Deforestation Taking Toll On Pakistan

Floods, Landslides Killing Citizens

National Assembly members hit out at the Climate Change Ministry’s forest wing and provincial forest departments for failing to control deforestation.

At a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change held at the Parliament House on Friday under the chair of MNA Hafeez-ur-Rehman Khan Drishak, the parliamentarians said that illegal forest cutting was not possible without the involvement of forest officials.

deforestation and global warming

They rejected the claims of forest officials that local forest mafias were involved in forest cutting with the support of local politicians, terming it unconvincing.

The meeting also discussed the latest situation of floods in upper parts of the country and steps taken by the government for rehabilitation of the affected. The committee also examined issues related to climate change and steps taken by federal as well as provincial governments to stop deforestation.

The parliamentarians said that forest officials were painting a rosy picture of forest cover but the situation on ground was contrary to their claim and deforestation was causing landslides, land erosion, silting of river bodies, urban flooding, heat waves as well as shift in rain patterns. Pakhtunthwa Milli Awami Party MNA Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan said that   cutting of trees was not possible without involvement of local forest departments.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz legislator Muhammad Moeen Watoo said that since the first meeting of NA standing committee on climate change, the climate ministry has been trying to cover up but the ground situation was grim and dismal.

“It reflects the fact that forest officials of the ministry and provincial forest departments are doing nothing to control deforestation and increasing forest cover in the country,” Watoo said.

The parliamentarians emphasized that the political leadership needed to play its role by engaging local forest communities to boost awareness about importance of forest in environmental conservation and forest protection as well as tackling climate change impacts effectively.

reforestation

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal MNA Naeema Kishwar Khan emphasized that to tackle climate change impacts, the country would have to increase forest cover. She also suggested involvement of women for increasing forest cover and stressed to provide alternate fuel resources for local communities.

Climate Change Ministry Secretary Syed Abu Akif Ahmed suggested that the government should reduce import duty on liquefied petroleum gas and on technology used in renewable energy to provide easy alternate sources of fuel to the communities.  The parliamentarians supported his idea.

He said that to tackle climate change issues and increase tree cover, the ministry needed support from provincial governments as  the ministry was pushing hard to bring all provincial forest,  environment and other relevant departments together to address  the menace of climate change.

He said that the ministry was not capable enough  to deal with climate change issues alone and it required cooperation from provincial departments to deal with climate change issues and to increase forest cover. He said that lack of coordination among federating units was a serious bottleneck to address the problem.

Earlier, in a written reply, the climate ministry officials told the committee that from March 9 to April, a total 264 people lost their lives due to heavy rains across the country while 3,017 houses were damaged.

According to break-up, the highest 149 deaths were recorded in K-P followed by FATA with 38 deaths, AJK 25, G-B and Balochistan 19 each, and Punjab 14 deaths.

The parliamentarian, however, appreciated the Climate Change Ministry for devising a National Climate Change Policy and a roadmap for implementation of the policy.

Deforestation and Climate Change via http://tribune.com.pk/story/1094396/floods-landslides-parliamentarians-hit-out-at-forest-departments-for-failing-to-control-deforestation/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

India Failing To Conserve Forests, Biodiversity

Deforestation Threatens Life Across Asia

As national action on climate change accelerates and corporate agendas turn to energy efficiency and deployment of renewables to reduce carbon footprints, the International Day of Forests on March 21 offers a timely reminder of a crucial, but often overlooked ally in this effort.

Over the last few decades, forests have absorbed as much as 30 percent of annual global CO2 emissions but the role business can play through their supply chain to halt deforestation linked to production of a wide range of every-day goods, remains an area of significant, untapped potential.

deforestation and climate change

India’s demand for internationally traded forest-based commodities like timber, pulp, viscose cellulose fibre, palm oil and natural rubber that form the base of every-day goods is substantial and growing. The opportunity to contribute significantly to addressing climate change lies in driving greater sustainability in these important supply chains.

At the root of the issue is the link between production and the clearing of natural forest to make room for the establishment of large scale commercial plantations, particularly in the tropical forests of South East Asia. The adverse consequences for both people and planet are increasingly apparent—deforestation rates in Indonesia have reached record rates. Illustrative of this was the recent ‘haze’ in South East Asia linked to the burning of tropical forests to make way for commercial plantation of timber and oil palm.

palm oil plantation deforestation

It was regarded as the worst environmental crisis of 2015 with emissions generated each day from the burning exceeding that of the average daily emissions from all US economic activity.

In recognition of the need for collective effort to address these issues, a number of public and private initiatives have emerged in recent times. Regulatory frameworks such as FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) and EUTR (EU Timber Regulation) have been introduced in the United States and European Union, aimed at driving greater legality in global forestry supply chains.

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF)—an alliance of 400 companies including retailers, manufacturers and service providers across 70 countries—pledged in 2012 to achieve ‘zero net deforestation’ by 2020. Out of this commitment, the Tropical Forest Alliance was formed—a global public-private partnership which sees eight governments, 33 civil society organizations and 27 private sector companies partnering to tackle the drivers of deforestation associated with the sourcing of commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp. Even the finance sector has recognized the risks with 12 international banks joining with the CGF to form a ‘Soft Commodities Compact’ in 2013 to support a 2020 target for zero net deforestation in supply chains.

Most strikingly, for the first time, in 2014, through the New York Declaration of Forests, dozens of governments, 30 of the world’s biggest companies, and more than 50 influential civil society and indigenous organizations came together to endorse a political declaration that sets a global time-line to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020, and strives to end it by 2030. The Declaration calls for restoring forests and croplands of an area larger than India and, most significantly, lays out a specific role for the private sector in achieving these goals, through the development of deforestation-free supply chains.

Critical to all of this action is engagement by companies with their suppliers to understand and remove deforestation from their sourcing and deploying clear operating procedures, credible third-party verification, and transparent reporting on sustainability parameters.

By expanding their efforts on climate change to include their supply chains, Indian companies can play a significant part in reducing global deforestation and carbon emissions. Deforestation-free supply chains can become a reality if business plays its part. These measures not only contribute to an important global cause but are also a means to protect brand value, improve supply chain resilience and meet the future requirements of an evolving customer base.

Forest Conservation News via http://www.financialexpress.com/article/fe-columnist/column-india-inc-must-shun-deforestation/228464/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Plans Sought For Africa’s Great Green Wall

Plan To Tackle Poverty, Deforestation

The Great Green Wall initiative is a pan-African proposal to “green” the continent from west to east in order to battle desertification. It aims at tackling poverty and the degradation of soils in the Sahel-Saharan region, focusing on a strip of land of 15 km (9 mi) wide and 7,100 km (4,400 mi) long from Dakar to Djibouti.

great green wall initiative

Populations in Sahelian Africa are among the poorest and most vulnerable to climatic variability and land degradation. They depend heavily on healthy ecosystems for rainfall to support agriculture, fisheries, and livestock management to sustain their livelihoods. These constitute the primary sectors of employment in the region and generate at least 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in most of the countries. Additionally, the ecosystem provides much needed livelihood products, such as fuelwood and bushmeat.  Unfortunately, increasing population pressures on food, fodder, and fuelwood in a vulnerable environment have deteriorating impacts on natural resources, notably vegetation cover. Climate variability along with frequent droughts and poorly managed land and water resources have caused rivers and lakes to dry up and contribute to increased soil erosion.

Tanzania wildlife conservation

The vision of a great green wall to combat ecological degradation was conceived in 2005 by the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and the idea was strongly supported by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. The vision evolved into an integrated ecosystem management approach in January 2007, when the African Union adopted declaration 137 VIII, approving the “Decision on the Implementation of the Green Wall for the Sahara Initiative.”

In June 2010, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan signed a convention in Ndjamena, Chad, to create the Great Green Wall (GGW) Agency and nominate a secretary to further develop the initiative. 

The participating countries hope that by linking national-level efforts across borders, they will tackle policy, investment, and institutional barriers that exacerbate the effects of climate change and variability, leading to desertification and deterioration of the environment and natural resources and the risk of conflicts between communities. International Colloquiums are held to discuss possible barriers as well as share available knowledge on the vegetal species, systems of development, and GGW monitoring updates.

reforest Tanzania

The GEF emulates the spirit of collaboration by allowing participating GGW countries to prioritize which projects they want to implement, in conjunction with GEF agencies and their partners. They may “develop one or several projects in the context of this program and assign some or all of their financial allocations to the Great Green Wall.

Progress is apparent especially in the Zinder region of Niger, where tree density has significantly improved since the mid-1980s. GEF CEO Monique Barbut attributes the success to working with farmers to find technical solutions, particularly long-term land and financial solutions, in order to save the trees. This form of natural regeneration benefits local communities and the global environment alike by increasing crop yield, improving soil fertility, reducing land erosion, improving fodder availability, diversifying income, cutting wood collection time for women, strengthening resilience to climate change, increasing biodiversity, and much more.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has granted $100.8 million to the GGW participating countries to expand sustainable land and water management (SLWM) and adaptation in targeted landscapes and in climate vulnerable areas in West African and Sahelian countries. Each country will design a project based on national-level priorities for GEF and LDCF resources. The projects will support the following activities

  • Expand investment in SLWM technologies to help communities adapt production systems to climate variability, generate income and livelihoods, secure global public goods (such as retention of greenhouse gases, nitrogen fixation, groundwater recharge and biodiversity), and reduce impacts from erosion, drought, and flooding.
  • Improve land-use planning, such as at watershed scale (i.e. Nigeria) or local levels (i.e. grazing reserves).
  • Improve and apply the information base: climate and water monitoring network improvements, ICT (information communication technology) innovations, institutional cooperation within and across countries, and evidence based policy development.

Forest Conservation and Reforestation News via https://www.thegef.org/gef/great-green-wall

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Forest Conservation, Reforestation Urged To Fight Climate Change

North American Forests Part Of The Solution To Global Warming

Today, the Forest Climate Working Group (FCWG), a coalition of landowners, conservation organizations, forestry advocates, forest products companies and scientists delivered a letter to President Obama calling for increased recognition of the critical role American forests must play in meeting our greenhouse gas reduction targets, following the Paris COP21 agreement. Accompanied with the letter, the FCWG released a toolkit to help states reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the capacity of forests and forest products to sequester and store carbon.

deforestation and global warming

“We heard significant discussions about international forests during the climate negotiations in Paris, but very little was focused on American forests,” said Jad Daley, Director of Climate Conservation at the Trust for Public Land and co-chair of the FCWG. “Domestic forests currently offset 13 percent of our annual emissions, setting the foundation of our international greenhouse gas emissions agreement and will be essential to our ability to meet this agreement moving forward.”

To put our forest sink into context, “the 766 million acres of America’s forests capture 38 percent of the total carbon emitted into our atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels for electricity produced in this country each year,” said Cynthia West, Director of the Office of Sustainability and Climate Change for the U.S. Forest Service.  “New U.S. Forest Service research shows our forests are at risk due largely to increasing development pressures, combined with loss to wildfire in the west.”

Tanzania wildlife conservation

To support and grow this crucial forest sink, the FCWG recommends a suite of policy options both at the federal and state levels that can help private forests and forest products continue to sequester and store carbon.

With 56 percent of the nation’s forests, owned and cared for by private owners and families, a strategy for working with these individuals is an essential component of any forest carbon strategy.

“The USDA and Forest Service, through their Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry Building Blocks, have already taken significant steps to ensure American forests, especially our private forests, continue to play a role in mitigating climate change,” said Rita Hite, Executive Vice President of the American Forest Foundation and co-chair of the FCWG. “More can be done at the federal level but there is a significant opportunity at the state level as well.”

To help states respond to the opportunity to pursue forest carbon strategies, the FCWG state toolkit builds on the USDA Building Blocks, providing states with policy recommendations to keep forests as forests, plant more trees, better manage existing forests, protect urban forests, and encourage the use of more forests products. These policy recommendations include:

  • Creating incentives for increased forest carbon through a state’s Clean Power Plan allowance revenue
  • Maintaining or increasing state tax incentives for forest conservation
  • Expanding the use of wood products in construction.

The FCWG and its participants are committed to working with the administration to improve forest policy, and with states across the country as they try to maintain and increase their forests’ ability to sequester and store carbon.

Forest Conservation News via https://www.forestfoundation.org/addressing-us-climate-change

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

African Forestry Projects Can Defend People, Wildlife, Watersheds

AFR100 Initiative Will Restore 100 Million Hectares Of Forest By 2030

More than a dozen African countries have joined an “unprecedented” $1.6bn (£1bn) initiative to boost development and fight climate change by restoring 100m hectares (247m acres) of forest across the continent over the next 15 years.

The African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative – known as AFR100 – was launched on Sunday at a Global Landscapes Forum meeting during the Paris climate change conference.

deforestation and climate change

It will be underpinned by a $1bn investment from the World Bank in 14 African countries over the next 15 years and by $600m of private sector investment over the same period. The initiative will also be supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) and the World Resources Institute.

Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Niger,Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda have committed more than 42m hectares of land for forest landscape restoration, an area larger than Zimbabwe or Germany.

Cameroon, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Congo-Brazzaville and Togohave also committed to forthcoming hectare targets as part of the AFR100.

deforestation Africa

Participants point out that forests and trees contribute to African landscapes by reducing desertification and improving soil fertility, water resources and food security, as well as by increasing biodiversity and the capacity for climate change resilience and mitigation.

They say the initiative will not only help to build on existing climate pledges made by African countries, but will also provide an engine for economic growth and development.

“Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity,” said Dr Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s minister of natural resources. “With forest landscape restoration we’ve seen agricultural yields rise and farmers in our rural communities diversify their livelihoods and improve their wellbeing.”

The commitments made through AFR100 will build on the Bonn challenge –launched four years ago – which aims to revitalize 150m hectares of land by 2020, and the New York Declaration on Forests, which pushes the target up to 350m hectares by 2030.

integrated watershed management Rwanda

The new initiative is intended to capitalize on a strong tradition of successful forest landscape restoration in Africa: local communities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia have already restored more than 1m hectares, while in Niger, farmers have improved food security for 2.5 million people by increasing the number of on-farm trees across 5m hectares of agricultural land.

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the CEO of Nepad and former prime minister of Niger, said that countries such as Malawi, Ethiopia and Mali were already reaping the benefits of restoration, but added: “We need to scale up restoration across the whole continent – more than 700m hectares of land in Africa have potential for restoration.”

“The scale of these new restoration commitments is unprecedented. “I have seen restoration in communities both large and small across Africa, but the promise of a continent-wide movement is truly inspiring,”Wanjira Mathai, chair of the Green Belt Movement and daughter of the Nobel peace prize laureate Wangari Maathai, said. “Restoring landscapes will empower and enrich rural communities while providing downstream benefits to those in cities. Everybody wins.”

Earlier this year, a UN report said that although the rate at which the world is losing its forests has been halved, an area of woodland the size of South Africa has still been lost since 1990. The wider consequences of deforestation were highlighted by France’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal in October, when she told a London summit that the loss of forests may have triggered the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa.

Royal said researchers believe the destruction of forest habitat brought bats, known to carry the virus, into greater contact with humans.

Reforestation and climate change news via http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/dec/06/african-forest-landscape-restoration-initiative-afr100

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Rainforest Destruction Driven By Commodities

Fewer Than 10 Percent Of Major Corporations Have Policies Against Deforestation

The world’s rainforests have been decimated over the past 20 years. The destruction is accelerating again as corporations are waving false flags of sustainability.

The Global Canopy Programme’s Forest 500, the world’s first rainforest ratings agency that analyses the most influential companies, investors and governments in the race towards a deforestation-free global economy, today launched its annual results. It revealed that while the corporate sector improved marginally overall, many laggards are yet to make public sustainability commitments.

palm oil plantation deforestation

Commercial agriculture drives at least two thirds of tropical deforestation yet only 8 Percent of all the 250 powerbroker companies assessed have zero or zero net commitments in place that apply across forest risk commodities (palm oil, soya, beef, leather, paper, and timber).

The investment community has made even more limited progress, with the exception of BNP Paribas (France) who has become the first Forest 500 investor to make a commitment to zero net deforestation in their agricultural lendings.

The 2015 Forest 500, assessed and ranked 250 companies, with total annual revenues in excess of US $4.5 trillion; 150 investors and lenders; 50 countries and regions; and 50 other influential actors in this space. These 500 power brokers play a major role in supply chains for commodities fueling deforestation, which accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, a key contributor to climate change.

Andrew Mitchell, Founder and Executive Director of the Global Canopy Programme said, “GCP’s Forest 500 holds the most influential global players to account for their role in the deforestation economy. Together, these 500 power brokers control the complex supply chains of key ‘forest risk commodities’ that are found in over 50% of packaged products in supermarkets.

deforestation and climate change

“Through these commodities, we are all part of a hidden deforestation economy – from our toothpaste, to our pensions. At this crucial time leading up to the international climate change negotiations, GCP is calling on these companies and investors to take the first critical step in addressing tropical deforestation by adopting, strengthening and implementing deforestation policies in their value chains.”

The 2015 Forest 500 Results

  • Despite 2020 being a key deadline set by the New York Declaration on Forests, one year on since its publication, few powerbrokers have made new or strengthened procurement and production commitments.
  • Whilst the corporate sector has improved marginally overall, many laggards are yet to make public sustainability commitments. Only 8% of all the 250 powerbroker companies now have zero or zero net commitments in place that apply across all forest risk commodities.
  • The corporate leader board remains unchanged, with; Groupe Danone (France), Kao Corp. (Japan), Nestlé S.A. (Switzerland), Procter & Gamble (US), Reckitt Benckiser Group (UK), and Unilever (UK) the only companies to score 5 points.
  • New York Declaration signatories lead the way towards achieving zero deforestation in agricultural supply chains scoring on average three times higher than non-signatories.
  • The investment community has made even more limited progress with less than 1% of investors adopting zero or zero net commitments that apply to all of their investments or lendings in agricultural supply chains.
  • BNP Paribas (France) has become the first Forest 500 investor to make a commitment to zero net deforestation in their agricultural lendings and joins HSBC (UK) in the top score band.
  • Of the jurisdictions assessed, none has significantly strengthened their national or state-level deforestation policies to improve their Forest 500 score.

Séverin Fischer, BNP Paribas, Head of Environment and Extra Financial Accountability, said, ‘BNP Paribas has taken the strategic decision to make a zero net deforestation commitment that will be implemented by 2020. This applies to all our lendings in agricultural commodities as it makes both commercial and environmental sense, we are managing risk over the long term. The Forest 500 is an important benchmarking tool that helps us recognise risk in our portfolios and we are delighted that our leadership position has been recognised, we hope others will follow.’

koalas deforestation

Tom Bregman, Project Manager of the Forest 500 said, ‘The Forest 500 platform now includes significant enhancements which enable users to compare progress across sectors and target their engagement with powerbrokers to incentivise change. In the coming months, the Forest 500 is going to be working with others, together we hope to create a race to the top.’

While there has been some improvement overall in the corporate sector, performance continues to be poor. Of the 31 companies that did not have any policy in year one, only four made a new public policy related to sustainable production/procurement of agricultural commodities this year. Furthermore, three companies dropped from one point to zero points due to a reduction in the amount of information that is publicly available (on their respective websites).

  • Interestingly, North American headquartered companies make up 20% of the total membership of the Forest 500 and 33% of improvers are based here highlighting the progress that companies headquartered in North America are making.
  • Driving behaviour change is central to the Forest 500 and so credit goes to the 31 companies who moved up by at least one point, with five (Astra Agro Lestari, Groupe Eram, Grupo Bimbo, Mewah International, and News Corp.) moving up by two points and also to McDonalds and Bunge for introducing zero net deforestation policies across all of their commodities this year.
  • Members of the Consumer Goods Forum, on average, score twice as many points as non-members.

sustainable palm oil deforestation

Performance of the investment community was even worse than the corporate sector.

  • Nearly a third of investors assessed had no policies in place relating to their investments and lending.
  • However, the number of investors scoring two points out of five has increased from 35 to 44, with reductions in those scoring zero or one points.
  • 18 investors improved their score by one or more points with three improving by two points (ATP, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan).
  • Overall there was an increase in the number of investors making commodity-specific sourcing policies. Specifically, the number of investors making lending commitments in relation to soy and cattle companies, increased from eight to 11 and six to eight respectively.

Of the remaining powerbrokers that make up the 500, little has changed. Incremental progress has been made across forest, trading and subnational jurisdictions, with no countries releasing more comprehensive national policies focused on tackling deforestation.

Forest Conservation News via http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2015/11/18/new-analysis-and-ranking-c-135-billion-export-trade-in-forest-risk-commodities-continues-to-destroy-rainforests/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Indonesia Forest Fires Threaten Wildlife, Communities

Land Clearing Considered Greatest Environmental Crime Of Our Time

By Nadia Drake, Nature

The world’s only wild orangutans—already besieged by logging, hunting, pet trading and the steady expansion of palm oil plantations—are now threatened by forest fires that have burned for months on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in southeast Asia. In the toxic smoke and haze, locals and researchers are scrambling to protect the estimated 50,000 remaining orangutans that live only on those two islands.

Fires erupt every year in Indonesia during the dry season, as farmers, plantation owners and others deliberately burn forest to clear land or to settle territorial disputes. But this year’s El Niño weather pattern, combined with a legacy of land-management practices that have dried the soil and degraded vast swathes of peat-swamp forest, turned this burning season into an environmental catastrophe that has destroyed more than 2 million hectares of forest throughout Indonesia, to which Sumatra and much of Borneo belong.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

Since late summer, teams of researchers have headed out from the city of Palangkaraya in Borneo to find and fight new blazes. Some patrol the rivers and others head into the forest, where extinguishing the flames can require drilling more than 20 metres down to reach the water table—tough, gruelling work that is carried out amid tropical heat and in a persistent, menacing orange haze.

One day in October, Simon Husson, director of the UK-based Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project, deployed a drone at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation’s centre for orangutan rescue and rehabilitation near Palangkaraya.

“Eyes in the sky are a huge help,” he says. “On the ground, you’re in choking smoke and the haze is severely restricting visibility.”

Indonesia forest fires palm oil plantations

As the drone rose above the smoggy blanket, its camera glimpsed a new fire burning deep in the forest. The fire was remote enough not to threaten the orphaned and injured orangutans being readied for reintroduction to the forest, “but you can’t help thinking about the wild ones out there”, Husson says.

Husson and his colleagues have temporarily abandoned their normal research activities in the 6,000-square-kilometre Sabangau Forest, which is home not just to orangutans but also to rare Bornean white-bearded gibbons, sun bears and pangolins, to help local fire-fighting teams with cash and personnel. “Not only is [research] pretty unimportant right now,” he says, “it’s basically impossible to study the orangutans in the canopy as we can’t see them for the smoke.”

Indonesia deforestation
Indonesia and Malaysia are the palm oil capitals of the world. The industry has pillaged the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Peat fires devastate orangutan populations primarily by destroying crucial habitat, but the animals are also susceptible to the same types of smoke- and haze-induced respiratory problems as humans. The charismatic arboreal apes are already endangered throughout their range; their population is estimated to have declined by 78% from more than 230,000 a century ago. “Over half the world’s orangutans live in peat-swamp forests, and every one of these peatlands in Borneo right now is on fire, somewhere,” Husson says.

Undisturbed peat forests are actually incredibly fire resistant, says Susan Page, a geographer at the University of Leicester, UK, who studies peatlands in southeast Asia, because the swamps are damp enough to make ignition difficult. But, unfortunately, large tracts of Borneo’s peatland are anything but undisturbed.

In 1996, Indonesia’s then-president Suharto launched the Mega Rice Project, which tried to transform 1 million hectares of Bornean peatland into rice paddies. Draining the peat was essential for the plan, and despite the fact that no rice was ever harvested, canals that were cut through the forests have been draining water from the peat ever since.

The infernos in Indonesia have climate implications as well. Normally, Borneo’s peat forests are efficient carbon stores, holding tons of organic matter in layers of compressed plant material that can be more than 15 meters thick. But when that peat burns, the accumulated carbon is released. This year, the fires have already released more than 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—more than Japan’s annual carbon emissions. Since September, carbon emissions due to the fires have exceeded the daily production of the United States on at least 38 days, prompting one conservation scientist to call this year’s fires the “biggest environmental crime of the twenty-first century.”

Read The Full Story At http://www.nature.com/news/indonesia-blazes-threaten-endangered-orangutans-1.18714

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Investors, Stakeholders Demand Reforms In Palm Oil Industry

Editorial Note: The following development is good news for the last forests, but it doesn’t appear to address the issue of endangered species and biodiversity. That is one of the weak links in the current RSPO scheme of smoke and mirrors. Presently, palm growers and buyers can kill endangered species and still conform. They have gone to great lengths to dodge this bullet. One reason is that deforestation isn’t the only threat to these animals. Once removed from their homes, those that survive can never return for a snack or a drink of water. They are shot and killed. In some cases, bounties have been paid for dead orangutans. Sumatra is ground zero in this war over biodiversity, but this reckless and destructive industry is making similar impacts elsewhere around the tropics today.

Sustainable Palm Oil A Sham

Institutional investors worth trillions of dollars, along with some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, have called on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to quickly plug loopholes in its palm oil certification standards.

In an open letter addressed to RSPO Secretary General Darrel Webber on June 1, investors and 16 other consumer goods giants such as Procter and Gamble (P&G) and Starbucks called on RSPO to ensure that by 2016, its principles and criteria certification were changed to include measures to conserve forests.

Indonesia forest fires palm oil plantations

Suggestions by the letter’s authors included requirements on the conservation of areas considered as ‘High Carbon Stock,’ peatland protection, reporting in greenhouse gas emission, and ensuring that palm oil came from known sources.

RSPO, the trade association for the $44 billion a year palm oil industry, should raise its standards for company assessments on human rights standards and the conservation value of land so that they are rigorous and objective.

RSPO administers a global sustainability certification for palm oil growers who comply with their standards on socially and environmentally responsible practices. A set of eight principles – including a commitment to transparency, conservation of natural resources, and legal compliance – and numerous other requirements constitute the ‘RSPO Standard’ for certification.

To date, RSPO has certified 12.65 million tons of palm oil – about 20 percent of the total global supply. More than 90 percent of certified palm oil originates from Malaysia and Indonesia, with Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Colombia accounting for the remainder.

The certification guidelines were first introduced in 2007. They have been reviewed once from 2012 to 2013, and are due for another review in 2018. The task force carrying out these reviews comprises growers, environmental and social NGOs, and consumer goods companies such as Unilever.

deforestation and climate change

The letter’s authors noted that RSPO’s certification scheme is “uniquely positioned to support, promote, and enforce the widespread uptake of responsible and sustainable production practices across the palm oil industry.”

In its current state, the certification “does not include protections for some of the most critical externalities of palm oil production” such as the conversion of forest and peatlands, the letter added. (In fact, the RSPO scheme allows its members to trash ecosystems and biodiversity, while washing its hands with the purchase of green certificates. It’s like confession for environmental crimes. Say a few hail Mary’s and plants a few trees in Costa Rica. Call it even.)

sustainable palm oil deforestation

Peatlands are wetlands that must be drained before cultivation. This process not only results in significant carbon emissions as peat dries and decomposes, it also increases the risk of forest fires and results in the land sinking, and eventually flooding, as it dries out.

Waiting till 2018 to plug these gaps “would be inconsistent with the imperatives of addressing deforestation, peatland conversion, and human rights violations swiftly and efficiently,” said the letter’s authors. They urgedRSPO to bring the timeline forward to 2016.

Lucia von Reusner, shareholder advocate at Green Century Capital Management – one of the firms that organized the letter, along with the New York State Common Retirement Fund, said that companies and investors increasingly recognize that environmental degradation and conflict with local communities pose real risks to shareholder value. (Killing endangered species, including orangutans and tigers isn’t acceptable, either. Wildlife are not welcome on palm plantations. They are killed for returning to their former homes.)

“We are calling on RSPO to provide the assurance that strong protections are being upheld throughout palm oil supply chains,” she said. “Companies and investors increasingly recognize that widespread forest clearance degrades the environment and drives conflicts with local communities in ways that pose real risks to shareholder value.”

orangutan conservation

RSPO acknowledged the letter as an encouraging sign of a proactive push from the business community on making sustainable palm oil the norm. Stefano Savi, acting communication director, RSPO, said that the multi-stakeholder nature of RSPO meant that “at times, compromises are necessary to move forward and ensure buy-in of all stakeholder groups represented within the RSPO.”

Savi promised that RSPO was “taking all constructive comments on board,” and expressed confidence that a market transformation towards sustainable palm oil would be possible.

Environmental groups welcomed the investors’ letter too, saying it reinforced a message they had been trying to send to RSPO for a long time. Marcus Colchester, senior policy advisor of UK environmental group Forest People’s Programme told Eco-Business that as one of the members of the task force “profoundly disappointed by the way Indonesian and Malaysian growers blocked RSPO from adopting higher standards during the 2012-2013 revision process. None of these standards and declarations of intent mean anything if we continue to see forests despoiled, people shunted aside and lands taken without communities’ consent by aggressive planters,” he said.

Forest Conservation News via http://www.eco-business.com/news/companies-worth-trillions-tell-rspo-to-improve-standards/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture, carbon capture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

New York Promotes Forests To Capture Carbon

Trees Important In Race Against Climate Change

Debates continue about the best way to slow the increase of carbon dioxide that is trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon needs to be pulled out of the atmosphere and stored–a process called carbon capture and sequestration. High-tech ways to accomplish it are being explored worldwide.

We don’t have to wait for high tech carbon sequestration. Trees sequestered carbon for about 350 million years.

Trees, like other green plants, use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugar, cellulose and other carbon-containing carbohydrates that they use for food and growth. Trees are unique in their ability to lock up large amounts of carbon in their wood, and continue to add carbon as they grow. Although forests release some CO2 from natural processes, a healthy forest typically stores carbon at a greater rate than it releases carbon.

The actual rate of carbon sequestration will vary with species, climate and site, but in general, younger and faster growing forests have higher annual sequestration rates. Considering that one half of the weight of dried wood is carbon, trees in a forest hold a lot of carbon. When the enormous amount of carbon stored in forest soils is added to the trees’ carbon, it becomes obvious that forests are major carbon storage reservoirs.

deforestation and global warming

The main strategies for using forests for carbon sequestration are listed below in order of their potential for carbon sequestration in New York:

  • Active forest management – enhancing forest growth through sustainable forestry
  • Avoided deforestation – reducing the loss of forested land by promoting smart growth and less sprawl.
  • Forest preservation – leaving forests undisturbed as is done in the 3 million acres of the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve.
  • Afforestation – adding forest to previously unforested land, as was done on State Forest land during the Great Depression .

Active Forest Management

Working forests are a critical component of a sustainable future for New York State. They reduce atmospheric CO2 by carbon sequestration, and they produce wood products and alternative energy. Although it may seem counterintuitive to manage a forest for both carbon sequestration and energy production, it can be done with New York’s abundant post-agricultural forests. Many people do not realize how fast trees can grow in New York’s climate. An abandoned farm field can be covered with a forest of good-sized trees within 50 years. Proper management of these second and third growth forests for wood products and energy production actually enhances their ability to sequester carbon by enabling the remaining trees to grow more vigorously. By mimicking the effects of natural forest events such as fire and windstorms that create beneficial openings, timber harvesting can be used to open crowded canopies and encourage the growth of specific species such as oaks.

Active forest management enhances a forest’s carbon sequestration capacity by keeping the trees healthy and promoting vigorous growth. Strong healthy trees are more resistant to pests and diseases, and may also be better able to adapt to the stresses of a changing climate and are growing more vigorously and sequestering more carbon.

DEC has more than 760,000 acres of State Forests which are managed for timber production, as well as for wildlife habitat, recreation and biodiversity.

More than 62 percent of New York State is forest land, which amounts to18.6 million acres, or 29,000 square miles, of land covered by trees. More than 80 percent, 14.8 million acres, is privately owned. About 1 million acres of this is industrial forest land owned by large timber or investment companies and actively managed for timber production.

To encourage sustainability of non-industrial private forest land, New York’s Forest Stewardship Initiative helps private landowners develop forest management plans. The Forest Tax law provides incentives for managed forest lands. Many landowners have worked with Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Lands & Forest’s Private Forest Management staff to develop management plans for their land. Almost 2 million acres of private forest land is managed under the Forest Stewardship Program and about 650,000 acres are covered by the Forest Tax Law program. But there are more than 10 million acres of private forest land outside these programs. Much of this land is left un-managed, but could contribute significant carbon sequestration under active forest management.

deforestation and climate change

Avoided Deforestation

Significant land disturbance is a major source of CO2 emissions. Human disturbance has much more impact on forests than natural disturbances such as fires or hurricanes. When forested land is converted to agriculture or development, soils are typically ploughed, graded, compacted or excavated, and then often left exposed to erosion. Natural disturbances, other than landslides, rarely cause deep damage to soil structure. Some of the CO2 given off from forest disturbance comes from decay, but the biggest source is from the disturbed soil. Although they accumulate carbon much more slowly than trees, forest soils ultimately become storehouses for enormous amounts of carbon, over twice as much as is stored in the wood of the trees.

When forest soils are disturbed, they can lose carbon rapidly from the fast decay of organic material. In parts of the Pacific Northwest, a clear-cut replanted with conifer seedlings can continue to emit CO2 for as long as 20 years. Even though the young trees are sequestering carbon, the accelerated rate of soil decay caused by disturbance gives off carbon at a higher rate than the young trees can take up.

While some land must be cleared in order to build, too often everything is stripped off leaving only bare soil. Although it is possible to save many mature trees during development, it is cheaper to get the trees out of the way by stripping the site. A land use study of upstate New York showed a 30 % increase in land development between 1982 and 1997, but only a 2.6 % growth in population during the same period. The study was appropriately titled Sprawl Without Growth.

There is ultimately a high price for poor development practices, a price that ends up being paid for by the community and taxpayers rather than the developer. Once the trees are gone, the many benefits, or ecosystem services, which they provided, are also gone. These benefits include reduced storm run-off, clean water, clean air and natural cooling, as well as carbon sequestration. The adverse impacts of the cleared land include increased run-off, which can overload stormwater systems, soil erosion, water pollution, and, of course, adding more CO2 to the atmosphere.

Saving trees and planting additional trees are vital for water resource management alone, but along with the use of Smart Growth and green infrastructure for developments, could ultimately lead to better communities where trees can make a much greater contribution to improving the environment.

Forest Preservation

One forest-based carbon sequestration strategy is to preserve forests in their natural state, as has been done in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve. These forests will never be actively managed or cut. These mature late succession forests hold vast amounts of carbon in their wood, and even more in their undisturbed organic soils. They may sequester carbon at lower rates than do managed forests with younger trees, because older trees usually grow more slowly. In un-managed forests, only natural disturbances such as storms and fire, will provide clearings where young trees can get enough sun for rapid growth. Although mature trees which generally dominate undisturbed forests don’t grow as fast as young trees, they too can take advantage of the added light from natural clearings. Depending on the species, even mature trees can put on surprising growth spurts under favorable conditions.

The forests of New York’s Forest Preserve lands, State Unique Areas, State Parks and other protected lands, represent substantial carbon reservoirs, particularly in their soils. They are also vital for water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, preservation of very old forests, and as genetic reservoirs for the future.

Afforestation

Since the mid-nineteenth century, New York, along with most of the Northeastern states, has undergone major afforestation as millions of acres of abandoned farmland, which were covered with forest in pre-colonial times, have reverted back to forest. Consequently there are relatively limited opportunities for new, large scale additions of forest cover.

The largest potential for adding forest cover is probably in urban areas. Although urban forests may not be as effective at sequestering carbon as managed forests, they do have some sequestration capacity. However, their bigger role in greenhouse gas reduction is reducing energy used for air conditioning. Trees provide both shade and evaporative cooling which helps reduce the temperature both inside and outside a building. Increasing the amount of urban forest goes beyond just planting additional trees. The use of vines for green walls provides many of the same benefits in places where there may not be room for shade trees. Studies have shown that many plants, such as fast-growing vines, respond dramatically to higher levels of CO2 by growing faster and taking up CO2 at an increased rate.

Greater use of plants in cities not only helps save energy, but also benefits human health by improving air quality. Trees are effective at capturing particulate pollution from the air and also help lower concentrations of other air pollutants such as ozone and nitrous oxide. Trees and other plants help reduce excess runoff and water pollution by capturing and filtering stormwater. Adding green to a city can also produce direct economic benefits, such as increased tourism, and also job creation in plant-based industries, such as green roof installation.

Forests Can Reduce Atmospheric CO2

Increasing the carbon sequestration capacity of New York’s forests can be started now. DEC is working on policies and programs to encourage wider use of these strategies to increase forest carbon sequestration:

  • Promote stewardship of private forest lands.
  • Reduce unnecessary deforestation.
  • Add forest, especially in urban areas.
  • Increase the use of sustainable forest management.

The costs are comparatively low, and there are minimal environmental impacts. But the biggest advantage of increasing forests for carbon sequestration capacity is that there are so many environmental benefits from forests that it would be worth increasing them anyway – even if they weren’t so effective at sequestering carbon.

Although forests alone can’t sequester all of the excess carbon added by burning fossil fuels, they can make a difference, especially if we help and encourage them. Wisely managed forests can sequester carbon and also provide a sustainable source of fuel and lumber, help clean our air and water, preserve wildlife habitat, provide recreation opportunities and preserve the beauty of trees in their natural home for generations to come.

State Adds New Forest To Mark Earth Day

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today officially opened New York State’s newest state forest, the 518-acre Hand Hollow state forest in the town of New Lebanon, Columbia County, as part of New York State’s celebration of Earth Day. The announcement is in honor of Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment and accomplishments to protecting our environment, conserving open space, increasing access to the state’s vast and magnificent natural resources, implementing clean energy initiatives and preparing for the effects of climate change.

“This new state forest will provide outstanding recreational opportunities as well provide sustainable timber management that supports local jobs,” Martens said. “Our thanks go out to Columbia Land Conservancy and Little Pine LLC for their considerable efforts to make this new state forest a reality.”

“The Hand Hollow State Forest, with more than 500 acres of beautiful wooded land and a secluded lake, is a magnificent addition to the growing inventory of publicly accessible open lands in Columbia County,” said Columbia Land Conservancy Executive Director Peter R. Paden. “We are proud to have played a part in its creation and very grateful to the hard-working folks at DEC and to Little Pine LLC, without which this wonderful project could not have come to fruition.”

The Hand Hollow state forest is managed for multiple uses, including recreation, timber production, watershed protection and wildlife habitat. Hand Hollow meets the requirements for state forest designation of more than 500 acres of forested area that allows for a wide variety of recreational uses. Recreational opportunities include hiking, biking, picnicking, horseback riding, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation and photography.

Carbon Capture and Storage News via http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/47481.html

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

India Estimates Economic Value Of Remaining Forests

Deforestation Killing More Than Trees

Editor’s Note: It’s amazing to me that intelligent nations have overlooked the importance of forest conservation in our own survival. It doesn’t matter if you believe in god, science or both, forests and biodiversity are here for a reason. Plundering these resources for the short-term economic gain of private interests has caused a cascading effect on the entire planet. We must embrace endangered species and their survival as a bell weather of survival of the entire planet. Hopefully, more countries will follow India’s example and attempt to place a holistic value on our last stands of forests and biodiversity. Extinction is forever and our grandchildren are not immune from that possibility.

Tiger reserves about more than wildlife conservation. They also have tremendous economic value to the entire planet, the first ever Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves in India, published by the Centre for Ecological Services Management (CESM) and Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, a couple of months ago has revealed.

India tiger conservation and forest conservation
India has more wild tigers than any of the tiger countries. Survival of the species depends on habitat conservation across India. Land conflicts must be resolved peacefully to succeed.

Of the six reserves studied, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve (STR) sequesters the highest volume of carbon. This was valued at Rs 46.2 crore per year. The service provided by STR in moderating cyclones is also worth Rs 27.5 crore per year.

“The current study on ‘Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves in India: A VALUE+ Approach’ with support from the National Tiger Conservation Authority is a first-of-its-kind study in the world. The study attempts to provide an assessment of economic benefits from tiger reserves across a range of tiger landscapes in India.

While a large proportion of benefits that these tiger reserves provide are difficult to estimate, the study provides quantitative and qualitative estimates of those benefits which manifest their important but unaccounted national and global contribution. These findings provide adequate justification for enhanced investment in such areas which is critical to ensure continued flow of vital life-supporting ecological, economic, social and cultural services from these genetic repositories,” Prakash Javadekar, Union minister of state (independent charge) for environments, forests and climate change wrote about the report.

According to the report, the total forest cover in the Indian Sundarbans is 2,585 square km. Declared a biosphere reserve in 1989, STR has at least 1,586 species of protozoa and animalia apart from 69 species of flaura belonging to 29 families. Nearly 270,000 people live in the 46 fringe villages around STR.

The report notes that STR is a source of regular employment for the local communities living in the vicinity. In 2013-14, a total of 157,600 man-days were generated by the tiger reserve for various management activities in which local communities were involved. “Conservatively using the wage rate for unskilled labour of Rs 206 per man-day prevalent in the area, the economic value of employment generated by STR is estimated to be Rs 3.25 crore per annum,” the report states.

“The economic value of fish caught from STR is approximately equal to Rs 160 crore per year. It may be noted that this estimate is still conservative. It does not account for quantity of crabs and prawns caught from STR which are sold at premium to fish. It doesn’t include the quantity of fish caught for self-consumption or the inputs that shrimp farms receive from STR as seeds. Considering that fish is the main source of protein for the underprivileged communities living around Sundarbans, the economic value of STR for fishing is very significant — economically and culturally,” it adds.

The study has also estimated that STR has nearly 31.43 million cubic meters of standing stock of timber. The market price of this has been estimated at Rs 62,870 crore. This is significantly higher than Corbett, Ranthambore, Periyar, Kaziranga and Kanha, the other five tiger reserves included in this study. It has also been estimated that STR has carbon stock of more than 22.38 million tons.

“Based on a recent study by Yale University that has estimated the social cost of carbon for India the total economic value of carbon stored in STR is estimated to be Rs 2,410 crore,” it has been noted.

deforestation and climate change

The net biosphere-atmosphere exchange of carbon in the Sundarbans has been estimated at 2.79 tons per hectare per annum. Assuming this rate of carbon sequestration across the entire forest area (1,538 square km) of STR, the annual quantity of carbon sequestered in STR is nearly equal to 0.43 million tons. Using the social cost of carbon for India the total economic value of carbon sequestered in STR is estimated to be RS 46.21 crore per annum.

Another important value that has been estimated is the cost that needs to be considered for providing waste assimilation service to Kolkata. The city doesn’t have a sewage treatment plant and the Sundarbans provide this service.

Taking the population of Kolkata at 4.5 million, it has been estimated that the city would require a sewage treatment plant of 250 million liters per day. Considering the costs involved in operating such a plant, the economic value of waste assimilation services attributable to STR for Kolkata city alone is nearly Rs 150 crore per year, the report states.

Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve director Pradip Vyas believes that this study is a move in the right direction. “Eco-system services are going to be really big in the future. Such studies will help people realize the importance of the mangroves. Maybe, some day, people living in Kolkata will be ready to pay for protection of the mangroves. A study in Odisha after the Super Cyclone revealed that loss of life was nil in places where mangroves existed.

mangrove conservation
Mangroves are a critical part of our ecosystem. They are falling to water pollution, rising tides and deliberate coastal clearing for human development.

Mangroves are unique especially in terms of their adaptation abilities in response to harsh environments. Mangroves stabilize shorelines and protect coastal communities by acting as a buffer against storm surges and strong winds. Their function as effective natural barrier against tsunamis, weather typhoons, cyclones and storm surges as a result of global warming is crucial. The critical role of the coastal ecosystems including mangroves in maintaining the climate is also being increasingly acknowledged.

Where mangroves had been destroyed, loss to life and property was colossal. If the mangroves in the Sundarbans are lost, the fish catch will also go down by 60-70 percent. Take the case of Catskills’ catchments that have been supplying clean drinking water to New York city for ages. New York has now started sharing a portion of what it saves to farmers in the Catskills to keep the catchment area clean,” he says.

Forest Conservation News via http://www.eco-business.com/news/economic-study-pegs-value-for-sundarbans-and-other-tiger-reserves/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com