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E-News Issue 7 September 2008

African Perspectives on REDD: Reflections from recent regional fora

In the last few weeks a number of REDD related events have been held around Africa: the Ready for REDD Forum at the UNFCCC Climate Change talks in Accra (21-27 August); A Special Ministerial Session on REDD and Climate Change during the Ministerial Council of the Central African Forest Commission – COMIFAC in Bangui (9-11 September — download the Declaration de Bangui); The Katoomba Group meeting for East and Southern Africa in Dar es Salaam (15-18 September); and the Africa Forest Forum Workshop on Climate Change and Variability in Africa in Nairobi (23-25 September). ASB was present and active in all of these events.

These meetings have heightened discussions on REDD and climate change in the continent on two key questions: How is Africa going to approach the negotiations leading up to a post 2012 arrangement in Copenhagen in 2009? How ready is Africa for REDD?
To read our full reflections on this issue, please visit the ASB blog. Feel free to leave your comments and reactions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Brent Swallow, ASB Global Coordinator
Peter Akong Minang, ASB Program Associate
Nairobi, Kenya


UN REDD Program launched
UN-REDD, will assist nine developing countries, including Bolivia, Indonesia and Zambia, in establishing systems to monitor, assess and report forest cover. Tropical countries are pushing to include UN-REDD in the successor to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Norway, which is looking for ways to offset carbon dioxide emissions from its growing natural gas export business, donated $35 million to finance the initial phase of UN-REDD.

Source: U.N. launches program to cut deforestation emissions. Reuters, 24 September 2008.

EU to consider trading forest carbon
The exclusion of tropical forests from the world’s largest carbon market could soon be reversed as European policy-makers consider amendments to the current rules. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee’s review of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is scheduled to discuss the inclusion of forest-related credits on October 7. WorldAgroforestry's Director General Dennis Garrity will be among those lobbying the committee to include forest carbon under the ETS.

Source: EU carbon trading: tropical forests poised to win credits. ClimateChangeCorp. 19 September 2008.

Norway offers $1 billion for Amazon Rainforest
Norway said its contribution will depend on Brazil's environmental performance. The South American country will see the full billion dollars if it shows "clear documentation that deforestation is being reduced", the Associated Press quoted Stoltenberg as saying. Norway will give Brazil US$21 million this year and $210 million next year. While critics have said the plan is vague in terms of how much forest will be protected and how funds will be used, the initiative is seen as a way for Brazil to shore up its Amazon conservation efforts without giving up control in the region. The sovereignty of the Amazon is an important concern in Brazil.

Source: Norway offers $1 billion towards saving the Amazon rainforest. September 17, 2008

ASB welcomes Dr. Cesar Sabogal to Global Steering Group
We have the pleasure to annouce the appointment of Dr. Cesar Sabogal as the Coordinator for the Amazon Initiative Eco-Regional Programme (AI-SWEP), from 9th September, 2008. He is based in Belem, Brazil. Subsequently, the Amazon Initiative (AI) appointed Cesar as the AI liaison and GSG member.

Dr. Sabogal, a Peruvian national graduated with a Msc. in forestry from the National Agricultural University La Molina in Peru, and has a Ph.D. in Forest Sciences from the University of Göttingen, Germany.

Dr. Sabogal brings a wealth of experience to ASB as a result of over 25 years work in research, development and educational activities on tropical forestry with particular focus on resource assessment and monitoring, forest management and silviculture, smallholder & community-based forest management and forest policy and legislation. Notably, he worked for CIFOR as a Senior Scientist within the Environmental Services and Sustainable Use of Forests Programme and as coordinator for the Latin American region, and previously as a senior scientist with CATIE in Costa Rica, and the National Agricultural University La Molina in Peru. He has published over hundred publications.We warmly welcome Dr. Cesar Sabogal’s nomination to the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins and Global Steering Group. Click for Portuguese version.


More evidence that oil palm a bad substitute for tropical forests
The continued expansion of oil palm plantations will worsen the dual environmental crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, unless rainforests are better protected, warn scientists in the most comprehensive review of the subject to date. The review, published September 15 in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, singles out deforestation associated with plantation development as by far the biggest ecological impact, but finds that the links between the two are often much more complex than portrayed in the popular press. Co-author Matt Struebig, from Queen Mary, University of London, explains: "Most land-cover statistics do not allow us to distinguish where oil palm has actually driven forest clearance. Oil palm certainly has directly replaced tropical forest in some areas, but oil palm companies also often have close links with timber or paper pulp companies, giving additional motives for deforestation."
Click to view the journal article.

Source: Oil Palm Plantations Are No Substitute For Tropical Rainforests, New Study Shows. Science Daily. 17 September 2008.

The Root of the Matter: Carbon Sequestration in Forests and Peatlands
A new report by UK Think Tank the Policy Exchange recommends that the UK government adopt avoided deforestation policies and focus specifically on reducing peatland destruction in southeast asia, and removing harmfuhl biofuels subsidies. The report quotes ASB research on the opportunity costs of avoided deforestation, to make its case about the relatively low cost of avoiding deforestation compared to other GHG mitigation options. The research was conducted by Dominick Spracklen, Gil Yaron, Tara Singh, Renton Righelato and Thomas Sweetman Click to download the full report.


Conference: Working Forests in the Tropics 6-7 October. Gainesville, Florida
Partnering Research with Practice - for Conservation and Development. Sponsored by the University of Florida School of Forest Resources & Conservation, Gainesville, Florida, USA.

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.

Workshop - Adaptation to climate change: the role of ecosystem services. 3-5 November, Turrialba, Costa Rica.

GEO Forest Monitoring Symposium - 4 to 7 November, 2008, Foz do Iguaçu, PR, Brazil
Organized by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

The United Nations Climate Change Conference 1-12 December 2008, Poznań, Poland
ASB staff and scientists will be at this year's climate change conference in Poznan, Poland. More details about our participation will be posted soon.

CIFOR Forest Day 2 6 December 2008. Poznań, Poland
Shaping the Global Agenda for Forests and Climate Change Poznan, 6 December 2008 Forest Day will bring together the world’s pre-eminent forest stakeholders, agenda setters and policy makers to address the key forest and climate issues of our time



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