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E-News Issue 5 July 2008

Facing the realities of REDD

In the last month, the world’s forest and climate change community has spent time in Bonn and in Tokyo asking some hard questions and thinking about how a post 2012 REDD mechanism should be shaped. Several methodological, institutional, social and even ethical issues were discussed- but no answers yet. This issue of the ASB eNews features the IISD Earth Negotiations Bulletin report and analysis of the Tokyo REDD Methodology workshop.

A question raised at the methodology workshop asks how emissions estimates are impacted by the way we define forests. We feature an Op-Ed from the Jakarta Post, by Meine van Noordwijk (ICRAF) on the subject. It illustrates using examples from Indonesia how various definitions of forest can compromise and or enhance the effectiveness of REDD. Reflections on criteria for defining forests for REDD are presented.

We also welcome you to visit our revamped news page at While we will continue to summarize the best of each month in the eNews, now you can search and browse stories, events and publications relating to land use and livelihoods at the tropical forest margins all in one place. Enjoy!!!

Peter A Minang
ASB Programme Associate, Nairobi


Smoke-screens and the lungs of the world - Jakarta Post OpEd

How we define a forest makes a major difference for effective REDD. Reducing deforestation, has become a respected policy target for governments. Unfortunately, the term "forest" has lost its meaning in the global discourse. Article by Meine van Noordwijk from ICRAF-Southeast Asia, an ASB partner.

Source: Smoke-screens and the lungs of the world. The Jakarta Post. 28 June 2008.

Governance and economic implications of avoided deforestation activities in Indonesia

Presentations are now available from a seminar on the Challenges to the National Implementation of REDD in Indonesia and PNG was held at The Australian National University on June 18. This is part of a project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The aim of this project is to support the development of policy and institutional arrangements at the provincial and district level to facilitate the implementation of REDD and the capture and equitable distribution of financial benefits from an international carbon market.

Source: Challenges to the National Implementation of REDD in Indonesia and PNG

UNFCCC Workshop on Methodological Issues relating to REDD

Methodological issues addressed at the workshop included demonstration of reductions in emissions from deforestation, reference emissions levels, estimation and demonstration of reductions in emissions from forest degradation, and implications of national and subnational approaches and related displacement of emissions.

Source: UNFCCC Workshop on Methodological Issues relating to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. IISD Linkages. 28 June 2008.

Britain urges 'cautious approach' on biofuels

A new report released by the UK government's Renewable Fuels Agency, has examined the social and environmental impacts of biofuel production. Although it did not recommend a moratorium on biofuels as an energy source, it did conclude that the introduction of biofuels "should be slowed down to take into account emerging scientific evidence about their sustainability." The review recommends the establishment of sustainability criteria for biofuels to address indirect, as well as direct, effects on land use including deforestation. Specifically, the report states that further work is needed to develop definitions for idle and marginal lands. Assessment tools must also be developed and procedures implemented to confirm the suitability of specific locations before any land change occurs. This should take into account:

  • The land's existing use;
  • The land's productive potential;
  • The net carbon impact of using the land for biofuels;
  • The land's existing environmental value; and
  • Social implications of its use for biofuels.

ASB research on the impacts of land use change on carbon emissions and income generation shows that many deforesting activities generate a high rate of GHG emissions compared to the economic benefit to the land users.

Source: Britain urges 'cautious approach' on biofuels. 7 July 2007.

"Loss of biodiversity threatens livelihoods of world's poorest"

The interim report of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), a study inspired by the Stern Review and proposed by the German Government, has been released. The report makes a comprehensive and compelling economic case for conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, estimating that loss of forest biodiversity costs €28 billion yearly

Source: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. European Commission. June 2008.

Global Forest Partnership - Stakeholder consultation reveals livelihoods concerns

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) consulted widely on the World Bank’s idea of a Global Forest Partnership. A majority agreed a new partnership was needed to protect forests and forest-based livelihoods, but pointed out ways it should diverge from the bank’s initial idea if it is to really serve local needs on an equitable basis with the rapidly changing global forestry agenda. The consultation identified the need to focus on empowering primary ‘stakeholders’ such as forest dwellers so that their rights, knowledge and needs are centre-stage. It should greatly improve flows of finance to activities that support local needs alongside global public goods such as carbon storage. It should interact effectively with other sectors such as water and agriculture, where the underlying causes of forest problems – and the seeds of sustainable solutions – are often lodged.

Source: Rooting a Global Forest Partnership in stakeholder capabilities and needs. Consultation and assessment by IIED. June 2008.

Malaysia shifts palm oil cultivation to Amazon

Malaysia's Land Development Authority FELDA has announced plans to immediately establish 100,000 hectares (250,000) of oil palm plantations in the Brazilian Amazon. Malaysia is facing land constraints at home.

Source: Palm oil industry moves into the Amazon rainforest 9 July 2008.

New analysis show deforestation is concentrated to a few countries

New analysis of global deforestation reveals that the bulk of tropical forest loss is occurring in a small number of countries. Unlike most data, which is gleaned from national-level forestry department reports, the new estimates have been produced by analysis of a combination of satellite imagery and Landsat programs.

Source: 105,000 square miles of rainforest destroyed between 2000 and 2005 29 June 2008.

Himachal Pradesh increases forest cover through carbon credits

Himachal Pradesh state forest department will soon finalise the mechanism for making payments to farmers under the carbon credit scheme for raising forests on private and community land, as part of the World Bank-funded Mid-Himalayan Watershed Development Project.

Source: Himachal Pradesh increases forest cover through carbon credits Centre for Science and Environment India. June 2008.

G8 and Developing country leaders approve climate vision with no binding cuts

Leaders from eight emerging economies met with G8 leaders and jointly recognised the need for "deep cuts" in GHG emissions, but stopped short of urging numerical targets for those reductions. In their statement, they "recognise[d] that actions to reduce emissions, including from deforestation and forest degradation, and to increase removals by sinks in the land use, land use change, and forestry sector, including cooperation on tackling forest fires, can make a contribution to stabilising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere [...] Our nations will continue to cooperate on capacity-building and demonstration activities; on innovative solutions, including financing, to reduce emissions and increase removals by sinks; and on methodological issues. We also stress the need to improve forest-related governance and cooperative actions at all levels."

Source: Summit approves climate 'vision' BBC News. 9 July 2008.

Publications and Calls

Comparison of Carbon Offset Standards for Climate Forestation Projects. Merger, E and Williams A. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. May 2008. Click for more.

START African Small Grants: 2009 Call for Pre-Proposals

START, the global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training, seeks Pre-Proposals from African scientists for one-year projects on global environmental change in Africa. Grants generally do not exceed US$15,000. Pre-Proposals are due on Friday, 15 August . More at


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:

Africa Carbon Forum, 3-5 September 2008, Dakar Senegal

The 1st Africa Carbon Forum intends to strengthen links between Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project developers and the region’s investment community, and help countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to improve their level of participation in the CDM. The event will combine a carbon investment Trade Fair, a Conference and policy forum for African DNAs and climate change officials, as well as targeted capacity building on the CDM. Specifically, matchmaking and deal facilitation sessions will enable potential CDM project participants and developers to showcase their projects to interested parties, including investors and carbon buyers. 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.




Publications and Opportunities

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