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E-News Issue 4 June 2008

Growing Interest in Avoided Deforestation

The forested landscapes of the developing world have attracted extraordinary interest in the last weeks.  This issue of ASB e-news notes several important indicators of that interest, including the “Forests in Flux” special issue of Science.  Among the extraordinary events was the US Senate discussion on a proposed climate change bill.  While the debate demonstrated the combative nature of the US political process, the overall process was interesting for the relatively enthusiastic inclusion of avoided deforestation as a mitigation option in the draft legislation.   

I had the chance to witness some of the background discussions held as the Lieberman-Warner bill was being prepared for Senate debate during a visit to Washington DC last month.  Fascinating.  And most useful for illustrating the importance of evidence for informing the policy process.  

In DC, I was involved in the panel of international experts that the World Bank convened to review the state of knowledge of the Opportunity Costs of Avoided Deforestation.  This session helped to sort out some of the reasons for the large differences generated by the “bottom-up” studies of ASB and the Woods Hole Research Centre and the “top-down” studies of modeling groups in the US and Europe.  Perhaps most importantly for the ASB Partnership, the session showed the heavy reliance on the very limited number of past ASB tradeoff and opportunity cost studies.  The gap in bottom-up information is particularly problematic for Africa:  the work done at the ASB benchmark site in southwest Cameroon simply isn’t good enough to represent the vastness and diversity of Africa.  The ASB partnership urgently needs to do more of what it has always done:  generating rigorous quantitative evidence on the tradeoffs and dynamics of alternative land uses and livelihoods in the tropical forest margins. 


Brent Swallow
ASB Global Coordinator, Nairobi


ASB shares results with World Bank

On 27 May, ASB Global Coordinator Brent Swallow attended a World Bank workshop on the opportunity costs of REDD, and presented ASB's research on the Opportunity Costs of Avoided Deforestation with Sustainable Benefits. A good collection of resources and presentations from the workshop is now online.

Source: The Costs of Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation World Bank. May 27, 2008

ASB work presented to Cameroon agricultural development council

The 8th general assembly for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Development (WECARD) took place in Yaoundé from 9-13 June 2008. The event’s theme was Producers and end users concerns in agricultural research and development. Martin Tchienkoua of IRAD (Institut de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement), Cameroon, and his team from the Forest and Environment coordination office represented ASB at the event, and shared the research on the Opportunity Costs for Avoided Deforestation with Sustainable Benefits.

Monitoring Congo Basin forests from space

A new joint climate change initiative by the UK and Norwegian governments is focussing on deforestation in the Congo Basin. The Congo Basin Forest Fund will install a high-res RALCam3 camera onboard a satellite to provide the first detailed view of the area's rate of forest cover loss.

Source: Space cameras to monitor forests BBC News. 17 June 2008.

The development promise of forest carbon in the Congo

In a recent interview, Dr. Nadine Laporte from the Woods Hole Research Centre talks about avoided deforestation in the Congo, and how remote sensing can help develop national capacity for REDD.

Source: Forest carbon credits could guide development in Congo. 28 May 2008.

Australia and Indonesia sign avoided deforestation pact

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have signed an agreement to link rainforest protection to emerging global carbon markets through the use of Australian carbon measurement technology. "There is real potential for Australia and Indonesia to lead the world here. We share a goal of having avoided deforestation recognised in future climate change agreements," Rudd told business leaders in a speech.

Source: AFP: Australian PM pledges cooperation with Indonesia president. Agence France-Presse. 12 June 2008.

New Google Earth layer offers insight on global deforestation

A new layer for Google Earth is now available enabling users to access data on global deforestation. The KML, developed by David Tryse, provides deforestation data from a number of sources for individual countries, including a live ticker for each country.

Source: Earth Outreach KML: Disappearing Forests Google Earth.

Picturing Africa’s changing landscape

The 2008 UNEP Africa Atlas highlights major changes throughout the continent, including images of massive deforestation in the Congo Basin. The report points to industrial logging, agricultural change, and road expansion as the major cause of deforestation in the area. High-resolution satellite images illustrating the changes are available for download at the site.


The potential for offsetting carbon with agroforestry

Agroforestry and reforestation are the best option for providing carbon offsets in the initial phase of an emissions trading system, according to Australian researchers. The research, conducted by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence, and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries shows agroforestry is an important carbon sink due to its magnitude and integration with agriculture, provided it is properly managed.

Source: Forests 'best option' for providing carbon offsets The Age, Australia. 28 April 2008.

US carbon-capping bill dies

The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, that would have set up a cap-and-trade system to limit climate-warming carbon emissions, died amidst concerns over job loss and increasing fuel prices. The Bill, which was voted down on June 6, contained provisions for avoided deforestation, and hearings on the subject were held before a U.S. Senate Committee. Recently, a new bill, the Climate MATTERS Act (Climate Market Auction Trust and Trade Emissions Reduction System) was introduced. The bill aims to institute a strong cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and acknowledges the "substantial benefits" of avoided deforestation.

Carbon-capping climate Senate bill dies. ENN Environmental News Network. 6 June2008.
Hearing: INTERNATIONAL DEFORESTATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE. U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 22 April 2008.
Climate MATTERS Cap-and-Trade Legislation Introduced. Trading Markets. 17 June 2008.

New York Times on avoided deforestation

An analysis of the potential for US leadership on Avoided Deforestation in light of the (now failed) Lieberman-Warner climate change bill. "The connection of U.S. carbon credits to avoided deforestation would, it is hoped, stimulate the development of a global market in avoided-deforestation credits."

Source: Leafonomics. New York Times. 20 April 2008.


African Environmental Economics and Policy Research Grants

The Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA) is awarding competitive Research Grants to projects that increase capacity in research in environmental economics in the region.

More: download call

Carbon Finance for Agriculture, Silviculture, Conservation and Action against Deforestation

1st call for projects: Cameroon. Interested proponents of AFOLU or bioenergy carbon finance projects based in Cameroon are invited to submit an application by sending a presentation of their project such as the abridged version of their Project Idea Note. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than July 7th to Jan Kappen



Forests in Flux. Science Magazine – Special Online Collection. 13 June 2008. Click for more.

Avoided Deforestation as a Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Tool: Economic Issues. Sohngen et al. (2008). Journal of Environmental Quality. 37 (4): 1368. Click for more.

Economic potential of land-use change and forestry for carbon sequestration and poverty reduction. Cacho, O., Hean, R., Ginoga, K., Wise, R., Djaenudin, D., Lugina, M., Wulan, Y., Subarudi, Lusiana, B., van Noordwijk, M. and Khasanah, N. (2008). Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research – ACIAR Technical Report 68. Click for more. [ASB Partners at ICRAF-SEA]

Climate Change and the Fate of the Amazon. Special issue of Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B . 27 May 2008. Volume 363 - Number 1498. Click for more.


Working Forests in the Tropics October 6-7, 2008 in Gainesville, Florida, USA.

Partnering Research with Practice - for Conservation and Development. Conference sponsored by the University of Florida School of Forest Resources & Conservation. Click for more.

2009 World Forestry Congress, 18-25 October, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Forests in development - a vital balance” is the theme of this XIIIth World Forestry Congress and it will be tackled from the social, ecological and economic perspectives. Click for more.

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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