Archive for October, 2008

Jeff Hayward: Quantifying Carbon, Communities, and More
Ecosystem Marketplace | 27 October 2008

Jeff HaywardThe debate over Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) hinges on how to verify the amount of carbon captured in trees and how to determine whether the actions being paid for actually cause a net capture of carbon. It’s sticky territory that the climate initiative manager for nonprofit conservation organization Rainforest Alliance – Jeff Hayward first traversed while validating the then-nebulous concept of “sustainable” forestry, and he believes today’s projects will only succeed if they think beyond carbon.

“Carbon alone is not going to protect these forests… To be sustained over time, carbon projects must take an integrated approach, bringing in additional sources of income for the communities whose participation is essential to the survival of these projects.” — Jeff Hayward, Rainforest Alliance

Hayward says that, over time, he’s developed the ability to know going in which projects have the highest chance of success. “The first clue is a well-run organization with a really concrete set of goals and objectives, and the institutional capacity to make it happen,” he says. Then Hayward and Rainforest Alliance look at the project’s environmental and social impacts. Are the right tree species being planted? How does the project aid biodiversity? And, how’s the community relationship — are materials in a local language? Are they explained in a way that a non-scientist can understand?

Hayward says that all of the recent REDD projects he’s evaluated had not just conservation components but other types of economic benefits to local people as well. “What’s pretty cool about all of this is that in the last few years, so much has come together that was missing,” Hayward says, citing the emergence of markets and convincing carbon-based science, along with a surge of public support with the help of the movie An Inconvenient Truth. “Now we just need to keep pushing hard and pedaling as hard as we can to make sure that these systems improve and keep going forward.”

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Life as Commerce: the impact of market-based conservation on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women
Global Forest Coalition, CENSAT Agua Viva, COECOCEIBA,
EQUATIONS, Alter Vida, the Timberwatch Coalition, October 2008.

Life as commerce report“Life as Commerce” features case studies from India, Costa Rica, South Africa, Paraguay and Colombia about the impact of market-based conservation mechanisms like ecotourism, forest certification, biodiversity offsets and carbon trade on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women. These impacts are particularly important in light of the proposal by some countries to include forest conservation into the global carbon market.

“The report provides a number of fascinating real-life stories on how these mechanisms work out at the community-level. It forms an important addition to the increasing number of studies that focus on the potential benefits of these mechanisms for local communities and the rules and standards that are needed to generate these benefits. As the case studies describe, such rules and standards seldom exist, and even where they exist, they are not well-implemented as market mechanisms make it attractive for powerful actors to circumvent them. The costs of these mechanisms, also in terms of undermining community governance, seem to outweigh the benefits in real-life situations.” — Simone Lovera, Managing Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition

Market-based mechanisms are often seen as solutions to the lack of funding for public conservation, but they are false solutions. The current economic crisis has also shown the unreliability of global markets as a potential funding source for conservation.

Download the Life As Commerce report [pdf]…

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High Demand Prompts Forest Carbon Partnership Facility to Expand Beyond Original 20 Developing Countries
World Bank | 24 October 2008


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. T

Twenty-five developing countries selected so far to benefit from the FCPF are working with 11 industrialized countries and one non-governmental organization in an innovative partnership and international financing mechanism to combat tropical deforestation and climate change. The FCPF is comprised of two components—a Readiness Fund and a Carbon Fund.

“I am impressed by the level of interest expressed in the FCPF by developing countries… We thought 20 would be a reasonable target, but more than 40 countries have said they were interested. Countries are investing considerable time and resources to prepare themselves for REDD, and they should be commended for taking these steps.” — Katherine Sierra, Vice President, Sustainable Development, the World Bank

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 FCPF aims to reduce deforestation and forest degradation by compensating developing countries for greenhouse gas emission reductions. 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.

Read the full press release…

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Key Issues in REDD Baselines and Monitoring
Rights and Climate Meeting | 23 October 2008

RFCC MeetingDuring the Rights, Forests and Climate Change meeting currently being held in Oslo, Phil Shearman, PhD, from the Remote Sensing Centre at the University of Papua New Guinea, raises three developing issues in regard to the technical aspects of baseline setting and monitoring of REDD.

  1. Creation of baselines and data management – Many if not most countries selected for the “REDD-Ready” program do not have accurate baselines of their forest cover. Another obstacle is that national forest authorities will need to share their data with other parties, despite their poor track record on transparency. This is vital if the rights of local people are to be respected and benefits from REDD secured.
  2. Degradation: The other “D” – Despite uncertainty on the definition and measurement of forest degradation, this concept must be maintained within REDD considerations. Confusion arises in part from the definitions of “forest” used by the IPCC – for instance, an area can have 10-30% canopy cover and still constitute a forest. Ecologically, a 90% reduction in canopy cover is disastrous, but under current guidelines this degraded forest would be indistinguishable from old-growth forest. If degradation is not included, it could allow forests to be hollowed out by the logging industry without impacting a country’s forest coverage statistics – on which REDD payments may be calculated.
  3. Oversight: Whose numbers can you trust? – When it comes to forest statistics, the default has been to faithfully reproduce national reported figures. However, self-monitoring is not a good idea. Without external oversight, there is little reason to expect that these figures will be accurate. This is going be all the more difficult if the same organization (the Designated National Authority) is doing the monitoring and managing the interface between local people, project beneficiaries, and REDD payments from donors. Independent verification of deforestation and degradation mapping may be needed to increase transparency, reduce potential for corruption and increase REDD’s effectiveness.

Download the Key Issues in REDD Baselines and Monitoring viewpoint paper [pdf]…

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International Forestry Review – Special Issue: REDD and the Evolution of an International Forest Regime Issue 3, October 2008

IFR REDD issueThis special issue of IFR includes the following articles:

News: Forest Peoples’ Rights Key To Reducing Emissions From Deforestation
ScienceDaily | 20 October 2008

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 at a recent meeting in Oslo.

Rights and Resources conference logo

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-profit organisations, 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.

“There are growing conflicts between indigenous peoples and both forestry companies and conservation organizations. Imposed forest management initiatives are only viable if they respect the customary rights of forest peoples and ensure they have control about what happens on their lands. Indigenous peoples must be accepted as full and fair participants in all climate negotiations,” — Joji Carino, Director of Tebtebba – Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education

Conference organizers worry that REDD could fuel corruption and provoke tensions and land grab situations unless good governance, policies and the rule of law are first put in place.

Read the full article…
Read the Rights, Forests and Climate Change meeting blog…

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Pay indigenous people to protect rainforests, conservation groups urge
The Guardian [UK] | 17 October 2008

From Exclusion to OwnershipRich countries should try to cut the greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation by first investing in the people who live and use forests, rather than relying on the financial carbon markets to encourage conservation, leading development experts have proposed.

If not, they risk unleashing a wave of land grabs, corruption, cultural destruction and civil conflict, said the Washington-based Rights and Resources Initiative, a coalition of of UN- and government-funded research organisations including the World Conservation Union and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

A study by Jeffrey Hatcher, an analyst with Rights and Resources in Washington, found that it costs about $3.50 (£2) per hectare to recognise forest people’s land. The costs of protecting forests under Redd have been estimated as about £2,000 per hectare.

“There is lots of evidence from around the world that communities conserve their forests when their [land] rights are recognised. There are now about 400m hectares of forest formally owned by communities. These 400m hectares conserve about 20-40m Gigatonnes of CO2. This means that it costs about $1.6bn (£925m) to achieve this conservation. The Eliasch review suggested it would cost about $17bn year to to stop deforestation, which works out as far more expensive” — Jeffrey Hatcher, Rights and Resources

Read the full article…
Download the From Exclusion to Ownership? Challenges and Opportunities in Advancing Forest Tenure Reform July 2008 report [pdf]…

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