Forests archive

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Bioenergy > Environmental issues > Forests > Forests archive

Note: This page is an archive of past information related to forests. For more recent information, see the Forests page.



2010 Forests-related events

For upcoming events, see the events section of the BioenergyWiki page on forests.

2009 Forests-related events

2008 Forests-related events


2010 Forests-related news

See the news section of the BioenergyWiki page on forests.

2009 Forests-related news

  • In Copenhagen's Dark Mood, a Ray of Light for Forests 17 December 2009 by TIME: "there has been progress on ...REDD, which would allow developed nations to pay countries to preserve their rain forests and earn carbon credits. A draft text presented to the delegations on Wednesday had most, if not all, of the major issues ironed out."
    • "REDD got another boost on Wednesday when U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. would commit $1 billion over the next three years to help protect tropical forests."
    • "Negotiators of the draft text say far more will eventually be needed, somewhere north of $20 billion, but the U.S. pledge is a good start and perhaps the first of many others." [1]
  • Major international banks, shipping companies, and consumers play key role in Madagascar's logging crisis, 16 December 2009 by "Loggers in Madagascar are daily plundering up to $460,000 of precious woods from national parks in the country's northeast....some 620 containers of rosewood with a total value of over $130 million have left Madagascar this year."
    • "Though Malagasy law clearly prohibits the extraction of precious woods from protected areas, a web of contradictory 'ministerial orders' woven over the past decade has obscured the issue."
    • "'some of the world's unique forests, and the communities that rely on them, are being degraded beyond repair to feed our demand for luxury goods.'" [2]
  • Indonesia could double oil palm plantation area, 2 December 2009 by Mongabay: "Indonesia has 18 million hectares of land suitable for oil palm cultivation, nearly twice the 9.7 million hectares that have already been allocated for plantations, said Agriculture Minister the opening of the 5th Indonesian Palm Oil Conference in Bali."
    • "[E]conomic returns from oil palm plantations could soon face competition under a scheme (known as REDD for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) that would compensate countries for protecting carbon sinks, notably tropical forests and possibly peatlands. Under some circumstances carbon conservation could outperform palm oil production....Indonesia's recent announcements about oil palm expansion across peatlands may in fact be posturing to win more compensation under a REDD mechanism."[4]
  • Standards proposed for REDD-plus, 12 October 2009 by carbonpositive: The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and CARE have produced the 'REDD+ SE' standard, "a qualitative approach setting out the basic principles a REDD programme would need to follow to ensure people’s rights and environmental impacts are properly recognised and accounted for. The eight principles, and criteria for the minimum requirements in meeting them, were identified in a series of stakeholder consultations run by CCBAand CARE this year." [5]
  • UN's forest protection scheme at risk from organised crime, experts warn, 5 October 2009 by "International police, politicians and conservationists warn that the UN's programme to cut carbon emissions by paying poor countries to preserve their forests is 'open to wide abuse'".
    • "...academics and environment groups with long experience working with the logging industry and indigenous communities said that both government and private schemes are being set up with no guarantees to protect communities who depend on the forests. 'Decisions are being rushed, communities are not consulted or compensated and the lure of money from cutting emissions is overiding everything,' says Rosalind Reeve of forestry watchdog group Global Witness."
  • Giants in Cattle Industry Agree to Help Fight Deforestation, 6 October 2009 by The New York Times: "At a conference...organized by Greenpeace, the four cattle companies — Bertin, JBS-Friboi, Marfrig and Minerva — agreed to support Greenpeace’s call for an end to the deforestation."
    • "Blairo Maggi, the governor of Mato Grosso, the Brazilian state with the highest rate of deforestation in the Amazon and the country’s largest cattle herd, said Monday that he would support efforts to protect the Amazon and provide high-resolution satellite imagery to help monitor the region."
    • "Conspicuously missing from Monday’s announcement was the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. The government is struggling to reconcile its social and development goals in the Amazon with its desire to be a major player in global climate change talks."
  • The Other Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis in Global Land Use, 5 October 2009 by Yale Environment 360: "Our use of land, particularly for agriculture, is absolutely essential to the success of the human race. We depend on agriculture to supply us with food, feed, fiber, and, increasingly, biofuels. Without a highly efficient, productive, and resilient agricultural system, our society would collapse almost overnight."
    • "[L]and use is also one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Of the three most important man-made greenhouse gasses — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — land use and agricultural practices, including tropical deforestation, emit 30 percent of the total. That’s more than the emissions from all the world’s passenger cars, trucks, trains and planes, or the emissions from all electricity generation or manufacturing. Compared to any other human activity, land use and agriculture are the greatest emitters of greenhouse gasses. The vast majority comes from deforestation, methane emissions from animals and rice fields, and nitrous oxide emissions from heavily fertilized fields. Yet, for some reason, agriculture has been largely able to avoid the attention of emissions reductions policies."[6]
  • Africa's burning charcoal problem, 25 September 2009 by BBC: "[A]ccording to the Tanzania Association of Oil Marketing Companies, 20,000 bags of charcoal enter the capital Dar es Salaam every 24 hours....But the impact of this is chilling."
    • "Aid agency Christian Aid estimates that 182 million people in Africa are at risk of dying as a consequence of climate change by the end of the century....One adaptation option for Africa is to keep her forests standing so that they provide essential environmental services such as carbon sinks".
    • "But Africa has not been very good at this....According to the UN the continent is losing forest twice as fast as the rest of the world."
    • "Wood and its by-product charcoal are, unless radical steps are taken, likely to remain the primary energy source for decades....Additionally, charcoal is a lucrative business..."[8]
Tropical forests provide essential ecological services such as protecting critical watersheds, functioning as valuable carbon sinks and helping to regulate our global climate.
  • Environmental Groups Spar Over Certifications of Wood and Paper Products , 12 September 2009 by New York Times: "For more than a decade, the nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council generally has been viewed as the premier judge of whether a wood or paper product should be labeled as environmentally friendly."
    • "But to the dismay of major environmental groups, that label, known as F.S.C., is facing a stiff challenge from a rival certification system supported by the paper and timber industry. At stake is the trust of consumers in the ever-expanding market for 'green' products."
    • "This week lawyers for ForestEthics, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting forests, filed administrative complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service challenging the credibility of the rival label, known as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, or S.F.I."
    • "The complaints, which challenge S.F.I.'s nonprofit status, accuse the certification program of lax standards and deceptive marketing intended to obscure the standards and the S.F.I.'s financial ties to the forest industry."[10]
  • Environmental Groups Spar Over Certifications of Wood and Paper Products , 12 September 2009 by New York Times: "For more than a decade, the nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council generally has been viewed as the premier judge of whether a wood or paper product should be labeled as environmentally friendly."
    • "But to the dismay of major environmental groups, that label, known as F.S.C., is facing a stiff challenge from a rival certification system supported by the paper and timber industry. At stake is the trust of consumers in the ever-expanding market for 'green' products."
    • "This week lawyers for ForestEthics, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting forests, filed administrative complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service challenging the credibility of the rival label, known as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, or S.F.I."
    • "The complaints, which challenge S.F.I.'s nonprofit status, accuse the certification program of lax standards and deceptive marketing intended to obscure the standards and the S.F.I.'s financial ties to the forest industry."[11]
  • UN's Ban calls deforestation summit, 3 September 2009 by AFP: "UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he planned to bring together leaders of the world's most forested nations, including Brazil and Indonesia, for a meeting this month to discuss deforestation" on 22 September.
    • "The UN Environment Programme recently underlined that since trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), stemming deforestation could be a tried and tested method in tackling climate change instead of more ambitious carbon capture projects."
    • The proposed meeting in New York would coincide with the UN summit on climate change."[12]
  • Beef Producers in Amazon Declare Moratorium, 28 August 2009 by VOA News: "Major beef and leather producers in Brazil have agreed not to use cattle raised in recently deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest."
    • "The governor of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso has called on meat producers not to buy cattle raised on recently deforested lands in the Amazonian state. Now, two major beef producers in Brazil, Bertin and Marfrig, have announced they are joining the initiative. Shoe makers Nike and Timberland signed on earlier this month."
    • "The Brazilian government and independent third-party observers will enforce the moratorium using satellite photographs, aerial fly-overs, and site visits. The meat processors have agreed not to buy cattle from those responsible for newly deforested lands."[13]
  • (Palm Oil:) How the World Bank Let 'Deal Making' Torch the Rainforests, 19 August 2009 by Climate Wire / New York Times: "The World Bank ignored its own environmental and social protection standards when it approved nearly $200 million in loan guarantees for palm oil production in Indonesia, a stinging internal audit has found."
    • "Specifically, auditors said, when loaning to Wilmar International Ltd. and other firms between 2003 and 2008, the IFC did not check out concerns about the companies' supply chain plantations. The Forest Peoples Programme, a U.K.-based nonprofit group that originally brought the complaint, charged that the companies illegally used fire to clear forestland, cleared primary forests, and seized lands belonging to indigenous people without due process."[14]
  • Oil giants destroy rainforests to make palm oil diesel for motorists, 15 August 2009 by TimesOnline: "Fuel companies are accelerating the destruction of rainforest by secretly adding palm oil to diesel that is sold to millions of British motorists."
    • "The expansion of the palm oil industry in Indonesia has turned the country into the third-largest CO2 emitter, after China and the US. Indonesia has the fastest rate of deforestation, losing an area the size of Wales every year. The expansion of plantations has pushed the orang-utan to the brink of extinction in Sumatra."[15]
  • Tasmania gets Australia's first REDD deal, 27 July 2009 by "A forest conservation project in Tasmania has become Australia's first Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project to meet Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards."
    • "'The goal is to protect half a million hectares across Australia within the next 5 years...'"
    • "Recent biomass surveys have found that some old-growth forests in Tasmania store more than 650 tons of carbon per hectare, exceeding the amount of carbon stored in the vegetation of most tropical rainforests. Plantations established in place of old-growth forests after clearing store considerable less carbon." [16]
  • Sustainable palm oil gets boost in China, 14 July 2009 by WWF: "Major China-based producers and users of palm oil have announced they intend to provide more support for sustainable palm oil, an important boost for efforts to halt tropical deforestation."
    • "China is currently the world's largest importer of palm oil, accounting for one third of all global trade. Increasing demand for palm oil, which is used in everything from soap to chocolate bars, is causing considerable damage to fragile rainforest environments, threatening endangered species like tigers, and contributing to global climate change."[17]
  • Brazilian miner Vale signs $500M palm oil deal in the Amazon, 25 June 2009 by "Vale, the world's largest miner of iron ore, has signed a $500 million joint venture with Biopalma da Amazonia to produce 160,000 metric tons of palm oil-based biodiesel per year....The biodiesel will be produced from oil palm plantations in the Amazon state of Pará."
    • "environmentalists...fear palm oil production could soon become a major driver of deforestation in the region. Cultivation of oil palm is a leading cause of forest loss across Southeast Asia, but has yet to be widely planted in the Brazilian Amazon, where deforestation is mostly driven directly by conversion for cattle pasture expansion and indirectly by expansion of industrial agriculture, including soy."
  • Deforestation and carbon credits: Seeing REDD in the Amazon, 11 June 2009 by The Economist: "Saving rainforests needs both property rights and payment."
    • "A law approved this month by Brazil’s Congress...would grant title to all landholdings up to 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) occupied before 2005 in the Amazon, comprising an area the size of France, and ban further land claims. The law entrenches injustice: it risks rewarding people who used violence to obtain land, including large land holders who occupy almost 90% of the area under discussion."
    • "As with other forms of carbon credit, today’s voluntary and experimental REDD schemes will need to be replaced by more rigorously accredited and monitored schemes. But they have a chance of working only if the countries in which they operate define forest land rights clearly. Brazil’s flawed attempt to do this is a step forward."
  • Indonesia needs $4b to avert deforestation, 4 June 2009 by The Jakarta Post: "...Indonesian deforestation could be averted if international communities grant US$4 billion until 2012 to finance the livelihood of local peoples and stop forest conversions....The Forestry Ministry said the money would be used to address the main causes of deforestation prior to the implementation of the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism."
    • "Many have criticized the Indonesian government for its failure to combat high rates of deforestation, which have risen to over one million hectares per year."
    • "Indonesia has about 120 million hectares of rainforest – the third-largest on the planet after Brazil and Congo."
    • "...illegal logging [can] be seen from the expansion of oil palm estates in protected areas and conservation forests in the country....local administrations still [award] licenses for forest conversion, including for plantations."
  • Slaughtering the Amazon (link to PDF), 01 June 2009 by Greenpeace: "The cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is the largest driver of deforestation in the world, responsible for one in every eight hectares destroyed globally."
    • "The cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for 14% of the world’s annual deforestation."
    • "The Brazilian Amazon has the greatest annual average deforestation by area of anywhere in the world....According to the Brazilian government: ‘Cattle are responsible for about 80% of all deforestation’ in the Amazon region. In recent years, on average one hectare of Amazon rainforest has been lost to cattle ranchers every 18 seconds."
    • "The Amazon is estimated to store 80-120 billion tonnes of carbon. If destroyed, some fifty times the annual GHG emissions of the USA could be emitted." [19]
Western lowland gorillas are only found in Africa in remaining equatorial rainforest. Forest clearing for subsistence agriculture, commercial logging, civil unrest and the expanding bushmeat trade threaten the gorillas' habitat and survival. REDD could propose economic incentives for avoiding deforestation and degradation of tropical forests in developing countries where these gorillas are found.
  • Palm oil could scuttle forest carbon plan: experts, 29 May 2009 by Reuters: "Carbon credits derived from a fledgling forest conservation scheme for developing nations will struggle to compete with palm oil as an investment...”
    • "...REDD allows developing countries to raise potentially billions of dollars in carbon credits in exchange for conserving and rehabilitating forests...However, profits from palm oil plantations could, in some cases, out-compete revenue from selling REDD credits…"
    • "...REDD credits arising from 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of conserved forest sold over a 30-year period -- where payments were front-loaded so that most of the money was delivered within the first eight years -- could fetch about $118 million if those credits could be used to meet emissions obligations for rich nations."
    • "The same credits would fetch only $14 million if their purchase was voluntary...'Whereas high-yield palm oil would get about $96 million'..."
  • Forests and the Planet 28 May 2009 editorial in The New York Times: It is critical that "the right incentives [are put] in place — first as part of broad climate change legislation in the United States, then as part of a new global treaty that the world’s nations hope to negotiate" in Copenhagen in December 2009.
    • "Deforestation accounts for one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — about the same as China’s emissions, more than the emissions generated by all of the world’s cars and trucks."
    • "An estimated 30 million acres of rain forest disappear every year, destroying biodiversity and pouring billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."
    • The 2009 U.S. global warming bill "now working its way through the [U.S. House of Representatives] seeks to change this destructive dynamic in two ways. It sets up a carbon trading system that is expected to raise upward of $60 billion annually through the sale of pollution allowances. Five percent of that would be set aside to help prevent deforestation, either through a special international fund or as bilateral grants to poor countries."
  • Here comes the latest utopian catastrophe: the plan to solve climate change with biochar, 24 March 2009 by George Monbiot, columnist for The Guardian: "Biomass is suddenly the universal answer to our climate and energy problems....The idea is that wood and crop wastes are cooked to release the volatile components (which can be used as fuel), then the residue - the charcoal - is buried in the soil. According to the magical thinkers who promote it, the new miracle stops climate breakdown, replaces gas and petroleum, improves the fertility of the soil, reduces deforestation, cuts labour, creates employment," etc.
    • "This miracle solution has suckered people who ought to know better....At the UN climate negotiations beginning in Bonn on Sunday, several national governments will demand that biochar is eligible for carbon credits".
    • "The energy lecturer Peter Read proposes new biomass plantations of trees and sugar covering 1.4 billion ha....Were we to follow Read's plan, we would either have to replace all the world's crops with biomass plantations, causing instant global famine, or we would have to double the cropped area of the planet, trashing most of its remaining natural habitats."[20]
  • Brazil soy growers fear green backlash, plant trees, 17 March 2009 by Reuters: "Soybean farmer Clovis Cortezia has started replanting native rainforest trees on his farm to meet demands of international buyers keen to be environmentally responsible."
    • "Like other growers in Brazil's No. 1 soy-producing state Mato Grosso, Cortezia started replanting trees native to Brazil's center-west savanna in 2007".
    • "Environmental and consumer groups, particularly in Europe, have long complained that rapid expansion of Brazil's soy frontier was speeding up the deforestation of the Amazon."
    • "Cortezia is part of the a program organized by the local government in a partnership with U.S. environment group The Nature Conservancy (TNC)."[21]
  • Biofuels Boom Could Fuel Rainforest Destruction, Researcher Warns, 14 February 2009 by Science Daily: "Farmers across the tropics might raze forests to plant biofuel crops, according to new research by Holly Gibbs, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment."
    • "Gibbs' predictions are based on her new study, in which she analyzed detailed satellite images collected between 1980 and 2000. The study is the first to do such a detailed characterization of the pathways of agricultural expansion throughout the entire tropical region."
    • However, Gibbs said that "planting biofuel croplands on degraded land -- land that has been previously cultivated but is now providing very low productivity due to salinity, soil erosion, nutrient leaching, etc. -- could have an overall positive environmental impact".
    • "Both Brazil and Indonesia contain significant areas of degraded land -- in Brazil, the total area may be as large as California -- that could be replanted with crops, thereby decreasing the burden on forested land. 'But this is challenging without new policies or economic incentives to encourage establishing crops on these lands,' Gibbs said."
    • "'This is a major concern for the global environment,' Gibbs said. 'As we look toward biofuels to help reduce climate change we must consider the rainforests and savannas that may lie in the pathway of expanding biofuel cropland.'"[22]
  • Biofuel carbon footprint not as big as feared, Michigan State University research says, 15 January 2009 by MSU News: "Publications ranging from the journal Science to Time magazine have blasted biofuels for significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, calling into question the environmental benefits of making fuel from plant material. But a new analysis by Michigan State University scientists says these dire predictions are based on a set of assumptions that may not be correct."
    • "'Our analysis shows that crop management is a key factor in estimating greenhouse gas emissions associated with land use change associated with biofuels,' [MSU University Professor Bruce] Dale said. 'Sustainable management practices, such as no-till farming and planting cover crops, can reduce the time it takes for biofuels to overcome the carbon debt to three years for grassland conversion and 14 years for temperate zone forest conversion.'" [23]
  • 'Green coal' to get a tryout, 13 January 2009 by The News & Observer: "North Carolina is about to become the nation's test case for what marketers call 'green coal' -- wood that has been baked into charcoal. If successful, the experiment -- a partnership of sorts between Progress Energy, N.C. State University and an Asheville start-up -- could mark the end of the state's reliance on dirty coal."
    • "The process is not as simple as collecting dead branches from the forest floor. The wood has to be treated in an industrial oven until it turns to charcoal. It remains to be seen if the experimental ovens can mass-produce charred wood of a uniform quality that won't clog power plants sensitively calibrated to burn coal."
    • "Despite the early enthusiasm, many obstacles remain. The process of torrefaction is so experimental that it has only been tested in a power plant once, in the Netherlands in 2005, for a 24-hour period. Even if power plants can burn the fuel successfully, electric utilities won't sign long-term contracts for charred wood if they lack confidence they can count on steady supplies. Currently there are no commercial suppliers in the world." [24]

2008 Forests-related news

  • Biofuel producers warn EU over "unjustifiably complex" sustainability rules, 7 November 2008 by BusinessGreen: "Eight developing countries have written to the EU warning they will complain to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) if it passes proposed legislation designed to improve the environmental sustainability of biofuels by restricting the types of fuels the bloc imports."
    • "The EU is considering legislation that is intended to ban the purchase of biofuels from energy crop plantations that are believed to harm the environment and lead to food shortages by displacing land used for food crops and contributing to rainforest deforestation."
    • "[E]ight countries – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Malaysia – have written to the EU to protest against the proposals" in a letter that "claims that the new rules would 'impose unjustifiably complex requirements on producers' and argues that environmental criteria 'relating to land-use change will impinge disproportionately on developing countries'."[25]
  • Biofuels standards challenged by new report on Malaysian Palm Oil , 8 October 2008 by Friends of the Earth UK: "Malaysian palm oil is finding its way into British petrol tanks despite concerns about its carbon balance and the rainforest being destroyed to produce it - according to a new report by Friends of the Earth international."
    • "The UK Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) has reported that Malaysian palm oil being used for fuel in the UK meets a 'qualifying environmental standard', but Friends of the Earth's research reveals it is far from green."
    • The FOE report finds that Sarawak state in Malaysia "plans to more than double its 2007 levels of oil palm acreage by the expense of tropical forests" and that "companies regularly practice open burning on carbon rich peat soils releasing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere".[26]
    • See the report Malaysian Palm Oil: Green Gold or Green Wash?

Forests edit
Woody biomass | Wood waste | Deforestation (REDD)
Forests and climate: Tropical Forest and Climate Unity Agreement

Land use edit
Dry lands | Land tenure | Land use change (LUC case studies) | Land Use Impacts of Fossil Fuels | ILUC Portal

Indirect land use impacts (Searchinger-Wang debate)
Land use change factors: Agriculture (Livestock, Crops - Rice) | Deforestation | Mining

Environment edit
Climate change - Greenhouse gases | Ecosystems (Forests, Grasslands, Wetlands) | Life-cycle analysis
Species (Biodiversity, Invasive species, Orangutans)
Biotechnology/Genetically Modified Organisms | Pollution | Soil (Soil erosion)
Land - Desertification | REDD
RSB Working Group on Environment
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