today programme, The Prince of Wales has called on the international community to donate £30bn a year to halt deforestation. "What we have got to do is ensure that those forests are more valuable alive than dead," he said. The Prince’s Rainforest Project has recently consulted with ASB research to make its case.

Listen here: Prince Charles and the Amazon. BBC Radio 4 – Today. 14 May 2005.

Could U.S. climate policy go REDD?

In a recent interview, Jeff Horowitz, founding partner of Avoided Deforestation Partners, discusses how U.S. climate policy could serve as a catalyst and growth of a carbon credits market for forest conservation. "We are especially optimistic that in the near term the U.S. Congress will recognize the urgency of REDD and take the action that is necessary to prevent irreplaceable rainforests from continuing to be destroyed," he said. "We hope we have that policy signal in place soon."

Source: U.S. climate policy could help save rainforests. 14 May 2008.

Biofuels: a quick fix?

Is the current biofuels debate a product of a ‘take-make-waste’ mindset? A recent opinion piece addresses the biofuels issue beyond the immediate impacts on food prices and availability, and questions whether a technological solution can truly address climate change.

Full Story:


UNFF Webforum on reversing forest loss and degradation

The UNFF Secretariat is currently hosting a webforum on "Reversing the loss of forest cover, preventing forest degradation in all types of forests and combating desertification, including low forest cover countries". This online forum is being organized to generate dialogue, and elicit inputs on one of the themes for discussion at the upcoming 8th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, which will take place at UNHQ New York, from 20 April - 1 May 2009. The webforum will remain open until 30 May 2008.

For full details click here

Call for papers on livelihood impacts of PES schemes

The Crawford School of Economics and Government (ANU College of Asia and the Pacific) is looking for authors to prepare ten papers on the livelihood impacts of payment for environmental services schemes, and implications for activities aimed to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

More: Terms of Reference and further information on this project

Ginés–Mera Memorial Fellowship Fund for Postgraduate Studies

Applications are now being accepted for the 2008 Ginés–Mera Memorial Fellowship Fund for Postgraduate Studies.  The Fund is supported by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).  The goal of the Fund is to provide fellowships for young women and men from developing countries to complete postgraduate research with links to CIAT research for development activities in Southeast Asia.

More information:

New Resources

New online Calendar of UNEP’s Environmental Meetings

Available at:

Forests Sourcebook: Practical Guidance for Sustaining Forests in Development Cooperation

Developed by the World Bank with members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, including the Food and Agriculture Organization.  This book provides background on key issues, lessons learned, and recommendations for practitioners on a number of topics including private sector engagement, forest governance, sustainable plantation and commercial harvesting, and forest information management systems.

For more information click here


The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has launched a knowledge management project for international negotiations and related activities on climate change.

See more at:


Can Carbon Trading Save Vanishing Forests? Laurance, William. F. BioScience April 2008 vol. 58 no. 4. Click for more

Land use change effects on trace gas fluxes in the forest margins of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Veldkamp, E., J. Purbopuspito, M. D. Corre, R. Brumme, and D. Murdiyarso (2008), J. Geophys. Res., 113. Click for more


Partnerships for Sustainability: Examining the Evidence, A Symposium. 18-19 June 2008, Washington, DC.

The U.S. National Academies' Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability will convene a symposium to examine the multi-stakeholder partnership record in addressing issues associated with sustainability. The symposium will focus on the challenges that the partnerships have addressed, including: involvement of several sectors, action at varying scales, from local to global, a combination of public and private financing, and a complex set of science questions. For more information click here.

International Society for Ecological Economics Biennial Conference, 9-11 August in Nairobi, Kenya

The conference will highlight the vision, methods and policy adjustments needed for ecological economics principles to be applied to the design and management of environmentally and socially sustainable development processes. For more information, 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 are found at the Conference webpage:



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