Illegal logging and forestry reforms


Photo credit: Forests News

A Kiwcha couple walk in the jungle to cut timber, Coca, Ecuador. CIFOR Photo/Tomas Munita

Why does illegal logging continue after forestry reforms?

Researchers take a closer look at the connections between regulations and local needs in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia


The western Amazonian countries of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia have implemented significant forest reforms over the last two decades to help smallholders and communities better manage and benefit from their forests.

Despite the changes, however, many continue to manage their forests in ways that result in illegal logging.

Why does illegal logging persist among smallholders and communities? In search of an answer, scientists from the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) traveled to community forests, agroforestry plots, sawmills, government offices and other sites in the three countries. They interviewed policy makers, government officials and people who work in different areas of the timber industry.

“We set out to answer three questions,” says CIFOR scientist Pablo Pacheco. “How do the tenure rights granted to smallholders and communities affect their decisions to use their forests? What are the main barriers that keep smallholders from adopting sustainable forest management practices? And why, after all these reforms, do many smallholders and communities continue to harvest timber without authorization?”

Read the full article: Forests News


Impact on global ecosystems of shrinking forest habitats

Photo credit: Nature World News

(Photo : Nick Haddad, NC State University)

Shrinking Forest Habitats Impact Global Ecosystems

By Jenna Iacurci

It’s no secret that human activity is transforming our world. For example, increasing development for agriculture or new communities is shrinking forest habitats, and new research shows that this is having a significant impact on global ecosystems.

According to findings published in the journal Science Advances, 70 percent of existing forest lands are within a half-mile of the forest edge, where encroaching urban, suburban or agricultural influences can cause any number of harmful effects – such as the loss of plants and animals.

What’s more, habitat fragmentation – the division of habitats into smaller and more isolated patches – reduces the diversity of plants and animals by 13 to 75 percent, with the smallest, most isolated areas feeling the worst effects.

A team from North Carolina State University decided to track seven major experiments on five continents that examine habitat fragmentation, which covered ecosystems ranging from forests to savannas to grasslands.

“The results were astounding. Nearly 20 percent of the world’s remaining forest is the distance of a football field – or about 100 meters – away from a forest edge. Seventy percent of forest lands are within a half-mile of a forest edge. That means almost no forest can really be considered wilderness,” researcher Dr. Nick Haddad explained in a statement.

Read the full article: Nature World News

Deforestation of the Amazon

Photo credit: ZME Science

It’s a black period for Brazil’s environment, and things will get even worse in days to follow; the government just applied (2011) a reform of the forestry code which will make it extremely easy to cut down massively on the rainforests in Brazil.

Amazon deforestation soars after a decade of stability

by Richard Schiffman

Deforestation in the Amazon has skyrocketed in the past half a year, according to analysis of satellite images issued by Brazil’s non-profit research institute,IMAZON.

The results compared the deforestation in a particular month with figures from the same month a year before, and the difference ranged from a 136 per cent increase in August to a 467 rise in September.

“Rates have way more than doubled over the equivalent period in the previous year,” says Phillip Fearnside, an ecologist with Brazil’s Amazon research agency INPA. And the numbers probably underestimate the problem, because the satellite system used, DETER, can only recognise clearings larger than 250,000 square metres. Many farm plots are smaller than that.

Deforestation rates started inching up in Brazil in 2013, a year that saw a 29 per cent rise in deforestation compared with 2012, according to IMAZON. But the latest figures come as a surprise, given the recent trend: deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon declined by 77 per cent between 2004 and 2011.

Global pattern

Several factors may be to blame, according to Fearnside. As the world economy continues to recover, demand has increased for beef and soybeans – commodities that are often produced on deforested land – and so too have the prices for these risen on the global market. The Brazilian currency, the real, has been gaining strength, which has spurred investment in new agricultural projects.

Read the full article: New Scientist

Rainforest destruction

Photo credit: Google

To save the rainforest, let the locals take control

by Fred Pearce

Global intervention in tropical forests to combat climate change could sideline their most effective guardians

SATELLITE images of the Amazon rainforest are startling. Islands of green are surrounded by brown areas of land cleared for farming. In places, the brown advances, year by year. But in others, the forest holds firm. Why the difference? Mostly, the surviving green areas belong to local tribes.

Brazil’s Kayapo, for instance, control 10.6 million hectares along the Xingu river in the south-eastern Amazon, an area often called the “arc of deforestation”. They held back the invasion that engulfed areas close by, often violently repelling loggers, gold miners, cattle ranchers and soya farmers. The Kayapo have kept deforestation rates “close to zero”, according to Daniel Nepstad, a long-time Amazon researcher now at the Earth Innovation Institute in San Francisco.

In these critical frontier zones, the assumption was that government protection could best halt the onslaught. But there is growing evidence that indigenous peoples often provide a stronger bulwark than state decree. The 300 or so indigenous territories created in the Brazilian Amazon since 1980 are now widely held to have played a key role in a dramatic decline in rates of deforestation there.

Similar effects have been documented in many other parts of the world. Forest dwellers are typically seen as forest destroyers. But the opposite is often the case, says David Bray of Florida International University.

Read the full article: New Scientist

Illegal logging – formal agreements to clean up trading routes

Photo credit: CIFOR

Certified timber in a log pond in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Efforts to curb illegal logging may be better-served to focus on large-scale loggers first, research suggests. Michael Padmanaba/CIFOR photo

EU plan to curb illegal logging: Think big by thinking small?

Existing legislation is not ready for small-scale operators, and seeking blanket compliance will outlaw them overnight


Indonesia—Faced with growing pressure to root out “illegal timber” from international trade, some tropical timber-producing countries have a choice.

Massive logging -
Massive logging –

On one hand, they can adopt and enforce a legality verification system that instantly covers their entire timber supply chain, from large-scale industrial logging for export markets to small-scale artisanal operators serving the domestic market.

On the other: They can start “small” and ramp up enforcement slowly.

The decision could have wide implications for the short-term success and long-term sustainability of the initiative.

For a decade, the European Union (EU) has been negotiating with tropical timber-producing countries to stem illegal logging. Recent research indicates that they may have to leave small-scale producers aside—temporarily—to bring their joint efforts to fruition.

Formal agreements are now in place to clean up several major trading routes from Africa and Asia to Europe. A recent paper by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) suggests, however, that their gradual implementation could avoid disrupting the livelihoods of many thousands of people in timber-producing countries. This could be done with “the ‘weakest’ parts of the sector, notably current informal operators, being granted a grace period of learning before implementing and fully enforcing any new rules,” the authors write.

Recent developments illustrate why.

Read the full article: CIFOR

Rights to access and use forests

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Image credit: Rights and Resources

Liberians need legal rights to forest, says report

Land rights found to be the best way to prevent deforestation or natural resource exploitation by palm oil firms.

Speed read

  • Forest inhabitants are best at managing these areas, says panel
  • Call to enshrine their rights to access and use forests in international law
  • This will protect natural assets such as trees and scientific resources
The state of roads in Liberia demonstrates one obstacle to using forests for obtaining marketable sustainable goods for rural people in Liberia. -
The state of roads in Liberia demonstrates one obstacle to using forests for obtaining marketable sustainable goods for rural people in Liberia. –

Liberia’s government must do more to award land rights to forest dwellers to protect natural resources from exploitation and encroachment of palm oil plantations, warns a report published by a global coalition pushing for forest policy reform.

Forests should be maintained as a future economic resource, says the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) report on Liberia’s palm oil industry. Forests are valuable because of the carbon price of trees and the variety of genetic and scientific resources found in forested land, a panel discussing the report heard.

The panellists said local residents have proven to be the best managers of forest areas, and that their rights to access and use forests must be enshrined in international legislation.

They added that international actors, specifically the World Bank, should push for more stringent land rights and impose tougher standards on the palm oil industry.

“World Bank standards are the starting point for legislation all around the world,” said Andy White, the RRI’s coordinator.

Even if local people retain access to their forests, land rights need to be properly implemented to ensure forest stewards benefit from other types of forest use, the panel heard. This is because pharmaceutical companies increasingly look to African forests to find medical plants and the chemicals found in these plants that can yield innovative medicines and products.

Read the full article: SciDevNet


How to stop global supply chains causing deforestation ?

 Photo credit: Google

Photo: The Huffington Post

Africa: Supply Chain Policies Need Work to Save Forests – Think Tank

Thomson Reuters Foundation (London)

Governments, companies and investors still have significant work to do if they are to stop global supply chains causing deforestation and worsening climate change, a tropical forest think tank said on Wednesday.

A new ranking of 250 companies, 150 investors and lenders, 50 countries and regions, and 50 other powerful players showed only a small minority have comprehensive policies in place to tackle the problem.

At the current rate of progress, international goals to end deforestation will not be met, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) warned.

“Whilst some powerbrokers are leading the way in addressing global forest loss, many are failing to take the action required,” it said in a report on the “Forest 500” (

Over the last decade, growing global demand for food, animal feed and fuel has been responsible for more than half of deforestation in tropical and sub-tropical regions, according to the report.

Deforestation and changes in land use today cause more than 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, undermine water security and threaten the livelihoods of over 1 billion people worldwide, it added.

Progress on curbing tree losses and emissions has been made, including last year’s New York Declaration on Forests, signed by businesses, governments and indigenous peoples. It aims to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020 and end it by 2030.

Read the full article: allAfrica

See also: The Huffington Post

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