How to better tackle deforestation ?

 

Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Existing maps use satellite images to cover large areas, but don’t always see how much biomass exists. Neil Palmer CIAT for CIFOR

Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Existing maps use satellite images to cover large areas, but don’t always see how much biomass exists. Neil Palmer CIAT for CIFOR

Mapping the world’s biomass to better tackle deforestation

By combining satellite with on-the-ground data, new map offers more accurate biomass information.

by 

One of the early successes in efforts to combat global warming has been a renewed push to tackle deforestation in some of the world’s last remaining tropical rainforests.

But, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program – a UN effort to improve forest management in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – has suffered from a lack of dependable data to assist policy makers in quantifying how much biomass is present in the forests of Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

There are several data sets available for countries looking to quantify their biomass and, in doing so, establish a baseline that would allow them to demonstrate they are making progress in reducing deforestation. However, because these maps depend heavily on satellite data, they have often been criticized as inadequate.

Read the full story : CIFOR

Successful examples of community-based forestry from around the world

Photo credit: FAO

Women in Mozambique are carrying fuelwood that will be sold by the roadside to create additional income for the rural forest community.

 

Community-based forestry can be a driving force in boosting sustainability and people’s livelihoods

FAO calls on governments to take steps to unleash its full potential

Community-based forestry has shown itself to be a potent vehicle for promoting sustainable forest management, reducing poverty and generating jobs and income for rural communities, but unlocking its true potential will require greater support by governments through policy reforms and other measures.

Many community-based forestry regimes are showing great promise as engines for sustainable development but are still performing below their potential, a new FAO report released today at the start of Asia-Pacific Forestry Week says.

Under the approach, local communities partner with governments to play a lead role in making land-use decisions and managing the forestry resources they depend on for their livelihoods.

According to “Forty years of community based forestry: A review of extent and effectiveness”, almost one-third of the world’s forest area is now estimated to be under some form of community-based management.

Yet in many cases, while in practice policies may exist for the decentralization and devolution of rights and responsibilities to communities, the right conditions may not yet be in place for them to fully exercise their rights.

The report outlines a series of actions needed to make community-based forestry more effective, including providing communities with secure forest tenure, improving regulatory frameworks, and transferring appropriate and viable skills and technology.

Access to markets and knowledge of market mechanisms are also essential if communities and smallholders are to commercialize their forest products, which can significantly contribute to poverty reduction.

“Indigenous peoples, local communities and family smallholders stand ready to maintain and restore forests, respond to climate change, conserve biodiversity and sustain livelihoods on a vast scale”, said Eva Müller, Director of FAO’s Forestry Policy and Resources Division. “What is missing in most cases is the political will to make it happen. Political leaders and policy makers should open the door to unleash the potential of hundreds of millions of people to manage the forests on which the whole world depends for a better and sustainable future”.

Sharing best practices

The report also cites a number of successful examples of community-based forestry from around the world.

Read the full article: FAO

No Deforestation. No Peat. No Exploitation

Photo credit: Google

An aerial view of deforestation at Indonesia’s Sumatra island, August 5, 2010. Photo: Beawiharta

Zero deforestation in Indonesia: Pledges, politics and palm oil

by

Corporations and government share the goal of sustainable economic development but each faces its own challenges – so which rules should apply?

“No Deforestation. No Peat. No Exploitation”: The pledges echoing throughout the palm oil sector, as major consumer goods manufacturers and retailers seek to remove deforestation from supply chains, sound simple enough. But the commitments are highly complex, and major palm oil corporate groups along the value chain are struggling to clearly define and operationalize them.

And in the world’s largest producer of palm oil, Indonesia, which is planning to boost supply through the expansion of plantations into forest and peatland areas, these companies are facing public opposition from the national government.

Therefore, while simple in their aim, the zero deforestation commitments, and their associated sustainability goals, have divided the palm oil sector in terms of which rules to follow and whose rules to follow.

A POLEMIC CROP

The rapid expansion of oil palm plantations across Indonesia during the past decade—the crop now covers 10.5 million hectares—has been accompanied by fervent controversy.

Read the full article: CIFOR

 

Deforestation in Zambia

Photo credit: Zambian Eye

 

Desertification continues in Western province of Zambia

A Mongu Resident has expressed concern at the rate of desertification in Western province.  The Resident says tons of laden with rose wood timba logs have continue being taken away from the province a situation he says contravenes the international conventions on climate change.

Editor,

Please allow me yet another space to again show how both the Zambian government and the Barotse Royal Establishment have continued to ignore international conventions on climate change.

In the first week of December 2015, I did upload another picture of a 30 ton truck laden with rose wood timber logs from Barotseland and destined for “God knows”. I met that particular one at Nalusanga gate on the Mongu /Lusaka Road.

In these pictures today, I would like to show the world yet another truck laden with the same timber.

Read the story: Zambian Eye

Reforestation in Brazil

Photo credit: Mongabay

Remnant Brazil nut tree in a landscape cleared for soy fields. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

 

Reforestation contributed more than $5 billion to Brazil’s economy

by Mike Gaworecki

  • Planting new trees and restoring deforested land contributed nearly four-fifths of that windfall, some R$16.1 billion ($4.27 billion).
  • Sustainably produced forest products contributed another R$4.6 billion ($1.2 billion).
  • Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has committed to restoring 12 million hectares (nearly 30 million acres) of forest by 2030.

Brazil’s Statistics Bureau, known as IBGE, says that reforestation and sustainable forest management provided the country with R$20.8 billion (about $5.5 billion) in revenue last year, according to The Rio Times.

An IBGE study found that planting new trees and restoring deforested land contributed nearly four-fifths of that windfall, some R$16.1 billion ($4.27 billion). Sustainably produced forest products contributed another R$4.6 billion ($1.2 billion).

The regions where reforestation projects were most prevalent are the Amazonian states of Rondônia and Pará, in the north and northeast of Brazil, The Rio Times reported.

Brazil has reduced deforestation drastically over the past decade, thanks in part to $1 billion in funds provided by Norway to Brazil’s Amazon Fund. The amount of Amazon rainforest lost in 2014 was 75 percent below the 1996-2005 baseline, for instance, though there are signs that deforestation rates have started to climb again.

Research has shown that reduced rates of deforestation in Brazil might save as many as1,700 lives every year.

Read the full article: Mongabay

African elephants and the environment

Photo credit: Nature World News

African elephants are significantly reducing Kruger National Park’s tree density. (Photo : Flickr: alecdphotography)

Elephants Are Knocking Down Too Many Trees In Kruger National Park, Researchers Say

By Samantha Mathewson

African elephants are knocking down trees left and right in Kruger National Park, the largest protected area in South Africa, and a new study revealed that tree-fall rates in the park are all about elephant density there, which is growing. These large animals are the leading cause behind the area’s changing ecology and shifting landscapes, because elephants routinely eat plants, tree bark, and other parts of trees.

“National parks and nature preserves will serve as biodiversity arks as we move into the future,” Greg Asner, of Carnegie’s Institution for Science, said in a news release. “But to manage them properly, conservationists will need to maintain the functionality of the ecosystem as a whole, which will require an understanding of system-wide responses to changing animal populations.”

Read the full article: Nature World News 

 

 

Has the reforestation effort done little to abate China’s great yellow dust storms ?

China’s Reforestation Programs:
Big Success or Just an Illusion?

China has undertaken ambitious reforestation initiatives that have increased its forest cover dramatically in the last decade. But scientists are now raising questions about just how effective these grand projects will turn out to be.

 Jon R. Luoma, a contributing editor at Audubon, has written about environmental and science topics for The New York Times, and for such magazines as National Geographic and Discover - http://e360.yale.edu/images/features/jon_luoma_yale_e360.jpg

Jon R. Luoma, a contributing editor at Audubon, has written about environmental and science topics for The New York Times, and for such magazines as National Geographic and Discover – http://e360.yale.edu/images/features/jon_luoma_yale_e360.jpg

by jon r. luoma

EXCERPT

In China, major environmental degradation caused by deforestation was apparent even 2,000 years ago, when the great waterway once simply called “The River” was visibly transformed. Tree-felling all along the river’s banks wiped out root systems that held erosion in check, allowing tons of sediments to spread their stains into what has been known ever since as the Yellow River.

In the years after World War II, with its population booming and a massive drive to industrialize in full swing, China became an epicenter of world deforestation, clearing land wholesale for purposes that ranged from growing more food to fueling furnaces for smelting steel. More recently, however, the nation appeared to be reversing that trend, largely with massive campaigns to plant trees. In the first decade of the new millennium, China annually increased its forest cover by 11,500 square miles, an area the size of Massachusetts, according to a 2011 report from the United Nations.

But scientists and conservation groups are beginning to voice concerns about the long-term viability of significant aspects of China’s reforestation push. Of greatest concern is the planting of large swaths of non-native tree species, many of which perish because their water needs are too great for the arid regions in which they are planted. China also is cultivating large monoculture plantations that harbor little biodiversity.

Some international conservation groups, working with Chinese partners, have launched small-scale reforestation and grassland projects using native species, but it remains to be seen whether these ventures can help usher in a new era of more ecologically sound reforestation in China.

Read the full article: Environment 360

Drought: detrimental impact on the growth and survival of larger trees

Large trees — key climate influencers — die first in drought

First systematic review of patterns, 38 worldwide forests studied

Source:DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Living trees soak up greenhouse gas and store it for a long time in their woody tissues, but dying trees release it--a carbon sink becomes a carbon source. Credit: © korvit / Fotolia -  http://images.sciencedaily.com/2015/09/150929142248_1_540x360.jpg
Living trees soak up greenhouse gas and store it for a long time in their woody tissues, but dying trees release it–a carbon sink becomes a carbon source.
Credit: © korvit / Fotolia – http://images.sciencedaily.com/2015/09/150929142248_1_540x360.jpg

Summary:In forests worldwide, drought consistently has had a more detrimental impact on the growth and survival of larger trees, new research shows. In addition, while the death of small trees may affect the dominance of trees in a landscape, the death of large trees has a far worse impact on the ecosystem and climate’s health, especially due to the important role that trees play in the carbon cycle.

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In forests worldwide, drought consistently has had a more detrimental impact on the growth and survival of larger trees, new research shows. In addition, while the death of small trees may affect the dominance of trees in a landscape, the death of large trees has a far worse impact on the ecosystem and climate’s health, especially due to the important role that trees play in the carbon cycle.

“Previous studies at a few sites had shown that large trees suffer more than small trees during and after droughts, and our theory suggested this should be a globally consistent pattern, but this project was the first to test this hypothesis globally.” said Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Nate McDowell, a renowned forest ecologist and plant physiologist who coauthored a paper in the journal Nature Plants highlighting this research.

Read the full article: Science Daily

A world without deforestation

 

 

ZERO DEFORESTATION SPECIAL: Are we getting any closer?

BY

A year ago, the New York Declaration on Forests set a daring goal: a world without deforestation. But it didn’t lay out a plan for how to get there.

The agreement – to cut deforestation in half by 2020, and eliminate it entirely by 2030 – was signed by 30 national governments, 50 private companies, and many nongovernmental organizations and indigenous peoples on 23 September 2014 during the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

Over the past 12 months, governments, NGOs and corporations have tried to find answers to the many questions the declaration left open-ended.

“The pledge is very new, but there’s been significant work done over the last year on addressing a number of the implementation issues,” says Steven Lawry, Director of Forests and Governance Research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

What exactly does zero deforestation mean? Some argue that the pledge should aim for ‘zero gross deforestation’, which means no forested areas are cleared to make room for a commodity, like palm oil, paper and pulp, beef or soy.

An alternative is ‘zero net deforestation’, in which companies can clear forests but must offset their actions by planting or restoring forest elsewhere.

Read the full article: Forests News

The project “Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes”

Photo credit: CIAT-DAPA

Establishment of the garden of shrubs and forages.

A garden of shrubs and grasses to rehabilitate deforested landscapes in the Amazon

by Nora P. Castañeda-Alvarez

Caquetá is one of the regions with the highest rate of deforestation in the Colombia. Approximately 29000 ha were deforested in 2013 in the region, representing 24.7% of the total area deforested in the country, as informed by thenational monitoring system of forests and carbon. This department is located in the Colombian Amazon and covers the transition between the Andes and the Amazon, making this region rich in biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Livestock production is one of the main economic activities in Caquetá, representing 11% of the local GDP, according to the Colombian statistics office (DANE). Meat and milk production in Caquetá are usually carried out in large extensions where by the beginning of the 20th century it was possible to find native rainforest instead. Nowadays, native forests are only present in relicts or in remote areas in the mountains and lowlands of the Amazon, morichales(a type of riparian forest) are the few standing natural habitats that survived deforestation, and soils are becoming more and more degraded with time.

Given the recent changes in the political scene in Colombia, it is expected that the region will receive new-comers if the peace agreement is signed, this will be translated into more pressures to the current productive systems and the remaining natural ecosystems. In addition, the demand for beef and milk is steadily growing as the income of Colombians continues to improve, and it is unlikely that a switch to a more plant-based diet will happen within the coming decade.

In order to address these challenges, alternatives to improve meat and milk production in Caquetá in a more sustainable way are needed. Silvopastoral systems (SPS) are spatial arrangements of trees, forages and animals that can help maintaining and improving ecosystem services, restoring degraded lands, reducing the pressure against native forests, while at the same time enhancing the production of meat and milk.

Read the full article: CIAT-DAPA

Over 3 trillion trees on Earth

Photo credit: Treehugger

CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia

 

There are over 3 trillion trees on Earth, 7.5x more than we previously thought

by Michael Graham Richard

Humans cutting 15 billion trees per year

How many trees are on the planet? That’s not an easy question to answer. Nobody’s going to go out and count them one by one, so other methods must be devised to get decent estimates. Until recently, the best number we had was around 400 billion, which any way you slice it is a lot of trees. But that was apparently undershooting by a wide margin. The latest estimate, which is based on mass of ground survey data and satellite pictures compiled by researchers at Yale University, is closer to 3 trillion trees, or about 7.5x more than we thought. Of these trees, approximately 1.39 trillion are located in tropical and subtropical forests, 0.74 trillion in boreal regions, and 0.61 trillion in temperate regions.

This is an important number because it’ll be used in all kinds of other research, such as climate models, studies on animal and plant habitats and biodiversity, etc. But be careful, the trees are not “new”, they were there before even if we were undercounting them:

Read the full article: Treehugger

 

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