423 – World Wide Tree News

–Today for you 32 news articles about earth’s trees! (423rd edition) http://forestpolicyresearch.com
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In this edition:

Not so site-specific news related to the world’s trees



1) World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility to expand to more countries, 2) RAN gets product manufactures to not use Palm Oil, 3) Forest Messthics questionnaire, 4) Wildlife corridor research, 5) Half of world’s forest are gone, 6) Nature Conservancy now on governing board of Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, 7) Monoculture madness must end! 8) First-ever criteria for a Red List of threatened ecosystems, 9) Forest Certification overview, 10) Donors pledge $100 million to the World Bank’s new initiative, 11) Essential Old-growth forests are not protected by international treaties, 12) Economic escalations can’t be sustained, 13) How to best map ‘boreal’, 14) New trade agreements a threat to forests, 15) WWF released a new report on climate change, 16) All forest from age 15 to 800 years sequester carbon, 17) Oslo Conference discussed Four Foundations of Effective Investments, 18) Consumption of resources is rising rapidly and biodiversity is plummeting, 19) Barriers to data sharing, 20) To target and fix poverty as cause of deforestation, 21) A major power shift is needed! 22) Save the world for just $3.35 per hectare, 23) What’s the dollar value of a species? 24) RAN will ‘study’ if it needs to give up it’s old growth destroying ways, 25) Rights-based approaches is necessary and cost-effective, 26) World Rainforest Week, 27) International effort to put a price on the rainforests, 28) GeoEye’s satellite, 29) We will never again support ancient forest logging! 30) Forest carbon credits create land grab for forests, 31) Voluntary carbon markets are the testing ground, 32) Click here to save the forest,


1) With more than 40 developing countries asking to become part of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the FCPF has announced that it aims to expand its expected number of developing country participants from 20 countries to 30. The World Bank, which acts as the secretariat for the FCPF, announced that it would underwrite the US$2.3 million start-up expenses for the Facility. The developing countries accepted into the Facility include 10 in Africa (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Republic of Congo and Uganda); 10 in Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru); and five in Asia and the South Pacific (Lao PDR, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Vietnam). “The Congo Basin countries consider the FCPF as an opportunity to validate reducing forest degradation as a climate change mitigation instrument. With the FCPF, forests will find their true role as carbon pools and providers of social and economic well-being,” said Etienne Massard K. Makaga, Director General of Environment and Climate Focal Point of Gabon. and one of the REDD country participants in the FCPF. He added, “The FCPF is not a solution in and of itself. It must remain a structuring tool that will allow us to achieve the objectives of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.” The FCPF aims to reduce deforestation and forest degradation by compensating developing countries for greenhouse gas emission reductions. The partnership became functionally operational on June 25, 2008. Tropical and sub-tropical countries will receive grant support as they build their capacity to tap into future systems of positive incentives for REDD, in particular by establishing emissions reference levels, adopting REDD strategies, and designing monitoring systems. In addition, indigenous peoples will benefit from one of the first decisions of the FCPF Participants Committee, elected this week in meetings in Washington. Made up of 10 donor and carbon fund participants and 10 developing country participants, the committee approved a Capacity Building Program for forest-dependent indigenous peoples and other forest dwellers—a US$1,000,000 `small grants’ program to build effective links with forest-dependent indigenous peoples and other forest dweller communities on REDD through the FCPF. “The FCPF is an essential initiative,” said Dr. Pham Manh Cuong, Vietnam’s National Focal Point for Climate Change in the Forestry Sector and another of the FCPF’s REDD country participants. “The cooperation between the FCPF and the UN-REDD Programme enhances. http://www.isria.info/RESTRICTED/D/2008/OCTOBER_30/diplo_25october2008_5.htm

2) Thirty-one food, cosmetic, and consumer goods companies – and one palm oil supplier – have signed a Rainforest Action Network (RAN) pledge to support a moratorium on the expansion of palm oil plantations into tropical forests, according to an Oct. 22 press release. L’Occitane, Organic Valley, Ciranda, and several other businesses agreed to urge agribusiness giants Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, and Cargill to produce more sustainable palm oil. In mid-August, RAN contacted more than 350 companies that use palm oil in their products to inform them of the widespread rainforest destruction caused by the proliferation of palm oil plantations in tropical rainforests. “We applaud those companies who have signed our pledge and committed to source palm oil in a way that does not destroy rainforests,” said Leila Salazar-Lopez, director of RAN’s Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign. “However, we are extremely disappointed that eco-friendly companies like Whole Foods, the Body Shop, and Ben & Jerry’s remain on the fence while forests are burned and communities are forced from their homes.” http://www.eponline.com/articles/68767/

3) There are dozens of reasons we do the work we do. Endangered Forests provide clean air and water, store vast amounts of carbon, are integral to the livelihoods of indigenous communities, and much more. We all have our own reasons why we’re involved in this work. What are yours? Please, take this quick survey, and tell us why forest protection is important to you. Think of this survey as a way to check in on our values. We’ll use your answers to make sure we’re all on the same page. Do our programs line up with your reasons for taking action to protect forests? Why do you contribute to keep ForestEthics one of the strongest advocates for forests in the world? Thanks to the efforts of dedicated ForestEthics staff, volunteers, supporters, and allies, over 65 million acres of Endangered Forests will be protected. Our work has transformed the environmental practices of dozens of Fortune 500 companies. We know you’re committed to the ForestEthics approach to environmental protection. Take a moment to tell us why. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=q_2fr2sccRRYMrcnYkmPLAZA_3d_3dhttp://www.forestethics.org/

4) “Human beings tend to think in terms of regular, symmetrical structures, but nature can be much more irregular,” said UC Davis postdoctoral researcher Matthew Holland, the study’s lead author. “We found that symmetrical systems of corridors may actually do less good for natural communities than designs with some randomness or asymmetry built in.” The new study, titled “Strong effect of dispersal network structure on ecological dynamics,” is scheduled to be published online on Sunday, Oct. 19, by the journal Nature. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation. Corridors are physical connections between disconnected fragments of plant and animal habitat. A corridor can be as big as a swath of river and forest miles wide that links two national parks, or as small as a tunnel under an interstate highway. Without such connections, animals cannot travel to food, water, mates and shelter. Plants cannot disperse their pollen and seeds to maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations. Designing and implementing corridors (sometimes called corridor ecology or connectivity conservation) is a new subfield in environmental science. Holland’s research is among the first to help land managers and community planners designing corridors to know what will work and what will not. Holland’s co-author is UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings. Hastings is one of the world’s mostly highly regarded experts in using mathematical models (sets of equations) to understand natural systems. His analyses have shed light on environmental issues as diverse as salt marsh grass invasions in San Francisco Bay; climate change and coral reefs; and marine reserves and fish populations. In 2006, Hastings received the Robert H. MacArthur Award, the highest honor given by the Ecological Society of America. Additional information: Full text of study (DOI number: 10.1038/nature07395) http://www.nature.com/nature/

5) Half the world’s tropical and temperate forests are now gone. The rate of deforestation in the tropics continues at about an acre a second, and has for decades. Half the planet’s wetlands are gone. An estimated 90 percent of the large predator fish are gone, and 75 percent of marine fisheries are now overfished or fished to capacity. Almost half of the corals are gone or are seriously threatened. Species are disappearing at rates about 1,000 times faster than normal. The planet has not seen such a spasm of extinction in 65 million years, since the dinosaurs disappeared. Desertification claims a Nebraska-sized area of productive capacity each year globally. Persistent toxic chemicals can now be found by the dozens in essentially each and every one of us. The earth’s stratospheric ozone layer was severely depleted before its loss was discovered. Human activities have pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide up by more than a third and have started in earnest the most dangerous change of all — planetary warming and climate disruption. Everywhere, earth’s ice fields are melting. Industrial processes are fixing nitrogen, making it biologically active, at a rate equal to nature’s; one result is the development of hundreds of documented dead zones in the oceans due to overfertilization. Freshwater withdrawals are now over half of accessible runoff, and water shortages are multiplying here and abroad. http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2075

6) The Nature Conservancy this week was appointed to serve on the governing panel of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) – joining more than a dozen countries from across the globe that will work together to develop the financial tools and incentives needed to make forest conservation a powerful tool against climate change. The Conservancy is the only non-governmental organization serving on the panel. The appointment came during the FCPF’s first annual meeting in Washington DC. At the meeting policy leaders and government representatives from around the world came together to launch innovative programs and funding mechanisms that will help develop a credible global carbon credit market that recognizes forest protection. Despite the world’s current financial crisis, FCPF members pledged more than $160 million to the Facility during this week’s inaugural meetings. With this funding, the FCPF will implement and evaluate pilot incentive programs, purchasing emissions reductions from developing countries that have taken action to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. “It is heartening to know that despite the current financial situation, countries around the world understand that we cannot delay action on battling climate change,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Forest protection is one of the most cost-effective methods available to fight climate change. If we don’t take action now, climate change ultimately will have a much greater impact on the global economy and the natural resources we all depend upon for survival.” http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/press/press3743.html

7) “Plantations are monocultures, created from seemingly endless rows of identical trees. They suck the water out of nearby streams and ponds and lower the water table, leaving little or no water for people living near the plantations. They deplete soils, pollute the environment with agrotoxics and eradicate biodiverse local ecosystems. Activists in Brazil call them the green desert because of the way they destroy local people’s livelihoods and environments. But what’s almost as bad as the plantations themselves is that this sort of plantation is given a green seal of approval by the Forest Stewardship Council.” This comes from a new World Rainforest Movement briefing titled “FSC certification of tree plantations needs to be stopped”. The briefing is timed to coincide with the FSC’s General Assembly, which will take place from 3-7 November 2008 in South Africa. Despite the fact that FSC has been carrying out a “Plantations Review” for the past four years, FSC continues to certify some of the most destructive plantation operations in the world. In an attempt to change this, a number of organizations from countries impacted by FSC-certified plantations have written an open letter to FSC members. If you wish to support local communities struggling against tree plantations, please sign on to the letter by filling out the form on WRM’s website or by sending an email to support@wrm.org.uy before 31 October 2008. http://www.fsc-watch.org/archives/2008/10/24/Certification_of_mon

8) A wildlife Trust Alliance motion to create the first-ever criteria for a Red List of threatened ecosystems! The resolution adopted at the IV World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain, marks a strong victory for the leadership of Wildlife Trust Alliance scientists and their allies around the world. Establishing global standards for biodiversity is no longer just species-specific. “Creating a Red List for endangered ecosystems goes hand-in-hand with the need to protect at-risk species that live in such areas as the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, South Africa’s grasslands, and Indonesian lowland tropical forest,” said Dr. Mary C. Pearl, President of Wildlife Trust. The resolution presents a pragmatic way to look at and classify threatened ecosystems at the regional, national and global level. “A key element of this proposal is that it calls for a clear separation of risk assessment – a fundamentally scientific process – from the definition of conservation priorities, a societal undertaking which must take into account factors such as ecological distinctiveness, costs, logistical practicalities, likelihood of success and public preferences,” said Dr. Jon Paul Rodríguez, Founder and Board Member of Provita. “The motion to move forward on this critical piece of conservation science creates a win-win situation for both wildlife and people. Helping society better understand levels of risks to the ecosystems we depend on opens the door to creating sustainable solutions we can all adopt,” said Dr. Andrew Taber, Executive Vice President of Programs for Wildlife Trust. “Everyone deserves to live in a viable ecosystem. The challenge facing us every day as conservation scientists is to look at issues holistically and develop solutions that make sense and are accepted by local communities. This is how Wildlife Trust Alliance scientists work in their own countries around the world,” noted Dr. Mary C. Pearl. Wildlife Trust empowers local conservation scientists worldwide to protect nature and safeguard ecosystem and human health. Wildlife Trust is a conservation science innovator and leverages research expertise through strategic global alliances. Wildlife Trust pioneered the field of Conservation Medicine, a new discipline that addresses the link between ecological disruption of habitats and the effects on wildlife, livestock and human health. ramos@wildlifetrust.org

9) Among others, the major certification organizations operating in North America are: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI); American Tree Farm System (ATFS); and Canadian Standards Association (CSA). FSC is a sprawling international not-for-profit with affiliates in various countries and varying standards for different forest types and regions. It manages an international standard for tracking and certifying products from well managed forests, and also addresses ecological functions, old-growth forests, plantations, restoration, native habitats and indigenous people’s rights. While highly regarded among environmental groups generally, it is sometimes thought to be too lenient. In North America, it has only a small amount of certified forest. SFI is the main competitor to FSC in the United States. SFI has made its current standard (2005-2009) more rigorous and now addresses most of the issues in the FSC. However, FSI is generally less prescriptive than FSC, a source of criticism in the environmental community. ATFS certifies primarily small forest tracts for non-industrial owners. Certification is conducted by independent foresters accredited by ATFS. It doesn’t have its own certification logo but SFI allows its logo on ATFS-certified forests. It has little impact on the environmental building products. CSA created an ISO style process-based standard called the Sustainable Forest Management certification system which is the dominant certification in Canada, where there’s a large proportion of timberland that is publicly owned. It has evolved to be similar to the FSI system, but unlike FSC and FSI it is not a performance-based standard. Performance-based standards have pros and cons according to a Yale University study. They place a lot of power in the hands of logging companies to interpret the rules in favor of short-term resource extraction. On the other hand they can allow more flexibility for foresters to achieve superior environmental protection. What this all means to consumers of wood-based building materials is a matter of ongoing industry monitoring. It may well become more contentious as environmental awareness in the forest sector continues to rise. In the meantime, green building will be most impacted by which standard(s) the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) recognizes in its widespread LEED program. Currently LEED recognizes only FSC-certified wood, although the USGBC-commissioned Yale study may change this. And then, of course, as I noted in a recent post, there is the new initiative by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) to develop its own certification program. http://blog.builddirect.com/greenbuilding/?p=35

10) Donors meeting this week in Washington D.C. pledged more than $100 million to the World Bank’s new initiative for conserving tropical forests. In addition to the $100 million in donations, the World Bank announced that more than forty developing countries have asked to join the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility — the Bank’s foray into the emerging market for forest carbon credits. 25 countries have so far been selected to participate in the initiative, which builds capacity for countries to earn compensation through the carbon markets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Experts say the mechanism could eventually lead to the transfer of billions of dollars per year to fund conservation and rural development in tropical countries, while at the same time helping fight climate change. Deforestation and land use change presently accounts for around a fifth of anthropogenic emissions. The developing countries accepted into the facility include 10 in Africa (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Republic of Congo and Uganda); 10 in Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru); and five in Asia and the South Pacific (Lao PDR, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Vietnam). “It is heartening to know that despite the current financial situation, countries around the world understand that we cannot delay action on battling climate change,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Forest protection is one of the most cost-effective methods available to fight climate change. If we don’t take action now, climate change ultimately will have a much greater impact on the global economy and the natural resources we all depend upon for survival.” “Right now, developing countries can generate more money from cutting down their forests than from keeping them standing,” Tercek continued. “The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility will bring developed and industrialized countries together – along with forest communities, indigenous groups, the private sector and civil society – to establish a financial value for the carbon stored in standing forests.” http://news.mongabay.com/2008/1023-fcpf.html

11) Old-growth forests of the northern hemisphere act as global carbon sinks but are not protected by international treaties, according to new EU-funded research published in the journal Nature. The international group of scientists’ findings indicate that old-growth forests in the northern hemisphere account for at least 10% of global net uptake of carbon dioxide. This contrasts with the commonly accepted view that these forests are carbon neutral, a hypothesis based mainly on a single study from the 1960s. The new research builds on 519 plot studies and shows that carbon accumulation continues in forests that are centuries old. Nevertheless, the Kyoto Protocol does not call for forests to be left intact, instead demanding changes to the carbon stock by afforestation, reforestation and deforestation. Old-growth forests have been accumulating carbon for centuries, yet much of it will be lost to the atmosphere if disturbed, the study warned. The researchers therefore conclude that “the carbon-accounting rules for forests should give credit for leaving old-growth forest intact”. Deforestation is widely considered to be a key driver of global warming as tropical and other forests absorb CO2, thus mitigating the effects of emissions on the climate. But EU policymakers are struggling to define rules to keep trees standing (EurActiv 11/09/08). source http://myeuropeandream.blogspot.com/2008/10/forests-in-europe-or-whats-left-of-them.html

12) From 1981 to 2005 the global economy more than doubled, but 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems — for example fisheries and forests — were either degraded or over-used. “That’s the balance sheet of our planet right now,” he said. A successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the pioneering global pact to fight climate change, set to be agreed in Copenhagen by the end of next year appears more remote than a year ago, Steiner said. “We’re further from a deal in Copenhagen than we were at the end of the Bali conference,” he said, referring to the launch of talks on the successor pact last December in Indonesia. “But does that mean we will not have one? No. “The difficulty is that there is no deal based on national interest alone. Quite frankly the levels of financing being discussed right now are totally inadequate to allow such a deal to emerge.” Environment Minister Hilary Benn, hosting the launch, said the UNEP proposal was right in tune with the thinking of Roosevelt, from whom he quoted approvingly: “‘The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.'” http://uk.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUKTRE49L7B520081022

13) How best to map ‘boreal’ or northern forest with spaceborne radar is the focus of an ESA campaign currently underway in northern Sweden. By answering this question, the campaign addresses one of the key objectives of the candidate Earth Explorer BIOMASS mission. BIOMASS is one of six candidate Earth Explorer missions that has just completed assessment study and will be presented to the science community at a User Consultation Meeting in January 2009. Up to three of the missions will subsequently be selected for the next stage of development (feasibility study), leading to the eventual implementation of ESA’s seventh Earth Explorer mission. Covering about 15% of the Earth’s land surface, boreal forest plays an important role in the global cycling of energy, carbon and water. The boreal region forms a circumpolar band throughout the northern hemisphere that extends through Russia, northern Europe, Canada and Alaska. The great expanse and large quantity of carbon contained in vegetation and soil make the boreal biome the world’s largest terrestrial carbon reservoir. Since forest biomass is half carbon, the BIOMASS mission, if selected, is expected to greatly improve our knowledge of how much carbon is being stored, where it is being stored and better quantify carbon fluxes between land and the atmosphere – important for understanding more about the global carbon cycle and climate change. To achieve this goal, the mission will exploit the longest radar wavelength available for satellites observing the Earth from space – P-band. This wavelength is uniquely sensitive to mapping biomass from space. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/ESA_Leads_The_Way_To_Map_Boreal_Forest_999.html

14) The much-hyped trade and development agreements currently under negotiation between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries could put forests and the livelihoods of communities dependent on them at serious risk, argues a new report by Friends of the Earth. The NGO warns that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) designed by former EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson would impose an economic model on developing countries based on the export of raw materials that could seriously devastate their forests and wildlife. One of the most controversial elements of the agreements highlighted in the report is an obligation for developing country signatories to lift rules limiting the export of logs and other raw materials. This already seems to be happening in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, which have initialled interim EPAs, according to the report. In addition, a requirement to liberalise investment in the forestry and agricultural sectors would give European corporations improved access to ACP natural resources, potentially leading to deforestation and the expulsion of small farm owners in favour of more export-oriented agriculture. Although the EU has acknowledged the adverse environmental effects of trade liberalisation in previous Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIA), any mention of the impact on forests is conspicuously absent from SIAs of EPAs, Friends of the Earth points out. The bloc is overlooking “some very serious environmental and social concerns” by prioritising access to natural resources in order to safeguard European competitiveness and is sacrificing its commitment to sustainable development in the process, it states. The NGO urges the EU to seriously rethink its trade strategy towards the developing world after new Trade Commissioner Baroness Ashton takes over (EurActiv 21/10/08). It believes that now is the right moment to act, as the passing of the 2007 deadline for the EPA negotiations and reluctance to sign off the ACP with little to gain mean that the political pressure to continue has diminished. “The EU needs a new trade strategy which takes into account the needs of poor countries and allows them to protect their economies and environment from the worst excesses of the market,” concluded Friends of the Earth’s trade campaigner Sarah-Jayne Clifton. http://papgren.blogspot.com/2008/10/report-eu-trade-deals-threaten-wildlife.html

15) WWF has released a new report entitled “Climate Change: faster, stronger, sooner”, which concludes what many of us have known for some time, that “global warming is accelerating [ark] at a faster rate than climate change experts had previously predicted”. Ever since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [search] (IPCC) released their Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, the latest science shows the Arctic Ocean is losing sea ice 30 years earlier than expected, sea level rise is double the previous maximum estimates, and temperature increases are already leading to a reduction in global yields of wheat, maize and barley. WWF notes that “even with a 2°C target, the IPCC says that emission reductions between 25 and 40% compared to 1990 are needed by 2020 from developed countries.” Abrupt climate change is happening now and the world is no where near these short and mid-term targets. Incredibly, WWF sounds the alarm on abrupt, run-away climate change while actively supporting FSC’s stamp of approval for ancient forest logging. First time logging of primary forests accounts for at least 20% of atmospheric carbon releases. New science finds old-growth forests are “carbon sinks” and when logged release 40 percent of their carbon. This discredits decades of thought strongly advocated by WWF that primary forests can or should be “sustainably” logged. Given WWF’s new found sense of urgency, it is astoundingly reckless for them to continue their support for Forest Stewardship Council’s [search] logging of ancient forests. It is long past due for WWF to join Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and Friends of the Earth in reviewing and/or ending their greenwashing of FSC’s ancient forest logging. Meanwhile, we are left to ponder whether WWF’s failure to work to stop carbon releases from ancient forest logging is because of corporate corruption or just ignorance? http://www.climateark.org/blog/2008/10/wwfs_inconsistent_corporate_cl.asp

16) An international team of scientists led by Sebastian Luyssaert at the University of Antwerp in Belgium reviewed the literature and existing databases for forests between 15 and 800 years old. They found that all forests, from the youngest to the oldest, show positive net ecosystem productivity; i.e., they are growing and hence sequestering or accumulating carbon [1]. Over 30 percent of the global forest area is unmanaged primary forest and this area contains the remaining old growth forests. Half of the primary forests (covering 600 million ha) are located in boreal (near the Arctic) and temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere. These forests alone sequester about 1.3 + 0.5 Gt of C per year. This 15 percent of the global forest area currently not considered when offsetting increasing atmospheric CO2, provides at least 10 percent of the global net ecosystem productivity. Old-growth forests accumulate carbon for centuries and contain large quantities that will move back into the atmosphere if these forests are disturbed or cut down, especially tropical forests [2, 3] (Saving and Restoring Forests Saves Far More Carbon Emissions than Biofuels, SiS 37) .Net ecosystem productivity and age of forests. Net ecosystem productivity (NEP) is the net carbon balance of the forest ecosystem as a whole, and is the difference between CO2 uptake by photosynthetic assimilation and losses through plant and soil respiration. Tropical forests were excluded from the study because of the lack of data, and only 12 sites were found for which NEP and age estimates are available.Read the rest of this article here: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/oldgrowthforestcarbonsink.php

17) The Oslo Conference discussed the Four Foundations for Effective Investments in Climate Change: 1) Recognize rights – establish an equitable legal and regulatory framework for land and resources; 2) prioritize payment to communities – ensure that benefits and payments prioritize indigenous and local communities, according to their potential role as forest stewards; 3) establish independent advisory and auditing processes to guide, monitor and audit investments and actions at national and global levels; and 4) monitor more than carbon to keep track of the status of forests, forest carbon, biodiversity and impacts on rights and livelihoods. Secure a role for indigenous peoples in monitoring of emissions, making full use of their knowledge of the state of forest ecosystems, something which could be particularly relevant to keep track of forest degradation. — During the first day of the conference, participants concluded that indigenous peoples and forest dwellers have often proven their capacity for sustainable forest management and successful adaptation with only minimal support from the state. Traditional knowledge systems and resource management practices are a valuable resource. That said, the winners who will benefit most from the “forest billions” flowing into climate change mitigation will be those with information and resources. Indigenous peoples and forest dwellers have neither, and will lose out. http://tkbulletin.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/tk-at-oslo-meeting-on-%E2%80%9Crights-forests-and-climate-change%E2%80%9D-%E2%80%93-meeting-review/

18) Consumption of resources is rising rapidly, biodiversity is plummeting and just about every measure shows humans affecting Earth on a vast scale. A growing band of experts are looking at figures like these and arguing that personal carbon virtue and collective environmentalism are futile as long as our economic system is built on the assumption of growth. The science tells us that if we are serious about saving Earth, we must reshape our economy. This, of course, is economic heresy. In recent weeks it has become clear just how terrified governments are of anything that threatens growth, as they pour billions of public money into a failing financial system. It has taken all of human history for the economy to reach its current size. On current form it will take just two decades to double. In this special issue, New Scientist brings together key thinkers from politics, economics and philosophy who profoundly disagree with the growth dogma but agree with the scientists monitoring our fragile biosphere. The father of ecological economics, Herman Daly, explains why our economy is blind to the environmental costs of growth (“The World Bank’s blind spot”), while Tim Jackson, adviser to the UK government on sustainable development, crunches numbers to show that technological fixes won’t compensate for the hair-raising speed at which the economy is expanding (“Why politicians dare not limit economic growth”). Gus Speth, one-time environment adviser to President Jimmy Carter, explains why after four decades working at the highest levels of US policy-making he believes green values have no chance against today’s capitalism (“Champion for green growth”), followed by Susan George, a leading thinker of the political left, who argues that only a global government-led effort can shift the destructive course we are on (“We must think big to fight environmental disaster”). For Andrew Simms, policy director of the London-based New Economics Foundation, it is crucial to demolish one of the main justifications for unbridled growth: that it can pull the poor out of poverty (“The poverty myth”). And the broadcaster and activist David Suzuki explains how he inspires business leaders and politicians to change their thinking (“Interview with an environmental activist”). Just what a truly sustainable economy would look like is explored in “Life in a land without growth”, when New Scientist uses Daly’s blueprint to imagine life in a society that doesn’t use up resources faster than the world can replace them. Expect tough decisions on wealth, tax, jobs and birth rates. But as Daly says, shifting from growth to development doesn’t have to mean freezing in the dark under communist tyranny. Technological innovation would give us more and more from the resources we have, and as philosopher Kate Soper argues in “Nothing to fear from curbing growth”, curbing our addiction to work and profits would in many ways improve our lives. http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/mg20026786.000?promcode=nletter&DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=mg20026786.000

19) On Monday 6th October 2008, The Conservation Commons Secretariat organized an alliance workshop at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Barcelona, Spain to address barriers to data sharing. The workshop was organized in collaboration with Conservation International, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, IUCN, National Geographic Society, The Getty Research Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The purpose of this workshop was to draw attention to the barriers faced by the conservation community which limit access to biodiversity data and information, and to identify efforts to collectively address these challenges. The workshop supported the “Safeguarding the Diversity of Life” Stream of the Forum. Speakers and participants from sectors both within and outside the traditional conservation community were asked to consider key questions in relation to accessing biodiversity data or information; legal and technical data standards; and cultural challenges often faced in accessing the best available data and information. The audiences were challenged to think beyond current limitations and paradigms in order to develop innovative solutions to these challenges. The workshop concluded after a short open discussion. http://www.conservationcommons.org For background materials, presentations and full report of the meeting see the Conservation Commons Workspace: http://conserveonline.org/workspaces/commons

20) The conventional solution aims to target and fix poverty which they consider to be the cause of deforestation. The government, together with various organizations, sees development as the main key to cure. Ironically speaking though, industrialization and further city developments are also one of the causes of deforestation. This happened to be the reason why the government has been buffeted by issues with regards to the solutions that they tried to provide. Nevertheless, here are the proposed (and mostly unrealistic) solutions the government has to offer: Tropical Forest Action Plan (TFAP) is one of the anticipated problem solutions by the government. It operates through strategically implementing to the people the value of our forests. This plan has failed many times for obvious reasons. In fact, the government (as they say) should have created a much clever plan to truly eradicate the problem. Bringing up nonrealistic items over the table is just considered to be a waste of time. Sustained Yield Forestry is one of the projected ways to minimize the output of timber in its yearly harvest. Issues have hovered around corrupt officials who permit excess timber counts in exchange for money. This solution therefore needs honest and responsible professional men to lead along the way to change. The question is, when and where will you see dignified men these days especially with the color of money around? Read more Solutions To Deforestation – Are There Really Any? http://mysearch.ph/deforestation/2008/10/solutions-to-deforestation-are-there.html

21) A major power shift is needed in the way the planet’s biological resources are managed, from top-down systems that marginalise the poor to community-centred approaches that sustain local livelihoods, says a report published today (9 October) by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). The call – aimed at governments, businesses, international agencies and conservation groups – comes as thousands of delegates from these groups gather in Barcelona, Spain for the 4-yearly congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature on 5-14 October. The report recommends ways to improve the governance of biodiversity – how it is managed and how decisions about it are made – to deliver more benefits to people and planet. It includes detailed new case studies from India, Peru and Tanzania which show that while some local initiatives are working for both biodiversity and livelihoods, the overall regimes tend to exclude the poor from decision making. Biodiversity – the variety of living genes, species and ecosystems – is key to the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. It underpins the ecological systems that provide the clean water, food, medicines and stable climate that are essential for human well-being. “Biodiversity is being lost faster than at any other time in human history,” says lead author Krystyna Swiderska. “The current system of top-down governance favours powerful elites such as governments and businesses but is failing to protect diversity and promote social development. It is time to pass power to communities that are able custodians of the biological resources key to their lives and livelihoods.” Historically, biodiversity was under various forms of community management but today rules devised and imposed by government agencies, Western scientists and conservation organisations in a top-down manner can often harm local livelihoods – as when people are excluded from performing traditional practices when areas become protected, despite their knowledge relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. http://www.mangroveactionproject.org/news/current_headlines/shift-power-to-people-to-preserve-natural-world-urges-report

22) The study was launched today at the Rights, Forests and Climate Change conference in Oslo, Norway. It estimates that just 3.35 dollars per hectare could implement legal and regulatory frameworks ensuring land ownership and habitation rights for forest communities. The estimate includes the direct costs associated with demarcating territory, registering land, raising awareness and resolving local disputes. By comparison, the estimated costs of setting up and implementing the REDD programme could be up to 3,500 dollars per hectare each year for the next 22 years. “The idea of the study is to put things in perspective,” said Jeffrey Hatcher, the report’s author and an analyst at the Rights and Resources Initiative, a coalition of conservation groups. “There is strong evidence that local people are good at forestry management. So even if REDD does not come about, if you at least recognize people’s rights you will get a good outcome and reduced emissions,” he added. The UN-REDD programme was launched in September this year with 35 million dollars from the Norwegian government, and is still taking shape. Under the programme, governments would be paid by the international community to preserve forests in global efforts to combat climate change. But campaigners have warned that unless the proposals take greater account of the rights of forest-dwelling communities to live, manage and take resources from the land, the plans will fail, and could provoke corruption and land grabs. According to Erik Solheim, Norway’s environment and international development minister, “Indigenous peoples are rightly concerned about how these new investments could affect their access to the forests that they depend on for their livelihoods.” “These rights need to be respected, not just for moral reasons, although that is vital. It is also a matter of pragmatism and effectiveness,” he added http://www.medindia.net/news/Setting-Up-Legal-Rights-for-Forest-Dwellers-can-Reduce-Deforestation-43106-1.htm

23) What price would you place on the beautiful, musical and probably extinct ivory-billed woodpecker? Of course, all the world’s gold couldn’t bring the bird back. But suppose you could time travel back 60 years to the shrinking Southern swamps, where the last pairs were definitively seen. And suppose you made an economic argument for saving the birds’ habitat. How much would you say the ivorybill was worth? Come on, let’s hear a bid for the bird. Environmental economists do these calculations all the time. They might point out that the ivory-bill helps local economies by attracting tourists who spend an average of $250 a day on food and lodging. They might find scientific data suggesting that the ivory-bill liver contains a treatment for brittle nails. And the resulting hand cream might net annual sales of $32 million. The idea of fixing a dollar value on a species offends those who regard preserving our natural heritage as a moral imperative. It would seem akin to listing one’s children on eBay. “To evaluate individual species solely by their known practical value at the present time is business accounting in the service of barbarism,” Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson wrote in The Wilson Quarterly. If providing numbers persuades the cost-benefit freaks to save these creatures and plants from extinction, let’s make tons of printouts. Environmentalists need every weapon in the arsenal. In an article titled “What is Nature Worth?” Wilson doesn’t dismiss such calculations out of hand. But he finds that today’s economic-value assessments make for a crude measuring device. They tend to lowball the worth of a species over the long haul. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2008262662_opin14harrop.html

24) Bowing to a global pressure campaign spearheaded by Ecological Internet (EI), the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has publicly announced they are reviewing their support for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), over concerns regarding FSC’s greenwashing of ancient forest logging. In a statement to Ecological Internet, and on their web site, RAN announced they find “certification of logging in such forests extremely problematic” and have “raised the matter with the FSC”. RAN has embraced EI’s goal of working to end ancient forest logging [search], written to FSC with their concerns and to request more data, and indicated that FSC’s continued certification of ancient forest logging is problematic and threatens their membership. Based upon this progress, Ecological Internet has temporarily suspended the protest campaign. If RAN fails in its commitment to work within FSC in coming months to end its certification of ancient forest logging, and refuses to resign from FSC at that time, EI’s campaign will resume immediately. “Global ecological sustainability depends critically upon protecting and restoring large, unfragmented, and intact forest and other terrestrial ecosystems across the globe to maintain all species, climatic processes, human habitat and the biosphere’s functioning. To this end, Ecological Internet’s demands to RAN, and other long-time appeasers of FSC’s ancient forest destruction, remain simple: either use your membership to get FSC to eliminate their sourcing of certified timbers from old-growth and primary forests, or resign immediately from FSC in protest and to end your complicity in ancient forest greenwash,” explains EI President Dr. Glen Barry. http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2008/10/release_ancient_forest_victory.asp

25) New research shows rights-based approaches necessary and cost-effective; call for independent advisory and auditing to support UN action on climate change. Unless based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and forest communities, efforts by rich countries to combat climate change by funding reductions in deforestation in developing countries will fail, and could even unleash a devastating wave of forest loss, cultural destruction and civil conflict, warned a leading group of forestry and development experts meeting in Oslo this week. The experts are gathering in Oslo with policymakers and community leaders for a conference on rights, forests and climate change. The conference was organized by two non-profits, Rainforest Foundation Norway and the US-based Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). Speaking at the meeting, Norway’s Minister of Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim, says efforts towards reduced emissions from deforestation in developing countries should be based on the rights of indigenous peoples to the forests they depend on for their livelihoods, and provide tangible benefits consistent with their essential role in sustainable forest management. “In addition to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, early action, pilot projects and demonstrations should safeguard biodiversity, contribute to poverty reduction and secure the rights of forest dependent communities in order to achieve any degree of permanence, legitimacy and effectiveness,” said Solheim. Deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing it is seen as one of the quickest and cheapest ways of cutting emissions. “Moves to finance reductions in tropical deforestation and forest degradation are necessary and welcome,” said Andy White, Coordinator of RRI. “But on their own they won’t solve the problem. Poorly devised, they could even make it worse. If such initiatives are well designed they can not only secure carbon but present a global opportunity to address the underlying causes of poverty and conflict in many developing countries.” http://www.huliq.com/11/70682/forest-peoples-rights-key-reducing-emissions-deforestation

26) October 13 through 19 2008 is World Rainforest Week. WRW is an annual holiday created by the Rainforest Action Network to highlight and celebrate how important rainforests are for the health of people and our planet. As rainforests continue to be endangered by old threats such as logging, and by new threats such as the expansion of agribusiness, WRW 2008 is a particularly vital time to stand up for the rainforest! Throughout this week, we invite you to take action with us to support this global treasure and ensure that future generations will benefit from the clean air, biodiversity and climate control that the rainforests provide. Take action to protect forests 1) Organize a fundraiser for the Protect-an-Acre Program àRAN’s Protect-an-Acre program gives small grants to the indigenous and frontline forest communities that are some of the most powerful players in keeping the rainforest alive and healthy. Check out our Protect-an-Acre program and make a donation or organize a fundraiser in support of Indigenous rights and forest protection! – – Fundraising 101 -How to throw a house party 2) Stick it to Palm Oil! Join us in highlighting the rainforest destruction lurking in your Halloween candy by signing up to take part in the Rainforest Agribusiness campaign’s Palm Oil week of action! http://ran.org/campaigns/protect_an_acre/world_rainforest_week_2008/

27) So why is there such a growing international effort to put a price on the rainforests? Well, as well as the carbon they store and the role they play in our rainfall, tropical forests are home to more than half the world’s animal and plant species, and provide 25% of our medicines. WWF-UK is among the many environmental campaign groups that have welcomed the Eliasch review. Emily Brickell, Forests and Climate Policy Officer at WWF-UK, told Sky News Online: “This review is a welcome recognition of the need to reduce emissions from deforestation as part of the overall package to tackle dangerous climate change. “As with all of these things the devil will be in the detail. WWF is calling for sufficient and long term funding for developing countries to reduce deforestation and for assurances that local communities should enjoy continued access to and benefits from forests resources.” Today’s report is unlikely to provide a definitive solution, but it is, apparently, a further sign that the UK government, along with many others, now firmly believes that the easiest way to fight climate change, is to stop deforestation. Today, after a year analysing how international finance mechanisms can pay to preserve the forests, Mr Eliasch will reveal his findings. He will recommend that a multi-billion pound fund is set-up, to reward those countries which agree to protect their rainforests and the vast stores of carbon dioxide, animals and plants contained within them. Deforestation is responsible for nearly a fifth (18%) of the world’s man-made carbon emissions, more than the whole transport sector. The Eliasch review will recommend that those emissions are included within an international cap and trade system. It says: “Forests will need to form a central part of any global climate change deal.” http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Climate-Change-Eliash-Review-Into-Saving-The-Rainforests/Article/200810215119905

28) The satellite has been undergoing calibration and check-out since it was launched on Sept. 6 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif. The Company will begin selling GeoEye-1 imagery products later this fall. Matthew O’Connell, GeoEye’s chief executive officer, said, “We are pleased to release the first GeoEye-1 image, bringing us even closer to the start of the satellite’s commercial operations and sales to our customers. This is a remarkable achievement, and I want to thank all of our employees, customers, especially the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, strategic partners, vendors and investors for their support.” GeoEye-1 simultaneously collects 0.41-meter ground resolution black-and-white imagery in the panchromatic mode and 1.65-meter color (multispectral). This first image showing Kutztown University located midway between Reading and Allentown, Penn. was produced by fusing the satellite’s panchromatic and multispectral data to produce a high-quality, true-color half-meter resolution image. Though the satellite collects imagery at 0.41-meter ground resolution, due to U.S. licensing restrictions, commercial customers will only get access to imagery that has been processed to half-meter ground resolution. Bill Schuster, GeoEye’s chief operating officer, said, “We are bringing GeoEye-1 into service within four years of our contract award with no contract cost overruns. The entire program which includes the satellite, launch, insurance, financing and four ground stations was less than $502 million. That’s the amount established and agreed to four years ago.” He further noted, “GeoEye-1 is an excellent fit to meet the U.S. Government’s important requirements for mapping and broad area space-based imagery collection over the next decade.” Brad Peterson, GeoEye’s vice president of operations, said, “This image captures what is in fact the very first location the satellite saw when we opened the camera door and started imaging. We expect the quality of the imagery to be even better as we continue the calibration activity.” http://www.spacemart.com/reports/GeoEye_Releases_First_Image_Collected_By_GeoEye_1_999.html

29) Ecological Internet calls upon all organizations including governments, companies and most particularly NGOs — starting with RAN and FSC — to stop their support for ancient forest logging to address converging global climate, biodiversity and economic crises. Failure to do so will lead to intensifying protest including targeting these organization’s funders. ast week forest defenders rallied at New York’s Bluestocking Bookstore to denounce the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) for their support of industrial logging of primary forests. RAN is the focus of a global campaign to end ancient forest logging, starting with getting the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), of which they are a founding and leading member, to stop falsely certifying first time industrial primary forest logging as being environmentally beneficial. When questioned, Mike Brune, RAN’s Executive Director, stated again that RAN does not support industrial logging of old growth forests, but does support FSC. This transparent doublespeak was met by laughter from the audience. Due to Ecological Internet’s campaign, forest conservationists are increasingly aware FSC’s existence depends upon ancient forest logging. Further protest actions are expected, and the email protest continues.Some progress has been made, as RAN recently stated in their blog that they “have begun undertaking a strategic review of the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC’s) benefits and costs…” and whether “…RAN can continue supporting the FSC.” However, no firm, time-bound commitments were made. The campaign continues until RAN makes written promises to use their FSC membership to get FSC to stop certifying old-growth, and if this fails, to resign from the organization. This impasse comes as a new study finds forest loss costs some $2-5 trillion a year in terms of lost services provided by healthy ecosystems, many times the cost of the current financial crisis. The benefits to be realized by a few, including RAN and FSC in terms of undeserved goodwill, from cutting down ancient forests are no match for the long term ecosystem services that are gone forever. Ecological Internet’s President, Dr. Glen Barry, notes “RAN has wasted over a year ignoring our concerns, and now they bury in a short blog entry their intention to review FSC. Meanwhile FSC continues with plans to certify hundreds of millions of hectares of new ancient forest logging. Failure to end this matter now and make explicit commitments will show RAN is more concerned with throwing lavish parties and Amazon cruises, than quickly ending FSC’s enabling of ancient forest logging.” http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2008/10/release_ancient_forest_logging.asp

30) Owen Espley, a forests campaigner with Friends of the Earth in the UK welcomed the decision to avoid deforestation credits: “The commission is right not to introduce forest credits into the Emissions Trading Scheme. Forest carbon credits would create a land grab for forests and would give industry an excuse for failing to reduce their climate-changing emissions.” The Forests and the European Union Resource Network (FERN) and Global Witness, a human rights NGO, went further in response to the commission suggestions, saying they “have real concerns about the ability of carbon markets to halt climate change, the addition of cheap forest carbon credits to the market can only make matters worse.” “Entrusting the future of the planet to the markets, in the light of recent financial turmoil, veers between irresponsible and mad,” said Patrick Alley of Global Witness. “Carbon trading and forest protection are not compatible. Government funding is the most appropriate source of finance to pay for combating deforestation,” said Mr Alley. However, green campaigners would like to see the commission be more ambitious in its goals for funding anti-deforestation efforts, saying five percent of ETS auction revenues is not enough. By contrast, the European Parliament’s environment committee recently proposed that 12.5 percent of auction revenues be allocated to saving forests. http://euobserver.com/19/26963

31) While the role of REDD in both the international and emerging US regulated systems is being hammered out, the voluntary carbon markets are serving not only as a testing ground for the development of REDD carbon credits, but also building up expertise and generating immediate action. This publication is designed to introduce practitioners to the carbon markets, in particular the voluntary markets, and the current climate for reforestation, afforestation and REDD projects generating carbon credits. It is a collection of articles and one book chapter commissioned by the Ecosystem Marketplace.The Ecosystem Marketplace is a web-based, non-profit information service created three years ago to help spur the development of environmental markets worldwide. It is a leading source of information on markets and payments for ecosystem services such as water quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity. The organization is built on the belief that by providing reliable information on prices, regulation, science, and other market-relevant factors, markets for ecosystem services will one day become a fundamental part of our economic system, helping give value to environmental services that, for too long, have been taken for granted. The Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of the DC- based non-profit Forest Trends. These articles were compiled to serve as context and provide background for the Tanzania Katoomba conference, held in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania from September 16-18, 2008. The conference is the thirteenth in a series of Katoomba conferences designed to stimulate and strengthen environmental markets around the world. Launched in Katoomba, Australia, in 1999, the Katoomba Group is an international working group composed of leading thinkers and practitioners from academia, industry and government, all committed to enhancing the integrity of ecosystems through market solutions that are efficient, effective and equitable. The group is a sister project of the Ecosystem Marketplace and is also sponsored by Forest Trends. http://ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/article.news.php?component_id=6069&component_version_id=9120&language_id=12

32) Make the Rainforest Site, www.therainforestsite.com, the home page you start from every day. Then just click where it says “Click here to give — it’s FREE.” And with that simple action, you’ve preserved just over a square meter of the world’s rainforests, the lungs of the planet that can absorb back much of the CO2 ‘exhaled’ by our burning of fossil fuels. It’s not much, but those square meters add up — over 35,000 people click the site every day, and over 40,000 acres have been preserved so far. If everyone receiving this Green Idea clicked daily, we alone could preserve an area the size of a soccer field every week. The land is paid for by sponsors who advertise on the Rainforest Site. If you visit, you’ll also see similar sites in support of breast cancer, hunger, literacy and more — all causes you can support with the simple click of a mouse. You can make The Rainforest Site your home page by going to it, then clicking Tools — Internet Options — General — Use current. And — please pass it on to your co-workers, friends and family. http://miramichileader.canadaeast.com/community/article/448106

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