India Plants 50 Million Trees To Fight Climate Change

Reforestation Employed To Defend Ecosystems

By Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic

India reports that volunteers planted 49.3 million tree saplings on July 11, shattering the previous record for most trees planted in a single day. That record was set by Pakistan in 2013 by planting 847,275 trees.

A reported 800,000 volunteers from Uttar Pradesh worked for 24 hours planting 80 different species of trees along roads, railways, and on public land. The saplings were raised on local nurseries.

deforestation and climate change

The effort is part of the commitment India made at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. In the agreement, signed on Earth Day 2016, India agreed to spend $6 billion to reforest 12 percent of its land (bringing total forest cover to 235 million acres by 2030, or about 29 percent of the country’s territory).

Trees sequester carbon dioxide from the air, thereby reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. India has experienced substantial loss of its forest cover over the past few centuries, as people cut down trees for firewood, pasture, and to make room for development.

Other countries are also replanting trees. In December, African nations pledged to reforest 100 million hectares. A wide range of stakeholders, from countries to companies, also signed on to the non-binding New York Declaration of Forests that month, with the goal of halving deforestation by 2020 and ending it by 2030. The declaration also seeks to restore at least 350 million hectares of degraded land with healthy forests.

Still, the young trees aren’t out of the woods, yet. Saplings need water and care and are susceptible to disease. Experience shows mortality rates as high as 40 percent after such massive tree plantings. Officials will monitor the trees with aerial photography, to see which areas may need special attention.

reforestation and carbon capture

 

“The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said at an event promoting the planting.

Officials also hope the trees will improve air quality in India, which suffers from some of the worst in the world. Trees can help remove some pollutants from the air. Right now, six of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world are in the country.

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India, a nation of 1.25 billion people. Some of them may be able to breathe a little easier, and find shade under the trees.

“The biggest contribution of this tree planting project is, apart from the tokenism, that it focuses on the major issues,” said Anit Mukherjee, policy fellow with the Centre for Global Development. “It addresses many of the big issues for India: pollution, deforestation, and land use.”

Reforestation News via http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/india-plants-50-million-trees-uttar-pradesh-reforestation/

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

Plan Emerges To Halt Deforestation In Liberia

Liberia and the World Bank Will Spend Millions To Reduce Deforestation

According to a Global Witness report, the plan, which uses money promised in 2014 by Norway to save Liberia’s forests, includes much needed support for communities who want to manage their forests. But the report says if Liberia is to successfully turn the page on a history of destructive logging, it must also make good on pledges to investigate illegal contracts and ensure communities’ right to free, prior, and informed consent.

Liberia deforestation

Liberia contains some of West Africa’s best remaining rainforest and an estimated half of the country’s population is dependent upon forests for their livelihoods.  The report notes that the country has a history of forest mismanagement, including trade in conflict timber and widespread illegal logging. However, in recent years Liberia’s government has striven to reinstate the rule of law, prosecuting former officials who have broken the law and canceling some illegal contracts. It says particularly promising, in 2014 Liberia and Norway signed a US$150 million deal to switch the country from logging to community forestry and conservation. The aim is to enable the country and communities to make money — possibly tens of millions of dollars a year — from reduced carbon emissions.

“Liberia has made good on key promises in its 2014 agreement with Norway to protect rainforests, committing support to upwards of 75,000 Liberians so they can manage forests covering 6,000 km2,” said Alice Harrison, Global Witness Communications Adviser.

“By helping communities plan and develop governance systems, providing information on different economic uses of forests, and supporting NGOs that work with communities, the Liberian government and the World Bank have outlined a plan that may help Liberians benefit from their forests.”

It says the timing of the plan, contained in a World Bank Project Assessment Document (PAD), could not be better. In October 2015, the Liberian government hosted a conference in partnership with Global Witness, Rights and Resources International, and the NGO Coalition of Liberia, titled Rethinking Liberia’s Forests. At that conference participants called for support to communities wishing to manage their forests, including data on how they should sustainably manage resources.

wildlife conservation Liberia

However, it points out that reforms of the forest sector here cannot succeed, if they do not also tackle illegal logging, noting failure to address illegalities in the sector has undermined the effectiveness of Liberian and donor reform programs since the end of the country’s civil war in 2003.

“Liberia’s promise to investigate remaining illegal logging contracts served as a cornerstone of its agreement with Norway,” said Harrison. “Nearly ten percent of the country is still covered by logging concessions, many of which were awarded illegally and are held by companies who have failed to pay their taxes.”

He said in May, the government took steps to address some of this illegality by halting the operation in one concession, but there is a great deal left to do, and if the country is to successfully conserve its forests and if communities are to manage their forests free from illegal loggers, it is crucial that the government maintain its promise to investigate and cancel illegal contracts.

illegal logging Liberia

The report says also important to the success of the plan is ensuring that rights of communities to make decision about the use of their land are respected when Liberia and the World Bank are creating new forest reserves. It also recalled that in the 2014 deal, Liberia committed to create reserves called “protected areas” as a means of conserving forests. These would be created with the agreement of communities who own the forest, employing the procedure recognized internationally as free, prior, and informed consent. In the recently-published PAD, however, the Liberian government and the World Bank commit to establishing new reserves covering 3,200 km2, but make no promise to respect communities’ right to decide what happens to the forests they own.

“Research, including that published in February by Rights and Resources International, shows that forest reserves cannot succeed if the FPIC rights of forest owners are not respected,” said Harrison. “And while this week’s plan implementing the Liberia-Norway agreement contains important support for some communities, critical changes should be made to ensure forest laws are enforced and communities in proposed reserves are not disenfranchised.”

Forest Conservation News via http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/10622-liberia-to-spend-us-37m-on-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

Large Companies Prepared to Pay Price on Carbon

Carbon Tax, Offsets Expected By Industry

More than two dozen of the nation’s biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to minimize climate change.

The development is a striking departure from conservative orthodoxy and a reflection of growing divisions between the Republican Party and its business supporters.

air pollution and global warming

A new report by the environmental data company CDP has found that at least 29 companies, some with close ties to Republicans, including ExxonMobil, Walmart and American Electric Power, are incorporating a price on carbon into their long-term financial plans.

Both supporters and opponents of action to fight global warming say the development is significant because businesses that chart a financial course to make money in a carbon-constrained future could be more inclined to support policies that address climate change.

But unlike the five big oil companies—ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, BP and Shell, all major contributors to the Republican party — Koch Industries, a conglomerate that has played a major role in pushing Republicans away from action on climate change, is ramping up an already-aggressive campaign against climate policy — specifically against any tax or price on carbon. Owned by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the company includes oil refiners and the paper-goods company Georgia-Pacific.

The divide, between conservative groups that are fighting against government regulation and oil companies that are planning for it as a practical business decision, echoes a deeper rift in the party, as business-friendly establishment Republicans clash with the Tea (me) Party. Tom Carnac, North American president of CDP, said that the five big oil companies seemed to have determined that a carbon price was an inevitable part of their financial future.

deforestation and global warming

“It’s climate change as a line item,” Mr. Carnac said. “They’re looking at it from a rational perspective, making a profit. It drives internal decision-making.”

Companies do not know what form a future carbon price would take. Congress could one day vote to directly tax emissions. President Obama is moving forward with plans to regulate carbon pollution from coal plants, with or without action from Congress — and states could carry out those regulations by taxing carbon polluters. At climate change talks at the United Nations, State Department negotiators have pledged that the United States will cut its carbon emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050.

Mr. Carnac said: “Companies see that the trend is inevitable. What you see here is a hardening of that understanding.”

Other companies that are incorporating a carbon price into their strategic planning include Microsoft, General Electric, Walt Disney, ConAgra Foods, Wells Fargo, DuPont, Duke Energy, Google and Delta Air Lines.

During the 2012 election, every Republican presidential candidate but one, Jon Huntsman, questioned or denied the science of climate change and rejected policies to deal with global warming. Opponents of carbon-pricing policies consider them an energy tax that will hurt business and consumers.

reforestation and climate change

Mainstream economists have long agreed that putting a price on carbon pollution is the most effective way to fight global warming. The idea is fairly simple: if industry must pay to spew the carbon pollution that scientists say is the chief cause of global warming, the costs will be passed on to consumers in higher prices for gasoline and electricity. Those high prices are expected to drive the market away from fossil fuels like oil and coal, and toward low-carbon renewable sources of energy.

Past efforts to enact a carbon price in Washington have failed largely because powerful fossil-fuel groups financed campaigns against lawmakers who supported a carbon tax.

In 1994, dozens of Democratic lawmakers lost their jobs after Al Gore, who was vice president at the time, urged them to vote for a climate change bill that would have effectively taxed carbon pollution. In 2009, President Obama urged House Democrats to vote for a cap-and-trade bill that would have required companies whose carbon-dioxide emissions exceeded set levels to buy emissions rights from those who emitted less. The next year, Tea Party groups spent millions to successfully unseat members who voted for the bill.

But ExxonMobil, which last year was ranked by the Fortune 500 as the nation’s most profitable company, is representative of Big Oil’s slow evolution on climate change policy. A decade ago, the company was known for contributing to research organizations that questioned the science of climate change. In 2010, ExxonMobil purchased a company that produces natural gas, which creates less carbon pollution than oil or coal.

ExxonMobil is now the nation’s biggest natural gas producer, meaning that it will stand to profit in a future in which a price is placed on carbon emissions. Coal, which produces twice the carbon pollution of natural gas, would be a loser. Today, ExxonMobil openly acknowledges that carbon pollution from fossil fuels contributes to climate change.

“Ultimately, we think the government will take action through a myriad of policies that will raise the prices and reduce demand” of carbon-polluting fossil fuels, said Alan Jeffers, an ExxonMobil spokesman.

Internally, ExxonMobil now plans its financial future with the expectation that eventually carbon pollution will be priced at about $60 a ton, which Mr. Jeffers acknowledged was at odds with some of the company’s Republican friends.

“We’re going to say and do what’s in the best interest of our shareholders,” he said. “We won’t always be on the same page.”

It remains unlikely that any climate policy will move in today’s deadlocked Congress, but if Congress does take up climate change legislation in the future, Mr. Jeffers said ExxonMobil would support a carbon tax if it was paired with an equal cut elsewhere in the tax code — the same policy that Mr. Gore has endorsed. “ExxonMobil and many other large companies understand that climate change poses a direct economic threat to their businesses,” said Dan Weiss, director for climate policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group with close ties to the Obama administration. “They need to convince their political allies to act before it’s too late.”

Koch Industries maintains ties to the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity, which last year campaigned against Republicans who acknowledged the science of climate change. The company also contributes money to the American Energy Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group that campaigns against lawmakers that it claims support a carbon price. This year, the American Energy Alliance says it has spent about $1.2 million in ads and campaign activities attacking candidates who it says support a carbon price.

Robert Murphy, senior economist at the American Energy Alliance, said his group was not concerned that it had taken a different position from the major oil companies. “We’re not taking marching orders from Big Oil,” he said.

In fact, Koch has a longtime resentment of the biggest oil companies. Koch’s founder, Fred Koch, the father of Charles and David, invented a chemical process to more efficiently refine oil but was blocked from bringing it to the market by John D. Rockefeller, the owner of Standard Oil — the company that was later broken up to make some of the major oil companies of today, including ExxonMobil.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/05/business/energy-environment/large-companies-prepared-to-pay-price-on-carbon.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131205&_r=0

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, 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

Demand Growing For Forest Carbon Offsets

Carbon Capture Technology Unproven, Risky

Carbon finance is supporting the management of forests spanning 26.5 million hectares worldwide after businesses in 2012 invested a near-record $216 million into projects that plant trees, avoid deforestation, improve forest management, and support low-carbon agriculture.

These projects, a key defense against the ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change, were financed by the sale of 28 million tons of carbon offsets, according to the 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets report released by non-profit researchers Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace this week in London.

deforestation and climate change

Representing 162 projects in 58 countries, the report tracks forest carbon management over a land area larger than Ecuador. While market size grew 9% in 2012, the global average price for forestry offsets was $7.8/tonne – down from $9.2/tonne in 2011, but still higher than prices paid by voluntary buyers across all offset project types (average $5.9/tonne).

Multinational corporations driven by responsible business ethics and a desire to show leadership on climate change bought two out of every three forestry offsets sold. The top buyer sectors – energy, agriculture/forestry, and transportation – depend on forests’ ecosystem services (e.g., clean water) for their business, and some view forest carbon investments as a kind of insurance against direct exposure to climate risks.

Overall, this year’s report findings illustrate growing corporate interest in incentive payments to protect forests as a climate response, despite political and economic challenges to carbon price mechanisms more broadly.

“Private businesses increasingly recognize the numerous climate risks to their security of supply and producer livelihoods,” says Forest Trends President and CEO Michael Jenkins. “This report demonstrates what industry first-movers already know, that financing forests’ conservation and sustainable management is not just about license to do business, or image. It can directly benefit companies’ infrastructure, suppliers, and bottom lines.”

Industries in California and Australia also sought forest carbon offsets to prepare for domestic carbon regulations. While California’s compliance cap-and-trade market began this year, the future of Australia’s carbon market is uncertain, with new leadership pledging to ax the country’s carbon tax.

palm oil plantation deforestation

Projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (“REDD”) saw heightened demand in 2012, as private companies like The Walt Disney Company and clothing brand PUMA invested millions to support REDD projects in developing countries. A total of 8.6 million REDD offsets were transacted, tying with tree-planting activities as 2012’s most popular project types. Projects that improve forest management climbed in popularity, while carbon finance for sustainable agriculture remained muted. Yet, the private sector and negotiators are increasingly attentive to agricultural carbon projects’ strong business case and benefits to avoided deforestation.

“In most regions, unsustainable smallholder or commercial agriculture is a primary driver of deforestation that projects in our survey are trying to address,” says report co-author and Ecosystem Marketplace Associate Director Molly Peters-Stanley. “So it’s no surprise that land-use experts, donors, and communities themselves are pushing climate-smart agriculture and its symbiotic ties to forest protection to the front of the climate agenda.”

Offset buyers strongly supported forest projects that deliver benefits beyond carbon sequestration, such as alternative local livelihoods and habitat protection for threatened species. Projects reporting community-held land tenure covered 13.7 million hectares and were valued at more than $70 million, representing a particular interest in projects that benefit smallholders. Projects that actively monitored their social and environmental gains were behind 61% of offsets sold. Likewise, the market’s most popular third-party project standard, the Verified Carbon Standard, was rarely utilized without dual certification to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards.

reforest Tanzania

Even with strong growth in forestry offset demand in 2012, forest project developers reported 30 million tonnes that remained unsold at year’s end. Though developers predict strong market growth, their projects’ emissions reductions are expected to outstrip historical offset demand, with developers expecting to reduce another 1.4 billion tonnes of emissions over the next five years. Most of these reductions will come from REDD projects.

As market participants admit, finding a home for these offsets will ultimately hinge on regulation. United Nations member states will convene in Warsaw next week to continue negotiating a post-Kyoto Protocol international climate agreement, which has previously stumbled on the topic of monitoring of REDD activities. Some observers believe that overcoming this hurdle is key to progressing toward a new agreement in 2015.

The State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2013 is publicly and freely available thanks to support from the report’s Premium Sponsors: Face the Future, the Program on Forests (PROFOR), the World Bank BioCarbon Fund, and New Forests; Sponsors: Althelia Ecosphere and Baker & McKenzie; and additional support from the UK Forestry Commission’s Woodland Carbon Code – all of which enable Ecosystem Marketplace to explore developments on the frontier of ecosystem service finance.

For a copy of the report, please visit: www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/reports/forestcarbon2013

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, 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

Urban Forestry Part Of Climate Solution

Urban Forests A Shield Against Climate Change

When we think of forest conservation and reforestation efforts, most people think of mountains and rainforests, but the trees in your city or town also can make a difference in many ways. In addition to the quality of life that they add visually, they can reduce energy use and help absorb carbon dioxide.

urban forests

Trees Cool Cities and Save Energy

  • Strategically planted urban trees reduce energy use by shading buildings in summer and blocking cold winter winds
  • As they grow trees remove carbon dioxide and other green house gasses from the atmosphere and sequester them in their leaves, branches, trunks and roots.

Trees Strengthen Quality of Place and the Local Economy

  • Increase property values by 10 to 20 % and attract more homebuyers
  • Increase municipal revenue through property tax assessments
  • Urban parks provide the settings for festival and other special events that add millions of dollars to the local economy
  • In retail/commercial districts shoppers spend more time and money and come back more often
  • Give people places to recreate, connect with nature and experience a sense of well being

Trees Improve Social Connections

  • Planting trees is one of the most valuable ways engage residents
  • Creates safer, supportive neighborhoods working for a common vision
  • Are a Focal point for community revitalization
  • Relieves mental fatigue and impulse control, restoring concentration
  • Offers a sense of place and improves the quality of life
  • Strengthens the social and economic components of environmental justice

Trees Create Walkable Communities

  • Tree-lined streets encourage people to walk in their communities and walk further
  • Street trees have been shown to calm traffic through neighborhoods
  • Strengthen Complete Street policies for all users
  • Making streets more walkable and pedestrian encourages transit oriented development

Trees Improve Air Quality

  • By absorbing gaseous pollutants through their leaves
  • Binding or dissolving water soluble pollutants onto leaf surfaces
  • Intercepting and storing pollutants on the leaf surfaces
  • Capturing and storing air pollutants in the uneven, rough branches and trunk
  • Sequestering CO2  in trunk, branches and roots
  • Shading buildings and pavement reduces the demand for air conditioning and the formation of ozone

Trees Reduce Storm Water Runoff

  • Trees act as sponges that keep water onsite and recharge the groundwater
  • A typical urban forest of 10,000 trees will retain 10 million gallons of rainwater per year
  • Reduce the amount of runoff and pollutants into creeks
  • While manmade drainage systems such sewers and storm drains accelerate the flow of polluted water through community, trees slow it down and clean the water
  • Tree canopies and roots protect the soil from erosion
  • More trees equals lower costs for storm water management

Trees Help Promote Smart Growth

  • Strengthen the urban core by improving public social space and the walking experience
  • Give people access to nature in the city
  • Add breathing room to more compact development
  • Separate incompatible uses and buffer noise pollution
  • Support mixed use that improves real estate values and the local economy
  • Create an interconnected framework of green infrastructure that recovers ecological function, biodiversity and wildlife habitat

monarch butterflies in Mexico forest

Trees Also Provide Habitat and Food For Birds and Urban Wildlife.

Send us your success stories. We want to help other communities learn from you. Plus, Sacred Seedlings is accepting applications for urban reforestation programs that can help you find allies to reach your goals.

Urban Forestry News via http://sacredseedlings.com/urban-forestry/

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.

Ancient Trees In Amazon Storing Tons Of Carbon

Some Trees 1,000 Years Old

Trees in the Amazon basin grow slower and are older than scientists thought, a discovery that has implications for computer models about climate change. Up to half of all trees greater than four inches (10 centimeters) in diameter in Amazon tropical forests are more than 300 years old, the study found. Some are 1,000 years old.

jaguar conservation and deforestation in Amazon

“Little was known about the age of tropical trees, because they do not have easily identified annual growth rings,” said study team member Susan Trumbore of the University of California at Irvine. “No one had thought these tropical trees could be so old, or that they grow so slowly.”

The conclusions result from radiocarbon dating methods. The results were reported last week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The finds have implications for the role the Amazon plays in determining global carbon dioxide levels. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, acting like a blanket to trap solar energy near the surface. Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and help maintain balance in the atmosphere. Deforestation, therefore, contributes to global warming and climate change in many ways.

Because the trees are old and slow-growing, the Amazon forests, which contain about a third of all carbon found in land vegetation, have less capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon than previous studies predicted, Trumbore and her colleagues said.

deforestation and climate change

“In the Central Amazon, where we found the slowest growing trees, the rates of carbon uptake are roughly half what is predicted by current global carbon cycle models,” Trumbore said. “As a result, those models—which are used by scientists to understand how carbon flows through the Earth system—may be overestimating the forests’ capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

The oldest known tree is a bristlecone pine in California. The tree is estimated to be 4,700 years old.

Rainforest News via http://www.livescience.com/3979-ancient-trees-amazon.html

reforestation and climate change solution

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

Reforesting Ethiopian Mountains Can Boost Economy

Reforestation Can Curb Climate Change

This is a proposal to help the Government of Ethiopia to move away from subsistent to surplus production and towards integration into the global economy by demonstrating, the through modeling, the economic, financial and institutional feasibility of mountain reforestation and creation of forest/forest based industries.

The main anticipated beneficiaries/ customers/investors are the Government of Ethiopia, US consultants, investors, exporters, suppliers of equipment, and NGOs, who being convinced in the feasibility of the project would invest in the project. USTDA’s would also benefit through achieving its mission by allocating vital resources for strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in Ethiopia, host country  and a US ally that creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.

reforestation and forest conservation

Forest and forest products industry is part of the Basic Material Sector. It is one of the most important industries whose prices in the world market have been rising in recent past. Given the high growth of emerging markets and their increasing demand for basic materials including forest and forest product, the demand for forest products is expected to be very high in the foreseeable future.

However, reforestation of mountain environments is a challenging task. Once vegetation has been removed or even reduced, the soil loses stability. Removal of the dead organic matter (detritus) from forest soils further destabilizes soils. Erosion of soil from deforested land can be very significant depending on the steepness of the slope, the precipitation regime, and the type of soil. A reforestation program needs to first stabilize soils, taking into account these factors as well as the level of human land use. Another challenge to reforestation is choosing the species to plant.

The environment may have changed and it may not be possible to simply replant the species that previously existed before deforestation and expect good growth. Forests progress through stages with “pioneer species” establishing first and then being replaced by other species characteristic of the mature ecosystem. Additionally, achieving the bio diversity of the previously-existing forest may be difficult because the number of species that can realistically be cultivated may be fewer. Also, at higher altitudes where the climate is often more severe, recovery rates are often slowed compared to lower altitudes.

Despite the above challenges, reforestation has vital commercial value besides its also vital importance for survival of humanity as a species. In fact, currently, three of the most important challenges facing humanity can be addressed through reforestation. Reforestation can help reduce carbon emission in the environment.

With establishment carbon exchange market, reforestation in the long run may pay the investment. Reforestation, particularly mountain forest, could help maintain water tables which are vital for the development of urban water supply and reduction of water scarcity among communal groups and even nations. In fact the United Nations has identified water scarcity to be one of the fundamental sources of conflicts of the 21st century.  Reforestation, done correctly, can also help maintain biodiversity which is a critical for survival civilization as we know it.

According to Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority, between 1983 and 2003 alone a total of 21,000 hectares of land has been deforested.  The continued progress of deforestation is likely to turn the Horn of Africa region into a region of instability over dwindling resources of forest and forest products. Arresting deforestation is an essential national priority not only the Ethiopian Government but for the Global communities and stewards of environment, peace and biodiversity. Ethiopia has been impacted by deforestation in the past century. This has resulted in recurrent famine. With increased in population, increasingly people have began to settle in the mountain regions, thus threatening the social fabric of the nation. The rapid deforestation had resulted in significant communal conflicts over woods for fuel and building material, and water sources for human and cattle.

deforestation and climate change

In environmentally venerable countries such as Ethiopia, activities in reforestation are also vital for positive economic outcome too. In Ethiopian case, reforestation can lead to rapid increase in agricultural productivity. Using appropriate advance knowledge in biotechnology, and environmental management in mountain forest developed in USA, a whole new industry can be created.

The resulting new division of labor can give rise to economic activities outside of the agriculture sector based on forest/forest products. The new industries will absorb not only the surplus labor created due to increase in productivity in the agricultural sector but also provide increasing effective demand for the agricultural sector. This in turn will bolster productivity in the agriculture sector. It will make urbanization possible as most of the 13 industries noted above flourish based on the forest and forest products. It will also help create a middle class based on agro-forest industrial labor.

Reforestation also becomes vital for creating a home market for agriculture produces and industrial product. As the potential for export and opportunity to earn foreign exchange earnings improves the country will have potential to import goods and services from US and other countries. Its will achieve sectoral growth and macroeconomic stability. This will help create a social environment that lessens of social conflicts and enhance poverty alleviation.  It can also be a basis for development of an eco-tourism industry further deepening the social division of labor and with it growth of labor productivity.

Due to these inherent opportunities and challenges to mountain reforestation, the project can be phased as follows:

What causes (caused) the deforestation? This driver of the problem needs to be eliminated or neutralized before an effective program can be adopted.

What local policies and infrastructure exists or could be established that can assist with the long-term success of a reforestation project?

What are the consequences and unintended consequences of implementing a reforestation program?

Develop a comprehensive plan for reforestation of a (specific, to be determined) mountain region. Learn, through evaluation, from recent massive tree planting experiment.

The main outcome will be the emergence of a multi-purpose industry employing thousands of non-crop workers who have purchasing power for effective demand for food crops. It means better rural and urban housing.  It also means people, who are free from subsistent production; and, who are integrated into the Global market.

For more information about reforestation and sustainability, please visit http://garychandler.com/climate-change-solutions/

reforestation and climate change solution

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