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E-News Issue 15 August/September 2009


Harnessing agroforestry on the road to Copenhagen

Incorporating trees into farming systems helps to diversify income Trees outside forests are an important, and often missing piece, of the carbon emissions reductions puzzle. Although it’s always been clear that trees store carbon and provide benefits to people, how to institutionalize the role of trees in the fight against climate change is now a top question for the global community. The future of an international will be shaped at the upcoming 15th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, in Copenhagen this December. Research presented by a range of partners from the ASB consortium at the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry can help generate practical policy options for harnessing the full potential of agroforestry and other non-forest land uses to reduce emissions, store carbon, and bring benefits to millions of smallholder farmers across the tropics.

Read the full story on the ASB blog.


First steps for taking stock of Africa’s biocarbon

How can African countries turn their agricultural and forest lands into a carbon asset? On September 10 and 11, the World Agroforestry Centre convened 30 scientists from the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, and the rest of Africa, to discuss the scientific evidence for Africa’s biocarbon. The workshop was organized in partnership with the COMESA Africa Biocarbon Initiative, and aimed to assess current evidence and research gaps for climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture and forests. The scientists also proposed next steps for Africa to benefit from its biocarbon resources, via global carbon markets. Read the full story on the ASB blog.

African Continent’s New Climate Leader Outlines common stance

At a recent meeting convened by the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa to promote a common African negotiating position, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi outlined the continent's intentions to speak with one voice at international climate negotiation. Zenawi has been was chosen to chair a new high-level committee to steer the African negotiation process by African heads of state.

“By partnering with us on green development, the developed world could create a more robust market and overall environment for the mitigation efforts that it alone must shoulder,” Zenawi said.

Full story:  Africa's new climate leader outlines continent's stance., 4 September 2009.

Science and civil society orgs call for REDD+ and AFOLU 

A new set of REDD position papers, published jointly by Conservation International, the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and the Woods Hole Research Center, include a call that a REDD+ deal should pave the way to reducing emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land uses:

The scope of a REDD+ mechanism should be defined to include a range of activities that contribute to greenhouse gas mitigation in the forest sectors of developing countries. While it is important that the focus of a REDD+ mechanism in the near term remain on the forest sector, it should be designed such that a future transition to a mechanism based on the agriculture, forest, and other land use sectors (AFOLU) is possible.

The briefs describe the organizations’ shared positions on the scope, scale, and financing arrangements of the international REDD framework to be adopted this December by the Conference of the Parties as part of a climate change agreement in Copenhagen.

Source: Policy Briefs on REDD

ASB on the radio - en franšais! 

During the media buzz of the World Congress of Agroforestry, ASB acting Global Coordinator Peter Akong Minang was interviewed by several french-language media outlets on the new global assessment of trees on farms. Peter highlighted the importance of trees outside forests in the fight against climate change. Click to read more and to listen online.

Opinions and Analysis

Beyond Copenhagen: REDD+, agriculture, adaptation strategies and poverty
How can the agriculture and food security agenda fit into the debate on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), particularly leading up to the climate change conference in Copenhagen this December? Bruce Campbell, of the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Challenge Program (CCAFS) looks the evolution of the REDD debate and possible opportunities and challenges for poverty alleviation and agricultural development efforts.

Read more:  Campbell, B.M., Beyond Copenhagen: REDD+, agriculture, adaptation strategies and poverty. Global Environ. Change (2009),  doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.07.010 (subscription required)

Early forest carbon experiences can help us get REDD right

Climate-change negotiators in Copenhagen would be wise to pay attention to some of the challenges highlighted by early experiments using market mechanisms to avoid deforestation, writes Tan Copsey in an opinion piece in China Dialogue. Copsey points to recently revealed illegal carbon prospecting (by “carbon cowboys”) in Papua New Guinea to highlight how indigenous communities are being marginalized, or worse, completely exploited. Read more.

Call to African finance ministers to pay attention to climate change

The brief touches on a number of areas that will either be impacted by climate change, or stand to benefit from greater engagement in global climate change mitigation processes, including agriculture, forestry and industrial sectors. By integrating climate change objectives into overall development programs, African countries can make the most of opportunities, and better prepare themselves for impacts. Read more.

Methodologies Tame Forest Carbon Jungle

The Katoomba Group’s Ecosystem Marketplace dives into the various methodologies for assessing forest carbon, covering a wide range of methods used in the voluntary and regulated markets. Read more.

Desvendando o significado de REDD, REDD+ e REDD++

What do all those Plusses mean? The Brazilian Environmental Research institute of the Amazon (Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amaz˘nia - IPAM) helps unravel the meaning of REDD, REDD+ and REDD++, in simple Portuguese. Read more/    
leia mais.

Africa Analysis: Securing the right climate deal

There are many challenges for Africa leading up to the 15th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Copenhagen, says Linda Nordling in an opinion piece on One is for African countries to adopt a common position and translate it into detailed proposals for negotiation. Another key issue for Africa relates to how countries with both high and low forest cover can benefit from REDD.  Read more...

Roads are ruining the rainforests

In an opinion piece, Professor William Laurance (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute), points to road expansion as a major driver of deforestation in the Amazon, and suggests that restricting new roads would be “realistic” and “cost-effective” approach for curbing deforestation. Read more...


Forest transition in Vietnam and displacement of deforestation abroad

Meyfroidt, P., & Lambin, E.F. (2009). Forest transition in Vietnam and displacement of deforestation abroad Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0904942106.

The national-scale reforestation of Vietnam since 1992 is assumed to contribute to this recovery. It is achieved, however, by the displacement of forest extraction to other countries on the order of 49 (34–70) M m3, or ≈39% of the regrowth of Vietnam’s forests from 1987 to 2006.

Critical need for new definitions of “forest” and “forest degradation” in global climate change agreements

Nophea Sasaki and Francis E. Putz. Critical need for new definitions of “forest” and “forest degradation” in global climate change agreements. Conservation Letters 1755-263X

If global policies intended to promote forest conservation continue to use the definition of “forest” adopted in 2001 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (an area of >0.05–1 ha with >10–30% cover of plants >2–5 m tall at maturity), great quantities of carbon and other environmental values will be lost when natural forests are severely degraded or replaced by plantations but technically remain “forests.”

Vested Interests - Industrial logging and carbon in tropical forests 

Claims that industrial logging can play a role in “sustainable forest management” in tropical forests appear to be based on faith and vested interests rather than on facts or scientific evidence, says the NGO Global Witness in a new report (PDF).

Compensated successful efforts for avoided deforestation vs compensated reductions

Tacconi, L. 2009. Compensated successful efforts for avoided deforestation vs compensated reductionsEcological Economics. 68: 8/9, 2469-2472

An alternative to REDD, Compensated Successful Efforts (CSE) is an approach that suggests that financial benefits should be provided on the basis of developing countries’ successful ‘efforts’ to reduce emissions from deforestation, i.e. input based. The CSE approach also differs from previous ones in relation to the definition of what should be counted as avoided deforestation and how to estimate avoided deforestation. The paper discusses the CSE approach and points out several shortcomings. 

Lessons from carbon markets for designing an effective REDD architecture

Neeff, T.; Ascui, F. 2009. Lessons from carbon markets for designing an effective REDD architecture. Climate Policy. 2009. 9: 3, 306-315. 18 ref. 

Detailed consideration is given to the type of commitment, the financing mechanism, the level of incentive allocation, and the fungibility of carbon credits, in the context of experience from existing carbon markets. We conclude that a financially successful REDD mechanism would be based on a strong regulatory framework with mandatory targets, market-based, with some degree of project-level crediting, creating fungible REDD credits, subject to a cap. 


Forestry Carbon Markets & REDD
23-24 September 2009, Washington DC

The Forestry Carbon Markets & REDD Conference will bring together leading industry figures and players to debate the future of emissions reductions from avoided deforestation and degradation projects. Read more.

Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change
22-23 October 2009, Washington DC

This meeting will be co-organized with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and will focus on the international implications of the Waxman-Markey bill now working its way through the US Congress, as well as the preliminary steps by the UN-REDD and FCPF to establish REDD Readiness in developing countries to date. Read more.

Conference: Impacts of Climate change on Natural Resources
10-11 November 2009, Ismailia, Egypt

There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The Egyptian Society for Environmental Sciences (ESES) will host the fourth international conference on “Impacts of Climate Change on Natural Resources”. Read more.

Agriculture and Rural Development Day
12 December 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark

Agriculture and Rural Development Day will be a parallel event to the UNFCCC 15th Conference of Parties, in Copenhagen this December. The event is convened by the CGIAR challenge program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The main objective of the event is to lay the groundwork for a workplan of strategies and actions that will see agriculture fully incorporated into the post-Copenhagen agenda. Read more.

Forest Day 3
13 December 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark

Forest Day 3 will build on the success of Forest Day 1 and 2 in helping to ensure forests are high on the agenda for future climate outcomes, and will pave the way forward in making these outcomes work beyond Copenhagen. Read more.


Opinions and Analysis

    Edited by: Vanessa Meadu.
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